Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 04, 2021
Using artificial intelligence to find new uses for existing medications
Scientists have developed a machine-learning method that crunches massive amounts of data to help determine which existing medications could improve outcomes in diseases for which they are not prescribed.

Results of comprehensive SARS-CoV-2 animal model study published in Nature Microbiology
Findings by Texas Biomed and SNPRC scientists support the rhesus macaque as an excellent animal model for vaccine development; suggest baboon as an animal model for drug development.

Novel film that that evaporates sweat six times faster and holds 15 times more moisture
Researchers from NUS Faculty of Engineering created a novel film that is very effective in evaporating sweat from our skin.

A robotic revolution for urban nature
Drones, robots and autonomous systems can transform the natural world in and around cities for people and wildlife.

Sweetened beverage sales bounced back quickly after Cook County tax repealed
Following the repeal of the short-lived Cook County, Illinois Sweetened Beverage Tax, sales of sweetened beverages went right back to where they were before the tax went into place, according to a new study.

Risk of substance use disorder among patients with autism
Researchers used health insurance data from Taiwan to investigate the risk of substance use disorder among patients with autism spectrum disorder and its associations with risk of death.

New data-driven global climate model provides projections for urban environments
Cities only occupy about 3% of the Earth's total land surface, but they bear the burden of the human-perceived effects of global climate change, researchers said.

Impact of COVID-19 on children with disabilities, caregivers and healthcare providers
Pediatric rehabilitation experts assess the impact of the pandemic on pediatric rehabilitation patients and the increasing use of telemedicine and provide insights and recommendations for mitigating the impact of the virus, in this special issue of the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine

Fires, flooding before settlement may have formed the Amazon's rare patches of fertility
Phosphorous, calcium and charcoal in spotty patches of fertile soil in the Amazon rainforest suggest that natural processes such as fires and river flooding, not the ingenuity of indigenous populations, created rare sites suitable for agriculture, according to new research.

Largest, most diverse ever study of prostate cancer genetics brings disparities into focus
The largest, most diverse study of genetic variations related to prostate cancer shows evidence that genetics play some part in health disparities among different racial groups.

First glimpse of polarons forming in a promising next-gen energy material
Polarons affect a material's behavior, and may even be the reason that solar cells made with lead hybrid perovskites achieve extraordinarily high efficiencies in the lab.

Innovative battery chemistry revolutionizes zinc-air battery
The zinc-air battery is an attractive energy storage technology of the future.

Supercapacitors challenge batteries
A team working with Roland Fischer, Professor of Inorganic and Metal-Organic Chemistry at the Technical University Munich (TUM) has developed a highly efficient supercapacitor.

Single-cell analysis of metastatic gastric cancer finds diverse tumor cell populations associated with patient outcomes
Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center who profiled more than 45,000 individual cells from patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC), a specific form of metastatic gastric cancer, defined the extensive cellular heterogeneity and identified two distinct subtypes correlated with patient survival.

Pollutants rapidly changing the waters near Ieodo Island
Professor Kitack Lee's research team identifies the cause of ocean fertilization in northeast Asian waters.

Scientists seek faster route to treat depression
The Brazilian research group used epigenetic modulators to try to 'erase' the damage done by stress to neuroplasticity.

For moms, oxygen during childbirth often unnecessary
A comprehensive analysis - led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Vaping combined with smoking is likely as harmful as smoking cigarettes alone
People who smoked traditional cigarettes in addition to using e-cigarettes experienced health effects as harmful as those who smoked cigarettes exclusively; those effects are associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and death.

Brain cancer linked to tissue healing
Brain tumours might arise from an injury that could not heal properly, Canadian scientists have found.

Alert system shows potential for reducing deforestation, mitigating climate change
Forest loss declined 18% in African nations where a new satellite-based program provides free alerts when it detects deforestation activities.

Psychological distress during first months of pandemic equal to that during prior year
The first longitudinal study of psychological distress during the coronavirus pandemic shows that more than 10% of Americans reported experiencing symptoms of significant psychological distress during April and May of 2020 -- the same amount that reported experiencing distress during the prior year.

How to identify heat-stressed corals
Researchers have found a novel way to identify heat-stressed corals, which could help scientists pinpoint the coral species that need protection from warming ocean waters linked to climate change, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Parents' finances differently affected by having a child diagnosed with cancer
Mothers and fathers of children diagnosed with cancer are affected financially in different ways.

Study resolves long-running controversy over critical step in gene silencing
Researchers have identified a molecular ''address'' that explains how the cancer-related protein PRC2 binds to RNA to silence genes.

A polarization-driven guide to making high-performance, versatile solar cells
When solar cells are exposed to sunlight, certain bound ''charge pairs'' are generated in its components, which need to be separated for photocurrent generation.

Alpha-ray missile therapy: tumor cells attacked from intracellular region
Researchers from Osaka University have innovated a technique of irradiating cancer from within.

Surprising news: drylands are not getting drier
Columbia Engineering study is the first to show the importance of long-term soil moisture changes and associated soil moisture-atmosphere feedbacks in future predictions of water availability in drylands.

Uncovering how plants see blue light
Plants can perceive and react to light across a wide spectrum.

Prediabetes subtypes identified
All prediabetes is not the same: in people in the preliminary stages of type 2 diabetes, there are six clearly distinguishable subtypes, which differ in the development of the disease, diabetes risk, and the development of secondary diseases.

Drug discovery study identifies promising new compound to open constricted airways
In a preclinical study led by the University of South Florida, researchers identified and characterized 18 new compounds (agonists) that activate bitter taste receptor subtype TAS2R5 to promote relaxation of human airway smooth muscle cells.

Super surfaces
Assembling tiny chips into unique programmable surfaces, Princeton researchers have created a key component toward unlocking a communications band that promises to dramatically increase the amount data wireless systems can transmit.

Chemists succeed in synthesis of aminoalcohols by utilizing light
So-called vicinal aminoalcohols are high-quality organic compounds that are found in many everyday products.

Frequent travel could make you 7% happier
People dreaming of travel post-COVID-19 now have some scientific data to support their wanderlust.

New USC study on circadian clock shows "junk DNA" plays a key role in regulating rhythms
Researchers have been trying to figure out what regulates molecular circadian clocks, in search of new insights into diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes.

Inflammation from ADT may cause fatigue in prostate cancer patients
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers are investigating whether inflammation in the body, a side effect of ADT, contributes to these symptoms in prostate cancer patients.

Severe sepsis predicted by common protein
A sugar-binding protein could fuel terrible inflammation and worsen sepsis, a disease that kills more than 270,000 people every year in the US alone, reports a team of researchers led by immunologists at UConn Health.

Scientists develop new approach to understanding massive volcanic eruptions
An international volcanology team has created a first-of-its kind tool that can aid scientists in understanding past explosive eruptions that shaped the earth and improve the way of estimating hazards of future eruptions.

Study explains why patients with cancer spread to the liver have worse outcomes
A new study finds that tumors in the liver siphon off critical immune cells, rendering immunotherapy ineffective.

In kefir, microbial teamwork makes the dream work
While scientists know that microorganisms often live in communities and depend on their fellow community members for survival, mechanistic knowledge of this phenomenon has been quite limited.

Why do males have to wait for 'round 2'? The reason may be different from what we think
New study refutes dominant theory claiming the hormone prolactin induces the male post-ejaculatory refractory period.

Gas pressure depletion and seismicity
Europe's largest gas field, the Groningen field in the Netherlands, is widely known for induced subsidence and seismicity caused by gas pressure depletion and associated compaction of the sandstone reservoir.

Research shows a few beneficial organisms could play key role in treating type 2 diabetes
Researchers have found that a few organisms in the gut microbiome play a key role in type 2 diabetes, opening the door to possible probiotic treatments for a serious metabolic disease affecting roughly one in 10 Americans.

Better together: Scientists discover applications of nanoparticles with multiple elements
As catalysts for fuel cells, batteries and processes for carbon dioxide reduction, alloy nanoparticles that are made up of five or more elements are shown to be more stable and durable than single-element nanoparticles.

Astronomers agree: Universe is nearly 14 billion years old
From an observatory high above Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers have taken a new look at the oldest light in the universe.

Scientists reach limit of multi-parameter quantum measurement with zero trade-off
Real-life applications like magnetometry or quantum gyroscope typically involve precise measurement on multiple parameters.

Researchers discover a new tool for reconstructing ancient sea ice to study climate change
A previously problematic molecule turns out to be a reliable proxy for reconstructing sea ice, a new study by Brown University researchers shows.

Risk of extinction cascades from freshwater mussels to a bitterling fish
Reproduction of native and invasive bitterling fishes and their hybridisation was studied in Japan.

Changes in abortion in Texas following executive order ban during pandemic
Changes were assessed in abortions performed and at what gestational age following a Texas order postponing nonmedically necessary surgeries due to the COVID-19 pandemic compared with abortions performed during the same months in 2019.

Bacteriophage has important role in agriculture and aquaculture
Crop plants and animals can be infected by bacterial pathogens that reduce yield, cause food wastage, and carry human pathogens that spread disease on consumption.

Traditional stereotypes about masculinity may help explain support for Trump
American politicians have long been expected to uphold a certain veneer: powerful, influential and never vulnerable.

State laws promoting flu vaccination for hospital workers may help prevent deaths from flu and pneum
Research suggests that state laws promoting influenza vaccination for hospital workers can be effective in preventing deaths from pneumonia and influenza, particularly among the elderly.

Scientists discover how mother-of-pearl self-assembles into a perfect structure
In a new study published in Nature Physics, researchers from the B CUBE - Center for Molecular Bioengineering at TU Dresden and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble describe, for the first time, that structural defects in self-assembling nacre attract and cancel each other out, eventually leading to a perfect periodic structure.

Pandas' popularity not protecting neighbors
Doubt is cast on the long-held hope that the conservation protections granted pandas and other adored threatened species extended to their wildlife neighbors, calling for broader conservation efforts.

One in four doctors attacked, harassed on social media
The first known study to describe physician experiences with online harassment found one in four physicians report being personally attacked on social media, including being barraged by negative reviews, receiving coordinated harassment and threats at work, and having their personal information shared publicly.

Reawakened geyser does not foretell Yellowstone volcanic eruptions, study shows
Geyser eruptions, like volcanic eruptions, are a mystery, so the reactivation of Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone in 2018 provided an opportunity to explore why geysers turn off and on, and what determines their periodicity.

A high order for a low dimension
Spintronics refers to a suite of physical systems which may one day replace many electronic systems.

Public health messaging in era of social media
The rapid spread of scientific misinformation on social media platforms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed in this Viewpoint, which also proposes strategies to counteract its adverse effects including surveillance of digital data and partnering with trusted messengers to engage the public and advance scientifically sound public health measures.

Risk factors associated with all-cause 30-day mortality in nursing home residents with COVID-19
In this observational study of 5,256 U.S. nursing home residents with COVID-19, increased age, male sex and impaired cognitive and physical function were independent risk factors for all-cause 30-day mortality.

Public concern about violence, firearms, COVID-19 pandemic in California
The findings of a survey study using data from California suggests the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increases in self-reported worry about violence for oneself and others, increased firearm acquisition and changes in firearm storage practices.

Focusing on diversion yields positive results for kids with behavioral issues
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University found that focusing on diversion--instead of detention--yields positive results for youth with behavioral health issues

Elephant ivory continues to be disguised and sold on eBay
Research from the University of Kent's Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) has found that elephant ivory is still being sold on the online marketplace eBay, despite its 10-year-old policy banning the trade in ivory.

Study of 50,000 people finds brown fat may protect against numerous chronic diseases
By far the largest of its kind in humans, the study confirms and expands the health benefits of brown fat suggested by previous research.

Subscriptions to satellite alerts linked to decreased deforestation in Africa
Deforestation dropped by 18 percent in two years in African countries where organizations subscribed to receive warnings from a new service using satellites to detect decreases in forest cover in the tropics.

Public mobility, social media attention in response to COVID-19 in Sweden, Denmark
Denmark was one of the first countries to enforce lockdown to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and subsequent gradual reopening, whereas Sweden has had few restrictions, largely limited to public recommendations.

Convex to concave: More metasurface moiré results in wide-range lens
The odd, wavy pattern that results from viewing certain phone or computer screens through polarized glasses has led researchers to take a step toward thinner, lighter-weight lenses.

Immunology study finds protein critical to T cell metabolism and anti-tumor immune response
Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that a protein called NF-kappa B-inducing kinase (NIK) is essential for the shift in metabolic activity that occurs with T cell activation, making it a critical factor in regulating the anti-tumor immune response.

More women embracing 'going flat' after mastectomy
A growing number of women forgoing reconstruction after a mastectomy say they're satisfied with their choice, even as some did not feel supported by their physician, according to a study led by researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Long live the efficient, pure-blue OLED
In work that could help to solve the challenge of finding blue light sources matching the performance of red and green ones for displays using organic light-emitting diodes, researchers in Japan have demonstrated devices that produce pure-blue emission with high efficiency, maintain brightness for relatively long times, and lack any expensive metal atoms--a set of properties that has so far been difficult to obtain simultaneously.

Scrambled supersolids
Supersolids are fluid and solid at the same time. Physicists from Innsbruck and Geneva have for the first time investigated what happens when such a state is brought out of balance.

The true cost of chemotherapy
New research reveals the non-healthcare costs of chemotherapy for breast cancer patients.

Fluoride to the rescue?
Scientists have long been aware of the dangerous overuse of antibiotics and the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant microbes that have resulted.

New clues on why pregnancy may increase risk of organ transplant rejection
A research study at the University of Chicago has found that in pregnancy, while the T cell response to a fetus becomes tolerant to allow for successful pregnancy, the part of the immune system that produces antibodies (known as the humoral response) becomes sensitized, creating memory B cells that can later contribute to the rejection of a transplanted organ.

Researchers regenerate deactivated catalyst in methanol-to-olefins process
Researchers from DICP regenerated deactivated catalyst in industrially important methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process by directly transforming the coke deposited on the zeolite catalyst to active intermediates rather than burning off to carbon oxide.

How to motivate people to follow restrictions: 13 principles for COVID-19 communication
Based on a large body of existing research, four leading researchers of self-determination theory, Frank Martela (Aalto University), Nelli Hankonen (University of Helsinki), Richard M.

Using solar energy and agriculture to limit climate change, assist rural communities
Co-developing land for both solar photovoltaic power and agriculture could provide 20% of total electricity generation in the United States with an investment of less than 1% of the annual US budget, a new paper by Oregon State University researchers found.
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