Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 20, 2020
Bouncing bubbles shake up emulsion studies
Collisions of tiny air bubbles with water surfaces can reveal fundamental characteristics of foamy mixtures.

Mutant zebrafish reveals a turning point in spine's evolution
A chance mutation that led to spinal defects in a zebrafish has opened a little window into our own fishy past.

How governments resist World Heritage 'in Danger' listings
Some national governments repeatedly resist the placement of 41 UNESCO World Heritage sites on the World Heritage in Danger list.

Cell death in porpoises caused by environmental pollutants
Environmental pollutants threaten the health of marine mammals. This study established a novel cell-based assay using the fibroblasts of a finless porpoise stranded along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, Japan, to better understand the cytotoxicity and the impacts of environmental pollutants on the porpoise population.

Powerful human-like hands create safer human-robotics interactions
A team of engineers designed and developed a novel humanoid hand that may be able to help human-robotic interactions.

Restoring mobility by identifying the neurons that make it possible
Partial mobility can be restored in rodents with impaired spinal cords.

Exhaled biomarkers can reveal lung disease
Using specialized nanoparticles, MIT engineers have developed a way to diagnose pneumonia or other lung diseases by analyzing the breath exhaled by the patient.

Experimental drug reduces replication of zika and prevents microcephaly in mice
No adverse effects were observed in the mice treated with the AHR inhibitor, but before the treatment is tested in human volunteers the experiment must be replicated in monkeys.

Study helps to settle debate on roles of REM and non-REM sleep in visual learning
A study by a team of Brown University researchers sheds new light on the complementary roles of REM and non-REM sleep in visual perceptual learning.

Free trade can prevent hunger caused by climate change
An international team of researchers investigated the effects of trade on hunger in the world as a result of climate change.

Increased blood sugar levels may decrease benefits of aerobic exercise
Some benefits of aerobic exercise may be dampened by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, a condition known as hyperglycemia.

Media tip sheet: Going high-tech in ecology
These presentations feature ecological research that harnesses high-tech advances in new and exciting ways.

The Azores: Exotic insect species increase on islands through human impact
A new study reveals that the diversity of exotic species of insects, spiders and other arthropods in the Azores is increasing.

USTC finds ultimate precision limit of multi-parameter quantum magnetometry
Researchers obtained the ultimate precision for the estimation of all three components of a magnetic field with entangled probe states under the parallel scheme.

Socio-economic status predicts UK boys' development of essential thinking skills
A comparison of children in Hong Kong, mainland China and the UK has found that British boys' development of key thinking skills, known as 'executive functions', is unusually reliant on their socio-economic status.

Geoengineering is just a partial solution to fight climate change
Could we create massive sulfuric acid clouds that limit global warming and help meet the 2015 Paris international climate goals, while reducing unintended impacts?

Label-free imaging helps predict reproductive outcomes
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have used a combination of label-free imaging and artificial intelligence to determine the potential fertility of sperm samples in cattle.

Specialized cellular compartments discovered in bacteria
Researchers at McGill University have discovered bacterial organelles involved in gene expression, suggesting that bacteria may not be as simple as once thought.

New model connects respiratory droplet physics with spread of Covid-19
Respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze travel farther and last longer in humid, cold climates than in hot, dry ones, according to a study on droplet physics by an international team of engineers.

Simple test helps to predict and prevent falls
Scientists have developed a simple clinical test that can assess the lower limb strength of patients to predict their risk of falls.

"Love hormone" oxytocin could be used to treat cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's disease progressively degrades a person's memory and cognitive abilities, often resulting in dementia.

3D hand-sensing wristband signals future of wearable tech
In a potential breakthrough in wearable sensing technology, researchers from Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have designed a wrist-mounted device that continuously tracks the entire human hand in 3D.

Researchers boost koala spotting system
QUT researchers have published an improved and innovative method for estimating the number of koalas in an area detected by using drones and an artificial intelligent algorithm as they continue the quest of identifying surviving koala populations in bushfire areas.

Genes, cardiovascular health each factor into dementia risk
Genes and cardiovascular health both contribute to the risk of dementia, a new study shows.

Portable DNA device can detect tree pests in under two hours
A new rapid DNA detection method developed at the University of British Columbia can identify forest pests and pathogens like Asian gypsy moths and white pine blister rust in less than two hours, without using complicated processes or chemicals -- a substantial time savings compared to the several days it currently takes to send samples to a lab for testing.

Formation of quadruple helix DNA tracked in live human cells for the first time
The formation of four-stranded DNA has been tracked in living human cells, allowing scientists to see how it works, and its possible role in cancer.

Diagnosing acute aortic syndrome: New guideline for hard-to-diagnose condition
A new guideline aimed at helping clinicians identify the difficult-to-diagnose acute aortic syndrome is published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200021.

How to repair your gut
In a world first, Monash University researchers have identified a key biomolecule that enhances the repair of your gut lining by prompting stem cells to regenerate damaged tissue.

Using a cardiovascular risk screening tool in women during routine gynecology visits
A new study has shown that although 86% of women seen at an outpatient gynecology clinic had a cardiovascular risk factor and 40.1% had at least one cardiovascular symptom, the awareness of cardiovascular risk factors and symptoms was low

Study uncovers hair cell loss as underlying cause of age-related hearing loss
In a study of human ear tissues, scientists have demonstrated that age-related hearing loss is mainly caused by damage to hair cells.

Homes of wealthy Americans have carbon footprints 25% higher than lower-income residences
The homes of wealthy Americans generate about 25% more greenhouse gases than residences in lower-income neighborhoods, mainly due to their larger size.

Gum disease may raise risk of some cancers
People who have periodontal (gum) disease may have a higher risk of developing some forms of cancer, suggests a letter published in the journal Gut detailing a prospective study.

Concerns over police head injuries
Head injuries may be worryingly common among police officers, according to a new pilot study led by the University of Exeter.

Returning to farming's roots in the battle against the 'billion-dollar beetle'
A new study from University of Arizona entomologists reaffirms the importance of crop rotation and diversification in combating the western corn rootworm's resistance to biotech crops.

Arizona rock core sheds light on triassic dark ages
A rock core from Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, has given scientists a powerful new tool to understand how catastrophic events shaped Earth's ecosystems before the rise of the dinosaurs.

Nearly 60% of American children lack healthy cardiorespiratory fitness
Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) measurement provides insight into cardiovascular and overall health, including cognitive and academic functions, among children and teens.

Advancing knowledge on archaea
An open-source data platform for researchers studying archaea is paving the way for new insights and educational opportunities.

New research reveals antifungal symbiotic peptide in legume
Danforth Center scientists, Dilip Shah, PhD, research associate member, Siva Velivelli, PhD, postdoctoral associate, Kirk Czymmek, PhD, principal investigator and director, Advanced Bioimaging Laboratory and their collaborators at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have identified a sub class of peptides in the nodules of the legume, Medicago truncatula that proved effective in inhibiting growth of the fungus causing gray mold.

Study shows genetic markers are useful in predicting osteoporotic fracture risk
A new study shows that genetic pre-screening could reduce the number of screening tests needed to identify individuals at risk for osteoporotic fractures.

Hair cell loss causes age-related hearing loss
Age-related hearing loss has more to do with the death of hair cells than the cellular battery powering them wearing out, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Argonne's pivotal research discovers practices, technologies key to sustainable farming
Scientists study how sustainable farming practices could reduce emissions.

How smart, ultrathin nanosheets go fishing for proteins
An interdisciplinary team from Frankfurt and Jena has developed a kind of bait with which to fish protein complexes out of mixtures.

Biggest risk factors identified to try and prevent Alzheimer's disease
There are at least 10 risk factors that appear to have a significant impact on a person's likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease that could be targeted with preventative steps, suggests research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Tidal variation of total suspended solids over the Yangtze bank
The movement and distribution of suspended sediment directly affects the hydrodynamic and ecological environment of the coastal ocean.

First in-depth insights into parturition in rhinos
Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research together with zoo veterinarians closely monitored 19 pregnant white rhinos in six European zoos and recorded timelines for pre-birth development, milk production, hormone levels, gestation length and documented the onset of parturition, different stages of labour and foetal position at birth.

Which way to the fridge? Common sense helps robots navigate
A robot travelling from point A to point B is more efficient if it understands that point A is the living room couch and point B is a refrigerator.

Good news: European sea bass absorb virtually no microplastic in their muscle tissue
Laboratory study: AWI researchers gave young European see bass feed laced with microplastic for months, but found virtually no microplastic particles in the fish fillets.

High school athletes require longer recovery following concussions
High school athletes sustaining a concussion require careful attention when determining return-to-sport (RTS) readiness.

Pacemaker need in Africa outpacing resources
The need for pacemakers in Africa will rise as life expectancy and associated cardiovascular diseases increase; however, the pacing field, including appropriate training, facilities and devices, are not sufficient to meet future need, according to an Africa Heart Rhythm Association (AFHRA) statement published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

South Atlantic anomalies existed 8 - 11 million years ago
Research by the University of Liverpool has revealed that strange behaviour of the magnetic field in the South Atlantic region existed as far back as eight to 11 million years ago, suggesting that today's South Atlantic Anomaly is a recurring feature and unlikely to represent an impending reversal of the Earth's magnetic field.

A look inside a battery
Ultra-thin layers protect Lithium electrodes from decomposition. They are called Solid Electrolyte Interphase and form during operation.

Geophysics: A first for a unique instrument
Geophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have measured Earth's spin and axis orientation with a novel ring laser, and provided the most precise determination of these parameters yet achieved by a ground-based instrument without the need for stellar range finding.

Plant roots increase carbon emission from permafrost soils
A key uncertainty in climate projections is the amount of carbon emitted by thawing permafrost in the Arctic.

COVID-19 replicating RNA vaccine has robust response in nonhuman primates
A replicating RNA vaccine, formulated with a lipid-based nanoparticle emulsion, produces antibodies against the COVID-19 coronavirus in mice and primates with a single immunization.

Climate scientists increasingly ignore ecological role of indigenous peoples
In their zeal to promote the importance of climate change as an ecological driver, climate scientists increasingly are ignoring the profound role that indigenous peoples played in fire and vegetation dynamics, not only in the eastern United States but worldwide, according to a Penn State researcher.

Ultracold mystery: Solved
Last December, Harvard researchers designed technology that could achieve the lowest temperature chemical reactions and then broke and formed the coldest bonds in the history of molecular coupling.

New diagnostic test for heart failure patients could also help COVID-19 patients
A new blood test that reliably predicts outcomes for heart failure patients could lead to new diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19 patients as well, according to newly published research from cardiologists at the University of Alberta.

New research reveals how hurricane Lane brought fire and rain to Hawaiian islands
A recently published study, led by University of Hawai'i at Mānoa researchers, details the compounding hazards -- fire and rain -- produced by Hurricane Lane in August 2018.

Marine microorganisms: How to survive below the seafloor
Foraminifera, an ancient and ecologically highly successful group of marine organisms, are found on and below the seafloor.

Photos may improve understanding of volcanic processes
The shape of volcanoes and their craters provide critical information on their formation and eruptive history.

Eating habits of baby predator starfish revealed
The varied diet of juvenile crown-of-thorns starfish complicates scientists' ability to age them.

Quantum exciton found in magnetic van der Waals material NiPS3
A new type of exciton in magnetic van der Waals material NiPS3 is intrinsically of many-body origin.This is an actual realization of a genuine quantum state of diverse possible use in f quantum information&computing.

Shells and grapefruits inspire first manufactured non-cuttable material
Engineers have taken their inspiration from shells and grapefruits to create what they say is the first manufactured non-cuttable material.

The Lancet: UK's vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is safe and induces an immune reaction
UK's vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is safe and induces an immune reaction, according to preliminary results.

Physicians provide first comprehensive review of COVID-19's effects beyond the lungs
In a collaboration among physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Columbia University Irving Medical Center, researcher-clinicians have conducted an extensive review of the latest findings on COVID-19's effect on organ systems outside the lungs.

Plato was right. Earth is made, on average, of cubes
The ancient philosopher Plato posited the shapes of the building blocks of the universe.

Using techniques from astrophysics, researchers can forecast drought up to ten weeks ahead
Researchers at the University of Sussex have developed a system which can accurately predict a period of drought in East Africa up to ten weeks ahead.

Scientists discover volcanoes on Venus are still active
A new study identified 37 recently active volcanic structures on Venus.

Scientists strengthen quantum building blocks in milestone critical for scale-up
A team led by UNSW scientists have significantly increased the coherence time of a spin-orbit qubit in silicon, allowing them to preserve quantum information for longer.

A nanoparticle vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 produces signs of immunity in mice and macaques
A new nanoparticle vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has shown hints of protection and immunity in a preclinical study, safely eliciting the production of antibodies and antiviral T cell responses in mice and pigtail macaques.

If it's big enough and leafy enough the birds will come
A new study from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology highlights specific features of urban green spaces that support the greatest diversity of bird species.

Scientists identify a new drug target for dry age-related macular degeneration
Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that the blood protein vitronectin is a promising drug target for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older.

Advanced Cryo-EM reveals viral RNA replication complex structure in stunning detail
For the first time, scientists at the Morgridge Institute for Research have generated near atomic resolution images of a major viral protein complex responsible for replicating the RNA genome of a member of the positive-strand RNA viruses.

What silicone wristbands say about chemical exposure in Uruguayan children
Researchers used silicone wristbands to examine the extent of chemical exposure among a small group of children in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The Lancet: Chinese phase 2 trial finds vaccine is safe and induces an immune response
Chinese phase 2 trial finds vaccine is safe and induces an immune response.

High-performance large area electrode system developed for artificial photosynthesis
A research team of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology(KIST), working in cooperation with the Technische Universität Berlin, announced that they had developed a nano-sized, coral-shaped silver catalyst electrode and large-area, high-efficiency carbon dioxide conversion system, which can be used to obtain carbon monoxide.

National poll: Some parents may not properly protect children from the sun
While the majority of parents recognize the importance of sunscreen, they may not always use best practices to protect children from getting burned, a new national poll suggests.

Music on the brain
A new study looks at differences between the brains of Japanese classical musicians, Western classical musicians and nonmusicians.

Neanderthals of Western Mediterranean did not become extinct because of changes in climate
According to paleoclimatic reconstructions analysing stalagmites sampled in some caves in the Murge plateau (Apulia, Italy), Neanderthals might have become extinct because Sapiens employed more sophisticated hunting technologies

Cheese making relies on milk proteins to form structure
Cheese production relies on coagulation of milk proteins into a gel matrix after addition of rennet.

Cacti and other iconic desert plants threatened by solar development
With their tough skins, pointy armor and legendary stamina, cacti are made to defend themselves from whatever nature throws at them.

The real reason behind goosebumps
Harvard researchers have discovered that the cells that cause goosebumps are also important for regulating the stem cells that regenerate hair.

Physicists take stop-action images of light-driven molecular reaction
Kansas State University physicists have taken extremely fast snapshots of light-induced molecular ring-opening reactions -- similar to those that help a human body produce vitamin D from sunlight.

Geoscientists glean data suggesting global climate changes increase river erosion rates
Using cosmogenic nuclide burial dating methods and optically stimulated luminescence dating, geoscientists establish ages for river deposits from the Yukon River basin that span key time periods of global climate change.

Dietary guidelines advisory committee reinforces need for increased choline intake
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee published its Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

School-based vision screening programs found 1 in 10 kids had vision problems
A school-based vision screening program in kindergarten, shown to be effective at identifying untreated vision problems in 1 in 10 students, could be useful to implement widely in diverse communities, according to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191085.

Immune system adaptations in cavefish may provide autoimmune disease insight
Cavefish may not seem like a big deal. They're small, they live in tucked away places humans rarely go, and they're common enough that you can find them on every continent except Antarctica.

Insight into toddlers' awareness of their own uncertainty
Toddlers may not be able to describe their feelings of uncertainty, but a new study from the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis provides evidence that toddlers may experience and deal with uncertainty in decision making in the same way as older children and adults.

Li-ions transport across electrolytes and SEI like beads passing through a Galton Board
Covalent organic framework (COF) film coating on a commercial polypropylene separator is applied as an ion redistributor to eliminate Li dendrites, leading to a high Li-ion transference number of 0.77±0.01.

Call to action for stronger, better-funded federal nutrition research
The nation needs to strengthen and increase funding for federal nutrition research and improve coordination in order to accelerate discoveries, grow the economy, and - most importantly - improve public health, food/nutrition security, and population resilience, according to a high-level group of research, policy, and government experts.

Immunotherapy safe for patients with COVID-19, cancer
Preliminary data from researchers at the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center show that immunotherapy doesn't necessarily worsen complications for patients with both COVID-19 and cancer.

Cyber expert on 'insider threat' attacks
Dr Duncan Hodges, Senior Lecturer in Cyberspace Operations, Cranfield University, is actively researching insider threats such as the recent Twitter attack.

Regular exercise helps prevent high blood pressure, even in areas of high air pollution
Regular physical activity is a healthy way to prevent and reduce high blood pressure, even in places where pollution levels are relatively high.

Battery breakthrough gives boost to electric flight and long-range electric cars
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, have developed a new battery material that could enable long-range electric vehicles that can drive for hundreds of miles on a single charge, and electric planes called eVTOLs for fast, environmentally friendly commutes.

How immune cells activate the killer mode
Freiburg researchers find missing link in immune response.

Legal marijuana may be slowing reductions in teen marijuana use, study says
A longitudinal study of more than 230 teens and young adults in Washington state finds that teens may be more likely to use marijuana following legalization - with the proliferation of stores and increasing adult use of the drug -- than they otherwise would have been.

Florida harmful algal blooms produce multiple toxins detrimental to human health
In 2018, cyanobacteria from nutrient-rich waters in Lake Okeechobee were released down the Caloosahatchee river at the same time red tides were gathering along the Florida west coast, potentially exposing coastal residents to a mixture of toxins.

Race is a risk factor for postoperative death in apparently healthy children
In a new study, published in Pediatrics, researchers have shown that being African American was strongly associated with a higher risk of postoperative complications and mortality among apparently healthy children.

Mailed colorectal cancer screening kits may save costs while increasing screening rates
New research indicates that mailing colorectal cancer screening kits to Medicaid enrollees is a cost-effective way to boost screening rates.

NASA analyzes new eastern Pacific Ocean Tropical Depression 7E
The seventh tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific Ocean has formed.

NIH study shows highly reproducible sex differences in aspects of human brain anatomy
A scientific analysis of more than 2,000 brain scans found evidence for highly reproducible sex differences in the volume of certain regions in the human brain.

City of Hope: Mechanism that may lead to metabolic memory/sustained diabetes complications
For people with diabetes, vascular complications like kidney disease and atherosclerosis, which can lead to poor health and even death, are seen at increased rates.

Native bushland's fertility secret
In hotter, dryer conditions with climate change, a secret agent for more sustainable agricultural production could lie in harvesting the diverse beneficial soil microbiome in native bushland settings, scientists say.

Can't get off of Snapchat or Facebook? Research reveals differences between platforms
Researchers from Michigan State University and California State University-Fullerton conducted the first study comparing problematic use between Facebook and Snapchat -- while also uncovering surprising findings about users' personality traits.

Could mini-Neptunes be irradiated ocean planets?
Many exoplanets known today are ''super-Earths'', with a radius 1.3 times that of Earth, and ''mini-Neptunes'', with 2.4 Earth radii.

A mechanical way to stimulate neurons
Magnetic nanodiscs can be activated by an external magnetic field, providing a research tool for studying neural responses.

Researchers identify possible drug target for prostate cancer
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have discovered that the protein BRD4 could be an important new target to prevent castration-resistant prostate cancer metastases.

A new species of darkling beetle larvae that degrade plastic
POSTECH Professor Hyung Joon Cha's research team confirms biodegradation of polystyrene using darkling beetle larvae found in Korea.

MRI scans of the brains of 130 mammals, including humans, indicate equal connectivity
Researchers at Tel Aviv University conducted a first-of-its-kind study designed to investigate brain connectivity in 130 mammalian species.

Scientists boost stability and efficiency of next-gen solar tech
Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have created next-generation solar modules with high efficiency and good stability.

A plot twist in pharmaceuticals: Single nanoparticles could pave the way for medicines on demand
For the first time, a single, twisted nanoparticle has been accurately measured and characterised in a lab, taking scientists one vital step closer to a time when medicines will be produced and blended on a microscopic scale.

Through the nanoscale looking glass -- determining boson peak frequency in ultra-thin alumina
'Mysterious' vibrational properties of nanoscale glasses studied by subjecting novel (and slightly explosive) particles of aluminium wrapped in a thin alumina skin to neutron spectroscopy measurement at ANSTO.

Better wastewater treatment? It's a wrap
A shield of graphene helps particles destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the free-floating genes in wastewater treatment plants.

Prostate cancer metastasis linked to revival of dormant molecular program
When prostate cancer progresses to a more-dangerous metastatic state, it does so by resurrecting dormant molecular mechanisms that had guided the fetal development of the prostate gland but had been subsequently switched off, say scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Traditional PTSD therapy doesn't trigger drug relapse
Johns Hopkins researchers have now demonstrated that behavior therapy that exposes people to memories of their trauma doesn't cause relapses of opioid or other drug use, and that PTSD severity and emotional problems have decreased after the first therapy session.

Older adults who can really smell the roses may face lower likelihood of dementia
Seniors who can identify smells like roses, turpentine, paint-thinner and lemons, and have retained their senses of hearing, vision and touch, may have half the risk of developing dementia as their peers with marked sensory decline.

Oxygen breathes new life into solar cell research
Scientists in Australia and the United States have been able to 'upconvert' low energy light into high energy light, which can be captured by solar cells, in a new way, with oxygen the surprise secret ingredient.

Changes in farming urgent to rescue biodiversity
Humans depend on farming for their survival but this activity takes up more than one-third of the world's landmass and endangers 62% of all threatened species.

New nano drug candidate kills aggressive breast cancer cells
Researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a new drug candidate that kills triple negative breast cancer cells.

Michigan coyotes: What's for dinner depends on what the neighbors are having
Michigan coyotes in most of the Lower Peninsula are the ''top dogs'' in the local food chain and can dine on a wide variety of small animals, including rabbits and rodents, along with berries and other plant foods, insects, human garbage and even outdoor pet food.

Data assimilation significantly improves forecasts of aerosol and gaseous pollutants across China
Air quality is one of the most concerns among the public, and great progress has been achieved in improving the prediction of air quality and atmospheric pollutants.
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