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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | May 21, 2020


Learning about reporting in a public health emergency from Sierra Leone's Ebola outbreak
In a paper publishing May 21 in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, researchers have interviewed Sierra Leonean journalists about their experiences reporting during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak.
COVID-19 evidence and strategies for orthopaedic surgeons
How should orthopaedic surgeons respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? A review in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery analyzes evidence and strategies for managing the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus - including critical lessons from past pandemics.
Social isolation linked to more severe COVID-19 outbreaks
Regions of Italy with higher family fragmentation and a high number of residential nursing homes experienced the highest rate of COVID-19 infections in people over age 80, according to a new study published May 21, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Giuseppe Liotta of the University of Rome, Italy, and colleagues.
New map reveals global scope of groundwater arsenic risk
Up to 220 million people worldwide, with approximately 94% of them in Asia, could be at risk of drinking well water containing harmful levels of arsenic, a tasteless, odorless and naturally occurring poison.
Stroke rates among COVID-19 patients are low, but cases are more severe
The rate of strokes in COVID-19 patients appears relatively low, but a higher proportion of those strokes are presenting in younger people and are often more severe compared to strokes in people who do not have the novel coronavirus, while globally rates for stroke hospitalizations and treatments are significantly lower than for the first part of 2019, according to four separate research papers published this week in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.
UVA, Peking Univ. and Cal Tech team achieves broadest microcomb spectral span on record
Xu Yi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Virginia, collaborated with Yun-Feng Xiao's group from Peking University and researchers at Caltech to achieve the broadest recorded spectral span in a microcomb.
NUI Galway research show blood pressure lowering reduces risk of developing dementia
Research completed in NUI Galway has shown that lowering blood pressure by taking blood pressure medications reduces the risk of developing dementia and cognitive impairment by 7%.
Surrey reveals its implantable biosensor that operates without batteries
Researchers from the University of Surrey have revealed their new biodegradable motion sensor -- paving the way for implanted nanotechnology that could help future sports professionals better monitor their movements to aid rapid improvements, or help caregivers remotely monitor people living with dementia.
The self-synthesizing ribosome
As the cell's protein factory, the ribosome is the only natural machine that manufactures its own parts.
Weizmann Institute scientists develop 'sniff test' that predicts recovery of consciousness in brain
If an unconscious person responds to smell through a slight change in their nasal airflow pattern -- they are likely to regain consciousness.
Exploring the origins of genetic divergence within the Italian population
Genetic adaptations of early Italian ancestors to environmental changes, such as those that occurred soon after the Last Glacial Maximum, may explain some of the genetic differences between northern and southern Italian populations today, according to a study published in BMC Biology.
Development of heat-tolerant annual ryegrass germplasm
Researchers develop new annual ryegrass for earlier fall planting in the southeastern US.
MIPT biophysicists found a way to take a peek at how membrane receptors work
MIPT biophysicists explained ways to visualize membrane receptors in their different states.
Immunity to coronaviruses: What do we know so far?
Written by top UK virologists, the article discusses the existing knowledge about immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses, and how this could be used to inform virus control strategies.
Emerging evidence on genetics of schizophrenia raises hopes for new treatment targets
In recent years, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many different genetic variants associated with schizophrenia.
Changes needed to prevent controversial pharmaceutical deals
New research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) recommends changes to the system which sees drug companies strike deals with competitors to stop them producing cheaper generic alternatives.
Cell-culture based test systems for anticancer drug screening
As we know, a malignant tumor is a complex system of mutated cells which constantly interacts with and involves healthy cells in the body.
UBC scientist identifies a gene that controls thinness
Why can some people eat as much as they want, and still stay thin?
Weight loss surgery may alter gene expression in fat tissue
New findings published in the Journal of Internal Medicine reveal altered gene expression in fat tissue may help explain why individuals who have regained weight after weight loss surgery still experience benefits such as metabolic improvements and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Lighting the way for a new fluorination methodology
Researchers from the Muñiz group have published a paper in Angewandte Chemie -- International Edition presenting a new metal-free methodology for the photo-catalysed nucleophilic fluorination of aliphatic hydrocarbon bonds.
We can't (and shouldn't) expect clinicians without PPE to treat COVID-19 patients
We can't, and shouldn't, expect healthcare professionals without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to risk their lives to care for patients with COVID-19 infection, contends an expert in a stinging rebuke, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
First month of data shows children at low risk of COVID-19 infection, no hospitalizations
In the first 30 days since seeing their first patient, the number of children testing positive to COVID-19 at an Australian tertiary paediatric hospital has been low and none who contracted the virus required in-hospital treatment, according to a new study.
New model shows how cells that cause liver cancer are created
Scientists have discovered how liver cancer spreads, but they haven't yet learned how liver cancer cells are born.
Marine biology: Spiny lobster noises may be heard up to 3 km away
Noises produced by European spiny lobsters -- known as antennal rasps -- may be detectable up to 3 km underwater, according to a study in Scientific Reports.
Before COVID-19 100+ experts identified top threats & opportunities for global health
Just a few weeks before the first cases of COVID-19 were made public, a group of more than 100 leaders in health and medicine was imagining the future of health innovation and factors that could determine its success or failure,This hypothetical series of events, now beginning to play out in real time, is described -- alongside other future-oriented scenarios -- in a new report released today by the US Pharmacopeia (USP) and the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (MIT CCI).
'One-way' electronic devices enter the mainstream
Columbia engineers are the first to build a high-performance non-reciprocal device on a compact chip with a performance 25 times better than previous work.
Peculiar behavior of the beetle Toramus larvae
When studying the larval morphology of Toramini (Coleoptera: Erotylidae) we found that larvae of the genus Toramus attach their exuviae to their distal abdomen, with each exuvia from the preceding instar attached to the next to form a vertical pile.
Elimination of human African trypanosomiasis within reach, study finds
Public health officials report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases that the elimination of human African trypanosomiasis as a public health problem is within reach, with fewer than 1,000 new cases reported in 2018.
When plant pollen scarce, bumblebees biting leaves causes flowers to bloom early
Facing a scarcity of pollen, bumblebees will nibble on the leaves of flowerless plants, causing intentional damage in such a way that accelerates the production of flowers, according to a new study, which reports on a previously unknown behavior of bumblebees.
Investigation of COVID-19 outbreak in independent/assisted living facility
The implementation of surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 is examined in this case series that describes symptoms of COVID-19 among residents and staff of an independent/assisted living community.
Genetic barcodes can ensure authentic DNA fingerprints
Engineers have demonstrated a method for ensuring that an increasingly popular method of genetic identification called ''DNA fingerprinting'' remains secure against inadvertent mistakes or malicious attacks in the field.
High doses of vitamin D supplementation has no current benefit in preventing or treating COVID-19
Scientists from the UK, Europe and the USA, led by the University of Surrey have published a vitamin D consensus paper warning against high doses of vitamin D supplementation as current research shows it has no benefit in preventing or treating Covid-19.
A clue as to why it's so hard to wake up on a cold winter's morning
Do you remember the challenge of waking up on winter's cold, dark days?
Teleradiology enables social distancing during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
Transitioning from on-site interpretation of imaging studies to remote interpretation via home PACS workstations requires a careful balancing of hospital and departmental finances, engineering choices, and educational and philosophical workflow issues, according to an open-access article published ahead-of-print by the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).
Preventing 'cytokine storm' may ease severe COVID-19 symptoms
A clinical trial in people with the new coronavirus is testing a drug that may halt an overactive immune response before it ramps up.
World can likely capture and store enough carbon dioxide to meet climate targets
The world is currently on track to fulfil scenarios on diverting atmospheric CO2 to underground reservoirs, according to a new study by Imperial.
NIST researchers boost microwave signal stability a hundredfold
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used state-of-the-art atomic clocks, advanced light detectors, and a measurement tool called a frequency comb to boost the stability of microwave signals 100-fold.
Certain environmental chemicals linked with poor kidney health
In an analysis of blood and urine samples from 46,748 US adults, elevated levels of seven environmental chemicals were associated with markers of kidney disease.
Next-generation solar cells pass strict international tests
A cost-effective method to stabilise perovskite solar cells could soon see them become commercially viable.
Study identifies the mechanism by which eating fish reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
Researchers of Universitat Rovira I Virgili and Harvard Medical School have demonstrated the association between the consumption of omega 3 and the reduction in the risk of suffering cardiovascular events through the analysis of lipoprotein samples from 26,034 women, the largest and most detailed study ever carried out.
How to identify which interventions work best in a pandemic
In lieu of a vaccine or reliable preventative medications, the only approaches currently available to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are behavioral -- handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing, for example.
Survey shows parents' lack understanding of teens' with cancer preferred time to talk about end-of-life issues
Children's National Hospital study finds that family-centered pediatric advance care planning interventions are needed to close the gaps in families' knowledge of adolescents' end-of-life treatment preferences
New mobile health tool measures hemoglobin without drawing blood
Researchers have developed a way to use smartphone images of a person's eyelids to assess blood hemoglobin levels.
Adding a blend of spices to a meal may help lower inflammation
Penn State researchers found that adding six grams of spices to a meal high in fat and carbohydrates resulted in lower inflammation markers hours later.
Researchers discover biomarkers of ALS in teeth
Mount Sinai scientists have identified biological markers present in childhood that relate to the degenerative and often fatal neurological disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, according to a study published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology in May.
Hearts that drum together beat together
Researchers from Bar-Ilan University found that in a structured group drumming task aspects of participants' heart function synchronized.
Tropical forests can handle the heat, up to a point
Tropical forests face an uncertain future under climate change, but new research published in Science suggests they can continue to store large amounts of carbon in a warmer world, if countries limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Sex bias in pain research
Most pain research remains overwhelmingly based on the study of male rodents, continuing to test hypotheses derived from earlier experiments on males.
Ultrasonic technique discloses the identity of graphite
A group of researchers, led by Osaka University, created a high-quality defect-free monocrystalline graphite, and measured the elastic constant, demonstrating that the determined value of monocrystalline graphite was above 45 gigapascal (GPa), which was higher than conventionally believed.
Half of moms-to-be at risk of preeclampsia are missing out on preventive aspirin
More than half of moms-to-be who are at risk of the dangerously high blood pressure condition, preeclampsia, are missing out on preventive aspirin treatment, says an expert in an editorial published online in Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.
High stress related to coronavirus is the new normal for many parents, says new APA survey
Nearly half of parents of children under age 18 say their stress levels related to the coronavirus pandemic are high, with managing their kids' online learning a significant source of stress for many, according to a new survey by the American Psychological Association.
Journal of Dental Research special issue explores a new era for the oral microbiome
The June 2020 issue of Journal of Dental Research brings together a collection of the latest research on the oral microbiome.
Domestic coastal and marine tourism could contribute to rebooting activity in the sect
NUI Galway's Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) has released a report that presents estimates of the value of domestic coastal and marine tourism in the Republic of Ireland.
Lungs of deceased COVID-19 patients show distinctive features
In a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), senior author, Steven J.
A sole mate to prevent diabetic foot ulcers
A new cooling insole developed by UT Southwestern scientists reduced the foot temperature of patients with diabetic neuropathy by several degrees, diminishing a significant risk factor for diabetic foot ulcers.
Newspapers report on car safety recalls less when manufacturers advertise more with them
A new study looked at the relationship between advertising by car manufacturers in US newspapers and news coverage of car safety recalls in the early 2000s.
Google search data reveals American's concerns about abortion
Residents of states with limited access to contraceptives and high rates of unplanned pregnancies are more likely to turn to the internet for information about abortion, finds of a new study of Google search data across all 50 states.
A 'switch' that turns autoimmunity drugs into powerful anti-cancer treatments
Scientists from the Antibody and Vaccine group at the University of Southampton have discovered a way to transform antibody drugs previously developed to treat autoimmunity into antibodies with powerful anti-cancer activity through a simple molecular 'switch'.
Promoting temporary contracts fails to have the desired effect of increasing employment
A study by the UPV/EHU and University of Cambridge explores the actual effect of the labour reforms applied between 1988 and 2012 in countries throughout Europe.
Capturing the coordinated dance between electrons and nuclei in a light-excited molecule
Using SLAC's high-speed 'electron camera,' scientists simultaneously captured the movements of electrons and nuclei in a light-excited molecule.
Discovery about the edge of fusion plasma could help realize fusion power
Unique PPPL simulations reveal new understanding of the highly complex edge of fusion plasmas.
The ins and outs of sex change in medaka fish
Scientists could gain insight into atypical sex development in vertebrates, including humans, by studying how nutrition affects sex changes in fish larvae.
Surging numbers of first-generation learners being left behind in global education
'First-generation learners' -- a substantial number of pupils around the world who represent the first generation in their families to receive an education - are also significantly more likely to leave school without basic literacy or numeracy skills, a study suggests.
Social isolation increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death from all causes
The German study, due to presented at the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) Virtual Congress, found that those who are socially isolated are almost 50% more likely to die from any cause.
New technology can detect anti-virus antibody in 20 minutes
Researchers have succeeded in detecting anti-avian influenza virus antibody in blood serum within 20 minutes, using a portable analyzer they have developed to conduct rapid on-site bio tests.
Russian scientists improved the way of treatment of phenylketonuria
A person affected by this disease has to follow a low-protein diet all his life.
Tracking the tinderbox: Stanford scientists map wildfire fuel moisture across western US
Researchers have developed a deep-learning model that maps fuel moisture levels in fine detail across 12 western states, opening a door for better fire predictions.
Visualization of functional components to characterize optimal composite electrodes
Researchers have developed a visualization method that will determine the distribution of components in battery electrodes using atomic force microscopy.
A clinical decision support system to help predict individual trauma patient outcome
Chinese researchers from The Trauma Center of Peking University People's Hospital and National Institute of Health Data Science at Peking University are using big data to help identify trauma patients who could experience potential adverse health events in the emergency department through the aid of a clinical decision support system.
New gravitational-wave model can bring neutron stars into even sharper focus
Gravitational-wave researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed a new model that promises to yield fresh insights into the structure and composition of neutron stars.
Environmental contaminants alter gut microbiome, health
The microbes that inhabit our bodies are influenced by what we eat, drink, breathe and absorb through our skin, and most of us are chronically exposed to natural and human-made environmental contaminants.
Scientists identify gene linked to thinness that may help resist weight gain
In a study publishing May 21 in the journal Cell, researchers use a genetic database of more than 47,000 people in Estonia to identify a gene linked to thinness that may play a role in resisting weight gain in metabolically healthy thin people.
ATLAS telescope discovers first-of-its-kind asteroid
University of Hawai'i telescope discovers extraordinary asteroid with comet-like features that has researchers puzzled.
Trust in medical scientists has grown in the US, but mainly among democrats
A new Pew Research Center report examines how Americans' confidence in scientists have shifted amid the COVID-19 outbreak and their views on whether scientists should play an active role in policy discussions about science-related topics.
Measuring blood damage
Red blood cells sometimes rupture when blood is sent through faulty equipment, such as a dialysis machine.
CRISPR a tool for conservation, not just gene editing
The gene-editing technology CRISPR has been used for a variety of agricultural and public health purposes -- from growing disease-resistant crops to, more recently, a diagnostic test for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Study quantifies China's chronic health burden for the first time
University of Melbourne researchers have quantified the toll that having multiple chronic diseases takes in China for the first time, which could have significant implications for its economic and health systems.
The genome of chimpanzees and gorillas could help to better understand human tumors
A new study by researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), a joint center of UPF and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), shows that, surprisingly, the distribution of mutations in human tumors is more similar to that of chimpanzees and gorillas than that of humans.
Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
Low-severity fires enhance long-term carbon retention of peatlands
High-intensity fires can destroy marshy peatlands and cause them to emit huge amounts of their stored carbon into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases, but a new Duke University study finds low-severity fires spark the opposite outcome.
Mount Sinai research helps explain why COVID-19 may be less common in children than adults
Lower levels of ACE2 nasal gene expression in children may explain why children have a lower risk of Covid-19 infection and mortality.
Mechanism behind upper motor degeneration revealed
Scientists have pinpointed the electrophysiological mechanism behind upper motor neuron disease, unlocking the door to potential treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia and Primary Lateral Sclerosis.
Autistic burnout
Autistic burnout has been a matter of extreme and under-examined urgency for far too long.
Sex as stress management in microbes
Why is sex so popular in nature? A new article in Genome Biology and Evolution suggests that the molecular mechanisms underlying sex and the stress response may be more tightly coupled than previously appreciated, providing a new explanation for the widespread prevalence of sex in nature.
Brain's 'updating mechanisms' may create false memories
The research, published in Current Biology, is one of the first comprehensive characterizations of poorly formed memories and may offer a framework to explore different therapeutic approaches to fear, memory and anxiety disorders.
Multi-drug regimen for heart failure could meaningfully extend patients' lives
A team led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital has conducted an analysis to estimate the potential benefits of using a comprehensive regimen for heart failure patients compared to using a more conventional regimen, finding that comprehensive therapy could extend lifespan up to six years and eight years free from cardiovascular death or first hospital admission for heart failure.
Some patients with bladder cancer 'can't wait' for treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic
Bladder cancer is associated with significant illness and mortality, particularly if treatment is delayed.
Selfie stick and fishing rod shed first light on ancient reptile
The skeleton of an extinct 'fish lizard' locked in a glass case over 16ft from the ground for the last 100 years has finally been studied, thanks to a selfie stick on a fishing rod.
NUI Galway study compares the health of Irish children to those across Europe and Canada
A new report, Spotlight on Adolescent Health and Well-being, published today by WHO Regional Office for Europe, compiles extensive data on the physical health, social relationships and mental well-being of 227 441 schoolchildren aged 11, 13 and 15, from 45 countries.
Researchers: As Ohio abortion regulations increased, disparities in care emerged
Ohio has seen a growing disparity between abortion rates in rural and urban communities, later abortions, and less use of medication abortion care as the state has heavily regulated abortion and clinics have closed, a new study has found.
Long-term resilience of Earth's tropical forests in warmer world
A long-term assessment of the sensitivity of hundreds of tropical forest plots to increasing temperatures brings encouraging news: in the long run, Earth's tropical forests may be more resilient to a moderately warming world than short-term predictions have suggested.
Healthcare rationing could see 'unlawful deaths' from COVID-19, researchers claim
Current medical guidelines risk unlawful deaths of patients -- with doctors, hospitals, and even the government potentially liable -- if a second peak forces hard choices due to shortages of ventilators and other critical care resources.
Deep learning: A new engine for ecological resource research
Deep learning is driven by big data, which brings new opportunities for target classification, detection, semantic segmentation, instance segmentation, and regression in ecological resource research.
Researchers demonstrate transport of mechanical energy, even through damaged pathways
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Grainger College of Engineering have experimentally demonstrated a new way to transport energy even through wave-guides that are defective, and even if the disorder is a transient phenomenon in time.
Scientists finally crack nature's most common chemical bond
The carbon-hydrogen bond -- 2/3 of all bonds in hydrocarbons -- has defied chemists' attempts to open it up and add new chemical groups.
The European viper uses cloak-and-dazzle to escape predators
Research of the University of Jyväskylä demonstrates that the characteristic zig-zag pattern on a viper's back performs opposing functions during a predation event.
New Army 3-D printing study shows promise for predictive maintenance
Army researchers have discovered a way to monitor the performance of 3D printed parts, which tend to have imperfections that affect performance in ways traditionally-machined parts do not.
Towable sensor free-falls to measure vertical slices of ocean conditions
Towable sensor free-falls to measure vertical slices of ocean conditions.
First ancient cultivated rice discovered in Central Asia
Rice has always been one of the most important food in Asia and the world.
Tick-borne encephalitis spread across Eurasia with settlers and their pets and prey
Researchers from Sechenov University together with colleagues from several Russian institutes analysed data on the RNA structure of tick-borne encephalitis virus.
Preserving fertility in female cancer patients and ageing populations
A Monash University study has uncovered the role DNA repair plays in preserving egg quality, offering hope for women whose eggs may be damaged through treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.
Patients with COVID-19 may develop thyroid infection
COVID-19 infection may cause subacute thyroiditis, according to a new case study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Earliest evidence of Italians' genetic diversity dates back to end of last glacial period
Around 19,000 years ago, after the Late Glacial Maximum, the surprisingly heterogeneous diversity of Italians' genomic background started to develop.
Scientists identify chemicals in noxious weed that 'disarm' deadly bacteria
Scientists have identified specific compounds from the Brazilian peppertree -- a weedy, invasive shrub in Florida -- that reduce the virulence of antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria.
Indigenous collaboration and leadership key to managing sea otter population recovery
A new study highlights the need to engage Indigenous communities in managing sea otter population recovery to improve coexistence between humans and this challenging predator.
A replaceable, more efficient filter for N95 masks
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there's been a worldwide shortage of face masks -- particularly, the N95 ones worn by health care workers.
Cancer researchers gain valuable insights through a comprehensive review of Clioquinol
Researchers at Karmanos Cancer Institute of Wayne State University compiled the latest cancer research on clioquinol (CQ), an anti-fungal/anti-protozoal hydroxyquinoline family drug.
Just a little physical activity pays big dividends to high risk breast cancer patients
Results of a comprehensive analysis of exercise and its protective role for high-risk breast cancer patients show that women who exercise not only live longer, but also are more likely to remain cancer-free after their treatment.
Study unveils many ways carcinogens trigger development of breast cancer
Scientists have created a detailed map that describes the many ways in which environmental chemicals can trigger breast cancer.
Scientists discover more than 200 genetic factors causing heart arrhythmias
Hundreds of new links have been found between people's DNA and the heart's electrical activity, according to a study of almost 300,000 people led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Mysterious glowing coral reefs are fighting to recover
A new study by the University of Southampton has revealed why some corals exhibit a dazzling colorful display, instead of turning white, when they suffer 'coral bleaching' -- a condition which can devastate reefs and is caused by ocean warming.
Women quotas in politics have unintended consequences
Women continue to be scarce in the halls of power.

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