Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (June 2014)

Science news and science current events archive June, 2014.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from June 2014

New research shows link unlikely between insomnia symptoms and high blood pressure
New research from St. Michael's Hospital has found that insomnia does not put them at increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

Invasive watersnakes introduced to California may pose risk to native species
Watersnakes, commonly seen in the lakes, rivers and streams of the eastern United States, are invading California waterways and may pose a threat to native and endangered species in the state, according to a University of California, Davis, study.

Low cholesterol linked with worse survival in patients with kidney cancer
People are often told to reduce their cholesterol to improve their heart health, but new research suggests that low cholesterol may increase kidney cancer patients' risk of dying from their disease. The findings, which are published in BJU International, indicate that cholesterol testing may help doctors as they monitor and treat patients with kidney cancer.

Despite recent problems, support for the Massachusetts health insurance law remains high
A new poll by The Boston Globe and Harvard School of Public Health finds, eight years into the state's universal health insurance legislation enacted in 2006, 63 percent of Massachusetts residents support the law and 18 percent oppose it, while 7percent are not sure, and 12 percent have not heard or read about the law. The percentage of residents supporting the law remains unchanged since a 2011 Boston Globe/HSPH poll. Support for the law varies by party affiliation.

One in 4 children with leukemia not taking maintenance medication, study shows
An estimated 25 percent of children in remission from acute lymphocytic leukemia are missing too many doses of an essential maintenance medication that minimizes their risk of relapse, according to a study published online in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

DNA analysis reveals queen bumblebees disperse far from birthplace before setting up home
In the new study, published today in the journal Molecular Ecology, a combination of DNA analysis and landscape mapping was used to reveal the relationships between hundreds of wild bumblebee colonies of five different species, including four common and one rare species, in an area of nearly 20 square kilometers of farmland in southern England.

The Lancet Psychiatry: Adults with Asperger Syndrome at significantly higher risk of suicidal thoughts than the general population
Adults with the autism spectrum condition known as Asperger Syndrome are nine times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than people from the UK general population, according to the first large-scale clinical study of its kind, published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Affordable housing linked to children's test scores
It's long been accepted -- with little science to back it up -- that people should spend roughly a third of their income on housing. As it turns out, that may be about how much a low-income family should spend to optimize children's brainpower.

Majority of minors engage in sexting, unaware of harsh legal consequences
Sexting among youth is more prevalent than previously thought, according to a new study from Drexel University. More than 50 percent of those surveyed reported that they had exchanged sexually explicit text messages, with or without photographic images, as minors. The study also found that the majority of young people are not aware of the legal ramifications of underage sexting.

Chronic migraine has a substantial impact on marriage and parenting
A web-based study of 994 men and women with chronic migraine found that the condition significantly impacts family relationships and activities, including cancelled vacation plans and reduced quality time with partners and children. Feelings of guilt, anger and annoyance toward family members due to headache, and avoidance of sexual intimacy due to headache also were reported. Chronic migraine is generally defined as migraine with headaches occurring 15 or more days per month.

High blood sugar causes brain changes that raise depression risk
Researchers have found a possible biological reason why people with diabetes are prone to depression. A new study shows that high blood glucose (sugar) levels in patients with type 1 diabetes increase the levels of a brain neurotransmitter associated with depression, and alter the connections between regions of the brain that control emotions. The results will be presented Sunday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Oldest ever schistosomiasis egg found may be first proof of early human technology exacerbating disease burden
The discovery of a schistosomiasis parasite egg in a 6200-year-old grave at a prehistoric town by the Euphrates river in Syria may be the first evidence that agricultural irrigation systems in the Middle East contributed to disease burden, according to new Correspondence published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Joint education standards help GI, hepatology programs meet accreditation requirements
A team of representatives from five gastroenterology and hepatology societies have created a toolbox designed to help gastroenterology training directors meet the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Internal Medicine Subspecialty Reporting Milestones requirements while training fellows to independently care for patients.

Botany: Leafing out and climate change
Global warming is generally expected to bring spring forward but, as a new study at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich shows, a concomitant influx of plant species from warmer southern latitudes could counteract this effect.

UH's Thomas Colbert addressing Galveston Bay's Challenges at Rotterdam Biennale
Thomas Colbert, professor at the University of Houston's Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, dedicates his research to discovering ways to protect coastlines and delta regions from severe weather threats and other dangers. This week, he joins a roster of international scholars, designers and architects at the 2014 International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) in the Netherlands.

Obesity before pregnancy linked to earliest preterm births, Stanford/Packard study finds
Women who are obese before they become pregnant face an increased risk of delivering a very premature baby, according to a new study of nearly 1 million California births.

Good bacteria armed with antibiotic resistance protect gut microbiome
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland have discovered that populating the gastrointestinal tracts of mice with Bacteroides species producing a specific enzyme helps protect the good commensal bacteria from the harmful effects of antibiotics. Their research is published ahead of print in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Estimated risk of breast cancer increases as red meat intake increases
Higher red meat intake in early adulthood might be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and women who eat more legumes -- such as peas, beans and lentils -- poultry, nuts and fish might be at lower risk in later life, suggests a paper published on bmj.com today.

App paired with sensor measures stress and delivers advice to cope in real time
Computer scientists at Microsoft Research and the University of California, San Diego have developed a system that combines a mobile application and sensor to detect stress in parents and delivers research-based strategies to help decrease their stress during emotionally charged interactions with their children. The system was initially tested on a small group of parents of children with ADHD.

NASA and NAU researchers welcome unexpected asteroid findings
What seemed to be rock-solid assumptions about the nature of small asteroids may end in rubble or even a cloud of dust. Northern Arizona University researchers David Trilling and Michael Mommert presented their findings about asteroid 2011 MD during a NASA event on the Asteroid Redirect Mission.

Study finds difference in way bipolar disorder affects brains of children versus adults
A new study from Bradley Hospital has found that bipolar children have greater activation in the right amygdala -- a brain region very important for emotional reaction -- than bipolar adults when viewing emotional faces. The study, now published online in JAMA Psychiatry, suggests that bipolar children might benefit from treatments that target emotional face identification, such as computer based 'brain games' or group and individual therapy.

Possible new combination treatment for cancer
Scientists at the Sahlgrenska Academy have developed a new cancer treatment that has proved to be effective in mice. The treatment, which is presented in the prestigious scientific journal PNAS, is based on newly discovered properties of the so-called BET bromodomain inhibitors.

What millennials want
Millennials, the generation after Generation X, born in the 1980s and 1990s, form their own demographic group, with their own unique tastes. According to a June 23rd panel at the 2014 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo® in New Orleans, industry must keep up with Millennials high-speed, digital-age expectations, if they're going to gain and keep them as customers.

Many bodies prompt stem cells to change
A new theory by scientists at Rice University shows a stem cell's journey to become bone, skin or other tissue is neither a simple step-by-step process nor all random.

Animals built reefs 550 million years ago, fossil study finds
It is a remarkable survivor of an ancient aquatic world -- now a new study sheds light on how one of Earth's oldest reefs was formed.

Scientists unravel the genetic secrets of nature's master of mimicry
Scientists investigating how one of the greatest shape shifters in the natural world is able to trick predators to avoid being eaten have identified the gene behind the fascinating feat.

Scientists find potential new use for cancer drug in gene therapy for blood disorders
Scientists working to make gene therapy a reality have solved a major hurdle: bypassing a blood stem cell's natural defenses and insert disease-fighting genes into the cell's genome. In a study led by Associate Professor Bruce Torbett at The Scripps Research Institute, researchers report the drug rapamycin, commonly used to slow cancer growth and prevent organ rejection, enables delivery of a therapeutic dose of genes to blood stem cells while preserving stem cell function.

RIKEN press release: Pushing cells towards a higher pluripotency state
In a study published in Scientific Reports, a group from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies in Japan has gained new insight into the role of CCL2, a chemokine known to be involved in the immune response, in the enhancement of stem cell pluripotency.

By any stretch
After the hectic delivery experience, newborns are almost immediately stretched out on an uncomfortable measuring board to assess their length because it serves as an indispensable marker of growth, health, and development. Tel Aviv University researchers are using new software that harnesses computer vision to more accurately measure infant length. The technique is much easier on infants and at least as accurate as conventional measuring methods.

No apparent link between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency and MS
There appears to be no link between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency and multiple sclerosis, according to new research published in CMAJ.

Master regulator of key cancer gene found, offers new drug target
A key cancer-causing gene, responsible for up to 20 percent of cancers, may have a weak spot in its armor, according to new research from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. The partnership of MYC, a gene long linked to cancer, and a non-coding RNA, PVT1, could be the key to understanding how MYC fuels cancer cells. The research is published in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

Cancer genes hijack enhancers
Unlike most other forms of cancer, medulloblastomas exhibits very few mutations in growth-promoting genes. In collaboration with an international team of colleagues, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center have now made an important discovery about a particularly malignant subgroup of medulloblastomas: often the cancer-causing genes are transcribed at higher or lower levels than normal. This change is due to regulatory mechanisms that were previously unknown. For example, one cancer-gene hijacks a so-called 'enhancer.'

Boston College's Amir Hoveyda receives Italy's Eni Award for Hydrocarbons Research
Boston College Professor of Chemistry Amir Hoveyda has been awarded the Eni Award for New Frontiers in Hydrocarbons for his groundbreaking development of innovative catalysts that support researchers in multiple fields. Dubbed the 'Nobel Prize for Energy,' the Eni Awards recognize the world's elite researchers in the fields of energy and sustainable chemistry and are awarded by the Italian energy conglomerate Eni SpA.

Inner ear stem cells hold promise for restoring hearing
Spiral ganglion cells are essential for hearing and their irreversible degeneration in the inner ear is common in most types of hearing loss. Adult spiral ganglion cells are not able to regenerate.

Ultra-thin wires for quantum computing
Take a fine strand of silica fiber, attach it at each end to a slow-turning motor, torture it over a flame until it nearly reaches its melting point and then pull it apart. The middle will thin out like taffy until it is less than half a micron across, and that, according to researchers at the University of Maryland, is how you fabricate ultrahigh transmission optical nanofibers, a potential component for future quantum information devices.

Money in the bank: Why does feeling powerful help people save more?
In a materialistic culture, saving money is a challenge many of us face long before our retirement years. While many people think education, upbringing, and self-control are major contributors to a person's savings habits, a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research reveals that people save more when they feel powerful.

Revisions needed for current IV feeding safeguards against bloodstream infections
Current guidelines to help prevent bloodstream infections during intravenous feeding may need revisions to strengthen protections for patients, a new study finds.

UMN research: Nearly 4 percent of US babies born before full-term without medical reason
New University of Minnesota research out this week is the first of its kind to show who is having early elective deliveries between 37 and 39 weeks gestation, and whether these deliveries happen following labor induction or cesarean. Labor induction or cesarean delivery without medical reason before a baby is considered full-term at 39 weeks, or an 'early elective delivery,' is associated with health problems for mothers and babies.

Surprisingly strong magnetic fields challenge black holes' pull
A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems' dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes' powerful gravitational pull.

American Chemical Society's highest honor goes to pioneer of diagnostic 'DNA chips'
Jacqueline K. Barton, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and chair of the division of chemistry and chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, has been named winner of the 2015 Priestley Medal by the American Chemical Society. It is the highest honor bestowed by the world's largest scientific society.

Moles linked to risk for breast cancer
Cutaneous nevi, commonly known as moles, may be a novel predictor of breast cancer, according to two studies published in this week's PLOS Medicine. Jiali Han and colleagues from Indiana University and Harvard University, United States, and Marina Kvaskoff and colleagues from INSERM, France, report that women with a greater number of nevi are more likely to develop breast cancer.

St. John's wort can cause dangerous interactions with many common medications
St. John's wort is the most frequently used complementary and alternative medicine treatment in the US for depression and similar psychiatric disorders. The many commonly prescribed medications that St. John's wort can interact with -- sometimes with serious consequences such as serotonin syndrome or heart disease -- are reviewed in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

NYU Langone internist calls for VA system reform
An NYU Langone internal medicine specialist who served as a White House fellow at the US Department of Veteran's Affairs says the headline-grabbing failures of the VA health system's administration stand in sharp contrast to the highly rated care the system delivers.

Stem cell transplantation for severe sclerosis associated with improved long-term survival
Among patients with a severe, life-threatening type of sclerosis, treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, compared to intravenous infusion of the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide, was associated with an increased treatment-related risk of death in the first year, but better long-term survival, according to a study in the June 25 issue of JAMA.

Anxious children have bigger 'fear centers' in the brain
The amygdala is a key 'fear center' in the brain. Alterations in the development of the amygdala during childhood may have an important influence on the development of anxiety problems, reports a new study in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.

Does 'free will' stem from brain noise?
Our ability to make choices -- and sometimes mistakes -- might arise from random fluctuations in the brain's background electrical noise, according to a recent study from the Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis.

New insights could help in battle to beat Parkinson's disease
Scientists have taken a step closer to understanding the causes of Parkinson's disease, identifying what's happening at a cellular level to potentially help develop future treatments.

Quick, easy, inexpensive cortisol testing should soon be available on all smartphones
Researchers have developed a device that uses any smartphone to measure the cortisol concentration in saliva. The device was presented Tuesday, June 24, at ICE/ENDO 2014, the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society in Chicago.

Miniature digital zenith telescope for astronomy and geoscience
Utilizing CCD camera, high-precision tiltmeter and other new technologies and devices, Chinese researchers have successfully developed a new type of Digital Zenith Telescope prototype, which will play a significant role in the interdisciplinary researches between astronomy and geoscience. This study has been published on Chinese Science Bulletin, 2014, Vol 59 (17).

EMBO and EMBL to host anniversary science and policy meeting
Scientists, politicians and policy makers will meet at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany, on July 2-3 for the EMBO-EMBL Anniversary Science and Policy Meeting. The event will feature scientific talks from researchers, the participation of European science ministers, and sessions on policy issues such as excellence and inclusion.

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