Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 11, 2020
Artificial intelligence improves control of powerful plasma accelerators
Researchers have used AI to control beams for the next generation of smaller, cheaper accelerators for research, medical and industrial applications.

Vanderbilt researchers discover strong correlation between partisanship and social mobility during COVID-19 pandemic
According to many medical experts, reduced social mobility - defined here as social contact and travel within and among communities - is a necessary factor to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Vitamin D the clue to more Autism spectrum disorder in boys
Professor Darryl Eyles and Dr Asad Ali from UQ's Queensland Brain Institute found vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy caused an increase in testosterone in the developing brain of male rats.

Artificial visual system of record-low energy consumption for the next generation of AI
A joint research led by City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has built an ultralow-power consumption artificial visual system to mimic the human brain, which successfully performed data-intensive cognitive tasks.

Screening for endocrine disruption in artificial zebrafish for long-term risk assessment
the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced that the collaborative research team led by Dr.

Majority of pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic, study finds
Illustrates how pandemic disproportionally impacted vulnerable populations and underserved communities

Genes could be key to new COVID-19 treatments, study finds
Potential treatments for Covid-19 have been identified after the discovery of five genes associated with the most severe form of the disease.

Gene could help predict response to cervical cancer treatment
UCLA researchers have identified a potential diagnostic marker that could help predict how likely someone with cervical cancer is to respond to the standard treatment of chemotherapy and radiation.

Strong social support decreases mental health problems in young adults
Early adulthood, a transitional life stage marked by major changes in social roles and responsibilities, can bring with it an increase of mental health problems.

A protein has been identified as a potential therapeutic target for leishmaniasis vaccines
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), leishmaniasis causes between 20,000 and 30,000 deaths a year, and there is currently no vaccine for humans.

Mass extinctions of land-dwelling animals occur in 27-million-year cycle
Mass extinctions of land-dwelling animals--including amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds--follow a cycle of about 27 million years, coinciding with previously reported mass extinctions of ocean life, according to a new analysis published in the journal Historical Biology.

Flavors added to vaping devices can damage the heart
The appealing array of fruit and candy flavors that entice millions of young people take up vaping can harm their hearts, a preclinical study by University of South Florida Health (USF Health) researchers found.

New tool for watching and controlling neural activity
An interdisciplinary team of scientists has created a new molecular tool to help us better understand the cellular basis of behavior.

Low blood pressure during hemodialysis may indicate peripheral vascular disease
Using a large nationwide registry of patients receiving maintenance hemodialysis, this study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases found that higher frequency of low blood pressure episodes during hemodialysis was associated with a higher incidence of diagnosed peripheral arterial disease.

New online COVID-19 mortality risk calculator could help determine who should get vaccines first
A new online calculator for estimating individual and community-level risk of dying from COVID-19 has been developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Financial distress negatively impacts well-being, satisfaction of breast cancer patients
Financial toxicity among breast cancer patients is independently associated with worse psychological well-being following a mastectomy or lumpectomy operation.

Scientists publish open resource to help design 'greener' energy systems
Researchers have created a database of measurements from existing global power grid systems that will help develop new power systems capable of meeting changing demands, such as the move towards renewable energy sources.

Scientists build whole functioning thymus from human cells
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and University College London have rebuilt a human thymus, an essential organ in the immune system, using human stem cells and a bioengineered scaffold.

From publication bias to lost in information
From publication bias to lost in information In BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, IQWiG researchers call for a central, public and worldwide portal for clinical trials

How AI could make therapeutic decision-making for breast cancer more accurate, affordable
Deep learning-enabled breast cancer technology could make breast cancer therapy decisions more accurate, affordable and accessible.

Researchers find a better way to design metal alloys
A system developed by MIT researchers uses machine learning to analyze boundaries between crystal grains, allowing for the selection of desired properties in a new metal alloy.

New report finds global health research infrastructure imperiled by COVID-19
A new report released today from the non-profit Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) finds that The strong foundation of global health research and development (R&D) that greatly accelerated the development of COVID-19 innovations is now being weakened by pandemic pressures that are diverting funding and expertise away from other dangerous diseases and putting clinical trials and scientific endeavors around the world on indefinite hold.

Baricitinib plus Remdesivir shows promise for treating COVID-19
The combination of baricitinib, an anti-inflammatory drug, and remdesivir, an antiviral, reduced time to recovery for people hospitalized with COVID-19, according to clinical trial results published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

New insights about age-related macular degeneration could spur better treatments
Experiments in a mouse model have uncovered mechanisms involved in abnormal blood vessel formation in ''wet'' age-related macular degeneration.

Researchers find why 'lab-made' proteins have unusually high temperature stability
Efforts to enhance the ability of proteins to resist breaking down, or 'denaturing', at high temperatures is one of the hottest topics in biotech.

Potential extreme condition history detector - recoverable PL achieved in pyrochlore
Photoluminescence (PL) is light emission from a substance after the absorption of photons stimulated by temperature, electricity, pressure, or chemistry doping.

Test your heart health by climbing stairs
Climbing four flights of stairs in less than a minute indicates good heart health, according to research presented at EACVI - Best of Imaging 2020, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

A matter of balance: asymmetric divisions are crucial to form a functional retina
Researchers at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, have discovered that in the developing retina, and important part of the central nervous system, the divisions leading to the first differentiating neurons are asymmetric and that this asymmetry is necessary to generate the correct types of neurons in the right numbers and proportions.

Novel cathode design significantly improves performance of next-generation battery
A research team at HKUST has proposed a novel cathode design concept for lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery that substantially improves the performance of this kind of promising next-generation battery.

New analysis method for predicting the risks and effects of immunotherapy
In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University have been able to show differences in how Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody drug, interacts with the blood of healthy individuals compared to patients with chronic lymphatic leukaemia.

Access to nature important for mental health during Covid lockdowns
People in European countries with the strictest COVID-19 lockdown policies were more likely to show symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to an international study investigating the impact of disconnecting from nature.

The pressure sensor of the venus flytrap
The display of a smartphone reacts to finger pressure. The carnivorous Venus flytrap, on the other hand, even notices when a lightweight like a fly lands on it.

VRK1: a protein that reduces the survival of patients with neuroblastoma
Researchers have characterised the function of VRK1 in neuroblastoma tumour cells and have determined that this protein is essential for tumour cell growth and proliferation.

Gut microbiota plays a role in brain function and mood regulation
Depression is a mental disorder that affects more than 264 million people of all ages worldwide.

Using water fleas, UTA researchers investigate adaptive evolution
Researchers from The University of Texas at Arlington resurrected the preserved eggs of a shrimp-like crustacean to examine long-standing questions about adaptive evolution, reporting the results in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The Protein Society announces 2022 appointment of Protein Science Editor-in-chief
The Protein Society is thrilled to announce the appointment of John Kuriyan, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley as Editor-in-Chief of Protein Science, effective January 1, 2022.

Last Interglacial: warming amplified in mountain environments
Speleothems turned out to be a great stroke of luck: dripstones from two caves in the Swiss Alps provide for the first time a continuous reconstruction of temperatures during the Last Interglacial period.

The secret behind male ornaments
In many species all over the animal kingdom, males have eye-catching characteristics.

Two, six, many
Phase transitions describe dramatic changes in properties of a macroscopic system - like the transition from a liquid to a gas.

Scientists found out genes involved in a compound in lichens with antiviral activity
Lichens are of great importance both ecologically and as a biological model.

New insights into Glioblastoma invasiveness
Researchers from the NORLUX Neuro-Oncology Laboratory at the LIH Department of Oncology (DONC) explored the molecular mechanisms responsible for the ability of Glioblastoma (GBM) to infiltrate and spread to healthy brain tissue.

Trapping nanoparticles with optical tweezers
In new research published in EPJ E, Janine Emile and Olivier Emile at the University of Rennes, France, demonstrate a novel tweezer design, which enabled them to trap fluorescent particles just 200 nanometres across for the first time.

Fan mussel larval dispersal for the future of an endangered species
Fan mussel populations -the biggest bivalve mussel in the Mediterranean- are endangered due to the severe parasitosis caused by the protozoan Haplospridium pinnae since 2016.

Virtual therapy: The 'new normal' after COVID-19
The expansion of telepsychiatry may outlast the COVID-19 pandemic that caused it.

Pre-existing flu immunity impacts antibody quality following infection and vaccination
New research by scientists at the University of Chicago suggests a person's antibody response to influenza viruses is dramatically shaped by their pre-existing immunity, and that the quality of this response differs in individuals who are vaccinated or naturally infected.

Planning ahead protects fish and fisheries
Conservation of fish and other marine life migrating from warming ocean waters will be more effective and also protect commercial fisheries if plans are made now to cope with climate change, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Science Advances.

Faraday fabrics?
Researchers at Drexel University's College of Engineering have reported that fabric coated with a conductive, two-dimensional material called MXene, is highly effective at blocking electromagnetic waves and potentially harmful radiation.

"The machine as extension of the body"
Combining neuroscience and robotic research has gained impressive results in the rehabilitation of paraplegic patients.

Newly discovered toxin-antitoxin system abundant in one-cell organisms
Bacteria are always hungry, according to Thomas Wood, Biotechnology Endowed Chair and professor of chemical engineering in the Penn State College of Engineering.

High-tech fixes for the food system could have unintended consequences
In a new analysis published in The Lancet Planetary Health, a team of scientists examines how technologies to fix the food system can have unanticipated impacts on global development goals.

Fewer than 2 percent of OB-GYN doctors can prescribe life-saving opioid treatment
Examining country-wide data, the researchers hoped to gauge how many obstetrician-gynecologists have their waiver to prescribe buprenorphine

Young people embrace new model of teaching sexual consent, study finds
Sexual health charity Brook has adopted these latest research findings in its teaching methods

Carolina Sandhills Salamander: New species added to species-rich North Carolina
Already possessing more salamander species than any other state in the country with 63, North Carolina has just added one more to make it 64.

Polarization increases with economic decline, becoming cripplingly contagious
Polarization tends to soar in times of economic duress and rising inequality.

Researchers control multiple wavelengths of light from a single source
KAIST researchers have synthesized a collection of nanoparticles, known as carbon dots, capable of emitting multiple wavelengths of light from a single particle.

Development of the first biohybrid artificial retina built with silk fibroin and retinal cells.
An international research led by the Complutense University of Madrid has taken a further step to solve Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)-derived blidness problem with the development of the first biohybrid artificial retina built with silk fibroin and retinal cells.

Rectal cancer patients who "watch and wait" may only need few years of stringent follow-up
The growing consensus among experts is that surgery should no longer be the only therapeutic option for rectal cancer.

Masonic Medical Research Institute studies brown fat: Implications in obesity
The Lin Lab at the MMRI, quantified the number of brown fat cells present in newborn animals.

Record resolution in X-ray microscopy
Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland and other institutions in Paris, Hamburg and Basel, have succeeded in setting a new record in X-ray microscopy.

Pitt scientists identify genetic risks of rare inflammatory disease
A group of international collaborators led by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh identified new genetic associations that can predict individual susceptibility to Takayasu arteritis.

A saliva-based smartphone platform could rapidly expand COVID-19 testing
Offering an ultrasensitive yet accessible approach to COVID-19 testing, a portable saliva-based smartphone platform provides results within 15 minutes without the resource-intensive laboratory tests the current

Rewiring stroke survivors brains could alleviate depression
University of South Australia researchers have made a major breakthrough in the treatment of depression after stroke, using a high frequency brain stimulation device to improve low moods.

tRNA fragments are involved in poststroke immune reactions
Following a stroke, the immune system triggers an inflammatory reaction that can either overshoot or turn into an immune deficiency.

A theory as clear as glass
Scientists at The University of Tokyo ran molecular dynamics simulations to compose a more complete theory of the factors that drive crystallization instead of glass formation.

No deal Brexit could have detrimental impact for people in UK living with a rare disease
Experts have warned that a 'no deal' Brexit will result in the exclusion of the UK from the 24 European Reference Networks (ERNs) that were established to improve the care of patients bearing the lifelong burden of a rare disease, which require highly specialised diagnosis and treatment.

Negative reviews boost sales
Aleksei Smirnov, Assistant Professor, HSE University Faculty of Economic Sciences, and Egor Starkov, Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen, have constructed a mathematical model that explains why it is advantageous for sellers not to delete negative reviews of their products.

MGB study finds majority of COVID-19 patients died in hospital
Brigham researchers found that 95.5 percent of individuals who died with a diagnosis of COVID-19 in the MGB health system between February 18 and May 18, 2020 did so in the hospital.

NBA 'bubble' reveals the ultimate home court advantage, study finds
Using the NBA's travel-less bubble as a natural experiment, a new statistical analysis suggests performance on the road depends on aligning the internal body clock with the new time zone and quality of sleep.

Male weeds may hold key to their own demise
Scientists are getting closer to finding the genes for maleness in waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, two of the most troublesome agricultural weeds in the US.

'The robot made me do it': Robots encourage risk-taking behaviour in people
New research has shown robots can encourage humans to take greater risks in a simulated gambling scenario than they would if there was nothing to influence their behaviours.

Muscle cell secrets
A muscle fiber consists of just one cell, but many nuclei.

Artificial intelligence helps scientists develop new general models in ecology
The automation of scientific discoveries is here to stay. Among others, a machine-human cooperation found a hitherto unknown general model explaining the relation between the area and age of an island and the number of species it hosts.

New computational method validates images without 'ground truth'
Researchers from the McKelvey School of Engineering have developed a computational method that allows them to determine not if an entire imaging picture is accurate, but if any given point on the image is probable, based on the assumptions built into the model.

Evolution of tropical biodiversity hotspots
Researchers argue that tropical species form faster in harsh species-poor areas but accumulate in climatically moderate areas to form hotspots of species diversity.

Tanzania farmers distrust fertilizer quality, are less willing to pay for it
Smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa use fertilizer well below recommended rates, contributing to consistently low agricultural productivity.

Pizza can help address the dark matter mystery?
The IBS research team developed a novel multiple-cell cavity ('pizza cavity') haloscope that will extend the axion search band to higher-frequency regions.

Sea star listed as critically endangered following research by Oregon State University
The iconic sunflower sea star has been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature following a groundbreaking population study led by Oregon State University and The Nature Conservancy.

Political partisanship has had outsized influence on individual social mobility during COVID-19 pand
In the United States, political partisanship has played a much stronger role in individuals' decisions to limit their social mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic than the local incidence of the disease in their own

Oregon researchers find that like adults, children by age 3 prefer seeing fractal patterns
By the time children are 3 years old they already have an adult-like preference for visual fractal patterns commonly seen in nature, according to University of Oregon researchers.

Sounds, smells could sway our self-image
A lemony scent and light sounds could change the way you feel about yourself.

Unexpectedly, data show that anaesthetists and intensive care doctors are at lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with other medical staff
Following the first recorded death of an anaesthetist from COVID-19 in the UK in November 2020, a review of available data published in Anaesthesia (a journal of the Association of Anaesthetists) shows that unexpectedly, despite their perceived increased exposure to COVID-19 patients and high-risk procedures, anaesthetists and intensive care doctors appear to be at lower risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 and developing COVID-19.

Researchers rank various mask protection, modifications against COVID-19
Some people still refuse to wear a mask during a viral pandemic.

Carrots are healthy, but active enzyme unlocks full benefits
Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A.

Mystery solved with math: cytoplasmic traffic jam disrupts sleep-wake cycles?
KAIST mathematicians and their collaborators at Florida State University have identified the principle of how aging and diseases like dementia and obesity cause sleep disorders.
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