Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 06, 2013
Spanish researchers writing in cell describe the 9 hallmarks of aging
The prestigious journal Cell is now publishing an exhaustive review of the subject that aims to set things straight and

NASA sees heavy rainfall in tropical storm Andrea
NASA's TRMM satellite passed over Tropical Storm Andrea right after it was named, while NASA's Terra satellite captured a visible image of the storm's reach hours beforehand.

Rapid change in China brings significant improvements in health
In China between 1990 and 2010, communicable disease and child mortality decreased while life expectancy increased.

Scientists coax brain to regenerate cells lost in Huntington's disease
Researchers have been able to mobilize the brain's native stem cells to replenish a type of neuron lost in Huntington's disease.

Small lifestyle changes may have big impact on reducing stroke risk
Making small lifestyle changes could reduce your stroke risk. Every one-point increase toward a better health score was associated with an 8 percent lower stroke risk.

Stranded orcas hold critical clues for scientists
The development of a standardized killer-whale necropsy system has boosted the complete data from killer-whale strandings from two percent to about 33 percent, according to a recent study from a team of scientists, including a University of California, Davis wildlife veterinarian.

Mount Sinai discovers new liver cell for cellular therapy to aid in liver regeneration
Liver transplantation is the mainstay of treatment for patients with end-stage liver disease, the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, but new research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell today, suggests that it may one day become possible to regenerate a liver using cell therapy in patients with liver disease.

'Caldas tear' resolves puzzling seismic activity beneath Colombia
Colombia sits atop a complex geological area where three tectonic plates are interacting, producing seismicity patterns that have puzzled seismologists for years.

Metabolic model of E. coli reveals how bacterial growth responds to temperature change
Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a computational model of 1,366 genes in E. coli that includes 3D protein structures and has enabled them to compute the temperature sensitivity of the bacterium's proteins.

Surgeons at Duke University Hospital implant bioengineered vein
In a first-of-its-kind operation in the United States, a team of doctors at Duke University Hospital helped create a bioengineered blood vessel and implanted it into the arm of a patient with end-stage kidney disease.

Governor, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center announce over $100 million in capital grant funding
Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center today announced over $100 million in grants for life-sciences-related capital projects in western Massachusetts, including $95 million for the University of Massachusetts Amherst and $5.5 million for the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, a joint venture of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and UMass Amherst.

New screening method quickly identifies mice bred for bone marrow regeneration studies
Immunocompromised mice, created by inactivating the genes that would allow them to recognize and attack donor cells or organs, are critical for studies of bone marrow reconstitution.

Brain imaging study eliminates differences in visual function as a cause of dyslexia
A new brain imaging study of dyslexia shows that visual system differences do not cause the disorder, but instead are likely a consequence.

Researchers honor NYU-Poly environmental psychologist for work on prison design and more
The Environmental Design Research Association honored Professor Richard Wener, an environmental psychologist at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, with the 2013 Career Award in recognition of his research on the humane design of prisons and jails, his leadership in understanding how people react to their buildings, his studies on the causes of commuter stress, and other important contributions to environment-design research.

Chinese people spend a greater proportion of their lives in good health than people in other G20 countries
Premature deaths of children in China between 1990 and 2010 decreased by 80 percent, and the incidence of communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional disorders declined by 60 percent in the same period, according to a comprehensive new assessment of the health challenges facing China, the first study of its kind.

Reversal cells may tip the balance between bone formation and resorption in health and disease
By analyzing biopsy specimens from patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis and primary hyperparathyroidism, investigators have begun to pay increasing attention to

New DNA test on roo poo identifies species
University of Adelaide researchers have developed a simple and cost-effective DNA test to identify kangaroo species from their droppings which will boost the ability to manage and conserve kangaroo populations.

Researchers discover how brain circuits can become miswired during development
Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have uncovered a mechanism that guides the exquisite wiring of neural circuits in a developing brain -- gaining unprecedented insight into the faulty circuits that may lead to brain disorders ranging from autism to mental retardation.

Math technique de-clutters cancer-cell data, revealing tumor evolution, treatment leads
Today, two scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory publish a mathematical method of simplifying and interpreting genome data bearing evidence of mutations, such as those that characterize specific cancers.

'Dust trap' around distant star may solve planet formation mystery
An international team of researchers using the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope has discovered an intriguing clue that could help explain how rocky planets are able to evolve out of a swirling disk of dust and gas.

Excessive Facebook use can damage relationships, MU study finds
Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, found that individuals who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook-related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.

Herpes virus exploits immune response to bolster infection
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and colleagues report that the herpes simplex virus type-1, which affects an estimated 50 to 80 percent of all American adults, exploits an immune system receptor to boost its infectiousness and ability to cause disease.

Rewinding development: A step forward for stem cell research
Scientists at the Danish Stem Cell Center, DanStem, at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that they can make embryonic stem cells regress to a stage of development where they are able to make placenta cells as well as the other fetal cells.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Dana-Farber to bring clinical trials to local communities
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Dana-Farber join together to establish the Blood Cancer Research Partnership, an innovative program bringing together a network of sites for clinical trial testing of blood cancer therapies in community oncology settings across the country.

Living on the margins drives HIV epidemic in Europe and central Asia, new report says
A new report from the World Bank Group, WHO/Europe and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looks at the evidence linked to the continued rise in new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and several Asian countries.

Access to health care among Thailand's poor reduces infant mortality
When health care reform in Thailand increased payments to public hospitals for indigent care, more poor people sought medical treatment and infant mortality was reduced, even though the cost of medical care remained free for the poor, a new study shows.

Study suggests second life for possible spintronic materials
Ten years ago, scientists were convinced that a combination of manganese and gallium nitride could be a key material to create spintronics, the next generation of electronic devices that operate on properties found at the nanoscale.

Human Argonaute proteins: To slice or not to slice?
What makes one Argonaute a slicer and another one not?

Smithsonian scientists confirm theory regarding the origins of the sucking disc of remoras
Remora fish, with a sucking disc on their heads, have been the stuff of legend.

REFORM, opening up the way for low environmental impact products
Tecnalia recently announced its participation in the REFORM project, which is seeking to contribute towards the EU's eco-label criteria for composite components.

U of M researchers find novel gene correction model for epidermolysis bullosa
A research team led by pediatric blood and marrow transplantation experts Mark Osborn, Ph.D. and Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D. from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, have discovered a remarkable new way to repair genetic defects in the skin cells of patients with the skin disease epidermolysis bullosa.

Eurofins MWG Operon and Floragenex close co-marketing agreement for RAD discovery and RAD genotyping
Eurofins MWG Operon (Ebersberg, Germany) and Floragenex Inc. (Portland, OR, USA) have agreed to jointly market their respective expertise in next generation DNA sequencing and genomic services surrounding Restriction Site Associated DNA sequencing.

NASA satellite reveals Tropical Storm Andrea's towering thunderstorms
Towering thunderstorms are a sign of a strong tropical cyclone, and NASA's TRMM satellite spotted thunderstorms reaching heights of almost 9 miles high within Tropical Storm Andrea.

Research reveals Europe winning war on undeclared work
Research from the University of Sheffield has found that the wider range of policy approaches and measures which have been introduced in all EU Member States over the past five years have had a significant impact on preventing businesses and people from engaging in undeclared work.

Readily-available drugs may reduce devastating symptoms of Tay-Sachs disease: Study
A team of researchers has made a significant discovery which may have a dramatic impact on children stricken with Tay-Sachs disease, a degenerative and fatal neurological condition that often strikes in the early months of life.

How birds lost their penises
In animals that reproduce by internal fertilization, as humans do, you'd think a penis would be an organ you couldn't really do without, evolutionarily speaking.

Facebook: A confidence boost for first-gen college students
Facebook connections can help first-generation college applicants believe in their abilities to both apply to school and excel once they've enrolled, according to a new study from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

More cases of Alzheimer's disease in China in 2010 than any other country worldwide
The first ever large-scale systematic analysis of the epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in China, published in The Lancet, suggests that previous estimates may have greatly underestimated the burden of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, in China.

How similar are the gestures of apes and human infants? More than you might suspect
Psychologists analyzing video of a female chimpanzee, a female bonobo and a female human infant child in a study to compare different types of gestures at comparable stages of communicative development found remarkable similarities among the three species.

Vitamin D deficiency may help spread of hepatitis B throughout liver
Researchers from Germany have found that low levels of vitamin D are associated with high levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication.

Butler and Rhode Island hospitals to test 'brain pacemaker' for Alzheimer's disease
Butler Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital are participating in The ADvance Study, a clinical trial investigating the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) as a treatment for patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Very berry study aims to improve wine quality
A gene expression study of grapevine berries grown in different Italian vineyards has highlighted genes that help buffer the plants against environmental change and may explain the different quality performances of grapevine when grown in different

Pollution in Northern Hemisphere helped cause 1980s African drought
Air pollution in the Northern Hemisphere in the mid-20th century cooled the upper half of the planet and pushed rain bands south, contributing to the prolonged and worsening drought in Africa's Sahel region.

Earthquake acoustics can indicate if a massive tsunami is imminent, Stanford researchers find
Stanford scientists have identified key acoustic characteristics of the 2011 Japan earthquake that indicated it would cause a large tsunami.

Researchers find diminished balance in those with poor vision
UC Davis Health System Eye Center research has found that visually impaired individuals and those with uncorrected refractive error -- those who could benefit from glasses to achieve normal vision but don't wear glasses -- have a significantly greater risk of diminished balance with their eyes closed on a compliant, foam surface than individuals with normal vision.

Medicine, energy topics of Kavli lectures at American Chemical Society meeting
One scientist, pioneering a new field in medicine and another, an internationally known leader in research on using artificial photosynthesis to make energy from sunlight and water, will deliver the next lectures in the Kavli Foundation Lecture series at the 246th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Quantum teleportation between atomic systems over long distances
Researchers have been able to teleport information from light to light at a quantum level for several years.

Patent issued for beneficial animal 'candy'
A now patented animal feed technology improves the health, growth and reproductive functions of livestock.

UH receives $1 million endowment to train math, science teachers
A $1 million endowment funded by the ExxonMobil Corporation will help the University of Houston teachHOUSTON program continue training the next generation of secondary science and math teachers.

Unique information on Belgian ants compiled and published through FORMIDABEL data paper
A new peer reviewed data paper describes a unique database spanning the full range of indigenous and exotic ants occurring in Belgium.

Magpies take decisions faster when humans look at them
Researchers from the Seoul National University found that wild birds appear to

Conservatives more likely than liberals to identify mixed-race individuals as Black, NYU study finds
Conservatives are more likely than liberals to identify mixed-race individuals as Black, according to a series of new studies by researchers at NYU.

Alpine lakes reflect climate change
Increases in temperature as a result of climate change are mirrored in lake waters where temperatures are also on the rise.

Borneo stalagmites provide new view of abrupt climate events over 100,000 years
A new set of long-term climate records based on cave stalagmites collected from tropical Borneo shows that the western tropical Pacific responded very differently than other regions of the globe to abrupt climate change events.

Added benefit of ingenol mebutate is not proven
In an early benefit assessment, IQWiG examined whether ingenol mebutate offers an added benefit in the treatment of certain forms of actinic keratosis.

Living fossils? Actually, sturgeon are evolutionary speedsters
Efforts to restore sturgeon in the Great Lakes region have received a lot of attention in recent years, and many of the news stories note that the prehistoric-looking fish are

UGA study shows current laws don't prevent Sub-Saharan 'land grabbing'
Sub-Saharan Africa has foreign investors flocking to buy its fertile land.

Spain receives ever more solar radiation
Solar radiation in Spain has increased by 2.3 percent every decade since the 1980s, according to a study by researchers from the University of Girona and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Basic science points to clinical application in stopping tumor survival in low-oxygen environments
A series of studies funded to do only basic science and published today in the journal Cell reports the serendipitous discovery of a druggable target necessary for the survival of tumors in low-oxygen environments.

Minor changes in cardiovascular health reduce chances of stroke
A report published in Stroke showed that small improvements in cardiovascular risk factors reduce the chances a person will suffer a stroke.

ALMA discovers comet factory
Astronomers using the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array have imaged a region around a young star where dust particles can grow by clumping together.

Researchers discover normal molecular pathway affected in poor-prognosis childhood leukemia
Through genetic engineering of laboratory models, researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center have uncovered a vulnerability in the way cancer cells diverge from normal regenerating cells that may help treat children with leukemia as reported in the journal PNAS on June 3, 2013.

A CNIO study tracks the evolutionary history of a cancer-related gene
A study published today by scientists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre describes how a genetic duplication that took place in the vertebrate ancestor some 500 million years ago encouraged the evolution of the ASF1b gene; a gene essential for proper cell division and related to some types of cancer such as breast cancer.

How similar are the gestures of apes and human infants? More than you might suspect
A new study published in Frontiers used naturalistic video data for the first time to compare gestures in a female chimpanzee, bonobo and human infant.

Studies showing how bird flu viruses could adapt to humans offer surveillance and vaccine strategies
Bird flu viruses are potentially highly lethal and pose a global threat, but relatively little is known about why certain strains spread more easily to humans than others.

Added benefit of dapagliflozin is not proven
In an early benefit assessment IQWiG examined whether the drug dapagliflozin offers an added benefit over the current standard therapy for people with type 2 diabetes.

New study shows most youth football player concussions occur during games, not practice
Despite the lack of data regarding the rates of concussions in youth football, concerns have been raised about the sport being dangerous for this age group.

Big game hunting in Spain has increased in the last 30 years
Game has always been considered a scarce natural resource. For this reason, a team of researchers at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the Centre for Forestry Research have carried out a study on these practices in the last 35 years which demonstrates that, despite the fact that the total number of hunters in Spain has fallen along with the number of open access territories, big game is on the rise.

Gannets don't eat off each other's plates
Colonies of gannets maintain vast exclusive fishing ranges despite doing nothing to defend their territory from rival colonies, scientists have discovered.

The protein profile of restless leg syndrome
A protein profile of people with restless leg syndrome identifies factors behind disrupted sleep, cardiovascular dysfunction and pain finds research in BioMed Central's open access journal Fluids and Barriers of the CNS.

Frontiers news briefs: June 6
This week's news briefs include: Immune regulation of ovarian development; metagenome reveals potential microbial degradation of hydrocarbon coupled with sulfate reduction; and the first metallophyte discovered in South America.

Promising material for lithium-ion batteries
Laptops could work longer and electric cars could drive farther if it were possible to further increase the capacity of their lithium-ion batteries.

Nuclear testing from the 1960s helps scientist determine whether adult brains generate new neurons
A study reveals that a significant number of new neurons in the hippocampus--a brain region crucial for memory and learning--are generated in adult humans.

Unusual antibodies in cows suggest new ways to make therapies for people
Humans have been raising cows for their meat, hides and milk for millennia.

Spooky action put to order
A property known as

A way of thinking may enable battle but prevent war crimes
Combat troops must minimize the humanness of their enemies in order to kill them but can do so in a way that may help prevent war crimes and provide troops with a better path back to healthy civilian lives, researchers at Case Western Reserve University propose.

MIT study sheds light on what causes compulsive behavior, could improve OCD treatments
By activating a brain circuit that controls compulsive behavior, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can block a compulsive behavior in mice -- a result that could help researchers develop new treatments for diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome.

The swing of architect genes
Architect genes are responsible for organizing structures of the body during embryonic development.

Common genetic disease linked to father's age
Scientists at USC have unlocked the mystery of why new cases of the genetic disease Noonan syndrome are so common; a mutation that causes the disease disproportionately increases a normal father's production of sperm carrying the disease trait.

Eligibility for aspirin for primary prevention in men increases when cancer mortality benefit added
A research team, including University of North Carolina School of Medicine scientists, reports that including the positive effect of aspirin on cancer mortality influences the threshold for prescribing aspirin for primary prevention in men.

Tumors disable immune cells by using up sugar
Cancer cells' appetite for sugar may have serious consequences for immune cell function, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Conflict-of-interest restrictions needed to ensure strong FDA review
A 2012 law that loosened conflict-of-interest restrictions for FDA advisory panels could weaken the agency's review system and could allow more drugs with safety problems to gain market approval, says a new analysis published June 7 in Science by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

Rutgers findings may predict the future of coral reefs in a changing world
Rutgers scientists have described for the first time the biological process of how corals create their skeletons, which form massive and ecologically vital coral reefs in the world's oceans.

Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism now have new research tool: Mature brain cells derived from skin cells
Difficult-to-study diseases such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and autism now can be probed more safely and effectively thanks to an innovative new method for obtaining mature brain cells called neurons from reprogrammed skin cells.

Superb lyrebirds move to the music
When male superb lyrebirds sing, they often move their bodies to the music in a choreographed way, say researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on June 6.

Buckle up the right way: Motor vehicle child safety restraints
In a literature review appearing in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, researchers highlight current North American child safety restraint systems usage recommendations and injury rates.

Molecular VELCRO for chromosome stability
A team of scientists at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research and the University of Geneva has functionally dissected the molecular processes that ensure the stability of chromosomes.

2011 Draconid meteor shower deposited a ton of meteoritic material on Earth
A study led by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council shows that about a ton of material coming from comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner was deposited in the Earth's atmosphere on October 8th and 9th 2011 during one of the most intense showers of shooting starts in the last decade, which registered an activity of more than 400 meteors per hour.

Parents with heavy TV viewing more likely to feed children junk food
If your preschooler thinks a cheeseburger is healthy, you may want to reconsider how you watch TV.

More cancer specialist nurses to improve hospital care
Patients battling cancer have a better experience of care at hospitals that employ more cancer specialist nurses.

$18 million to study deadly secrets of flu, Ebola, West Nile viruses
In an effort to sort out why some viruses such as influenza, Ebola and West Nile are so lethal, a team of US researchers plans a comprehensive effort to model how humans respond to these viral pathogens.

3 billion-year-old microfossils include plankton
Spindle-shaped inclusions in 3 billion-year-old rocks are microfossils of plankton that probably inhabited the oceans around the globe during that time, according to an international team of researchers.

'Living' biofilters could reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Biofilters containing naturally occurring microscopic organisms that live on methane gas could help reduce hard-to-manage greenhouse gas emissions in the petroleum, forest and agriculture industries.

How young genes gain a toehold on becoming indispensable
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientists have, for the first time, mapped a young gene's short, dramatic evolutionary journey to becoming essential, or indispensable.

Researcher recommends stronger antithrombotic drugs in high-risk heart attack patients
The Cardiovascular Research Laboratory of the IDIBELL led by the cardiologist of the Bellvitge University Hospital José Luis Ferreiro has conducted a study on the effect of anti-platelet drugs given to high risk patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the context of the Infarction Code.

Astronomers gear up to discover Earth-like planets
Dust clouds around stars are thought to hide many undiscovered planets with conditions suitable for life, but observations have been hampered by the fact that only the brightest such clouds can be detected with current technology.

Study finds one in four patients with newly-diagnosed erectile dysfunction is a young man
In a recent analysis of one outpatient clinic, one in four men seeking medical help for newly-developed erectile dysfunction (ED) was younger than 40 years, and nearly half of young men with the condition had severe ED.

MRI study: Breastfeeding boosts babies' brain growth
A study using brain images from

By trying it all, predatory sea slug learns what not to eat
Researchers found that a type of predatory sea slug with a simple nervous system has more complex cognitive abilities than previously thought, allowing it to learn the warning cues of dangerous prey and avoid them in the future.

Steroid injection therapy may increase risk of spinal fracture
Most aging adults will experience back pain or a spinal disorder at some time in their life.

Making sense of patterns in the Twitterverse
If you think keeping up with what's happening via Twitter, Facebook and other social media is like drinking from a fire hose, multiply that by seven billion -- and you'll have a sense of what Court Corley wakes up to every morning.

Research unveils insight into a debilitating brain disease
From the neurons that enable thought to the keratinocytes that make toenails grow -- a complex canopy of sugar molecules, commonly known as glycans, envelop every living cell in the human body. 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