Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 27, 2014
University of Montreal study analyzes content of nightmares and bad dreams
According to a new study by researchers at the University of Montreal, nightmares have greater emotional impact than bad dreams do, and fear is not always a factor.

Permanent changes in brain genes may not be so permanent after all
In normal development, all cells turn off genes they don't need, often by attaching a chemical methyl group to the DNA, a process called methylation.

Brain biomarker shows promise in heart
A biomarker widely used to diagnose brain injury has shown early promise for assessing the severity of heart inflammation, or myocarditis, find researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins, and the Mayo Clinic.

Asian ozone pollution in Hawaii is tied to climate variability
Asian ozone pollution levels measured in Hawaii fluctuate with decade-long climate variations, according to a new study by researchers based at Princeton University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

Critical protein discovered for healthy cell growth in mammals
A protein that is required for the growth of tiny, but critical, hair-like structures called cilia on cell surfaces has been discovered.

Put a plastic bag in your tank
Researchers in India have developed a relatively low-temperature process to convert certain kinds of plastic waste into liquid fuel as a way to reuse discarded plastic bags and other products.

New, unusually large virus kills anthrax agent
From a zebra carcass on the plains of Namibia in Southern Africa, an international team of researchers has discovered a new, unusually large virus (or bacteriophage) that infects the bacterium that causes anthrax.

Promising class of antibiotics discovered for treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have discovered a promising new class of antibiotics that could aid efforts to overcome drug-resistance in tuberculosis (TB), a global killer.

Graphene-like material made of boron a possibility, experiments suggest
Graphene, a sheet of carbon one atom thick, may soon have a new nanomaterial partner.

Ocean acidification research should increase focus on species' ability to adapt
Not enough current research on marine ecosystems focuses on species' long-term adaptation to ocean acidification creating a murky picture of our ocean's future, according to an international study led by a University of British Columbia zoologist.

Gossip and ostracism may have hidden group benefits
Conventional wisdom holds that gossip and social exclusion are always malicious, undermining trust and morale in groups.

NIH grantees develop way to make old antibiotic work against TB
Scientists supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, have developed a method to synthesize modified forms of an established antibiotic called spectinomycin.

The science of baby-making still a mystery for many women
A new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers provides insight into how much women of reproductive age in the United States know about reproductive health.

Magnetic switch gets closer to application
Scientists from Paris, Newcastle and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have been able to switch on and off robust ferromagnetism close to room temperature by using low electric fields.

HIV medications dialogue differs by race, ethnicity
Researchers found specific racial and ethnic differences in discussions of HIV medicine adherence in a newly published analysis of recorded office visits between 45 doctors and nurse practitioners and more than 400 patients.

SnT researcher Lionel Briand is engineer of the year 2013
On January 25th, Professor Lionel Briand has become the recipient of this year's

Humans in nature: The world as we find it and the world as we create it
People are increasingly concerned about the extent to which technology enables us to alter nature: causing the extinction of plants and animals, genetically modifying crops and livestock, using synthetic biology to engineer organisms for human benefit, and enhancing athletic performance and other aspects of human nature.

Cracks in the cellular transport system can be key to a new generation of cancer therapies
Researchers from Warwick Medical School have discovered a critical point of failure in the microscopic transport system that operates inside every cell in the human body.

Choosing Wisely -- the politics and economics of labeling low-value services
The Choosing Wisely campaign, lists of services developed by physicians' specialty societies, is a good start to spark discussion between physicians their patients about treatments and tests that may not be warranted.

GSA Bulletin covers the US, Italy, Iran, Jamaica, Chile, and Argentina, and China
Learn more about river morphology in Oregon; coastal responses to sea level; the Tertiary Sabzevar Range, Iran; carbon-dioxide sequestration; fault systems in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica; Villarrica Volcano, Chile; landslide modeling; the southern Bighorn Arch, Wyoming; high-diversity plant fossil assemblages of the Salamanca Formation, Argentina; Upper Cretaceous strata, Western Interior Seaway; stratigraphy in Italy; the Soreq drainage, Israel; faulting in Surprise Valley, California; and the Qiantang River estuary, eastern China.

New studies needed to predict how marine organisms may adapt to the future's acidic oceans
The world's oceans are becoming more acidic, changing in a way that hasn't happened for millions of years.

Global collaboration forms to advance Japanese TB vaccine technology
Japan's National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Aeras and Create Vaccine Company, Ltd. announce an agreement on the development of new mucosal tuberculosis vaccines based on the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation's human parainfluenza type-2 vector technology.

Fragmented sleep accelerates cancer growth
Poor-quality sleep marked by frequent awakenings can speed cancer growth, increase tumor aggressiveness and dampen the immune system's ability to control or eradicate early cancers.

Successful regeneration of human skeletal muscle in mice
Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute recently announced study findings showing the successful development of a humanized preclinical model for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, providing scientists with a much needed tool to accelerate novel therapeutic research and development.

Researchers tune in to protein pairs
Rice University scientists have created a way to interpret interactions among pairs of task-oriented proteins that relay signals.

JAX Genomic Medicine's Jeffrey Chuang, Ph.D., receives $519,750 grant for RNA studies
Jackson Laboratory Associate Professor Jeffrey Chuang, Ph.D., has been awarded a two-year grant totaling $519,750 from the National Human Genome Research Institute for his studies of how RNA (molecules vital to protein formation in cells) interacts with proteins to change how genes are expressed.

A natural sugar delivers DNA aptamer drug inside tumor cells
Drugs comprised of single strands of DNA, called aptamers, can bind to targets inside tumor cells causing cell death.

Hell Creek in the Cretaceous
For more than a century, the Hell Creek and Fort Union formations and their constituent fossil biotas have captivated geologists and paleontologists alike.

Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy may increase risk of severe preeclampsia
Women who are deficient in vitamin D in the first 26 weeks of their pregnancy may be at risk of developing severe preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening disorder diagnosed by an increase in blood pressure and protein in the urine, according to research by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Protecting the skin from sun exposure
The ultraviolet radiation (UVR) present in sunlight is the most common environmental carcinogen.

Scandinavia joins European Union's main climate innovation initiative
The EU's main climate innovation initiative, Climate-KIC, will open a new Nordic centre next month, allowing Nordic start-up entrepreneurs, businesses, climate professionals, students and government officials to join the European partnership to work on climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions.

Mayo Clinic study finds standardized protocol and surgery improve mortality outcomes
For patients who have experienced a large stroke that cuts off blood supply to a large part of the brain, the use of standardized medical management protocol and surgery to decompress swelling can improve life expectancy, Mayo Clinic researchers found in a recent study.

300,000-year-old hearth found
When did humans really begin to control fire and use it for their daily needs?

Swiss cheese crystal, or high-tech sponge?
The sponges of the future will do more than clean house.

President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft receives honorary doctorate
Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, has been awarded an honorary doctoral degree by the Czech Technical University in Prague.

How did we get 4 limbs? Because we have a belly
All of us backboned animals have four fins or limbs, one pair in front and one pair behind.

Common crop pesticides kill honeybee larvae in the hive
Four pesticides commonly used on crops to kill insects and fungi also kill honeybee larvae within their hives, according to Penn State and University of Florida researchers.

Researchers motivate diabetics to adopt healthy lifestyle
By means of so-called health coaching, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have helped a large group of diabetics to markedly improve their oral health.

U of Tennessee research finds link between alcohol use and domestic violence
Research among college students found that men under the influence of alcohol are more likely to perpetrate physical, psychological or sexual aggression against their partners than men under the influence of marijuana.

Facelift complications eased with help of new 3-D imaging technique
New imaging technology from University of Washington engineers allows scientists to analyze what happens within the smallest blood vessels during a cosmetic facelift.

Study casts doubt on theory that retired NFL players suffer CTE
The media have widely reported that a debilitating neurological condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a well-established disease in retired athletes who played football and other contact sports.

Early tumor response from stereotactic radiosurgery predicts outcome
The response of a patient with metastatic brain tumors to treatment with stereotactic radiosurgery in the first six-to-twelve weeks can indicate whether follow-up treatments and monitoring are necessary, according to research conducted at the University of North Carolina.

New method increases supply of embryonic stem cells
A new method allows for large-scale generation of human embryonic stem cells of high clinical quality.

Genomics for judges: Educating Illinois judges on how genetic info impacts court decisions
The Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois had the unique opportunity to work with the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts in offering a new seminar,

Severity of spatial neglect after stroke predicts long-term mobility recovery in community
Stroke rehabilitation researchers at Kessler Foundation report an association between acute, severe spatial neglect post stroke and long-term recovery of mobility.

Fiber optics pioneer to present at esteemed international conference
Clemson professor Roger Stolen was selected to present at a special session titled

Quality of white matter in the brain is crucial for adding and multiplying
A new study led by Professor Bert De Smedt (KU Leuven) has found that healthy 12-year-olds who score well in addition and multiplication have higher-quality white matter tracts.

Good outcomes with staged surgery for epilepsy in children
A staged approach to epilepsy surgery -- with invasive brain monitoring followed by surgery in a single hospital stay -- is a safe and beneficial approach to treatment for complex cases of epilepsy in children, reports the February issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Robotic operation for heart valve reconstruction holds promise
A potentially fatal bacterial disease of the heart, infective endocarditis frequently affects the heart's tricuspid valve, often resulting in permanent tissue damage.

ORNL study advances quest for better superconducting materials
Nearly 30 years after the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity, many questions remain, but an Oak Ridge National Laboratory team is providing insight that could lead to better superconductors.

Rare genetic variations may account for severe reaction to LABA drugs in some people
More than 25 million people in the United States have asthma, a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways causing recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing.

£7.4 million study seeks to explain what drives our appetites
The University of Edinburgh is to lead a £7.4 million initiative to investigate food choices and eating behavior.

Unexpected player in regulation of blood cholesterol levels
Kinesins are motor proteins that

Unique specimen identifiers link 10 new species of ant directly to AntWeb
Scientists describe ten new species of the ant genus Temnothorax, doubling the number of known species of this group in California.

A silk coat for diamonds makes sleek new imaging and drug delivery tool
Silk and diamonds aren't just for ties and jewelry anymore.

Preventing and treating the common cold: Nothing to sneeze at
How do you prevent and treat the common cold? Handwashing and zinc may be best for prevention whereas acetaminophen, ibuprofen and perhaps antihistamine-decongestant combinations are the recommended treatments, according to a review in CMAJ.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for Jan. 27, 2014
This news releases summarizes the following articles appearing in the Jan.

Music therapy's positive effects on young cancer patients' coping skills, social integration
A new study has found that adolescents and young adults undergoing cancer treatment gain coping skills and resilience-related outcomes when they participate in a therapeutic music process that includes writing song lyrics and producing videos.

New method rescues DNA from contaminated Neandertal bones
Retrieval of ancient DNA molecules is usually performed with special precautions to prevent DNA from researchers or the environment to get mixed in with the DNA from the fossil.

Researchers find changes to protein SirT1
Studies have suggested that the protein SirT1 may be protective in metabolic diseases and the effects of aging, and diminished SirT1 activity has been reported in various disease models including diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Study shows researchers' status helps some scientific papers gain popularity
Fine-grained research shows boost for leading-edge and low-profile work in the life sciences happens after authors are honored.

Author argues US hiring practices instill needless self-blame among the jobless
MIT professor's book explores how white-collar job hunters in the US blame themselves unnecessarily -- and suffer as a result -- when they cannot find work.

Temple researchers shed new light on double-lung transplants
In the largest retrospective study to date using data from the United Network for Organ Sharing database for adult double-lung transplants, Temple University School of Medicine researchers have shown that there is no statistically significant difference between rejection and mortality rates among double-lung transplant recipients when their transplanted organs came from donors whose blood type was identical or compatible to their own.

Nipping diabetes in the bud
79 million Americans are thought to have

Marcus Raichle wins Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize
The UNC School of Medicine has awarded the 14th Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize to Marcus Raichle, M.D., a neurologist from Washington University in St.

Visual system can retain considerable plasticity after extended blindness
Deprivation of vision during critical periods of childhood development has long been thought to result in irreversible vision loss.

Don't judge older drivers by age: QUT study
Encouraging older drivers to self-regulate their driving rather than revoking their licence based on age, has the potential to improve their safety and maintain their independence, a QUT study has found.

Quality improvement initiative improves asthma outcomes in teens
Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have successfully carried out what is believed to be the first initiative conducted exclusively among teenagers to show significant improvement in their asthma outcomes.

Solving a 30-year-old problem in massive star formation
Astrophysicists have found evidence strongly supporting a solution to a long-standing puzzle about the birth of some of the most massive stars in the universe.

New quantum dots herald a new era of electronics operating on a single-atom level
New types of solotronic structures, including the world's first quantum dots containing single cobalt ions, have been created and studied at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw.

Research uncovers historical rise, fall and re-emergence of plague strains
One branch of a deadly pathogen's family tree may have ended centuries ago, but from its ancient traces researchers can read a lineage with links to the modern world.

Study identifies high level of 'food insecurity' among college students
One of the few studies of its type has found that a startling 59 percent of college students at one Oregon university were

App may signal cellphone dependency
A new, free app will allow smartphone users to measure their cellphone use.

Pesticide exposure linked to Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at Rutgers University say exposure to DDT -- banned in the United States since 1972 but still used as a pesticide in other countries -- may increase the risk and severity of Alzheimer's disease in some people, particularly those over the age of 60.

Health care savings: Reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions
Despite widely accepted prescription guidelines, physicians continue to prescribe antibiotics for colds even when they won't help.

Crowdsourced RNA designs outperform computer algorithms, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford researchers say
An enthusiastic group of non-experts, working through an online interface and receiving feedback from lab experiments, has produced designs for RNA molecules that are consistently more successful than those generated by the best computerized design algorithms, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University report.

Scientists reveal cause of one of the most devastating pandemics in human history
An international team of scientists has discovered that two of the world's most devastating plagues -- the plague of Justinian and the Black Death, each responsible for killing as many as half the people in Europe -- were caused by distinct strains of the same pathogen, one that faded out on its own, the other leading to worldwide spread and re-emergence in the late 1800s.

Yoga can lower fatigue, inflammation in breast cancer survivors
Practicing yoga for as little as three months can reduce fatigue and lower inflammation in breast cancer survivors, according to new research.

UMass Amherst mathematician wins 2 international prizes
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics' activity group on dynamical systems awarded Kevrekidis its John David Crawford Prize.

New results on the geologic characteristics of the Chang'E-3 exploration region
An article published online for SCIENCE CHINA Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy on January 21, 2014, presents some new results on the geologic characteristics of the Chang'E-3 exploration region.

Tufts Medical Center approved for PCORI funding award
A Tufts Medical Center research team at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies has been approved for a funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to develop a method for patient-centered enrollment in comparative effectiveness trials called Mathematical Equipoise.

HRT therapy may increase risk of acute pancreatitis
Women who use postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be at increased risk of acute pancreatitis, found a new study in CMAJ.

River of hydrogen flowing through space seen with Green Bank Telescope
Using the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, astronomer D.J.

Boston University study examines the development of children's prelife reasoning
By examining children's ideas about

DNA-built nanostructures safely target, image cancer tumors
A team of researchers at the University of Toronto has discovered a method of assembling

Expanding our view of vision
New brain-scanning technique from Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers allows scientists to see when and where the brain processes visual information.

Animate, inanimate, but also social
Social groups (the

New biomedical diagnostics using personalized 3-D imaging
Researchers at the firm 4DNature and the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid are developing a new technology, called helical optical projection tomography, which improves biomedical diagnostic 3-D imaging.

Do brain connections help shape religious beliefs?
Building on previous evidence showing that religious belief involves cognitive activity that can be mapped to specific brain regions, a new study has found that causal, directional connections between these brain networks can be linked to differences in religious thought.

Environmental risk factor for Alzheimer's: DDT exposure
Patients with Alzheimer's disease have significantly higher levels of DDE, the long-lasting metabolite of the pesticide DDT, in their blood than healthy people, a team of researchers from Rutgers, Emory and UT Southwestern has found.

Scientists find genetic mechanism linking aging to specific diets
In new research published this month in Cell Metabolism, USC scientists Sean Curran and Shanshan Pang identify a collection of genes that allow an organism to adapt to different diets and show that without them, even minor tweaks to diet can cause premature aging and death.

Migrants' children as well integrated as Swedes' children
Children of immigrants have less education and get lower level jobs than children of the majority population.

Persistent HIV replication associated with lower drug concentrations in lymphatic tissues
Drugs used to treat HIV penetrate poorly into lymphatic tissues where most HIV replication takes place and there is persistent low-level virus replication in these tissues according to research from the University of Minnesota and University of Nebraska Medical Center.

After the gunshot: Hospitalizations for firearm injuries prevalent among children
About 20 children per day in the United States are injured by firearms seriously enough to require hospitalization, and more than 6 percent of these children die from their injuries, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers and their colleagues published in the Jan.

Ottawa researchers discover new combination therapy to kill cancer
Researchers looked at how to leverage current experimental therapies, in different combinations, to speed the fight against cancer.

IOF position paper reveals enormous variation in worldwide usage of FRAX
Doctors worldwide now use tools such as FRAX, a widely available online calculator, to help identify patients in need of osteoporosis treatment.

Cannabis during pregnancy endangers fetal brain development
A current study by an international consortium of researchers, including researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, shows that the consumption of Cannabis during pregnancy can impair the development of the fetus' brain with long-lasting effects after birth.

New catalytic converter could cut fuel consumption and car manufacturing costs
A new catalytic converter that could cut fuel consumption and manufacturing costs has been designed by a scientist from Imperial College London.

Bye-bye 'Bytesize,' 'Reactions' debuts with Chemistry Lifehacks video
The American Chemical Society is saying goodbye to its Bytesize Science series, and launching Reactions, a new weekly series.

A trigger for muscular diseases
Various muscular diseases are associated with changes in the elasticity of the protein titin, but whether these changes are a cause or an effect of disease has been unclear.

Geoscience Currents No. 83: The Challenges of Comparing Data on Minorities in the Geosciences
This Currents compares the percentages of geoscience degrees awarded by racial group using the most recent IPEDS data and Exit Survey data and discusses the issues related to the comparison to IPEDS data.

OU study in Oklahoma panhandle finds additional active process producing nanodiamonds
In a University of Oklahoma-led study, researchers discovered an additional active process, not excluding an extraterrestrial event, that may have led to high concentrations of nanodiamonds in Younger Dryas-age sediments and in sediments less than 3,000 years old.

Bluebirds struggle to find happiness on island paradise
A recent study in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology shows that Eastern bluebirds in Ohio differ in a variety of ways from their relatives in Bermuda.

Study on DSM-5 shows effects on autism diagnosis and prevalence
A new study finds that the estimated prevalence of autism under the new DSM-5 criteria would decrease only to the extent that some children would receive the new diagnosis of social communication disorder.

Johns Hopkins study: Traumatic spinal cord injuries on the rise in US
The number of serious traumatic spinal cord injuries is on the rise in the United States, and the leading cause no longer appears to be motor vehicle crashes, but falls, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

Punctured cell membranes lead to high blood pressure
Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have identified how a mutated protein can lead to holes in a protein sitting in a cell's membrane.

Moffitt instrumental in FDA approval of revolutionary 2-drug combo to treat advanced melanoma
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have laid the groundwork for a revolutionary new combination therapy for the treatment of advanced melanoma -- melanoma that cannot be removed surgically or has spread to other areas of the body.

AFOSR grants go to 42 scientists/engineers through its Young Investigator Research Program
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research will award approximately $15.5 million in grants to 42 scientists and engineers from 32 research institutions who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).

Shadowy world of Britain's discount hitmen revealed in new study
Contract killing is one of the least studied, but most intriguing areas of organized crime; and new research into British hitmen has found that in some cases victims were murdered for as little as £200.

Is there an ocean beneath our feet?
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that deep sea fault zones could transport much larger amounts of water from the Earth's oceans to the upper mantle than previously thought. 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