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Improving water quality could help conserve insectivorous birds -- study

2021-02-26
A new study shows that a widespread decline in abundance of emergent insects - whose immature stages develop in lakes and streams while the adults live on land - can help to explain the alarming decline in abundance and diversity of aerial insectivorous birds (i.e. preying on flying insects) across the USA. In turn, the decline in emergent insects appears to be driven by human disturbance and pollution of water bodies, especially in streams. This study, published in END ...

Vitamin B6 may help keep COVID-19's cytokine storms at bay

2021-02-26
Who would have thought that a small basic compound like vitamin B6 in the banana or fish you had this morning may be key to your body's robust response against COVID-19? Studies have so far explored the benefits of vitamins D and C and minerals like zinc and magnesium in fortifying immune response against COVID-19. But research on vitamin B6 has been mostly missing. Food scientist END ...

Not all "good" cholesterol is healthy

2021-02-26
HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) or good cholesterol is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease as it transports cholesterol deposited in the arteries to the liver to be eliminated. This contrasts with the so-called bad cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), which causes cholesterol to accumulate in the arteries and increases cardiovascular risk. Although drugs that lower bad cholesterol reduce cardiovascular risk, those that raise good cholesterol have not proven effective in reducing the risk of heart disease. This paradox has called into question the ...

Embed germ defence behaviours at home to reduce virus spread now and in the future - new study

2021-02-26
Whilst the nation has taken to washing its hands regularly since the start of the pandemic, other individual behaviours, such as cleaning and disinfecting surfaces or social distancing within the home, have proved harder to stick, say the researchers behind the behaviour change website 'Germ Defence'. In their new study, published today (Friday 26 February 2021) in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, psychologists from the universities of Bath, Bristol and Southampton, warn of the continuing risks of household transmission of COVID-19 and the ongoing importance of breaking chains of transmission now and in the future. Their research analysed user data of the ...

Arthritis drugs may reduce mortality and time in ICU for sickest COVID patients

2021-02-26
Treating critically ill COVID-19 patients with drugs typically used for rheumatoid arthritis may significantly improve survival, a landmark study has found. The findings, which were announced in January and have now been peer-reviewed and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, come from the REMAP-CAP trial, which evaluates the effect of treatments on a combination of survival and length of time patients need support in an intensive care unit (ICU). Initial findings reported in November showed that tocilizumab, a drug used to treat arthritis, was likely to improve outcomes among critically ill COVID-19 ...

New machine learning tool facilitates analysis of health information, clinical forecasting

2021-02-25
Clinical research requires that data be mined for insights. Machine learning, which develops algorithms to find patterns, has difficulty doing this with data related to health records because this type of information is neither static nor regularly collected. A new study developed a transparent and reproducible machine learning tool to facilitate analysis of health information. The tool can be used in clinical forecasting, which can predict trends as well as outcomes in individual patients. The study, by a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), appears in Proceedings of Machine Learning Research. "Temporal Learning Lite, or TL-Lite, is a visualization and forecasting tool to ...

Scientists investigated more thoroughly Walker breakdown in 3D magnetic nanowires

Scientists investigated more thoroughly Walker breakdown in 3D magnetic nanowires
2021-02-25
Physicists from Russia, Chile, Brazil, Spain, and the UK, have studied how the magnetic properties change in 3D nanowires, promising materials for various magnetic applications, depending on the shape of their cross-section. Particularly, they more deeply probed into the Walker breakdown phenomenon, on the understanding of which the success of the implementation of the future electronics devices depends. The research outcome appears in Scientific Reports. The cross-sectional geometry of a three-dimensional nanowire affects the domain wall dynamics and therefore is crucial for their control. In turn, managing the DW dynamics under various external conditions is necessary in order to realize the future electronics and computing devices, operating on new physical principles. ...

A tangled food web

2021-02-25
Born in food web ecology, the concept of trophic levels -- the hierarchy of who eats who in the natural world -- is an elegant way to understand how biomass and energy move through a natural system. It's only natural that the idea found its way into the realm of aquaculture, where marine and freshwater farmers try to maximize their product with efficient inputs. "It's often used as a measure of how sustainable it is to harvest or consume that species," said Rich Cottrell(link is external), a postdoctoral researcher at UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS). As plants (level 1) become food to plant eaters (level 2), who in turn are consumed by carnivores (level 3) and so on, the amount of energy ...

Identifying patient-specific differences to treat HCM with precision medicine

2021-02-25
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a cardiovascular disease characterized by thickening of the left ventricle, otherwise known as the main squeezing chamber of the heart. HCM is best known for causing sudden death in athletes but can occur in persons of any age, often without symptoms. While frequently discussed in the context of genetics, most patients with HCM do not have a known genetic variant. Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital uncovered a means to study the complexity of this disease beyond the identification of individual genes. This new approach offers a path toward treating HCM using individualized medicine. ...

Nuclear physicists on the hunt for squeezed protons

Nuclear physicists on the hunt for squeezed protons
2021-02-25
While protons populate the nucleus of every atom in the universe, sometimes they can be squeezed into a smaller size and slip out of the nucleus for a romp on their own. Observing these squeezed protons may offer unique insights into the particles that build our universe. Now, researchers hunting for these squeezed protons at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility have come up empty handed, suggesting there's more to the phenomenon than first thought. The result was recently published in Physical Review Letters. "We were looking to squeeze the proton such that its quarks are in a small-size configuration. And that's a pretty tough ...

OU study highlights need for improving methane emission database

2021-02-25
A University of Oklahoma-led study published in 2020 revealed that both area and plant growth of paddy rice is significantly related to the spatial-temporal dynamics of atmospheric methane concentration in monsoon Asia, where 87% of the world's paddy rice fields are situated. Now, the same international research team has released a follow-up discussion paper in the journal Nature Communications. In this paper, the team identifies the limits and insufficiency of the major greenhouse emission database (EDGAR) in estimating paddy rice methane emissions. "Methane emission from paddy ...

UTEP survey reveals hidden health and wellness benefits of COVID-19 pandemic

UTEP survey reveals hidden health and wellness benefits of COVID-19 pandemic
2021-02-25
EL PASO, Texas - A study by physiology researchers at The University of Texas at El Paso found that El Paso's stay-at-home ordinance due to the COVID-19 pandemic had positive effects on the health and well-being of the region's residents. Despite a shutdown of gyms and movement restrictions on non-essential activities, residents increased their fitness activity and closely monitored their food and nutrition intake, said Cory M. Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology in UTEP's College of Health Sciences and the study's principal investigator. More than 1,300 El Paso and ...

Landmark study details sequencing of 64 full human genomes to better capture genetic diversity

Landmark study details sequencing of 64 full human genomes to better capture genetic diversity
2021-02-25
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) co-authored a study, published today in the journal Science, that details the sequencing of 64 full human genomes. This reference data includes individuals from around the world and better captures the genetic diversity of the human species. Among other applications, the work will enable population-specific studies on genetic predispositions to human diseases as well as the discovery of more complex forms of genetic variation. Twenty years ago this month, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium announced the first draft of the human genome reference sequence. The Human Genome Project, as it was called, required 11 years of work and involved more than 1000 ...

What might sheep and driverless cars have in common? Following the herd

2021-02-25
Psychologists have long found that people behave differently than when they learn of peers' actions. A new study by computer scientists found that when individuals in an experiment about autonomous vehicles were informed that their peers were more likely to sacrifice their own safety to program their vehicle to hit a wall rather than hit pedestrians who were at risk, the percentage of individuals willing to sacrifice their own safety increased by approximately two-thirds. As computer scientists train machines to act as people's agents in all sorts of situations, the study's authors indicate that the social component of decision-making is often overlooked. This could be of great consequence, note the paper's authors who show that the trolly problem -long shown to be ...

Study uncovers flaws in process for maintaining state voter rolls

2021-02-25
States regularly use administrative records, such as motor-vehicle data, in determining whether people have moved to prune their voter rolls. A Yale-led study of this process in Wisconsin shows that a significant percentage of registered voters are incorrectly identified as having changed addresses, potentially endangering their right to vote. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, found that at least 4% of people listed as suspected "movers" cast ballots in 2018 elections using addresses that were wrongly flagged as out of date. Minority voters were twice as likely as white voters to cast their ...

First complete coronavirus model shows cooperation

2021-02-25
The COVID-19 virus holds some mysteries. Scientists remain in the dark on aspects of how it fuses and enters the host cell; how it assembles itself; and how it buds off the host cell. Computational modeling combined with experimental data provides insights into these behaviors. But modeling over meaningful timescales of the pandemic-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus has so far been limited to just its pieces like the spike protein, a target for the current round of vaccines. A new multiscale coarse-grained model of the complete SARS-CoV-2 virion, its core genetic material and virion shell, has been developed for the first time using supercomputers. The model offers ...

Imaging space debris in high resolution

Imaging space debris in high resolution
2021-02-25
Litter is not only a problem on Earth. According to NASA, there are currently millions of pieces of space junk in the range of altitudes from 200 to 2,000 kilometers above the Earth's surface, which is known as low Earth orbit (LEO). Most of the junk is comprised of objects created by humans, like pieces of old spacecraft or defunct satellites. This space debris can reach speeds of up to 18,000 miles per hour, posing a major danger to the 2,612 satellites that currently operate at LEO. Without effective tools for tracking space debris, parts of LEO may even become too hazardous for satellites. In a paper publishing today in the SIAM Journal on Imaging Sciences, Matan Leibovich (New York University), George Papanicolaou (Stanford University), and Chrysoula Tsogka (University of California, ...

Social dilemma follows 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano

Social dilemma follows 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano
2021-02-25
The unprecedented cost of the 2018 Kilauea eruption in Hawai'i reflects the intersection of distinct physical and social phenomena: infrequent, highly destructive eruptions, and atypically high population growth, according to a new study published in Nature Communications and led by University of Hawai'i at Mānoa researchers. It has long been recognized that areas in Puna, Hawai'i, are at high risk from lava flows. This ensured that land values were lower in Puna--which lies within the three highest risk lava hazard zones 1, 2 and 3--which actively promoted rapid population ...

Signal transduction without signal -- receptor clusters can direct cell movement

2021-02-25
Our body consists of 100 trillion cells that communicate with each other, receive signals from the outside world and react to them. A central role in this communication network is attributed to receiver proteins, called receptors, which are anchored at the cell membrane. There, they receive and transmit signals to the inside of the cell, where a cell reaction is triggered. In humans, G protein-coupled receptors (GPC receptors) represent the largest group of these receptor molecules, with around 700 different types. The research of the Frankfurt and Leipzig scientists focused on a GPC receptor that serves as a receptor for the ...

Urban Americans more likely to follow covid-19 prevention behaviors than rural Americans

2021-02-25
Timothy Callaghan, PhD, and Alva Ferdinand, DrPH, JD, from the Southwest Rural Health Research Center at Texas A&M University School of Public Health, joined colleagues in the first national study of how often people in urban and rural areas in the United States follow COVID-19 guidelines. These include public health best practices like wearing masks in public, sanitizing homes and work areas, maintaining physical distancing, working from home and avoiding dining in restaurants or bars. The research team used a survey of 5,009 U.S. adults that closely matched the makeup of the country's population as a whole. The survey asked how often participants followed COVID-19 prevention recommendations and collected data on political ideology, perceived risk ...

New sustainable building simulation method points to the future of design

2021-02-25
ITHACA, N.Y. - A team from Cornell University's Environmental Systems Lab, led by recent graduate Allison Bernett, has put forth a new framework for injecting as much information as possible into the pre-design and early design phases of a project, potentially saving architects and design teams time and money down the road. "(Our framework) allows designers to understand the full environmental impact of their building," said Bernett, corresponding author of "Sustainability Evaluation for Early Design (SEED) Framework for Energy Use, Embodied Carbon, Cost, and Daylighting Assessment" which published Jan. 10 in the Journal of ...

Scientists use Doppler to peer inside cells

Scientists use Doppler to peer inside cells
2021-02-25
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Doppler radar improves lives by peeking inside air masses to predict the weather. A Purdue University team is using similar technology to look inside living cells, introducing a method to detect pathogens and treat infections in ways that scientists never have before. In a new study, the team used Doppler to sneak a peek inside cells and track their metabolic activity in real time, without having to wait for cultures to grow. Using this ability, the researchers can test microbes found in food, water, and other environments to see if they are pathogens, or help them identify the right medicine to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. David Nolte, Purdue's Edward ...

Farmers in developing countries can protect both profits and endangered species

2021-02-25
HOUSTON - (Feb. 25, 2021) - Low-income livestock farmers in developing countries are often faced with a difficult dilemma: protect their animals from endangered predators, or spare the threatened species at the expense of their livestock and livelihood. A new paper by Rice University economist Ted Loch-Temzelides examines such circumstances faced by farmers in Pakistan. "Conservation, risk aversion, and livestock insurance: The case of the snow leopard" outlines a plan under which farmers can protect themselves from crippling financial losses while ...

Scientists identify cells responsible for liver tissue maintenance and regeneration

Scientists identify cells responsible for liver tissue maintenance and regeneration
2021-02-25
While the amazing regenerative power of the liver has been known since ancient times, the cells responsible for maintaining and replenishing the liver have remained a mystery. Now, research from the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has identified the cells responsible for liver maintenance and regeneration while also pinpointing where they reside in the liver. These findings, reported today in Science, could help scientists answer important questions about liver maintenance, liver damage (such as from fatty liver or alcoholic liver disease), and liver cancer. The liver performs vital functions, including chemical detoxification, blood protein production, bile excretion, and regulation of energy metabolism. Structurally, the liver ...

Did teenage 'tyrants' outcompete other dinosaurs?

Did teenage tyrants outcompete other dinosaurs?
2021-02-25
Paleo-ecologists from The University of New Mexico and at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have demonstrated that the offspring of enormous carnivorous dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus rex may have fundamentally re-shaped their communities by out-competing smaller rival species. The study, released this week in the journal Science, is the first to examine community-scale dinosaur diversity while treating juveniles as their own ecological entity. "Dinosaur communities were like shopping malls on a Saturday afternoon ? jam-packed with teenagers" explained Kat Schroeder, a graduate student in the UNM Department of Biology who led the study. "They made up a significant portion of the individuals in a species and would have had a very real impact ...
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