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Science News | Science Current Events | Brightsurf | July 01, 2020


Smart structures: Structural cells of the body control immune function
In a Nature paper, CeMM researchers analyzed the epigenetic and transcriptional regulation in structural cells.
Controlled human infection models and SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development
Infecting volunteers with COVID-19 may provide valuable insights for future rounds of vaccine testing, but would require very strict controls and is unlikely to advance the current slate of vaccines in advanced development, argues a group of infectious disease experts.
FAST detects neutral hydrogen emission from extragalactic galaxies for the first time
Recently, an international research team led by Dr. CHENG Cheng from Chinese Academy of Sciences South America Center for Astronomy (CASSACA) observed four extragalactic galaxies by using the FAST 19-beam receiver, and detected the neutral hydrogen line emission from three targets with only five minutes of exposure each.
CityU's CRISPR-assisted novel method detects RNA-binding proteins in living cells
A research led by biomedical scientists from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has developed a novel detection method, called CARPID, to identify binding proteins of specific RNAs in the living cells.
Scientists use a Teflon pipe to make a cheap, simple reactor for silica particle synthesis
The synthesis of silica particles, used in bioimaging and drug delivery, could become considerably cheaper and more efficient by adopting a new flow synthesis method demonstrated by researchers in Australia and China, which involves a spiral channel and simple Teflon pipe to promote the rapid mixing of precursor fluids.
Laser takes pictures of electrons in crystals
Microscopes of visible light allow to see tiny objects as living cells and their interior.
Indices of health under our feet
In a pair of new studies, Rolf Halden, director of the ASU Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering and author for the 2020 Book Environment, describes the process and highlights important new findings extracted from the municipal wastewater most of us contribute to on a daily basis.
Lifetime discrimination may increase risk of hypertension among African Americans
A study of African Americans in Mississippi shows an association between experiencing discrimination over a lifetime and developing hypertension (also referred to as high blood pressure).
Feeds of the future
Worldwide there is growing demand for animal products for human nutrition, despite the popularity of plant-based diets.
B-cell protectors
A research group at the MDC has discovered a protein that protects mature B lymphocytes from stress-induced cell death.
Understanding molecular mechanisms of air pollution's impact on ILD critical
More research must be done to investigate the role of air pollution on the epigenome in patients with interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), in order to develop strategies that minimize the effects of these pollutants, according to a new article published online in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Identified the genetic landscape of myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms
Researchers from the MDS Group of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute and the Munich Leukemia Laboratory map the mutations that can ease and accelerate the diagnosis of Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Neoplasms rare malignancies.
Mental health symptoms among the general population in china during the COVID-19 outbreak
This online survey study investigated how common were symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and acute stress and potential risk factors in the general population in China during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial conflicts of interest are often not disclosed in spinal surgery journals
Many studies published by major spinal surgery journals do not include full disclosure of researchers' financial conflicts of interest (COIs), reports a study in Spine.
Why do arteries age? Study explores link to gut bacteria, diet
Eat a slab of steak and your resident gut bacteria get to work immediately to break it down.
New drug reduces stroke damage in mice
Mice that received an injection of a new experimental drug, TAT-DP-2, after a stroke had smaller areas of damage, and their long-term neurological function was better than that of untreated animals.
Building a harder diamond
Scientists at the University of Tsukuba create a theoretical carbon-based material that would be even harder than diamond.
A binary star as a cosmic particle accelerator
Scientists have identified the binary star Eta Carinae as a new kind of source for very high-energy (VHE) cosmic gamma-radiation.
Researchers develop computational model to build better capacitors
Researchers have developed a computational model that helps users understand how changes in the nanostructure of materials affect their conductivity - with the goal of informing the development of new energy storage devices for a wide range of electronics.
UM Bio Station researchers unlock mystery of subterranean stoneflies
In a new study published in the scientific journal Ecology, researchers from the University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station may have unlocked a mystery surrounding unique aquatic insects in the Flathead watershed.
Aboriginal artifacts reveal first ancient underwater cultural sites in Australia
The first underwater Aboriginal archaeological sites have been discovered off northwest Australia dating back thousands of years ago when the current seabed was dry land.
How to bring conservation messaging into wildlife-based tourism
A new study from the University of Helsinki suggests that wildlife-based tourism operators should be key partners in educating and inspiring tourists to take informed conservation action.
Learn from the pandemic to prevent environmental catastrophe, scientists argue
COVID-19 is comparable to climate and extinction emergencies. All share features such as lagged impacts, feedback loops, and complex dynamics.
Study: 35% of excess deaths in pandemic's early months tied to causes other than COVID-19
Since COVID-19's spread to the United States earlier this year, death rates in the U.S. have risen significantly.
Knowledge of severe storm patterns may improve tornado warnings
A radar signature may help distinguish which severe storms are likely to produce dangerous tornadoes, potentially leading to more accurate warnings, according to scientists.
Changes in proportion of adults screening positive for depression, receiving treatment
This observational study looked at changes from 2007 to 2016 in the proportion of US adults who screened positive for depression and received treatment.
Showing pro-diversity feelings are the norm makes individuals more tolerant
Showing people how their peers feel about diversity in their community can make their actions more inclusive, make members of marginalized groups feel more like they belong, and even help close racial achievement gaps in education, according to a new study.
SUNY Downstate study finds wide variation in trust of health information by Hispanics
Hispanic adults vary widely in their reported trust of health information sources, suggesting that information tailored to specific ethnic subgroups and targeted by age group may be beneficial, according to results of a study by SUNY Downstate Assistant Professor Marlene Camacho-Rivera, MS, MPH, ScD.
New research examines links between religion and parental support from non-family members
'Be fruitful and multiply' says the Bible, and worldwide religious people tend to have more children than their secular counterparts.
New study confirms high prevalence of depression during the menopause transition
Depression has been shown to be prevalent during menopause, affecting as many as 70% of women transitioning into menopause.
Is not helping a bad person good or bad?
A research team led by Hitoshi Yamamoto from Rissho University has analyzed how the social norm of indirect reciprocity is adopted in human society and revealed results that contradicted previous theoretical predictions.
A shake-up in cell culturing: Flame sterilization may affect the culture
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have found that flame-sterilizing shake-flasks, to avoid introducing microbial contaminants, considerably increases the carbon dioxide concentration in the flasks.
Growing numbers of alcohol related hospital admissions linked to local spending cuts
A new study by King's College London has shown an association between increases in alcohol related hospital admissions and decreases in spending on alcohol services since they came under the responsibility of local authorities in 2012.
Well packed
Biomacromolecules incorporated into tailored metal-organic frameworks using peptide modulators are well shielded but highly active thanks to carefully tuned nanoarchitecture.
Cause of abnormal groundwater rise after large earthquake
Abnormal rises in groundwater levels after large earthquakes has been observed all over the world, but the cause has remained unknown due to a lack of comparative data before & after earthquakes.
Study shows asthma drug salbutamol's potential as Alzheimer's treatment
A new study reveals that the common asthma drug salbutamol may offer potential as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.
Why memory-forming neurons are vulnerable to Alzheimer's
Scientists have used advanced technology to 'micro-dissect' the first brain cells to perish in Alzheimer's disease.
Spanish language increasingly more relevant to presidential elections
Discourse in and about Spanish was present on both sides of the political spectrum, more so leading up to the 2016 presidential election than in previous cycles, according to research conducted by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Treatments tested for invasive pest on allium crops
A Cornell University-led team of researchers field-tested 14 active ingredients in insecticides, applied in a variety of methods, to understand the best treatment options against the Allium leafminer, a growing threat to onions, garlic and leeks.
Loss of intestinal goblet cells causes fatal disease after stem cell transplantation
Allogeneic stem cell transplantation can cause a loss of protective goblet cells from the colon's inner lining, which can be fatal.
Energy-saving servers: Data storage 2.0
A research team of Mainz University has developed a technique that will potentially halve the energy required to write data to servers and make it easier to construct complex server architectures.
First confirmed underwater Aboriginal archaeological sites found off Australian coast
Ancient submerged Aboriginal archaeological sites await underwater rediscovery off the coast of Australia, according to a study published July 1, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jonathan Benjamin of Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia and colleagues.
Role models have major influence on female university choices
Women exposed to successful and charismatic role models are more likely to follow them in choosing a university major.
High-end microscopy refined
New details are known about an important cell structure: For the first time, two Würzburg research groups have been able to map the synaptonemal complex three-dimensionally with a resolution of 20 to 30 nanometres.
Clinical-grade wearables offer continuous monitoring for COVID-19
Researchers have introduced a novel wearable device and set of algorithms specifically tailored to catch early signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 and to monitor patients as the illness progresses.
Study confirms ultra music festival likely stressful to fish
A new study published in the Journal Environmental Pollution by researchers at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science found that the Ultra Music Festival was likely stressful to toadfish.
Light pollution gives invasive cane toads a belly full of grub
Artificial light at night attracts insects, thus giving invasive cane toads in places like Australia a lot more food to eat, researchers have found, potentially giving a boost to such invasions.
Researchers outline adapted health communications principles for the COVID-19 pandemic
In an article published Tuesday in Public Health Research & Practice, CUNY SPH Distinguished Lecturer Scott C.
Scientists discover a new mechanism controlling liver cancer development
CNIC scientists have designed an animal model to study the development of liver cancer caused by bile acids.
School absenteeism has surprising consequences for adults
Kids who miss a lot of school from kindergarten to eighth grade may suffer unexpected costs as young adults, a new study finds.
Hydrated eutectic electrolytes help improve performance of aqueous zn batteries
A research team led by Prof. CUI Guanglei from the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has proposed a new class of aqueous electrolytes, called hydrated eutectic electrolytes, to ensure better performance of aqueous Zn batteries.
Understanding the circadian clocks of individual cells
Two new studies led by UT Southwestern scientists outline how individual cells maintain their internal clocks, driven both through heritable and random means.
Giant leap in diagnosing liver disease
A collaborative team of Salk Institute and UC San Diego scientists have created a novel microbiome-based diagnostic tool that, with the accuracy of the best physicians, quickly and inexpensively identifies liver fibrosis and cirrhosis over 90 percent of the time in human patients.
Jellyfish-inspired soft robots can outswim their natural counterparts
Engineering researchers have developed soft robots inspired by jellyfish that can outswim their real-life counterparts.
New system combines smartphone videos to create 4D visualizations
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have demonstrated that they can combine iPhone videos shot 'in the wild' by separate cameras to create 4D visualizations that allow viewers to watch action from various angles, or even erase people or objects that temporarily block sight lines.
Long-term culture of human pancreatic slices reveals regeneration of beta cells
Scientists from the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have developed a method allowing for the long-term culture of 'pancreatic slices' to study the regeneration of the human pancreas in real time.
Research finds new approach to treating certain neurological diseases
A team led by Case Western Reserve University medical researchers has developed a potential treatment method for Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a fatal neurological disorder that produces severe movement, motor and cognitive dysfunction in children.
Quantum fluctuations can jiggle objects on the human scale
A team led by researchers at MIT LIGO Laboratory has measured the effects of quantum fluctuations on objects at the human scale.
Consumption of products derived from vulnerable wildlife species pervasive in Laos
A new study of wildlife consumption in northern Laos by San Diego Zoo Global researchers found widespread use of products made from sun bears, Asiatic bears and serows--goat-like mammals found throughout Asia--among other vulnerable species.
Elucidating how asymmetry confers chemical properties
New research by Carnegie's Olivier Gagné and collaborator Frank Hawthorne of the University of Manitoba categorizes the causes of structural asymmetry, some surprising, which underpin useful properties of crystals, including ferroelectricity, photoluminescence, and photovoltaic ability.
Material research: New chemistry for ultra-thin gas sensors
The application of zinc oxide layers in industry is manifold and ranges from the protection of degradable goods to the detection of toxic nitrogen oxide gas.
Researchers from University of Turku have described over 40 new species in 2020
The researchers at the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku are specialised in studying poorly known species habiting some of the most remote places on earth.
Research shows telehealth is an important tool for rural hospitals in treating COVID-19
A study of 3,268 hospitals in the U.S. shows that rural hospitals are more likely than urban facilities to have access to telehealth, a once-underused service that now is playing a key role in treating coronavirus patients.
The combination of four drugs at low doses is more effective in the treatment of a lu
The study, published in the Nature Communications journal, and led by the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), has had the collaboration of researchers from IDIBELL/ICO and HUB.
Science snapshots July 2020
Berkeley Lab science snapshots July 2020
Moffitt develops tool to detect patients at high risk for poor lung cancer outcomes
In a new study published in Nature Scientific Reports, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have shown how the use of radiomics can improve lung cancer screening by identifying early stage lung cancer patients who may be at high risk for poorer outcomes, and therefore require aggressive follow-up and/or adjuvant therapy.
Materials scientists drill down to vulnerabilities involved in human tooth decay
Northwestern University researchers have cracked one of the secrets of tooth decay.
How does our brain fold? Study reveals new genetic insights
Problems with brain folding are linked with neurological conditions like autism, anorexia and schizophrenia, but there are currently no ways to detect, prevent or treat misfolding.
Neurologic, radiographic findings associated with COVID-19 infection in children
The clinical findings of four children who experienced neurological symptoms associated with COVID-19 are presented in this case series.
The mystery of pollen sterility and its reversion in pigeon pea revealed in a new study
The Vienna Metabolomics Centre (VIME), University of Vienna, in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), based in India has made a breakthrough in pigeonpea by resolving the mystery behind fertility-sterility transition in pigeonpea.
Higher concentration of metal in Moon's craters provides new insights to its origin
But new research suggests the Moon's subsurface is more metal-rich than previously thought.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Individual decisions to reduce movement -- even before state-wide stay-at-home policies were introduced -- likely helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in the USA
Real-world mobile phone data suggests a decline in the number of trips people made per day began before state-level stay-at-home policies were implemented, and the decline was strongly correlated with a reduction of COVID-19 case growth in the 25 most affected counties across the USA, according to a modelling study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
A novel sperm selection technology to increase success rates of in vitro fertilization
Motile sperm are difficult to collect with a conventional cell sorter because they are vulnerable to physical damage.
First exposed planetary core discovered allows glimpse inside other worlds
The surviving core of a gas giant has been discovered orbiting a distant star by University of Warwick astronomers, offering an unprecedented glimpse into the interior of a planet.
Level of media coverage for scientific research linked to number of citations
An analysis of over 800 academic research papers on physical health and exercise suggests that the level of popular media coverage for a given paper is strongly linked to the attention it receives within the scientific community.
Adding an extra entrance to an ants' nest reduces their foraging efficiency
Adding an extra entrance to an ants' nest reduces their foraging efficiency: more ants go foraging, but they are less able to find and distinguish between food sources of varying value.
East and West Germany exhibit health disparities 30 years after reunification
East Germany has many more hospitalisations for heart failure compared to West Germany despite a nationwide healthcare system, according to research presented today on HFA Discoveries, a scientific platform of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Traffic data show drastic changes in Floridians' behavior at onset of the pandemic
Using same-day traffic volumes for March 2019 and March 2020 across Florida, researchers examined the relationship of key governmental requests for public isolation and travel limitations.
GPS isn't just for road trips anymore
Precision agriculture technologies can improve efficiency on smaller farms
Cancer cells make blood vessels drug resistant during chemotherapy
Scientists have identified how inflammatory changes in tumors caused by chemotherapy trigger blood vessel anomalies and thus drug-resistance.
To listen is to survive: Unravelling how plants process information
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) mapped the signaling network in plants and discovered novel insights about how plants process information about their environment.
Coordinating complex behaviors between hundreds of robots
Researchers from Duke University propose a new approach to finding an optimal solution for controlling large numbers of robots collaboratively completing a set of complex linear temporal logic commands called STyLuS*, for large-Scale optimal Temporal Logic Synthesis, that can solve problems massively larger than what current algorithms can handle, with hundreds of robots, tens of thousands of rooms and highly complex tasks, in a small fraction of the time.
A simpler way to make sensory hearing cells
Scientists from the USC Stem Cell laboratories of Neil Segil and Justin Ichida are whispering the secrets of a simpler way to generate the sensory cells of the inner ear.
Why don't confused patients call medicines helplines after discharge from hospital?
Research from the University of Bath in the UK suggests the best medicine-related support comes from hospital pharmacists, yet few discharged patients use helplines set up for this purpose.
Women who experience high blood pressure during pregnancy more likely to develop heart disease
Women who experience high blood pressure during pregnancy are more likely to develop heart disease and heart failure in later life, according to an international team of researchers.
Why are patient and public voices absent in COVID-19 policy-making?
Patient and public voices were ''regrettably'' absent in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, but must now move centre stage, argue experts in The BMJ today.
Leading academics call for statutory levy on gambling firms to reduce harm
Leading UK academic scientists are urging the government to introduce a statutory levy on gambling firms to deliver reductions in gambling harms.
Estimation of excess deaths from COVID-19 in the US
Weekly changes in U.S. deaths from March 1 through May 30, 2020, due to any cause and deaths due to pneumonia, influenza or COVID-19 are investigated in this observational study.
Does deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's increase risk of dementia?
There's good news for people with Parkinson's disease. A new study shows that deep brain stimulation may not increase the risk of developing dementia.
Children's National Hospital quality initiative changes culture of antibiotic prescribing in NICU
A quality improvement initiative in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children's National Hospital led to a significant reduction in treatment with intravenous vancomycin, an antibiotic used for resistant gram positive infections, which is often associated with acute kidney injury.
New plastic biomaterials could lead to tougher, more versatile medical implants
A new thermoplastic biomaterial, which is tough and strong but also easy to process and shape has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham.
Medicaid expansion, association with breast cancer stage at diagnosis
Researchers investigated the association between the stage of breast cancer at diagnosis and the insurance status, age and race/ethnicity of patients before and after the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Brain activity prior to an action contributes to our sense of control over what we do
Scientists have identified specific brain regions that contribute to humans' sense of agency - the implicit sense that we control our actions and that they affect the outside world.
Ultrafast insulin formulation may enable faster management of blood sugar in diabetes
A new, ultra-rapid formulation of insulin reached peak activity in pigs with diabetes about twice as fast as a commercially available option, according to new research.
In the Arctic, spring snowmelt triggers fresh CO2 production
Studies have shown the Arctic is warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the world, and its soil holds twice the amount of carbon dioxide as the atmosphere.
Telehealth for substance-using populations in the age of COVID-19
The need for and implementation of telemedicine for patients with substance use disorder in the era of COVID-19 is discussed in this Viewpoint.
Crystal wars
Scientists at The University of Tokyo and Fudan University researched the process of crystallization in which competing structural forms coexist.
Study: Fever-associated seizures after vaccination do not affect development, behavior
Now a new study has found there is no difference in developmental and behavioral outcomes for children who have febrile seizures after vaccination, children who have febrile seizures not associated with vaccination and children who have never had a seizure.
Review finds major weaknesses in evidence base for COVID-19 antibody tests
Major weaknesses exist in the evidence base for covid-19 antibody tests, finds a review of the latest research published by The BMJ today.
Infant sleep problems can signal mental disorders in adolescents -- Study
Specific sleep problems among babies and very young children can be linked to mental disorders in adolescents, a new study has found.
Charcoal a weapon to fight superoxide-induced disease, injury
Artificial enzymes made of treated charcoal could have the power to curtail damaging levels of superoxides, toxic radical oxygen ions that appear at high concentrations after an injury.
New Yorkers grow more hesitant about a return to normalcy, poll shows
New Yorkers continue to report much higher than normal rates of depression and anxiety, but much less than at their peak in mid-April.
Meeting recommended weekly physical activity levels linked to lower risk of death
Adults who meet recommended weekly physical activity levels have a lower risk of death, finds a US study published by The BMJ today.
First exposed planetary core discovered
Researchers led by the University of Warwick have discovered the first exposed core of an exoplanet, which provides an unprecedented glimpse inside the interior of a planet.
Researchers develop a new ultrafast insulin
Stanford researchers tested a new insulin drug in diabetic pigs and found that it was twice as fast-acting as traditional insulin.
Exercise can slow or prevent vision loss, study finds
Exercise can slow or prevent the development of macular degeneration and may benefit other common causes of vision loss, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, new research suggests.
Complexity of human tooth enamel revealed at atomic level in NIH-funded study
Scientists used a combination of advanced microscopy and chemical detection techniques to uncover the structural makeup of human tooth enamel at unprecedented atomic resolution, revealing lattice patterns and unexpected irregularities.
Addiction care barriers fell due to COVID-19; experts see challenges in keeping them down
The opioid and addiction epidemic didn't go away when the coronavirus pandemic began.
Need to check patient's jugular venous pressure? There's an app for that
A new report from cardiologists at UT Southwestern raises the hope that doctors will be able to visually check the jugular venous pressure of heart failure patients remotely, using the camera on a smartphone.
Different tracks, same dinosaurs: Brown researchers dig deeper into dinosaur movements
Using X-ray-based technology developed at Brown University, researchers uncover shared subsurface movement patterns between birds and dinosaurs, adding a new dimension of fossil track diversity.
NIH ACTIV working group weighs human challenge studies for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development
In a Perspective for the New England Journal of Medicine, members of the National Institutes of Health's Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) Vaccines Working Group assess practical considerations and prerequisites for using controlled human infection models (CHIMs), which can be used for human challenge studies, to support SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development.
Individuals physically distanced before state mandates, slowing COVID-19 spread
Residents in all 25 of the US counties hardest hit by COVID-19 began to limit their public movements six to 29 days before states implemented stay-at-home orders, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.
New study finds that menopause increases risk of metabolic syndrome
Perimenopause is a time when women become more vulnerable to a number of health problems.
Radar points to moon being more metallic than researchers thought
The Moon's subsurface might be richer in metals, like iron and titanium, than researchers thought.
Tabletop quantum experiment could detect gravitational waves
Tiny diamond crystals could be used as an incredibly sensitive and small gravitational detector capable of measuring gravitational waves, suggests new UCL-led research.
Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
This week, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Biology, which shows how even low doses of neonicotinoid insecticides, as they may realistically occur in contaminated soils, adversely affect the development of black garden ants (Lasius niger).

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