Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 27, 2020
How do basal ganglia neurons convey information for the control of voluntary movements?
Researchers revealed how neurons in the basal ganglia, which are a brain region crucial for the control of voluntary movements and whose damage induces motor impairment, such as Parkinson's disease, convey information for the movement control by recording activity of multiple neurons simultaneously in Japanese monkeys.

Early indications of thrombosis help in preventing postoperative complications
It is well-known that surgeries can be complicated by life-threatening thromboses that are hard to predict and not easy to prevent.

Yeast study yields insights into longstanding evolution debate
In a study published Oct. 27 in the journal Cell Reports, Yale scientists show how epigenetic mechanisms contribute in real time to the evolution of a gene network in yeast.

Scientists discover how a common mutation leads to 'night owl' sleep disorder
People with delayed sleep phase disorder are unable to fall asleep until late at night (often after 2 a.m.) and have difficulty getting up in the morning.

For vampire bats, social distancing while sick comes naturally
New research shows that when vampire bats feel sick, they socially distance themselves from groupmates in their roost - no public health guidance required.

'Fast' MRI detects breast cancers that 3-D mammograms may miss
In a retrospective study of asymptomatic patients, all of whom had a negative 3-D mammogram within the previous 11 months, abbreviated MRI detected roughly 27 cancers per 1,000 women screened.

The Grantecan finds the farthest black hole that belongs to a rare family of galaxies
An international team of astronomers has identified one of the rarest known classes of gamma-ray emitting galaxies, called BL Lacertae, within the first 2 billion years of the age of the Universe.

Tailoring 2D materials to improve electronic and optical devices
New possibilities for future developments in electronic and optical devices have been unlocked by recent advancements in two-dimensional (2D) materials, according to Penn State researchers.

Reduced flexible behavior in autistic individuals is driven by less optimal learning
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show reduced flexible behavior on a probabilistic reversal learning task, underpinned by less optimal learning within each developmental stage, according to a study published October 27 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Daisy Crawley of King's College London and Lei Zhang of University of Vienna, and colleagues.

What EEGs tell us about COVID-19 and the brain
A systematic review of hundreds of cases of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 helps painting a broader picture of how COVID-19 affects the brain.

Cloud-based framework leads to improved efficiency in disaster-area management
A research team from North Carolina A&T State University has, for the first time, designed a cloud-based autonomous system framework utilizing the standard messaging protocol for the internet-of-things (IoT).

Innovative surgery restores movement in patients with Parsonage-Turner syndrome
Orthopedic surgeons at Hospital for Special Surgery performed successful microsurgery to repair damaged nerves and restore muscle strength and movement to patients experiencing paralysis from Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, according to a study published online ahead of print in The Journal of Hand Surgery.

Butterfly color diversity due to female preferences
Butterflies have long captured our attention due to their amazing color diversity.

More than half of American adults with advanced MS report mistreatment by caregivers
Four in 10 people with advanced multiple sclerosis, or MS, are emotionally abused by someone responsible for caring for them, reports a study led by the University of California, Riverside.

Large tides may have driven evolution of fish towards life on land
Big tidal ranges some 400 million years ago may have initiated the evolution of bony fish and land vertebrates.

Surprisingly mature galaxies in the early Universe
When the Universe was only a tenth of its current age its galaxies experienced a growth spurt.

TalTech chemists' new method is a significant step towards greener pharmaceutical industry
The rapid changes in the chemical industry are connected one hand with the depletion of natural resources and deepening of environmental concerns, on the other hand with the growth of environmental awareness.

Photovoltaics industry can help meet Paris agreement targets
To meet the Paris Agreement's goal of preventing Earth's average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial level, one of the best options for the energy economy will involve a shift to 100% renewable energy using solar energy and other clean energy sources.

Ultraheavy precision polymers
An environmentally friendly and sustainable synthesis of ''heavyweight'' polymers with very narrow molecular weight distributions is an important concept in modern polymer chemistry.

Model could improve design of vaccines, immunotherapies
Researchers have discovered a general property for understanding how immune cell receptors sense and respond to microbial signals, which could lead to more effective vaccines for both existing and novel viruses.

Study in Nature Medicine shows superior patient outcomes in LLS's Beat AML clinical trial
Study in Nature Medicine shows superior outcomes for patients in LLS's paradigm-shifting beat AML clinical trial.

Detect with PKAchu
Researchers use genetically engineered mice that fluoresce during PKA activation -- PKAchu -- to observe its activation in retina cells.

Black Hispanic individuals hardest hit by COVID-19
Results from a new study led by Boston Medical Center (BMC) demonstrate the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Hispanic groups within the US, with the most severe outcomes, including death and intensive care, among Hispanic Black individuals.

Hurricanes pack a bigger punch for Florida's west coast
Hurricanes, the United States' deadliest and most destructive weather disasters, are notoriously difficult to predict.

Fatal police shootings among black Americans remain high, unchanged since 2015
Overall, the report found 5,367 fatal police shootings in the five-year span, of which 4,653 were eligible for analysis because both race and age were identified.

Saving the climate from the ground up
Soil has the capacity to bind large quantities of carbon in the long term.

Endangered trees in Guam contribute to ecosystem diversity and health
Research at the University of Guam has shown that the decomposition of leaf litter from three threatened tree species releases nitrogen and carbon into the soil for use by other plants.

Effect of electroacupuncture on chronic low back pain
This randomized clinical trial compared the change in pain severity among adults with chronic low back pain who received electroacupuncture or a placebo treatment.

Cleveland Clinic-led research team identifies differences between benign and pathogenic variants
An international team of researchers led by Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute has performed for the first time a wide-scale characterization of missense variants from 1,330 disease-associated genes.

A question of affinity
A collaboration of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Germany and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have recently scrutinized organic solar cells and derived design rules for light-absorbing dyes that can help to make these cells more efficient, while tailoring the absorption spectrum of the cells to the needs of the chosen application.

New strategy for treating common retinal diseases shows promise
Scientists at Scripps Research have uncovered a potential new strategy for treating eye diseases that affect millions of people around the world, often resulting in blindness.

Seasonal Forecasts Improve Food Supply
Developing more precise seasonal forecasts to improve food supply for a total of 365 million people in eleven countries in East Africa, this is the goal of the new CONFER project.

Promising strategies for durable perovskite solar cells
Perovskite materials are increasingly popular as the active layer in solar cells, but internal forces in these materials cause distortions in their crystal structures, reducing symmetry and contributing to their intrinsic instability.

Surprising players in acute liver failure point to potential treatment
Gut microbes and host cells jointly contribute to the progression of this mostly incurable disease.

A new playbook: COVID-19, athletes' hearts and return to play
In a special report published in JAMA Cardiology, sports cardiologists offer guidance for athletes' return to play after they have recovered from COVID-19.

Researchers prove titanate nanotubes composites enhance photocatalysis of hydrogen
In a paper published in NANO, researchers from National Taiwan University examined the photocatalytic performances of titanate nanotubes (TNTs) against commonly-used titanium dioxide (TiO2) and discovered superior performance of TNTs.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Experts outline key challenges for assessing clinical efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines
Collaboration and standardised approaches for assessing different vaccine efficacy endpoints are key for meaningful comparison of different COVID-19 vaccine candidates to ensure that the most effective vaccines are deployed, say authors of an opinion piece based on a review of evidence, and published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

Scientists explain the paradox of quantum forces in nanodevices
Researchers proposed a new approach to describe the interaction of metals with electromagnetic fluctuations (i.e., with random bursts of electric and magnetic fields).

Focused efforts needed to help health IT reach its promise
Most health systems have adopted electronic health records and other health information technology over the past decade, yet the performance of health systems across the US continues to lag.

Aerosol microdroplets inefficient carriers of COVID-19 virus
Aerosol microdroplets do not appear to be extremely efficient at spreading the virus that leads to COVID-19.

'White matter lesion' mapping tool identifies early signs of dementia
A new tool for analyzing tissue damage seen on MRI brain scans can detect with more than 70% accuracy early signs of cognitive decline, new research shows.

Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 papain-like protease
The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is changing the world like never before.

Biodiversity monitoring programmes need a culture of collaboration
Biodiversity loss is continuing relentlessly worldwide. In order to counteract this, precise monitoring programmes are needed.

Oncotarget: KDM5A and PHF2 positively control expression of pro-metastatic genes
The cover for Issue 43 of Oncotarget features Figure 6, ''(A) Following the experimental protocol of Franzetti et al.

Judges' decisions in sport focus more on vigour than skill
Researchers from the University of Plymouth analysed almost 550 men's and women's mixed martial arts contests, using data collated for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and found the rate at which competitors fight is more likely to result in judges awarding victory than the skill with which they attack their opponents.

Empathy may be in the eye of the beholder
Do we always want people to show empathy? Not so, said researchers from the University of California, Davis.

The Lancet Healthy Longevity: Residential context important factor in risk of COVID-19 mortality among older adults, Stockholm study suggests
Older people living with or in close contact with people of working age may be at higher risk of COVID-19 mortality in Stockholm, Sweden, according to an observational study published today in The Lancet Healthy Longevity journal.

Swiss fatalism protects against negative feelings in the pandemic
Trust or disappointment in government crisis management is an important factor for the general mood, shows a study by the University of Zurich based on surveys in Israel and Switzerland.

Cauliflower coral genome sequenced
A newly sequenced coral genome offers tools to understand environmental adaptation.

"Fireball" meteorite contains pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds
A fireball meteorite fell onto a frozen lake in Michigan, and since it was quickly collected before getting exposed to liquid water, it gives scientists a glimpse of what space rocks are like when they're still in space.

Death rates among people with severe COVID-19 drop by a half in England
Death rates from people with severe COVID-19 in hospital have dropped to around a half of the rate at the peak of the pandemic, new research has revealed.

Random effects key to containing epidemics
To control an epidemic, authorities will often impose varying degrees of lockdown.

Geologists simulate soil conditions to help grow plants on Mars
Humankind's next giant step may be onto Mars. But before those missions can begin, scientists need to make scores of breakthrough advances, including learning how to grow crops on the red planet.

Identifying potential anti-COVID-19 pharmacological components of TCM
Identifying potential anti-COVID-19 pharmacological components of traditional Chinese medicine Lianhuaqingwen capsule based on human exposure and ACE2 biochromatography screening https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsb.2020.10.002 Lianhuaqingwen (LHQW) capsule, a herb medicine product, has been clinically proved to be effective in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia treatment.

Computer vision helps find binding sites in drug targets
Scientists from the iMolecule group at Skoltech developed BiteNet, a machine learning (ML) algorithm that helps find drug binding sites, i.e. potential drug targets, in proteins.

A study has demonstrated that omega-3 rich foods improve post-heart attack prognosis
A team of researchers from the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital and Research Institute (IGTP) and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) has shown that regularly consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, from both animal and vegetable origins, strengthens the heart's membranes and helps improve the prognosis in the event of a myocardial infarction.

USTC develops single crystalline quaternary sulfide nanobelts
USTC has designed a simple colloidal method to synthesize single crystalline wurtzite CZIS nanobelts, as well as the single crystalline wurtzite CZGS nanobelts assisted with oleylamine and 1-dodecanethiol.

Water consumption for trees is calculated in order to design precision irrigation systems
A University of Cordoba and Spanish National Research Council research team validated an indicator based on using a tree's temperature to calculate relative water consumption at an almond tree plantation

Assessing consistency in meta-analysis: a new measure considers statistical power
Researchers have improved the assessment of consistency in meta-analysis. The improved consistency measure considers statistical power, and it has potential to alter the interpretation of meta-analyses.

Neutrons chart atomic map of COVID-19's viral replication mechanism
To better understand how the novel coronavirus behaves and how it can be stopped, scientists have completed a three-dimensional map that reveals the location of every atom in an enzyme molecule critical to SARS-CoV-2 reproduction.

Cancer's dangerous renovations to our chromosomes revealed
Cancer remodels the architecture of our chromosomes so the disease can take hold and spread, new research reveals.

Precaution: Lessons from COVID-19
Which is more important in the initial phase of a pandemic: taking precautionary actions or responding to its severity?

Identified a subgroup of stem cells that resists ageing and maintains muscle regeneration
For the first time the researchers have demonstrated in a study in mice that not all muscle stem cells age equally, and have identified a subgroup with greater regenerative capacity which is maintained until geriatric age.

Stay focused: Algae-inspired polymers light the way for enhanced night vision
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba processed sulfur, and algae and plant compounds, into an elastic lens that maintains substantial variable focus in infrared imaging.

Researchers discover proton regulator of essential cancer microRNA
These findings, published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, unveil that a 'hidden' layer of regulation by which the intrinsic dynamic ensemble of miRNA processing intermediates can direct the outcome of important biological processes in response to environmental and cellular stimuli in the absence of protein factors.

Study reinforces drug's potential to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
WSU research sheds new light on a molecule that may be used to treat heart conditions that can lead to stroke, heart attack and other forms of heart disease.

Cucurbit downy mildew pathogen has two genetically distinct host-adapted clades
North Carolina State University plant pathologists determined that the causal pathogen, Pseudoperonospora cubensis, has two genetically distinct host-adapted clades and also found that wild cucurbits can serve as reservoirs for this pathogen.

What do breast cancer cells feel inside the tumour?
Using a new technique, a team of McGill University researchers has found tiny and previously undetectable 'hot spots' of extremely high stiffness inside aggressive and invasive breast cancer tumours.

Back to the future of climate
Hot and humid: Using minerals from ancient soils, ETH researchers are reconstructing the climate that prevailed on Earth some 55 million years ago.

Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B Volume 10, Issue 9 publishes
Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B Volume 10, Issue 9 Publishes https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/acta-pharmaceutica-sinica-b/vol/10/issue/9

Sports science: quality wins games
''Quality Wins Games'' - this is the conclusion drawn by scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in their study ''Success Factors in Football: An Analysis of the German Bundesliga''.

Scientists map structure of potent antibody against coronavirus
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have shown that a potent antibody from a COVID-19 survivor interferes with a key feature on the surface of the coronavirus's distinctive spikes and induces critical pieces of those spikes to break off in the process.

Study: Most migratory birds rely on a greening world
A new study from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology confirms that most birds -- but not all -- synchronize their migratory movements with seasonal changes in vegetation greenness.

Can individual differences be detected in same-shaped pottery vessels by unknown craftsmen?
An interdisciplinary research team has investigated whether there are quantitative differences that can be used to identify individual potters who make traditional, fixed-shape vessels that have been made in the same way for generations.

Cancer treatment without side effects?
Treating cancer without debilitating side effects has long been the holy grail of oncologists, and researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Switzerland's Lausanne University Hospital may have found it.

Study reveals differences in malaria clearance between males and females
Females are able to clear asymptomatic malaria infections at a faster rate than their male counterparts, says a study published today in eLife.

Vampire bats social distance when they get sick
A new paper in Behavioral Ecology finds that wild vampire bats that are sick spend less time near others from their community, which slows how quickly a disease will spread.

New approach to diagnosing genetic diseases using RNA sequencing increases yield
A new study from Baylor College of Medicine finds that starting genetic analysis with RNA sequencing can increase diagnostic yield and confidence in diagnosis.

Beaches can survive sea-level rises as long as they have space to move
An international team of coastal scientists has dismissed suggestions that half the world's beaches could become extinct over the course of the 21st century.

Langerhans cells are up to the job, they just need a chance
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba found that Langerhans cells (LCs) play a crucial role in mucocutaneous acute guest-versus-host disease (aGVHD).

Biomarkers could be used in a quick, inexpensive COVID-19 blood screening tool
A new study suggests that COVID-19 affects the human body's blood concentration levels of specific metabolites - small molecules broken down in the human body through the process of metabolism.

People with disabilities view health care access as human right, study shows
Analysis of national survey data of Americans with disabilities finds they overwhelmingly view health care access as a human right, but many barriers stand in their way, including insurance tied to employment and policy makers not listening.

Scientists use clues in the human genome to discover new inflammatory syndrome
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have discovered a new inflammatory disorder called vacuoles, E1 enzyme, X-linked, autoinflammatory and somatic syndrome (VEXAS), which is caused by mutations in the UBA1 gene.

Cerebrospinal fluid as liquid biopsy for characterizing & policing of medulloblastoma
Building on previous research led by Joan Seoane, Director of Translational Research at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and ICREA Research Professor, latest findings from a proof-of-concept study published in Nature Communications, show that the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), allows for the more precise characterization, molecular diagnosis (including subtyping and risk stratification), and real time tracking of medulloblastoma (MB) - the most prevalent malignant brain tumor in childhood.

Low-cost airlines have adapted best to COVID-19
The study reveals that during the pandemic, these airlines have proved more resilient than traditional ones, due to their lower exposure to long-haul traffic

Small mussels in the Baltic are getting even smaller
Blue mussels in the Baltic Sea are getting smaller with time but bigger in numbers, according to a new study from Stockholm University.

Ice loss due to warming leads to warming due to ice loss: a vicious circle
The loss of huge ice masses can contribute to the warming that is causing this loss and further risks.

Postpartum depression may persist three years after giving birth
A National Institutes of Health study of 5,000 women has found that approximately 1 in 4 experienced high levels of depressive symptoms at some point in the three years after giving birth.

New cancer diagnostics: A glimpse into the tumor in 3D
A new technique could initiate a revolution in pathology: Tumor tissue is made transparent and illuminated with a special ultramicroscope.

Study reveals fibulin 5 is required for Schwann cells' myelination
A study released in STEM CELLS may point to a new treatment for myelin-related disorders including Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease.

Research news tip sheet: story ideas from Johns Hopkins Medicine
Research News Tip Sheet: Story Ideas From Johns Hopkins Medicine

Study reveals factors that can make placenta less capable of protecting fetus from zika
Findings reported by Brazilian researchers in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases help explain why only some babies whose mothers are infected during pregnancy are born with microcephaly and other anomalies.

Astronomers are bulging with data
For the first time, over 250 million stars in our galaxy's bulge have been surveyed in near-ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared light, opening the door for astronomers to reexamine key questions about the Milky Way's formation and history.

The rhythm of change: What a drum-beat experiment reveals about cultural evolution
Living organisms aren't the only things that evolve over time.

Coastal Greenland reshaped as Greenland ice sheet mass loss accelerates
Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet has accelerated significantly over the past two decades, transforming the shape of the ice sheet edge and therefore coastal Greenland.

Low quantity and quality of muscle predicts poor outcomes in colon cancer surgery
New study suggests interventions to help patients build muscle before surgery may improve their outcomes

Scientists uncover prophage defense mechanisms against phage attacks in mycobacteria
Lehigh University researchers have uncovered a two-component system of Butters prophage genes that encode proteins that ''collaborate'' to block entry and subsequent infection of some phages, but not others.

Energy at risk: the impact of climate change on supply and costs
The energy sector is not only cause, but also victim of climate change.

Coronaviruses are masters of mimicry, new study finds
Coronaviruses are adept at imitating human immune proteins that have been implicated in severe COVID-19 disease, a study from researchers at Columbia University has found.

Galaxies in the infant universe were surprisingly mature
ALMA telescope conducts largest survey yet of distant galaxies in the early universe.

COVID-19: Call for millions spent on failing system to be diverted to local services
A group of doctors is calling on the government to divert the hundreds of millions of pounds being spent on the failing centralised privatised COVID-19 national test and trace service into local primary care, local NHS labs and local public health services.

Study shows how tiny compartments could have preceded cells
Researchers used Argonne's Advanced Photon Source to study membraneless compartments as they underwent wet-dry cycles, shedding light on prebiotic Earth.

Study finds over 80 percent of COVID-19 patients have vitamin D deficiency
Over 80 percent of 200 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Spain have vitamin D deficiency, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

18F-Fluciclovine PET/MRI for prostate cancer staging, androgen deprivation evaluation
According to an open-access article in ARRS' American Journal of Roentgenology, fluorine-18-labeled fluciclovine PET/MRI demonstrated utility in the initial staging of high-risk prostate cancer, as well as for evaluating the response to androgen deprivation therapy.

Theoreticians show which quantum systems are suitable for quantum simulations
A joint research group led by Prof. Jens Eisert of Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has shown a way to simulate the quantum physical properties of complex solid state systems.

Post-wildfire hazards: Toward an understanding of when & how slope failure may occur
Across the western US, severe wildfires fueled by tinder-dry vegetation have already burned more than 3.2 million hectares (8 million acres [as of the time of this press release]) -- an area the size of Maryland -- in 2020, and nearly six times that area burned this year in Australia.

Species loss affects basis of life of humans
Current species loss also affects our food, water supply, building materials and energy sources.

Antarctica yields oldest fossils of giant birds with 21-foot wingspans
Some of the largest birds in history, called pelagornithids, arose a few million years after the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and patrolled the oceans with giant wingspans for some 60 million years.

Renewable energy targets can undermine sustainable intentions
Renewable energy targets (RETs) may be too blunt a tool for ensuring a sustainable future, according to University of Queensland-led research.

The sweet spot of flagellar assembly
To build the machinery that enables bacteria to swim the flagellum is assembled piece by piece, ending with the helix called flagellar filament, composed of six different subunits called flagellins.

Cancer cells mediate immune suppression in the brain
Notre Dame researchers showed that one type of cell important for immunity, called a myeloid cell, can suppress the immune response -- which has the effect of allowing breast cancer cells to metastasize to the brain to form secondary tumor cells there.

New study shows food rich in omega-3 EPA & ALA can reduce risk of death after heart attack
A new observational study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and supported by the California Walnut Commission, found that regular consumption of foods rich in omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), found in marine foods like fatty fish, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in plant foods like walnuts, was associated with improved outcomes in individuals who suffered a heart attack, including decreased risk of death.

New research predicts whether rheumatoid arthritis patients will respond to treatment
A new study led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London provides potential novel biomarkers for predicting patient responsiveness to disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Drug resistance linked to antibiotic use and patient transfers in hospitals
Understanding the role of antibiotic use patterns and patient transfers in the emergence of drug-resistant microbes is essential to crafting effective prevention strategies, suggests a study published today in eLife.

Genetic analysis of B. infantis strains reveal functional superiority of activated EVC001 in infants
When it comes to infant probiotics the strain matters. The genetic analysis of a key infant gut bacteria B. infantis, reveals superiority of activated EVC001 strain to provide health benefits to babies.
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