Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (September 2020)

Science news and science current events archive September, 2020.

Show All Years  •  2020  ||  Show All Months (2020)  •  September

Week 36

Week 37

Week 38

Week 39

Week 40

Top Science News & Current Event Articles from September 2020

Eat more to grow more arms...if you're a sea anemone
An international group of researchers, led by scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, have discovered that the number of tentacle arms a sea anemone grows depends on the amount of food it eats.

Making more of methane
Looking closely at the chemical process that transforms methane into useful products could help unveil more efficient ways to use natural gas.

IGC scientist awarded distinguished European Research Council Grant
The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the list of winners of the 2020 Starting Grants. This is a highly competitive funding scheme that selects promising early-career scientists who have generated outstanding supervised work, and who have come up with exceptional research proposals. This list includes Elias H. Barriga, principal investigator at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, who was awarded 1.8€ Million.

NOAA-NASA satellite reveals burn scars from Elkhorn Fire in California
Imagery from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA/NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite highlights the burn scars from the Elkhorn Fire in northern California on Sep. 01, 2020. This false-color image of the firescape made by using the reflective solar bands on Suomi NPP highlights those areas which have been burned.

The genetics of blood: A global perspective
To better understand the properties of blood cells, an international team led by UdeM's Guillaume Lettre has been examining variations in the DNA of 746,667 people worldwide.

Poetry in motion: Engineers analyze the fluid physics of movement in marine snails
In a new interdisciplinary study that combines intellectual curiosity with awe, researchers show in detail that the swimming and sinking behaviors of tropical marine snails are influenced by body size and shell shape, as predicted from fluid physics theory.

Vitamin D levels in the blood can predict future health risks and death
Free, circulating vitamin D levels in the blood may be a better predictor of future health risks in aging men, according to a study being presented at e-ECE 2020. These data suggest the free, precursor form of vitamin D found circulating in the bloodstream is a more accurate predictor of future health and disease risk, than the often measured total vitamin D.

Could singing spread COVID-19?
If silence is golden, speech is silver - and singing the worst. Singing doesn't need to be silenced, however, but at the moment the wisest thing is to sing with social distancing in place. The advice comes from aerosol researchers at Lund University in Sweden. They have studied the amount of particles we actually emit when we sing - and by extension - if we contribute to the increased spread of Covid-19 by singing.

Study finds surprisingly little difference in hospitalization rates between children with COVID-19
As the fall approaches, pediatric hospitals will start seeing children with seasonal influenza A and B. At the same time, COVID-19 will be co-circulating in communities with the flu and other respiratory viruses, making it more difficult to identify and prevent the novel coronavirus.

Association of mobile phone location data indications of travel, stay-at-home mandates with COVID-19 infection rates in US
Anonymous mobile phone location data were used to examine travel and home dwelling time patterns before and after enactment of stay-at-home orders in US states to examine associations between changes in mobility and the COVID-19 curve.

Russia's regions and their preferences for strong alcohol
HSE University economists analyzed two data sets for Russian regions in 2010-2016: the official statistics of the Russian Statistics Agency on alcohol sales and estimates of unregistered alcohol consumption modeled by the study's authors relying on the Ministry of Health's own methodology. It appeared to be that, despite a steady decline in alcohol consumption in the country, it varies greatly from region to region (from 1.1 up to 17-20+ liters of pure alcohol per adult).

Adding stem cells to educational intervention can significantly help kids with autism
Results of a clinical trial released in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine indicate that a combination of stem cell therapy and educational intervention can significantly help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Humans, not climate, have driven rapidly rising mammal extinction rate
Human impact can explain ninety-six percent of all mammal species extinctions of the last hundred thousand years, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Science Advances.

Shedding light on coral reefs
New research published in the journal Coral Reefs generates the largest characterization of coral reef spectral data to date. These data are an initial step in building a quantitative understanding of reef water clarity. With these data, coral reef scientists can begin to develop models to address fundamental questions about how reefs function, such as how much light reaches the various reef zones or how ecological zonation on reefs might be driven by light absorption.

Should we mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for children?
This Viewpoint examines the evidence for vaccination of children against COVID-19.

Breast cancer surgery type, quality of life among younger women
Researchers investigated differences in quality of life and other outcomes (including physical functioning, body image, sexual health, anxiety and depressive symptoms) by type of breast cancer surgery (such as mastectomy or breast conserving surgery) in women 40 and younger.

NASA finds coldest cloud tops on hurricane Teddy's western side
NASA analyzed the cloud top temperatures in Hurricane Teddy using infrared light to determine the strength of the storm. Infrared imagery revealed that the strongest storms were on Teddy's western side.

New Viking DNA research yields unexpected information about who they were
In the popular imagination, Vikings were fearsome blonde-haired warriors from Scandinavia who used longboats to carry out raids across Europe in a brief but bloody reign of terror. But the reality is more complex, says SFU Archaeology Prof. Mark Collard.

Changes in lung cancer treatment during COVID-19 pandemic
Changes in lung cancer treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic were evaluated in this study.

Reduction in insomnia symptoms associated with non-invasive neurotechnology
For people with chronic insomnia, a good night's sleep is elusive. But what if insomnia symptoms could be alleviated by simply listening to one's own brainwaves?

Scientists advance understanding of blood-brain barrier health
in a study with potential impacts on a variety of neurological diseases, Virginia Tech researchers have provided the first experimental evidence from a living organism to show that an abundant, star-shaped brain cell known as an astrocyte is essential for blood-brain barrier health.

Studies investigate marine heatwaves, shifting ocean currents
Two new studies from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) investigate marine heatwaves and currents at the edge of the continental shelf, which impact regional ocean circulation and marine life.

Scientists reveal details about the first cat infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Spain
The IRTA-CReSA coronavirus research team, alongside researchers from IrsiCaixa, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and veterinarians from a veterinary hospital near Barcelona publish in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the results of postoperative analyzes of COVID-19 positive cat necropsy. The study confirms that cats can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 without it affecting their health because they generate an effective immune response against the virus and cannot transmit it to humans.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units. She noticed diabetes is rarely referred to as a primary cause of death in itself, yet the disease is a leading contributor to deaths involving heart disease, stroke and cancer.

The co-occurrence of cancer driver genes, key to precision medicine
Researchers from the Structural Bioinformatics and Network Biology Laboratory at IRB Barcelona develop a system to predict tumour response to different treatments. Called Targeted Cancer Therapy for You (TCT4U), this system has allowed them to identify a set of complex biomarkers that are available to the medical-scientific community. The work has been published in the journal Genome Medicine.

Mayo study identifies barriers to physician adoption of federal Right to Try law
A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is the first to examine the opinions and experiences of clinical oncologists working at a major medical center on the Federal Right to Try (RTT) law.

KIST develops ambient vibration energy harvester with automatic resonance tuning mechanism
Korean researchers have developed an energy harvester that can generate electric power from ambient vibrations with diverse frequencies through a novel automatic resonance tuning mechanism. It was recently announced by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology that a research team led by Dr. Hyun-Cheol Song from the KIST Center for Electronic Materials developed an energy harvester that can perform automatic resonance tuning (ART) by adjusting the natural frequency by itself in adapting to the environmental conditions.

Red blood cell distribution width, mortality risk in hospitalized adults with SARS-CoV-2 infection
The potential use of red blood cell distribution width for risk stratification of patients with COVID-19 was looked at in this observational study.

Flood risks: More accurate data due to COVID-19
Emerging use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) makes it possible to continuously measure shallow changes in elevation of Earth surface. A study by the University of Bonn now shows that the quality of these measurements may have improved significantly during the pandemic, at least at some stations. The results show which factors should be considered in the future when installing GPS antennas.

How to bounce back from stretched out stretchable sensors
Elastic can stretch too far and that could be problematic in wearable sensors. A team of researchers at Yokohama National University has proposed a fix to prevent too much stretching while improving the sensing ability of electronics. This could lead to advanced prosthetics or disaster recovery robotics. They published their results on July 29 in the Scientific Reports.

Fast, accurate and non-destructive: the new method to analyze food quality
Researchers at the University of Cordoba's School of Agricultural and Forestry Engineering (ETSIAM) proved the effectiveness of NIRS technoloogy in analyzing vegetable quality, in farm fields and in the industry

USC-led study traces the evolution of gill covers
In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (PNAS), USC Stem Cell scientists and their collaborators have identified a key modification to the genome that led to the evolution of gill covers more than 430 million years ago.

Hope for 500 000 insomniacs in Norway
Digital sleep therapy could offer help to people with sleep problems and enable many of them to reduce their sleep medication after treatment.

Scent-sensing cells have a better way to fight influenza
Smell receptors that line the nose get hit by Influenza B just like other cells, but they are able to clear the infection without dying. A new Duke University paper in Cell Reports reveals not only the cells' successful strategy against viral infection, but also the diversity of immune responses from one kind of cell to another.

NASA catches formation of Atlantic's record-breaking 15th tropical storm
Tropical Depression 15 strengthened into a tropical storm late on Sept. 1, 2020 and was renamed Omar. Visible imagery from NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite was compiled into an animation that showed the system's formation and strengthening.

Wearable, portable invention offers options for treating antibiotic-resistant infections
About 6 million people in the United States are affected by chronic wounds. Now, a team of innovators from Purdue University has developed a wearable solution that allows a patient to receive treatment without leaving home.

New observations show planet-forming disc torn apart by its three central stars
A team of astronomers have identified the first direct evidence that groups of stars can tear apart their planet-forming disc, leaving it warped and with tilted rings. This new research suggests exotic planets, not unlike Tatooine in Star Wars, may form in inclined rings in bent discs around multiple stars. The results were made possible thanks to observations with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

The Lancet: Many countries falling behind on global commitments to tackling premature deaths from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, lung cancer and heart disease
Around the world, the risk of dying prematurely from preventable and largely treatable chronic diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and stomach cancer has declined steadily over the past decade, but death rates from other chronic diseases such as diabetes, lung cancer, colon cancer, and liver cancer are declining too slowly or worsening in many countries.

UBC scientists find clues to queen bee failure
Scientists at UBC are unravelling the mysteries behind a persistent problem in commercial beekeeping that is one of the leading causes of colony mortality--queen bee failure.

Do as plants do: Novel photocatalysts can perform solar-driven conversion of CO2 into fuel
Scientists at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, develop a novel ''heterostructured'' photocatalyst using titanium and copper, two abundant and relatively inexpensive metals. Their cost-effective synthesis procedure, coupled with the high stability of the photocatalyst, provides an economically feasible way to convert waste carbon dioxide and water into useful hydrocarbon fuels using endless sunlight.

Improving the transition from pediatric to adult rheumatology care
As children with chronic rheumatic illnesses age, it's important that they experience a smooth transition from pediatric to adult care. A study published in Arthritis Care & Research has identified certain factors that are important during this time.

Researchers reveal a much richer picture of the past with new DNA recovery technique
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a new technique to tease ancient DNA from soil, pulling the genomes of hundreds of animals and thousands of plants -- many of them long extinct -- from less than a gram of sediment.

Did our early ancestors boil their food in hot springs?
Scientists have found evidence of hot springs near sites where ancient hominids settled, long before the control of fire.

Reforestation can only partially restore tropical soils
Tropical forest soils play a crucial role in providing vital ecosystem functions. They provide nutrients for plants, store carbon and regulate greenhouse gases, as well as storing and filtering water, and protection against erosion. Scientists at the University of Göttingen and Minnesota investigated how the properties and ecosystem functions of tropical soils change when forests are cut down, and whether reforestation can reverse such soil degradation. The results are published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment.

Examining association of coffee consumption, survival in patients with colorectal cancer
Researchers in this observational study investigated the association between the number of cups of coffee consumed per day and survival in patients with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer.

NASA confirms development of record-breaking tropical storm Wilfred, ending hurricane list
The list of hurricane names is officially used up with the development of the 23rd tropical cyclone of the year. Tropical Storm Wilfred just formed in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean today, Sept. 18. Using a NASA satellite rainfall product that incorporates data from satellites and observations, NASA estimated Wilfred's rainfall rates.

'Awe walks' boost emotional well-being
A regular dose of awe is a simple way to boost healthy 'prosocial' emotions such as compassion and gratitude, according to a new study by researchers at the UC San Francisco Memory and Aging Center (MAC) and the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) -- a partnership between UCSF and Trinity College Dublin to improve brain health worldwide.

People with 'silent' COVID-19 have as much coronavirus as those with symptoms
People with 'silent' COVID-19 infection have as much coronavirus in their noses and throats as those with symptoms, reveals research published online in the journal Thorax.

Study suggests link between decreasing viral load and proportion of COVID-19 patients needing intensive care
New research presented at this week's ESCMID Conference on Coronavirus Disease (ECCVID, online 23-25 September) suggests that, as lockdown took effect and case numbers dropped, the amount of virus patients were exposed to (viral load) fell, and this could be linked to lower proportions of patients requiring intensive care and dying.

Choanozoan and picozoan marine protists are probably virus eaters - study
Scientists used single-cell genomics to show that two groups of poorly known marine protists routinely ingest viruses. They hypothesize that this serves to absorb phosphorus and nitrogen - that is, using viruses as food. This discovery has important implications for our understanding of oceanic food webs and carbon cycles.

Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.