Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 08, 2014
Elephant shark genome decoded
An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of the elephant shark, a curious-looking fish with a snout that resembles the end of an elephant's trunk.

New study finds extreme longevity in white sharks
Great white sharks -- top predators throughout the world's ocean -- grow much slower and live significantly longer than previously thought, according to a new study led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Scripps Florida scientists identify possible key to drug resistance in Crohn's disease
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have identified a normally small subset of immune cells that may play a major role in the development of Crohn's disease generally and in disease-associated steroid resistance specifically.

Elephant shark genome provides new insights into bone formation and adaptive immunity in humans
Scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology led an international team of researchers that sequenced and analysed the genome of the elephant shark.

Fungi may determine the future of soil carbon
Soil contains more carbon than air and plants combined. This means that even a minor change in soil carbon could have major implications for the Earth's atmosphere and climate.

Study: 2-sizes-too-small 'Grinch' effect hampers heart transplantation success
Current protocols for matching donor hearts to recipients foster sex mismatching and heart size disparities, according to a first-of-its kind analysis by physicians at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Researchers grapple with UK's nuclear legacy
The University of Leeds will lead a consortium of 10 universities in a national research program looking at ways of dealing with Britain's nuclear waste.

Green space can make people happier for years
Nearly 10 years after the term

Research suggests a blood test to locate gene defects associated with cancer may not be far off
A simple blood test that can locate gene defects associated with cancer?

Slow-evolving elephant shark genome is first to be sequenced from cartilaginous fish
Researchers have sequenced the entire genome of the elephant shark, uncovering several features that may shed light on the evolution of bony vertebrates.

Scientists unlock evolution of cholera, identify strain responsible for early pandemics
Working with a nearly 200-year-old sample of preserved intestine, researchers at McMaster University and the University of Sydney have traced the bacterium behind a global cholera pandemic that killed millions -- a version of the same bug that continues to strike vulnerable populations in the world's poorest regions.

Simple test can indicate cervical cancer
Researchers at the University of Louisville have confirmed that using the heat profile from a person's blood, called a plasma thermogram, can serve as an indicator for the presence or absence of cervical cancer, including the stage of cancer.

Organic mega flow battery promises breakthrough for renewable energy
A team of Harvard scientists and engineers has demonstrated a new type of battery that could fundamentally transform the way electricity is stored on the grid, making power from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar far more economical and reliable.

UMass Medical School faculty recognized as 1 of nation's top young scientists
University of Massachusetts Medical School Assistant Professor Thomas G. Fazzio, Ph.D., was recognized as a rising scientific star by President Obama with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Infants show ability to tell friends from foes
Even before babies have language skills or much information about social structures, they can infer whether other people are likely to be friends by observing their likes and dislikes, a new study on infant cognition has found.

On-field blood test can diagnose sports concussions
A brain protein, S100B, which may soon be detected by a simple finger-stick blood test, accurately distinguishes a sports-related concussion from sports exertion, according to a study of college athletes in Rochester, N.Y., and Munich, Germany, and published in PLOS ONE by Jeffrey J.

Study discovers natural hybridization produced dolphin species
A newly published study on the clymene dolphin, a small and sleek marine mammal living in the Atlantic Ocean, shows that this species arose through natural hybridization between two closely related dolphins species, according to authors from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History's Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, the University of Lisbon, and other contributing groups.

Wiley-Knode partnership puts collaboration at the center of the research experience
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., today announced a new partnership with startup technology company Knode to provide customized research expertise portals to learned societies and other academic organizations worldwide.

Scientists make your stomach turn bright green if you have an ulcer
Doctors may soon be able to diagnose stomach ulcers without taking tissue samples from the stomach.

Chemical imaging brings cancer tissue analysis into the digital age
A new method for analyzing biological samples based on their chemical makeup is set to transform the way medical scientists examine diseased tissue.

Older firefighters may be more resilient to working in heat
New study finds that older firefighters may show signs of long-term heat adaptation due to repeated occupational heat stress exposure.

Roche reports new method for efficiently transporting antibodies across the blood-brain barrier
Today the scientific journal Neuron published results on the Roche-designed Brain Shuttle technology that efficiently transfers investigational antibodies from the blood through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the brain in preclinical models.

Bed bugs grow faster in groups
Researchers from North Carolina State University found that bed bug nymphs developed 2.2 days faster than solitary nymphs -- a significant 7.3 percent difference.

BOSS measures the universe to 1-percent accuracy
The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), led by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Study finds that information is as important as medication in reducing migraine pain
The information that doctors provide when prescribing drug therapies has long been thought to play a role in the way that patients respond to drug therapies.

Tracking the deep sea paths of tiger sharks
This release focuses on the importance of oceanic coral reefs for these important marine predators.

Negative feedback makes cells 'sensitive'
New research by researchers from the University of Bristol has shown that negative feedback loops in cell signalling systems can be essential for a cell's ability to perceive the strength of a growth stimulus.

SURA reports findings from data management pilot
After 11 months of review, SURA announced the findings of a collaborative project to explore the capabilities of an open source application that assists with publishing, referencing, extracting and analyzing research data; the Dataverse Network.

Mental disorders in mid-life and older adulthood more prevalent than previously reported
Common methods of assessing mental or physical disorders may consistently underestimate the prevalence of mental disorders among middle-aged and older adults, a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found.

2014 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting
The American Society for Microbiology will host its 2014 Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting Jan.

Cosmetic outcomes after breast-conserving therapy may vary by race
As perceived by both patients and doctors, the cosmetic results after

Epilepsy drug taken in pregnancy found safe in preschool child development
A new study finds that the epilepsy drug levetiracetam appears not to be associated with thinking, movement and language problems for preschool children born to mothers who took the drug during pregnancy, although the drug valproate was associated with some difficulties in preschoolers.

Emperor Penguins breeding on ice shelves
Antarctic emperor penguins may be adapting to warmer temperatures.

Final agenda available for CRF Conference on Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Disease
The Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, will be held Jan.

Climate changes the distribution of plants and animals
Swiss plants, butterflies and birds have moved 8 to 42 meters uphill between 2003 and 2010, as scientists from the University of Basel write in the online journal PLOS ONE.

New study finds upper-airway electronic stimulation effective for obstructive sleep apnea
Results published in a new study in the Jan. 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine report that mild electronic stimulation therapy to the upper airway during sleep is effective in reducing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Research reveals new therapeutic target for Huntington's disease
Research from Western University (Canada) has revealed a possible new target for treating movement disorders such as Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease.

New research: Effects of eating half an avocado with lunch on satiety and desire to eat between meals
New research published in the November issue of Nutrition Journal reports adding one-half of a fresh avocado to a lunch may have helped healthy, overweight people feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat following a meal.

Researchers propose alternative way to allocate science funding
Researchers in the United States have suggested an alternative way to allocate science funding.

Laundering money -- literally -- could save billions of dollars
A dollar bill gets around, passing from hand to hand, falling on streets and sidewalks, eventually getting so grimy that a bank machine flags it and sends it to the shredder.

Does the body's immune response to viral vector delivery systems affect the safety or efficacy of gene therapy?
Packaging replacement genes in viruses is an effective method to deliver them to target tissues, but the human body mounts an immune response against the virus.

Drought and downing equal vulture supermarkets
In a paper appearing in the Jan. 8 edition of the journal PLOS ONE, Dr.

Nano-capsules show potential for more potent chemoprevention
Researchers using nano-capsules made of a water-soluble polymer to deliver the naturally occurring antioxidant, luteolin, were able to inhibit growth of lung cancer and head and neck cancer cells in mice.

Lower fat content and exercise for the diet of adolescents
The prevalence of excess weight and obesity among adolescents and, as a result, the concomitant problems, has increased considerably in recent years.

Seniors moving to HCBS face more hospital risk
Community and home-based care services are popular and cost Medicaid less money than nursing home care, but a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society finds that seniors who left the nursing home for such services were 40 percent more likely to become hospitalized for a potentially preventable reason than those who stayed in the nursing home.

Engineers make world's fastest organic transistor, herald new generation of see-through electronics
Researchers have produced the world's fastest thin-film organic transistors, proving that this experimental technology could achieve the performance needed for high-resolution television screens and similar electronic devices.

Newly discovered celestial object defies categories
An object discovered by astrophysicists at the University of Toronto nearly 500 light years away from the Sun may challenge traditional understandings about how planets and stars form.

Higher risk of birth problems after assisted conception
A University of Adelaide study has shown that the risk of serious complications such as stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight and neonatal death is around twice as high for babies conceived by assisted reproductive therapies compared with naturally conceived babies.

UCLA life scientists, colleagues differentiate microbial good and evil
To safely use bacteria in biotechnology and agriculture, where bacteria can help to fertilize plants, understanding the differences between harmful and healthy bacterial strains is vital.

AML score that combines genetic and epigenetic changes might help guide therapy
Currently, doctors use chromosome markers and gene mutations to determine the best treatment for patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

Radiocarbon dating suggests white sharks can live 70 years and longer
Adult white sharks may live far longer than previously thought, according to a new study that used radiocarbon dating to determine age estimates for white sharks, also known as great whites, in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.

Stopping tumors in their path
Glioblastoma is the most common and deadly form of primary malignant brain cancer, occurring mostly in adults between the ages of 45 and 70.

Nociceptin: Nature's balm for the stressed brain
Collaborating scientists at the Scripps Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Camerino in Italy have published new findings on a system in the brain that naturally moderates the effects of stress.

Blood pressure study points to more equitable care in England than America
In the US but not in England, patients on low incomes with high blood pressure have their condition managed poorly compared with those who earn more.

Quasars illuminate swiftly swirling clouds around galaxies
A new study of light from quasars has provided astronomers with illuminating insights into the swirling clouds of gas that form stars and galaxies, proving that the clouds can shift and change much more quickly than previously thought.

New project on psychiatric, neurologic, and behavioral genetics
The Center for Research on Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic, and Behavioral Genetics at Columbia University Medical Center unveils its mission today with the launch of its website.

International Tree Nut Council funded study links nut intake with lower risks of obesity
A new study, published today in the online journal PLOS ONE, looks at the association between tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts), metabolic syndrome and obesity in a population with a wide range of nut intake ranging from never to daily.

COPD: DMP is largely consistent with guidelines
Few discrepancies exist between the disease management program

Metal ink could ease the way toward flexible electronic books, displays
Scientists are reporting the development of a novel metal ink made of small sheets of copper that can be used to write a functioning, flexible electric circuit on regular printer paper.

Discovery brings scientists 1 step closer to understanding tendon injury
Research led by Queen Mary University of London has discovered a specific mechanism that is crucial to effective tendon function, which could reveal why older people are more prone to tendon injury.

AADR provides support to the Foundation for the NIH for a dental student in the NIH MRSP
The American Association for Dental Research, with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, have announced that AADR will provide $75,000 funding to support one dental student competitively selected to participate in the 2014-2015 NIH Medical Research Scholars Program.

Penn researchers develop 'personalized advantage index,' a new decision-making tool
Researchers have developed a decision-making model that compares and weights multiple variables to predict the optimal choice.

German Research Foundation approves research unit to study extreme experiences in life
The German Research Foundation is establishing a new research unit at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

A 1-percent measure of galaxies half the universe away
Researchers from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey today announced that they have measured the distance to galaxies more than six billion light years away to an unprecedented accuracy of just one percent.

Study identifies risk factors for non-fatal overdoses
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center have identified that injection frequency and taking anti-retroviral therapy for HIV are risk factors for nonfatal drug overdoses among Russians who are HIV positive and inject drugs.

Top chemical advances and more from the year 2013
From stretchy electronics to Martian chemistry, the most notable advances in the chemical world in 2013 appear in the year-in-review issue of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

Researchers at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center discover ovarian cancer biomarker
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have identified a microRNA biomarker that shows promise in predicting treatment response in the most common form of ovarian cancer -- a breakthrough that has the potential to improve outcomes for patients with the disease.

Penn Medicine epidemiologists find bed bug hotspots in Philadelphia, identify seasonal trends
A new study from Penn Medicine epidemiologists that looked at four years of bed bug reports to the city of Philadelphia found that infestations have been increasing and were at their highest in August and lowest in February.

Researchers unveil rich world of fish biofluorescence
A team led by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History has released the first report of widespread biofluorescence in fishes, identifying more than 180 species that glow in a wide range of colors and patterns.

Bio-inspired glue keeps hearts securely sealed
In the preclinical study, researchers from Boston Children's Hospital, BWH and Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a bio-inspired adhesive that could rapidly attach biodegradable patches inside a beating heart -- in the exact place where congenital holes in the heart occur, such as with ventricular heart defects.

Study: Seashell loss due to tourism increase may have global impact
Global tourism has increased fourfold over the last 30 years, resulting in human-induced seashell loss that may harm natural habitats worldwide, according to a University of Florida scientist.

Stem cell research identifies new gene targets in patients with Alzheimer's disease
Scientists at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute in collaboration with scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai successfully generated a stem cell model of familial Alzheimer's disease.

Study shows 'readability' scores are largely inaccurate
Teachers, parents and textbook companies use technical

Medicine protects against strokes
It is well-known that anticoagulant medicine assists in the prevention of strokes.

Discovery leads to patent for novel method of treating traumatic brain injury
Dr. James Lechleiter of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio received a US patent for his discovery that a class of compounds is protective against traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Ancient Cambodian city's intensive land use led to extensive environmental impacts
Soil erosion and vegetation change indicate approximately 400 years of intensive land use around the city of Mahendraparvata in the Phnom Kulen region beginning in the mid 9th century, with marked change in water management practices from the 12th century.

Neolithic mural may depict ancient eruption
Volcanic rock dating suggests the painting of a Catalhoyuk mural may have overlapped with an eruption in Turkey.

Many small exoplanets found to be covered in gas
NASA's Kepler space telescope discovered thousands of

Light fantastic -- Cable announces £3.6 million for manufacturing research
Research projects which will explore how light can be used in new ways in innovative manufacturing processes and technologies have been awarded £3.6 million.

Cardiologists urged to reduce inappropriate radiation exposure
Cardiology accounts for 40 percent of patient radiology exposure and equals more than 50 chest X-rays per person per year.

Columbia Engineering wins $3 million ARPA-E grant to raise efficiency, lower cost of power grid
A team led by Ken Shepard has won a $3 million ARPA-E grant for research targeted at developing next-generation power conversion devices that could dramatically transform how power is controlled and converted throughout the grid.

Weill Cornell Medical College receives $75 million gift from Sandra and Edward Meyer
Weill Cornell Medical College announced today that it has received a $75 million gift from Sandra and Edward Meyer and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Foundation to expand and enhance the medical college's distinguished cancer research and care programs.

2 million years ago, human relative 'Nutcracker Man' lived on tiger nuts
An Oxford University study concludes that ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million-1.4 million years ago mostly ate tiger nuts with additional nourishment from fruits and invertebrates, like worms and grasshoppers.

Literary mood reflects the economic mood of past 10 years, study finds
The frequency of words expressing misery and unhappiness in books reflects the economic conditions in the 10 years prior to the work's composition, according to researchers in Bristol and London.

Climate change: How does soil store CO2?
Global CO2 emissions continue to rise -- in 2012 alone, 35.7 billion tons of this greenhouse gas entered the atmosphere.

The ironic (and surprising) effects of weight stigma
If you're one of the millions of people who count losing weight among their top New Year's resolutions, you might want to pay careful attention to some new findings by UC Santa Barbara psychology professor Brenda Major.

New device can reduce sleep apnea episodes by 70 percent, Pitt-UPMC study shows
Implantation of a sleep apnea device called Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation therapy can lead to significant improvements for patients with obstructive sleep apnea, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Coral chemical warfare: Suppressing a competitor enhances susceptibility to a predator
Competition may have a high cost for at least one species of tropical seaweed.

Penn biologists establish new method for studying RNA's regulatory 'footprint'
Biologists at the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues have teamed up to offer a new method to efficiently obtain an entire

Color-coded cells reveal patchwork patterns of X chromosome silencing in female brains
Producing brightly speckled red and green snapshots of many different tissues, Johns Hopkins researchers have color-coded cells in female mice to display which of their two X chromosomes has been made inactive, or

Nutrition guidelines needed for full-service restaurant chains
Consumers tend to view full-service restaurants as providing healthier, higher quality food than fast-food restaurants.

An improved, cost-effective catalyst for water-splitting devices
Scientists at EPFL have created a simple and scalable technique for greatly improving water splitting as a source of clean energy.

First shark genome decoded
The genome of the elephant shark provides new insights into immunity and bone formation.

The Lancet research series
On Jan. 8, 2014, The Lancet publishes a series of papers about increasing value and reducing waste in research.

Molecular engines star in new model of DNA repair
In a new study NYU School of Medicine researchers reveal how an enzyme called RNA polymerase patrols the genome for DNA damage and helps recruit partners to repair it.

Early signs that patient's own bone-marrow stem cells could treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis
Findings of a preliminary study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine suggest that a patient's own bone-marrow stromal (stem) cells could be used to treat multidrug-resistant and extensively-drug tuberculosis.

Symbiotic fungi inhabiting plant roots have major impact on atmospheric carbon, scientists say
Microscopic fungi that live in plants' roots play a major role in the storage and release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere, according to a University of Texas at Austin researcher and his colleagues at Boston University and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Massive exoplanets may be more Earth-like than thought
Massive terrestrial planets, called

Scientists find a new mechanism underlying depression
Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers have shown that changes in a type of brain cells called microglia underlie the depressive symptoms brought on by exposure to chronic stress.

Stanford researcher's work provides glimpse into health of most-extreme runners
To learn more about the health of ultrarunners, Eswar Krishnan, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, teamed up with Martin Hoffman, M.D., a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UC-Davis and an avid ultrarunner.

LA BioMed study finds daily antibiotics most effective in preventing recurrent urinary tract infection
While daily antibiotic use is the most effective method for preventing recurrent urinary tract infections in women, daily cranberry pills, daily estrogen therapy and monthly acupuncture treatments also have benefits that may be preferable for some patients.

Bacteria linked to water breaking prematurely during pregnancy
A high presence of bacteria at the site where fetal membranes rupture may be the key to understanding why some pregnant women experience their

MARC travel awards announced for the APS 2014 Professional Skills Training Course
THe FASEB MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the American Physiological Society Professional Skills Training Course in Orlando, Fla., from Jan.

Controlling blood sugar levels in critically ill children could save NHS £12 million per year
A major UK trial led by Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has found that controlling the blood sugar level of critically ill children (excluding those who have had heart surgery) could save the NHS up to £12 million per year and reduce the average length of hospital stay by 13.5 days, freeing up beds for other patients.

Fossil pigments reveal the colors of ancient sea monsters
Unique findings of original pigment in fossilized skin from three multi-million-year-old marine reptiles are attracting considerable attention from the scientific community.

Marine bacteria to fight tough infections
Aggressive infections are a growing health problem all over the world.

Study explains origins of giant underwater waves
Large-scale tests in the lab and the South China Sea reveal the origins of underwater waves that can tower hundreds of feet.

Study shows women continue to outlive men as numbers of centenarians on the rise
The number of centenarians in Ontario increased by more than 70 percent over the last 15 years with women making up more than 85 percent of people 100 or older, according to new research by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Women's College Hospital. 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