Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 11, 2013
Smell and taste experts to discuss new discoveries
Members of AChemS are arriving in Huntington Beach to present the latest findings generated from research on taste, smell and related issues.

Material screening method allows more precise control over stem cells
When it comes to delivering genes to living human tissue, the odds of success come down the molecule.

A novel surface marker helps scientists 'fish out' mammary gland stem cells
In an advancement by the Hannon lab at CSHL, it is now possible to profile normal and cancerous mammary stem cells at an unprecedented high degree of purity.

Individual donation amounts drop when givers are in groups
A University of Missouri anthropologist recently found that even when multiple individuals can contribute to a common cause, the presence of others reduces an individual's likelihood of helping.

Fires in Southeastern United States
Many plumes of smoke from fires burning across the southeastern United States of America can be seen here.

Scientists discover gene mutation that causes children to be born without spleen
An international team of researchers has identified the defective gene responsible for a rare disorder in which children are born without a spleen, which makes them susceptible to life-threatening bacterial infections.

Most effective PTSD therapies are not being widely used, researchers find
Post-traumatic stress disorder affects nearly 8 million adults in any given year, federal statistics show.

Study reports adenoma detection rates are higher than current guidelines suggest in both men and women
Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., report that average-risk screening adenoma detection rates (ADR) are significantly higher than current guidelines suggest for both men and women.

Report finds continuing challenges in changing behaviors that increase cancer risk
An annual report from the American Cancer Society finds continuing challenges in changing behaviors and risk factors in order to reduce suffering and death from cancer.

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics, 2nd edition
The second edition of the

Cell-destroyer that fights and promotes TB reveals what's behind its split identity
TB can be a disease not only of failed immunity but also of excessive immune response.

Cost-saving measure to upgrade ethanol to butanol -- a better alternative to gasoline
Scientists today reported a discovery that could speed an emerging effort to replace ethanol in gasoline with a substantially better fuel additive called butanol, which some experts regard as

Why we buy music
A new study reveals what happens in our brain when we decide to purchase a piece of music when we hear it for the first time.

Healing by the clock
Genetic screening in flies reveals that the circadian clock regulates intestinal regeneration in response to damage, meaning that gut healing fluctuates according to the time of day.

Magical survey shows voters are less partisan than indicated by polls
Traditional opinion polls may severely underestimate the openness for political change among voters, according to research published on 10 April in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

A bright idea: Tiny injectable LEDs help neuroscientists study the brain
A new class of tiny, injectable LEDs is illuminating the deep mysteries of the brain.

Molecular techniques are man's new best friend in pet obesity research
Illinois professor of animal and nutritional sciences Kelly Swanson and his research team recently published a study that shows how molecular biology technologies are making the mechanisms underlying the pet obesity epidemic more easily understood.

Carnegie Mellon to study how social media and big data affect protection of human rights
To investigate how social media and big data analytics are changing human rights fact-finding, and to better understand the ways that these technologies can advance human rights protection in the future, the MacArthur Foundation recently awarded an 18-month, $175,000 grant to Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Human Rights Science, directed by Jay D.

Cyclone Imelda turned the corner on NASA satellite imagery
An area of low pressure moving toward Cyclone Imelda from the west has turned the storm to the south from its westward track, as NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured a visible and an infrared image of the powerful storm that showed the effects of wind shear.

Revealing the scientific secrets of why people can't stop after eating one potato chip
The scientific secrets underpinning that awful reality about potato chips -- eat one and you're apt to scarf 'em all down -- began coming out of the bag today in research presented at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Endometriosis treatments lower ovarian cancer risk
A novel study shows women who undergo surgical treatment for endometriosis have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer.

John Theurer Cancer Center hosts first Women's Oncology Conference
John Theurer Cancer Center will be hosting a Women's Oncology Conference for gynecologists and generalists on Wednesday, April 24 from 7:30am to 1:00 pm.

Study: Pain improves during first year but mental-health problems linger
Veterans who sustained major limb injuries during combat reported little improvement in symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental-health problems up to two years post injury, according to research presented today.

The mathematical method for simulating the evolution of the solar system has been improved
In order to improve a simulation designed to study the evolution of the solar system through time, numerical mathematical methods have been developed at the Computing Faculty of the University of the Basque Country.

Soy-based compound may reduce tumor cell proliferation in colorectal cancer
Research on a soy-based treatment for colorectal cancer, a promising agent in ovarian cancer, and a new drug target for advanced prostate cancer was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2013 Annual Meeting.

Tiny wireless device shines light on mouse brain, generating reward
Using a miniature electronic device implanted in the brain, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

IMPAKT -- Translational research breast cancer conference
The 2013 press program will capture the very essence of the IMPAKT conference, where the ultimate goal is to improve breast cancer outcome through translational research, i.e. new techniques, new concepts on the cutting edge to change the clinic as soon as possible.

New techniques reduce the complications of spinal cord stimulator implant
Results from a case series highlighted an advanced lead anchoring technique and the emerging technology of using large single-port introducers, which enable placement of multiple neurostimulation leads through a single needle-entry point.

New findings on the brain's immune cells during Alzheimer's disease progression
The plaque deposits in the brain of Alzheimer's patients are surrounded by the brain's own immune cells, the microglia.

Molecular hub links obesity, heart disease to high blood pressure
A University of Iowa study identifies a brain protein that acts as a communications hub for blood pressure control, and links cardiovascular disease and obesity to hypertension.

Launch of semi-synthetic artemisinin a milestone for malaria, synthetic biology
The best therapy today for malaria is a drug combination that includes a derivative of artemisinin, now solely available from plants grown in Asia and Africa.

Mutations found in individuals with autism interfere with endocannabinoid signaling in the brain
Mutations found in individuals with autism block the action of molecules made by the brain that act on the same receptors that marijuana's active chemical acts on, according to new research reported online Apr.

A molecular 'superglue' based on flesh-eating bacteria
In a classic case of turning an enemy into a friend, scientists have engineered a protein from flesh-eating bacteria to act as a molecular

Sound stimulation during sleep can enhance memory
Slow oscillations in brain activity, which occur during so-called slow-wave sleep, are critical for retaining memories.

Einstein joins the New York Genome Center as 12th institutional founding member
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University will join the New York Genome Center as its twelfth Institutional Founding Member.

Sediba's ribcage and feet were not suitable for running
Researchers at Wits University in South Africa, including Peter Schmid from the University of Zurich, have described the anatomy of a single early hominin in six new studies.

Research shows promise for microwave ablation (MWA) to relieve painful bone and soft-tissue tumors
When other therapies provide insufficient pain relief, percutaneous MWA treatment appears to be a feasible and effective technique for the management of refractory pain in bone and soft-tissue tumors.

Leading organizations back Global Action Plan
More than 100 nongovernmental organizations and civil society organizations, joined by dozens of leading experts, expressed their support today for the World Health Organization and UNICEF's first-ever global plan to simultaneously tackle pneumonia and diarrhoea -- diseases that take the lives of almost two million children each year -- and urged governments and their partners to make the plan a reality.

Fires in Victoria, Australia
There are a number of fires burning in Victoria, Australia and smoke and heat signatures were captured from them by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite.

Interactions between drugs can also be measured at lowest doses
Clinical pharmacologists at Heidelberg University Hospital have achieved major progress for improving the reliability of drugs.

Fires in Southeast Asia
Fires purposely set to burn crop residues and get the land ready for the growing season are continuing as evidenced in this image from the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite.

Stanford study shows different brains have similar responses to music
Do the brains of different people listening to the same piece of music actually respond in the same way?

Fossilized teeth provide new insight into human ancestor
A dental study of fossilized remains found in South Africa in 2008 provides new support that this species is one of the closest relatives to early humans.

Racial disparities exist in end-of-life care for US dialysis patients
There is substantial regional variation in the magnitude of racial differences in end-of-life care among US adults with kidney failure.

New material system permits 3-D patterning to regulate stem cell behavior
A technique researched at Case Western Reserve University holds promise for studying how physical, chemical and other influences affect stem cell behavior in three-dimensions, and, ultimately, as a method to grow tissues for regenerative medicine applications.

Restoring paretic hand function via an artificial neural connection bridging spinal cord injury
Yukio Nishimura, Associate Professor of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan, and Eberhard Fetz, Professor and Steve Perlmuter, Research Associate Professor at the University of Washington, United States investigated the effects of introducing a novel artificial neural connection which bridged a spinal cord lesion in a paretic monkey.

ACP and FSMB encourage doctors to 'pause before posting' and not 'friend' patients in policy paper
New recommendations offer physicians ethical guidance for preserving trust in patient-physician relationships and the profession when using social media.

Discovery points to new approach to fight dengue virus
Researchers have discovered that rising temperature induces key changes in the dengue virus when it enters its human host, and the findings represent a new approach for designing vaccines against the aggressive mosquito-borne pathogen.

NASA satellite image sees Cyclone Victoria looking like a 'J' from space
When NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Cyclone Victoria in the Southern Indian Ocean it captured a visible image of the storm and it appeared to look like the letter

Study suggests dexmedetomidine before surgery reduced remifentanil-induced hyperalgesia
Dexmedetomidine is a highly selective alpha-2 adrenergic agonist that has been shown to decrease the intensity of opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH).

New research helps place modern temperatures into a more complete statistical framework
Through developing a statistical model of Arctic temperature and how it relates to instrumental and proxy records derived from trees, ice cores, and lake sediments, Martin Tingley, a research associate in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Peter Huybers, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, have shown that the warmest summers in the last two decades are unprecedented in the previous six centuries.

Web-based tools found to enhance recruitment and prescreening for clinical pain trials
An innovative website allowed recruiters to reach out broadly to target and recruit potential subjects and to avoid many of the common difficulties of pain research, according to results presented today at the 29th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Cell phone camera photographs microscopic cell samples
On April 11 JoVE will publish a new video article by Dr.

The age of stress: Science and the search for stability
Today, many people consider stress to be part of life, yet most of us have little understanding of what the concept means or where it comes from.

New genetic screen paves the way for long-sought treatments for liver disease
Chronic liver failure is a major health problem that causes about one million deaths each year.

Polio eradication is achievable by 2018 and urgent, declare 400+ global scientists
Hundreds of scientists and technical experts from 80 countries historically launched the Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication on 11 Apr.

American biochemist to receive this year's Inhoffen Medal
How do bacteria cope when exposed to toxic mercury and how can they be killed using so-called

Maya Long Count calendar and European calendar linked using carbon-14 dating
The Maya are famous for their complex, intertwined calendric systems, and now one calendar, the Maya Long Count, is empirically calibrated to the modern European calendar, according to an international team of researchers.

NASA sees Cyclone Victoria developing an eye
Cyclone Victoria continued to intensify overnight from April 9 to April 10, and imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite showed a tighter storm circulation and a possible eye developing.

University of Houston engineering researcher's theories to be tested in space
Thanks to a grant from NASA, a University of Houston chemical and biomolecular engineering professor's theories on crystal formation will be tested aboard the International Space Station.

New technique measures evaporation globally
Researchers at Columbia Engineering and Boston University have developed the first method to map evaporation globally using weather stations, which will help scientists evaluate water resource management, assess recent trends of evaporation throughout the globe, and validate surface hydrologic models in various conditions.

Older people may be at greater risk for alcohol impairment than teens, according to Baylor Study
An acute dose of alcohol may cause greater impairment in coordination, learning and memory in the elderly than in young people, according to a study by Baylor University.

Small satellites becoming big deal for CU-Boulder students
NASA recently selected the University of Colorado Boulder as one of 24 institutions or organizations to fly tiny satellites designed and built by students as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned for launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Leading causes of death in children under 5 could be eliminated in 20 years
A new Lancet Series on childhood diarrhea and pneumonia, from a consortium of academics and public health professionals led by Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta of Aga Khan University in Pakistan, provides the evidence for integrated global action on childhood diarrhea and pneumonia, including which interventions can effectively treat and prevent them, and the financial cost of ending preventable deaths from childhood diarrhea and pneumonia by 2025.

Sea mammals find US safe harbor
New research shows that many US marine mammal populations -- especially some seals and sea lions--have rebounded since 1972, because of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

NASA infrared image identifies several areas of power in Cyclone Imelda
Cyclone Imelda has continues to strengthen, and infrared NASA satellite imagery indicated powerful convection throughout the storm.

Researchers evaluate Bose-Einstein condensates for communicating among quantum computers
Physicists have examined how Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC) might be used to provide communication among the nodes of a distributed quantum computer.

Researchers measure reaction rates of second key atmospheric component
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories' Combustion Research Facility, the University of Manchester, Bristol University, University of Southampton and Hong Kong Polytechnic have successfully measured reaction rates of a second Criegee intermediate, CH3CHOO, and proven that the reactivity of the atmospheric chemical depends strongly on which way the molecule is twisted.

NASA sees sun emit an M6.5 flare
The M6.5 flare on the morning of April 11, 2013, was also associated with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME), another solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space and can reach Earth one to three days later.

Fires in India and Nepal
Agricultural fires are set all over the world at different times to prepare the soil for the planting of new crops.

Annals and ACP announce recipients of Junior Investigator Recognition Awards
Annals of Internal Medicine and the American College of Physicians will honor Adrienne Allen, MD, MPH and Matthew Spitzer, MD with the Junior Investigator Recognition Awards.

How Alzheimer's could occur
A new hypothesis has been developed by researchers in Bochum on how Alzheimer's disease could occur.

Self-medication in animals much more widespread than believed
It's been known for decades that animals such as chimpanzees seek out medicinal herbs to treat their diseases.

Why do people with apple-shaped bodies have an increased risk of kidney disease?
People with apple-shaped bodies tend to have lower kidney function, lower kidney blood flow, and higher blood pressure within the kidneys than people with pear-shaped bodies.

How some leaves got fat: It's the veins
Some plants, such as succulents, have managed to grow very plump leaves.

Experimental study suggests bone-marrow grafts show promise for some sufferers of low-back pain
Autologous bio-cellular grafts are increasingly encountered in surgical literature as a means to enhance tissue repair.

Weight loss surgery not only shrinks waists but also affects genes
Gastric bypass surgery can drastically reduce the body weight of obese individuals in a short timeframe.

Enzymes from horse feces could hold secrets to streamlining biofuel production
Stepping into unexplored territory in efforts to use corn stalks, grass and other non-food plants to make biofuels, scientists today described the discovery of a potential treasure-trove of candidate enzymes in fungi thriving in the feces and intestinal tracts of horses.

Do drugs for bipolar disorder 'normalize' brain gene function? U-M study suggests so
Every day, millions of people with bipolar disorder take medicines that help keep them from swinging into manic or depressed moods.

Scientists map elusive 3-D structure of telomerase enzyme, key actor in cancer, aging
Like finally seeing the gears of a watch and how they work together, all components of an entire telomerase enzyme complex have been positioned into a three-dimensional structure for the first time.

Severely compromised life circumstances cause frequent ER use by vets
Even with health insurance, ready access to preventive, specialty and behavioral health care and comprehensive electronic medical records, nearly eight percent of patients in the Veterans Health Administration visit the ER two or more times per year.

Genetic master controls expose cancers' Achilles' heel
In a surprising finding that helps explain fundamental behaviors of normal and diseased cells, Whitehead Institute scientists have discovered a set of powerful gene regulators dubbed

New research reveals how human ancestor walked, chewed, and moved
A team of scientists has pieced together how the hominid Australopithecus sediba (Au. sediba) walked, chewed, and moved nearly two million years ago.

New software alleviates wireless traffic
The explosive popularity of wireless devices -- from WiFi laptops to Bluetooth headsets to ZigBee sensor nodes -- is increasingly clogging the airwaves, resulting in dropped calls, wasted bandwidth and botched connections.

AWRI, Notre Dame researchers to study pollutant transfer by migrating salmon
Two Grand Valley State University researchers, who have studied accumulation of contaminants in non-native salmon in the Great Lakes and tributary watersheds, are beginning a new research project with a team from the University of Notre Dame to see if variables in watershed landscapes impact contaminant levels in stream resident fish.

Researchers demonstrate oldest dinosaur embryos
An international team of researchers, including a paleontologist from the University of Bonn, have proven dinosaur embryos to be the oldest ever found.

Ice cloud heralds fall at Titan's south pole
An ice cloud taking shape over Titan's south pole is the latest sign that the change of seasons is setting off a cascade of radical changes in the atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon.

Lady flies can decide who will father their young
Females in the animal kingdom have many methods available to them to help bias male paternity.

BUSM researchers identify novel approach to study COPD and treatment efficacy
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have pinpointed a genetic signature for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from airway cells harvested utilizing a minimally invasive procedure.

Racial disparities exist in end-of-life care for US dialysis patients
There is substantial regional variation in the magnitude of racial differences in end-of-life care among US adults with kidney failure.

6 new Science papers describe how Au. Sediba walked, chewed and moved
A team of South African and international scientists from the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand and 15 other global institutions, are publishing six papers and an introduction by Prof.

Unusual suspect: Hopkins scientists find 'second fiddle' protein's role in Type 2 diabetes
A team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center has found that a protein long believed to have a minor role in Type 2 diabetes is, in fact, a central player in the development of the condition that affects nearly 26 million people in the United States alone and counts as one of the leading causes of heart disease, stroke and kidney, eye and nerve damage.

Spring fling: Sun emits a mid-level flare
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of an M6.5 class flare at 3:16 EDT on April 11, 2013.

Scientists create phantom sensations in non-amputees
A new study by neuroscientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that it is possible to evoke the illusion of having a phantom hand in non-amputated individuals.

Texting, social networking and other media use linked to poor academic performance
Freshmen women spend nearly half their day -- 12 hours -- engaged in some form of media use, particularly texting, music, the Internet and social networking.

Regulating density of alcohol outlets a promising strategy to improve public health
Regulating alcohol outlet is an effective strategy for reducing excessive alcohol consumption and associated harms.

Full range of treatment settings and their effects on radiofrequency heat lesion size
Changing the parameters used to deliver radiofrequency treatment greatly affects the size of the resulting heat lesion, researchers reported today in a study expected to deliver greater precision and more treatment options in interventional pain management.

Mast cells have critical role in initializing pulmonary fibrosis
A new study that implicates mast cells -- an immune cell involved in allergic asthma -- in the development of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis could lead to new, more effective therapies.

A new protein target for controlling diabetes
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a previously unknown biological mechanism involved in the regulation of pancreatic islet beta cells, whose role is to produce and release insulin.

Diamond as a building material for optical circuits
The application of light for information processing opens up a multitude of possibilities.

Researchers call for marine observation network
A marine biodiversity observation network that would build on existing efforts and safeguard ocean biodiversity resources could be established with modest funding within five years, according to an expert assessment.

A new treatment option for alcohol dependence: Reduced consumption rather than abstinence
A potential new treatment for alcoholism called nalmefene is effective and safe for reducing alcohol consumption in alcohol dependent individuals, says a new study published this week in Biological Psychiatry.

Research examines effects of opioids on patients with sickle cell disease
Management of non-cancer pain, specifically deciding when and how to use opioids, remains a challenge to physicians and patients.

High-dose opioids disturb hormones long-term, but mental and physiologic function improves
Half of patients on high-dose, long-term opioid therapy had hormonal disturbances or signs of inflammation, while 100 percent reported improved pain control and mental outlook, new research shows.

NSF FY 2014 budget request sustains momentum for fundamental research
The National Science Foundation today announced President Obama's $7.626 billion fiscal year 2014 budget request for the agency, representing an 8.4 percent increase over the fiscal year 2012 enacted budget.

Scientists stress need for national marine biodiversity observation network
With ocean life facing unprecedented threat from climate change, overfishing, pollution, invasive species and habitat destruction, a University of Florida researcher is helping coordinate national efforts to monitor marine biodiversity.

UCLA study suggests potential therapy for HIV
UCLA scientists have shown that temporarily blocking a protein critical to immune response actually helps the body clear itself of chronic infection.

Sleep apnoea patients more likely to report nodding at the wheel and fail driving simulator tests
People with sleep apnea are more likely to fail a driving simulator test and report nodding whilst driving, according to new research.

LSUHSC research discovers new drug target for metastatic breast cancer
Research led by Dr. Suresh Alahari, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, is the first to report that two specific tumor suppressor genes work in concert to inhibit the growth and spread of breast tumor cells to the lungs.

'Strikingly similar' brains of man and fly may aid mental health research
A new study by scientists at King's College London and the University of Arizona published in Science reveals the deep similarities in how the brain regulates behavior in arthropods (such as flies and crabs) and vertebrates (such as fish, mice and humans).

New opportunities for German firms through Chinese investments
In recent years, many Chinese companies have either bought German firms outright or acquired a shareholding in them.

Study finds interferon, one of the body's proteins, induces persistent viral infection
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have made a counterintuitive finding that may lead to new ways to clear persistent infection that is the hallmark of such diseases as AIDS, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

'Seeing' the flavor of foods
The eyes sometimes have it, beating out the tongue, nose and brain in the emotional and biochemical balloting that determines the taste and allure of food, a scientist said here today.

Are 4 antenatal visits enough?
Reanalysis of the World Health Organization's Antenatal Care Trial shows that there is an increased risk of fetal death at between 32 and 36 weeks for women who have a reduced antenatal care package, finds research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Reproductive Health.

Experimental study suggests bone-marrow grafts show promise for some sufferers of low-back pain
A new study suggests that the type of bio-cellular grafts increasingly used by surgeons to repair damaged tissue may be useful for treating low-back pain.

Why do people with apple-shaped bodies have an increased risk of kidney disease?
People with apple-shaped bodies tend to have lower kidney function, lower kidney blood flow, and higher blood pressure within the kidneys than people with pear-shaped bodies.

Information technology amplifies irrational group behavior
Web tools and social media are our key sources of information when we make decisions as citizens and consumers.

Fires in the Yucatan Peninsula
Dozens of red hot spots cluster at the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. 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