Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 27, 2013
Gut microbiota research: Pinpointing a moving target
Although considerable progress has been made in determining the impact of the gut microbiota on the development of inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal diseases, the detailed study and understanding of the composition and effects of this intestinal community still faces numerous methodological and empirical challenges.

Feeding limbs and nervous system of one of Earth's earliest animals discovered
Unique fossils literally 'lift the lid' on ancient creature's head to expose one of the earliest examples of food manipulating limbs in evolutionary history, dating from around 530 million years ago.

Physicists demonstrate the acceleration of electrons by a laser in a vacuum
The acceleration of a free electron by a laser is a long-time goal of solid-state physicists.

Scientists discover molecule that does double duty in stopping asthma attacks
Scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital are on the brink of the next treatment advancement that may spell relief for the nearly 19 million adults and seven million children in the United States suffering from asthma.

First signs of heart disease seen in newborns of overweight/obese mums
The walls of the body's major artery -- the aorta -- are already thickened in babies born to mums who are overweight or obese, finds a small study published online in the Fetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease of Childhood.

Resurrection of 3-billion-year-old antibiotic-resistance proteins
Scientists are reporting

Children with autism show increased positive social behaviors when animals are present
The presence of an animal can significantly increase positive social behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorders, according to research published Feb.

Superbug CRE may endure in patients 1 year after initial infection: Study
Patients who tested positive for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae took an average of 387 days following hospital discharge to be clear of the organism, according to a new study published in the Mar. issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Nut-cracking monkeys use shapes to strategize their use of tools
Bearded capuchin monkeys deliberately place palm nuts in a stable position on a surface before trying to crack them open, revealing their capacity to use tactile information to improve tool use.

The NHL drafts the wrong players due to birthday bias
A hockey player's birthday strongly biases how professional teams assess his talent, according to a new study by Grand Valley State University researchers.

University of Waterloo professor receives E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship
A professor of quantum information science at the University of Waterloo's Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute for Quantum Computing was selected to receive a prestigious E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

IV fluids used by NHS responsible for unnecessary deaths
Starch-based IV fluids used by the NHS to treat seriously ill patients are causing unnecessary deaths, according to a new Cochrane systematic review by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Researcher finds faster, more efficient technique for creating high-density ceramics
A researcher from North Carolina State University has developed a technique for creating high-density ceramic materials that requires far lower temperatures than current techniques -- and takes less than a second, as opposed to hours.

Mesozoic assembly of the North American Cordillera and the exotic Rubian ribbon
The broadly accepted hypothesis for the development of the segmented Cordilleran orogen above a long-lived eastwardly dipping subduction zone is at odds with many critical observations.

Mental health-substance use services in hospitals up after parity law, finds new report
The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (

How much will I be charged?
A new study led by UC San Francisco identifies giant price swings in patient charges for the 10 most common outpatient conditions in emergency rooms across the country.

Seeing through HIV's disguises
Studying HIV-1, the most common and infectious HIV subtype, Johns Hopkins scientists have identified 25 human proteins

Screening decisions are better informed when risk information is personalized
Patients' ability to make genuinely informed choices about undergoing disease screening increases when the risk information that they receive is related to their own personal risk, rather than average risks, according to the results of a Cochrane systematic review.

Manufacturing: Technologies for future smart factories
Research at The University of Nottingham that could help the UK manufacturing industry to remain competitive by evolving to meet future challenges is in line for a multi-million pound funding boost.

Manchester patients take part in pioneering heart attack blood test trial
High levels of a chemical called troponin in the blood can indicate a heart attack.

Infusion of stem cells and specially generated T-cells from same donor improves leukemia survival
In a significant advance for harnessing the immune system to treat leukemias, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for the first time have successfully infused large numbers of donor T-cells specific for a key anti-leukemic antigen to prolong survival in high-risk and relapsed leukemia patients after stem cell transplantation.

Wayne State study shows airborne dust in urban areas impacts lead levels in children
A team of researchers led by Shawn P. McElmurry, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in Wayne State University's College of Engineering, has confirmed that seasonal fluctuations in blood lead levels found in children in urban areas throughout the United States and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere are the result of resuspended dust contaminated with lead.

Risk of heart attack death may increase after adult sibling's death
The death of an adult sibling is associated with increased risk of death from heart attack among surviving siblings, especially if the sibling died of a heart attack.

Fermi's motion produces a study in spirograph
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope orbits our planet every 95 minutes, building up increasingly deeper views of the universe with every circuit.

Invention opens the way to packaging that monitors food freshness
Millions of tons of still-edible food are thrown away because the

Quantity of sugar in food supply linked to diabetes rates, Stanford researcher says
Does eating too much sugar cause diabetes? For years, scientists have said

How much protection is enough?
Protection of marine areas from fishing increases density and biomass of fish and invertebrates (such as lobster and scallops) finds a systematic review published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Evidence.

Ectopic eyes function without connection to brain
For the first time, scientists have shown that transplanted eyes located far outside the head in a vertebrate animal model can confer vision without a direct neural connection to the brain.

Defining the new normal in aging
University of Alberta researcher says terms such as

Rice University IT professor named SURA Distinguished Scientist
The Southeastern Universities Research Association announced that Moshe Y. Vardi, Rice University's Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering, will receive SURA's 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award.

Research update: Chemists find help from nature in fighting cancer
Study of several dozen compounds based on a fungal chemical shows potent anti-tumor activity.

Heading a soccer ball may affect cognitive performance
Sports-related head injuries are a growing concern, and new research suggests that even less forceful actions like 'heading' a soccer ball may cause changes in performance on certain cognitive tasks, according to a paper published Feb.

White dwarf supernovae are discovered in Virgo Cluster galaxy and in sky area 'anonymous'
Light from two massive stars that exploded hundreds of millions of years ago recently reached Earth, and each was identified as a supernova by researchers at Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

New protein quality method provides important information on sustainable diet
A groundbreaking report by an Expert Consultation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations has recommended a new, advanced method for assessing the quality of dietary proteins.

Youth's addiction recovery predicted with AA-related helping tool
A Case Western Reserve University professor has found that young people addicted to alcohol and drugs can increase their chances of recovery by helping others.

Biologists explore link between amphibian behavior and deadly disease
In a new study, biologists will investigate the connection between amphibians' social habits and a disease that has killed a record number of frogs, toads and salamanders worldwide.

Silver nanoparticles may adversely affect environment
In experiments mimicking a natural environment, Duke University researchers have demonstrated that the silver nanoparticles used in many consumer products can have an adverse effect on plants and microorganisms.

New study shows viruses can have immune systems
A study published today in Nature reports that a viral predator of the cholera bacteria has stolen the functional immune system of bacteria and is using it against its bacterial host.

First grade math skills set foundation for later math ability
Children who failed to acquire a basic math skill in first grade scored far behind their peers by seventh grade on a test of the mathematical abilities needed to function in adult life, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Studying the health of same-sex couples
Same-sex couples that live together report worse health than people of the same socioeconomic status who are in heterosexual marriages, according to a national study that could have implications for the gay marriage debate.

Trust makes you delusional and that's not all bad
New research from Northwestern University and Redeemer University College is the first to systematically examine the role of trust in biasing memories of transgressions in romantic partnerships.

Spinal cancer: Guidelines for diagnosis unsupported in patients with lower back pain
A new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library has raised doubts as to the effectiveness of

SAGE to publish The Bible Translator from April 2013
SAGE and United Bible Societies today announced a new agreement to publish The Bible Translator from April 2013.

Sitting less and moving about more could be more important than vigorous exercise to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
New research led at the University of Leicester reveals that individuals at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes would benefit from being told to sit less and move around more often -- rather than simply exercising regularly.

New cancer 'vaccine' shows future promise in treating and preventing metastatic cancers
Preclinical, laboratory studies suggest a novel immunotherapy could potentially work like a vaccine against metastatic cancers, according to scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center.

Camera inside spiraling football provides ball's-eye view of field
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo have shown that a camera embedded in the side of a rubber-sheathed plastic foam football can record video while the ball is in flight that could give spectators a unique, ball's-eye view of the playing field.

Changing shape makes chemotherapy drugs better at targeting cancer cells
Bioengineering researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara have found that changing the shape of chemotherapy drug nanoparticles from spherical to rod-shaped made them up to 10,000 times more effective at specifically targeting and delivering anti-cancer drugs to breast cancer cells.

Supermassive black hole spins super-fast
Imagine a sphere more than two million miles across - eight times the distance from Earth to the Moon - spinning so fast that its surface is traveling at nearly the speed of light.

A game plan for climate change
Researchers have successfully piloted a process that enables natural resource managers to take action to conserve particular wildlife, plants and ecosystems as climate changes.

Too much vitamin D during pregnancy can cause food allergies
Pregnant women should avoid taking vitamin D supplements. Substitution appears to raise the risk of children developing a food allergy after birth.

New insight into how people choose insurance plans
Study: Consumers avoid high-deductible plans if they expect to reduce their use of medical care.

2 new species of mushroom on Iberian Peninsula described
In a study published in the Mycologia journal, researchers from the Basque Country, in collaboration with the Spanish Royal Botanic Garden and the Forestry Institute of Slovenia, have described two new species of Hydnum - colloquially known as Wood Hedgehog or Hedgehog mushroom.

Reap what you sow? When it comes to exercise, benefits may differ
Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology have received a $1 million grant to study how exercise and other therapies might work differently in lean and obese individuals.

Neutron scattering provides data on adsorption of ions in microporous materials
Researchers have demonstrated the use of a technique known as small angle neutron scattering (SANS) to study the effects of ions moving into nanoscale pores.

Mayo Clinic researchers identify possible treatment window for memory problems
Researchers have identified a possible treatment window of several years for plaques in the brain that are thought to cause memory loss in diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Workstation design improvements for drone operators may reduce costs & mishaps, researchers suggest
The US Department of Defense reports that drone accidents in which personnel or aircraft are damaged or destroyed occur 50 times more often than mishaps involving human-operated aircraft.

Concord Medical's Chang'an Hospital opens American Fox Chase (Xi'An) Cancer Center
Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited, a leading specialty hospital management solution provider and operator of the largest network of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging centers in China, recently celebrated the opening of the American Fox Chase (Xi'An) Cancer Center at its subsidiary Chang'an Hospital in Xi'An, China.

Rapid, point-of-care tests for syphilis: The future of diagnosis
An international research team, led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, has demonstrated that rapid and point-of-care tests (POC) for syphilis are as accurate as conventional laboratory tests.

Researchers look to breath to identify stress
The perennial stress-buster - a deep breath - could become stress-detector, claims a team of researchers from the UK.

Surgery and radiation improve survival for metastatic gastric cancer patients, Moffitt study shows
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center studied patients with metastatic gastric cancer and found that those who have both surgery and radiation have better survival than those who receive one or no form of treatment.

Einstein receives $3 million to study impact of soccer heading on the brain
Sports-related concussion is an increasingly recognized public health problem. At least 1.6 million sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries occur in the United States annually.

GSA Today: Putting time in its place
In the March issue of GSA Today, seven scientists from six countries, led by Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester, propose a realignment of the terms

Sequestration will be a devastating blow to the nation's research institutions and scientists
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology is once again calling on Congress and the President to work together to prevent sequestration, the automatic across-the-board budget cuts that are scheduled to go into effect on March 1.

Wii-playing surgeons may improve performance on laparoscopic procedures
Laparoscopic surgeons may improve certain aspects of surgical performance by regularly playing on a Nintendo Wii, according to research published Feb.

Study connects early childhood with pain, depression in adulthood
The research examines how childhood socioeconomic disadvantages and maternal depression increase the risk of major depression and chronic pain when they become adults.

Higher indoor humidity inactivates flu virus particles
Higher humidity levels indoors can significantly reduce the infectivity of influenza virus particles released by coughing, according to research published Feb.

Protein balance key in preventing cancer
Two proteins that scientists once thought carried out the same functions are actually antagonists of each other, and keeping them in balance is key to preventing diseases such as cancer, according to new findings published in the Feb.

Computer scientists from Saarbrücken prevent data theft on smartphones and tablet computers
Some mobile applications on web-enabled mobile phones and tablet computers spy on personal data.

Nemo helps anemone partner breath by fanning with his fins
Nestled amongst the tentacles of their anemone sanctuary, clownfish have reached an amicable arrangement with their deadly hosts.

Retailers should re-size maternity wear for women throughout their pregnancies, MU study finds
In a recent study, University of Missouri researcher MyungHee Sohn, an assistant professor of textile and apparel management in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, has found that retailers should re-produce the industry standardized size chart to size maternity wear for women entering their fifth month of pregnancy.

New fabrication technique could provide breakthrough for solar energy systems
A University of Connecticut scientist is using a novel fabrication process to create ultra-efficient solar energy rectennas capable of harvesting more than 70 percent of the sun's electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power.

Rice builds nanotube photodetector
A nanotube-based photodetector that gathers light in and beyond visible wavelengths shows promise for unique optoelectronic devices and specialized cameras.

'Network' analysis of the brain may explain features of autism
A look at how the brain processes information finds distinct pattern in autistic children.

NuSTAR helps solve riddle of black hole spin
An international team including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists has definitively measured the spin rate of a supermassive black hole for the first time.

WPI Biomedical Technology in final 4 of international business plan contest
A start-up commercializing wound healing and tissue regeneration technology developed at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is one of four finalists in this year's Association of University Technology Managers international business plan contest.

BU researcher receives highest honor from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network
Allen A. Mitchell, a professor of public health and professor of pediatrics at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, recently received the Godfrey P.

U of T researchers lead in Canadian science prizes
University of Toronto researchers won or shared honors in six of eight prize categories in this year's awards from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, presented today in Ottawa.

Estimates reduce amount of additional land available for biofuel production
Amid efforts to expand production of biofuels, scientists are reporting new estimates that downgrade the amount of additional land available for growing fuel crops by almost 80 percent.

Agenda available for 15th Annual Echocardiography Conference to be held April 3-5 in NYC
The 15th Annual State-of-the-Art Echo Course will take place April 3-5, 2013 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.

Modified protein could become first effective treatment for vitiligo
Loyola University Chicago researchers have developed a genetically modified protein that dramatically reverses the skin disorder vitiligo in mice, and has similar effects on immune responses in human skin tissue samples.

Patients with diabetes at no greater risk for infection
Patients with diabetes were no more likely to suffer infection, deep vein thrombosis (a deep vein blood clot) or other complications following total knee replacement than patients without diabetes, according to new research published online today, in advance of its publication in the Mar.

Louse genetics offer clues on human migrations
A new genetic analysis of human lice from across the world sheds light on the global spread of these parasites, their potential for disease transmission and insecticide resistance.

Cell sugar concentrations affect hyaluronan production and cancer growth
According to a recent University of Eastern Finland study, elevated cell sugar concentrations increase the production of hyaluronan which, in turn, promotes cancer growth.

'Rare, but still affecting 24 million of us': Royal Holloway puts spotlight on rare diseases
To mark Rare Disease Day 2013, Royal Holloway University is hosting an event today for secondary school pupils and the general public to learn more about rare, often inherited, diseases and highlight this important healthcare area with interactive and engaging activities.

What is the cost of rare diseases such as Friedreich's Ataxia?
What is the cost of rare diseases such as Friedreich's Ataxia?

Good bacteria may expunge vancomycin-resistant bacteria from your gut
Too much antibiotic can decimate the normal intestinal microbiota, which may never recover its former diversity.

Songbirds' brains coordinate singing with intricate timing
As a bird sings, some neurons in its brain prepare to make the next sounds while others are synchronized with the current notes--a coordination of physical actions and brain activity that is needed to produce complex movements.

Largest study of its kind reveals 5 major psychiatric disorders share common genetic risk factors
For the first time, scientists have discovered that five major psychiatric disorders -- autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia -- share several common genetic risk factors.

NASA's Aquarius sees salty shifts
The colorful images chronicle the seasonal stirrings of our salty world: Pulses of freshwater gush from the Amazon River's mouth; an invisible seam divides the salty Arabian Sea from the fresher waters of the Bay of Bengal; a large patch of freshwater appears in the eastern tropical Pacific in the winter.

Canadian adult obesity at historic high
Obesity rates across Canada are reaching alarming levels and continue to climb, according to a new University of British Columbia study.

Housing improvements should be targeted at those in poorest health
Improving housing can improve health, particularly when interventions are targeted at those in the poorest health, according to a systematic review published in the Cochrane Library.

A new anti-frost and anti-fog coating for glass
In an advance toward glass that remains clear under the harshest of conditions, scientists are reporting development of a new water-repellant coating that resists both fogging and frosting.

Swine cells could power artificial liver
Scientists are examining a line of

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

Crowd-sourced funding provides missing help for rare genetic diseases
Led by a Tel Aviv University researcher, the Israel branch of the Rare Genomics Institute is taking a novel approach to support for rare genetic diseases.

Promising breakthrough for transplant patients
A team led by Marie-Josée Hébert, University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, has discovered a new cause of organ rejection in some kidney transplant patients.

July meeting presents animal and dairy science
More than 3,000 animal and dairy scientists will meet in Indianapolis this summer for the 2013 ADSA-ASAS Joint Annual Meeting.

Former March of Dimes medical director honored for work to prevent birth defects
Former March of Dimes Medical Director Richard B. Johnston, Jr.

Scent of a coral: Symbiosis between 2 new barnacle species and a gorgonian host
Two new species of sessile barnacles were discovered in the waters of São Tomé and Príncipe in the Gulf of Guinea.

Reading the human genome
Berkeley Lab researchers have achieved a major advance in understanding how genetic information is transcribed from DNA to RNA by providing the first step-by-step look at the biomolecular machinery that reads the human genome.

Pessimism about the future may lead to longer, healthier life, research finds
Older people who have low expectations for a satisfying future may be more likely to live longer, healthier lives than those who see brighter days ahead, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Nottingham to pioneer food manufacturing and medical devices
How to meet the world's growing appetite for sustainable food production and how to create novel medical devices to improve healthcare are two of the biggest research priorities of the 21st century.

Research explores factors that impact adolescent mental health
Research indicates that half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, well before adulthood.

Famous fraud cases foster a revolution in photograph conservation research
Two fraud cases that sent shock waves through the world of photography are helping to trigger a revolution in photo conservation science, according to the cover story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News.

Lipid researcher, 98, reports on the dietary causes of heart disease
A 98-year-old researcher argues that, contrary to decades of clinical assumptions and advice to patients, dietary cholesterol is good for your heart -- unless that cholesterol is unnaturally oxidized (by frying foods in reused oil, eating lots of polyunsaturated fats, or smoking).

Bridging the gap: Hope that all meningitis strains will be vaccinated for
Scientists at the University of Southampton have taken a significant and important step in keeping people safe from the most common form of meningitis in the UK.

Study: Same-sex cohabitors less healthy than those in heterosexual marriages
Same-sex cohabitors report worse health than people of the same socioeconomic status who are in heterosexual marriages, according to a new study, which may provide fuel for gay marriage proponents.

Brandeis University study finds public policy, institutional barriers are pushing racial wealth gap
New research shows the dramatic gap in household wealth that now exists along racial lines in the United States cannot solely be attributed to personal ambition and behavioral choices, but rather reflects policies and institutional practices that create different opportunities for whites and African-Americans.

Every degree fall in winter air temperature equals 1 percent drop in ambulance response time
Every one degree fall in outside air temperature during the winter corresponds to a drop in ambulance response time of more than one percent, reveals research published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

Unlocking fuel cell conductivity
Yttria stabilized zirconia, also known as YSZ, is a material of great interest because of its relatively high oxygen-ion based conductivity.

Discovery opens door to multipronged attack against skin common cancer, Stanford study shows
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a second way to block the activity of the signaling cascade, called the Hedgehog pathway, that is abnormally active in a common type of skin cancer.

IU discovery on animal memory opens doors to research on memory impairment diseases
A study newly published in the journal Current Biology offers the first evidence of source memory in a nonhuman animal.

Contaminated diet contributes to phthalate and bisphenol A exposure
Phthalates and bisphenol A are synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Previous studies have linked prenatal exposure to phthalates to male reproductive system abnormalities.
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