Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 24, 2014
'RoboClam' replicates a clam's ability to burrow while using little energy
A 'RoboClam' replicates a clam's ability to burrow into soil while using very little energy.

Microfluidic device with artificial arteries measures drugs' influence on blood clotting
A new microfluidic method for evaluating drugs commonly used for preventing heart attacks has found that while aspirin can prevent dangerous blood clots in some at-risk patients, it may not be effective in all patients with narrowed arteries.

Keep calm and don your video glasses
Music may soothe the soul, but it takes video to calm a patient undergoing medical treatment, notes a study in which individuals watched television shows or movies through special video glasses while having a biopsy or other minimally invasive treatment.

Obamacare: 42 percent of Americans can't explain a deductible
The week before open enrollment closes for new health care exchanges, a study shows that those who might potentially benefit the most from the Affordable Care Act -- including those earning near the federal poverty level -- are also the most clueless about health care policies.

Scientists find a molecular clue to the complex mystery of auxin signaling in plants
Plants fine-tune the response of their cells to the potent plant hormone auxin by means of large families of proteins that either step on the gas or put on the brake in auxin's presence.

New implant shows promise for painful osteoporotic spine fractures
Individuals suffering from spinal fractures -- caused by osteoporosis or weakened bones -- now have another option to reduce pain, restore function and improve quality of life, according to a study of 300 patients treated with a new type of vertebral augmentation.

Studying crops, from outer space
Plants convert energy from sunlight into chemical energy during a process called photosynthesis.

Dab2: How to attenuate brain injury due to Alzheimer's disease?
Professor Jun Liu and team from Norman Bethune First Hospital of Jilin University in China used an adenoviral vector to overexpress Dab2 in the APP/PS1 transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, and investigated the regulatory effect of Dab2 protein on transforming growth factor-β1/SMAD signaling and brain injury in Alzheimer's disease.

E-cigarettes not associated with more smokers quitting, reduced consumption
The use of electronic cigarettes by smokers is not associated with greater rates of quitting cigarettes or reduced cigarette consumption after one year.

HSV-2 vaccine shows significant clinical symptoms & viral shedding reductions at 6 months
Updated Phase 1/2a GEN-003 results, a vaccine candidate under development for the treatment of herpes simplex virus type 2 infection, showed the vaccine generated highly significant reductions in both the number of clinical lesion days and rate of viral shedding at six months after the final vaccine dose.

Hunt for an unidentified electron object
New research sheds light on the nature of 'unidentified electron objects' -- a mysterious class of objects that exists in superfluid helium at low temperature.

Motor learning: Lining up our sights
Neurologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich have studied the role of the vestibular system, which controls balance, in optimizing how we direct our gaze.

Guarding grapes and other tales from papyri
The latest volume of a University of Cincinnati-edited papyrus research journal throws light on the perils of produce patrol and more stories from ancient times.

Low back pain causes more global disability than any other condition
Low back pain causes more disability around the globe than any other condition, reveals research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Autophagy in the initial stage is unrelated to the composition of beclin 1 complex
Alteration of the autophagic process is involved in neurodegeneration. The beclin 1 complex is shown to play a key role in the initial stage of autophagy.

Psychiatric complications in women with PCOS often linked to menstrual irregularity
Polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormone imbalance that causes infertility, obesity, and excessive facial hair in women, can also lead to severe mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

Researchers grow carbon nanofibers using ambient air, without toxic ammonia
Materials science researchers have demonstrated that vertically aligned carbon nanofibers can be manufactured using ambient air, making the manufacturing process safer and less expensive.

New technique sheds light on human neural networks
A new technique, developed by researchers in the Quantitative Light Imaging Laboratory at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, provides a method to noninvasively measure human neural networks in order to characterize how they form.

American Society of Hematology awards third round of Bridge Grants
The American Society of Hematology, the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders, today announced the names of 15 research investigators who will receive critical interim support from the Society for hematology research proposals that, despite earning high scores, could not be funded by the National Institutes of Health amid severe funding reductions.

NASA sees Tropical Depression 04W's remnants affecting Palawan
Tropical Depression 04W formed in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean on March 23 and marched across the southern Philippines.

Integrating mental health services in pediatric practices feasible, effective, Pitt finds
Brief behavioral and mental health programs for children can be effectively provided within pediatric practices as an alternative to being referred to a community specialist, University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences researchers found in a National Institutes of Health-funded randomized trial.

Bundled payments come to gastroenterology
Patients want physicians to provide high-quality care and the health system requires good value for physician work.

Frontiers launches a new open-access journal: Frontiers in Nutrition
Frontiers -- a community-driven open-access publisher and research networking platform -- is pleased to announce the launch of a new open-access journal: Frontiers in Nutrition.

Nurses effective at treating common arm injury in kids, but docs do it better
A clinical trial to determine if nurses in the emergency department could reduce 'pulled elbows' in children at a rate similar to that of physicians found that although nurses were able to treat this common injury 85 percent of the time, physicians were more effective, with a 97 percent success rate.

p53 cuts off invading cancer cells
The tumor suppressor p53 does all it can to prevent oncogenes from transforming normal cells into tumor cells.

Like being inside a star
What happens to hydrogen when it is subjected to the same pressures as reached inside a planet?

Mice give ticks a free lunch
Mice are effective at transferring disease-causing pathogens to feeding ticks.

Annals of Internal Medicine tip sheet for March 25, 2014
The United States Preventive Services Task Force found insufficient evidence to recommend routine screening for cognitive decline in older adults in the primary care setting.

Y-90 provides new, safe treatment for metastatic breast cancer
A minimally invasive treatment that delivers cancer-killing radiation directly to tumors shows promise in treating breast cancer that has spread to the liver when no other treatment options remain.

Violent video games associated with increased aggression in children
Habitually playing violent video games appears to increase aggression in children, regardless of parental involvement and other factors.

Protein called YAP gives blood vessels strength, shape
A protein known to promote cancer appears to give the blood vessels strength and shape, researchers report.

Frontiers launches new open-access journals to cover all medical and surgical fields
Frontiers -- an open-access publisher and research networking platform -- is pleased to announce the launch of two new community-driven journals: Frontiers in Medicine and Frontiers in Surgery.

Innovative technique provides inexpensive, rapid and detailed analysis of proteins
In a new study appearing in the journal PLOS ONE, lead author Dr.

A new concept for manufacturing wrinkling patterns on hard nano-film/soft-matter substrate
Wrinkling of the thin stiff film on soft substrate is a common phenomenon.

Oncologists differ widely on offering cancer gene testing, study finds
Many cancer researchers believe that cutting-edge advances in genomics will pave the way for personalized or 'precision' cancer medicine for all patients in the near future.

Canadians spend more on private health insurance for smaller payouts
Spending by Canadians on private health insurance has more than doubled over the past 20 years, but insurers paid out a rapidly decreasing proportion as benefits, according to a study published today in the CMAJ.

Replacing insulin through stem cell-derived pancreatic cells under the skin
A newly created method of placing stem cell-derived pancreatic cells in capsules under the skin to replace insulin is tested in diabetic disease models.

Researchers issue state-of-the-state on genetic-based testing and treatment for breast cancer
Dartmouth researchers at its Norris Cotton Cancer Center have compiled a review of the role that information gathered through genetic testing plays in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Pioneering research offers new insight into improved wave energy testing
Pioneering research could provide a significant boost in the vital quest to harness wave power as a viable renewable energy source for the future.

Want to survive the zombie apocalypse? This 'cologne' could be the key (video)
On AMC's 'The Walking Dead,' whose season finale airs Sunday, survivors are always worried about running out of bullets, arrows or even sharp sticks.

The unconscious mind can detect a liar -- even when the conscious mind fails
When it comes to detecting deceit, your automatic associations may be more accurate than conscious thought in pegging truth-tellers and liars, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Adult day-care services boost beneficial stress hormones in caregivers
Family caregivers show an increase in the beneficial stress hormone DHEA-S on days when they use an adult day care service for their relatives with dementia, according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Texas at Austin.

Complex brain functional network connection after stroke
A research team from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China inferred that these models could also be used to explore functional network connectivity changes in stroke patients.

'Glue' holding together skin cells and other epithelial tissue more active than realized
At Genetics Society of America's Drosophila Research Conference, Princeton University lab of Nobel laureate Eric Wieschaus, Ph.D., will report first evidence in living organisms that adherens junctions, the 'glue' between cells, actively respond to mechanical cues by remodeling their position and intensity, which in turn restructures the cells.

Researchers take mathematical route to fighting viruses
Mathematicians at the University of York have joined forces with experimentalists at the University of Leeds to take an important step in discovering how viruses make new copies of themselves during an infection.

Unfolded proteins collapse when exposed to heat and crowded environments
Unfolded proteins collapse when exposed to heat and crowded environments.

Radiation therapy and cancer vaccines: Timing is everything
Combining radiation with immnotherapy can boost cancer killing. Now a team from Thomas Jefferson University has shown that the boost works best when the therapies are sequenced correctly.

Patient enrollment, use, and satisfaction with patient portals
Many physicians are adopting patient portals in response to governmental incentives for meaningful use (MU), but the stage 2 requirements for portal use may be particularly challenging for newer electronic health record users.

Pioneer Award recipients Marina Cavazzana and Adrian Thrasher recognized for advancing gene therapy to the clinic for immunodeficiency disorders
Marina Cavazzana, M.D., Ph.D., Paris Descartes University, France and Adrian J.

Recovering valuable substances from wastewater
Phosphorus can be found in fertilizers, drinks and detergents. It accumulates in waterways and pollutes them.

How developing sperm stick to the right path
The process of producing high-quality, fertile sperm requires many steps.

Alcohol's role in traffic deaths vastly underreported: Study
It's no secret that drinking and driving can be a deadly mix.

Low parking costs may encourage automobile use
The low cost of parking in many American cities may contribute to urban development that relies on automobile use and undercuts planners' efforts to increase public transport, according to a new baseline study of comprehensive public parking costs led by the Drexel University School of Public Health.

First look at breast microbiota raises tantalizing questions
The female breast contains a unique population of microbes relative to the rest of the body, according to the first-ever study of the breast microbiome.

Researchers see Kelvin wave on quantum 'tornado' for first time
A spinning tornado of very cold liquid helium obeys the laws of quantum mechanics.

Instant immune booster dramatically improves outcome of bacterial meningitis and pneumonia
A breakthrough MRC-funded study from University of Leicester shows low dose injections of artificial properdin provides substantial protection against septic diseases in mice.

The increasing inefficiency of private health insurance in Canada
The gap between private health insurance premiums and payouts in Canada has widened markedly over the past 20 years, with a gap of $6.8 billion in 2011.

Small wireless pacemaker is safe, effective in early testing
A battery-sized, wireless pacemaker was safe and effective in early testing.

Guideline: Medical marijuana in pill form or oral spray may ease some MS symptoms
A new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology suggests that there is little evidence that most complementary or alternative medicine therapies (CAM) treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Hot nanoparticles for cancer treatments
Nanoparticles have a great deal of potential in medicine: for diagnostics, as a vehicle for active substances or a tool to kill off tumours using heat.

Leaders are wired to be task-focused or team-builders, but can be both
Academics have written about distinctions between a task-oriented leader and a social-emotional leader for 50 years.

The fundamentals of facial recognition
Harvard scientists showed that participants suffering from face blindness performed as well as the average person in training measuring their ability to learn a set of computer-generated objects called greebles.

Life hots up for British birds
Climate change may be bad news for billions, but scientists at the University of Sheffield have discovered one unlikely winner -- a tiny British bird, the long-tailed tit.

Increased awareness about skin cancer needed for minorities
More awareness about skin cancer is needed for minorities because they believe they are at low risk of developing it, says Henry Ford Hospital dermatologist Diane Jackson-Richards, M.D.

Lots of carbon dioxide equivalents from aquatic environments
Large amounts of carbon dioxide equivalents taken up by plants on land are returned to the atmosphere from aquatic environments.

World's first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark
Researchers at University College London have developed a new antibacterial material which has potential for cutting hospital acquired infections.

Shock-absorbing 'goo' discovered in bone
New findings show that much of the mineral from which bone is made consists of 'goo' trapped between tiny crystals, allowing movement between them.

Research study takes deeper look at the role of gut microbes in the immune system
New research suggests that gut microorganisms do not merely influence immune cell function, but also support the production of immune cells that form the first line of defense against infection.

New perspective for soil clean-up: Microscopic ciliates transport poisonous tar substances
Microscopic ciliates can increase the mobility of poisonous tar substances, PAHs, by up to 100-fold according to a new study carried out by Danish researchers.

New technique for identifying gene-enhancers
Berkeley Lab researchers led the development of a new technique for identifying gene enhancers -- sequences of DNA that act to amplify the expression of a specific gene -- in the genomes of humans and other mammals.

Nature Immunology study finds novel population of neutrophils
Case Western Reserve University researchers have discovered a novel population of neutrophils, which are the body's infection control workhorses.

AMS to publish its first math book for children
The American Mathematical Society, one of the world's leading publishers of mathematical literature, will release its first-ever mathematics book for children in May 2014.

Nasal spray delivers new type of depression treatment
A nasal spray that delivers a peptide to treat depression holds promise as a potential alternative therapeutic approach, research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health shows.

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan receives 2014 Public Service Award for an individual
Today the National Science Board announced that renowned bioethicist Arthur Caplan, a global leader in medical ethics, is the 2014 recipient of its Public Service Award for an individual.

Missing hybrid incompatibility gene my help unlock Darwin's 'mystery of mysteries'
To unlock the 'mystery of mysteries,' seven scientists at four institutions have collaborated to uncover the missing gene responsible for the best-studied case of hybrid incompatibility, the cross between the fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans.

Study: Stress impacts ability to get pregnant
Women who have trouble getting pregnant may be under too much stress, according to a new study in the journal of Human Reproduction.

University of Cincinnati to study impact of blood 'microparticles' in inflammation, injury
University of Cincinnati trauma and critical care researcher Timothy Pritts, M.D., Ph.D., has received a National Institutes of Health grant to better understand how 'microparticles' in stored blood can contribute to inflammation and injury after resuscitation from traumatic injury.

Computer models solve geologic riddle millions of years in the making
3-D computer simulations show how continental plates collide and create arc-shaped mountain belts.

A mathematical equation that explains the behavior of nanofoams
A research study, participated in by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, has discovered that nanometric-size foam structures follow the same universal laws as does soap lather: small bubbles disappear in favor of the larger ones.

Parallel programming may not be so daunting
'Lock-free' parallel algorithms may match the performance of more complex 'wait-free' algorithms.

World TB Day: Reach the 3 Million
University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will mark World TB Day on the March 24, 2014, with a call to 'Reach the Three Million' people per year who fall ill with tuberculosis but are usually missed by healthcare systems.

Would you believe your hand could turn into marble?
Our bodies are made of flesh and bones. We all know this, and throughout our daily lives, all our senses constantly provide converging information about this simple, factual truth.

Life lessons: Children learn aggressive ways of thinking from violent video games
Children who repeatedly play violent video games are learning thought patterns that will stick with them and influence behaviors as they grow older, according to a new study by Iowa State University researchers.

Detecting tumor markers easily
Blood is just teeming with proteins. It's not easy there to identify specialized tumor markers indicating the presence of cancer.

Study finds gout drug may reduce risk of death
In a recently to be published study in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, researchers have found the use of the drug allopurinol was associated with a reduced risk of death in hyperuricemic (gout) patients.

NTU scientists discover material that can be solar cell by day, light panel by night
Nanyang Technological University scientists have developed a next-generation solar cell material which can also emit light, in addition to converting light to electricity.

Research reveals new depths of complexity in nerve cells
Using mutant C. elegans, scientists found the protein CaM Kinase II plays a significant role in controlling when and where neuropeptides are released from neurons.

Shorter sleepers are over-eaters
Young children who sleep less eat more, which can lead to obesity and related health problems later in life, reports a new study by UCL researchers.

Natalizumab treatment in patients with MS associated with JC virus infection
Treatment with natalizumab in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) appears linked with JC virus infection, which can lead to a rare and often fatal demyelinating disease of the central nervous system called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) that destroys the myelin that protects nerve cells.

Health-care professionals should prescribe sleep to prevent and treat metabolic disorders
Evidence increasingly suggests that insufficient or disturbed sleep is associated with metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, and addressing poor quality sleep should be a target for the prevention -- and even treatment -- of these disorders, say the authors of a review, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.

Maturitas publishes position statement on management of vertebral osteoporotic fracture
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the publication of a position statement by the European Menopause and Andropause Society in the journal Maturitas on the topic of the management of postmenopausal women with vertebral osteoporotic fracture.

Leading surgeons warn against media hype about tracheal regeneration
Reports of the two earliest tissue-engineered whole organ transplants using a windpipe, or trachea, created using the patient's own stem cells, were hailed as a breakthrough for regenerative medicine and widely publicized in the press.

Fair bosses pay a price
Bosses who are fair make their workers happier and their companies more productive, but in the end may be burning themselves out.

Researchers improve performance of III-V nanowire solar cells on graphene
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have achieved new levels of performance for seed-free and substrate-free arrays of nanowires from class of materials called III-V directly on graphene.

Prostate treatment lasts, preserves fertility
Shrinking the prostate without surgery can provide long-term relief to men with this common condition that causes annoying symptoms, such as frequent trips to the bathroom, suggests a study of nearly 500 men.

New discovery finds missing hormone in birds
How does the Arctic tern (a sea bird) fly more than 80,000 miles in its roundtrip North Pole-to-South Pole migration?

When mothers are active so are their children -- but many mothers are not
A study of physical activity patterns of women and their four-year-olds reveals a strong association between the two.

Smokers' bitter taste buds may be on the fritz
Smokers and those who have quit cannot fully appreciate the full flavor of a cup of coffee, because many cannot taste the bitterness of their regular caffeine kick.

NOAA led study: Crude oil causes developmental abnormalities in large marine fish
Crude oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster causes severe defects in the developing hearts of bluefin and yellowfin tunas, according to a new study by a team of NOAA and academic scientists.

Deletion of FAT10 gene reduces body fat, slows down aging in mice
A single gene appears to play a crucial role in coordinating the immune system and metabolism, and deleting the gene in mice reduces body fat and extends lifespan, according to new research by scientists at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and Yale University School of Medicine.

Ancient Indonesian climate shift linked to glacial cycle
Brown University researchers have compiled a detailed climate record for central Indonesia over the last 60,000 years.

Gene implicated in progression and relapse of deadly breast cancer finding points to potential Achilles' heel in triple negative breast cancer
Scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College and Houston Methodist have found that a gene previously unassociated with breast cancer plays a pivotal role in the growth and progression of the triple negative form of the disease, a particularly deadly strain that often has few treatment options.

Statins could ease coughing in lung disease patients, study finds
Common cholesterol-lowering drugs could provide relief to patients suffering from a chronic lung disease, a study from University of Edinburgh scientists has shown.

Small number of counties leads the way in reducing smoking rates in the US
Nationally, smoking rates have decreased since 1996, but the declines have been driven by a relatively small share of counties across the US, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

UT Southwestern ob/gyn researchers studying genetic factors in premature births
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center received grants totaling $600,000 from the March of Dimes Foundation to advance their work in the prevention of premature birth, which affects about one out of nine babies born annually in the US and is the leading cause of newborn death.

New study shows heart abnormalities in fish embryos exposed to Deepwater Horizon oil
A new study showed that several Gulf of Mexico fish embryos developed serious defects in heart development following exposure to crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Plugging the hole in Hawking's black hole theory
Recently physicists have been poking holes again in Stephen Hawking's black hole theory -- including Hawking himself.

Biased sex ratios predict more promiscuity, polygamy and divorce in birds
Birds in female-dominated populations are more likely to ditch and 'divorce' their mates while promiscuity increases in predominantly male environments, according to new research.

NASA spots Tropical Cyclone Gillian's eye closing
Tropical Cyclone Gillian's eye was starting to 'close' or become cloud-filled when NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Southern Indian Ocean on March 23.

From mouse ears to man's?
A team of researchers at Tel Aviv University has discovered that using DNA as a drug -- commonly called gene therapy -- in laboratory mice may protect the inner ear nerve cells of humans suffering from certain types of progressive hearing loss.

Lipid rafts participate in the renewal of brain neurons in Alzheimer's disease
Professor Lin Yuan and team from Southern Medical University in China review the influence of lipid rafts on the progression of Alzheimer's disease through the modulation of aberrant autophagic-lysosomal pathway of amyloid-ß peptide, and bring forward a possible mechanism underlying the clearance of Alzheimer's disease products.

Rates of blindness and partial sight have plummeted in developed world
Rates of blindness and impaired eyesight have plummeted over the past 20 years in the developed world.

SIR Foundation, Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology present awards
The Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology -- the Society of Interventional Radiology's peer-reviewed scientific journal -- together with SIR Foundation, will present the 2013 JVIR Editor's Award for Outstanding Clinical Research Paper and the Award for Outstanding Laboratory Investigation during the March 24 plenary session at SIR's 39th Annual Scientific Meeting.

For neurons in the brain, identity can be used to predict location
There are many types of neurons of neurons, defined largely by the patterns of genes they use, and they 'live' in distinct brain regions.

A towel less: How psychologists harness sociability to cut waste
Hotel guests can be gently persuaded to reduce the number of towels they use each day, psychology researchers at the University of Luxembourg have found.

Protein plays key role in infection by oral pathogen
Scientists at Forsyth, along with a colleague from Northwestern University, have discovered that the protein, Transgultaminase 2 is a key component in the process of gum disease.

One in 10 male, same-sex Craigslist ads seek men who don't identify as gay
Online sexual hook-ups present a unique opportunity to explore many factors of decision-making that inform sexual health.

IDRI receives $3.4 million grant extension for TB drug discovery
IDRI's drug discovery efforts continue to grow with a recently awarded grant extension of $3.4 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Diabetes drug shows promise in reducing Alzheimer's disease in an experimental model
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found that the diabetic drug, pramlintide, reduces amyloid-beta peptides, a major component of Alzheimer's disease in the brain and improves learning and memory in two experimental Alzheimer's disease models.

Use of mood-stabilizing drug linked with reduced risk of developing head and neck cancer
A new study indicates that a commonly used mood stabilizing drug may help prevent head and neck cancer.

Low back pain accounts for third of all disability linked to work
Low back pain disability linked to workplace factors accounts for a third of all work related disability around the globe, indicates research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Research finds moving public assistance payments from cash to plastic cuts crime
Counties that change their delivery of public assistance benefits from paper checks to an electronic benefit transfer system -- using debit cards -- see their street crimes drop significantly, according to a study published today by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 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