Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 2017)

Science news and science current events archive November, 2017.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 2017

Oncotarget: Researchers identify a potential molecular trigger for invasiveness in prostate cancer cells
A small protein modification can trigger the aggressive migratory and invasive properties of prostate cancer cells, according to new research published on the cover of Oncotarget. The findings give greater insight into how cancers can move from one location in the body to another, and could help develop more effective therapies in the future. Editorial by Xin Ye and Robert A. Weinberg can be found online.

Artificial neural networks could power up curation of natural history collections
Fed with new knowledge for centuries, natural history collections contain critical data for many scientific endeavors. While recent efforts in mass digitization have already provided unprecedented insight by generating large datasets from these collections, a new pilot project -- one of the first of its kind -- suggests that the key to efficiently studying these data might lie in the new-age deep learning techniques. The research article is published in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal.

We should use central pressure deficit, not wind speed, to predict hurricane damage
New research provides a physical understanding for why central pressure deficit is a better indicator of economic damage from hurricanes than peak wind speed.

Revolutionary imaging technique uses CRISPR to map DNA mutations
A new nanomapping technology could transform the way disease-causing genetic mutations are diagnosed and discovered.

Improving clinical trials with machine learning
Machine learning could improve our ability to determine whether a new drug works in the brain, potentially enabling researchers to detect drug effects that would be missed entirely by conventional statistical tests, finds a new UCL study published in Brain.

New computational method provides optimized design of wind up toys
A team of leading computer scientists has developed a novel computational system to aid the design and fabrication of wind-up toys, focusing on automating the intricate interior machinery responsible for the toys' wind-up motion.

Cardiorespiratory fitness is essential to reduce risk of coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a leading cause of death for men in the US. Both cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and the blood triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein ratio (TG:HDL ratio) are strong predictors of death from CHD. In the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, two new studies highlight the importance of CRF on subsequent CVD and mortality risk. These articles contribute substantive evidence on the importance of achieving moderate to high levels of CRF in both adults and children.

Argonne to install Comanche system to explore ARM technology for HPC
Argonne National Laboratory is collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide system software expertise and a development ecosystem for a future high-performance computing (HPC) system based on 64-bit ARM processors.

Small changes to organ procurement system could lead to more life-saving transplants
Slight changes to the system for allocating deceased-donor kidneys could result in higher rates of organ procurement and lead to more kidney transplants across the country, according to new research co-authored by an Indiana University Kelley School of Business professor.

MRIs of West Nile virus victims -- even symptom-free -- show evidence of long-term neurological damage
Brain images of people who developed neurological complications from West Nile virus found that many of them -- including those who had experienced mild symptoms or none all -- showed evidence of brain damage years after the original infection, according to a new study presented today at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).

Uneven growth in US medical and health R&D investments across sectors
Total US investment in medical and health R&D in the US grew by 20.6% from 2013 to 2016 led by industry and the federal government, according to US Investments in Medical and Health Research and Development, a new report from Research!America.

AI tool quantifies power imbalance between female and male characters in Hollywood movies
UW researchers who used machine learning tools to analyze language in 800 Hollywood movie scripts found subtle but widespread gender bias in the amount of power and agency given to male and female characters.

One health researchers identify hot spots of tick-borne diseases in Mongolia
Given the critical role livestock play in Mongolia, transmission of tick-borne diseases can have very real health and economic implications for livestock and herders. George Mason University's Dr. Michael von Fricken and colleagues explored the interaction between nomadic herders, the livestock they own, and the tick-borne diseases they are exposed to.

Record high CO2 emissions delay global peak
Global carbon emissions are on the rise again in 2017 after three years of little to no growth, according to University of East Anglia researcher. Global emissions from all human activities will reach 41 billion tonnes in 2017, following a projected 2 percent rise in burning fossil fuels. It was hoped that emissions might soon reach their peak after three stable years, so this is unwelcome news for those at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23), Bonn.

Russian chemists discovered a surprising effect of a well-known leukemia drug
Researchers from RUDN University and Institute of Biomedical Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences have identified an alternative mechanism for the effective antitumor drug -- an enzyme called L-asparaginase. Some isoenzymes of L-asparaginase block the growth of telomeres (region of repetitive nucleotide sequences at each end of a chromosome) on DNA molecules, and this limits the number of divisions of a cancer cell. This effect is reported in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

Research highlights ethical sourcing of materials for modern technology
Researchers from the Camborne School of Mines have identified methods to predict the environmental and social cost of resourcing new deposits of rare earth minerals used in the production of mobile phones, wind turbines and electric vehicles.

Exercise increases brain size, new research finds
Aerobic exercise can improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age, a new Australian-led study has found.

Secret alter ego of well-known protein fights leaky blood vessels
Scientists at the Wyss Institute set out to solve the mystery of how the force of blood flowing through arteries and veins helps keep the cells that line them healthy and, to their surprise, discovered a completely new cell signaling pathway involving the well-known transmembrane protein Notch1. Understanding that one protein can play multiple roles allows for the development of more targeted drugs that have fewer vascular side effects and greater efficacy.

U of M study affirms new strategies for reducing achievement gap
Successful implementation of preschool to third grade programs yields benefits in increasing school readiness, improving attendance, and strengthening parental involvement in school education -- strategies that can close the achievement gap for children at risk, according to a new University of Minnesota study.

African-American women with type 2 diabetes may have higher risk for ER-neg breast cancer
Among African-American women, those with type 2 diabetes may have a higher risk of developing estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer.

New study finds extra bite of blood transforms invasive Asian tiger mosquito from poor to potent spreader of Zika virus
The invasive Asian tiger mosquito now rapidly spreading in parts of the United States and Europe may have been significantly underestimated as a potential source of Zika and dengue virus infections -- and for one simple reason: they were underfed, according to a new study presented today at the 66th American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Annual Meeting.

After cooking, biofortified corn and eggs retain nutrient needed to prevent blindness
Fortified and biofortified foods are at the forefront of efforts to combat vitamin A deficiency worldwide. But little is known about what influence processing may have on the retention of vitamin A precursors in these foods. Now in a study appearing in ACS Omega, scientists report that a high percentage of these healthful substances -- in some cases, almost all -- can survive cooking, depending on the preparation method. 

Russian chemists developed a way to synthesize drugs from renewable precursors
The scientists of RUDN University together with their Russian colleagues have developed a new approach to the synthesis of benzofurans from cheap raw materials. Original furans can be produced from wastes of agriculture and wooworking industry, such as sawdust, cobs and other by-products of crop production. The results of the work were described in the article published in Tetrahedron.

NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
The NASA-funded CubeSat, called Microwave Radiometer Technology Acceleration (MiRaTA), will be launched into Earth's orbit from the rocket carrying the next big US weather satellite (NOAA's JPSS-1) into space. MiRaTA is designed to demonstrate that a small satellite can carry instrument technology that's capable of reducing the cost and size of future weather satellites and has the potential to routinely collect reliable weather data.

Another reason to exercise: Protecting your sight
People who engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity may be able to significantly lower their risk of glaucoma, according to research presented today at AAO 2017, the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Using social media big data to combat prescription drug crisis
Researchers conducted a critical review of existing literature to determine whether social media big data can be used to understand communication and behavioral patterns related to prescription drug abuse. Their study found that with proper research methods and attention to privacy and ethical issues, social media big data can reveal important information concerning drug abuse, such as user-reported side effects, drug cravings, emotional states, and risky behaviors.

Student self-reporting can help educators catch academic and mental health problems early
Stephen Kilgus, an associate professor in the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Missouri, is analyzing how a new screening tool, which is completed by students, can help teachers identify potential academic, social and emotional problems. The data might help give teachers better tools to improve children's lives in the classroom and beyond.

Tempting your taste buds: Food cues entice consumers to overeat
The mouth-watering aroma of juicy burgers and crispy fries, and the eye-catching menu signs with delicious food pictures can tempt many hungry patrons to stop at fast-food restaurants.

NIH scientists and collaborators find prion protein in skin of CJD patients
NIAID scientists and collaborators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have detected abnormal prion protein in the skin of several people who died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The scientists also exposed healthy mice to skin extracts from two CJD patients, and all developed prion disease. The study results raise questions about the possible transmissibility of prion diseases via medical procedures involving skin, and whether skin samples might be used to detect prion disease.

Twin study finds genetics affects where children look, shaping mental development
A study published Nov. 9 in the journal current Biology and co-led by Indiana University that tracked the eye movement of twins has found that genetics plays a strong role in how people attend to their environment.

Potential new autism drug shows promise in mice
NitroSynapsin is intended to restore an electrical signaling imbalance in the brain found in virtually all forms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Patients with depression and advanced cancer survive longer with palliative care intervention
A new Dartmouth-led study finds that patients with depression and advanced cancer live longer when exposed to palliative care interventions designed to improve quality of life.

Antimalarial drugs could support existing cancer treatments in two-pronged attack
Antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could make tumour cells more sensitive to cancer treatment.

Scientists of SibFU have found a way to determine the toxicity of nanomaterials
Official website of the Russian Science Foundation reports that a group of scientists from Siberian Federal University and Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the SB RAS has developed a bioluminescent enzymatic test system for assessing the toxicity of carbon nanomaterials.

The fight against obesity: To tax or not to tax?
Preventing obesity has become a major health priority and food taxation has been suggested as a crucial measure in order to achieve this. The debate 'This house believes that the UK population trend in obesity cannot be reversed without food taxation' will be held at the SfE BES 2017, the annual conference of the Society for Endocrinology, in Harrogate. The debate explores whether food taxation is an indispensable strategy to correct obesity trends, or whether there should be other ways of approaching the problem.

New model may provide insights on neurocognitive disorders caused by HIV
HIV infects certain cells in the brain called microglia, and infected microglia release toxic and inflammatory molecules that can impair or kill surrounding neurons.

Microbial ecosystem at Laguna La Brava may contain novel microorganisms
An investigation of the microbial environment at Laguna La Brava in Chile may suggest that novel microorganisms might be at work in the absence of cyanobacteria, according to a study published Nov. 15, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maria Eugenia Farias from Laboratorio de Investigaciones Microbiológicas de Lagunas Andinas, Argentina, and colleagues.

Cancer drug parity laws lower costs for many, but not everyone
State laws designed to ensure that the pill form of cancer drugs is not costlier than treatments given through an infusion in a clinic or hospital have had a mixed impact on patients' pocketbooks, according to University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers. Many patients experienced modest improvements in costs, but patients paying the most for their medications saw their monthly costs go up.

Some Chinese coal ash too radioactive for reuse
Many manufacturers use coal ash from power plants as a low-cost binding agent in concrete and other building materials. But a new study finds that coal ash from high-uranium deposits in China is too radioactive for this use. Some coal ash analyzed in the study contained radiation 43 times higher than the maximum safe limit set for residential building materials by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

Scientists investigate how different houses and lifestyles affect which bugs live with us
Humans have lived under the same roof with bugs since we first began building shelters 20,000 years ago. Now, scientists are studying how physical factors of our homes -- from the floor plan and the number of windows to even how tidy we are -- may play a role in the diversity of the multi-legged communities populating the indoor environment.

The end of 'Pump Fiction'
Our cells move energy and matter to the places it is needed. But how do they do this in real time, and seen from the perspective of a single molecule? A Danish research team has successfully uncovered new basic insights into this invisible world, by doing experiments that track how a single molecule of the protein 'engine' known as the calcium pump works.

Study shows electric bandages can fight biofilm infection, antimicrobial resistance
Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have shown -- for the first time -- that special bandages using weak electric fields to disrupt bacterial biofilm infection can prevent infections, combat antibiotic resistance and enable healing in infected burn wounds. The dressing becomes electrically active upon contact with bodily fluids.

Both obese and anorexic women have low levels of 'feel good' neurosteroid
Women at opposite extremes of the weight spectrum have low levels of the neuroactive steroid allopregnanolone, according to new research published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Follow-up cholesterol testing reduces risk of reocurrence for heart attack and stroke patients
If you have a heart attack or stroke, it's important to get your 'bad' cholesterol measured by your doctor on a follow up visit. Researchers have found that one step is significantly associated with a reduced risk of suffering another serious cardiovascular episode.

Ludwig researchers uncover novel mechanism by which tumors evade cancer immunotherapies
A Ludwig Cancer Research study led by Benoit Van den Eynde, Director of Ludwig Brussels, has identified a novel mechanism by which tumors of the aggressive skin cancer melanoma can resist cancer immunotherapy.

Stem cells pave the way for new treatment of diabetes
A new stem cell study conducted at the University of Copenhagen shows how we may increase the vital production of insulin in patients suffering from diabetes. The discovery helps to more efficiently at less cost make insulin-producing beta cells from human stem cells. Therefore, the research paves the way for more effective treatment of diabetes. The method may also prove significant to the treatment of a series of other diseases.

Military service members face unique and sustained threats to optimal brain health
Military service exposes soldiers to a unique set of physical challenges, including toxic chemicals and traumatic brain injury, which can have profound effects on their health and well-being. New research examines the effects of military-related brain disorders and possible paths toward treatment, as well as a potential way to harness our brain's learning capabilities to better train pilots. The studies were presented today at Neuroscience 2017, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

Like a baby: The vicious cycle of childhood obesity and snoring
In a new longitudinal observational study, scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) looked at the relationships among maternal snoring, childhood snoring and children's metabolic characteristics -- including body mass index (BMI) and insulin resistance, which reflects future risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease -- in approximately 1,100 children followed from gestation through early adolescence.

G7 on do violent communities foster violent kids?Health, science suggests global action to reduce the impact of climate on health
Italian Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin presented the results of the research in Milan during the meeting on Health attended by the G7 ministers.

Considerable gap exists in US between having hearing loss and receiving medical evaluation treatment
Nearly a third of about 40 million adults in the United States who report hearing difficulties have not seen a specialist for their hearing problems.

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