Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 03, 2020
IGC scientist awarded distinguished European Research Council Grant
The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the list of winners of the 2020 Starting Grants.

NOAA-NASA satellite reveals burn scars from Elkhorn Fire in California
Imagery from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA/NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite highlights the burn scars from the Elkhorn Fire in northern California on Sep.

Wearable, portable invention offers options for treating antibiotic-resistant infections
About 6 million people in the United States are affected by chronic wounds.

New observations show planet-forming disc torn apart by its three central stars
A team of astronomers have identified the first direct evidence that groups of stars can tear apart their planet-forming disc, leaving it warped and with tilted rings.

The Lancet: Many countries falling behind on global commitments to tackling premature deaths from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, lung cancer and heart disease
Around the world, the risk of dying prematurely from preventable and largely treatable chronic diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and stomach cancer has declined steadily over the past decade, but death rates from other chronic diseases such as diabetes, lung cancer, colon cancer, and liver cancer are declining too slowly or worsening in many countries.

'Attack Helicopters' an online sub-culture to watch out for
Who identifies sexually as an 'attack helicopter?'' According to new QUT-led research some 'Incels' do, and while 'trolls' have been around almost as long as the Internet, the researchers say 'Incels' are a more recent and distinctly different cyber sub-culture which warrants more study.

Novel insights of how prostate cancer causes secondary tumors
An increased awareness on a molecular level of what mechanisms prostate cancer cells use to become mobile and start spreading may in the long run provide new opportunities for treatment of aggressive prostate cancer.

People with obesity in the UK wait much longer before discussing weight with a healthcare provider
A detailed analysis of UK data from a global obesity study (the ACTION-IO study) has shown that, on average, people with obesity (PwO) in the UK were struggling with their weight for 9 years before they sought help from a healthcare professional/HCP, much longer than the global average of 6 years found in this study.

Wool-like material can remember and change shape
SEAS researchers have developed a biocompatible material that can be 3D printed into any shape and pre-programmed with reversible shape memory.

The potential of green infrastructure in mitigating flood impacts: Focused on the mobility of low income and minority comunities
This research advances national methods for assessing flood vulnerability and prioritizing transportation improvement investments, to ensure that no community is left stranded when the next flood occurs.

Children can have COVID-19 antibodies and virus in their system simultaneously
With many questions remaining around how children spread COVID-19, Children's National Hospital researchers set out to improve the understanding of how long it takes pediatric patients with the virus to clear it from their systems, and at what point they start to make antibodies that work against the coronavirus.

Discovery of unconventional hall effect
Hall effect plays a key role in condensed matter physics.

To make a better sensor, just add noise
Adding noise to enhance a weak signal is a sensing phenomenon common in the animal world but unusual in manmade sensors.

Day after COVID-19: Time to rethink oncology clinical research
This Viewpoint discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic may reshape clinical practice and clinical research as new technologies are incorporated and old practices are revisited and revamped.

Do big tadpoles turn into big frogs? It's complicated, study finds
University of Arizona researchers studied the evolution of the body sizes of frogs and their tadpoles.

Global health experts propose ethical framework for vaccine allocation
In this Policy Forum, Ezekiel Emanuel and leading ethicists from around the world outline a proposal for a new, three-phase plan for vaccine distribution for COVID-19 -- called the Fair Priority Model -- which they say is 'the best embodiment of the ethical values of limiting harms, benefiting the disadvantaged, and recognizing equal concern for all people.'

Cell division: Cleaning the nucleus without detergents
A team of researchers, spearheaded by the Gerlich lab at IMBA, has uncovered how cells remove unwanted components from the nucleus following mitosis.

True size of prehistoric mega-shark finally revealed
A new study led by the University of Bristol and Swansea University has revealed the size of the legendary giant shark Megalodon, including fins that are as large as an adult human.

Researchers probe Soldier sleep deprivation effects
New Army-funded study looks at effects of sleep deprivation, which can greatly affect Soldiers on the battlefield.

The circumstellar disk in the triple-star system GW-Orionis is shaped by disk tearing
When the disks of gas and dust that surround young stars are misaligned, a phenomenon predicted by models - known as ''disk tearing'' - does appear to occur, according to a new observational study of a young triple-star system located in the constellation of Orion.

New mathematical method shows how climate change led to fall of ancient civilization
A Rochester Institute of Technology researcher developed a mathematical method that shows climate change likely caused the rise and fall of an ancient civilization.

LSU Health New Orleans radiologists find chest X-rays highly predictive of COVID-19
A team of LSU Health New Orleans radiologists investigated the usefulness of chest x-rays in COVID-19 and found they could aid in a rapid diagnosis of the disease, especially in areas with limited testing capacity or delayed test results.

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

A 400-year-old chamois will serve as a model for research on ice mummies
The chamois had been protected by the glacier for 400 years and only recently released due to the ice having receded.

NASA finds Maysak becoming extra-tropical
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided forecasters with a visible image of former Typhoon Maysak, now an extra-tropical storm.

Indigenous knowledge still undervalued - study
New research has found that Indigenous knowledge is regularly underutilised and misunderstood when making important environmental decisions.

Investigational COVID-19 vaccine candidate prevents se-vere clinical disease in animals
In new research published in Nature Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center immunologist Dan H.

Study: Vitamin D deficiency may raise risk of getting COVID-19
In a retrospective study of patients tested for COVID-19, researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine found an association between vitamin D deficiency and the likelihood of becoming infected with the coronavirus.

Weight gainers more likely to underestimate their true body size
People with obesity who gain weight have a tendency to perceive their own body size as smaller than it actually is compared to those who maintain a stable weight, according to new research following more than 2,000 people with obesity from the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study over 10 years.

Quantum leap for speed limit bounds
Nature's speed limits aren't posted on road signs, but Rice University physicists have discovered a new way to deduce them that is better -- infinitely better, in some cases -- than prior methods.

Could plants help us find dead bodies? Forensic botanists want to know
Search teams looking for human remains are often slowed by painstaking on-foot pursuits or aerial searches that are obscured by forest cover.

Hair dye and cancer risk: Largest study yet
Studies have indicated that people who dye their hair regularly may have a higher risk of cancer, especially bladder cancer and breast cancer.

ALMA discovers misaligned rings in planet-forming disk around triple stars
Using ALMA, two teams of astronomers have for the first time discovered a planet-forming disk with misaligned rings around a triple star system, called GW Orionis.

Personal success more appreciated than team dominance in sports, business
People enjoy witnessing extraordinary individuals - from athletes to CEOs -extend long runs of dominance in their fields, but they aren't as interested in seeing similar streaks of success by teams or groups, according to new research from Cornell University.

Minimally invasive ellipsys system allows kidney patients to begin dialysis sooner
The Ellipsys Vascular Access System reduces the time before patients with kidney failure can start lifesaving dialysis treatments, while requiring fewer secondary procedures, according to a new study led by interventional radiologist Jeffrey Hull, M.D., of Richmond Vascular Center.

Study reveals lactose tolerance happened quickly in Europe
A new study published in Current Biology reveals that the ability for humans to digest milk (lactase persistence) spread through Central Europe quickly in evolutionary terms.

New model explains when the brain becomes aware of information
EPFL scientists propose that periods of unconscious processing--during which the brain integrates information--precede brief moments of consciousness

"Hotspots" of a corona infection in the human body
An infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can affect multiple organs.

Evaluating hormone-related targets and risks associated with COVID-19
The evidence for hormone involvement in COVID-19 infection and treatment will be evaluated and discussed by endocrine experts in a dedicated COVID-19 session at e-ECE 2020.

Peculiar planetary system architecture around three Orion stars explained
In our Solar System, the eight planets and many other minor objects orbit in a flat plane around the Sun; but in some distant systems, planets orbit on an incline --sometimes a very steep one.

A spicy silver lining
Researchers David Omar Oseguera-Galindo and Eden Oceguera-Contreras, both of the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Dario Pozas-Zepeda of the University of Colima, Mexico, recently studied the effect of habanero pepper in the synthesis of silver nanoparticles.

Study in half a million adults with overweight or obesity suggests benefit of weight loss on serious health problems
People with obesity who intentionally (not because of illness) lost an average (median) 13% of their initial body weight reduced their relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 42%-44%, sleep apnoea by 22%-27%, high blood pressure by 18%-25%, and dyslipidaemia (unusually high levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood) by 20-22%, according to a study of over 550,000 adults in primary care in the UK.

Neurotologist reflects from COVID-19 front lines
This essay highlights the lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic on the importance of recognizing communication difficulties among those with hearing impairment.

Seeing progress
As we get older, many of our body's processes start slowing down.

Drone survey reveals large earthwork at ancestral Wichita site in Kansas
A Dartmouth-led study using multisensor drones has revealed a large circular earthwork at what may be Etzanoa, an archaeological site near Wichita, Kansas.

NASA's Terra Satellite provides clear picture of wind shear battering Omar
NASA's Terra satellite provided a visible image that showed Tropical Storm Omar had weakened to a depression as it continued to be battered by strong upper level winds.

Antibiotics affect breast milk microbiota in mothers of preterm infants: University of Toronto study
A team led by researchers at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children has found that mothers of preterm babies have highly individual breast milk microbiomes, and that even short courses of antibiotics have prolonged effects on the diversity and abundance of microbes in their milk.

UCalgary researchers discover how to capture images of cells at work inside our lungs
University of Calgary scientists have discovered how to capture ''live'' images of immune cells inside the lungs.

Cellular roadmaps predict body's coronavirus vulnerability
New research from Cornell University developed potential roadmaps for how the coronavirus infects organs and identifies what molecular factors could help facilitate or restrict infection.

Safe thresholds for antibiotics in sewage needed to help combat antibiotic resistance
New research reveals current understanding of safe antibiotic levels in rivers may not prevent evolution of antibiotic resistance and fully protect human health.

Scientists discover a warped disc "torn apart by stars" in a triple Tatooine-like system
Pioneering new research has revealed the first direct evidence that groups of stars can tear apart their planet-forming disc, leaving it warped and with tilted rings.

Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine first?
Nineteen global health experts from around the world have proposed a new, three-phase plan for vaccine distribution -- called the Fair Priority Model -- which aims to reduce premature deaths and other irreversible health consequences from COVID-19.

Unmanned aerial vehicles help wheat breeders
Usually, breeders pick the best wheat lines by hand, but unmanned aerial vehicles that record certain measures of plant health can help breeders select wheat lines more efficiently.

Tiny biological package gets drug right to the 'heart' of transplant rejection
For patients who receive a heart transplant in the near future, the old adage, 'Good things come in small packages,' may become words to live by.

Natural pest control saving billions
Biological control of insect pests - where 'natural enemies' keep pests at bay - is saving farmers in Asia and the Pacific billions of dollars, according to University of Queensland-led research.

It takes more than plexiglass to protect against aerosolized SARS-CoV-2
The FDA just revoked their EUA for intubation boxes - plastic shields that supposedly protect health care workers from becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 - due to concerns over aerosol leaks.

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Timing of tracheostomy for patients with COVID-19 in ICU
The timing of performing tracheostomies, which are aerosol-generating procedures that may cause increased risk of COVID-19 transmission to health care workers, is examined in this Viewpoint.

Independent physician-owned practices adopt more quality improvement strategies
Quality improvement (QI) strategies play an essential role in transforming primary care practices to improve population health, enhance patient experiences and outcomes, reduce costs, and improve provider experience.

How to spot patients most likely to die from blood infections
Unprecedented analysis of proteins and metabolites in patient serum provides new biomarkers associated with a patient's risk of dying from Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia.

Tryptophan supports guts health on trouts under stress, says a RUDN biologist
A biologist from RUDN University found the most beneficial concentration of tryptophan for rainbow trout.

When doing good boosts health, well-being
Performing acts of kindness and helping other people can be good for people's health and well-being, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

International team of scientists discover link between genes and penicillin allergy using
Penicillin, a life-saving medicine, is the most common cause of drug allergy, with clinical manifestations ranging from temporary skin reactions to life-threatening systemic syndromes.

Coaxing single stem cells into specialized cells
Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have developed a unique method for precisely controlling the deposition of hydrogel, which is made of water-soluble polymers commonly used to support cells in experiments or for therapeutic purposes.

Comprehensive look at US fuel economy standards show big savings on fuel and emissions
In one of the first comprehensive assessments of the fuel economy standards in the US, researchers found that, over their 40-year history, the standards helped reduce reliance on foreign oil producers, saved $5 trillion in fuel costs and prevented 14 billion metric tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.

How we sleep today may forecast when Alzheimer's disease begins
UC Berkeley neuroscientists have found a way to estimate, with some degree of accuracy, a time frame for when Alzheimer's is most likely to strike in a person's lifetime, based on their baseline sleep patterns.

Is consciousness continuous or discrete? Maybe it's both, argue researchers
Two major theories have fueled a now 1,500 year-long debate started by Saint Augustine: Is consciousness continuous, where we are conscious at each single point in time, or is it discrete, where we are conscious only at certain moments of time?

Association of vitamin D status, other clinical characteristics with COVID-19 test results
This observational study examines whether patients' most recent vitamin D levels and treatment for insufficient vitamin D levels are associated with test results for COVID-19.

Start here to make a protein
Researchers at UC Davis and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, U.K. have solved the the structure of the complex formed when mRNA is being scanned to find the starting point for translating RNA into a protein.

Autonomous robot plays with NanoLEGO
Atoms and molecules behave in a completely different way to macroscopic objects and each brick requires its own ''instruction manual''.

Evaluating the effect of plain afforestation project and future spatial suitability in Beijing
Taking the 'One Million-Mu (666 km2)' Plain Afforestation (Phase I) Project in Beijing city as an example, the authors monitored the growth status of planted forest patches using long-term remote sensing images, which constructed a series of spatial variables of suitability map for afforestation.

Study identifies how infection by Zika virus during pregnancy can affect the fetal brain
The study by more than 30 Brazilian scientists investigated tens of thousands of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic variables, discovering several alterations caused by the vírus.

Bronchitis as a child predicts worse lung health in middle age
People who had bronchitis at least once before the age of seven are more likely to develop lung problems in later life, according to new research presented at the 'virtual' European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Texas A&M researchers develop treatment for canine ocular condition using turmeric
Researchers at Texas A&M University have produced a therapeutic derived from turmeric, a spice long-praised for its natural anti-inflammatory properties, that shows promise in decreasing ocular inflammation in dogs suffering from uveitis, an inflammation of the eye that leads to pain and reduced vision.

Better customer care on Twitter leads to nearly 20% increase in customer satisfaction
Social media has forever changed our society and how people do business.

Special Issue - Democracy: In Flux and Under Threat
In this special issue of Science, a series of Insights pieces examines the current state of democracy worldwide.

Innovative biocontainment unit shows promise to protect healthcare workers
The U.S. Army partnered with the University of Pittsburg Medical Center to create a biocontainment unit that could help healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients.

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

New test can detect crown-of-thorns starfish as quickly as a home pregnancy kit
Researchers at the Australian Institute of Marine Science have developed a dipstick test that can detect crown-of-thorns starfish on coral reefs by using the same technology as home pregnancy tests.

Anxiety and depression are associated with medical care avoidance during the pandemic
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been empirical and anecdotal reports of declines in both emergency and ambulatory medical visits.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Editing the immune response could make gene therapy more effective
Researchers created a system that uses CRISPR in a new way.

Lactose tolerance spread throughout Europe in only a few thousand years
The human ability to digest the milk sugar lactose after infancy spread throughout Central Europe in only a few thousand years.

In butterfly battle of sexes, males deploy 'chastity belts' but females fight back
Some male butterflies seal their mate's genitalia with a waxy 'chastity belt' to prevent future liaisons.

New understanding of electrolyte additives will improve dye-sensitised solar cells
Dye-sensitised solar cells could perform better thanks to improved understanding of additives in optimising electrolytes.

Genetic information can predict predisposition to rare and common blood diseases
Two large-scale genetic studies have identified the bulk of genetic variation that influences medically-important characteristics of our blood cells.

Operation Outbreak simulation teaches students how pandemics spread
In 2015, a team of specialists in modeling disease outbreaks got together with educators to create Operation Outbreak, an educational platform and simulation intended to teach high school and college students the fundamentals of responses to pandemics.

Financial strains significantly raise risk of suicide attempts
Financial strains such as high debt, low income and unemployment are associated with suicide attempts and should be considered key factors when assessing mental health interventions, a new study from Duke Health researchers shows.

A new model to predict survival in colorectal cancer
This signature could be useful in clinical practice, especially for colorectal cancer diagnosis and therapy.

Researchers redesign the face mask to improve comfort and protection
Imagine a reusable face mask that protects wearers and those around them from SARS-CoV-2, is comfortable enough to wear all day, and stays in place without frequent adjustment.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

High levels of toxic flame retardant chemicals found in dust inside college classrooms
There are good reasons to be worried about indoor air quality right now, in light of COVID-19.

New species of freshwater Crustacea found in the hottest place on earth
A new species of freshwater Crustacea has been discovered during an expedition of the desert Lut, known as the hottest place on Earth.

NASA-NOAA satellite catches Hurricane Nana making landfall under cover of night
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a nighttime look at Hurricane Nana just after it began making landfall in Belize.

Megafire does not deter Yosemite's spotted owls
A new study by researchers from The Institute for Bird Populations and Yosemite National Park found that California Spotted Owl numbers and nesting rates remained stable in areas of the park that were burned by the 2013 Rim Fire.

New dating of Nebra sky disk
Until now the Nebra sky disk was deemed to be from the Early Bronze Age and therefore the world's oldest depiction of the cosmos.

Battery-free Game Boy runs forever
Researchers develop first-ever battery-free, energy-harvesting, interactive device. And it looks and feels like a retro 8-bit Nintendo Game Boy.

How to imitate natural spring-loaded snapping movement without losing energy
Venus flytraps do it, trap-jaw ants do it, and now materials scientists at UMass Amherst can do it, too - they discovered a way of efficiently converting elastic energy in a spring to kinetic energy for high-acceleration, extreme velocity movements as nature does it.

Tear gas should be banned, researchers find; here's why
Tear gas should be banned as it is inherently indiscriminate and frequently abused when deployed against peaceful assemblies, in enclosed spaces, in excessive quantities and against vulnerable populations.

Old males vital to elephant societies
Old male elephants play a key role in leading all-male groups, new research suggests.

NASA eyes typhoon Haishen's 10 mile-wide eye   
NASA's Terra satellite's visible image of Typhoon Haishen revealed a small ''pinhole'' eye surrounded by several hundred miles of thunderstorms spiraling around it as it continued moving north though the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Radiology research funding has increased -- still no association with citation rate
According to ARRS' AJR, almost half of the research articles published in AJR, Radiology, and European Radiology declared funding -- a proportion that has increased from 17% of articles in 1994 and 26.9% published between 2001 and 2010.

Attacking tumors from the inside
A new technology that allows researchers to peer inside malignant tumors shows that two experimental drugs can normalize aberrant blood vessels, oxygenation, and other aspects of the tumor microenvironment in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), helping to suppress the tumor's growth and spread, UT Southwestern researchers report.

Study of siblings finds moderate cannabis use impacts cognitive functioning
A new study led by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine compares adolescent siblings to determine the impact of early and frequent use of marijuana on cognitive function.

IoT results-oriented exercise system for social distancing with field sensors, no gym needed
An IoT system that allows geneticists, nutritionists, clinicians and exercise physiologists to work together remotely encourages middle-aged and elderly people to train using Interval Walking Training, in accordance to their individual peak aerobic capacity, greatly improving their physical fitness and lifestyle-related disease prognosis.

A better model for predicting death by heat in nature?
A mathematical model that better accounts for temperature impacts from duration of exposure is helping scientists improve their grasp of how future climate warming will affect the survival of natural Drosophila populations.

Obesity may alter immune system response to COVID-19
Obesity may cause a hyperactive immune system response to COVID-19 infection that makes it difficult to fight off the virus, according to a new manuscript published in the Endocrine Society's journal, Endocrinology.

New computational tool enables prediction of key functional sites in proteins based on structure
A new technology that uses a protein's structure to predict the inner wiring that controls the protein's function and dynamics is now available for scientists to utilize.

Social experiences impact zebrafish from an early age
Study in zebrafish demonstrates that early social experiences have an effect on the behaviour of the fish even at an age when they are still not considered ''social''.

Hearing loss in naked mole-rats is an advantage, not a hardship
With six mutations in genes associated with hearing, naked mole-rats can barely hear the constant squeaking they use to communicate with one another.

Holistic bursting cells might be basis of brain cognition
Recently, scientists from the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with collaborators at home and abroad, presented the discovery of ''holistic bursting'' cells, a novel functional class of cortical neurons that represent learned complex objects as wholes rather than parts.
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