Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (June 2016)

Science news and science current events archive June, 2016.

Show All Years  •  2016  ||  Show All Months (2016)  •  June

Week 22

Week 23

Week 24

Week 25

Week 26

Top Science News & Current Event Articles from June 2016

Researchers can now build an inexpensive and flexible micro-raman system
Raman spectroscopy provides detailed chemical information, and when combined with a microscope, it can non-destructively analyze biological samples. While commercial research-grade Raman microscopes have been available for some time, they have tended to be both inflexible and very expensive. In a paper in the current issue of Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging, researchers from Germany and Serbia describe an inexpensive, versatile micro-Raman system that can be assembled from readily available components at a fraction of the cost of a commercial tool.

Largest crowdsource astronomy network helps confirm discovery of 'Tatooine' planet
Lehigh University astronomer assistant professor of physics Joshua Pepper is using crowdsourcing to gather observations worldwide. His network, known as the 'KELT Follow-Up Network,' is made up of nearly 40 members in 10 countries across four continents. The group -- the largest, most coordinated network of its kind -- contributed key observations to confirm the existence of the recently-identified planet, Kepler-1647 b, announced today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Pituitary tissue grown from human stem cells releases hormones in rats
Researchers have successfully used human stem cells to generate functional pituitary tissue that secretes hormones important for the body's stress response as well as for its growth and reproductive functions. When transplanted into rats with hypopituitarism -- a disease linked to dwarfism and premature aging in humans -- the lab-grown pituitary cells promoted normal hormone release. The study, which lays the foundation for future preclinical work, appears June 14 in Stem Cell Reports.

Nearly 10 million adults found to be severely nearsighted in the United States
About 9.6 million US adults are severely nearsighted, a new study shows. Of those with high myopia, nearly 820,000 have a degenerative form. More than 41,000 suffer a rare complication called myopic choroidal neovascularization that can cause permanent vision loss. It's twice as prevalent in women than in men. These findings are being published by Ophthalmology, journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The authors are from the Academy, UC Davis, NIH and Genentech.

Adolescent sleep duration is associated with daytime mood
A new study of adolescents suggests that obtaining an insufficient amount of sleep increases variability in sadness, anger, energy and feelings of sleepiness. The study also showed that nightly fluctuations in sleep in healthy adolescents predict worse mood the next day, and worse mood any given day largely predicts unusually bad sleep the next night.

Scientists learn more about how star-shaped brain cells help us learn
A molecule that enables strong communication between our brain and muscles appears to also aid essential communication between our neurons, scientists report.

How a cold gets into cells
Viruses smuggle their genetic material into our cells. How this actually works is currently being investigated at TU Wien using a new combination of analysis methods.

Exercise may have therapeutic potential for expediting muscle repair in older populations
Here's another reason why you should hit the gym regularly as you grow older: A new report appearing online in The FASEB Journal shows that regular exercise plays a critical role in helping muscles repair themselves as quickly as possible after injury. After only eight weeks of exercise, old mice experienced faster muscle repair and regained more muscle mass than those of the same age that had not exercised.

Radioactive cesium fallout on Tokyo from Fukushima concentrated in glass microparticles
New research shows that most of the radioactive fallout which landed on downtown Tokyo a few days after the Fukushima accident was concentrated and deposited in non-soluble glass microparticles, as a type of 'glassy soot.' These results are announced at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Yokohama, Japan.

Warning from the past: Future global warming could be even warmer
Future global warming will not only depend on the amount of emissions from man-made greenhouse gasses, but will also depend on the sensitivity of the climate system and response to feedback mechanisms. By reconstructing past global warming and the carbon cycle on Earth 56 million years ago researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute et al. have used computer modelling to estimate the potential perspective for future global warming, which could be even warmer than previously thought.

NHS England needs to stop stalling and make HIV preventing treatment available
An effective treatment that can prevent HIV infection and reduce the human and financial costs of the preventable condition is taking too long to be commissioned and made available on the NHS, warns Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, in an article published by The BMJtoday.

Study: Exercise can help adults better cope with ADHD symptoms
Exercise, even a small amount, can help alleviate symptoms of ADHD in adults, according to a new study by University of Georgia researchers.

Scientists detect gray matter changes in brains of teenagers with type 2 diabetes
Teenagers with type 2 diabetes have significant changes in total brain gray matter volume and in regions of gray matter involved in seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.

Proteome of an entire family
Based on comprehensive protein data on mice, researchers at ETH Zurich and EPFL have gained new insights into the mechanism of metabolic disorders. A key factor in their success was the data compiled by the scientists on several different but closely related animals.

Cancer-causing virus strikes genetically vulnerable horses
A new study shows genetic differences in immune function partly account for why some horses get sarcoid tumors while others do not.

Researchers find a likely cause of inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have found that a likely cause of inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors is deficiency in nonsense-mediated RNA decay, a system cells use to control which genes are activated.

Scientists discover oldest plant root stem cells
Scientists at Oxford University have discovered the oldest known population of plant root stem cells in a 320 million-year-old fossil. The cells, which gave rise to the roots of an ancient plant, were found in a fossilized root tip held in the Oxford University Herbaria.

Running releases protein associated with improved memory in mice
The reason why treadmill training can boost memory recall remains an active area of investigation. A couple of proteins have been shown to fuel exercise-induced neuron growth, but a June 23 study in Cell Metabolism presents a new candidate, cathepsin B -- one that can be directly traced from the muscles to the brain in mice. Also, after a run, protein levels increased in blood in mice, monkeys, and humans.

New electric mesh device gives the heart an electromechanical hug
A research team led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Seoul National University has developed a new electric mesh device that can be wrapped around the heart to deliver electrical impulses and thereby improve cardiac function in experimental models of heart failure, a major public health concern and leading cause of mortality and disability.

Hops could help reduce breast cancer risk
Hops, the flower cones used in beer-making, are also found in dietary supplements designed to help treat post-menopausal symptoms and other conditions. Scientists are now investigating whether an extract from the plant could also help fend off breast cancer. In the ACS journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, one team reports new lab tests on breast cells that support this possibility.

Analogue quantum computation has been universally digitized using superconducting circuits
The QUTIS research group ( of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and Google's quantum computation team have collaborated on a pioneering experiment that universally digitizes analogue quantum computation on a superconducting chip. This breakthrough was made at Google's labs in Santa Barbara (California) and has been published in the prestigious journal Nature.

LED technology used in Indonesia to monitor safety at construction sites
A safety monitoring method called On-Site Visualization has been implemented in metro system construction sites in Jakarta, Indonesia as part of a Japan International Cooperation Agency project.

Pneumococcal vaccine watches bacteria, strikes only when needed
Conventional vaccines indiscriminately destroy bacteria and other disease-causing agents. The approach works, but there is growing concern that it creates opportunity other pathogens to harm the body -- similar to antibiotic resistance resulting in new and more potent pathogens. A new, protein-based pneumococcal vaccine takes a different approach. It allows pneumonia-causing bacteria to colonize in the body and -- like a nightclub bouncer -- swings into action only if the bacteria becomes harmful.

Falls in months before surgery are common in adults of all ages
Falling up to six months before an elective surgery was common and caused injuries among adults of all ages, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Surprisingly, the frequency of falls among middle-aged patients was higher than those who were elderly. The study suggests that falling may be an important indicator of baseline health.

Understanding how chemical changes in the brain affect Alzheimer's disease
A new study from Western University is helping to explain why the long-term use of common anticholinergic drugs used to treat conditions like allergies and overactive bladder lead to an increased risk of developing dementia later in life. The study used mouse models to show that long-term suppression of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine -- a target for anticholinergic drugs -- results in dementia-like changes in the brain.

Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel
A new way of recycling millions of tons of plastic garbage into liquid fuel has been devised by researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry in China.

Anti-epileptic drug linked to birth defects when taken with other drugs
In an analysis of pregnancies in Australia from 1999 to 2014 in which women were taking anti-epileptic drugs, fetal malformation rates fell over time in pregnancies where only one drug was taken, but rates increased in pregnancies where multiple drugs were taken.

Diabetes raises risk of heart attack death by 50 percent
Having diabetes increases the risk of dying from the effects of a heart attack by around 50 percent, according to a widespread study by the University of Leeds.

A male-killing bacterium results in female-biased sex ratios in green lacewings
A maternally transmitted Spiroplasma bacterium is the likely cause of the green lacewing's female-biased sex ratio, according to a study published June 15, 2016, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Masayuki Hayashi from Chiba University, Japan, and colleagues.

ASHG honors Elaine Zackai with inaugural Mentorship Award
ASHG has named Elaine H. Zackai, M.D., at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, as the first-ever recipient of its Mentorship Award. This award recognizes ASHG members who have significant records of accomplishment as mentors.

Online training helps prevent depression
An international team of researchers has shown for the first time that depression can be effectively prevented through online training. Their study, which involved 406 test subjects, was a joint project by researchers at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Leuphana University of Lüneburg and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam carried out in collaboration with Barmer GEK. The results have been published in the latest issue of the renowned Journal of the American Medical Association.

MSU physicist develops new model for speed and motion of solar flares
A Montana State University physicist who has developed a new model that predicts the speed of solar plasma during solar flares, likening it to the path traveled by a thrown baseball, will present his findings at the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society conference being held this week in Boulder, Colorado.

Tunable lasers to improve infrared spectroscopy
A new, broad-band tunable infrared laser has major implications for the detection of drugs and explosives.

Workshop explores how artificial intelligence can be engineered for safety and control
Artificial intelligence has the potential to benefit humankind in diverse and deep ways, but only to the extent that people believe these smart systems can be trusted. The technical means for ensuring AI systems operate in a safe, controlled manner will be the focus of a June 28 workshop co-hosted by Carnegie Mellon University and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

E-consults increase access to specialty care, reduce need for face-to-face appointments
Research presented today at AcademyHealth's Annual Research Meeting found that use by physicians of e-consults increases access to specialists' care for patients who often have the hardest time getting a specialist, including the uninsured, underinsured and those living in rural areas. E-consults streamline communication between primary care providers and specialists. Studies highlight how e-consults can decrease wait times, improve clinical care and reduce the need for face-to-face appointments.

Childhood binge eating: Families, feeding, and feelings
In order to put childhood binge eating into context, a new systematic review from the University of Illinois identifies two potential risk factors for binge eating in children under the age of 12. With family being the most proximal and influential setting affecting behaviors and attitudes in children, the study reports that parental non-involvement or emotional unresponsiveness and weight-related teasing in the family are behaviors consistently associated with childhood binge eating.

Study underscores ongoing need for HIV safety net program
A Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study of insurance coverage of more than 28,000 people with HIV concludes that a decades-old program that offers free medical care remains a critical necessity despite the availability of coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Detecting an early biomarker for pancreatic cancer in blood
In this issue of JCI Insight, a group of researchers led by Motoyuki Otsuka at the University of Tokyo describe a pilot study of a new method for detecting a pancreatic cancer biomarker in patient serum.

Study reveals how interaction between neural networks changes during working memory
Investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital have found that dopamine signaling within the cerebral cortex can predict changes in the extent of communication between key brain networks during working memory.

MUSC-based startup wins National TechConnect Innovation Award
ToleRaM Nanotech, LLC, a startup company that specializes in merging bioengineering with medicine, recently won a National TechConnect Innovation Award. The genius behind the company comes from the synergy of a physician-scientist team at the Medical University of South Carolina that's interested in research into the targeted delivery of drugs to decrease rejection of transplanted organs.

Vanderbilt, human vaccines project launch studies to decode human immune system
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center this month began recruiting volunteers to participate in a clinical trial aimed at decoding the human 'immunome,' the genetic underpinnings of the immune system.

Mayo Clinic to grow Rochester research footprint by 2 million square feet
Mayo Clinic announced the next major step in realizing Destination Medical Center's (DMC) vision of creating Discovery Square, a first-of-its-kind urban bioresearch campus that brings together renowned physicians, researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs to address unmet patient needs in an ultramodern setting for science innovation.

Device for irregular heartbeat may be more cost-effective than medication
A new study by a Yale researcher may support the use of a device for patients suffering from irregular heart rhythms.

Stress exposure during pregnancy observed in mothers of children with autism
Stress during pregnancy has been linked to several conditions, including some instances of autism spectrum disorder. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have observed a variant of a stress-sensitive gene and exposure to stress during pregnancy among two groups of mothers of children with autism. The finding could be a step toward helping identify women who have greater risks for having children with autism when exposed to stressors during pregnancy.

Young cancer survivors are more likely to smoke than people without cancer history
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have found that cancer survivors who were diagnosed at adolescent and young adult ages are more likely to be current cigarette smokers than people who have not had cancer. The findings of this study are currently available in Cancer.

Businesses can save 30 percent on electrical bills by adjusting production schedules
Industrial manufacturing businesses can save over 30 percent on electrical bills, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 5 percent, by adjusting production schedules, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Small brain -- astounding performance
The elephantnose fish explores objects in its surroundings by using its eyes or its electrical sense -- sometimes both together. Zoologists at the University of Bonn and a colleague from Oxford have now found out how complex the processing of these sensory impressions is. With its tiny brain, the fish achieves performance comparable to that of humans or mammals. The advance results have been published online in PNAS.

Pea plants demonstrate ability to 'gamble' -- a first in plants
An international team of scientists from Oxford University, UK, and Tel-Hai College, Israel, has shown that pea plants can demonstrate sensitivity to risk -- namely, that they can make adaptive choices that take into account environmental variance, an ability previously unknown outside the animal kingdom. In the study, published in the journal Current Biology, pea plants were grown with their roots split between two pots, thus facing the decision of which pot to prioritize.

Can pets play a role in healthy human aging? GSA and Mars Petcare team up to investigate
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has formed an innovative partnership with the world's leading pet nutrition and pet health business Mars Petcare to advance research in the area of human-animal interaction (HAI) among older adults.

Hubble captures vivid auroras in Jupiter's atmosphere
Astronomers are using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras -- stunning light shows in a planet's atmosphere -- on the poles of the largest planet in the Solar System, Jupiter. This observation programme is supported by measurements made by NASA's Juno spacecraft, currently on its way to Jupiter. 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