February 18, 2019

    Short Science News, Articles And The Latest Scientific Discoveries And Research

    2018 fourth warmest year in continued warming trend

    Earth | Feb 07, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Earth's long-term warming trend, showing how the planet's temperatures are changing over time, compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980. Image: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann
    2018 fourth warmest year in continued warming trend - climate short science news

    Earth’s global temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest since 1880, according to NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Global temperatures were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celcius) higher than the 1951-1980 mean. The past five years were collectively the warmest in the modern temperature record.

    Temperatures are being measured across 6,300 weather stations worldwide, and together they clearly show that the warming trend continues, although some regional differences due to local weather dynamics exist.

    Read the full story: NASA


    Vitamin D speeds up treatment of dangerous tuberculosis

    Health | Feb 07, 2019 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Tuberculosis is induced by a bacterium that sometimes is difficult to kill. Vitamin D might help with the removal of this bacteria
    Vitamin D speeds up treatment of dangerous tuberculosis - science news articles with summaries

    Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) is becoming a global threat and it is notoriously difficult to treat. Now, scientists discovered that vitamin D may speed up the treatment process and could help remove the TB bacteria from the lungs.

    When vitamin D is added to the antibiotic treatment, it accelerates the clearance of the bacteria. Moreover, the vitamin D itself, at the doses used, was safe and had no serious side-effects. It is believed that this positive response is due to an enhancement of the immune system by vitamin D.

    This is a novel approach to fighting tuberculosis, contrasting the developing of new antibiotics as a measure to counteract the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria.

    Read the full story: Queen Mary University of London
    Scientific publication: European Respiratory Journal


    Being kind to yourself brings mental and physical rewards

    Health | Feb 07, 2019 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Think kindly about yourself to relax your body and to feel safe
    Being kind to yourself brings mental and physical rewards - latest scientific news and research

    People that are kind to themselves show increased relaxation and a stronger feeling of safety, according to the latest research. A team of scientists instructed subjects to either think kindly or be critical to themselves.

    People that were instructed to be kind were more relaxed, had a lower heart rate, and displayed more compassion towards themselves and towards others. In contrast, the participants that were instructed to be critical had an increased heart rate and sweating response, plus feelings of threat and distress.

    The study suggests that being kind puts the body in a state of relaxation, important for regeneration and healing. This may be connected to psychological problems such as depression.

    Read the full story: University of Exeter
    Scientific publication: Clinical Psychological Science


    Laughter is the best medicine to calm you during brain surgery

    Mind and Brain | Feb 06, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    A brain region induces immediate laughter and then calms you down
    Laughter is the best medicine to calm you during brain surgery - interesting science news

    Neuroscientists have discovered that electrically stimulating a brain region called cingulum bundle results in immediate laughter and then a sense of calmness and happiness even while undergoing awake brain surgery.

    This was discovered in a patient who was undergoing testing for brain stimulation for epilepsy and this was then used in the same patients awake brain surgery. How cool is that.

    Applications other than awake brain surgery could be understanding how cingulum bundle could help treat depression, anxiety and panic disorders. This is unique because previously the focus was on nucleus accumbens which is the brain region for reward and cingulum bundle doesn’t lie in the reward pathway.

    Read the full story: Emory University
    Scientific publication: Journal of Clinical Investigation


    Its official!!! Women’s brains are younger than men’s

    Mind and Brain | Feb 06, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Women have brains 3 years younger than men
    Its official!!! Women’s brains are younger than men’s - interesting science news

    We all know that as we age, the brain tends to shrink. Now researchers have shown that it shrinks faster in men than in women. Women have brains, which are three years younger as compared to chronologically matched men.

    The study was conducted in approximately 100 men and women whose brains were scanned in PET scans which measures the flow of oxygen and glucose in the brain. The data collected regarding the metabolism was then fed into an algorithm and it was tested to predict the age of the participants.

    This could be one reason why women retain their cognitive skills at a later age while men show an accelerated decline as they before older.

    Read the full story: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
    Scientific publication: PNAS


    Golf causes contact sport like injuries

    Health | Feb 06, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Golf could lead to lumbar spine injury
    Golf causes contact sport like injuries - interesting science news

    Spine injuries are usually associated with contact sports like American football or rugby. However, researchers have found out that modern day golfer experience minor repeated traumatic spine injuries which can lead to a pathological spine.

    Comparing present day golfers like Tiger Woods to golf legends like Ben Hogan shows that over the last two decades the golf swing has become more powerful and the techniques of the swing have also changed with more compressive force being directed towards the spine affects the joints asymmetrically.

    Such spine disc based injuries are the most common injuries in modern day golfers accounting for 35-55% of the total injuries.

    Read the full story: Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group (via ScienceDaily)
    Scientific publication: Journal of Neurosurgery


    History of big, climate-altering volcanic eruptions rewritten

    Earth | Feb 06, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Eruption column of Mount Pinatubo on Luzon Island in the Philippines on June 12, 1991. The eruption, the largest on Earth in the past 100 years, ejected particles into the stratosphere, and temporarily influenced temperatures on Earth. Image: Dave Harlow/USGS
    History of big, climate-altering volcanic eruptions rewritten - Earth short science news

    By applying a new method to measure sulfur isotopes in Antarctic icesheets, scientists have identified the largest of volcanic eruptions up to 2,600 years ago that had ejected particles into the stratosphere, before settling on, and being trapped in, the icesheets.

    The study confirmed previously reported eruptions, but also disqualified other reports, and added new eruptions.

    These large eruptions temporarily cool down the Earth due to the ejection of particles in the stratosphere, and are thus phenomena important enough to be included in climate change models, researchers say.

    Read the full story: University of Maryland
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Multidrug resistance genes found in Arctic soil microbes

    Health | Feb 06, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Scientist Jennifer Roberts collected soil samples in the Kongsfjorden region of Svalbard, Norway, that showed antibiotic-resistant genes have transferred into soil-microbe populations in one of Earth's most remote locations. Image: Jennifer Roberts/KU News Service
    Multidrug resistance genes found in Arctic soil microbes - health short science news

    New research has revealed that the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes, including multidrug-resistant "superbugs" is a global phenomenon and could potentially carry high risk of human health worldwide.

    One of these genes is the New Delhi gene which first emerged in India only a few years ago, and is now found in the High Arctic of Norway, a remote area where only few people come. Researchers think that the genes are transferred by humans and birds.

    Our human and animal use of antibiotics can thus have impacts beyond local communities, as they are global, and this calls for rethinking of antibiotics use and waste.

    Read the full story: University of Kansas
    Scientific publication: Environment International


    Blood-clotting factor responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

    Mind and Brain | Feb 05, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Alzheimer's disease might not be caused by plaques in the brain, but by a blood-clotting factor
    Blood-clotting factor responsible for Alzheimer’s disease - brain short science news

    The blood-clotting protein fibrinogen could be at the basis of cognitive decline, such as seen in Alzheimer’s disease, a new study reports.

    It was already known that Alzheimer’s patients have abnormalities in the blood vessel network in the brain, and now it turns out that fibrinogen from the blood is responsible for a series of molecular and cellular events that destroy the connections between neurons. It does so by activating the brain’s immune system and triggers them to attack synapses which mediate the contact between neurons.

    These observations could change the way we think about cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease, and how to cure it.

    Read the full story: Gladstone Institutes
    Scientific publication: Neuron


    269 genes newly linked to depression

    Mind and Brain | Feb 05, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    In a study on DNA from 2 million patients, many genes could be newly linked to depression
    269 genes newly linked to depression - brain short science news

    In a huge study concerning anonymized data from no less than 2 million patients, 269 genes have been found that could be linked to depression.

    . By using advanced statistical methods, the researchers could exclude factors such as aging or income. Interestingly, some of the newly linked genes indicate that depression could be a driving force for the onset of smoking, whereas others had already been associated with neuroticism.

    Thus, this study is important for the understanding of the origin of depression, and highlights the personality types that could be at risk of developing the disease.

    Read the full story: University of Edinburgh
    Scientific publication: Nature Neuroscience


    Microbes living on insects as a source of new and potent antibiotics

    Health | Feb 04, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Streptomyces bacteria that produced the new antibiotic cyphomycin show off a purple hue. Image: Marc Chevrette
    Microbes living on insects as a source of new, potent, antibiotics - health short science news

    Bacteria living on insects make antibiotics that are more powerful than those that are produced by soil bacteria and are currently in use in medicine.

    A study on microbes from more than 1400 insects collected across the Americas showed anti-bacterial activity even against some of the most common and dangerous antibiotics-resistant pathogens.

    These newly discovered antibiotics have low toxicity in humans, so that it is possible that they are suitable for in clinical use in the future.

    Read the full story: University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Ocean’s color will change by the end of this century due to climate change

    Earth | Feb 04, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Color changes of oceans, due to climate change, may not be visible to the human eye, but satellites can measure hue and provide an early warning sign of the consequences of climate change in marine ecosystems
    Ocean’s color will change by the end of this century due to climate change - climate short science news

    By the year 2100, the blue parts of the oceans will be a bit bluer and the green parts will be a bit greener. Scientists predict this on the basis of a new model describing absorption of light by phytoplankton in the oceans.

    Populations of phytoplankton will change with climate change. In the subtropics, phytoplankton will become less abundant so that not much color will be reflected, except for blue that is reflected by water. At the poles and the equator, more phytoplankton will start to bloom, which will reflect more green color.

    Scientists say that satellites could monitor changes in hue of the oceans, and use this as an early warning sign of climate change in marine environments.

    Read the full story: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    New hydrogel material works like human muscle

    Technology | Feb 04, 2019 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    This material can adapt to stretch and pressure, and repair itself
    New hydrogel material works like human muscle - Science and technology news articles

    A new material made from a double-network of hydrogels has the ability to increase its strength in response to mechanical stress, similar to the human muscles. This ability allows the material to repair the damage induced by tensile forces.

    The material contains two intertwined networks of polymer strands, with one network rigid and the other one flexible. The rigid component breaks down when mechanical stress is applied, but this triggers a local polymerization process that creates new bounds within the material, making it strong again. The soft component helps maintain its shape and the gel appearance.

    This process is pretty similar to what happens inside muscles during intense exercise. The new self-growing fatigue-free material could be used for various applications, from soft robots to medicine.

    Read the full story: Physics World
    Scientific publication: Science


    Cosmic collisions shape the atmosphere of planets

    Space | Feb 04, 2019 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Planetary collisions influence the future of a planet and the formation of its atmosphere. Credit: NASA
    Cosmic collisions shape the atmosphere of planets - science news articles with summaries

    Why are rocky planets around the universe so diverse when it comes to their atmosphere? Astronomers came up with an answer by simulating a variety of cosmic impacts.

    In a new study, they showed that giant collisions between planets and other objects such as meteorites are very efficient at reducing or even removing the atmosphere of a planet. Depending on the outcome, an impact with a rock object can create different types of worlds.

    Such impacts are part of the formation of a planetary system. Earth got its moon following one such monstrous collision. Therefore, collisions can create a wide variety of exoplanets and their results depend on the age of the planet and the speed and mass of the colliding object.

    Read the full story: Space.com
    Scientific publication: arXiv


    This Triassic T-rex like monster ate bones for breakfast

    Earth | Feb 04, 2019 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Fearsome dinosaur-like animal liked eating the bones of its prey. Credit: Jakub Kowalski
    This Triassic T-rex like monster ate bones for breakfast - science news articles

    New evidence suggests that the archosaur Smok wawelski, that looked similar to the more popular T rex, had the habit of eating the bones of its prey. This dinosaur-like animal was 5-6 meters long and it lived 210 million years ago, in Late Triassic.

    Scientists studied the fossilized excrements (coprolites) of Smok walwelski and discovered that they contained up to 50% bones from prey animals. Very likely, this predator ate bones for their content in salt and marrow, a behavior often seen in mammals.

    Interestingly, the coprolites also contained several crouched teeth, probably belonging to the predator itself. This means that occasionally their teeth were crushed against the hard food and later replaced by new ones.

    Read the full story: Uppsala University
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


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