Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 14, 2014
Partnership between PETA, Simulab and surgeons brings $1 million in simulators to 9 countries
A first-of-its-kind collaboration between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Seattle-based medical simulation manufacturer Simulab, and trauma surgeons in nine countries is saving animals and modernizing medical training in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Illinois study identifies 3 risk factors most highly correlated with child obesity
A University of Illinois study has identified the three most significant risk factors for child obesity among preschoolers: (1) inadequate sleep, (2) a parental BMI that classifies the mom or dad as overweight or obese, and (3) parental restriction of a child's eating in order to control his weight.

Physical reason for chromosome shape discovered
Researchers from the UAB have determined why metaphase chromosomes have their characteristic elongated cylindrical shape.

Do cultural differences determine outcome of our activities?
A generally held assumption in various academic disciplines is that the way people perform various everyday activities -- walking, swimming, carrying loads, etc.

Potential future data storage at domain boundaries
Storing more and more in an ever-smaller space -- what sounds impossible is in fact just part of the daily routine in information technology, where for decades, increasing amounts of data have been successfully stored on media with ever higher densities.

Wild sparrow study traces social behaviors in the field to specific gene
A unique study of the white-throated sparrow has identified a biological pathway connecting variation in the birds' aggression and parenting behaviors in the wild to variation in their genome.

New research on sauropod gigantism summarized in publicly available collection
Dr. Eva Maria Griebeler of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has now shown that the hypothesis is inaccurate that their body size was limited only because the associated rise in body temperature could have resulted in potential overheating.

Andrew Sessler wins Fermi Award
President Obama has named Andrew Sessler, award-winning theoretical physicist, acclaimed humanitarian, and former director of Berkeley Lab, as a recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award, the government's oldest and most prestigious prizes for scientific achievement.

Alcohol consumption is a necessary cause of nearly 80,000 deaths per year in the Americas
A new study published in the scientific journal Addiction by the Pan American Health Organization, a branch of the World Health Organization, has measured the number and pattern of deaths caused by alcohol consumption in 16 North and Latin American countries.

Top scientists ask UN leaders to act on nuclear weapons, climate change
The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists today called on the United States and Russia to restart negotiations on reducing their nuclear arsenals, to lower alert levels for their nuclear weapons, and to scrap their missile defense programs.

Natural selection can favor 'irrational' behavior
It seems paradoxical that a preference for which of two houses to buy could depend on another, inferior, house -- but researchers at the University of Bristol have identified that seemingly irrelevant alternatives can, and should, influence choices.

Educated black men remembered as 'whiter'
A new study out today in SAGE Open finds that instead of breaking stereotypes, intellectually successful black individuals may be susceptible to being remembered as

New patent mapping system helps find innovation pathways
A new patent mapping system that considers how patents cite one another may help researchers better understand the relationships between technologies -- and how they may come together to spur disruptive new areas of innovation.

Geriatric health professionals experience added burden when caring for own family members
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers from Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine have found that in addition to the well-known burdens of caring for an older family member, a further set of complex stressors is imposed on geriatric health care professionals serving in this capacity.

Cell division discovery could offer fresh insight into cancer
New findings on how the cells in our bodies are able to renew themselves could aid our understanding of health disorders, including cancer.

Innovative handheld mineral analyzer -- 'the first of its kind'
University of Leicester academic Dr. Graeme Hansford to develop inventive new device in collaboration with Bruker Elemental.

Research for HerTM, an online clinical research registry, honored with distinguished national award
Research for HerTM, a Cedars-Sinai online medical research database aimed at increasing women's participation in clinical studies, received the 2013 Award for Excellence from the Health Improvement Institute for its user-friendly electronic consent form.

Dance and virtual reality: A promising treatment for urinary incontinence in elderly women
Virtual reality, dance and fun are not the first things that come to mind when we think of treating urinary incontinence in senior women.

Risk of transient breathing difficulties in newborns of mothers on antidepressants
Infants of expectant mothers who take antidepressant drugs, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during late pregnancy are at an increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) finds a study published on today.

Patients with multiple sclerosis in Taiwan may be at increased risk of developing cancer
Individuals with multiple sclerosis may have an increased risk of developing any type of cancer, with an especially high risk of developing breast cancer.

Gene variation associated with brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment
The presence of a gene variant in people with mild cognitive impairment is associated with accelerated rates of brain atrophy, according to a new study.

Bald reef gets new growth with seaweed transplant
Marine ecologists in Sydney have successfully restored a once thriving seaweed species, which vanished along a stretch of the city's coastline during the 1970s and 80s during high levels of sewage outfalls.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Colin coming 'unwound'
Tropical Cyclone Colin is not as tightly wrapped as it was a day ago.

Research shows early promise of new drug for cancers caused by viruses
Christopher Parsons, M.D., Director of the HIV Malignancies Program at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, is the senior author of a paper that is the first to report that specialized fat (lipid) molecules, called sphingolipids, play a key role in the survival of aggressive lymphomas caused by viruses.

First farmers and stockbreeders painted with the same pigments that their hunters ancestors
A team involving researchers from the Spanish National Research Council has analyzed, for the first time, two cave figures of rock shelters located in the archaeological ensemble of Minateda, in Hellin (Albacete).

Researchers suggest risk of cervical or vaginal cancer higher in women previously treated for pre-cancerous cells on cervix
Women previously treated for abnormal cells on the cervix (CIN3 or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3) are at an increased risk of developing and dying from cervical or vaginal cancer compared with the general female population, and this risk accelerates above age 60, a paper published today on suggests.

Younger people have 'high definition' memories
It's not that younger people are able to remember more than older people.

Research targets 'holy grail' of catalysis
Methane, the main component of natural gas, is cheap and plentiful, thanks in large part to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

New breast cancer stem cell findings explain how cancer spreads
Breast cancer stem cells exist in two different states and each state plays a role in how cancer spreads, according to an international collaboration of researchers.

Screening helps prevent cervical cancer in older women
New research from Queen Mary University of London reveals women over the age of 50 who don't attend cervical screening are four times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer in later life.

Study: CT scans could bolster forensic database to ID unidentified remains
A study from North Carolina State University finds that data from CT scans can be incorporated into a growing forensic database to help determine the ancestry and sex of unidentified remains.

Little but lethal -- small RNAs coordinate bacterial attack on epithelial cells
Two small RNAs working in concert enable the deadly enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli 0157:H7 to attach to and initiate infection in epithelial cells that line the digestive tract, according to a study published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

What makes superalloys super -- hierarchical microstructure of a superalloy
Materials in high-performance turbines have to withstand not only powerful mechanical forces, they also have to maintain their chemical and mechanical properties almost up to their melting points.

Prevalence of hepatitis C infection found to vary widely among Hispanics
The first study of hepatitis C infection among different Hispanic groups in the US has found that infection with the virus varies widely, with Puerto Rican Hispanics much more likely than other groups to be infected.

Regenstrief and IU review finds lack of delirium screening in the emergency department
About one in 10 older adults seen in hospital emergency departments in US experiences delirium, but this acute change in mental status is often not recognized.

Study indicates the potential of new tests in long-term diabetes complications
Monitoring glucose levels is imperative for diabetes patients, but for some the standard Hemoglobin A1c test is not valid.

Loyola study provides guidance on drug holidays from popular osteoporosis treatments
Doctors commonly recommend drug holidays, or breaks, from certain osteoporosis drugs due to the risks associated with these treatments.

Mitochondrial genes matter!
Contrary to common belief, mitochondrial genes seem to matter for how well individuals survive and reproduce.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research announces its 2014 award recipients
The International Society for Stem Cell Research has announced the following 2014 award recipients: Azim Surani, Ph.D., Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, for the McEwen Award for Innovation; Valentina Greco, Ph.D., Yale University, for the ISSCR-BD Biosciences Outstanding Young Investigator Award; Paolo Bianco, M.D., Sapienza University of Rome, Elena Cattaneo, Ph.D., University of Milan and Michele De Luca, M.D., University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, for the ISSCR Public Service Award.

Breast cancer cells disguise themselves as neurons to cause brain tumors
Too often, breast cancer cells are discovered growing as new tumors within the brain.

World's tiniest drug cabinets could be attached to cancerous cells for long term treatment
As if being sick weren't bad enough, there's also the fear of frequent injections, side effects and overdosing on you medication.

Calling all girls: Coding is cool!
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, in a partnership with other local universities and industry support groups, is launching a non-profit collaborative community program aimed at encouraging and educating young women to learn and apply computing skills.

Queen's University in €1.6M bid to develop new animal doping test
Scientists at Queen's University Belfast and the Irish Equine Centre are to develop a new way to test for illegal drugs used in horses and cattle.

What your candles and TV screen have in common
The next time you light a candle and switch on your television ready for a relaxing evening at home, just think.

Georgia Tech researchers reveal phrases that pay on Kickstarter
As part of their study of more than 45,000 projects on Kickstarter, Georgia Tech researchers reveal dozens of phrases that pay and a few dozen more that may signal the likely failure of a crowd-sourced effort.

American Chemical Society podcast: Small dams create greenhouse gas 'hot spots'
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series questions the

Follow-up tests improve colorectal cancer recurrence detection
Among patients who had undergone curative surgery for primary colorectal cancer, the screening methods of computed tomography and carcinoembryonic antigen each provided an improved rate of surgical treatment of cancer recurrence compared with minimal follow-up, although there was no advantage in combining these tests, according to a study in the Jan.

Fish derived serum omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
High concentrations of serum long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a University of Eastern Finland study published recently in Diabetes Care.

A brief visit to a neighborhood induces the social attitudes of that neighborhood
Spending as little as 45 minutes in a high-crime, deprived neighborhood can have measurable effects on people's trust in others and their feelings of paranoia.

Social experience drives empathetic, pro-social behavior in rats
Empathy-driven behavior has been observed in rats who will free trapped companions from restrainers.

Muscle-strengthening and conditioning in women associated with reduced risk of diabetes
Aerobic exercise is known to prevent type 2 diabetes, and muscle-strengthening alone or in combination with aerobic exercise improves diabetic control among those with diabetes.

Cervical screening up to age 69 may prevent cervical cancer in older women
A study published this week in PLOS Medicine suggests that screening women for cervical cancer beyond age 50 clearly saves lives, and also that there are benefits for women with normal (negative) screening results to continue screening up to the age of 69 years.

Scientists show how insulin-producing cells may fail in diabetes, how they might someday be restored
Two new studies led by UC San Francisco scientists shed new light on the nature of beta cells, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas that are compromised in diabetes.

Microbes swap for tiny goods in minuscule markets, researchers find
A closer look at microbes reveals there is big business going on in their very small world, and sometimes we are part of the transaction.

ERC funds IIASA crowdsourcing project
The European Research Council has awarded a highly competitive Consolidator Grant to Steffen Fritz, leader and creator of IIASA's citizen science project, Geo-Wiki.

Should we make a film that audiences enjoy or nab an Oscar nomination?
Two UCLA sociologists analyzed 25 years worth of data on mainstream cinema and discovered that makers of movies likely to appeal to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences face the same risk and reward structure as lobbyists who contribute to political candidates in the hopes of getting favorable treatment when laws are written or pork doled out.

Bacterial 'syringe' necessary for marine animal development
Bacterial biofilms serve a vital purpose, flagging suitable homes for some marine organisms and actually aiding the transformation of larvae to adults.

In dyslexia, less brain tissue not to blame for reading difficulties
In people with dyslexia, less gray matter in the brain has been linked to reading disabilities, but now new evidence suggests this is a consequence of poorer reading experiences and not the root cause of the disorder.

How a scorpion gets its sting
The study provides the first functional evidence for an evolutionary connection between insect defensins and scorpion α-KTxs, and how one small genetic mutation leads to a new protein function to give scorpions their deadly sting.

Researchers identify key components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have identified key molecular components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles in Neurospora crassa, providing insights that could lead to improved disease treatments and drug delivery.

Brain structure shows who is most sensitive to pain
Everybody feels pain differently, and brain structure may hold the clue to these differences.

UNC researchers harness sun's energy during day for use at night
Tom Meyer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has overcome one of the greatest challenges in solar energy: storing the energy from the sun to use at night.

Argonne scientists discover new pathway for artificial photosynthesis
Currently, the most efficient methods that we have of making fuel -- principally hydrogen -- from sunlight and water involve rare and expensive metal catalysts, like platinum.

Mindfulness helps undergraduates stay on track
A form of mental training called mindfulness training, specifically designed for undergraduate students, shows promise as a tool to train attention and improve learning during the academic semester, according to a new study by a team of University of Miami researchers.

Molecular nano-spies to make light work of disease detection
A world of cloak-and-dagger pharmaceuticals has come a step closer with the development of stealth compounds programmed to spring into action when they receive the signal.

Patients with mild hyperglycemia and genetic mutation have low prevalence of vascular complications
Despite having mild hyperglycemia for approximately 50 years, patients with a mutation in the gene encoding the enzyme glucokinase had a low prevalence of clinically significant vascular complications, findings that provide insights into the risks associated with isolated mild hyperglycemia, according to a study in the Jan.

More than meets the eye
Most of the time your brain doesn't perform as well as it could when it has to multitask.

IOF-ESCEO congress will focus on advances in the management of musculoskeletal diseases
Held annually, the IOF-ESCEO World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases is jointly organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis.

Does high uric acid predispose diabetic patients to kidney disease?
A study newly awarded by the National Institutes of Health will look at whether lowering uric acid levels can prevent people with type 1 diabetes from needing hemodialysis or kidney transplant.

ROI awards Malolan Rajagopalan, M.D., grant to develop website and app to track RT toxicity
The Radiation Oncology Institute has selected Malolan S. Rajagopalan, M.D., a radiation oncology resident at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, to receive a $20,000 grant for a project to compile best practices regarding the management of radiation therapy toxicity.

NASA sees rainfall from System 94S over Australia's Arnhem region
The low pressure area designated as System 94S has been trying to organize off the northern coast of Australia's Northern Territory for a couple of days.

Vanderbilt study reveals senses of sight and sound separated in children with autism
Like watching a foreign movie that was badly dubbed, children with autism spectrum disorders have trouble integrating simultaneous information from their eyes and their ears, according to a Vanderbilt study published today in the Journal of Neuroscience.

New report looks at how states' restrictions on ACA implementation are affecting access
The first study to gauge the impact of state restrictions on the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act indicates that community health centers across the country are engaged in an intensive effort to find and enroll eligible and uninsured patients and community residents.

Story of human regeneration wins international physics journalism prize
This year's IOP-STFC Physics Journalism Prize has been awarded to Cynthia Graber for her feature

Seafloor, sea-level, shear zones, subduction, sedimentation, and seismology
Geology adds 19 new articles online, covering locations in China, the Atacama Desert, the Himalaya, Kilauea volcano, Australia, the Mediterranean basin, the Gulf of California, the southern Andes, the Gulf of Cadiz, the northern Red Sea, and offshore Japan.

Short circuit in molecular switch intensifies pain
While searching for novel painkillers, researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium came to the surprising conclusion that some candidate drugs actually increase pain.

United Way partners with Rutgers University-Newark on study of ALICE population
United Way is partnering with Rutgers University-Newark to study the ALICE population in five states. 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