Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 20, 2013
UBC-VCH scientists use drug to repair rare birth defect
University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health scientists have developed a potential cure for a rare eye disease, showing for the first time that a drug can repair a birth defect.

Dysfunctional TGF-beta signaling contributes to Loeys-Dietz syndrome-associated aortic aneurysm
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Harry Dietz and colleagues at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine developed a mouse model of LDS, in which transgenic animals expressing Tgfbr1 or Tgfbr2 with LDS-associated mutations recapitulated human phenotypes.

EARTH Magazine: Navigating the risks of hazard research
After the 2012 conviction of six Italian geoscientists on manslaughter charges related to communication about the hazards prior to the L'Aquila earthquake in 2009, scientists worldwide are keen to understand the risks of their hazards research.

Sugar cane fires in Louisiana
According to KATC Channel 3 in Lafayette, LA on December 17, 2013 , thick plumes of smoke are visible for miles around Acadiana (the mostly French region of Louisiana in the southern part of the state).

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai named to new NIH Stroke Research Network
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is an inaugural member of the NIH's Stroke Trials Network.

BU researchers explore possible link between cognitive depressive symptoms and antiretroviral therapy uptake
Researchers from Boston University's School of Medicine and College of Arts and Sciences found that among HIV-infected Russian drinkers, depressive symptom severity alone was not significantly associated with lower rates of antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation.

Researchers find potential new treatment approach for pancreatic cancer
Scientists from The University of Manchester -- part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre believe they have discovered a new way to make chemotherapy treatment more effective for pancreatic cancer patients.

Not just the Koch brothers: New Drexel study reveals funders behind the climate change denial effort
A new study conducted by Drexel University's environmental sociologist Robert J.

IRB develops ChroGPS, a new generation visual browser of the epigenome
ChroGPS is a software application that serves to facilitate the analysis and understanding of epigenetic data and to extract intelligible information, which can be downloaded free of charge in Bioconductor, a reference repository for biocomputational software.

Efforts to curb climate change require greater emphasis on livestock
While climate change negotiators struggle to agree on ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, they have paid inadequate attention to other greenhouse gases associated with livestock.

How the cells remove copper
New research from Aarhus University provides deeper insight into causes of serious diseases involving copper metabolism.

Starless cloud cores reveal why some stars are bigger than others
Massive stars -- those at least 8 times the mass of our Sun -- present an intriguing mystery: how do they grow so large when the vast majority of stars in the Milky Way are considerably smaller?

More mentions in the FT linked to greater popularity of stocks
A 6-year study of the Financial Times has found that the more frequently a company is mentioned in the newspaper in the morning, the greater the volume of shares traded in that company during the day.

New mechanism that permits selective capture of microRNAs in nanovesicles that shuttle between cells
A team of CNIC researchers directed by Prof. Francisco Sánchez-Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid & CNIC) has described for the first time how microRNAs-- small RNA molecules that regulate the expression of specific genes -- are encapsulated in nanovesicles that shuttle between cells.

NASA satellites see Tropical Cyclone Amara affecting Rodrigues Island
When NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Amara on Dec.

New DRI project aimed at understanding Mercury dynamics in the Arctic tundra
A new collaborative research project funded by the National Science Foundation and led by Daniel Obrist at the Desert Research Institute will attempt to characterize the complex dynamics of mercury in some of the Earth's northernmost and most fragile ecosystems.

Birth control at the zoo
One method for controlling zoo animal populations is male castration.

Parasitic DNA proliferates in aging tissues
As mice age, cells in tissues such as the liver and skeletal muscle lose control over rogue sequences of DNA called

Kessler Foundation collaborates with UNH on NIDRR Rehabilitation Research and Training Center grant
Kessler Foundation scientists John O'Neill, Ph.D., CRC and Amanda Botticello, Ph.D., M.P.H., were awarded a subcontract on the University of New Hampshire's (UNH) Rehabilitation Research and Training Center grant on Disability Statistics and Demographics.

Charge order competes with superconductivity
Superconductors are materials that can conduct electricity without any loss of energy.

Van Allen Probes shed light on decades-old mystery
New research using data from NASA's Van Allen Probes mission helps resolve decades of scientific uncertainty over the origin of ultra-relativistic electrons in Earth's near space environment, and is likely to influence our understanding of planetary magnetospheres throughout the universe.

New research offers hope for vaccine and therapies for deadly infections
In a finding that could lead to the development of a vaccine and therapies for mucormycosis, an LA BioMed research team reported today that they can prevent human cell invasion and successfully treat mucormycosis in disease models using antibodies that block the CotH protein.

Staph stoppers
University of Iowa researchers have developed a new vaccine that protects against lethal pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, including drug-resistant strains like MRSA.

Nonsense suppression drug restores function in a mouse model of aniridia
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Cheryl Gregory-Evans and colleagues at the University of British Columbia evaluated a small molecule nonsense suppression strategy for relief of aniridia-associated defects in a mouse model of the disease.

Fungal surface protein promotes host cell
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Ashraf Ibrahim and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles identified spore coat protein homologues on the surface of Mucorales fungi as the ligand for GRP78 and that gene encoding these proteins are unique to Mucorales.

New research provides insight into epilepsy
Experiments using mice have led to new research results showing that the amount of microRNA-128 has a great impact on the musculoskeletal system.

Wayne State University physicists publish observation of the 'Charming Socialites'
Researchers at Wayne State University led a large collaborative effort of physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois reporting a bizarre

Allen Institute for Brain Science announces new data release on Allen Brain Atlas resources
The Allen Institute for Brain Science announced major updates to their online public resources for the Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas, the BrainSpan Atlas of the Developing Human Brain, the Human Brain Atlas and the Mouse Brain Atlas.

New data for engineering immune cells shows early promise in solid tumors
Engineered immune cells, called CARTmeso cells, designed to direct antitumor immune responses toward tumors that carry a protein called mesothelin, showed antitumor activity in two patients with advanced cancers that had not responded to prior treatments, according to a study published in Cancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

UNL research raises concerns about global crop projections
New research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and published Dec.

NASA sees powerful Tropical Cyclone Bruce staying away from land
Tropical Cyclone Bruce continued to strengthen over wide open waters of the Southern Indian Ocean and NASA satellite data showed its eye had cleared of clouds.

Elucidating biological cells' transport mechanisms
Motion fascinates physicists. It becomes even more intriguing when observed in vivo in biological cells.

Smooth or grainy?
A paper by Stefano Liberati from SISSA has been selected as one of the 2013 Highlight papers (the best papers of the year) of the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.

Birth of black hole kills the radio star
Astronomers led by a Curtin University researcher have discovered a new population of exploding stars that

Early detection of blinding eye disease could be as easy as scanning a barcode
A new optical device puts the power to detect eye disease in the palm of a hand.

An earthquake or a snow avalanche has its own shape
Predicting earthquakes or snow avalanches is difficult, but to for instance reduce the related risks it is of high importance to know if an avalanche event is big or small.

Religion is good for business shows Rotman study
Those looking for honest companies to invest in might want to check out businesses based in more religious communities, suggests a new paper from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

JCI early table of contents for Dec. 20, 2013
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Dec.

Adult stem cells found to suppress cancer while dormant
Researchers at UCLA's Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research have discovered a mechanism by which certain adult stem cells suppress their ability to initiate skin cancer during their dormant phase -- an understanding that could be exploited for better cancer-prevention strategies.

Women's perceptions of 'normal' female genitalia may be influenced by exposure to modified images
Women's perceptions of what is considered normal and desirable female genitalia may be influenced by exposure to modified images, suggests a new study published Dec.

A gluttonous plant reveals how its cellular power plant devours foreign DNA
Researchers from Indiana University and the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute have determined an epic expansion of a plant's mitochondrial genome via of horizontal gene transfer, acquiring six genome equivalents of foreign DNA.

Breaking down cancer's defense mechanisms
Researchers have identified how the 'wall' around cancer tumors functions and how to break it down, enabling the body's own defenses to reach and kill the cancer cells within.

Increasing personal savings, the 'Groundhog Day' way
Thinking about time as a cycle of recurring experiences -- a reality Bill Murray's character knows all too well in the movie Groundhog Day -- may help us to put more money away into our savings, according to new research.

Want to stop smoking? See a specialist!
Smokers in England who want to stop smoking are three times more likely to succeed if they see a trained advisor than if they try by themselves, according to a new study published online today in the medical journal Addiction.

Virginia Tech research overturns assumption about mercury in the Arctic
A team of scientists from the US, Russia, and Canada has compared fish from two Russian rivers, the Lena and the Mezen, and found mercury concentrations to be much lower than expected.

A wrong molecular turn leads down the path to Type 2 diabetes
Computing resources at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have helped researchers better grasp how proteins misfold to create the tissue-damaging structures that lead to type 2 diabetes.

Common disorders: It's not the genes themselves, but how they are controlled
Many rare disorders are caused by gene mutation. Yet until now the underlying genetic cause of more common conditions has evaded scientists for years.

Even or odd: No easy feat for the mind
Even scientists are fond of thinking of the human brain as a computer, following sets of rules to communicate, make decisions and find a meal.

Sierra Nevada, western North America, and the Andaman Sea focus of new Geosphere articles
New Geosphere contributions include two additions to the

Ohio State study shows 2 drugs help adolescents with ADHD, aggression
New published research from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows two drugs help adolescents with ADHD and aggression.

Enlisting cells' protein recycling machinery to regulate plant products
Scientists have developed a new set of molecular tools for controlling the production of (poly)phenolics, plant compounds important for flavors, human health, and biofuels.

Wayne State cholesterol study shows algal extracts may counter effects of high fat diets
Health Enhancement Products, Inc., in conjunction with Wayne State University's Department of Nutrition and Food Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, announces the publication of a scientific article in the Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism,

Angiogenic factor secretion by melanocytes associated with pigmentation leve
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Irit Adini and colleagues at the Harvard Medical School determined that melanocytes from light-skinned humans and albino mice secrete high levels of fibromodulin and that fibromodulin promotes angiogenesis.

Penn researchers grow liquid crystal 'flowers' that can be used as lenses
A team of material scientists, chemical engineers and physicists from the University of Pennsylvania has made another advance in their effort to use liquid crystals as a medium for assembling structures.

Half of National Lottery in Spain sold at Christmas
The Christmas Lottery accounts for around 50 percent of the National Lottery's annual sales and

Neurobiology: The logistics of learning
Learning requires constant reconfiguration of the connections between nerve cells.

Evaluation of mangafodipir treatment for oxaliplatin-associated neuropathy
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Frédéric Batteux and colleagues at the Laboratoire d'Immunologie evaluated use of the MRI contrast agent mangafodipir, which has antioxidant properties, for relief of oxaliplatin-associated neuropathies. 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