Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 21, 2013
Astronomers reveal mystery of brightest ever gamma-ray burst
For the first time, a team of astronomers from around the world, including experts from the University of Leicester, have used data from satellites and observatories to explain the brightest gamma-ray burst ever recorded.

Pre-industrial rise in greenhouse gases had natural and anthropogenic causes
For years scientists have intensely argued over whether increases of potent methane gas concentrations in the atmosphere -- from about 5,000 years ago to the start of the industrial revolution -- were triggered by natural causes or human activities.

Lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar could halve obesity-related risk of heart disease
Controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose may substantially reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke associated with being overweight or obese.

Rotavirus vaccination may also protect children against seizures
A new study suggests an additional -- and somewhat surprising -- potential benefit of vaccinating children against rotavirus, a common cause of diarrhea and vomiting.

Where and how are fear-related behaviors and anxiety disorders controlled?
A team of researchers at Inserm led by Cyril Herry has just shown that interneurons located in the forebrain at the level of the prefrontal cortex are heavily involved in the control of fear responses.

Researchers gain fuller picture of cell protein reactions
Northwestern University researchers have developed a new technique for analyzing complex enzyme activity within cells.

Using data to fight malaria
The University of California, Riverside announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Climate change may disrupt butterfly flight seasons
The flight season timing of a wide variety of butterflies is responsive to temperature and could be altered by climate change, according to a UBC study that leverages more than a century's worth of museum and weather records.

Searching for cosmic accelerators via IceCube
New results from IceCube, the neutrino observatory buried at the South Pole, may show the way to locating and identifying cosmic accelerators in our galaxy that are 40 million times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Black hole birth captured by cosmic voyeurs
Intelligent telescopes designed by Los Alamos National Laboratory got a front row seat recently for an unusual birth.

New publication studies urban environments of Manchester from a qualitative perspective
Dr. Alexander Bridger, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Huddersfield, has published a new paper that explores ways to qualitatively study the urban environments of Manchester.

UEA researchers pioneer first patient-specific 3-D virtual birth simulator
Computer scientists from the University of East Anglia are working to create a virtual birthing simulator that will help doctors and midwives prepare for unusual or dangerous births.

Scientists identify gene that regulates body weight in humans and mice
Research has pointed to the importance of genetic factors in human obesity and has shown that heritability plays a role in 40 percent to 90 percent of cases.

UCSF scientist wins $89 million grant to study anal cancer in HIV-infected people
A UC San Francisco investigator has won an eight-year grant from the National Cancer Institute for a major investigation into anal cancer, a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease largely concentrated among people with HIV.

Research paves path for hybrid nano-materials that could replace human tissue or today's pills
A team of researchers has uncovered critical information that could help scientists understand how protein polymers interact with other self-assembling biopolymers.

Pre-eclampsia rates on the rise in the US
A latest study by researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center reports that rates for pre-eclampsia, characterized by an elevation in the blood pressure and excess protein in the urine of pregnant women, rose from 3.4 percent in 1980 to 3.8 percent in 2010.

Dreading pain can be worse than pain itself
Faced with inevitable pain, most people choose to

Newborn babies have built-in body awareness ability
The ability to differentiate your own body from others is a fundamental skill, critical for humans' ability to interact with their environments and the people in them.

SU2C researcher identifies potential treatment option for melanoma
Stand Up To Cancer, the charitable initiative supporting ground-breaking research to accelerate new cancer treatments, announces that the Allan H.

Hardworking sisters enable insect colonies to thrive
They are among the animal kingdom's most industrious workers. Now, a study reveals why colonies of ants and bees depend on females for their success.

New materials with potential biomedical applications
New uses for bisphosphonates were discovered, as their ability to form physical gels in pure water was reported for the first time in a recent study performed in collaboration with the Universities of Jyvaskyla and Eastern Finland.

What can happen when graphene meets a semiconductor
A UWM study has found that intrinsic ripples form on a sheet of graphene when it is placed on top of a semiconductor.

Racing particles from space
For the first time scientists have uncovered concrete evidence for highly energetic neutrinos stemming from outside our solar system.

Preventing marijuana-induced memory problems with over-the-counter painkillers
In addition to being used as a recreational drug, marijuana has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to epilepsy.

Lowering 3 risk factors could cut obesity-related risk of heart disease by more than half
Controlling blood pressure, serum cholesterol, and blood glucose may substantially reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke associated with being overweight or obese.

Attractants prevent nerve cell migration
A vision is to implant nerve precursor cells in patients with Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.

Study finds gene network associated with alcohol dependence
Using a new approach that combines genome-wide association studies with information about which human proteins interact with one another, researchers from the University of Iowa and Yale University Medical School have identified a group of 39 genes that together are strongly associated with alcoholism.

MU research sheds light on nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury
University of Missouri researchers have discovered how the sea lamprey, an eel-like fish, regrows the neurons that comprise the long nerve

Targets of anticancer drugs have broader functions than what their name suggests
Drugs that inhibit the activity of enzymes called histone deacetylases (HDACs) are being widely developed for treating cancer and other diseases, with two already on the market.

UCLA researchers' new technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis
A team of researchers from UCLA and Harvard University have demonstrated a technique, deformability cytometry, that measures the physical properties of individual cells and can diagnose cancer from body fluids with very high accuracy.

IceCube detects first high-energy neutrinos from the cosmos
Within the eternal ice of Antarctica, scientists have observed the first solid evidence for high-energy neutrinos coming from cosmic accelerators beyond our own solar system.

HIV and parenting needs to be discussed, new study finds
A new study, published today in the journal AIDS Care, has found that young people who were born HIV positive want to have children, but are concerned about the effect this will have on their relationships, particularly the need to tell partners they are HIV positive.

Will 2-D tin be the next super material?
A single layer of tin atoms could be the world's first material to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency at the temperatures that computer chips operate, according to a team of theoretical physicists led by researchers from the US Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.

Monster gamma-ray burst in our cosmic neighborhood
Gamma-ray bursts are violent bursts of gamma radiation associated with exploding massive stars.

Captive breeding for thousands of years has impaired olfactory functions in silkmoths
A new study on silkmoths revealed that the insects' ability to perceive environmental odors has been reduced after about 5,000 years of domestication by humans.

License to ill
Researchers found firms that engaged in prior socially responsible behavior are more likely to then engage in socially irresponsible behavior and that this tendency is stronger in firms with CEOs who attempt to put forth a moral image.

Does obesity reshape our sense of taste?
Obesity may alter the way we taste at the most fundamental level: by changing how our tongues react to different foods.

Healthy lifestyle before conception may increase likelihood of a healthy pregnancy
Researchers suggest that maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure prior to conception, could boost women's chances of an uncomplicated pregnancy, and say these findings could help women make informed lifestyle changes.

Researchers identify genomic variant associated with sun sensitivity, freckles
Researchers have identified a genomic variant strongly associated with sensitivity to the sun, brown hair, blue eyes -- and freckles.

Marines tap real-time information like never before
Marines in Hawaii last week demonstrated that using handheld devices and special software to automatically sift through loads of data can help ease information overload and deliver made-to-order intelligence to the front lines.

Book: 'Cyberspace and International Relations'
Cyberspace is everywhere in today's world and has significant implications for global economic activity, international politics and transnational social relations.

Fun at work promotes employee retention but may hurt productivity
Within the hospitality industry, manager support for fun is instrumental in reducing employee turnover, particularly for younger employees, according to a team of researchers.

Breaking the code
You may be sensitive to gluten, but you're not sure.

Study of fluke parasites identifies drug resistance mutations; raises hope for new therapies
An international group of scientists lead by Tim Anderson Ph.D., at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Philip LoVerde Ph.D., at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has identified the mutations that result in drug resistance in a parasite infecting 187 million people in South America, Africa and Asia.

Research reveals details of how flu evolves to escape immunity
Scientists have identified a potential way to improve future flu vaccines after discovering that seasonal flu typically escapes immunity from vaccines with as little as a single amino acid substitution.

UCLA research could enhance treatments for drug-resistant melanoma
Drugs called BRAF inhibitors shrink most melanoma tumors quickly. Despite good responses, melanoma tumors do not shrink away completely.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Helen affecting southeastern India
NASA's Aqua satellite captured visible and infrared imagery of slow-moving Tropical Storm Helen as it was spreading its western clouds over parts of southeastern India on Nov.

Improve learning by taming instructional complexity
From using concrete or abstract materials to giving immediate or delayed feedback, there are rampant debates over the best teaching strategies to use.

Discovery could usher in new ice age of astrophysics
Scientists using a particle detector made of ice at the South Pole have found the first indication of high-energy neutrinos that originate outside of the solar system.

Infant galaxies merging near 'cosmic dawn'
Astronomers using the combined power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a far-flung trio of primitive galaxies nestled inside an enormous blob of primordial gas nearly 13 billion light-years from Earth.

Researchers identify lifestyle factors linked to a healthy pregnancy
On today, researchers identify certain lifestyle factors that make it more likely for a woman to have a normal pregnancy.

A hallmark for the development of testicular tumors found in the aberrant regulation of small non-coding RNA
Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, have studied the role of a peculiar class of small non-coding RNAs that are mainly expressed in the human male germline.

£23m to drive advances in population health sciences research
The University of Bristol in the UK is to benefit from £23 million of research funding that will exploit the latest advances in technology and develop new analysis methods to improve understanding of how our family background, behaviors and genes work together to affect how we develop and remain healthy or become ill.

Scientists show how cells protect their DNA from catastrophic damage
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have unveiled a profound biological process that explains how DNA can be damaged during genome replication.

IceCube pushes neutrinos to the forefront of astronomy
The IceCube Collaboration announces the observation of 28 very high-energy particle events that constitute the first solid evidence for astrophysical neutrinos from cosmic accelerators.

Researchers map brain areas vital to understanding language
In a new study, researchers uncovered the brain mechanisms that underlie discourse comprehension, or the ability to understand written or spoken language through the construction of rich mental models.

UT Dallas study: Initial success for new tinnitus treatment
In a study published online Nov. 20 in Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, UT Dallas researchers Drs.

Growth more stunted in lower-income youth with kidney disease
Even with more prescriptions for growth hormone, children and adolescents with chronic kidney disease were less likely to grow to normal height ranges if they came from lower-income families, according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Certain measures can help predict older dialysis patients' prognoses
Most older adults initiate chronic dialysis in the hospital. Those who have a prolonged hospital stay and receive other forms of life support around the time of dialysis initiation have limited survival and eventually need to undergo more intensive procedures.

Intestinal bacteria influence food transit through the gut
Food transit through the small intestine affects the body's absorption of nutrients and, consequently, our health.

Stanford scientists think mysterious virus could be a signal of a weak immune system
Genomic analysis of transplant patients finds an opportunistic microorganism whose elevated presence could be used an indicator in treatment.

Study looks at better prediction for epileptic seizures through adaptive learning approach
A UT Arlington assistant engineering professor has developed a computational model that can more accurately predict when an epileptic seizure will occur next based on the patient's personalized medical information.

NASA sees 'watershed' cosmic blast in unique detail
On April 27, a blast of light from a dying star in a distant galaxy became the focus of astronomers around the world.

Different types of teacher-child interactions support children's development in different areas
Research hasn't always been clear about which aspects of interactions are most important to how children do academically and socially.

Electric taxi 'EVA' for tropical megacities
TUM CREATE presents an electric taxi for use in tropical megacities at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show.

New link between obesity and diabetes found
A single overactive enzyme worsens the two core defects of diabetes -- impaired insulin sensitivity and overproduction of glucose -- suggesting that a drug targeting the enzyme could help correct both at once, according to mouse studies done by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center.

83 global health innovations receive Grand Challenges Canada funding
Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, today extends seed grants of $100,000 each to 83 inventive new ideas for addressing health problems in resource-poor countries.

UCLA, Emory researchers find a chemical signature for 'fast' form of Parkinson's
UCLA scientists have discovered a potential biochemical signal that can predict the progression of the rapid form of Parkinson's disease early-on, right after onset of motor symptoms.

Additive may make wine fine for a longer time
An additive may help curb a chemical reaction that causes wine to look, smell and taste funky, according to food scientists.

Follow the genes: Yale team finds clues to origin of autism
Finding major new clues to the origins of autism, a Yale-led team of researchers has pinpointed which cell types and regions of the developing human brain are affected by gene mutations linked to autism.

Rutgers-Camden nursing scholar develops tool for ostomy care
Nurses caring for ostomy patients will now be equipped with an essential new tool developed by a Rutgers-Camden scholar that provides them with the first comprehensive guide to optimize ostomy management and enhance patient safety.

Playing computer games makes brains feel and think alike
Scientists have discovered that playing computer games can bring players' emotional responses and brain activity into unison.

Sticky business: Magnetic pollen replicas offer multimodal adhesion
Researchers have created magnetic replicas of sunflower pollen grains using a wet chemical, layer-by-layer process that applies highly conformal iron oxide coatings.

NYSCF and NIH create cell models of rare and undiagnosed diseases
In what is anticipated to be a major step forward for rare disease research, The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute is partnering with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undiagnosed Disease Program (UDP).

Scientists find the invisibility cloak that shields HIV-1 from the immune system
Of the two major types of HIV, only one, HIV-1, typically causes AIDS in infected people who don't receive treatment.

2 Y genes can replace the entire Y chromosome for assisted reproduction in mice
Live mouse offspring can be generated with assisted reproduction using germ cells from males with the Y chromosome contribution limited to only two genes: the testis determinant factor Sry and the spermatogonial proliferation factor Eif2s3y.

Study pinpoints cell type and brain region affected by gene mutations in autism
A team led by UC San Francisco scientists has identified the disruption of a single type of cell -- in a particular brain region and at a particular time in brain development -- as a significant factor in the emergence of autism.

Warrior power: ONR, veterans plugged in on alternative energy
An innovative Office of Naval Research program is looking to Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard veterans for the cutting edge in alternative energy-and is highlighted this week in a new video released during the Navy's Warrior Care Month.

Study shows displaying lab costs upfront can save money
Health care costs continue to go up, and physicians control more than 80 percent of those costs.

NASA catches Melissa's fickle life as a tropical storm
Tropical Storm Melissa is spinning around in the north central Atlantic Ocean after becoming tropical on Nov.

Cosmic finding ushers in 'new age of astronomy'
Neutrinos can zip right through your body, the walls of your house, entire planets, even emerging from near the surface of fascinating and frightening black holes.

2 human proteins found to affect how 'jumping gene' gets around
Using a new method to catch elusive

5 tips for a better Thanksgiving: A new video by the American Chemical Society
Whether you're brining your bird this Thanksgiving or experimenting with

Optimal site for cell transplantation to treat spinal cord injury investigated
After laboratory mice received a contusive spinal cord injury at the T10 level, low and high doses of neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) derived from fetal bioluminescent-labeled transgenic mice were injected into four groups of mice at either the lesion epicenter or at rostral and caudal sites.

A study on cell migration provides insights into the movement of cancer cells
The migration of groups of cells in order to form tissues is common during the development of an organism.

'Wonder of Nanotechnology' details research enabling nanoscale optoelectronic devices
The inspiration of nature in studying nanoscale structures and the ability to control material composition on the nanometer scale are helping photonics engineers to create new devices and materials that transcend the properties of naturally occurring materials.

Fungus-fighting drug may make mild flu meaner
Mice given a drug commonly used in patients to fight systemic fungal infections more often succumb to what would otherwise be a mild case of the flu.

Stress and isolation take toll on those under 50 with HIV; older people fare better
Case Western Reserve University researchers were surprised to learn that people younger than 50 years old with HIV feel more isolated and stressed than older people with the disease.

The company you keep shapes what you learn
A team of scientists has shown how the environment shapes learning and memory by training locusts like Pavlov's dog to associate different smells with reward or punishment.

Ultrasound, nanoparticles may help diabetics avoid the needle
A new nanotechnology-based technique for regulating blood sugar in diabetics may give patients the ability to release insulin painlessly using a small ultrasound device, allowing them to go days between injections -- rather than using needles to give themselves multiple insulin injections each day.

Different cellular mechanisms behind regenerated body parts
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that two separate species of salamander differ in the way their muscles grow back in lost body parts.

Waste that is brimming with energy
Together with the Italian GARBO corporation, the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom, and the University of Padua, Italy, as well as the midsized company EAAT from Chemnitz, Germany, the HZDR researchers are working on a technological solution for waste treatment.

'The era of neutrino astronomy has begun'
Astrophysicists using a telescope embedded in Antarctic ice have detected the mysterious phenomena known as cosmic neutrinos -- nearly massless particles streaming to Earth at the speed of light from outside our solar system, striking in a powerful burst of energy.

Genetic defect keeps verbal cues from hitting the mark
A genetic defect that profoundly affects speech in humans also disrupts the ability of songbirds to sing effective courtship tunes.

Early-career investigator discovers current volcanic activity under West Antarctica
Scientists funded by the National Science Foundation have observed

Newly discovered brown fat cells hold possibilities for treating diabetes, obesity
The recent identification of brown fat stem cells in adult humans may lead to new treatments for heart and endocrine disorders, according to a University of Utah study published in the journal Stem Cells.

DHL and Panthera partner to conserve South Africa's leopards
DHL, the world's leading logistics company, has entered into an agreement with Panthera, the world's leading big-cat conservation organization, through the Furs For Life Leopard Project to ship faux leopard furs to Africa to help protect this endangered species whose fur is ceremonially worn by followers of the Shembe community in South Africa.

Kessler Foundation study provides first Class 1 evidence for cognitive rehabilitation in MS
Kessler Foundation researchers published the results of the MEMREHAB Trial in Neurology, providing the first Class I evidence for the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis.

UTMB begins unique, comprehensive project on TBI
In the most wide-reaching project of its kind, scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch are expanding their research on traumatic brain injury, examining its progressive, chronic effects on the body in hopes of treating its immediate and long-term consequences.

UCLA first to map autism-risk genes by function
UCLA neuroscientists are the first to map groups of autism-risk genes by function, and uncover how mutations disrupt fetal brain development.

Bio-based solar cell
Researchers at the Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum have developed a bio-based solar cell.

High HIV knowledge and risky sexual behavior not associated with HIV testing in young adolescents
New research from Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine has found that teens most likely to be tested for HIV had strong partner communication about HIV and were in committed relationships.

Infrared vision lets researchers see through -- and into -- multiple layers of graphene
A University at Buffalo-led research team has developed a technique for

Cincinnati Children's researchers develop first molecular test to diagnose eosinophilic esophagitis
Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have developed the first molecular test to diagnose eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a chronic upper gastrointestinal disorder.

Heavy drinking is bad for marriage if 1 spouse drinks, but not both
Do drinking and marriage mix? That depends on who's doing the drinking -- and how much -- according to a recent study by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions.

Minority parents fear for kids online
Nearly all parents agree -- when their children go online, stranger danger is their biggest safety concern, followed closely by exposure to pornography, violent content and bullying, according to a collaborative study between researchers at Northwestern University and Microsoft Research.

Research shows that anti-fungal medicine may increase vulnerability to influenza and other viruses
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have discovered evidence that a widely used anti-fungal medicine increases susceptibility to flu infection in mice and cell cultures. 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