Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 14, 2013
Newly found pulsar helps astronomers explore Milky Way's mysterious core
The new discovery of a pulsar that is the closest yet found to the Milky Way's central supermassive black hole has provided an important measurement of the magnetic field produced by a rotating disk surrounding the black hole.

Flexible throughout life by varying numbers of chromosome copies
Baker's yeast is a popular test organism in biology. Yeasts are able to duplicate single chromosomes reversibly and thereby adapt flexibly to environmental conditions.

A magnetar at the heart of our Milky Way
Radio astronomers use a pulsar with a strong magnetic field to investigate a supermassive black hole.

Cancer's origins revealed
Scientists have provided the first comprehensive genomic map of mutational processes that drive tumour development.

Seabirds fitted with satellite tags to track movements in Gulf of Maine
Researchers at NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary are using satellite technology to learn more about the movement, life cycle, feeding and foraging habits of Great Shearwater seabirds in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

Electrochemical step towards a better hydrogen storage
Good metal-based systems for hydrogen storage cannot be developed without knowing how this element permeates through metals.

Potent mechanism helps viruses shut down body's defense system against infection
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered a powerful mechanism by which viruses such as influenza, West Nile and Dengue evade the body's immune response and infect humans with these potentially deadly diseases.

E-Health services ill-prepared for epidemics
National and international organizations are ill-prepared to exploit e-health systems in the event of the emergence of a major pandemic disease, according to a research paper to be published in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.

Study of plastics' impact on human development receives 5-year, $8 million grant
A University of Illinois research program that investigates the health effects of exposure to chemicals widely used in plastics has received a five-year, $8 million grant as part of the Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers program, jointly funded through the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

How neurons get wired
University of Arizona scientists have discovered an unknown mechanism that establishes polarity in developing nerve cells.

New biomarker could reveal Alzheimer's disease years before onset
What causes Alzheimer's disease is unclear. This study reports on what may be the earliest known biomarker associated with the risk of developing AD.

New ACS NSQIP® Surgical Risk Calculator provides accurate surgical complication estimates
The new American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Surgical Risk Calculator is a revolutionary new tool that quickly and easily estimates patient-specific postoperative complication risks for almost all operations, according to research findings appearing online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Stanford scientists get a handle on what made Typhoid Mary's infectious microbes tick
Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have shown how salmonella -- a bacterial menace responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from typhoid fever and food poisoning -- manages to hide out in immune cells, altering their metabolism to its own benefit, much as someone might remodel a newly rented home to suit his own comfort.

Research shows precisely which strategies help players win team-oriented video games
Computer science researchers have developed a technique to determine which strategies give players an edge at winning in multi-player (action) real-time strategy games, such as Defense of the Ancients, Warcraft III and Starcraft II.

Facebook use predicts declines in happiness, new study finds
Facebook helps people feel connected, but it doesn't necessarily make them happier, a new study shows.

Watermelon juice relieves post-exercise muscle soreness
Watermelon juice's reputation among athletes is getting scientific support in a new study, which found that juice from the summer favorite fruit can relieve post-exercise muscle soreness.

Raising the IQ of smart windows
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have designed a new material to make smart windows even smarter.

Extreme weather events fuel climate change
Extreme meteorological events and global warming: a vicious cycle?

Rice U. biophysicists zoom in on pore-forming toxin
A new study by Rice University biophysicists offers the most comprehensive picture yet of the molecular-level action of melittin, the major toxin in bee venom.

Spicing up your fish fillets with science
In a paper just published in the Canadian Journal of Animal Science, authors investigated strategies to increase long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in rainbow trout.

Changing climate may have driven collapse of civilizations in Late Bronze Age
Climate change may have driven the collapse of once-flourishing Eastern Mediterranean civilizations towards the end of the 13th century BC, according to research published Aug.

Shortening tails gave early birds a leg up
A radical shortening in the bony tails of birds that lived over 100 million years ago freed the legs to evolve in new ways and enabled an explosive radiation of early bird species, a new study shows.

Multi-national endocrinology organizations join forces to support scientific growth in India
A new major collaborative partnership among international hormone health organizations will help promote endocrinology on the Indian sub-continent.

Ostrich necks reveal sauropod movements, food habits
A new analysis of ostriches reveals that a computer model of long-necked sauropods used to simulate the dinosaurs' movements, featured in BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs and the focus of an installation at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, does not correctly reconstruct how flexible their necks were.

Heat waves to become more frequent and severe
Climate change is set to trigger more frequent and severe heat waves in the next 30 years regardless of the amount of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere, a new study has shown.

Preterm babies at risk for later cognitive difficulties
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have received a five-year, $3 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Advancing resistive memory to improve portable electronics
A team at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering has developed a novel way to build what many see as the next generation memory storage devices for portable electronic devices including smart phones, tablets, laptops and digital cameras.

UT Arlington professor to become American Chemical Society fellow
The American Chemical Society has named UT Arlington chemistry and biochemistry professor Daniel W.

NTU-led research shows Burmese long-tailed macaques' ability using stone tools threatened by human activity in Thailand
Human farming and the introduction of domestic dogs are posing a threat to the ability of Burmese long-tailed macaques to use stone tools.

Chemophobia shouldn't be on the menu
When it comes to what's for dinner -- or breakfast and lunch for that matter-- many people suffer from chemophobia, an irrational fear of natural and synthetic chemicals that pose no risk to our health, a Dartmouth study finds.

Many neurologists unaware of safety risks related to anti-epilepsy drugs
A study by Johns Hopkins researchers shows that a fifth of US neurologists appear unaware of serious drug safety risks associated with various anti-epilepsy drugs, potentially jeopardizing the health of patients who could be just as effectively treated with safer alternative medications.

Cattle can be a source of MRSA in people, scientists find
A type of MRSA found in humans originated in cattle at least 40 years ago, new research has found.

Extreme weather, climate and the carbon cycle
Extreme weather and climate events like storms, heavy precipitation and droughts and heat waves prevent the update of 3 giga-tonnes of carbon by the global vegetation.

Institut Pasteur Korea -- DNDi come together for the fight against neglected diseases
IP-K and DNDi have entered into a Master Research Agreement for collaboration in identification and development of safe, effective and affordable new treatments for patients suffering from neglected diseases.

Lymph nodes with location memory
Regulatory T cells (or

Can solar energy help save Greece?
What happens to renewable energy programs in a country that gets whacked by a full-scale debt crisis -- do the programs whither and die in the winds of austerity?

Better way of checking authenticity of Earth's smallest, most valuable bits of paper
With stamp collecting a popular hobby and lucrative investment, scientists are describing a comprehensive new way of verifying the authenticity and rooting out fakes of what may be the smallest and most valuable pieces of paper on Earth.

Teleported by electronic circuit
ETH-researchers cannot

2 Tufts biomedical graduate students awarded HHMI research fellowships
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded two doctoral students from the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University with 2013 International Student Research Fellowships.

CPAP reduces risk of death in people with COPD and sleep apnea
A new study suggests that continuous positive airway pressure therapy reduces the mortality rate in people who have both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and obstructive sleep apnea, which the authors refer to as

A genetic answer to the Alzheimer's riddle?
What if we could pinpoint a hereditary cause for Alzheimer's, and intervene to reduce the risk of the disease?

ASH awards grants to support critical research threatened by NIH cuts
As federal funding cuts continue to jeopardize the progress of biomedical research, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) today announced the 12 recipients of its second round of ASH Bridge Grants.

Medicaid program improves maternal, infant care
New research out of Michigan State University shows participation in a program aimed at Medicaid-eligible pregnant women improves maternal and infant care.

Researchers study selenium's effects on horses
Selenium is an essential part of the equine diet. Some horses do not get enough selenium because they graze on forages in areas with low selenium in the soil.

UTSA scholars to study desensitization caused by violent video games
UTSA researchers Alberto Cordova and Gabriel Acevedo have received $14,000 to study whether demographic, socioeconomic and ecological factors offer a buffer to the desensitizing effects of violent video games.

Memory breakthrough could bring faster computing, smaller memory devices and lower power consumption
Researchers in Israel have developed a simple magnetization progress that could lead to a new generation of faster, smaller and less expensive memory technologies.

6 months of fish oil reverses liver disease in children with intestinal failure, study shows
A clinical trial conducted at the Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA has found that, compared with soybean oil, a limited duration (24 weeks) of fish oil is safe and effective in reversing liver disease in children with intestinal failure who require intravenous nutrition.

Warming climate pushes plants up the mountain
In a rare opportunity to directly compare plant communities in the same area now with a survey taken 50 years ago, a University of Arizona-led research team has provided the first on-the-ground evidence that Southwestern plants are being pushed to higher elevations by an increasingly warmer and drier climate.

University of East Anglia research could contain infectious disease outbreaks
Researchers at the University of East Anglia have identified a rapid response which could help halt infectious diseases such as bird flu, swine flu and SARS before they take hold.

Around the world in 4 days: NASA tracks Chelyabinsk meteor plume
Atmospheric physicist Nick Gorkavyi missed witnessing an event of the century last winter when a meteor exploded over his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia.

UGA researchers use nanoparticles to fight cancer
Researchers at the University of Georgia are developing a new treatment technique that uses nanoparticles to reprogram immune cells so they are able to recognize and attack cancer.

2 MCG scientists contribute to latest edition of 'Pediatric Hypertension'
Two scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University are contributors to the third edition of the textbook,

Current therapies less effective than expected in preventing lung injuries in very premature babies
A neonatologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is the senior author of a large new study that found that current non-invasive techniques for respiratory support are less effective than widely assumed, in reducing the incidence of severe lung injury in very premature infants.

Multifold increase in heat extremes by 2040
Extremes such as the severe heat wave last year in the US or the one 2010 in Russia are likely to be seen much more often in the near future.

Springer launches open access International Journal of Food Contamination
Springer's open access program, SpringerOpen, has launched the International Journal of Food Contamination to examine incidents of food contamination around the world.

Hansell selected for prestigious Sverdrup Lecture at AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting
University of Miami Chemical Oceanographer Dennis Hansell is the 2014 Sverdrup Lecturer.

McMaster University study debunks controversial MS theory
The research, published online by PLOS ONE today, found no evidence of abnormalities in the internal jugular or vertebral veins or in the deep cerebral veins of any of 100 patients with multiple sclerosis compared with 100 people who had no history of any neurological condition.

Volunteer work prepares young Egyptians for revolution
A new movement of young Egyptian Muslims committed to voluntary social work has given many young people a stronger social and political consciousness, and the courage to change the country.

Growing use of MRIs leading to more invasive breast cancer surgery
Heavy use of magnetic resonance imaging may be leading to unnecessary breast removal in older women with breast cancer, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the current issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Spaceflight alters bacterial social networks
In two NASA-funded studies biofilms grown aboard the International Space Station bound space shuttle were compared with those grown on the ground.

Brain scans could predict response to antipsychotic medication
Researchers from King's College London and the University of Nottingham have identified neuroimaging markers in the brain which could help predict whether people with psychosis respond to antipsychotic medications or not.

Post-traumatic stress disorder in a rescue group after the Wenchuan earthquake relief
This release focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder in a rescue group after the Wenchuan earthquake relief.

Forensic familial search methods carry risk of certain false matches
Forensic DNA-based familial search methods may mistakenly identify individuals in a database as siblings or parents of an unknown perpetrator, when in fact they are distant relatives, according to research published Aug.

Mental health youth report paves the way for improved access to youth services
A study of a cross-section of youth mental health services across Canada has found that two in five young people receiving services are experiencing significant concurrent mental health and substance use problems.

UT Arlington researcher finds that money motivates employees to lose weight
Financial incentives can be a very effective tool in encouraging employees to lose weight at companies that offer their workers those types of programs, research from a University of Texas at Arlington economics assistant professor shows.

Neutron studies of HIV inhibitors reveal new areas for improvement
The first study of interactions between a common clinical inhibitor and the HIV-1 protease enzyme has been carried out by an international team with members from the US, Britain and France using neutrons at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France.

UCLA Dentistry receives $5 million to study extracellular RNA in saliva
UCLA School of Dentistry receives $5 million from the National Institutes for Health to study biological markers in saliva to attempt to develop a tool for detecting stomach cancer.

Enhanced treatment, surveillance needed for certain melanoma patients to prevent secondary cancers
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers suggest secondary cancers seen in melanoma patients who are being treated for a BRAF gene mutation may require new strategies, such as enhanced surveillance and combining BRAF-inhibitor therapy with other inhibitors, especially as they become more widely used.

NOAA announces additions to National System of Marine Protected Areas
NOAA announced the inclusion of 82 existing marine protected areas into the National System of Marine Protected Areas.

Visualized heartbeat can trigger 'out-of-body experience'
A visual projection of human heartbeats can be used to generate an

$3.5m NIH grants awarded to SDSU researchers to study fruit flies, gain insight into human health
Sanford Bernstein spends most of his time in the company of fruit flies, but not without good reason.

First participant in Midwest enrolls in study of personalized vaccine for brain tumors
Randomized phase II trial will investigate vaccine therapy combined with Avastin for patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme.

Irrelevant information in medical testimonials may lead to poor consumer choices
Medical testimonials on the Internet and elsewhere present powerful personal stories and useful information, but they can also be dangerous to your health if distracting, irrelevant information leads to inappropriate treatment decisions, say researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Pretreating aggressive lymphoma with targeted therapy improves chemo effectiveness
Patients with an aggressive lymphoma that often relapses and kills within two years experienced a remission of their cancer and stayed disease-free as long as 28 months after taking a commercially-available drug that made chemotherapy more effective.

2 left feet? Study looks to demystify why we lose our balance
It's always in front of a million people and feels like eternity.

Radiation detection to go
A Sandia National Laboratories team completed acceptance testing on an enormous mobile scanner that makes smuggling radiological materials more difficult, the eighth such unit that Sandia has deployed worldwide.

Children exposed to lead 3 times more likely to be suspended from school
Children who are exposed to lead are nearly three times more likely to be suspended from school by the 4th grade than children who are not exposed, according to a new University of Wisconsin-Madison study.

How will crops fare under climate change? Depends on how you ask
The damage scientists expect climate change to do to crop yields can differ greatly depending on which type of model was used to make those projections, according to research based at Princeton University.

Most herniated discs result from avulsion, not rupture, suggests study in spine
Herniated discs in the lower (lumbar) spine most often result from avulsion (separation) of the tissue connection between the disc and spinal bone, rather than rupture of the disc itself, according to a study in Spine.

Do academic rankings create inequality?
A study led by a Michigan State University scholar questions whether higher education ranking systems are creating competition simply for the sake of competition at a time when universities are struggling financially.

Probiotics do not prevent relapse in Crohn's disease patients
Despite previous data showing beneficial effects, the probiotic Saccharomuces boulardii does not prevent clinical relapse in patients with Crohn's disease, according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Targeting aggressive prostate cancer
A team of researchers from UC Davis, UC San Diego and other institutions has identified a key mechanism behind aggressive prostate cancer.

Archaeologist locates the real location of the Battle of Bosworth
A new book, co-authored by Dr Foard and the historian Professor Anne Curry, describes the background to the battle and the archaeological project to find out where it was actually fought.

Virtual adviser helps older Latino adults get more exercise, Stanford researcher says
A test of an

Preschoolers inability to estimate quantity relates to later math difficulty
Preschool children who showed less ability to estimate the number of objects in a group were 2.4 times more likely to have a later mathematical learning disability than other young people, according to a team of University of Missouri psychologists.

Astronomers show galaxies had 'mature' shapes 11.5 billion years ago
The team used two cameras, Wide Field Camera 3, and Advanced Camera for Surveys, plus observations from the Hubble's Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey, the largest project in the scope's history with 902 assigned orbits of observing time, to explore the shapes and colors of distant galaxies over the last 80 percent of the Universe's history.

Cutting consumption, saving lives: Fuel cell technology proves powerful in demo
Technology developed for tactical generators under an Office of Naval Research program recently demonstrated the ability to cut fuel use nearly in half compared to diesel systems currently powering forward-operating bases.

Successful deployment of an autonomous deep-sea explorer to search for new forms of microbial life
Scientists are reporting

Xingnao Jieyu capsules are similar to fluoxetine for post-stroke depression
Xingnao Jieyu capsules are similar to fluoxetine for post- stroke depression.

Prostate cancer screening: New data support watchful waiting
Prostate cancer aggressiveness may be established when the tumor is formed and not alter with time, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

NIH and UNC researchers define role of protein vinculin in cell movement
Researchers at the University of North Carolina and the National Institutes for Health have defined the role of the protein vinculin in enabling cell movement.

CWRU dental researchers discover how an oral bacterium can trigger colorectal cancer
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have discovered how a common oral bacterium can contribute to colorectal cancer, a finding that opens promising new research avenues for the development of approaches to prevent and treat the disease.

Miao Yu receives Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded an International Predoctoral Student Research Fellowship to Miao Yu, a graduate student in chemistry at the University of Chicago.

Earth orbit changes key to Antarctic warming that ended last ice age
New research from an ice core taken from West Antarctica shows that the warming that ended the last ice age in Antarctica began at least two, and perhaps four, millennia earlier than previously thought.

Finasteride saves men from prostate cancer, doesn't increase risk of death
A long-term follow-up to a groundbreaking study led by the director of the Cancer Therapy & Research Center confirms that a drug shown to reduce risk of prostate cancer by more than a third has no impact on lifespan but further reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

Using fire to manage fire-prone regions around the world
The Ecological Society of America's first online-only Special Issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment showcases prescribed burns around the globe, some of them drawing on historical practices to manage forests and grasslands in fire-prone regions.

UW geographer devises a way for China to resolve its 'immigration' dilemma
University of Washington geographer Kam Wing Chan is in China this week, explaining how that country can dismantle its 55-year-old system that limits rural laborers from moving to and settling in cities and qualifying for basic social benefits.

Bacteria in drinking water are key to keeping it clean
Bacteria commonly found in drinking water creates conditions which enable other -- potentially harmful -- bacteria to thrive, says research by engineers from the University of Sheffield.

Acellular nerve graft and stem cells for repair of long-segment sciatic nerve defects
Peripheral nerve defects are very common in clinical surgery. For repair of short-segment nerve defects, freeing nerve, nerve diversions or joint flexion can be used to directly connect the two stumps of nerves by using microsurgical techniques; while for long-segment nerve defects, we require a bridging material to bridge defected nerves.

Study explains early warming of West Antarctica at end of last ice age
West Antarctica began emerging from the last ice age about 22,000 years ago -- well before other regions of Antarctica and the rest of the world.

How bacteria found in mouth may cause colorectal cancer
Gut microbes have recently been linked to colorectal cancer, but it has not been clear whether and how they might cause tumors to form in the first place.

Pilot study finds ER patients drinking high-octane beer
Five beer brands -- Budweiser, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice and Bud Light -- were consumed in the highest quantities by emergency room patients, according to a new pilot study from researchers at The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 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