Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 20, 2013
First pre-clinical gene therapy study to reverse Rett symptoms
The concept behind gene therapy is simple: Deliver a healthy gene to compensate for one that is mutated.

Gentemann to receive Falkenberg Award
Chelle L. Gentemann, Ph.D., senior principal scientist at Remote Sensing Systems is the recipient of this year's Falkenberg Award.

New explanation for key step in anthrax infection proposed by NIST and USAMRIID
A new hypothesis concerning a crucial step in the anthrax infection process has been advanced by scientists at NIST and the US Army Medical Research Institute for infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Combined liposuction/tummy tuck offers best of both procedures
A combined technique of liposuction and tummy tuck -- designed to reduce surgical trauma -- provides excellent patient outcomes with a low complication rate, reports a study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery -- Global Open®, the official open-access medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

New intervention reduces risky sex among bisexual African-American men
A culturally tailored HIV prevention program developed and tested by investigators at UCLA and the Charles R.

Social giving makes us happier
People usually feel good when they make a charitable donation, but they feel even better if they make the donation directly to someone they know or in a way that builds social connection.

Penn Medicine study shows survivorship care plans empower cancer patients
In 2005, the Institute of Medicine, surveying the outlook for the growing number of American cancer survivors, first described the idea of a survivorship care plan: A roadmap for the group of patients, today numbering nearly 12 million, who are beginning new lives as cancer survivors.

ALMA takes close look at drama of starbirth
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have obtained a vivid close-up view of material streaming away from a newborn star.

Kenneth Bernstein, M.D., receives Distinguished Scientist designation from American Heart Association
Kenneth Bernstein, M.D., a Cedars-Sinai pathologist and scientific researcher known for expanding the understanding of a collection of proteins important in controlling blood pressure as well as heart and renal diseases, has been named a 2013 Distinguished Scientist by the American Heart Association.

When is controversy (not) good for building product buzz?
A little bit of controversy can be intriguing, but too much turns consumers off, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

How untying knots promotes cancer
Protein elF4E can promote cancer by activating another protein, 4A, to untangle knots in mRNA allowing gene translation to proceed.

Redesign for sudden autopilot disconnection needed, say flight safety experts
Flight safety experts studying recent high-profile plane crashes found sudden autopilot disconnection to be a design flaw that creates unnecessary emergencies by surprising pilots during critical, high-workload episodes.

NASA sees another new Central Pacific tropical cyclone
The Central Pacific Ocean has generated a third tropical depression this year and NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of Tropical Depression 03C far to the west of Hawaii.

Citizens in Greater Bilbao regard the services of the Green Belt ecosystems as highly beneficial
The UPV/EHU's research group into Landscape, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has interviewed 500 people in Greater Bilbao to find out their perception about the ecosystem services.

Frontiers news briefs: August 20
This week's news briefs include: flowers get their colors through predictable genetic changes; the role of scene context on object processing transgenic bacteria shed light on symbiotic exchanges within the soil; and a simple joystick task could reduce social stress.

New theory points to 'zombie vortices' as key step in star formation
UC Berkeley scientists have proposed a new model that elucidates a key step in star formation.

Areas of high unemployment bear the brunt of bank closures
Some of Britain's poorest communities have been hit the hardest by the thousands of bank and building society closures happening every day, according to new research by The University of Nottingham.

Guideline development for non-specialist mental health services in Nigeria
Mental health conditions contribute to approximately 14 percent of the total global burden of disease but there is a substantial treatment gap in both developed and developing countries.

3D graphene: Solar cells' new platinum?
Platinum is a key material in dye-sensitized solar cells, where it is used to make counter electrodes.

New technology protects against password theft and phishing attacks
New technology launched today by Royal Holloway University, will help protect people from the cyber attack known as

Bacterial toxins cause deadly heart disease
University of Iowa researchers have discovered what causes the lethal effects of staphylococcal infective endocarditis -- a serious bacterial infection of heart valves that kills approximately 20,000 Americans each year.

Complications associated with continuous CSF drainage in patients with SAH
Researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Multicenter trial finds BI-RADS 3 breast lesions have low cancer rate
Based on data from a multi-site imaging trial involving more than 2,600 women, researchers say breast lesions categorized as 'probably benign' on supplemental screening ultrasound could be re-evaluated with imaging in 12 months, reducing patient anxiety, follow-up exams and unnecessary biopsies.

2 updated guides provide latest NIST recommendations for system patches, malware avoidance
NIST has updated two of its series of computer security guides to help computer system managers protect their systems from hackers and malware.

Researchers identify biomarkers for possible blood test to predict suicide risk
Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have found a series of RNA biomarkers in blood that may help identify who is at risk for committing suicide.

KAIST unveils foldable micro electric car, Armadillo-T
A group of researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) recently developed a possible solution to such problems: a foldable, compact electric vehicle that can be utilized either as a personal car or part of the public transit system to connect major transportation routes within a city.

New strategy tests for dangerous stage of tuberculosis in Asia
More than 20,000 people in Pakistan are being tested for the potentially deadly stage of tuberculosis using a new strategy developed at UC Davis Health System to effectively detect the disease in children for the first time.

UTSA researcher to play key role in $7.5 million Department of Defense MURI project
University of Texas at San Antonio researcher and assistant professor of mechanical engineering John Foster will play an important part in a $7.5 million Department of Defense contract to advance the understanding and use of a relatively new mathematical modeling theory called peridynamics, which allows scientists to more accurately predict material failure.

University of Montana researcher finds loss of sea ice causes ecological changes
A new paper co-written by UM associate professor Mark Hebblewhite details ecological changes caused by a loss of Arctic sea ice.

Study aims to help patients with peripheral artery disease become more active
For millions of Americans, simply walking to the mailbox can cause unbearable leg pain as muscles scream for more blood and oxygen.

Ingredient in turmeric spice when combined with anti-nausea drug kills cancer cells
In a laboratory, preclinical study recently published by the journal Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center researchers combined structural features from anti-nausea drug thalidomide with common kitchen spice turmeric to create hybrid molecules that effectively kill multiple myeloma cells.

Infection during newborn's first week of life associated with bacterial infection in the mother
Early-onset neonatal infection, defined as infection in the first 7 days of life, is associated with maternal infection and colonization, a systematic review and meta-analysis by Grace Chan (Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) and colleagues found in this week's issue of PLOS Medicine.

The chemistry behind lobster color and shell disease: New American Chemical Society video
With lobster shell disease moving up the East Coast toward Maine -- now observing Maine Lobster Month -- a new video from the world's largest scientific society focuses on the disease, the chemistry of lobster shell color and why lobster shells turn red during cooking.

Tropical Storm Trami and monsoon rains causing flooding in the Philippines
Tropical Storm Trami may not be making landfall in the Philippines, but it was close enough to bring heavy rainfall when combined with monsoon rains.

Lateral wedge insoles not associated with improvement of knee pain in osteoarthritis
Although a pooling of data from 12 studies showed a statistically significant association between use of lateral wedge insoles and lower pain in medial knee osteoarthritis, among trials comparing wedge insoles with neutral insoles, there was no significant or clinically important association between use of wedge insoles and reduction in knee pain, according to a study in the Aug.

Ancient cycads found to be pre-adapted to grow in groves
Cycads been around since before the age of the dinosaurs.

Harmony: How do Vietnamese wedding planners manage to please everyone?
An emphasis on harmony helps Vietnamese consumers navigate the perils of wedding planning to find ways to please everyone involved, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Foundation to host 5th International Cardiology Summit
The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) Center of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, directed by Dr.

When do consumers think a freebie is more valuable than a discounted product?
Consumers may value a free gift more than a deeply discounted promotional item, especially if it comes from a prestigious brand, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

'Groovy' hologram creates strange state of light
A new three-in-one optical element can control light's amplitude, phase, and polarization through a wedding of old-fashioned holograms and state-of-the-art nanoscale features.

Portuguese researcher distinguished with the 2013 TERMIS-EU Young Scientist Award
Manuela E. Gomes, Invited Assistant Professor of the MIT Portugal Program and Vice-Director of the 3B's Research Group at Universidade do Minho, was greeted with the 2013 TERMIS-EU Young Scientist Award in recognition for her contribution to the field, high quality publications in highly cited journals, leadership activities, grant income from major funding bodies and external recognition amongst the wider international TERM community.

NRAO: Starbirth surprisingly energetic: ALMA observations give new insights into protostars
While observing a newborn star, astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope discovered twin jets of matter blasting out into space at record-breaking speed.

X-ray vision to detect unseen gold
Powerful x-rays can now be used to rapidly and accurately detect gold in ore samples, thanks to a new technique developed by CSIRO -- a move that could save Australia's minerals industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Unscrambling the genetics of the chicken's 'blue' egg
Researchers at The University of Nottingham have unscrambed the genetic mutation that causes the distinctive blue eggs laid by some breeds of chicken.

Carnegie Mellon leads NSF project to help people understand Web privacy policies
Figuring out what information websites are gathering about its users can be daunting, but a new privacy research project led by Carnegie Mellon University will make that task easier with computer tools that leverage the power of crowdsourcing, machine learning and natural language processing.

Community intervention program reduces repeat intimate-partner violence
Mothers who completed a mandatory community intimate-partner violence program were less likely to be re-victimized and more likely to leave an abusive spouse or partner, say researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Change of venue for NASA's IceBridge Antarctic operations
This fall, NASA's Operation IceBridge will base its annual Antarctic campaign out of National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station, a change from the mission's previous four campaigns that were based in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Ironic outcomes: Being specific, not flexible, helps consumers achieve their goals
Worried you won't meet your goal? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, you'll be more likely to succeed if you make specific plans to implement it.

Traffic pollution and wood smoke increases asthma in adults
Asthma sufferers frequently exposed to heavy traffic pollution or smoke from wood fire heaters, experienced a significant worsening of symptoms, a new University of Melbourne led study has found

Emergency rooms failing to meet seniors' needs
Emergency departments are not meeting the needs of senior citizens, according to a new international study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

'Holocaust journeys' can cause mental health problems
A new study led by Tel Aviv University researchers finds that the Holocaust education trips Israeli high school students take to Poland every year can trigger mental health problems.

The minimum age of criminal responsibility
One of the most complex, contested and controversial questions confronting modern juvenile/youth justice systems concerns the minimum age of criminal responsibility: the age at which a child is deemed to be sufficiently 'mature' to be held responsible before the substantive criminal law.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Pewa temporarily weaken
Tropical Storm Pewa weakened temporarily while facing adverse atmospheric conditions in the Northwestern Pacific, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured the storm in infrared light.

Chromosome 21 abnormality tells oncologists to treat pediatric ALL more aggressively
A recent study by members of the Children's Oncology Group reports results of a large trial showing that children whose leukemia cells have amplification of a portion of chromosome 21 may require more aggressive treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia than children without this gene amplification.

UCLA study suggests iron is at core of Alzheimer's disease
Conventional thinking holds that Alzheimer's disease is likely caused by one of two proteins, one called tau, the other beta-amyloid.

Large-scale Kaiser Permanente program linked to improved blood pressure control
Kaiser Permanente Northern California nearly doubled the rate of blood pressure control among adult members with diagnosed hypertension between 2001 and 2009 through one of the largest, community-based hypertension programs in the nation, as reported today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mobius strip ties liquid crystal in knots to produce tomorrow's materials and photonic devices
University of Warwick scientists have shown how to tie knots in liquid crystals using a miniature Möbius strip made from silica particles.

Study finds PHS gene that prevents wheat from sprouting
Researchers have found and cloned a gene that prevents wheat from preharvest sprouting.

Low self-esteem consumers: When does standing out help you fit in?
Consumers who buy brands to stand out may actually be trying to fit in, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Scientists uncover the secret life of frozen soils
A comprehensive collection of research just published in the Canadian Journal of Soil Science reveals the unique aspects of Canada's seasonally frozen landscape -- impacts on agriculture and forestry management.

Johns Hopkins researchers identify conditions most likely to kill encephalitis patients
People with severe encephalitis -- inflammation of the brain -- are much more likely to die if they develop severe swelling in the brain, intractable seizures or low blood platelet counts, regardless of the cause of their illness, according to new Johns Hopkins research.

The Vikings were not the first colonizers of the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands were colonized much earlier than previously believed, and it wasn't by the Vikings, according to new research.

Plasma-treated nano filters help purify world water supply
Access to safe drinking water is a step closer to being a reality for those in developing countries.

Study examines genetic associations for gastrointestinal condition in infants
Researchers have identified a new genome-wide significant locus (the place a gene occupies on a chromosome) for infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS), a serious gastrointestinal condition associated with gastrointestinal obstruction, according to a study in the Aug.

Appetite hormone misfires in obese people
Glucagon, a hormone involved in regulating appetite, loses its ability to help obese people feel full after a meal, but it continues to suppress hunger pangs in people with type 1 diabetes, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Epic ocean voyages of coral larvae revealed
A computer simulation using University of Miami's Connectivity Modeling System and conducted in collaboration with the University of Bristol has revealed the epic, ocean-spanning journeys traveled by millimeter-sized coral larvae through the world's seas.

Digitizing earth: developing a cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences
The world is buzzing with the hum of servers containing terabytes of the world's collective datasets.

Dams destabilize river food webs: Lessons from the Grand Canyon
Coauthor Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall, an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, comments,

Passing on the right antibodies: Protecting piglets from diarrhoea
The parasite Cystoisospora suis affects suckling pigs causing severe intestinal problems, such as diarrhoea.

Study implicates dopamine in food restriction, drug abuse
Why are food-restricted animals more vulnerable to the effects of drugs of abuse?

Women who receive midwife care throughout their pregnancy and birth have better outcomes
Maternity care that involves a midwife as the main care provider leads to better outcomes for most women, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

NIST study advances use of iris images as a long-term form of identification
A new report by NIST biometric researchers uses data from thousands of frequent travelers enrolled in an iris recognition program to determine that no consistent change occurs in the distinguishing texture of their irises for at least a decade.

Human foot not as unique as originally thought
Research at the University of Liverpool has shown that the mechanisms of the human foot are not as unique as originally thought and have much more in common with the flexible feet of other great apes.

HB-EGF protects intestines from a variety of injuries, pair of studies suggests
Gail Besner, MD, principal investigator for the Center for Perinatal Research and pediatric surgeon for the Department of Pediatric Surgery at Nationwide Children's Hospital, recently conducted two studies in mice published in June in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery that reveal the potential of HB-EGF to protect the intestines from diverse types of injury.

English stop smoking services have helped 20,000 to quit, but much variation exists
Stop smoking services across England have had an increasing impact in helping smokers to quit in their first 10 years of operation and have successfully reached disadvantaged groups, finds a study published on today.

Target 2 forms of iron to control cystic fibrosis lung infection
The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa needs iron to establish and maintain a biofilm in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, and therapies have been proposed to deprive the bacteria of this necessary element.

How brain microcircuits integrate information from different senses
A new publication in the top-ranked journal Neuron sheds new light onto the unknown processes on how the brain integrates the inputs from the different senses in the complex circuits formed by molecularly distinct types of nerve cells.

Higher urinary albumin excretion linked with increased risk of CHD among black adults
In a large national study, higher levels of the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio was associated with greater risk of incident but not recurrent coronary heart disease in black individuals when compared with white individuals, according to a study in the Aug.

Neurologists report unique form of musical hallucinations
A 60-year-old woman suddenly began hearing music, as if a radio were playing at the back of her head.

Hypertension improvement program associated with increase in blood pressure control rates
Implementation of a large-scale hypertension program that included evidence-based guidelines and development and sharing of performance metrics was associated with a near-doubling of hypertension control between 2001 and 2009, compared to only modest improvements in state and national control rates, according to a study in the Aug.

A new role for sodium in the brain
Researchers at McGill University have found that sodium -- the main chemical component in table salt -- is a unique

NASA spacecraft capture an Earth directed coronal mass ejection
On Aug. 20, 2013 at 4:24 am EDT, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME, a solar phenomenon which can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later.

Federal agencies remapping coastal areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy
A day after the administration released the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force progress report,three federal agencies have announced plans for remapping parts of the East Coast, where Hurricane Sandy altered seafloors and shorelines, destroyed buildings, and disrupted millions of lives last year.

New findings on how the ear hears could lead to better hearing aids
A healthy ear is much better at detecting and transmitting sound than even the most advanced hearing aid.

How sleep helps brain learn motor task
Sleep helps the brain consolidate what we've learned, but scientists have struggled to determine what goes on in the brain to make that happen for different kinds of learned tasks.

Hitting the gym may help men avoid diet-induced erectile dysfunction
Eating the Western diet is a risk factor for erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease.

Landfill nation: What makes consumers less likely to recycle?
Consumers are more likely to toss a dented can or a chopped-up piece of paper into the trash than to recycle it, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research that examines recycling habits.

Multiple genes manage how people taste sweeteners
Genetics may play a role in how people's taste receptors send signals, leading to a wide spectrum of taste preferences, according to Penn State food scientists.

Study shows gypsum wallboard does not keep out carbon monoxide
The researchers found that carbon monoxide diffused across single-layer gypsum wallboard of two thicknesses, double-layer wallboard, and painted double-layer wallboard.

University of Montana earns army grant to develop drug for traumatic brain injuries
The US Army has awarded University of Montana researcher Dave Poulsen a $1 million grant to further develop a drug that limits damage caused by traumatic brain injuries.

Building better brain implants: The challenge of longevity
On August 20, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments will publish a technique accommodating two challenges inherent in brain-implantation technology: gauging the property changes that occur during implantation and measuring them on a micro-scale.

The blushing shopper: Does it matter what else you put in the basket with the anti-gas medication?
Buying certain products can be embarrassing. But a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research says shoppers should make more conscious choices about what to add to their shopping carts to alleviate the embarrassment.

Honeyguide birds destroy own species' eggs to eliminate competition
Like cuckoos, honeyguides are parasitic birds that lay their eggs in other birds' nests and dupe them into raising their young.

Gestational diabetes tied to 7-fold increase in sleep apnea risk
Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes are nearly seven times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than other pregnant women, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The Aboriginal story of Burke and Wills
Few episodes in Australian history have received as much attention as the expedition of explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills.

Commonly used drug does not reduce delirium in critically ill patients
Haloperidol, an antipsychotic drug used in many hospitals to treat delirium in critically ill patients, is no more effective than placebo in reducing the number of days that critically ill patients spend either delirious or in a coma, according to new research published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Pulsars make a GPS for the cosmos
Scientists have written software that could guide spacecraft to Alpha Centauri, show that the planet Nibiru doesn't exist... and prove that the Earth goes around the Sun.

Unemployment restricts access to kidney transplants, UNH research finds
People in end-stage kidney failure in need of a kidney transplant are much less likely to be placed on a waiting list for a new kidney or to actually receive a new kidney once on the list if they are unemployed or work part time, according to new collaborative research from the University of New Hampshire. 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