Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 13, 2013
Warm ocean drives most Antarctic ice shelf loss, UC Irvine and others show
Ocean waters melting the undersides of Antarctic ice shelves, not icebergs calving into the sea, are responsible for most of the continent's ice loss, a study by UC Irvine and others has found.

Greater convenience and safety for wheelchair users
With modern communication aids, users of electric powered wheelchairs can operate a PC and cellphone without human assistance.

Putting flesh on the bones of ancient fish
This week in the journal Science, Swedish and Australian researchers present the miraculously preserved musculature of 380 million year old fossil fishes, revealed by unique fossils from a locality in north-west Australia.

Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia and language impairment
A new study of the genetic origins of dyslexia and other learning disabilities could allow for earlier diagnoses and more successful interventions, according to researchers at Yale School of Medicine.

Dangerous strains of E. coli may linger longer in water than benign counterparts, study finds
A toxin dangerous to humans may help E. coli fend off aquatic predators, enabling strains of E. coli that produce the toxin to survive longer in lake water than benign counterparts, a new study finds.

Researchers find low level of patient involvement in medical decision-making in Peru
Mayo Clinic and Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University researchers have partnered on a study showing that Peruvian physicians rarely sought to involve their patients in shared decision-making regarding medical care.

Mount Sinai researchers succeed in programming blood forming stem cells
By transferring four genes into mouse fibroblast cells, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have produced cells that resemble hematopoietic stem cells, which produce millions of new blood cells in the human body every day.

Major hurdle cleared to diabetes transplants
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a way to trigger reproduction in the laboratory of clusters of human cells that make insulin, potentially removing a significant obstacle to transplanting the cells as a treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes.

UCSB researchers identify the mechanisms underlying salt-mediated behaviors in fruit flies
Next time you see a fruit fly in your kitchen, don't swat it.

No good substitute for race in college admissions: Research
As the US Supreme Court decides in a case involving racial preferences in college admissions (Fisher v.

Volunteering reduces risk of hypertension in older adults, Carnegie Mellon research shows
It turns out that helping others can also help you protect yourself from high blood pressure.

2013 World Cultural Council awards
The World Cultural Council will present the 2013 ALBERT EINSTEIN World Award of Science to Paul Nurse for his outstanding and continuing career as a scientific leader, as well as his accomplishments as one of the world's leading biochemists and geneticists.

Depression in postmenopausal women may increase diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk
Postmenopausal women who use antidepressant medication or suffer from depression might be more likely to have a higher body mass index, larger waist circumference and inflammation -- all associated with increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a study led by University of Massachusetts Medical School investigator Yunsheng Ma, Ph.D., M.D., M.P.H.

Building more sustainable aircraft
Life cycle assessments of components can help make aircraft production more sustainable.

Nanoparticle opens the door to clean-energy alternatives
Cheaper clean-energy technologies could be made possible thanks to a new discovery.

Spot-welding graphene nanoribbons atom by atom
Scientists at Aalto University, Finland and Utrecht University, the Netherlands have created single atom contacts between gold and graphene nanoribbons.

Air Force announces basic research awards
The Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Program supports research by teams of investigators that intersect several traditional science and engineering disciplines in order to accelerate research progress.

Stacking up a clearer picture of the universe
Researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research have proven a new technique that will provide a clearer picture of the Universe's history and be used with the next generation of radio telescopes such as the Square Kilometre Array.

A new approach for managing investment funds
A new book by a University of Luxembourg Professor provides new insights, ideas and empirical evidence that will improve tools and methods at our disposal for fund performance analysis.

Black locust showing promise for biomass potential
Researchers from the Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of Illinois, evaluating the biomass potential of woody crops, are taking a closer look at the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), which showed a higher yield and a faster harvest time than other woody plant species that they evaluated, said U of I associate professor of crop sciences Gary Kling.

Researchers gain new molecular-level understanding of the brain's recovery after stroke
A specific MicroRNA, a short set of RNA (ribonuclease) sequences, naturally packaged into minute (50 nanometers) lipid containers called exosomes, are released by stem cells after a stroke and contribute to better neurological recovery according to a new animal study by Henry Ford Hospital researchers.

NYU Professor Li named Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences
Fei Li, an assistant professor in New York University's Department of Biology, has been selected as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

UF study finds brain-imaging technique can help diagnose movement disorders
A new University of Florida study suggests a promising brain-imaging technique has the potential to improve diagnoses for the millions of people with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Male preference for younger female mates identified as likely cause of menopause
A study published in this week's PLOS Computational Biology reports that menopause is an unintended outcome of natural selection caused by the preference of males for younger female mates.

Chronic drinking + exposure to particulate matter dramatically decreases lung function
Alveolar macrophage (AM) function plays a critical role in protecting the lungs by removing particulates.

50 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients discontinue medication within the first 2 years
Data presented at EULAR 2013, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, show that up to one-third of rheumatoid arthritis patients discontinue or change therapy within the first year of treatment.

Researchers conclude that what causes menopause is -- wait for it -- men
After decades of laboring under other theories that never seemed to add up, a team of McMaster University biologists has concluded that menopause is actually an unintended outcome of natural selection generated by men's historical preference for younger mates.

Farmworkers feel the heat even when they leave the fields
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers conducted a study to evaluate the heat indexes in migrant farmworker housing and found that a majority of the workers don't get a break from the heat when they're off the clock.

Putting flesh on the bones of ancient fish
Scientists present for the first time miraculously preserved musculature of 380 million year old armored fish discovered in north-west Australia.

On the scientific frontier
Pew announces the 2013 class of Latin American Fellows.

Society of Interventional Radiology selects 18 Fellows
The Society of Interventional Radiology announced the addition of 18 Fellows to the Fairfax, Virginia-based, national organization's roster during SIR's 38th Annual Scientific Meeting, held April 13 in New Orleans.

Testing method promising for spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis
A medical test previously developed to measure a toxin found in tobacco smokers has been adapted to measure the same toxin in people suffering from spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, offering a potential tool to reduce symptoms.

US forest management policy must evolve to meet bioenergy targets
To keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for renewable energy, forest management policy in the U.S. must evolve to address environmental sustainability issues, says Jody Endres, a professor of bioenergy, environmental and natural resources law at Illinois.

Gene offers an athlete's heart without the exercise
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have found that a single gene poses a double threat to disease: Not only does it inhibit the growth and spread of breast tumors, but it also makes hearts healthier.

Helping to restore balance after inner ear disorder
Many disorders of the inner hear which affect both hearing and balance can be hugely debilitating and are currently largely incurable.

Breaking substance abuse cycle: SLU studies parenting program for young mothers, children
SLU researcher will study treatment services offered by a local community provider to St.

Canakinumab allows discontinuation of corticosteroids in patients with SJIA
Study findings first presented today at EULAR 2013, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, demonstrate the efficacy of canakinumab at tapering corticosteroid use in patients with SJIA.

'Tailing' spiny lobster larvae to protect them
In a new study of spiny lobsters scientists from the University of Miami and Old Dominion studied the larval dispersal of this species in the Caribbean.

GW researcher finds association between finasteride and decreased levels of alcohol consumption
GW Researcher Michael Irwig published the first human study that shows an association between finasteride (Propecia) and decreased levels of alcohol consumption.

DNA brings materials to life
DNA-coated colloids have been used to create novel self-assembling materials in a breakthrough experiment by EPFL and University of Cambridge scientists.

'Self-cleaning' pollution-control technology could do more harm than good, study suggests
Research by Indiana University environmental scientists shows that air-pollution-removal technology used in

Childbirth increases risk of ACPA-negative rheumatoid arthritis
Epidemiological data presented today at EULAR 2013, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, demonstrate that pregnancy carried to childbirth (parity) increases the risk of ACPA-negative rheumatoid arthritis.

Literacy, not income, key to improving public health in India
New research suggests public health in developing countries may be better improved by reducing illiteracy rather than raising average income.

Exoplanet formation surprise
A team of researchers has discovered evidence that an extrasolar planet may be forming quite far from its star--about twice the distance Pluto is from our Sun.

Austerity cuts to Spanish healthcare system are 'putting lives at risk'
A series of austerity reforms made by the Spanish government could lead to the effective dismantling of large parts of the country's healthcare system, with potentially detrimental effects on the health of the Spanish people, according to new research from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Culprit implicated in neurodegenerative diseases also critical for normal cells
The propensity of proteins to stick together in large clumps -- termed

Satellite data will be essential to future of groundwater, flood and drought management
New satellite imagery reveals that several areas across the US are all but certain to suffer water-related catastrophes, including extreme flooding, drought and groundwater depletion.

Light-carved 'nano-volcanoes' hold promise for drug delivery
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a method for creating

Frontiers news briefs: June 13
In this week's news briefs: insights into harmful fungal communities in composts; why extroverts consistently seek out rewarding environments; the role of microRNAs in the tumorigenesis of ovarian cancer; and the epidemiology of criniviruses.

Prefab houses that are glued, not nailed, together
With prefabricated houses, the dream of having one's own home can quickly become a reality.

A peptide to protect brain function
Prof. Illana Gozes of Tel Aviv University has developed a new peptide, called NAP or Davunetide, that has the capacity to both protect and restore critical cell functions in the brain.

Oysters could rebound more quickly with limited fishing and improved habitat
A new study shows that combining improved oyster restoration methods with limits on fishing in the upper Chesapeake could bring the oyster population back to the Bay in a much shorter period of time.

First major study of suicide motivations to advance prevention
A University of British Columbia study sheds important new light on why people attempt suicide and provides the first scientifically tested measure for evaluating the motivations for suicide.

Severe maternal complications less common during home births
Women with low risk pregnancies who choose to give birth at home have a lower risk of severe complications than women who plan a hospital birth, finds a study published on today.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and autism spectrum disorder share common molecular vulnerabilities
Both fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and autism spectrum disorder are neurodevelopmental in origin.

Study: Context crucial when it comes to mutations in genetic evolution
New research led by evolutionary biologist Jay Storz of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has found that whether a given mutation is good or bad is often determined by other mutations associated with it.

Autonomous energy-scavenging micro devices will test water quality, monitor bridges, more
Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario are using photonics in their quest to

Tufts Engineer Qiaobing Xu named 2013 Pew Scholar
Xu's research delves into tissue engineering and nanomedicine. His lab has pioneered the use of nature-derived nanostructured tissue--decellularized tendon-- as a source of biomaterials and works to engineer these materials through a combination of tissue sectioning, multilayer stacking and rolling into structures with innovative biomedical functions.

BIDMC endocrinology researcher Mark Andermann, Ph.D., named 2013 Pew Scholar
Mark Andermann, Ph.D., has been named a 2013 Pew Scholar for his work exploring food cues as a new approach to understanding obesity and other eating disorders.

Newly identified markers may predict who will respond to breast cancer prevention therapy
Genetic variations, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, in or near the genes ZNF423 and CTSO were associated with breast cancer risk among women who underwent prevention therapy with tamoxifen and raloxifene, according to data published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Protein protects against breast cancer recurrence in animal model
Precisely what causes breast cancer recurrence has been poorly understood.

Metabolic molecule drives growth of aggressive brain cancer
A new study has identified an abnormal metabolic pathway that drives cancer-cell growth in a particular subtype of glioblastoma, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer.

World population could be nearly 11 billion by 2100, UW research shows
A new United Nations analysis, using statistical methods developed at the University of Washington, shows the world population could reach nearly 11 billion by the end of the century, about 800 million more people than the previous projection issued in 2011.

Study shows how diving mammals evolved underwater endurance
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shed new light on how diving mammals, such as the sperm whale, have evolved to survive for long periods underwater without breathing.

Unraveling the genetic mystery of medieval leprosy
Why was there a sudden drop in the incidence of leprosy at the end of the Middle Ages?

AIT bags USAID project on Agricultural Learning Exchange
AIT has been awarded a USD 899,000 grant by the United States Agency for International Development/Regional Development Mission for Asia for implementing a program to enhance food security and livelihood in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal.

AMP celebrates SCOTUS decision on AMP v. Myriad Case
The United States Supreme Court released its landmark decision in Association for Molecular Pathology et al. v.

Gene variants may predict who will benefit from breast cancer prevention drugs
In women at high risk for breast cancer, a long-term drug treatment can cut disease risk in half.

Certain environmental factors impact alcohol problems more for European than African-American women
An early age at first drink (AFD) is associated with a greater risk for subsequent alcohol use disorders.

Universal paid sick leave reduces spread of flu, according to Pitt simulation
Allowing all employees access to paid sick days would reduce influenza infections in the workplace by nearly 6 percent, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health modeling experts.

Gustatory tug-of-war key to whether salty foods taste good
As anyone who's ever mixed up the sugar and salt while baking knows, too much of a good thing can be inedible.

DNA sequencing uncovers secrets of white cliffs of Dover
The University of Exeter recently contributed to a major international project to sequence the genome of Emiliania huxleyi, the microscopic plankton species whose chalky skeletons form the iconic white cliffs of Dover.

From autism to diabetes to Parkinson's disease
Pew announces its 2013 class of biomedical scholars.

Could novel drug target autism and fetal alcohol disorder?
A surprising new study reveals a common molecular vulnerability in autism and fetal alcohol disorder.

Finasteride, medication for male pattern hair loss, may also decrease drinking
Finasteride is a synthetic drug for the treatment of male pattern hair loss and an enlarged prostate.

After an ACL tear: Research opens door to new treatments to improve recovery for athletes
New drug target may prevent one of the most dreaded consequences of an ACL tear.

New report identifies 'regret-free' approaches for adapting agriculture to climate change
Whether it's swapping coffee for cocoa in Central America or bracing for drought in Sri Lanka with a return to ancient water storage systems, findings from a new report from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security chart a path for farmers to adapt to climate shifts despite uncertainties about what growing conditions will look like decades from now.

New fluorescent protein from eel revolutionizes key clinical assay
Unagi, the sea-going Japanese freshwater eel, harbors a fluorescent protein that could serve as the basis for a revolutionary new clinical test for bilirubin, a critical indicator of human liver function, hemolysis, and jaundice, according to researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute.

Unzipped nanotubes unlock potential for batteries
Graphene nanoribbons and tin oxide make an effective anode for lithium ion batteries, as discovered in early tests at Rice University.

Be gone, bacteria
A team of researchers led by the University of Iowa is recommending clinical guidelines that will cut the post-surgical infection rate for staph bacteria (including MRSA) by 71 percent and 59 percent for a broader class of infectious agents known as gram-positive bacteria.

Monell-led research identifies scent of melanoma
Monell researchers identified odorants from human skin cells that can be used to identify melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Helping pet owners make tough choices
Perhaps the hardest part of owning a pet is making difficult decisions when a beloved companion becomes seriously ill.

Depression indicators predict work disabilty more than disease activity or response to therapy
Data presented today at EULAR 2013, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism, demonstrate that indicators of depression are stronger predictors of work disability in early arthritis than disease activity or response to therapy.

Repairing turbines with the help of robots
Compressor and turbine blades are important components in aircraft engines and gas turbines.

Genetic variations may help identify best candidates for preventive breast cancer drugs
Newly discovered genetic variations may help predict breast cancer risk in women who receive preventive breast cancer therapy with the selective estrogen receptor modulator drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene, a Mayo Clinic-led study has found.

Study points to role of nervous system in arthritis
A new study in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at McGill University adds to a growing body of evidence that the nervous system and nerve-growth factor (NGF) play a major role in arthritis.

Experts propose restoring invisible and abandoned trials 'to correct the scientific record'
Experts are today calling for all unpublished and misreported trials to be published or formally corrected within the next year to ensure doctors and patients rely on complete and accurate information to make decisions about treatments.

Tobacco laws for youth may reduce adult smoking
States that want to reduce rates of adult smoking may consider implementing stringent tobacco restrictions on teens. 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