Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 20, 2021
Squid-inspired robot swims with nature's most efficient marine animals
Scientists at the University of Southampton and University of Edinburgh have developed a flexible underwater robot that can propel itself through water in the same style as nature's most efficient swimmer - the Aurelia aurita jellyfish.

Associations of government-mandated closures, restrictions with mobility, SARS-CoV-2 infections in Nigeria
This observational study examined how COVID-19-related government-mandated closures and restrictions were associated with changes in mobility and the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Diabetes powerfully associated with premature coronary heart disease in women
To understand what factors put younger individuals at higher risk of premature coronary heart disease, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Mayo Clinic analyzed more than 50 risk factors in 28,024 women who participated in the decades-long Women's Health Study.

Brain pressure disorder that causes headache, vision problems on rise
A new study has found a brain pressure disorder called idiopathic intracranial hypertension is on the rise, and the increase corresponds with rising obesity rates.

Severe menopause symptoms often accompany premature ovarian insufficiency
Hot flashes, insomnia, and vaginal dryness are commonly reported symptoms that accompany the menopause transition.

Mayo Clinic study indicates age influences sex-related outcomes after heart attack
Approximately 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur every year in men and women in the US Sex and age play a large part in who experiences a heart attack, the methods used to treat these heart attacks, and the eventual post hospital outcomes of the people who experience heart attacks.

NIH researchers identify new genetic disorder that affects brain, craniofacial skeleton
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have discovered a new genetic disorder characterized by developmental delays and malformations of the brain, heart, and facial features.

Late rainy season reliably predicts drought in regions prone to food insecurity
The onset date of the yearly rainy season reliably predicts if seasonal drought will occur in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa that are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, and could help to mitigate its effects.

Designer DNA therapeutic wipes out cancer stem cells, treats multiple myeloma in mice
UC San Diego study supports launch of Phase I clinical trial to test a designer DNA agent -- an antisense oligonucleotide that targets a gene called IRF4 -- in patients with multiple myeloma.

An anode-free zinc battery that could someday store renewable energy
Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, could help decrease the world's reliance on fossil fuels.

Describing the worldviews of the new 'tech elite'
The new tech elite share distinct views setting them apart from other segments of the world's elite more generally, according to a study published January 20, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Hilke Brockmann from Jacobs University Bremen, Germany, and colleagues.

Making microwaves safer for children
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center and other leaders of the campaign, worked diligently to document the frequency and severity of burn injuries resulting from removing hot contents from the microwave and young children's vulnerability to them, published the results of their efforts in The Journal of Pediatrics on Jan.

Stanford study reveals immune driver of brain aging
Stanford scientists have identified a key factor in mental aging and shown that it might be prevented or reversed by fixing a glitch in the immune system's frontline soldiers.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplants may provide long-term benefit for people with MS
A new study shows that intense immunosuppression followed by a hematopoietic stem cell transplant may prevent disability associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) from getting worse in 71% of people with relapsing-remitting MS for up to 10 years after the treatment.

Researchers uncover potentially promising therapeutic combination for renal cell carcinoma
Investigators have demonstrated that ACE2 expression is a good prognostic factor in RCC, that loss of ACE2 mediates resistance to classical treatments, and that in preclinical models, treatment with a drug that is downstream of ACE2 can improve tumor responses in RCC and significantly prolong survival.

Study shows how network of marine protected areas could help safeguard Antarctic penguins
New research led by BirdLife International, the University of East Anglia (UEA) and British Antarctic Survey highlights how a proposed network of marine protected areas could help safeguard some of the most important areas at sea for breeding Antarctic penguins.

Breakthrough in understanding 'tummy bug' bacteria
Scientists have discovered how bacteria commonly responsible for seafood-related stomach upsets can go dormant and then ''wake up''.

New antifungal compound from ant farms
Attine ants are farmers, and they grow fungus as food.

New Parkinson's disease therapeutics discovered by Ben-Gurion U researchers
Dr. Claude Brodski, M.D., head of the BGU's Laboratory for Molecular Neuroscience, discovered that BMP5/7 signaling in neurons was significantly reduced in dopamine-producing brain cells, which could contribute to Parkinson's disease advancement.

Factors associated with US public motivation to use, distribute COVID-19 self-tests
Researchers examined individuals' motivation to self-test and to distribute self-test kits given the urgent need to increase COVID-19 testing coverage and contact tracing.

Antibiotics combinations used regularly worldwide--but 80% of these not recommended by WHO
Fixed dose combinations of antibiotics are consumed in huge quantities globally, but 80 percent of combinations are not on the WHO Essential Medicines List, and 92 percent are not FDA-approved, - with inappropriate combinations risking inefficacy, toxicity, and selection for antimicrobial resistance.

NEWS2 evaluated for prediction of severe COVID-19 outcome in large international study
In the first systematic large-scale evaluation of the UK National Early Warning Risk Score (NEWS) 2 as a scoring system for predicting severe COVID-19 outcomes in patients, researchers at King's College London have found poor-to-moderate accuracy for identifying patients at risk of being transferred to intensive care units (ICUs) or dying after 14 days of hospitalisation.

Association of social, economic inequality with COVID-19 across US counties
This investigation analyzed U.S. county-level associations of income inequality, racial/ethnic composition and political attributes with COVID-19 cases and mortality.

Deep sleep takes out the trash
By examining fruit flies' brain activity and behavior, the researchers found that deep sleep has an ancient, restorative power to clear waste from the brain.

Stealing the spotlight in the field and kitchen
New dry beans from UC Davis combine desirable qualities for both farmers and consumers

Methamphetamine overdose deaths rise sharply nationwide
Methamphetamine overdose deaths surged in an eight-year period in the United States, according to a study published today in JAMA Psychiatry.

Cats love silver vine and catnip for a more practical reason than developing euphoria
Catnip and silver vine have been known as cat attractant plants.

On the origins of money: Ancient European hoards full of standardized bronze objects
In the Early Bronze Age of Europe, ancient people used bronze objects as an early form of money, even going so far as to standardize the shape and weight of their currency, according to a study published January 20, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maikel H.

Automated imaging reveals where TAU protein originates in the brain in Alzheimer's disease
Researchers have developed an automated method that can track the development of harmful clumps of TAU protein related to Alzheimer's disease in the brain, according to work involving 443 individuals.

Over 34,000 street cattle roam the Indian city of Raipur (1 for every 54 human residents)
There may be over 34,000 street cattle in the Indian city of Raipur (one for every 54 human residents), with implications for road accidents and human-cattle conflict.

Antidepressants largely ineffective for back pain and osteoarthritis
Antidepressant drugs are largely ineffective for back and osteoarthritis pain, despite being widely used for these conditions, suggests a review of the evidence published by The BMJ today.

New metamaterial offers reprogrammable properties
EPFL scientists have developed a metamaterial whose mechanical properties can be reprogrammed on demand and whose internal structure can be modified by applying a magnetic field.

New starfish-like fossil reveals evolution in action
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a fossil of the earliest starfish-like animal, which helps us understand the origins of the nimble-armed creature.

Do antidepressants help chronic back pain and osteoarthritis?
Antidepressants are commonly used worldwide to treat pain, however new research from the University of Sydney shows they offer little to no help for people suffering chronic back pain and osteoarthritis and may even cause harm.

Female Bengalese finches have lifelong preference for their father's song to other birds'
Daddies' girls? Female Bengalese finches prefer their father's song to that of other birds throughout their lives - while sons lose this preference as they grow up.

New trial finds arthritis drug no better than standard care for severe covid-19
Adding the arthritis drug tocilizumab to standard care for patients in hospital with severe or critical covid-19 is no better than standard care alone in improving clinical outcomes at 15 days, finds a new trial published by The BMJ today.

Intoxicating chemicals in catnip and silver vine protect felines from mosquito bites
Rubbing against catnip and silver vine transfers plant chemicals that researchers have now shown protect cats from mosquitoes.

Inflammation caused by scorpion venom should be blocked immediately, study shows
In an article published in Nature Communications, Brazilian researchers show for the first time that in severe cases of scorpion envenomation it is the neuroimmune reaction triggered by the venom that leads to death.

Reviving exhausted immune cells to fight cancer
Eliminating a single gene can turn exhausted cancer-fighting immune cells known as CD8+ T cells back into refreshed soldiers that can continue to battle malignant tumors, a new study led by UT Southwestern researchers suggests.

Expanded PET imaging time window adds flexibility for neuroendocrine tumor patients
The imaging time window of 64Cu-DOTATATE positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) for patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms can be expanded from one hour to three hours post-injection, according to new research published in the January issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

On the trail of active ingredients from marine yeasts
Numerous natural products are awaiting discovery in all kinds of natural habitats.

How lockdown has changed life for Russian women
Researchers Yulia Chilipenok, Olga Gaponova, Nadezhda Gaponova and Lyubov Danilova of HSE - Nizhny Novgorod looked at how the lockdown has impacted Russian women during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Treating moms with postpartum depression helps their babies' brains
For the study 40 infants of women diagnosed with postpartum depression were matched with 40 infants of non-depressed mothers on infant age, gender and socioeconomic status.

Drug-delivery microcapsules tagged with zirconium-89 can be tracked by PET imaging
Polymer and radionuclide chemists report major advance in microcapsule drug delivery systems.

For some, GI tract may be vulnerable to COVID-19 infection
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that patients with Barrett's esophagus may be vulnerable to coronavirus infection from what they swallow.

Using VR training to boost our sense of agency and improve motor control
Patients with motor dysfunctions are on the rise across Japan as its population continues to age.

Age provides a buffer to pandemic's mental health impact, University of Connecticut researchers say
Older adults are managing the stress of the coronavirus pandemic better than younger adults, reporting less depression and anxiety despite also experiencing greater general concern about COVID-19, according to a study recently published by researchers at the UConn School of Nursing.

Researchers study what happens to your body during tailgating
Football watch parties are synonymous with eating fatty foods and drinking alcohol.

New sodium oxide paves the way for advanced sodium-ion batteries
Skoltech researchers and their collaborators from France, the US, Switzerland, and Australia were able to create and describe a mixed oxide Na(Li1/3Mn2/3)O2 that holds promise as a cathode material for sodium-ion batteries, which can take one day complement or even replace lithium-ion batteries.

Tiny high-tech probes reveal how information flows across the brain
A new study from researchers at the Allen Institute collected and analyzed the largest single dataset of neurons' electrical activity to glean principles of how we perceive the visual world around us.

CRISPR technology to cure sickle cell disease at UIC
The first cases treated with gene-editing technology were recently published in an article co-authored by Dr.

This Great Lakes fish may have evolved to see like its ocean ancestors did
In the dark waters of Lake Superior, a fish species adapted to regain a genetic trait that may have helped its ancient ancestors see in the ocean, a study finds.

Curtin find could slash energy use and cost in making silicon
Curtin University researchers have uncovered a method of making silicon, found commonly in electronics such as phones, cameras and computers, at room temperature.

Type 2 Diabetes: New Evidence Underlines the Role of Obesity in Late Complications
Successful weight loss is considered to be an integral part of the therapy for type 2 diabetes.

World's largest lakes reveal climate change trends
Sixteen years of remote sensing data reveals that in Earth's largest freshwater lakes, climate change influences carbon fixation trends.

Climate-related species extinction possibly mitigated by newly discovered effect
Changes in climate that occur over short periods of time influence biodiversity.

Spontaneous cell fusions amplify genetic diversity within tumors, Moffitt researchers say
Scientists generally believe that cancers lack a powerful and important diversification mechanism available to pathogenic microbes - the ability to exchange and recombine genetic material between different cells.

Innovations through hair-thin optical fibres
Scientists at the University of Bonn have built hair-thin optical fibre filters in a very simple way.

Oldest carbonates in the solar system
A meteorite that fell in northern Germany in 2019 contains carbonates which are among the oldest in the solar system; it also evidences the earliest presence of liquid water on a minute planet.

Indigenous lands: A haven for wildlife
Indigenous peoples' lands may harbour a significant proportion of threatened and endangered species globally, according to University of Queensland-led research.

Balancing brain cell activity
Electrical trigger sites in neurons surprisingly change with experience; they are either becoming smaller with increasing number of experiences and, vice versa, they grow larger when less input arrives in the brain.

Boosted photocatalysis for hydrogen evolution: Reactant supply thru phosphonate groups
Water splitting research for solar hydrogen production has focused on physical processes inside the semiconductor, such as light absorption, charge separation, and chemical processes on the surface that are highly complex and rely on the development of new materials.

The Lancet Public Health: Modelling study estimates impact of 'test to release' strategy to reduce - or replace - quarantine for contacts of COVID-19 cases
Quarantine time after contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case could potentially be reduced to 7 days without raising the risk of onward transmission of the virus by testing people on the seventh day of quarantine with either a PCR or lateral flow antigen (LFA) test, findings from an English modelling study published today in The Lancet Public Health journal suggest.

Lasers create miniature robots from bubbles (video)
Robots are widely used to build cars, paint airplanes and sew clothing in factories, but the assembly of microscopic components, such as those for biomedical applications, has not yet been automated.

Medical terms for opioid addiction don't always reduce stigma, study finds
Researchers conducted a nationally representative study with more than 3,500 participants to test how six common terms describing someone treated for opioid-related impairment influenced perceptions.

European eels - one gene pool fits all
European eels spawn in the subtropical Sargasso Sea but spend most of their adult life in a range of fresh- and brackish waters, across Europe and Northern Africa.

Hope for a vaccination against Staphylococcus areus infections?
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) ranks among the globally most important causes of infections in humans and is considered a dreaded hospital pathogen.

How fellow students improve your own grades
Better grades thanks to your fellow students? A study conducted by the University of Zurich's Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics has revealed that not only the grade point average, gender and nationality peers can influence your own academic achievement, but so can their personalities.

Getting shapes into numbers
A mathematical framework enables accurate characterization of shapes

Butterfly wing clap explains mystery of flight
The fluttery flight of butterflies has so far been somewhat of a mystery to researchers, given their unusually large and broad wings relative to their body size.

Two-photon polymerization of PEGda hydrogel microstructure with low threshold power with green laser
The fabrication of shape-memory hydrogel scaffolds not only requires biocompatibility, micrometre resolution, high mechanical strength, but also requires a low polymerisation threshold in high-water content environment to incorporate microstructures with biological tissues.

Tree rings and the Laki volcano eruption: A closer look at climate
When Iceland's Laki volcano erupted in 1783, its effects rippled around the world.

Angstrom multilayer metrology by combining spectral measurements and machine learning
The 3D-NAND is the most commercially successful 3D memory device today, and its demand is growing exponentially.

Cartilage matrix as natural biomaterial for cartilage regeneration
A working group at MedUni Vienna develops strategies for regeneration of articular cartilage and has found that natural cartilage matrix is suitable as a biomaterial for improved cartilage regeneration.

Researchers improve data readout by using 'quantum entanglement'
Researchers say they have been able to greatly improve the readout of data from digital memories - thanks to a phenomenon known as 'quantum entanglement'.

Target of new cancer treatment valid for breast as well as blood cancers: study
Newly published research shows that a new anti-cancer drug developed at the University of Alberta, set to begin human trials this year, may work against breast cancer as well as blood cancer.

Early breeding reduced harmful mutations in sorghum
A new Cornell University study found that harmful mutations in sorghum landraces - early domesticated crops - decreased compared to their wild relatives through the course of domestication and breeding.

See how they run: 'Exercise protein' doubles running capacity, restores function and extends healthy lifespans in older mice
A new study shows that humans express a powerful hormone during exercise and that treating mice with the hormone improves physical performance, capacity and fitness.

OHIO researchers ID potential target for anti-viral drugs to battle COVID
This is a non-coding section of the RNA, which means that it is not translated into a protein, but it is likely key to the virus's replication.

A critical review of graphene quantum dots and their application in biosensors
In a paper published in NANO, researchers from Hubei, China discuss the top-down and bottom-up strategies for the synthesis of Graphene quantum dots (GQDs).

University of Kentucky researchers link low blood amylin level to reduced progression of Alzheimer's
The team's work shows that early pathological processes in the brains of individuals who are genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer's disease are modulated by a pancreatic hormone called amylin.

Direct current stimulation of the brain over Wernicke's area can help people learn new words
Researchers from the Laboratory of Behavioural Neurodynamics at St Petersburg University have studied how different types of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the brain affect the acquisition of new words.

The physics behind tumor growth
Researchers at Duke University have developed a predictive theory for tumor growth that approaches the subject from a new point of view.

Early humans used chopping tools to break animal bones and consume the bone marrow
- Using advanced scientific methods, researchers from Tel Aviv University found that stone tools of the type known as 'chopping tools' were used to break open the bones of animals.

Merging technologies with color to avoid design failures
Various software packages can be used to evaluate products and predict failure; however, these packages are extremely computationally intensive and take a significant amount of time to produce a solution.

Scientists discover link between nicotine and breast cancer metastasis
Scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine have found that nicotine promotes the spread of breast cancer cells into the lungs.

Saturn's tilt caused by its moons
Two scientists from CNRS and Sorbonne University working at the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Ephemeris Calculation (Paris Observatory - PSL/CNRS) have just shown that the influence of Saturn's satellites can explain the tilt of the rotation axis of the gas giant.

California harbor porpoises rebound after coastal gillnetting stopped
Harbor porpoises have rebounded in a big way off California.

Sunbathing after menopause may be harmful
UV-radiation can affect hormone levels of postmenopausal women negatively and this may contribute to several health issues, according to new research from Kai Triebner, University of Bergen, and colleagues.

NUST MISIS scientists develop fastest-ever quantum random number generator
An international research team has developed a fast and affordable quantum random number generator.

Rocks show Mars once felt like Iceland
A comparison of chemical and climate weathering of sedimentary rock in Mars' Gale Crater indicate the region's mean temperature billions of years ago was akin to current conditions on Iceland.

Message in a bottle: Info-rich bubbles respond to antibiotics
In a new study, Luis H. Cisneros and his colleagues describe the effects of antibiotics on membrane vesicles, demonstrating that such drugs actively modify the properties of vesicle transport.

Astronomers estimate Titan's largest sea is 1,000-feet deep
Far below the gaseous atmospheric shroud on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, lies Kraken Mare, a sea of liquid methane.

The immune system mounts a lasting defense after recovery from COVID-19
The study participants continued to improve their antibodies months after initial infection, potentially due to exposure to remnants of the virus hidden in the gut.

Many junior doctors feel out of their depth with the end-of-life decisions faced during COVID-19 pandemic
In normal times, end-of-life care discussions are most commonly led by senior doctors.

Beetles reveal how to hide the body
A corpse is a home to the burying beetle, and UConn researchers are learning how this specialist critter keeps its home free of unwanted visitors.

Incentivizing vaccine adherence: could it be the key to achieving herd immunity?
To achieve success, experts estimate that at least 70 to 90 percent of the population must be inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine to achieve herd immunity, but how can we ensure folks will voluntarily receive a vaccine?

COVID-19 model reveals key role for innate immunity in controlling viral load
Since SARS-CoV-2 was identified in December 2019, researchers have worked feverishly to study the novel coronavirus.

Researchers develop a new approach to detect pancreatic cancer
A protein found commonly in human blood might help with the detection of hard-to-diagnose pancreatic tumours.

Bonobos, chimpanzees, and oxytocin
Kyoto University researchers analyze the effects of the hormone oxytocin in our closest primate cousins, bonobos and chimpanzees by tracking their eye movement -- a important indicator of social interaction.

Brazilian dam collapse could have been predicted with right monitoring technology
One of Brazil's worst environmental disasters - a dam collapse that also killed more than 200 people - could have been foreseen with latest satellite radar imaging technique, according to a new study by the University of Nottingham and Durham University.

"Smiling eyes" may not signify true happiness after all
A smile that lifts the cheeks and crinkles the eyes is thought by many to be truly genuine.
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