Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 20, 2020
Effective ventilation may be a key factor in preventing the spread of COVID-19
During the first wave of COVID-19, which paralyzed the world in spring, it was initially thought that effective hand washing and 2-meter social distancing would help prevent the highly contagious virus.

Cannabis reduces OCD symptoms by half in the short-term
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) report that the severity of symptoms was reduced by about half within four hours of smoking cannabis.

Computational study reveals how Ebola nucleocapsid stabilizes
Scientists at the University of Delaware report a computational study of the Ebola virus nucleocapsid and show that the binding of the ssRNA allows the nucleocapsid to maintain its shape and structural integrity.

Mammography screening saves lives also in older age
Mammography, which is an x-ray picture of the breast, is efficient also for women over the age of 70.

Declines in shellfish species on rocky seashores match climate-driven changes
Mussels, barnacles, and snails are declining in the Gulf of Maine, according to a new paper by biologists Peter Petraitis of the University of Pennsylvania and Steve Dudgeon of California State University, Northridge.

More research needed to determine safety of hip and knee steroid injections
Although frequently used to treat painful osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, intra-articular corticosteroid (IACS) injections remain controversial.

Study finds lowering nicotine decreases addictiveness of smoking in vulnerable populations
A study in JAMA Network Open provides evidence that, even in smokers from vulnerable populations, reducing nicotine content to low levels decreases addictiveness - a timely finding as the Food and Drug Administration considers a policy to lower nicotine content in all cigarettes sold in the U.S.

New evidence for geologically recent earthquakes near Portland, Oregon metro area
A paleoseismic trench dug across the Gales Creek fault, located about 35 kilometers (roughly 22 miles) west of Portland, Oregon, documents evidence for three surface-rupturing earthquakes that took place about 8,800, 4,200 and 1,000 years ago.

Neuropilin-1 drives SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, finds breakthrough study
In a major breakthrough an international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has potentially identified what makes SARS-CoV-2 highly infectious and able to spread rapidly in human cells.

COVID-19: Distancing and masks are not enough
Decades-old data is being used to describe the propagation of tiny droplets.

Hot-button words trigger conservatives and liberals differently
Researchers have linked a brain region to what they call neural polarization, offering a glimpse into the partisan brain in the weeks leading up to what is arguably the most consequential U.S. presidential election in modern history.

Repairing the photosynthetic enzyme Rubisco
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry decipher the molecular mechanism of Rubisco Activase

Conversation about suicide prevention leads to safe gun storage
Research by Forefront Suicide Prevention at the University of Washington, from visits to 18 gun shows and other community events around Washington state last year, found that engaging people in a community-based setting, in an empathetic conversation focused on safety, resulted in more people locking up their firearms.

Colorful Perovskites: NREL advances thermochromic window technologies
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report a breakthrough in developing a next-generation thermochromic window that not only reduces the need for air conditioning but simultaneously generates electricity.

US adults' likelihood of accepting COVID-19 vaccination
In this survey study of U.S. adults, vaccine-related attributes and political characteristics were associated with self-reported preferences for choosing a hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine and self- reported willingness to receive vaccination.

Targeting the shell of the Ebola virus
As the world grapples with COVID-19, the Ebola virus is again raging.

Study finds tocilizumab improves survival in critically ill patients with COVID-19
The investigators found that when tocilizumab was administered within the first two days of intensive care unit (ICU) admission, there was a 30 percent relative decrease (and a 10 percent absolute decrease) in mortality compared to patients whose treatment did not include early use of tocilizumab.

Asymmetric optical camouflage: Tuneable reflective color accompanied by optical Janus effect
Deliverying viewing-direction sensitive information display across single sheet of transreflective window is introduced.

From pills to powder: 1 in 3 high school seniors who misused prescription opioids later used heroin
Nearly one-third of students who reported misusing prescription opioids as high school seniors between 1997 and 2000, but did not have a history of medical use, later used heroin by age 35, according to a University of Michigan study.

Coronavirus: Study finds further door opener into the cell
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is known to infect cells via the receptor ACE2.

Steroid inhalers/pills for asthma linked to heightened risk of brittle bones and fractures
Taking steroid inhalers or tablets to treat asthma or control flare-ups is linked to a heightened risk of brittle bones (osteoporosis) and increased vulnerability to broken bones (fragility fractures), finds research published online in the journal Thorax.

Cross-party agreement on decarbonization but no master plan for electricity system
Which political parties have the most ambitious climate and energy policies?

SwRI researchers evaluate impact of wastewater systems on Edwards Aquifer
Southwest Research Institute developed an integrated hydrologic computer model to evaluate the impact of different types of wastewater disposal facilities on the Edwards Aquifer, the primary water source for San Antonio and its surrounding communities.

National laboratories point to sugars as a key factor in ideal feedstock for biofuels
Popular wisdom holds that tall, fast-growing trees are best for biomass, but new research by two US Department of Energy National Laboratories reveals the size of trees is only part of the equation.

Removal of synthetic estrogen from water
Synthetic estrogens from pharmaceuticals contaminate rivers and threaten the health of humans and fish.

This red light means 'go' for medical discoveries
With a little tweak of the color palette, University of Virginia researchers have made it easier for scientists to unravel the mysteries of disease and develop new treatments.

Microbial diversity below seafloor is as rich as on Earth's surface
For the first time, researchers have mapped the biological diversity of marine sediment, one of Earth's largest global biomes.

New tool predicts risks of hospital admission and death from Covid-19
A new risk tool, developed by UK researchers to predict a person's risk of being admitted to hospital and dying from Covid-19 has been published by The BMJ today.

Study: Free-college programs have led to large enrollment increases at two-year institutions
A study of 33 public community college promise programs, or free-college programs, across the United States found that they are associated with large enrollment increases of first-time, full-time students--with the biggest boost in enrollment among Black, Hispanic, and female students.

Cutting-edge, whole-heart imaging provides new details on heart defects
A cutting-edge technique that allows scientists to zoom into tiny details in a 3D image of a whole animal heart may lead to new insights on congenital heart disease.

Two studies point to an unrecognized avenue for anti-viral therapies against COVID-19
Helping to explain what makes SARS-CoV-2 so capable of infecting human cells, researchers in two independent studies discovered that the virus's spike protein recognizes and binds a protein on the human cell surface called neuropilin-1.

Nanodevices show how living cells change with time, by tracking from the inside
For the first time, scientists have introduced minuscule tracking devices directly into the interior of mammalian cells, giving an unprecedented peek into the processes that govern the beginning of development.

Examining association between early treatment with tocilizumab, risk of death among critically ill COVID-19 patients
Whether treatment with tocilizumab in the first two days after being admitted to an intensive care unit was associated with a reduced risk of death among critically ill patients with COVID-19 was investigated in this study.

Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B Volume 10, Issue 8 publishes
The Journal of the Institute of Materia Medica, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association, Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B (APSB) is a monthly journal, in English, which publishes significant original research articles, rapid communications and high quality reviews of recent advances in all areas of pharmaceutical sciences -- including pharmacology, pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry, natural products, pharmacognosy, pharmaceutical analysis and pharmacokinetics.

No stain? No sweat: Terahertz waves can image early-stage breast cancer without staining
A team of researchers at Osaka University, in collaboration with the University of Bordeaux and the Bergonié Institute in France, has succeeded in terahertz imaging of early-stage breast cancer less than 0.5 mm without staining.

Keeping COVID-19 out of classrooms: Open windows, use glass screens in front of desks
Flow velocity distribution and particle size are key in aerosol transport, which is one of the main ways COVID-19 spreads, when aerosol particles are released during exhalation, talking, coughing, or sneezing.

Researchers at the forefront of developing machine learning methods for chemical discovery
Prof. Alexandre Tkatchenko and his research team at the University of Luxembourg have been awarded grants totalling 500,000 euros to conduct research in the emerging field of machine learning methods for chemical discoveries.

Anti-inflammatory therapy shows promise in slowing progression of multiple sclerosis
Intranasal administration of an anti-inflammatory drug helped reduce disease progression in a preclinical model of multiple sclerosis, according to recent research out of the University of Alberta.

Researchers develop method for earlier detection of Alzheimer's Disease
Washington State University scientists have developed a method to detect the biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease that is 10 times more sensitive than current blood testing technology.

A new material for separating CO2 from industrial waste gases, natural gas, or biogas
With the new material, developed at the University of Bayreuth, the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) can be specifically separated from industrial waste gases, natural gas, or biogas, and thereby made available for recycling.

A CNIO team describes how a virus can cause diabetes
* CNIO researchers have discovered the molecular mechanism by which coxsackievirus type B4 affects the functions and identity of beta cells that generate insulin, therefore promoting diabetes * They suggest to explore whether the potential of some drugs tested for cancer treatment in combination with antiviral therapies could be effective as a prevention and therapeutic strategy * The finding could be relevant to face the COVID-19 pandemic, since recent clinical information indicates that the SARS-CoV-2 virus might also promote diabetes in some patients

Population currently sees coronavirus as the greatest health risk
The coronavirus is currently the population's main concern. More than a quarter of consumers perceive the virus as the greatest health risk.

Researchers use gold nanorod scattering to identify immune system's 'killer and savior'
Researchers have utilized the scattering of gold nanorods to identify M1 and M2 macrophages.

One way to prevent cancer: map the fundamentals of how cells go awry
Wilmot Cancer Institute scientists focused on proteins involved in breast and brain cancer and melanoma, and made a new discovery.

Artificial intelligence reveals hundreds of millions of trees in the Sahara
There are far more trees in the West African Sahara and Sahel than most would expect.

Highly selective membranes
Membranes with microscopic pores are useful for water filtration. The effect of pore size on water filtration is well-understood, as is the role of ions, charged atoms, that interact with the membrane.

Drinking green tea and coffee daily linked to lower death risk in people with diabetes
Drinking plenty of both green tea and coffee is linked to a lower risk of dying from any cause among people with type 2 diabetes, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

COVID-19 pandemic drives innovation in diabetes care
The COVID-19 pandemic has jumpstarted innovation in health care delivery and allowed for real-world testing of diabetes care models in unprecedented ways, according to a manuscript published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Hidden-symmetry-enforced nexus points of nodal lines in layer-stacked dielectric photonic crystals
The paper reveals that Maxwell's equations can have hidden symmetries induced by the fractional periodicity of the material tensor components and paves the way to finding novel topological degeneracies unique in photonics.

New method allows more targeted measurement of thyroid hormone action in tissue
A team led by Michael Krebs from MedUni Vienna's Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism has now conducted a study to test the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMRS) to measure the effect in body tissue as well.

New risk model estimates likelihood of death or hospitalization from COVID-19
Evidence-based model uses a range of factors such as age, sex, ethnicity and existing medical conditions to predict risk of death or hospitalization from COVID-19.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are industrial chemicals that have been used for decades in several industrial processes and consumer products due to their special technical properties.

Aggressive melanoma cells at edge of tumours are key to cancer spread
Research led by Queen Mary University of London has revealed novel insights into the mechanisms employed by melanoma cells to form tumours at secondary sites around the body.

The gravity of play: Quantifying what we enjoy about games
Scientists from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have created a mathematical model combining aspects from psychology and the physics of motion to objectively analyze the appeal of games and its evolution throughout history.

Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease doesn't always work; new study uncovers why
In preclinical study, researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles uncover role for TNF, the most common target in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Oncotarget: cGAS-STING pathway in oncogenesis and cancer therapeutics
Oncotarget Volume 11, Issue 30 reported that recent evidence shows that the host innate immunity is also critical in sensing the presence of cytoplasmic DNA derived from genomic instability events, such as DNA damage and defective cell cycle progression.

How initiatives empowering employees can backfire
Strategies meant to motivate people in the workplace may have unintended consequences -- depending on who's in charge.

Light pollution may increase biting behavior at night in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes
Artificial light abnormally increases mosquito biting behavior at night in a species that typically prefers to bite people during the day, according to research from the University of Notre Dame that was published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Depths of the Weddell Sea are warming five times faster than elsewhere
Over the past three decades, the depths of the Antarctic Weddell Sea have warmed five times faster than the rest of the ocean at depths exceeding 2,000 metres.

Ban on accommodation meets with mixed acceptance among the population
The majority of the population considers the measures introduced by the Federal Government and the Länder to stem the spread of the coronavirus to be appropriate.

New approach to fighting cancer could reduce costs and side effects
CAR-T biotherapeutics company Carina Biotech and researchers at the University of South Australia have developed a novel approach based on microfluidic technology to ''purify'' the immune cells of patients in the fight against cancer.

Boron nitride nanofilms for protection from bacterial and fungal infections
NUST MISIS material scientists have presented antibacterial nano-coatings based on boron nitride, which are highly effective against microbial pathogens (up to 99.99%).

New anti-AB vaccine could help halt Alzheimer's progression, preclinical study finds
A preclinical study led by University of South Florida Health neuroscientists indicates that an antigen-presenting dendritic vaccine with a specific antibody response to oligomeric Aβ may be safer and offer clinical benefit in treating Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists discover unusual materials properties at ultrahigh pressure
An international team of scientists from NUST MISIS (Russia), Linköping University (Sweden) and University of Bayreuth (Germany) found that, contrary to the usual physical and chemical laws, the structure of some materials does not condense at ultrahigh pressures.

Newly discovered gene may give 'sea pickles' their glow
A new study describes a bioluminescent gene that could be the reason that so-called 'sea pickles,' or pyrosomes, an underwater free-floating colony of thousands of tiny animals, reverberate in blue-green light.

Tradition of petrified birds in the Dome of the Rock
The legend of Solomon and the birds associated with the Dome of the Rock was developed over time.

Plants communicate at a molecular level
Working together with researchers from the University of Tübingen, the University of Tromsø, the UC Davis and the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, biologists from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have discovered how tomato plants identify Cuscuta as a parasite.

Efficacy, politics influence public trust in COVID-19 vaccine
If an initial COVID-19 vaccine is about as effective as a flu shot, uptake by the American public may fall far short of the 70% level needed to achieve herd immunity, new Cornell research suggests.

Vitamin D: Consumption of high-dose food supplements is unnecessary
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has prepared a health risk assessment for products sold on the market as food supplements containing a daily dose of chole-calciferol -- the precursor to active vitamin D -- of 50 or 100 micrograms.

Food allergy caused by insects?
Can edible insects trigger allergies? In September 2020, the BfR launched a new joint research project to protect consumers from potential allergic reactions: Allergen-Pro.

Mortality rate higher for US rural residents
A recent study by Syracuse University sociology professor Shannon Monnat shows that mortality rates are higher for U.S. working-age residents who live in rural areas instead of metro areas, and the gap is getting wider.

Does the new heart transplant allocation policy encourage gaming by providers?
A new national policy was created to make determining who receives a heart transplant more fair.

Researchers discovered the second 'key' used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter into huma
To efficiently infect human cells, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is able to use a receptor called Neuropilin-1, which is very abundant in many human tissues including the respiratory tract, blood vessels and neurons.

Oncotarget: Inhibition of HAS2 and hyaluronic acid production by 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 in breast
Oncotarget Volume 11, Issue 30 reported that genomic profiling of murine mammary tumor cells with differential VDR expression identified 35 transcripts that were altered by the 1,25D3-VDR complex including Hyaluronan Synthase-2.

Study reveals why some blame Asian Americans for COVID-19
A blend of racial prejudice, poor coping and partisan media viewing were found in Americans who stigmatized people of Asian descent during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study.

Predicting tornadoes on UK cold fronts for the first time
Weather forecasters can more accurately predict when a tornado is likely to hit the UK thanks to a new tool devised in a partnership between the University of Leeds and the Met Office.

The GovLab launches collective intelligence to solve public problems
A new report from The Governance Lab at NYU's Tandon School of Engineering examines global examples of how public institutions are using new technology to take advantage of the collective action and collective wisdom of people in their communities and around the world to address problems like climate change, loneliness and natural disaster response

Nature Communications publishes Bluestar Genomics' technology for cancer detection study
Bluestar Genomics, an innovative company leading the development of next-generation epigenomic approaches to early cancer detection, announced today the publication of study results in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications. The study demonstrates the power of the company's platform to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages, addressing the unmet need of more than 60,000 patients diagnosed with the disease each year in the United States alone.

Tocilizumab vs standard care on preventing worsening in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia
Researchers in this randomized clinical trial compared the effect of early administration of tocilizumab with standard therapy in preventing clinical worsening in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia.

Rethinking the link between cannabinoids and learning
Animals with altered cannabinoid signalling exhibit various motor and cognitive impairments, including deficits in learning and memory.

COVID-19 cough clouds in closed spaces
As the pandemic continues, researchers have increasingly focused on how respiratory droplets carrying the coronavirus travel and contaminate the air after an infected person coughs.

Childlessness by circumstance
Why zebra finches have problems with reproduction.

Coronavirus vaccines stir doubts among many people worldwide, new study shows
New Nature Medicine study highlights potential global hesitancy to accept a COVID-19 vaccine.

The road to uncovering a novel mechanism for disposing of misfolded proteins
The discovery of the cause of a rare liver disease in babies led to uncovering a novel cellular mechanism for disposing of misfolded proteins that has implications for neurodegenerative conditions of older age

Evidence of broadside collision with dwarf galaxy discovered in Milky Way
Astrophysicists have discovered a series of telltale shell-like formations of stars in the vicinity of the Virgo constellation, evidence of a radial merger between a dwarf galaxy and the Milky Way, and the first such 'shell structures' to be found in the Milky Way.

Citizens themselves contribute to political mistrust
People have a special ability to detect and disseminate information about egotistic and selfish leaders.

Why school bullying prevention programs that involve peers may be harmful to victims
School bullying has been identified as harmful to students' mental health.

Dementia prevention strategies could save £1.9 billion annually
Programmes to reduce dementia risk by targeting smoking, high blood pressure and hearing loss are likely to be cost-effective and cost saving by reducing dementia rates by 8.5%, finds a new study by UCL and LSE researchers, published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity.

How some sea slugs keep their ability to carry out plant-like photosynthesis
Scientists have shed new light on a relationship between a sea slug and tiny structures called chloroplasts from their food algae that allow the animals to photosynthesise in a similar way to plants.

Kitchen temperature supercurrents from stacked 2D materials
A 'stack' of 2D materials could allow for supercurrents at ground-breakingly warm temperatures, easily achievable in the household kitchen.

D3Targets-2019-nCoV: a webserver for predicting drug targets and for target and multi-site based virtual screening against COVID-19
A highly effective drug therapy is urgently required to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Most psoriasis patients taking immunosuppressants survive COVID-19
Patients with psoriasis who are taking drugs that affect their immune system have high rates of survival from COVID-19.

Focal epilepsy often overlooked
Having subtler symptoms, a form of epilepsy that affects only one part of the brain often goes undiagnosed long enough to cause unexpected seizures that contribute to car crashes, a new study finds.

Study shows active older adults have better physical and mental health
Older adults with higher physical activity and lower sitting time have better overall physical and mental health, according to a new study from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Study reveals role of sleep deprivation in unwanted thoughts
A new study from the University of York offers an important insight into the impact of sleep on mental health

Interactions within larger social groups can cause tipping points in contagion flow
Contagion processes, such as opinion formation or disease spread, can reach a tipping point, where the contagion either rapidly spreads or dies out.

Effect of tocilizumab in adults hospitalized with COVID-19 with moderate or severe pneumonia
This randomized clinical trial assessed whether tocilizumab improves outcomes of patients hospitalized with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 pneumonia compared to usual care.

Children with chronic kidney disease have outsized health burden
Chronically ill children with kidney disease may spend more time in the hospital, incur larger health care costs and have a higher risk of death compared to pediatric patients hospitalized for other chronic conditions, a new study suggests.

New tool pulls elusive COVID-19 marker from human blood
Researchers at McMaster University and SQI Diagnostics in Canada have created a surface that repels every other element of human blood except an elusive cytokine critical to understanding the progress of COVID-19 in individual patients.

Slinging ink, raising temperatures
You've heard that they can sag with age, perpetuate the name of a regrettable ex, or reveal an embarrassing inability to spell.

The biological 'record' of extremely preterm birth differs in men and women
Researchers at McMaster University have found distinct effects of adversity early in life in the genomes of men compared to women who were born extremely preterm.

UArizona Health Sciences researchers find biomarker that can appear before stomach cancer
A microRNA that can be found in a blood sample may make it easier to detect gastric cancer and could lead to improved treatment for the disease and others like it that are resistant to common immunotherapies.

Safety considerations for visiting primary care doctors
Ann M. Nguyen, an assistant research professor at Rutgers Center for State Health Policy at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, who recently published a paper on safety measures at physician offices, discusses what people should know about visiting their doctor and why putting off appointments that need to be done in person could lead to other health problems.

Cognitive behavioral therapy reduces insomnia symptoms among young drinkers
More than half of young adults at risk for alcohol-related harm report symptoms of insomnia.

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

Evidence review confirms CDC guidance about infectivity of novel coronavirus
A new review of dozens of studies suggests that people may shed virus for prolonged periods, but those with mild or no symptoms may be infectious for no more than about 10 days.

Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein RNA binding domain reveals potential unique drug targeting sites
Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein RNA binding domain reveals potential unique drug targeting sites.

The consequences of mating at the molecular level
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba identified a novel mechanism by which mating affects the behavior of germline stem cells (GSCs).

UC studies tobacco use, cancer connection
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have identified new clues into ways tobacco use impacts patients with kidney cancer.

New theory sheds light on how the environment influences human health
Researchers at Mount Sinai have proposed a groundbreaking new way to study the interaction between complex biological systems in the body and the environment.

Lost and found: UH geologists 'resurrect' missing tectonic plate
A team of geologists at the University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics believes they have found the lost plate known as Resurrection in northern Canada by using existing mantle tomography images.

Salt-based mosquito-control products are ineffective, study shows
A new study by a bevy of expert mosquito researchers offers an important warning to consumers: Products claiming to reduce mosquito populations with salt-water solutions are ineffective.
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