Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 19, 2021
'In the blink of an eye' statistics
HSE University researchers Yuri Markov and Natalia Tiurina discovered that when people visually estimate the size of objects, they are also able to consider their distance from the observer, even if there are many such objects.

The Lancet: USA failing to reach populations most in need of HIV prevention and treatment services as epidemic grows in the South and rural areas
The USA continues to lag behind other G-7 nations when it comes to controlling its HIV epidemic and is the only high-income country among the top 10 most HIV-affected countries worldwide.

The Lancet: 3-month interval between first and second dose of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine results in higher vaccine efficacy than 6-week interval
* Exploratory analyses including 17,178 participants find that higher vaccine efficacy is obtained with a longer interval between the first and second standard dose (81% for 3-month interval vs 55% for up to 6-week interval).

LSU Health study finds psychosocial factors may drive peritoneal dialysis patient dropout
A retrospective study conducted by LSU Health New Orleans reports that contrary to previous research, most patients who drop out of peritoneal dialysis may do so for psychosocial reasons.

Global study of 48 cities finds nature sanitizes 41.7 million tons of human waste a year
Researchers found that nature provides at least 18% of sanitation services in 48 cities worldwide, according to researchers in the United Kingdom and India.

To end HIV epidemic, we must address health disparities
despite coordinated national efforts to implement HIV services, the epidemic persists, especially in the South.

Covid-19: Future targets for treatments rapidly identified with new computer simulations
Researchers have detailed a mechanism in the distinctive corona of Covid-19 that could help scientists to rapidly find new treatments for the virus, and quickly test whether existing treatments are likely to work with mutated versions as they develop.

Biotechnologists developed an effective technology for nutrient biocapture from wastewater
Biotechnologists from RUDN University in collaboration with Lomonosov MSU and Kurchatov institute made an important contribution to the technology of phosphate and nitrate biocapture from wastewater using Lobosphaera algae fixed on the filters.The biomass obtained in the course of this process can be used as a fertilizer.

Northern Hemisphere cold surges result of Arctic and tropical Pacific synergistic effects
A case study on China's 2020-21 winter could help predict future extreme winter weather.

Eating more refined grains increases risk of heart attack & death: SFU researcher
A new study published in The British Medical Journal by researchers including SFU health sciences professor Scott Lear found consuming a high number of refined grains, such as croissants and white bread, is associated with a higher risk of major cardiovascular disease, stroke and death.

Oregon experiments find that electrical sparks are possible on Mars
Friction caused by dry Martian dust particles making contact with each other may produce electrical discharge at the surface and in the planet's atmosphere, according University of Oregon researchers.

Artificial intelligence predicts nonlinear ultrafast dynamics in optics
Researchers at Tampere University have successfully used artificial intelligence to predict nonlinear dynamics that take place when ultrashort light pulses interact with matter.

Release of nutrients from lake-bottom sediments worsens Lake Erie's annual 'dead zone,'
Robotic laboratories on the bottom of Lake Erie have revealed that the muddy sediments there release nearly as much of the nutrient phosphorus into the surrounding waters as enters the lake's central basin each year from rivers and their tributaries.

Dynamics of nanoparticles using a new isolated lymphatic vessel lumen perfusion system
Nanoparticles introduced into the body enter the lymphatic vessels. A research group led by Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine has developed a new isolated lymphatic vessel lumen perfusion system that can move carbon nanotubes and other nanoparticles into surgically removed lymphatic vessels.

Atomic nuclei in the quantum swing
The extremely precise control of nuclear excitations opens up possibilities of ultra-precise atomic clocks and powerful nuclear batteries.

Location tracking apps and privacy implications
A recent study shows how, from location data, apps can retrieve a wide range of personal information about users, including their health, socio-economic status, ethnicity and religion.

Good cop, bad cop
Serendipitous observation leads to novel insight into how cancer-immune crosstalk can either promote or suppress tumour growth.

Communal activities boost rehabilitation for older adults in long term care
A group of researchers has developed a new program showing participation and activity is critical for the rehabilitation of older adults in long-term care.

What happens when consumers pick their own prices?
A pick-your-price (PYP) strategy can have advantages over pay-what-you-want (PWYW) and fixed pricing strategies.

Mental health, substance use, suicidal ideation during COVID-19 pandemic
This survey study compared patterns of mental health concerns, substance use and suicidal ideation during June and September of the COVID-19 pandemic and examined at-risk demographic groups.

Life of a pure Martian design
Experimental microbially assisted chemolithotrophy provides an opportunity to trace the putative bioalteration processes of the Martian crust.

Combined vaccination and physical distancing enough to prevent future COVID-19 surges
A combination of robust vaccination programmes and strict physical distancing could avoid recurring peaks of COVID-19 without the need for stay-at-home restrictions, according to a new study by epidemiologists and demographers from WorldPop at the University of Southampton and The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

A better tool for the job: Laser-based technique to elucidate the mysteries of exosomes
Exosomes are small vesicles released by cells, which contain proteins and genetic materials.

HKUST decodes a deep-sea vent-endemic snail hologenome
A research team led by Prof. QIAN Peiyuan, Head and Chair Professor from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)'s Department of Ocean Science and David von Hansemann Professor of Science, has discovered that Gigantopelta snail houses both sulfur-oxidizing bacteria and methane-oxidizing bacteria inside its esophageal gland cells (part of digestive system) as endosymbionts, disclosing a novel dual symbiosis system and the molecular adaptation to the extreme environment, gaining a new understanding of the origin of life on Earth.

An eco-route for heavy-duty vehicles could reduce fuel consumption
Semi-trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for nearly half of road transportation carbon dioxide emissions in Europe, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.

Spina bifida can be caused by uninherited genetic mutations
Genetic mutations which occur naturally during the earliest stages of an embryo's development can cause the severe birth defect spina bifida, finds a new experimental study in mice led by UCL scientists.

How to calculate the social cost of carbon? Researchers offer roadmap in new analysis
The Biden administration is revising the social cost of carbon (SCC), a decade-old cost-benefit metric used to inform climate policy by placing a monetary value on the impact of climate change.

COVID-19 may have caused the loss of more than 20.5 million years of life worldwide
A study by a group researchers from several international universities and research centres, including lecturers from the UPF Department of Economics and Business, has estimated the premature mortality impact of covid-19.

What impact will robots and autonomous systems have on urban ecosystems?
Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), autonomous cars, robots that can repair urban infrastructure and wireless sensor networks used for monitoring, etc. are just some of the devices that will spring up all over our cities in a few years.

First multi-whole-genome study of IBD in African Americans
In African Americans, the genetic risk landscape for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is very different from that of people with European ancestry, according to results of the first whole-genome study of IBD in African Americans.

Researchers find evidence of protein folding at site of intracellular droplets
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame found that elevated concentrations of proteins within the droplets triggered a folding event, increasing the potential for protein aggregation -- or misfolding -- which has been linked to neurological diseases including Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Making sense of the mass data generated from firing neurons
Scientists reveal technological breakthrough which may help answer key questions about how animals process information and adapt to environmental changes.

42,000-year-old trees allow more accurate analysis of last Earth's magnetic field reversal
The last complete reversal of the Earth's magnetic field, the so-called Laschamps event, took place 42,000 years ago.

Race, income, education affect access to 3D mammography
Women of minority races and ethnicities and with less education and income have had relatively lower access to 3D mammography, a technology that can improve breast cancer detection and decrease false alarms, according to new research.

The CLASP2 space experiment achieves an unprecedented map of the Sun's magnetic field
Every day space telescopes provide spectacular images of the solar activity.

Targeting MAPK4 emerges as a promising therapy for prostate cancer
New research opens the possibility that targeting the enzyme MAPK4 in human prostate cancer might provide a novel therapeutic strategy for this disease that is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men.

Mayo Clinic researchers develop test to measure effect of breast cancer gene variants
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have combined results from a functional test measuring the effect of inherited variants in the BRCA2 breast and ovarian cancer gene with clinical information from women who received genetic testing to determine the clinical importance of many BRCA2 variants of uncertain significance (VUS).

Study reveals how a longevity gene protects brain stem cells from stress
A gene linked to unusually long lifespans in humans protects brain stem cells from the harmful effects of stress, according to a new study by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators.

Sex that is not for reproduction
Conjugation (or mating) of ciliates is a unique phenomenon among living beings.

Animal evolution -- glimpses of ancient environments
Zoologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich report the discovery of a trove of fossil fly larvae, and an intriguing caterpillar, encapsulated in samples of amber that are tens of millions of years old.

Study reveals energy sources supporting coral reef predators
Since Charles Darwin's day, the abundance of life on coral reefs has been puzzling, given that most oceanic surface waters in the tropics are low in nutrients and unproductive.

Seeing stable topology using instabilities
The researchers explore how topological phases of light in nonlinear optical media undergo the process of modulational instability.

Basque ethnic identity and collective empowerment are associated with wellbeing
A member of the Culture, Cognition and Emotion research group at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque country has explored how social identification with Basque speakers and collective psychological empowerment relate to personal and social wellbeing and community participation.

New review compiles immunogenicity data on leading SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates
In a new Review, P.J. Klasse and colleagues present an extensive overview of the immunogenicity profiles of several leading SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates, including several developed under the auspices of

Deep brain stimulation prevents epileptic seizures in mouse model
Scientists led by neurobiologist Prof. Dr. Carola Haas, head of the research group at the Department of Neurosurgery at Medical Center - University of Freiburg and the BrainLinks-BrainTools research center, have investigated a new therapeutic approach to prevent epileptic seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy.

Symptoms months after COVID-19
Persistent symptoms among adults with COVID-19 up to nine months after illness onset were analyzed in this study.

Tuberculosis: New biomarker indicates individual treatment duration
The treatment of tuberculosis (TB) is long and demanding. In particular, in cases of resistant tuberculosis, the WHO generally recommends a standard treatment duration of at least 18 months, as there are no reliable biomarkers for an early termination.

3D biopsies to better understand brain tumors
Researchers at the Institut de Neurociències of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (INc-UAB) obtained a highly accurate recreation of human glioblastoma's features using a novel 3D microscopy analysis.

Sounding rocket CLASP2 elucidates solar magnetic field
Cooperative operations between a solar observation satellite and a sounding-rocket telescope have measured the magnetic field strength in the photosphere and chromosphere above an active solar plage region.

Parasites' dispersal capacity and rates of genetic introgression--a study
The results, recently published in the journal Communications Biology, have important applications in the field of coevolutionary biology

Including racial/ethnic minorities, females, older adults in vaccine trials
Using data from completed interventional vaccine trials from 2011 to 2020, researchers examined whether racial/ethnic minority groups, females and older adults were underrepresented in U.S.-based vaccine clinical trials.

Call to action for research ethics in the time of COVID-19 and BLM
In their paper 'Ethics of Research at the Intersection of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter: A Call to Action,' UIC faculty authors highlight the historical issues that impact research involving Black populations.

Sweet marine particles resist hungry bacteria
Rather sweet than salty: In the ocean microalgae produce a lot of sugar during algae blooms.

Turbocharging the killing power of immune cells against cancer
Creating ''super soldiers'' of specific white blood cells to boost an anti-tumour response has been shown in a series of elegant experiments by Princess Margaret researchers.

New research on mitochondrial function can play significant part in serious disease
Disorders of the cells' energy supply can cause a number of serious diseases, but also seem to be connected to ageing.

Amination strategy improves efficiency of CO2 electrocatalytic reduction
A research team led by Prof. LIU Licheng from the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) proposed a two-step amination strategy to regulate the electronic structure of M-N/C catalysts (M=Ni, Fe, Zn) and enhance the intrinsic activity of CO2 electrocatalytic reduction.

Origin of life -- Did Darwinian evolution begin before life itself?
A study done by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich physicists demonstrates that fundamental characteristics of polymeric molecules, such as their subunit composition, are sufficient to trigger selection processes in a plausible prebiotic setting.

Swimming upstream on sound waves
ETH researchers are among the first scientists to have succeeded in propelling microvehicles against a fluid flow using ultrasound.

Innovative parenting programs address inequality in young children's development
Parent education programs and interventions that begin shortly after the birth of a child have shown to significantly impact parenting behaviors that support social and academic engagement for children growing up in poverty, according to a study led by pediatricians and psychologists across the country, including NYU Grossman School of Medicine, NYU Steinhardt, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Conservation paradox - the pros and cons of recreational hunting
In a new article published in the journal One Earth, scientists from the University of Helsinki in Finland and Flinders University in Australia have reviewed more than 1,000 studies on recreational hunting -- the first such attempt to summarize the scientific literature examining the biodiversity and social effects of recreational hunting globally.

Prion diseases: new clues in the structure of prion proteins
A new study carried out by SISSA - Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati in collaboration with other institutions including Genos Glycoscience.

Depression, anxiety, loneliness are peaking in college students
New nationwide survey data uncovers college students' current mental health challenges and needs.

New study highlights lack of diversity and inclusion in vaccine clinical trials
A team of scientific experts from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico are advocating for increased diversity in vaccine trials after publishing a new report that highlights a decade's worth of disparities.

How the brain processes sign language
Over 70 million deaf people use sign languages as their preferred communication form.

RUDN University chemist used iodine to synthesize new chalcogenides
A chemist from RUDN University, working with a group of colleagues, synthesized three new chalcogenides (compounds that contain metals and elements from group 16 of the periodic table).

Insight-HXMT gives insight into origin of fast radio bursts
The latest observations from Insight-HXMT were published online in Nature Astronomy on Feb.

Data show lower daily temperatures lead to higher transmission of COVID-19
Understanding the impact of seasonal temperature changes on transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is an important factor in reducing the virus's spread in the years to come.

The melting of large icebergs is a key stage in the evolution of ice ages
A new study, in which the Andalusian Earth Sciences Institute (IACT) (CSIC-UGR) participated, has described for the first time a key stage in the beginning of the great glaciations and indicates that it can happen to our planet in the future.

New technology enables predictive design of engineered human cells
Northwestern University synthetic biologists have developed a design-driven process to build complex genetic circuits for cellular engineering.

Time-lapse reveals the hidden dance of roots
New time-lapse videos capture something that's too slow for our eyes to see: the growing tips of plant roots make corkscrew-like motions, waggling and winding in a helical path as they burrow into the soil.

A speed limit also applies in the quantum world
Even in the world of the smallest particles with their own special rules, things cannot proceed infinitely fast.

Direct cloning method CAPTUREs novel microbial natural products
Microorganisms possess natural product biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that may harbor unique bioactivities for use in drug development and agricultural applications.

Electrical transmission lines have power to enhance habitat connectivity for wildlife
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Converting the ground under electrical transmission towers into spaces for wildlife can enable fragmented populations to connect with one another, increasing local biodiversity and providing animals around the globe an important tool for adapting to climate change, a new study found.

Should Uber and Lyft be electrifying more vehicles?
Increases in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions caused by ridesourcing impact human health and the environment--what happens when companies shoulder that cost?

Neural pathway critical to correcting behavioral errors related to psych disorders found
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a neural pathway through which the brain detects errors and guides subsequent behavioral improvement
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