Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 09, 2014
Researchers discover a tumor suppressor gene in a very aggressive lung cancer
The Genes and Cancer Group at the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program of the IDIBELL has found that the MAX gene, which encodes a partner of the MYC oncogene, is genetically inactivated in small cell lung cancer.

Target canine 'superspreaders' to halt killer disease and cull fewer dogs, study suggests
A new way to test for the parasite which causes the fatal disease leishmaniasis could help control its spread to humans and stop dogs being needlessly killed in parts of South America.

NIH-created toxin can kill HIV-infected cells that persist despite treatment
A team including University of North Carolina and NIH scientists has demonstrated in a mouse model that an HIV-specific poison can kill cells in which the virus is actively reproducing despite antiretroviral therapy.

Capturing a hard-wired variability
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has uncovered a phenomenon that alters prevailing views of how the genome is expressed to make and sustain the life of mammals.

Extraordinary sensors pushed to their boundaries
A new step is being taken in the development of ultra-stable sensors of small forces.

Mood stabilizing drug may help treat acute kidney injury
A single low dose of lithium given to mice following acute kidney injury promotes kidney repair and accelerates the recovery of kidney function.

Funding problems threaten US disaster preparedness
In a report published by the Institute of Medicine, authors Jesse Pines, M.D., Seth Seabury, Ph.D., and William Pilkington, DPA, make seven recommendations to provide a road map to enhance the sustainability of preparedness efforts in the United States.

Study: Heavy viewers of 'Teen Mom' and '16 and Pregnant' have unrealistic views of teen pregnancy
The creator of MTV's

New imaging technique signals a breakthrough in the treatment of IBS
Scientists at the University of Nottingham are leading the world in exploiting MRI technology to assist in the treatment and diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that causes serious inconvenience and discomfort to sufferers.

Are you listening? Kids' ear infections cost health care system nearly $3 billion a year
A new study finds pediatric ear infections account for approximately $2.88 billion in added health care expenses annually and is a significant health care utilization concern.

A powerful technique to further understanding of RNA
In a paper published by the Journal of the American Chemical SocietyExternal Site, Zhang, an assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and his team have revealed his newest weapon -- a powerful technique to visualize the shape and motion of RNA at the atomic level using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Hubble views stellar genesis in the Southern Pinwheel
The full beauty of nearby barred spiral galaxy M83 is unveiled in all of its glory in this Hubble Space Telescope mosaic image. he vibrant magentas and blues reveal the galaxy is ablaze with star formation.

Masculinity, sleep deprivation lead to health, safety issues
Economics and culture may have created a dangerously overworked and sleep-deprived segment of the American labor force, according to a Penn State researcher.

SHY hypothesis explains that sleep is the price we pay for learning
Why do animals ranging from fruit flies to humans all need to sleep?

Fair winds for UK aerodynamics and fluid mechanics research
A new National Wind Tunnel Facility that will keep the UK at the forefront of aerodynamic and fluid mechanics research was announced today by David Willetts, Minister for Science and Universities, as he toured the Honda wind tunnel facilities at Imperial College London.

Why is type 2 diabetes an increasing problem?
Why has natural selection not eliminated the common genetic variants associated with type 2 diabetes?

Acid mine drainage reduces radioactivity in fracking waste
Blending fracking wastewater with acid mine drainage causes most of the naturally radioactive metals in the fracking water to precipitate into a solid for disposal.

Biophysical Society Annual Meeting
The Biophysical Society has announced the speakers for the New & Notable Symposium, which will be held at the Society's 58th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

Researchers find comparable long-term outcomes between diastolic and systolic heart failure patients
A new study by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center found comparable long-term outcomes between congestive heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction commonly known as

Study of Nepalese pilgrims challenges diagnosis of acute mountain sickness
A study led by University of British Columbia scientists calls into question a widely used method of diagnosing acute mountain sickness.

NIH-funded scientists develop mouse model for atopic dermatitis
A study reports the development of a new mouse model for atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disorder commonly known as eczema.

Unravelling the web of a cosmic creeply-crawly
This new Hubble image is the best-ever view of a cosmic creepy-crawly known as the Tarantula Nebula, a region full of star clusters, glowing gas, and dark dust.

Innovative motion evaluation tool saves patients with back pain X-ray radiation exposure
Those have undergone extensive back surgery and need repeated X-rays to monitor their progress may soon have access to a new technology that skips the X-rays and repeated radiation exposure, opting instead for an innovative, noninvasive, non-X-ray device that evaluates spinal movement, according to a paper in the current special issue of Technology and Innovation -- Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.

New study shows promise for preventing therapy resistance in tumor cells
A new study led by University of Kentucky researchers suggests that activating the tumor suppressor p53 in normal cells causes them to secrete Par-4, another potent tumor suppressor protein that induces cell death in cancer cells.

UC San Francisco and Quest Diagnostics launch collaboration to advance the field of precision medicine
Quest Diagnostics, the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services, and the University of California, San Francisco, the nation's leading university focused exclusively on health, have formed a collaboration to accelerate the translation of biomedical research into advanced diagnostics in the field of precision medicine.

Minimalistic raiding parties of a slave-hunting ant crack castles
A group of scientists from the University of Mainz and the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Goerlitz, headed by Susanne Foitzik and Bernhard Seifert, recently described a new slave-making ant species from the eastern USA.

A new pathway for neuron repair is discovered
A brand-new pathway for neuron repair has been discovered that could have implications for faster and improved healing after nerve damage.

Targeting certain kidney cells may help treat kidney failure
Putative kidney progenitor cells contribute to kidney function decline by causing kidney scarring.

When charitable acts are 'tainted' by personal gain
We tend to perceive a person's charitable efforts as less moral if the do-gooder reaps a reward from the effort, according to new research published in Psychological Science.

Loss of large carnivores poses global conservation problem
In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, dingoes, wolves, otters, and bears is changing the face of landscapes from the tropics to the Arctic -- but an analysis of 31 carnivore species published today in the journal Science shows for the first time how threats such as habitat loss, persecution by humans and loss of prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore decline.

Surprising new class of 'hypervelocity stars' discovered escaping the galaxy
An international team of astronomers has discovered a surprising new class of

A good outcome for the CHILD-INNOVAC project: Successful test in humans of a nasal vaccine against pertussis
The CHILD-INNOVAC European research programme, coordinated by Inserm, has enabled the development of an innovative vaccine that can be administered intranasally, to combat pertussis, which has shown a resurgence in developed countries in recent years.

Stem cells injected into nerve guide tubes repair injured peripheral nerve
When autologous, skin-derived stem cells were transplanted within collagen nerve guide tubes aimed at bridging gaps in damaged nerves, into the upper arms of a patient who was suffering peripheral nerve damage, the procedure successfully led to the rescue of peripheral nerves.

Indigenous groups more vulnerable in the fight against flu
Researchers at the University of Melbourne have discovered that some Indigenous groups will be more susceptible to the effects of the new strain of influenza currently found in China.

Myotonic dystrophy disrupts normal control of gene expression in the heart
Disruption of a transcription network controlled by MEF2 in heart tissue of people with myotonic dystrophy type 1 affects activity of the minute bits of genetic material called microRNAs responsible for fine-tuning expression of proteins.

T2 and collaborators announce discovery of novel clot structure biology enabled by T2HemoStat
Scientists from University of Pennsylvania and T2 Biosystems describe in Blood the discovery of a novel blood clot structure that could make stroke and heart attack victims less responsive to medications commonly used to break up harmful clots.

Mice exposed to retinoid deficiency in utero exhibit bronchial hyperresponsiveness as adults
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Wellington Cardoso and colleagues at the Boston University School of Medicine reveal that mice born to mothers with retinoid deficiency during pregnancy are at increased risk of developing airway hyperesponsiveness.

With instruments in space and on earth, NJIT solar experts monitor the massive solar storm
The first powerful

Virginia Tech engineer receives NSF grant to study Colorado flood effects on antibiotic resistance
Civil and environmental engineer Amy Pruden, a 2006 National Science Foundation CAREER award recipient as well as a 2007 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering honoree, has garnered a new NSF grant to study the recent Colorado flood's effect on antibiotic resistance genes.

Report answers questions about the human microbiome and its role in health, obesity
The human microbiome, the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body, is not random, and scientists believe that it plays a role in many basic life processes.

Does ObamaCare cause psychological distress among US adults?
New research published in Stress & Health explores the psychological relationship between patients and health insurance coverage, finding that adults with private or no health insurance coverage experience lower levels of psychological distress than those with public coverage.

Joslin researchers determine hormone linked to improved glucose metabolism activates browning of fat
Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center have discovered that a hormone long associated with weight loss and improved glucose metabolism is linked to activation of calorie-burning brown fat.

Living on islands makes animals tamer
A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside and other universities has found that island lizards are

Novel biomarker approach suggests new avenues to improve schizophrenia disease management
Environmental effects of events such as oxygen deprivation and infections may be preserved as markers in blood that are associated to schizophrenia, according to an international study led by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy's Center for Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine.

Microalgae and aquatic plants can help to decrease radiopollution in the Fukushima area
After a huge earthquake caused severe damage to the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, Japanese plant scientists have been working to determine the impact of radioactive contamination on wild and cultivated plants.

Inappropriate antibiotic use in emergency rooms not decreasing in adults
An analysis of emergency room visits over a 10-year period finds that while inappropriate antibiotic use is decreasing in pediatric settings, it continues to remain a problem in adults, according to an article published ahead of print in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Moderate coffee consumption does not lead to dehydration
New research, published today in PLOS ONE, has found no evidence for a link between moderate coffee consumption and dehydration.

Ahoy! First ocean vesicles spotted
Scientists discover extracellular vesicles produced by ocean microbes.

American Chemical Society launches Sustainable Food toolkit
As the world's population swells beyond 10 billion people later this century, what can we do to sustain the farmland, energy and water supplies needed to keep everyone fed?

Scientists uncover new target for brain cancer treatment
A new study is giving researchers hope that novel targeted therapies can be developed for glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer, after demonstrating for the first time that a gene known as melanoma differentiation associated gene-9/syntenin (mda-9/syntenin) is a driving force behind the disease's aggressive and invasive nature.

The human Y chromosome is not likely to disappear
Is the male Y chromosome at risk of being lost?

Free public education that pays for itself?
Education funding, particularly at university level, is tighter than ever under current austerity measures.

Study dispels theories of Y chromosome's demise
UC Berkeley population geneticists compared the Y chromosomes of eight African and eight European men to understand why the chromosome is so puny.

Fusion instabilities lessened by unexpected effect
Introducition of a secondary, weaker magnetic field into a fusion experiment at Sandia's Z machine unexpectedly reduced the plasma disturbance that customarily sinks fusion efforts.

High costs of research at universities made worse by funding gap
Although more opportunity exists for university-based researchers to be innovative, and there is more financial support for innovation than ever before, the cost of university research is rising to new levels and presents a serious funding problem, according to the authors of a paper appearing in the current special issue of Technology and Innovation -- Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors.

Improved regulations to protect human research subjects would reduce burden on IRBs while better protecting study participants
Proposed updates to federal regulations that protect human research subjects need additional clarification when applied to the social and behavioral sciences, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Cancer drug protects against diabetes
New research shows that low doses of a cancer drug protect against the development of type 1 diabetes in mice.

With $1.6 million award, biochemist tackles diabetes
Wolfgang Peti, a biochemist who studies the structure, motions, and interactions of proteins at the atomic scale, has won an American Diabetes Association award to apply his expertise to type 2 diabetes, an epidemic that has touched his family.

New clues to how bacteria evade antibiotics
Scientists have made an important advance in understanding how a subset of bacterial cells escape being killed by many antibiotics.

Paper predicts a future without carnivores would be truly scary
A fascinating paper released today from a team of leading scientists, including Dr.

Mass. General research could expand availability of hand, face transplants
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have made an important step towards greater availability of hand transplants, face transplants and other transplants involving multiple types of tissue.

LSUHSC research reveals structure of master regulator and new drug target for autism, cervical cancer
A team of scientists at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans has discovered the structure of the active form of E6-associated protein (E6AP), an enzyme that acts as a master regulator, controlling functions like the ability of nerve cells to

Battery development may extend range of electric cars
Electric cars could travel farther on a single charge and more renewable energy could be saved for a rainy day if lithium-sulfur batteries can last longer.

La Jolla Institute scientist identifies pivotal cellular protein underlying eczema
Researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology have revealed a critical player in the cellular interactions leading to eczema -- a chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting more than 14 million US children and adults.

Hubble probes interior of Tarantula Nebula
Like lifting a giant veil, the near-infrared vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope uncovers a dazzling new view deep inside the Tarantula Nebula.

Researchers develop tool to determine individual risk of prostate cancer overdiagnosis
Studies have found that prostate cancer is overdiagnosed in up to 42 percent of cases, prompting men to receive unnecessary treatment that can cause devastating side effects, including impotence and incontinence.

Engineered anti-toxin antibodies improve efficacy
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Jeffrey Ravetch and colleagues at the Rockefeller University demonstrate that engineering the Fc domain of anti-toxin antibodies increases toxin neutralization activity through enhancing the interaction between toxin-targeting antibodies and the Fc receptor on immune cells.

Lions are critically endangered in West Africa
A report published today concludes that the African lion is facing extinction across the entire West African region.

Mystery solved: How nerve impulse generators get where they need to go
Scientists have solved a longstanding mystery of the central nervous system, showing how a key protein gets to the right spot to launch electrical impulses that enable communication of nerve signals to and from the brain.

Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis
Light-gathering macromolecules in plant cells transfer energy by taking advantage of molecular vibrations whose physical descriptions have no equivalents in classical physics, according to the first unambiguous theoretical evidence of quantum effects in photosynthesis published today in the journal Nature Communications.

Marine tubeworms need nudge to transition from larvae state
Biofouling is the process by which barnacles, muscles, oysters, and tubeworms accumulate on the bottom of boats and other surfaces.

Many men start testosterone therapy without clear medical need
Although testosterone use has sharply increased among older men in the past decade, many patients appear to have normal testosterone levels and do not meet the clinical guidelines for treatment, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Alpha-1 project commissions UMass Medical School to develop Alpha-1 protein antibody
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have been commissioned by the Alpha-1 Project to develop a PiZ antibody.

First clinical study of new gene therapy shows promise for reducing motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease
A new triple gene therapy called ProSavin might safely improve motor function in Parkinson's patients by reprogramming brain cells to produce dopamine -- a chemical essential for the proper control of movement -- according to a phase 1/2 trial published in The Lancet.

A galaxy with 2 hearts
This new Hubble image shows the spiral galaxy Messier 83, otherwise known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy.

Researchers discover how vascular disease activates autoimmune disorders
The hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, that can lead to heart attack. has also been linked to autoimmune disorders.

Minorities and poor have more advanced thyroid cancers when diagnosed, UCLA study shows
UCLA researchers have found that minority patients and those of lower socioeconomic status are far more likely to have advanced thyroid cancer when they are diagnosed with the disease than white patients and those in higher economic brackets.

'Transformational leadership' curbs bad attitudes towards change
It's no surprise that a cynical attitude towards the prospect of change makes change harder to implement.

EU policy is driving up demand for pollination faster than honeybee numbers
A new study indicates that demand for pollination services has risen five times as fast as the number of colonies across Europe.

Harvard scientists control cells following transplantation, from the inside out
Harvard stem cells scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and MIT can now engineer cells that are more easily controlled following transplantation, potentially making cell therapies, hundreds of which are currently in clinical trials across the United States, more functional and efficient.

NSF CAREER award focuses on increasing numbers of engineers entering the work force
National Science Foundation CAREER award recipient Denise Simmons of Virginia Tech has a goal to become a global leader in research that broadens the participation of students completing engineering degrees, ultimately increasing the numbers entering the technological workforce.

Red blood cells take on many-sided shape during clotting
Red blood cells are the body's true shape shifters, perhaps the most malleable of all cell types.

Some motor proteins cooperate better than others
A study at Rice University analyzes how teams of molecular motor proteins cooperate as they move cargoes around living cells.

War elephant myths debunked by DNA
Through DNA analysis, Illinois researchers have disproved decades of rumors and hearsay surrounding the ancient Battle of Raphia, the only known battle between Asian and African elephants.

Antipsychotic drug exhibits cancer-fighting properties
In a prime example of finding new uses for older drugs, studies in zebrafish show that a 50-year-old antipsychotic medication called perphenazine can actively combat the cells of a difficult-to-treat form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Spinal cord findings could help explain origins of limb control
Northwestern University researchers have found that the spinal cord circuits that produce body bending in swimming fish are more complicated than previously thought.

National Academy of Inventors 2013 Conference showcased global innovation
The current special issue of Technology and Innovation- Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors is devoted to presentations from the Second Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors hosted by the University of South Florida, last Feb.

Novel potential approach to prevent infection in patients with liver failure
Findings published in the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases journal, Hepatology, indicate that infection, the commonest cause of mortality in patients with acute liver failure (ALF), may be decreased by inhibiting the activity of a protein found in saliva called SLPI (secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor).

Iconic Australasian trees found as fossils in South America
Today in Australia they call it Kauri, in Asia they call it Dammar, and in South America it does not exist at all unless planted there; but 52 million years ago the giant coniferous evergreen tree known to botanists as Agathis thrived in the Patagonian region of Argentina, according to an international team of paleobotanists, who have found numerous fossilized remains there.

Remission from depression much slower in adults who were abused in childhood
Remission from depression is delayed in adults who have experienced childhood physical abuse or parental addictions, a new study by University of Toronto researchers has found.

Eye-catching electronics
Researchers at ETH Zurich are developing electronic components that are thinner and more flexible than before.

JCI early table of contents for Jan. 9, 2014
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Jan.

Newly published survey shows drug shortages still have major impact on patient care
According to newly published results from a survey of pharmacy directors, drug shortages remain a serious problem for patient safety.

Big data: A method for obtaining large, phylogenomic data sets
Scientists have developed a new method to obtain large, phylogenomic data sets utilizing long-range PCR to strategically generate DNA templates for next-generation sequencing.

Penn research helps lay out theory for metamaterials that act as an analog computer
A new study shows that metamaterials can be designed to do

Prediction of the future flu virus
The differences in the seasonal flu usually result from point mutations in the influenza virus genes, while major pandemics are often connected to profound genetic shifts known as reassortments.

Study shows large carnivore numbers and range declining worldwide
New research co-written by University of Montana scientists finds steep declines in the worldwide populations and habitat range of 31 large carnivore species.

New study: US power plant emissions down
Power plants that use natural gas and a new technology to squeeze more energy from the fuel release far less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than coal-fired power plants do, according to a new analysis accepted for publication Jan.

ORNL-UT researchers invent 'sideways' approach to 2-D hybrid
Researchers have pioneered a new technique for forming a two-dimensional, single-atom sheet of two different materials with a seamless boundary.

Unfit, lean people are better protected against heart attacks than fit, obese people
In a study published in the European Heart Journal, a research team at Umea University, Sweden, has shown that physical fitness in your teens can reduce the risk of heart attack later in life, while men who are fit and obese in their teens run a higher risk of having a heart attack than unfit, lean men.

UNC research demonstrates 'guided missile' strategy to kill hidden HIV
Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have deployed a potential new weapon against HIV -- a combination therapy that targets HIV-infected cells that standard therapies cannot kill.

Europe to suffer from more severe and persistent droughts
As Europe is battered by storms, new research reminds us of the other side of the coin.

Genetic testing to produce more offspring
A small anomaly with massive consequences: Researchers have discovered a genetic defect that makes breeding bulls infertile.

SF State astronomers discover new planet in Pisces constellation
A team led by SF State astronomer Stephen Kane has discovered a new giant planet located in a star system within the Pisces constellation.

Prisoners believe they are just as law abiding as non-prisoners
The belief that we consider ourselves better than our peers holds true to convicted criminals as well.

Maternal stress hormones and maternal smoking increase daughter's risk of nicotine dependence
Tobacco smoking by pregnant women has long been viewed as a public health risk because of smoking's adverse effects on the development of a fetus.

Discovery may aid vaccine design for common form of malaria
A form of malaria common in India, Southeast Asia and South America attacks human red blood cells by clamping down on the cells with a pair of proteins, new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Kids have skewed view of gender segregation
Children believe the world is far more segregated by gender than it actually is, implies a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Rewiring stem cells
A new technique for determining what causes stem cells to convert into other cell types could revolutionize our understanding of how genes function. 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