Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 02, 2013
Tiny octopus-like microorganisms named after science fiction monsters: UBC research
University of British Columbia researchers have discovered two new symbionts living in the gut of termites, and taken the unusual step of naming them after fictional monsters created by American horror author HP Lovecraft.

New BRAIN initiative announced at White House
The Kavli Foundation applauds today's launch by President Obama of his Administration's ambitious research effort to understand the brain by deciphering the brain's activity that gives rise to our perceptions, our experiences and our consciousness.

Gynecomastia has psychological impact on adolescent boys, reports plastic and reconstructive surgery
Persistent breast enlargement (gynecomastia) negatively affects self-esteem and other areas of mental and emotional health in adolescent males, reports the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

TGen professor discusses benefits of whole genome sequencing in study of multiple myeloma
The scientific benefits of whole genome sequencing at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) will be presented at the 14th International Myeloma Workshop, April 3-7 at the Kyoto International Conference Center.

The way of science
New findings in mitochondrial biology thoroughly change the idea scientists had for 20 years on the role and importance of the protein MTERF1.

Fighting listeria and other food-borne illnesses with nanobiotechnology
Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to kill deadly pathogenic bacteria, including listeria, in food handling and packaging.

HIV self-testing: The key to controlling the global epidemic
A new international study has confirmed that self-testing for HIV is effective and could be the answer to controlling the global epidemic.

Fast track to mouse modeling
What genes are responsible for the development of breast cancer?

Telerobotic system designed to treat bladder cancer better
An interdisciplinary collaboration of engineers and doctors at Vanderbilt and Columbia Universities has designed a robotic surgery system specifically designed to treat bladder cancer, the sixth most common form of cancer in the US and the most expensive to treat.

'Sharps' injuries have major health and cost impact for surgeons
Injuries caused by needles and other sharp instruments are a major occupational hazard for surgeons -- with high costs related to the risk of contracting serious infectious diseases, according to a special article in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Targeting cholesterol buildup in eye may slow age-related vision loss
Targeting cholesterol metabolism in the eye might help prevent a severe form of age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common causes of blindness in older Americans, according to indications in a study in mice, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Study links diabetes risk to melatonin levels
New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital finds that the amount of melatonin a person secretes during sleep may predict their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Tonsillectomy in adults with severe recurrent sore throats may benefit some people
Tonsillectomy may result in fewer severe sore throats and could benefit some adult patients, according to a randomized trial published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Speaking a tonal language (such as Cantonese) primes the brain for musical training
Non-musicians who speak tonal languages may have a better ear for learning musical notes, according to Canadian researchers.

BU student receives 2013 Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation scholarship award
The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation presented Elizabeth Shenk, a student in both the Boston University Biomedical Engineering Department and the Boston University School of Medicine Pharmacology Training Program with one of 10, nationally competitive, 2013

Heart failure doesn't discriminate
Lifetime risk for heart failure is similar for blacks and whites and higher than expected for both groups -- ranging from 20 to 45 percent -- according to a new Northwestern Medicine® study.

Putting larval cobia to the acid test
In a new study published in Global Change Biology, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science researchers Sean Bignami, Su Sponaugle, and Robert Cowen are the first to study the potential effects of ocean acidification on the larvae of cobia (Rachycentron canandum).

Cholesterol rafts deliver drugs inside cancer cells
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published today in the journal Therapeutic Delivery shows that cholesterol

Reviewing the work of 1 of the greatest beetle collectors: Napoleon's General Dejean
A soldier, general and politician, Pierre Dejean found his place in history for a different reason -- as one of the greatest beetle collectors.

Puzzle of how spiral galaxies set their arms comes into focus
As the shapes of galaxies go, the spiral disk -- with its characteristic pinwheel profile -- is by far the most pedestrian.

Researchers at UofT's Rotman School of Management publish Guide to Nudging
A new guide from a team of behavior economists at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management aims to help practitioners develop effective nudges.

National Sleep Foundation launches free 'Sleep Disorders' online resource guide for primary care
The National Sleep Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of a comprehensive free online sleep disorders resource for all professionals in primary care.

Cholesterol-lowering eye drops could treat macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans.

UC research on Maya village uncovers 'invisible' crops, unexpected agriculture
The research on the well-preserved plant remains found in a Maya village that was destroyed by a volcano's fury will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

New clues in the search to rediscover the mysterious Maya Blue formula
The recipe and process for preparing Maya Blue, a highly-resistant pigment used for centuries in Mesoamerica, were lost.

Tobacco constituent extraction from snus during consumer use
Using a multi-analyte approach, scientists at British American Tobacco determined that consumers extract less than one third of tobacco constituents from snus during use.

Scientists find government justification of new environmental policy unfounded
Recent efforts by the Canadian government to curb the time allowed for environmental reviews over fears of adverse impact on economic development are misguided and unnecessary, according to research by scientists at the University of Toronto.

NYSCF scientists develop 3-D stem cell culture technique to better understand Alzheimer's disease
A team of researchers at The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute led by Scott Noggle, Ph.D., Director of the NYSCF Laboratory and the NYSCF -- Charles Evans Senior Research Fellow for Alzheimer's Disease, and Michael W.

Can synthetic biology save wildlife?
What effects will the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology have on the conservation of nature?

Sampling of embryonic DNA after IVF without biopsy
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis technologies allow identification of genetic disorders in human preimplantation embryos after in vitro fertilization and before the embryo is transferred back to the patient.

Organ donation shortfall at large general hospitals in Ontario
Organ donation in Ontario is significantly less common at large general hospitals than at hospitals with clinical programs for transplant recipients, which points to missed opportunities to optimize organ donation, according to a study published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

UC research examines ancient Puebloans and the myth of maize
A University of Cincinnati graduate student archaeologist theorizes that ancient Puebloans used a variety of food sources beyond maize.

3-D scaffolds a new tool to fight cancer
Polymer scaffolds used to engineer tissues may also be useful for testing cancer therapeutics.

Access to mental health care lacking for children, teens across the US
National survey shows adults who work and volunteer with children and teens do not believe youth have appropriate access to mental health care.

UC San Diego team achieves petaflop-level earthquake simulations on GPU-powered supercomputers
A team of researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, has developed a highly scalable computer code that promises to dramatically cut both research times and energy costs in simulating seismic hazards throughout California and elsewhere.

Research reveals how antibodies neutralize mosquito-borne virus
Researchers have learned the precise structure of the mosquito-transmitted chikungunya virus pathogen while it is bound to antibodies, showing how the infection is likely neutralized.

Cartilage damaged from exercise may aid in early osteoarthritis detection
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder and currently there is no cure.

EGU 2013: Media advisory 4 -- On-site registration, press conferences streamed online
The General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union, a meeting with over 10,000 scientists that covers all disciplines of the geo- and space sciences, is taking place next week (07 April) in Vienna, Austria.

Berkeley Lab researchers release guide to financing energy upgrade for K-12 school districts
Energy costs K-12 schools in the U.S. $6 billion dollars annually.

College athletes twice as likely to have depression than retired collegiate athletes
A survey of current and former college athletes finds depression levels significantly higher in current athletes, a result that upended the researchers' hypothesis.

How the worm turns
New research by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School show at the single cell level how an external stimulus sets off a molecular chain reaction in the transparent roundworm C. elegans, a process in which a single neurotransmitter coordinates and times two separate actions.

April 2013 story tips
This release includes these topics: Analytics -- Device has ORNL pedigree, Climate -- Going small with big computers, Transportation -- Highway to green, Energy -- Extending reactor life, Environment -- Seeing through soil.

New NIH funding for 2 Autism Centers of Excellence
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5.3 million in initial one-year funding to the latest two recipients of the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program.

Decreased melatonin secretion associated with higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes
With previous evidence suggesting that melatonin may have a role in glucose metabolism, researchers have found an independent association between decreased secretion of melatonin and an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the Apr.

Disease over-diagnosis can result in needlessly medicating infants
In a new study, MU Psychology Professor Laura Scherer found that when physicians label common symptoms in infants, such as crying and spitting up, as

CAMH study shows mental illness associated with heavy cannabis use
People with mental illnesses are more than seven times more likely to use cannabis weekly compared to people without a mental illness, according to researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health who studied US data.

AngioDynamics pledges $500,000 to Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation
The Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation's Discovery campaign will benefit from a $500,000 pledge by new

31st International Symposium on Lattice Field Theory
The international conference will be held at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany from July 29 to Aug.

Diet shown to be critical factor in improving type 2 diabetes after bariatric surgery
Patients with type 2 diabetes who consume a diet identical to the strict regimen followed after bariatric surgery are just as likely to see a reduction in blood glucose levels as those who undergo surgery.

Epileptic seizures can propagate using functional brain networks
New research findings that link decreased brain cell concentration to altered functional connectivity in temporal-lobe epilepsy are reported in an article in Brain Connectivity.

Breeding birds vulnerable to climate change in Arctic Alaska
A new report from the Wildlife Conservation Society looked at the vulnerability of 54 breeding bird species to climate change impacts occurring by the year 2050 in Arctic Alaska.

Diversification in ancient tadpole shrimps challenges the term 'living fossil'
The term 'living fossil' has a controversial history. For decades, scientists have argued about its usefulness as it appears to suggest that some organisms have stopped evolving.

New insights on how spiral galaxies get their arms
Spiral galaxies are some of the most beautiful and photogenic residents of the universe.

Fatty acid metabolite shows promise against cancer in mice
A team of UC Davis scientists has found that a product resulting from a metabolized omega-3 fatty acid helps combat cancer by cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients that fuel tumor growth and spread the disease.

Chapman University to host Interface Symposium on Big Data and Analytics April 4-6
Chapman University is hosting Interface 2013 -- A Symposium on Big Data and Analytics.

Twin Cities attract renowned health experts to inaugural conference
Who wants to die early or live with a chronic illness?

Survey shows many Republicans feel America should take steps to address climate change
In a recent survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents conducted by the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, a majority of respondents (62 percent) said they feel America should take steps to address climate change.

Scientists provide a more accurate age for the El Sidron cave Neanderthals
A study has been able to accurately determine the age of the Neanderthal remains found in the El Sidrón cave (Asturias, Spain) for which previous studies had provided inexact measurements.

Landmark study describes prostate cancer metastasis switch
SPDEF acts as a switch, regulating production of E-Cadherin, the loss of which is a prerequisite of metastasis in many cancers.

Stillbirth or pre-term birth outcomes linked to elevated risk of blood clots after pregnancy
Newly identified pregnancy-related events, such as stillbirth or pre-term birth, may dramatically increase a woman's risk of developing a potentially deadly blood clot immediately after pregnancy, according to the results of a large, population-based study published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Stop 'bad guys with guns' by implementing good policies
The National Rifle Association has put forward a National Shield School Proposal which supports the placement of armed security in all schools.

A statistical technique identifies all possible causes of severity in a traffic accident
Researchers from the University of Granada have created a system to enable a much more accurate analysis of severe accident injuries.

UC San Diego team achieves petaflop-level earthquake simulations on GPU-powered supercomputers
A team of researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, has developed a highly scalable computer code that promises to dramatically cut both research times and energy costs in simulating seismic hazards throughout California and elsewhere.

Submissions now being accepted for new behavioral sciences section in JoVE
JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), the revolutionary scientific journal that pairs peer-reviewed scholarly text with high quality videos, is proud to announce that submissions are now open for JoVE Behavior, a new section of the journal.

Tiny grazers play key role in marine ecosystem health
Tiny sea creatures no bigger than a thumbtack are being credited for playing a key role in helping provide healthy habitats for many kinds of seafood, according to a new study.

Bioglass helping to mend bones
Jose Ramon Sarasua and Aitor Larrañaga, researchers in the materials engineering department of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, have been studying new materials or implants that are of interest in medicine and in helping to mend bones, in particular.

Mortality rates have increased at hospitals in rural communities for certain conditions
In an analysis that included data on more than 10 million Medicare beneficiaries admitted to acute care hospitals with a heart attack, congestive heart failure, or pneumonia between 2002 and 2010, 30-day mortality rates for those admitted to critical access hospitals increased during this time period compared with patients admitted to other acute care hospitals, according to a study in the Apr.

Switching to a power stroke enables a tiny but important marine crustacean to survive
To escape from the jaws and claws of predators in cold, viscous water, marine copepods switch from a wave-like swimming stroke to big power strokes, a behavior that has now been revealed thanks to 3-D high-speed digital holography.

Remaining unnoticed for 100 years, a Kyrgyz onion species strikes with its beauty
The mountainous regions of Central Asia are particularly rich in the onion genus Allium.

White blood cell enzyme contributes to inflammation and obesity
Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute discovered that an imbalance between the enzyme neutrophil elastase and its inhibitor, α1-antitrypsin, causes inflammation, obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease.

Rising temperature difference between hemispheres could dramatically shift tropical rain patterns
UC Berkeley and University of Washington researchers found that changes in the interhemispheric temperature difference during the 20th century were linked to catastrophic changes in tropical rainfall.

LSUHSC research discoveries shed light on common STI
Research led by David H. Martin, MD, Professor and Chief of Infectious Diseases at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has found that a common sexually transmitted infection-causing parasite

New instrument will quickly detect botulinum, ricin, other biothreat agents
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing a medical instrument that will be able to quickly detect a suite of biothreat agents, including anthrax, ricin, botulinum, shiga and SEB toxin.

NRC panel advises US DOD on green buildings
Paul Fisette, a nationally recognized sustainable building expert at UMass Amherst and six other NRC panel members considered whether nearly 500,000 structures owned by the US Department of Defense worldwide are being operated as sustainably and as efficiently as possible according to a number of green building standards, including Green Globes, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

Ozone masks plants volatiles, plant eating insects confused
Increases in ground-level ozone, especially in rural areas, may interfere not only with predator insects finding host plants, but also with pollinators finding flowers, according to researchers from Penn State and the University of Virginia.

UC Davis MIND Institute receives prestigious Autism Centers of Excellence Award
Autism researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute have received a prestigious $13 million award from the National Institutes of Health to establish an Autism Center of Excellence and Treatment Network, making the MIND Institute one of only nine such centers in the United States.

Autism linked to increased genetic change in regions of genome instability
Children with autism have increased levels of genetic change in regions of the genome prone to DNA rearrangements, so called

Salk applauds Obama's ambitious BRAIN Initiative to research human mind
Salk neuroscientist Terrence J. Sejnowski joined President Barack Obama in Washington, DC, on Apr.

Negative emotions in response to daily stress take a toll on long-term mental health
Our emotional responses to the stresses of daily life may predict our long-term mental health, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Medication duloxetine helps reduce pain from chemotherapy
Among patients with painful chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, use of the anti-depressant drug duloxetine for five weeks resulted in a greater reduction in pain compared with placebo, according to a study in the Apr.

New projects bringing health considerations into education, energy policy, and other decisions
The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, announced eight new grantees who will conduct health impact assessments.

The chemistry of conservation: Chemistry Central's new journal Heritage Science
A lost statue found inside the walls of St. Petersburg's Winter Palace in 2010 was created in Italy by a Russian artist in 1891, according to a paper in the inaugural issue of Chemistry Central's new journal Heritage Science.

Dr. Cecilia Bitz to receive prestigious Rosenstiel Award from the University of Miami
The University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science announced that Dr.

'Mean Girls' at college: Social whirl derails many, study finds
You're not done with high school when you go to college, according to a new study of student culture.

Pedestrians at serious risk when drivers are 'permitted' to turn left
A study to examine driver behavior in permitted left turns has identified what researchers call an

Sanford-Burnham collaborates with 5 Florida-based research organizations
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona (Sanford-Burnham) announced the selection of the first five research organizations that will participate in the Florida Translational Research Program to advance drug discovery in the state.

Monkey study reveals why middle managers suffer the most stress
A study by the universities of Manchester and Liverpool observing monkeys has found that those in the middle hierarchy suffer the most social stress.

Have asthma? You likely have an allergy as well
A study published in the Apr. issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found 65 to 75 percent of asthmatic adults are sensitive to at least one allergen.

Symbiotic bacteria program daily rhythms in squid using light and chemicals
Glowing bacteria inside squid use light and chemical signals to control circadian-like rhythms in the animals, according to a study to be published on Apr.

PhD training given £84 million boost -- Minister announces investment in doctoral training
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is this year investing £84.2 million in postgraduate training through its annual Doctoral Training Grants (DTGs).

Investigational vaccine not effective in reducing post-operative staph infections
Use of a vaccine to prevent Staphylococcus aureus infections among patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery did not reduce the rate of serious postoperative S. aureus infections compared with placebo and was associated with increased mortality among patients who developed S. aureus infections, according to a study in the Apr.

Study reveals risk factors for blood clots in pregnant and postnatal women
Women who have suffered a still birth or have medical conditions including varicose veins, inflammatory bowel disease or heart disease are at greater risk of developing dangerous blood clots after giving birth, a study has revealed.

Study: Dental bib clips can harbor oral and skin bacteria even after disinfection
Researchers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute published a study today that found that a significant proportion of dental bib clips harbored bacteria from the patient, dental clinician and the environment even after the clips had undergone standard disinfection procedures in a hygiene clinic.

Cholesterol buildup links atherosclerosis and macular degeneration
A new study raises the intriguing possibility that drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol may be effective against macular degeneration, a blinding eye disease.

Sensitive sites: UC Research examines preservation of Southwest archaeology in time of tight budgets
UC research finds mixed results when it comes to protection and preservation efforts in portions of the Grand Canyon National Park and in the Kaibab National Forest just outside the park.

UC Santa Barbara history professor receives Mellon New Directions Fellowship
Anthony Barbieri-Low always wanted to be an Egyptologist, and now, with a $238,700 New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W.

Cells culled from adults may grow human bone
Preparations are underway for the first known human trial to use embryonic-like stem cells collected from adult cells to grow bone.

Vitamin P as a potential approach for the treatment of damaged motor neurons
Biologists from the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum have explored how to protect neurons that control movements from dying off.

An inside look at carnivorous plants
A pitcher plant's work seems simple: Their tube-shaped leaves catch and hold rainwater, which drowns the ants, beetles, and flies that stumble in.

Review: Few effective, evidence-based interventions to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder
This AHRQ-funded review summarizes the results of a systematic review of clinical interventions for adults exposed to at least one traumatic event such as war, a natural or manmade disaster, motor vehicle accidents, community violence, sexual assault or domestic violence.

Total buzz kill: Metals in flowers may play role in bumblebee decline
Published in the journal Environmental Pollution, the Pitt study finds that bumblebees are at risk of ingesting toxic amounts of metals like aluminum and nickel found in flowers growing in soil that has been contaminated by exhaust from vehicles, industrial machinery, and farming equipment.

Mineral analysis of lunar crater deposit prompts a second look at the impact cratering process
Large impacts on the Moon can form wide craters and turn surface rock liquid.

Supernova remnant 1987A continues to reveal its secrets
A team of astronomers led by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research have succeeded in observing the death throws of a giant star in unprecedented detail.

Daily stress takes a toll on long-term mental health, UCI-led study finds
Our emotional responses to the stresses of daily life may predict our long-term mental health, according to a new study led by a UC Irvine psychologist. 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