Science in the news
Welcome to the "science in the news" page, where you can find links to some of the amazing science breakthroughs that are happening every day!
- Researchers uncover new target of alcohol in the brainNow, researchers in the Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago report in the journal Neuropharmacology, that alcohol blocks a potassium channel called KCNK13 that sits within the membrane of dopamine-releasing neurons in the VTA. When the potassium channel gets blocked, the neurons increase their activity and release more dopamine.
- Liver transplant survival rate sees improvement among older adultsTo learn more about older adults and liver transplants, a team of researchers studied information recorded by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) from 2003 to 2016. The team's study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
- Dangerous Hurricane Willa probed By NASA and Japan's GPM satelliteHurricane Willa is a major hurricane threatening western Mexico. Forecasters were able to see the rate of rainfall occurring within the powerful storm when the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM's core satellite passed overhead and provided that data.
- NASA tracks Tropical Storm Yutu, warnings postedNASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the Northwestern Pacific Ocean and captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Yutu as warnings were posted. A typhoon watch is in force for Tinian and Saipan and a tropical storm watch is in force for Rota.
- Fracking wastewater accumulation found in freshwater mussels' shellsElevated concentrations of strontium, an element associated with oil and gas wastewaters, have accumulated in the shells of freshwater mussels downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites, according to researchers from Penn State and Union College.
Intel Young Scientists Awards 2014
Nathan Han, 15, of Boston, Massachusetts, won the Gordon E. Moore Award for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast and ovarian cancer. Using data from publicly available databases, Han examined detailed characteristics of mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene, vital in protecting cells from developing cancer, in order to “teach” his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not. His tool exhibits an 81 percent accuracy rate and could be used to more accurately identify cancer threats from BRCA1 gene mutations. Applications for Han’s research extend from identifying specific mutations that cause cancer and other diseases, to advancements in the fields of genomics, bioinformatics and big data. The Gordon E. Moore Award, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and retired chairman/CEO, includes USD 75,000 in scholarship funds.
Runners-up honors went to two individuals: Lennart Kleinwort, 15, of Wurzburg, Germany, developed a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets that brings capabilities to hand-held devices, previously available only with more sophisticated and expensive computing tools; and Shannon Lee, 17, of Singapore, developed a novel electrocatalyst that may significantly improve batteries of the future.