Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 08, 2020
The Lancet: Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is safe and protects against disease, first published results from phase 3 trials
Interim results of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trials find that the vaccine protects against symptomatic disease in 70% of cases - with vaccine efficacy of 62% for those given two full doses, and of 90% in those given a half then a full dose (both trial arms pre-specified in the pooled analysis).

Large US study confirms COVID-19 complications: lung, kidney and cardiovascular issues
A large study of patients in the United States who contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) confirms many complications of the disease, according to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Eyebuy: Sweeping glances can cost you money
When Christmas shopping, customers should keep their eyes unter control.

AGU panel explores environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as observed from space
COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work, as various health and safety restrictions keep more of us at home more often.

Beavers may help amphibians threatened by climate change
A study of pond sites in the Cascades found greater amphibian diversity in sites with beaver damns.

Safety of delaying surgery for high-risk prostate cancer
Considering when health care resources need to be prioritized during special times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers in this observational study looked at whether delaying radical prostatectomy surgery for up to six months for high-risk prostate cancer was associated with worse outcomes.

Labeling paid 'influencer' vaping posts as ads draws attention
Social media influencers vaping glamorously into their social media feeds are often not doing so for free.

Coral recovery during a prolonged heatwave offers new hope
University of Victoria biologists have discovered how some corals managed to survive a globally unprecedented heatwave, in a first-ever study that provides new hope for the long-term survival of coral reefs in the face of climate change.

What are schools doing to feed students during COVID-19-related closures?
As schools across the United States are grappling with remote and hybrid learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published by Elsevier, investigates the initial responses of child nutrition administrative agencies in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia (DC), five US territories, and the US Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

Science leaders issue clarion call for evidence-based policy
Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, US science leaders and others have expressed frustration with the lack of an informed and coherent federal response, a sentiment that echoes objections to the handling of other pressing issues, such as climate change.

Risk of serious complications during knee replacement 73% higher when a tourniquet is used
The risk of developing serious complications following a knee replacement could be up to 73% higher when a tourniquet is used, compared to surgery without a tourniquet.

Researchers share database for studying individual differences in language skills
Why do people differ in their ability to use language?

Why do elephants and tigers still roam in India? Study offers clues
A study documenting four extinctions of large mammals on the Indian Subcontinent sheds light on why elephants, tigers, and rhinos still roam there.

Army looks to improve quadrotor drone performance
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's, now referred to as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory collaborated with researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to create a trajectory planner that significantly shortens the time it takes for VTOL tail-sitter drones to make this crucial transition.

Corona pandemic could be better tackled by reducing aerosol transmission.
Aerosols and their spread play an essential role in the transmission of COVID-19.

Reductive stress in neuroblastoma cells aggregates protein and impairs neurogenesis
Cells require a balance among oxidation-reduction reactions, or redox homeostasis.

Study confirms dark coating can reduce satellite reflectivity
Observations conducted by the Murikabushi Telescope of Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory confirmed that dark coating can reduce satellite reflectivity by half.

Long-term study of gene therapy technique in monkeys finds no adverse health effects
A decade after the birth of the first primates born with the aid of a gene therapy technique designed to prevent inherited mitochondrial disease, a careful study of the monkeys and their offspring reveals no adverse health effects.

Studying trust in autonomous products
Stanford engineers investigated how people's moods might affect their trust of autonomous products, such as smart speakers.

A role for the slow oscillations of the neocortex in epileptic spasm generation
Epileptic spasms are a type of brief seizures that are the hallmark of catastrophic seizure disorders and characterized by severe cognitive and motor deficits.

Disrupting the cellular process that promotes pancreatic cancer's deadly growth
Researchers say they've identified a way to disrupt a process that promotes the growth of pancreatic cancers -- one of the most difficult and deadly cancers to treat.

Most U.S. social studies teachers feel unprepared to teach civic learning
Only one in five social studies teachers in U.S. public schools report feeling very well prepared to support students' civic learning, saying they need additional aid with instructional materials, professional development and training, according to a RAND Corporation survey.

SMART researchers design portable device for fast detection of plant stress
Researchers from Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) have designed a portable optical sensor that allows rapid monitoring of plant stress - a new tool to help farmers and plant scientists with early diagnosis and real-time plant health monitoring in field conditions.

Deep Longevity publishes an epigenetic aging clock of unprecedented accuracy
Longevity startup ''Deep Longevity'' has released a new high-accuracy methylation aging clock -- DeepMAge.

Research develops new theoretical approach to manipulate light
The quest to discover pioneering new ways in which to manipulate how light travels through electromagnetic materials has taken a new, unusual twist.

Pollution from cooking remains in atmosphere for longer - study
Particulate emissions from cooking stay in the atmosphere for longer than previously thought, making a prolonged contribution to poor air quality and human health, according to a new study.

Smartphone data shows real-time impact on health
Researchers at Cornell University are using smartphones to capture location and real-time survey data to examine how social environments encountered in everyday life may affect health.

Researchers discover treatment that suppresses liver cancer
Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have discovered a treatment combination that significantly reduces tumor growth and extends the life span of mice with liver cancer.

Algorithms and automation: Making new technology faster and cheaper
Additive manufacturing (AM) machinery has advanced over time, however, the necessary software for new machines often lags behind.

Silver linings: Adding silver to the nanoclusters can do wonders for their luminescence
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology have discovered that a silver-doped platinum thiolate nanometal complex shows 18-fold greater photoluminescence than the original platinum complex.

New findings shed light on the repair of UV-induced DNA damage
A repair system in our cells fixes DNA damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, however the detailed process behind this is not fully understood.

Visual short-term memory is more complex than previously assumed
Contrary to previous assumptions, visual short-term memory is not merely based on one kind of information about an object, such as only its colour or only its name.

COVID-19: persistent symptoms in one third of cases
A team of physicians and epidemiologists from the University of Geneva the University Hospitals of Geneva and the General Health Directorate of the State of Geneva followed nearly 700 people who tested positive for SARS-COV2 but did not require hospitalisation.

Natural reward theory could provide new foundation for biology
Major trends of evolution, including the increase of complexity, command over resources, and innovativeness, have remained difficult to reconcile with Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Bullied lesbian, gay and bisexual students more likely to carry weapons
A new study has found youth who report carrying a weapon have higher odds of experiencing bullying and bullying-related victimization.

Study: Bartonella infection associated with psychiatric symptoms and skin lesions
Bartonella bacteria are increasingly recognized as an emerging infectious disease threat.

'Pink tax' hurts female consumers, but electing more women combats it
The wage gap between men and women is no secret, but another form of gender discrimination directly and disproportionately affects women worldwide: the ''pink tax'' imposed by import tariffs that target female products.

New cost-effective technique facilitates study of non-bacterial plant microbiomes
Thanks to a new technique developed by plant pathologists in Connecticut, scientists now have access to an affordable and effective tool to facilitate the study of the entire non-bacterial microbiomes of any plant species.

Human systems management critical for businesses during COVID-19
Amsterdam, NL, December 8, 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all types of organizations, leading human resources managers to reconsider their roles to support the implementation of social distancing practices, safety measures, and new ways of working.

A molecule like a nanobattery
How do molecular catalysts function, and what effects do they have?

In new step toward quantum tech, scientists synthesize 'bright' quantum bits
Qubits (short for quantum bits) are often made of the same semiconducting materials as our everyday electronics.

Johns Hopkins develops potential antibiotic for drug-resistant pathogen
Scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine have developed a possible new antibiotic for a pathogen that is notoriously resistant to medications and frequently lethal for people with cystic fibrosis and other lung ailments.

The gut microbiome in polycystic ovary syndrome and its association with metabolic traits
University of Tartu researchers and their collaborators from Finland and Spain investigated the relationship between the gut microbiome and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Study can orient use of melatonin in the treatment of breast cancer
In an article published in the Journal of Pineal Research, researchers at São Paulo State University and collaborators describe a set of genes potentially regulated by the ''sleep hormone'' in some types of tumor

Survey: COVID-19 prevention top concern of home-care agencies
Tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents depend on home care to support their health as they age or cope with physical challenges.

More support for induction at 41 weeks' pregnancy, especially for first time mothers
There is growing evidence that pregnant women who go beyond term, especially first time mothers and their infants, will benefit from induction of labour at 41 weeks, instead of expectant management with subsequent induction of labour at 42 weeks if labour will not start spontaneously.

Understanding COVID-19 infection and possible mutations
The binding of a SARS-CoV-2 virus surface protein spike -- a projection from the spherical virus particle -- to the human cell surface protein ACE2 is the first step to infection that may lead to COVID-19 disease.

Steep rise in depressive symptoms among 7-12 year olds during UK-wide lockdown
The prevalence of depressive symptoms rose substantially among young children during the UK-wide lockdown in response to the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, finds research focusing on one region of England and published online in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The world's smallest high-performance magnetic tunnel junction
A research group from Tohoku University led by current president Hideo Ohno has developed the world's smallest (2.3 nm) high-performance magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs).

New study allows regional prediction of uranium in groundwater
Stanford researchers can predict where and when uranium is released into aquifers and suggest an easy fix to keep this naturally occurring toxin from contaminating water sources.

Rutgers reports first instance of COVID-19 triggering recurrent Guillain-Barré Syndrome
Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have reported the first instance of COVID-19 triggering a recurrence of Guillain-Barré Syndrome - a rare disorder where the body's immune system attacks nerves and can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Hunting out hidden hydrogen: novel holey nanosheets for detecting hydrogen gas leaks
Although touted as the best clean energy carrier, the explosive nature of hydrogen (H2) warrants highly sensitive gas sensors for detecting H2 leaks.

Way to support effective brain performance after head injury backgrounded by lack of sleep
Scientists from the School of Biomedicine of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) with colleagues from Italy, Spain, Romania, and Sweden suggest a way to protect the brain and minimize neurodegenerative processes after concussion head injuries in the presence of extensive previous sleep deprivation.

Scientists shed new light on how lung bacteria defend against pneumonia
New insight on how bacteria in the lungs protect against invading pathogens has been published today in the open-access eLife journal.

More years of obesity means higher risk of disease, study finds
A greater obesity duration is associated with worse values for all cardiometabolic disease factors, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Tom Norris of Loughborough University, UK, and colleagues.

'SCOUT' helps researchers find, quantify significant differences among organoids
Unbiased, high-throughput 'pipeline' system clears, labels, images and analyzes organoids to improve their utility for understanding development and diseases such as Zika infection.

Satellite tracking finds turtle foraging areas in Australia's north-west
Marine scientists have mapped previously unknown foraging grounds and migratory routes of Western Australia's green turtles to support conservation of the iconic threatened species.

HKU research team invents novel light-controlled contamination-free fluidic processor
A mechanical engineering research team at the University of Hong Kong has invented a novel light-controlled, contamination-free fluidic processor, which can serve as a useful tool to greatly reduce the risk of infection of front-line medical workers in testing virus or bacteria in big pandemics like the current COVID-19 pandemic, and to minimise the risk of contamination during the process.

Getting to the bottom of Arctic landslides
Erosion of the frozen soil of Arctic regions, known as permafrost, is creating large areas of subsidence, which has catastrophic impact in these regions sensitive to climate change.

Research reveals how COVID-19 affects the eyes
Sore eyes are the most significant vision-based indicator of COVID-19, according to new research published in the journal BMJ Open Ophthalmology.

UCI-led study offers new approach for more accurate epidemic modeling
In a new study published in Scientific Reports, researchers at the University of California, Irvine demonstrate that they can make more accurate predictions about the spread of infectious diseases by using fractional exponents for infected sub-groups, particularly in the early stages of a pandemic.

Predicting epilepsy from neural network models
A new study published in EPJ B shows how 'tipping points' in the brain, responsible for diseases including epilepsy, can be better predicted by accounting for branches in networks of neurons.

Better benzene sensing at laser point
A highly selective and sensitive laser sensor can pick up low-level benzene emissions in ambient air.

Study finds possible harm to seniors' fall risks with higher doses of vitamin
Johns Hopkins researchers have found that more is not always better in the case of vitamin D consumption and seniors' fall risk.

Adapting magnetometers for noisy, physically demanding environments
Researchers routinely measure magnetic fields to better understand a vast array of natural phenomena.

Researchers identify critical molecules that coronaviruses hijack to infect human cells
Researchers at Gladstone Institutes and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, in collaboration with scientists at UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Synthego Corporation, have identified critical molecular processes in human cells that coronaviruses use to survive.

Breakthrough optical sensor mimics human eye, a key step toward better AI
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Researchers at Oregon State University are making key advances with a new type of optical sensor that more closely mimics the human eye's ability to perceive changes in its visual field.

Significant increase in depression seen among children during first UK lockdown
The first lockdown led to a significant increase in symptoms of depression among children, highlighting the unintended consequences of school closures, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.

Face shields no match for sneeze vortex rings
Do face shields provide enough protection to the wearers against COVID-19 if they don't also wear a mask?

Elevated biomarker for blood vessel damage found in all children with SARS-CoV-2
Researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have found elevated levels of a biomarker related to blood vessel damage in children with SARS-CoV-2 infection, even if the children had minimal or no symptoms of COVID-19.

A standout superalloy
In recent years, it has become possible to use laser beams and electron beams to ''print'' engineering objects with complex shapes that could not be achieved by conventional manufacturing.

Vitamin boosts essential synthetic chemistry
Inspired by light-sensing bacteria that thrive near hot oceanic vents, synthetic chemists use vitamin B12 to catalyze valuable hydrocarbons known as olefins, or alkenes.

Development of high-speed nanoPCR technology for point-of-care diagnosis of COVID-19
Researchers at IBS invented a new diagnostic method for COVID-19, called nanoPCR

New method to label and track nano-particles could improve our understanding of plastic pollution
A ground-breaking method to label and track manufactured nano-plastics could signal a paradigm shift in how we understand and care for environments, finds a new study.

Climate change exacerbates biodiversity loss
A considerable number of existing and proposed post-2020 biodiversity targets are at risk of being severely compromised due to climate change, even if other barriers such as habitat exploitation are removed argue the authors of a study led by Almut Arneth from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Using targeted microbubbles to administer toxic cancer drugs
New research has shown how microbubbles carrying powerful cancer drugs can be guided to the site of a tumour using antibodies.

Transforming the scientific community
The members of ACNP have been motivated by recent events to strengthen diversity and inclusivity programs within the College and find ways to promote change in our home institutions.

Tension between awareness and fatigue shapes Covid-19 spread
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, two human factors are battling it out: awareness of the virus's severe consequences and fatigue from nine months of pandemic precautions.

Researchers: drop the notion that more hours spent studying guarantees higher educational quality
Several Danish universities have a financial incentive to ensure that their students spend a great amount of time on study-related assignments.

Tiny nanospindles enhance use of ultrasound to fight cancer
Ultrasound can be used to treat cancer when used in combination with molecules that sensitize the system to sound waves.

Delivering sound to people where they want it for VR, AR
What if a commercial audio speaker could function like an autozoom projector does for light, and you could deliver the sound people want where they want it?

Research sheds new light on cause of deadly lung disease
New research could shed light on the mystery cause of a lung disease that is a major killer, and potentially unlock new treatments

Novel gene variants that modify the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease discovered
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have identified 216 new genetic modifiers of late-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Stretchable micro-supercapacitors to self-power wearable devices
A stretchable system that can harvest energy from human breathing and motion for use in wearable health-monitoring devices may be possible, according to an international team of researchers, led by Huanyu ''Larry'' Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in Penn State's Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics.

Lab-grown human brain organoids mimic an autism spectrum disorder, help test treatments
UC San Diego researchers used brain organoids to identify two drug candidates that counteract the genetic deficiencies that cause Rett syndrome, a rare form of autism spectrum disorder.

Wildfire risk rising as scientists determine which conditions beget blazes
As wildfires burn more often across the Western U.S., PNNL researchers are working to understand how extensively blazes burn.

Damage to brain cells reverberates to 'bystander' cells, study finds
Injury or disease that afflicts a relatively small number of brain cells causes a chain reaction that stops activity across a vast network of neural circuits, according to new research.

Racial microaggressions contribute to disparities in STEM education
Careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are one of the fastest-growing areas of work in the United States, yet racial and gender disparities remain in STEM occupations.

Dogs may never learn that every sound of a word matters
Despite their excellent auditory capacities, dogs do not attend to differences between words which differ only in one speech sound (e.g. dog vs dig), according to a new study by Hungarian researchers measuring brain activity with non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) on awake dogs.

Magnetic bacteria as micropumps
ETH scientists use magnetic bacteria to control liquids at the micro level.

How poor oral hygiene may result in metabolic syndrome
Researchers from TMDU identified a novel mechanism by which periodontal disease may cause metabolic syndrome.

Study of virus attack rate in Manaus, Brazil, shows outcome of mostly unmitigated epidemic
Researchers studying data from blood donors in Manaus, Brazil, who experienced high mortality from SARS-CoV-2, estimate that more than 70% of the population was infected approximately seven months after the virus first arrived in the city.

Batteries mimic mammal bones for stability
Sodium-ion batteries offer several advantages over lithium-ion batteries; however, it is difficult to develop sodium cathodes, materials through which electrons can enter a battery.

New method to boost supply of life-saving stem cells
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona and Columbia University in New York City have found a new method for growing a large quantity of life-saving blood stem cells.

Infant health inequality has increased since 2010, study finds
After decades of narrowing gaps in health between infants born to the most and least advantaged American mothers, infant health inequality is increasing, portending a rise in health and social inequity that could last for decades.

Healthcare workers 7 times as likely to have severe COVID-19 as other workers
Healthcare workers are 7 times as likely to have severe COVID-19 infection as those with other types of 'non-essential' jobs, finds research focusing on the first UK-wide lockdown and published online in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Experiment to test quantum gravity just got a bit less complicated
Is gravity a quantum phenomenon? That has been one of the big outstanding questions in physics for decades.

Researchers discover key driver of the spread of cancer to the brain
Approximately 200,000 cancer patients are diagnosed with brain metastases each year, yet few treatment options exist because the mechanisms that allow cancer to spread to the brain remain unclear.

New treatment in development for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation
Researchers devised a plan to treat IBS with constipation by delivering chenodeoxycholic acid in a bilayered capsule, finding that this mode of delivery could decrease colon cramping and thus produce a better patient experience.

Coronavirus pneumonia and pulmonary thromboembolism
Announcing a new publication for BIO Integration journal. In this article the authors Mingkang Yao; Phei Er Saw and Shanping Jiang from Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China review Coronavirus Pneumonia and Pulmonary Thromboembolism.

Colorado mountains bouncing back from 'acid rain' impacts
Niwot Ridge in the Rocky Mountains is slowly recovering from increased acidity caused by vehicle emissions in Colorado's Front Range, suggesting that alpine regions across the Mountain West may be recovering.

New method for evaluating vaccine safety
A research group at the University of Turku, Finland, has led the development of a new method to evaluate vaccine safety.

Miniature guttural toads on Mauritius and Réunion stun researchers
Researchers from the DSI/NRF Center for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa have found that, scarcely a hundred years after Guttural Toads were introduced to the islands of Mauritius and Réunion, their overall body size has been reduced by up to a third compared to their counterparts in South Africa.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Confirmed COVID-19 cases and outbreaks were low in schools and nurseries in England that re-opened after the first lockdown
COVID-19 cases and outbreaks were low among staff and students in schools and nurseries in England that re-opened during the summer half-term after lockdown, according to research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

New definition of sustainability overcomes flaw hampering global transformation efforts
An interdisciplinary team led by Senior Researcher Dr. Christoph Rupprecht (FEAST Project, RIHN) has revealed a new definition of sustainability that expands the concept to non-human species and their needs.

Keep taking the blood pressure medicine during the pandemic
An extensive study of more than one million Danes who have been tested for corona now confirms what several smaller studies have already indicated: That the risk of getting corona, being hospitalised or dying from the disease, is no higher for people taking medication such as ACE inhibitors and Angiotensin II receptor blockers.

A colossal step for electronics
Scientists at Osaka University have created a thin-film resistor with a conductivity that can be controlled by exposing it to hydrogen and an external electric field.

NUS engineers discover new microbe for simpler, cheaper and greener wastewater treatment
Researchers from NUS have discovered a new strain of bacterium that can remove both nitrogen and phosphorous from sewage wastewater.

Focus on human factor in designing systems
A new study has found one of the challenges in designing systems that involve people interacting with technology is to tackle the human trait of overconfidence.
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