Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 10, 2013
How a ubiquitous herpesvirus sometimes leads to cancer
Most of us are infected with the herpesvirus known as Epstein-Barr virus.

New device harnesses sun and sewage to produce hydrogen fuel
A novel device that uses only sunlight and wastewater to produce hydrogen gas could provide a sustainable energy source while improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment.

A*STAR and NUS launch joint center to advance research on nutrition
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and A*STAR will be jointly establishing the S$148 million Singapore Centre for Nutritional Sciences, Metabolic Diseases, and Human Development.

A silent epidemic: Minor traumatic brain injury
In the United States, approximately 1.4 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year.

Geographic location may help explain why Hispanics face disparities in kidney transplantation
Hispanics were just as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be put on the kidney transplant wait-list.

Eat more, weigh less: Worm study provides clues to better fat-loss therapies for humans
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered key details of a brain-to-body signaling circuit that enables roundworms to lose weight independently of food intake.

Sir John Pendry awarded the Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics 2013
This year's Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics will be awarded to Sir John Pendry, one of the world's leading condensed matter theorists.

University of Houston nanotech company wins Goradia Innovation Prize
C-Voltaics, a nanotechnology company started by a University of Houston researcher, has been named the grand prize winner of this year's Goradia Innovation Prize.

Stem cell breakthrough could set up future transplant therapies
A new method for creating stem cells for the human liver and pancreas, which could enable both cell types to be grown in sufficient quantities for clinical use, has been developed by scientists.

After almost a century, a question answered; genes protect themselves against being silenced
Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers have settled a century-old debate over whether occurrence of DNA methylation acts to silence gene expression, or if genes are turned off by other means before they are methylated.

The Cancer Genome Atlas exposes more secrets of lethal brain tumor
Scientists at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and collaborators paint a more detailed picture of the genomic abnormalities that drive glioblastoma multiforme.

Molecule produced during exercise boosts brain health
Research has shown that exercise is good for the brain.

Nobel Prize winner reports new model for neurotransmitter release
In a Neuron article published online Oct. 10, recent Nobel Laureate Thomas C.

A genetic variation that could protect skin from sun damage fuels testicular cancer
A Ludwig Cancer Research study published in Cell today identifies a common mutation that dramatically increases the risk for testicular cancer -- and describes a likely molecular mechanism by which it exerts that effect.

Watery asteroid discovered in dying star points to habitable exoplanets
Latest research on rocky relics suggests a distant planetary system, now past its

How red crabs on Christmas Island speak for the tropics
Research conducted through Princeton University found that erratic rainfall -- which could become more irregular as a result of climate change -- could be detrimental to animals that migrate with the dry-wet seasonal cycle.

Study: Ethanol not a major factor in reducing gas prices
MIT economist finds that biofuels, contrary to claims, do not meaningfully affect what drivers pay at the pump.

UCLA neuroscientist's book explains why social connection is as important as food and shelter
Do Facebook and gossip waste precious time, or do they serve a basic human need?

Gene movements observed in vivo
Certain parts of DNA are highly mobile and their dynamic motion participates in controlling gene expression.

Pulp friction cleans up 'Brockovich' chemical
A byproduct of the manufacture of pulp using the sulfite process for making paper, sodium lignosulfonate, can be used to immobilize and soak up toxic chromium compounds from soil and water, according to research published in the International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development.

Researchers identify liver cancer progenitor cells before tumors become visible
For the first time, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have isolated and characterized the progenitor cells that eventually give rise to malignant hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumors -- the most common form of liver cancer.

Scientists find potential new targets for anti-inflammatory therapies
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has identified key signaling proteins in the inflammation process that contribute to the development of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, sepsis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Protein Society member Michael Levitt & Anfinsen Award Recipient Martin Karplus win 2013 Nobel Prize
The Protein Society, the leading international society dedicated to advancing research in to protein structure, function, design and applications, announces long-time member Michael Levitt, Stanford University School of Medicine, and 2001 Anfinsen Award recipient Martin Karplus, Université de Strasbourg, France and Harvard University, have been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Cleveland institutions receive NIH grant for regional stroke clinical trials coordinating center
Five Cleveland biomedical research and health care institutions have received a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one of the National Institutes of Health, to collaborate on developing the Cleveland Stroke Clinical Trials Regional Coordinating Center.

Hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived together for 2,000 years in Central Europe
Indigenous hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years in Central Europe, before the hunter-gatherer communities died out or adopted the agricultural lifestyle.

Wetland restoration in the northern Everglades: Watershed potential and nutrient legacies
To most people, restoration of Florida's Everglades means recovering and protecting the wetlands of south Florida.

New antiviral response discovered in mammals
Researchers of ETH Zurich have discovered a part of the innate immune system in mice that had only been known in plants and invertebrates.

INFORMS presents 12 new Fellow Awards, inducts eminent analytics leaders
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, the leading professional association for analytics professionals, today announced 12 new recipients of the annual INFORMS Fellow Award.

Circadian rhythms in skin stem cells protect us against UV rays
Human skin must cope with the sun and other environmental factors that fluctuate in a circadian manner.

Direct 'writing' of artificial cell membranes on graphene
Graphene emerges as a versatile new surface to assemble model cell membranes mimicking those in the human body, with potential for applications in sensors for understanding biological processes, disease detection and drug screening.

As sea level rises, Everglades' freshwater plants perish
Satellite imagery over the southeastern Everglades confirms long-term trends of mangrove expansion and sawgrass habitat loss near the shore.

Genetic variant that increases testicular cancer risk in caucasians evolved to protect light skin
One of the most important proteins implicated in cancer is p53.

Rice University mix of graphene nanoribbons, polymer has potential for cars, soda, beer
A discovery at Rice University aims to make vehicles that run on compressed natural gas more practical and may also enhance food packaging.

'Stadium waves' could explain lull in global warming
A new paper published in the journal Climate Dynamics suggests that 'unpredictable climate variability' behaves in a more predictable way than previously assumed and point to the so-called 'stadium-wave' signal that propagates like the cheer at sporting events whereby sections of sports fans seated in a stadium stand and sit as a 'wave' propagates through the audience.

Water discovered in remnants of extrasolar rocky world orbiting white dwarf
Astrophysicists have found the first evidence of a water-rich rocky planetary body outside our solar system in its shattered remains orbiting a white dwarf.

Several top websites use device fingerprinting to secretly track users
A new study by KU Leuven-iMinds researchers has uncovered that 145 of the Internet's 10,000 top websites track users without their knowledge or consent.

Brain development differs in children who stutter
UAlberta researcher and ISTAR executive director says study results could increase understanding of brain and speech production, improving treatment.

3D model reveals new information about iconic volcano
The volcano on the Scottish peninsula Ardnamurchan is a popular place for the study of rocks and structures in the core of a volcano.

Osteoporosis is a major threat to women and their future independence, new report warns
A new report published by the International Osteoporosis Foundation shows that women may expect to live longer but their quality of life will be seriously jeopardized if action to protect their bone health is not taken.

U of M researchers suggest complex relationship between phosphorus levels and nitrogen removal in lakes
In the land of 10,000 lakes, one lake has been the starting place for research with implications for big lakes around the world.

Newly discovered gene regulator could precisely target sickle cell disease
A research team from Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and other institutions has discovered a new genetic target for potential therapy of sickle cell disease.

The tundra -- a dark horse in planet Earth's greenhouse gas budget
There are huge amounts of organic carbon in the soil beneath the tundra that covers the northernmost woodless areas of the planet.

Study finds high-risk travelers account for nearly 1 in 5 persons seeking pre-travel advice
Researchers from Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health and Boston Medical Center have found that high-risk travelers account for nearly 20 percent of patients using the five clinics of the Boston Area Travel Medicine Network.

Researchers discover innate virus-killing power in mammals
Scientists have a promising new approach to combating deadly human viruses thanks to an educated hunch by UC Riverside microbiology professor Shou-Wei Ding, and his 20 years of research on plants, fruit flies, nematodes and mice.

Malaria, toxoplasmosis: Toward new lines of research?
A study realized by teams from the Institut Pasteur, the Institut Cochin and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology of the University of Glasgow, could redefine part of the present lines of research toward a treatment against the parasites responsible for malaria and toxoplasmosis.

Ancient DNA reveals multiple stages of settlement in Europe
Research conducted by the National Geographic Genographic Project, a multi-year global initiative that uses DNA to map the history of human migration, is helping unravel the timing and source of human settlement in Central Europe.

Soft shells and strange star clusters
The beautiful, petal-like shells of galaxy PGC 6240 are captured here in intricate detail by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, set against a sky full of distant background galaxies.

University of Utah awarded $20.4 million from NIH to advance translational research in medicine
The Center's track record of success this month has earned it a $20.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health that will allow it to provide support for all aspects of translational research over the next five years.

Cell growth discovery by UCSF team has implications for targeting cancer
The way cells divide to form new cells -- to support growth, to repair damaged tissues, or simply to maintain our healthy adult functioning -- is controlled in previously unsuspected ways UC San Francisco researchers have discovered.

Kissing helps us find the right partner -- and keep them
What's in a kiss? A study by Oxford University researchers suggests kissing helps us size up potential partners and, once in a relationship, may be a way of getting a partner to stick around.

Clinical trial harnesses power of natural killer cells to treat neuroblastoma
Researchers have made rapid advances in understanding how to manipulate the immune system safely to destroy cancer cells.

International team uncovers mechanism for natural plant immunity
Scientists at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich and China have, for the first time, uncovered exactly how an immune receptor mediating plants' natural immunity to bacteria works.

'Ship in a bottle' detects dangerous vapors
Rice University scientists took a lesson from craftsmen of old to assemble microscopic compounds that warn of the presence of dangerous fumes from solvents.

Iron in the Earth's core weakens before melting
The iron in the Earth's inner core weakens dramatically before it melts, explaining the unusual properties that exist in the moon-sized solid center of our planet that have, up until now, been difficult to understand.

Increased risk of depression linked to mountaintop coal mining
People who live among the destructive environmental effects of mountaintop coal mining face an increased risk of major depression.

Ancient DNA unravels Europe's genetic diversity
Ancient DNA recovered from a time series of skeletons in Germany spanning 4,000 years of prehistory has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern-day Europeans.

Elephants know what it means to point, no training required
When people want to direct the attention of others, they naturally do so by pointing, starting from a very young age.

Faster campus Internet connectivity offers opportunities for innovation
A $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to upgrade campus cyber infrastructure should meet the University of Houston's needs for years to come, but researcher Deniz Gurkan said the real goal is to enable innovation.

European hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years
Hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years in Central Europe, before the hunter-gatherer communities died out or were absorbed into the farming population.

Hybrid cars are a status symbol of sorts for seniors, Baylor consumer study shows
Paying extra bucks to

Elsevier announces the launch of the Journal of High Energy Astrophysics
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the launch of the Journal of High Energy Astrophysics, the first astrophysical journal that revolves around the study of high energy objects and events.

Preventable risk factors pose serious threat to heart health of childhood cancer survivors
For childhood cancer survivors, risk factors associated with lifestyle, particularly hypertension, dramatically increase the likelihood of developing serious heart problems as adults, according to a national study led by St.

Look out above! Experiment explores innate visual behavior in mice
For a mouse in the wild, spotting aerial predators -- like hawks and owls -- is essential to survival.

I'm ok, you're not ok
Egoism and narcissism appear to be on the rise in our society, while empathy is on the decline.

Crystals in Picabo's rocks point to 'recycled' super-volcanic magma chambers
An examination of crystals of zircon in rhyolites, an igneous rock, from the Snake River Plain solidifies evidence for a new view of the life cycle of super-volcanic eruptions, and in tandem with previous work suggests another super-eruption in the Yellowstone volcanic field is unlikely for another million years, say University of Oregon scientists.

Study finds no increased risk of suicide in patients using smoking cessation drugs
A study to assess whether patients prescribed smoking cessation drugs are at an increased risk of suicide, self-harm and treated depression compared with users of nicotine replacement therapy has found no evidence of an increased risk.

Overweight and obese children face high risk of hypertension
High body weight in children and adolescents is strongly associated with the likelihood of hypertension, according to a Kaiser Permanente Southern California study published today in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

Correcting emotional misunderstandings
It so happens that we interpret other people's emotions based on our own and thus sometimes make mistakes.

AGU Fall Meeting: Abstracts and sessions now online; book hotels by Nov. 8
The American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world's largest organization of Earth and space scientists, has posted online the full scientific program for the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, taking place in San Francisco, Dec.

Cartilage damage could be repaired
A team of EPFL scientists has developed a smart hydrogel material that could promote cartilage regeneration.

Neiker-Tecnalia is looking into regenerative practices to achieve more fertile soil and pastures with greater plant biodiversity
To obtain healthier, more fertile pastures with greater plant biodiversity is the aim of the LIFE Regen Farming project, led by Neiker-Tecnalia, the Basque Institute of Agricultural Research and Development.

Unregulated, agricultural ammonia threatens national parks' ecology
Thirty-eight US national parks are experiencing

Study finds racial and social disparities in kidney allocation among young transplant recipients
Among kidney transplant recipients younger than 40 years of age, African Americans and individuals with less education were more likely to receive lower-quality organs than Caucasians and those with college degrees.

New hepatitis C drug shows potential in phase 2 trials
The addition of danoprevir to the current treatment regimen for patients with hepatitis C leads to high rates of remission, according to a new article in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Super-enhancers seen as 'Rosetta Stone' for dialog between genes and disease
Having recently discovered a set of powerful gene regulators that control cell identity in a few mouse and human cell types, Whitehead Institute scientists are now showing that these regulators -- which they named

Weight loss through the use of intestinal barrier sleeves
Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München in cooperation with the University of Cincinnati, USA, have discovered that the placement of a non-permeable tube in the small intestine leads to reduced nutrient absorption and consequently to reduced obesity and enhanced glucose metabolism.

Previously unstudied gene is essential for normal nerve development
Our ability to detect heat, touch, tickling and other sensations depends on our sensory nerves.

Massive spruce beetle outbreak in Colorado tied to drought, according to new CU study
A new University of Colorado Boulder study indicates drought high in the northern Colorado mountains is the primary trigger of a massive spruce beetle outbreak that is tied to long-term changes in sea-surface temperatures from the Northern Atlantic Ocean, a trend that is expected to continue for decades.

Genes predispose some people to focus on the negative
Some people are genetically predisposed to see the world darkly, new research finds.

Impact of aging on smart phone use to be examined
Backed with £286,000 of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funding, a study will examine the effect of getting older on people's ability to use touch-screen mobile technologies, including smart phones.

LSU researchers awarded nearly $1 million for big data research
LSU received an NSF grant of $947,860 for a campus-wide project aimed at bringing

The 28th Annual Symposium of the Protein Society
The Protein Society, the leading international society dedicated to advancing research in to protein structure, function, design and application, announces the dates and scientific program for the 28th Annual Symposium of the Protein Society, July 27-30, 2014, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, Calif., USA.

New theory of synapse formation in the brain
The human brain keeps changing throughout a person's lifetime. Jülich neuroinformatician Dr.

LSU researchers discover how microbes survive in freezing conditions
Most microbial researchers grow their cells in petri dishes to study how they respond to stress and damaging conditions.

Stomach cells naturally revert to stem cells
New research has shown that the stomach naturally produces more stem cells than previously realized, likely for repair of injuries from infections, digestive fluids and the foods we eat.

Large meta-analysis indicates widespread use of vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis in healthy adults unjustified
Taking vitamin D supplements does not improve bone mineral density at the total hip, spine, forearm, or in the body as a whole, a large meta-analysis involving more than 4,000 healthy adults published in The Lancet has found.

Urine biomarkers reveal mitochondrial dysfunction in diabetic kidney disease
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified 13 metabolites -- small molecules produced by cellular metabolism -- that are significantly different in patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease compared to healthy controls.

2 researchers from Barcelona awarded the prestigious Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award
Two researchers from Barcelona will share this year's Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award.

Dvorak Young Investigator awards honor BIDMC's young scientists
The inaugural Dvorak Young Investigator Awards highlight the important role of basic and clinical research in ensuring the vitality and future success of academic teaching hospitals. 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