Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 07, 2013
Protein involved in nerve-cell migration implicated in spread of brain cancer
The invasion of brain-tumor cells into surrounding tissue requires the same protein molecule that neurons need to migrate into position as they differentiate and mature, according to new research from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and published Aug.

First hundred thousand years of our universe
Berkeley Lab researchers have taken the furthest look back through time yet -- 100 years to 300,000 years after the Big Bang -- and found tantalizing new hints of clues as to what might have happened.

Grant to support commercialization of technology to repair skin injuries
A Marshall University scientist has been awarded a $20,000 grant to help bring to market a technology he has developed for repairing skin injuries.

Treadmill training after spinal cord injury promotes recovery when inflammation is controlled
New research suggests that treadmill training soon after a spinal cord injury can have long-lasting positive effects on recovery -- as long as the training is accompanied by efforts to control inflammation in the lower spinal cord.

Cute and armed at the same time
An international research team in which the University of Bonn participated has described an enigmatic species of mammal that lived about 165 million years ago and then went extinct.

Synthetic polymers enable cheap, efficient, durable alkaline fuel cells
A new cost-effective polymer membrane can decrease the cost of alkaline batteries and fuel cells by allowing the replacement of expensive platinum catalysts without sacrificing important aspects of performance, according to Penn State researchers.

Caltech team produces squeezed light using a silicon micromechanical system
A team led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology has managed to engineer a miniature silicon system that produces a type of light that is quieter at certain frequencies -- meaning it has fewer quantum fluctuations -- than what is usually present in a vacuum.

Strangers invade the homes of giant bacteria
Life is not a walk in the park for the world's largest bacteria, that live as soft, noodle-like, white strings on the bottom of the ocean depths.

Self-healing solar cells 'channel' natural processes
To understand how solar cells heal themselves, look no further than the nearest tree leaf or the back of your hand.

Brain activation when processing Chinese hand-radicals
A number of studies in which patients with lesions to frontal pre-motor areas are included have identified deficits in action comprehension.

New high-tech laser method allows DNA to be inserted 'gently' into living cells
Many methods exist for inserting DNA into a cell, but they tend to be clumsy and destructive, imprecise or damaging to other cells in the process.

Access to HeLa cell genome data restored following agreement
Genomic data from a HeLa cell line are being released with G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics publication of final version of first study to sequence and analyze entire genome of a HeLa cell line.

Of stars and stripes: NASA satellites used to predict zebra migrations
One of the world's longest migrations of zebras occurs in the African nation of Botswana, but predicting when and where zebras will move has not been possible until now.

5-year olds choose to 'play nice' based on other kids' reputations
Five-to-six-year olds are more likely to be kind to peers after observing them interacting with other children in positive ways, suggesting that children establish a sense of their peers'

Mechanism underlying cisplatin-induced ototoxicity
Studies have shown that calpain participates in gentamicin-, neomycin- and kanamycin-induced inner ear cell apoptosis.

Type 1 diabetes drug strikingly effective in clinical trial
An experimental drug designed to block the advance of Type 1 diabetes in its earliest stages has proven strikingly effective over two years in about half of the patients who participated in the Phase 2 clinical trial.

Rescuing neuroscience from its data deluge
Before the digital age, neuroscientists got their information in the library like the rest of us.

A greener, more sustainable source of ingredients for widely used plastics
A new process can convert a wide variety of vegetable and animal fats and oils -- ranging from lard to waste cooking oil -- into a key ingredient for making plastics that currently comes from petroleum, scientists say.

The odd couple
ESO's Very Large Telescope has captured an intriguing star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud -- one of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies.

NASA sees 10-mile-high thunderstorms in Hurricane Henriette
NASA's TRMM satellite peered into the clouds of Hurricane Henriette as is continues moving through the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and found powerful thunderstorms that topped 10 miles high.

Study explores effects of review setting on scientific peer review
Research findings published today in PLOS ONE report that the setting in which a scientific peer review panel evaluates grant applications does not necessarily impact the outcome of the review process.

Trust thy neighbor
Increases in population size may lead to a breakdown in social trust, according to Jordan Smith from North Carolina State University in the US.

Novel and alternative sources for cell replacement treatment of retinopathy
These results demonstrate that Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells are capable of differentiating into retinal progenitor cells in vitro, and may be used as seed cells for the clinical treatment of injury-induced visual diseases.

Caffeine 'traffic light': Do you want to know how much caffeine is in your drink?
A team of researchers led by Professor Young-Tae Chang from National University of Singapore and Professor Yoon-Kyoung Cho from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, developed a fluorescent caffeine detector and a detection kit that lights up like a traffic light when caffeine is present in various drinks and solutions.

New insights into the 1-in-a-million lightning called 'ball lightning'
One of the rare scientific reports on the rarest form of lightning -- ball lightning -- describes better ways of producing this mysterious phenomenon under the modern laboratory conditions needed to explain it.

Infrared NASA image revealed fading Gil's warming cloud tops
Tropical Depression Gil regained strength after moving into warmer waters and an area with lighter wind shear as Hurricane Henriette hangs on.

Chocolate may help keep brain healthy
Drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older people keep their brains healthy and their thinking skills sharp, according to a study published in the August 7, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Magnetic switching simplified
An international team of researchers has described a new physical effect that could be used to develop more efficient magnetic chips for information processing.

Is Europa habitable?
Europa, the ice-covered moon of the planet Jupiter, may be able to support life.

The temperature tastes just right
Animals have evolved very sensitive temperature sensors to detect the relatively narrow margin in which they can survive.

Narrower range of helpful bacteria in guts of C-section infants
The range of helpful bacteria in the guts of infants delivered by Cesarean section, during their first two years of life, is narrower than that of infants delivered vaginally, indicates a small study published online in the journal Gut.

Simple math sheds new light on a long-studied biological process
One of the most basic and intensively studied processes in biology -- one which has been detailed in biology textbooks for decades -- has gained a new level of understanding, thanks to the application of simple math to a problem that scientists never before thought could benefit from mathematics.

Practice at 'guesstimating' can speed up math ability
There's a connection between how well a person does at the approximate number system and how skilled they become at the symbolic math they learn in school.

Loss of MicroRNA decoy might contribute to development of soft-tissue sarcoma
Researchers have discovered a novel mechanism responsible for the loss of a critical tumor-suppressor gene in rhabdomyosarcoma and other soft-tissue sarcomas, rare cancers that strike mainly children and often respond poorly to treatment.

Newly discovered bacterial partnership changes ocean chemistry
In a discovery that further demonstrates just how unexpected and unusual nature can be, scientists have found two strains of bacteria whose symbiotic relationship is unlike anything seen before.

Psychological adaptation to urbanization, technology reflected in word usage over last 200 years
As culture has evolved over the last two centuries -- with increasing urbanization, greater reliance on technology, and widespread availability of formal education -- so has human psychology, according to new research published in Psychological Science.

Children and magnets have a dangerous attraction, end up in the ER
Cases involving children ingesting magnets quintupled between 2002 and 2011, with ingestion of multiple magnets generally resulting in more serious outcomes, including emergency surgery.

Rheumatoid arthritis heightens risk of dangerous leg and lung blood clots
Rheumatoid arthritis significantly increases the risk of potentially fatal blood clots in the legs and lungs, reveals a large nationwide study published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Probiotic supplements do not prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in elderly patients
Probiotic supplements given to elderly patients on antibiotics appear to have no effect on the incidence of diarrhea, a common and sometimes life-threatening side effect of using antibiotics for many elderly patients, according to a new study published in The Lancet.

Researchers map complex motion-detection circuitry in flies
Researchers at HHMI's Janelia Farm Research Campus have developed a detailed map showing connections between thickets of neurons responsible for motion detection in the fly brain.

NASA satellite sees Tropical Storm Mangkhut making Vietnam landfall
Tropical Storm Mangkhut had some strong thunderstorms around its center as it began making landfall in northern Vietnam on Aug.

Monarch butterflies migration path tracked by generations for first time
For the first time, researchers have mapped that migration pattern of monarch butterflies across the continent over an entire breeding season.

Electron 'spin' key to solar cell breakthrough
The latest research paves the way for inexpensive, high performance solar cells.

ESC Congress 2013: Record number of Hot Line submissions
Total number of abstracts submitted to ESC Congress 2013 was 10,491, a near record.

Study casts doubt on theory that retired NFL players suffer unique cognitive disorder
The media have widely reported that retired NFL players are at risk for a neurodegenerative disorder called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which causes symptoms such as aggression, depression, suicidality and progressive dementia.

Railway researchers complete a new virtual testing project
A PROJECT that could enable manufacturers of rail vehicles to use virtual testing of trains in order to ensure safety standards throughout Europe while making huge savings on development costs has relied on a key contribution from a research team based at the University of Huddersfield.

Oregon burning
On July 26, 2013, thunderstorms passed over southern Oregon, and lightning ignited dozens of difficult-to-control wildfires.

Getting to the core of Fukushima
Critical to the recovery efforts following the devastating effects of the 2011 tsunami on Japan's Fukushima reactor is the ability to assess damage within the reactor's core.

Scripps Research Institute scientists find key signal that guides brain development
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have decoded an important molecular signal that guides the development of a key region of the brain known as the neocortex.

Material in dissolvable sutures could treat brain infections, reducing hospital stays
A plastic material already used in absorbable surgical sutures and other medical devices shows promise for continuous administration of antibiotics to patients with brain infections, scientists are reporting in a new study.

An extra hour of TV beyond recommendations diminishes toddlers' kindergarten chances
Every hourly increase in daily television watching at 29 months of age is associated with diminished vocabulary and math skills, classroom engagement (which is largely determined by attention skills), victimization by classmates, and physical prowess at kindergarten.

Motional layers in the brain
Neurobiologists discover elementary motion detectors in the fruit fly.

Diamonds are a laser scientist's new best friend
Once a James Bond fantasy, diamond-based lasers are now becoming a reality.

Internet search engines drove US librarians to redefine themselves
Although librarians adopted Internet technology quickly, they initially dismissed search engines, which duplicated tasks they considered integral to their field.

Gold 'nanoprobes' hold the key to treating killer diseases
Researchers at the University of Southampton, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Cambridge, have developed a technique to help treat fatal diseases more effectively.

Why does a high-fat diet induce preeclampsia-like symptoms in pregnant rats?
Preeclampsia is a relatively common pregnancy disorder, characterized by primary hypertension and proteinuria.

Eavesdropping plants prepare to be attacked
In a world full of hungry predators, prey animals must be constantly vigilant to avoid getting eaten.

DNA nanorobots find and tag cellular targets
Researchers have created a fleet of molecular

Is sous vide cooking safe?
The Institute of Food Research has been undertaking research for the Food Standards Agency to establish if the cooking technique sous vide is safe.

Welcome to the new era of University, Inc.
After years of wariness, universities and industry scientists are forging new partnerships that are reinvigorating academic science departments, preparing students for careers and giving corporations better access to fundamental research.

UW researchers publish study on genome of aggressive cervical cancer that killed Henrietta Lacks, subject of bestselling book
A team from the University of Washington has unveiled a comprehensive portrait of the genome of the world's first immortal cell line, known as HeLa.

Our brains can (unconsciously) save us from temptation
Inhibitory self control -- not picking up a cigarette, not having a second drink, not spending when we should be saving -- can operate without our awareness or intention.

Heat intensifies Siberian wildfires
The summer of 2012 was the most severe wildfire season Russia had faced in a decade.

Tracking Twitter may enhance monitoring of food safety at restaurants
A new system could tell you how likely it is for you to become ill if you visit a particular restaurant by

UEA scientist awarded prestigious £1.3 million grant to study beneficial bacteria in early life
A Norwich Research Park scientist has received £1.3 million in funding from the Wellcome Trust to investigate how beneficial bacteria protect against deadly infection in early life.

Cell maturity pathway is deleted or weak in glioblastoma multiforme
A program that pushes immature cells to grow up and fulfill their destiny as useful, dedicated cells is short-circuited in the most common and deadly form of brain tumor, scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report this week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New highly efficient molecular probe for real-time PCR monitoring and genetic testing
Eprobe®, a highly efficient and reliable fluorescent probe for PCR DNA amplification techniques and DNA analysis in hybridization experiments, has been developed by researchers from RIKEN and Japanese firm K.K.DNAFORM.

Micro-machines for the human body
Tiny sensors and motors tell your smartphone screen to rotate and your camera to focus.

Dementia risk tied to blood sugar level, even with no diabetes
Diabetes is a risk factor for dementia. But now a joint Group Health-University of Washington study in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that higher blood sugar levels are associated with higher dementia risk, even among people who do not have diabetes.

A complex story behind genes, environment, diabetes and obesity
While it is well known that there is a strong genetic basis to both diabetes and obesity, and that they are linked, researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney say that there are many rare genetic variants involved, which will pose a significant challenge in the quest to develop effective therapies.

Angry opponents seem bigger to tied up men
A physical handicap like being tied down makes men over-estimate an opponent's size and under-estimate their own, according to research published Aug.

Quasar observed in 6 separate light reflections
Quasars are active black holes -- primarily from the early universe.

Changes in language and word use reflect our shifting values, UCLA psychologist reports
A new UCLA analysis of words used in more than 1.5 million American and British books published between 1800 and 2000 shows how our cultural values have changed.

Making connections in the eye
Using a combination of human and artificial intelligence, collaborators at MIT and the Max Planck Institute have mapped all the wiring among 950 neurons within a tiny patch of the mouse retina.

Oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage and neurodegenerative diseases
Oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Ice ages only thanks to feedback
Science struggled to explain fully why an ice age occurs every 100,000 years.

NIH, Lacks family reach understanding to share genomic data of HeLa cells
The National Institutes of Health today announced in Nature that it has reached an understanding with the family of the late Henrietta Lacks to allow biomedical researchers controlled access to the whole genome data of cells derived from her tumor, commonly known as HeLa cells.

New proto-mammal fossil sheds light on evolution of earliest mammals
A newly discovered fossil reveals the evolutionary adaptations of a 165-million-year-old proto-mammal, providing evidence that traits such as hair and fur originated well before the rise of the first true mammals.

Engineers gain new insight into turbulence that could lead to significant global energy savings
Scientists have developed a new understanding of how turbulence works, which could help to optimize vehicle performance and save billions in global energy costs.

Study suggests pattern in lung cancer pathology may predict cancer recurrence after surgery
A new study by thoracic surgeons and pathologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center shows that a specific pattern found in the tumor pathology of some lung cancer patients is a strong predictor of recurrence.

Novel beams made of twisted atoms
Physicists have, for the first time, now built a theoretical construct of beams made of twisted atoms.

A 'rocking' receptor: Crucial brain-signaling molecule requires coordinated motion to turn on
Johns Hopkins biophysicists have discovered that full activation of a protein ensemble essential for communication between nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord requires a lot of organized back-and-forth motion of some of the ensemble's segments.

Sudden cardiac arrest survival odds greater at fitness facilities
People experiencing sudden cardiac arrest at exercise facilities have a higher chance of survival than at other indoor locations, likely due to early CPR and access to an automated external defibrillator, among other factors, according to a study published online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Regulating electron 'spin' may be key to making organic solar cells competitive
Organic solar cells that use carbon-based molecules to convert light to electricity have not been able to match the efficiency silicon-based cells.

New tool helps detect delirium in hospital patients
UC San Francisco researchers have developed a two-minute assessment tool to help hospital staff predict a patient's risk of delirium, a change in mental cognition characterized by severe confusion and disorientation that can prolong hospital stays.

International Rett Syndrome Foundation chief science officer receives prestigious military awards
The International Rett Syndrome Foundation, the world's largest and most comprehensive not-for-profit organization that funds novel research for treatments and a cure for Rett syndrome, has announced that Steven G.

AAAS report shows steady escalation of destruction in Aleppo
In Syria's largest city, Aleppo, damage to buildings and infrastructure steadily increased over a recent ten-month period, according to a AAAS analysis of satellite images.

The team of proteins that could have implications for the fight against cancer
Researchers at Warwick Medical School have identified the key role played by a team of proteins in the process of mitosis.

Psoriasis patients at increasing risk for range of serious medical conditions
Patients with mild, moderate and severe psoriasis had increasingly higher odds of having at least one major medical disease in addition to psoriasis, when compared to patients without psoriasis.

Moffitt Cancer Center expert standardizing guidelines for penile cancer treatment
Penile cancer is rare, with an average of 1,200 new cases per year in the United States, but it can be debilitating and lethal.

Tackling disruptive behavior in early childhood 'could prevent substance use in adolescence'
Delivering a two-year intervention program to disruptive kindergarten children could help prevent substance use in adolescence, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Scientists create tiny bendy power supply for even smaller portable electronics
Scientists have created a powerful micro-supercapacitor, just nanometers thick and less than half a centimeter across, that could help electronics companies develop mobile phones and cameras that are smaller, lighter and thinner than ever before.

NOAA report highlights climate change threats to nation's estuaries
The nation's 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) are experiencing the negative effects of human and climate-related stressors according to a new NOAA research report from the National Ocean Service.

Why don't we all get Alzheimer's disease?
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine offer an explanation for why we all don't get Alzeimer's disease (AD) -- a trick of nature that in most people maintains critical separation between a protein and an enzyme that, when combined, trigger the progressive cell degeneration and death characteristic of AD.

Dogs yawn more often in response to owners' yawns than strangers
Dogs yawn contagiously when they see a person yawning, and respond more frequently to their owner's yawns than to a stranger's, according to research published Aug.

New research suggests glaucoma screenings for sleep apnea sufferers
Researchers in Taiwan have discovered that people with sleep apnea are far more likely to develop glaucoma compared to those without the sleep condition.

Endovascular treatment should still be an option for some stroke patients
Despite recent discouraging results, endovascular treatment is still a

Cognitive decline with age is normal, routine -- but not inevitable
Research on biochemical processes is making it clear that cognitive decline with age is a natural part of life, and scientists are tracking the problem down to highly specific components of the brain.

Family members of children with cancer may also be at risk
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, one of the first questions the parents ask is

UTSA, Southwest Research Institute to develop drug-loaded scaffold for bone grafting
Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Southwest Research Institute jointly announce they are investing $200,000 in new research aimed at developing a synthetic drug-loaded scaffold to use in bone grafting procedures.

UEA research shows moderate exercise could be good for your tendons
Moderate exercise could be good for keeping your tendons healthy according to new research from the University of East Anglia funded by Arthritis Research UK.

NYU-Poly president Katepalli Sreenivasan elected to Italy's Accademia dei Lincei
Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, president of Polytechnic Institute of New York University and dean of NYU engineering, has been elected to Accademia dei Lincei, the Rome-based scientific academy announced.

Carbon under pressure exhibits interesting traits
High pressures and temperatures cause materials to exhibit unusual properties, some of which can be special.

Study: Heart pump with behind-the-ear power connector
Cardiac surgeons and cardiologists at the University of Maryland Heart Center are part of a multicenter clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of powering heart pumps through a skull-based connector behind the ear.

Scientists identify biomarker to predict immune response risk after stem cell transplants
Researchers have identified and validated a biomarker accessible in blood tests that could be used to predict which stem cell transplant patients are at highest risk for a potentially fatal immune response called graft-versus-host disease.

Scientists use genome sequencing to prove herbal remedy causes upper urinary tract cancers
Genomic sequencing experts at Johns Hopkins partnered with pharmacologists at Stony Brook University to reveal a striking mutational signature of upper urinary tract cancers caused by aristolochic acid, a plant compound contained in herbal remedies used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments such as arthritis, gout and inflammation.

Belief in precognition increases sense of control over life
People given scientific evidence supporting our ability to predict the future feel a greater sense of control over their lives, according to research published Aug. 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