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MUSC is first in nation to enroll kids in trial of novel MIS-C therapy
A team of MUSC Children's Health pediatricians report in Pediatrics that it enrolled the first two children in the nation in a clinical trial of remestemcel-L, an experimental cellular therapy, for treatment of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a severe complication of COVID-19. The syndrome can cause long-term cardiovascular complications. The researchers report that the two patients
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Danish computer scientist has developed a superb algorithm for findin
One of the most classic algorithmic problems deals with calculating the shortest path between two points. A more complicated variant of the problem is when the route traverses a changing network – whether this be a road network or the internet. For 40 years, an algorithm has been sought to provide an optimal solution to this problem. Now, computer scientist Christian Wulff-Nilsen of the University
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Study shows simple blood test could detect liver injury earlier
University of Texas at Dallas chemist Dr. Jie Zheng has spent much of his career investigating gold nanoparticles for their potential impact in the field of nanomedicine. In new research, published online Feb. 19 in the journal Science Advances , he and his colleagues show how these nanoparticles could play a key role in a simple blood test to detect acute liver damage earlier than current methods
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Bacterial competition in situations of food scarcity prevents survival of mutants
A study conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo in Brazil shows that competition for nutrients and lack of cooperation among bacteria of the species Escherichia coli in the same population and in situations of food scarcity prevent mutants that are better adapted to the environment from flourishing, except those that organize in small groups. The phenomenon masks the emergence of n
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The quest for sustainable leather alternatives
Throughout history, leather has been a popular material for clothes and many other goods. However, the tanning process and use of livestock mean that it has a large environmental footprint, leading consumers and manufacturers alike to seek out alternatives. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, details how sustainable materials
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New IceCube detection proves 60-year-old theory
Normally, electron antineutrino would zip right through the Earth at the speed of light as if it weren't even there. But this particle just so happened to smash into an electron deep inside the South Pole's glacial ice, and was caught by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. This enabled IceCube to make the first ever detection of a Glashow resonance event, a phenomenon predicted 60 years ago by Nobel
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Smart speaker checks for irregular heartbeat
Researchers have figured out how to have a smart speaker monitor both regular and irregular heartbeats without physical contact. Smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, have already proven adept at monitoring certain health care issues at home, such as detecting cardiac arrest and monitoring babies breathing . The new system sends inaudible sounds from the speaker out into a room and
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Spatio-temporal heterogeneity in hippocampal metabolism in control and epilepsy conditions [Neuroscience]
The hippocampus's dorsal and ventral parts are involved in different operative circuits, the functions of which vary in time during the night and day cycle. These functions are altered in epilepsy. Since energy production is tailored to function, we hypothesized that energy production would be space- and time-dependent in the…
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Zinc finger protein E4F1 cooperates with PARP-1 and BRG1 to promote DNA double-strand break repair [Cell Biology]
Zinc finger (ZnF) proteins represent one of the largest families of human proteins, although most remain uncharacterized. Given that numerous ZnF proteins are able to interact with DNA and poly(ADP ribose), there is growing interest in understanding their mechanism of action in the maintenance of genome integrity. We now report…
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S-nitrosylated TDP-43 triggers aggregation, cell-to-cell spread, and neurotoxicity in hiPSCs and in vivo models of ALS/FTD [Neuroscience]
Rare genetic mutations result in aggregation and spreading of cognate proteins in neurodegenerative disorders; however, in the absence of mutation (i.e., in the vast majority of "sporadic" cases), mechanisms for protein misfolding/aggregation remain largely unknown. Here, we show environmentally induced nitrosative stress triggers protein aggregation and cell-to-cell spread. In patient…
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Oligomeric assembly regulating mitochondrial HtrA2 function as examined by methyl-TROSY NMR [Biophysics and Computational Biology]
Human High temperature requirement A2 (HtrA2) is a mitochondrial protease chaperone that plays an important role in cellular proteostasis and in regulating cell-signaling events, with aberrant HtrA2 function leading to neurodegeneration and parkinsonian phenotypes. Structural studies of the enzyme have established a trimeric architecture, comprising three identical protomers in which…
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Opinion: Academic-humanitarian technology partnerships: an unhappy marriage? [Social Sciences]
Working together seems like a good idea—especially when working toward a noble goal. In the hopes of more efficiently and quickly reaching their aims, many humanitarian and development organizations (HDOs)—including nongovernmental organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and international organizations…
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Watt W. Webb: His measurements of the seemingly inaccessible broadened the horizons of biophysics [Retrospectives]
Watt W. Webb's scientific career was a series of triumphs over challenges to make difficult measurements of important physical and biological phenomena: "impossible problems of experimental physiology," as he described them (1). A common theme was his use of light microscopy in new ways to reveal equilibrium and dynamic properties…
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Where am I going? Just ask your subiculum
Researchers reveal the path of information received by the hippocampus. Using optogenetics during large-scale recordings of rat subiculum, they discovered that the subiculum distributes information from the hippocampus to 4 downstream regions of the brain. They observed that the theta and sharp-wave/ripples in the subiculum controlled information transmission with millisecond precision according t
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Analysis of "virtual" pollinator trade reveals global dependence on biodiversity for food consumption
By analyzing more than a decade's worth of information on 55 crops, all dependent on pollinators, scientists have revealed that developed countries are particularly reliant on imported pollinator-dependent crops, while countries that export the majority of these crop types are major drivers of pollinator declines. Their assessment of the "virtual" exchange of pollinator
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New spherical nucleic acid 'drug' kills tumor cells in humans with glioblastoma
An early clinical trial in individuals with the deadly brain cancer, glioblastoma, showed an experimental drug penetrated the blood-brain barrier and trigger the death of tumor cells. This is the first time a nanotherapeutic has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier when given through intravenous infusion and alter the genetic machinery of a tumor to cause cell death. The drug dialed down th
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Warm feelings about scientists may shape COVID behavior
Feelings about scientists appear connected to some people's willingness to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Those who expressed warmth toward scientists were more concerned about the impact of the virus and reported engaging in more preventative behaviors, relative to those who felt colder toward the profession. This relationship emerged even after controlling for their political views, says study
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Wax-wetting sponges for oil droplets recovery from frigid waters
Energy-efficient recovery of oil droplets from ice-cold water, such as oil sands tailings, marine, and arctic oil spills, is challenging. In particular, due to paraffin wax crystallization at low temperatures, the crude oil exhibits high viscosity, making it difficult to collect using simple solutions like sponges. Here, we report a wax-wetting sponge designed by conforming to the thermoresponsiv
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Inhibition of CRISPR-Cas12a DNA targeting by nucleosomes and chromatin
Genome engineering nucleases must access chromatinized DNA. Here, we investigate how AsCas12a cleaves DNA within human nucleosomes and phase-condensed nucleosome arrays. Using quantitative kinetics approaches, we show that dynamic nucleosome unwrapping regulates target accessibility to Cas12a and determines the extent to which both steps of binding—PAM recognition and R-loop formation—are inhibit
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Oxidative phosphorylation enhances the leukemogenic capacity and resistance to chemotherapy of B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia
How metabolic status controls the fates of different types of leukemia cells remains elusive. Using a SoNar-transgenic mouse line, we demonstrated that B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) cells had a preference in using oxidative phosphorylation. B-ALL cells with a low SoNar ratio (SoNar-low) had enhanced mitochondrial respiration capacity, mainly resided in the vascular niche, and were e
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Enhanced mechanical energy conversion with selectively decayed wood
Producing electricity from renewable sources and reducing its consumption by buildings are necessary to meet energy and climate change challenges. Wood is an excellent "green" building material and, owing to its piezoelectric behavior, could enable direct conversion of mechanical energy into electricity. Although this phenomenon has been discovered decades ago, its exploitation as an energy sourc
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Deciphering epiblast lumenogenesis reveals proamniotic cavity control of embryo growth and patterning
During the peri-implantation stages, the mouse embryo radically changes its appearance, transforming from a hollow-shaped blastocyst to an egg cylinder. At the same time, the epiblast gets reorganized from a simple ball of cells to a cup-shaped epithelial monolayer enclosing the proamniotic cavity. However, the cavity's function and mechanism of formation have so far been obscure. Through investi
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Microneedle-assisted genome editing: A transdermal strategy of targeting NLRP3 by CRISPR-Cas9 for synergistic therapy of inflammatory skin disorders
We report a dissolvable microneedle (MN) patch that can mediate transdermal codelivery of CRISPR-Cas9–based genome-editing agents and glucocorticoids for the effective treatment of inflammatory skin disorders (ISDs). The MN is loaded with polymer-encapsulated Cas9 ribonucleoprotein (RNP) targeting NLRP3 and dexamethasone (Dex)–containing polymeric nanoparticles. Upon insertion into the skin, the
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Shaping quantum photonic states using free electrons
It is a long-standing goal to create light with unique quantum properties such as squeezing and entanglement. We propose the generation of quantum light using free-electron interactions, going beyond their already ubiquitous use in generating classical light. This concept is motivated by developments in electron microscopy, which recently demonstrated quantum free-electron interactions with light
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A stable immature lattice packages IP6 for HIV capsid maturation
HIV virion assembly begins with the construction of an immature lattice consisting of Gag hexamers. Upon virion release, protease-mediated Gag cleavage leads to a maturation event in which the immature lattice disassembles and the mature capsid assembles. The cellular metabolite inositiol hexakisphosphate (IP 6 ) and maturation inhibitors (MIs) both bind and stabilize immature Gag hexamers, but w
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Coordination-induced polymerization of PboxHC bonds leads to regular (PboxhC)n polycarbophosphanes
The replacement of carbon in (CC) n chains of polyolefins by phosphorus leads to polycarbophosphanes (PC) n , which may possess unique chemical and physical properties. However, macromolecules with a regular (PC) n chain have never been unambiguously identified. Here, we demonstrate that addition polymerization, a general concept to polymerize olefins, can be extended to PC double bonds. The poly
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Large computer language models carry environmental, social risks
Computer engineers at the world's largest companies and universities are using machines to scan through tomes of written material. The goal? Teach these machines the gift of language. Do that, some even claim, and computers will be able to mimic the human brain.But this impressive compute capability comes with real costs, including perpetuating racism and causing significant environmental damage,
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Neurological complications of COVID-19 in children: rare, but patterns emerge
While neurological complications of COVID-19 in children are rare, in contrast to adults, an international expert review of positive neuroimaging findings in children with acute and post-infectious COVID-19 found that the most common abnormalities resembled immune-mediated patterns of disease involving the brain, spine, and nerves. Strokes, which are more commonly reported in adults with COVID-19,
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Riding the wave to memory-forming genetics
UT Southwestern scientists have identified key genes involved in brain waves that are pivotal for encoding memories. The findings, published online this week in Nature Neuroscience, could eventually be used to develop novel therapies for people with memory loss disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
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Inducing labor isn't always needed when water breaks early
Typically, when a pregnant woman's water breaks but labor doesn't begin, it's induced. A new study shows that may not be necessary in the majority of cases. About 11% of women who carry to term will experience prelabor rupture of membrane—a condition where the amniotic sac breaks open early, but labor doesn't begin. The study finds that expectant management—waiting a period of time after the wate
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Manure improves soil and microbe community
In the dry air and soil of Texas' Southern High Plains, improving soil health can be tough. We usually think of healthy soil as moist and loose with lots of organic matter. But this can be hard to achieve in this arid area of Texas.
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University of Minnesota scientists discover attacking fungi that show promise against emerald ash borer
New research from the University of Minnesota's Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC) shows a possible path forward in controlling the emerald ash borer – which since its introduction has become the most devastating invasive forest insect in the United States, killing hundreds of millions of ash trees at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
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Extracting information from ancient teeth
There's a surprising amount of information stored in the hardened plaque, or calculus, between teeth. And if that calculus belongs to the remains of a person who lived in ancient times, the information could reveal new insights about the past. But the tiny samples can be difficult to work with. Now, in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, scientists apply a new method to this analysis, finding more
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From egg to embryo: How developing zebrafish keep RNA levels in check
Mature egg cells and early embryos do not generate their own RNA molecules—instead, they rely on stored maternal RNAs to synthesize their proteins. As the embryo develops, some of these RNAs become superfluous and need to be degraded. Researchers at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) pinpointed Ski7 as a regulator of normal RNA levels in early zebrafish embryos. Their findings wer
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How a receptor shapes the immune response
Immune cells specialize to ensure the most efficient defense against viruses and other pathogens. Researchers at the University of Basel have shed light on this specialization of T cells and shown that it occurs differently in the context of an acute and a chronic infection. This could be relevant for new approaches against chronic viral infections.
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The important role of music in neurorehabilitation: Filling in critical gaps
Music-based interventions have become a core ingredient of effective neurorehabilitation in the past 20 years thanks to the growing body of knowledge. In this theme issue of Neurorehabilitation, experts in the field highlight some of the current critical gaps in clinical applications that have been less thoroughly investigated, such as post-stroke cognition, traumatic brain injury, and autism and
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Adaptive microelectronics reshape independently and detect environment for first time
Flexible and adaptive microelectronics is considered an innovation driver for new and more effective biomedical applications. These include, for example, the treatment of damaged nerve bundles, chronic pain, or the control of artificial limbs. For this to work, close contact between electronics and neural tissue is essential for effective electrical and mechanical coupling. In addition, potential
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Unfavorable weather main cause of fog-haze events over the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region during COVID-19 lockdown
At the end of December 2019, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) quickly spread throughout Hubei Province and other parts of China. During the 2020 Spring Festival, public activities were canceled, people tried their best to stay at home, and human and industrial activities were reduced to a basic or minimum level. However, during this period, severe fog-haze events occurred over the North China P
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Demystifying the 'Parkinson Protein'
Scientists from the University of Konstanz and the Free University of Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Bruker BioSpin development team, have succeeded for the first time in the direct spectroscopic detection of the binding of the "Parkinson protein" α-synuclein to lipid membranes in the cell.
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Plant-eating dinos took 15 million years to get to Greenland from Brazil
For the first time, researchers have accurately dated the arrival of the first herbivorous dinosaurs in East Greenland. A new study shows extreme climatic conditions slowed down their trek from the southern hemisphere. Their long walk was only possible because as CO2 levels dropped suddenly, the Earth's climate became less extreme. A snail could have crawled its way faster. 10,000 kilometers (6,2
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In decision-making, biases are an unconscious tendency that are difficult to eradicate
Humans display biases, i.e., unconscious tendencies towards a type of decision. Despite decades of study, we are yet to discover why biases are so persistent. "Biases can help us make better decisions when we use them correctly in an action that has previously given us great reward. However, in other cases, biases can play against us, such as when we repeat actions in situations when it would be b
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The smallest measurement of gravity ever recorded
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-00643-6 Physicists examine the gravitational pull between two tiny masses, and how fossil lampreys could shake-up the field of vertebrate evolution.
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A high-resolution protein architecture of the budding yeast genome
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03314-8 A ChIP–exo method is used to define the genome-wide positional organization of proteins associated with gene transcription, DNA replication, centromeres, subtelomeres and transposons, revealing distinct protein assemblies for constitutive and inducible gene expression.
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Inter-mosaic coordination of retinal receptive fields
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03317-5 Complementary types of retinal ganglion cell form mosaics with receptive fields that are farther apart than would be expected by chance, supporting the efficient coding of natural scenes.
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Non-ammocoete larvae of Palaeozoic stem lampreys
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03305-9 Growth series of Palaeozoic stem lampreys do not include a filter-feeding larval phase seen in modern lampreys, which suggests that modern lamprey larvae are a poor model of vertebrate ancestry.
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Experimental quantum speed-up in reinforcement learning agents
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03242-7 A reinforcement learning experiment using a programmable integrated nanophotonic processor shows that a quantum communication channel with the environment speeds up the learning process of an agent.
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Thermal-expansion offset for high-performance fuel cell cathodes
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03264-1 Highly active but durable perovskite-based solid oxide fuel cell cathodes are realized using a thermal-expansion offset, achieving full thermo-mechanical compatibility between the cathode and other cell components.
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Propagation of large earthquakes as self-healing pulses or mild cracks
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03248-1 Numerical simulations indicate that seismological observations of large megathrust earthquakes are better matched by crack-like ruptures on persistently weak faults than by self-healing pulse-like ruptures on stronger faults.
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Measuring human capital using global learning data
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03323-7 Analyses of a global database reveal that in many developing countries progress in learning remains limited despite increasing enrolment in primary and secondary education, and uncover links between human capital and economic development.
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Large-area display textiles integrated with functional systems
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03295-8 A large electronic display textile that is flexible, breathable and withstands repeated machine-washing is integrated with a keyboard and power supply to create a wearable, durable communication tool.
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Inherent mosaicism and extensive mutation of human placentas
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/s41586-021-03345-1 Phylogenies of human placental cells based on whole-genome sequencing of bulk samples and microdissections reveal extensive mutagenesis in placental tissue, and suggest that mosaicism is a typical part of normal placental development.
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Ultra-weak gravitational field detected
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-00591-1 An experiment shows that Newton's law of gravity holds even for two masses as small as about 90 milligrams. The findings take us a step nearer to measuring gravitational fields that are so weak that they could enter the quantum regime.
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Giant ice cube hints at the existence of cosmic antineutrinos
Nature, Published online: 10 March 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-00486-1 Evidence of a rare neutrino-interaction process called the Glashow resonance has been observed by a detector buried deep in the Antarctic ice — opening up a way to probe neutrino formation in astrophysical sources.
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A CNIO team discovers how telomere involvement in tumor generation is regulated
The Telomeres and Telomerase Group led by Maria A. Blasco at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) describe for the first time in PLOS Genetic how telomeres can be regulated by signals outside the cell that induce cell proliferation and have been implicated in cancer. The finding opens the door to new therapeutic possibilities targeting telomeres to help treat cancer.
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Who maintains discipline in a live cell: Physics perspective
Italian and Russian researchers confirmed the hypothesis that the self-maintaining order in eukaryotic cells (cells with nuclei) is a result of two spontaneous mechanisms' collaboration. Similar molecules gather into 'drops' on the membrane and then leave it as tiny vesicles enriched by the collected molecules. The paper with the research results was published in the journal Physical Review Letter
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Implementation of recuperation unit, hospitalization rates among people experiencing homelessness with COVID-19
Boston experienced a COVID-19 surge that disproportionately affected persons experiencing homelessness and a large safety-net hospital implemented a novel COVID-19 recuperation unit for these patients that provided isolation, quarantine and treatment for substance use. Researchers aimed to determine the association of the care provided by the unit with COVID-19 hospitalizations among people experi
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Association of age with likelihood of developing symptoms, critical disease among close contacts exposed to patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection
In a study of Italian close contacts of patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, most infected contacts (1,948 of 2,824 individuals or 69%) didn't develop respiratory symptoms or fever 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher; 26.1% of infected individuals younger than 60 developed respiratory symptoms or fever 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit); and 6.6% of infect
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NIH researchers develop guidelines for reporting polygenic risk scores
Scientists and healthcare providers are beginning to use polygenic risk scores for assessing a person's inherited risk for common complex diseases. But researchers have observed inconsistencies in how such scores are calculated and reported. To address this concern, researchers have published a framework that identifies the minimal polygenic risk score-related information that scientists should in
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Bitcoin price boom 'locking in' vast energy consumption
The cryptocurrency market has been abuzz as Bitcoin gains popularity with investors, reaching an all-time high of over $58,000 apiece in February. In a commentary published March 10 in the journal Joule , financial economist Alex de Vries quantifies how the surging Bitcoin price is driving increasing energy consumption, exacerbating the global shortage of chips, and even threatening international
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Miljöintresset växer – trots pandemin
Under pandemin har intresset för miljöfrågor vuxit i Sverige, visar statistik från SOM-institutet i Göteborg. Konsumtionsforskare John Magnus Roos tycker att resultatet är oväntat. Under de senaste tio åren har miljöintresset i Sverige varit högt och relativt stabilt, men under pandemin märks ett tydligt trendbrott där fler personer uppger sig ha ett större miljöintresse än tidigare. Det visar st
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Sonic Dirac points and the transition towards Weyl points
The realization of exotic surface states in an acoustic metamaterial opens the door to new ways of manipulating sound waves. Scientist in China have built a three-dimensional Dirac sonic crystal from hexagonal unit cells, linked by tube structures that enable hopping between acoustic 'atoms'. When they introduced chiral hopping between the 'atoms', the chiral hopping allowed Dirac points to split
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Unfavorable weather conditions were the main cause of the fog-haze events over the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region during the COVID-19 lockdown
To evaluate the impacts of meteorological conditions and emission reduction measures on the near-surface PM2.5 during the COVID-19 lockdown, three numerical experiments with different meteorological fields and emission sources were carried out with WRF-Chem. Results showed that the main cause was that the increase in PM2.5 caused by meteorological conditions was greater than the decrease in PM2.5
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