Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 23, 2014
Molecules as circuits
With traditional technology, this miniaturization is hampered by the limits imposed by physics, but some have thought of using molecules as circuits.

Johns Hopkins scientists identify a key to body's use of free calcium
Scientists at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out a key step in how

Eurofins MWG Operon launches ion proton sequencing services with CSP certification
The leading NGS service company joins Life Technologies' global network of next generation-based exome sequencing provider.

2 proteins compete for 1 port on a growth factor; 1 promotes metastasis, the other blocks it
Consider two drivers, each with a key that fits the same car.

Even without a diagnosis, psychiatric symptoms affect work outcomes
Symptoms such as insomnia and emotional distress account for much of the work impact of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, reports a study in the February issue of Medical Care.

Would criminalizing guilty healthcare professionals improve patient care?
The UK government is considering whether to adopt a recommendation to introduce a new criminal sanction in cases where healthcare workers are

Evidence rapidly building on utility of ultrasound in areas other than cardiology
A paper in this month's edition of Global Heart -- the journal of the World Heart Federation -- says there is mounting evidence regarding the utility of ultrasound in areas outside its traditional field of cardiology, with increasing use reported in general hospital wards, clinics, and even pre-hospital environments.

Lab-grown, virus-free stem cells repair retinal tissue in mice
Investigators at Johns Hopkins report they have developed human induced-pluripotent stem cells capable of repairing damaged retinal vascular tissue in mice.

New microscopy technique improves imaging at the atomic scale
When capturing images at the atomic scale, even tiny movements of the sample can result in skewed or distorted images -- and those movements are virtually impossible to prevent.

NCCS scientists discover gene regulation is dependent on protein ANP32E
A team of scientists from the National Cancer Centre Singapore, the Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire (Strassbourg France), and the Institut Albert Bonniot (Grenoble, France) have made an important finding on how genes are regulated.

A time for memories
Neuroscientists from the University of Leicester, in collaboration with the Department of Neurosurgery at the University California Los Angeles, are to reveal details of how the brain determines the timing at which neurons in specific areas fire to create new memories.

Experiments show hypothesis of microtubule steering accurate
Tiny protein motors in cells can steer microtubules in the right direction through branching nerve cell structures, according to Penn State researchers who used laboratory experiments to test a model of how these cellular information highways stay organized in living cells.

Bats use water ripples to hunt frogs
As the male tungara frog serenades females from a pond, he creates watery ripples that make him easier to target by rivals and predators such as bats.

Better quality for bathroom mixers, tableware and artificial joints, at less cost
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a new machine vision system for quality control of glossy objects.

Mother's high-fat diet alters metabolism in offspring, leading to higher obesity risk
The offspring of obese mothers consuming a high-fat diet during pregnancy are at a higher risk than the children of thin mothers for lifelong obesity and related metabolic disorders.

Louisiana Tech University professor, researcher receives prestigious Humboldt Prize
Dr. Yuri Lvov, professor of chemistry and T. Pipes Eminent Endowed Chair in Micro and Nanosystems at Louisiana Tech University's Institute for Micromanufacturing, has been selected to receive the prestigious Humboldt Research Award in chemistry, also known as the Humboldt Prize, by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany.

Small size in early pregnancy linked to poor heart health later in life
Poor growth in the first three months of pregnancy is associated with a range of cardiovascular risk factors in childhood, finds a study published on today.

Sickle cell trait in African-American dialysis patients affects dosing of anemia drugs
African-American dialysis patients with sickle cell trait received about 13 percent more of the medications used to treat anemia than other African-American patients to reach the same level of hemoglobin.

11,000-year-old living dog cancer reveals its secrets
A cancer normally lives and dies with a person; however, this is not the case with a sexually transmitted cancer in dogs.

Near error-free wireless detection made possible
A new long-range wireless tag detection system, with potential applications in health care, environmental protection and goods tracking, can pinpoint items with near 100 percent accuracy over a much wider range than current systems.

INFORMS announces details for 2014 conference on business analytics & operations research
INFORMS today announced the first details of its 2014 Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research, including executives speaking in the keynote program and event features such as the Franz Edelman Competition for excellence in applied analytics, O.R. and Advanced Analytics, software tutorials, case studies in applying analytics, a premier job fair for professionals, and facilitated networking sessions.

Researchers discover simple amoeba holds the key to better treatment for Alzheimer's
Scientists have discovered the use of a simple single-celled amoeba to understand the function of human proteins in causing Alzheimer's disease.

American Humane Association and TGen launch study of obsessive-compulsive behavior in dogs
American Humane Association announced a study partnership with the Translational Genomics Research Institute that seeks to uncover the genetic basis of obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs.

Team to study control of malaria-related parasite growth with $2.1-million NIH grant
A University of South Florida team has been awarded a $2.1-million National Institutes of Health grant to study the

Almost 200 years later, are we living in the final days of the stethoscope?
An editorial in this month's edition of Global Heart -- the journal of the World Heart Federation -- suggests the world of medicine could be experiencing its final days of the stethoscope due to the rapid advent of point-of-care ultrasound devices that are becoming increasingly accurate, smaller to the point of being hand-held and less expensive as the years pass.

NIH scientists map gene changes driving tumors in common pediatric soft-tissue cancer
Scientists have mapped the genetic changes that drive tumors in rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric soft-tissue cancer, and found that the disease is characterized by two distinct genotypes.

What makes cell division accurate?
Losing or gaining chromosomes during cell division can lead to cancer and other diseases, so understanding mitosis is important for developing therapeutic strategies.

Island Biology 2014: An International Conference on Island Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation
Islands are renowned for their extraordinary biota -- inspiring biologists and providing key insights into evolution, biogeography, and ecology.

A new wrinkle in the control of waves
Flexible, layered materials textured with nanoscale wrinkles could provide a new way of controlling the wavelengths and distribution of waves, whether of sound or light.

Are enough women included in medical device studies, as required by the FDA?
The US Food and Drug Administration mandates adequate enrollment of women in post-approval studies of medical devices to ensure that any sex differences in device safety and effectiveness are not overlooked.

Are developing heart valves sensitive to environmental chemicals?
Exposure to environmental endocrine disrupters, such as bisphenol A, which mimic estrogen, is associated with adverse health effects.

Islamic studies: Papyrus, parchment and paper trails
In a pioneering project funded by the Mellon Foundation, scholars at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich are compiling a database of Arabic documents, many dating from the early years of Islam.

Benaroya Research Institute receives 7-year award to lead Immune Tolerance Network
The National Institutes of Health has awarded Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason a 7-year grant to lead the Immune Tolerance Network.

The $125 billion question: How will the ACA affect cancer survivors?
VCU Massey Cancer Center is currently examining the effects of the ACA on cancer survivors.

Salmonella infection mitigates asthma
Researchers from Germany have identified the mechanism by which Salmonella infections can reduce the incidence of asthma in mice.

Ancient forests stabilized Earth's CO2 and climate
UK researchers have identified a biological mechanism that could explain how the Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate were stabilised over the past 24 million years.

Donors should have access to their own raw data provided to biobanks
Scientists have called for data held in biobanks to be made accessible to the people donating material and data to them.

New substance abuse treatment resources focus on teens
Resources to help parents, health care providers, and substance abuse treatment specialists treat teens struggling with drug abuse, as well as identify and interact with those who might be at risk, were released today by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Ultrasound training should be implemented early into medical education programs
A paper in this month's edition of Global Heart (the journal of the World Heart Federation) advocates including ultrasound in medical education programs to realize the full benefits of the technology as early as possible.

Physical activity significantly extends lives of cancer survivors
Physical activity significantly extends the lives of male cancer survivors, a new study of 1,021 men has found.

PCORI award to boost new national clinical research network
A team led by the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and the leading national hereditary breast and ovarian cancer advocacy organization, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), has been awarded $960,026 from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Insulin-producing beta cells from stem cells
The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and microRNA 335 are instrumental in helping form differentiated progenitor cells from stem cells.

Interventions work to stem freshman drinking
A variety of interventions -- especially combinations of them -- have curtailed freshmen drinking on campuses across the country, according to a systematic review of more than 40 studies documenting 62 interventions.

New analysis suggests that further trials of vitamin D have little chance of showing health benefits
A new study concludes that evidence is lacking for substantial health benefits of vitamin D -- and that results of several multi-million-dollar trials currently underway are unlikely to alter this view.

Analysis indicates that North and tropical Atlantic warming affects Antarctic climate
The gradual warming of the North and tropical Atlantic Ocean is contributing to climate change in Antarctica, a team of New York University scientists supported by the National Science Foundation has concluded.

IU School of Medicine researchers awarded $300,000 GE/NFL grant to study concussions
Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine will use advanced neuroimaging techniques to study area high-school athletes to learn how concussions affect blood flow in the brain.

Choose your love
Offspring from female mice who mate with their preferred male are better able to cope with an experimental infection compared to those of females mated with non-preferred males, according to new results published today.

ASU engineers have role in new national manufacturing research consortium
Two Arizona State University electrical engineers will help lead work for a new national research institute created to develop the next generation of power electronics.

Stanford scientists use 'virtual earthquakes' to forecast Los Angeles quake risk
Stanford scientists have developed a new

UTSA/UTHSCSA awarded $900,000 to prevent substance abuse and HIV/AIDS transmission
The UTSA Institute for Health Disparities Research in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Division of Community Pediatrics have been awarded $900,000 in funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Prevention for a collaborative project between a Minority-Serving Institution and Community-Based Organization(s) to prevent and reduce substance abuse and HIV/AIDS transmission among young adults.

Central Europeans already digested milk as well as us 1,000 years ago
Back in the Middle Ages, Central Europeans were already capable of digesting milk, yogurt and cheese just as well as us today.

Carbon dioxide paves the way to unique nanomaterials
In common perception, carbon dioxide is just a greenhouse gas, one of the major environmental problems of mankind.

Generation blame: How age affects our views of anti-social behavior
Research reveals disconnect between what adults and young people interpret as anti-social behavior (ASB), as 40 percent of adults see young people gathering in public as ASB.

Obesity in mothers alters babies' weight through brain rewiring
Obese mothers are more likely to have children with metabolic disorders, but the underlying reasons for this effect have been unclear.

Scripps Florida scientists find regulator of amyloid plaque buildup in Alzheimer's disease
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have identified a critical regulator of a molecule deeply involved in the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Palau's coral reefs surprisingly resistant to ocean acidification
Marine scientists working on the coral reefs of Palau have made two unexpected discoveries that could provide insight into corals' resistance and resilience to ocean acidification.

10 years on Mars leads to livable mud
Some of the oldest minerals ever analyzed by NASA's Mars Opportunity Rover show that around four billion years ago Mars had liquid water so fresh it could have supported life.

Biomass supply chains developed by VTT speed up use of bioenergy in Vietnam
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed efficiency in the biomass supply and use for energy in Vietnam's Mekong Delta as part of the Energy and Environment Partnership Programme of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Exploring the roots of the problem: How a South American tree adapts to volcanic soils
Soils of southern South America, including Patagonia, have endured disturbances from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, and erosion.

Using engineering plus evolutionary analyses to answer natural selection questions
UMass Amherst's Dumont and colleagues built an engineering model of a bat skull that can morph into the shape of any species, and used it to create skulls with all possible combinations of snout length and width.

Sniffed out -- The 'gas detectors' of the plant world
The elusive trigger that allows plants to

Watching molecules morph into memories
In two studies in the Jan. 24 issue of Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine used advanced imaging techniques to provide a window into how the brain makes memories.

Attend the Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit 2014
The microbial communities that reside in the human gut and their impact on human health and disease are one of the most exciting new areas of research today.

Death row confessions and the last meal test of innocence
Social circumstance often gives meals meaning, so it is logical that the last meals of those on death row may signify something beyond taste preference.

Crowdsourcing a living map of world health
What if by collecting vital signs from individual cell phone users around the world, we could map symptoms of disease and see the flu coming like a giant whirling hurricane?

Diabetes: We are in it together
Living in a household implies sharing duties and responsibilities but it could also imply sharing your diabetes.

The rocky road to a better flu vaccine
Currently approved flu vaccines are less effective in the elderly, yet an estimated 90 percent of influenza-related deaths occur in people over 65.

New computer model may aid personalized cancer care
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have developed a tool to help predict how a patient's tumor is likely to behave and which of several possible treatments is most likely to be effective.

Can walkies tell who's the leader of the pack?
Dogs' paths during group walks could be used to determine leadership roles and through that their social ranks and personality traits.

Changing climate: How dust changed the face of the earth
In spring 2010, the research icebreaker Polarstern returned from the South Pacific with a scientific treasure -- ocean sediments from a previously almost unexplored part of the South Polar Sea.

UGA researchers discover origin of unusual glands in the body
The thymus gland is a critical component of the human immune system that is responsible for the development of T-lymphocytes, or T-cells, which help organize and lead the body's fighting forces against harmful organisms like bacteria and viruses.

Long-term spinal cord stimulation stalls symptoms of Parkinson's-like disease
Researchers at Duke Medicine have shown that continuing spinal cord stimulation appears to produce improvements in symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and may protect critical neurons from injury or deterioration.

Arctic inland waters emit large amounts of carbon
Geoscientist Erik Lundin shows in his thesis that streams and lakes of Northern Sweden are hotspots for emissions of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

CWRU study finds depression symptoms and emotional support impact PTSD treatment progress
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University found that during PTSD treatments, rapid improvements in depression symptoms are associated with better outcomes.

Practice makes perfect if you have a partner's touch, according to new study
People improve their performance more when they practice with a partner rather than on their own, according to a new study.

World's first magma-enhanced geothermal system created in Iceland
In 2009, a borehole drilled at Krafla, northeast Iceland, as part of the Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, unexpectedly penetrated into magma (molten rock) at only 2,100 meters depth, with a temperature of 900-1,000 C.

Researchers discover potential drug targets for early onset glaucoma
Using a novel high-throughput screening process, scientists have for the first time identified molecules with the potential to block the accumulation of a toxic eye protein that can lead to early onset of glaucoma.

Cohabitation plays 'major role' in number of long-term relationships
A new national study provides surprising evidence of how cohabitation contributes to the number of long-term relationships lasting eight years or longer.

Material developed could speed up underwater communications by orders of magnitude
University of California, San Diego electrical engineering professor Zhaowei Liu and colleagues have taken the first steps in a project to develop fast-blinking LED systems for underwater optical communications.

Brain uses serotonin to perpetuate chronic pain signals in local nerves
Setting the stage for possible advances in pain treatment, researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland report they have pinpointed two molecules involved in perpetuating chronic pain in mice.

Natural History Museum, London, yields remarkable new beetle specimens from Brazil
Sitting for almost 20 years in the Natural History Museum, London, minute rove beetle specimens of a new genus were discovered.

When nanotechnology meets quantum physics in 1 dimension
Scientists from McGill University and Sandia National Laboratories have succeeded in conducting a new experiment that supports the existence of the long-sought-after Luttinger liquid state.

New clues may link hereditary cancer genes to increased risk of cancer from alcohol
In laboratory experiments conducted on human cell lines at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, scientists have shown that people carrying certain mutations in two hereditary cancer genes, BRCA2 and PALB2, may have a higher than usual susceptibility to DNA damage caused by a byproduct of alcohol, called acetaldehyde.

A scientific first: Physicists, physicians, engineers photograph radiation beams in the human body through the Cherenkov effect
A scientific breakthrough may give the field of radiation oncology new tools to increase the precision and safety of radiation treatment in cancer patients by helping doctors

Various microstructures fabricated by a solvent-cast 3-D printing technique
The article

Islands in the brain: New circuit shapes memory formation
Researchers at the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics and MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have discovered a new brain circuit that shapes memory formation by endowing neurons with the ability to connect two events separated in time into a single experience.

Telling the whole truth may ease feelings of guilt
People feel worse when they tell only part of the truth about a transgression compared to people who come completely clean, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

More benefits emerging for one type of omega-3 fatty acid: DHA
A study of the metabolic effects of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, concludes that these compounds may have an even wider range of biological impacts than previously considered.

Sports medicine physical of the future could help athletes 'ESCAPE' sudden cardiac death
A young athlete in seemingly excellent health dies suddenly from a previously undetected cardiovascular condition such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in nearly every US state annually.

Probing hydrogen catalyst assembly
Biochemical reactions sometimes have to handle dangerous things in a safe way.

Cultural connections with Europe found in ancient Jordanian settlement
Swedish archaeologists in Jordan led by Professor Peter M. Fischer from the University of Gothenburg have excavated a nearly 60-meter-long, well-preserved building from 1,100 B.C. in the ancient settlement Tell Abu al-Kharaz.

Wisconsin researchers identify key pathway for plant cell growth
For plants, the only way to grow is for cells to expand.

Climate change threatens Winter Olympics
Only six of the previous Winter Olympics host cities will be cold enough to reliably host the Games by the end of this century if global warming projections prove accurate.

Tracing unique cells with mathematics
Stem cells can turn into heart cells. Skin cells can mutate to cancer cells; even cells of the same tissue type exhibit small heterogeneities.

Liars find it more rewarding to tell truth than fib when deceiving others
A University of Toronto report based on two neural imaging studies that monitored brain activity has found individuals are more satisfied to get a reward from telling the truth rather than getting the same reward through deceit.

Looking for a 'superhabitable' world? Try Alpha Centauri B, says Astrobiology Journal
The search for extraterrestrial life extends far beyond Earth's solar system, looking for planets or moons outside the

Better eating habits, not bad economy, stabilized obesity rates
A study from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says that it wasn't the economic downturn that created a leveling of US obesity rates.

Detecting sickness by smell
Humans are able to smell sickness in someone whose immune system is highly active within just a few hours of exposure to a toxin, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Scientists reveal why life got big in the Earth's early oceans
Why did life forms first begin to get larger and what advantage did this increase in size provide?

Patients receiving ADT should be counseled to improve mental and emotional well-being
A new study published in the Journal of Urology reports that prostate cancer patients treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) experienced changes in mental and emotional well-being during treatment, although there was no meaningful decline in emotional quality of life two years after treatment.

Fur and feathers keep animals warm by scattering light
In work that has major implications for improving the performance of building insulation, scientists at the University of Namur in Belgium and the University of Hassan I in Morocco have calculated that hairs that reflect infrared light may contribute significant insulating power to the exceptionally warm winter coats of polar bears and other animals.

Mitochondrial ribosome revealed
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have deciphered the structure of part of the ribosome found in mitochondria, the power plants of the cell.

Risky ripples: Frog's love song may summon kiss of death
Male túngara frogs call from puddles to attract females. Their call incidentally creates ripples.

Study reveals how the brain links memories of sequential events
Study reveals how the brain links memories of events that occur one after the other.

Large and in charge
A NASA research group featuring University of Toronto Mississauga professor Marc Laflamme has helped to explain why some prehistoric organisms evolved into larger animals.

Morbidity higher in obese liver transplant recipients with diabetes
Researchers from New Zealand report that morbidity following liver transplant is highest among obese patients with diabetes, but these risk factors do not influence post-transplant survival.

UCSB brain imaging center to participate in $20 million research initiative
When the Broncos and the Seahawks meet on the gridiron for Superbowl XLVIII, player and team statistics -- passer ratings, rushing yards, sacks and fumbles -- will be tossed around like, well, a football.

To stay a step ahead of breast cancer, make a map of the future
Cancer isn't a singular disease, even when talking about one tumor.

Getting a cancer drug to patients takes both scientific and business smarts
A Rutgers graduate student in biomedical sciences is leading a team entered in the worldwide Breast Cancer Startup Challenge.

The evolution of drug resistance within a HIV population
A new study published in PLOS Genetics, by Dr Pleuni Pennings and colleagues, found that in some patients a resistance mutation to a particular drug appeared in a single virus particle, which then rapidly proliferated until the entire viral population within the patient consisted of its progeny and was also resistant to the drug.

Can walkies tell who's the leader of the pack?
Dogs' paths during group walks could be used to determine leadership roles and through that their social ranks and personality traits, say researchers from Oxford University, Eotvos University, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Happy 10th anniversary Opportunity!
Ten years ago, on Jan. 24, 2004, the Opportunity rover landed on a flat plain in the southern highlands of the planet Mars and rolled into an impact crater scientists didn't even know existed.

Moderate doses of radiation therapy to unaffected breast may prevent second breast cancers
Survivors of breast cancer have a one in six chance of developing breast cancer in the other breast.

Does it pay to be a lover or a fighter? It depends on how you woo females
Researchers from the University of Manchester and Syracuse University in New York working with the University of Western Australia, found that where animals fall on the lover/fighter scale depends on how much they are able to ensure continued mating rights with females.

The lung microbiome: A new frontier in pulmonary medicine
The Annals of the American Thoracic Society has released a comprehensive supplement on the 56th annual Thomas L.

National plan for preventing healthcare-associated infections shows progress
Independent evaluators have found that measurable progress in reducing the rates of some targeted HAIs has been achieved under the umbrella of a national plan to prevent HAIs that was developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Putting a brake on tumor spread
A team of scientists, led by principal investigator David D. 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