Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Study shows ancient contact between Polynesian and South American peoples
New genetic research shows that there was mingling between ancient native peoples from Polynesia and South America, revealing a single episode of interbreeding roughly 800 years ago after an epic transoceanic journey. The question of such contact - long hypothesized in part based on the enduring presence in Polynesia of a staple food in the form of the sweet potato that originated in South and Central America - had been keenly debated among scientists.
Singapore scientists seek power from darkness through shadow energy
Scientists in Singapore are hoping to perfect a new method of power generation driven largely by shadows, with the hope that it could one day help highly urbanised cities power themselves. The shadow-effect energy generator (SEG) being developed by the National University of Singapore has the potential to harness power like solar cells, but without needing open spaces with uninterrupted light.
Japan supercomputer suggests changes to travel, work amid airborne virus threat
Supercomputer-driven models simulated in Japan suggested that operating commuter trains with windows open and limiting the number of passengers may help reduce the risk of coronavirus infections, as scientists warn of airborne spread of the virus. In an open letter published on Monday, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined evidence that they say shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.
Scientists warn of potential wave of COVID-linked brain damage
Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium. A study by researchers at University College London (UCL)described 43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects.
Virus tricks the body into attacking brain; common heartburn drugs linked to coronavirus risk
The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Coronavirus tricks the body into attacking the brain