January 24, 2019

    Research provides strategies to combat science misinformation campaigns

    Earth | Jan 15, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Science misinformation campaigns should be combatted on the basis of recent research to be most effective
    Research provides strategies to combat science misinformation campaigns - climate change short science news

    Recent research on large-scale misinformation campaigns to undermine the science of climate change, financed by organizations that have a lot to lose in the transition to a low-carbon economy, has led scientists to formulate four key domains in a strategy to combat science misinformation.

    These are public inoculation, legal strategies, political mechanisms, and financial transparency.

    Activities in these domains should be coordinated in order to be effective. At its very essence, these activities should ultimately go to the root of the problem, which is the huge imbalance in spending between climate change opponents and those lobbying for new solutions, scientists conclude.

    Read the full story: Yale University
    Scientific publication: Nature Climate Change

    Only 0.4% of adolescent mental health can be explained by technology use

    Health | Jan 15, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Screen hardly affects mental health of adolescents
    Only 0.4% of adolescent mental health can be explained by technology use - health short science news

    In contrast to popular believe, screen use has been found to contribute only very modestly to adolescent mental health, only 0.4% to be exact. This is the same percentage as for instance regularly eating potatoes.

    In comparison, smoking marijuana or being bullied account for 2.7 and 4.3 times as much as screen time, whereas activities as eating breakfast and getting enough sleep are way more important.

    These results were obtained following analyses of data from three large-scale representative datasets from the US and UK, including 300,000 individuals surveyed between 2007 and 2016. These findings are important for parents and policy makers, researchers say.

    Read the full story: University of Oxford (via Eurekalert)
    Scientific publication: Nature Human Behaviour

    Antarctica losing ice at a scary pace

    Earth | Jan 15, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    An accelerated melting of ice detected due to climate change
    Antarctica losing ice at a scary pace - interesting science news

    Researchers discovered that Antarctica showed a six-fold increase in ice mass loss between 1979 and 2017. This accelerated melting raised the sea levels by more than half an inch during this time.

    Between this period Antarctica lost 40 gigatons of ice annually. However, between 1979 to 2001 the average loss was 48 gigatons per year which increased to 134 gigatons per year from 2001 to 2017.

    This research data comes from 176 basins over 18 different regions and spanning over four decades. This will continue for several years unless we take urgent action.

    Read the full story: University of California - Irvine
    Scientific publication: PNAS

    Food allergies linked to the gut microbiome

    Health | Jan 14, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Commensal bacteria (red) reside amongst the mucus (green) and epithelial cells (blue) of a mouse small intestine. Image: University of Chicago
    Food allergies linked to the gut microbiome - health short science news

    Scientists have found that food allergy is linked to the bacteria living in the intestines.

    When they transplanted gut bacteria from healthy human infants to mice, they found that these mice were protected against allergic reactions when exposed to milk. Conversely, no such protection was observed when bacteria from children with cow milk allergy were transplanted to mice.

    These findings might help to develop therapies based on the gut microbiome to treat food allergies.

    Read the full story: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    Scientific publication: Nature Medicine

    How black holes can grow so big

    Space | Jan 14, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Artistic impression of a gas disk feeding a massive black hole while emitting radiation. Image: NASA
    How black holes can become gigantic - space short science news

    Black holes have been observed to swallow gas from its surroundings, which is now thought to underlie the fast pace at which black holes can keep growing for a long period of time.

    Astronomers concluded this on the basis of abnormally bright light emitted around a black hole.

    They think that they now better understand of how black holes, lying at the heart of essentially every galaxy including the Milky Way, can grow to such enormous proportions.

    Read the full story: Tel Aviv University
    Scientific publication: Nature Astronomy

    Climate change sparks deadly war between two bird species

    Life | Jan 14, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Bird wars commenced due to climate change Credit: Maurice van Laar
    Climate change sparks deadly war between two bird species - interesting science news

    As the European winters are getting warmer, the pied flycatchers flying from Africa to Netherlands for breeding, are finding that the resident great tits are already claiming all the nesting sites of the season.

    This has resulted in a dramatic increase in flycatchers being killed in great tit nests. Another reason for this is that both bird species rely on a short available burst in food source, which are the caterpillars to raise their young birds.

    However, interestingly, there is no consequence on the both bird population since the birds mostly dying are the surplus males (males who arrive late and hence unlikely to mate). However, this doesn’t bode well for the future if the surplus male population diminishes.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: Current Biology

    A new sleep pill that won’t suppress your ability to wake up in presence of threat

    Mind and Brain | Jan 14, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    New sleeping pill can help patients wake up in response to threat
    A new sleep pill that won’t suppress your ability to wake up in presence of threat - interesting science news

    Benzodiazepines, which are the most commonly prescribed sleep pills impair the brains ability to arose in presence of threat and several study participants sleep through loud noises like vacuuming close to their ears. This poses threat when these drugs impair a person’s ability to wake up when there is a sudden earthquake or fire.

    Now, researchers have developed a new drug named DORA-22 which when tested in mice, arose them quickly in presence of threat, but these mice could go back to sleep immediately after the threat was withdrawn.

    DORA or dual orexin receptor antagonists selectively act on the brain’s sleep pathways and hence safer than traditional benzodiazepines.

    Read the full story: ScienceDaily
    Scientific publication: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience

    Science News this week: - 13 Jan 2019

    Science Videos | Jan 13, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Here is a brief overview of all the interesting science stories that happened last week. The latest science and technology news. ScienceBriefss gets you the most interesting science stories and scientific news everyday. ScienceBriefss.

    Clinical trial shows encouraging results for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

    Health | Jan 12, 2019 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    There is no cure presently for the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease, but this new drug might greatly help the patients. Credit: University of Melbourne
    Clinical trial shows encouraging results for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - latest short science news

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neuron disease in a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease, for which there is no treatment. Now, researchers from the University of Melbourne report that a new drug showed positive effects in a clinical trial involving ALS.

    The trial assessed the optimal dose of CuATSM, the new drug, and it involved 32 patients. Treated patients showed improved lung function and cognitive ability together with a much slower progression of the disease.

    Next, the scientists plan to start a large randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind Phase 2 trial in mid- to late 2019 to test the effectiveness of the treatment on a larger sample of patients.



    Read the full story: University of Melbourne
    Scientific publication: Collaborative Medical Development Clinical Trials

    Got love handles? This is linked to smaller brain size

    Mind and Brain | Jan 10, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    A higher mid waist linked to smaller brain size
    Got love handles? This is linked to smaller brain size - interesting science news

    If you are carrying some extra body fat, especially around your mid waist, then it might be linked to brain shrinkage.

    Researchers used the MRI machine to determine brain volumes for white and grey brain matter and volumes in different brain regions. They also measured Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio in study participants and found out that those having high scores on both measures had lower brain volumes.

    Specifically, those with higher BMI had a brain volume of 786 cubic centimetre while that with normal BMI had 798 cubic centimetre. Now, it remains to be determined if abnormalities in the brain lead to obesity or it’s the other way round.

    Read the full story: American Academy of Neurology
    Scientific publication: Neurology

    Cancer dogma overthrown: cancer cells do not require increased glucose

    Health | Jan 10, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Squamous cell skin cancer tumors with lactate production (a byproduct of glucose consumption) in purple. The tumor with lactate production blocked (left) grew at the same rate as the tumor with normal lactate production (right). Image: UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Nature Communications
    Cancer dogma overthrown: cancer cells do not require increased glucose - health short science news

    Cancer cells can grow and develop without increased glucose consumption. These surprising finding from studies on squamous cell skin cancer challenge the long-hold believe, documented in thousands scientific reports, that cancer cells need large amounts of glucose to fuel their excessive growth and cell division rate.

    In the current study, researchers blocked the conversion of glucose into lactate in rat cancers to strongly reduce glucose uptake by cancer cells. It turned out that cancers developed just as fast as those in rats with normal glucose metabolism.

    Apparently, at least skin cancer cells can switch to other molecules as energy source. This explains why therapies based on cancer cell metabolism have been in majority unsuccessful to date in clinical trials.

    Read the full story: UCLA
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications

    Women were involved in the creation of Medieval manuscripts

    Earth | Jan 10, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Dental calculus on the lower jaw of a medieval woman entrapped lapis lazuli pigment. Image: Christina Warinner
    Women were involved in the creation of Medieval manuscripts - human history short science news

    The creation of richly illustrated manuscripts in the Middle Ages was the work of monks. Now, the discovery of pigment (lapis lazuli) used for illustration in the dental calculus of a woman buried at a 12th-century German monastery suggests that women were also involved in illustrating religious manuscripts.

    The presence of the extremely expensive blue pigment in the woman’s mouth is most likely explained by her licking the tip of the brush while painting.

    As illustrations were not signed by the artist in the Middle Ages, the contribution of women to the creation of medieval manuscripts has always remained hidden, until now.

    Read the full story: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
    Scientific publication: Science Advances

    The sky is filled with stars turning into crystals

    Space | Jan 09, 2019 | Alexandru Ciobanu

    Some white dwarf stars slow down their cooling process and turn into crystals. Credit: NASA
    The sky is filled with stars turning into crystals - daily short science news

    A new study provides the first direct evidence that white dwarf stars solidify and turn into crystals. White dwarfs are the dead remnants of stars like our Sun and they have a core of solid oxygen and carbon.

    The researchers identified an excess in the number of stars at specific colors and luminosities that do not correspond to any single mass or age as evidence that white dwarfs crystallize, or transition from liquid to solid. Moreover, they estimate there are thousands of such stars within around 300 light years from Earth.

    Interestingly, this means that some of the stars are much older than previously thought, in some cases by billions of years. It is estimated that our own sun will become a crystal white dwarf in about 10 billion years.

    Read the full story: University of Warwick
    Scientific publication: Nature

    Insomnia represents five disorders, not one

    Health | Jan 09, 2019 | Erwin van den Burg

    Sleeping problems are now categorized into five different disorders
    Insomnia represents five disorders, not one - health short science news
    Scientists found that insomnia is not a uniform disorder, but that there are five different types that are linked to personality traits.

    Type 1 is linked to neuroticism and feeling down or tense. Types 2 and 3 can be distinguished by high or low sensitivity to reward. Types 4 and 5 differs by the way their sleep responds to stressful life events, with type 4 patients suffering from long-lasting insomnia.

    Types also differed in their EEG responses to environmental stimuli, indicating that the differences between the five insomnia types are anchored in the brain. These results explain why some treatments work in some, but not in others. Also, new therapies based on brain research can now be developed for each type of insomnia.

    Read the full story: Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
    Scientific publication: The Lancet Psychiatry

    Werewolves respond to moonlight and Who else? Oysters it seems

    Life | Jan 09, 2019 | Kshitij Jadhav

    Oysters could be following the lunar cycles
    Werewolves respond to moonlight and Who else? Oysters it seems - interesting science news

    In addition to having a circadian clock and a tidal clock, oysters also have a lunar clock which influences the opening and shutting of the shells. Researchers tracked the behavior of 12 Pacific oysters submerged in France over three and a half lunar cycle for study this phenomenon.

    They found that oysters are most open in the presence of a new moon and least open as the moon entered the first quarter and full phase indicating that they can sense the moonlight even if it has less intensity compared to sun rays.

    The scientists further indicate that moonlight levels might influence the possibility of more food being available during low light levels.

    Read the full story: Gaurdian
    Scientific publication: Biology Letters

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