Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2014)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2014.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2014

Elevated blood eosinophil levels are a risk factor for asthma exacerbations
In adults with persistent asthma, elevated blood eosinophil levels may be able to predict which individuals are at increased risk for exacerbations, according to a new study presented at the 2014 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

A new 'Kabuto-like' nickel catalyst forms bioactive frameworks from phenol derivatives
Researchers at ITbM, Nagoya University developed a new nickel catalyst with a 'Kabuto-like' structure that was found to catalyze the cross-coupling reaction between carbonyl compounds and readily available phenol derivatives, to form alpha-arylketones, which are found in many biologically active compounds (Kabuto = a helmet worn by Japanese samurai).

Outcomes of steroid therapy following surgery for infants with bile duct disorder
Among infants who underwent surgery to repair bile ducts that do not drain properly (biliary atresia), the administration of high-dose steroid therapy following surgery did not significantly improve bile drainage after six months, although a small clinical benefit could not be excluded, according to a study in the May 7 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health. This issue is being released early to coincide with the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.

Experiments using virulent avian flu strains pose risk of accidental release
Experiments creating dangerous flu strains that are transmissible between mammals pose too great a risk to human life from potential release, according to an editorial by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and Yale School of Public Health.

Possible treatment for kidney disease in lupus studied at UH
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system turns against itself, attacking a person's healthy tissue, cells and organs. The symptoms can range from debilitating pain and fatigue to organ failure. One of the most common organs to be attacked by lupus is the kidney. University of Houston biomedical engineer Chandra Mohan was recently awarded a $200,000 grant from the Alliance for Lupus Research to study lupus nephritis.

NASA sees system 91B making landfall in southwestern India
A tropical low was affecting southern India and Sri Lanka on May 6 at 0809 UTC when the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite called TRMM flew above it.

Choosing a screening method for cervical cancer: Pap alone or with HPV test
Karen Smith-McCune, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, writes: 'The updated guidelines leave physicians and other clinicians with a question: is cotesting with Pap-plus-HPV testing truly preferred over Pap testing alone (the American Cancer Society/the American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology/the American Society of Clinical Pathology recommendation), or are the options equivalent (the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation)?'

UT Arlington nursing professor studying online students' stress, sense of belonging
A Texas nursing researcher comparing the experiences of online and traditional master's degree students will present her results this week at an multidisciplinary conference in Boston.

Geology student, Warriors of the Wild founder named Udall Scholar
With a deep love of nature and a passion for animal and environmental conservation, college sophomore Vanessa Alejandro has been chosen as the first-ever Udall Scholarship winner from the University of Houston. Alejandro is one of only nine sophomores honored this year. A geology major, Alejandro was among the students chosen in the environmental category for her leadership potential, academic achievement, record of public service and commitment to pursuing a career in the environment.

First-of-its-kind study: Swimmers gain an advantage when they recover with chocolate milk
Grabbing chocolate milk after a hard swim could give swimmers a performance edge, according to new research presented at one of the nation's top sports medicine conferences -- the American College of Sports Medicine's annual conference. Indiana University researchers found that when collegiate, trained swimmers recovered with chocolate milk after an exhaustive swim, they swam faster in time trials later that same day.

Ice-loss moves the Earth 250 miles down
Evidence the Earth's mantle beneath Antarctica is so 'runny' it is moving the land above it at a rate that can be detected by GPS.

Achieving patient-centered care across the spectrum
Providing patient-centered care consistently in clinical practice requires practitioners who are able to recognize that different clinical situations require different approaches and are skilled enough to adapt. Dr. Glyn Elwyn of the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science is the principal investigator of a study in the current issue of Annals of Family Medicine. Elwyn said that practitioners could use or integrate two methods: shared decision making and motivational interviewing when discussing options for treatment with patients.

The Lancet: Improvements in blood pressure control may have prevented hundreds of thousands of major cardiovascular events in England over 17 years
Hypertension -- raised blood pressure -- treatment rates have almost doubled and control rates have trebled in England between 1994 and 2011, resulting in the saving of tens of thousands of lives each year, according to a new study published in a special themed issue of The Lancet. The issue is published ahead of Hypertension 2014, the Joint Meeting of the European Society of Hypertension and International Society of Hypertension, to be held in Athens, Greece, June 13-16, 2014.

Untangling whole genomes of individual species from a microbial mix
A new approach to studying microbes in the wild will allow scientists to sequence the genomes of individual species from complex mixtures. It marks a big advance for understanding the enormous diversity of microbial communities -- including the human microbiome. The work is described in an article published May 22 in Early Online form in the journal G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, published by the Genetics Society of America.

Shattering past of the 'island of glass'
University of Leicester team uncover explosive history of a 'celebrity hotspot.'

Heavy airplane traffic potentially a major contributor to pollution in Los Angeles
Congested freeways crawling with cars and trucks are notorious for causing smog in Los Angeles, but a new study finds that heavy airplane traffic can contribute even more pollution, and the effect continues for up to 10 miles away from the airport. The report, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, has serious implications for the health of residents near Los Angeles International Airport and other airports around the world.

Seeing e-cigarette use encourages young adult tobacco users to light up
Seeing people use electronic cigarettes increases the urge to smoke among regular combustible cigarettes users, according to a new study of young adult smokers. This elevated desire is as strong as when observing someone smoking a regular cigarette, report scientists from the University of Chicago online, May 21, in Tobacco Control. The study is the first to investigate the behavioral effects of exposure to e-cigarette use in a controlled setting.

Black, Hispanic children with autism more likely to regress than whites
Some children with autism appear to be developing normally when they are very young. They babble or even talk, make eye contact with their parents, and crawl and walk on schedule. Then suddenly, these skills seem to vanish. Described as developmental regression, this loss of language, motor or social skills occurs more often in black and Hispanic children compared to white children, according to a study to be presented Tuesday, May 6, at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Better catalysts for the petrochemical industry
When crude oil is refined to fuels and chemicals, help is at hand -- in the form of so-called catalysts. Scientists now provide a reference parameter for the performance of an important class of catalysts for petrochemical production.

Mapping atherosclerotic arteries: Combined approach developed
A new method allows calcified and constricted blood vessels to be visualized with micrometer precision, and can be used to design containers for targeted drug delivery. Within the project 'NO-stress,' materials scientists from the Medical Faculty of the University of Basel combined cutting-edge-imaging techniques to visualize and quantify the constrictions caused by atherosclerosis.

Brain may never fully recover from exposure to paint, glue, degreasers
People who are exposed to paint, glue or degreaser fumes at work may experience memory and thinking problems in retirement, decades after their exposure, according to a study published in the May 13, 2014, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Can money buy happiness? For some, the answer is no
Many shoppers, regardless of whether they buy life experiences or material items, are no happier following the purchase than they were before, a new study finds. These shoppers -- about a third of the population -- appear to be an exception to previous research that has found buying experiences will make an individual happier. Researchers found the happiness boost from experiences is often negated for material buyers because the purchase doesn't reflect their personality.

Nature inspires drones of the future
Researchers have been taking tips from nature to build the next generation of flying robots.

Critical access hospitals have higher transfer rates after surgery
Hospital transfers happened more often after surgery at critical access hospitals (CAHs) but the proportion of patients using post-acute care was equal to or less than that of patients treated at non-CAHs.

Land and power: Women discover one can lead to the other
UC Santa Cruz assistant professor of psychology Shelly Grabe finds that when women in developing countries own land, they gain power within their relationships and are less likely to experience violence.

Some Ohio butterflies threatened by rising temperatures
The combined heat from climate change and urbanization is likely to reduce the number of eastern swallowtails and other native butterflies in Ohio and promote the spread of invasive relatives. The findings, based on years of monitoring, are likely applicable globally.

Lifestyle interventions are better than genetic tests for preventing type 2 diabetes
Targeted interventions based on genetic risk may not be the best approach for preventing type 2 diabetes and instead universal strategies to prevent obesity should be prioritized, according to new research published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

New tide gauge uses GPS signals to measure sea level change
A new way of measuring sea level using satellite navigation system signals, for instance GPS, has been implemented by scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Sea level and its variation can easily be monitored using existing coastal GPS stations, the scientists have shown.

Study: Game developers say success hinges on more than just programming skills
Aspiring game developers may want to bone up on their interpersonal skills. A forthcoming study from North Carolina State University and Microsoft Research finds that game developers need a suite of non-programming skills -- including communication skills -- that are considered less important in other fields of software development.

Discovery offers new possibilities for clean energy research
University of Houston physicists have discovered a new thermoelectric material offering high performance at temperatures ranging from room temperature up to 300 degrees Celsius, or about 573 degrees Fahrenheit. Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson Chair professor of physics at UH and the lead author of a paper describing the discovery, published online by Nano Energy, said the work could be important for clean energy research and commercialization at temperatures of about 300 degrees Celsius.

Researchers find new molecule to treat asthma
A study identifies a novel molecule that prevents the symptoms associated with allergen-induced asthma.

Viruses hijack deep-sea bacteria at hydrothermal vents
More than a mile beneath the ocean's surface, as dark clouds of mineral-rich water billow from seafloor hot springs called hydrothermal vents, unseen armies of viruses and bacteria wage war.

Team validates potentially powerful new way to treat HER2-positive breast cancer
Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory today reported a discovery that they hope will lead to the development of a powerful new way of treating an aggressive form of breast cancer called HER2-positive.

School scheme unable to boost healthy eating and activity among kids
A school-based scheme to encourage children to eat healthily and be active has had little effect, conclude researchers in a study published on today.

Water pipe smoking causes significant exposure to nicotine and cancer-causing agents
Young adults who smoked water pipes in hookah bars had elevated levels of nicotine, cotinine, tobacco-related cancer-causing agents, and volatile organic compounds in their urine, and this may increase their risk for cancer and other chronic diseases, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Having problems with your engineering project? This book will be your lifesaver
How can we manage engineering projects and run these projects to completion while addressing all the technical and business issues?

Monitor for sunburn risk goes on sale
A monitor developed at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow for preventing the risk of over exposure to the sun is now available for sale online.

HADES searches for dark matter
Recent results of HADES experiments have shown, that the dark photon or U boson is no longer a top candidate to explain the nature of dark matter. Researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and from 17 other European are involved in this search for the constituents of dark matter at HADES, the High-Acceptance Di-Electron Spectrometer. These negative results -- recently published in Physics Letters B -- could even lead to challenges of the standard model of particle physics.

Properties of water at nanoscale will help to design innovative technologies
Scientists from Politecnico di Torino (Turin, Italy) and Houston Methodist Research Institute (Houston, USA) have just proposed on Nature Communications a novel understanding of unexpected water properties at the nanoscale in the close proximity of solid surfaces. More rationally designed contrast agents for improved Magnetic Resonance Imaging performances are the first applications of the discovery.

Cyberbullying affects rich and poor alike
Cyberbullying isn't just a problem in middle class and affluent areas. Teenagers in poor, high-crime neighborhoods also experience online bullying, finds new research led by a Michigan State University criminologist.

Birth by C-section, early antibiotic use put kids at risk for allergic esophagitis
Children delivered by Cesarean section and those given antibiotics during early infancy appear more prone to developing allergic inflammation of the esophagus -- the muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach -- according to results of a study by investigators from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and Harvard Medical School.

Argonne scientists discover new phase in iron-based superconductors
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a previously unknown phase in a class of superconductors called iron arsenides. This sheds light on a debate over the interactions between atoms and electrons that are responsible for their unusual superconductivity.

INBRACED awards $400,000 grant to launch an international neuroblastoma clinical trial
Solving Kids' Cancer, the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance, and Joining Against Cancer in Kids awarded its first grant through their INBRACED initiative, which aims to improve access of promising clinical trials for children with high-risk neuroblastoma in North America, the UK and in Europe. The grant amount of $400,000 will create a new immunotherapy treatment option in the US, UK, and in Spain, for children with relapsed or refractory disease.

Increased social network can have big payoff for nonprofits, study shows
Charitable fundraising once depended primarily upon a charity's size, efficiency and longstanding reputation. That was before Razoo, Chipin, Facebook and Twitter came to town.

Gene expression signature identifies patients at higher risk for cardiovascular death
A study of 338 patients with coronary artery disease has identified a gene expression profile associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular death. Used with other indicators such as biochemical markers and family history, the profile -- based on a simple blood test -- may help identify patients who could benefit from personalized treatment and counseling designed to address risk factors.

Climate-KIC commences Israel Tour for cleantech entrepreneurs
Next week Climate-KIC, the European Union's main climate innovation initiative, will kick off its first Start-up Tour of 2014 in Israel, as part of its role in supporting European cleantech innovators to expand their business opportunities outside of Europe.

Tip sheet from Annals of Internal Medicine May 20, 2014
The May 20 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine includes articles titled: 'Task Force finds insufficient evidence to recommend for or against screening for suicide risk'; 'Vaccination during 'optimal window' is the key to saving lives and money in next flu pandemic'; and 'Two separate studies suggest that longer echocardiographic screening intervals for childhood cancer survivors effective, cost-effective for detecting heart issues.'

California mountains rise as groundwater depleted in state's Central Valley
The weight of water pumped from California's agricultural heartland, the Central Valley, over the past 150 years is enough to allow Earth's crust to rebound upward, raising surrounding mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, some six inches. Winter rains and summer pumping cause annual up and down movements that could affect earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault, which parallels the ranges.

Gene therapy extends survival in an animal model of spinal muscular atrophy
To make up for insufficient amounts of SMN protein, the cause of the inherited neuromuscular disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), researchers have successfully delivered a replacement SMN1 gene directly to the spinal cords of animal models of SMA. A new study demonstrating that enough copies of the SMN1 gene can be delivered to the spinal cord motor neurons to extend the survival of the treated animals is published in Human Gene Therapy.

Human learning altered by electrical stimulation of dopamine neurons
Stimulation of a certain population of neurons within the brain can alter the learning process, according to a team of neuroscientists and neurosurgeons at the University of Pennsylvania. A report in the Journal of Neuroscience describes for the first time that human learning can be modified by stimulation of dopamine-containing neurons in a deep brain structure known as the substantia nigra. 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