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Science Daily

Tue, 23 Apr 2019 04:13:01 EDT
Researchers find high-risk genes for schizophrenia
Using a unique computational 'framework' they developed, a team of scientist cyber-sleuths has identified 104 high-risk genes for schizophrenia.
Overlooked molecular machine in cell nucleus may hold key to treating aggressive leukemia
Many people fighting a very aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) don't survive more than five years. These very sick patients are often unable to receive the only cure -- a bone marrow transplant. Now, an international team of scientists report on a long-overlooked part of a leukemic cell's internal machinery, where they may have found a key to treating the aggressive blood cancer.
How slippery surfaces allow sticky pastes and gels to slide
A research team that has already conquered the problem of getting ketchup out of its bottle has now tackled a new category of consumer and manufacturing woe: how to get much thicker materials to slide without sticking or deforming.
With abdominal etching, plastic surgeons help patients get 'six-pack abs'
Even with a good diet and workout routine, some men and women have trouble getting the toned abdominal appearance they want. For these patients, a technique called abdominal etching can help in creating the classic 'six-pack abs' physique in men or three-vertical-line abdomen in women, reports a new study.
No increase in complications with 'tummy tuck' in obese patients
'Tummy tuck' surgery (abdominoplasty) can be safely performed in obese patients, with no increase in complications compared to non-obese patients, reports a new study.
Defying the laws of physics? Engineers demonstrate bubbles of sand
A recent discovery explains a new family of gravitational instabilities in granular particles of different densities that are driven by a gas-channeling mechanism not seen in fluids. The team observed an unexpected Rayleigh-Taylor (R-T)-like instability in which lighter grains rise through heavier grains in the form of 'fingers' and ''granular bubbles, similar to the bubbles that form and rise in lava lamps.
Protecting damaged hearts with microRNAs
Once the heart is formed, its muscle cells have very limited ability to regenerate. After a heart attack, these cells die off and scar tissue forms, potentially setting people up for heart failure. A new study advances the possibility of using microRNAs -- small molecules that regulate gene function -- to regenerate heart muscle. In mice, two microRNAs that are abundant in developing hearts, miR-19a and miR-19b, repaired heart muscle and improved cardiac function after heart attack.
New genomics tool ECCITE-seq expands multimodal single cell analysis
ECCITE-seq (Expanded CRISPR-compatible Cellular Indexing of Transcriptomes and Epitopes by sequencing) allows researchers to perform high-throughput measurements of multiple modalities of information from single cells. The technique profiles different types of biomolecules from thousands of single cells in parallel, offering a breadth of information that can be used as readout in CRISPR-based pooled genetics screens.
A deep learning tool for personalized workout recommendations from fitness tracking data
Computer scientists have developed FitRec, a recommendation tool powered by deep learning, that is able to better estimate runners' heart rates during a workout and predict and recommend routes.
Brains of blind people adapt to sharpen sense of hearing, study shows
Research uses functional MRI to identify two differences in the brains of blind individuals -- differences that might be responsible for their abilities to make better use of auditory information.
Climate change has worsened global economic inequality
The gap between the economic output of the world's richest and poorest countries is 25 percent larger today than it would have been without global warming, according to new research.
Sugar entering the brain during septic shock causes memory loss
The loss of memory and cognitive function known to afflict survivors of septic shock is the result of a sugar that is released into the blood stream and enters the brain during the life-threatening condition.
Anti-tumor activity of curcumin on stomach cancer
A review article evaluated several compounds with therapeutic potential against gastric tumors.
New novel circulating proteins involved in progression of DKD to ESRD
Seventeen proteins, called the Kidney Risk Inflammatory Signature (KRIS), could allow doctors to determine the risk of progression to end stage renal disease in a patient with diabetic kidney disease.
Wristband samplers show similar chemical exposure across three continents
Researchers have deployed chemicals to individuals on three continents, they found that no two wristbands had identical chemical detections. But the same 14 chemicals were detected in more than 50 percent of the wristbands returned from the United States, Africa and South America.
Heterogeneous catalyst goes enzymatic
Researchers demonstrated enzyme-like heterogeneous catalysis for the first time. They developed a highly active heterogeneous TiO2 photocatalyst incorporated with many single copper atoms. They used this catalyst for the photocatalytic hydrogen production, and found that the catalyst is as active as the most active and expensive Pt-TiO2 catalyst.
Neonics hinder bees' ability to fend off deadly mites
A new study is the first to uncover the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees' ability to groom and rid themselves of deadly mites.
Debate on daylight saving time and school start time
A switch to permanent daylight saving time will undo any positive effects on sleep of delaying school start times, according to researchers.
Geomagnetic jerks finally reproduced and explained
The Earth's magnetic field experiences unpredictable, rapid, and intense anomalies that are known as geomagnetic jerks. The mechanisms behind this phenomenon had remained a mystery until the recent research. Scientists have now created a computer model for these geomagnetic jerks, and provided an explanation for their appearance.
From coal to gas: How the shift can help stabilize climate change
A transition from coal-based energy to cleaner-burning gas has long been viewed as a staple of many climate action plans, despite concerns over leakage and possible harmful emissions. A recent study finds that not only is such a shift central to meeting climate targets and stabilizing global temperature rise, but that the benefits of cleaner-burning gas outweigh its possible risks.
Droplet trains reveal how nature navigates blood traffic
Scientists report that they discovered spontaneous oscillations in microfluidic droplet networks. The scientists have successfully modeled network channels similar to our blood capillaries in the simplest way containing one or two loops. They also suggest that collision between blood cells and irregularity of thickness can dampen oscillations in the biological networks. This study can help us understand the emergence and corresponding behavior of the oscillations of blood flow in the microvascular networks.
New technique produces longer-lasting lithium batteries
Researchers have developed a new method for safely prolonging battery life by inserting a nano-coating of boron nitride (BN) to stabilize solid electrolytes in lithium metal batteries. The team focused on solid, ceramic electrolytes, which show promise in improving safety and energy density, compared with conventional, flammable electrolytes in Li-ion batteries. Rechargeable solid-state lithium batteries they are promising candidates for next-generation energy storage.
How humans reduce uncertainty in social situations
A new perspective paper establishes a framework to apply rigorous mathematical models of uncertainty originally developed for non-social situations, such as whether or not to purchase a lottery ticket, to social scenarios such as determining an interviewer's opinion of an interviewee.
Neuroscientists reverse some behavioral symptoms of Williams syndrome
In a study of mice, neuroscientists have found that impaired myelination underlies the hypersociability seen in patients with Williams syndrome.
Advance in CAR T-cell therapy eliminates severe side effects
An advance in the cancer treatment known as CAR T-cell therapy appears to eliminate its severe side effects, making the treatment safer and potentially available in outpatient settings.
Snake-inspired robot slithers even better than predecessor
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.
Island lizards are expert sunbathers, and researchers find it's slowing their evolution
If you've ever spent some time in the Caribbean, you might have noticed that humans are not the only organisms soaking up the sun. Anoles -- diminutive little tree lizards -- spend much of their day shuttling in and out of shade. But, according to a new study, this behavioral 'thermoregulation' isn't just affecting their body temperature. Surprisingly, it's also slowing their evolution.
Sand tiger sharks return to shipwrecks off N.C. coast
A study reveals shipwrecks off North Carolina's coast are important habitats for sand tiger sharks, whose population plummeted in the 1980 and 1990s. Photos taken months and even years apart by scuba divers show female sand tiger sharks returning to the same shipwrecks. The photos were uploaded to the citizen-science program Spot A Shark USA which used specialized software to ID the sharks.
Mixing grass varieties may reduce insect infestations in lawns
A simple change in the choice of grass varieties for lawns of St. Augustinegrass could be a key tool for fending off fall armyworm infestations, according to new research. While no single St. Augustinegrass cultivar rises above the rest in resisting infestation, mixing varieties may confer some benefits, as fall armyworms clearly preferred single-cultivar plantings in a series of lab tests.
Catalyst renders nerve agents harmless
A team of scientists has studied a catalyst that decomposes nerve agents, eliminating their harmful and lethal effects.
Insights on marijuana and opioid use in people with cancer
A new study reveals that many people with cancer use marijuana, and rates of use in the US have increased over time. The study also found that patients with cancer are more likely to use prescription opioids than adults without cancer.
DNA is managed like climbers' rope to help keep tangles at bay
Scientists have uncovered a process in cells that prevents DNA from becoming tangled, which resembles a method used to control climbers' ropes.
Half of all American workplaces offer health and wellness programs
Workplace health promotion programs are increasing in the US, according to researchers. Nearly half of all workplaces in the nation offer some level of health promotion or wellness programs and 17% of workplaces with 50 or more employees offer comprehensive workplace health promotion programs.
Repelling charges prevent Cooper pairs from 'island hopping' in insulating state
New research shows how Cooper pairs -- quasiparticles that make superconductivity possible -- can also play an opposite role in an exotic type of insulating materials known as Cooper pair insulators.
Hole-forming protein may suppress tumor growth
A gene called gasdermin E, which is downregulated in many cancers, aids cells in dying in an unexpected way, and may also suppress tumor growth.
How does wildlife fare after fires?
Fire ecologists and wildlife specialists have made key discoveries in how wildlife restores itself after bushfires, and what conservationists can do to assist the process.
Photonics: The curious case of the disappearing cylinders
A pair of researchers describes a way of making a submicron-sized cylinder disappear without using any specialized coating. Their findings could enable invisibility of natural materials at optical frequency and eventually lead to a simpler way of enhancing optoelectronic devices, including sensing and communication technologies.
Empathy often avoided because of mental effort
Even when feeling empathy for others isn't financially costly or emotionally draining, people will still avoid it because they think empathy requires too much mental effort, according to new research.
Those home-delivered meal kits are greener than you thought
Meal kit services, which deliver a box of pre-portioned ingredients and a chef-selected recipe to your door, are hugely popular but get a bad environmental rap due to perceived packaging waste.
Study suggests overdiagnosis of schizophrenia
In a small study of patients, researchers report that about half the people referred to the clinic with a schizophrenia diagnosis didn't actually have schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling disorder marked by disordered thinking, feelings and behavior. People who reported hearing voices or having anxiety were the ones more likely to be misdiagnosed.
New insight into how obesity, insulin resistance can impair cognition
Obesity can break down our protective blood brain barrier resulting in problems with learning and memory, scientists report.
Group decisions: When more information isn't necessarily better
Modular -- or cliquey -- group structure isolates the flow of communication between individuals, which might seem counterproductive to survival. But for some animal groups, more information isn't necessarily better, according to new research.
Biomimetics: Artificial receptor distinguishes between male and female hormones
Researchers at Tokyo Tech have revealed that an artificial receptor preferentially binds male steroid hormones from a mixture of male and female hormones in water. Based on their findings, they succeeded in the preparation of a prototype detection system for male hormones at the nanogram level. This achievement could lead to the development of ultrasensitive analytical devices for medical diagnostics and anti-doping testing in sports.
Was the restaurant really that bad -- Or was it just the rain?
There are a few things that will result in poor customer reviews of a restaurant: bad service, bad food -- and bad weather. A study of 32 Florida restaurants found that customers left more negative remarks on comment cards on days when it was raining than on days when it was dry.
Better labor practices could improve archaeological output
Archaeological excavation has, historically, operated in a very hierarchical structure, according to archaeologist. The history of the enterprise is deeply entangled with Western colonial and imperial pursuits, she says. Excavations have been, and often still are, led by foreigners from the West, while dependent on the labor of scores of people from the local community to perform the manual labor of the dig.
Global burden of emergency diseases and conditions
In 2015, about half of the world's 28 million human deaths were the result of medical emergencies, with the bulk of the burden borne by poorer nations, according to a statistical analysis of information from nearly 200 countries.
Mechanism of a protein upon infection of the 'Fasciola hepatica'
The study also validated ten reference genes in sheep that allow for studying how the immune system behaves when facing this disease.
Artificial intelligence can diagnose PTSD by analyzing voices
A specially designed computer program can help to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans by analyzing their voices.
Sustainable way to increase seed oil yield in crops
Scientists have developed a sustainable way to demonstrate a new genetic modification that can increase the yield of natural oil in seeds by up to 15% in laboratory conditions.
From 2D to 1D: Atomically quasi '1D' wires using a carbon nanotube template
Researchers have used carbon nanotube templates to produce nanowires of transition metal monochalcogenide (TMM), which are only 3 atoms wide in diameter. These are 50 times longer than previous attempts and can be studied in isolation, preserving the properties of atomically quasi '1D' objects. The team saw that single wires twist when perturbed, suggesting that isolated nanowires have unique mechanical properties which might be applied to switching in nanoelectronics.
High performance solid-state sodium-ion battery
Solid-state sodium-ion batteries are far safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries, which pose a risk of fire and explosions, but their performance has been too weak to offset the safety advantages. Researchers have now reported developing an organic cathode that dramatically improves both stability and energy density.
Thermodynamic magic enables cooling without energy consumption
Physicists have developed an amazingly simple device that allows heat to flow temporarily from a cold to a warm object without an external power supply. Intriguingly, the process initially appears to contradict the fundamental laws of physics.
Continuing impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Nine years ago tomorrow -- April 20, 2010 -- crude oil began leaking from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico in what turned out to be the largest marine oil spill in history. A long-term study suggests the oil is still affecting the salt marshes of the Gulf Coast, and reveals the key role that marsh grasses play in the overall recovery of these important coastal wetlands.
A universal framework combining genome annotation and undergraduate education
Scientists and educators have developed a framework for using new genome sequences as a training resource for undergraduates interested in learning genome annotation. This strategy will both make the process of determining gene functions more efficient and help train the next generation of scientists in bioinformatics.
Discovery may help explain why women get autoimmune diseases far more often than men
New evidence points to a key role for a molecular switch called VGLL3 in autoimmune diseases, and the major gap in incidence between women and men. Building on past research showing that women have more VGLL3 in their skin cells than men, a team studied it further in mice. They show that having too much VGLL3 in skin cells pushes the immune system into overdrive, leading to an autoimmune response and symptoms similar to lupus.
Warming: Plants are also stressed out
What will a three-degree-warmer world look like? When experiencing stress or damage from various sources, plants use chloroplast-to-nucleus communication to regulate gene expression and help them cope. Now, researchers have found that GUN1 -- a gene that integrates numerous chloroplast-to-nucleus retrograde signaling pathways -- also plays an important role in how proteins are made in damaged chloroplasts, which provides a new insight into how plants respond to stress.
New method to detect off-target effects of CRISPR
Since the CRISPR genome editing technology was invented in 2012, it has shown great promise to treat a number of intractable diseases. However, scientists have struggled to identify potential off-target effects in therapeutically relevant cell types, which remains the main barrier to moving therapies to the clinic. Now, a group of scientists have developed a reliable method to do just that.
Through thick and thin: Neutrons track lithium ions in battery electrodes
Lithium-ion batteries are expected to have a global market value of $47 billion by 2023, but their use in heavy-duty applications such as electric vehicles is limited due to factors such as lengthy charge and discharge cycles. Engineers are examining how the lithium moves in battery electrodes, important in designing batteries that charge and discharge faster.
Mysterious river dolphin helps crack the code of marine mammal communication
The Araguaian river dolphin of Brazil was thought to be solitary with little social structure that would require communication. But researchers have discovered the dolphins actually are social and can make hundreds of different sounds, a finding that could help uncover how communication evolved in marine mammals.
Triplet superconductivity demonstrated under high pressure
Researchers have demonstrated a theoretical type of unconventional superconductivity in a uranium-based material, according to a new study.