Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 06, 2014
Crashing comets explain surprise gas clump around young star
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope in northern Chile have today announced the discovery of an unexpected clump of carbon monoxide gas in the dusty disc around the star Beta Pictoris.

Are you smarter than a 5-year-old? Preschoolers can do algebra
Most preschoolers and kindergarteners, or children between four and six, can do basic algebra naturally using their Approximate Number System.

Inherited Alzheimer's damage greater decades before symptoms appear
The progression of Alzheimer's may slow once symptoms appear and do significant damage, according to a study investigating an inherited form of the disease.

Collecting digital user data without invading privacy
The statistical evaluation of digital user data is of vital importance for analyzing trends.

Large-scale study shows power of pre-K
Average scores for children in Georgia's pre-K program were above the national norm on key measures of language, literacy, and math -- findings consistent with earlier studies of large-scale pre-K programs.

Common mutation is culprit in acute leukemia relapse
Harvard stem cell scientists have identified a mutation in human cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia that likely drives relapse.

Primary care needs to 'wake up' to links between domestic abuse and safeguarding children
Researchers looking at how health-care professionals deal with domestic violence cases have identified that GPs, practice nurses and practice managers are uncertain about how to respond to the exposure of children to domestic violence.

Tiger mothers run risk of raising ethnic outcasts in pursuit of academic success
For Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant parents and their children, success is equal to getting straight As, graduating from an elite university and pursuing an advanced degree.

Computer science students help singers learn their vowels
Voice students who want to perfect how they sing their vowels could get help from a new simple, free application developed by a group of University of Rochester students who developed it as part of their Human-Computer Interaction computer science class.

Robotic prosthesis turns drummer into a 3-armed cyborg
Georgia Tech has created a robotic drumming prosthesis with motors that power two drumsticks.

Birds of all feathers and global flu diversity
A group of international scientists have completed the first global inventory of flu strains in birds by reviewing more than 50 published studies and genetic data, providing new insight into the drivers of viral diversity and the emergence of disease that can ultimately impact human health and livelihoods.

Preschoolers can outsmart college students at figuring out gizmos
Preschoolers can be smarter than college students at figuring out how unusual toys and gadgets work because they're more flexible and less biased than adults in their ideas about cause and effect, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Edinburgh.

Eating red and processed meat -- what do scientists say?
Recent reports warn about a link between eating red and processed meat and the risk of developing cancer in the gut.

Genetic techniques have role in future of dental care
A visit to the dentist could one day require a detailed look at how genes in a patient's body are being switched on or off, as well as examining their pearly whites, according to researchers at the University of Adelaide.

Misplaced protein causes heart failure
University of Iowa researchers found that decreasing the density of microtubules inside heart muscle cells prevents the abnormal localization of a critical protein called junctophilin 2 (JP2), and protects mice from heart failure.

Obese adolescents not getting enough sleep?
Lack of sleep and obesity have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in adults and young children.

Urgent need to study the impacts of biomass burning and haze on marine ecosystems
The unprecedented high levels of transboundary haze in Southeast Asia last year prompted Dr.

Waiting for a donor heart: Motion prolongs survival
For many people with advanced cardiac insufficiency, a heart transplant may be their only hope.

Stockman elected SPIE Fellow
Mark Stockman, physics professor and director for the Center for Nano-Optics at Georgia State University, has been elected a SPIE fellow for his achievements in theoretical nano-optics and nanoplasmonics.

Inadequate sleep predicts risk of heart disease, diabetes in obese adolescents
Are obese adolescents not getting enough sleep? A study in today's Journal of Pediatrics, shows they could be increasing their risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Researchers map European climate change
The majority of Europe will experience higher warming than the global average if surface temperatures rise to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, according to a new study published today.

PNAS announces 6 2013 Cozzarelli Prize recipients
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Editorial Board has selected six papers published by PNAS in 2013 to receive the Cozzarelli Prize.

Study suggests higher levels of omega-3 in diet are associated with better sleep
A randomized placebo-controlled study by the University of Oxford suggests that higher levels of omega-3 DHA, the group of long-chain fatty acids found in algae and seafood, are associated with better sleep.

Discovery sheds new light on marijuana's anxiety relief effects
An international group led by Vanderbilt University researchers has found cannabinoid receptors, through which marijuana exerts its effects, in a key emotional hub in the brain involved in regulating anxiety and the flight-or-fight response.

Pharmaceutical companies' DC marketing efforts increase to nearly $98 million
Drug companies spent $97.5 million marketing pharmaceuticals in the District of Columbia in 2012, with $30.5 million (31.3 percent) of that spending taking the form of payments and gifts to physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, according to a report by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

Researchers identify a critical link between obesity and diabetes
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center scientists explain how a molecule associated with obesity triggers events that lead to increased risk of diabetes.

Warming temperatures are pushing 2 chickadee species -- and their hybrids -- northward
The zone of overlap between Caroline chickadees and black-capped chickadees, two closely related backyard birds, is moving northward at a rate that matches warming winter temperatures, according to a study by researchers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Villanova University, and Cornell University.

Iron deficiency important to assess in children adopted from institutional settings
A new longitudinal study finds that children who spent more time in institutional settings (like orphanages) prior to adoption, and had more severe iron deficiency at the time of adoption, were more likely to have lower IQs and poorer higher-order thinking skills a year later.

University of Nevada, Reno joins with NevadaNano for flying robot sensor project
With a new contract from the US Army, the University of Nevada, Reno is partnering with NevadaNano to develop a robotic flying vehicle that can be used for environmental health and safety monitoring of large areas.

$4 million grant to improve asthma care for So Cal Latino youth
A team led by researchers at San Diego State University has been awarded $4 million to enhance asthma education and treatment strategies in California's Imperial Valley, where children are twice as likely as the national average to suffer from asthma.

Sickle cell trait: Neglected opportunities in the era of genomic medicine
While acknowledging the potential of genomics to prevent and treat disease, researchers from Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine believe it is long past due to use current scientific data and technical advances to reduce the burden of sickle cell disease, one of the most common serious single gene disorders.

Access to social workers could keep veterans out of criminal justice system, MU researchers find
Approximately one in six veterans struggles with substance abuse, and 20 percent show signs of mental health issues or cognitive impairments, previous research has shown.

Up-converted radio
A new device can turn radio waves into optical waves with far less noise than rival methods.

Warmer temperatures push malaria to higher elevations
Researchers have debated for more than two decades the likely impacts, if any, of global warming on the worldwide incidence of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that infects more than 300 million people each year.

NASA's TRMM satellite images show California soaker moved eastward
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite provided a look at the rainfall associated with the large storm system that brought soaking rains to California on Feb.

LSUHSC mental health care model reduced symptoms in those most affected by BP oil spill
A model of care developed by the Department of Psychiatry at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine to provide mental health services after the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill reduced both mental health and general medical symptoms.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2014 GSA: 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Maximizing Access to Research Careers Program has announced the travel award recipients for the Genetics Society of America: 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in San Diego, Calif., from March 26-30, 2014.

Scientists create detailed picture of protein linked to learning, pain and brain disorders
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute and Vanderbilt University have created the most detailed 3-D picture yet of a membrane protein that is linked to learning, memory, anxiety, pain and brain disorders such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and autism.

Fertilizer in small doses yields higher returns for less money
Crop yields in the fragile semi-arid areas of Zimbabwe have been declining over time due to a decline in soil fertility resulting from mono-cropping, lack of fertilizer, and other factors.

New research could help make 'roll-up' digital screens a reality for all
A study, published today in Nature's Scientific Reports, identifies a new technology which could see flexible electronics such as roll-up tablet computers, widely available in the near future.

UTMB receives $3.2 million to continue collaborative research on cancer in Texas
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston more than $3.2 million to continue a program aimed at creating a new state resource -- a trove of population research on cancer treatments and outcomes in Texas.

Thirty percent of adults with attention deficit disorder report childhood physical abuse
Thirty percent of adults with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) report they were physically abused before they turned 18.

Elsevier and Energy Institute work together to publish Journal of the Energy Institute
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce that they have entered into a publishing agreement with the Energy Institute to publish its official journal, Journal of the Energy Institute.

Space Station working to solve the puzzle of orbiting satellite repair
NASA is building new technologies to refuel and repair existing satellites in orbit.

How seeing the same GP helps your health
Patients are more likely to raise a health problem with a doctor they've seen over time and have built-up a relationship with, new research has revealed.

Study: Classroom focus on social and emotional skills can lead to academic gains
Classroom programs designed to improve elementary school students' social and emotional skills can also increase reading and math achievement, even if academic improvement is not a direct goal of the skills building, according to a study to be published this month in American Educational Research Journal.

ALMA sees icy wreckage in nearby solar system
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope have discovered the splattered remains of comets colliding together around a nearby star; the researchers believe they are witnessing the total destruction of one of these icy bodies once every five minutes.

Colored diamonds are a superconductor's best friend
Nitrogen-vacancy centers -- flaws in a diamond's crystal lattice that produce color -- have received much attention for their sensitivity to magnetic fields.

Complications following surgery predict costly readmissions
The presence -- or absence -- of complications following surgery is a strong indicator of which patients are likely to be readmitted to the hospital in the 30 days following their procedure.

Strong teams attract crowds for international cricket
The strength of the team -- not the promise of a close contest -- is the biggest draw to crowds in international cricket, new research led by Nottingham University Business School has found.

Crystals ripple in response to light
Minuscule waves that propagate across atom-thin layers of crystal could carry information, light, and heat in nanoscale devices.

Ohr Pharmaceutical and CSHL joint venture to develop trodusquemine, related analogs
On March 3, 2014, Ohr Pharmaceutical, a pharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutics for large unmet medical needs, and leading global cancer research center Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory today announced the establishment of DepYmed Inc., a new joint venture to develop trodusquemine and related analogs.

Strategies on the Internet to discredit generic drugs
Although there is widespread consensus among the scientific community that the composition of generic drugs is identical to that of brand name drugs, this is not the case among the public.

New center for space environmemt management announced in Australia
Australia has moved to confront the threat of space debris colliding with satellites in earth orbit by establishing a Cooperative Research Centre for Space Environment Management based at Mt.

IT security for the daily life: Withdrawing money at cash machines with 'Google Glass'
Mini-computers with head-mounted display like 'Google Glass' don't just alarm privacy activists.

Contacts better than permanent lenses for babies after cataract surgery
For adults and children who undergo cataract surgery, implantation of an artificial lens is the standard of care.

UK and China agree £20 million Low Carbon Innovation program
A new £20 million three-year program that will support research to develop new low carbon manufacturing processes and technologies, low carbon cities and offshore renewables in the UK and China was agreed to on March 5, 2014.

Columbia Business School professor shows golfers how to improve their performance and strategy
Columbia Business School professor Mark Broadie expands upon the strokes gained putting stat he developed and which is now in use by the Professional Golfers' Association Tour.

Early detection helps manage a chronic graft-vs.-host disease complication
A simple questionnaire that rates breathing difficulties on a scale of zero to three predicts survival in chronic graft-vs.-host disease, according to a study published in the March issue of Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2014 Immunohistochemistry and Microscopy Short Course
FASEB MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the Immunohistochemistry and Microscopy Short Course in Woods Hole, Mass., from March 15-20, 2014.

Vitamin D increases breast cancer patient survival
Breast cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are twice as likely to survive the disease as women with low levels of this nutrient, report University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers in the March issue of Anticancer Research.

Dr. Brenna Anderson contributes to expert series on GAS in pregnancy
Brenna Anderson, M.D., has published an article as part of a Clinical Expert Series in the April 2014 edition of Obstetrics & Gynecology, now available online.

Why soil changes color in air
Unusual phenomena of the change in the geotechnical characteristics of soil due to atmospheric oxidation are investigated on a micro-structure scale.

Simple urine test detects common causes of kidney dysfunction after transplantation
A new urine test can distinguish among different causes of kidney dysfunction in kidney transplant recipients.

Love or kill thy neighbor? New study into animal social behavior
A theoretical study led by the University of Exeter has shed new light on the conditions that lead to the evolution of spite or altruism in structured populations.

Listening to whispers at the water cooler
Professor Peter Bamberger of Tel Aviv University says that pay secrecy policies are likely to hurt an individual's work performance and prompt top talent to seek new employment.

Researchers capture 'most complete' picture of gene expression in cancer cell cycle
Uncontrolled cell growth and division is a hallmark of cancer.

License deal signals major breakthrough in the battle against prostate and bladder cancer
A new license announced today between the University of Surrey and Randox, will bring to market a new test that will help with the early detection of prostate and bladder cancers.

Molecular subtyping of breast cancer can better identify women at high risk of recurrence
A method called molecular subtyping can help doctors better determine which of their breast cancer patients are at high risk of getting breast cancer again, a new study led by the University of South Florida reports.

Some people really just don't like music
It is often said that music is a universal language.

NASA's Hubble Telescope witnesses asteroid's mysterious disintegration
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has recorded the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid into as many as 10 smaller pieces.

MIT team proposes storing extra rocket fuel in space for future missions
Future lunar missions may be fueled by gas stations in space, according to MIT engineers: a spacecraft might dock at a propellant depot, somewhere between the Earth and the moon, and pick up extra rocket fuel before making its way to the lunar surface.

The genome of sesame sheds new lights on oil biosynthesis
Researchers from Oil Crops Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, BGI, University of Copenhagen and other institutes have successfully cracked the genome of high oil content crop sesame, providing new lights on the important stages of seed development and oil accumulation, and potential key genes for sesamin production.

Alzheimer's research team employs stem cells to understand disease processes and study new treatment
A team of Alzheimer's disease researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital has been able to study the underlying causes of Alzheimer's disease and develop assays to test newer approaches to treatment by using stem cells derived from related family members with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease.

IUPUI researchers use computers to 'see' neurons to better understand brain function
A study from the Department of Computer and Information Science at the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis reveals new information about the motor circuits of the brain that may one day help those developing therapies to treat conditions such as stroke, schizophrenia, spinal cord injury or Alzheimer's disease.

Galactic gas caused by colliding comets suggests mystery 'shepherd' exoplanet
Latest research has uncovered a massive clump of carbon monoxide in a young solar system.

NJIT professor receives Distinguished Teaching Award
Laurent Simon, an associate professor of chemical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Plasma plumes help shield Earth from damaging solar storms
MIT scientists identify a plasma plume that naturally protects the Earth against solar storms.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, March 2014
This release focuses on articles on lighter, stronger engines, safeguarding cyberspace, a Climate Change Science Institute annual report now available, collaborative innovation, and new superhydrophobic glass.

ANU astronomers to help clean up space junk
The Australian National University and its Mount Stromlo Observatory will play a lead role in cleaning up space junk under a new $20 million Cooperative Research Centre, announced by the Australian Government's Industry Department.

Study identifies gene important to breast development and breast cancer
A new study in Cell Reports identifies a gene important to breast development and breast cancer, providing a potential new target for drug therapies to treat aggressive types of breast cancer.

Head Start more beneficial for children whose parents provide less early academic stimulation
A new study finds that one year of Head Start can make a bigger difference for children from homes where parents provide less early academic stimulation.

Transplanted human umbilical cord blood cells improved heart function in rat model of MI
When human umbilical cord blood cells were transplanted into rats with simulated myocardial infarction, researchers investigating the long term effects of transplantation found left ventricular heart function and myocardial fiber structure in the treated rats improved over those not treated with stem cells.

Study provides new information about the sea turtle 'lost years'
A new study satellite tracked 17 young loggerhead turtles in the Atlantic Ocean to better understand sea turtle nursery grounds and early habitat use during the 'lost years.' The study, conducted by a collaborative research team, including scientists from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, was the first long-term satellite tracking study of young turtles at sea.

Energy drinks linked to teen health risks
The uplifting effects of energy drinks are well advertised, but a new report finds consumption among teenagers may be linked with poor mental health and substance use.

Enzyme controls transport of genomic building blocks
Our DNA and its architecture are duplicated every time our cells divide.

Warmer temperatures fuel spread of malaria into higher elevations
New research by Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists shows that as annual temperatures rise in the tropical highlands of South America and East Africa, malaria can spread to populations at those higher elevations.

Vertimass licenses ORNL biofuel-to-hydrocarbon conversion technology
Vertimass LLC has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory technology that directly converts ethanol into a hydrocarbon blend-stock for use in transportation fuels.

'Seeing' bodies with sound (no sight required)
People born unable to see are readily capable of learning to perceive the shape of the human body through soundscapes that translate images into sound, according to researchers who report their findings in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.

Astronomers witness mysterious, never-before-seen disintegration of asteroid
Astronomers have witnessed the never-before-seen breakup of an asteroid into as many as 10 smaller pieces.

Computational tool offers new insight into key biological processes
Researchers have developed a computational tool designed to guide future research on biochemical pathways by identifying which components in a biological system are related to specific biochemical processes, including those processes responsible for gene expression, cell signaling, stress response, and metabolism.

Physician bias does not affect hypertension treatment for minority patients, says CU
Doctors' unconscious biases favor whites but do not affect high blood pressure treatment for their minority patients, according to a University of Colorado Boulder study, even though a previous study by the same research group found that doctors' biases are reflected in lower ratings by African-American patients.

Expiration of terrorism risk insurance act could hurt national security, Rand study finds
Allowing the federal terrorism risk insurance act to expire could have negative consequences for US national security, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation.

E-cigarettes: Gateway to nicotine addiction for US teens, says UCSF study
E-cigarettes, promoted as a way to quit regular cigarettes, may actually be a new route to conventional smoking and nicotine addiction for teenagers, according to a new UC San Francisco study.

Hudds researchers call for major 'de-escalation' survey within the NHS
Dr. Andrew Clifton is co-author of a new article entitled, 'De-escalation: the evidence, policy and practice.' It argues that although many local policies and guidelines for the NHS are written with the best of intentions they are often vague and lack clear guidance and he calls for a major 'de-escalation' survey.

Hubble witnesses an asteroid mysteriously disintegrating
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid, which has fragmented into as many as 10 smaller pieces.

Scripps Wellderly Genome Resource now available to researchers
Genetic sequences of healthy elderly can serve as a control reference in DNA studies.

NASA's THEMIS discovers new process that protects Earth from space weather
Now, for the first time, a study shows that in certain circumstances a pool of dense particles normally circling Earth, deep inside the magnetosphere, can extend a long arm out to meet -- and help block -- incoming solar material.

Dr. Dwight Rouse addresses rapid increase in cesarean birth rates
Dr. Dwight J. Rouse, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, has co-authored the first in a new, joint series called 'Obstetric Care Consensus' that is being introduced by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Establishing standards where none exist; Harvard researchers define 'good' stem cells
A research team lead by Kevin Kit Parker, a Harvard Stem Cell Institute principal faculty member has identified a set of 64 crucial parameters from more than 1,000 by which to judge stem cell-derived cardiac myocytes, making it possible for perhaps the first time for scientists and pharmaceutical companies to quantitatively judge and compare the value of the countless commercially available lines of stem cells.

New therapies targeting cancer, Alzheimer's goal of UH physicist
Working toward new therapies to target cancer and Alzheimer's, University of Houston physicist Margaret Cheung strives to understand the physics that govern how ordinary matter becomes life-like.

WPI is lead institution on $7.4 million army project to design better metals for vehicles
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is the lead institution on a $7.4 million, multi-university award from the US Army that will support the development of metallurgical methods and lightweight alloys that will help the military build more effective and durable vehicles and systems.

Drug protects mice against malaria brain damage, raises levels of BDNF in humans
Cerebral malaria is a serious complication of infection with the malaria parasite, affecting approximately one in a thousand children in areas where malaria is common.

Black boys viewed as older, less innocent than whites, research finds
Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Sudden cardiac death: Genetic disease ARVC more common than hitherto assumed
The genetic disease ARVC leads to sudden cardiac death and is more common than it has been hitherto assumed.

Offshore dispersant data and decisions
A critical review of the literature seeks to ease the understanding of data used in the decision process for offshore dispersant use.

Warmer temperatures push malaria to higher elevations
Researchers provide the first hard evidence that malaria spreads to higher elevations during warmer years, in response to a debate which has lasted for more than two decades.

Researchers calculate how river networks move across a landscape
Large river networks -- such as those that funnel into the Colorado and Mississippi rivers -- may seem to be permanent features of a landscape.

Kawasaki disease and pregnant women
In the first study of its type, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have looked at the health threat to pregnant women with a history of Kawasaki disease, concluding that the risks are low with informed management and care.

Fighting for survival in the gut: Unravelling the hidden variation of bacteria
In the latest issue of the scientific journal PLOS Genetics, researchers from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia unveil, for the first time, how the bacteria Escherichia coli adapts and evolves in the mouse intestine.

Returning vets face 'warring identities' distress
Soldiers returning home from war may find themselves engaged in an even tougher conflict.

UT Arlington study links BPA and breast cancer tumor growth
A recent paper from researchers in Texas attempts to trace how bisphenol-A may promote breast cancer tumor growth with help from a molecule called RNA HOTAIR.

Birds display lateralization bias when selecting flight paths
Flocks of birds manage to navigate through difficult environments by individuals having predispositions to favor the left- or right-hand side, according to research published in PLOS Computational Biology this week.

Infants using known verbs to learn new nouns
New research from Northwestern University demonstrates that even before infants begin to talk in sentences, they are paying careful attention to the way a new word is used in conversations, and they learn new words from this information in sentences.

Nearby star's icy debris suggests 'shepherd' planet
An international team of astronomers exploring the disk of gas and dust around a nearby star have uncovered a compact cloud of poisonous gas formed by ongoing rapid-fire collisions among a swarm of icy, comet-like bodies.

America Makes enables Pitt researchers to explore 3-D-printed bone and tissue scaffolds
An America Makes funding contract enables University of Pittsburgh researchers to explore 3-D-printed bone and tissue scaffolds.

Extraordinary momentum and spin discovered in evanescent light waves
A team of researchers from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science in Japan has identified unexpected dynamic properties of a type of light wave called evanescent waves. 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