Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 20, 2020
University of Louisville immunologist summarizes functions of protein family for scientific community
Fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) serve as a type of chaperone, coordinating the transport of fatty acids and other molecules between cells.

Studying viral outbreaks in single cells could reveal new ways to defeat them (video)
Many viruses mutate so quickly that identifying effective vaccines or treatments is like trying to hit a moving target.

International team identifies a new regulatory pathway in bladder cancer
GULP1 regulates the NRF2-KEAP1 signaling axis in urothelial carcinoma.

Robotic surgery may improve outcomes in mouth and throat cancer
Robotic surgery for patients with early stage, oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer is associated with improved health outcomes, including better long-term survival, according to a Cedars-Sinai study published Thursday in JAMA Oncology.

Contact tracing apps unlikely to contain COVID-19 spread
Contract tracing apps used to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are unlikely to be effective without proper uptake and support from concurrent control measures, finds a new study by UCL researchers.

When learning on your own is not enough
We make decisions based on not only our own learning experience, but also learning from others.

Fewer serious asthma events in Philadelphia area following COVID-19 stay-at-home orders
Philadelphia and its surrounding counties issued a series of ''stay-at-home'' orders on March 17, 2020 in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

New 'molecular computers' find the right cells
New nanoscale devices, made of synthetic proteins, have been designed to target a therapeutic agent only to cells with a specific, predetermined combinations of cell surface markers.

Mount Sinai researchers identify master regulator genes of asthma
The identified master regulators causally regulate the expression of downstream genes that modulate ciliary function and inflammatory response to influence asthma.

A new tool to create chemical complexity from fatty acids
A new catalyst design enables unprecedented control over the modification of fatty acid derivatives that opens the door to creating useful substances in a green and efficient manner.

UA research finds relationship between COVID-19 deaths and morbid obesity
The prevalence of morbid obesity in a population is associated with negative outcomes from COVID-19, according to an analysis by researchers at The University of Alabama of morbid obesity data and reported COVID-19 deaths in the United States.

Projected estimates of African American graduates of closed historically black medical schools
An estimate of the number of African American students who would have graduated from historically Black medical schools that were closed during the period surrounding the 1910 Flexner report was the main outcome of this study.

Save the data: A new approach to database management in solid-state drives
The ever-increasing workload of data centers calls for new ways to store and access data.

Intestinal bacteriophage alters effects of cancer therapies in mice
Enterococcus, a genus that includes common commensal bacteria found in the gut, harbors a bacteriophage that influences the effects of various cancer immunotherapies in ways that may be clinically relevant, researchers working in mice report.

Downstream effects: Sturgeon lifespan, fertility vary strikingly with river conditions
New research has found that pallid sturgeon stocked in a northerly segment of the Missouri River live an average of three times longer, produce roughly 10 times as many eggs and weigh up to seven times more than specimens stocked downriver.

A metabolic enzyme as a potential new target for cancer immune therapies
The metabolic enzyme IL4I1 (Interleukin-4-Induced-1) promotes the spread of tumor cells and suppresses the immune system.

Archaeology: X-ray imaging provides unique snapshot of ancient animal mummification
Analysis of three mummified animals - a cat, a bird and a snake - from Ancient Egypt using advanced 3D X-ray imaging is described in a paper published in Scientific Reports.

Sortilin may hold the key to combat pancreatic cancer more effectively
Pancreatic cancer has an extremely poor prognosis; it is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

Synthesis of organophilic carbon nanodots with multi-band emission from tomato leaves
In a paper published in NANO, researchers from Shanghai Normal University, China prepared organophilic carbon nanodots (CNDs) using natural organic molecules in plant leaves by a one-pot green synthesis.

New database shows more than 20% of nursing homes still report staff, PPE shortages
More than 20% of US nursing homes continue to report severe shortages of staff and PPE, according to one of the first studies based on a new federal database of responses from more than 15,000 facilities.

New approach uses wild genes to improve biological nitrogen fixation in soybeans
It's a clever genetic approach to identify genes present in the wild soybean ancestor that might improve or enhance interactions between the modern cultivated soybean and its symbiotic partner S. fredii.

Research shows air pollution could play role in development of cardiometabolic diseases
Air pollution is the world's leading environmental risk factor, and causes more than nine million deaths per year.

Trapping and controlling light at the interface of atomically thin nanomaterials
In a recent study, scientists at Cornell University propose a novel method by which nanoscale light can be manipulated and transported.

How misinformed vaccine beliefs affect policy views
As many as 20% of Americans hold negative views about vaccination.

Vaccine that harnesses antifungal immunity protects mice from staph infection
Immunization of mice with a new vaccine consisting of fungal particles loaded with Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) proteins protects mice against S. aureus infection, according to a study published August 20 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by David Underhill of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and colleague.

Elevated "hunger" hormone leaves trauma-exposed teens at higher risk for PTSD
Research suggests that acyl-ghrelin is an especially predictive biomarker of PTSD.

Microscopic deformation of a neutron star inferred from a distance of 4500 light-years
Gravitational waves, which are ripples in spacetime, have recently provided a new window to the universe.

Superfast o-phthalaldehyde/N-nucleophile cross-linking strategy for biomedical hydrogels
Recently, Prof. Xuesi Chen and colleagues at the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, proposed a new crosslinking strategy based on the condensation reaction between o-phthalaldehyde (OPA) and N-nucleophiles for hydrogel formation.

IUPUI study looks at prevention strategy for substance use disorder
There are well documented risk factors associated with developing substance use disorder across all age groups.

A new lens on the world: Improving the metalens with liquid crystal
Case Western Reserve University physics professor Giuseppe Strangi and collaborators at Harvard and the Italian university UniCal have taken a step toward making ''metalenses'' even more useful--by making them reconfigurable.

The impacts of gentrification on transportation and social support
The historically Black district of Albina in Portland, Oregon, due to racist real estate practices, faced multiple displacement events between 1960 and 1990 with the construction of Interstate 5 through the heart of the neighborhood as well as wholesale destruction of hundreds of homes.

Yale-led surgical innovation promises better dialysis outcomes
A new technique developed by a Yale-led research team improves blood flow in surgically made blood vessels used in dialysis, enables them to last longer, and results in fewer complications than the standard technique.

Black/white disparity in lung cancer incidence reversed or eliminated among young adults
A trend of higher lung cancer incidence rates in young Black people versus young white people in the United States has flipped, with the Black/white gap disappearing in men and reversing in women.

Anthropogenic CO2 increase is unprecedented
Even in earlier warm periods there were pulse-like releases of CO2 to the atmosphere.

Paying attention to the neurons behind our alertness
The neurons of layer 6 - the deepest layer of the cortex - were examined by researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University to uncover how they react to sensory stimulation in different behavioral states.

A quantum thermometer to measure the coldest temperatures in the universe
The physicists' proposed thermometer is based on quantum entanglement and can accurately measure temperatures a billion times colder than those in outer space.

UMass Amherst scientists invent new sensing eye mask
From the team that invented physiology-sensing pajamas at UMass Amherst, now comes a new, lightweight eye mask that can unobtrusively capture pulse, eye movement and sleep signals, for example, when worn in an everyday environment.

Self-collected saliva and deep nasal swabs are equally effective for diagnosing COVID-19
Self-collected saliva and deep nasal swabs collected by healthcare providers are equally effective for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a new study conducted by ARUP Laboratories and University of Utah (U of U) Health.

Generic public health messages work best at shifting dietary behaviours
A new health economics study warns that health information which offers specific advice tailored to individuals can inadvertently often backfire.

Clear will and capacity to help emergency care in crisis
Operators beyond the confines of conventional emergency healthcare are willing and able to assist in a crisis, a University of Gothenburg study shows.

Heart failure, hypertensive deaths rise in black women and men
Deaths due to heart failure and hypertensive heart disease are increasing in the US -- particularly in Black women and men -- despite medical and surgical advances in heart disease management.

Discovery lays blame on supernova for extinction event nearly 360 million years ago
Between a decline in biodiversity and a series of extinction events, the Late Devonian period was not the most hospitable time on Earth.

Lipid-Oligonucleotides (LONs) --- Promising materials for bioapplications
Lipid-oligonucleotides (LONs) are promising biological materials with special amphiphilic structures and unique functionalities of two moieties, contributing to different bioapplications (from biosensors to biomedicines).

Researchers measure the global magnetic field in solar corona for the first time
An international team led by TIAN Hui, a professor from both Peking University and National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), has measured the global magnetic field of the solar corona for the first time.

COVID-19: How South Korea prevailed while the US failed
In a commentary, researchers demonstrate the stark differences in public health strategies from two democratic republics: South Korea and the United States, which have led to alarming differences in cases and deaths from COVID-19.

Routing apps can deliver real-time insights into traffic emissions
Routing apps such as Google Maps or Nokia's Here platform could offer a cost-effective way of calculating emissions hotspots in real time, say researchers at the University of Birmingham.

Researchers create nanoclusters that mimic biomolecules
Biological systems come in all shapes, sizes and structures. Some of these structures, such as those found in DNA, RNA and proteins, are formed through complex molecular interactions that are not easily duplicated by inorganic materials.

Dinosaurs' unique bone structure key to carrying weight
A unique collaboration between paleontologists, mechanical engineers and biomedical engineers revealed that the trabecular bone structure of hadrosaurs and several other dinosaurs is uniquely capable of supporting large weights, and different than that of mammals and birds.

New research showcases Italian town as blueprint for 'anchor entrepreneurship' framework
Study by The Business School (formerly Cass) uncovers how effective entrepreneurship can ignite economic growth of an entire community

Studies of gut microbiota and contractility help deal with chronic constipation
Chronic constipation (CC) remains a serious medical and social problem because the complexity of diagnosis, the lack of a single approach to treatment, and unsatisfactory treatment results.

NASA gets a wide angle view of hurricane Genevieve
NASA provided a series of photos of Hurricane Genevieve as it affected Mexico's southern Baja California peninsula.

Ancient gene family protects algae from salt and cold in an Antarctic lake
Two species of Chlamydomonas algae from the ice-covered, hypersaline Lake Bonney in Antarctica use variants of an ancient gene family to synthetize the protective molecule glycerol, one of several adaptations that allow them to thrive in this extreme environment.

Study finds signs of altruism in people's COVID-19 worries
A new study demonstrates that people are more concerned about whether their family members could contract COVID-19 or if they are unknowingly spreading the virus themselves than they are with contracting it.

Foiling illicit cryptocurrency mining with artificial intelligence
Los Alamos National Laboratory computer scientists have developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) system that may be able to identify malicious codes that hijack supercomputers to mine for cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and Monero.

Handgun purchaser licensing laws are associated with lower firearm homicides, suicides
State handgun purchaser licensing laws--which go beyond federal background checks by requiring a prospective buyer to apply for a license or permit from state or local law enforcement--appear to be highly effective at reducing firearm homicide and suicide rates.

Broccoli and Brussels sprouts a cut above for blood vessel health
New research from Edith Cowan University has shown some of our least favourite vegetables could be the most beneficial when it comes to preventing advanced blood vessel disease.

Pulse-like jumps in atmospheric carbon dioxide occurred in glacial and early interglacial periods
Once only associated with colder climate conditions of the last glacial period, a new study finds that rapid, pulse-like increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) also occurred during earlier, warmer interglacial periods.

Scientists revealed shifting spring phenology of Arctic tundra with satellite and ground observation
Phenology, the seasonal and interannual dynamics of vegetation, is recognized as an important indicator of ecosystem response to climate change.

February lockdown in China caused a drop in some types of air pollution, but not others
Nitrogen dioxide, which comes from transportation, was half of what would be expected over China in February 2020.

Defiance and low trust in medical doctors related to vaccine scepticism
A new study shows that individuals who react negatively to rules and recommendations and have lower trust in doctors more often use complementary and alternative medicine, that is, treatments or substances that are not included in the care offered or recommended by doctors.

CU student helps bridge teams at Clemson
Three teams of researchers at Clemson University have joined forces to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding perovskite nanocrystals, which are semiconductors with numerous applications, including LEDs, lasers, solar cells and photodetectors.

Australia's wish list of exotic pets
Unsustainable trade of species is the major pathway for the introduction of invasive alien species at distant localities at higher frequencies.

A new iron based superelastic alloy capable of withstanding extreme temperatures
Researchers from Tohoku University's Graduate School of Engineering have discovered a novel iron-based superelastic alloy (SEA) capable of withstanding extreme temperatures--both high and low.

Larger variability in sea level expected as Earth warms
A team of researchers from the University of Hawai'i (UH) at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) identified a global tendency for future sea levels to become more variable as oceans warm this century due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Study focuses on low-carb, high-fat diet effect on older populations
Amy Goss, Ph.D., RDN, says egg consumption can be incorporated into the diet in a healthful way without adversely impacting blood cholesterol in older adults.

Stanford scientists slow and steer light with resonant nanoantennas
Researchers have fashioned ultrathin silicon nanoantennas that trap and redirect light, for applications in quantum computing, LIDAR and even the detection of viruses.

Inconsistencies in data presentation could harm efforts against COVID-19
Since COVID-19 emerged late last year, there's been an enormous amount of research produced on this novel coronavirus disease.

3D printing 'greener' buildings using local soil
The construction industry is currently facing two major challenges: the demand for sustainable infrastructure and the need to repair deteriorating buildings, bridges and roads.

Research reveals cilia's role in cardiovascular functions and genetic diseases
Research from Chapman University discover ciliary extracellular-like vesicles (cELVs). Released by fluid-shear, cELVs act as nano-compartments within a cilium.

Using estimation of camera movement to achieve multi-target tracking
Estimating the motion of a moving camera is a ubiquitous problem in the field of computer vision.

Unique protein structures could hold the key to treatment for Parkinson's disease
Scientists at the University Bath have discovered a series of protein structures that are thought to be highly relevant to the onset of Parkinson's disease.

An active lifestyle reduces fearfulness in dogs - differences between breeds are great
The more dogs are engaged in activities and the more diverse experiences and canine friends they have, the less fearful they are in new situations and environments.

A healthy lifestyle for cardiovascular health also promotes good eye health
In a new study, investigators found that ideal cardiovascular health, which is indicative of a healthy lifestyle, was associated with lower odds for ocular diseases especially diabetic retinopathy.

Unleashing the immune system's 'STING' against cancer
Scientists at Scripps Research have discovered a molecule that can activate a natural immune-boosting protein called STING.

Fighting cancer with rejection-resistant, 'off-the-shelf' therapeutic T cells
Baylor College of Medicine researchers develop improved cancer-fighting CAR T cells.

Genetic background influences disease risk from single-gene variants
Life can change dramatically when someone learns they are genetically predisposed to a disease.

Anorexia may stunt young women's growth
Girls with anorexia nervosa can have stunted growth and may not reach their full height potential, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Study adds to evidence that cells in the nose are key entry point for SARS CoV-2
Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine, experimenting with a small number of human cell samples, report that the 'hook' of cells used by SARS-CoV-2 to latch onto and infect cells is up to 700 times more prevalent in the olfactory supporting cells lining the inside of the upper part of the nose than in the lining cells of the rest of the nose and windpipe that leads to the lungs.

Animal mummies unwrapped with hi-res 3D X-rays
Three mummified animals from ancient Egypt have been digitally unwrapped and dissected by researchers, using high-resolution 3D scans that give unprecedented detail about the animals' lives - and deaths - over 2000 years ago.

New, pharmacologically available STING agonists promote antitumor immunity in mice
In a pair of studies, researchers report the discovery and molecular pharmacology of stable, synthetic STING (stimulator of interferon genes) agonists that induce anticancer immune responses in mice.

Ichthyosaur's last meal is evidence of triassic megapredation
Some 240 million years ago, a dolphin-like ichthyosaur ripped to pieces and swallowed another marine reptile only a little smaller than itself.

Development of serological assays to detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies
Scientists from the Institut Pasteur, the CNRS, Inserm and Université de Paris conducted a pilot study to evaluate the reliability of several laboratory tests with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the profile of antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 and how the virus is spreading among the population.

Community health workers reduce maternal, foetal and new-born deaths, study finds
Large forces of trained community health workers and standardised healthcare systems could reduce the number of maternal, newborn and foetal deaths, a study has recommended.

Vaccine developed for human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B)
A research group led by Professor MORI Yasuko (of the Division of Clinical Virology, Center for Infectious Diseases, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine) has revealed that the HHV-6B glycoprotein complex gH/gL/gQ1/gQ2 is an effective vaccine candidate for human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B).

Your in-laws' history of drinking problems could lead to alcohol issues of your own
A study of more than 300,000 couples in Sweden finds marriage to a spouse who grew up exposed to parental alcohol misuse increases a person's likelihood of developing a drinking problem.

NTU scientists develop "biorubber" glue for faster surgical recovery and pain relief
Materials scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have invented a new type of surgical glue that can help join blood vessels and close wounds faster and may also serve as a platform to deliver pain relief drugs.

Aerogel - the micro structural material of the future
Aerogel is an excellent thermal insulator. So far, however, it has mainly been used on a large scale, for example in environmental technology, in physical experiments or in industrial catalysis.

Exoskeleton research marches forward with NIST study on fit
Exoskeletons, many of which are powered by springs or motors, can cause pain or injury if their joints are not aligned with the user's.

Greenland ice sheet shows losses in 2019
The Greenland Ice Sheet recorded a new record loss of mass in 2019.

Abrupt global climate change events occurred synchronously during last glacial period
The abrupt climate warming events that occurred in Greenland during the last glacial period occurred very close in time to other rapid climate change events seen in paleoclimate records from lower latitudes, according to a new study, which reveals a near-synchronous teleconnection of climate events spanning Earth's hemispheres.

Small enzyme-mimicking polymers may have helped start life
Most origins of life research is focused on understanding the prebiotic formation of biological building blocks.

Fossil leaves show high atmospheric carbon spurred ancient 'global greening'
Scientists studying leaves from a 23-million-year-old forest have for the first time linked high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide with increased plant growth, and the hot climate off the time.

Dynamic kirigami shoe grip designed to reduce risks of slips and falls
The new kirigami-based shoe sole is intended to reduce the risks of slips and falls by adjusting as a person steps, increasing friction with pop-up spikes as necessary.

Graphene sensors find subtleties in magnetic fields
Cornell researchers used an ultrathin graphene ''sandwich'' to create a tiny magnetic field sensor that can operate over a greater temperature range than previous sensors, while also detecting miniscule changes in magnetic fields that might otherwise get lost within a larger magnetic background.

Promising discovery for patients with diabetic retinopathy
A study published in the journal Science has shed light on a cellular process that occurs in the retinas of people with diabetic retinopathy.

Researchers show children are silent spreaders of virus that causes COVID-19
Researchers provide critical data showing that children play a larger role in the community spread of COVID-19 than previously thought.

Move over Michaelis-Menten!
Researchers from Aarhus University challenge one of the cornerstones of biochemistry, the Michaelis-Menten equation.

New research finds association between COVID-19 hospital use and mortality
Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Washington found a statistical relationship between the number of hospital beds (ICU and non-ICU) occupied by COVID-19 patients in a state and reported mortality.

Massive, well-preserved reptile found in the belly of a prehistoric marine carnivore
Paleontologists have found a giant ichthyosaur skeleton containing one of the longest fossils ever found in the stomach of a prehistoric marine reptile--the skeleton of a four-meter-long aquatic reptile called a thalattosaur.

Past rapid warming levels in the Arctic associated with widespread climate changes
Using Greenland ice cores, new research is the first to confirm the longstanding assumption that climate changes between the tropics and the Arctic were synchronised during the last glacial period.

First daily surveillance of emerging COVID-19 hotspots
Over the course of the coronavirus epidemic, COVID-19 outbreaks have hit communities across the United States.

Affirmative action incentivizes high schoolers to perform better, new research shows
Affirmative action is a contentious issue across the globe, hotly debated in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Nigeria and Brazil, as well as in the United States.

Cyclohexyl phenyl sulfide cleavage studied for degradation of sulfur-containing heavy oil
So far, the KFU team has proven copper compounds are the most effective in producing catalysts for heavy oil extraction.

Dementia education
School-based dementia education could deliver much needed empathy and understanding for older generations as new research from the University of South Australia shows it can significantly improve dementia knowledge and awareness among younger generations.

Blood clots and lung injuries found in patients who have died of COVID-19 
A new post-mortem study of patients who have died from COVID-19 found severe damage to the lungs and signs of blood clotting in major organs.

Declining US plant breeding programs impacts food security
Decreasing access to funding, technology, and knowledge in U.S. plant breeding programs could negatively impact our future food security.

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spreads more indoors at low humidity
The airborne transmission of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 via aerosol particles in indoor environment seems to be strongly influenced by relative humidity, concludes the analysis of 10 most relevant international studies on the subject.

A smart eye mask that tracks muscle movements to tell what 'caught your eye'
Integrating first-of-its-kind washable hydrogel electrodes with a pulse sensor, researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed smart eyewear to track eye movement and cardiac data for physiological and psychological studies.

Dilated blood vessels in the lung may explain low oxygen levels in severe cases of COVID-19
A new pilot study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai suggests that COVID-19 is causing significant dilation of the blood vessels of the lung, specifically the capillaries.

Firefighters exposed to more potentially harmful chemicals than previously thought
The on-duty firefighters in the Kansas City, Missouri, area experienced higher exposures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are a family of chemicals that are known to have the potential to cause cancer.
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