Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (April 2015)

Science news and science current events archive April, 2015.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from April 2015

Easing the pain
Combining nortriptyline and morphine provides better pain relief than using either drug alone, according to a new study led by Queen's researcher Ian Gilron.

Statins show promise as a prevention tool for adults 75 and older, OSU study shows
Statins could be a cost-effective tool for preventing heart attacks and other cardiovascular incidents in adults over age 75, but the benefits would need to be weighed against potential side effects, a study being published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found.

Benaroya Research Institute will receive $750,000 for food allergy research
Erik Wambre, Ph.D., an immunology and allergy researcher at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, has received a Mid-Career Investigators Award from Food Allergy Research & Education that provides $750,000 over five years to support research in food allergy, specifically peanut allergy.

Keeping food visible throughout the house is linked to obesity
Researchers have identified two seemingly unrelated but strong predictors of obesity: having low self-esteem related to one's weight and keeping food visibly available around the house, outside the kitchen.

Patient's own fat cells transplanted to treat osteoarthritis may be effective
Studying the effectiveness of using osteoarthritis patients' own adipose cells for transplant therapy aimed at reducing OA symptoms, researchers recruited 1,114 OA patients who received autologous fat cell transplants. Evaluation demonstrated that at least a 75 percent improvement was noticed in 63 percent of the patients and at least a 50 percent improvement was documented in 91 percent of the patients after 12 months. Results also showed that painkiller usage declined dramatically after treatment.

New genomics tool could help predict tumor aggressiveness, treatment outcomes
A new method for measuring genetic variability within a tumor might one day help doctors identify patients with aggressive cancers that are more likely to resist therapy, according to a study led by researchers now at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Elsevier to publish the official journal of the Society for Investigative Dermatology
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services and the Society for Investigative Dermatology have announced that they have entered into a publishing agreement.

Extra sleep fixes memory problems in flies with Alzheimer's-like condition
Many studies have linked more sleep to better memory, but new research in fruit flies demonstrates that extra sleep helps the brain overcome catastrophic neurological defects that otherwise would block memory formation, report scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

New finding could help develop test for kidney disease
Scientists at the University of Manchester have made an important finding that could help develop an early test for kidney disease.

As price tag of extreme weather soars, a call for strong partnerships to support decisionmaking
The weather has far-reaching and profound effects on the safety of our communities and the health of the nation's economy. The Forum will bring together top private, public, and academic sector decision makers leading the nation's efforts in researching, planning for, forecasting, and responding to extreme weather and climate events.

Recruiting the entire immune system to attack cancer
MIT studies finds that stimulating both major branches of the immune system halts tumor growth more effectively.

Zeroing in on a silent killer
Researchers have solved the molecular structure of an important regulator for blood pressure in the human body -- which could lead to better treatments for high blood pressure.

UC researcher receives grant of almost $1.6 million to study rare lung disease
A team of University of Cincinnati researchers will use a grant of almost $1.6 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study the rare lung disease pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis.

Queen's researchers in £5 million program to improve bowel cancer survival
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have launched a revolutionary personalized treatment program to help improve bowel cancer survival rates.

Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future
In a move that could improve the energy storage of everything from portable electronics to electric microgrids, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have developed a novel X-ray imaging technique to visualize and study the electrochemical reactions in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries containing a new type of material, iron fluoride.

Cancer drug target also essential for blood cell recovery
Blocking key 'survival' proteins is a promising tactic for treating cancer, however new research suggests care should be taken as these proteins are also vital for emergency blood cell production. Dr. Alex Delbridge, Dr. Stephanie Grabow, and professor Andreas Strasser from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute discovered that blood cell production following massive blood cell depletion was fatally compromised when the cell survival protein MCL-1 was depleted.

Parent training can reduce serious behavioral problems in young children with autism
A multi-site study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health finds young children with autism spectrum disorder and serious behavioral problems respond positively to a 24-week structured parent training. The benefits of parent training endured for up to six months post intervention.

Study suggests new role for gene in suppressing cancer
Scientists at the University of Manchester have discovered that a previously known gene also helps cells divide normally and that its absence can cause tumors.

Electron Photon Science Center announces joint research division with Clean Planet
With the aim of creating revolutionary innovation in the energy industry, the Research Center for Electron Photon Science at Tohoku University and Clean Planet Inc. have established a Condensed Matter Nuclear Reaction Division.

User creativity made YouTube the world's biggest music service
Music is the most popular YouTube content by several measures, including video views and search activity. The world's first academic study on YouTube music consumption by Aalto University in Finland shows that one reason for its popularity lies in users' own video. People re-use original music by popular artists to create their own alternative video variations, which may reach an audience of millions and can be found alongside any popular music title.

Emergency rooms see rising rate of patients with chronic conditions, lower rate of injuries
The rate of emergency department visits in California for non-injuries has risen while the rate of visits for injuries has dropped, according to a new study led by University of California San Francisco that documents the increasing amount of care provided in emergency departments for complex, chronic conditions.

Broad Institute-MIT team identifies highly efficient new cas9 for in vivo genome editing
A collaborative study between researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the National Institutes of Health has identified a highly efficient Cas9 nuclease that overcomes one of the primary challenges to in vivo genome editing. This finding, published today in Nature, is expected to help make the CRISPR toolbox accessible for in vivo experimental and therapeutic applications.

American Cancer Society awards new research and training grants
The American Cancer Society, the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has awarded 100 national research and training grants totaling more than $45.6 million in the first of two grant cycles for 2015.

Dust from the Sahara Desert cools the Iberian Peninsula
Spanish and Portuguese researchers have analyzed the composition and radiative effect of desert aerosols during two episodes which simultaneously affected Badajoz, Spain and √Čvora, Portugal in August 2012. Results show that the intrusion of dust from the Sahara Desert caused radiative cooling of the Earth's surface.

2015 Henry Ford Brain Tumor Symposium
The 2015 Henry Ford Brain Tumor Symposium takes place 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday, April 24 at the MGM Grand in Detroit. The symposium, entitled 'Focused Forward: New Thoughts on Brain Tumor Treatment,' is aimed at health care professionals who seek to learn about the latest developments in brain tumor treatments.

Dietary supplements shown to increase cancer risk
While dietary supplements may be advertised to promote health, a forum at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2015 by University of Colorado Cancer Center investigator Tim Byers, M.D., M.P.H., describes research showing that over-the-counter supplements may actually increase cancer risk if taken in excess of the recommended dietary amount.

Quantum cryptography at the speed of light: Researchers design first all-photonic repeaters
New research from a team of University of Toronto engineers brings perfectly secure information exchanges one step to reality. Published this week in Nature Communications, researchers have designed the first all-photonic quantum repeaters -- protocols that ensure data can be carried reliably and securely across longer distances when using quantum cryptography.

How can you see an atom? (video)
Since ancient Greek times, philosophers and scientists have pondered the atom. For a couple thousand years, humans could only speculate on the structure and other properties of the smallest unit of matter. It wasn't until the 1980s that chemists saw individual atoms. Bestselling author Sam Kean takes us through the nearly 2,400-year quest to see the atom in a new episode of the Reactions sub-series, 'Legends of Chemistry.'

Effective sleep apnea treatment lowers diabetes risk
Using a continuous positive airway pressure device for eight hours a night to treat sleep apnea can help people with prediabetes improve their blood sugar levels and may reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Brain scans reveal how people 'justify' killing
A new study has thrown light on how people can become killers in certain situations, showing how brain activity varies according to whether or not killing is seen as justified.

Stanford team makes biotechnology interactive with games and remote-control labs
What if you could interact with cells like fish in an aquarium? Build your own micro-aquarium for cells? Even perform remote-control experiments in robotic biolabs in the cloud? A Stanford team shows how.

Palaeontology: Unique fish fossils identified
A team of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich has identified the first fossil specimens of a major group of killifishes that is widely distributed in freshwater habitats today. The 6-million-year-old material sheds new light on the evolution of the bony fishes.

Eating out = high blood pressure?
A recent study on university-going young adults, by researchers from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, is the first ever to show an association between meals eaten away from home and high blood pressure. These findings highlight lifestyle factors that can affect hypertension and emphasize the importance of being aware of the salt and calorie content in food, to facilitate better meal choices when eating out.

Experimental Ebola vaccine safe, prompts immune response
An early-stage clinical trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine conducted at the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research found that the vaccine, called VSV-ZEBOV, was safe and elicited robust antibody responses in all 40 of the healthy adults who received it.

Touch-sensing neurons are multitaskers
Two types of touch information -- the feel of an object and the position of an animal's limb -- have long been thought to flow into the brain via different channels and be integrated in sophisticated processing regions. Now, Johns Hopkins researchers present evidence that the two types of information are integrated as soon as they reach the brain by sense-processing brain cells once thought to be incapable of such higher-order thought.

Oldest fossils controversy resolved
New analysis of world-famous 3.46-billion-year-old rocks by researchers from the University of Bristol, the University of Oxford and the University of Western Australia is set to finally resolve a long running evolutionary controversy.

Rising antibiotic shortages raise concerns about patient care
Shortages of key antibiotics, including gold-standard therapies and drugs used to treat highly resistant infections, are on the rise, according to a new study of shortages from 2001 to 2013 published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available online. The trends raise serious concerns about the effects on patient care, particularly for infections without effective alternative treatment options.

Even casual walking for an extra 2 minutes each hour may help prolong life
In an observational study that followed participants for an average of just under three years, a 'trade-off' of sedentary activity with low-intensity activity was not beneficial, but a trade-off of two minutes/hour of sedentary activity with an equal amount of light-intensity activity was associated with 33 percent lower risk of dying in the general population and a 41 percent lower risk of dying in the individuals with chronic kidney disease.

The cost and quality of cancer care in Health Affairs' April issue
The April issue of Health Affairs contains a cluster of papers focusing on the cost and quality of cancer care. Other subjects covered in the issue: health care payment reform and the diminished number of uninsured young adults. Publication of the cancer studies in the April issue was supported by Precision Health Economics and the Celgene Corporation.

Optimal substrate moisture content determined for high-quality bedding plants
Scientists determined if irrigation at lower, constant substrate moisture content during greenhouse production could acclimate plants for reduced shrinkage during shelf life while conserving irrigation water. A 20 percent SMC treatment produced the best postharvest quality plants resulting from reduced plant height, without detrimental effects on flowering. Results showed controlled irrigation at a lower SMC can conserve water and produce high-quality plants with shelf life equal to that of plants irrigated at high levels.

Optical resonance-based biosensors designed for medical applications
A telecommunications engineer of the NUP/UPNA-Public University of Navarre, has designed in his Ph.D. thesis optical resonance-based biosensors for use in medical applications like, for example, the detecting of celiac disease. Besides achieving greater resolution and sensitivity, the materials used in these devices are much cheaper and more versatile than the ones used in current technologies (mainly gold and noble metals) so they could offer a potential alternative in the design of biomedical sensors.

Are we speaking the same language when it comes to aging? New report seeks answer
A new report from an eight-member expert collaborative, Leaders of Aging Organizations (LAO), and the FrameWorks Institute proposes to reclaim the social narrative on what aging really means by building better perceptual connections between health care experts, advocates, and the thousands of Americans who turn 65 every day. LAO members will discuss findings in an online town hall with stakeholders from across the aging field on May 5 at 2 p.m. ET (visit for more details).

Could smell hold the key to ending pesticide use?
UK scientists may have uncovered a natural way of avoiding the use of pesticides and help save plants from attack by recreating a natural insect repellent.

Dead feeder cells support stem cell growth
Stem cells naturally cling to feeder cells as they grow in petri dishes. Scientists have thought for years that this attachment occurs because feeder cells serve as a support system, providing stems cells with essential nutrients. But a new study that successfully grew stem cells with dead, or fixed, feeder cells suggests otherwise.

Study links insomnia to impaired work performance in night shift workers
A new study of night shift workers suggests that overnight occupational and cognitive impairment is more strongly correlated to insomnia than it is to sleepiness.

Obesity intervention program results in some improvement of kids' BMI
Children whose families and pediatricians were most faithful to an obesity intervention program that included computerized clinical decision support for physicians and health coaching for families experienced the greatest improvements in body mass index (BMI), according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Cancer gene unintentionally ends the life of cancer cells, turns off life supporting genes
A new study from the University of Wurzburg, Germany, and the University of Helsinki, Finland, suggests that Myc cancer gene makes cells to commit suicide by repressing life supporting 'well-being' genes. These findings provide new opportunities to develop drugs, which could switch Myc from a cancer driver gene to a deadly assassin of the cancer cells.

New class of insecticides offers safer, more targeted mosquito control
Purdue researchers have identified a new class of chemical insecticides that could provide a safer, more selective means of controlling mosquitoes that transmit key infectious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and elephantiasis.

Friends and social networks valued by heart failure patients and health care providers
Most patients consult family first in assessing their heart failure symptoms. Meanwhile, healthcare providers say a network allowing physicians to share and consult is valuable.

The benefits of storytelling in video games
A wealth of studies have shown that violent video games contribute to antisocial and aggressive behavior. But what makes those games appealing in the first place? One possibility is that storytelling plays a role, particularly if it lets players engage in meaningful choices. A new study suggests that non-violent video games that capitalize on such storytelling have prosocial benefits that could ultimately be helpful to clinical disorders such as autism. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to