Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 20, 2020
Do neural networks dream visual illusions?
This is the question studied by researchers at the Department of Information and Communication Technologies, led by Marcelo Bertalmío together with Jesús Malo, a researcher at the University of Valencia.

A comprehensive look at the effects of climate change on Mount Everest
Between April and June of 2019, 10 research teams composed of 34 international and Nepali scientists journeyed toward the summit of Mount Everest as part of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition.

Study: TB vaccine linked to lower risk of contracting COVID-19
A widely used tuberculosis vaccine is associated with reduced likelihood of contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus), according to a new study by Cedars-Sinai.

New findings speed progress towards affordable gene therapy
In a promising advance for affordable, personalised medicine, researchers have used metal-organic frameworks to successfully deliver the genetic snipping tool CRISPR/Cas9 into human cancer cells.

Glyphosate may affect human gut microbiota
More than half of bacterial species in the core of the human gut microbiome are potentially sensitive to glyphosate, shows new research.

Breast cancer discovery could help stop disease's deadly spread
Researchers have identified a gene responsible for the spread of triple-negative breast cancer to other parts of the body and developed a potential way to stop it.

SARS-CoV-2 transmission model offers decision-making pathways for safe school opening
A study in BMC Public Health reports on a new model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the school setting that finds if appropriate precautions are followed both in school and in the community, schools can safely remain open or reopen.

A sulfur molecule to block the coronavirus
The cell membrane is impermeable to viruses: to get inside a cell, they have to exploit the biochemical properties of the membranes.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy guideline encourages shared decision-making
The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology today released an updated guideline for managing patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

For COVID-19 surveillance, test frequency and turnaround time are paramount, modeling suggests
Speed of test results and frequency of testing are paramount for effective COVID-19 surveillance, suggests a new study that modeled trade-offs in test sensitivity, test frequency, and sample-to-answer reporting time, in select scenarios.

Adipose tissue may be the source of inflammatory factors that aggravate COVID-19
Preliminary results of patient tissue analysis show that the virus infects adipocytes and alters the quantity of signaling molecules released by these cells into the bloodstream.

Limited access to buprenorphine restricts resident physicians treating opioid abusers
A University of South Florida Health-led survey of resident physicians in Florida indicates they are interested in treating opioid addiction but face barriers to offering patients treatment using buprenorphine, an FDA-approved medication shown to successfully decrease opioid use, overdose events, and deaths associated with opioids.

Plant research seals importance of microbes for survival and growth
Scientists have revealed that plants have a 'sealing' mechanism supported by microbes in the root that are vital for the intake of nutrients for survival and growth.

Nursing home residents with POLST forms three times more likely to have preferences known
Nursing home residents with medical order forms indicating their treatment preferences were three times more likely to have their current preferences documented in their medical record than residents without the forms, according to a study from Indiana University School of Nursing and IU Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute.

Potential cellular target for eliminating bone breakdown in osteoporosis found
By disabling a function of a set of cells in mice, researchers appear to have halted the process that breaks down bone, a potential boon for osteoporosis treatment

Gut-brain axis influences multiple sclerosis
A Basel-led international research team has discovered a connection between the intestinal flora and sites of inflammation in the central nervous system in multiple sclerosis.

New guide on using drones for conservation
Drones are a powerful tool for conservation - but they should only be used after careful consideration and planning, according to a new report.

There are microplastics near the top of Mount Everest too
Researchers analyzing snow and stream samples from the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition have found evidence of microplastic pollution on Mount Everest.

Dormant threat: Abnormal proteins unleash latent toxicity in neurodegenerative diseases
Though neurodegenerative diseases are becoming more common in today's aging societies, the exact way in which accumulated abnormal proteins become toxic to neurons is unknown.

Highly efficient, long-lasting electrocatalyst to boost hydrogen fuel production
The IBS research team developed a highly efficient and long-lasting electrocatalyst for water oxidation using cobalt, iron, and a minimal amount of ruthenium.

Altered 'coat' disguises fatal brain virus from neutralizing antibodies
A genetic modification in the 'coat' of a brain infection-causing virus may allow it to escape antibodies, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

New insights into memristive devices by combining incipient ferroelectrics and graphene
Scientists are working to create neuromorphic computers, with a design based on the human brain.

COVID-19 patients survive in-hospital cardiac arrest at pre-pandemic rates
Resuscitation and survival rates of hospitalized COVID-19 patients who've had cardiac arrest are much higher than earlier reports of near-zero; variation at the individual hospital level may have affected overall numbers

Coaching sales agents? Use AI and human coaches
Instead of simply applying an AI coach to the entire workforce, managers ought to prudently design it for targeted sales agents.

New solvent-based recycling process could cut down on millions of tons of plastic waste
Multilayer plastic materials are ubiquitous in food and medical supply packaging, particularly since layering polymers can give those films specific properties, like heat resistance or oxygen and moisture control.

A long distance connection: polar climate affects trade wind strength in tropics
The impact of sea surface temperature variations in the tropical Pacific on global climate has long been recognized.

Alternative gene control mechanism based on organization of DNA within nucleus
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have identified how the architecture of the cell nucleus can change gene activity in plants.

WSU scientists discover new, simple way to classify marine biomes
Washington State University scientists have developed a new way to classify the ocean's diverse environments, shedding new light on how marine biomes are defined and changed by nature and humans.

Improving quantum dot interactions, one layer at a time
Osaka City University scientists and colleagues in Japan have found a way to control an interaction between quantum dots that could greatly improve charge transport, leading to more efficient solar cells.

Near-infrared probe decodes telomere dynamics
A new synthetic probe offers a safe and straightforward approach for visualizing chromosome tips in living cells.

Age is no barrier to successful weight loss, new study finds
Obese patients over the age of 60 can lose an equivalent amount of weight as younger people using only lifestyle changes, according to a new study from the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust that demonstrates that age is no barrier to losing weight.

Biofriendly protocells pump up blood vessels
In a new study published today in Nature Chemistry, Professor Stephen Mann and Dr Mei Li from Bristol's School of Chemistry, together with Associate Professor Jianbo Liu and colleagues at Hunan University and Central South University in China, prepared synthetic protocells coated in red blood cell fragments for use as nitric oxide generating bio-bots within blood vessels.

Discovery illuminates how cell growth pathway responds to signals
A basic science discovery by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals a fundamental way cells interpret signals from their environment and may eventually pave the way for potential new therapies.

Frequent, rapid testing could cripple COVID within weeks, study shows
When it comes to curbing the spread of COVID-19, test frequency and test turnaround-time are far more important than test sensitivity, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.

Monitoring glaucoma at home
Glaucoma is a chronic condition that affects cells at the back of the eye.

Biophysics - geometry supersedes simulations
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich physicists have introduced a new method that allows biological pattern-forming systems to be systematically characterized with the aid of mathematical analysis.

Zebra finches amazing at unmasking the bird behind the song
Like humans who can instantly tell which friend or relative is calling by the timbre of the person's voice, zebra finches have a near-human capacity for language mapping.

Memories create 'fingerprints' that reveal how the brain is organized
While the broad architecture and organization of the human brain is universal, new research shows how the differences between how people reimagine common scenarios can be observed in brain activity and quantified.

Simple, no-cost ways to help the public care for the commons
By fostering visitors' individual feelings of ownership of a public resource, visitors will feel more responsible for it, take better care of it, and donate more time and money for its benefit.

TTUHSC scientist takes next step in search for bone disease treatment
For more than a decade, TTUHSC's Hiranmoy Das, Ph.D., has been investigating how KLF2 influences the development of bone and musculoskeletal diseases.

Emergency imaging trends in pediatric vs. adult patients for abdominal pain
According to AJR, although pediatric CT use has decreased for the evaluation of abdominal pain (perhaps due to implementing an ultrasound-first strategy for suspected appendicitis), CT use has continued to increase among adults with abdominal pain in U.S. emergency department (ED) visits.

Middle Stone Age populations repeatedly occupied West African coast
In a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, researchers from the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH), and the University of Sheffield, reveal evidence of Middle Stone Age occupations of the West African coast.

Light-controlled nanomachine controls catalysis
The vision of the future of miniaturisation has produced a series of synthetic molecular motors that are driven by a range of energy sources and can carry out various movements.

Staying ahead of the curve with 3D curved graphene
A team of researchers has amplified 3D graphene's electrical properties by controlling its curvature.

Microplastics in the death zone
Researchers from the University of Plymouth's International Marine Litter Research Unit have identified the highest recorded microplastics ever found on Earth - at an altitude of more than 8,000 metres, close to the summit of Mount Everest.

The microbiome of Da Vinci's drawings
The microbiome study of seven drawings from Leonardo Da Vinci reveals that conservation work, geographical location, and past contaminations leave invisible traces on drawings despite their optimal storage conditions: a novel aspect of art objects that could be monitored to establish a bioarchive of our artistic heritage.

Minuscule migrations
Cells move constantly throughout our bodies, performing myriad operations critical to tissue development, immune responses and general wellbeing.

SFU researchers examine which approaches are most effective at reducing COVID-19 spread
Simon Fraser University professors Paul Tupper and Caroline Colijn have found that physical distancing is universally effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19, while social bubbles and masks are more situation-dependent.

CHOP researchers reverse severe lymphatic disorder in patient with Noonan syndrome
Researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have resolved a severe lymphatic disorder in a girl with Noonan Syndrome that had led to upper gastrointestinal bleeding, fluid collection around the lungs, and numerous surgeries that had been unable to resolve her symptoms.

COVID-19 News from Annals of Internal Medicine
Ethical and Scientific Considerations Regarding the Early Approval and Deployment of a COVID-19 Vaccine.

New type of ultrahigh piezoelectricity in hydrogen-bonded ferroelectrics
A new strategy is proposed to generate ultra-high piezoelectric coefficients, and many hydrogen-bonded ferroelectrics (e.g., organic PhMDA) can be ideal candidates owing to the specific features of hydrogen bonding.

NRL researchers catch supermassive black holes launching newborn radio jets
NRL researchers led a team of scientists who discovered some of the youngest known radio jets launched by growing supermassive black holes.

Risk of mental disorders later in life potentially higher in kids of low-income families
The results gained in a study involving approximately one million Danish children increase the understanding of how socio-economic differences in childhood affect the development of mental disorders in the Nordic countries.

New report projects severe coral bleaching globally in this century
MIAMI--The United Nations recently released a new report projecting future coral reef bleaching globally.

Science reveals secrets of a mummy's portrait
How much information can you get from a speck of purple pigment, no bigger than the diameter of a hair, plucked from an Egyptian portrait that's nearly 2,000 years old?

One-way street for electrons
An international team of physicists, led by researchers of the Universities of Oldenburg and Bremen, Germany, has recorded an ultrafast film of the directed energy transport between neighbouring molecules in a nanomaterial.

Food health star ratings can improve diets, study finds
More evidence has emerged that food labelling can encourage manufacturers to improve product nutrition, but University of Melbourne experts say the star labelling system must be compulsory to make a big difference.

MMR vaccine could protect against COVID-19
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has been theorized to provide protection against COVID-19.

Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are detected up to 3 months after infection
The follow-up study in health care workers of the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona hopes to provide information on the duration of different antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and their role in protecting from disease and reinfection

Dogmatic people seek less information even when uncertain
People who are dogmatic about their views seek less information and make less accurate judgements as a result, even on simple matters unrelated to politics, according to a study led by UCL and Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics researchers.

Rare species of small cats inadequately protected
The Indian subcontinent is a hotspot for wild felines. A new study headed by Uppsala University now shows that only 6-11 per cent of the areas where three rare cat species have their habitat are protected.

Gut immune cells may help send MS into remission
An international research team led by UCSF scientists has shown, for the first time, that gut immune cells travel to the brain during multiple sclerosis (MS) flare-ups in patients.

Study evaluates new World Health Organization Labor Care Guide for maternity care providers
The World Health Organization developed the new Labor Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centered care during labor and childbirth.

Getting it just right - the Goldilocks model of cancer
Cancer is a disease driven by mutations that alter the way biochemical signals control cell growth, division and migration.

New non-invasive technology could spot early signs of motor disorders in babies
Imperial College London scientists have created the world's first non-invasive way to map how baby movements are generated on a neuronal level.

States unfairly burdening incarcerated people with 'pay-to-stay' fees
Pay-to-stay, the practice of charging people to pay for their own jail or prison confinement, is being enforced unfairly by using criminal, civil and administrative law, according to a new Rutgers University-New Brunswick led study.

A biochemical random number
ETH Zurich scientists have generated a huge true random number using DNA synthesis.

Plant evolves to become less visible to humans
A plant used in traditional Chinese medicine has evolved to become less visible to humans, new research shows.

Some Amazon rainforest regions more resistant to climate change than previously thought
Is the Amazon rainforest as sensitive to water stress as what the current models have been showing?

Sexual minorities, especially women, who misuse substances more likely to have psychiatric disorders
More than half of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals who misuse alcohol or tobacco also have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder, compared to one-third of heterosexuals, a new University of Michigan study finds.

After more than a decade, ChIP-seq may be quantitative after all
For more than a decade, scientists studying epigenetics have used a powerful method called ChIP-seq to map changes in proteins and other critical regulatory factors across the genome.

T-cell abnormalities in severe COVID-19 cases
There appears to be some kind of T cell abnormality in critically ill COVID-19 patients but specific details are unclear.

Ancient interleukins 2, 15, and 15-like exhibited distinct functions but all bound IL-15Ra
Interleukin-15-like (IL-15L) is found in both fish and mammals and may be the last remaining cytokine shared between those species for which the function had not been determined yet.

New tool helps predict outcomes for COVID-19
A study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine this month reports on an assessment tool developed by Kaiser Permanente researchers and physicians that helps ensure patients get the right care, when they need it, by accurately predicting the probability that patients with COVID-19 symptoms will experience severe disease or even death.

Ribosome assembly - The final trimming step
Ribosomes synthesize all the proteins in cells. Studies mainly done on yeast have revealed much about how ribosomes are put together, but an Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich team now reports that ribosome assembly in human cells requires factors that have no counterparts in simpler model organisms.

Supramolecular chemistry - Self-constructed folded macrocycles with low symmetry
The synthesis and self-organization of biological macromolecules is essential for life on earth.

Scientists propose to make a laser scalpel with a 'curved' blade
Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University and Saratov State University teamed up with colleagues from Taiwan and proposed to make a laser 'blade' for a medical scalpel with a specified curved shape using a photonic 'hook'.

Field geology at Mars' equator points to ancient megaflood
Floods of unimaginable magnitude once washed through Gale Crater on Mars' equator around 4 billion years ago - a finding that hints at the possibility that life may have existed there, according to data collected by NASA's Curiosity rover and analyzed in joint project by scientists from Jackson State University, Cornell University, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Hawaii.

Study: Countering hate on social media
The rise of online hate speech is a disturbing, growing trend in countries around the world, with serious psychological consequences and the potential to impact, and even contribute to, real-world violence.

Folding of SARS-CoV2 genome reveals drug targets -- and preparation for 'SARS-CoV3'
For the first time, an international research alliance has observed the RNA folding structures of the SARS-CoV2 genome with which the virus controls the infection process.
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