Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 06, 2013
New grant expands beach water research at Presque Isle State Park
Mercyhurst University has received a new grant to augment its ongoing research of emerging contaminants in the recreational waters of Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park.

Navy creates iPad app for managing stress and fending off PTSD
The Office of Naval Research, in conjunction with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is sponsoring development of the Stress Resilience Training System, an iPad app training program that teaches Sailors and Marines to understand their stress responses and manage them by learning biofeedback techniques that work for their individual needs.

UTHealth researchers find industrial chemicals in food samples
Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have discovered phthalates, industrial chemicals, in common foods purchased in the United States.

Breaking the rules for how tsunamis work
Until now, it was largely believed that the maximum tsunami height onshore could not exceed the depth of the seafloor.

Some brain cells are better virus fighters
Natural immune defenses that resist viral infection are turned on in some brain cells but switched off in others, scientists have learned.

Springer adds 10 new clinical review journals
Ten new quarterly clinical review journals will be added to Springer's existing portfolio of medicine titles, starting this month.

Bank card identifies cardholder
From the gas station to the department store -- paying for something without cash is commonplace.

'Prevent death' message more effective than 'save life' in blood donation campaigns
Subtle changes in messaging can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of charitable messages such as calls for blood donations, according to research published Mar.

Protein lost in tumors blocks normal cells from being reprogrammed into stem cells
Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered that a particular protein prevents normal cells from being reprogrammed into cells that resemble stem cells, providing new insight into how they may lose their plasticity during normal development.

Deep Brain Stimulation shows promise for patients with chronic, treatment resistant Anorexia Nervosa
In a world first, a team of researchers at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre and the University Health Network have shown that Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in patients with chronic, severe and treatment-resistant Anorexia Nervosa (anorexia) helps some patients achieve and maintain improvements in body weight, mood, and anxiety.

Distance to nearest galaxy measured
A team of astronomers including Carnegie's Ian Thompson have managed to improve the measurement of the distance to our nearest neighbor galaxy and, in the process, refine an astronomical calculation that helps measure the expansion of the universe.

Scientists discover distant relatives of gardeners' friend
In a new article published in the Journal of Paleontology, two paleontologists, including one from Simon Fraser University, describe the most diverse group of fossilized green lacewing insects known.

Salt identified as autoimmune trigger
For the past few decades, health officials have been reporting increases in the incidence of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

CSI: Milky Way
There is growing evidence that several million years ago the center of the Milky Way galaxy was site of all manner of celestial fireworks and a pair of astronomers from Vanderbilt and Georgia Institute of Technology propose that a single event -- a black hole collision -- can explain all the

Majority of Albertans support assisted suicide: UAlberta study
University of Alberta research gauges public opinion about assisted suicide as part of an ongoing legal, moral and health policy discussion in Canada.

Fossil CSI: Prehistoric clues to oil, environment revealed
More than 200 delegates from around the world will assemble at the University of Houston Mar.

Circuitry of cells involved in immunity, autoimmune diseases exposed
New work from the Broad Institute's Klarman Cell Observatory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University, MIT, and Yale University expands the understanding of how Th17 cells develop, and how their growth influences the development of immune responses.

Monell scientists help identify a missing link in taste perception
Working with a multidisciplinary consortium of 19 researchers from nine institutions, Monell scientists have provided critical information to identify CALHM1, a channel in the walls of taste receptor cells, as a necessary component in the process of sweet, bitter, and umami (savory) taste perception.

Portion of hippocampus found to play role in modulating anxiety
Columbia University Medical Center researchers have found the first evidence that selective activation of the dentate gyrus, a portion of the hippocampus, can reduce anxiety without affecting learning.

Killing cancer cells with acid reflux
A University of Central Florida chemist has come up with a unique way to kill certain cancer cells -- give them acid reflux.

UTHealth researchers report prevalence of sexting among minority youth
Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have found that up to 30 percent of minority youths reported sending or receiving

Mayo Clinic aids discovery of first dystonia gene found in African-Americans
A pair of studies tells the tale of how a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida helped to discover the first African-American family to have inherited the rare movement disorder dystonia, which causes repetitive muscle contractions and twisting, resulting in abnormal posture.

Second-largest physician group in US brings annual scientific meeting to San Francisco
Nation's largest annual gathering of doctors for adults offers the latest prevention, treatment, and practice advice for adult and adolescent health care.

1 region, 2 functions: Brain cells' multitasking key to understanding overall brain function
A region of the brain known to play a key role in visual and spatial processing has a parallel function: sorting visual information into categories.

Solving the 'Cocktail Party Problem': How we can focus on 1 speaker in noisy crowds
In the din of a crowded room, paying attention to just one speaker's voice can be challenging.

Siberian fossil revealed to be one of the oldest known domestic dogs
Analysis of DNA extracted from a fossil tooth recovered in southern Siberia confirms that the tooth belonged to one of the oldest known ancestors of the modern dog, and is described in research published March 6 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Anna Druzhkova from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Russian Federation, and colleagues from other institutions.

Iowa State engineers developing ideas, technologies to save the Earth from asteroids
Iowa State University's Bong Wie is leading a team that is developing a system to protect the planet from asteroid strikes.

Wide disparities in access to latest rheumatoid arthritis drugs across Europe
The cost of one year's treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with new generation drugs is more than the per capita gross domestic product of 26 European countries, reveals research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Visceral fat causally linked to intestinal cancer
The loss of fat by surgical removal or a calorie-restricted diet reduced the likelihood of developing intestinal tumors.

New reports: African governments giving land away quickly, recognizing land rights slowly
While African governments are moving gradually towards protecting the land rights of rural people and indigenous communities, they are moving quickly to give away community forests and other lands for development.

Researchers discover workings of brain's 'GPS system'
A new study from researchers at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity pro­vides evi­dence for how the brain determines the body's location as it moves through its surroundings.

'Pacemaker' for the brain could help severely anorexic patients for whom all other treatment has failed
Scientists have for the first time used a neurosurgical implant safely in six patients with severe and enduring anorexia who had not responded to any existing treatments, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Folate and vitamin B12 reduce disabling schizophrenia symptoms in some patients
Adding the dietary supplements folate and vitamin B12 to treatment with antipsychotic medication improved a core symptom component of schizophrenia in a study of more than 100 patients.

Governors of Ancient Egypt suffered from malnutrition dying before they were 30 years old
After analyzing more than 200 mummies and skeletons found in tomb no.

Benefit of PET or PET/CT in bone and soft tissue tumors is not proven
Because of a lack of conclusive studies, it can currently not be assessed how helpful positron emission tomography alone or in combination with computed tomography is for patients with bone and soft tissue tumours.

Penn Medicine physician: Emphasis on 'value' in health care reform sends mixed messages
The wide consensus that health care spending poses a threat to the nation's fiscal solvency has led to the championing of

GSA Meeting: Hydraulic fracturing, digital technologies, and the impact of Hurricane Sandy
Geoscientists from across the northeastern US and beyond will convene in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, on 18-20 March to celebrate GSA's 125th Anniversary and discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the unique geologic and historic features of the region.

Use it or lose it
Researchers provide specific pre-clinical scientific evidence supporting the concept that prolonged and intensive stimulation by an enriched environment, especially regular exposure to new activities, may have beneficial effects in delaying one of the key negative factors in Alzheimer's disease.

Curtains down for the black hole firewall paradox
Research by scientists at the University of York has revealed new insights into the life and death of black holes.

Scientists at A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore catch evolving germs and cancer cells early
Scientists at A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore have developed a novel technique to precisely monitor and study the evolution of micro-organisms such as viruses and bacteria.

A new cryptic spider species from Africa
A revision of the cryptic, ground-dwelling spider genus Copa for the continental Afrotropical Region adds a new species to the genus, but altogether reduces the number of species in the region from four to two.

Pancakes with a side of math
The mechanisms behind sap exudation in sugar maple trees -- processes that trigger pressure differences causing sap to flow -- are a topic of much debate.

Processed meat linked to premature death

In a huge study of half a million men and women, research in Biomed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine demonstrates an association between processed meat and cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Federal figures miss most work-related amputations
A new report from Michigan State University and the Michigan Department of Community Health raises significant concerns about the federal government's system for tracking work-related injuries.

Spot the difference -- oranges and lemons
A computer recognition system that is 99% accurate can identify different fruits and vegetables, even the particular strain of apples or plums, for instance.

Origin of aggressive ovarian cancer discovered
Cornell University researchers have discovered a likely origin of epithelial ovarian cancer (ovarian carcinoma), the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States.

Internet searches can identify drug safety issues well ahead of public alerts
Internet searches on health symptoms can be used to identify drug side effects and could be used to develop a new kind of early warning system to boost drug safety, indicates a study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Short bouts of exercise boost self control
Short bouts of moderately intense exercise seem to boost self control, indicates an analysis of the published evidence in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Human brain treats prosthetic devices as part of the body
The human brain can learn to treat relevant prosthetics as a substitute for a non-working body part, according to research published Mar.

New clues to causes of peripheral nerve damage
Although peripheral neuropathies afflict some 20 million Americans, their underlying causes are not completely understood.

How birds of different feathers flock together
New research from the Universities of Cambridge and Exeter reveals for the first time that, contrary to current models used to explain the movement of flocks, the differences between bird species and social relationships between individuals play a critical role in determining the dynamics of mixed-species flocks.

Study identifies new risk factor for heart disease among kidney dialysis patients
Although dialysis therapy has improved the life expectancy for people with kidney failure, the risk of sudden heart failure remains higher than average for these patients.

New study detects deadly fungus in Southeast Asia's amphibian trade
A team of scientists led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National University of Singapore, revealed in a new study, for the first time, the presence of the pathogenic chytrid fungus in amphibians sampled in Singapore.

Bats not bothered by forest fires, study finds
A survey of bat activity in burned and unburned areas after a major wildfire in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains found no evidence of detrimental effects on bats one year after the fire.

Measuring the universe more accurately than ever before
After nearly a decade of observations a team of astronomers has measured the distance to our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, more accurately than ever.

HIV therapy just got easier: Fewer drugs may be needed for treatment-experienced patients
A new multi-site study reveals patients with drug-resistant HIV can safely achieve viral suppression -- the primary goal of HIV therapy -- without incorporating the traditional class of HIV medications into their treatment regimen.

International study: Excess dietary salt may drive the development of autoimmune diseases
Increased dietary salt intake can induce a group of aggressive immune cells that are involved in triggering and sustaining autoimmune diseases.

NJIT new patent awards: Orthogonal space time codes, decoding data transmissions
Two new patents to improve orthogonal space time codes and decode data transmissions of space time spreading were recently awarded to NJIT Distinguished Professor Yeheskel Bar-Ness, executive director of the Elisha Yegal Bar-Ness Center for Wireless Communications and Signal Processing Research.

Star-shaped glial cells act as the brain's 'motherboard'
Tel Aviv University researchers have found that the star-shape glial cells that act as the brain's

How to predict the progress of technology
MIT researcher finds Moore's Law and Wright's Law best predict how technology improves.

Researchers explain a key developmental mechanism for the first time in plants
In simple animals like the fruit fly and more recently in plants and mammals, scientists have been able to identify some of the principal players in the developmental symphony.

Study finds risk of brain damage in college football players, even among those without concussions
Researchers at Cleveland Clinic and the University of Rochester have found that football players may suffer long-term brain changes even in the absence of concussion.

A sausage a day is too many
Anyone who eats over 40 grams a day of sausage products or other kinds of processed meat is asking for trouble: The risk of mortality increases by 18 percent for every 50 grams of processed meat per day.

'I sold my kidney... to repay the loans'
Selling a kidney or part of one's liver to pay off loans is becoming increasingly common in Bangladesh, where desperate villagers are being exploited by human organ traffickers, a Michigan State University researcher has found.

How the body's energy molecule transmits 3 types of taste to the brain
A team of investigators from nine institutions discovered how ATP -- the body's main fuel source -- is released as the neurotransmitter from sweet, bitter, and umami, or savory, taste bud cells.

Scientists improve transgenic 'Enviropigs'
A new line of transgenic pigs can digest phosphorus more efficiently.

First in-depth deer census highlights need for increased culls
Current approaches to deer management are failing to control a serious and growing problem, according to new research by the University of East Anglia, in the UK.

'Healthier hormones' through diet and exercise
Weight loss -- by dietary changes alone or combined with physical exercise -- has a positive impact on the production of adipose tissue hormones: Adipose tissue produces less leptin but, instead, more adiponectin, which counteracts diabetes and cancer.

Hidden layer of genome unveils how plants may adapt to environments throughout the world
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified patterns of epigenomic diversity that not only allow plants to adapt to various environments, but could also benefit crop production and the study of human diseases.

Involving other providers in palliative care may help meet growing demand
As baby-boomers age and the number of people with serious chronic illnesses rises, demand for experts in palliative medicine is sure to outstrip supply.

Biomarkers may help predict progression of Barrett's esophagus to esophageal adenocarcinoma
Expression of most microRNAs was similar between the two conditions.

People with MS-related memory and attention problems have signs of extensive brain damage
People with multiple sclerosis who have cognitive problems, or problems with memory, attention, and concentration, have more damage to areas of the brain involved in cognitive processes than people with MS who do not have cognitive problems, according to a study published in the March 6, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

UGA researchers shed light on ancient origin of life
University of Georgia researchers discovered important genetic clues about the history of microorganisms called archaea and the origins of life itself in the first ever study of its kind.

Flip of a single molecular switch makes an old brain young
The flip of a single molecular switch helps create the mature neuronal connections that allow the brain to bridge the gap between adolescent impressionability and adult stability.

Study pinpoints, prevents stress-induced drug relapse in rats
In a new study in Neuron, scientists identified specific key steps in the chain of events that causes stress-related drug relapse.

Ketchup turns somersaults
Blood, paint or ketchup are complex liquids composed of several different components.

Study focuses on dating violence in Texas public schools
Texas was the first state in the nation to mandate school policies on dating violence, but it still has some work to do in protecting victims and addressing consequences for the crime, according to a study by the Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University.

FIK and Tecnalia design an emergency immobilizer for accident victims
The Centre for Applied Research Tecnalia Research & Innovation has through its FIK initiative designed Varstiff, a smart textile material that can adopt different shapes; when vacuum is applied to it, it turns rigid once again and achieves hardness equivalent to that of a conventional plastic.

Study finds sexual health services for rural Latino men could be improved
A new study based on in-depth interviews of rural Latino men in western Oregon finds that these men need sexual health services designed for their needs, including more male health providers, more convenient clinic hours, and Spanish-speaking doctors.

Circuitry of cells involved in immunity, autoimmune diseases exposed
New work from the Broad Institute's Klarman Cell Observatory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University, MIT, and Yale University expands the understanding of how one type of immune cell -- known as a T helper 17 or Th17 cell -- develops, and how its growth influences the development of immune responses.

INRS overcomes a hurdle in the development of terahertz lasers
Dr. Roberto Morandotti and his team at the INRS Energie MatEriaux Telecommunications Research Centre have developed a device that is critical to the use of terahertz sources for a variety of applications.

Feinstein Institute researcher discovers new protein regulator of taste
In a search for new proteins involved in the progression of Alzheimer's disease, Philippe Marambaud, Ph.D., an investigator in the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease at the Feinstein Institute, discovered the protein calcium homeostasis modulator 1 (CALHM1) in 2008.

Schizophrenia: A disorder of neurodevelopment and accelerated aging?
Many lines of evidence indicate that schizophrenia is a disorder of neurodevelopment.

Improving electronics by solving nearly century-old problem
A University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering professor and a team of researchers published a paper today that shows how they solved an almost century-old problem that could further help downscale the size of electronic devices.

Family intervention improves mood symptoms in children and adolescents at risk for bipolar disorder
A study published in the February 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that children and adolescents with major depression or subthreshold forms of bipolar disorder -- and who had at least one first-degree relative with bipolar disorder -- responded better to a 12-session family-focused treatment than to a briefer educational treatment.

Startup using U of M tech to manufacture key industrial chemicals from renewable sources
Startup Ascenix BioTechnologies will perfect and commercialize production methods to synthesize chemicals from renewable feedstocks.

Study: Brain injury may be autoimmune phenomenon, like multiple sclerosis
A new study suggests that brain injury from repeat blows to the head - observed among football players and soldiers - might not be a traumatic phenomenon, but an autoimmune phenomenon. 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