Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 25, 2013
Periodic bursts of genetic mutations drive prostate cancer
Cancer is typically thought to develop after genes gradually mutate over time, finally overwhelming the ability of a cell to control growth.

Reviving a foe of cancer
p53 is a vitally important tumor suppressor whose function is disrupted in one way or another in various cancer types.

With wave of the hand, Carnegie Mellon researchers create touch-based interfaces
Researchers previously have shown that a depth camera system, such as Kinect, can be combined with a projector to turn almost any surface into a touchscreen.

Study finds that H7N9 flu virus transmits from birds to humans
Scientists in China have confirmed for the first time that the influenza A H7N9 virus has transmitted from birds--specifically, chicken at a wet poultry market--to humans, according to an Article published Online First in The Lancet.

Unique chemistry reveals eruption of ancient materials once at Earth's surface
An international team of researchers, including Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, geochemist James Day, has found new evidence that material contained in oceanic lava flows originated in Earth's ancient Archean crust.

Archeologists unearth new information on origins of Maya civilization
A new UA study in the journal Science challenges the two prevailing theories on how the ancient Maya civilization began, suggesting its origins are more complex than previously thought.

Europe needs genetically engineered crops, scientists say
The European Union cannot meet its goals in agricultural policy without embracing genetically engineered crops.

Suppressing protein may stem Alzheimer's disease process
Scientists have discovered a potential strategy for developing treatments to stem the disease process in Alzheimer's disease.

Psychology: School violence
Schools may be a step closer towards the development of effective strategies to prevent violent behavior.

GSA, the Paleontological Society, and SEPM in STEPPE together
STEPPE is a newly established, NSF-supported consortium involving the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Society for Sedimentary Geology -- designed to coordinate research, teaching, and learning in the areas of sedimentary geology and paleobiology.

Pushing the boundaries of transcription
Like musicians in an orchestra who have the same musical score but start and finish playing at different intervals, cells with the same genes start and finish transcribing them at different points in the genome.

NASA mission to study what disrupts radio waves
A NASA-funded sounding rocket mission will launch from an atoll in the Pacific in the next few weeks to help scientists better understand and predict the electrical storms in Earth's upper atmosphere.

The Earth's center is 1,000 degrees hotter than previously thought
The temperature near the Earth's center is 6,000 degrees Celsius, 1,000 degrees more than given in an experiment 20 years ago.

More severe concussion symptoms lead to longer recovery time
Most children who suffer from sports-related concussions recover within a few days.

Probiotics found to reduce hepatic encephalopathy
Probiotics could emerge as a treatment plan to manage hepatic encephalopathy (HE) therapy after a new study announced at the International Liver Congress™ 2013 found they significantly reduced development of the notoriously difficult-to-treat disease.

Science magazine prize goes to high-school engineering course
A classroom approach that helps high school seniors analyze engineering disasters as though the students were professional investigators has been selected to win the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction.

Breath study brings roadside drug testing closer
A group of researchers from Sweden have provided further evidence that illegal drugs can be detected in the breath, opening up the possibility of a roadside breathalyzer test to detect substances such as cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis.

As people live longer and reproduce less, natural selection keeps up
In many places around the world, people are living longer and are having fewer children.

Resistant starch content of potatoes varies significantly by preparation and service method
Research recently presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology conference in Boston, Mass., shows that resistant starch content of potatoes is similar across potato varieties; but can be altered significantly by the cooking and serving methods.

Einstein was right -- So far
Astronomers have used ESO's Very Large Telescope to find and study a bizarre stellar pair consisting of the most massive neutron star confirmed so far, orbited by a white dwarf star.

Earth Week: American U. launches William K. Reilly Fund for Environmental Governance & Leadership
American University's Center for Environmental Policy launched the William K Reilly Fund for Environmental Governance and Leadership during Earth Week.

Boosting the powers of genomic science
In a pair of papers published in PLOS Genetics, two diverse teams of scientists, both headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, describe novel statistical models that more broadly and deeply identify associations between bits of sequenced DNA called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs and say lead to a more complete and accurate understanding of the genetic underpinnings of many diseases and how best to treat them.

Poor parenting -- including overprotection -- increases bullying risk
Children who are exposed to negative parenting -- including abuse, neglect but also overprotection -- are more likely to experience childhood bullying by their peers, according to a meta-analysis of 70 studies of more than 200,000 children.

DARPA grant will help Stanford dig deep into the big data in social networks
Backed by a $5.6 million grant from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an interdisciplinary team at Stanford is embarking on a four-year project to better understand and model complex communication patterns in social networks in real time.

Frontiers news briefs
These are featured in Frontiers News Briefs this week: Short-term attentional perseveration linked with real-life creative achievement; When proteomics reveals unsuspected roles; Genetic variability and evolutionary dynamics of the Closteroviridae family; and Implementing clinically-driven EMRs in a Radiation Oncology Clinic.

Discovery of a gene that controls 3 different diseases
A research consortium led by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has identified a single gene, ERCC4, that can be involved in three human diseases depending on which type of mutation it presents: Fanconi anaemia, xeroderma pigmentosum, or a type of progeria.

Weight loss programs via virtual reality
There are many barriers that can interfere with weight loss.

BUSM study reveals novel mechanism by which UVA contributes to photoaging of skin
A study conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine provides new evidence that longwave ultraviolet light induces a protein that could result in premature skin aging.

UCSB researcher studies hormone levels and sexual motivation among young women
Feeling frisky? If so, chances are greater your estrogen level -- and, perhaps, fertility -- are hitting their monthly peak.

Research: Chemoresponse assay helps boost ovarian cancer survival
This spring, a team of researchers has released results from an eight-year study that shows improved survival rates for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer who undergo cancer tumor testing to determine the best treatment.

Virginia Tech Carilion scientists image nanoparticles in action
Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute invented a technique for imaging nanoparticle dynamics with atomic resolution as these dynamics occur in a liquid environment.

Competing pathways affect early differentiation of higher brain structures
A new study shows how the strength and timing of competing molecular signals during brain development has generated natural and presumably adaptive differences in a brain region known as the telencephalon -- much earlier than scientists had previously believed.

Astronomer studies far-off worlds through 'characterization by proxy'
A University of Washington astronomer is using Earth's interstellar neighbors to learn the nature of certain stars too far away to be directly measured or observed, and the planets they may host.

The sun sends 2 CMEs toward Mercury
On the night of April 24 and the morning of April 25, 2013, the sun erupted with two coronal mass ejections, solar phenomena that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space that can affect electronic systems in satellites.

Study reveals dramatic changes in global attitudes toward domestic violence
Global attitudes about domestic violence changed dramatically during the first decade of the 2000s, according to a new University of Michigan study that analyzes data from 26 low- and middle-income countries.

Leading leukemia experts: High leukemia treatment costs may be harming patients
The increasing cost of treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in the United States has reached unsustainably high levels and may be leaving many patients under- or untreated because they cannot afford care, according to a Blood Forum article supported by nearly 120 CML experts from more than 15 countries on five continents and published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Drivers education for older drivers remains for 2 years, HF/E researcher finds
In seeming contrast to the notion that the elderly often have memory problems, a new study from an HF/E researcher finds driver retraining to be an effective strategy for improving the safe-driving habits of older drivers over the long term.

Inhibiting enzymes in the cell may lead to development and proliferation of cancer cells
Blocking certain enzymes in the cell may prevent cancer cell division and growth, according to new findings from researchers at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Thanks to rare alpine bacteria, researchers identify one of alcohol's key gateways to the brain
Thanks to a rare bacteria that grows only on rocks in the Swiss Alps, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the Pasteur Institute in France have been the first to identify how alcohol might affect key brain proteins.

Source identification of H7N9 influenza virus causing human infections
On 31 March 2013, human cases of novel H7N9 influenza virus infections were announced by the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission.

New grass hybrid could help reduce the likelihood of flooding
Collaboration of BBSRC-funded scientists use hybridized forage grass to combine fast root growth and efficient soil water retention.

CWRU's Beall elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Case Western Reserve University's Cynthia Beall has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Researchers identify key cellular organelle involved in gene silencing
How exactly microRNAs repress target gene expression is not well understood.

Bizarre binary star system pushes study of relativity to new limits
An international team of astronomers and an exotic pair of binary stars have proved that Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is still right, even in the most extreme conditions tested yet.

UK study shows potential new way to detect colorectal and other cancers
A unique new study led by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers Guo-Min Li and Libya Gu, in collaboration with Dr.

Missing link in Parkinson's disease found
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have described a missing link in understanding how damage to the body's cellular power plants leads to Parkinson's disease and, perhaps surprisingly, to some forms of heart failure.

MilkyWay@Home co-founder and Rensselaer professor Heidi Newberg named Fellow of American Physical Society
Galactic astronomer Heidi Newberg, a professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy in the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been selected as a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Research finds psychological vulnerable older adults more susceptible to experience fraud
Researchers at Wayne State University, in collaboration with Illinois Institute of Technology, recently published a study advising clinical gerontologists in the field to be aware of older adults' needs for assessment of financial exploitation or its potential when working with highly vulnerable individuals.

For ancient Maya, a hodgepodge of cultural exchanges
According to a new study in Science, the formal plazas and pyramids at Ceibal, an ancient Maya site in Guatemala, probably arose from broad cultural exchanges that took place across southern Mesoamerica from about 1,000 to 700 BCE.

Faith in God positively influences treatment for individuals with psychiatric illness
Belief in God may significantly improve the outcome of those receiving short-term treatment for psychiatric illness, according to a recent study conducted by McLean Hospital investigators.

Scientists at Mount Sinai discover a key mechanism for a common form of Alzheimer's disease
Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered that a network of genes involved in the inflammatory response in the brain is a crucial mechanism driving Late Onset Alzheimer's Disease (LOAD).

ESC recommends patients and centres for renal denervation
The European Society of Cardiology and the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions have developed an expert consensus document on catheter-based renal denervation.

Alzheimer's risk gene presents potential treatment target
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have determined that one of the recently identified genes contributing to the risk of late-onset Alzheimer's disease regulates the clearance of the toxic amyloid beta protein that accumulates in the brains of patients with the disease.

Keeping beverages cool in summer: It's not just the heat, it's the humidity
Those drops on the outside of your drink don't just make the can slippery.

Culture vultures
Human tendency to adopt the behavior of others when on their home territory has been found in non-human primates.

Stanford study examines cost-effectiveness of helicopter transport of trauma victims
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have for the first time determined how often emergency medical helicopters need to help save the lives of seriously injured people to be considered cost-effective compared with ground ambulances.

Novel therapeutic approaches to cure chronic HBV infection
Exciting new data presented today at the International Liver Congress™ 2013 include results from early in vitro and in vivo studies targeting covalently closed circular DNA, which may form the basis of a cure for chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

NIH study offers clues to making vaccine for infant respiratory illness
An atomic-level snapshot of a respiratory syncytial virus protein bound to a human antibody represents a leap toward developing a vaccine for a common -- and sometimes very serious -- childhood disease.

Reporter in North Korea investigates fight against multidrug resistant tuberculosis
Richard Stone, International News Editor for the journal Science, last month traveled to Pyongyang, in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, to check in on the country's only laboratory capable of detecting strains of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Whales able to learn from others
Humpback whales are able to pass on hunting techniques to each other, just as humans do, new research has found.

2013 Meeting of the Americas media advisory 2
About 1,500 scientists are expected to present their latest Earth and space science findings next month at the 2013 Meeting of the Americas in Cancún, Mexico, May 13-17.

Patient centered medical home helps assess social health determinants and promote health
Physicians from the Departments of Pediatrics and Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are proposing that current pediatric guidelines and practices could be implemented within a Patient Centered Medical Home model to address social determinants of health.

Sexually explicit material affects behavior in young people less than thought
Viewing sexually explicit material through media such as the Internet, videos, and magazines may be directly linked with the sexual behavior of adolescents and young adults, but only to a very small extent.

High performance semiconductor spray paint could be a game changer for organic electronics
Researchers at Wake Forest University's Organic Electronics group have come up with a novel solution to one of the biggest technological barriers facing the organic semiconductor industry today.

Ecology buys time for evolution
Songbird populations can handle far more disrupting climate change than expected.

Spanish group patents an automatic suture system for colon cancer operations
The Spanish research center Innotex has developed a device that enables automatic suturing of the large intestine after being sectioned during cancer colon surgery.

University of Houston engineering professor awarded grant to study melanoma treatment
A University of Houston engineering professor has won a grant from the Melanoma Research Alliance to help develop one of the most promising therapies for patients with the disease.

Potential diabetes breakthrough
Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers have discovered a new hormone that holds promise for a dramatically more effective treatment of type 2 diabetes, a metabolic illness afflicting an estimated 26 million Americans.

Metabolic disorders predict the hardening of the arterial walls already in childhood
Metabolic disorders, such as excess abdominal fat, raised blood pressure, higher levels of insulin, glucose and triglycerides and lower levels of the beneficial HDL cholesterol can be found in children as young as 6 to 8 years of age, according to a study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland.

Entire galaxies feel the heat from newborn stars
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have shown for the first time that bursts of star formation have a major impact far beyond the boundaries of their host galaxy.

Piezoelectric 'taxel' arrays convert motion to electronic signals for tactile imaging
Using bundles of vertical zinc oxide nanowires, researchers have fabricated arrays of piezotronic transistors capable of converting mechanical motion directly into electronic controlling signals.

The peculiar life history of Middle American Stenamma ants
A recent revision of the Middle American clade of the ant genus Stenamma provides the description of 40 species, 33 of which are recognized as new to science.

Allegany College's forestry department honored for environmental stewardship
In honor of outstanding contributions to environmental education in Western Maryland, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory has selected the Forestry Technology Program at Allegany College as recipient of its 2013 Richard A.

Roundworm quells obesity and related metabolic disorders
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, have shown in a mouse model that infection with nematodes (also known as roundworms) can not only combat obesity but ameliorate related metabolic disorders.

New research projects to enhance bioinformatics and computational biology tools and methodologies
New research projects to enhance bioinformatics and computational biology tools and methodologies $11 million investment will help researchers maximize the utilization of data collected through genomics research for the benefit of Canadians.

New insights into Alzheimer's gene paves the way for prevention
A study published online April 25 by the Cell Press journal Neuron shows that a gene called CD33 contributes to Alzheimer's disease by inhibiting the ability of immune cells to remove toxic molecules in the brain.

Lasers bring new urgency to electric power research
In the wake of the recent announcement that laser weapons will be put on US Navy ships, the need for reliable, high-voltage shipboard power has become a matter of national security, officials said at this week's Electric Ship Technologies Symposium outside Washington, DC.

New imaging technology could reveal cellular secrets
Researchers have married two biological imaging technologies, creating a new way to learn how good cells go bad.

Mayo Clinic creates institution-wide electronic prolonged QT interval warning system
Using a one-of-a-kind computer-aided program, Mayo Clinic has developed and implemented a Mayo-wide electronic warning system to identify patients at risk of QT-related deaths from an abnormality in the heart's electrical system.

Tel Aviv University researcher honored for work on gauge and gravity theories
Prof. Shimon Yankielowcz of Tel Aviv University has been awarded the 2013 Weizmann Prize in Exact Sciences for his contributions to quantum gauge and super-symmetric field theories.

New quantitative analysis for open source software projects
Bitergia, a company that receives support from the Business Incubator in the UC3M Science Park is doing research on how to innovate in-depth quantitative analysis for open source software projects, in which all of the development process is carried out in tools that transmit information that is accessible to any person who may be interested.

Monell alum Dr. Larry Clark named Center's 2013 Kerry-Manheimer awardee
Larry Clark, Ph.D., Director of the United States Department of Agriculture National Wildlife Research Center, is the 2013 recipient of the Monell Center's Kerry-Manheimer Award.

Gene networks in brains of deceased patients reveal potential therapy for Alzheimer's disease
Most information about the cause of Alzheimer's is based on studies from animal models.

New studies prove lethal link between alcohol, weight
Research announced today at the International Liver CongressTM 2013 has revealed the deadly impact that alcohol and body weight have on liver disease.

Vaterite: Crystal within a crystal helps resolve an old puzzle
With the help of a solitary sea squirt, scientists have resolved the longstanding puzzle of the crystal structure of vaterite, an enigmatic geologic mineral and biomineral.

Latin America risks being 'overwhelmed' by burgeoning cancer epidemic
Latin America is facing an alarming increase in cancer rates, and unless urgent action is taken to prevent cancers, improve health-care systems and facilities, access to vital medical care, and treatment of poor people, the region threatens to be overwhelmed by the burgeoning epidemic, say the authors of a major new report on cancer control in the region, published in the Lancet Oncology.

Longer days bring 'winter blues' -- for rats, not humans
Biologists at UC San Diego have found that rats experience more anxiety and depression when the days grow longer.

Are living liver donors at risk from life-threatening 'near-miss' events?
A study published in Liver Transplantation, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society, reports that donor mortality is about 1 in 500 donors with living donor liver transplantation.

Researchers pinpoint how trees play role in smog production
After years of scientific uncertainty and speculation, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill show exactly how trees help create one of society's predominant environmental and health concerns: air pollution.

Ceramic foam cleans up exhaust gases
The introduction next year of the Euro 6 exhaust-gas standard means that catalytic converters will become more expensive, above all for diesel vehicles.

The Geological Society of America receives substantial bequest from top New England geologist
An enthusiastic group of New England geoscientists had the opportunity to celebrate a marvelous gift from the estate of James B.

Sunshine hormone, vitamin D, may offer hope for treating liver fibrosis
Liver fibrosis results from an excessive accumulation of tough, fibrous scar tissue and occurs in most types of chronic liver diseases.

Bold move forward in molecular analyses
New metrics for analyzing data from small angle scattering experiments should dramatically improve the ability of scientists to study the structures of macromolecules such as proteins and nanoparticles in solution.

New advances in the management of patients with cirrhosis
New data from clinical studies presented for the first time at the International Liver Congress™ 2013 provide new rationale for an old and established treatment option for portal hypertension.

Why do guppies jump?
Pet guppies often jump out of their tanks. One such accident inspired a new study by University of Maryland biologist Daphne Soares, which reveals how guppies are able to jump so far, and suggests why they do it.

A*STAR, Veredus create market's first lab-on-chip to detect multiple tropical infectious diseases
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research and Veredus Laboratories, a leading supplier of innovative molecular diagnostic tools, announced the launch of VereTropTM, the first biochip in the molecular diagnostics market that can identify 13 different major tropical diseases from a single blood sample.

Research on ecosystems of the future has started
What will happen when a plant moves to higher latitudes driven by climate change, potentially leaving behind friends and foes?

Autism risk spotted at birth in abnormal placentas
Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have figured out how to measure an infant's risk of developing autism by looking for abnormalities in his/her placenta at birth, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment for the developmental disorder.

Scientists discover new way protein degradation is regulated
Researchers at The Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have identified the mechanism by which the cell's protein recycler, the proteasome, ramps up its activity to take care of unwanted and potentially toxic proteins.

Study shows how Parkinson's disease protein acts like a virus
A protein that is a key player in the development of Parkinson's disease is able to enter and harm cells in the same way that viruses do, according to a study published in PLOS ONE.

Einstein's gravity theory passes toughest test yet
Because General Relativity is incompatible with quantum theory, physicists expect that its predictions will at some point fail under extreme conditions.

Tracking gunfire with a smartphone
A team of computer engineers from Vanderbilt University's Institute of Software Integrated Systems has developed an inexpensive hardware module and related software that can transform an Android smartphone into a simple shooter location system.

Pitt team finds melatonin delays ALS symptom onset and death in mice
Melatonin injections delayed symptom onset and reduced mortality in a mouse model of the neurodegenerative condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Study by Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor produces first edition of a bookworm's genome
The tiny nematode Panagrellus redivivus, often called the beer-mat worm or the microworm, has emerged from relative obscurity with the publication of its complete genetic code by a team led by Jagan Srinivasan, assistant professor of biology and biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Scientists create novel approach to find RNAs involved in long-term memory storage
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute, Columbia University and the University of Florida, Gainesville, have developed a novel strategy for isolating and characterizing a substantial number of RNAs transported from the cell-body of neuron (nerve cell) to the synapse, the small gap separating neurons that enables cell to cell communication.

CNIO researchers 'capture' the replication of the human genome for the first time
The Genomic Instability Group led by researcher Óscar Fernández-Capetillo at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, has for the first time obtained a panoramic photo of the proteins that take part in human DNA division, a process known as replication.

INFORMS awards 2013 UPS George D. Smith to the Naval Postgraduate School
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences has awarded its prestigious UPS George D.

Forced exercise may still protect against anxiety and stress, says CU-Boulder study
Being forced to exercise may still help reduce anxiety and depression just as exercising voluntarily does, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Research spinoff ReXceptor gets license for Alzheimer's treatment
Case Western Reserve's Technology Transfer Office has granted an exclusive license of a novel Alzheimer's Disease treatment strategy to spinoff company ReXceptor Inc., which plans to initiate early-stage human clinical trials of the medication within the next few months.

Violence and Gender Journal launching fall 2013
Delving into controversial and unsettling subjects such as the gender basis of violence, the new refereed journal Violence and Gender, launching in fall 2013, will explore the difficult issues that are vital to threat assessment and prevention of the epidemic of violence. 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