Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 27, 2013
TGen and Scottsdale Healthcare help test cancer drug in clinical trial leading to FDA approval
The FDA has approved a thyroid cancer drug successfully tested at Virginia G.

HIV sufferers need hepatitis safeguards
Stronger protections are needed to prevent people with HIV from also becoming infected with hepatitis, researchers argue in a new study led by Michigan State University.

Restrictive Medicaid eligibility criteria associated with higher rates of delayed medical care
Effective health screening and preventive care is known to reduce health care costs and improve health outcomes, yet new research from Brigham and Women's Hospital shows that restrictive Medicaid policies are associated with patients delaying needed medical care due to cost.

C. diff infection risk rises with antihistamine use to treat stomach acid, Mayo Clinic finds
Patients receiving antihistamines to suppress stomach acid are at greater risk of infection from Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, a common cause of diarrhea, particularly in health care settings, Mayo Clinic researchers have found.

NRL develops polymer nanofibers for chemical and biological decontamination
Scientists in the Applied Concepts in Materials Section of the Chemistry Division are developing unique systems aimed at the spontaneous decontamination of a variety of materials capable of neutralizing chemical and biological agents.

Study finds anti-smoking drug improves smokers' chances of stopping
Varenicline reduces depressive mood, craving and reward value of cigarettes when smokers attempt to quit.

How to build a very large star
A group of researchers led by two astronomers at the University of Toronto suggests that baby stars may grow to great mass if they happen to be born within a corral of older stars -- with these surrounding stars favorably arranged to confine and thus feed gas to the younger ones in their midst.

Pioneering research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy secures commercial funding
Royal Holloway University is giving money generated by its research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

Diverse bacteria on fresh fruits, vegetables vary with produce type, farming practices
Fresh fruit and vegetables carry an abundance of bacteria on their surfaces, not all of which cause disease.

How does innovation take hold in a community? Math modeling can provide clues
Mathematical models can be used to study the spread of technological innovations among individuals connected to each other by a network of peer-to-peer influences, such as in a physical community or neighborhood.

Sea hares outsmart peckish lobsters with sticky opaline
Sea hares don't like being eaten. To ward off attacks from peckish lobsters they squirt the attackers with purple ink and a whitish substance called opaline.

Cold cities less sustainable than warm cities, research suggests
Living in colder climates in the US is more energy demanding than living in warmer climates.

Environmental enrichment important factor impacting cell transplantation and brain repair
Researchers investigating whether

Getting under the shell of the turtle genome
The genome of the western painted turtle one of the most widespread, abundant and well-studied turtles in the world, is published this week in Genome Biology.

Tarsiers' bulging eyes shed light on evolution of human vision
After eons of wandering in the dark, primates developed highly acute, three-color vision that permitted them to shift to daytime living, a new Dartmouth College study suggests.

New fossil species from a fish-eat-fish world when limbed animals evolved
Scientists who famously discovered the lobe-finned fish fossil Tiktaalik roseae, a species with some of the clearest evidence of the evolutionary transition from fish to limbed animals, have described another new species of predatory fossil lobe-finned fish fish from the same time and place.

Unique study reveals genetic 'spelling mistakes' that increase the risk of common cancers
More than 80 genetic 'spelling mistakes' that can increase the risk of breast, prostate and ovarian cancer have been found in a large, international research study within the framework of the EU Network COGS.

Moffitt researchers analyze HPV vaccination disparities among girls from low-income families
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues at the University of Florida studied health care providers to determine the factors associated with disparities in Human Papillomavirus vaccination among girls, ages nine to 17, from low-income families.

Novel gene drives development of different types of ovarian cancer, Mayo-led study finds
Researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have identified a novel gene that can contribute to a woman's susceptibility for developing ovarian cancer.

New insights into how genes turn on and off
Researchers at UC Davis and the University of British Columbia have shed new light on methylation, a critical process that helps control how genes are expressed.

Kessler Foundation scientist receives National MS Society grant for predictors of memory decline
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society awarded Victoria Leavitt, Ph.D., a $619,618 grant to study predictors of memory decline in MS.

Sex discrimination begins in the womb
Women in India are more likely to get prenatal care when pregnant with boys, according to groundbreaking research that has implications for girls' health and survival.

An international study identifies new DNA variants that increase the risk for cancer
The European Collaborative Oncological Gen-Environmental Study project, whose main goal is to decipher the complex genetic bases of breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, publishes today a total of 12 research articles in several prestigious journals, including Nature Genetics, Nature Communications, The American Journal of Human Genetics and PLOS Genetics.

Joint air toxics research project among tribes, agencies recognized for partnership
The Joint Air Toxics Assessment Project was awarded a 2013 National Environmental Excellence Award. by the National Association of Environmental Professionals for partnerships.

University of Tennessee professor discovers how microbes survive at bare minimum
Beneath the ocean floor is a desolate place with no oxygen and sunlight.

Mount Sinai leads global program using stem cells to accelerate cures for Alzheimer's disease
Sam Gandy, M.D., Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is leading an international team of researchers working to reprogram skin cells into brain cells to gain a better understanding of Alzheimer's disease.

Cervical cancer: DNA-based test more accurate than repeat smear ('Pap')
In women who have a potentially or mildly abnormal cervical smear, using a DNA-based test can identify those at higher risk of having precursors of cervical cancer, according to a new Cochrane systematic review.

Virtual games help the blind navigate unknown territory
On Mar. 27th, Journal of Visualized Experiments will publish a new video article by Dr.

Transmission routes of spreading protein particles
A new study on cell cultures gives insights into the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases.

How herpesvirus invades nervous system
Northwestern Medicine scientists have identified a component of the herpesvirus that

Diabetes: Computer based interventions provide limited support
Self-management interventions delivered by computer and mobile phone currently provide limited benefits for people with diabetes, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

Number of cancer survivors expected to increase to 18 million by 2022
The current number of cancer survivors is 13.7 million. The increase is primarily due to aging of the population.

Seeing happiness in ambiguous facial expressions reduces aggressive behavior
Encouraging young people at high-risk of criminal offending and delinquency to see happiness rather than anger in facial expressions results in a decrease in their levels of anger and aggression, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Sun block for the 'Big Dog'
Astronomers detect titanium oxide and titanium dioxide around the giant star VY Canis Majoris.

UCLA physicists' technique for cooling molecules may be a stepping stone to quantum computing
At the heart of next-generation computers may be a collection of ultracold molecules held at temperatures a mere fraction of a degree above absolute zero.

Ultrafine particles raise concerns about improved cookstoves
A new study raises concerns about possible health impacts of very small particles of soot released from the

Fewer children mean longer life?
New research into aging processes, based on modern genetic techniques, confirms theoretical expectations about the correlation between reproduction and lifespan.

4 cells turn seabed microbiology upside down
With DNA from just four cells, researchers reveal how some of the world's most abundant organisms play a key role in carbon cycling in the seabed.

Why sticking around is sometimes the better choice
Researchers from Lund University, Yale University and the University of Oxford have been able to give an answer to why cuckolded males in many species still provide paternal care.

America: Time to shake the salt habit?
Dr. Ted Kotchen at the Medical College of Wisconsin has written a review paper summarizing data linking excessive sodium intake to increased rates of hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Quebec researcher catches DNA 'spelling mistakes' linked to breast cancer
Working with an international consortium conducting research on breast, ovarian and prostate cancer among 200,000 people, Professor Jacques Simard, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Oncogenetics at Laval University, was actively involved in the discovery of DNA

Scientists awarded special collaborative grant to develop anti-addiction medication
As part of an unprecedented national effort to develop new drugs to treat neurological disorders, scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have been awarded an innovative grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to help people break their addiction to nicotine.

The first caffeine-'addicted' bacteria
Some people may joke about living on caffeine, but scientists now have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to do that -- literally.

Childhood asthma tied to combination of genes and wheezing illness
About 90 percent of children with two copies of a common genetic variation and who wheezed when they caught a cold early in life developed asthma by age six.

Insect pests more plentiful in hotter parts of city than in cooler areas
Higher temperatures in cities can be a key driver of insect pest outbreaks on trees in urban areas, according to research published March 27 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Emily Meineke from North Carolina State University and colleagues from other institutions.

New centers will lead to enhanced geriatric social work training
The Hartford/GSA National Center on Gerontological Social Work Excellence has chosen the Boston College and the University of Michigan as the locations of the first two Hartford Academic Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work.

Just 'weight' until menopause
Women tend to carry excess fat in their hips and thighs, while men tend to carry it on their stomachs.

Higher birthweight and early life growth spurts protect against chronic diseases in later life
New research published Online First in The Lancet suggests that although children in low- and middle-income countries who undergo fast weight gain after mid-childhood are at higher risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases in later life, higher birthweight and rapid growth in body length during the first two years of life are likely to lead to substantial improvements in height and levels of schooling.

Stressful life events may increase stillbirth risk, NIH network study finds
Pregnant women who experienced financial, emotional, or other personal stress in the year before their delivery had an increased chance of having a stillbirth, say researchers who conducted a National Institutes of Health network study.

Dana-Farber Scientists find potential loophole in pancreatic cancer defenses
Dana-Farber scientists have found that pancreatic cancer cells' growth and spread are fueled by an unusual metabolic pathway that someday might be blocked with targeted drugs to control the deadly cancer.

5 genetic variations increase risk of ovarian cancer
An international research collaboration has found five new regions of the human genome that are linked to increased risks for developing ovarian cancer.

University of Maryland breast cancer research pioneer Dr. Angela Brodie named AACR Academy Fellow
Angela H. Brodie, Ph.D., a University of Maryland scientist whose research paved the way for a new class of drugs widely used to treat breast cancer patients around the world, has been selected by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) as a fellow of the newly created AACR Academy.

New DNA sequences hone in on breast, ovarian cancer risk: Mayo Clinic
Researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have identified new DNA sequences associated with breast cancer -- the most common cancer among women, with an average risk of developing the disease of 10 percent -- and ovarian cancer, the most common cause of death from gynecological cancers in the U.S.

Genetics might determine which smokers get hooked
Researchers have identified genetic risk factors that may accelerate a teen's progression to becoming a lifelong heavy smoker.

Scripps scientists image deep magma beneath Pacific seafloor volcano
Since the plate tectonics revolution of the 1960s, scientists have known that new seafloor is created throughout the major ocean basins at linear chains of volcanoes known as mid-ocean ridges.

Forced methadone withdrawal in jails creates barrier to treatment in community
New research from the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, a collaboration of the Miriam Hospital and Brown University, offers some insight on the consequences of these mandatory withdrawal policies.

A new way to lose weight?
New research, conducted by scientists at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, has found that the gut microbes of mice underwent drastic changes following gastric bypass surgery.

Proteins in detail
IRB Barcelona scientists pave the way towards describing the conformation of proteins that do not have a defined structure.

New bone survey method could aid long-term survival of Arctic caribou
A study co-authored by a University of Florida scientist adds critical new data for understanding caribou calving grounds in an area under consideration for oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

New test for skin sensitization without using animals
In an advance in efforts to reduce the use of animals in testing new cosmetic and other product ingredients for skin allergies, scientists are describing a new, highly accurate non-animal test for these skin-sensitizers.

RIT researchers develop advanced video and image processing
Rapid developments in satellite and sensor technologies have increased the availability of high-resolution, remotely sensed images faster than researchers can process and analyze the data manually.

5 from MD Anderson among first inaugurated to AACR Academy
Fidler, Hong, Kripke, Mendelsohn and Strong earn cancer research group's new honor.

Poultry probiotic cuts its coat to beat bad bacteria
A strain of probiotic bacteria that can fight harmful bacterial infections in poultry has the ability to change its coat, according to new findings from the Institute of Food Research.

New type of solar structure cools buildings in full sunlight
A Stanford team has designed an entirely new form of cooling panel that works even when the sun is shining.

Telling tales can be a good thing
The act of talking is not an area where ability is usually considered along gender lines.

SIAM/ASA Journal on Uncertainty Quantification launches
The newest journal from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, SIAM/ASA Journal on Uncertainty Quantification, launched today with its first seven papers publishing online to Volume 1.

Do intellectual property rights on existing technologies hinder subsequent innovation?
A recent study published in the Journal of Political Economy suggests that some types of intellectual property rights discourage subsequent scientific research.

Missed opportunities to help smokers with mental illness
Although smoking prevalence has declined in the United Kingdom over recent decades, it has changed little among people with mental health disorders, remaining substantially higher than the national average.

Papuan phonebook helps scientists describe 101 new beetle species
More than 100 new species of the beetle genus Trigonopterus have been described from the wilderness of New Guinea.

Researchers successfully map fountain of youth
In collaboration with an international research team, University of Copenhagen researchers have for the first time mapped telomerase, an enzyme which has a kind of rejuvenating effect on normal cell aging.

New sensor cable enables remote monitoring of miles of perimeter fencing
Scientists from Saarland University have developed a new sensor cable which enables remote monitoring of miles of perimeter fencing.

Better-educated parents feed children fewer fats and less sugar
The level of education of parents has an influence on the frequency with which their children eat foods linked to obesity.

Prebiotics: Do supplements in baby formula help prevent allergies?
Prebiotic supplements in infant formula may help to prevent eczema, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

SAGE to publish the South African Journal of Psychology
SAGE has begun a partnership with the Psychological Society of South Africa, to publish its flagship journal the South African Journal of Psychology.

National Science Board announces recipient of 2013 Public Service Award
The National Science Board has announced that accomplished educator Jo Anne Vasquez is the recipient of its 2013 Public Service Award for an individual.

Certain breast cancers have a trait that could be attacked by new therapies
The odds of developing breast cancer increase for women taking hormone replacement therapy to avoid the effects of menopause.

Penn linguistics researchers document Philadelphia's shift to a Northern accent
A new study by University of Pennsylvania linguists shows that the Philadelphia accent has changed in the last century.

New system to restore wetlands could reduce massive floods, aid crops
Engineers have developed a new interactive system to create networks of small wetlands in Midwest farmlands, which could help the region prevent massive spring floods and also retain water and mitigate droughts in a warming climate.

Riding the exosome shuttle from neuron to muscle
Important new research from UMass Medical School demonstrates how exosomes shuttle proteins from neurons to muscle cells where they take part in critical signaling mechanisms, an exciting discovery that means these tiny vehicles could one day be loaded with therapeutic agents, such as RNA interference, and directly target disease-carrying cells.

CU study provides new evidence ancient asteroid caused global firestorm on Earth
A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth's species, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

The hunt for a successor to lithium for bipolar disorder
Toxicity problems and adverse side effects when taking lithium, the mainstay medication for treating bipolar disorder, are fostering a scientific hunt for insights into exactly how lithium works in the body -- with an eye to developing a safer alternative.

Dusting for prints from a fossil fish to understand evolutionary change
In 370 million-year-old red sandstone deposits in a highway roadcut, scientists have discovered a new species of armored fish in north central Pennsylvania.

New DNA test identifies ingredients in foods
Almost all foodstuffs contain the genetic material of those animal and plant species that were used in their preparation.

Link between faster 'biological' aging and risk of developing age-related diseases
An international team of scientists led by the University of Leicester has found new evidence that links faster

Understanding Earth processes and human impacts, plus another look at Mars
New Geology articles cover using the architecture of ancient lava-fed deltas to estimate paleo-water levels and past ice thicknesses; bubbles and bubble haloes in lava; iron-silicate microgranules; the importance of durable, biomineralized hard parts; the link between wastewater disposal and earthquakes; shells, ocean pH, and atmospheric CO2; a SWEET hypothesis for mound-building on Mars; marine oxygenation may have preceded oxygenation on land; analysis of fossil plant tissues from Pakistan; and imaging the Transition fault.

Summer melt season is getting longer on the Antarctic Peninsula, new research shows.
New research from the Antarctic Peninsula shows that the summer melt season has been getting longer over the last 60 years.

Pinning down the pain
An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, says a key protein in Schwann cells performs a critical, perhaps overarching, role in regulating the recovery of peripheral nerves after injury.

Imaging methodology reveals nano details not seen before
A team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles and Northwestern University has produced 3-D images and videos of a tiny platinum nanoparticle at atomic resolution that reveal new details of defects in nanomaterials that have not been seen before.

What's between a slip and a slide?
Tennis players can adapt their movement/playing style in response to subtle differences in court constructions, according to new research by engineers at the University of Sheffield.

Cancer biologists find DNA-damaging toxins in common plant-based foods
In a laboratory study pairing food chemistry and cancer biology, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center tested the potentially harmful effect of foods and flavorings on the DNA of cells.

Eating disorders, muscle dysmorphia, and self-perceived masculinity
Self perceived masculinity is higher in men with muscle dysmorphia, popularly called

Researchers discover primary role of the olivocochlear efferent system
New research from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology may have discovered a key piece in the puzzle of how hearing works by identifying the role of the olivocochlear efferent system in protecting ears from hearing loss.

Pesticide combination affects bees' ability to learn
Two new studies have highlighted a negative impact on bees' ability to learn following exposure to a combination of pesticides commonly used in agriculture.

Changes in gastrointestinal microbes may produce some benefits of gastric bypass
Changes in the gastrointestinal microbial organisms population may underlie some of the benefits of gastric bypass surgery, reports a team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University.

IDIBELL licenses Histocell, a patent for acute respiratory diseases with stem cells
The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute has signed a licensing agreement with the Spanish biotech company Histocell to make use of a patent for the treatment of acute pulmonary diseases with mesenchymal stem cells.

EEG identifies seizures in hospital patients, UCSF study finds
Electroencephalogram, which measures and records electrical activity in the brain, is a quick and efficient way of determining whether seizures are the cause of altered mental status and spells, according to a study by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco.

UCSB summit draws key leaders to discuss innovations in energy efficiency science and technology
Leaders in research, entrepreneurs, and key policymakers from industry, academia, and government will convene at the 2013 Summit on Energy Efficiency, May 1-2, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Kidney stone surgery: More women, more complications with minimally invasive procedure
While the number of people - especially women - who have a minimally invasive procedure to remove kidney stones has risen in recent years, so has the rate of complications related to the surgery, according to a published study by Henry Ford Hospital.

Michigan Tech researcher slashes optics laboratory costs
Joshua Pearce has introduced a library of open-source, 3-D-printable optics components that can slash the cost of equipping a lab.

Graduate student wins award for designing safer schools
Cody J. Wortham, a graduate of Sam Houston State University's Security Studies Department, won an international award from the American Society for Industrial Security Foundation for his research on improving security at schools through low-cost, low-tech architectural design.

New research looks at novel ways to combat drug resistance
University of Southampton biological scientists are leading a major research project aimed at making drugs more effective.

Hot flashes? Active days bring better nights
Getting a good night's sleep isn't always easy for women at menopause.

Young, hot and blue
This pretty sprinkling of bright blue stars is the cluster NGC 2547, a group of recently formed stars in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sail).

Blowing in the wind: How accurate is thermography of horses' legs?
Recent work by Simone Westermann at the Vetmeduni Vienna shows that infrared thermography, used to investigate the cause of lameness in horses, is surprisingly tolerant of variation in the position of the equipment.

Lunar cycle determines hunting behavior of nocturnal gulls
Swallow-tailed gulls hunt most often under a new moon, when fish come to the surface under the cover of darkness.

Human emotion: We report our feelings in 3-D
Like it or not and despite the surrounding debate of its merits, 3-D is the technology du jour for movie-making in Hollywood.

The placodonts are fellow Europeans
Placodonts were among the first marine reptiles. With their trademark crushing teeth, they fed on shellfish and crustaceans.

Penn engineers enable 'bulk' silicon to emit visible light for the first time
Electronic computing speeds are brushing up against limits imposed by the laws of physics.

Moffitt Researchers help lead international efforts that find new genetic links to ovarian cancer
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, including Center Director Thomas A.

Controversial worm keeps its position as the progenitor of mankind
Researchers are arguing about whether or not the Xenoturbella bocki worm is the progenitor of mankind.

York scientists discover driving force behind prostate cancer
Scientists at the University of York have discovered the driving force behind the development of prostate cancer.

Better than X-rays: A more powerful terahertz imaging system
Low-energy terahertz radiation could potentially enable doctors to see deep into tissues without the damaging effects of X-rays, or allow security guards to identify chemicals in a package without opening it.

How hard is it to 'de-anonymize' cellphone data?
A new formula that characterizes the privacy afforded by large, aggregate data sets may be discouraging, but could help sharpen policy discussion.

Magnetic fingerprints of interface defects in silicon solar cells detected
Using a highly sensitive method of measurement, HZB physicists have managed to localize defects in amorphous/crystalline silicon heterojunction solar cells. 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