Researchers link neurodegenerative disease protein to defective cholesterol metabolism

Researchers in Singapore have discovered that brain cells cannot maintain the cholesterol-rich myelin sheath that protects and insulates neurons in the absence of a protein called TDP-43. The study, which will be published August 4 in the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), suggests that restoring cholesterol levels could be a new therapeutic approach for diseases associated with TDP-43, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.

The Monday Campaigns Offers DeStress Monday at School to Reduce Teacher Stress

Studies show most teachers experience high stress levels. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the problem. Many teachers felt heightened pressure and experienced burnout as they navigated hybrid and remote teaching in the midst of a global pandemic. When teachers go back to the classroom this fall, they will undoubtedly continue to feel stress as they face the uncertainties that lie ahead. To provide teachers with effective tools to relieve stress, The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit public health initiative, is offering their DeStress Monday at School program free of charge to schools.

Batteryless Pacemaker Could Use Heart’s Energy for Power

The cardiac pacemaker of the future could be powered by the heart itself, according to researchers in China. Current cardiac pacemakers use a battery power supply and leads to keep hearts beating regularly. Yi Zhiran and his group are investing batteryless powering and leadless pacing, harvesting kinetic energy from the heart to power the lifesaving device. The energy is harvested by the buckling of the encapsulated structure of the pacemaker, creating buckled piezoelectric energy.

LEDs Light the Way to Coronavirus Disinfection

LEDs are commonly used for sterilization, and in the continued effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, LEDs can also help inactivate SARS-CoV-2. A team in Pakistan designed far-ultraviolet LEDs at a targeted wavelength of 222 nanometers, chosen both for its ability to inactivate the virus and for being safe on human skin. They based their design on the material aluminum gallium nitride, part of a set of materials called III-nitrides which are efficient, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly.

Measuring Photovoltaic Performance Indoors

As photovoltaic technology continues to progress, PV devices’ applications in harvesting energy from indoor ambient light have become more realistic. Some combinations of PV material and light source can be more efficient in converting power than the same material under solar illumination, and a better understanding of these relationships is needed to fully characterize the behavior of solar cells under very low illumination conditions.

Hydrogen Technologies Take Leading Role Toward Net Zero

Achieving Net Zero energy, where the total amount of energy used is equal to the amount of renewable energy created, is closer than ever before, and hydrogen technologies will play an important role in achieving that goal, but needs and gaps need to be addressed before a true hydrogen-powered future can take form. There are many opportunities in the global public and private sectors for research, development, and deployment collaboration.

Powering Navigational Buoys With Help of Ocean Waves

Traditionally used energy harvesting technologies, like photovoltaic panels or wind turbines, suffer from several limitations. In the absence of daylight and wind, neither of the two can supply any power. In the case of ocean buoys, a potential solution is omnipresent: wave energy. Abundant, predictable, and consistent, the ocean’s waves can be used to power navigation buoys. Researchers have developed sphere-based triboelectric nanogenerators that can be incorporated directly into navigational buoys to provide electricity from ocean waves.

Indoor Lighting Creates Power for Rechargeable Devices, Sensors

As more devices require recharging their batteries, researchers are looking to ambient lighting as a potential source of generating small amounts of power for indoor devices. The researchers used one lighting source, a white LED akin to normal brightness for indoor lights, to test three different modules — a gallium indium phosphide semiconductor, a gallium arsenide semiconductor, and a silicon semiconductor. The light source peaked in intensity on the shorter wavelengths of light.

UCLA Investigators Approved for Study on Youth Suicide Prevention

A research team from the UCLA Youth Stress and Mood Program at UCLA’s Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior has been approved to lead a $13 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to compare two evidence-based interventions for reducing suicide attempts and improving patient outcomes for youth presenting to emergency departments.

’Til the cows come home

Meat and dairy played a more significant role in human diets in Bronze Age China than previously thought. A new analysis also suggests that farmers and herders tended to sheep and goats differently than they did their cows, unlike in other parts of the world — keeping cows closer to home and feeding them the byproducts of grains that they were growing for their own consumption, like the grass stalks from millet plants.

The Future of Masking Post-Vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccine is your best defense against the virus, but when and where should you continue to wear a mask? Rush infectious disease expert Michael Lin, MD, answers questions about wearing a mask post-vaccination.

Study finds cancer-related follow-up care is underutilized among young adult survivors of childhood cancer

A research team, led by Joel Milam, PhD, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the UCI Program in Public Health, is examining gaps and disparities in lifelong follow-up among survivors, including taking a closer look at long term follow-up care plans, specifically for underserved populations. The study shows that age and ethnic background is associated with inadequate follow-up care among young adult childhood cancer survivors.

HARD-CORE BACTERIA

A new study by UD researcher Julie Maresca and her students found that even in a harsh concrete habitat, bacterial communities can survive, thrive and do what all living things do—change. Bacterial communities within concrete could provide early warning of alkali-silica reactions that degrade concrete but are difficult to detect. Typically, these reactions are only recognized when cracks are forming in the concrete. Bacteria may also have the potential to provide “biorepair” of concrete.

New report: State of the science on western wildfires, forests and climate change

Seeing the urgent need for change, a team of scientists from leading research universities, conservation organizations and government laboratories across the West has produced a synthesis of the scientific literature that clearly lays out the established science and strength of evidence on climate change, wildfire and forest management for seasonally dry forests. The goal is to give land managers and others across the West access to a unified resource that summarizes the best-available science so they can make decisions about how to manage their landscapes.

‘Virtual nature’ experiences reduce stress in prisons

For people who are in jails or prisons, experiencing nature virtually is usually their only option. A new study from University of Utah researchers finds that exposure to nature imagery or nature sounds decreased physiological signs of stress in the incarcerated, and spurred their interest in learning more about the habitats they experienced. The researchers also found that, in general, people didn’t strongly prefer visual to auditory nature experiences.

Gaming the Research: Reinforcement Learning Changing Data Evaluation Challenges

Advances in artificial intelligence, specifically reinforcement learning, are proving beneficial to accelerating the pace of data-intensive challenges. The methods used by researchers with RL are techniques often used in video games, and by applying gamification to scientific processes, RL agents can learn as they are used in experiments, in effect, leveling up their rates of discovery as they work. Researchers are using trained RL agents at NSLS-II to accelerate the analysis of data-heavy measurements.

Avoiding Drug Resistance by Understanding Evolution of Viruses

During ACA’s 71st annual meeting, Celia Schiffer, from the University of Massachusetts, will talk about her lab’s work with virus substrate recognition as a method to avoid drug resistance. Schiffer and her team expanded their work on HIV and the hepatitis C virus to include human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and discovered that designing robust inhibitors to fit within the substrate envelope tips this balance toward decreasing the probability of resistance.

New study details enzyme that allows coronavirus to resist antiviral medications

A new Iowa State University study details the structure of a critical enzyme present in SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This enzyme removes nucleoside antiviral medications from the virus’s RNA, rendering many treatments ineffective. Scientists could use data uncovered in the new study to find ways to inhibit the enzyme, possibly leading to more effective treatments.