Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 29, 2013
Survival of the prettiest: Sexual selection can be inferred from the fossil record
Detecting sexual selection in the fossil record is not impossible, according to scientists writing in Trends in Ecology and Evolution this month, co-authored by Dr.

Scientists create 1-step gene test for mitochondrial diseases
More powerful gene-sequencing tools have increasingly been uncovering disease secrets in DNA within the cell nucleus.

UCSB research provides insight into mechanics of arthritis
A new, noninvasive, and low-cost method for the early detection and monitoring of osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by wear and tear) may be on its way, thanks to research by UC Santa Barbara scientists from the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Materials.

Telephone physiotherapy reduces waiting times and provides equally good patient results
A physiotherapy service based on initial telephone assessment has the ability to provide faster access to the service and cut waiting times, a study published today on suggests.

Early menopause may occur in women with BRCA gene, new study finds
Women with harmful mutations in the BRCA gene, which put them at higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, tend to undergo menopause significantly sooner than other women, allowing them an even briefer reproductive window and possibly a higher risk of infertility, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Epigenetic control of cardiogenesis
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, in collaboration with colleagues at MIT and the Broad Institute in Boston, have now been able to demonstrate that non-coding RNA is essential for normal embryonic cardiogenesis.

Increasing severity of erectile dysfunction is a marker for increasing risk of cardiovascular disease and death
A large study published in PLOS Medicine on Jan. 29, 2013, shows that the risk of future cardiovascular disease and death increased with severity of erectile dysfunction in men both with and without a history of cardiovascular disease.

Study supports heart rhythm problems with some antidepressants
Some antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are linked with a long QT interval (the duration of electrical activity of the heart muscle) -- a marker for heart rhythm abnormalities, finds a study published on today.

Fossilized conduits suggest water flowed beneath Martian surface
Networks of narrow ridges found in impact craters on Mars appear to be the fossilized remnants of underground cracks through which water once flowed, according to a new analysis by researchers from Brown University.

NSF-funded team samples Antarctic lake beneath the ice sheet
In a first-of-its-kind feat of science and engineering, a National Science Foundation funded research team has successfully drilled through 800 meters (2,600 feet) of Antarctic ice to reach a subglacial lake and retrieve water and sediment samples that have been isolated from direct contact with the atmosphere for many thousands of years.

Study reveals 2-fold higher incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers for HIV patients
HIV-positive patients have a higher incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers, according to a Kaiser Permanente study that appears in the current online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In-brain monitoring shows memory network
Working with patients with electrodes implanted in their brains, researchers at UC Davis and UTHealth have shown for the first time that areas of the brain work together at the same time to recall memories.

Study demonstrates health benefits of coming out of the closet
Lesbians, gays and bisexuals who are out to others have lower stress hormone levels and fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Scientists discover potential new target in fight against 'superbug'
University of Cambridge researchers have discovered how an antibiotic-resistant superbug exploits oxygen-limited conditions in the lungs of patients with severe respiratory disease to thrive.

Personalized plans to address barriers to HIV drug adherence boost chances of successful therapy
HIV patients who participated in an intervention that helped them identify barriers to taking their drugs properly and develop customized coping strategies took a significantly greater amount of their prescribed doses than those receiving standard care, according to a new study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

New insights into conquering influenza
Reseachers from the University of Melbourne and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have discovered a new protein that protects against viral infections such as influenza.

Cornell engineers solve a biological mystery and boost artificial intelligence
By simulating 25,000 generations of evolution within computers, Cornell University engineering and robotics researchers have discovered why biological networks tend to be organized as modules -- a finding that will lead to a deeper understanding of the evolution of complexity.

New options for transparent contact electrodes
Found in flat screens, solar modules, or in new organic light-emitting diode (LED) displays, transparent electrodes have become ubiquitous.

Satellite visualization tool for high-res observation accessible from anywhere with internet access
A paper published in the February issue of Computers & Geosciences, describes a case study in which an earth-observing satellite tool, the Tool for High-Resolution Observation Review, using minimal coding effort, is converted into a practical web-based application, THOR-Online.

Could the timing of when you eat, be just as important as what you eat?
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, have found that it's not simply what you eat, but also when you eat, that may help with weight-loss regulation.

Beer's bitter compounds could help brew new medicines
Researchers using a century-old technique have determined the precise configuration of substances from hops that give beer its distinctive flavor.

Spring may come earlier to North American forests
Trees in the con­ti­nen­tal US could send out new leaves in the spring up to 17 days ear­lier in the com­ing cen­tury than they did before global tem­per­a­tures started ris­ing, accord­ing to a new study by Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity researchers.

New OHSU research helps explain early-onset puberty in females
This research provides significant insight into the reasons why early-onset puberty occurs in females.

Emission trading schemes limit green consumerism
Schemes that aim to regulate greenhouse gas emissions can limit consumers' attempts to reduce their carbon footprints, according to an economist at the University of East Anglia.

Researchers generate a mutant mouse model useful in the treatment of neuromuscular diseases
Researchers at the University of Granada have produced for the first time in the world mice lacking the coenzyme Q10, a rare mitochondrial disease prevailingly affecting children.

Sex offenders are on the move
Convicted sex offenders continue to move freely within communities, including in restricted areas, despite laws designed to limit their movements.

National Academy of Inventors honors 3 University of Houston professors
The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named three University of Houston faculty members NAI Charter Fellows.

The need to feed programs Campylobacter's 'Sat Nav'
Researchers at the Institute of Food Research on the Norwich Research Park have uncovered how the food-borne bacterial pathogen Campylobacter jejuni can change its swimming behavior to find a location with more food.

Research to better manage renewable energy
A new faculty member at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering has recently received a grant to develop an energy management system that can adapt to changes in electricity prices, renewable energy availability and risks to electric system reliability, with minimal cost to utility companies.

Israel Prize awarded to Tel Aviv University biochemist
Tel Aviv University's professor Nathan Nelson has won the 2012 Israel Prize for his research into molecular biology and proteins.

Virginia Tech expands sports concussion-risk studies to include hockey and baseball
Virginia Tech is expanding its research into helmeted sports beyond football, due to new research that allows for better prediction of sports-related concussions resulting from linear and rotational head accelerations.

Good mood helps boost brain power in older adults
Older adults can improve their decision making and working memory simply by putting on a happy face, a new study suggests.

British 'stiff upper lip' may prevent early presentation for cancer symptoms
Embarrassment and not wanting to waste their doctors' time are more frequently reported by British people than in other countries, according to new research led jointly by King's College London and University College London.

Scientists trick iron-eating bacteria into breathing electrons instead
Scientists have developed a way to grow iron-oxidizing bacteria using electricity instead of iron, an advance that will allow them to better study the organisms and could one day be used to turn electricity into fuel.

Study finds that people with cystic fibrosis who live in deprived areas have worse health
A study by the University of Liverpool has found that people with Cystic Fibrosis who live in deprived areas have worse growth and lung function than people living in more advantaged areas.

Physicians' brain scans indicate doctors can feel their patients' pain -- and their relief
In a novel investigation in which physicians underwent brain scans while they believed they were actually treating patients, researchers have provided the first scientific evidence indicating that doctors truly can feel their patients' pain -- and can also experience their relief following treatment.

Mass. General study clarifies antidepressant contribution to arrhythmia risk
An analysis of the medical records of more than 38,000 patients by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators clarifies the contribution of citalopram and other antidepressants to lengthening of the QT interval, an aspect of the heart's electrical activity that -- when prolonged -- may increase the risk of dangerous arrhythmias.

Young soccer players show signs of burnout
Young elite players at professional soccer clubs are at risk of burnout before they leave school because of the perfectionist standards they feel coaches, parents and team members demand of them, according to a new study.

Mainz University Medical Center receives further DFG funding for cardiovascular research
The German Research Foundation has approved funding for the Department of Internal Medicine II of the Mainz University Medical Center to promote cardiovascular research for the second time within a few weeks.

Japanese research organizations contribute to Human Brain Project
In a major announcement for the globalization of science, two Japanese research organizations, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and RIKEN, will join forces with a large European consortium on the Human Brain Project, which the European Commission has officially announced as one of two Future and Emerging Technology Flagship projects.

New evidence highlights threat to Caribbean coral reef growth
Coral reefs build their structures by both producing and accumulating calcium carbonate, and this is essential for the maintenance and continued vertical growth capacity of reefs.

US, New Zealand search-and-rescue teams recalled from Antarctic plane crash site
Officials with the U.S. Antarctic Program and Antarctica New Zealand have jointly decided to recall search-and-rescue teams from the site of an Antarctic aircraft crash after examination of the plane indicated that it would be unsafe at this point to further disturb the wreckage that is largely embedded in snow and ice on a steep mountain slope.

Jackson Laboratory professor emeritus Douglas Coleman wins BBVA, King Faisal awards
Douglas Coleman, Ph.D., a retired Jackson Laboratory scientist whose work established the first clues to a genetic component in obesity, has won two major international science awards: The Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine from the BBVA Foundation, based in Bilbao, Spain, and the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine from the Saudi Arabian King Faisal Foundation.

NASA sees some powerful 'overshooting cloud tops' in Cyclone Felleng
NASA satellite imagery revealed that Cyclone Felleng is packing some powerful thunderstorms with overshooting cloud tops.

Medical societies unite on patient-centered measures for nonsurgical stroke interventions
Representatives from the Society of Interventional Radiology and seven other medical societies created a multispecialty and international consensus on the metrics and benchmarks for processes of care and technical and clinical outcomes for stroke patients.

New study will predict how trees will adapt to rapid climate change
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.5 million grant to researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory to study climate adaptation in forest trees and predict the areas where trees are most and least adapted to changing climates in the future.

Simulations' Achille's heel
In an article about to be published in EPJ Plus, Daan Frenkel from the University of Cambridge, UK, outlines the many pitfalls associated with simulation methods such as Monte Carlo algorithms or other commonly used molecular dynamics approaches.

Dendritic cell vaccine for relapsed neuroblastoma patient induces complete remission
One year after his last treatment, a six-year-old boy with recurrent neuroblastoma is in complete remission for his high-risk metastatic cancer.

Tomorrow's life-saving medications may currently be living at the bottom of the sea
Two new research papers demonstrate how the next class of powerful medications may currently reside at the bottom of the ocean.

Elsevier announces the launch of a new journal: Anthropocene
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce the launch of a new journal, Anthropocene.

Researchers find a better way to culture central nervous cells
A protein associated with neuron damage in Alzheimer's patients provides a superior scaffold for growing central nervous system cells in the lab.

Erection problems a red flag for 'silent' heart disease and early death
Men with erection problems now have an extra reason to see their doctor: even relatively minor erectile difficulties could signal 'silent' heart disease and may indicate an increased risk of dying early from any cause, a major new study shows.

Ants' behavior leads to research method for optimizing product development time, costs
Trying to find just the right balance of time spent in meetings and time performing tasks is a tough problem for managers, but a Wayne State University researcher believes the behavior of ants may provide a useful lesson on how to do it.

Clemson University researchers to study oil and gas operations' impact on Gulf Coast pelicans
A federal agency has turned to Clemson University's South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to collect data that will help it assess the environmental impact of oil and natural gas operations on the marine and coastal environments of the northern Gulf of Mexico's outer continental shelf.

Brupbacher Prize goes to cancer researcher Michael Karin
Molecular biologist Michael Karin is to receive this year's Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research in recognition of his studies on the role of chronic inflammation in the development of tumors.

Scripps Research Institute study shows how brain cells shape temperature preferences
A new study from The Scripps Research Institute shows that a complex set of overlapping neuronal circuits works in concert to drive temperature preferences in the fruit fly Drosophila by affecting a single target, a heavy bundle of neurons within the fly brain known as the mushroom body.

More research into chronic diseases urgently needed in all countries
When considering chronic (non-communicable) diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, in low-and-middle countries, a major shift in approach from declaring what needs to be done to using research to prioritize, evaluate, monitor and improve health outcomes is urgently needed, according to international experts from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine writing in this week's PLOS Medicine.

New insights into managing our water resources
Understanding how our water catchments react to natural disturbances, may offer hydrologists greater insight into how to manage our water supplies.

Mistrust of government often deters older adults from HIV testing
One out of four people living with HIV/AIDS is 50 or older, yet these older individuals are far more likely to be diagnosed when they are in the later stages of infection.

Test for hormone-disrupting chemicals gets global seal of approval
A test for hormone-disrupting pollutants, originally developed at UC Davis has been approved as an international standard by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development as well as by the US government.

Hyperemesis gravidarum during the second trimester is more likely to cause placental complications
Pregnancies complicated by hyperemesis gravidarum in the second trimester of pregnancy are at a much higher risk of associated placental dysfunction disorders such as placental abruption and small for gestational age babies, finds a new study published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

BUSM study highlights attitudes toward HPV vaccination for boys
A new Boston University School of Medicine study has found that low-income and minority parents/guardians were receptive toward vaccinating boys against Human Papilloma Virus.

Hydrogen sulfide: The next anti-aging agent?
Hydrogen sulfide may play a wide-ranging role in staving off aging, according to a paper published online ahead of print in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Low-income pregnant women in rural areas experience high levels of stress, researcher says
Stress during pregnancy puts mothers' and their babies' health at risk, previous research has shown.

Holocaust Edition: 'The Sources Speak'
New radio series from Bayerischer Rundfunk publicizes documents from DFG Research Project on the persecution and genocide of Jews.

Going trayless study shows student impact
A new paper coauthored by American University professor Kiho Kim provides first hard evidence that removing trays from university dining halls nets big energy savings as well as a 32 percent reduction in food waste.

RELU Director wins prestigious international award
On Jan. 28 2013 Rural Economy and Land Use program Director Philip Lowe was awarded the Bertebos Prize for his significant contributions to sustainable rural development and land use management.

Anna Balazs announced as 2013 Mines Medalist
Anna Balazs, Ph.D., has been named 2013 Mines Medalist by the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute study: Stem cells boost heart's natural repair mechanisms
Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, whose clinical trial results in 2012 demonstrated that stem cell therapy reduces scarring and regenerates healthy tissue after a heart attack, now have found that the stem cell technique boosts production of existing adult heart cells (cardiomyocytes) and spurs recruitment of existing stem cells that mature into heart cells.

Indoor air puts Chinese women nonsmokers at risk
The hazards of breathing outdoor air in some Chinese cities have been well-documented.

Eating bright-colored fruits and vegetables may prevent or delay ALS
New research suggests that increased consumption of foods containing colorful carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene and lutein, may prevent or delay the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Common genetic alteration found in head and neck cancers may not be key to effective treatment
Although a large majority of head and neck cancers have a deregulation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, data recently published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, indicated that deregulation of this pathway does not necessarily signify that the tumor is dependent on it for survival and progression.

Cultural evolution changes bird song
Thanks to cultural evolution, male Savannah sparrows are changing their tune, partly to attract

Center-based child care: Long hours do not cause aggression and disobedience
Spending many hours in center-based child care does not lead to more aggression and disobedience in children, according to a new study using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.

Greater transparency needed in publishing information from clinical trials
An initiative from the drugs regulator, the European Medicines Agency, to commit to releasing all of the information from clinical trials once the marketing authorization process has ended, which has been greeted with cautious optimism by proponents of access to data but with much less enthusiasm by the pharmaceutical industry, sparks an interesting debate on the role of medical journals in publishing drug data, according to the Editors of PLOS Medicine.

Researchers find gene that turns up effect of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer patients.

'Super' enzyme protects against dangers of oxygen
Just like a comic book super hero, you could say that the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD1) has a secret identity.

PRISMA PI Gabriele Honecker is a German representative in European string theory network
Junior Professor Dr. Gabriele Honecker of the Institute of Physics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz takes an active role in the newly established European COST Action

Discrepant analyses of industry-sponsored clinical trials
Internal pharmaceutical company documents detailing the planned and completed analysis for clinical trials do not always match the publicly available report of the completed trial, highlighting a concerning lack of transparency, according to a study published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Preclinical study identifies 'master' proto-oncogene that regulates ovarian cancer metastasis
Beta blockers inhibit cancer progression, decrease mortality.

NTU launches new centre to develop new eye-deas for occular therapeutics
For glaucoma patients, taking daily medication will soon become a thing of the past.

'Moral realism' may lead to better moral behavior
People who are primed with

New American Chemical Society podcast: Boosting the sensitivity of airport security screening
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series reports a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations.

New study shows 'just a bite' will satisfy
How much chocolate would you need to eat to be satisfied?

Brainwave 'balancing' research receives $1 million grant from The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation
With the infusion of an additional $1 million of financial support from The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Inc., Atlanta, Ga., Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers are expanding their studies using a noninvasive, drugless therapy that may help to mitigate symptoms associated with a list of neurological conditions. 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