Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 23, 2013
New password in a heartbeat
Researchers at Rice University propose a system to prevent cyberattacks on pacemakers, defibrillators and other devices that use wireless communications.

Retail investment: A barometer for teen obesity?
When it comes to addressing the obesity epidemic, fast food restaurants are a favorite target with some communities going so far as to ban the construction of new, standalone fast food restaurants.

Loyola study assesses use of fingerstick blood sample with i-STAT point-of-care device
Researchers have determined that fingerstick cardiac troponin I assay testing using the point-of-care i-STAT device is not accurate enough to determine the exact troponin level without the application of a corrective term.

Baylor professors use whale earwax to develop new method to determine contaminant exposure in whales
Baylor University professors Stephen Trumble, Ph.D., and Sascha Usenko, Ph.D., have developed a novel technique for reconstructing contaminant and hormone profiles using whale earplugs, determining -- for the first time -- lifetime chemical exposures and hormone profiles, from birth to death, for an individual whale, information that was previously unattainable.

Tecnalia is conducting cutting-edge image-based research to improve Internet searches
Following over a year of collaborative research with Dartmouth College (USA) and with the support of Microsoft Research Cambridge (United Kingdom), Tecnalia presented a new way of improving the results of web page browsers at SIGIR (the biggest conference on search engines).

First global conference on food security
Wageningen University and scientific publisher Elsevier have taken the initiative to invite six hundred scientists from 65 countries to attend the first global conference on food security in search of solutions within their own field.

Large study finds association between marriage and cancer outcomes
New results from a large retrospective study of the National Cancer Institute's SEER database show that patients with cancer who were married at the time of diagnosis live markedly longer compared to unmarried patients.

World's largest event for bone, muscle, and joint research and practice to be held in Spain
The International Osteoporosis Foundation and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis will stage the world's largest international congress devoted to musculoskeletal research and clinical practice.

First look at complete sorghum genome may usher in new uses for food and fuel
Although sorghum lines underwent adaptation to be grown in temperate climates decades ago, a University of Illinois researcher said he and his team have completed the first comprehensive genomic analysis of the molecular changes behind that adaptation.

Celiac research to highlight international symposium
Preliminary results from a multinational project to study the impact of early childhood nutrition on celiac disease will be among the highlights of this month's 15th International Celiac Disease Symposium, hosted by the University of Chicago Medicine Celiac Disease Center.

Mayo Clinic launches biobank in Arizona, expanding diversity research
Mayo Clinic has again broadened the base of its genomic research efforts by establishing a biobank at its Arizona campus, which will support studies in obesity, metabolism and diabetes, all areas of special concern in the Latino population.

Modifying rice crops to resist herbicide prompts weedy neighbors' growth spurt
Rice containing an overactive gene that makes it resistant to a common herbicide can pass that genetic trait to weedy rice, prompting powerful growth even without a weed-killer to trigger the modification benefit, new research shows.

Rising rates of severe and fatal sepsis during labor and delivery
Rates of severe sepsis and deaths from sepsis among US women hospitalized for delivery have risen sharply over the last decade, reports a study in the October issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society.

Prenatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs associated with impaired fine motor skills
Prenatal exposure to antiepileptic medications was associated with an increased risk of impaired fine motor skills (small muscle movements) in children at age six months, but breastfeeding by women taking the medications was not associated with any harmful effects on child development at ages six to 36 months, according to a report published by JAMA Neurology, a JAMA Network publication.

Stanford scientists publish theory, formula to improve 'plastic' semiconductors
We could find many uses for bendable electronics, such as e-readers that folded like newspapers or smart phones that curved in our back pockets.

No detectable association between frequency of marijuana use and health or healthcare utilization
Researchers from Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine have found frequency of marijuana use was not significantly associated with health services utilization or health status.

Chasing the black holes of the ocean
According to researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Miami, some of the largest ocean eddies on Earth are mathematically equivalent to the mysterious black holes of space.

Breakthrough offers first direct measurement of spinal cord myelin in multiple sclerosis
Researchers have made an exciting breakthrough -- developing a first-of-its-kind imaging tool to examine myelin damage in multiple sclerosis.

Protecting specific area of the brain during radiation therapy substantially reduces memory loss
Protecting the stem cells that reside in and around the hippocampus -- a C-shaped area in the temporal lobe on both sides of the brain associated with the ability to form and store memories -- substantially reduces the rate of cancer patients' memory loss during whole-brain radiotherapy without a significant risk of recurrence in that area of the brain, a new study shows.

Large European study suggests men with type 1 diabetes are better at blood sugar control than women
Men with type 1 diabetes appear to be better at blood sugar control than women, but there is no significant difference in blood sugar control between boys and girls.

Medicare expenses for patients with heart attacks increase between 1998 and 2008
Medicare expenses for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI, heart attack) increased substantially between 1998 and 2008, with much of the increase coming in expenses 31 days or more after the patient was hospitalized, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Berkeley Lab releases most comprehensive databook on China's energy and environment
In the five years since the China Energy Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released its last edition of the China Energy Databook, China has achieved two dubious distinctions: it surpassed the United States in energy consumption and it surpassed the United States in energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, becoming the world leader on both scores.

The fish and the egg: Towards a new strategy for fattening up red drum in Texas
Are red drum fish

Preoperative blood typing may not be needed for some pediatric surgeries
Certain pediatric surgeries carry such low risk of serious blood loss that clinicians can safely forgo expensive blood typing and blood stocking before such procedures, suggest the results of a small study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Domain walls as new information storage medium
While searching for ever smaller devices that can be used as data storage systems and novel sensors, physicists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have directly observed magnetization dynamics processes in magnetic nanowires and thus paved the way for further research in the field of nanomagnetism.

Cancer-killing cells controlled by epigenetic process, new study shows
Natural killer cells are white blood cells that can kill and contain cancer and infectious diseases.

Some heart birth defects may increase children's heart infection risk
Children with specific types of heart birth defects who are under 3 or who've had cardiac surgery within the last six months may face an elevated risk of heart infection.

Functional disability high among newly diagnosed older breast cancer patients
Many older women with newly diagnosed breast cancer have difficulty accomplishing daily tasks, and African-Americans seem to be disproportionately affected.

Study compares types of insurance of nursing home residents and likelihood of being hospitalized
Elderly nursing home residents with advanced dementia who were enrolled in a Medicare managed care insurance plan were more likely to have do-not-hospitalize orders and were less likely to be hospitalized for acute illness than those residents enrolled in traditional Medicare, according to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Study finds implanted device helps patients with central sleep apnea
A small implant being studied for the treatment of central sleep apnea is showing significant promise in patients.

Rim Fire update for September 23, 2013
Although the Rim Fire doesn't show any signs of smoke billowing like it has in the past satellite images, the fire still continues on.

Managed care reduces hospitalizations in nursing home residents with advanced dementia
Nursing home residents with advanced dementia commonly experience burdensome, costly interventions that do not improve their quality of life or extend their survival.

Study to enhance earthquake prediction and mitigation in Pakistani region
A three-year, $451,000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development to study the Chaman Fault in Western Pakistan will help earthquake prediction and mitigation in this heavily populated region.

Gun retailers strongly support expanded criteria for denying gun purchases, UC Davis survey finds
A scientific survey of gun dealers and pawnbrokers in 43 US states has found nearly unanimous support for denying gun purchases based on prior convictions and for serious mental illness with a history of violence or alcohol or drug abuse -- conditions that might have prevented Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis from legally purchasing a firearm.

Results of a parental survey may help predict childhood immunization status
Scores on a survey to measure parental hesitancy about vaccinating their children were associated with immunization status, according to a study by Douglas J.

Marriage associated with better cancer outcomes, study finds
People who are married when diagnosed with cancer live longer than those who are not, report researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

UCLA engineers develop a stretchable, foldable transparent electronic display
Imagine an electronic display nearly as clear as a window, or a curtain that illuminates a room, or a smartphone screen that doubles in size, stretching like rubber.

Identifying trauma risk in small children early after an accident
Small children also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders after a serious accident.

Hunger pains
Binge-eating disorder, only recently designated as a diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association in its official diagnostic manual of mental conditions, is associated with lifelong impairments comparable to those of bulimia nervosa, a long-established eating disorder with more dramatic symptoms.

Long-term hormonal therapy in intermediate-risk PCa patients does not improve overall survival
A secondary analysis of the historic RTOG 9202 prostate cancer trial examined results of men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer who had received long-term hormonal therapy after radiation therapy, and concluded that there were no additional benefits when compared to short-term hormonal therapy, according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 55th Annual Meeting.

2-item questionnaire proves to be a valid depression screening tool for radiation therapy patients
Cancer patients receiving radiotherapy who are potentially suffering from depression can be effectively identified by a two-item questionnaire, according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 55th Annual Meeting.

Wind and rain belts to shift north as planet warms, says study
As humans continue to heat the planet, a northward shift of Earth's wind and rain belts could make a broad swath of regions drier, including the Middle East, American West and Amazonia, while making Monsoon Asia and equatorial Africa wetter, says a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

U of M research uncovers gene's contribution to asthma susceptibility
New research from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine has uncovered the role gene ORMDL3 plays in the disease asthma.

Non-precious metal catalysts outperforming Pt-based one by UNIST research team
Researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Korea Institute of Energy Research, and Brookhaven National Laboratory, have discovered a new family of non-precious metal catalysts.

Reassuring findings for mothers who have influenza vaccine while pregnant
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Boston University, in collaboration with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, have found evidence of the H1N1 influenza vaccine's safety during pregnancy.

Spinning CDs to clean sewage water
Audio CDs, all the rage in the '90s, seem increasingly obsolete in a world of MP3 files and iPods, leaving many music lovers with the question of what to do with their extensive compact disk collections.

Hospital trusts fall short of recommended standards on post mortem consent
Many hospital trusts in England and Wales are falling short of the recommended standards on obtaining consent for a post mortem, indicates a snapshot survey of practice published online in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

ACP issues recommendations for treating obstructive sleep apnea
Below is information about articles being published in the Sept.

Booster dose of new meningitis vaccine may be beneficial
A study of 4CMenB, a new vaccine to protect against meningitis B bacteria (which can cause potentially fatal bacterial meningitis in children), shows that waning immunity induced by infant vaccination can be overcome by a booster dose at 40 months of age, according to a clinical trial published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

'Green future' development: Top 10 priorities for emerging economy countries
Investments in green energy, education, networking opportunities and research top a list of 10 priorities for countries looking to move up the world's financial ranks, according to a leading US expert in innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Alzheimer's progression tracked prior to dementia
Important progress is reported in Lancet Neurology on the challenge of identifying and tracking preclinical Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers publish enormous catalog of more than 300,000 nearby galaxies
More than 83,000 volunteer citizen scientists. Over 16 million galaxy classifications.

Pesticide regulation in California is flawed, UCLA report says
A report issued by UCLA's Sustainable Technology & Policy Program shows that in at least one case, the California system for approving a pesticide for use on crops failed by approving a chemical called methyl iodide for use on strawberries.

Smartphones and tablets could provide universal access to medical monitoring
Do you have a smartphone in your pocket or purse?

Fossil record shows crustaceans vulnerable as modern coral reefs decline
Many ancient crustaceans went extinct following a massive collapse of reefs across the planet, and new University of Florida research suggests modern species living in rapidly declining reef habitats may now be at risk.

Some parts of memory still developing deep into childhood
A new study provides evidence that one important part of memory undergoes substantial development even after the age of 7.

Public says childhood cancer should be top children's health research priority
Adults across the US rate childhood cancer as their top priority for research into improving children's health, according to a new University of Michigan C.S.

Kessler Foundation researcher receives Clinical Biomechanics Award at Annual Meeting in Omaha
Peter Barrance, Ph.D., of Kessler Foundation received the 2013 Clinical Biomechanics Award at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics.

Researchers probe the optical properties of a novel kind of magnetism
Researchers use low-frequency laser pulses to probe the properties of a kind of fluctuating magnetism known as a spin-liquid state.

Fewer weeks of hormone therapy before radiation reduces side effects in intermediate risk PCa
A shorter course of androgen suppression therapy prior to radiation therapy, when compared to a longer course of androgen suppression therapy, yields favorable outcomes and fewer adverse effects for intermediate-risk prostate cancer patients, according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 55th Annual Meeting.

Bacteria don't always work 'just in time'
In nature production processes are following the 'just-in-time-principle': Only what is really necessary will be provided.

Siberian hamsters show what helps make seasonal clocks tick
Many animals, including humans, have internal clocks and calendars to help them regulate behavior, physiological functions and biological processes.

UT Arlington researchers successfully test model for implant device reactions
A team from the University of Texas at Arlington has used mathematical modeling to develop a computer simulation they hope will one day improve the treatment of dangerous reactions to medical implants such as stents, catheters and artificial joints.

Scientists push closer to understanding mystery of deep earthquakes
French and US team gain new understanding of powerful quakes that occur near Russia, Japan and Western United States.

Eagle vs. deer
A camera trap set out for endangered Siberian (Amur) tigers in the Russian Far East photographed something far more rare: a golden eagle capturing a young sika deer.

Brain may rely on computer-like mechanism to make sense of novel situations, says CU-Boulder study
Researchers at CU-Boulder have demonstrated that our brains could process novel situations by relying on a method similar to the

Bedsharing associated with longer breastfeeding, study warns of bedsharing risk
Frequent bedsharing between a mother and infant was associated with longer duration of breastfeeding, but researchers warned of the risk of sudden infant death syndrome associated with bedsharing, in a study by Yi Huang, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and colleagues.

American College of Physicians releases new recommendations for treating obstructive sleep apnea
ACP recommends weight loss and CPAP as initial therapy for treatment.

Researchers discover a new way that influenza can infect cells
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have uncovered a new mechanism by which influenza can infect cells -- a finding that ultimately may have implications for immunity against the flu.

New investment fund will advance late-stage vaccines, other global health technologies
A new $95 million international investment fund will for the first time allow individual and institutional investors the opportunity to finance late-stage global health technologies and advance interventions to fight such challenges in low-income countries as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and maternal and infant mortality.

Racial and ethnic disparities exist in ER pain management for children with abdominal pain
Pediatric researchers have found race- and ethnicity-based disparities in pain management and length of stay among children who came to hospital emergency departments for treatment of abdominal pain.

First steps towards achieving better and cheaper biodiesel
The SUPREN research group of the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Environment of the Faculty of Engineering in Bilbao is working on a project that is seeking to encourage the use of this rare fuel.

Why humans are musical
Why don't apes have musical talent, while humans, parrots, small birds, elephants, whales, and bats do?

Data from across globe defines distinct Kawasaki disease season
After more than four decades of research, strong evidence now shows that Kawasaki disease has a distinct seasonal occurrence shared by regions across the Northern hemisphere.

It takes a(n academic) village to determine an enzyme's function
Scientists have sequenced the genomes of nearly 6,900 organisms, but they know the functions of only about half of the protein-coding genes thus far discovered.

Researchers work to block kidney, lung damage and pain in sickle cell disease
Restoring a balance of the most powerful dilator and the most potent constrictor of blood vessels in the body could help patients with sickle cell disease avoid kidney and lung damage as well as pain, researchers say.

Breastfeeding fraught with early challenges for many first-time mothers
A new study shows that new moms who report early concerns or problems with breastfeeding are nearly 10 times more likely to abandon breastfeeding within two months.

Movies that push our cognitive limits
Hyperlink films mirror contemporary globalized communities, using exciting cinematic elements and multiple story lines to create the idea of a world that is interconnected on many social levels.

Freeze! A protein group affecting lipid dynamics at cell membranes discovered
BAR proteins can freeze the movement of certain lipid molecules in membranes almost completely.

Notre Dame paper sheds light on genetic and physiological basis for metabolic diseases
A new study by a team of University of Notre Dame researchers, which appears in the Sept.

Early imaging, diagnosis of Alzheimer's leads to changes in patient care, better outcomes
Patients suffering from early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease who were diagnosed sooner than usual using a brain imaging test received Alzheimer-specific medications earlier than those who did not have the brain imaging results.

Infrared NASA image shows strength in Typhoon Pabuk's eastern side
Typhoon Pabuk continued to strengthen as it moved north through the northwestern Pacific Ocean on Sept.

Disaster relief donations track number of people killed, not number of survivors
People pay more attention to the number of people killed in a natural disaster than to the number of survivors when deciding how much money to donate to disaster relief efforts, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

UCSB researchers make headway in quantum information transfer via nanomechanical coupling
Fiber optics has made communication faster than ever, but the next step involves a quantum leap -- literally.

LSU researchers receive $4 million NSF grant for new supercomputing cluster
Researchers at the LSU Center for Computation & Technology, or CCT, have received a $4 million Major Research Instrumentation, or MRI, award from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, for the acquisition of SuperMIC, a new supercomputer cluster.

Protein explains increased asthma severity in children exposed to diesel exhaust from traffic
A new study shows that exposure to diesel exhaust particles from traffic pollution leads to increased asthma severity in children.

Johns Hopkins researchers erase human brain tumor cells in mice
Working with mice, Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that weeks of treatment with a repurposed FDA-approved drug halted the growth of -- and ultimately left no detectable trace of -- brain tumor cells taken from adult human patients.

NASA sees deadly typhoon usagi hit southern China
Southeastern China was hit by the most powerful typhoon of 2013 on Sept.

A fast fish with a huge impact
Globalization is breaking down barriers -- also for plants and animals on the lookout for new homes.

UT Arlington engineers lead $1 million NSF project to develop personalized iRehab system
A UT Arlington multidisciplinary team will lead a three-year, $1 million National Science Foundation grant project to develop iRehab, a smart rehabilitation system that can adapt and personalize therapy programs based on a patient's needs and constraints.

Researchers identify risk-factors for addictive video-game use among adults
New research from the University of Missouri indicates escapism, social interaction and rewards fuel problematic video-game use among

'Reassuring' findings released in national study of influenza vaccine safety in pregnancy
Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center and UC San Diego, in collaboration with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, have found 'reassuring' evidence of the H1N1 influenza vaccine's safety during pregnancy.

Sibling bullying: What's the big deal?
Sibling bullying is a type of violence that is prevalent in the lives of most children, but little is known about it, researchers say.

Can mild hypothermia treatment improve neuron survival after traumatic brain injury?
Moderate reductions in body temperature can improve outcomes after a person suffers a traumatic brain injury.

Appropriate vaccinations schedules for feline patients outlined
The Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel of the American Association of Feline Practitioners issue new guidelines on vaccination schedules for feline patients based on risk assessment.

Addiction: Can you ever really completely leave it behind?
It is often said that once people develop an addiction, they can never completely eliminate their attraction to the abused substance.

Math explains history: Simulation accurately captures the evolution of ancient complex societies
The question of how human societies evolve from small groups to the huge, anonymous and complex societies of today has been answered mathematically, accurately matching the historical record on the emergence of complex states in the ancient world.

Global warming is likely to increase severe thunderstorm conditions in US, Stanford research finds
Severe thunderstorms, often exhibiting destructive rainfall, hail and tornadoes, are one of the primary causes of catastrophic losses in the United States.

Patient-reported outcomes provide valuable insight regarding quality of life for patients with NSCLC
An analysis of quality of life data of stage III lung cancer patients who received higher doses of radiation therapy (with chemotherapy) shows a significantly lower quality of life at 3 months after treatment compared to patients who received a standard dose of radiation (with chemotherapy), according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 55th Annual Meeting.

Putting the spring back in broken hearts
For years, scientists have been trying to engineer cardiac tissue to patch up areas of the heart damaged by heart attacks.

Clinical trial strives to provide optimal care during high-risk pregnancies
Researchers are conducting a clinical trial to help determine the best timing of delivery in preterm pregnancies complicated by poor fetal growth.

CDC, Mass. General study reveals that preventing malaria in travelers to West Africa reduces health costs
Not only do US travelers to West Africa who consult health providers before they leave and take prescribed preventive medications substantially reduce their risk of contracting malaria, they also reduce costs to their health insurance providers and, in most cases, to themselves.

$100 million green energy megafund launched by science and investment experts in Malaysia and Japan
To accelerate the national and regional development and manufacture of green energy products and businesses, Malaysia has partnered with Japan-based Asian Energy Investments Pte Ltd. in a $100 million investment mega-fund to seed promising new ideas and innovators in Southeast Asia.

Simple, 2-question survery accurately screens cancer patients for depression
Cancer patients can be accurately screened for major depression with a simple two-question survey, according to a study at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 55th Annual Meeting.

Partner violence linked to specific drinking environments
Researchers have long known that violence toward spouses and partners increases with the frequency and volume of drinking.

How bacteria integrate autotransporters into their outer membrane
The bacterial outer envelope is densely packed with proteins that form small pores and facilitate the passage of nutrients, toxins and signaling molecules.

Avoiding specific region of brain during whole-brain radiotherapy prevents memory loss
Limiting the amount of radiation absorbed in the hippocampal portion of the brain during whole-brain radiotherapy for brain metastases preserves memory function in patients for up to six months after treatment, according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 55th Annual Meeting.

How 'bad' cholesterol causes atherosclerosis in humans: Stem cells play a key role
University at Buffalo translational researchers are developing a richer understanding of atherosclerosis in humans, revealing a key role for stem cells that promote inflammation.

EcoHealth Alliance announces new award from USAID to combat disease emergence and climate change
EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on local conservation and global health issues, announced the award of a three-year, $2 million award to address land use alteration as a significant driver of both disease emergence and climate change in Asia. 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