Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 06, 2014
New fossils shed light on the origins of lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!)
A study, published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, discusses the origins of cats and dogs, as well as other carnivorous mammals like bears, seals, and weasels (taxonomically called

Discovery spotlights key role of mystery RNA modification in cells
Researchers had known for several decades that a certain chemical modification exists on messenger ribonucleic acid, which is essential to the flow of genetic information.

Suicide risk doesn't differ in children taking 2 types of commonly prescribed antidepressants
A Vanderbilt University Medical Center study released today shows there is no evidence that the risk of suicide differs with two commonly prescribed antidepressants prescribed to children and adolescents.

New organization brings together top researchers to sequence the genomes of invertebrates
To learn more about invertebrates, a cooperative consortium called the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance has been formed.

Study examines meditation programs of psychological well-being
Mindfulness meditation programs may help reduce anxiety, depression and pain in some individuals, according to a review of medical literature by Madhav Goyal, M.D., M.P.H., of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and colleagues.

Vedran Lekic honored with Richter Early Career Award
Since his early research on deep earthquakes, Vedran Lekic has repeatedly developed new ways of analyzing and modeling seismic data, leading to improved understanding of Earth's large-scale inner structure.

Ideas in action at Eureka Park
A modified Google Glass prototype that transmits personal health insights to the cloud.

The loving touch is critical for premature infants
The benefit that premature infants gain from skin-to-skin contact with their mothers is measurable even 10 years after birth, reports a new study in Biological Psychiatry.

Virginia Tech's De Vita receives government's highest of engineering honors to study pelvic disorder
Virginia Tech engineering faculty member Raffaella De Vita's work on pelvic floor disorders could potentially transform surgical reconstruction methods and post-operative rehabilitation procedures for females suffering from problems with supporting structures of the uterus and the vagina.

NASA's Fermi makes first gamma-ray study of a gravitational lens
An international team of astronomers, using NASA's Fermi observatory, has made the first-ever gamma-ray measurements of a gravitational lens, a kind of natural telescope formed when a rare cosmic alignment allows the gravity of a massive object to bend and amplify light from a more distant source.

Ear tubes vs. watchful waiting: Tubes do not improve long-term development
A study suggests tubes amd adenoidectomy reduce fluid in the middle ear and improve hearing in the short term, but tubes did not improve speech or language for children with middle ear fluid.

New science bound for station on Orbital's Cygnus
With the upcoming launch, Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., now can help carry the research load to the International Space Station.

Establishing guides for molecular counting using fluorescent proteins
The study recently published in Nature Methods has been able to determine the photoactivation efficiency of fluorescent proteins, an important parameter that has so far been difficult to measure at the single molecule level.

Nomogram to determine individualized estimates of screen-detected prostate cancer overdiagnosis
Using a nomogram that incorporates age, Gleason score, and prostate-specific antigen level at diagnosis, individual risks that a screen-detected prostate cancer has been overdiagnosed can be estimated, according to a new study published Jan.

CWRU researcher finds released inmates need programs to meet basic and mental health needs
When inmates with severe mental illness are released from jail, their priority is finding shelter, food, money and clothes.

Beating bacteria on Earth -- and in space
The Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space investigation, scheduled to launch in January aboard the first contracted Orbital resupply flight to the space station, is a systematic attempt to probe the reasons for antibiotic resistance in space.

LA BioMed to study vitamin A's potential benefits for multiple sclerosis patients
LA BioMed researchers will study whether vitamin A helps reduce symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Newfound planet is Earth-mass but gassy
An international team of astronomers has discovered the first Earth-mass planet that transits, or crosses in front of, its host star.

'Ardi' skull reveals links to human lineage
One of the most hotly debated issues in current human origins research focuses on how the 4.4-million-year-old African species Ardipithecus ramidus is related to the human lineage.

Tiny proteins have outsized influence on nerve health
Mutations in small proteins that help convey electrical signals throughout the body may have a surprisingly large effect on health, according to results of a new Johns Hopkins study using spider, scorpion and sea anemone venom.

To curb China's haze and air pollution, use water
A new idea to cut back on air pollution: spray water into the atmosphere from sprinklers atop tall buildings and towers, similar to watering a garden.

Novel 'attract-and-kill' approach could help tackle Argentine ants
After being inadvertently introduced in the United States from South America, Argentine ants have successfully invaded urban, agricultural, and natural settings nationwide.

Marriage promotion has failed to stem poverty among single moms
As the United States marks the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty this month, a new report suggests one recent weapon in the battle has been a disappointing failure.

Imaging technology to improve survival of ischemic disease patients
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center received a $1.7 million NIH grant to transform imaging inside coronary arteries.

ALMA spots supernova dust factory
Striking new observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope capture, for the first time, the remains of a recent supernova brimming with freshly formed dust.

Brief fever common in kids given influenza, pneumococcal vaccines together
Giving young children the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines together appears to increase their risk of fever, according to a study led by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meditation for anxiety and depression?
Some 30 minutes of meditation daily may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, a new Johns Hopkins analysis of previously published research suggests.

Autism Speaks awards nearly $2.7 million for new research projects
Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced the award of nearly $2.7 million for the funding of 13 new research projects over the next three years.

Inverse design: New route to design a practical invisibility cloak
Invisibility has become a scientific possibility with the emergence of metamaterials and transformation optics in the past few years.

1 in, 1 out: Oxford study shows how people put a limit on their social networks
A new study has shown that people still put most of their efforts into communicating with small numbers of close friends or family, often operating unconscious one-in, one-out policies so that communication patterns remain the same even when friendships change.

MBL scientists to study coastal waterbird habitats through funding for Obama's Climate Action Plan
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced in December that Interior's eight regional Climate Science Centers (including the Northeast CSC, a consortium that includes the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.) are awarding nearly $7 million to universities and other partners for research as part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, move our economy toward clean energy sources, and prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change.

No 'brakes' -- Study finds mechanism for increased activity of oncogene in certain cancers
The increased activation of a key oncogene in head and neck cancers could be the result of mutation and dysfunction of regulatory proteins that are supposed to keep the gene, which has the potential to cause cancer, in check, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine published this week in the early online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tiny acts of microbe justice help reveal how nature fights freeloaders
Princeton University researchers have discovered that bacteria prevent layabouts from enjoying the fruit of others' hard work by keeping food generated by the community's productive members away from those microbes that attempt to live on others' leftovers.

Breastfeeding associated with lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to new study
In a new study of over 7,000 older Chinese women published online today in the journal Rheumatology, breastfeeding -- especially for a longer duration -- is shown to be associated with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Associate chief of emergency medicine receives $2.2 million award for asthma studies
Stephen J. Teach, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Chief of Emergency Medicine at Children's National Health System, says that aggressively managing parental stress and using cell phone apps to monitor medication usage in at-risk youth with asthma may improve children's adherence to asthma medications.

RAMBO a small but powerful magnet
Rice pioneers a tabletop magnetic pulse generator that allows researchers to collect real-time, high-resolution data in a system that couples high magnetic fields and low temperature with direct optical access to the magnet's core.

Astronomy Image Explorer
IOP Publishing and the American Astronomical Society are pleased to announce the launch of the Astronomy Image Explorer (AIE).

New discovery of biomarker to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of ESCC
Scientists from the National University of Singapore have discovered a biomarker, called adenosine deaminase acting on RNA-1 , which has the potential to improve the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

BIDMC researcher looks at race and bariatric surgery
The nearly 100,000 Americans who undergo bariatric surgery each year represent only a small fraction of people who are medically eligible for the procedure.

Workplace wellness programs can cut chronic illness costs
Workplace wellness programs have the potential to reduce health risks and cut health care spending, but employers and policymakers should not take for granted that the lifestyle management components of the programs can reduce costs or lead to savings overall.

Costs for complications from cancer surgical care extremely high
Although complications from surgical care for cancer patients may seem infrequent, the costs associated with such outcomes are extremely high, according to researchers from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Regional variation in Medicare imaging utilization is considerably less than regional variation in imaging costs
The January issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology focuses on a variety of issues relating to clinical practice, practice management, health services and policy, and radiology education and training.

Laying money on the line leads to healthier food choices over time
People are more likely to choose healthy options at the grocery store if they use the risk of losing their monthly healthy food discount as a motivational tool, according to new research published in Psychological Science.

Population Council awarded USAID cooperative agreement to develop non-antiretroviral HIV microbicide
The Population Council today announced it was awarded a cooperative agreement from the US Agency for International Development's Office of HIV and AIDS:

Study: Half of black males, 40 percent of white males arrested by age 23
Nearly half of black males and almost 40 percent of white males in the US are arrested by age 23, which can hurt their ability to find work, go to school and participate fully in their communities.

Stimulating brain cells stops binge drinking, animal study finds
Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found a way to change alcohol drinking behavior in rodents, using the emerging technique of optogenetics, which uses light to stimulate neurons.

Suburban sprawl cancels carbon footprint savings of dense urban cores
According to a new study by UC Berkeley researchers, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities' extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.

1 'villain' of the housing crisis played only a small role
One of the major factors blamed for the subprime mortgage crisis may have actually played only a minor role in the housing meltdown, new research reveals.

NSF study details recent US research and development growth
New data collected by the National Science Foundation have resulted in an upward revision in the previously published 2011 US research and development performance total, and further expansion of US R&D performance is indicated for 2012.

When danger is in the eye of the beholder
In a series of studies published over the past two years, the lab of a UCLA anthropologist has succeeded in fleshing out an unconscious mental mechanism that human beings use to gauge the threat posed by a potential adversary.

Reactivation of the AKT survival pathway by ERK1/2
In the study by Toulany et al., it was demonstrated for the first time that long term treatment with inhibitors of PI3K (as it is performed clinically) results in a reactivation of the major survival component Akt through a so far unknown regulatory loop via ERK1/2.

Parenting and happiness, social impacts on health, more: Featured talks for SPSP 2014
The Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual conference in Austin, Texas, from Feb.

Technology 1 step ahead of war laws
Today's emerging military technologies -- including unmanned aerial vehicles, directed-energy weapons, lethal autonomous robots, and cyber weapons like Stuxnet -- raise the prospect of upheavals in military practices so fundamental that they challenge long-established laws of war.

Personal health record associated with improved medication adherence
Patients with diabetes who used an online patient portal to refill medications increased their medication adherence and improved their cholesterol levels, according to a new study in the journal Medical Care.

Cedars-Sinai researchers target cancer stem cells in malignant brain tumors
Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and Department of Neurosurgery identified immune system targets on cancer stem cells -- cells from which malignant brain tumors are believed to originate and regenerate -- and created an experimental vaccine to attack them.

Researchers find that computer components can be damaged by key manufacturing processes
Manufacturers of increasingly minute computer chips, transistors and other products will have to take special note of research findings at the University of Huddersfield.

Pioneering geologist Kerry Sieh awarded top honor in seismology
Throughout his career, geologist Kerry Sieh has developed new ideas and techniques that place him at the forefront of understanding the recurrence of earthquakes and fault behavior.

Inverse association between alcohol consumption, multiple sclerosis
Drinking alcohol appears to have a dose-dependent inverse (opposite) association with the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) and researchers suggest their findings give no support to advising patients with MS to completely refrain from alcohol, according to a study by Anna Karin Hedstrom, M.D., of the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and colleagues.

People lacking insurance not likely to migrate to obtain Medicaid coverage
A study finds little evidence that low-income adults in states without expanded coverage might move to states that have chosen to expand.

Mediterranean diet without weight loss helps prevent diabetes
Older patients at high risk for heart disease who follow a Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil do not need to restrict calories, increase exercise, or lose weight to prevent diabetes, according to an article being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

MRSA infection rates drop in Veterans Affairs long-term care facilities
Four years after implementing a national initiative to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates in Veterans Affairs long-term care facilities, MRSA infections have declined significantly, according to a study in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Development of a novel dual JAK/Src kinase inhibitor
Inhibitors of both JAK and Src kinases represent promising targets for cancer therapeutics because of the central importance of these kinases in tumor cell proliferation and survival.

Babbling babies -- responding to one-on-one 'baby talk' -- master more words
Common advice to new parents is that the more words babies hear the faster their vocabulary grows.

Jumping snails left grounded in future oceans
Sea snails that leap to escape their predators may lose their extraordinary jumping ability because of rising carbon dioxide emissions, scientists have discovered.

Supernova's super dust factory imaged with ALMA
Striking new observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope capture, for the first time, the remains of a recent supernova brimming with freshly formed dust.

Worker wasps grow visual brains, queens stay in the dark
A queen in a paperwasp colony largely stays in the dark.

The University of Miami Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies celebrates the 2013 edition of 'The American Jewish Yearbook'
The University of Miami Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies and the George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences announce the printing of the 2013 edition of

Nanoplasmonics: Towards efficient light harvesting
Recently, the emergence of a design strategy called transformation optics has provided a completely new way to control light on all length scales, opening new doors to many unprecedented optical functions.

Biomaterials get stem cells to commit to a bony future
With the help of biomimetic matrices, a research team led by bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego has discovered exactly how calcium phosphate can coax stem cells to become bone-building cells.

Out-of-pocket costs play major role in treatment adherence for cancer patients
The cost of insurance co-payments for cutting-edge pharmaceuticals can vary widely from patient to patient.

Erythropoietin and the regulation of cancer stem cell growth and survival
In this paper, the authors show evidence indicating the presence of autocrine/paracrine EPO in the conditioned medium of cultured breast cancer cells and a functional role of an EPO-EPOR autocrine/paracrine loop in regulating tumor cell invasion and migration, and the stem-ness of breast cancer cells.

Self-driving vehicles offer potential benefits, policy challenges for lawmakers
Self-driving vehicles offer the promise of significant benefits, but raise several policy challenges, including the need to update insurance liability regulations and privacy concerns.

New compounds discovered that are hundreds of times more mutagenic
Researchers have discovered novel compounds produced by certain types of chemical reactions -- such as those found in vehicle exhaust or grilling meat -- that are hundreds of times more mutagenic than their parent compounds which are known carcinogens.

79 years of monitoring demonstrates dramatic forest change
Long-term changes to forests affect biodiversity and how future fires burn.

Miriam Hospital study shows keys to successful long-term weight loss maintenance
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital have published one of the first studies of its kind to follow weight loss maintenance for individuals over a 10-year period.

Green spaces deliver lasting mental health benefits
Green space in towns and cities could lead to significant and sustained improvements in mental health, finds a new study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology.

Improper use of biocides in food production may endanger public health
Biocides used in the food industry at sublethal doses may be endangering, rather than protecting, public health by increasing antibiotic resistance in bacteria and enhancing their ability to form harmful biofilms, according to a study published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

New technique targets specific areas of cancer cells with different drugs
Researchers have developed a technique for creating nanoparticles that carry two different cancer-killing drugs into the body and deliver those drugs to separate parts of the cancer cell where they will be most effective.

UW-Madison researchers link protein with breast cancer's spread to the brain
A cancer research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has identified a protein that may be a major culprit when breast cancer metastasizes to the brain.

Piggy-backing proteins ride white blood cells to wipe out metastasizing cancer
Cornell biomedical engineers have discovered a new way to destroy metastasizing cancer cells traveling through the bloodstream -- lethal invaders that are linked to almost all cancer deaths -- by hitching cancer-killing proteins along for a ride on life-saving white blood cells.

US Army identifies 6 critical research targets for improving outcomes in traumatic brain injury
The US Army's new strategic research plan for developing improved drug therapies for TBI is published in Journal of Neurotrauma. 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