Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 22, 2013
Researchers identify 146 contemporary medical practices offering no net benefits
While there is an expectation that newer medical practices improve the standard of care, the history of medicine reveals many instances in which this has not been the case.

Water comes clean in test with marines
A new easy-to-carry water purifier that could give Marines and first-responders access to clean water wherever they go successfully completed its first operational test, officials announced July 22.

Evolution picks up hitchhikers
In a twist on

Rancho Fire in California
The Rancho Fire started two miles north of Lebec, CA on July 19, 2013 at approximately noon.

Bees 'betray' their flowers when pollinator species decline
Remove even one bumblebee species from an ecosystem and the impact is swift and clear: their floral

Study lays groundwork for norovirus anti-viral treatments
There's no vaccine to prevent norovirus, or drugs to treat the pesky virus that sickens millions each year and is known to complicate cruise ship vacations.

Breastfeeding could prevent ADHD
Dr. Aviva Mimouni-Bloch of Tel Aviv University has completed a study that finds a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, even when typical risk factors were taken into consideration.

New research findings highlight benefits of human-animal interaction
Positive results from three new studies on human-animal interaction, supported by funding from Mars and the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, are being presented today at the triennial conference of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations in Chicago, IL.

BMC surgeon recommends off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting be abandoned
In a Special Report in the current issue of Circulation, Boston Medical Center cardiothoracic surgeon Harold Lazar, MD, has found that off-pump coronary artery bypass graft surgery has failed to show any significant improvement in short-term morbidity or mortality as compared to the traditional on-pump coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

Major global analysis offers hope for saving the wild side of staple food crops
Global efforts to adapt staple foods like rice, wheat and potato to climate change have been given a major boost today as new research shows the whereabouts of their wild cousins -- which could hold beneficial qualities to help improve crops and make them more productive and resilient.

Scientists to study novel mechanisms of epileptic seizures to identify targets for therapy
UC Riverside's Todd Fiacco and Devin Binder will study the causes of neuronal hyperexcitability with the goal of developing more effective treatments for brain disorders.

Study highlights female cancer patients unhappy with insufficient fertility support
Young female cancer patients are unhappy about the way fertility preservation options are discussed with them by doctors before starting cancer treatment, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Sheffield and The Children's Hospital, Sheffield.

Teen eating disorders increase suicide risk
Is binge eating a tell-tale sign of suicidal thoughts? According to a new study of African American girls published in Springer's journal Prevention Science, those who experience depressive and anxious symptoms are often dissatisfied with their bodies and more likely to display binge eating behaviors.

Studies suggest new key to 'switching off' hypertension
A team of University of California, San Diego researchers has designed new compounds that mimic those naturally used by the body to regulate blood pressure.

NIMBioS wins $18 million renewal award from National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation has awarded $18.6 million to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis to continue its interdisciplinary efforts in developing new mathematical approaches to problems across biology, from the level of the genome to individuals to entire ecosystems.

Climate forecasts shown to warn of crop failures
Climate data can help predict some crop failures several months before harvest, according to a new study from an international team, including a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Ancient ice melt unearthed in Antarctic mud
The East Antarctic Ice Sheet repeatedly melted back several hundred miles inland during several warming periods 3 million to 5 million years ago, according to a new study.The study shows that the East Antarctic ice sheet is vulnerable to substantial melting under temperatures that could prevail in the future.

New hope for hormone resistant breast cancer
A new finding provides fresh hope for the millions of women worldwide with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

Off-grid sterilization with Rice U.'s 'solar steam'
Rice University nanotechnology researchers have unveiled a solar-powered sterilization system that could be a boon for more than 2.5 billion people who lack adequate sanitation.

Gallo Center scientists identify key brain circuits that control compulsive drinking in rats
A research team led by scientists from the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco has identified circuitry in the brain that drives compulsive drinking in rats, and likely plays a similar role in humans.

App security testing tool
Most apps, be they for internet shopping, gaming or social networking, are aimed at private users.

University of Hawaii Cancer Center researchers report
University of Hawaii Cancer Center Prevention and Control Program researchers Pallav Pokhrel, Ph.D., and Thaddeus Herzog, Ph.D., have found that smokers who use e-cigarettes as a tool to stop smoking tend to be younger and more motivated to quit smoking as compared to other smokers.

Carnegie Mellon-developed chemicals that break down water contaminants pass safety test
A family of molecules developed at Carnegie Mellon University to break down pollutants in water is one step closer to commercial use.

OU awarded OCAST applied research grant
A University of Oklahoma research team has received a $236,000 applied research grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology for development and commercialization of IV-VI semiconductor mid-infrared detectors.

Skipping breakfast may increase coronary heart disease risk
A large 16-year study finds men who reported that they skipped breakfast had higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease.

The love hormone is 2-faced
Oxytocin is known as the hormone that promotes feelings of love, bonding and well-being.

First high-resolution national carbon map -- Panama
A team of researchers has for the first time mapped the above ground carbon density of an entire country in high fidelity.

Most flammable boreal forests in North America become more so
A 2,000-square-kilometer zone in the Yukon Flats of interior Alaska -- one of the most flammable high-latitude regions of the world, according to scientists -- has seen a dramatic increase in both the frequency and severity of fires in recent decades.

Program may hold promise for reducing avoidable hospital readmissions
Recent federal legislation imposes financial penalties on hospitals that experience excessive patient readmissions within 30 days.

A scientific experiment is able to create a wave that is frozen in time
Scientists at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid and the University of California -- San Diego have created, in a laboratory, a static pipeline wave, with a crest that moves neither forward nor backward.

Genome assembly in the spotlight
Biggest ever contest puts genome assemblers through their paces.

Fires in Idaho
In Idaho, several fires were spotted by NASA's Aqua satellite on July 20, 2013.

To savor the flavor, perform a short ritual first
Blowing out the candles on birthday cake isn't just for fun.

How to manage concussions
Concussions, the most common traumatic brain injury, can have serious long-term health effects; therefore, diagnosis and management of these injuries are important.

Study finds depletion of alveolar macrophages linked to bacterial super-infections
A recent study published in the July issue of the Journal of Immunology helps explain why some humans contract bacterial super-infections like pneumonia with influenza.

Tropical ecosystems regulate variations in Earth's carbon dioxide levels
Rising temperatures, influenced by natural events such as El Niño, have a corresponding increase in the release of carbon dioxide from tropical forest ecosystems, according to a new study out today.

Protein complex linked to cancer growth may also help fight tumors, Moffitt researchers say
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital in China have discovered a gene expression signature that may lead to new immune therapies for lung cancer patients.

Geochemical 'fingerprints' leave evidence that megafloods eroded steep gorge
For the first time, scientists have direct geochemical evidence that the 150-mile long Tsangpo Gorge, possibly the world's deepest, was the conduit by which megafloods from glacial lakes, perhaps half the volume of Lake Erie, drained catastrophically through the Himalayas when their ice dams failed during the last 2 million years.

Chips that mimic the brain
Novel microchips imitate the brain's information processing in real time.

Learning a language depends on good connection between regions of the left hemisphere of the brain
A study made by researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Barcelona provides information on neural pathways involved in word learning among humans.

Fires in Eastern Russian and Siberia
Forest fires are burning north and east of Russia's Irkutsk Oblast.

Carnegie Mellon, Microsoft scientists use game to generate database for analysis of drawing
The fingers of thousands of people who created sketches of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on their iPhones can collectively guide and correct the drawing strokes of subsequent touchscreen users in an application created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft Research.

Physician bonuses help drive increases in surgery with minimal patient benefit: McMaster study
Financial incentives for Ontario surgeons are likely a key factor driving greater use of laparoscopic colon cancer surgery as few benefits to patients, says McMaster University surgeon in paper published in Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Using GitHub as a repository for machine-readable scholarly articles
Pensoft now provides the XML of all articles in ZooKeys, PhytoKeys and MycoKeys in version-controlled repositories on GitHub for all to see, comment, improve and more.

DFG position paper on the future of the German research system
The paper calls for better core support for universities, differentiation between research organizations and funding organizations, excellence funding in the DFG budget.

Researchers awarded $750,000 NASA grant to study muscle and bone loss associated with space travel
Dr. Miaozong Wu of the Center for Diagnostic Nanosystems at the Marshall University School of Pharmacy has been awarded a $750,000 grant from NASA to lead a team of researchers investigating the muscle and bone loss associated with space travel.

Could turning on a gene prevent diabetes?
The resistance to insulin seen in type 2 diabetics is caused partly by the lack of a protein that has not previously been associated with diabetes.

Health risks from arsenic in rice exposed
High levels of arsenic in rice have been shown to be associated with elevated genetic damage in humans, a new study has found.

Vascular complications of fungal meningitis after contaminated spinal injections
A case series by researchers at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., examined three patients with ischemic stroke who later received a diagnosis of fungal meningitis attributed to epidural injections of contaminated methylprednisolone for low back pain.

Why superstition-rich baseball playoff fans aren't loyal to a brand
The study, written by Gita V. Johar of Columbia Business School and Eric J.

Putting the brakes on inflammation
A team led by a UA researcher has discovered a previously unknown mechanism that prevents the immune system from going into overdrive.

Declining sea ice strands baby harp seals
Young harp seals off the eastern coast of Canada are at much higher risk of getting stranded than adult seals because of shrinking sea ice cover caused by recent warming in the North Atlantic, according to a Duke University study.

Hunting pushing central African forests toward ecological collapse
Scientists from the Universities of Stirling, Oxford, Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society warn that current hunting trends in Central African forests could result in complete ecological collapse.

Researchers make droplets dance
Researchers from Aalto University and Paris Tech have placed water droplets containing magnetic nanoparticles on strong water repellent surfaces and have made them align in various static and dynamic structures using periodically oscillating magnetic fields.

Plain packaging seems to make cigarettes less appealing and increase urgency to quit smoking
Plain packaging for cigarettes seems to make tobacco less appealing and increase the urgency to quit smoking, suggest early findings from Australia, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Land-clearing Blazes in Indonesia
In Indonesia, land-clearing blazes dot the countryside.

When college diversity delivers benefits: UMD study
The benefits of race-conscious college admissions are only fully realized under certain conditions, concludes new University of Maryland-led research.

Sea level rise: New iceberg theory points to areas at risk of rapid disintegration
In events that could exacerbate sea level rise over the coming decades, stretches of ice on the coasts of Antarctica and Greenland are at risk of rapidly cracking apart and falling into the ocean, according to new iceberg calving simulations from the University of Michigan.

No benefit associated with echocardiographic screening in the general population
A study in Norway suggests echocardiographic screening in the general public for structural and valvular heart disease was not associated with benefit for reducing the risk of death, myocardial infarction or stroke, according to a report published by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

We need long term youth projects, not short term funding, says Huddersfield researcher
Dr. Helen Jones, a Course Leader in the School of Education and Professional Development at the University of Huddersfield, has published a piece of work that makes recommendations for future youth work, based on a study rooted in Yorkshire.

New protocol developed to decontaminate human fetal tissues used for cell transplantation
Fetal tissues destined for transplantation to aid in neurological repair often contain microbial contaminants.

EARTH: Mapping field camp's past and present: Exploring a mainstay of geoscience education
EARTH Magazine explores the ritual of field camp as geoscientists' rite of passage for thousands of US college students.

Migration for more money does not bring more happiness
New research reveals that people who migrate to wealthier countries aren't any happier!

From obscurity to dominance: Tracking the rapid evolutionary rise of ray-finned fish
Mass extinctions, like lotteries, result in a multitude of losers and a few lucky winners.

Scientists prove ticks harbor Heartland virus, a recently discovered disease in the United States
Scientists have for the first time traced a novel virus that infected two men from northwestern Missouri in 2009 to populations of ticks in the region, providing confirmation that lone star ticks are carrying the recently discovered virus and humans in the area are likely at risk of infection.

Melatonin pre-treatment is a factor that impacts stem cell survival after transplantation
Melatonin used as a pre-treatment for mesenchymal stem cells, prior to their transplantation into the brains of laboratory animals to repair damage from stroke, helped stem cells survive longer after transplantation.

Chemical reaction could streamline manufacture of pharmaceuticals and other compounds
Researchers have discovered a new chemical reaction that has the potential to lower the cost and streamline the manufacture of compounds ranging from agricultural chemicals to pharmaceutical drugs.

A new method for clicking molecules together
Scientists at EPFL have developed a quick and simple method for connecting and assembling new molecules together, paving a new road for synthetic chemistry, material science, chemical biology, and even drug discovery.

82 percent of adults support banning smoking when kids are in the car
A new poll shows 82 percent of adults support banning smoking in cars when children under 13 are riding in the vehicle.

World's first IVF baby born after preimplantation genome sequencing is now 11 months old
The world's first IVF baby born after preimplantation genome sequencing is now 11 months old.

Novel 'top-down' mechanism repatterns developing brain regions
Dennis O'Leary of the Salk Institute was the first scientist to show that the basic functional architecture of the cortex, the largest part of the human brain, was genetically determined during development.

Former prisoners more likely to be hospitalized for preventable conditions
Complications of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and other preventable conditions are more likely to land former prisoners in the hospital, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in the July 22 online issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Integrative medicine interventions found to significantly reduce pain, improve quality of life
An integrative approach to treating chronic pain reduces pain severity while improving mood and quality of life, according to a new study from the Bravewell Practice-Based Research Network published last month in BioMed Central Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal.

Vaccinating boys plays key role in HPV prevention
Improving vaccination rates against the human papillomavirus (HPV) in boys is key to protecting both men and women, says new research from University of Toronto Professor Peter A.

Scientists identify key to learning new words
For the first time scientists have identified how a pathway in the brain which is unique to humans allows us to learn new words.

A woman's work is never done?
One of the greatest social changes across Europe in recent decades has been the increase of women in the labor market.

New study finds 'nighttime heat waves' increasing in Pacific Northwest
A new study has found that heat waves are increasing in the western portions of the Pacific Northwest, but not the kind most people envision, with scorching hot days of temperatures reaching triple digits.

Parents' experiences with pediatric retail clinics examined
Parents who had established relationships with pediatricians still accessed care for their children at retail clinics, typically located in large chain drugstores, mostly because the clinics were convenient, according to a study published by JAMA Pediatrics, a JAMA Network publication.

Rapid upper ocean warming linked to declining aerosols
Australian scientists have identified causes of a rapid warming in the upper subtropical oceans of the Southern Hemisphere.

Hospice workers struggle on front lines of physician-assisted death laws
Laws that allow physician-assisted death in the Pacific Northwest have provisions to protect the rights of patients, doctors and even the state, but don't consider the professionals most often on the front lines of this divisive issue -- hospice workers who provide end-of-life care.

Greening of the Earth pushed way back in time
Conventional scientific wisdom has it that plants and other creatures have only lived on land for about 500 million years, but a new study is pointing to evidence for life on land that is four times as old -- at 2.2 billion years ago and almost half way back to the inception of the planet.

How to survive without sex: Rotifer genome reveals its strategies
How a group of animals can abandon sex, yet produce more than 460 species over evolutionary time, became a little less mysterious this week with the publication of the complete genome of a bdelloid rotifer (Adineta vaga) in the journal Nature.

New research shows weight a factor in graduate school admissions
Want to go to graduate school? Your weight could determine whether or not you receive an offer of admission.

Study examines use of transthoracic echocardiography
A study of the use of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) at an academic medical center suggests that although nine in 10 of the procedures were appropriate under 2011 appropriate use criteria, less than one in three of the TTEs resulted in an active change in care, according to a report of the research by Susan Matulevicius, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

Underwater propulsion from a 3-D printer
Nature inspires creativity: in building a silent propulsion system for boats and water sport devices, researchers used the octopus as their role model.

Carnegie Mellon, Microsoft researchers demonstrate internal tagging technique for 3D-printed objects
The age of 3-D printing, when every object so created can be personalized, will increase the need for tags to keep track of everything. 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