Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 05, 2014
Going viral to target tumors
A Ludwig Cancer Research study suggests that the clinical efficacy of checkpoint blockade, a powerful new strategy to harness the immune response to treat cancers, might be dramatically improved if combined with oncolytic virotherapy, an investigational intervention that employs viruses to destroy tumors.

Working pressures increase children attending nursery with respiratory tract infections
New research has found children going to nursery when they are unwell with respiratory tract infections may be an important factor in the spread of these illnesses in the community.

ALS-linked gene causes disease by changing genetic material's shape
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have found one way that a recently discovered genetic mutation might cause two nasty nervous system diseases.

Technique patented that opens the door to the development of new drugs against osteoporosis
Scientists from the University of Granada have developed a methodology that allows phosphate ions to be measured -- in real time and non-invasively -- in the interior of osteoblasts, the precursors of bone cells.

Playing with Barbie dolls could limit girls' career choices, study shows
In one of the first experiments to explore the influence of fashion dolls, a researcher has found that girls who play with Barbie dolls see fewer career options for themselves than for boys.

Hungry for 'likes': Frequent Facebook use linked to eating disorder risk, study finds
Psychology professor Pamela K. Keel studied 960 college women and found that more time on Facebook was associated with higher levels of disordered eating.

Laura Finney to receive the Edward C. Roy, Jr. Award in K-8 Earth Science Teaching
Laura Finney, a teacher at Chamberlin Hill Intermediate School in Findlay, Ohio, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Edward C.

Heart failure unknowns a roadblock to managing health
UAlberta research shows patients and their families lack basic skills and knowledge to manage the condition successfully.

NASA tests new robotic refueling technologies
NASA has successfully concluded a remotely controlled test of new technologies that would empower future space robots to transfer hazardous oxidizer -- a type of propellant -- into the tanks of satellites in space today.

Gene therapy locks out HIV, paving the way to control virus without antiretroviral drug
University of Pennsylvania researchers have successfully genetically engineered the immune cells of 12 HIV positive patients to resist infection, and decreased the viral loads of some patients taken off antiretroviral drug therapy entirely -- including one patient whose levels became undetectable.

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms
When developers program software, errors happen. Automatic testing can help, but so far it requires a lot of effort to contrive test cases.

Darwin: It's not all sexual (selection)
Scientists have long considered bird song to be an exclusively male trait, resulting from sexual selection.

Penn team finds a new structure in dogs' eye linked to blinding retinal diseases
University of Pennsylvania vision scientists report that dogs have an area of their retina that strongly resembles the human fovea.

Pumping iron: A hydrogel actuator with mussel tone
Using iron ions and chemistry found in the adhesive proteins of a certain mollusk, Bruce P.

Synthetic spider silk strong enough for a superhero
Spider silk of fantastical, superhero strength is finally speeding toward commercial reality -- at least a synthetic version of it is.

UCLA engineering team increases power efficiency for future computer processors
A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has made major improvements in computer processing using an emerging class of magnetic materials called 'multiferroics,' and these advances could make future devices far more energy-efficient than current technologies.

UTMB collaborates on program targeting potential bioterrorist pathogens Ebola and Marburg
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Profectus Biosciences, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center have been awarded up to $26 million to advance treatments of the highly lethal hemorrhagic fever viruses Ebola and Marburg.

New terms used for trainee doctors stump nurses and patients
Nurses and patients are struggling to identify qualified doctors or to grade their seniority from their generic name badges, finds a survey of one hospital in England, published online in BMJ Quality & Safety.

New molecules doom proteins with kiss of death
Like mobsters following strict orders, newly engineered molecules called 'ubiquibodies' can mark specific proteins inside a cell for destruction.

Adolescent relationship violence has mental health implications for victims, perpetrators
Described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as 'physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse,' intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious public health issue affecting millions of people in the United States.

New 'willful neglect' offense needed for healthcare sector, say lawyers
A new criminal offense of 'willful neglect' is needed for individuals and organizations in the healthcare sector, to send out a clear message that appalling care warrants public censure and sanction, say leading lawyers in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety.

South Pacific island's earliest inhabitants relied primarily on foraging, not horticulture
Early Lapita inhabitants of Vanuatu, a South Pacific island, ate fish, marine turtles, and wild or domestic animals, rather than relying on horticulture during early colonization.

Hop leaves -- discarded in beer brewing -- have substances that could fight dental diseases
Beer drinkers know that hops are what gives the drink its bitterness and aroma.

3-D scans map widespread fish disease
Seventy-five percent of antibiotics in Danish fish farms is used to treat fish with enteric redmouth disease.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Faxai stretching out
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite today revealed that wind shear was stretching out Tropical Cyclone Faxai and the storm was waning.

UW researchers use Lumosity to identify early cognitive impairment in cirrhosis patients
A new study from the University of Washington has found that performance on Lumosity games can distinguish between patients with cirrhosis of the liver, pre-cirrhotic patients, and healthy controls.

Researchers identify target for shutting down growth of prostate cancer cells
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified an important step toward potentially shutting down the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Are bilingual kids more open-minded?
New research from Concordia University shows that, like monolingual children, bilingual children prefer to interact with those who speak their mother tongue with a native accent rather than with peers with a foreign accent.

Blocking immune system protein in mice prevents fetal brain injury, but not preterm birth
An inflammatory protein that triggers a pregnant mouse's immune response to an infection or other disease appears to cause brain injury in her fetus, but not the premature birth that was long believed to be linked with such neurologic damage in both rodents and humans, new Johns Hopkins-led research suggests.

Human activity influences beach bacterial diversity
Human activity influences ocean beach bacterial communities, and bacterial diversity may indicate greater ecological health and resiliency to sewage contamination.

Navy transitions global ocean forecast system for public use
The Navy-developed Global Ocean Forecast System represents dual-use technology that will benefit civilian interests.

Queen's University included in chemical engineering roll of honor
Queen's University Belfast chemists are celebrating after being named on the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) roll of honor for 2013.

Prehospital alerts let stroke patients skip the emergency room
Prehospital stroke alerts by emergency medical services personnel can shorten the time to effective treatment with 'clot-busting' drugs for patients with stroke, according to a report in the March issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Testis size matters for genome evolution
In the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, author Alex Wong used a published sequence dataset from 55 species of primates to test for a correlation between molecular evolutionary rates across a genome (substitution rates) and testes weights, used in the study as a proxy for increased sperm production and competition.

New shrinking gel steers tooth tissue formation
A new bioinspired sponge-like gel shrinks single-handedly, squeezing unspecialized cells inside it and turning them into cells that begin to form teeth.

Plumes in the sleeping avian brain
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany, together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Australia have gained deeper insight into the sleeping avian brain.

Barbie could dampen a young girl's career dreams
Although the marketing slogan suggests that Barbie can 'Be Anything,' girls who play with this extremely popular doll see fewer career options available to themselves compared to boys.

New technique allows frequent water quality monitoring for suite of pollutants
Researchers have developed a new technique that uses existing technology to allow researchers and natural resource managers to collect significantly more information on water quality to better inform policy decisions.

Novel cancer vaccine holds promise against ovarian cancer, mesothelioma
A novel approach to cancer immunotherapy may provide a new and cost-effective weapon against some of the most deadly tumors, including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

New fins evolve repeatedly in teleost fishes
Present in more than 6,000 living species of fish, the adipose fin, which lies between the dorsal fin and tail, has no clear function and is thought to be vestigial.

Livestock can produce food that is better for the people and the planet
Eight strategies to cut the environmental and economic costs of keeping livestock, such as cows, goats and sheep, while boosting the quantity and quality of the food produced have been outlined by an international team of scientists.

Researchers identify key enzyme found in bacteria responsible for heart valve disease
A disease-causing bacterium found in the mouth needs manganese, a trace mineral, in order to cause a serious heart infection, according to a preclinical study led by researchers at VCU Philips Institute for Oral Health Research in the School of Dentistry.

Eskitis Institute leading a renaissance in natural drug discovery
Griffith's Eskitis Institute is making world-leading contributions to the discovery of new drugs through the Queensland Compound Library and Nature Bank.

Multidisciplinary teams helped marathon bombing survivors rebuild their lives
The medical teams that responded to the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 were prepared -- they had carefully and diligently learned from the experience of those who met earlier challenges.

Pigment or bacteria? Researchers re-examine the idea of 'color' in fossil feathers
Paleontologists studying fossilized feathers have proposed that the shapes of certain microscopic structures inside the feathers can tell us the color of ancient birds.

New program for students with autism offers hope after high school
The Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (CSESA) developed its approach from research in several fields.

Patients have a right to know -- not a duty to know -- their diagnosis says new research
Defensive mechanisms protect patients from fully engaging with bad news say healthcare professionals from the University of Leicester.

Applying math to cancer, climate, crime and cameras
Here is some exciting research published in Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics journals that you should know about.

Brain circuits multitask to detect, discriminate the outside world
A new study found that neural circuits in the brain rapidly multitask between detecting and discriminating sensory input, such as car headlights in the distance.

Younger men benefit most from surgery for localized prostate cancer
New study finds a substantial long-term reduction in mortality for men with localized cancer who undergo a radical prostatectomy.

Prenatal nicotine exposure may lead to ADHD in future generations
Prenatal exposure to nicotine could manifest as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children born a generation later, according to a new study by Florida State University College of Medicine researchers.

Security tools for Industry 4.0
An increasing number of unsecured, computer-guided production machinery and networks in production facilities are gradually evolving into gateways for data theft.

Your face says it all? Not so fast
New research from Northeastern University calls into question the very foundations of emotion science.

OU study suggests non-uniform climate warming global
A recent University of Oklahoma study of five decades of satellite data, model simulations and in situ observations suggests the impact of seasonal diurnal or daily warming varies between global regions affecting many ecosystem functions and services, such as food production, carbon sequestration and climate regulation.

Low saturated fat diets don't curb heart disease risk or help you live longer
Diets low in saturated fat don't curb heart disease risk or help you live longer, says a leading US cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy in an editorial in the open-access journal Open Heart.

Lung transplantation: A treatment option in end-stage lung disease
In the past five years, the number of lung transplantations carried out has increased by about 20 percent.

How the Internet is transforming our experience of being ill
The last decade has seen a remarkable shift in how people use the Internet in relation to their health and it is now talked of as a routine feature of being ill.

Research shows patient satisfaction can be high, even in emergency care situations
Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation researchers have found that patient satisfaction with care decisions and communication can be high, even in emergency care situations that require rapid and complex decision making and, in this study, quick transport to a different hospital for a critically ill patient for whom family may not be present.

Changes in hospital orders increase pertussis immunization rates
Changing hospital orders increased the whooping cough immunization rate among new mothers, increasing the protection for themselves and their infants.

When art and science collide -- the masterpiece unmasked
Gallery owners, private collectors, conservators, museums and art dealers face many problems in protecting and evaluating their collections such as determining origin, authenticity and discovery of forgery, as well as conservation issues.

Some metallic toys and low-cost jewelry present health risks for young children
We know that babies and young children often put non-food items in their mouths, a behavior that occasionally leads to swallowing of foreign objects.

Question of race not simple for Mexican Americans, author says
About half of Latinos check 'white' in response to the question about race on the US Census.

Atypical development in the siblings of children with autism is detectable at 12 months
Atypical development can be detected as early as 12 months of age among the siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder, a study published by researchers with the University of California Davis MIND Institute and University of California Los Angeles has found.

New software automates and improves phylogenomics from next-generation sequencing data
To reconstruct phylogenetic trees from next-generation sequencing data using traditional methods requires a time-consuming combination of bioinformatic procedures including genome assembly, gene prediction, orthology identification and multiple alignment.

Patients' stories used to improve care on wards
A research project led by Oxford University is showing how patient experiences can be used to improve healthcare -- not through targets and surveys, but by getting doctors, nurses and patients talking together about care on the ward.

Smart grid for electric vehicle fleet
Being able to charge up to 30 electric cars at once requires some ingenious energy management.

Half of pregnant women are passive smokers, due above all to their partners
The University of the Basque Country is participating in the INMA project that studies childhood and the environment, and one piece of research has revealed the extent to which non-smoking pregnant women are under the effects of tobacco smoke.

Biomarkers of cell death in Alzheimer's reverse course after symptom onset
Three promising biomarkers being studied to detect Alzheimer's disease in its early stages appear to undergo a surprising shift as patients develop symptoms of dementia, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

A small step toward discovering habitable earths
For the first time, University of Arizona astronomers have used the same imaging technology found in a digital camera to take a picture of a planet far from our solar system with an Earth-based telescope.

Can low-dose interferon prevent relapse of hepatitis C virus infection?
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can lead to serious diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver, so viral clearance and prevention of relapse are important treatment goals.

A wristband for a different kind of cause -- environmental health
From 'Livestrong' to 'Purple Paws,' trendy wristbands have come to represent causes from cancer to ending cruelty to animals.

Woman's Board of Northwestern Memorial pledges $2 million to developmental therapeutics
The Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Institute (NMDTI) has received a pledge of $2 million from The Woman's Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital to support the launch of the NMDTI, the establishment of its first clinics, and critical start-up funding to create the Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Fellowship Program.

To avoid very high pension ages, enable more to work
A new study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis shows that in most European countries, if labor force participation rates remain at current levels, by 2050 it would be necessary to raise pension ages above age 68.

Ultra sensitive detection of radio waves with lasers
Radio waves are used for many measurements and applications, for example, in communication with mobile phones, MRI scans, scientific experiments and cosmic observations.

Study: Alzheimer's disease a much larger cause of death than reported
A new study suggests that Alzheimer's disease may contribute to close to as many deaths in the United States as heart disease or cancer.

A single gene, doublesex, controls wing mimicry in butterflies
A single gene regulates the complex wing patterns, colors and structures required for mimicry in swallowtail butterflies, report scientists from the University of Chicago, March 5 in Nature.

ASTRO white paper provides guidance for optimal quality, safety of HDR brachytherapy
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has issued a new white paper, 'A review of safety, quality management, and practice guidelines for high-dose-rate brachytherapy,' that recommends specific guidance to follow in the delivery of high-dose-rate brachytherapy to improve quality and patient safety, according to the manuscript published in the March-April 2014 print issue of Practical Radiation Oncology, the official clinical practice journal of ASTRO.

Restless legs syndrome may signify bigger health problems
A nationally-recognized sleep expert has published an editorial describing Restless Legs Syndrome as a possible biomarker for underlying disease.

Genetic cause found for premature ovarian failure
A team led by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council and the University of Salamanca has found a genetic cause for premature ovarian failure, a disorder affecting 1 percent of women that provokes the loss of ovarian function years before menopause.

Ultra-high-field MRI may allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's disease
New research shows that ultra-high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides detailed views of a brain area implicated in Parkinson's disease, possibly leading to earlier detection of a condition that affects millions worldwide.

New guidance for preventative action against diabetes
A team of academics from the University of Leicester has been instrumental in shaping National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance that will influence medical policy towards diabetes prevention nationwide.

New dinosaur found in Portugal, largest terrestrial predator from Europe
A new dinosaur species found in Portugal may be the largest land predator discovered in Europe, as well as one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs from the Jurassic.

Internal Medicine 2014 presents latest prevention and treatment information for adult health care
More than 6,000 internal medicine physicians, subspecialists, medical students, and allied health professionals from around the world will gather in Orlando for Internal Medicine 2014, the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Physicians, April 10-12, at the Orange County Convention Center.

Maize and bacteria: A 1-2 punch knocks copper out of stamp sand
Michigan Technological University scientists are working toward a simple, practical way to remediate mine waste laced with copper and other toxic elements.

Experiential avoidance increases PTSD risk following child maltreatment
Child abuse is a reliable predictor of post-traumatic stress disorder, but not all maltreated children suffer from it, according to Chad Shenk, assistant professor of human development and family studies, Penn State, who examined why some maltreated children develop PTSD and some do not.

When disaster strikes: Safeguarding networks
Disasters both natural and human-caused can damage or destroy data and communications networks.

Rough surface could keep small electronic parts from sticking together
When a piece of gift-wrapping tape sticks to itself, it's frustrating, but when small parts in a microgear or micromotor stick together, an electronic device may not work well, if at all.

Researchers find potential target for drug to treat allergic asthma
An enzyme that helps maintain immune system function by 'throwing away' a specific protein has a vital role in controlling symptoms of allergic asthma, new research in mice suggests.

Seeking quantum-ness: D-Wave chip passes rigorous tests
D-Wave quantum processor passes tests indicating that it uses special laws of quantum mechanics to operate.

Similarity breeds proximity in memory, NYU researchers find
Researchers at New York University have identified the nature of brain activity that allows us to bridge time in our memories.

Fertility prospects following ectopic pregnancy
A new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center looked at pregnancy outcomes in regards to the two surgical treatments for ectopic pregnancy -- salpingectomy, in which the affected fallopian tube is removed, or salpingotomy, in which the tube is preserved.

Long-lasting device protects against HIV and pregnancy
Women's reproductive health may never be the same, thanks to a Northwestern University biomedical engineer and his first-of-its-kind intravaginal ring that reliably delivers an antiretroviral drug and a contraceptive for months.

Sulphur haunts the ghost wreck
Sulphur and iron accumulation has once again been found in wood samples from old shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea.

New innovation could mean eye injections are a thing of the past
Drugs used to treat blindness-causing disorders could be successfully administered by eye drops rather than unpleasant and expensive eye injections, according to new research led by UCL scientists that could be a breakthrough for the millions worldwide suffering from age-related macular degeneration and other eye disorders.

Look back at US soybeans shows genetic improvement behind increased yields
Soybean improvement through plant breeding has been critical over the years for the success of the crop.

Banana plant fights off crop's invisible nemesis: Roundworms
The banana variety Yangambi km5 produces toxic substances that kill the nematode Radopholus similis, a roundworm that infects the root tissue of banana plants -- to the frustration of farmers worldwide.

Save money and the planet: Turn your old milk jugs into 3-D printer filament
A study led by Joshua Pearce of Michigan Technological University has shown that making your own plastic 3-D printer filament from milk jugs uses less energy -- often a lot less -- than recycling milk jugs conventionally.

Study aims to define risk factors for falls in post-menopausal women
A new study appearing in the March issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery showed that women with distal radius (wrist) fractures had decreased strength compared to similar patients without fractures.

AERA 2014 Fellows announced
The American Educational Research Association has announced the selection of 22 scholars as 2014 AERA Fellows.

Calcium and vitamin D improve cholesterol in postmenopausal women
Calcium and vitamin D supplements after menopause can improve women's cholesterol profiles.

UCSB study explores cocaine and the pleasure principle
On the other side of the cocaine high is the cocaine crash, and understanding how one follows the other can provide insight into the physiological effects of drug abuse.

First-ever 3-D image created of the structure beneath Sierra Negra volcano
The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world, with more than 50 eruptions in the last 200 years.

UF researchers find drug therapy that could eventually reverse memory decline in seniors
It may seem normal: as we age, we misplace car keys, or can't remember a name we just learned or a meal we just ordered.

First step towards 'programmable materials'
Researchers from Empa and ETH Zurich have succeeded in producing a prototype of a vibration-damping material that could change the world of mechanics forever.

An inventive new way to profile immune cells in blood
The specific proportions of immune cells in a blood sample form a profile that can indicate disease or exposure to a toxicant.

B-cells aggravate autoimmune diseases
Antibody producers regulate the immune response using a recently discovered mechanism.

New findings on neurogenesis in the spinal cord
Research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggests that the expression of the so-called MYC gene is important and necessary for neurogenesis in the spinal cord.

Researchers gain new insights into ancient Pacific settlers' diet
Researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago studying 3,000-year-old skeletons from the oldest known cemetery in the Pacific Islands are casting new light on the diet and lives of the enigmatic Lapita people, the likely ancestors of Polynesians.

Horizons of science in an e-book available for everyone
Science knows everything and is always ready with a clear answer to any problem -- this is what we think of science while leaving school and how the media present it.

Half the survivors in 1 Japanese town have PTSD symptoms
A new study shows that more than half the survivors in one Japanese town exhibited 'clinically concerning' symptoms of PTSD.

First light for MUSE
A new innovative instrument called MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) has been successfully installed on ESO's Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile.

With flip of wrist, interventional radiologists treat uterine fibroids
Interventional radiologists have devised a new way to access a woman's fibroids -- by flipping her wrist and treating via an arm not groin artery -- to nonsurgically shrink noncancerous growths in the muscular wall of the uterus.

3-D changes in DNA may lead to a genetic form of Lou Gehrig's disease
New findings reveal how a mutation, a change in the genetic code that causes neurodegeneration, alters the shape of DNA, making cells more vulnerable to stress and more likely to die.

New Notre Dame research center to focus on drug discovery and development
The William K. Warren Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., has made a $3.5 million gift to the University of Notre Dame that, combined with a previous gift valued at $6.5 million, will endow the creation of The Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development in the College of Science.

Professor Israel Finkelstein receives prestigious Delalande-Guerineau Prize
The Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in Paris has awarded professor Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University, one of the world's foremost biblical archaeologists, the prestigious Delalande-Guerineau Prize for his book 'Le Royaume Biblique Oublie (The Forgotten Kingdom).' The prize, which honors exemplary works in Orientalism, has been awarded every other year since the 19th century.
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