Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 25, 2014
Press registration for AERA Annual Meeting now open
The Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association -- the largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research -- is a showcase for ground-breaking, innovative studies in a diverse array of areas -- from early education through higher education, from digital learning to second language literacy.

Breast-feeding benefits appear to be overstated, according to study of siblings
A new study comparing siblings who were fed differently during infancy suggests that breast-feeding might be no more beneficial than bottle-feeding for 10 of 11 long-term health and well-being outcomes in children ages 4 to 14.

MMR vaccine linked to lower rate of infection-related hospital admissions
In a nationwide group of Danish children, receipt of the live measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine on schedule after vaccination for other common infections was associated with a lower rate of hospital admissions for any infections, but particularly for lower respiratory tract infections, according to a study in the Feb.

PFC exposure may spark metabolic changes in overweight children
Overweight children who were exposed to higher levels of perfluorinated chemicals tended to show early signs of developing the metabolic syndrome, according to a new study published in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Report details multiple commercial uses of wireless sensor networks
A review examines three on-farm case studies of product development, deployment, and implementation of wireless sensor networks as a means to increase irrigation efficiency in commercial horticulture operations.

Patient-centered medical home program results in little improvement in quality
One of the first, largest, and longest-running multipayer trials of patient-centered medical home medical practices in the United States was associated with limited improvements in quality and was not associated with reductions in use of hospital, emergency department, or ambulatory care services or total costs of care over three years, according to a study in the Feb.

'Team of rivals' approach works for sparrows defending territories
About one time out of five, a neighboring male flew into the territory of the study male and helped him repel the simulated intruder.

Study uncovers why almost winning is just as good for some gamblers
A new study led by the University of Exeter and Swansea University has pinpointed the changes in the brain that lead gamblers to react in the same way to near-misses as they do to winning.

Using stolen computer processing cycles to mine Bitcoin
A team of computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, has taken an unprecedented, in-depth look at how malware operators use the computers they infect to mine Bitcoin, a virtual currency whose value is highly volatile.

Research links risky behaviors of gambling and sex
Researchers assessed whether certain adolescent sexual behaviors linked with unintended consequences such as adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections) are associated with gambling behaviors.

System that automatically fills gaps in programmers' code gains power
A system that automatically fills in the gaps in programmers' code becomes more powerful.

The only top 10 cancer where survival rates are falling
Of the top 10 cancers in the United Kingdom, bladder cancer is only one where survival rates have been shown to be getting worse.

Technique to create holes in graphene could improve water filters, desalination
A new technique developed at MIT produces highly selective filter materials that could lead to more efficient desalination.

Scientists twist sound with metamaterials
A Chinese-US research team is exploring the use of metamaterials -- artificial materials engineered to have exotic properties not found in nature -- to create devices that manipulate sound in versatile and unprecedented ways.

JAX, UC Davis partner on shared research infrastructure, education initiatives
The Jackson Laboratory and University California Davis are expanding their 15-year collaboration to provide mutual support in research infrastructure and educational programs.

Researchers generate new neurons in brains, spinal cords of living adult mammals
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers created new nerve cells in the brains and spinal cords of living mammals without the need for stem cell transplants to replenish lost cells.

New approach to chip design could yield light speed computing
Northeastern University researchers are the first to create a device that integrates both optical and electronic signals to perform the most elementary computational operations that could inform 'light speed' computing.

Medical homes make small improvement in quality, do not cut costs, study finds
The 'medical home' model of primary medical care is touted under the Affordable Care Act as one of the key strategies to cut costs and improve quality in the US health system.

Study finds 2 biodegradable mulches to be suitable polyethylene alternatives
Scientists evaluated three potentially biodegradable plastic mulch products over two growing seasons of broccoli to determine deterioration before and after soil incorporation.

Real time forecast of Hurricane Sandy had track and intensity accuracy
A real-time hurricane analysis and prediction system that effectively incorporates airborne Doppler radar information may accurately track the path, intensity and wind force in a hurricane, according to Penn State meteorologists.

UT part of $140 million White House advanced manufacturing initiative
Suresh Babu, UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor's Chair for Advanced Manufacturing, and a team of faculty, will help lead UT's research effort in the $140 million Detroit-based institute, called the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation, or LM3I -- one of two institutes announced today.

New study presents evidence that blood pressure should be measured in both arms
New research published in the March issue of the American Journal of Medicine suggests that there is an association between a difference in interarm systolic blood pressure and a significant increased risk for future cardiovascular events, leading researchers to recommend expanded clinical use of interarm blood pressure measurement.

Magnetic medicine
Using tiny particles designed to target cancer-fighting immune cells, Johns Hopkins researchers have trained the immune systems of mice to fight melanoma, a deadly skin cancer.

More intensive radiotherapy is better than less for localized prostate cancer
A radiotherapy regime involving higher doses of radiation is a better option than having lower doses for men with localized prostate cancer, the 10-year results of the largest trial of its kind have shown.

Chinese partnership fuels NJIT's solar cell research
Earlier this month, NJIT formalized an agreement with Chinese partners that will advance the university's research on thin-film solar cells, an alternative energy technology with the potential to make buildings and other infrastructure substantially more energy efficient.

Keeping the world safe for miso soup and Brazilian beans, arctic seed vault welcomes new treasures
Over 20,000 crops originating from over 100 countries will arrive this week at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, in time for the vault's sixth birthday.

Rapeseed-based animal feed cuts greenhouse gases by up to 13 percent
The use of rapeseed cake in the production of livestock feed cuts methane and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 13 percent, according to the initial results of the research carried out by Neiker-Tecnalia within the framework of the Life-Seed Capital project.

Centers used solely for recovering organs from deceased donors may improve efficiency
Free-standing organ recovery centers could markedly improve efficiency and reduce costs associated with deceased organ donation, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Continuous handling of receipts linked to higher urine BPA levels
Study participants who handled receipts printed on thermal paper continuously for two hours without gloves had an increase in urine bisphenol A (BPA) concentrations compared to when they wore gloves, according to a study in the Feb.

Scientists demonstrate first contagious airborne WiFi virus
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have shown for the first time that WiFi networks can be infected with a virus that can move through densely populated areas as efficiently as the common cold spreads between humans.

Eliminating maternal mortality could extend life expectancy in reproductive ages
Maternal death rates represent the single largest health discrepancy between developed and developing populations, with nearly all -- more than 99 percent -- maternal deaths worldwide occurring in developing countries and over half of them in sub-Saharan Africa countries.

Small start-up businesses in rural areas must hustle for loans from far-off banks
To better their survival chances, entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses in rural areas must successfully pitch their ventures to 'faraway, unknown banking officials' rather than relying on local lenders as in the past, a Baylor study shows.

Leto Solutions honored as 1 of top 10 best companies at 2014 Texas Life Science Forum
Leto Solutions Inc., a San Antonio-based early stage medical device company founded by students at the University of Texas at San Antonio, was honored at the Texas Life Science Forum as one of only 10 Rice Alliance Life Science Companies recognized for having the best business opportunity and promise for high value commercialization.

Blood transfusion for PCI associated with increased risk of cardiac event
In an analysis that included more than two million patients who underwent a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; procedures such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement used to open narrowed coronary arteries), there was considerable variation in red blood cell transfusion practices among hospitals across the US, and receiving a transfusion was associated with an increased risk of in-hospital heart attack, stroke or death, according to a study in the Feb.

CWRU researchers find byproducts of bacteria-causing gum disease incite oral cancer growth
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have discovered how byproducts in the form of small fatty acids from two bacteria prevalent in gum disease incite the growth of deadly Kaposi's sarcoma-related lesions and tumors in the mouth.

Georgia Tech project ensures 'what you see is what you send'
Researchers at Georgia Tech have created a prototype software, Gyrus, that takes extra steps to prevent malware from sending spam emails and instant messages, and blocking unauthorized commands such as money transfers.

Novel blood screen reveals risk of dying among healthy people
A new screening technology reveals a signature of mortality in blood samples.

Tissue repair drug helps heal diabetic foot ulcers
Patients were twice as likely to have a diabetic foot ulcer heal within eight weeks when they were treated with a tissue repair drug versus a placebo, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Vinegar kills tuberculosis and other mycobacteria
The active ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, can effectively kill mycobacteria, even highly drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an international team of researchers from Venezuela, France, and the US reports in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Does solitary confinement fuel more crime?
Solitary confinement does not make supermax prison inmates more likely to re-offend once they're released, finds a study on the controversial penitentiaries led by a Michigan State University criminologist.

Can babies learn to read? No, NYU study finds
Can babies learn to read? While parents use DVDs and other media in an attempt to teach their infants to read, these tools don't instill reading skills in babies, a study by researchers at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development has found.

European study links nurses' workload and education to patients' survival after surgery
Patients are more likely to die after common surgical procedures when they are cared for in hospitals with heavier nurse workloads and fewer nurses with bachelor's degrees, concludes the largest investigation of nursing and hospital outcomes in Europe to date, published in The Lancet.

NHS Scotland reduces post-code lottery for hip replacement surgery
A reduction in the post-code lottery for hip replacement surgery has been achieved in Scotland without recourse to the private sector, according to new research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

FDA approves lipodystrophy drug metreleptin
'Many lipodystrophy patients have benefited from leptin therapy. While it is not a cure, leptin does help manage complications that can include diabetes, high blood lipids, and accumulation of fat in the liver,' said Dr.

Vitamin D deficiency may compromise immune function
Older individuals who are vitamin D deficient also tend to have compromised immune function, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Vitamin A may help boost immune system to fight tuberculosis
University of California Los Angeles researchers show that vitamin A may play an important role in combating tuberculosis.

UCSF, Walgreens open new pharmacy to explore new models of patient-centered care
UC San Francisco and Walgreens have opened a unique Walgreens store on the UCSF campus that aims to improve medication safety, decrease health care costs and help patients use medicines more effectively by offering pharmacist-based patient care and expanded health and wellness services to the community.

Smithsonian scientists solve 'sudden death at sea' mystery
Modern whale strandings can be investigated and their causes identified.

Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work
Max Ortiz Catalan, researcher at Chalmers University of Technology, has developed a new method for the treatment of phantom limb pain after an amputation.

Sensor-based irrigation systems show potential to increase greenhouse profitability
Using data from experiments on gardenia production, researchers determined and applied benefits/costs formulas for assessing profitability of sensor-based irrigation systems.

Dartmouth-led research shows temperature, not snowfall, driving tropical glacier size
Temperature, not snowfall, has been driving the fluctuating size of Peru's Quelccaya Ice Cap, whose dramatic shrinkage in recent decades has made it a symbol for global climate change, a Dartmouth-led study shows.

Analysis: 32 years of US filicide arrests
Over the last three decades US parents have committed filicide -- the killing of one's child -- about 3,000 times every year.

Smartphone-based voting technology may lead to fewer user errors
Many US counties have incorporated electronic voting technology, largely in response to well-publicized challenges related to older mechanical and punch-card models.

'How well did you sequence that genome?' NIST, consortium partners have answer
The NIST-hosted Genome in a Bottle consortium has announced the first of a planned suite of reference materials that will measure the performance of equipment, reagents and mathematical algorithms used for clinical human genome sequencing.

Penn researchers show nuclear stiffness keeps stem cells and cancer cells in place
Adult stem cells and cancer cells have many things in common, including an ability to migrate through tiny gaps in tissue.

Better nurse staffing and education reduces patient deaths in European hospitals
Researchers found that every one patient increase in patient to nurse ratios was associated with a seven percent increase in deaths, while having a better educated nurse workforce is associated with fewer deaths.

Glycerol phenylbutyrate reduces hepatic encephalopathy events
Phase 2 trial results published in the March issue of Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, suggests the potential for Glycerol Phenylbutyrate to reduce hepatic encephalopathy episodes in patients with cirrhosis, with a safety profile similar to placebo.

New record set for data-transfer speeds
Researchers at IBM have set a new record for data transmission over a multimode optical fiber, a type of cable that is typically used to connect nearby computers within a single building or on a campus.

Carbon dating uncovers forged Cubist painting
Choosing the right physical technique to analyze paintings can make all the difference when it comes to ascertaining their authenticity.

Skin cancer risk may have driven evolution of black skin
Early humans may have evolved black skin to protect against a very high risk of dying from ultraviolet light-induced skin cancer, a new analysis concludes.

Risk of HIV infection is high during pregnancy and the postpartum period
Women living in world regions where HIV infection is common are at high risk of acquiring HIV infection during pregnancy and the postpartum period, according to a study by US researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Tiger lily heights controlled with flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks
Researchers evaluated the appropriate concentration of flurprimidol for the 'orange tiger' tiger lily and tested for residual effects of flurprimidol the following year.

Discovery of a 'conductor' in muscle development
A team led by Jean-Francois Cote, researcher at the IRCM, identified a 'conductor' in the development of muscle tissue.

Researchers at LSTM crack the genetic secret of mosquito resistance to DDT and ITNs
Researchers from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have found that a single genetic mutation causes resistance to DDT and pyrethroids (an insecticide class used in mosquito nets).

Scientists explore promising new option for first line of attack in lymphoma
A study led by Manchester scientists has shown promising results for a new treatment approach in follicular lymphoma.

Keck Medicine of USC scientists uncover 2 micro mechanisms that regulate immune system
A Keck Medicine of USC-led team of microbiologists has identified previously unknown interactions between critical proteins in the human immune response system, uncovering two independent regulatory mechanisms that keep the body's immune response in check.

MERS virus widespread in Saudi Arabian camels
The coronavirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is prevalent in camels throughout Saudi Arabia and has been around for at least 20 years, according to a study to be published on Feb.

Novel optical fibers transmit high-quality images
Engineers at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee have found that a new kind of optical fiber they designed can not only transmit more data than single core optical fibers but also transmit images with less pixelation and higher contrast than the current commercial endoscopy imaging fibers.

Improvement in polymers for aviation
A study by the UPV/EHU's Polymer Technology Group has obtained splendid results, made possible by the use of carbon nanotubes, in the improvement in mechanical properties and electrical conductivity of the poly(ether imide) polymer, used for developing aircraft parts, among other things.

Ordinary conditioner removes head lice eggs as effectively as special products
Some shampoos and conditioners that contain chemicals or special oils are marketed as nit-removal products for head lice eggs.

Climate engineering: Minor potential, major side effects
Researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel have studied with computer simulations the long-term global consequences of several 'climate engineering' methods.

Saudi Arabian camels carry MERS virus
An estimated three-quarters of camels recently surveyed in Saudi Arabia have evidence of infection with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, the virus responsible for human cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Ecotoxicity: All clear for silver nanoparticles?
It has long been known that, in the form of free ions, silver particles can be highly toxic to aquatic organisms.

Obesity prevalence remains high in US; no significant change in recent years
The prevalence of obesity remains high in the US, with about one-third of adults and 17 percent of children and teens obese in 2011-2012, according to a national survey study in the Feb.

Anti-vaccine conspiracy theories may have 'detrimental consequences' for children's health
A belief in anti-vaccine conspiracy theories may have significant and detrimental consequences for children's health, new research from the University of Kent has shown.

Increasing brain acidity may reduce anxiety
Increasing acidity in the brain's emotional control center reduces anxiety, according to an animal study published Feb.

Geology covers Mars, the moon, anthropogenic lead poisoning, earthquake hazards, and more
The Geological Society of America's top journal, Geology, displays its multidisciplinary best in this latest posting.

New clues found to preventing lung transplant rejection
Drugs that broadly suppress the immune system after lung transplantation may inadvertently encourage organ rejection, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

SA scientists debunk climate change myths
Wits University scientists have debunked two big myths around climate change by proving firstly, that despite predictions, tropical storms are not increasing in number.

Mother to child HIV transmission at record low in the UK
The rate of mother to child HIV transmission is at an all-time low in the United Kingdom, according to a paper published today in the journal AIDS.

Therapy for your marriage -- without the therapy
Is it possible to observe your own marriage, including your arguments, and see yourself the way an objective observer would see you?

Study shows mentally ill more likely to be victims, not perpetrators, of violence
New research shows that almost one-third of adults with mental illness are likely to be victims of violence within a six-month period, and that adults with mental illness who commit violence are most likely to do so in residential settings.

Psychological side-effects of anti-depressants worse than thought
A University of Liverpool researcher has shown that thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties and emotional numbness as a result of anti-depressants may be more widespread than previously thought.

Stigma 'key deterrent' in accessing mental health care
Mental health stigma is a key factor preventing people from accessing the care they need, according to new research from King's College London.

The importance of (experimental) design
A classic experiment published in 2000 seemed to provide overwhelming evidence that a particular behavioral choice is largely genetically determined.

Air Force aircraft returned from Vietnam is postwar source of Agent Orange contamination
From 1971-1982, Air Force reservists who flew in 34 dioxin-contaminated aircraft used to spray Agent Orange in the Vietnam War were exposed to greater levels of dioxin than previously acknowledged.

Brainstem discovered as important relay site after stroke
After a stroke, sufferers are often faced with the problem of severe movement impairment.

Northwestern Medicine awarded more than $8.4 million for chronic rhinosinusitis research
The Northwestern Medicine Sinus and Allergy Center has received a grant for more than $8.4 million from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to help advance the understanding of chronic rhinosinusitis and the development of new methods for its treatment over the next five years.

NASA's SDO shows images of significant solar flare
The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:49 p.m.

WPI Metal Processing Institute a core facility for a new national manufacturing institute
The Metal Processing Institute at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is one of four core academic facilities for the American Lightweight and Modern Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, a new $148 million national initiative aimed at helping to revitalize the nation's manufacturing capabilities and competitiveness.

3-D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment
Using an inexpensive 3-D printer, biomedical engineers have developed a custom-fitted, implantable device with embedded sensors that could transform treatment and prediction of cardiac disorders.

Brain cell activity regulates Alzheimer's protein
Increased brain cell activity boosts brain fluid levels of a protein linked to Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Where have all the codfish gone?
The mega-decline in cod and other fisheries across the North Atlantic Ocean threatens the livelihood of fishermen and communities in New England and Atlantic Canada.

Unhealthy attachments
Using the surface forces apparatus and an atomic force microscope, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have taken a molecular approach to myelin membrane interactions, leading to insights into demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

Space Station SPHERES run circles around ordinary satellites
Four current and upcoming SPHERES technology demonstrations are of particular significance to robotics engineers, rocket launch companies, NASA exploration and anyone who uses communications systems on Earth.

Portable hydrogen fuel cell unit to provide green, sustainable power to Honolulu port
Clean hydrogen power that's expected to lower emissions and reduce energy consumption will be coming to the Port of Honolulu in 2015 after the completion of a new fuel cell technology demonstration, one that could lead to a commercial technology for ports worldwide.

Talking in 3-D: Discussing and administrating complex construction models via a web browser
There is a lack of software enabling it to track and visualize the progress on three-dimensional models.

New study finds concussion-related health problems in retired football players
The results of a new study of retired professional football players that compares number of concussions sustained during their careers and health problems associated with hormonal deficiency is published in Journal of Neurotrauma.

Prevalence of high school seniors' marijuana use is expected to increase with legalization
A New York University study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, finds large proportions of high school students normally at low risk for marijuana use (e.g., non-cigarette-smokers, religious students, those with friends who disapprove of use) reported intention to use marijuana if it were legal.

Strawberries lower cholesterol
A team of volunteers ate half a kilo of strawberries a day for a month to see whether it altered their blood parameters in any way.

'Greener' aerogel technology holds potential for oil and chemical clean-up
A group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison is examining alternative materials that can be modified to absorb oil and chemicals without absorbing water.

It's all water over the dam -- but how and when it falls has huge impact on salmon
By adjusting water discharges in ways designed to boost salmon productivity, officials at a dam in central Washington were able to more than triple the numbers of juvenile salmon downstream of the dam over a 30-year period.

Stand-alone facility for organ retrieval is more efficient, less costly than hospital
Retrieving organs from brain-dead donors is logistically challenging and time consuming in hospitals.

Taming microbes to combat antibiotic resistance
Novel approach seeks to avoid antibiotic resistance by taming microbes, rather than killing them. 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