Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (October 2016)

Science news and science current events archive October, 2016.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from October 2016

Nanowires as sensors in new type of atomic force microscope
A new type of atomic force microscope (AFM) uses nanowires as tiny sensors. Unlike standard AFM, the device with a nanowire sensor enables measurements of both the size and direction of forces. Physicists at the University of Basel and at the EPF Lausanne have described these results in the recent issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

Medicaid expansion associated with increased Medicaid revenue, decreased uncompensated care costs
In a study appearing in the Oct. 11 issue of JAMA, Fredric Blavin, Ph.D., of The Urban Institute, Washington, DC, estimated the association between Medicaid expansion in 2014 and hospital finances by assessing differences between hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid and in states that did not expand Medicaid.

Conclusions based on PISA results deserve further attention
The tests results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which often informs the development of academic policies in various countries, often receive rather simplified interpretations. As such, analysis of PISA data does not reflect the entire 'package' of school students' knowledge in one key area -- mathematics. This is the opinion of researchers from National Research University Higher School of Economics, Stanford University, and Michigan State University.

Physician fine-tuning mouse model for rare condition in which HPV infection causes hoarseness, breat
Infection with the common human papillomavirus can result in a rare condition that can leave children chronically hoarse and with difficulty breathing.

NASA sees large Hurricane Nicole moving past Bermuda
On Oct. 14 Nicole was racing east-northeastward over the Atlantic, but large ocean swells from the large storm were spreading northward along the US East Coast and into Atlantic Canada.

Researchers surprised at the unexpected hardness of gallium nitride
Four Lehigh engineers have reported a previously unknown property for GaN: Its wear resistance approaches that of diamonds and promises to open up applications in touch screens, space vehicles and radio-frequency microelectromechanical systems, all of which require high-speed, high-vibration technology. The researchers reported their findings in August in Applied Physics Letters n an article titled 'Ultralow wear of gallium nitride.'

Newly discovered gut organism protects mice from bacterial infections
While bacteria are often stars of the gut microbiome, emerging research depicts a more complex picture, where microorganisms from different kingdoms of life are actively working together or fighting against one another. In a study published Oct. 6 in Cell, scientists reveal one example: a newly discovered protist that protects its host mice from intestinal bacterial infections.

Smallest. Transistor. Ever.
A research team led by Berkeley Lab material scientists has created a transistor with a working 1-nanometer gate, breaking a size barrier that had been set by the laws of physics. The achievement could be a key to extending the life of Moore's Law.

Methane muted: How did early Earth stay warm?
For at least a billion years of the distant past, planet Earth should have been frozen over but wasn't. Scientists thought they knew why, but a new modeling study from the Alternative Earths team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute has fired the lead actor in that long-accepted scenario.

Keeping your synapses sharp: How spermidine reverses age-related memory decline
The ability to form new memories ('learning') diminishes drastically for many with age. In the article published Sept. 29 in open-access journal PLOS Biology, work by the groups of Stephan Sigrist from the Freie Universität Berlin, Andrea Fiala (Universität Göttingen) and Frank Madeo (Universität Graz) shows that specific synapse changes directly provoke age-related dementia, but administering spermidine, a substance already found in our bodies, is protective against age-induced memory impairment.

Modeling belief systems
A collaboration led by a UCSB scholar makes a breakthrough in quantifying belief system dynamics.

Midwater ocean creatures use nanotech camouflage
Crustaceans of the midwater ocean are covered with optical coatings on their legs and bodies that can dampen the reflection of light by 250-fold in some cases and prevent it from bouncing back to a hungry lantern fish's eye, finds a new study from Duke University and the Smithsonian Institution. Weirder still, these coatings appear to be made of living bacteria.

'Farming' bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
Marine symbiotic bacteria may help to 'fertilize' animal growth in the oceans. Microbiologist Jillian Petersen and colleagues from the University of Vienna and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology have discovered that chemosynthetic bacteria in marine animals can fix nitrogen as well as carbon. This is the first such symbiont known to be capable of nitrogen fixation.

New library of human stem cells with the Brazilian genetic admixture
New human pluripotent stem cells lines increase the diversity of the available ones because are derived from individuals of the Brazilian population -- an admixture of European, African and Native American genomic ancestry. They can serve as an in vitro system for the identification of novel leads, for testing drug toxicity and for addressing the issue of differential drug response, a phenomenon greatly influenced by genetic factors.

Seeing the forest through the trees
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is participating in a three-year, $3-million grant by the National Science Foundation to develop a user-friendly interface that will help forest scientists everywhere record and share their genomic data for various tree species.

It's time to consider propranolol as an anti-cancer drug, researchers say
Propranolol, a beta-blocker commonly prescribed to treat irregular heart rates and other conditions, has significant anti-cancer properties, say researchers in a new clinical study published in ecancermedicalscience.

UTSA astronomer receives grant to study the nature of distant galaxies
Chris Packham, associate professor of physics and astronomy at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has received a $387,214 grant from the National Science Foundation to support his efforts to better understand the formation and nature of the center of nearby galaxies.

Replacing diet beverages with water may help diabetic patients lose weight
In a study of 81 overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes who usually consumed diet beverages and were on a weight loss program, those who substituted water for diet beverages after their lunch for 24 weeks had a greater decrease in weight (-6.40 vs. -5.25 kg) and body mass index (-2.49 vs. -2.06 kg/m2) compared with those who continued to consume diet beverages.

How baby's genes influence birth weight and later life disease
New research finds genetic differences that help to explain why some babies are born bigger or smaller than others. It also reveals how genetic differences provide an important link between an individual's early growth and their chances of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease in later life.

Creative staff lead to satisfied customers says study
Organizations in the service sector that have more creative employees enjoy higher levels of customer satisfaction, according to new research led by the University of East Anglia.

Defects in diamond: A unique platform for optical data storage in 3-D
There are limitations on storing large volumes of data. Home-computer hard disk drives consume a lot of power and are limited to a few terabytes per drive. DVD and Blu-ray are energy efficient and cheap, but storage densities are low due to the planar nature of the discs and the optical diffraction limit. However, researchers have made inroads into developing a 3-D diamond chip that could store vastly more data than current technologies.

Study: Does a cancer cell's shape hint at its danger?
Paper published in the journal Integrative Biology shows that a cancer cell's shape may be combined with genomic data to offer a more precise prognosis and guide strategies for treating a patient's disease.

Henry Ford leads 7-state research consortium awarded precision medicine funding
The National Institutes of Health announced today that Henry Ford Health System is leading a five-member research consortium to expand the geographic reach and diversity of the NIH's Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program. The consortium is one of four regional health care systems newly awarded funding under the PMI Cohort Program, a landmark research effort aimed at advancing personalized health care by studying how individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics influence a person's health and disease risk.

Good relationships with parents may benefit children's health decades later
Growing up in a well-off home can benefit a child's physical health even decades later -- but a lack of parent-child warmth, or the presence of abuse, may eliminate the health advantage of a privileged background, according to a Baylor University study.

Sink your teeth into this: How the three-part jaw evolved
The unearthing of a fossil in China has shed light on the evolution of the three-part jaw, revealing a previously unknown stage of jaw evolution in an extinct class of armored, prehistoric fish known as placoderms.

Shock trauma to study body cooling for patients in cardiac arrest from massive bleeding
The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland has opened a clinical trial to study whether rapidly cooling the body temperature of patients whose hearts stop due to massive blood loss will give surgeons extra time to find and repair injuries, and in turn, help save their lives.

Nanoscale engineering transforms particles into 'LEGO-like' building blocks
Researchers have developed a nanoscale engineering method that transforms tiny particles into 'LEGO-like' modular building blocks.

UofT study finds 1 in 5 children who might benefit from pediatric palliative care do not
The University of Toronto's Faculty of Nursing today announced that only 18 percent of children with life-threatening conditions access specialized pediatric palliative care in Canada, a 13 percent increase since 2002. 25 percent of those who receive this type of care only do so for less than eight days prior to death.

Natural gas hydrate in the foraminifera
Highly saturated natural gas hydrates have been discovered in the fine-grained sediments of Shenhu area, South China Sea. Foraminifer is considered of the key factor that provides ideal places for hydrate growth and accumulation. In this paper, micro-focus X-ray computed tomography was used to observe the hydrate distribution inside and outside the foraminifer shells.

Clemson University organic peach research bags $1 million grant
Clemson University awarded $1 million grant to study growing peaches organically by bagging them while they're still on the trees.

Better models needed to predict risk of atrial fibrillation from medical records
In a study published in the journal JAMA Cardiology, Dr. Dawood Darbar, chief of cardiology at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, and colleagues found that risk prediction models for atrial fibrillation developed by investigators on the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) trial, did not accurately predict incidence of the condition when it was applied to the EMRs of a large group of patients.

Tatooine worlds orbiting 2 suns often survive violent escapades of aging stars
Planets that revolve around two suns may surprisingly survive the violent late stages of the stars' lives, according to new research out of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and York University. The finding is surprising because planets orbiting close to a single sun would be destroyed when the aging star swells into a red giant. The study found that planets orbiting two stars often escape death and destruction by moving out to wider orbits.

Functional inks bring additional information and entertainment to products
Traceable consumer products and entertaining solutions are about to become part of our everyday lives, particularly in food packaging or, say, textiles and household appliances.

New theory explains how the moon got there
Earth's Moon is an unusual object in our solar system, and now there's a new theory to explain how it got where it is, which puts some twists on the current 'giant impact' theory.

Health policy expert to study electronic sharing of health information in primary care
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded a grant to a health and policy management expert at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to study for the first time the use and effectiveness of alternative methods of electronically sharing information in primary care settings.

Wild cat brains: An evolutionary curveball
The brains of wild cats don't necessarily respond to the same evolutionary pressures as those of their fellow mammals, humans and primates, indicates a surprising new study led by a Michigan State University neuroscientist.

A protein makes the difference
It is well-established knowledge that blood vessels foster the growth of tumors. Preventing the formation of tumors is a standard part of cancer therapy. A study by researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg has discovered a new, surprising role played by blood vessels: under certain conditions they can inhibit tumor growth.

Understanding how the 'blood-brain barrier' is breached in bacterial meningitis
Simon Fraser University researcher Lisa Craig is part of an international team that has uncovered new details about a microbe that invades the brain, sometimes with fatal results. The information is a critical piece of the meningitis puzzle, and could lead to new ways of treating meningococcal infection. The research is published today in the journal Nature Communications.

Healthcare workers describe their experiences in caring for patients with Ebola
Interviews conducted in 2015 with eight nurses and one physician who had worked in Ebola care in Sierra Leone revealed two themes: 'Experiencing security by learning to manage risks'; and 'Developing courage and growth by facing personal fears'.

Study shows infants pay more attention to native speakers
The connection between language and social preferences is well-established. New research, recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, demonstrates that infants also pay attention to language cues in deciding where to place their attention.

Uber service faster in low income Seattle neighborhoods, initial study finds
Your wait time for an Uber ride in Seattle is shorter if you are in a lower income neighborhood. Alternatively, wait times are longer for an Uber in wealthier neighborhoods, according to a new University of Washington study that measures one dimension of whether TNCs are providing equitable access.

Study gives tips for avoiding mistakes in pediatric chest radiography
While radiography remains the gold standard in pediatric imaging, it is rife with opportunities for error because cooperation and positioning are often challenging for such patients.

Scientists dicipher the organization of the cellular mechanisms responsible for energy production
Carried out by research scientists at the CNIC, the study helps to explain how different forms of organization affect metabolism and are linked to the tendency to develop certain diseases.

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for skin cancer medication Imiquimod
Imiquimod is a medication successfully used in the treatment of skin diseases. In addition to its known mechanism of action, it also triggers other processes in the body. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have succeeded in explaining the molecular fundamentals of these additional effects. The results also shine a new light on other known molecular processes which could indicate an approach to the treatment of inflammatory illnesses.

Collecting injury data could reduce A&E attendances
A study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, has found data on injuries can be collected relatively easily at A&E departments to help understand injury patterns in communities.

Soft or firm touch? Study reveals how amputee patients tell the difference
A new study uncovers how two men with amputations, who had electrodes implanted in their residual limbs, discern between soft and firm touch.

Strong at the coast, weak in the cities -- the German energy-transition patchwork
The energy transition in Germany is making progress. In 2015, hydropower, wind, sun and biomass provided about 35 percent of electricity. The ambitious transition to climate-friendly energy provision is moving ahead in all federal states. But from region to region there are huge differences. These have now been identified by scientists at the UFZ. Their detailed study on the spatial distribution of the German electricity supply has resulted in a detailed energy-transition map.

Poland-US Science Award for research on RNA structure
World-renowned scientists -- Professor Ryszard Kierzek from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznan and Professor Douglas H. Turner from the University of Rochester -- are the winners of the 2016 edition of the Poland-US Science Award. The award is granted jointly by the Foundation for Polish Science, the biggest private institution supporting science in Poland, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific association.

NASA sees Hurricane Seymour becoming a major hurricane
Hurricane Seymour was strengthening into a major hurricane in the Eastern Pacific Ocean when the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite passed over it from space.

50-year-old bacteria could be alternative treatment option for cancer
Salmonella has a unique characteristic that allows the bacteria to penetrate through cell barriers and replicate inside its host. Now, scientists at the Cancer Research Center and the University of Missouri have developed a non-toxic strain of Salmonella to penetrate and target cancer cells. Results from this study could lead to promising new treatments that actively target and control the spread of cancer.

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