Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 04, 2020
To make an atom-sized machine, you need a quantum mechanic
Here's a new chapter in the story of the miniaturisation of machines: researchers in a laboratory in Singapore have shown that a single atom can function as either an engine or a fridge.

Solar and wind energy sites mapped globally for the first time
Researchers at the University of Southampton have mapped the global locations of major renewable energy sites, providing a valuable resource to help assess their potential environmental impact.

Study highlights gallium oxide's promise for next generation radiation detectors
Research finds that radiation detectors making use of single-crystal gallium oxide allow for monitoring X-ray radiation in near-real time.

Warming Midwest conditions may result in corn, soybean production moving north
If warming continues unabated in the Midwest, in 50 years we can expect the best conditions for corn and soybean production to have shifted from Iowa and Illinois to Minnesota and the Dakotas, according to Penn State researchers.

Effects of recommender systems in e-commerce vary by product attributes and review ratings
A new study sought to determine how the impact of recommender systems (also called recommenders) is affected by factors such as product type, attributes, and other sources of information about products on retailers' websites.

User research at BESSY II: How new materials increase the efficiency of direct ethanol fuel cells
A group from Brazil and an HZB team have investigated a novel composite membrane for ethanol fuel cells.

Novel research speeds up threat detection, prevention for Army missions
Threat detection and prevention are essential to ensuring the safety and security of warfighters.

Print your own laboratory-grade microscope for US$18
For the first time, labs around the world can 3D print their own precision microscopes, thanks to an open-source design created at Bath.

Mapping glycan composition on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to inform vaccine design
Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, researchers have mapped glycan-processing states of the spike protein complex that allows the SARS-CoV-2 virus to infect human cells - finding that SARS-CoV-2 S glycans differ from typical host glycan processing, which may have implications in vaccine design.

Different kinds of white fat are important in disease
Body fat is linked to many different conditions beyond diabetes.

Electrocardiogram shows value in college athletes' screens
Research published today indicates that screenings that incorporate an ECG are more effective at detecting cardiac conditions that put athletes at risk, and more efficient in terms of cost-per-diagnosis of at-risk players, than screenings involving only a physical exam and patient history.

Lipid biomarkers key to cardiac repair differences in blacks and whites after heart attack
A new study by the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham profiled bioactive lipids in blood samples from hospitalized black and white patients soon after a heart attack.

KIST ensures stability of desalination process with magnesium
A Korean research team found a method to inhibit the fouling of membranes, which are used in the desalination process that removes salt and dissolved substances from seawater to obtain drinking, domestic, and industrial water.

Arctic 'shorefast' sea ice threatened by climate change, study finds
A new study shows that coastal sea ice used by Arctic residents for hunting and fishing will be reduced as the planet warms.

'Unnecessary' genetic complexity: A spanner in the works?
The promise of personalized medicine has not fully materialized, say two McMaster researchers, because the full sophistication of the genetic blueprint has a more complex and far-reaching influence on human health than scientists had first realized.

SUTD research shows evidence that bilingualism delays the brain's aging process
SUTD study found that seniors who speak two languages actively tend to maintain specific executive control abilities against natural age-related declines.

Shrinking snowcaps fuel harmful algal blooms in Arabian sea
A uniquely resilient organism all but unheard of in the Arabian Sea 20 years ago has been proliferating and spreading at an alarming pace.

Water-splitting module a source of perpetual energy
Rice University researchers have integrated high-efficiency solar cells and electrode catalysts into an efficient, low-cost device that splits water to produce hydrogen fuel.

Breakthrough in molecular machines
Molecular machines have the potential to revolutionize the future -- if we can find a way to control them.

Study shows how microorganisms survive in harsh environments
In northern Chile's Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, microorganisms are able to eke out an existence by extracting water from the rocks they colonize.

Expansion, environmental impacts of irrigation by 2050 greatly underestimated
New research suggests that the amount of farmland that will need to be irrigated to feed the global population by 2050 could be up to several billion acres, far higher than scientists currently project.

Research shows relationship between trophic type and latent period in fungal pathogens
Through a meta-analysis of biotrophs, hemibiotrophs, and necrotophs, four scientists set out to find if the latent period of leaf fungal pathogens reflects their trophic types.

Study reveals single-step strategy for recycling used nuclear fuel
A typical nuclear reactor uses only a small fraction of its fuel rod to produce power before the energy-generating reaction naturally terminates.

Last supper: Fish use sharp barbs and spines to fight off hungry seals
Research by Australia's Monash University reveals the steep price some marine mammals are willing to pay for food, after a stranded fur seal was discovered with more than a dozen facial wounds inflicted by its seafood prey.

From scaffolding to screens: Understanding the developing brain for reading
In the debate about nature versus nurture for developing reading skills, cognitive neuroscientists have a clear message: both matter.

COVID-19 has unmasked significant health disparities in the US; essay on behalf of the Association
The COVID-19 pandemic has unmasked longstanding racial and ethnic health-related disparities, according to a new article published today in the American Heart Association's flagship journal Circulation.

Artificial intelligence algorithm can accurately predict risk, diagnose AD
Researchers have developed a computer algorithm based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can accurately predict the risk for and diagnose Alzheimer's disease using a combination of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), testing to measure cognitive impairment, along with data on age and gender.

ASU scientific team finds new, unique mutation in coronavirus study
Now, using a pool of 382 nasal swab samples obtained from possible COVID-19 cases in Arizona, Lim's team has identified a SARS-CoV-2 mutation that had never been found before----where 81 of the letters have vanished, permanently deleted from the genome.

How COVID-19 spread has been contained by travel bans
Millions more people across the EU could have contracted COVID-19 had strict international travel bans not been implemented, shows a new report by computer modelling experts at Stanford University.

Immunity passports to vaccination certificates for COVID-19: Equitable & legal challenges
As governments from countries including the US, Germany, Italy and the UK, explore the possibility of issuing so-called 'immunity passports,' a leading global health and legal scholar warns that such action poses significant practical, equitable, and legal issues.

URI professor: Climate change increases risk of fisheries conflict
A team of experts, led by a University of Rhode Island researcher, examined how climate change is affecting the ocean environment and found that the changing conditions will likely result in increased fisheries-related conflicts and create new challenges in the management of global fisheries.

Foraging Drosophila flies are open for new microbial partners
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology found that vinegar flies do not necessarily prefer yeasts from their natural environments, but were also attracted by yeasts found in a foreign habitat.

Extinguishing fearful memories depends on the flexibility of your DNA
New research from the University of Queensland shows that the ability to extinguish fearful memories relies on a change in DNA structure: from Z-DNA to B-DNA.

Multiple flooding sources threaten Honolulu's infrastructure
In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, found in the next few decades, sea level rise will likely cause large and increasing percentages of land area to be impacted simultaneously by the three flood mechanisms.

Ecotourism transforms attitudes to marine conservation
A study has shown how ecotourism in the Philippines has transformed people's attitudes towards marine conservation.

Russia creates its own humanized mice to test COVID-19 vaccines and drugs
Mice sensitive to the COVID-19 infection are in development, reports the Office of the Chief State Sanitary Inspector.

Intensive blood pressure control has potential to reduce risk of atrial fibrillation
Intensive blood pressure control may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular heartbeat that can lead to serious complications such as stroke, heart failure and heart attacks, according to scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Research suggests new therapeutic target for kidney diseases
Researchers have published a new study that suggests a signaling pathway called ROBO2 is a therapeutic target for kidney diseases, specifically kidney podocyte injury and glomerular diseases.

Viruses from poo can help combat obesity and diabetes
Faecal transplants are currently used to treat certain types of antibiotic-resistant diarrhoea and has also been attempted to treat e.g. inflammatory bowel disease.

Scientists take a step closer to heat-tolerant wheat
Researchers working on molecular-level responses in crops have taken a step closer to their goal of producing heat-tolerant wheat.

Researchers report discovery of antibody that blocks infection by the SARS-CoV-2 in cells
Researchers at Utrecht University, Erasmus Medical Center and Harbour BioMed (HBM) today reported that they have identified a fully human monoclonal antibody that prevents the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus from infecting cultured cells.The discovery, published online today in Nature Communications, is an initial step towards developing a fully human antibody to treat or prevent the respiratory disease COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Rethinking tsunami defense
Careful engineering of low, plant-covered hills along shorelines can mitigate tsunami risks with less disruption of coastal life and lower costs compared to seawalls.

How gene flow between species influences the evolution of Darwin's finches
Despite the traditional view that species do not exchange genes by hybridisation, recent studies show that gene flow between closely related species is more common than previously thought.

How synaptic changes translate to behavior changes
Learning changes behavior by altering many connections between brain cells in a variety of ways all at the same time, according to a study of sea slugs recently published in JNeurosci.

Do you use your work phone outside working hours?
Nowadays many work duties can be dealt with by means of mobile devices at home, a situation which blurs the boundary between work and other daily life.

New ancient plant captures snapshot of evolution
Researchers have discovered an ancient plant species whose reproductive biology captures the evolution from one to two spore sizes -- an essential transition to the success of the seed and flowering plants we depend on.

Smart use of genomic data needed in species conservation
A 'step-change' in conservation is needed in order to help save species from extinction in the future, according to an academic at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Study to determine incidence of novel coronavirus infection in US children begins
A study to help determine the rate of novel coronavirus infection in children and their family members in the United States has begun enrolling participants.

Intensive farming increases risk of epidemics, warn scientists
Overuse of antibiotics, high animal numbers and low genetic diversity from intensive farming increase the risk of animal pathogens transferring to humans.

Study shows biocell collagen ingestion reduced signs of UVB-induced photoaging
New research finds BioCell Collagen Ingestion to reduce signs of UVB-Induced photoaging, which accounts for a significant amount of visible skin damage.

New device tracks e-cigarette habits to help curtail usage
A new device that attaches to e-cigarettes can unobtrusively monitor inhalations -- yielding important information for research about when and where people vape, how deeply they inhale and how much nicotine they consume.

Time to re-define sex-specific symptoms of acute coronary syndrome, say researchers
While there are differences between how women and men display in heart attack symptoms, researchers argue that continuing to simplify these symptoms as 'typical' or 'atypical' could contribute to delayed treatment and poorer health outcomes.

Discovery of bacterial enzyme activity could lead to new sugar-based drugs
Researchers from DTU have revealed the structure of an enzyme that can convert low-cost sugars into hard-to-produce alpha-GalNAc sugars with therapeutic properties for e.g. cancer drugs.

Eleven human genomes in nine days
UC Santa Cruz researchers are helping drive advances in human genome assembly to make the process better, faster, and cheaper.

Verticillium wilt fungus killing millions of trees is actually an army of microorganisms
A research project studied the microbiome of olive tree roots and concluded that Verticillium wilt is fueled by a community of microorganisms that team up to attack plants, thus reassessing the way this problem is dealt with

Public health training in climate change: What are prospective employers thinking?
Researchers found that 92 percent of employers who responded to a survey on climate change and public health reported need for public health professionals with training in climate change will very likely increase in the next 5 to 10 years.

How to put neurons into cages
Football-shaped microscale cages have been created using special laser technologies.

Activation of the SARS coronavirus 2 revealed
A viral spike protein mediates entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells and harbors an unusual activation sequence.

Study finds meditation and aerobic exercise relieves stress in medical school students
Study on Helping Med Students Reduce Stress Becomes Personal for Rutgers Researchers.

Sky-high surprise bills from air ambulance flights possible for many patients
When an emergency dispatcher calls for a helicopter to fly a critically ill patient to a hospital, they don't have time to check whether they take the patient's insurance.

Predators help prey adapt to an uncertain future
What effect does extinction of species have on the evolution of surviving species?

MU researcher identifies four possible treatments for COVID-19
While COVID-19 has infected millions of people worldwide and killed hundreds of thousands, there is currently no vaccine.

PCSK9 inhibitor with statin does not cause loss in memory, mental skills in high-risk patients
Heart disease patients taking evolocumab in addition to a statin to achieve extremely low levels of cholesterol do not show increased incidence of neurocognitive impairments, including memory loss or reduction in executive functions (mental skills), while at the same time have a decrease in recurrent cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attack, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that examined the cognitive function of the entire FOURIER cohort at two years.

New COVID-19 guidance for gastroenterologists
AGA has published new expert recommendations in Gastroenterology: AGA Institute Rapid Review of the GI and Liver Manifestations of COVID-19, Meta-Analysis of International Data, and Recommendations for the Consultative Management of Patients with COVID-19.

UBC professor encourages seniors to pick up weights to combat frailty
Physical exercise may not be top of mind for older adults during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Study: could dark matter be hiding in existing data?
A new study, led by researchers at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, suggests new paths for catching the signals of dark matter particles that have their energy absorbed by atomic nuclei.

Drug overdose epidemic is transmitted from old to young, study shows
The generation a person was born into -- Silent Generation, Baby Boomer, Generation X or Millennial -- strongly predicts how likely they are to die from a drug overdose, and at what age.

When natural disasters strike locally, urban networks spread the damage globally
Disasters that occur in one place can trigger costs in cities across the world due to the interconnectedness of the global urban trade network.

AI tool speeds up search for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines
Northwestern University researchers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to speed up the search for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

Scholes finds novel magnetic field effect in diamagnetic molecules
The Princeton University Department of Chemistry publishes research this week proving that an applied magnetic field will interact with the electronic structure of weakly magnetic, or diamagnetic, molecules to induce a magnetic-field effect that, to their knowledge, has never before been documented.

2016 presidential campaign emails reveal strategy, surprises
Notably, Trump campaign e-mails were more participatory, fitting the populist theme of the campaign, and the Clinton campaign made the surprising strategic decision to stop direct e-mail communication to passive e-mail subscribers more than two months before Election Day.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

Engineers demonstrate next-generation solar cells can take the heat, maintain efficiency
Iowa State engineers have developed a next-generation solar cell that takes advantage of the promising elctro-optical properties of perovskite materials.

Chronic illness in childhood linked to higher rates of mental illness
Children with long-term health conditions may be more likely to experience mental illness in early adolescence than healthy children, according to new research from Queen Mary University of London.

Microorganisms in parched regions extract needed water from colonized rocks
Cyanobacteria living in rocks in Chile's Atacama Desert extract water from the minerals they colonize and, in doing so, change the phase of the material from gypsum to anhydrite.

New guidelines for treating the sickest COVID-19 patients
A new set of recommendations for health care workers on the front lines, to help them make decisions on how to treat the most critical COVID-19 patients, those with severe lung or heart failure, has been published.

Liver surgery success boosted by growth hormone
Growth hormone has been identified as playing a key role in reducing inflammation and increasing survival rates following liver surgery.

Study shows need for new focus in anti-vaping efforts for older teens and young adults
They know it's addictive. They know it's linked to dangerous lung diseases.

New PSU study spotlights the dark side of venture capitalist funding
A new study by PSU found that the aggressive cultures of private equity firms, like venture capitalists, might spill over into the companies that they fund.

Malaria risk is highest in early evening, study finds
Wide-scale use of insecticide-treated bed nets has led to substantial declines in global incidences of malaria in recent years.

Non-fatal injuries cost US $1,590 and 11 days off work per injured employee every year
Non-fatal injuries in the US add up to an estimated $1,590 and an average of 11 days off work per injured employee every year, indicates an analysis of medical insurance claims and productivity data, published online in the journal Injury Prevention.

Labels on alcohol bottles increase awareness of drinking harms, guidelines
When alcohol bottles come with conspicuous labels providing information on the risks of alcohol consumption or drinking guidelines, people are better informed about alcohol's harms and may cut down their drinking, according to a series of studies in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Similar brain glitch found in slips of signing, speaking
The discovery of a common neural mechanism in speech and ASL errors -- one that occurs in just 40 milliseconds -- could improve recovery in deaf signers after a stroke.

Framework on how to safely resume essential cardiovascular diagnostic and treatment care during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the AHA and 14 North American cardiovascular societies
The American Heart Association, together with 14 cardiovascular societies in North America, today issued joint guidance, 'Safe Reintroduction of Cardiovascular Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance from North American Society Leadership,' to outline a systematic, phased approach to safely reintroducing cardiovascular procedures for diagnosis and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Activating an estrogen receptor can stop pancreatic cancer cells from growing
Activating a receptor found on the surface of many normal and cancer tissues can not only stop pancreatic cancer from growing but may also make tumors more visible to the immune system and thus more susceptible to modern immunotherapy

Study: Climate change has been influencing where tropical cyclones rage
While the global average number of tropical cyclones each year has not budged from 86 over the last four decades, climate change has been influencing the locations of where these deadly storms occur, according to new NOAA-led research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Life on the rocks helps scientists understand how to survive in extreme environments
By studying how the tiniest organisms in the Atacama Desert of Chile, one of the driest places on Earth, extract water from rocks, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, University of California, Irvine, and U.C.

Recently recovered COVID-19 patients produce varying virus-specific antibodies
Most newly discharged patients who recently recovered from COVID-19 produce virus-specific antibodies and T cells, suggests a study published on May 3rd in the journal Immunity, but the responses of different patients are not all the same.

Singaporeans suffering from sleep disorders may have help from mechanism regulating biological clock
Recent sleep surveys show that Singaporeans are among the world's most sleep deprived people.

Exoplanets: How we'll search for signs of life
An interdisciplinary team of researchers, led by Arizona State University, has provided a framework called a 'detectability index' to help prioritize exoplanets to study and provide scientists with a tool to select the best targets for observation and maximize the chances of detecting life.

Societies issue guide to safely resume cardiovascular procedures, diagnostic tests
The American College of Cardiology together with other North American cardiovascular societies has issued a framework for ethically and safely reintroducing invasive cardiovascular procedures and diagnostic tests after the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Combining mouse and human data uncovers new gene regulating cholesterol
By combining the fine-grained detail available from animal studies with the statistical power of genetic studies involving hundreds of thousands of human genomes, researchers have discovered a new gene involved in regulating the body's cholesterol.

Imaging technology allows visualization of nanoscale structures inside whole cells
Purdue University technology allows scientists to measure wavefront distortions induced by the specimen, either a cell or a tissue, directly from the signals generated by single molecules -- tiny light sources attached to the cellular structures of interest.

Software flaws often first reported on social media networks, PNNL researchers find
Software vulnerabilities are more likely to be discussed on social media before they're revealed on a government reporting site, a practice that could pose a national security threat, according to computer scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

'Loss of pleasure' in teen sleep study
Sleep patterns around the world have been disrupted as screen time increases and sleep routines change with COVID-19 self-isolation requirements.

AHA statement: Pregnant women with CVD need specialized care before, during and postpartum
Women with cardiovascular disease should receive pre-pregnancy counseling and be monitored during and after pregnancy by either a cardio-obstetrics team or a multidisciplinary team of health care providers with experience in high-risk pregnancies.

Crystal power
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have created and tested a single-crystal electrode that promises to yield pivotal discoveries for advanced batteries under development worldwide.

Blood flows could be more turbulent than previously expected
Blood flow in the human body is assumed to be mostly smooth and non-turbulent.

Ohio State's Mehta leads AHA statement on cardiovascular disease in pregnancy
A new statement issued today by the American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of taking a multidisciplinary approach to the management of cardiovascular disease during pregnancy and outlines heart care before, during and after pregnancy.

Long-term risks of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy impact more women
Twice as many women who experienced a hypertensive disorder during any of their pregnancies were at increased risk of developing heart or kidney diseases earlier in life based on incidence per woman versus per pregnancy, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

How many jobs do robots really replace?
MIT economist Daron Acemoglu's new research puts a number on the job costs of automation.

Ophthalmology after COVID-19
Changes in ophthalmology practices after the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed in this article.

Robot vacuum cleaner conveys seven dwarf personalities by movement alone
Researchers used a vacuum cleaner and the personalities of three of the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White to demonstrate that people can correctly infer a robot's personality solely by how it moves.

Biomaterial immune control discoveries could reduce implant rejection
Scientists have discovered how the materials used in medical implants like artificial joints can be adapted to control the immune response to them and reduce the risk of rejection.

Brazilian and Indian scientists produce crystal with many potential applications
Thanks to its magnetic properties, the material -- zinc-doped manganese chromite -- can be used in a range of products, from gas sensors to data storage devices.

Strenuous exercise safe for people at high risk of knee arthritis
People at high risk for knee osteoarthritis (OA) may be reluctant to participate in strenuous physical activities such as jogging, cycling, singles tennis and skiing.

Providing child support after prison: Some state policies may miss the mark
Many states have policies that attempt to help formerly incarcerated people find work by limiting an employer's ability to access or use criminal records as part of the hiring process.

Exercise boosts motor skill learning via changes in brain's transmitters
Comparing the brains of mice that exercised with those that did not, UC San Diego researchers found that specific neurotransmitters switched following sustained exercise, leading to improved learning for motor-skill acquisition.

Research examines the impact of new technology used in video court hearings
A new academic evaluation of video-enabled justice published today (Monday 4 May) offers insights for courts, court users and others at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic looks set to necessitate a rapid increase in the use of technology to ensure the timely administration of justice.

New insight on maternal infections and neurodevelopmental disorders
The immune responses of a female mouse before pregnancy can predict how likely her offspring are to have behavioral deficits if the immune system is activated during pregnancy, according to researchers from UC Davis.

CUNY SPH Weekly COVID-19 Survey update week 8
New Yorkers now think that the worst of the COVID-19 epidemic has passed but remain cautious about resuming normal activities.

Women's heart attack symptoms are not all that different
The top three heart attack symptoms in both women and men are chest pain, sweating, and shortness of breath, reports a study presented today on EAPC Essentials 4 You, a scientific platform of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Chronic medical conditions may place youth at an increased risk for anxiety disorders
Youth who report one of the seven chronic medical conditions (CMCs), including asthma, congenital heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and sickle cell disease, are often diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Two drugs show promise against COVID-19
Korean researchers have screened 48 FDA-approved drugs against SARS-CoV-2, and found that two, that are already FDA-approved for other illnesses, seem promising.
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