Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (January 2014)

Science news and science current events archive January, 2014.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from January 2014

Researchers discover a tumor suppressor gene in a very aggressive lung cancer
The Genes and Cancer Group at the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program of the IDIBELL has found that the MAX gene, which encodes a partner of the MYC oncogene, is genetically inactivated in small cell lung cancer. Reconstitution of MAX significantly reduced cell growth in the MAX-deficient cancer cell lines. These findings show that MAX acts as a tumor suppressor gene in one of the more aggressive types of lung cancer.

Study: Neuroscientists use lightwaves to improve brain tumor surgery
First-of-its-kind research by the Innovation Institute at Henry Ford Hospital shows promise for developing a method of clearly identifying cancerous tissue during surgery on one of the most common and deadliest types of brain tumor. When expanded upon by further research, the findings offer the potential of improved outcome for those undergoing surgery to remove glioblastoma multiforme, a tumor that attacks tissue around nerve cells in the brain. The study is published in the February issue of Journal of Neuro-Oncology.

University of Montreal study analyzes content of nightmares and bad dreams
According to a new study by researchers at the University of Montreal, nightmares have greater emotional impact than bad dreams do, and fear is not always a factor. In fact, it is mostly absent in bad dreams and in a third of nightmares.

Weighing particles at the attogram scale
New device from MIT can measure masses as small as one millionth of a trillionth of a gram, in solution.

Permanent changes in brain genes may not be so permanent after all
In normal development, all cells turn off genes they don't need, often by attaching a chemical methyl group to the DNA, a process called methylation. Historically, scientists believed methyl groups could only stick to a particular DNA sequence: a cytosine followed by a guanine, called CpG. But in recent years, they have been found on other sequences, and so-called non-CpG methylation has been found in stem cells, and in neurons in the brain.

Malaria screening unsuccessful in some schools
A school-based intermittent screening and treatment program for malaria in rural coastal Kenya had no benefits on the health and education of school children, according to a study by international researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Springer expands its open access activities with Korean research societies
Springer is intensifying its open access activities in South Korea by signing agreements for two new SpringerOpen journals with the Korean Geotechnical Society and the Korean Society of Clothing and Textiles. Starting in January 2014, both research societies will start publishing their official journals with Springer.

Space-raised flies show weakened immunity to fungus
Venturing into space might be a bold adventure, but it may not be good for your immune system. Now a study by researchers at the UC Davis shows how growing up on the Space Shuttle weakened a key arm of the immune system in Drosophila flies.

Americans with and without children at home report similar life satisfaction but more positive and negative emotions
Americans aged 34 to 46 with children at home rate their life satisfaction at higher levels than those without children at home, according to a report by Princeton University and Stony Brook University. However, the researchers say that factors such as higher educational attainment, higher income, better health and religiosity all enhance life satisfaction and that, once these are taken into account, parents and nonparents have similar levels of life satisfaction.

Molecules as circuits
With traditional technology, this miniaturization is hampered by the limits imposed by physics, but some have thought of using molecules as circuits. If molecules are to be able to do this efficiently, they need to improve their poor conduction ability. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers featuring Ryan Requist, Erio Tosatti and Michele Fabrizio of the International School of Advanced Studies shows how the Kondo effect can improve the conductivity of some magnetic molecules.

Johns Hopkins scientists identify a key to body's use of free calcium
Scientists at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out a key step in how

FASEB announces 2014 Science Research Conference: Trace Elements in Biology and Medicine
This 2014 FASEB Conference is designed to bring together a diverse group of scientists and physicians to share and discuss the latest, cutting-edge research findings in the field of trace element biology. Essential micronutrients such as iron, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium play critical roles in nutrition and health as illustrated by the wide range of diseases and disorders associated with defects in trace element metabolism.

CWRU researchers find epileptic activity spreads in new way
Researchers in the biomedical engineering department at Case Western Reserve University have found that epileptic activity can spread through a part of the brain in a new way, suggesting a possible novel target for seizure-blocking medicines. Evidence from a series of experiments and computer modeling strongly suggests individual cells in a part of the brain, known as the hippocampus, use a small electrical field to stimulate and synchronize neighboring cells, spreading the activity layer by layer.

Target canine 'superspreaders' to halt killer disease and cull fewer dogs, study suggests
A new way to test for the parasite which causes the fatal disease leishmaniasis could help control its spread to humans and stop dogs being needlessly killed in parts of South America.

Brain biomarker shows promise in heart
A biomarker widely used to diagnose brain injury has shown early promise for assessing the severity of heart inflammation, or myocarditis, find researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins, and the Mayo Clinic. The study is published online in the January issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research.

Preventing cell death from infection: Scientists demonstrate method to find new therapies
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have demonstrated the power of a new drug discovery technique, which allows them to find -- relatively quickly and cheaply -- antibodies that have a desired effect on cells. The Scripps Research Institute scientists used the technique to discover two antibodies that protect human cells from a cold virus.

New app to monitor Ménière's Disease launched
A new mobile app has been launched this week to help researchers develop a better understanding of a rare condition affecting the inner ear. The tool will allow sufferers of Ménière's Disease to log details about their symptoms and see how they compare with people across the country.

Broad-spectrum cancer drug is goal of multinational project
Antibody therapy has already shown success in cancer treatment, and seven teams from Europe and Texas are embarking on a four-year, $8 million quest to develop an antibody therapy that could fight many cancers.

Targeted tutoring can reduce 'achievement gap' for CPS students, study finds
High school students who were at risk for dropping out greatly improved their math test scores and school attendance with the help of intensive tutoring and mentoring, according to a new study by the University of Chicago Urban Education Lab. The program's benefits were equivalent to closing nearly two-thirds of the average gap in math test scores between white and black students, or the equivalent of what the average American high school student learns in math over three years.

Partnership between PETA, Simulab and surgeons brings $1 million in simulators to 9 countries
A first-of-its-kind collaboration between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Seattle-based medical simulation manufacturer Simulab, and trauma surgeons in nine countries is saving animals and modernizing medical training in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.

The key to reaching personal goals in 2014: Conquer stress first
Americans will start the new year with resolutions that are doomed to fail if they don't deal with the underlying issue of stress before they join a gym, start a diet or throw the cigarettes away. Research shows that stress negatively impacts our ability to lose weight, quit smoking and stick with a new healthy lifestyle change.

An electronic tongue can identify brands of beer
Spanish researchers have managed to distinguish between different varieties of beer using an electronic tongue. The discovery, published in the journal 'Food Chemistry', is accurate in almost 82 percent of cases.

Oldest trees are growing faster, storing more carbon as they age
In a finding that overturns the conventional view that large old trees are unproductive, scientists have determined that for most species, the biggest trees increase their growth rates and sequester more carbon as they age. An international research group reports that 97 percent of 403 tropical and temperate species grow more quickly the older they get.

Like the X-Men, a diversely talented group of cancer cells is hard to defeat
A multi-university research team, including researchers with the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech, discovered that the unique physical differences among brain tumor cells were because of chromosomal abnormalities.

First weather map of brown dwarf
ESO's Very Large Telescope has been used to create the first ever map of the weather on the surface of the nearest brown dwarf to Earth. An international team has made a chart of the dark and light features on WISE J104915.57-531906.1B, which is informally known as Luhman 16B and is one of two recently discovered brown dwarfs forming a pair only six light-years from the Sun.

Narcissism and leadership: Does it work to be a jerk?
Researchers at the University of Illinois and University of Nebraska conduct meta-analysis to learn connection between narcissism -- a

Survival rates similar for gunshot/stabbing victims whether brought to the hospital by police or EMS
A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found no significant difference in adjusted overall survival rates between gunshot and stabbing (so-called penetrating trauma injuries) victims in Philadelphia whether they were transported to the emergency department by the police department or the emergency medical services division of the fire department.

Mega-landslide in giant Utah copper mine may have triggered earthquakes
Landslides are one of the most hazardous aspects of our planet, causing billions of dollars in damage and thousands of deaths each year. Most large landslides strike with little warning -- and thus geologists do not often have the ability to collect important data that can be used to better understand the behavior of these dangerous events. The April 10, 2013, collapse at Kennecott's Bingham Canyon open-pit copper mine in Utah is an important exception.

New study examines patterns of cancer screening in Appalachian women
A new study by University of Kentucky researchers shows that women who never or rarely screen for breast cancer are also unlikely to receive screening for cervical cancer. The study also identified four key barriers independently associated with the lack of these cancer screenings in Appalachian women.

New fossils shed light on the origins of lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!)
A study, published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, discusses the origins of cats and dogs, as well as other carnivorous mammals like bears, seals, and weasels (taxonomically called

NIH-created toxin can kill HIV-infected cells that persist despite treatment
A team including University of North Carolina and NIH scientists has demonstrated in a mouse model that an HIV-specific poison can kill cells in which the virus is actively reproducing despite antiretroviral therapy. According to the researchers, such a targeted poison could complement antiretroviral therapy, which dramatically reduces the replication of HIV in infected cells but does not eliminate them.

NSA pursues quantum technology
In this month's issue of Physics World, Jon Cartwright explains how the revelation that the US National Security Agency is developing quantum computers has renewed interest and sparked debate on just how far ahead they are of the world's major labs looking to develop the same technology.

Eurofins MWG Operon launches ion proton sequencing services with CSP certification
The leading NGS service company joins Life Technologies' global network of next generation-based exome sequencing provider.

Meet the rainforest 'diversity police'
A new study has revealed that fungi, often seen as pests, play a crucial role policing biodiversity in rainforests. The Oxford University-led research found that fungi regulate diversity in rainforests by making dominant species victims of their own success. Fungi spread quickly between closely-packed plants of the same species, preventing them from dominating and enabling a wider range of species to flourish.

FASEB announces 2014 Science Research Conference: Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and One Carbon Metabolism
This 2014 FASEB Science Research Conference focuses on recent advances in the study of folate, vitamin B12 (cobalamin), methionine and sulfur amino acid metabolism as they pertain to the fields of nutrition, public health and policy, genetics, basic biology and clinical medicine.

Elephant shark genome decoded
An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of the elephant shark, a curious-looking fish with a snout that resembles the end of an elephant's trunk.

A novel look at how stories may change the brain
Many people can recall reading at least one cherished story that they say changed their life. Now researchers at Emory University have detected what may be biological traces related to this feeling: Actual changes in the brain that linger, at least for a few days, after reading a novel. Their findings, that reading a novel may cause changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist, were published by the journal Brain Connectivity.

IUPUI faculty and undergrad researchers evaluate peer-led team learning in cyberspace
A recent study in Educause Review,

Illinois study identifies 3 risk factors most highly correlated with child obesity
A University of Illinois study has identified the three most significant risk factors for child obesity among preschoolers: (1) inadequate sleep, (2) a parental BMI that classifies the mom or dad as overweight or obese, and (3) parental restriction of a child's eating in order to control his weight.

Passing bowls family-style teaches day-care kids to respond to hunger cues, fights obesity
When children and child-care providers sit around a table together at mealtime, passing bowls and serving themselves, children learn to recognize when they are full better than they do when food is pre-plated for them, reports a new University of Illinois study of feeding practices of two- to five-year-old children in 118 child-care centers.

Physical reason for chromosome shape discovered
Researchers from the UAB have determined why metaphase chromosomes have their characteristic elongated cylindrical shape. The results show that this morphology is related to the chromosome's self-organizing structure.

Large amounts of folic acid shown to promote growth of breast cancer in rats
Folic acid supplements at levels consumed by breast cancer patients and survivors in North America promoted the growth of existing breast cancer in rats, new research found.

Do cultural differences determine outcome of our activities?
A generally held assumption in various academic disciplines is that the way people perform various everyday activities -- walking, swimming, carrying loads, etc. -- is culturally determined. But, the question remains: do these cultural characteristics, when they affect various motor skills, also determine the results of people's efforts?

Capturing a hard-wired variability
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has uncovered a phenomenon that alters prevailing views of how the genome is expressed to make and sustain the life of mammals. Published in the journal Science, the paper helps explain why genetically identical animals are sometimes so different in their biology and appearance, and why some inherited disorders caused by a shared set of aberrant genes can be of such variable severity in different people.

New study finds extreme longevity in white sharks
Great white sharks -- top predators throughout the world's ocean -- grow much slower and live significantly longer than previously thought, according to a new study led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Men forget most
Your suspicions have finally been confirmed. Men forget more than women do. Nine out of 10 men have problems with remembering names and dates, according to an analysis of a large Norwegian population-based health study.

Extraordinary sensors pushed to their boundaries
A new step is being taken in the development of ultra-stable sensors of small forces. EPFL researchers have found a way to eradicate external perturbations from interfering with their state-of-the art optomechanical measurement systems.

Drinking and driving: Unsafe at any level
UC San Diego study finds that even

UofL epidemiologist uncovers new genes linked to abdominal fat
Kira Taylor, Ph.D., M.S., assistant professor, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, and her research team have identified five new genes associated with increased waist-to-hip ratio, potentially moving science a step closer to developing a medication to treat obesity or obesity-related diseases.

Mood stabilizing drug may help treat acute kidney injury
A single low dose of lithium given to mice following acute kidney injury promotes kidney repair and accelerates the recovery of kidney function. 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