Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (2013)

Science news and science current events archive 2013.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 2013

Yaks are back
A team of American and Chinese conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of Montana recently counted nearly 1,000 wild yaks from a remote area of the Tibetan-Qinghai Plateau. The finding may indicate a comeback for this species, which was decimated by overhunting in the mid 20th century.

Scientists team with business innovators to solve 'big data' bottleneck
Researchers have demonstrated that a crowdsourcing platform pioneered in the commercial sector can solve a complex biological problem more quickly than conventional approaches--and at a fraction of the cost.

Engineers show feasibility of superfast materials
University of Utah engineers demonstrated it is feasible to build the first organic materials that conduct electricity on their edges, but act as an insulator inside. These materials, called organic topological insulators, could shuttle information at the speed of light in quantum computers and other high-speed electronic devices.

Vanderbilt study finds lack of exercise not a factor in health disparities
Health disparities between white and black adults in the South are not connected to a lack of exercise but more likely related to other factors such as access to health care, socioeconomic status and perhaps genetics, according to a Vanderbilt study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Gemini Observatory captures Comet ISON hurtling toward uncertain destiny with the Sun
A new series of images from Gemini Observatory shows Comet C/2012 S1 racing toward an uncomfortably close rendezvous with the Sun. In late November the comet could present a stunning sight in the twilight sky and remain easily visible, or even brilliant, into early December of this year.

Emotional behavior of adults could be triggered in the womb
Adults could be at greater risk of becoming anxious and vulnerable to poor mental health if they were deprived of certain hormones while developing in the womb according to new research by scientists at Cardiff and Cambridge universities.

Novel drug shuts down master protein key to lymphoma
Researchers have discovered how an experimental drug is capable of completely eradicating human lymphoma in mice after just five doses. The study, led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, sets the stage for testing the drug in clinical trials of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, itself the seventh most frequently diagnosed cancer in the US.

CARING Criteria shows 1 year death risk at time of hospital admission
A new tool allows doctors to recognize patients at highest mortality risk, matching treatments to values and health goals.

Astronomers reveal mystery of brightest ever gamma-ray burst
For the first time, a team of astronomers from around the world, including experts from the University of Leicester, have used data from satellites and observatories to explain the brightest gamma-ray burst ever recorded.

Long-term use of common heartburn and ulcer medications linked to vitamin B12 deficiency
Long-term use of commonly prescribed heartburn and ulcer medications is linked to a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Drug combination therapy causes cancer cells to 'eat themselves'
Results from a recent preclinical study have shown that a new drug combination therapy being developed at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center effectively killed colon, liver, lung, kidney, breast and brain cancer cells while having little effect on noncancerous cells. The results lay the foundation for researchers to plan a future phase 1 clinical trial to test the safety of the therapy in a small group of patients.

Study identifies source of oil sheens near Deepwater Horizon site
A chemical analysis indicates that the source of oil sheens recently found floating at the ocean's surface near the site of the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill is pockets of oil trapped within the wreckage of the sunken rig.

FDA must find regulatory balance for probiotics says Univ. of Md. law prof
The US Food and Drug Administration should consider the unique features of probiotics -- bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms in the intestines -- in regulating their use and marketing, says Diane Hoffmann, J.D., director of the Law and Health Care Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and lead author of the a newly released Science article,

FDA awards $2.25M grant to study immunosuppresive drug in high-risk patients
University of Cincinnati Research Professor Rita Alloway, PharmD, has been awarded a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to study the safety and efficacy of the generic immunosuppressive drug tacrolimus in transplant patients. As a

Pilot program study finds that pediatric obesity patients like telehealth services
A pilot program offering telehealth technology to pediatric obesity patients found that a great majority of pediatric patients were satisfied with their telehealth appointment.

Common osteoporosis drug slows formation of new bone
Although the drug zoledronic acid slows bone loss in osteoporosis patients, it also boosts levels of a biomarker that stops bone formation, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

A survey of GPs reveals that many identify nicotine as a harmful cigarette-smoke component
A survey of GPs in the UK and Sweden revealed that some believe nicotine to be one of the greatest health risks from smoking. Nicotine is addictive, but unlike some other constituents of tobacco smoke, it is not carcinogenic. Switching to alternative nicotine products can, therefore, help smokers quit smoking or cut down. But GPs views may influence their recommendations on the use of alternative nicotine products to quit or cut down.

Bedtime for toddlers: Timing is everything, says CU-Boulder study
The bedtime you select for your toddler may be out of sync with his or her internal body clock, which can contribute to difficulties for youngsters attempting to settle in for the night, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Residents near Chinese e-waste site face greater cancer risk
Residents living near an e-waste recycling site in China face elevated risks of lung cancer.

Medical experts recommend steps to reduce risk of inadvertent harm to potentially normal pregnancies
A panel of 15 medical experts from radiology, obstetrics-gynecology and emergency medicine, convened by the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound, recommends new criteria for use of ultrasonography to determine when a first trimester pregnancy is nonviable (no chance of progressing and resulting in a live-born baby). These new diagnostic thresholds, published Oct. 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine, would help avoid the possibility of physicians causing inadvertent harm to a potentially normal pregnancy.

For altitude training, a narrow window for success
In a new study, researchers found that living between 2,000 and 2,500 meters above sea level offered the best performance enhancement compared to living at higher or lower elevations. These findings could help competitive endurance athletes and their coaches develop altitude training regimens that have the highest chance of success.

Drug patch treatment sees new breakthrough
This new flexible patch treatment can quicken drug delivery time while cutting waste, and can likely minimize side-effects in some cases, notable in vaccinations and in cancer therapy.

New report: State action on Affordable Care Act's 2014 health insurance market reforms
Only 11 states and DC have passed laws or issued regulations to implement the Affordable Care Act's major reforms that go into effect in 2014 -- including bans on denying health insurance due to preexisting conditions, minimum benefit standards, and limits on out-of-pocket costs. Thirty-nine states have not yet taken action to implement these requirements, potentially limiting their ability to fully enforce the new reforms and ensure that consumers receive the full protections of the law.

Better hygiene in wealthy nations may increase Alzheimer's risk
New research has found a 'very significant' relationship between a nation's wealth and hygiene and the Alzheimer's 'burden' on its population. High-income, highly industrialized countries with large urban areas and better hygiene exhibit much higher rates of Alzheimer's.

Women reject sexually promiscuous peers when making female friends
College-aged women judge promiscuous female peers more negatively than more chaste women and view them as unsuitable for friendship, finds a study by Cornell University developmental psychologists.

Biologists unlock 'black box' to underground world
A BYU biologist is part of a team of researchers that has unlocked the

Shifting patterns of temperature volatility in the climate system
In recent decades there has been increased variability in yearly temperature records for large parts of Europe and North America, according to a study published online today in Nature. The study was carried out by scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the University of East Anglia and the University of Exeter.

The failing freezer: How soil microbes affect global climate
The US Department of Energy has awarded $3.9 million to an international collaboration led by UA ecologists Scott Saleska and Virginia Rich. The researchers are studying how microbes release greenhouse gases as they access nutrients in permafrost soils that are thawing under the influence of a warmer climate.

Feeding limbs and nervous system of one of Earth's earliest animals discovered
Unique fossils literally 'lift the lid' on ancient creature's head to expose one of the earliest examples of food manipulating limbs in evolutionary history, dating from around 530 million years ago.

Light may recast copper as chemical industry 'holy grail'
Wouldn't it be convenient if you could reverse the rusting of your car by shining a bright light on it? It turns out that this concept works for undoing oxidation on copper nanoparticles, and it could lead to an environmentally friendly production process for an important industrial chemical, University of Michigan engineers have discovered.

Bacterial supplement could help young pigs fight disease
Weaning is a time of stress and a lack of energy for pigs. Energy produced by a special type of gut bacteria could help pigs fight pathogens and stay healthy. This new research may have implications for human health.

Depletion of 'traitor' immune cells slows cancer growth in mice
Scientists at the University of Washington have developed a strategy to slow tumor growth and prolong survival in mice with cancer by targeting and destroying a type of cell that dampens the body's immune response to cancer. The researchers published their findings the week of Sept. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gene puts African-Americans at higher risk for kidney failure
Genetic factors in African-Americans with chronic kidney disease put them at a greater risk for end-stage renal disease compared to white Americans, according to a new study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland contributed data from two separate studies: the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension and the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study.

Lack of cultural understanding makes forced marriage victims wary of social services, study finds
Victims of forced marriage and honor violence in the UK are hesitant to seek professional help because they are worried social workers will not understand their cultural differences, according to new research presented today at Royal Holloway University.

Words and actions
Words and gestures are -- partially -- connected inside the brain. It is the result of a study carried out also by, among others, the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste, which sheds light on a debate that has been engaging the scientific community for many years: is cognition

Genetic mutation increases risk of Parkinson's disease from pesticides
A study uses patient-derived stem cells to show that a mutation in the alpha-synuclein gene causes increased vulnerability to pesticides, leading to Parkinson's disease.

Major symposium on arsenic contamination in food and water supplies
After virtually eliminating arsenic as a useful tool for homicide, science now faces challenges in doing the same for natural sources of this fabled old

New app powers better sanitation in developing world
A new mobile phone app developed by a University of Nottingham researcher is changing the lives of millions of people in Africa by giving them the power to instantly report problems with poor sanitation.

RI Hospital: Radiation can be reduced while maintaining high quality in CT colonography
A new study by a Rhode Island Hospital researcher has found it's possible to maintain high-quality CT colonography diagnostic images while reducing the radiation dose. This is important as the use of CT colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, becomes more widely used for colorectal cancer screenings. The paper, by Kevin J. Chang, M.D., is published in the current issue of the journal Radiology.

UN sustainable energy initiative could put world on a path to climate targets
The UN's Sustainable Energy for All initiative, if successful, could make a significant contribution to the efforts to limit climate change to target levels, according to a new analysis from IIASA and ETH Zurich.

Smokers who survive to 70 still lose 4 years of life
Smokers who survive to 70 still lose an average of four years of life, according to findings from the Whitehall study presented at ESC Congress 2013 today by Dr. Jonathan Emberson from the UK.

Surgeons find better ways to treat nerve compression disorder that can sideline athletes
Two new studies from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest ways to improve surgical treatment for a debilitating condition caused by compressed nerves in the neck and shoulder.

Stretchable, transparent graphene-metal nanowire electrode
A hybrid transparent and stretchable electrode could open the new way for flexible displays, solar cells, and even electronic devices fitted on a curvature substrate such as soft eye contact lenses, by the UNIST(Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology) research team.

Bugs provide new insights into relationships between animals and bacteria
Scientists have taken a closer look at mealybugs and their nested bacterial helpers and untangled a surprisingly unique and intricate relationship. Their findings provide potential insights into the complex association between humans and the microbes we rely on for our health.

Parental perceptions are preventing HPV vaccination success
A Mayo Clinic physician and two other pediatric experts say that parental perceptions pose a major barrier to acceptance of human papillomavirus vaccination -- and that many of those perceptions are wrong.

A novel surface marker helps scientists 'fish out' mammary gland stem cells
In an advancement by the Hannon lab at CSHL, it is now possible to profile normal and cancerous mammary stem cells at an unprecedented high degree of purity. This may help identify genes that should be investigated as the next breast cancer drug targets.

UCI research turns the corner on autism
The Center for Autism Research & Treatment is launching an innovative drug discovery effort uniting multidisciplinary campus scientists in a common purpose: to develop an effective pharmaceutical therapy for the core deficits of autism.

Managing the data deluge through new software
Unprecedented torrents of data flood out of research labs on a continual basis, but making sense of it all remains a major scientific bottleneck. How software is evolving to transform this data deluge into knowledge is the topic of a news story in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

What makes the deadliest form of malaria specific to people?
Why does the deadliest malaria parasite, Plasmodium Falciparum, only infect humans? Scientists have uncovered a protein interaction that is a key reason why this malaria parasite infects people and no other closely related species, such as chimps and gorillas. This may be an important guiding factor in the development of eradication strategies against P. falciparum in endemic areas.

Low-dose anticoagulation therapy used with new design mechanical heart valve lowers bleeding risk
Investigators show that lower dose anticoagulation therapy, combined with low-dose aspirin, resulted in a reduction of 55 to 60 percent of the incidence of adverse bleeding events without significant increases in stroke, transient ischemic attack or total neurological events when used in conjunction with the On-X mechanical aortic valve.

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