Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 13, 2013
Ancient mammal relatives cast light on recovery after mass extinction
In the aftermath of the largest mass extinction in Earth history, anomodonts -- ancient relatives of mammals -- did not evolve any fundamentally new features, according to new research published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

NIH funds research to explore a cell communication process
The National Institutes of Health announced it will award $17 million this year for 24 research projects designed to improve scientists' understanding of a newly discovered type of cell-to-cell communication based on extracellular RNA.

Researchers slow light to a crawl in liquid crystal matrix
Light traveling in a vacuum is the Universe's ultimate speed demon, racing along at approximately 300,000 kilometers/second.

Prisons must do more to provide health and social care to growing population of older prisoners
More needs to be done in prisons to look after a growing population of older male prisoners, according to research by The University of Manchester.

Do conservation scientists work too hard?
Academics should think twice about taking their work home with them.

Early surgery better than watchful waiting for patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation
Patients with severe mitral valve regurgitation who are otherwise healthy should have mitral valve repair surgery sooner rather than later, even if they feel no symptoms, a Mayo Clinic-led study by US and European researchers found.

University of Louisville Diabetes & Obesity Center wins second multimillion-dollar COBRE grant
A center created with a five-year National Institutes of Health grant at the University of Louisville in 2008 has won its second five-year grant.

Scientists find asymmetry in topological insulators
New research shows that a class of materials being eyed for the next generation of computers behaves asymmetrically at the sub-atomic level.

Heart failure patients who are more likely to benefit from implantation of pacemaker
In a large population of Medicare beneficiaries with heart failure who underwent implantation of a cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator, patients who had the cardiac characteristics of left bundle-branch block and longer QRS duration had the lowest risks of death and all-cause, cardiovascular, and heart failure readmission, according to a study in the Aug.

Smart sleep analysis
Sleep disorders are a widespread problem. With the aid of smartwatches, researchers are analyzing sleep movement patterns and assisting doctors with diagnosis and therapy.

Wildfires in central Canada
Currently in the central region, including the Northern Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, numerous fires were spotted by the Aqua satellite on this image captured on Aug.

Sugar is toxic to mice in 'safe' doses
When mice ate a diet of 25 percent extra sugar -- the mouse equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda daily -- females died at twice the normal rate and males were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce, according to a toxicity test developed at the University of Utah.

LGBT identity data in health records would improve care, reduce disparities
Recording the sexual orientation and gender identity of individuals in their health records would greatly facilitate identifying the unique health needs and health disparities of LGBT individuals, leading to improved quality and outcomes of their health care.

New strategy to disarm the dengue virus brings new hope for a universal dengue vaccine
A new strategy that cripples the ability of the dengue virus to escape the host immune system has been discovered by A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network.

Surgery for heart valve disorder associated with greater long-term survival
In a study that included patients with mitral valve regurgitation due to a condition known as flail mitral valve leaflets, performance of early surgical correction compared with initial medical management was associated with greater long-term survival and lower risk of heart failure, according to a study in the Aug.

The Elizabethan war that won $300,000
Ruth Canning has just arrived at Concordia from University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland, with more than $300,000 in research funding.

Children of obese mothers face risk of early death, study shows
Children born to obese mothers are more likely to die early as adults than those whose mothers were a normal weight, a study has found.

Conflicts of interest common among panel members of guidelines that expand disease definitions
An assessment of expert members of panels making decisions about definitions or diagnostic criteria for common conditions in the US, which were published in guidelines used by physicians and other healthcare professionals caring for patients, found that most members had ties to industry.

More siblings means less chance of divorce as adult
Growing up with siblings may provide some protection against divorce as an adult, a new nationwide study reveals.

Low-temperature combustion enables cleaner, more efficient engines
As demand climbs for more fuel-efficient vehicles, knowledge compiled over several years about diesel engines and a new strategy known as

Wireless devices go battery-free with new communication technique
University of Washington engineers have created a new wireless communication system that allows devices to interact with each other without relying on batteries or wires for power.

People prefer products that help them 'save face' in embarrassing moments
People who are feeling embarrassed are more likely to choose items that hide or

Newly discovered 'switch' plays dual role in memory formation
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have uncovered a protein switch that can either increase or decrease memory-building activity in brain cells, depending on the signals it detects.

Chronicling cancer experience online can reduce depressive symptoms in breast cancer patients
In the first known study of its kind, UCLA researchers have discovered that creating a personal website to chronicle the cancer experience and communicate with the author's interpersonal circle can reduce depressive symptoms, increase positive mood, and enhance appreciation for life in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Cervical cancer screening and treatment are neglected in low- and middle-income countries
While there have been substantial improvements in mortality rates and an increase in access to reproductive health interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the global health community is neglecting prevention, screening, and treatment for cervical cancer in LMICs.

Enhancer RNAs may open new avenues for gene therapy
A study investigating the function of the recently discovered enhancer RNA molecules may open new avenues for gene therapy.

Children with allergy, asthma may be at higher risk for ADHD
The study, published in the August issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, found there is an increased risk of ADHD in boys that have a history of allergy or asthma.

Stroke declines dramatically, still higher in Mexican Americans
A decade-long study in Corpus Christi, Texas, shows steep drops in stroke, but the stroke rate is still 34 percent higher among Mexican Americans than non-Hispanic whites.

Ancient mammal relatives cast light on recovery after mass extinction
Much work so far suggests that the survivors of mass extinctions often are presented with new ecological opportunities because the loss of many species in their communities allows them to evolve new lifestyles and new anatomical features as they fill the roles vacated by the victims.

Computer model predicts red blood cell flow
Researchers have now created the first simplified computer model of the process that forms the Fåhræus-Lindqvist layer in our blood -- a model that could help to improve the design of artificial platelets and medical treatments for trauma injuries and for blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia and malaria.

1-pot to prep biomass for biofuels
Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers save water and reduce pollution with the first one-pot, wash-free, process for the ionic liquid pretreatment and saccharification of switchgrass, one of the leading biofuel feedstock candidates.

Meal timing can significantly improve fertility in women with polycystic ovaries
A common disorder that impairs fertility by producing an overabundance of insulin may be naturally treatable through meal timing, a new study by Tel Aviv University's Prof.

A 3-D digital visualization model of cervical nerves in a healthy person
This release focuses on a 3D digital visualization model of cervical nerves in a healthy person.

Study challenges popular perception of new 'hookup culture' on college campuses
A University of Portland study challenges the popular perception that there is a

AGU journal highlights -- Aug. 13, 2013
In this release:

Space station boosting biological research in orbit
Supporting research in biological science and technology is an important part of NASA's overall mission.

Immune defense: Deciphering the enemy's ID
Immunologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich have come up with a new technique that can be used both to fight tumors and to treat autoimmune diseases.

Bright birds make good mothers
Female blue tits with brightly colored crowns are better mothers than duller birds, according to a new study led by the University of York.

Early solar system garnet-like mineral named for Livermore cosmochemist
A recently discovered mineral appears to be clear but may have a tinge of light blue.

Stroke declines dramatically, still higher in Mexican-Americans
A new study reports that the incidence of ischemic stroke -- the most common type of stroke, caused by a clot in the blood vessels of the brain -- among non-Hispanic Whites and Mexican-Americans over age 60 has declined over the past decade.

Shortening tails gave early birds a leg up
A radical shortening of their bony tails over 100 million years ago enabled the earliest birds to develop versatile legs that gave them an evolutionary edge, a new study shows.

ORNL finding goes beyond surface of oxide films
Better batteries, catalysts, electronic information storage and processing devices are among potential benefits of an unexpected discovery made by ORNL scientists using samples isolated from the atmosphere.

Fuel cell innovation by Korean researchers
Research team of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Dong-Eui University developed a novel cathode material which has outstanding performance and robust reliability even at the intermediate temperature range.

Decellularized mouse heart beats again after regenerating with human heart precursor cells
For the first time, a mouse heart beat again after its own cells were stripped and replaced with human heart precursor cells, according to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study.

Breaking up the superbugs' party
The fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs has taken a step forward thanks to a new discovery by scientists at The University of Nottingham.

New compound prevents first steps of fungal infection
A team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) has discovered a chemical compound that prevents fungal cells from adhering to surfaces -- typically the first step of the infection process used by the human pathogen Candida albicans.

Ecosystems change long before species are lost
Researchers at Rice University take a detailed look at how species affect an ecosystem as they progress through their lifecycles.

Even for cows, less can be more
With little research on how nutrition affects reproductive performance in dairy cows, it is generally believed that a cow needs a higher energy intake before calving.

Urgent! How genes tell cellular construction crews, 'Read me now!'
When egg and sperm combine, the new embryo bustles with activity.

What role can employers play in cancer prevention and treatment?
Employers can have a significant role in improving efforts to prevent and treat diseases such as cancer by introducing and supporting health promotion programs in the workplace.

Love and work don't always work for working class in America, study shows
The decline and disappearance of stable, unionized full-time jobs with health insurance and pensions for people who lack a college degree has had profound effects on working-class Americans who now are less likely to get married, stay married and have their children within marriage than those with college degrees, a new University of Virginia and Harvard University study has found.

First direct evidence of HPV-related tonsillar cancer on the rise in Canada
American and European research shows an alarming increase in the rate of tonsillar cancer related to the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus.

Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit is suitable for repair of injured sciatic nerve
Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) conduit is suitable for repair of injured sciatic nerve.

Digital streak camera captures full-color photographs of high-speed objects
Researchers at a California company have developed a new design for a digital streak camera that captures full-color images of projectiles traveling up to 10 times the speed of sound.

High-angle helix helps bacteria swim
It's counterintuitive but true: Some microorganisms that use flagella for locomotion are able to swim faster in gel-like fluids such as mucus.

More freedom of movement while viewing glasses-free 3-D
3D movies have become commonplace over the last while. The black plastic stereo viewing glasses are even piling up at home.

Frontiers news briefs: Aug. 13
This week's news briefs include: Plants modify soil to maximize water uptake by their youngest roots; people who often recall their dreams respond more strongly to their name; and a serious shortage of geriatric doctors in the USA.

Highest winter losses in recent years for honey bees in Scotland
A survey, run by University of Strathclyde academics on behalf of the Scottish Beekeepers' Association, indicated 31.3 percent of managed honey bee colonies in Scotland failed to survive last winter -- almost double the previous year's loss rate of 15.9 percent.

Proton therapy offers new, precise cancer treatment for children with high-risk neuroblastoma
Proton therapy, using high-energy subatomic particles, may offer a precise, organ-sparing treatment option for children with high-risk forms of neuroblastoma.

University of Tennessee professors study dilemmas in sustaining red light camera programs
Professors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have analyzed traffic control measures intended to boost red light revenue -- such as shortening yellow light time or increasing the speed limit on a street -- to determine if they compromise safety.

New CU-Boulder led research effort dates oldest known petroglyphs in North America
A new high-tech analysis led by a University of Colorado Boulder researcher shows the oldest known petroglyphs in North America, which are cut into several boulders in western Nevada, date to at least 10,500 years ago and perhaps even as far back as 14,800 years ago.

Brain scans may help diagnose dyslexia
MIT study shows that differences in a key language structure can be seen even before children start learning to read.

Study examines how truck drivers react to marketplace demands for speed and flexibility
A new study explores how truck drivers, as representatives of the American workforce, are reacting to marketplace demands for speed and flexibility.

Meeting: Straight Talk: The Future of Medical and Health Research
Leaders from government, industry, academia and patient advocacy organizations will discuss opportunities and challenges facing biomedical and health research.

A man's occupation linked to time spent on housework, study finds
A woman's work is never done -- or so the saying goes.

Huge congregations view racial inequality differently than others do, Baylor study shows
Congregation size has an impact on how people view the reasons for racial inequality in America, according to a new study by researchers at Baylor University and the University of Southern California.

Mediterranean diet counteracts a genetic risk of stroke, study reports
A gene variant strongly associated with development of Type 2 diabetes appears to interact with a Mediterranean diet pattern to prevent stroke, report researchers from Tufts University and from Spain.

Women still less likely to commit corporate fraud
Women are less likely to take part in corporate crime and fraud even though more women now work in corporations and serve at higher levels of those organizations, according to a team of sociologists.

Plastic solar cells' new design promises bright future
Harvesting energy directly from sunlight to generate electricity using photovoltaic technologies is a very promising method for producing electricity in an environmentally benign fashion.

Exercise helps with better brain functioning in HIV-infected adults
Regular exercise is not only good for health, but can give people living with HIV a significant mental boost.

Love and work don't always work for working class in America, study shows
The decline and disappearance of stable, unionized full-time jobs with health insurance and pensions for people who lack a college degree has had profound effects on working-class Americans who now are less likely to get married, stay married, and have their children within marriage than those with college degrees, a new University of Virginia and Harvard University study has found.

Virus-derived particles target blood cancer
Ottawa researchers have developed unique virus-derived particles that can kill human blood cancer cells in the laboratory and eradicate the disease in mice with few side effects.

NASA identifies heavy rainfall in South China Sea's Typhoon Utor
As Typhoon Utor was exiting the northwestern Philippines, NASA's TRMM satellite passed overhead and detected some heavy rainfall in Utor's thunderstorm

Study identifies new culprit that may make aging brains susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases
The steady accumulation of a protein in healthy, aging brains may explain seniors' vulnerability to neurodegenerative disorders, a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine reports.

Having more siblings means less chance of divorce as adult
Growing up with siblings may provide some protection against divorce as an adult, a new nationwide study reveals.

Children of obese mothers at greater risk of early heart death as adults
Children of obese and overweight women have a higher risk of early cardiovascular death as adults, finds a study published on today.

Disney Researchers use automated analysis to find weakness in soccer coaching strategy
Investigators at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, are applying artificial intelligence to the analysis of professional soccer and, in one application of the automated technique, have discovered a strategic error often made by coaches of visiting teams.

Canine distemper virus: An emerging disease in rare Amur tigers
Rare Amur tigers in Russia are succumbing to infection with canine distemper virus, a pathogen most commonly found in domestic dogs, according to the authors of a study published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The positive sides of doping
Flexible thin film solar cells that can be produced by roll-to-roll manufacturing are a highly promising route to cheap solar electricity.

More than just a kinase: CDK6 in cancer
Mistakes in cell division frequently lead to cancer. The two cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 and CDK6 are believed to have almost identical functions in cell cycle regulation.

UCSB anthropologists study testosterone spikes in non-competitive activities
The everyday physical activities of an isolated group of forager-farmers in central Bolivia are providing valuable information about how industrialization and its associated modern amenities may impact health and wellness.

NREL and Colombian oil firm unlocking agricultural waste feedstocks for biofuel
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory is working with Ecopetrol, the largest oil company in Colombia, to process the residue from sugar cane and palm oil harvesting into fuel ethanol for blending with gasoline.

Toxicologist says NAS panel 'misled the world' when adopting radiation exposure guidelines
Calabrese says,

Who benefits from vitamin D?
Studying the expression of genes that are dependent on vitamin D makes it possible to identify individuals who will benefit from vitamin D supplementation, shows a University of Eastern Finland study published recently in PLoS One.

Sanford-Burnham collaborates with Pfizer to identify targets for insulin resistance and diabetes
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Pfizer Inc. to identify new therapeutic targets for preventing and treating complications of obesity and diabetes.

Ethical issues are often not addressed in national clinical practice guidelines for dementia
Twelve national dementia clinical practice guidelines included only half of 31 ethical issues the authors had identified as important in patient care, finds a study by Daniel Strech, of Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany, and colleagues, published in this week's issue of PLOS Medicine.

'Hyper-vigilance' about race linked to elevated blood pressure in black patients
Black patients preoccupied with racial concerns have higher blood pressure than those who aren't, according to results of new Johns Hopkins-led research.

DHA-enriched formula in infancy linked to positive cognitive outcomes in childhood
While the effect of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in infant formula on children's cognitive development may not always be evident on standardized developmental tasks at 18 months, significant effects may emerge later on more specific or fine-grained tasks.

A hypnotic suggestion can generate true and automatic hallucinations
A multidisciplinary group of researchers from Finland (University of Turku and University of Helsinki) and Sweden (University of Skövde) has now found evidence that hypnotic suggestion can modify processing of a targeted stimulus before it reaches consciousness.

Women who were physically abused during childhood more likely to be obese
Women with a history of childhood physical abuse are more likely to become obese adults, according to a new study by University of Toronto researchers.

Henry Ford Hospital pioneers new cardiac approach
Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital have created a new route to the heart to implant an artificial heart valve by temporarily connecting major blood vessels that do not normally intersect.

Therapeutic changes in glioma mice after transplantation of neural stem cells
Neural stem cells transplanted into tumor-bearing rats can hinder tumor cell growth and prolife-ration; however, the mechanism remains unclear.

MRSA strain in humans originally came from cattle
A strain of bacteria that causes skin and soft tissue infections in humans originally came from cattle, according to a study to be published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Crowdsourcing weather using smartphone batteries
A group of smartphone app developers and weather experts developed a way to use the temperature sensors built into smartphone batteries to crowdsource weather information.

Study finds 'ray' wings sold to consumers include vulnerable species & can be mislabeled
Genetic testing by DNA Barcoding, has revealed which species are sold under the commercial term 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