Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 04, 2014
Fruit flies -- fermented-fruit connoisseurs -- are relentless party crashers
That fruit fly appearing moments after you poured that first glass of cabernet, has just used a poppy-seed-sized brain to conduct a finely-choreographed search and arrive in time for happy hour.

Pain sensitivity may be influenced by lifestyle and environment, twin study suggests
Researchers at King's College London have discovered that sensitivity to pain could be altered by a person's lifestyle and environment throughout their lifetime.

Good hair day: New technique grows tiny 'hairy' materials at the microscale
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory attacked a tangled problem by developing a new technique to grow tiny

Thousands of unvaccinated adults die each year from preventable diseases
While adults make up 95 percent of those who die annually from vaccine preventable diseases, a new study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows their vaccination rates remain stubbornly low, representing a growing public health concern.

Orca's survival during the Ice Age
The most recent ice age may have been detrimental to the ocean's top predator, killer whales, and significantly affected diversity among living populations we see today.

Obesity in men could dictate future colon screenings
Obesity is a known risk factor for many cancers including colon cancer, yet the reasons behind the colon cancer link have often remained unclear.

Strange marine mammals of ancient North Pacific revealed
The pre-Ice Age marine mammal community of the North Pacific formed a strangely eclectic scene, research by a Geology Ph.D. student reveals.

Personal experience, work seniority improve mental health professionals' outlook
One might think that after years of seeing people at their worst, mental health workers would harbor negative attitudes about mental illness, perhaps associating people with mental health issues as less competent or dangerous.

Helicopters save lives
Patients transported to hospital by helicopter have a better chance of surviving traumatic injuries than those transported by ground ambulance despite having more severe injuries and needing more surgical interventions, states a study published in the Canadian Journal of Surgery.

New study explores contributors to excess infant mortality in the US South
Researchers consider infant mortality to be a key indicator of population health.

Mediterranean diet linked with lower risk of heart disease among young US workers
Among a large group of Midwestern firefighters, greater adherence to Mediterranean-style diet was associated with lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Off-the-shelf materials lead to self-healing polymers
Look out, super glue and paint thinner. Thanks to new dynamic materials developed at the University of Illinois, removable paint and self-healing plastics soon could be household products.

Mouse study shows gene therapy may be possible cure for Hurler syndrome
Researchers used blood platelets and bone marrow cells to deliver potentially curative gene therapy to mouse models of the human genetic disorder Hurler syndrome -- an often fatal condition that causes organ damage and other medical complications.

MAVEN on track to carry out its science mission
The MAVEN spacecraft and all of its science instruments have completed their initial checkout, and all of them are working as expected.

Johns Hopkins researcher awarded prestigious Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences
The 13th annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences was awarded to Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D., for his contribution to discovering how cells sense and respond to low oxygen conditions.

When it comes to memory, quality matters more than quantity
The capacity of our working memory is better explained by the quality of memories we can store than by their number, a team of psychology researchers has concluded.

Largest evolutionary study of sponges sheds new light on animal evolution
To provide a wider framework for understanding the molecular complexity behind the evolution of sponges, authors Riesgo, Windsor, Farrar, Giribet, and Leys (from the University of Barcelona, University of Alberta and Harvard University), performed the largest sequencing study to date on the genes of representatives from eight sponge genera covering all four currently recognized sponge classes.

Predicting cardiovascular events in sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea generally is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Time to act on mobile phone use while driving, say experts
It's time to act on mobile phone use while driving, say two senior Canadian physicians in an editorial published on today.

Study reveals how cancer cells thrive in oxygen-starved tumors
A new study identifies the molecular pathway that enables cancer cells to grow in areas of a tumor where oxygen levels are low, a condition called hypoxia.

AGU journal highlights -- Feb. 4, 2014
The following highlights summarize research papers that have been recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, and Paleoceanography.

Stopping liver failure from painkiller overdose
University of Adelaide researchers have identified a key step for the future prevention of liver failure resulting from taking too much of the everyday painkiller acetaminophenl (also known as paracetamol).

Dartmouth study provides first evidence of common brain code for space, time, distance
A new Dartmouth study provides the first evidence that people use the same brain circuitry to figure out space, time and social distances.

Chinese scientists report first human death associated with new bird flu virus
Scientists from China report in The Lancet on the world's first confirmed case of human infection with a new avian influenza A H10N8 virus in a 73-year-old woman who died from the infection.

Pattern of higher blood pressure in early adulthood helps predict risk of heart disease
In an analysis of blood pressure patterns over a 25-year span from young adulthood to middle age, individuals who exhibited elevated and increasing blood pressure levels throughout this time period had greater odds of having higher measures of coronary artery calcification (a measure of coronary artery atherosclerosis), according to a study in the February 5 issue of JAMA.

Appearance of Lyme disease rash can help predict how bacteria spreads through body
Lyme disease is often evident by a rash on the skin, but infections do not always produce similar rashes.

Salk Institute and Stanford University to lead new $40 million stem cell genomics center
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies will join Stanford University in leading a new Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics, created through a $40 million award by California's stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

New study finds feeling 'in control' can help you live longer
People who feel in control and believe they can achieve goals despite hardships are more likely to live longer and healthier lives, especially among those with less education, according to a new study by Brandeis University and University of Rochester.

Carnegie Mellon model predicts growth, death of membership-based websites
Facebook is a proven success in what the late Nobel laureate Herbert Simon called

New drug treatment reduces chronic pain following shingles
A new drug treatment has been found to be effective against chronic pain caused by nerve damage, also known as neuropathic pain, in patients who have had shingles.

No room for wrong notes
Each audio file has its own history. Editing processes such as cutting and compressing leave their own marks, and this is what researchers use to detect manipulated recordings or plagiarized passages of music with the help of special software.

3D mapping biopsy finds 3x prostate cancer of ultrasound-guided biopsy
University of Colorado Cancer Center study reports locations of most-missed pockets of prostate cancer.

Despite burden, Sjögren's syndrome may not impede function
People living with Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, appear to function at a level comparable to their healthier peers, according to a cross-sectional study published online in advance of print in Clinical Rheumatology.

The case for tele-emergency services
New research from the University of Iowa supports the claim that tele-emergency services can successfully extend emergency care in rural hospitals.

Queen's University cancer specialist's drive to improve survival rates for every European citizen
Queen's University Belfast's world renowned cancer specialist, Professor Patrick Johnston, whose work has transformed cancer care in Northern Ireland, is now leading efforts to improve survival rates across Europe.

How safe is the enemy of a citrus-threatening pest?
The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) can spread the lethal and incurable citrus disease known as huanglongbing or citrus greening that threatens the multi-billion dollar global citrus industry.

Study finds high Rx burden for bipolar patients
Concerned about patients with bipolar disorder needing hospitalization despite treatment with four or more psychotropic medications, a team of researchers sought to quantify the rate of

Novel technique increases detection rate in screening mammography
Digital mammography screening with new photon-counting technique offers high diagnostic performance, according to a new study.

Diamond defect boosts quantum technology
New research shows that a remarkable defect in synthetic diamond produced by chemical vapor deposition allows researchers to measure, witness, and potentially manipulate electrons in a manner that could lead to new

Speech disrupts facial attention in 6-month-olds who later develop autism
From birth, infants naturally show a preference for human contact and interaction, including faces and voices.

Long-term survival no different among those severely injured by violence vs. accident
People seriously injured by violence are no more likely to die in the years after they are shot, stabbed or beaten than those who are seriously injured in accidents, Johns Hopkins researchers have found.

Science teaching goes viral
An alternative approach to the traditional introductory laboratory course at the undergraduate level significantly increases student retention rates, according to research published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Sucker-footed fossils broaden the bat map
Today, Madagascar sucker-footed bats live nowhere outside their island home, but new research shows that hasn't always been the case.

Most teen workers spend, not save
High school seniors spend most of their earnings on clothes, music, movies, eating out and other personal expenses.

Brain scans show we take risks because we can't stop ourselves
A new study correlating brain activity with how people make decisions suggests that when individuals engage in risky behavior, such as drunk driving or unsafe sex, it's probably not because their brains' desire systems are too active, but because their self-control systems are not active enough.

'Severe reduction' in killer whale numbers during last Ice Age
Whole genome sequencing has revealed a global fall in the numbers of killer whales during the last Ice Age, at a time when ocean productivity may have been widely reduced, according to researchers at Durham University.

Gene that influences receptive joint attention in chimpanzees gives insight into autism
Following another's gaze or looking in the direction someone is pointing, two examples of receptive joint attention, is significantly heritable according to new study results, which give researchers insight into the biology of disorders such as autism.

Clearer labels needed on drugs containing animal products
Patients with specific dietary restrictions may be unwittingly taking medicines containing animal products, suggests an article published on today.

Faces we don't forget
Psychologists at the University of Jena, Germany, are showing in a new study, that we tend to remember unattractive faces more likely than attractive ones.

Stock prices are predictable
A new study from the University of Iowa shows evidence that stock price movements are, in fact, predictable during short windows, and can be predicted with a better than 50-50 accuracy for anywhere up to one minute after the stock leaves the confines of its bid-ask spread.

Shivering could elicit some of the same benefits as exercise
It's common knowledge that shivering in the cold is part of the body's attempt to stay warm.

For viewers, Sochi will be first 'fully mobile' Olympics
Sochi will be the first

Climate change threatens to cause trillions in damage to world's coastal regions
New research predicts that coastal regions may face massive increases in damages from storm surge flooding over the course of the 21st century.

NASA satellite catches Australia's newborn Tropical Storm Edna and stubborn Fletcher
Northeastern Australia has been watching two tropical low pressure areas over the last several days, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured both in one infrared image.

Heart disease warning at age 18
Elevated blood pressure as young as age 18 is a warning sign of heart disease developing later in life and the time to begin prevention, according to a large national study.

Pre-term infants with severe retinopathy more likely to have non-visual disabilities
In a group of very low-birth-weight infants, severe retinopathy of prematurity was associated with nonvisual disabilities at age 5 years, according to a study in the February 5 issue of JAMA.

Teens who consume energy drinks more likely to use alcohol and drugs
Nearly one-third of US adolescents consume high-caffeine energy drinks or

Immune cells need a second opinion
Bacterial urinary tract infections are a painful nuisance. A team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Bonn Medical Center has now decoded the way in which immune cells communicate with each other in defense against infections via the messenger tumor necrosis factor.

Patterns of particles generated by surface charges
Every day we can see order turn into disorder -- for instance when intricate ice crystals melt.

MRIs help predict which atrial fibrillation patients will benefit from catheter ablation
A new type of contrast MRI can predict which heart patients with atrial fibrillation are most likely to benefit from a treatment called catheter ablation, according to a landmark multi-center study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Are you big pharma's new target market?
New research from Concordia University's John Molson School of Business shows that big pharma has embraced

How your memory rewrites the past
Your memory is a wily time traveler, plucking fragments of the present and inserting them into the past, reports a new study.

Presence of humans and urban landscapes increase illness in songbirds, researchers find
Humans living in densely populated urban areas have a profound impact not only on their physical environment, but also on the health and fitness of native wildlife.

Economic crisis has made Europeans and Americans less likely to visit the doctor
The global economic crisis has wrought havoc to economies on both sides of the Atlantic, but new research in Social Science Quarterly suggests it has also made both North Americans and Europeans more reluctant to seek out routine medical care.

The eyes have it
Researchers in Cambridge and Exeter have discovered that jackdaws use their eyes to communicate with each other -- the first time this has been shown in non-primates.

Taking statins to lower cholesterol? New guidelines
Clinicians and patients should use shared decision-making to select individualized treatments based on the new guidelines to prevent cardiovascular disease, according to a commentary by three Mayo Clinic physicians published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Time to stub out misguided e-cigarette regulation
Smokers are increasingly turning to electronic cigarettes as a means to reduce the health impacts of their addiction.

Study finds dramatic rise in skin cancer among middle-aged adults
A new Mayo Clinic study found that among middle-aged men and women, 40 to 60 years old, the overall incidence of skin cancer increased nearly eightfold between 1970 and 2009, according to a study published in the January issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Sun spits out mid-level solar flare
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, beginning at 11:57 p.m.

New study shows core factors and strategies to turn primary care practices into PCMHs
A new study conducted by Robert A. Gabbay, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, Senior Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer at Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues identified three core factors and thirteen strategies that increase the probability of getting buy-in from the practice teams within a medical practice to becoming a fully-functioning patient-centered medical home.

Happy people, safer sex
In a new study, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health report that HIV-positive men whose moods improved in a given week were more likely to have safe sex than they would in a normal week.

Gummy material addresses safety concerns of lithium ion batteries
A group of Washington State University researchers have developed a chewing gum-like battery material that could dramatically improve the safety of lithium ion batteries.

New assessment tool designed to improve care provided at hospitals
A new assessment tool published today in the Journal of Hospital Medicine can help hospital medicine groups across the country improve their patient care and make their operations more effective.

Finding the hidden zombie in your network
How do you detect a

Researchers build 3-D structures to test breast cancer treatments
Clemson University researchers are developing a new, integrative means of studying the complex behavior of cancer cells in breast tissue that may one day change the way doctors treat the disease.

Research: It's more than just the science
In a newly published paper, a team of researchers from institutions across the country, including Michigan State University, outline not only why it's important to pursue science collaboratively, but how to create and maintain science teams to get better research results.

Researchers discover new hormone receptors to target when treating breast cancer
The findings offer the possibility of expanding the ways patients with breast cancer are treated with hormone therapy.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Honeybees have a sweet claw
New research on the ability of honeybees to taste with claws on their forelegs reveals details on how this information is processed, according to a study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Existing medicines show promise for treating stomach and bowel cancer
Stomach and bowel cancer, two of the most common cancers worldwide, could be treated with a class of medicines that are currently used to treat a blood disorder, a Melbourne research team has discovered.

Understanding fear means correctly defining fear itself, NYU's LeDoux concludes
Understanding and properly studying fear is partly a matter of correctly defining fear itself, New York University neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux writes.

Research reveals why diabetes patients are at risk for microvascular complications
One of the most common complications among diabetes patients is the failure of wounds to properly heal.

Is institutional racism happening in our hospitals?
In a personal view published on today, a medical director reflects on a case in which a hospital accepted the choice of the parents of a patient, who wanted only white doctors to treat their child.

In vitro innovation: Testing nanomedicine with blood cells on a microchip
Scientists have engineered a microchip coated with blood vessel cells to learn more about the conditions under which nanoparticles accumulate in the plaque-filled arteries of patients with atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of myocardial infarction and stroke.

Telemedicine can reduce hospitalizations for nursing home residents
Telemedicine used at nursing homes when doctors are not typically present is a viable way to reduce avoidable hospitalizations, according to research published in February's Health Affairs.

Using susceptibility-weighted imaging to study concussion in college ice hockey players
Using susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI), researchers have identified microstructural changes in the brains of male and female college-level ice hockey players that could be due to concussive or subconcussive trauma.

Tricks of the trade: Study suggests how freelancers can land more jobs
As an increasing number of freelancers depend on the virtual workplace, how can they make themselves more attractive to potential employers?

Where do lizards in Qatar live? First distribution maps for the state
Qatari experts in collaboration with international scientists made an intensive survey and published the first distribution maps for lizards in Qatar.

Price Family Foundation funds research collaboration between Albert Einstein College of Medicine and University of Oklahoma
When the foe is a disease-causing microbe, identifying the structure of its component proteins can greatly aid efforts to kill or disable it.

A healthy balance
The protein STAT1 is involved in defending the body against pathogens and for inhibiting tumor development.

New fruitfly sleep gene promotes the need to sleep
All creatures great and small, including fruitflies, need sleep. The timing of when we sleep versus are awake is controlled by cells in tune with circadian rhythms of light and dark.

Herbicides may not be sole cause of declining plant diversity
The increasing use of chemical herbicides is often blamed for the declining plant biodiversity in farms.

For athletes, there's no place like home
Research findings lend credence to the idea of a

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, February 2014
This release focuses on 1) LEDs to light UT arena.

Population Council launches study testing interventions to improve girls' lives in Kenya
The Population Council announced today the launch of a large new DFID-funded research program -- the Adolescent Girls Initiative-Kenya -- designed to benefit adolescent girls in Kenya.

GSA Today: Terrestrial analogy to ancient martian ocean?
In the February issue of GSA Today, Lorena Moscardelli of the University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences documents evidence in support for the existence of a martian ocean during the late Hesperian-early Amazonian by showcasing a new terrestrial, deep-water analogy.

Study supports 3-D MRI heart imaging to improve treatment of atrial fibrillation
A University of Utah-led study for treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation provides strong clinical evidence for the use of 3-D MRI to individualize disease management and improve outcomes.

Horse gaits controlled by genetic mutation spread by humans, new study reveals
New research in Animal Genetics reveals that a horse's gait, an attribute central to its importance to humans, is influenced by a genetic mutation, spread by humans across the world.

Scientists turn primitive artificial cell into complex biological materials
It is a big dream in science to start from scratch with simple artificial microscopic building blocks and end up with something much more complex: living systems, novel computers or every-day materials.

Evidence that shivering and exercise may convert white fat to brown
A new study suggests that shivering and bouts of moderate exercise are equally capable of stimulating the conversion of energy-storing

Educational toolkit did not improve quality of care or outcomes for patients with diabetes
An educational toolkit designed to improve care of patients with diabetes was not effective, Baiju R Shah and colleagues (University of Toronto) found in a cluster randomized trial conducted in 2009-2011.

EyeMusic Sensory Substitution Device enables the blind to 'see' colors and shapes
Using auditory or tactile stimulation, Sensory Substitution Devices provide representations of visual information and can help the blind

Sweat glands heal injuries
Our body's sweat glands are a source of stem cells particularly suited to healing wounds -- stem cells that form new skin cells and manage the healing process.

How states can encourage web-based health care in hospitals
In the first national look at how broadly web-based technologies are being used to provide health care, a University of Michigan researcher has found that 42 percent of US hospitals use some type of

GW researcher finds connection in pathogenesis of neurological diseases, HIV
A new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry by George Washington University researcher Michael Bukrinsky, M.D., Ph.D., shows similarities in the pathogenesis of prion disease -- misfolded proteins that can lead to neurological diseases -- and the HIV virus.

New hope: Researchers discover genetic mutations that cause rare and deadly lung disease
A team of researchers, led by physicians and scientists at Intermountain Healthcare's Intermountain Medical Center and ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City, has made a medical breakthrough by discovering genetic mutations that cause a rare and deadly lung disease.

Who owns the bones? Should bodies in museum exhibits be returned home?
Clinical Anatomy explores the argument that curators should return bodies to their native communities for burial.

Marker may predict response to ipilimumab in advanced melanoma
Among patients with advanced melanoma, presence of higher levels of the protein vascular endothelial growth factor in blood was associated with poor response to treatment with the immunotherapy ipilimumab, according to a study published in Cancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Study shows potential usefulness of non-invasive measure of heart tissue scarring
Scarring of tissue in the upper chamber of the heart (atrium) was associated with recurrent rhythm disorder after treatment, according to a study in the February 5 issue of JAMA.

Smokers lack motivation, feel more tired and are less active than non-smokers
While the results of smoking may be expected to decrease fitness, new research, published in Respirology, has found that smokers are less physically active, lack motivation and are more likely to suffer symptoms of anxiety and depression.

First live births with a novel simplified IVF procedure
IVF may be offered at a more reasonable price and made available to a larger part of the world population.

NERSC announces second annual HPC Achievement Awards
The US Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) announced the recipients of its second annual High Performance Computing (HPC) Achievement Awards on Feb.

It's the water
An ingenious new technique will allow scientists to view and analyze intact proteins and other biomolecules using electron microscopy.

Sensor system improves air quality while making building ventilation more energy efficient
A research consortium being coordinated at Saarland University is developing a novel sensor system for monitoring airborne contaminants that will provide high-quality indoor air without the energy losses typically associated with ventilation.

Testing CATS in space: Laser technology to debut on space station
The Cloud-Aerosol Transport System is scheduled to launch to the space station in Sept.

Mind over matter: Beating pain and painkillers
Misuse of prescription opioids can lead to serious side effects -- including death by overdose. 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