Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 21, 2014
Large amounts of folic acid shown to promote growth of breast cancer in rats
Folic acid supplements at levels consumed by breast cancer patients and survivors in North America promoted the growth of existing breast cancer in rats, new research found.

Hedges and edges help pigeons learn their way around
Homing pigeons' ability to remember routes depends on the complexity of the landscape below, with hedges and boundaries between urban and rural areas providing ideal landmarks for navigation.

TU Delft Library and IOS Press sign agreement on Open Access books Delft authors
TU Delft Library and IOS Press have signed an agreement to publish at least 10 Open Access (OA) books -- as ebooks -- by authors affiliated with TU Delft.

Study could lead to 'liquid biopsy' tests for bladder cancer
Findings from a Loyola University Medical Center study ultimately could lead to tests to screen for and diagnose bladder cancer.

9 and 60 ways of particle tracking
The article published in Nature Methods describes a contest for the best technique of intracellular particle tracking.

Princeton model anticipates ecological impacts of human responses to climate
When humans transform land, large ecological impacts follow, but few studies have examined their effects.

New avenue to treat diabetes-related vision problems
Dopamine-restoring drugs already used to treat Parkinson's disease may also be beneficial for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in adults.

Got milk? Evolutionary connection between milk drinking, lactose digestion, and sunlight
Oddný Sverrisdóttir, and colleagues looked for the mutation that causes lactase persistence in Europeans (referred to as -13,910*T) in the bones of early farmers from sunny Spain.

Study finds decreased life expectancy for multiple sclerosis patients
The first large scale study in the US on the mortality of patients with multiple sclerosis has been published and provides new information about the life expectancy of people with the disease.

New web-based course to prevent excessive weight gain may improve health in young adults
Young adults, aged 18 to 25, are at high risk for weight gain.

Cancer diagnosis doesn't increase a child's risk of post-traumatic stress disorder
A St. Jude Children's Research Hospital study found that despite being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, childhood cancer patients are no more likely than their healthy peers to develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

NASA still watching an amazingly stubborn, strong tropical low: System 94S
The tropical low pressure area known as System 94S continues to soak Australia and NASA satellites continue to track its movements.

Not safe at home
Tag plays at home plate have the highest injury rate in professional baseball, occurring 4.3 times more often than other base-running plays, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Study: Electric drive vehicles have little impact on US pollutant emissions
A new study from North Carolina State University indicates that even a sharp increase in the use of electric drive passenger vehicles by 2050 would not significantly reduce emissions of high-profile air pollutants carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides.

NREL model licensed to improve accuracy of battery simulations
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has licensed its Equivalent Circuit Battery Model to software developer ThermoAnalytics for use in its recently updated RadTherm software package.

Are anti-poaching efforts repeating the mistakes of the 'war on drugs'?
Illegal poaching, fueled by the demand for alternative

Mayo Clinic scientists propose a breast cancer drug for bladder cancer patients
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found amplification of HER2, a known driver of some breast cancers, in a type of bladder cancer called micropapillary urothelial carcinoma (MPUC) and have shown that the presence of HER2 amplification is associated with particularly aggressive tumors.

No-till soybean fields give (even some rare) birds a foothold in Illinois
Researchers report in a new study that several bird species -- some of them relatively rare -- are making extensive use of soybean fields in Illinois.

Biomarkers in blood show potential as early detection method of pancreatic cancer
Researchers have identified diagnostic microRNA panels in whole blood that had the ability to distinguish, to some degree, patients with and without pancreatic cancer, according to a study in the Jan.

Older brains slow due to greater experience, rather than cognitive decline
What happens to our cognitive abilities as we age? Traditionally it is thought that age leads to a steady deterioration of brain function, but new research in Topics in Cognitive Science argues that older brains may take longer to process ever increasing amounts of knowledge, and this has often been misidentified as declining capacity.

Researchers model macroscale plasmonic convection to control fluid and particle motion
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new theoretical model that explains macroscale fluid convection induced by plasmonic (metal) nanostructures.

White, green or black roofs? Berkeley Lab report compares economic payoffs
Looking strictly at the economic costs and benefits of three different roof types -- black, white and

Ph.D. students in India, Ethiopia and Kenya to fight wheat stripe rust
Research to develop new tools that are affordable, accessible and sustainable, and without reaching for fungicides.

CU-built software uses big data to battle forgetting with personalized content review
Computer software similar to that used by online retailers to recommend products to a shopper can help students remember the content they've studied, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder.

Students remember more with personalized review, even after classes end
Struggling to remember information presented months earlier is a source of anxiety for students the world over.

New Penn index detects early signs of deviation from normal brain development
Researchers at Penn Medicine have generated a brain development index from MRI scans that captures the complex patterns of maturation during normal brain development.

Most high-risk cardiac devices in use today approved as modifications to previously-approved devices
. However, a new study from researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital shows that most cardiac implantable electronic devices used by physicians today were approved as changes, or

Genetic counseling via telephone as effective as in-person counseling
The demand for genetic counseling is rapidly increasing as genetic testing for susceptibility to a vast range of diseases is now available.

All FDA drug approvals not created equal
Many patients and physicians assume that the safety and effectiveness of newly approved drugs is well understood by the federal Food and Drug Administration -- but a new study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine shows that the clinical trials used by the federal Food and Drug Administration to approve new drugs between 2005 and 2012 vary widely in their thoroughness.

Depressive symptoms linked to adult-onset asthma in African-American women
According to a new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, African-American women who reported high levels of depressive symptoms had a greater likelihood of adult-onset asthma compared to women who reported fewer depressive symptoms.

2014 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine
The 2014 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine is awarded to the Italian biochemist Elena Conti, Director of the Department of Structural Cell Biology at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich (Germany) and to Denis Le Bihan, the French medical doctor, physicist and Director of NeuroSpin, an institute at the French Nuclear and Renewable Energy Commission at Saclay near Paris.

Staying cool in the nanoelectric universe by getting hot
As smartphones, tablets and other gadgets become smaller and more sophisticated, the heat they generate while in use increases.

Subterranean 'sedimentary bathtub' amplifies earthquakes
Like an amphitheater amplifies sound, the stiff, sturdy soil beneath the Greater Vancouver metropolitan area could greatly amplify the effects of an earthquake, pushing the potential devastation past what building codes in the region are prepared for.

UH researcher finds anonymity makes a difference with online comments
In a study titled,

'Love hormone' oxytocin carries unexpected side effect
Some psychologists are keen to prescribe oxytocin off-label, in order to treat mild social unease in those who don't suffer from a diagnosed disorder.

New transparent display system could provide heads-up data
Transparent displays have a variety of potential applications -- such as the ability to see navigation or dashboard information while looking through the windshield of a car or plane, or to project video onto a window or a pair of eyeglasses.

Pathogenic plant virus jumps to honeybees
A viral pathogen that typically infects plants has been found in honeybees and could help explain their decline.

Arctic warmth unprecedented in 44,000 years, reveals ancient moss
Using radiocarbon dating, new research in Geophysical Research Letters has calculated the age of relic moss samples that have been exposed by modern Arctic warming.

Salamanders help predict health of forest ecosystems and inform forest management
Ray Semlitsch, Curators' Professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri, determined that salamander population size reflects forest habitat quality and can predict how ecosystems recover from forest logging activity.

Reducing liver protein SIRT1 levels
A new study led by Boston University School of Medicine demonstrates that the abnormal metabolism linked to obesity could be regulated in part by the interaction of two metabolic regulators, called the NAD-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 and fibroblast growth factor 21.

ROI grants $200,000 to evaluate the value of RT and patient outcomes among lung cancer patients
The Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) has selected Christopher G. Slatore, M.D., an assistant professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Portland VA Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, and a leader in patient-centered lung cancer research, to receive a $200,000 award, distributed over two years, for a project to examine the comparative value of radiation therapy and patient outcomes among lung cancer patients.

Online comments can undermine anti-smoking PSAs
Commentary accompanying anti-smoking public service announcements (PSAs) in online forums like YouTube has an impact on the PSA's overall effectiveness.

Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Awards granted for pioneering ideas in cancer research
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation announced that six scientists with novel approaches to fighting cancer have been named 2014 recipients of the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award.

Mediterranean diet associated with lower risk of peripheral artery disease
A multicenter study that previously reported a reduction in heart attack and stroke with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or with nuts now also reports a lower risk of peripheral artery disease, according to a study in the Jan.

Obese children more susceptible to asthma from air pollution
Obese children exposed to high levels of air pollutants were nearly three times as likely to have asthma, compared with non-obese children and lower levels of pollution exposure, report researchers at Columbia University Medical Center.

Disadvantaged, non-college bound young adults at risk for excessive weight gain
Although weight gain intervention for young adults attending two- or four-year colleges has been studied extensively, there has been little research into effective weight management programs targeting low-income, non-college bound young adults.

Source of Galapagos eruptions is not where models place it
Images gathered by University of Oregon scientists using seismic waves penetrating to a depth of 300 kilometers have found an anomaly that likely is the volcanic mantle plume of the Galapagos Islands.

McMaster University researchers find fever-reducing medications may aid spread of influenza
New research from McMaster University has discovered that the widespread use of medications that contain fever-reducing drugs may lead to tens of thousands more influenza cases, and more than a thousand deaths attributable to influenza, each year across North America.

NREL working to clean air in fracking process
A microbe capable of digesting methane could save countless tons of greenhouse gas from reaching the atmosphere during the hydraulic fracturing process.

New sequencing tools give up close look at yeast evolution
Using next-generation sequencing, corresponding author Gianni Liti et. al. provide a detailed characterization of the genetic variation present within the baker's yeast species.

Main intestinal disease bacteria to be sequenced
The University of Liverpool is to decipher the genomes of the UK's main bacterial cause of food poisoning which results in over 21,000 hospital admissions and 100 deaths each year.

Miriam Hospital study links intimate partner violence and risk of HIV
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital and the University of Rochester have found a definitive link between violence among intimate partners and an increased risk of HIV infection.

Physicist honored by the Australian Academy of Science
Professor Geoff Pryde from Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics has been awarded the 2014 Pawsey Medal by the Australian Academy of Science.

International deal to screen potential cancer drugs using DNA 'barcodes'
An innovative screening technology that tags compounds with unique strands of DNA -- like barcodes -- will be used to assess up to a billion prototype drug molecules for anti-cancer activity, under a collaboration announced Jan.

Study: Possible new druggable target in Ewing's Sarcoma
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study, recently published in the journal Oncogene, shows that downstream from the oncogenic fusion of gene EWS with FLI1 is a signaling chain that includes microRNA-22 and the gene KDM3A.

Study: 'Icy' technique improves robotic kidney transplants
A collaboration of surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital and Medanta Hospital in India successfully transplanted kidneys into 50 recipients using an innovative robot-assisted procedure in which the organ is cooled with sterile ice during the operation.

The brain's RAM
Thousands of times a day, the brain stores sensory information for very short periods of time in a working memory, to be able to use it later.

Tropical cyclone lingling wraps up in Northwestern Pacific
After dropping rainfall that brought a number of casualties to the central and southern Philippines, the tropical cyclone known as Lingling, and locally as Agaton in the Philippines has finally wound down.

UM study finds wolf predation of cattle affects calf weight in Montana
A recent study by University of Montana faculty and graduate students found that wolf predation of cattle contributes to lower weight gain in calves on western Montana ranches.

Turkeys inspire smartphone-capable early warning system for toxins
UC Berkeley bioengineers looked to turkeys for inspiration when developing a new type of biosensor that changes color when exposed to chemical vapors.

Common blood cancer may be initiated by single mutation in bone cells
AML is a blood cancer, but for many patients the cancer may originate from an unusual source: a mutation in their bone cells.

How to improve HPV vaccination rates? It starts with physicians, Moffitt researchers say
The risk of developing cervical cancer can be significantly decreased through human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.

Cochrane Review of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine
Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is more effective than artemether-lumefantrine, and has fewer side effects than artesunate-mefloquine' concludes a systematic review published in the Cochrane Library today.

Curtin researchers to hide our splashes from sharks
Curtin University researchers will attempt to

Researcher proves mass important at nano-scale, matters in calculations and measurements
A University of Texas at Arlington engineering professor has proven that the effect of mass is important, can be measured and has a significant impact on any calculations and measurements at the sub-micrometer scale.

Predatory organisms at depth
In deep, old and nutrient-poor marine sediments there are up to 225 times more viruses than microbes.

Bigger (data) is better and can improve decision making
Too much information can be overwhelming, but when it comes to certain types of data that are used to build predictive models to guide decision making there is no such thing as too much data, according to an article in Big Data.

Mayo Clinic research finds risk of glaucoma blindness drops by half
A comparative long-range study by Mayo Clinic ophthalmology researchers shows that the probability of blindness from glaucoma 20 years after diagnosis has dropped by half in the last generation.

Virginia Tech researcher develops energy-dense sugar battery
A new sugar battery that could be on the market and powering the world's gadgets in three years has an energy density and order of magnitude higher than others.

Hospitals and nursing homes can learn much from hospice care
There is much value in training hospital and nursing home staff in the basics of palliative care to make the last days of a dying patient's life as comfortable and dignified as possible.

Lasting consequences of World War II means more illness, less education for survivors
A novel examination of the long-lasting consequences that World War II had on continental Europeans finds that living in a war-torn country increased the likelihood of suffering from a chronic disease later in life and reduced survivor's educational attainment.

Peekaboo... I see through!
A team from the MIT and Harvard departments of Physics, and the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, has developed a new approach to produce transparent projection screens.

Many CV devices approved by process that often does not require new clinical data
Many cardiac implantable electronic device models currently in use were approved via a Food and Drug Administration review process in which the models were assumed safe and effective based on approval of prior versions of the device, according to a study in the Jan.

Losing a family member in childhood associated with psychotic illness
Experiencing a family death in childhood is associated with a small but significant increase in risk of psychosis, suggests a paper published today on

Guys: Get married for the sake of your bones, but wait until you're 25
Researchers found evidence that men who married when they were younger than 25 had lower bone strength than men who married for the first time at a later age.

Live feed into our bodies
A device that can monitor the levels of specific drugs as they flow through the bloodstream may soon take the guesswork out of drug dosing and allow physicians to tailor prescriptions to their patients' specific biology.

How the genetic blueprints for limbs came from fish
Both fish and land animals possess clusters of Hoxa and Hoxd genes, which are necessary for both fin and limb formation during embryonic development.

Micropredators dictate occurrence of deadly amphibian disease
Researchers have made progress in understanding the distribution of the deadly amphibian chytrid pathogen.

Research backs more strategies for children with autism
The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders has released its much-anticipated update on evidence-based practices for children and youth with autism.

Probability of blindness from glaucoma has nearly halved
The probability of blindness due to the serious eye disease glaucoma has decreased by nearly half since 1980, according to a study published this month in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

3-D imaging provides window into living cells, no dye required
Living cells are ready for their close-ups, thanks to a new imaging technique that needs no dyes or other chemicals, yet renders high-resolution, three-dimensional, quantitative imagery of cells and their internal structures -- all with conventional microscopes and white light.

A 21st century adaptation of the Miller-Urey origin of life experiments
Today, January 21, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, published a modern approach to a famed experiment that explored one of the most intriguing research questions facing scientists today -- the origin of life on earth.

UT Austin engineer converts yeast cells into 'sweet crude' biofuel
A chemical engineer at The University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering has developed a new source of renewable energy -- a yeast cell-based platform for producing biodiesel, which he has dubbed

Book pulls appplications from abstract mathematics
In a new text on distributions, Wojbor Woyczynski and Alex Saichev show how to use the math to understand such things as light wave propagation in an optic cable, a smooth plane ride versus turbulence, how pesticides sprayed in a forest are spread when the forest is clear-cut, and more.

Great Lakes evaporation study dispels misconceptions, need for expanded monitoring program
The recent Arctic blast that gripped much of the nation will likely contribute to a healthy rise in Great Lakes water levels in 2014, new research shows.

Emergency treatment takes longer for heart attack victims during off-hours
More people die and emergency hospital treatment takes longer for heart attack victims who arrive at the hospital during off-hours (nights and weekends), compared with patients who arrive during regular daily hours, according to a Mayo Clinic study published online in the British Medical Journal on Jan.

Sedentary behavior and low physical activity linked to heart failure in men
Men who reported being sedentary with low levels of physical activity were at a significantly higher risk for heart failure than those who were more active, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

Exercising more, sitting less reduces heart failure risk in men
Increased sedentary time may be linked to greater heart failure risk, according to first study its kind.

Study finds 66 children a day treated in emergency departments for shopping cart-related injuries
Although a voluntary shopping cart safety standard was implemented in the United States in 2004, the overall number and rate of injuries to children associated with shopping carts have not decreased.

How the genetic blueprints for limbs came from fish
A study led by Denis Duboule shows that limbs emerged during evolution by modernisation of a preexisting DNA structure.

5 physicians honored for outstanding care of patients near the end of life
Five physicians who have distinguished themselves in advancing the practice of palliative care and modeling exemplary skill and compassion at the bedside have been named recipients of the 2014 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards.

New poll finds diabetes top health concern for Latino families
A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll was released today on the views of Latinos in America about their health and health care, communities, financial situation, and discrimination in their lives.

Elevated blood pressure at home but not in clinic can indicate increased heart attack risk
In an individual patient data meta-analysis of studies published before July 2013, Jan A Staessen and colleagues (University of Leuven, Belgium) found that patients with masked hypertension, or normal BP in clinic but elevated BP when measured at home, had an increased risk of death and cardiovascular events compared with those who had normal BP in both the clinic and at home.

Liquid crystal turns water droplets into 'gemstones,' Penn materials research shows
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College describe new research into a type of liquid crystal that dissolves in water rather than avoids it as do the oily liquid crystals found in displays.

Study demonstrates care managers in PCMHs increase improvements in diabetes patients
Patient centered medical homes have been found to be an effective way to help care for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Calcium absorption not the cause of evolution of milk digestion in Europeans
Ancient DNA from early Iberian farmers shows that the wideheld evolutionary hypothesis of calcium absorption was not the only reason Europeans evolved milk tolerance.

Desire to reproduce drives active nightlife of birds
A University of Illinois researcher who was studying birds' movement during the day noticed that males were active almost every night, while the females were active at night but particularly during the window of time when they were fertile.

High-protein diets, like the Dukan diet, increase the risk of developing kidney disease
An experiment by scientists at the University of Granada, Spain, shows a high-protein diet increases the chance of developing kidney stones and other renal diseases.

LA BioMed physician-researchers recognized as the nation's and the region's best doctors
Forty-two LA BioMed physician-researchers were honored as America's Top Doctors or Southern California Super Doctors.

Small elliptical exercise device may promote activity while sitting
People may be able to keep the weight off by using a compact elliptical device while sitting at a desk or watching TV, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Anti-swine flu vaccination linked to increased risk of narcolepsy in young adults
Pandemrix is an influenza vaccination, created in 2009 to combat H1N1, known as Swine Flu.

Fast eye movements: A possible indicator of more impulsive decision-making
Using a simple study of eye movements, Johns Hopkins scientists report evidence that people who are less patient tend to move their eyes with greater speed.

Researchers with Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have created e-whiskers -- highly sensitive tactile sensors made from carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles that should have a wide range of applications including advanced robotics, human-machine interfaces, and biological and environmental sensors.

Nothing to declare: Researchers find disclosure leads to avoiding conflicts of interest
Professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and financial advisers, face conflicts of interest (COIs) when they have a personal, and often financial, interest in giving biased advice.

X-ray diffraction technique 'maps' strain and crack propagation in metallic tubing
A team of researchers exploring the intergranular stress corrosion cracking of a type of metallic tubing used within nuclear power plants has developed a technique to both map and predict its propagation.

US food industry leaders to convene for health talks in Texas
People interested in healthy foods are invited to a day-long conference Feb.

Wide variation found in quality of evidence used by FDA for approval of new drugs
Clinical trials used by the Food and Drug Administration to approve new drugs between 2005 and 2012 vary widely in their characteristics, according to a study in the Jan.

SDSC and Leidos to help develop new cybersecurity reference architecture for electrical microgrids
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, is collaborating with Leidos (formerly Science Applications International Corporation) to develop a reference system architecture aimed at increasing security levels of microgrid control and IT systems used to manage electrical microgrids worldwide.

Long term exposure to air pollution linked to coronary events
Long term exposure to particulate matter in outdoor air is strongly linked to heart attacks and angina, and this association persists at levels of exposure below the current European limits, suggests research conducted at the Department of Epidemiology in Rome, Italy and published on today.

Analysis of salamander jump reveals an unexpected twist
A small, secretive creature with unlikely qualifications for defying gravity may hold the answer to an entirely new way of getting off the ground.

Researchers identify innate channel that protects against pain
Scientists have identified a channel present in many pain detecting sensory neurons that acts as a

Polar bear diet changes as sea ice melts
A series of papers recently published by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History indicates that at least some polar bears in the western Hudson Bay population are using flexible foraging strategies while on land, such as prey-switching and eating a mixed diet of plants and animals, as they survive in their rapidly changing environment.

New test targets salmonella
An array of tiny diving boards can perform the Olympian feat of identifying many strains of salmonella at once.

Study examines reasons for delay, denial of new drugs by FDA
Several potentially preventable deficiencies, including failure to select optimal drug doses and suitable outcome measures for a study, accounted for significant delays in the approval of new drugs by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a study in the Jan.

Deaths higher for heart attack patients at night and weekends
Mortality is higher, and emergency treatment takes longer, for heart attack patients who arrive at hospital during the night or at weekends compared with regular hours, finds a study published on today.

Combustion continues to draw researchers to space station
Fire continues to be a focus of study with the Burning and Suppression of Solids-II experiments, which recently launched to the International Space Station aboard the Orbital 1 cargo resupply mission. 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