Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 14, 2014
Passive smoking impairs children's responses to asthma treatment
Children exposed to cigarette smoke at home have lower levels of an enzyme that helps them respond to asthma treatment, a study has found.

Scientific racism's long history mandates caution
Racism as a social and scientific concept is reshaped and reborn periodically through the ages and according to a Penn State anthropologist, both medical and scientific researchers need to be careful that the growth of genomics does not bring about another resurgence of scientific racism.

Child obesity: Cues and don'ts
Attention modification programs, which train a person to ignore or disregard specific, problematic cues or triggers, have been used effectively to treat cases of anxiety and substance abuse.

What do women want? It depends on the time of the month
A UCLA meta-analysis of research on changes in mate preferences across the menstrual cycle suggests that ovulating women have evolved to prefer mates who display sexy traits, such as a masculine body type, dominate behavior, certain body odors and masculine facial features, rather than traits that are generally desirable in a long-term mate.

Superbright and fast X-rays image single layer of proteins
In biology, a protein's shape is key to understanding how it causes disease or toxicity.

New therapy to stop progression of fibrosis
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have developed a novel antibody-based therapy which targets the progression of life threating kidney fibrosis.

Early childhood education can pay big rewards to families, society
High quality early childhood for disadvantaged children can simultaneously reduce inequality and boost productivity in America, contends James Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and one of the nation's leading experts on early childhood education.

University of Guelph study assesses environmental impact of Ontario corn production
Researchers at the University of Guelph examined the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn production in Ontario.

Rice's carbon nanotube fibers outperform copper
Carbon nanotube-based fibers invented at Rice University have greater capacity to carry electrical current than copper cables of the same mass.

Experts call for global overhaul of industrial chemical regulations
In a Review published in The Lancet Neurology, two of the world's leading experts on the link between environment and children's health are sounding the alarm on the dangers of industrial chemicals.

MLB largely responsible for players' steroid abuse, UTA researcher says
The widespread use of illegal steroids among Major League Baseball players has been fueled by an

Optimizing donor kidney distribution in the United States
Nearly 5,000 people die each year in the US waiting for a kidney transplant.

South African healthcare workers face greater risk for TB, HIV
A large-scale survey of South African healthcare workers has revealed major gaps in workplace protection against tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis, according to a University of British Columbia health researcher.

Tinnitus study signals advance in understanding link between loud sounds exposure and hearing loss
Leicester research reveals why hearing loss is correlated with auditory signals failing to get transmitted along the auditory nerve.

Another reason to not mix work and family: Money makes parenting less meaningful
Money and parenting don't mix. That's according to new research that suggests that merely thinking about money diminishes the meaning people derive from parenting.

Gene for dissected leaves
Arabidopsis thaliana lost the RCO gene over the course of evolution and thus forms simple leaves.

Scientists chip away at the mystery of what lives in our mouths
Scientists have pieced together sections of DNA from 12 individual cells to sequence the genome of a bacterium known to live in healthy human mouths.

Cancer doctors have opportunities to cut costs without risk to patients, experts say
In a review article published Feb. 14 in The Lancet Oncology, Johns Hopkins experts identify three major sources of high cancer costs and argue that cancer doctors can likely reduce them without harm to patients.

New research reinforces danger of drinking alcohol while pregnant
Research shows that moderate drinking during those vital first weeks can have a big impact on the development of the baby.

Geographic variation of human gut microbes tied to obesity
Researchers know that obese people have a different balance of microbes in their guts: more Firmicutes, fewer Bacteroidetes.

Physicists produce a potentially revolutionary material
A new breed of ultra thin super-material has the potential to cause a technological revolution.

Scripps researchers recommend mobile compression device to prevent DVT after joint surgery
Research from the Shiley Center for Orthopaedic Research and Education at Scripps Clinic could change how patients are treated to prevent blood clots after joint replacement surgery.

Pregnancy study leads to fewer high birth weight babies
The world's biggest study offering healthy eating and exercise advice to pregnant women who are overweight or obese has shown a significant reduction in the number of babies born over 4kg (8.8 pounds) in weight.

NASA's IBEX helps paint picture of the magnetic system beyond the solar wind
Scientists are challenging our current understanding in a new study that combines observations of massively energetic cosmic ray particles streaming in from elsewhere in the Milky Way along with observations from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX.

Metabolism gives a boost to understanding plant and animal nutrient evolution
In the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, authors Maurino, et. al., explore the evolution of a family of enzymes, called 2-hydroxy acid oxidase, or 2-HAOX, that break down fats in both plant and animals.

Inside out at the 2014 AAAS meeting: The impact of gut flora on diabetes and obesity
Join us in Chicago for a fascinating and lively session on one of the most challenging fields in biomedicine!

Social norms strongly influence vaccination decisions and the spread of disease
Our response to societal pressures about vaccination has a direct effect on the spread of pediatric infectious diseases in areas where inoculation is not mandatory, says research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

New insight into protein misfolding in neurodegenerative disorders
Research by the University of Southampton has provided new insight into the consequence of accumulated 'misfolded proteins' in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Prion and Alzheimer's disease.

AAAS panel considers pandemic emergency response
Eva Lee, director of the Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare at the H.

LGB individuals living in anti-gay communities die early
In the first study to look at the consequences of anti-gay prejudice for mortality, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals who lived in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice have a shorter life expectancy of 12 years on average compared with their peers in the least prejudiced communities.

Heinrich Jaeger to discuss physics of granular materials at AAAS meeting
Pour sand from a bucket and it flows like a liquid, but stand on it and it supports weight like a solid.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia can reduce health care utilization and costs
A new study is the first to show decreases in health care utilization and costs following brief treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.

Study suggests sleep apnea may contribute to fatigue in multiple sclerosis
A new study provides evidence that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is highly prevalent in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), and it suggests that OSA may be a contributor to the fatigue that is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of MS.

Growing number of chemicals linked with brain disorders in children
Toxic chemicals may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among children -- such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia.

BU researcher to present at AAAS 2014 annual meeting in Chicago
Dr. Raquell Holmes, an assistant research professor at Boston University's Center for Computational Science, will be a featured presenter at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on Feb.

Tired all the time: Could undiagnosed sleep problems be making MS patients' fatigue worse?
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) might assume that the fatigue they often feel just comes with the territory of their chronic neurological condition.

Registration opens for HudsonAlpha-Science's 2014 Conference on ImmunoGenomics
Registration opens today for the HudsonAlpha-Science 2014 Conference on ImmunoGenomics, to be held Sept.

Prince Charles awards OBE to climate change executive at Buckingham Palace ceremony
Mary Ritter, Chief Executive Officer of the European Union's main climate innovation initiative Climate-KIC, was presented with an OBE for services to scientific research and innovation by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

New depression treatments reported
New insights into the physiological causes of depression are leading to treatments beyond common antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft, researchers are reporting in the journal Current Psychiatry.

Crab nebula of life
Researchers Chu,, have constructed the most complete and extensive crab sequence dataset to date.

In-hospital formula use deters breastfeeding
Mothers who expressed a strong intent to breastfeed did so far less when their babies received formula.

Our brain has switch board to guide behavior in response to external stimuli
How do our brains combine information from the external world (sensory stimulation) with information on our internal state such as hunger, fear or stress?

High frequency of EGFR mutations found in Asian population
Adenocarcinoma histology, female sex, never-smoking status, and Asian ethnicity have been considered the most important factors associated with EGFR mutations in non-small cell lung cancer and response to EGFR inhibitors.

Can citrus ward off your risk of stroke?
Eating foods that contain vitamin C may reduce your risk of the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26-May 3, 2014.

NAE names Tufts chemical engineer Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos as member
Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, Ph.D., professor of chemical engineering and the inaugural Robert and Marcy Haber Endowed Professor in Energy Sustainability at Tufts University's School of Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Arctic biodiversity under serious threat from climate change according to new report
Climate change caused by human activities is by far the worst threat to biodiversity in the Arctic.

Citizenship education goes digital
Baylor University researchers test the effectiveness of an online gaming website in teaching civics education.

Can a virtual brain replace lab rats?
Testing the effects of drugs on a simulated brain could lead to breakthrough treatments for neurological disorders such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease.

A strategy that narrows academic achievement gap by 63 percent
Americans don't like to discuss social class but new research finds it's imperative colleges and universities do.

Stanford computer scientist to discuss how online networks can be used to study social interactions
Jure Leskovec, assistant professor of computer science at Stanford University.

No chance for industrial pirates and Co.
In the future, production facilities will be able to communicate and interact with one another, and machinery will often be remote-serviced.

Blacks, Hispanics, older people not benefitting equally from better colon cancer treatment
While new and better treatments have improved the odds of survival for patients diagnosed late stage colorectal cancer, that progress has been largely confined to non-Hispanic whites and Asians and those under age 65.

Survey: Americans struggle with science; respect scientists
While most Americans could be a bit more knowledgeable in the ways of science, a majority are interested in hearing about the latest scientific breakthroughs and think highly of scientists.

Impaired recovery from inflammation linked to Alzheimer's
New research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that the final stage of the normal inflammatory process may be disrupted in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Communicating the way to the adoption of scientific technologies
The researchers theorize that politicization generates anxiety and results in a status quo bias such that citizens feel uncertainty about what to believe and hence stick to the status quo.

Even fact will not change first impressions
Knowledge is power, yet new research suggests that a person's appearance alone can trump knowledge.

'Neighbor-plants' determine insects' feeding choices
Insects are choosier than you might think: whether or not they end up feeding on a particular plant depends on much more than just the species to which that plant belongs.

Geographical passwords worth their salt
It's much easier to remember a place you have visited than a long, complicated password, which is why computer scientist Ziyad Al-Salloum of ZSS-Research in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, is developing a system he calls geographical passwords.

Is truth stranger than fiction? Yes, especially for science fiction
From warp drives to hyperspace, science fiction has continuously borrowed from, and sometimes anticipated, the state of the art in scientific progress.

Clinical trial success influenced by biomarker- and receptor-targeted therapies in NSCLC
Over the past decade, a great clinical focus has been directed at developing new and innovative therapies for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Penn study: Topiramate reduces heavy drinking in patients seeking to cut down on alcohol consumption
Researchers at Penn Medicine have shown that the anticonvulsant medication, topiramate, previously shown to reduce drinking in patients committed to abstinence from alcohol, can also be helpful in treating problem drinkers whose aim is to curb their alcohol consumption -- particularly among a specific group of patients whose genetic makeup appears to be linked to the efficacy of the therapy. 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