333 articles from WEDNESDAY 2.9.2020

New anode material could lead to safer fast-charging batteries

Scientists at UC San Diego have discovered a new anode material that enables lithium-ion batteries to be safely recharged within minutes for thousands of cycles. Known as a disordered rocksalt, the new anode is made up of earth-abundant lithium, vanadium and oxygen atoms arranged in a similar way as ordinary kitchen table salt, but randomly. It is promising for commercial applications where both...

New connections reveal how cancer evades the immune system

If cancer is a series of puzzles, a new study pieces together how several of those puzzles connect to form a bigger picture. A connection between three separate puzzles suggests targeting the amino acid methionine transporter in tumor cells could make immunotherapy effective against more cancers.

New populations of black holes revealed by gravitational waves

The gravitational wave detectors LIGO and Virgo have just chalked up their biggest catch yet, a black hole 142 times the mass of the Sun, resulting from the merger of two "lighter" black holes. It could give some clues about the formation of the supermassive black holes that sit at the centres of some galaxies. One of the merging black holes could improve our understanding of the final stages in...

New study on migration success reinforces need for monarch butterfly milkweed habitat

A recently published study presents evidence that the migration success of monarchs hasn't declined in recent years and thus cannot explain the steep decline in the monarch population over the last few decades. The study drew on data collected on 1.4 million monarch butterflies that were tagged in the United States Midwest from 1998 to 2015 and emphasizes the need for new monarch habitat.

Newly identified gene grants tomatoes resistance to bacterial speck disease

Bacterial speck disease, which reduces both fruit yield and quality, has been a growing problem in tomatoes over the last five years. Because the culpable bacterium, Pseudomonas syringae, prefers a cool and wet climate, crops in places such as New York State have been particularly susceptible. Researchers at the Boyce Thompson Institute have uncovered the first known gene to impart resistance to a...

Origin of a complex life form revealed

Researchers from McGill University have revealed the steps by which two very distinct organisms -- bacteria and carpenter ants -- have come to depend on one another for survival to become a single complex life form. The study, published today in Nature, shows that the two species have collaborated to radically alter the development of the ant embryo to allow this integration to happen.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients

Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2...

Paper ballots, risk-limiting audits can help defend elections and democracy, study finds

With just over two months before the 2020 election, three professors at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business offer a comprehensive review of how other nations are seeking to protect their democratic institutions and presents how a multifaceted, targeted approach is needed to achieve that goal in the U.S., where intelligence officials have warned that Russia and other rivals are again...

Parasitic plants attack crops when defending themselves from microbes

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have discovered a link between defensive responses in plants and the beautiful but devastating crop parasite witchweed. Published in Nature, the new study shows that both parasitic and non-parasitic plants can detect and react to a class of organic compounds called quinones. While parasitic plants sense quinones in...

Plant pathogens reorder physical structures of effectors to escape plant recognition

Phytophthora infestans is an oomycete, or water mold, that causes the devastating potato disease known as late blight or potato blight and was responsible for the famous Irish Famine of the 1840s. In a recently published study, a group of scientists focused on the effectors of that pathogen and confirmed that plant pathogens employ an array of mechanisms to escape plant immunity response. These...

Plasmin could be the link between COVID-19 comorbidities and serious illness

Why is the COVID-19 virus more dangerous in people with comorbidities? Literature analysis shows that comorbidities like hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular illness, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney dysfunction all feature elevated levels of the extracellular protease plasmin. Plasmin is able to nick proteins sequences called furin sites. For many...

PLOS Special Collection launch: Populations HRSA serves

On September 2 2020, the open-access journals PLOS ONE & PLOS Medicine launched a Special Collection of manuscripts centered around the healthcare provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the primary U.S. federal agency for improving healthcare in underserved or vulnerable populations.

Possible blood-clotting mechanism in COVID-19 found

Why so many COVID-19 patients get blood clots (thrombosis) remains uncertain. But scientists at Uppsala University and the University Hospital have now identified a mechanism they believe to be implicated. A particular protein triggers a part of our immune system that can boost the blood's tendency to coagulate and form clots. The study is now published in Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Predictive placentas: Using artificial intelligence to protect mothers' future pregnancies

After a baby is born, doctors sometimes examine the placenta for features that indicate health risks in any future pregnancies. Most placentas go unexamined after the birth. A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) report the development of a machine learning approach to examine placenta slides in The American Journal of...

Rapid HIV, HCV testing at drug detoxification centers led to higher test result delivery

With an increase in HIV and HCV infections as a consequence of the ongoing opioid epidemic, Boston Medical Center researchers found that only a small number of those who test positive for those infections at a drug detoxification center followed up for a clinical visit after their test. The study results showed that only 6 percent of those tested for HIV and HCV followed up with testing care,...

Reef manta rays make long-term use of marine-protected areas

Understanding the key areas where migratory species like the reef manta ray like to congregate is crucial for their future conservation. A new study by a team of researchers in Australia tracked movement patterns for a population of Mobula alfredi along the country's west coast using satellites and photographs. Their data fill in key gaps in what scientists know about how these large marine...

Regional variations in freshwater overconsumption

Freshwater -- which falls to the earth as precipitation or exists beneath the surface as groundwater -- is desperately needed to sustain people, plants and animals. With an ever-increasing human population, water shortages are already occurring in many areas are only expected to get worse. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology have estimated the freshwater supply...

Researchers find molecular link between liver disease, insulin resistance

Yale researchers have zeroed in on a molecular link between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and liver insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. The findings, reported Sept. 2, 2020 in the journal Cell Metabolism, will help pave the way for new drugs to combat type 2 diabetes and other related metabolic disorders, the authors said.