Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 24, 2013
Museum find proves exotic 'big cat' prowled British countryside a century ago
The rediscovery of a mystery animal in a museum's underground storeroom proves that a non-native 'big cat' prowled the British countryside at the turn of the last century.

Huddersfield scientist helps to reveal a link in the evolutionary chain
A study of European remains suggests the foundations of the modern gene pool were laid down in Neolithic times, around 4,000-2,000 BC as a result of the rapid growth and movement of some populations.

Animal study finds deep brain stimulation reduces binge eating behavior
Stimulating a region of the brain known to be involved in reward decreases binge eating behavior in mice, according to a study published in the April 24 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Researchers use nasal lining to breach blood/brain barrier
Using mucosa, or the lining of the nose, researchers in the department of Otology and Laryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School and the Biomedical Engineering Department of Boston University have demonstrated what may be the first known method to permanently bypass the blood-brain barrier, thus opening the door to new treatment options for those with neurodegenerative and CNS disease.

Biogeographic barrier that protects Australia from avian flu does not stop Nipah virus
An invisible barrier separates land animals in Australia from those in south-east Asia may also restrict the spillover of animal-borne diseases like avian flu, but researchers have found that fruit bats on either side of this line can carry Nipah virus, a pathogen that causes severe human disease.

Study shows drinking one 12oz sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22 percent
Drinking one (or one extra) 12oz serving size of sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can be enough to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 percent, a new study suggests.

Fighting bacteria with a new genre of antibodies
In an advance toward coping with bacteria that shrug off existing antibiotics and sterilization methods, scientists are reporting development of a new family of selective antimicrobial agents that do not rely on traditional antibiotics.

3-D breast screens improve detection and reduce false positives
Three-dimensional breast screens (mammograms) could offer substantial improvements in cancer detection and reducing false positives when used in conjunction with traditional two-dimensional mammograms, according to the results of a new study published in The Lancet Oncology.

Scientists awarded $5.5 million for wheat, rice blast research
A $5.5 million USDA grant is helping scientists develop novel disease control strategies for two closely-related diseases in rice and wheat.

ASU experts say raising the age of eligibility and other reforms will put Medicare on solid footing
Raising the age of eligibility and reforming some Medicare practices can go a long way to making it sustainable, according to three Arizona State University healthcare policy experts.

Toxicity differences inform decision on conditioning for neuroblastoma transplants
The stem cell transplant regimen that was commonly used in the United States to treat advanced neuroblastoma in children appears to be more toxic than the equally effective regimen employed in Europe and Egypt, according to a new study that helped inform the recent decision of the Children's Oncology Group to switch to the European regimen, says a researcher at Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center in Boston.

Personalizing prostate cancer screenings
With the help of genetics, prostate specific antigen screenings may become more accurate and reduce the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine®.

Metin Tolan wins 2013 Communicator Award
A Dortmund researcher is honored for innovative science communication in physics.

Study shows early dialogue between parents, children stems teen smoking
Early, substantive dialogue between parents and their grade-school age children about the ills of tobacco and alcohol use can be more powerful in shaping teen behavior than advertising, marketing or peer pressure, a University of Texas at Arlington marketing researcher has shown.

Coffee may help prevent breast cancer returning, study finds
Drinking coffee could decrease the risk of breast cancer recurring in patients taking the widely used drug Tamoxifen, a study at Lund University in Sweden has found.

Speeding the search for better methane capture
Systematic in silico studies have identified several zeolite compounds that show technological promise for capturing methane, the main component of natural gas, that can serve as an ally or an adversary in combating global climate change.

Guelph scientists develop first vaccine to help control autism symptoms
A first-ever vaccine created by University of Guelph researchers for gut bacteria common in autistic children may also help control some autism symptoms.

Chernobyl follow-up study finds high survival rate among young thyroid cancer patients
More than a quarter of a century after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, many children and teenagers who developed thyroid cancer due to radiation are in complete or near remission, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

New hope for autistic children who never learn to speak
Scientists at the University of Birmingham publish a paper in Frontiers in Neuroscience showing that while not all of the current interventions used to improve language among autistic children are effective, there is real hope for progress by using interventions based on understanding natural language development and the role of motor and

Mild blast injury causes molecular changes in brain akin to Alzheimer, Pitt team says
A multicenter study led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows that mild traumatic brain injury after blast exposure produces inflammation, oxidative stress and gene activation patterns akin to disorders of memory processing such as Alzheimer's disease.

Media registration now open for TCT 2013
Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) is the annual scientific symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

High-nutrition and disease-resistant purple and yellow-fleshed potato clones obtained
The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia, has created four new potato clones which are characterised by their high antioxidant content, their good production both in size and number of tubers, as well as by their resistance to the usual diseases of this crop.

No rebirth for insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, George Gittes and colleagues at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh used a fluorescent cell labeling method in mice to determine exactly when precursor cells develop into pancreatic beta cells.

High-volume Bitcoin exchanges less likely to fail, but more likely breached, says study
Online exchanges that trade hard currency for the cyber money Bitcoin have a 45 percent chance of failing -- often taking customer money with them.

Firefly protein lights up degenerating muscles, aiding muscular-dystrophy research
Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have created a mouse model of muscular dystrophy in which degenerating muscle tissue gives off visible light.

Video reveals cancer cells' Achilles' heel
Scientists from the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research have discovered why a particular cancer drug is so effective at killing cells.

New genomics center will study rheumatoid arthritis and lupus with $5.6 million grant
Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City has received a $5.6 million grant from The Tow Foundation to establish the Hospital for Special Surgery Genomics Center.

Battery and memory device in 1
Resistive memory cells are regarded as a promising solution for future generations of computer memories.

The growing field of therapeutic ultrasound welcomes its first open access journal
Open access publisher BioMed Central is proud to announce the launch of Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound in partnership with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound.

New battery design could help solar and wind power the grid
Researchers from SLAC and Stanford have designed a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.

Researchers make a significant step forward in combating antibiotic resistance
The research led by Durham University, which involved colleagues at the University of Birmingham, is a significant development in combating antibiotic resistance; it will pave the way for the creation of the inhibitors to counteract the process, allowing a renaissance in the use of antibiotics.

Air pollution linked to hardening of the arteries
Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to heart attacks and strokes by speeding up atherosclerosis, or

5 honored with AcademyHealth Presidential Scholarship for New Health Services Researchers
AcademyHealth announced today the 2013 recipients of its Presidential Scholarship for New Health Services Researchers, which provides early career researchers with financial support to attend the organization's Annual Research Meeting and offers exclusive networking and mentoring opportunities with AcademyHealth leadership and staff, and distinguished leaders in the field.

Majority of children readmitted to hospital following stem cell transplant
Almost two-thirds of children who receive stem cell transplants are readmitted to the hospital within six months, according to researchers at Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center in Boston.

Delays in diagnosis worsen outlook for minority, uninsured pediatric retinoblastoma patients
When the eye cancer retinoblastoma is diagnosed in racial and ethnic minority children whose families don't have private health insurance, it often takes a more invasive course than in other children, probably because of delays in diagnosis, according to researchers at Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center in Boston.

UNL team's discovery yields supertough, strong nanofibers
University of Nebraska-Lincoln materials engineers have developed a structural nanofiber that is both strong and tough, a discovery that could transform everything from airplanes and bridges to body armor and bicycles.

Humans passing drug resistance to animals in protected Africa, Virginia Tech study says
A team of Virginia Tech researchers has discovered that humans are passing antibiotic resistance to wildlife, especially in protected areas where numbers of humans are limited.

Using microbubbles to improve cancer therapy
Microbubbles decrease the time and acoustic power of ultrasound required to heat and destroy an embedded target, finds research in BioMed Central's open access journal Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound.

Discovered: A mammal and bug food co-op in the High Arctic
Who would have thought that two very different species, a small insect and a furry alpine mammal, would develop a shared food arrangement in the far North?

The microbes you inhale on the New York City subway
The microbial population in the air of the New York City subway system is nearly identical to that of ambient air on the city streets.

Just what makes that little old ant... change a flower's nectar content?
Ants play a variety of important roles in many ecosystems.

New LED streetlight design curbs light pollution
Recent innovations in light emitting diodes (LEDs) have improved the energy efficiency of streetlights, but, until now, their glow still wastefully radiated beyond the intended area.

Intractable seizures halted with experimental treatment for rare pediatric 'Pretzel syndrome'
With a better understanding of underlying mechanisms that cause a rare neurodevelopmental disorder in the Old Order Mennonite population, referred to as Pretzel syndrome, a new study reports that five children were successfully treated with a drug that modifies the disease process, minimizing seizures and improving receptive language.

JCI early table of contents for April 24, 2013
This release contains summaries, contact information, and links to PDFs for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, April 24, 2013, in the JCI: An ACE in the hole for hypertension; No rebirth for insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells; A potential biomarker for pregnancy-associated heart disease?; A new method to monitor muscular dystrophy; and many more.

BRAIN initiative seeks tools to understand human thought, behavior, consciousness
The newly proposed scientific project to understand the most complicated 3 pounds of material in the world -- the human brain -- is the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Direct-acting antivirals now ready for prime time
New data from a number of clinical trials presented for the first time at the International Liver Congress™ 2013 demonstrate encouraging results in the use of new direct-acting antiviral agents for the treatment of hepatitis C.

Clenching right fist may give better grip on memory
Clenching your right hand may help form a stronger memory of an event or action, and clenching your left may help you recollect the memory later, according to research published April 24 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Ruth Propper and colleagues from Montclair State University.

ERs have become de facto psych wards
Long waits for insurance authorization allowing psychiatric patients to be admitted to the hospital from the emergency department waste thousands of hours of physician time, given that most requests for authorization are ultimately granted.

Tinkerbella nana -- a new representative from the world of fairyflies
A new genus and species of fairyfly, Tinkerbella nana (Mymaridae) is described from Costa Rica.

New research findings on the brain's guardian cells
The central nervous system's mop-up crew, microglia, play an important role in protecting the brain against disease and injury.

Ice tubes in polar seas -- 'brinicles' or 'sea stalactites' -- provide clues to origin of life
Life on Earth may have originated not in warm tropical seas, but with weird tubes of ice -- sometimes called

Mendelsohn elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
John Mendelsohn, M.D., director of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and former president of MD Anderson, has been elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dietary medium chain triglycerides prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
The incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) associated with obesity is increasing rapidly and is a major source of liver pathology.

Deep, permeable soils buffer impacts of crop fertilizer on Amazon streams, MBL study finds
An MBL study in the fast-changing southern Amazon--a region marked by widespread replacement of native forest by cattle ranches and croplands--suggests that some of the damaging impacts of agricultural fertilization on local streams may be buffered by the deep, highly permeable soils that characterize large areas of the expanding cropland.

Psychopaths are not neurally equipped to have concern for others
Prisoners who are psychopaths lack the basic neurophysiological

Rethinking early atmospheric oxygen
Using a quantitative model, a research team of biogeochemists at the University of California, Riverside has provided a new view on the relationship between the earliest accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere, arguably the most important biological event in Earth's history, and its relationship to the sulfur cycle.

Odd experiments by 'America's first physiologist' shed light on digestion
A fur trader who suffered an accidental gunshot wound in 1822 and the physician who saw this unfortunate incident as an opportunity for research are key to much of our early knowledge about the workings of the digestive system.

Ancient Earth crust stored in deep mantle
Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust.

VTT involved in developing cellulose-based ethanol production in Brazil
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland exports its expertise as a developer of biomass processing technology to Brazil.

Precision agriculture improves farming efficiency, has important implications on food security
Precision agriculture promises to make farming more efficient and should have an important impact on the serious issue of food security, according to a new study published in Significance, the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and the American Statistical Association.

Communication scholars seek advances in media neuroscience
Scholars in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) have founded the Media Neuroscience Lab, one of a small but growing number of research groups attempting to understand the use and influence of media technologies by utilizing innovative techniques from cognitive neuroscience.

Facebook interests could help predict, track and map obesity
The higher the percentage of people in a city, town or neighborhood with Facebook interests suggesting a healthy, active lifestyle, the lower that area's obesity rate.

Costs to treat heart failure expected to more than double by 2030
This news release will be featured in a MEDIA BRIEFING with AHA CEO Nancy Brown and statement author Paul A.

Microscopic dust particles found in underground railways may pose health risk
New research from the University of Southampton has found that working or traveling on an underground railway for a sustained period of time could have health implications.

Research finds targeted screening for hepatitis C is cost-effective
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found that targeted screening for populations with a higher estimated prevalence for hepatitis C may be cost-effective.

Recipe for low-cost, biomass-derived catalyst for hydrogen production
Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory describe details of a low-cost, stable, effective catalyst that could replace costly platinum in the production of hydrogen.

Binge eating curbed by deep brain stimulation in animal model, Penn study shows
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a precise region of the brain appears to reduce caloric intake and prompt weight loss in obese animal models, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

Body size conveyed by voice determines vocal attractiveness
Deep male voices and high-pitched female voices are perceived as more attractive because listeners gauge the speaker's body size from the frequency of their voice, according to research published April 24 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Yi Xu from University College London and colleagues.

A potential biomarker for pregnancy-associated heart disease?
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Ingrid Struman and colleagues at the University of Liege in Liege, Belgium, identified a molecule, miR-146a, that can serve as a biomarker for peripartum cardiomyopathy.

Scripts help novice instructors teach pediatric CPR
New, low-tech teaching techniques may help novice instructors to better train healthcare providers in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on children who suffer cardiac arrest.

T2 Bio publishes data supporting diagnostic test T2Candida® in Science Translational Medicine
Deadly blood infections, or sepsis, are one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States.

Important fertility mechanism discovered
Scientists in Mainz and Aachen have discovered a new mechanism that controls egg cell fertility and that might have future therapeutic potential.

2013 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference returns to San Diego
The 2013 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference will gather scientists from industry, government, and academia for three days of educational offerings specifically geared toward the biotechnology sector of the pharmaceutical sciences.

Improving survival of pig sperm
Although US cattle genetics are exported all over the world in the form of frozen semen, the same is not true for pigs because boar semen does not freeze well.

NASH diagnosis set to improve with non-invasive tool
A Chinese study presented at the International Liver CongressTM 2013 has demonstrated the accuracy of a non-invasive test for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis diagnosis.

International study finds new genetic links to juvenile arthritis
Researchers report in Nature Genetics they have increased the number of confirmed genes linked to juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) from three to 17 -- a finding that will clarify how JIA fits into the spectrum of autoimmune disorders and help identify potential treatment targets.

Research at EB 2013 reports potential health benefits associated with mushroom consumption
New research published as abstracts in The FASEB Journal and presented at Experimental Biology 2013 ties mushrooms to potential health outcomes -- demonstrating that mushrooms provide more to a dish than just flavor.

After brain injury, new astrocytes play unexpected role in healing
The production of a certain kind of brain cell that had been considered an impediment to healing may actually be needed to staunch bleeding and promote repair after a stroke or head trauma, researchers at Duke Medicine report.

Nottingham-China research collaboration holds hope for bovine and human TB vaccine
Scientists at The University of Nottingham are studying whether harmful bacteria found in cattle could be harnessed to protect livestock from the devastating disease bovine tuberculosis.

Sunlit snow triggers atmospheric cleaning, ozone depletion in the Arctic
National Science Foundation-funded researchers at Purdue University have discovered that sunlit snow is the major source of atmospheric bromine in the Arctic, the key to unique chemical reactions that purge pollutants and destroy ozone.

Link between inherited endocrine tumor syndrome and much-studied cell pathway
The protein menin suppresses signaling in the much-studied Hedgehog pathway in endocrine organs.

Study: Teen years may be critical in later stroke risk
The teenage years may be a key period of vulnerability related to living in the

Cryogenic machining enables guaranteeing safety of aeronautic sector parts
CIC marGUNE, the Cooperative Research Centre for High-Performance Manufacture, is coordinating a line of research on cryogenic machining for developing the safety of parts for the aeronautic sector.

UW Medicine receives $500,000 Purple Heart Service Foundation grant
The Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, a membership organization comprised of combat-wounded veterans and recipients of the Purple Heart, has awarded the Division of Pain Medicine at UW Medicine in Seattle a five-year $500,000 grant to develop leading-edge technologies that will help improve care for our veterans suffering from chronic pain, post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

Mysterious hot spots observed in a cool red supergiant
Astronomers have released a new image of the outer atmosphere of Betelgeuse -- one of the nearest red supergiants to Earth -- revealing the detailed structure of the matter being thrown off the star.

Cleveland Clinic research shows gut bacteria byproduct predicts heart attack and stroke
A microbial byproduct of intestinal bacteria contributes to heart disease and serves as an accurate screening tool for predicting future risks of heart attack, stroke and death in persons not otherwise identified by traditional risk factors and blood tests, according to Cleveland Clinic research published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Discovery of wound-healing genes in flies could mitigate human skin ailments
Biologists at UC San Diego have identified eight genes never before suspected to play a role in wound healing that are called into action near the areas where wounds occur.

Looking for life by the light of dying stars
Prof. Dan Maoz of Tel Aviv University has now demonstrated that with the advanced technology available in the next decade we should be able to detect biomarkers like oxygen and methane in the planets that orbit dead stars called 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