Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 24, 2013
Brain research shows psychopathic criminals do not lack empathy, but fail to use it automatically
A brain imaging study in the Netherlands shows individuals with psychopathy have reduced empathy while witnessing the pains of others.

Shifting patterns of temperature volatility in the climate system
In recent decades there has been increased variability in yearly temperature records for large parts of Europe and North America, according to a study published online today in Nature.

The ferromagnetic Kondo effect
A group of physicists that includes scientists of the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste have shown how to obtain a particular case of a physical effect -- so far never observed in reality -- whose studies have earned a Nobel Prize.

Study explains why Africans may be more susceptible to tuberculosis
A researcher from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues have identified the genetic mutation in Africans with HIV that puts them at a much higher risk for tuberculosis infections.

Novel gene target shows promise for bladder cancer detection and treatment
Scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have provided evidence from preclinical experiments that a gene known as melanoma differentiation associated gene-9/syntenin (mda-9/syntenin) could be used as a therapeutic target to kill bladder cancer cells, help prevent metastasis and even be used to non-invasively diagnose the disease and monitor its progression.

Shedding new light on the brightest objects in the universe
Dartmouth astrophysicists and colleagues have documented the immense power of quasar radiation, reaching out for many thousands of light years to the limits of the quasar's galaxy.

Are North Atlantic right whales mating in the Gulf of Maine?
Using data obtained during six years of regular aerial surveys and genetics data collected by a consortium of research groups, scientists have strengthened evidence pointing to the central Gulf of Maine as a mating ground for North Atlantic right whales, according to a study recently published online in the journal Endangered Species Research.

RI Hospital study finds differences in mammography recall rate between 2 centers
A new study at Rhode Island Hospital has found that academic medical centers have higher rates of recall following mammography than community radiology centers.

Univ. of MD finds that marijuana use in adolescence may cause permanent brain abnormalities
Regular marijuana use in adolescence, but not adulthood, may permanently impair brain function and cognition, and may increase the risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, according to a recent study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Combo hepatitis C prevention for young drug injectors urged
UC San Francisco researchers are recommending a combination of six comprehensive measures to prevent the spread of hepatitis C, in an effort to address the more than 31,000 young people they estimate may be newly infected with the virus each year in the United States due to injection-drug use.

Key molecular pathways leading to Alzheimer's identified
Key molecular pathways that lead to late-onset Alzheimer's disease have been identified by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center.

Coastal Antarctic permafrost melting faster than expected
Scientists have documented an acceleration in the melt rate of permafrost in a part of Antarctica where the ice had been considered stable.

Gene transduction inhibits post-epileptic hippocampal synaptic reconstruction
Gene transduction inhibits post-epileptic hippocampal synaptic reconstruction.

A magnetic pen for smartphones adds another level of conveniences
A doctoral candidate at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology developed a magnetically driven pen interface that works both on and around mobile devices.

New Notre Dame study proposes changes in New Orleans area levee systems
Less may mean more when it comes to the levee systems designed to protect New Orleans from hurricanes.

Are Christians becoming more 'green'?
Despite the wide-held perception that Christians have become more concerned about the environment, new research finds this so-called

University of Alberta scientists get dirty at the Robson Glacier
New research just published in the Canadian Journal of Soil Science presents some of the first data documenting microbial community diversity, biomass and function along a 100-year-old soil chronosequence in a Canadian glacier retreat area.

Boreal forests in Alaska becoming more flammable
A 2,000-square-kilometer zone in the Yukon Flats of interior Alaska -- one of the most flammable high-latitude regions of the world -- has seen a dramatic increase in both the frequency and severity of fires in recent decades, according to research funded by the National Science Foundation.

Neural simulations hint at the origin of brain waves
At EPFL's Blue Brain facilities, computer models of individual neurons are being assembled into neural circuits that produce actual electrical signals akin to brain waves.

David Foster awarded Freedman Prize Honorable Mention for Exceptional Basic Research
David Foster, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will be awarded the 2013 Freedman Prize Honorable Mention for Exceptional Basic Research at an awards ceremony in New York City on July 26.

Coping with the global scarcity of clean water
Efforts to cope with a global water crisis that already has left almost 800 million people without access to drinkable water -- and could engulf many more in the years ahead -- are the topic of the cover story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News.

Monoclonal antibody effective against norovirus
Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provide the first proof of concept data showing that a monoclonal antibody can neutralize human norovirus.

Novel nanometer scaffolds regulate the biological behaviors of neural stem cells
Novel nanometer scaffolds regulate the biological behaviors of neural stem cells.

Seeing photosynthesis from space: NASA scientists use satellites to measure plant health
NASA scientists have established a new way to use satellites to measure what's occurring inside plants at a cellular level.

NASA sees newborn eastern Atlantic tropical depression
The fourth tropical depression of the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season was born west of the Cape Verde Islands in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on July 24.

More central line infections seen in children with cancer once they leave the hospital
Pediatric cancer patients whose central lines are used to treat them at home develop three times as many dangerous bloodstream infections from their devices than their hospitalized counterparts, according to the results of a new Johns Hopkins Children's Center study.

Brothers and sisters learn to build positive relationships in SIBS Program
Little is known about how sibling relationships impact child and family functioning, but Penn State researchers are beginning to shed light on intervention strategies that can cultivate healthy and supportive sibling relationships.

Combining treatments for people who inject drugs is the first step towards eliminating hepatitis C
The burden of liver disease could be dramatically reduced by scaling up the combination of interventions for hepatitis C infection among people who inject drugs according to University of Bristol researchers.

Dark chocolate lovers show higher tolerance for bitterness in chocolate ice cream
Bitterness is an integral part of the complex flavor of chocolate.

Mystery of before 370 Ma coral-stromatoporoid reef disappearing from the planet Earth
A new study shows that blooming and invading of bacteria and algae and their triggering cumulative environmental effects played an important role for before 370 Ma (Late Devonian F-F transition) coral-stromatoporoid reef disappearing from the planet earth.

Patient warming systems may affect ventilation in OR, study suggests
Forced-air systems used to keep patients warm during surgery may affect the performance of operating room ventilation systems -- potentially increasing exposure to airborne contaminants, reports a study in the August issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society.

High rate of early delirium after surgery in older adults
Close to half of older adults undergoing surgery with general anesthesia are found to have delirium in the postanesthesia care unit, according to a study in the August issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society.

Neiker-Tecnalia confirms the significance of eutypa dieback in the vines of the Rioja Alavesa area
Researchers at Neiker-Tecnalia, the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, have confirmed the significance of eutypa dieback disease in vineyards in the Rioja Alavesa wine-growing area.

How do babies learn to be wary of heights?
Infants develop a fear of heights as a result of their experiences moving around their environments, according to new research published in Psychological Science.

HPV's link to esophageal cancer
The human papillomavirus triples the risk of people developing yet another cancer, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, according to research led by University of New South Wales academics.

Loyola's Alcohol Research Program receives 4 NIH grants totaling more than $3 million
The Alcohol Research Program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine recently received four research grants, totaling more than $3 million, from the National Institutes of Health.

University of Minnesota research reveals luxury products' role in relationships
Purchasing designer handbags and shoes is a means for women to express their style, boost self-esteem, or even signal status.

Stanford scientists unable to find evidence of 'embryonic-like' cells in marrow of adult mice
Research on human embryonic stem cells has been a political and religious lightning rod for more than a decade.

An evolutionary compromise for long tooth preservation
During an individual's lifetime the biomechanical requirements on his or her teeth change.

C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., receives Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award
The American Association for Clinical Chemistry will present C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., of Newton, MA, with the Wallace H.

Common agricultural chemicals shown to impair honey bees' health
Honey bees used to pollinate crops are exposed to many agricultural chemicals, including common fungicides which impair their ability to fight off a potentially lethal parasite, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture.

Newly discovered marine viruses offer glimpse into untapped biodiversity
Studying bacteria from the Baltic Sea, University of Arizona researchers have discovered an entire array of previously unknown viruses that use these bacteria as hosts.

Large study reveals increased cancer risks associated with family history of the disease
A family history of cancer increases the risk of other members of the family developing not only the same cancer but also a different (discordant) cancer, according to a large study of 23,000 people in Italy and Switzerland.

Rules of attraction: Catching a peahen's eye
It's not always easy attracting a female mate and peacocks have resorted to colorful displays to catch a peahen's eye.

Ancient technology for metal coatings 2,000 years ago can't be matched even today
Artists and craftsmen more than 2,000 years ago developed thin-film coating technology unrivaled even by today's standards for producing DVDs, solar cells, electronic devices and other products.

'Weightism' increases risk for becoming, staying obese
Weight discrimination may increase risk for obesity rather than motivating individuals to lose weight, according to research published July 24 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Angelina Sutin and Antonio Terracciano from the Florida State University College of Medicine.

Starburst to star bust
The cosmic fireworks that characterize a starburst galaxy can abruptly fizzle out after only a relatively brief period of star formation, and astronomers want to know why.

New study refutes existence and clinical potential of very small embryonic-like stem cells
Scientists have reported that very small embryonic-like stem cells, which can be isolated from blood or bone marrow, could represent an alternative to embryonic stem cells.

Media advisory: Registration open for Neuroscience 2013
More than 30,000 scientists from around the world will gather in San Diego in November to share the latest developments in brain science research and to hear from leaders in the field.

Speaker's power to act on words influences listeners' brain response
A speaker's power to act on his words influences how a listener perceives the meaning of their message, according to research published July 24 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky from the University of Marburg, Germany, and colleagues from other institutions.

Improving medicine acceptance in kids: A matter of taste
Many children reject medicines due to an aversion to bitter taste.

Does the dangerous new Middle East coronavirus have an African origin?
The MERS-coronavirus is regarded as a dangerous novel pathogen. To date all cases are connected with the Arabian peninsula.

Record incidence of hantavirus disease
2824 new cases of hantavirus disease were reported in Germany in 2012, the highest number ever in a single year.

Profile of likely e-mail phishing victims emerges in human factors/ergonomics research
The author of a paper to be presented at the upcoming 2013 International Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting has described behavioral, cognitive, and perceptual attributes of e-mail users who are vulnerable to phishing attacks.

New NIST nanoscale indenter takes novel approach to measuring surface properties
Researchers from NIST and the University of North Carolina have demonstrated a new design for an instrument that makes sensitive measurements of the mechanical properties of thin films -- ranging from auto body coatings to microelectronic devices -- and biomaterials.

NIST releases updates to digital signature standard
NIST has released a revision to the digital standard used to ensure the integrity of electronic documents, as well as the identity of the signer.

Starburst wind keeps galaxies 'thin'
Unlike humans, galaxies don't have an obesity problem. In fact there are far fewer galaxies at the most massive end of the galactic scale than expected and scientists have long sought to explain why.

NYU-Poly nano scientists reach holy grail in label-free cancer marker detection: Single molecules
Just months after setting a record for detecting the smallest single virus in solution, researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University announced a new breakthrough: A nano-enhanced version of their biosensor detected a single cancer marker protein and even smaller molecules below the mass of all known markers.

Nature: Watching molecule movements in live cells
The newly developed STED-RICS microscopy method records rapid movements of molecules in live samples.

Kaiser Permanente receives $8 million grant for novel whole genome sequencing study
The Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research will receive $8.1 million from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a novel clinical trial using whole genome sequencing to test women and their partners for mutations that could cause rare, but serious diseases in their children.

Starburst to star bust
New observations from the ALMA telescope in Chile have given astronomers the best view yet of how vigorous star formation can blast gas out of a galaxy and starve future generations of stars of the fuel they need to form and grow.

New stem cell gene therapy gives hope to prevent inherited neurological disease
Scientists from The University of Manchester have used stem cell gene therapy to treat a fatal genetic brain disease in mice for the first time.

Trinity Health joins Mayo Clinic Care Network
In a move designed to strengthen the delivery and quality of health care in northwest North Dakota, Mayo Clinic today welcomes Trinity Health as the newest member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

Johns Hopkins researchers reveal genetic glitch at the root of allergies
Newly published research by investigators at Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the Johns Hopkins Institute of Genetic Medicine reveals that a faulty genetic pathway already known for its role in some connective tissue disorders is also a potent player in many types of allergies.

Adenoviruses may pose risk for monkey-to-human leap
Adenoviruses commonly infect humans, causing colds, flu-like symptoms and sometimes even death, but now UC San Francisco researchers have discovered that a new species of adenovirus can spread from primate to primate, and potentially from monkey to human.

Carnegie Mellon biophysicist obtains first experimental evidence of pressure inside the herpes virus
Scientists have long suspected that herpes viruses were packaged so full of genetic material that they built up an internal pressure so strong it could shoot viral DNA into a host cell during infection.

Women & Infants receives industry grant
Researchers at Women & Infants have received an industry grant from Natera, Inc. to determine the level of information and education needed to offer a DNA-based prenatal blood test to all pregnant women to screen for Down syndrome and similar chromosome abnormalities.

Web tool could help measure subjective impressions of urban environments
A new Web tool could help measure subjective impressions of urban environments, which may have consequences for social behaviors.

Cognitive performance is better in girls whose walk to school lasts more than 15 minutes
The authors of this study analyzed a sample of 1700 boys and girls aged between 13 and 18 years (808 boys and 892 girls) in five Spanish cities (Granada, Madrid, Murcia, Santander and Zaragoza).

Queen's University develops key technology for Europe's next generation weather satellites
Queen's University Belfast has been appointed part of a UK group who will build one of the key instruments on Europe's next-generation of weather satellites.

Researchers target HER1 receptor for peptide cancer vaccine, therapeutic agents
Small proteins called peptides are being studied as cancer vaccines and as alternatives to antibody-based drugs and inhibitors now used to treat many malignancies.

Cost of Arctic methane release could be 'size of global economy' warn experts
Researchers have warned of an

New genetic cause of pulmonary hypertension identified
Scientists have identified new genetic mutations that can cause pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare fatal disease characterized by high blood pressure in the lungs.

Full genome map of oil palm indicates a way to raise yields and protect rainforest
A multinational team of scientists has identified a single gene, called Shell, that regulates yield of the oil palm tree.

Laser-controlled molecular switch turns blood clotting on, off on command
Researchers have designed tiny, light-controlled gold particles that can release DNA controls to switch blood clotting off and on.

Genome mapping of oil palm poised to improve yields, protect rainforest
The identification of a single gene critical for yield of the oil palm, a crop which accounts for nearly half of world-wide edible vegetable oil, is reported along with the plant's genomic sequence in a set of papers published online ahead of print in Nature.

Whole-body computed tomography in severely injured patients in shock increases survival
Severely injured patients have a significantly higher survival rate if they are examined with whole-body computed tomography during emergency room treatment.

Stopping cholesterol drugs may be associated with increased risk of Parkinson's
People who stop taking cholesterol drugs may be at an increased risk for developing Parkinson's disease, according to research that appears in the July 24, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

First human tests of new biosensor that warns when athletes are about to 'hit the wall'
A new biosensor, applied to the human skin like a temporary tattoo, can alert marathoners, competitive bikers and other

Smithsonian finds color patterns in fish larvae may reveal relationships among species
Similarities in how different organisms look can indicate a close evolutionary relationship.

New Regenstrief and IHTSDO agreement to make EMRs more effective at improving health care
The Regenstrief Institute Inc. and the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation have signed a long-term agreement to begin cooperative work linking their leading global health care terminologies: Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes, or LOINC, and SNOMED Clinical Terms.

Pressurized virus blasts its infectious DNA into human cells
The virus that causes those painful lip blisters known as cold sores has an internal pressure eight times higher than a car tire, and uses it to literally blast its infectious DNA into human cells, scientists are reporting in a new study.

New techniques use lasers, LEDs, and optics to 'see' under the skin
A special section just published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics reports on new non-invasive optical techniques using lasers, light-emitting diodes, and spectroscopic methods to probe and render images from beneath the surface of the skin.

A new idea of Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae in the treatment of senile dementia
A research team from the School of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine reports that Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae can inhibit advanced glycation end product formation, reduce their levels in the frontal cortex, and improve learning and memory capabilities in ovariectomized rats.

Hospital mammography recall rates higher
The rate at which women get called back for additional imaging after screening mammography may be higher at hospitals than at community office practices, mostly due to differences among the patients, according to a new study.

Pocket-sized sensor gives instant fat burning updates
Fitness fanatics may soon be able to gauge if their hard work is paying off without the need for weighing scales thanks to a new device that can instantly tell if your body is burning fat.

Potential cause of Parkinson's disease points to new therapeutic strategy
Biologists at The Scripps Research Institute have made a significant discovery that could lead to a new therapeutic strategy for Parkinson's disease.

URMC study clarifies surgical options for kidney cancer
Surgery is often the first step in treating kidney cancer, and new data from the University of Rochester Medical Center, which contradicts earlier research, questions whether removal of only the tumor (partial nephrectomy) is better than removing the entire kidney (radical nephrectomy).

Western-led 'international beam team' solves Martian meteorite age puzzle
By directing energy beams at tiny crystals found in a Martian meteorite, a Western University-led team of geologists has proved that the most common group of meteorites from Mars is almost four billion years younger than many scientists had believed -- resolving a long-standing puzzle in Martian science and painting a much clearer picture of the Red Planet's evolution that can now be compared to that of habitable Earth.

Maternal smoking during pregnancy associated with offspring conduct problems, study suggests
Research led by University of Leicester examines relationship between maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring conduct problems among children.

A novel screening method makes it easier to diagnose and treat children with autism
A new technique provides an earlier, more objective and accurate diagnosis of autism, which unlike current methods does not rely on subjective criteria.

Want to stick with your diet? Better have someone hide the chocolate
If you are trying to lose weight or save for the future, new research suggests avoiding temptation may increase your chances of success compared to relying on willpower alone.

A quick test for the Black Death
A sugar-based detection method enables easy and accurate identification of the Yersinia pestis bacterium.

Solar system's youth gives clues to planet search
Comets and meteorites contain clues to our solar system's earliest days.

Study investigates extraordinary trout with tolerance to heavily polluted water
New research from the University of Exeter and King's College London has shown how a population of brown trout can survive in the contaminated waters of the River Hayle in Cornwall where metal concentrations are so high they would be lethal to fish from unpolluted sites.

New study shows inbreeding in winter flounder in Long Island's bays
Research conducted in six bays of Long Island, NY, and led by scientists from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University showed that local populations of winter flounder are inbred, which is a situation that is not usually considered in marine fisheries management.

Trust in physician eases talks about medical expenses
Strong relationships with physicians are likely to increase patients' openness to talk about health care costs when decisions are being made about their treatment options.

Women want doctors' help in facing fears about sex after heart attack
Most women want their doctors to give them more information about the safety of resuming sex after a heart attack.

Fidaxomicin: Data subsequently submitted by manufacturer prove added benefit
In contrast to the first dossier assessment, IQWiG now sees proof of a minor added benefit of fidaxomicin versus vancomycin in patients with severe or recurrent disease.

Heading for regeneration
Max Planck researchers manage to reactivate head regeneration in a regeneration-deficient species of planarians.

Professionals often attribute applicants' success to personal traits, not circumstance
Professionals evaluating graduate school or job applicants frequently attribute applicants' credentials to their personal qualities rather than their circumstances, according to research published July 24 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Samuel Swift from the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues from other institutions.

New study reveals dangers to biological diversity from global cashmere garment industry
A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Snow Leopard Trust reveals a disturbing link between the cashmere trade and the decay of ecosystems that support some of the planet's most spectacular yet little-known large mammals.

A promising target to treat asthma
A University of Iowa-led team has found a promising, new way to treat asthma: Target an enzyme in airway lining cells.

New NIST standard reference material to help calibrate hospital CAT scanners
A new standard reference material developed at NIST is the first such measurement tool that allows hospitals to link important tissue density measurements made by CAT scans to international standards. 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