Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 2016)

Science news and science current events archive September, 2016.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 2016

How fungi help trees tolerate drought
In the transcriptome -- the set of its messenger RNA molecules that reflects actual biochemical activity by the organism -- of the most common ectomycorrhizal fungus Cenococcum geophilum, a team including DOE JGI researchers found specific adaptations that could help their hosts be more resistant to drought stress, a finding that could be useful in developing more plant feedstocks for bioenergy amidst the changing climate.

Protein subunit found to rescue afflicted neurons in Huntington's disease
Using an experimental co-culture approach in which two different types of neurons from a mouse model of Huntington's disease (HD) are grown side-by-side, connecting to form critically impacted circuits, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have identified a subunit of a protein that, when expressed, reverse the mutated gene effects responsible for HD.

NASA sees Lester move into central Pacific Ocean basin
Hurricane Lester continues to march to the west and NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite saw the storm as it was crossing from the Eastern Pacific to the Central Pacific Ocean and triggered new hurricane watches for Hawaii.

Field Museum scientists unearth centuries-old crocodile stone
The discovery of a carved stone crocodile by Field Museum archaeologists has provided a key to revising long-held ideas about the ruins of the ancient city of Lambityeco in what is now Oaxaca, Mexico.

Study shows extreme preemies must watch blood sugars and weight
(ELBW) babies are four times more likely to develop dysglycemia, or abnormal blood glucose, than their normal birth weight (NBW) peers and more likely than their peer group to have higher body fat and lower lean mass in adulthood, although both groups have a similar (BMI)

Foam stops sloshing liquid
Clinking your glass of beer often leaves its contents sloshing back and forth. Soon, though, the motion stops, your drink settles, and you can sip without getting foam on your nose. The foam helps stop the sloshing, and now, physicists have figured out why. The analysis, published in Physics of Fluids, reveals a surprising effect on the surface of the water that contradicts conventional thought and deepens our understanding of the role of capillary forces.

Reactive oxygen species switch immune cells from migratory to murderous
Neutrophils use ROS concentration to determine when to stop migrating and start killing.

Measuring forces in the DNA molecule
DNA, our genetic material, normally has the structure of a twisted rope ladder. Experts call this structure a double helix. Among other things, it is stabilized by stacking forces between base pairs. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich have succeeded at measuring these forces for the very first time on the level of single base pairs. This new knowledge could help to construct precise molecular machines out of DNA.

Genetic causes of small head size share common mechanism
Microcephaly is a rare disorder that stunts brain development in utero, resulting in babies with abnormally small heads. The Zika virus is one environmental cause of this devastating condition, but genetic defects can cause microcephaly, too. A new Duke University study examining three genetic causes of microcephaly in mice suggests one common mechanism through which the disorder could arise. The results could enhance understanding of microcephaly and other neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.

MRIs during pregnancy and outcomes for infants, children
In an analysis that included more than 1.4 million births, exposure to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during the first trimester of pregnancy compared with nonexposure was not associated with increased risk of harm to the fetus or in early childhood, although gadolinium MRI at any time during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of a broad set of rheumatological, inflammatory, or skin conditions and, possibly, for stillbirth or neonatal death, according to a study appearing in the Sept. 6 issue of JAMA.

CU's Farley health policy center awarded $1 million grant to advance integrated care
The Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish a technical assistance program for designing policies that help integrate behavioral health across healthcare.

Friends help friends on Facebook feel better
Personal interactions on Facebook can have a major impact on a person's feelings of well-being and satisfaction with life just as much as getting married or having a baby, a new study by Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook researchers shows. What really makes people feel good is when those they know and care about write personalized posts or comments.

NASA sees Hurricane Newton approaching landfall in Baja California, Mexico
NASA's Terra satellite and a NASA animation of imagery from NOAA's GOES-West satellite provided views of Hurricane Newton as it neared landfall in Baja California, Mexico, today, Sept. 6.

Genetically modified humans? CRISPR/Cas 9 explained (video)
Thanks to a new, cheap and accurate DNA-editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9, targeted genetic modification in humans is no longer just the realm of science fiction. Both the British and U.S. governments recently gave scientists the thumbs-up to edit DNA in human embryos and adults using CRISPR. In the latest Reactions episode, we explain how CRISPR works, how it is being used today and what the future might bring for this landmark technology: https://youtu.be/5gQGWJraptU.

European region most skeptical in the world on vaccine safety
Public confidence in vaccines varies widely between countries and regions around the world, and the European region is the most skeptical about vaccine safety, according to the largest ever global survey of confidence in vaccines led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. With recent disease outbreaks triggered by people refusing vaccination, the authors believe the findings provide valuable insights, which could help policymakers identify and address issues.

One, two, many: Deciders often shift costs onto large groups without hesitation
Most people do not act solely in their own interests when distributing funds, but instead take into consideration the consequences for everyone involved. In a publication that will appear shortly in the Review of Economic Studies, Michael Kosfeld from Goethe University together with other scholars presents the results of experimental trials in which two thirds of the test persons are insensitive to group size.

Training human antibodies to protect against HIV
During HIV infection, the virus mutates too rapidly for the immune system to combat, but some people produce antibodies that can recognize the virus even two years after infection. With an eye towards developing a vaccine, in four related papers from multiple groups publishing Sept. 8 in Cell and Immunity, researchers describe a multi-step method for 'training' the immune system to produce these antibodies in genetically engineered mice.

Computational method identifies existing drugs with virus-fighting potential
A new, computer-based screening method could reveal the virus-fighting potential of drugs originally developed to treat other conditions, reports a study in PLOS Computational Biology.

Orientation without a master plan
Human spatial memory is made up of numerous individual maps.

Research points to new treatment strategy against Alzheimer's disease
New research suggests that Alzheimer's disease may trigger increased expression of an enzyme called lysozyme, which attempts to counteract amyloid build-up in the brain.

Crab from the Chinese pet market turns out to be a new species of a new genus
Shimmering carapaces make crabs attractive to pet owners. To answer the growing demand, fishermen collect and trade crustaceans, often not knowing what exactly they have handed over to their clients. Luckily for science and nature alike, however, the authors of a paper now published in the open-access journal ZooKeys have spotted such a crab and recognized its peculiarities to prove it as a new species and even a new genus from southern China.

Study of euthanasia trends in Belgium has lessons for other countries
A new study on euthanasia trends in Belgium, which shows an increase in reported cases since legislation was introduced, provides lessons for countries that have legalized assisted dying. The research is published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Detailed age map shows how Milky Way came together
Using colors to identify the approximate ages of more than 130,000 stars in the Milky Way's halo, Notre Dame astronomers have produced the clearest picture yet of how the galaxy formed more than 13.5 billion years ago.

Latest findings from human factors research on automation in vehicles to be presented
Many human factors experts -- some of whom will attend the HFES 2016 Annual Meeting -- are studying effects of automation in vehicles to help ensure the safe application of technology for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and infrastructure.

Electric fans may exacerbate heat issues for seniors, study finds
Using electric fans to relieve high levels of heat and humidity may, surprisingly, have the opposite effect for seniors, a study by UT Southwestern Medical Center heart specialists suggests.

Ceres: The tiny world where volcanoes erupt ice
ASU scientist David Williams is investigating how volcanic activity driven by salty water has reshaped the face of Ceres, the biggest little world in the asteroid belt.

Consumers may search online for 30 days, but buy close to what they found on the first day
Retailers and advertisers are keen to influence the search and final purchase through better product recommendations and targeted advertising. A forthcoming article in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science studies online search and purchase behavior of consumers in the digital camera category and finds that even though consumers may search for extended periods of time, what they purchase tends to be remarkably close to items they searched and found in their very first search.

JAMA editorial highlights challenges of implementing new TB screening guidelines
An editorial in JAMA accompanies the publication of new US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) screening recommendations for latent tuberculosis (TB) infection in primary care settings. The editorial, entitled 'The Challenge of Latent TB Infection,' points out the urgent need for TB-related research to identify new tools and diagnostics that will identify patients who are at high risk from progressing from latent TB infection to active TB disease.

High variability suggests glycemic index is unreliable indicator of blood sugar response
The glycemic index value of a food can vary by 20 percent within an individual and 25 percent among individuals, according to the results of a controlled feeding trial in 63 healthy adults. The findings suggest glycemic index has limited value in predicting how foods affect blood sugar levels.

Young children's antibiotic exposure associated with higher food allergy risk
Antibiotic treatment within the first year of life may wipe out more than an unwanted infection: exposure to the drugs is associated with an increase in food allergy diagnosis, new research from the University of South Carolina suggests.

A chromosome anomaly may cause malaria-transmitting mosquito to prefer feeding on cattle
Mosquitoes are more likely to feed on cattle than on humans if they carry a specific chromosomal rearrangement in their genome, reducing their odds of transmitting the malaria parasite, reports Bradley Main at the University of California, Davis in a study published Sept. 12, 2016, in PLOS Genetics.

Study: Safety net programs don't support high rates of trauma in participants
A recent study by researchers from Drexel University's Center for Hunger-Free Communities found that a high number of participants in a federal cash assistance program have suffered significant childhood adversity, exposure to violence as adults and other poverty-related stressors, highlighting the need to take participants' past trauma into account.

Steroid use linked to worse outcomes in Lyme disease-associated facial paralysis
Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School have found that patients who were prescribed corticosteroids as part of treatment for Lyme disease-associated facial paralysis had worse long-term outcomes of regaining facial function than those who were prescribed antibiotic therapy alone. Based on these findings, which were published online today in Laryngoscope, the researchers urge caution in prescribing corticosteroids to patients with acute Lyme disease-associated facial paralysis.

SickKids-led project investigates malnutrition in children, liver impairments
In a new Journal of Cell Biology study, SickKids researchers identify a gene, PEX2, as an essential requirement for the loss of peroxisomes in cells cultured without enough nutrients. The study's findings contribute to a project on novel treatment strategies for severely malnourished children.

From DNA to disease, study describes rare, new brain disorder
In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists shows how mutations in the gene GPT2 lead to a rare developmental and potentially degenerative brain disease.

Initiating DNA Repair
A research team has discovered a protein that may serve as a first responder that sets in motion a cascade of molecular activity to repair damaged DNA.

Has the Affordable Care Act accomplished its goals?
A new review of the published literature indicates that the Affordable Care Act has made significant progress in accomplishing two of its main goals -- decreasing the number of uninsured and improving access to care.

Scientists expect to calculate amount of fuel inside Earth by 2025
Scientists have developed numerous models to predict how much fuel remains inside Earth to drive its engines -- and estimates vary widely -- but the true amount remains unknown. In a new paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, a team of geologists and neutrino physicists boldly claims it will be able to determine by 2025 how much nuclear fuel and radioactive power remain in the Earth's tank.

Chronic Sinusitis Associated With Certain Rare Head and Neck Cancers among Elderly, Although AbsoluChronic sinusitis associated with certain rare head and neck cancers among elderly, although absolut
In a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Daniel C. Beachler, Ph.D., M.H.S., and Eric A. Engels, M.D., M.P.H., of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., evaluated the associations of chronic sinusitis with subsequent head and neck cancer in an elderly population.

Young people exposed to vaping ads less likely to think occasional smoking bad for health
Exposure to advertisements for e-cigarettes may decrease the perceived health risks of occasional tobacco smoking, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge, prompting concern that this may lead more young people to experiment with smoking.

Medicare's new way of paying hospitals could cause a bundle of problems for some
Hospitals that take care of the oldest, sickest and most complicated patients could suffer financially under the Medicare system's new approach to paying for some types of care, a new study finds. But there's still time to adjust the approach to make the playing field more level.

UC study looks at the influence of fat when gut bacteria is reduced by antibioticsm
A study led by University of Cincinnati (UC) lipid metabolism researchers lends additional insight into how bacteria in the gut, or lack thereof, influences intestinal mast cells (MMC) activation and perhaps fat absorption.

Mouse model points to potential drug target for increasing social interaction in autism
A study of a new mouse model identifies a drug target that has the potential to increase social interaction in individuals with some forms of autism spectrum disorder.

Discovery offers prospect of shorter treatment and cure for chronic myelogenous leukemia
Although targeted drugs like Gleevec have revolutionized the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia, patients generally must take them for the rest of their lives and may cease benefiting from them over time. In new research that could suggest a road to cure, scientists have found that CML stem cells die in response to inhibition of a protein called Ezh2. Drugs that target the protein are currently being tested in clinical trials for other cancers.

Posting personal experiences on social media may help you remember them in the future
A new study -- the first to look at social media's effect on memory -- suggests posting personal experiences on social media makes those events much easier to recall.

Computer simulation reveals p53 weak spots and opens new avenues against cancer
Using microsecond timescale molecular dynamics simulations, a new study published in Scientific Reports reveals p53 weak spots and sheds light on the protein instability, which is linked to its tendency to aggregate and form amyloid structures.

New research reveals hundreds of undiscovered black holes
Computer simulations of a spherical collection of stars known as 'NGC 6101' reveal that it contains hundreds of black holes, until now thought impossible. Recent observations already found black hole candidates in similar systems, with this research enabling Astrophysicists to map black holes in other clusters. These systems could be the cradle of gravitational wave emission, 'ripples' in the fabric of space-time.

Physical activity may offset some of alcohol's lethal harms
An international research collaboration, led by University of Sydney, has found that exercising at even basic recommended weekly physical activity levels (at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity) may offset some of the harmful effects of drinking alcohol. Published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, this first-of-its-kind study found that for alcohol drinkers, physical activity may decrease the risks of dying both from cancer and from 'all-cause mortality' that is, deaths from any cause.

Why pneumococci affect primarily humans
A special variant of a sugar molecule in the human nose might explain why pneumococcal infections are more common in humans than in other animals, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report in a study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. The discovery can help in the search for a broader vaccine able to protect against all types of pneumococci.

Nano-lipid particles from edible ginger could improve drug delivery for colon cancer, study finds
Edible ginger-derived nano-lipids created from a specific population of ginger nanoparticles show promise for effectively targeting and delivering chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat colon cancer, according to a study by researchers at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Wenzhou Medical University and Southwest University in China.

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