Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 15, 2021
Improved use of databases could save billions of euro in health care costs
Years of suffering and billions of euro in global health care costs, arising from osteoporosis-related bone fractures, could be eliminated using big data to target vulnerable patients, according to researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software.

Neanderthals and Homo sapiens used identical Nubian technology
New analysis of a fossil tooth and stone tools from Shukbah Cave reveals Neanderthals used stone tool technologies thought to have been unique to modern humans

Moiré patterns facilitate discovery of novel insulating phases
Materials having excess electrons are typically conductors. However, moiré patterns -- interference patterns that typically arise when one object with a repetitive pattern is placed over another with a similar pattern -- can suppress electrical conductivity, a study led by physicists at the University of California, Riverside, has found.

Large-scale study finds genetic testing technology falsely detects very rare variants
A technology that is widely used by commercial genetic testing companies is 'extremely unreliable' in detecting very rare variants, meaning results suggesting individuals carry rare disease-causing genetic variants are usually wrong, according to new research published in the BMJ.

New physics rules tested on quantum computer
Simulation of non-Hermitian quantum mechanics using a quantum computer goes beyond centuries old conventions

New skin patch brings us closer to wearable, all-in-one health monitor
Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a soft, stretchy skin patch that can be worn on the neck to continuously track blood pressure and heart rate while measuring the wearer's levels of glucose as well as lactate, alcohol or caffeine.

Insight about tumor microenvironment could boost cancer immunotherapy
A paper published today in Nature shows how chemicals in the areas surrounding tumors - known as the tumor microenvironment - subvert the immune system and enable cancer to evade attack.

Commuters are inhaling unacceptably high levels of carcinogens
New UC Riverside research shows the average commuter in California is breathing unsustainably high levels of benzene and formaldehyde, two Prop.

Comet or asteroid: What killed the dinosaurs and where did it come from?
It forever changed history when it crashed into Earth about 66 million years ago.

Capuchin monkey genome reveals clues to its long life and large brain
An international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of a capuchin monkey for the first time, uncovering new genetic clues about the evolution of their long lifespan and large brains.

Spanish scientists uncover early links between cardiovascular risk and brain metabolism
Investigators at the CNIC have discovered a link between brain metabolism, cardiovascular risk, and atherosclerosis during middle age, years before symptoms appear

Existing heart failure drug may treat potential COVID-19 long-hauler symptom
UC San Diego clinical trial suggests ivabradine may be effective in treating postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a potential COVID-19 long-hauler symptom.

New immunotherapy target discovered for malignant brain tumors
Scientists say they have discovered a potential new target for immunotherapy of malignant brain tumors, which so far have resisted the ground-breaking cancer treatment based on harnessing the body's immune system.

Cheap, potent pathway to pandemic therapeutics
By capitalizing on a convergence of chemical, biological and artificial intelligence advances, scientists have developed an unusually fast and efficient method for discovering tiny antibody fragments with big potential for development into therapeutics against deadly diseases.

Strange creatures accidentally discovered beneath Antarctica's ice shelves
Prior research has suggested that the watery depths below the Antarctic ice shelves are too cold and nutrient poor to sustain much life.

Membrane building blocks play decisive role in controlling cell growth
Lipids are the building blocks of a cell's envelope - the cell membrane.

A machine-learning approach to finding treatment options for Covid-19
MIT researchers have developed a machine-learning approach to identify drugs that could be repurposed to fight Covid-19.

Counterintuitive approach may improve eyewitness identification
Experts have devised a novel approach to selecting photos for police lineups that helps witnesses identify culprits more reliably

Parents Say COVID-19 has disrupted children's dental care
A third of parents say the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to get dental care for their children, a new national poll suggests.

Zika vaccine candidate shows promise in phase I trial
The Zika virus candidate, Ad26.ZIKV.001, a replication-incompetent human adenovirus serotype 26 (ad26) vector showed promising safety and immunogenicity in a phase I clinical trial.

Teens may be more likely to use marijuana after legalization for adult recreational use
Adolescents who live in California may be more likely to use marijuana since adult recreational marijuana use was legalized in 2016, according to a new report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Peeking at the pathfinding strategies of the hippocampus in the brain
The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced that the research team led by Sebastien Royer uncovered that place cells in the hippocampus encode spatial information using interchangeably two distinct information processing mechanisms referred to as a rate code and a phase code, somewhat analogue to the number and spatial arrangement of bars in bar codes.

Avian insights into human ciliopathies
Ciliopathies are genetic disorders caused by defects in the structure and function of cilia, and present a wide range of clinical symptoms, leading to conditions such as micrognathia (an underdeveloped lower jaw that can impair feeding and breathing).

Higher elevation birds sport thicker down "jackets" to survive the cold
A new study examines feathers across 249 species of Himalayan songbirds, finding that birds at higher elevations have more of fluffy down than lower elevation birds.

Light used to detect quantum information stored in 100,000 nuclear quantum bits
Researchers have found a way to use light and a single electron to communicate with a cloud of quantum bits and sense their behaviour, making it possible to detect a single quantum bit in a dense cloud.

Drinking, smoking, and drug use linked to premature heart disease in the young
Recreational drinking, smoking, and drug use is linked to premature heart disease in young people, particularly younger women, finds research published online in the journal Heart.

Study questions whether pubs can effectively prevent COVID-19 transmission risk
A new first-of-its-kind study has questioned whether pub operators can effectively and consistently prevent COVID-19 transmission - after researchers observed risks arising in licensed premises last summer.

The comet that killed the dinosaurs
In a study published in Scientific Reports, Avi Loeb puts forth a new theory that could explain the origin and journey of the comet that killed the Chicxulub impactor and others like it.

Managing crab and lobster catches could offer long-term benefits
A study by the University of Plymouth (UK) has found that managing the density of crab and lobster pots at an optimum level increases the quality of catch, benefits the marine environment and makes the industry more sustainable in the long term.

In predicting shallow but dangerous landslides, size matters
Scientific understanding of landslides has improved immensely in the last few decades, but models that predict which areas could slide during specific storm events overpredict, forcing government agencies to evacuate unnecessarily large areas.

Tropical paper wasps babysit for neighbours
Wasps provide crucial support to their extended families by babysitting at neighbouring nests, according to new research by a team of biologists from the universities of Bristol, Exeter and UCL published today [15 February] in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

New surgery may enable better control of prosthetic limbs
MIT researchers in collaboration with surgeons at Harvard Medical School have devised a new type of amputation surgery that can help amputees better control their residual muscles and receive sensory feedback.

Lower testosterone during puberty increases the brain's sensitivity to it in adulthood
Young men with lower testosterone levels throughout puberty become more sensitive to how the hormone influences the brain's responses to faces in adulthood, according to new research published in JNeurosci.

Mid-life cardiovascular disease prevention may protect against later dementia
Employing cardiovascular disease prevention strategies in mid-life may delay or stop the brain alterations that can lead to dementia later in life, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Corn belt farmland has lost a third of its carbon-rich soil
More than one-third of the Corn Belt in the Midwest - nearly 100 million acres - has completely lost its carbon-rich topsoil, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst research that indicates the U.S.

CO2 dip may have helped dinosaurs walk from South America to Greenland
A new study identifies a climate phenomenon that may have helped sauropodomorphs spread northward across the Pangea supercontinent.

Invasive flies prefer untouched territory when laying eggs
A recent study finds that the invasive spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) prefers to lay its eggs in places that no other spotted wing flies have visited.

Posttraumatic stress after natural disasters
Data from four studies of children and adolescents exposed to major U.S. hurricanes were pooled to examine posttraumatic stress symptoms after those events and the factors associated with them.

Ageism and sexism barring grandmothers from initiatives to save newborn lives in Global South
Ageism, sexism, and Western ideals of the nuclear family have excluded grandmothers from national and international policy initiatives to save newborn lives in the Global South, suggests an analysis published in the online journal BMJ Global Health.

The impact of COVID-19 on motherhood
A new study explores the impact that the stress and isolation brought on by COVID-19 has had on people who were pregnant or gave birth during the pandemic.

Study finds alligator hearts keep beating no matter what
A new study reported by Georgia Tech researchers finds that an alligator heart will not fibrillate when exposed to drastic temperature changes, unlike a rabbit (mammal) heart, which is critically vulnerable to heart trauma under those conditions.

Unlocking the mystery behind skeletal aging
Researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry have identified the role a critical enzyme plays in skeletal aging and bone loss, putting them one step closer to understanding the complex biological mechanisms that lead to osteoporosis, the bone disease that afflicts some 200 million people worldwide.

Kagome graphene promises exciting properties
For the first time, physicists from the University of Basel have produced a graphene compound consisting of carbon atoms and a small number of nitrogen atoms in a regular grid of hexagons and triangles.

TV and film 'thump' is not effective alternative to CPR, Warwick researchers demonstrate
A technique frequently portrayed in dramatic resuscitation scenes in television and film is among several alternative methods to CPR that have shown no benefit in saving lives in a review by University of Warwick researchers.

Evidence shows how the human brain may tap into visual cues when lacking a sense of touch
Researchers at the University of Chicago, the University of Birmingham, and Bournemouth University have uncovered evidence that physical embodiment can occur without the sense of touch, thanks to a study involving two participants who lack the ability to feel touch.

Improving discharge process key to reducing avoidable rehospitalizations, MU study finds
Throughout her career, Lori Popejoy provided hands-on clinical care in a variety of health care settings, from hospitals and nursing homes to community centers and home health care agencies.

Regional variation in the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on data collection
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed human behavior, and that has major consequences for data-gathering citizen-science projects such as eBird, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Exercise now proven to have mental health benefits for prostate cancer
New Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has found that exercise not only has physical benefits for men with prostate cancer, it also helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Researchers measure temperature effect of plasmon in chemical reactions using organic "sensors"
The researchers of TPU together with their colleagues from Russian and foreign scientific centers have found a way to estimate the temperature of a chemical reaction activated by pseudo-particles - plasmons.

Method for temporal monitoring of microplastic sedimentation
Researchers in Finland have tested the sediment trap method to analyse the annual accumulation rates of microplastics in a body of water, and possible seasonal variation therein.

First humans in Tasmania must have seen spectacular auroras
A small sub-alpine lake in western Tasmania has helped establish that 41,000 years ago Australia experienced the Laschamp geomagnetic excursion and that Tasmanian, Aboriginals, would've seen it.

Challenge to anorexia nervosa treatment guidelines
New analysis published in The Lancet Psychiatry has shown a lack of strong evidence to support current guidance on psychological therapies for treating anorexia nervosa over expert treatment as usual.

The water surface is a fantastic place for chemical reactions
Using an advanced technique, scientists from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research have demonstrated that a chemical reaction powered by light takes place ten thousand times faster at the air-water interface--what we usually call the water surface--than in the bulk of the water, even when the light has equivalent energy.

New tool predicts the success of extubating patients on intensive mechanical ventilation
A mathematical model predicts the success of extubating patients on intensive mechanical ventilation.

Collagen structures get the royal reveal
An algorithm by Rice University scientists predicts the structures and melting temperatures of collagen, the triple helix that accounts for about a third of the body's proteins and forms the fibrous glue in skin, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

The vertical evolution of volatile organic compounds vary between winter and summer
Scientists have discovered that pollution concentration varies between seasons. A new study, conducted in the North China Plain, determined where volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are distributed within the vertical layers of the atmosphere, and found notable changes from winter to summer.

Climate change forces rethinking of conservation biology planning
For more than a decade, governments in countries across the world have made significant progress to expand their protected areas network to conserve the planet's biodiversity.

A groundbreaking solution? Polymers can protect buildings from large fault ruptures
University of Technology Sydney researchers have developed a solution to protect buildings sitting on deep foundations from earthquakes resulting in surface fault ruptures.

To improve immunotherapy, researchers look to shift immune cells' access to sugar
New research from Memorial Sloan Kettering scientists suggests that a way to improve immunotherapy is by altering immune cells' access to sugar.

New discovery may enable accurate prediction of cancer spread before cancer develops
Researchers from Erler Group at the Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (BRIC) in Copenhagen have discovered that the rigidity of a thin membrane structure encompassing cells and lining all vessels regulates how easily cancer cells can breach tissues to spread through the body, and is thus a key determinant of cancer patient survival.

Cloud simulations get a dose of realism
A focus on the fundamental physics of cloud formation leads to highly realistic simulations of different types of clouds.

Evolution of cereal spikes
A research team led by Prof. Dr. Maria von Korff Schmising from Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf (HHU) and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) in Cologne investigated the genetic regulation of spike development in barley and wheat.

Can evolution be predicted?
Evolution adapts and optimizes organisms to their ecological niche. This could be used to predict how an organism evolves, but how can such predictions be rigorously tested?

New hope for treating chronic pain without opioids
According to some estimates, chronic pain affects up to 40% of Americans, and treating it frustrates both clinicians and patients--a frustration that's often compounded by a hesitation to prescribe opioids for pain.

Quantum leaps in understanding how living corals survive
A new imaging technique has been developed to improve our ability to visualize and track the symbiotic interactions between coral and algae in response to globally warming sea surface temperatures and deepening seawaters.

Heartbeat secrets unlocked as cardiac rhythm gene role identified
Researchers have used the zebrafish (Danio rerio) to identify the role of a gene involved in cardiac rhythm, which could help explain the fundamentals of what it takes to make a human heartbeat.

Almost half of virus sufferers report depression
Almost half of people testing positive for coronavirus have reported symptoms of depression, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

New study of goals and beliefs during COVID-19 lockdown shows people still care
A new report has revealed how people's attitudes towards their beliefs and/or accomplishing their short and long-term goals changed amid the unexpected alteration and challenges of lockdown.

Oncotarget: AKT isoforms have discrete expression in triple negative breast cancers
Oncotarget recently published ''AKT isoforms have discrete expression in triple negative breast cancers and roles in cisplatin sensitivity'' which reported that the authors investigated the expression and net effect of the individual isoforms in triple negative breast cancers and response to cisplatin treatment using cellular, mice models and clinical samples.

Campylobacter strains exchange genes, can become more virulent and antibiotic resistant
Campylobacter bacteria persist throughout poultry production, and two of the most common strains are exchanging genetic material, which could result in more antibiotic-resistant and infectious Campylobacter strains.

Oncotarget: Targeting engineered cytokine with interleukin to the neovasculature of tumors
''The results suggest that this product, or similar fusion proteins featuring an N-terminal fusion in the diabody format, may deserve to be investigated in clinical trials''

Women have a lower range of 'normal' blood pressure than men
A new study from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai shows that women have a lower ''normal'' blood pressure range compared to men.

Oncotarget: Cancer stem cells and macrophages against cancer
The aim of this Oncotarget review is to define the complex crosstalk between these two cell types and to highlight potential future anti-cancer strategies

Epigenetic mechanisms allow native Peruvians to thrive at high altitudes
Scientists reveal the epigenetic mechanisms that enable humans to survive at extremely high altitudes in the Andes

Dopamine is key to the mystery of metabolic dysfunction in psychiatric patients
Antipsychotic drugs not only block dopamine signaling in the brain but also in the pancreas, leading to uncontrolled production of blood glucose-regulating hormones, obesity and diabetes.

Regular caffeine consumption affects brain structure
Coffee, cola or an energy drink: caffeine is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance.

New microscopy analysis allows discovery of central adhesion complex
Researchers at University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry have developed a method for determining the arrangement and density of individual proteins in cells.

Oncotarget: Hemoglobin increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy in lung cancer
Additional animal studies revealed that co-administration of PolyHb with cisplatin attenuated tumor growth without alleviating hypoxia

Researchers identify muscle factor that controls fat metabolism
In a recent study, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, University Hospitals (UH) Cleveland Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researchers have found that skeletal muscle significantly affects how the body stores and metabolizes fat.

Moffitt uses mathematical modeling to identify factors that determine adaptive therapy success
In a new article featured on this month's cover of Cancer Research, Moffitt Cancer Center researchers, in collaboration with Oxford University, report results from their study using mathematical modeling to show that cell turnover impacts drug resistance and is an important factor that governs the success of adaptive therapy.

Shrubs and soils: A hot topic in the cool tundra
As the climate warms in the Arctic, shrubs expand towards higher latitudes and altitudes.

Researchers discover promising biomarkers to diagnose mild traumatic brain injury
Certain plasma microRNAs could serve as diagnostic biomarkers in mild traumatic brain injury, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows.

Researchers develop algorithm to find possible misdiagnosis
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have developed an algorithm that can identify patients who may have been wrongly diagnosed.

Let the immune cell see the virus: Scientists discover unique way to target common virus
Scientists at Cardiff University have discovered a unique way to target a common virus that affects one in 200 newborn babies in the UK but for which there is only limited treatments available.

Researchers demonstrate self-sterilizing polymers work against SARS-CoV-2
Researchers have demonstrated a family of self-sterilizing polymers that are effective at inactivating coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19.

Enormous ancient fish discovered by accident
Fossilised remains of a fish that grew as big as a great white shark and the largest of its type ever found have been discovered by accident.

Luminescent windows generate energy from inside and out
Rice University engineers design and build windowpanes that redirect sunlight or illumination from indoors to edge-band solar cells.

International study reveals exceptional property of next generation optical fibers
Researchers from the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) and Universite Laval, Canada, have successfully measured for the first time back-reflection in cutting-edge hollow-core fibres that is around 10,000 times lower than conventional optical fibres.

New insight into antibody-induced protective immunity to COVID-19
Researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and the Brigham and Women's Hospital collaborate with SpaceX to identify humoral immune features which may track with lasting protection against SARS-CoV-2.

Study finds gender disparities on National Institutes of Health study sections
Investigators at the University of Chicago Medicine have found that women are less likely to be represented as chairs and reviewers on study sections for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), based on data from one review cycle in 2019.

Child brain tumors can be classified by advanced imaging and AI
Diffusion weighted imaging and machine learning can successfully classify the diagnosis and characteristics of common types of paediatric brain tumours a UK-based multi-centre study, including WMG at the University of Warwick has found.

Scientists developed a novel method of automatic soil mapping
A team of soil scientists developed a new approach to the automatic generation and updating of soil maps.

Integrating maths and plant science to explain how plant roots generate a hormone gradient
The research team that developed a biosensor that first recorded that a distinct gradient of the plant growth hormone gibberellin correlated with plant cell size has now revealed how this distribution pattern is created in roots.

Water is a probable vector for mammalian virus transmission
Water is a necessity for all life but its availability can be limited.

People with and without AD have a different threshold for elective revascularisation
The risk of both mortality and rehospitalisation after an elective revascularisation procedure for coronary artery disease is similar for people with and without Alzheimer's disease (AD), but people with AD had worse outcomes after an emergency procedure, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.

Graphene "nano-origami" creates tiniest microchips yet
A team of experimental physicists at the University of Sussex have developed the smallest microchips ever - 100 times smaller than conventional microchips.

Despite sea-level rise risks, migration to some threatened coastal areas may increase
Princeton University shows that migration to the coast could actually accelerate in some places like Bangladesh despite sea-level change, contradicting current assumptions.

Dual character of excitons in the ultrafast regime: atomic-like or solid-like?
Researchers at Politecnico di Milano in collaboration with the Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnologies IFN-CNR and a theory group from the Tsukuba University (Japan) and the Max Plank Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of matter (Hamburg, Germany), have discovered that an exciton can simultaneously adopt two radically different characters when it isstimulated by light.
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