Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 26, 2013
Ohio State and Microlin Bio Inc. to bring transformational cancer discoveries to patients
Ohio State University today announced an exclusive world-wide agreement with Microlin Bio Inc., licensing a large portfolio of Ohio State's groundbreaking cancer discoveries.

Spirals of light may lead to better electronics
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have created the optical equivalent of a tuning fork -- a device that can help steady the electrical currents needed to power high-end electronics and stabilize the signals of high-quality lasers.

'Jekyll-and-Hyde' protein offers a new route to cancer drugs
The mood changes of a 'Jekyll-and-Hyde' protein, which sometimes boosts tumour cell growth and at other times suppresses it, have been explained in a new study led by Oxford University researchers.

Echocardiography detecting many more cases of definite and borderline rheumatic heart disease, meaning true global prevalence likely to much higher than current estimates
How using echocardiography is increasing detection rates of rheumatic heart disease many-fold is the subject of one of the papers in the RHD special issue of Global Heart, the journal of the World Heart Federation.

Stem cell scientists identify key regulator controlling formation of blood-forming stem cells
Stem cell scientists have moved one step closer to producing blood-forming stem cells in a Petri dish by identifying a key regulator controlling their formation in the early embryo, shows research published online today in Cell.

Key cellular mechanism in the body's 'battery' can either spur or stop obesity
Becoming obese or remaining lean can depend on the dynamics of the mitochondria, the body's energy-producing

Biologists confirm role of sperm competition in formation of new species
Female promiscuity -- something that occurs in a majority of species, including humans -- results in the ejaculates from two or more males overlapping within her reproductive tract.

Increasing awareness that untreated sore throat can lead to rheumatic heart disease is a huge part of the battle
Without a huge improvement in living conditions, a cure, or a vaccine, rheumatic heart disease (RHD) will continue to blight low-income and middle-income countries.

Lithium in the brain
Experiments with neutrons at the Technische Universität München show that the antidepressant lithium accumulates more strongly in white matter of the brain than in grey matter.

Microbes facilitate the persistence and spread of invasive plant species by changing soil chemistry
Invasive species are among the world's greatest threats to native species and biodiversity.

Made to order at the synapse: Dynamics of protein synthesis at neuron tip
Protein synthesis in nerve cell dendrites underlies long-term memory formation in the brain, among other functions.

NIH expands Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units
A nationwide group of institutions that conducts clinical trials of promising candidate vaccines and therapies for infectious diseases, known as the Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units, has been awarded nine contracts to strengthen and broaden the scope of its research.

Drexel researchers find new energy storage capabilities between layers of 2-D materials
Drexel University researchers are continuing to expand the capabilities and functionalities of a family of two-dimensional materials they discovered that are as thin as a single atom, but have the potential to store massive amounts of energy.

Observations reveal critical interplay of interstellar dust, hydrogen
For astrophysicists, the interplay of hydrogen -- the most common molecule in the universe -- and the vast clouds of dust that fill the voids of interstellar space has been an intractable puzzle of stellar evolution.

A hidden genetic code for better designer genes
The relative abundance of rare

School outreach program may reduce African-American student mobility
Outreach programs that build relationships between families and schools may reduce the number of students who change schools for reasons other than grade promotion, according to a new study from researchers at Rice University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia University.

Baccalaureate nursing program to transition veterans' healthcare skills to nursing careers
Bolstered by a $1.25-million federal grant, the University of South Florida will offer veterans and service members the opportunity to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing through a program that builds upon their military healthcare training and experience.

Study reveals dramatic fall in death rates after hip replacements
Mortality rates in the first 90 days following hip replacement surgery have halved, according to a study led by the University of Bristol.

Human factors/ergonomics research paper on leadership in Wikipedia wins 2013 Human Factors Prize
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society congratulates Haiyi Zhu, Robert Kraut, and Aniket Kittur on receiving the 2013 Human Factors Prize for their article,

Debt linked to mental health problems
New research, led by the University of Southampton, has shown that people in debt are three times more likely to have a mental health problem than those not in debt.

UH professor receives prestigious award from French government
Claudine Giacchetti, professor of French and director of the French Program at the University of Houston, has been named by the French Ministry of Education as Chevalier dans L'Ordre des Palmes Académiques for her efforts in promoting the French language and culture in the United States.

Scripps Florida scientists develop a more effective molecular modeling process
A new method to produce accurate computer models of molecules, developed by scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute, combines existing formulas in a kind of algorithmic stew to gain a better picture of molecular structural diversity that is then used to eliminate errors and improve the final model.

Scripps research institute scientists discover important wound-healing process
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered an important process by which special immune cells in the skin help heal wounds.

200,000-year environmental history of continental shelf based on a deep-sea core from Okinawa Trough
Great amount of terrestrial-source materials have been found from the sediment of ~1000 m depth of water in Okinawa Trough.

UNC scientists identify brain circuitry that triggers overeating
Sixty years ago scientists could electrically stimulate a region of a mouse's brain causing the mouse to eat, whether hungry or not.

UTA awarded NSF grants for its language documentation and revitalization research
The National Science Foundation awards efforts by Colleen Fitzgerald, professor of linguistics and TESOL, to document and revitalize Native American language.

MOOCs -- Revolution or just a passing fad?
What are massive open online courses? And why have they captured millions of learners around the planet?

New gut bacterium discovered in termite's digestion of wood
When termites munch on wood, the small bits feed a community of microbes living in their guts.

Curiosity's SAM instrument finds water and more in surface sample
The first scoop of soil analyzed by the analytical suite in the belly of NASA's Curiosity rover reveals that fine materials on the surface of the planet contain several percent water by weight.

Diagnosing and treating sore throat (primary prevention) should be part of overall strategy to prevent rheumatic heart disease
Diagnosing and treating sore (strep) throat (primary prevention) in children and adolescents to prevent such cases developing into acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) should be a cornerstone in any overall RHD strategy.

NIH renews funding for University of Maryland vaccine research
The University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Vaccine Development in Baltimore has won renewal of a contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to conduct basic and clinical vaccine research.

Future sea level rises should not restrict new island formation in the Maldives
The continued accumulation of sand within the iconic ring-shaped reefs inside Maldivian atolls could provide a foundation for future island development new research suggests.

Folic acid deficiency can affect the health of great, great grandchildren
A study out today reveals that a mutation in a gene necessary for the metabolism of folic acid not only impacts the immediate offspring but can also have detrimental health effects on the next several generations.

Rheumatic heart disease: A new era of pushing for global control as World Heart Day approaches
As this year's World Heart Day approaches (Sunday September 29), focus is returning to a neglected and entirely preventable heart disease that largely affects the world's youngest and poorest populations: rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

High-tech brain imaging seeks to unlock secrets of a genetic disease
A new grant funds state-of-the-art brain imaging research into the genetic disease mucopolysaccharidosis.

Changing laws, attitudes of police response to drug overdose may lead to better outcomes
A recent study from Rhode Island Hospital has found that a change in the way police respond to drug-related overdose emergencies could contribute to improved outcomes of the victims and to the communities where overdoses occur.

A genetic map for complex diseases
University of Chicago scientists have created one of the most expansive analyses to date of the genetic factors at play in complex diseases such as autism and heart disease by using diseases with known genetic causes to guide them.

Can bacteria combat oil spill disasters?
Teams of international scientists have decrypted the effectiveness of two types of bacteria, which could be used in the future to help combat oil spill disasters.

Beautiful brushstrokes drawn from data
A new program creates the look and texture of actual brushstrokes.

New consortium to advance first-ever clinical testing of human hookworm vaccine in Gabon
The HOOKVAC consortium, led by the Academic Medical Center, has been awarded a grant of six million Euros from the European Commission FP7 programme to expand the Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership's work to develop and test a vaccine for human hookworm, which infects 600-700 million of the world's poorest people.

Study finds steroids may persist longer in the environment than expected
Certain anabolic steroids and pharmaceutical products last far longer in the environment than previously known, according to a new study led by the University of Iowa.

NIH expands nationwide network of Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units
A nationwide group of institutions that conducts clinical trials of promising candidate vaccines and therapies for infectious diseases, known as the Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units has been awarded nine contracts to strengthen and broaden the scope of its research.

Albert Einstein Cancer Center begins 40th year of continuous NIH support with $17 million grant
For the past four decades, scientists and clinicians at Albert Einstein Cancer Center (AECC) have made major contributions to research on many aspects of the cancer problem.

Mucus might prove useful in treating IBD, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai's Immunology Institute foresee a day when mucus could be manufactured and given to sick people to help them fight inflammation and increase immunity.

Wayne State receives grant to examine exercise's effects on proteins in muscles
Exercise is known to greatly improve the ability of tissues to respond to insulin and reduce the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but the mechanisms that cause those health benefits are not yet clear.

Tick tock: Marine animals with at least 2 clocks
Animals living in marine environments keep to their schedules with the aid of multiple independent -- and, in at least some cases, interacting -- internal clocks.

NIH taps Saint Louis University as 1 of 9 Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units
One of nine centers selected by the NIH to evaluate new vaccines, Saint Louis University continues to be on the front line of protecting the health of our nation.

Abuse, lack of parental warmth in childhood linked to multiple health risks in adulthood
A new study for the first time examines the effects of abuse and lack of parental affection across the body's entire regulatory system, and finds a strong biological link for how negative early life experiences affect physical health.

Newly identified antibodies effectively treat Alzheimer's-like disease in mice
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the accumulation of particular toxic proteins in the brain that are believed to underlie the cognitive decline in patients.

Ohio State's heart program names 2013 Schottenstein Laureate
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's Heart and Vascular Center names Dr.

Do beetles have maternal instincts?
A new study of the natural history of Neotropical leaf beetles in the subfamily Chrysomelinae reveals that females in two genera and multiple species show indisputable signs of maternal instincts.

Penn researchers use Facebook data to predict users' age, gender and personality traits
In the age of social media, people's inner lives are increasingly recorded through the language they use online.

NIH launches first phase of microbiome cloud project
NIH has launched the first phase of the Microbiome Cloud Project, a collaboration with Amazon Web Services that aims to improve access to and analysis of data from the Human Microbiome Project.

How can supply of penicillin be an issue in any country in 2013?
Benzathine penicillin G is the most essential antibiotic for the treatment and prevention of group A streptococcal infections associated with rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.

Coastal animals have their own tidal timer -- separate from the 24-hour body clock
University of Leicester researchers publish paper revealing an independent tidal clock in coastal animals.

Findings: How viral infection disrupts neural development in offspring, increasing risk of autism
Activating a mother's immune system during her pregnancy disrupts the development of neural cells in the brain of her offspring and damages the cells' ability to transmit signals and communicate with one another, researchers with the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience and Department of Neurology have found.

Pan-cancer studies find common patterns shared by different tumor types
Molecular analysis now shows that cancers of different organs have many shared features, while cancers from the same organ or tissue are often quite distinct.

Ballet dancers' brains adapt to stop them getting in a spin
Scientists have discovered differences in the brain structure of ballet dancers that may help them avoid feeling dizzy when they perform pirouettes.

NASA Mars rover Curiosity finds water in first sample of planet surface
The first scoop of soil analyzed by the analytical suite in the belly of NASA's Curiosity rover reveals that fine materials on the surface of the planet contain several percent water by weight.

Aphasia and bilingualism: Using one language to relearn another
A recent critical literature review conducted by Ana Inés Ansaldo and Ladan Ghazi Saidi -- Ph.D student -- points to three interventional avenues to promote cross-linguistic effects of language therapy.

European and Brazilian cardiology societies team up to tackle cardiovascular disease
As the European Society of Cardiology and the Brazilian Society of Cardiology team up to deliver key cardio messages at the 68th BSC Congress in Rio de Janeiro (28 September to 1 October 2013), new research underscores the essential role of cardiology specialists in Brazil.

Study of 'sister' stem cells uncovers new cancer clue
Scientists have used a brand new technique for examining individual stem cells to uncover dramatic differences in the gene expression levels -- which genes are turned 'up' or 'down'-- between apparently identical 'sister' pairs.

Research reveals bottom feeding techniques of tagged humpback whales in Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary
New NOAA-led research on tagged humpback whales in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary reveals a variety of previously unknown feeding techniques along the seafloor.

Colorectal surgeons develop a novel tool for measuring quality and outcomes
In a new paper published online by the Annals of Surgery, physician-researchers at University Hospitals Case Medical Center describe a new tool called the HARM score that reliably measures quality and clinical outcomes for colon and rectal surgery patients.

NASA views a transitioning Tropical-Storm Pabuk
Typhoon Pabuk weakened and the core of the storm was changing from a warm core tropical system to a cold core low pressure system as it continued paralleling the coast of Japan on Sept.

The spliceosome: More than meets the eye
In a recent paper published in Cell Press, research specialist Inna Shcherbakova, and a team of researchers led by professors Jeff Gelles and Melissa J.

Month-long study by UH targets improved air quality forecasting
University of Houston researchers are taking part in an air quality study to help scientists understand how to better interpret and forecast air quality using satellite data and numerical models.

Several NASA spacecraft track energy through space
Scientists have provided the most comprehensive details yet of the journey energy from the sun takes as it hurtles around Earth's magnetosphere.

New dwarfism mutation identified in dogs
Professor Hannes Lohi's research group at the University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Research Center has identified a mutation in ITGA10 gene, causing chondrodysplasia in two dog breeds, the Norwegian Elkhound and the Karelian Bear Dog.

Intestinal mucus has anti-inflammatory functions
Researchers at Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques in Barcelona, in collaboration with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and other US Institutions, have found that intestinal mucus not only acts as a physical barrier against commensal bacteria and dietary antigens, but also prevents the onset of inflammatory reactions against these agents.

Bone hormone influences brain development and cognition
Researchers have found that the skeleton, acting through the bone-derived hormone osteocalcin, exerts a powerful influence on prenatal brain development and cognitive functions such as learning, memory, anxiety, and depression in adult mice.

European law could be unbearable for Croatia's brown bears
Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July and conservation scientists fear that the EU's rules could cause problems for its brown bear population.

Springer to publish journal portfolio of the Association for Behavior Analysis
Starting in 2014, Springer will collaborate with the Association for Behavior Analysis International to publish The Behavior Analyst, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Hear where you are: How sound not only informs, but places us
School children learn that humans have five senses which are used to help make decisions.

New data show agricultural anabolic steroids regenerate in aquatic ecosystems
New regulatory approaches may be needed to assess environmental risks of agricultural growth promoters, and similar human pharmaceuticals, following research that shows a newly found reversion mechanism allows unexpected persistence of the steroidal substances in aquatic environments.

U.Va. researcher: Methane out, carbon dioxide in?
University of Virginia researchers have found that the Marcellus Shale geological formation in Pennsylvania has the potential to store roughly 50 percent of the US carbon dioxide emissions produced from stationary sources between 2018 and 2030.

UTSW study unlocks origin of brown fat cells important in weight maintenance
In ongoing research aimed at battling obesity, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have deciphered how new fat cells are formed in energy-storing fat pads.

Texas colleges surveyed on sexual assault resources
While research consistently estimates that one in every four women in higher education will experience rape or attempted rape during their college careers, limited proactive approaches to address the issue are found on Texas college campuses, according to the Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University.

Genetic engineering course wins Science magazine prize
Because of its effectiveness at teaching undergraduates how to think like professional biologists, the Genetic Engineering Proposal curriculum module has been chosen to receive the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction.

Autologous transplantation shows promising results for iPS cell therapy in Parkinson's disease
A research team led by Professor Jun Takahashi at CiRA, Kyoto University has carried out a study to compare the impact of immune response in autologous and allogeneic transplantation.

Scientists find a martian igneous rock that is surprisingly Earth-like
A team of Caltech-led scientists reports its analysis of a surprisingly Earth-like martian rock, discovered by the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, that offers new insight into the history of Mars's interior and suggests parts of the Red Planet may be more like our own than we ever knew.

UC San Diego, UMD researchers to build 'WIFIRE' cyberinfrastructure
Three research organizations at the University of California, San Diego, have been awarded a multi-year National Science Foundation grant to build an end-to-end cyberinfrastructure to perform real-time data-driven assessment, simulation, prediction, and visualization of wildfire behavior.

Colonizing songbirds lost sense of syntax
As one species of European songbird island-hopped to colonize mid-Atlantic archipelagoes over the course of a half million years, their songs lost their sense of syntax.

Researchers describe unusual Mars rock
The first rock that scientists analyzed on Mars with a pair of chemical instruments aboard the Curiosity rover turned out to be a doozy -- a pyramid-shaped volcanic rock called a

Joslin receives $24.3 million grant from the NIH for diabetic kidney disease study
The National Institutes of Health awarded Joslin Diabetes Center $24.3 million to fund a clinical trial to study a potential treatment for kidney disease in people with type 1 diabetes.

Without a trace
Cells in a zebrafish embryo determine which direction they move in by effectively erasing the path behind them, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have discovered.

'Watch' cites concerns with intraprosthetic dislocation of dual-mobility hip implants
JBJS Case Connector, an online case journal published by the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, has issued a

Current estimate of around quarter of a million deaths annually worldwide vastly underestimates true burden of rheumatic heart disease
A paper in the RHD special issue of Global Heart, the journal of the World Heart Federation, analyses the burden of disease and suggests that numbers published to date (ranging from at least 233,000 deaths per year upwards) could be substantial underestimates for a variety of reasons, most commonly lack of high quality (or in some cases any) data from high-prevalence countries and regions.

Martian chemical complicates hunt for life's clues
The quest for evidence of life on Mars could be more difficult than scientists previously thought.

Getting better together: New study looks at shared medical decision making
A recent study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery looked at a group of patients with advanced hip and knee osteoarthritis and found that they reached an informed treatment decision after their first visit with an orthopaedic surgeon.

Study examines health of kidney donors
Complications and hospital length-of-stay following kidney donation have both declined since 1998.

How to make ceramics that bend without breaking
New materials developed at MIT could lead to actuators on a chip and self-deploying medical devices.

American Assoc. for Cancer Research co-hosts conference on molecular targets and cancer therapeutics
The American Association for Cancer Research, the National Cancer Institute, and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer will host their annual International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics from Oct.

Scientists rig hospital-grade lightweight blood flow imager on the cheap
Tracking blood flow in the laboratory is an important tool for studying ailments like migraines or strokes and designing new ways to address them.

Singing mice protect their turf with high-pitched tunes
Two species of tawny brown singing mice that live deep in the mountain cloud forests of Costa Rica and Panama set their boundaries by emitting high-pitched trills, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered.

Prostate Cancer Foundation announces new urine test for prostate cancer available
A new ultra-specific urine test for prostate cancer is available.

Landmark report sets priorities to address malnutrition
More than 50 nutrition experts from six continents, along with leading NGOs/IGOs, universities, and the World Health Organization, collaborated for two years to produce a groundbreaking report led by The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences.

Lunar orbiters discover source of space weather near Earth
Solar storms, powerful eruptions of solar material and magnetic fields into interplanetary space, can cause hazards on Earth known as space weather, ranging from interference with radio communications to extensive power blackouts, complete failure of critical satellites and even the shutdown of GPS-guided transportation and global communication systems.

First long temperature reconstruction for the eastern Mediterranean based on tree rings
For the eastern Mediterranean, an exactly dated time series of almost 900 year length was established, exhibiting the medieval warm period, the little ice age between the 16th and 19th century as well as the transition into the modern warm phase.

In prostate cancer prognosis, telomere length may matter
Like the plastic caps at the end of shoelaces, telomeres protect -- in their case -- the interior-gene containing parts of chromosomes that carry a cell's instructional material.

First clinical study shows potential of stem cell-enriched fat grafts to transform reconstructive surgery
Stem cell-enriched fat grafting could become central to plastic and reconstructive surgery after the first randomised trial in humans confirms the technique's excellent feasibility and safety.

HS3 mission identifies area of strong winds, rain in Hurricane Ingrid
One of the instruments that flew aboard one of two unmanned Global Hawk aircraft during NASA's HS3 mission was the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer known as HIRAD.

Columbia River Flood Basalt Province detailed in new GSA special paper
Even though the Columbia River Flood Basalt Province is the smallest and youngest flood basalt province in the world, it still covers nearly 210,000 square kilometers of the US Pacific Northwest.

Duke Medicine selected as new site for competitive vaccine and treatment research program
Duke Medicine has been named a Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to evaluate vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to protect people from infectious diseases, including emerging public health needs.

Can traumatic brain injury impair a child's working memory?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) during childhood can have long-term effects on cognitive and psychosocial functioning, including poor academic achievement.

Wildlife face 'Armageddon' as forests shrink
Species living in rainforest fragments could be far more likely to disappear than was previously thought, says an international team of scientists.

An analgesic molecule discovered in its natural state in Africa
A team of researchers led by Michel De Waard, Inserm Research Director at the Grenoble Institute of Neurosciences (Inserm, University Joseph Fourier, CNRS), has discovered that an African medicinal plant produces large quantities of molecules with analgesic properties.

Quitting smoking easier for social media users
Smoking is a major public health problem, killing approximately 443,000 people every year in the United States.

Patient's own cells might be used as treatment for Parkinson's disease
Studies in rodents have suggested that the body may mount an immune response and destroy cells derived from iPSCs.

Water for future Mars astronauts?
Within its first three months on Mars, NASA's Curiosity Rover saw a surprising diversity of soils and sediments along a half-kilometer route that tell a complex story about the gradual desiccation of the Red Planet. 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