Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 23, 2021
Researchers reveal genetic predisposition to severe COVID-19
HSE University researchers have become the first in the world to discover genetic predisposition to severe COVID-19.

Novice drivers talking on hand-held smartphones are more likely to run red-lights
Young novice drivers who speak into hand-held smartphones while driving are also likely to drive while under the influence of drink or drugs, according to researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software.

Effect of layperson-delivered, empathy-focused program of telephone calls on loneliness, depression, anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic
A randomized clinical trial, this study reports that a layperson-delivered, empathy-oriented telephone call program reduced loneliness, depression and anxiety compared with the control group and improved the general mental health of participants within four weeks.

Research finds college students with ADHD are likely to experience significant challenges
In one of largest and most comprehensive investigations of college students with ADHD ever conducted, new research confirms students with ADHD face significant challenges across all four years of college and predicts ways academic outcomes can be improved.

Climate impacts drive east-west divide in forest seed production
Younger, smaller trees that comprise much of North America's eastern forests have increased their seed production under climate change.

Glaciers accelerate in the Getz region of West Antarctica
Glaciers in West Antarctica are moving more quickly from land into the ocean, contributing to rising global sea levels.

Genetic tool improves estimation of prostate cancer risk in diverse ethnic/racial groups
Scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine validated a more inclusive and comprehensive genetic tool, known as a polygenic hazard score (PHS), for predicting age of onset of aggressive prostate cancer.

CDDEP report highlights tremendous burden from infectious diseases in SEAR countries
Washington, DC / New Delhi, India - Researchers at CDDEP, in collaboration with leading experts in the field, have produced the ''Infectious Diseases in the South-East Asia Region'' report, which examines cross-boundary challenges in communicable disease control in countries in the South-and South-East Asia region.

Climate-friendly foam building insulation may do more harm than good
The use of the polymeric flame retardant PolyFR in 'eco-friendly' foam plastic building insulation may be harmful to human health and the environment, according to a new commentary in Environmental Science & Technology.

Kittens could hold key to understanding deadly diarrheal disease in children
Kittens could be the model for understanding infectious, sometimes deadly, diarrheal disease in both animals and children.

New material is next step toward stable high-voltage long-life solid-state batteries
A team of researchers designed and manufactured a new sodium-ion conductor for solid-state sodium-ion batteries that is stable when incorporated into higher-voltage oxide cathodes.

Whale Sharks show remarkable capacity to recover from injuries
A new study has for the first time explored the extraordinary rate at which the world's largest fish, the endangered whale shark, can recover from its injuries.

New therapeutic target for Huntington's treatment
Huntington's disease is caused by a mutation in the Huntingtin gene (HTT), which appears in adults and features motor, cognitive and psychiatric alterations.

Terahertz imaging of graphene paves the way to industrialisation
X-ray scans revolutionised medical treatments by allowing us to see inside humans without surgery.

Spintronics: New production method makes crystalline microstructures universally usable
New storage and information technology requires new higher performance materials.

B cells continue to work against SARS-CoV-2 months after infection, but do not recognize mutant
A new analysis of B cells and more than 1,000 different monoclonal antibodies from 8 patients with COVID-19 shows that, contrary to previous hypotheses, protective B cell responses to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein remain stable and continue to evolve over a 5-month period, many months after the initial period of active viral replication.

Distinguishing between two very similar pediatric brain conditions
Slight differences in clinical features can help physicians distinguish between two rare but similar forms of autoimmune brain inflammation in children, a new study by UT Southwestern scientists suggests.

Basic cell health systems wear down in Huntington's disease, novel analysis shows
A new computational approach for analyzing complex datasets shows that as disease progresses, neurons and astrocytes lose the ability to maintain homeostasis.

How reducing body temperature could help a tenth of all ICU patients
ROCKVILLE, MD - A tenth of all intensive care unit patients worldwide, and many critical patients with COVID-19, have acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

More than 87,000 scientific papers on coronavirus since pandemic
Scientists from around the world have published more than 87,000 papers about coronavirus between the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and October 2020, a new analysis shows.

How women, migrants and workers are represented in the German Bundestag
Political scientists from the universities of Konstanz, Basel, Geneva and Stuttgart examine how members of the German Bundestag who belong to disadvantaged groups advocate for their interests

Families have high awareness of healthy eating but struggle to access good food
Low-income families have a high awareness of healthy diets but can't afford good quality and nutritious food, new research shows.

'Problem of missing ice' finally solved by movement of the earth's crust
An international team of scientists published a study in Nature Communications today.

ALS neuron damage reversed with new compound
Scientists have identified the first compound that eliminates the ongoing degeneration of upper motor neurons that become diseased and are a key contributor to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a swift and fatal neurodegenerative disease that paralyzes its victims.

Tobacco exposure in kids, risk of increased blood pressure
Researchers investigated whether children and adolescents who smoked or lived with a smoker had an increased risk of elevated blood pressure.

Scientists use DNA origami to monitor CRISPR gene targeting
The remarkable genetic scissors called CRISPR/Cas9, the discovery that won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sometimes cut in places that they are not designed to target.

Protective ship coatings as an underestimated source of microplastic pollution
Shipping traffic can be a major source of microplastics, especially out in the open ocean.

Pregnancy, stress, sleep issues, physiology among women's unique cardiovascular concerns
Women face many female-specific risks for heart disease and stroke, according to multiple research studies published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

A memory without a brain
Having a memory of past events enables us to take smarter decisions about the future.

Alaska thunderstorms may triple with climate change
Warming temperatures will potentially alter the climate in Alaska so profoundly later this century that the number of thunderstorms will triple, increasing the risks of widespread flash flooding, landslides, and lightning-induced wildfires, new research finds.

Machine learning method identifies precancerous colon polyps
A machine learning algorithm helps accurately differentiate benign and premalignant colorectal polyps on CT colonography scans, according to a new study.

Parasitic plants conspire to keep hosts alive
The plant that encourages kissing at Christmas is in fact a parasite, and new research reveals mistletoe has an unusual feeding strategy.

University of Minnesota researchers develop two new rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tests
University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have developed two new rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 - one to detect COVID-19 variants and one to help differentiate with other illnesses that have COVID-19-like symptoms.

Biopolymer-coated nanocatalyst can help realize a hydrogen fuel-driven future
While popular as an eco-friendly fuel, hydrogen is difficult to produce efficiently in an eco-friendly manner (through sunlight-induced decomposition of water) due to stability issues of catalysts (chemical reaction facilitators).

Seasonal variation in daylight influences brain function
A Finnish research group has studied how seasons influence the function of the brain.

Multi-ethnic neighborhoods in England retain diversity unlike in the U.S.
Multi-ethnic neighborhoods in England retain their diversity and are much more stable than such neighborhoods in the U.S., according to geographers from the U.S. and U.K.

Largest comprehensive Middle East GWAS reveals Arab genetic risk factors
A new study in Nature Communications confirms that the existing global dataset of human genomes, which overrepresent European populations, does not accurately reveal the genetic architecture of diseases affecting Arab populations in the Middle East.

Innate immune system worsens the situation in severe COVID-19
In patients with severe COVID-19, the innate immune system overreacts.

High energy radiotherapy could 'paint' tumours to avoid harming healthy tissue
A radiotherapy technique which 'paints' tumours by targeting them precisely, and avoiding healthy tissue, has been devised in research led by the University of Strathclyde.

Mouse study shows bacteriophage therapy could fight drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae
Using viruses instead of antibiotics to tame troublesome drug-resistant bacteria is a promising strategy, known as bacteriophage or ''phage therapy.'' Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have used two different bacteriophage viruses individually and then together to successfully treat research mice infected with multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae sequence type 258 (ST258).

For students of color, online racism leads to real-world mental health challenges
For college students of color who encounter online racism, the effect of racialized aggressions and assaults reaches far beyond any single social media feed and can lead to real and significant mental health impacts - even more significant than in-person experiences of racial discrimination, according to a recently published study from researchers at UConn and Boston College.

Drifter or homebody? Study first to show where whitespotted eagle rays roam
It's made for long-distance travel, yet movement patterns of the whitespotted eagle ray remain a mystery.

ET phones home!
A team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has discovered the first evidence of radio flares emitted only long after a star is destroyed by a black hole.

For selenium in rivers, timing matters
Researchers have gained new insight into an ongoing environmental health problem.

The unveiling of a novel mechanism of resistance to immunotherapy targeting HER2
VHIO investigators report how HER2 breast cancer cells adopt a strategy to resist clearance by redirected lymphocytes.

Nonconscious brain modulation to remove fears, increase confidence
Machine learning-based training of brain activity has led to exciting developments: reduce fears, change one's preferences, or even increase one's confidence.

Alzheimer Europe sets out recommendations to improve data sharing in dementia research
At an online European Parliament workshop hosted by Deirdre Clune MEP (Ireland), Alzheimer Europe launched a new report ''Data Sharing in Dementia Research'', which reviews recent changes in EU research policy and sets out recommendations to improve data sharing in dementia research.

The way a fish swims reveals a lot about its personality, say scientists
Personality has been described in all sorts of animal species, from ants to apes.

Beta blockers can repair malformed blood vessels in the brain
Propranolol, a drug that is efficacious against infantile haemangiomas (''strawberry naevi'', resembling birthmarks), can also be used to treat cerebral cavernous malformations, a condition characterised by misshapen blood vessels in the brain and elsewhere.

Reimagined US-Middle East strategy would lean less on arms sales, more on dev't/governance
US policies in the Middle East need to be rethought, according to a new RAND Corporation report.

New features of a gene defect that affects muzzle length and caudal vertebrae in dogs
A recent genetic study at the University of Helsinki provides new information on the occurrence of a DVL2 gene defect associated with a screw tail and its relevance to canine constitution and health.

Sustainable but smartly: Tackling security and privacy issues in smart agriculture
Smart agriculture is set to revolutionize food production in the next few decades.

Fat cells may influence how the body reacts to heart failure, study shows
University of Alberta researchers have found that limiting the amount of fat the body releases into the bloodstream from fat cells when in heart failure could help improve outcomes for patients.

Tool encoded in coronaviruses provides a potential target for COVID-19
Coronaviruses exploit our cells so they can make copies of themselves inside us.

The invisible smallest particles matter for the air we breathe
Researchers of the University of Helsinki have resolved for the first time, how the ultrafine particles of atmosphere effect on the climate and health.

'Missing ice problem' finally solved
During glacial periods, the sea level falls, because vast quantities of water are stored in the massive inland glaciers.

Microbiome boost may help corals resist bleaching
Providing corals with cocktails of natural probiotics could enhance their tolerance to stress and reduce mortality in coral bleaching events.

Like wine, environmental conditions impact flavor of whiskey, study finds
Flavor differences in whiskey can be discerned based solely on the environment in which the barley used to make the whiskey is grown, a new study co-authored by an Oregon State University researcher found.

Agile underwater glider could quietly survey the seas
Autonomous underwater vehicles have become versatile tools for exploring the seas.

The magic angle of twisted graphene
Trapped tightly between two monolayers of carbon superimposed at a precise angle, electrons interact and can produce superconductivity.

Scientists identify potential contributor to hyper immune responses in patients with severe COVID-19
Researchers have pinpointed a helper T cell population in the lungs of patients with severe COVID-19 that may be central to the development of hyperinflammation, lung injury, and subsequent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) during disease

Simply speaking while infected can potentially spread COVID-19
COVID-19 can spread from asymptomatic but infected people through small aerosol droplets in their exhaled breath.

New blood pressure-lowering guidelines could benefit 25 million americans with chronic kidney disease
A recommendation for more intensive blood pressure management from an influential global nonprofit that publishes clinical practice guidelines in kidney disease could, if followed, benefit nearly 25 million Americans.

Saki monkeys get screen time for more control over their lives in captivity
Scientists have designed and built an on-demand video device for white-faced saki monkeys to activate as and when they like.

College students displaced from campus due to COVID-19 show worse psychological outcomes
In a new study of 791 undergraduate and graduate students, surveyed between April 9 and August 4, 2020, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston University's School of Social Work, and McLean Hospital revealed that students forced to relocate during the spring were more likely to report COVID-19-related grief, loneliness and generalized anxiety symptoms than students who did not relocate.

Study finds COVID risk communication targeting younger adults may have biggest impact
A study of adults in the United States finds that - broadly speaking - the older you are, the more concerned you are about COVID-19, and the more steps you take to reduce your risk from COVID-19.

COVID-19 communication
In this narrative medicine essay, a medical school professor expresses gratitude for the caring and empathy expressed by the team caring for her mother hospitalized with COVID-19 and emphasizes the importance of humanity and compassion over facts and statistics for families physically separated from their critically ill loved ones.

Toxins from one bacterial species contribute to genetic diversity of others
A toxin produced by bacteria as a defence mechanism causes mutations in target bacteria that could help them survive.

Low-level jets create winds of change for turbines
Global wind power capacity has increased more than fivefold over the past decade, leading to larger turbines, but low-level jets are one cause for concern.

Reclusive neutron star may have been found in famous supernova
Since astronomers captured the bright explosion of a star on February 24, 1987, researchers have been searching for the squashed stellar core that should have been left behind.

Cre-controlled CRISPR: Conditional gene inactivation just got easier
The ability to turn a gene off only in a specific cell type is essential to modern life science.

Measuring hemoglobin levels with AI microscope, microfluidic chips
A complete blood count can help ascertain the health of a patient and typically includes an estimate of the hemoglobin concentration, which can indicate several conditions, including anemia, polycythemia, and pulmonary fibrosis.

LSU Health New Orleans study finds disadvantaged census tracts linked to COVID incidence
An LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health study reports a positive association between social vulnerability and COVID-19 incidence at the census tract level and recommends that more resources be allocated to socially vulnerable populations to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.

Gay men who 'sound gay' encounter more stigma and discrimination from heterosexual peers
Gay men are more likely than lesbian women to face stigma and avoidant prejudice from their heterosexual peers due to the sound of their voice, a new study in the British Journal of Social Psychology reports.

New comprehensive study on feeding patterns of tiger mosquitos in Europe
This study, published recently in the international journal Insects, was conducted by researchers from the University of Granada, the DoƱana Biological Station, and the Biomedical Research Networking Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP)

'Good bacteria' in breast milk changes over time
The cocktail of beneficial bacteria passed from mother to infant through breast milk changes significantly over time and could act like a daily booster shot for infant immunity and metabolism.

Markey's ACTION program develops cancer education curriculum for Appalachian schools
After conducting a study to assess the need for cancer education materials in Appalachian Kentucky, members of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Appalachian Career Training in Oncology (ACTION) program worked with faculty from the UK College of Education to create a three-part cancer education curriculum for middle and high school teachers in the region.

UIC researchers invent new gene-editing tool
Researchers have discovered a new gene-editing technique that allows for the programming of sequential cuts -- or edits -- over time.

Actively preparing or watching others prepare food can lead to eating more
Food preparation (both actively preparing food yourself as well as watching others) can lead to eating more, a new study in the journal Appetite reports.

Study shows new treatment pathway to prevent and treat endometrial cancer recurrence
In a new study led by Yale Cancer Center, researchers demonstrate sex hormones and insulin growth factors are associated with recurrence risk of endometrial cancer.

Scientists propose a new heavy particle similar to the Higgs boson
Unlike the Higgs boson, discovered at CERN's Large Hadron Collider in 2012 after a 40-year quest, the new particle proposed by these researchers is so heavy that it could not be produced directly even in this collider The University of Granada is among the participants in this major scientific advancement in Theoretical Physics, which could help unravel the mysteries of dark matter

Targeted delivery of highly toxic anti-cancer drug to brain tumors
University of Houston biomedical researcher Sheeren Majd is reporting the development and testing of a new nano-carrier as a potential treatment to deliver highly toxic medicine to glioblastomas, the most common and aggressive form of primary brain tumors.
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