Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 27, 2014
UCSB study reveals evolution at work
New research by University of California Santa Barbara's Kenneth S.

CU-led study says Bering Land Bridge a long-term refuge for early Americans
A new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder bolsters the theory that the first Americans, who are believed to have come over from northeast Asia during the last ice age, may have been isolated on the Bering Land Bridge for thousands of years before spreading throughout the Americas.

Cancer targeted treatments from space station discoveries
A process investigated aboard the space station known as microencapsulation is able to more effectively produce tiny, liquid-filled, biodegradable micro-balloons containing specific combinations of concentrated anti-tumor drugs.

International study shows majority of children unaware of cigarette warning labels
An international study of children's perceptions of cigarette package warning labels found that the majority of children are unaware that they exist.

Type 1 diabetes: Vitamin D deficiency occurs in an early stage
Low levels of vitamin D are commonly found in people with type 1 diabetes.

FASEB releases its FY 2015 funding report
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology has released its annual research funding recommendations to Congress, Federal Funding for Biomedical & Related Life Sciences Research FY 2015.

Altruistic suicide in organisms helps relatives
The question of why an individual would actively kill itself has been an evolutionary mystery.

Mouse brain atlas maps neural networks to reveal how brain regions interact
Different brain regions must communicate with each other to control complex thoughts and behaviors, but little is known about how these areas organize into broad neuronal networks.

Researchers discover unusual genetic mutation linked to adolescent liver cancer
In the race for better treatments and possible cures, rare diseases are often left behind.

Study identifies possible new target for future brain cancer drugs
A molecule in cells that shuts down the expression of genes might be a promising target for new drugs designed to treat glioblastoma, the most frequent and lethal form of brain cancer.

Scientists to tackle burden of cattle disease on UK farms
Researchers from the University of Liverpool are leading a new campaign to tackle a disease in cattle that costs the UK economy £300m each year.

High-calorie feeding may slow progression of ALS
Increasing the number of calories consumed by patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may be a relatively simple way of extending their survival.

Big step for next-generation fuel cells and electrolyzers
Researchers at Berkeley and Argonne National Labs have discovered a highly promising new class of nanocatalysts for fuel cells and water-alkali electrolyzers that are an order of magnitude higher in activity than the target set by DOE for 2017.

Montreal researchers find a link between pollutants and certain complications of obesity
A team of researchers at the IRCM in Montreal led by Remi Rabasa-Lhoret, in collaboration with Jerome Ruzzin from the University of Bergen in Norway, found a link between a type of pollutants and certain metabolic complications of obesity.

New invasive species breakthrough sparks interest around the world
A research breakthrough at Queen's University Belfast has sparked interest among aquatic biologists, zoologists and ecologists around the world.

Physicians' stethoscopes more contaminated than palms of their hands
Although healthcare workers' hands are the main source of bacterial transmission in hospitals, physicians' stethoscopes appear to play a role.

Early atherosclerotic plaques regress when cholesterol levels are lowered
Early but not advanced forms of atherosclerotic plaques in the vessel wall disappear when the levels of 'bad' cholesterol are lowered, according to a study in mice from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.

An ancient 'Great Leap Forward' for life in the open ocean
Plankton in the Earth's oceans received a huge boost when microorganisms capable of creating soluble nitrogen 'fertilizer' directly from the atmosphere diversified and spread throughout the open ocean.

Scientists learn how pathogens hack our immune systems to go undetected
A new report appearing in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology helps shed light on what drives the evolution of pathogens, as well as how our bodies adapt to ward them off.

Wakefield Court Rolls series
Dr. John A. Hargreaves has edited Volume 16 of the Wakefield Court Rolls series.

Pulling problem teeth before heart surgery to prevent infection may be catch-22
To pull or not to pull? That is a common question when patients have the potentially dangerous combination of abscessed or infected teeth and the need for heart surgery.

Yale study provides a breath of hope for pulmonary hypertension patients
Most of us draw roughly 25,000 breaths a day without any thought.

Fossilized human feces from 14th century contain antibiotic resistance genes
A team of French investigators has discovered viruses containing genes for antibiotic resistance in a fossilized fecal sample from 14th century Belgium, long before antibiotics were used in medicine.

Science Academies explain global warming in 'plain English'
If emissions of greenhouse gases continue in a business-as-usual manner, future changes in climate will substantially exceed those that have occurred so far, with a warming of the Earth in the range of roughly five to nine degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

Bisphenol A (BPA) at very low levels can adversely affect developing organs in primates
Bisphenol A is a chemical that is used in a wide variety of consumer products and exhibits hormone-like properties.

Sustainable energy is focus of plenary talks at American Chemical Society meeting
Advances in renewable and sustainable energy, including mimicking photosynthesis and optimizing lithium-ion batteries, are the topics of three plenary talks at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, taking place here from March 16-20.

Childhood adversity launches lifelong relationship and health disadvantage for black men
Greater childhood adversity helps to explain why black men are less healthy than white men, and some of this effect appears to operate through childhood adversity's enduring influence on the relationships black men have as adults, according to a new study.

MIT political scientist proposes new polling method based on conjoint analysis
An MIT political scientist proposes a new polling method to reveal how voters make choices at the ballot box.

Drinking water linked to infections
Brisbane's water supply has been found to contain disease carrying bugs which can be directly linked to infections in some patients, according to a new study by QUT.

Nobelist James Watson proposes an unconventional view of type 2 diabetes causation
At 85, Nobel laureate James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA, continues to advance intriguing scientific ideas.

Training begins for police officers to control bleeding of mass-casualty victims in the US
Surgeons and first responder organizations have been working to increase the number of survivors of an active shooter or mass casualty incident.

Targeting metabolism to develop new prostate cancer treatments
A University of Houston scientist is working to develop the next generation of prostate cancer therapies targeted at metabolism.

Probing the edge of chaos
The edge of chaos is a unique place. It is found in many dynamical systems that cross the boundary between well-behaved dynamics and a chaotic one.

Solving 'The Boy Problem'
Boys will be boys, goes the old adage, but it's exactly this philosophy that has hurt young men in urban classrooms for more than a century, a Michigan State University scholar argues in a new book.

A novel treatment may reduce myocardial infarction size
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have developed a novel treatment for myocardial infarction.

Study reveals mechanisms cancer cells use to establish metastatic brain tumors
New research from Memorial Sloan Kettering provides fresh insight into the biologic mechanisms that individual cancer cells use to metastasize to the brain.

IUPUI study reveals how dogs detect explosives, offers new training recommendations
A research team at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has helped determine the science behind how canines locate explosives such as Composition C-4 (a plastic explosive used by the US military).

Livestock found ganging up on pandas at the bamboo buffet
Pandas, it turns out, aren't celebrating the Year of the Horse.

Making treatment of rare blood disorder more affordable and effective
A University of Pennsylvania research team has defined a possible new way to fight a disease that is currently treatable only with the most expensive drug available for sale in the United States.

Despite recession, children's health spending increased between 2009-2012, says new report
Spending on health care for privately insured children increased between 2009-2012, rising an average 5.5 percent a year, with more dollars spent on boys than girls, and higher spending on infants than any other children's age group.

Battery-free technology brings gesture recognition to all devices
University of Washington computer scientists have built a low-cost gesture recognition system that runs without batteries and lets users control their electronic devices hidden from sight with simple hand movements.

Fat or flat: Getting galaxies into shape
Australian astronomers have discovered what makes some spiral galaxies fat and bulging while others are flat discs -- and it's all about how fast they spin.

System-wide analyses have underestimated the importance of transcription in animals
Over the last decade, a number of studies have suggested that, in animal cells, translation and protein turnover play a larger role in determining the different levels at which proteins are expressed than transcription.

Fossils offer new clues into Native American's 'journey' and how they survived the last Ice Age
Researchers have discovered how Native Americans may have survived the last Ice Age after splitting from their Asian relatives 25,000 years ago.

Indiana University awarded $1 million USAID grant to support Myanmar's economic transition
The US Agency for International Development has awarded $1 million to Indiana University and its Kelley School of Business for a Global Development Alliance project that will extend the teaching and outreach capabilities of the Yangon Institute of Economics and help micro- to medium-sized business enterprises to be more successful.

Researchers X-ray living cancer cells
At Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron's PETRA III research light source, scientists have carried out the first studies of living biological cells using high-energy X-rays.

Infostorms: How to roll with 'information punches'
The dawn of the information age is heralded as a turning point for humanity.

Twitter 'big data' can be used to monitor HIV and drug-related behavior, UCLA study shows
Real-time social media like Twitter could be used to track HIV incidence and drug-related behaviors with the aim of detecting and potentially preventing outbreaks.

Disney Research soccer formations analysis suggests home advantage is result of execution
An automated analysis by Disney Research Pittsburgh of team formations used during an entire season of professional soccer provides further evidence that visiting teams are less successful than home teams because they play conservatively, not because of a mythical home advantage.

Study uncovers why autism is more common in males
Males are at greater risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, than females, but the underlying reasons have been unclear.

Scientists describe deadly immune 'storm' caused by emergent flu infections
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have mapped key elements of a severe immune overreaction -- a 'cytokine storm' -- that can both sicken and kill patients who are infected with certain strains of flu virus.

The pain of social exclusion
The distress caused by social stimuli (e.g., losing a friend, experiencing an injustice or more in general when a social bond is threatened) activates brain circuits related to physical pain: as observed in a study conducted by the International School of Advanced Studies, this also applies when we experience this type of pain vicariously as an empathic response (when we see somebody else experiencing it).

The space double-whammy: Less gravity, more radiation
A new study, MicroRNA Expression Profiles in Cultured Human Fibroblast in Space -- Micro-7 for short -- will examine the effect of gravity on DNA damage and repair.

New tool to unlock genetics of grape-growing
University of Adelaide researchers have developed a new web-based tool to help unlock the complex genetics and biological processes behind grapevine development.

Why dark chocolate is good for your heart
It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why.

Math anxiety factors into understanding genetically modified food messages
People who feel intimidated by math may be less able to understand messages about genetically modified foods and other health-related information, according to researchers.

Why and how anti-retroviral therapy works even against HIV cell-to-cell transmission
A study published on Feb. 27 in PLOS Pathogens tested a panel of anti-HIV drugs for their ability to suppress cell-to-cell transmission of the virus.

10,000 years on the Bering land bridge
Genetic and environmental evidence indicates that after the ancestors of Native Americans left Asia, they spent 10,000 years in shrubby lowlands on a broad land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska.

New discovery paves the way for medicine for people with hearing disabilities
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified a biological circadian clock in the hearing organ, the cochlea.

A world free from cancers: Probable, possible, or preposterous?
A panel of leading health, economics and policy experts today discussed the prospects for a future where cancers are rendered manageable or even eradicated and the variables affecting progress toward that goal so that cancer patients are able to lead normal, productive lives -- and thus be 'free from' their cancers.

Social workers' roles in patient care expand under Affordable Care Act
The Boston College Graduate School of Social Work Forum 'Health Care Reform: From Policy to Practice' recently brought together researchers, social workers and health care leaders to examine the roles social workers will play under the Affordable Care Act.

Effective treatment for youth anxiety disorders has lasting benefit
A study published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that the majority of youth with moderate to severe anxiety disorders responded well to acute treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy, medication (sertraline), or a combination of both.

'Oddball science' has proven worth, say UMass Amherst biologists
Writing in a recent issue of BioScience, researchers Patricia Brennan, Duncan Irschick, Norman Johnson and Craig Albertson argue that 'innovations often arise from unlikely sources' and 'reducing our ability to creatively examine unique biological phenomena will ultimately harm not only education and health but also the ability to innovate, a major driver of the global economy.'

Simple lab-based change may help reduce unnecessary antibiotic therapy, improve care
A simple change in how the hospital laboratory reports test results may help improve antibiotic prescribing practices and patient safety, according to a pilot, proof-of-concept study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases -- now available online.

Researchers reveal the dual role of brain glycogen
Two articles produced by Joan Guinovart's lab at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine answer key questions regarding the activity of glycogen in neurons.

Disney researchers look beyond basketball stats to analyze team movement in getting shots
Everyone knows a basketball player is more likely to miss a three-point shot if a defender is in his face, but a new automated method for analyzing team formations, created by Disney Research Pittsburgh, shows how players get open for a shot: via defensive role swaps.

Supplement added to a standard diet improves health and prolongs life in mice
Activating a protein called sirtuin 1 extends lifespan, delays the onset of age-related metabolic diseases, and improves general health in mice.

Scientists uncover trigger for most common form of intellectual disability and autism
A new study led by Weill Cornell Medical College scientists shows that the most common genetic form of mental retardation and autism occurs because of a mechanism that shuts off the gene associated with the disease.

By zooming in on arteries, researcher gets to the root of pulmonary hypertension
You might think building muscle is a good thing, but that's often not so in the case of blood vessels in adults.

Scientists discover new protein involved in lung cancer
The research by the Manchester team looked at glucocorticoids, the hormones that regulate inflammation and energy production in cells in the body.

Male goat essence really turns the females on
Anyone who has ever spent time around goats knows they have a certain smell.

Is marriage killing us?
Does the stress of marriage contribute to heart disease, which accounts for one of every four deaths in the United States?

Do obesity, birth control pills raise risk of multiple sclerosis?
The role of the so-called 'obesity hormone' leptin and hormones used for birth control in the development of multiple sclerosis is examined in two new studies released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26-May 3, 2014.

Robotic technology in the service of fashion
Two companies receiving support from the Business Incubator in Universidad Carlos III in Madrid's Science Park are innovating the field of fashion by using technology based in robotics.

New fast and furious black hole found
A team of Australian and American astronomers have been studying nearby galaxy M83 and have found a new superpowered small black hole, named MQ1, the first object of its kind to be studied in this much detail.

New research to revolutionize healthcare through remote monitoring of patients
Researchers from the University of Surrey have today launched a new program of research called eSMART (Electronic Symptom Management using ASyMS Remote Technology), that uses mobile phone technology to remotely monitor patients who are undergoing chemotherapy to treat breast, bowel and blood cancers.

Study projects big thaw for Antarctic sea ice
A new modeling study suggests that a recent observed increase in summer sea-ice cover in Antarctica's Ross Sea is likely short-lived, with the area projected to lose more than half its summer sea ice by 2050 and more than three quarters by 2100.

More dangerous chemicals in everyday life: Now experts warn against nanosilver
Endocrine disruptors are not the only worrying chemicals that ordinary consumers are exposed to in everyday life.

CNIO researchers discover new strategies for the treatment of psoriasis
Almost 10 years ago, the group led by Erwin Wagner developed genetically modified mice showing symptoms very reminiscent to psoriasis.

Mentoring the next generation of black chemists (video)
The American Chemical Society is wrapping up its celebration of Black History Month with a focus on the future.

Fruit fly's pruning protein could be key to treating brain injury
A protein that controls the metamorphosis of the common fruit fly could someday play a role in reversing brain injuries.

A bird's eye view of cellular RNAs
A team at the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with the Allen Institute for Brain Science, has developed a new method that allows scientists to pinpoint the location of thousands of working copies of genes called mRNAs at once in intact cells -- while simultaneously determining the sequence of letters, or bases, that identify them and reveal their cellular function.

International Journal of Surgery affiliated with New York Surgical Society
The New York Surgical Society has decided to affiliate with the International Journal of Surgery in an agreement that gives members of the Society easy access to the important research published by the journal and marks the growth in the journal's international reach.

Color of passion: Orange underbellies of female lizards signal fertility
Australian lizards are attracted to females with the brightest orange patches -- but preferably not too large -- on their underbelly, according to research published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

American Bar Association awards lower ratings to women and minorities
For more than half a century, the American Bar Association has vetted the nation's judicial nominees, certifying candidates as 'well qualified,' 'qualified,' or 'not qualified' and in the process rankling conservatives and liberals alike when nominees earn less than stellar marks.

Discoveries point to more powerful cancer treatments, fewer side effects
A Rutgers study suggests a way to make chemotherapy and radiation more effective as cancer treatments while eliminating debilitating side effects.

Disease-causing bacterial invaders aided by failure of immune system switch
Immune system defenses against dangerous bacteria in the gut can be breached by turning off a single molecular switch that governs production of the protective mucus lining our intestinal walls, according to a study led by researchers at Yale, the University of British Columbia, and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Early strokes leave many young adults with long-lasting disability
Ten years after having a stroke, nearly a third of young survivors still need assistance or are unable to live independently.

Methane leaks from palm oil wastewater are a climate concern, CU-Boulder study says
In recent years, palm oil production has come under fire from environmentalists concerned about the deforestation of land in the tropics to make way for new palm plantations.

Cancer vaccine could use immune system to fight tumors
Cincinnati Cancer Center and University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute researchers have found that a vaccine, targeting tumors that produce a certain protein and receptor responsible for communication between cells and the body's immune system, could initiate the immune response to fight cancer.

Cushing's syndrome: A genetic basis for cortisol excess
An international team of researchers led by an endocrinologist at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich has identified genetic mutations that result in uncontrolled synthesis and secretion of the stress hormone cortisol.

Bison ready for new pastures?
A new study from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services and the Wildlife Conservation Society demonstrates that it is possible to qualify bison coming from an infected herd as free of brucellosis using quarantine procedures.

Federico Rosei elected to the European Academy of Sciences
Professor Federico Rosei, director of the INRS Energie Materiaux Telecommunications research center, has been elected to the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC).

One in 5 US hospitals don't put hand sanitizer everywhere needed to prevent infections
Approximately one in five US health facilities don't make alcohol-based hand sanitizer available at every point of care, missing a critical opportunity to prevent health care-associated infections, according to new research from Columbia University School of Nursing and the World Health Organization published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Huntington proteins and their nasty 'social network'
Researchers at the Buck Institute have identified and categorized thousands of protein interactions involving huntingtin, the protein responsible for Huntington's disease.

Google Glass could help stop emerging public health threats around the world
The much-talked-about Google Glass -- the eyewear with computer capabilities -- could potentially save lives, especially in isolated or far-flung locations, say scientists.

Computer game characters become more human-like by gossiping and lying
Imagine socially intelligent computer game characters with a natural dialogue, human-like in their ways of relating to others, who gossip, manipulate and have their own agendas.

BUSM Study discovers novel therapeutic targets for Huntington's disease
A study led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine provides novel insight into the impact that genes may have on Huntington's disease.

Faster anthrax detection could speed bioterror response
Shortly following the 9/11 terror attack in 2001, letters containing anthrax spores were mailed around the country killing five people and infecting 17 others.

Purification, culture and multi-lineage differentiation of zebrafish neural crest cells
The neural crest (NC) is a unique cell population associated with vertebrate evolution.

AGU: A 'shark's eye' view: Witnessing the life of a top predator
Instruments strapped onto and ingested by sharks are revealing novel insights into how one of the most feared and least understood ocean predators swims, eats and lives.

Internal logic: 8 distinct subnetworks in mouse cerebral cortex
The mammalian cerebral cortex, long thought to be a dense single interrelated tangle of neural networks, actually has a 'logical' underlying organizational principle.

High-calorie diet could slow progression of motor neuron disease (ALS)
A high-carbohydrate, high-calorie diet could delay the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig's disease, according to a phase 2 study published in The Lancet.

Feynman's lecture brought to life in science doodle
In this month's edition of Physics World, professional 'science doodler' Perrin Ireland gives her unique take on one of Richard Feynman's famous lectures, 50 years after it was first delivered.

New orchid flora documents dramatic variety of orchids in a biodiversity hotspot
Covering the oldest, largest, and most complex islands of the West Indies, 'Orchid Flora of the Greater Antilles,' newly published by the New York Botanical Garden Press, provides clear, detailed accounts of 594 orchid species found in the Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola, the island that comprises the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Scientists highlight the importance of nutrients for coral reefs
A new publication from researchers at the University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, highlights the importance of nutrients for coral reef survival.

Famed Milwaukee County Zoo orangutan's death caused by strange infection
Mahal, the young orangutan who became a star of the Milwaukee County Zoo and an emblem of survival for a dwindling species, led an extraordinary life.

Household wealth still down 14 percent since recession
Household wealth for Americans still has not recovered from the recession, despite last summer's optimistic report from the US Federal Reserve, a new study suggests.

ASN to hold Scientific Sessions & Annual Meeting April 26-30
The American Society for Nutrition will hold its 2014 Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology, from April 26-30, 2014, in San Diego.
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