Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (February 2014)

Science news and science current events archive February, 2014.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from February 2014

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Feb. 25, 2014
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends against the use of beta-carotene or vitamin E supplements for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to a recommendation statement being published inAnnals of Internal Medicine.

HRCT scans can identify deadly lung disease
People who have suspected idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) without typical patterns on high resolution computed tomography scans could in future be spared the substantial risks of lung biopsy and be given a confident diagnosis of IPF based on clinical and radiological findings alone, according to new research published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Jawed vertebrates get a face
This week in the leading journal Nature, a team of French and Swedish researchers present new fossil evidence for the origin of one of the most important and emotionally significant parts of our anatomy: the face. They show how a series of fossils, with a 410 million year old armored fish called Romundina at its center, documents the step-by-step assembly of the face during the evolutionary transition from jawless to jawed vertebrates.

Finding a target for tumor suppression
Biochemists found a protein that is suspected as a potential tumor suppressor and found how it could block the production of the material used as scaffolding during cell division.

Fruit flies -- fermented-fruit connoisseurs -- are relentless party crashers
That fruit fly appearing moments after you poured that first glass of cabernet, has just used a poppy-seed-sized brain to conduct a finely-choreographed search and arrive in time for happy hour.

HPV-positive SCCOP patients' recurrence differs from HPV-negative patients
Patients with HPV-positive squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx had a longer time to development of distant metastasis after initial treatment, and had more metastatic sites in more atypical locations compared to HPV-negative patients, according to research presented today at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

Suljo Linic, Ph.D., University of Michigan, wins 2014 ACS Catalysis Lectureship
ACS Catalysis and the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Catalysis Science & Technology are pleased to announce that Suljo Linic, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan has won the 2014 ACS Catalysis Lectureship for the Advancement of Catalytic Science.

3-D Printing and Additive Manufacturing: Preview issue of groundbreaking peer-reviewed journal now available
Mary Ann Liebert Inc. publishers has released an exclusive preview issue of our new peer-reviewed journal 3-D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.

2013 AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize
Lewis M. Branscomb, a prominent American physicist, policy advisor and research manager, has been chosen by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to receive the 2013 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize. He was honored

Passive smoking impairs children's responses to asthma treatment
Children exposed to cigarette smoke at home have lower levels of an enzyme that helps them respond to asthma treatment, a study has found.

Inducing climate-smart global supply networks: Nature Commentary
Extreme weather events like super-typhoon Haiyan and hurricane Sandy can have major negative impacts on the world economy. So far, however, the effects on global production and consumption webs are missing from most assessments. This is a serious deficit, argues Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:

Antidote can deactivate new form of heparin
Low-molecular-weight heparin is commonly used in surgeries to prevent dangerous blood clots. But when patients experience the other extreme -- uncontrolled bleeding -- in response to low-molecular-weight heparin, there is no antidote.

Pain sensitivity may be influenced by lifestyle and environment, twin study suggests
Researchers at King's College London have discovered that sensitivity to pain could be altered by a person's lifestyle and environment throughout their lifetime. The study is the first to find that pain sensitivity, previously thought to be relatively inflexible, can change as a result of genes being switched on or off by lifestyle and environmental factors -- a process called epigenetics, which chemically alters the expression of genes.

Magnesium may protect against hip fractures
Drinking water with a relatively high concentration of magnesium protects against hip fractures, according to results of a study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The genetic origins of high-altitude adaptations in Tibetans
Genetic adaptations for life at high elevations found in residents of the Tibetan plateau likely originated around 30,000 years ago in peoples related to contemporary Sherpa. These genes were passed on to more recent migrants from lower elevations via population mixing, and then amplified by natural selection in the modern Tibetan gene pool, according to a new study by scientists from the University of Chicago and Case Western Reserve University, published in Nature Communications on Feb. 10.

Red alert: Body kills 'spontaneous' blood cancers on a daily basis
Immune cells undergo 'spontaneous' changes on a daily basis that could lead to cancers if not for the diligent surveillance of our immune system, Melbourne scientists have found.

Fight or flight? Vocal cues help deer decide during mating season
Male fallow deer are sensitive to changes in the groans that rivals make during mating season when competing for the attention of female deer, and can assess the level of threat other males pose simply from vocal cues, according to new research from Queen Mary University of London.

Caffeine-based gold compounds are potential tools in the fight against cancer
The side effects of ingesting too much caffeine -- restlessness, increased heart rate, having trouble sleeping -- are well-known, but recent research has shown that the stimulant also has a good side. It can kill cancer cells. Now, researchers report in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry that combining a caffeine-based compound with a small amount of gold could someday be used as an anti-cancer agent.

Temperature and ecology: Rival Chilean barnacles keep competition cool
A lot of research shows that temperature can strongly influence species interactions and sometimes shape the appearance and functioning of biological communities. That's why a newly published finding that changes in temperature did not alter the competitive balance of power between two rival species of Chilean barnacles is an ecological surprise.

Transfer of knowledge learned seen as a key to improving science education
Attendees of a workshop at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will be immersed into

Scientific racism's long history mandates caution
Racism as a social and scientific concept is reshaped and reborn periodically through the ages and according to a Penn State anthropologist, both medical and scientific researchers need to be careful that the growth of genomics does not bring about another resurgence of scientific racism.

Novel sensor system would flag structural weaknesses before bridges and stadiums collapse
NJIT will be part of an international team of engineers from universities in the US, Canada, and Qatar developing a novel system to detect the onset of structural damage on bridges, stadiums and other large public infrastructure.

Walking in their shoes: How fundraisers can boost donations
When natural disaster strikes, calls for help are broadcast on television and across the Internet. Despite being exposed to the needs of widespread relief organizations, only a small percentage of us actually follow through by making a financial contribution. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, the more connected we feel with the people needing our help, the more likely we are to donate.

Theorists predict new forms of exotic insulating materials
Topological insulators could exist in six new types not seen before.

The thousand-droplets test
In the future, an entire chemistry lab could be accommodated in a tiny little droplet. While simple reactions already work in these simplest models of an artificial cell now a group of scientists of the Cluster of Excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich have established and investigated for the first time a complex biochemical system. They discovered a surprising diversity.

JCI early table of contents for Feb. 17, 2014
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Feb. 17, 2014, in the JCI:

Video by UC Riverside lab receives honorable mention in international competition
A video produced by a UC Riverside lab has received an honorable mention in the highly acclaimed International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge given by the National Science Foundation and the journal Science. The video, titled

Geosphere covers Mexico, the Colorado Plateau, Russia, and offshore New Jersey
New Geosphere postings cover using traditional geochemistry with novel micro-analytical techniques to understand the western Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt; an investigation of mafic rock samples from a volcanic field near Yampa, Colorado, travertine deposits in the southeastern Colorado Plateau of New Mexico and Arizona; a study of 'Slushball Earth' rocks from Karelia, Russia, using field and micro-analytical techniques; and an addition to the 'The History and Impact of Sea-level Change Offshore New Jersey' special issue.

CASL, Westinghouse simulate neutron behavior in AP1000 reactor core
Scientists and engineers developing more accurate approaches to analyzing nuclear power reactors have successfully tested a new suite of computer codes that closely model 'neutronics' -- the behavior of neutrons in a reactor core.

Researcher builds a better job performance review
A critical job performance evaluation can have a negative effect on any employee, according to Kansas State University research.

New study supports body shape index as predictor of mortality
In 2012, Dr. Nir Krakauer, an assistant professor of civil engineering in CCNY's Grove School of Engineering, and his father, Dr. Jesse Krakauer, M.D., developed a new method to quantify the risk specifically associated with abdominal obesity. A follow-up study, published Feb. 20 by the online journal PLOS ONE, supports their contention that the technique, known as 'A Body Shape Index,' is a more effective predictor of mortality than body mass index, the most common measure used to define obesity.

NASA's IRIS spots its largest solar flare
On Jan. 28, 2014, NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, witnessed its strongest solar flare since it launched in the summer of 2013. Solar flares are bursts of X-rays and light that stream out into space, but scientists don't yet know the fine details of what sets them off.

Consumer Behavior and Food Science Innovations for Optimal Nutrition
Speakers from FreshDirect, FDA, USDA, and food companies will discuss the elements of food, the physiological and psychological influences of food intake, societal factors that influence nutrition, and the role of technology in consumer behavior.

AACR-ACS Award for Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention honors Dr. Curtis Harris
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Cancer Society will recognize Curtis C. Harris, M.D., with the 23rd Annual AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at the AACR Annual Meeting 2014, to be held in San Diego, Calif., April 5-9.

New materials open door to electronics in extreme environments
A spin-out company from the University of Leeds is set to transform industry's ability to electronically monitor and interact with extreme environments.

Good hair day: New technique grows tiny 'hairy' materials at the microscale
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory attacked a tangled problem by developing a new technique to grow tiny

Attractive professional cyclists are faster
A study by the University of Zurich demonstrates a link between attractiveness and endurance performance, showing that successful Tour de France cyclists are more attractive. This preference for faster riders is particularly strong in women who are not using a hormonal contraceptive.

Press registration for AERA Annual Meeting now open
The Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association -- the largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research -- is a showcase for ground-breaking, innovative studies in a diverse array of areas -- from early education through higher education, from digital learning to second language literacy. The theme of this year's meeting is 'The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.'

Technique allows for radiation-free detection of tumors, Stanford/Packard study finds
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford have developed a way to scan young cancer patients' bodies for tumors without exposing them to radiation. The technique could reduce patients' risk of developing secondary cancers later in life.

Slim pickings for 2 weight-loss drugs?
Many medications for weight loss have been proposed or are under development. The Federal Drug Administration has approved few drugs for long-term weight loss, and some are no longer marketed because of safety issues, the researchers said. In 2012, though, the FDA approved two drugs for long-term weight loss, lorcaserin hydrochloride (Belviq; Eisai Inc) and phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia; Vivus Inc). But Dartmouth researchers question how safe these two drugs are based on the FDA approval after one-year trials?

Study reveals new ways deadly squirrelpox is transmitted to red squirrels
Native red squirrels have declined throughout Britain and Ireland for the last century due to a combination of habitat loss and the introduction of the North American eastern grey squirrel. More recently its few remaining populations have been devastated by an insidious pox virus passed to them by the alien invaders.

First large-scale study of whole-genome testing helps identify best treatment for women with advanced breast cancer
The first large-scale study testing all the DNA -- the entire genome -- of tumor cells from more than 400 women with advanced breast cancer has identified individuals with a good chance of benefiting from specific treatments already being tested in clinical trials.

Breast-feeding benefits appear to be overstated, according to study of siblings
A new study comparing siblings who were fed differently during infancy suggests that breast-feeding might be no more beneficial than bottle-feeding for 10 of 11 long-term health and well-being outcomes in children ages 4 to 14.

MMR vaccine linked to lower rate of infection-related hospital admissions
In a nationwide group of Danish children, receipt of the live measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine on schedule after vaccination for other common infections was associated with a lower rate of hospital admissions for any infections, but particularly for lower respiratory tract infections, according to a study in the Feb. 26 issue of JAMA.

Researchers find source of new lineage of immune cells
The elusive progenitor cells that give rise to innate lymphoid cells -- a recently discovered group of infection-fighting white blood cells -- have been identified in fetal liver and adult bone marrow of mice.

Nanoparticles target anti-inflammatory drugs where needed
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a system for precisely delivering anti-inflammatory drugs to immune cells gone out of control, while sparing their well-behaved counterparts. Their findings were published online Feb. 23 in Nature Nanotechnology.

Could statins be used to fight a deadly viral infection?
Two Perelman School of Medicine microbiologists may have found a way to use statins, the well-known blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drugs, to fight the hantavirus, a mysterious and lethal microorganism that appeared suddenly in the US southwest over 20 years ago.

Developing countries face 'leading medical scourge of developed countries'
Chronic illness, already a major and expensive problem in developed countries, is rapidly increasing in developing countries, adding to the longstanding burden caused by high rates of infectious diseases. However, poor countries will not be able to afford the costly medical technologies that wealthy countries use to treat chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, pulmonary disease, and diabetes, writes Daniel Callahan, cofounder of the Hastings Center.

GVSU researchers draw link between zebra mussels, risk of algae blooms
Researchers at Grand Valley State University's Annis Water Resources Institute are learning more about the impact invasive zebra mussels and native aquatic insect larvae have on the risk of algae blooms in two West Michigan lakes.

New NIST method evaluates response to oxidation in live cells
NIST researchers have developed a new method for accurately measuring a key process governing a wide variety of cellular functions that may become the basis for a ,health checkup, for living cells. The technique measures changes in the cell,s redox potential, which can provide insight into how well certain genes are working, and whether or not the activities they control, such as differentiation and growth, are functioning normally.

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