Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 27, 2014
Research from CHORI scientists demonstrates first genome methylation in fruit fly
A group of scientists from Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute and UC Berkeley report the first mapping of genome methylation in the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster in their paper 'Genome methylation in D. melanogaster is found at specific short motifs and is independent of DNMT2 activity,' published this month in Genome Research.

Cause for exaggerated insulin response in subset of bariatric surgery patients identified
University of Cincinnati researchers have discovered that altered islet cell function and reduced insulin clearance contribute to excessive post-meal insulin response in patients experiencing low blood sugar symptoms -- hypoglycemia -- following gastric bypass surgery.

Scripps Florida scientist awarded $2.3 million to study dengue fever and related viruses
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have been awarded $2.3 million to study a category of viruses that cause dengue fever, West Nile, yellow fever and other diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks.

Smoking bans cut premature births and childhood asthma attacks
Banning smoking in public places has helped to cut both premature births and hospital attendance for childhood asthma attacks by 10 percent, new research from the University of Edinburgh shows.

Mediterranean diet may lower risk of diabetes
Adoption of a Mediterranean diet is linked to a lower risk of diabetes, especially among people at high risk for cardiovascular disease, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Stool samples provide marker for bowel disease
A novel method for distinguishing different types of bowel disease using the stool samples of patients has been created by a group of researchers in the United Kingdom.

Study finds gaming augments players' social lives
New research finds that online social behavior isn't replacing offline social behavior in the gaming community.

Food insecurity a growing challenge in Canada's northern and remote Aboriginal communities
A newly released report by the Council of Canadian Academies entitled Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge provides insights into rates of food insecurity; how factors such as geography and culture affect food security; challenges associated with traditional/country food; the integration of market foods into the North; environmental impacts; and economic challenges and opportunities.

HFSP research funding for the Helmholtz Zentrum München
The Human Frontier Science Program organization has awarded two research grants to international research collaboration groups headed by the Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Brain scans link concern for justice with reason, not emotion
People who care about justice are swayed more by reason than emotion, according to new brain scan research from the University of Chicago Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience.

Clemson researcher touts surgical safety checklist to save lives
Clemson University research assistant professor Ashley Kay Childers has been selected to participate in a forum to discuss quality improvement programs in US hospitals that reduce preventable readmissions, prevent medical errors, improve patient outcomes and cut costs.

Seasonal Arctic summer ice extent still hard to forecast, study says
Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University College London, University of New Hampshire and University of Washington analyzed 300 summer Arctic sea ice forecasts from 2008 to 2013 and found that forecasts are quite accurate when sea ice conditions are close to the downward trend that has been observed in Arctic sea ice for the last 30 years.

Despatch from the field
A new spider species was discovered during a student field course in Malaysian Borneo.

Agroforestry systems can repair degraded watersheds
Agroforestry, combined with land and water management practices that increase agricultural productivity, can save watersheds from degradation.

Elevating geosciences in the southeastern US: New ideas about old terranes
Geoscientists from across the southeastern US and beyond will convene at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., USA, on April 10-11, 2014, to discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the geologic wonders of the region.

Childhood virus may increase type 1 diabetes risk
The most common cause of severe diarrhea in children, the rotavirus infection, has been shown to accelerate the development of type 1 diabetes in mice, according to new University of Melbourne research.

One size does not fit all: Dietary guidelines for choline may be insufficient
What is now considered to be the 'right' amount of the essential nutrient, choline, might actually be 'wrong,' depending on who you are.

Scientists watch nanoparticles grow
With DESY's X-ray light source PETRA III, Danish scientists observed the growth of nanoparticles live.

Researchers identify good bacteria that protects against HIV
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston by growing vaginal skin cells outside the body and studying the way they interact with 'good and bad' bacteria, think they may be able to better identify the good bacteria that protect women from HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.

Using tobacco to thwart infectious disease?
An international research group led by Arizona State University professor Qiang 'Shawn' Chen has developed a new generation of potentially safer and more cost-effective therapeutics against West Nile virus, and other pathogens.

Instituting a culture of professionalism
These findings suggest that Brigham and Women's Hospital has made substantial progress in professionalism with the creation of our center and that its popularity continues to grow.

Adult cancer drugs show promise against an aggressive childhood brain tumor
The quest to improve survival of children with a high-risk brain tumor has led St.

The circadian clock is like an orchestra with many conductors
You've switched to the night shift and your weight skyrockets, or you wake at 7 a.m. on weekdays but sleep until noon on weekends -- a social jet lag can fog your Saturday and Sunday.

Gen X obesity a major problem for healthcare, workforce
If current trends continue, Australia's Generation X will overtake Baby Boomers for poor health, including rates of obesity and diabetes, which could have huge implications for healthcare and the workforce.

Scientists find potential target for treating mitochondrial disorders
Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a protein whose inhibition could hold the key to alleviating suffering caused by mitochondrial disorders found in cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and mitochondrial diseases.

Stroke patients should receive customized palliative care
People recovering from serious strokes should be given access to palliative care.

Congress budget pact good for global health but NIH cuts threaten US innovations
While a ceasefire in Washington's budget wars has restored funding for a range of programs targeting global health threats like AIDS and tuberculosis, the simultaneous underfunding of the world's biggest sponsor of global health research and development puts future progress at risk, warns a new report from a coalition of nonprofit groups focused on advancing innovation to save lives.

A more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, methane emissions will leap as Earth warms
New research indicates that for each degree that the Earth's temperature rises, the amount of methane entering the atmosphere from microorganisms dwelling in lake sediment and freshwater wetlands -- the primary sources of the gas -- will increase several times.

How rotavirus infection accelerates autoimmune diabetes in a mouse model
A combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors is believed to cause autoimmune (type 1) diabetes.

National Cancer Institute awards $2.2 million grant to Jackson Professor Yijun Ruan
The National Cancer Institute has awarded a three-year grant totaling $2,168,535 to Professor Yijun Ruan, Ph.D., of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, for his research into the role of non-coding RNAs in cancer and other diseases.

The first insects were not yet able to smell well
An insect's sense of smell is vital to its survival.

Researchers: Biomarkers predict effectiveness of radiation treatments for cancer
An international team of researchers, led by Beaumont Health System's Jan Akervall, M.D., Ph.D., looked at biomarkers to determine the effectiveness of radiation treatments for patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck.

Predicting oil changes in industrial applications without interrupting operations
Predictive maintenance of hard-to-access plants, no unnecessary oil changes, no unnecessary laboratory costs and less environmental impact: these are just some of the benefits offered by a new system that can monitor the condition of lubricating oils, hydraulic oils and other fluids in industrial installations without interrupting ongoing operations.

Four in 10 infants lack strong parental attachments
In a study of 14,000 US children, 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds -- what psychologists call 'secure attachment' -- with their parents that are crucial to success later in life, according to a new report led by Princeton University.

To grow or not to grow: a step forward in adult vertebrate tissue regeneration
The reason why some animals can regenerate tissues after severe organ loss or amputation while others, such as humans, cannot renew some structures has always intrigued scientists.

CYGNSS hurricane satellite mission passes major review milestone
NASA has given a preliminary go-ahead to the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System to proceed with instrument development, vehicle construction and eventual launch of the hurricane-studying mission's eight microsatellites.

The heart responds differently to exercise in men vs. women
The formula for peak exercise heart rate that doctors have used for decades in tests to diagnose heart conditions may be flawed because it does not account for differences between men and women, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Antidepressants during pregnancy linked to preterm birth
Antidepressant medications taken by pregnant women are associated with increased rates of preterm birth.

Air pollution from traffic increases odds of hospital readmission for asthma
Higher exposure to traffic-related air pollution dramatically increases the odds of readmission to the hospital for asthma -- but only for white children, according to a new Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study.

People unwilling to swallow soda tax, size restrictions
Those hoping to dilute Americans' taste for soda, energy drinks, sweetened tea, and other sugary beverages should take their quest to school lunchrooms rather than legislative chambers, according to a recent study by media and health policy experts.

Military men more distressed by sexual harassment than military women, research finds
Military men who are targets of frightening and threatening sexual harassment may experience more distress and work performance problems than military women who face the same treatment, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Controlling electron spins by light
Topological insulators are considered a very promising material class for the development of future electronic devices.

Anti-clotting agent helps reduce the incidence and impact of stent thrombosis during PCI
A new angiographic analysis of the CHAMPION PHOENIX trial examined the incidence and impact of stent thrombosis in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention.

Researchers reveal the dynamics behind Arctic ecosystems
Species such as the musk ox, Arctic fox and lemming live in the harsh, cold and deserted tundra environment.

QUB discovery signals new treatment for those at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer
Cancer researchers at Queen's University Belfast have made a breakthrough which could signal new treatments for women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Satellite time-lapse movie shows US East Coast snowy winter
A new time-lapse animation of data from NOAA's GOES-East satellite provides a good picture of why the US East Coast experienced a snowier than normal winter.

Marathon training could help the heart
Marathon training is associated with improved risk factors related to cardiovascular disease among middle-aged recreational male runners, suggesting that race preparation may be an effective strategy for reducing heart disease risk, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

In mapping feat, Scripps Florida scientists pinpoint neurons where select memories grow
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have been able to pinpoint a handful of neurons where certain types of memory formation occur.

Scientists synthesize first functional 'designer' chromosome in yeast
An international team of scientists led by Jef Boeke, Ph.D., director of NYU Langone Medical Center's Institute for Systems Genetics, has synthesized the first functional chromosome in yeast, an important step in the emerging field of synthetic biology, designing microorganisms to produce novel medicines, raw materials for food, and biofuels.

New guidance system could improve minimally invasive surgery
Johns Hopkins researchers have devised a computerized process that could make minimally invasive surgery more accurate and streamlined using equipment already common in the operating room.

Patient satisfaction scores in the ER are not affected by receipt of painkillers
Factors other than receipt of painkillers -- including opiates -- in the emergency department appear to be more important to patient satisfaction, as reflected in an analysis of Press Ganey patient surveys to be published online today in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Ancient African cattle first domesticated in Middle East
Geneticists and anthropologists previously suspected that ancient Africans domesticated cattle native to the African continent nearly 10,000 years ago.

Researchers at IRB discover a key regulator of colon cancer
A team headed by Angel R. Nebreda at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine demonstrates thatp38 is required for the survival and proliferation of colon cancer cells, thus favoring tumor growth.

Hormone levels linked to survival of deer calves, study suggests
Levels of a key hormone in the blood may be important for the survival prospects of newborn animals, a study of wild deer suggests.

Southerners more likely to die from heart attack
Although heart attack death has declined across all regions of the United States, it is proportionately higher in the South, possibly related to the uneven distribution of socioeconomic and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Computing with slime
A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today.

Students on field course bag new spider species
As a spin-off (pun intended) of their Tropical Biodiversity course in Malaysian Borneo, a team of biology students discover a new spider species, build a makeshift taxonomy lab, write a joint publication and send it off to a major taxonomic journal.

Elsevier announces launch of new open access journal, Schizophrenia Research: Cognition
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the launch of Schizophrenia Research: Cognition, a new open access journal dedicated to publishing original research, concise research reports, brief reports, letters to the editor, and review papers addressing the role of cognitive functioning in schizophrenia.

Religion, spirituality influence health in different but complementary ways
Religion and spirituality have distinct but complementary influences on health, new research from Oregon State University indicates.

IRCM researchers uncover a new function for an important player in the immune response
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal researchers led by Javier M.

Big data keeps complex production running smoothly
Industrial plants must function effectively. Remedying production downtimes and breakdowns is an expensive and time-consuming business.

Strictly yeast
Researchers at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures at the Institute of Food Research have turned a problem in evolutionary biology into a new tool to better understand phylogeny in closely related species.

Smoke-free air policies seem to protect the heart
A new study on the impact of Michigan's statewide smoking ban adds to mounting evidence that policies prohibiting tobacco smoking in workplaces and other public spaces may substantially improve public health by reducing heart disease and death, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Foraging bats can warn each other away from their dinners
University of Maryland scientists have discovered a new call that some bats use to tell other foraging bats to 'back off' from bugs they've claimed for themselves.

Major depression linked with nearly twice the risk of kidney failure in diabetics
Diabetics with major depressive symptoms had an 85 percent higher risk of developing kidney failure.

GW researcher invents 'mini heart' to help return venous blood
Narine Sarvazyan, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and physiology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has invented a new organ to help return blood flow from veins lacking functional valves.

New way to filter light
A new method could provide the first directional selectivity for light waves.

Study shows promise of preserving fertility in boys with cancer
Scientists have moved a step closer to being able to preserve fertility in young boys who undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer.

Natural history dying of neglect
Natural history provides essential knowledge for human wellbeing, yet its research, use and instruction in academia, government agencies and non-government organizations is declining drastically.

The multiplication of cells under close observation
A group from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, discovers a key factor that curbs the undesirable triggering of DNA replication.

Quality early childhood programs help prevent chronic diseases in later life
Disadvantaged children who attend high-quality early childhood development programs including healthcare and nutrition have significantly improved health as adults, reports a new study.

NJIT mathematician releases 2014 Major League Baseball projections
As Opening Day rapidly approaches for most Major League Baseball teams, NJIT associate professor of mathematical sciences Bruce Bukiet has prepared his annual MLB projections for the upcoming season.

Cancer researchers find key protein link
A new understanding of proteins at the nexus of a cell's decision to survive or die has implications for researchers who study cancer and age-related diseases.

Multi-family group treatment studied for spinal cord injury
Every year, more than 12,000 Americans -- mostly young men -- suffer spinal cord injuries in car crashes, falls, sports and acts of violence.

Genetic variation linked to heart disease risk through RNA machinery
Researchers have pinpointed a new mechanism of how natural variation in our DNA alters an individual's risk for developing heart disease by interfering with the ability of a developmental gene to interact with a specialized type of RNA.

Public smoking bans associated with reduction in premature births and childhood asthma
In the first comprehensive study to look at how anti-smoking laws are affecting the health of children, researchers from University of Edinburgh collaborated with researchers from Maastricht University, Hasselt University, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of smoke-free legislation on child health.

One gene, many tissues
A map of how genes vary in biological tissues: a huge project that required the collaboration of dozens of laboratories worldwide, including the Neurogenomics Laboratory of the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste.

Simple blood test may predict if a child will become obese
Scientists have found that a simple blood test, which can read DNA, could be used to predict obesity levels in children.

Kaixin Jieyu Fang for treatment of vascular depression
These results, published in the Neural Regeneration Research, indicate that Kaixin Jieyu Fang can alleviate cerebral white matter damage, and the underlying mechanism is associated with regulation of Bcl-2/Bax protein and mRNA expression, which is one of possible mechanism behind the protective effect of Kaixin Jieyu Fang against vascular depression.

What psychosocial factors can help IVF patients?
After reviewing research that explored which psychosocial factors are associated with the emotional adjustment of IVF patients, researchers have highlighted which key psychosocial factors could help identify patients at high risk of stress.

US clean-air efforts stay on target
National efforts in the last decade to clear the air of dangerous particulate matter have been so successful that most urban areas have already attained the next benchmark, according to new research by Rice University.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope spots Mars-bound comet sprout multiple jets
NASA released Thursday an image of a comet that, on Oct.

Mechanical forces driving breast cancer lead to key molecular discovery
The stiffening of breast tissue in breast-cancer development points to a new way to distinguish a type of breast cancer with a poor prognosis from a related, but often less deadly type, UC San Francisco researchers have found in a new study.

Record quantum entanglement of multiple dimensions
An international team directed by researchers from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, with participation from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, has managed to create an entanglement of 103 dimensions with only two photons.

Acupuncture enhances antidepressant effect of Seroxat
Acupuncture is more effective than oral antidepressants in improving depressive symptoms, and produces fewer side effects than tricyclic antidepressants.

Corporate layoff strategies are increasing workplace gender and racial inequality
Research from Tel Aviv University reveals that current workplace downsizing policies are reducing managerial diversity and increasing racial and gender inequalities.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards $4 million in NARSAD Grants
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced its 2014 NARSAD Independent Investigator Grants, which will award $4 million in funding to 40 mid-career scientists from 33 institutions in nine countries.

Ultra-thin light detectors
Layered semiconductor systems are a powerful tool. They can be used to build lasers or photodetectors.

Notre Dame scientists develop largest developmental proteomic data set for any animal
Notre Dame researchers have developed the largest data set on developmental proteomics for any organism, and have included the single-cell zygote.

Sleep may stop chronic pain sufferers from becoming 'zombies'
Chronic pain sufferers could be kept physically active by improving the quality of their sleep, new research suggests.

A tale of 2 species
A pair of new studies from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Idaho State University, and the University of Nevada Reno look at the surprising variety of factors that prevent two closely related species of woodrats from becoming a single hybrid species despite the existence of hybrid individuals where the two species come into contact.

UT Southwestern faculty member receives Norman Hackerman Award
Dr. Benjamin P. Tu, associate professor of biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center, was honored today with the 2014 Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research.

Gulf War illness not in veterans' heads, but in their mitochondria
Researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine have demonstrated for the first time that veterans of the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War who suffer from 'Gulf War illness' have impaired function of mitochondria -- the energy powerhouses of cells.

Autoimmune drug may help prevent kidney disease caused by diabetes
A receptor called B7-1 is expressed by kidney cells during the progression of kidney disease in diabetic mice and humans.

TGen and Scottsdale Healthcare cancer expert Dr. Von Hoff receives Hope Funds award
Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff, who has been instrumental in developing numerous new cancer treatments, is among this year's recipients of the Award of Excellence from the Hope Funds for Cancer Research.

More severe heart disease found in patients with vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for heart disease with lower levels of vitamin D being associated with a higher presence and severity of coronary artery disease, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Neurobiologists find chronic stress in early life causes anxiety, aggression in adulthood
In experiments to assess the impacts of social stress upon adolescent mice, both at the time they are experienced and during adulthood, a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory team conducted many different kinds of stress tests and means of measuring their impacts.

Democratizing data visualization
A study examines the use of 'Exhibit' tools in creating interactive data visualizations.

New Parkinson's disease chemical messenger discovered
A new chemical messenger that is critical in protecting the brain against Parkinson's disease has been identified by scientists at the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee.

Cholesterol levels vary by season, get worse in colder months
Cholesterol levels fluctuate based on the time of year with more unfavorable lipid profiles seen in the colder months, a trend that may be driven by related behavior changes, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Faster genetic testing method will likely transform care for patients with breast cancer
Faster and cheaper DNA sequencing techniques will likely improve care for patients with breast cancer but also create challenges for clinicians as they counsel patients on their treatment options.

Wellcome Collection announces first project at the Hub
The first residents of the Hub at Wellcome Collection, a flagship new space for interdisciplinary projects around health and well-being, will investigate the business of modern life.

Big brown bat males call 'dibs' on food
As big brown bats wake up from their winter slumber and start zooming around in pursuit of insects to eat, how do they coordinate their activities in the dark of night?

False feathers
Academic plagiarism is nothing new, and it most certainly did not begin with the advent of the Internet.

First sightings of solar flare phenomena confirm 3-D models of space weather
Scientists have for the first time witnessed the mechanism behind explosive energy releases in the Sun's atmosphere, confirming new theories about how solar flares are created.

Clusters of 'broken hearts' may be linked to massive natural disasters
Dramatic spikes in cases of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also called broken heart syndrome, were found in two states after major natural disasters, suggesting the stress of disasters as a likely trigger, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Artificial hearts may help patients survive until transplant
The largest single-center study of patients implanted with a total artificial heart finds the device may help patients in severe heart failure survive until they can receive a heart transplant, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Consistent blood pressure control may cut rate of second stroke in half
Stroke survivors who consistently control their blood pressure may reduce the likelihood of a second stroke by more than 50 percent. 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