Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 09, 2014
Refrigerant in cars: Refreshingly cool, potentially toxic
The refrigerant R1234yf is being considered for use in air conditioning systems in cars.

The surgical treatment of bilateral benign nodular goiter
About 100,000 thyroid operations are performed in Germany each year, a large percentage of them for the treatment of benign thyroid disease (euthyroid nodular goiter).

Pahwa selected as 2014-2015 Jefferson Science Fellow
Anil Pahwa, Kansas State University professor of electrical and computer engineering, is one of 13 individuals chosen nationwide as a prestigious Jefferson Science Fellow for 2014-2015.

Physical activity associated with lower rates of hospital readmission in patients with COPD
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who participated in any level of moderate to vigorous physical activity had a lower risk of hospital readmission within 30 days compared to those who were inactive, according to a study published today in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Acupuncture normalizes brain structure and damaged neurons following heroin relapse
Acupuncture normalizes brain structure and damaged neurons following heroin relapse.

Promising agents burst through 'superbug' defenses to fight antibiotic resistance
In the fight against 'superbugs,' scientists have discovered a class of agents that can make some of the most notorious strains vulnerable to the same antibiotics that they once handily shrugged off.

The motion of the medium matters for self-assembling particles, Penn research shows
Earlier work assumed that the liquid medium in which certain self-assembling particles float could be treated as a placid vacuum, but a University of Pennsylvania team has shown that fluid dynamics play a crucial role in the kind and quality of the structures that can be made in this way.

Rabbits kept indoors could be vitamin D deficient
Rabbits that remain indoors may suffer from a lack of vitamin D, researchers report in a new study.

Farming for improved ecosystem services seen as economically feasible
Research conducted over 25 years shows that lowering -- or avoiding -- the use of chemical fertilizers in row-crop agriculture in the northern United States can reduce polluting nitrogen runoff, mitigate greenhouse warming, and improve soils while producing good crop yields.

Gusev Crater once held a lake after all, says ASU Mars scientist
Evidence for an ancient 'Lake Gusev' on Mars has come and gone several times.

ACA could change costs for auto, malpractice and other insurance, study finds
The Affordable Care Act focuses on reforming health insurance, but the federal legislation also could have an impact on other forms of insurance.

NASA satellite sees Tropical Depression Peipah crawling toward Philippines
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the remnants of Tropical Depression Peipah on April 9 as the storm slowly approached the Philippines from the east.

One of the last strongholds for Western chimpanzees
Liberia is home to the second largest chimpanzee population in West Africa.

Bone marrow stem cells show promise in stroke treatment, UCI team finds
Stem cells culled from bone marrow may prove beneficial in stroke recovery, scientists at UC Irvine's Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center have learned.

Genetic defect may confer resistance to certain viral infections
A National Institutes of Health study reports that a rare genetic disease, while depleting patients of infection-fighting antibodies, may actually protect them from certain severe or recurrent viral infections.

Coral reefs of the Mozambique Channel a leading candidate for saving marine diversity
Marine scientists working in the Western Indian Ocean have found that the corals of the Mozambique Channel should be a priority for protection as climate change continues to threaten these rainforests of the sea.

Chance meeting creates celestial diamond ring
Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile have capturedthis eye-catching image of planetary nebula PN A66 33 -- usually known as Abell 33.

Extinct carnivorous marsupial may have hunted prey larger than itself
The reconstruction of an extinct meat-eating marsupial's skull, Nimbacinus dicksoni, suggests that it may have had the ability to hunt vertebrate prey exceeding its own body size.

Researchers discover how the kissing disease virus hijacks human cells
University of Montreal researchers have discovered how a component of the Epstein Barr (EBV) virus takes over our cells gene regulating machinery, allowing the virus to replicate itself.

Symposium: Child Sexual Abuse: A Public Health Perspective
Child sexual abuse is almost always addressed through the criminal justice system.

TGen identifies growth factor receptors that may prompt metastatic spread of lung cancer
Two cell surface receptors might be responsible for the most common form of lung cancer spreading to other parts of the body, according to a study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Researchers discover dangerous ways computer worms are spreading among smartphones
Professor Kevin Du and a team of researchers from the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University have recently discovered that some of the most common activities among smartphone users -- scanning 2-D barcodes, finding free Wi-Fi access points, sending SMS messages, listening to MP3 music and watching MP4 videos -- can leave devices vulnerable to harmful 'computer worms.'

GM crops under the microscope at international debate
A panel of international food experts will argue the pros and cons or GM crops at a special debate as part of the Food Integrity and Traceability Conference -- ASSET 2014.

Most schools meet USDA drinking water mandate; more steps needed to encourage consumption
A new USDA mandate calling for access to free drinking water during lunchtime at schools participating in the National School Lunch Program went into effect at the start of the 2011-12 school year.

New drug offers hope for devastating childhood disease
A powerful new drug which could relieve the symptoms of devastating childhood disease Rett syndrome is on the horizon thanks to a funding injection of £180,000.

UCLA launches joint venture with Chinese firm to open sophisticated lab in Shanghai
The University of California has signed an agreement with the Chinese firm, Centre Testing International Corporation, to create a joint company that will open a clinical laboratory in Shanghai.

Tiny step edges, big step for surface science
An interesting effect could help build better solar cells and create better chemical catalysts: If a titanium oxide surface is completely flat, the electrons inside the material can move freely.

Joint Brazilian/US project to study formation of rain in the Amazon rainforest
Triggering rainfall in the Brazilian Amazon jungle is the focus of a Penn State/Brazilian project that is part of the GoAmazon program sponsored by the US Department of Energy and Brazilian agencies.

Study confirms impact of clinician-patient relationship on health outcomes
A meta-analysis of studies that investigated measures designed to improve health professionals' interactions with patients confirms that such efforts can produce health effects just as beneficial as taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack.

Identified a new possible target to combat muscle wasting
The pathological atrophy of skeletal muscle is a serious biomedical problem for which no effective treatment is currently available.

New climate pragmatism framework prioritizes energy access to drive innovation/development
Expanding access to reliable energy offers better route to address global challenges, climate and energy scholars say in new report.

Green is good
Using a screening method that previously identified a compound in apple peel as a muscle-boosting agent, a team of University of Iowa scientists has now discovered that tomatidine, a compound from green tomatoes, is even more potent for building muscle and protecting against muscle atrophy.

Physical function and sense of autonomy determine life-space mobility in older people
Physical function and sense of autonomy are independent determinants of life-space mobility in older people.

La Brea Tar Pit fossil research shows climate change drove evolution of Ice Age predators
The La Brea Tar Pits are famous for ground sloths, mammoths, saber-toothed cats and dire wolves.

Recycling astronaut urine for energy and drinking water
On the less glamorous side of space exploration, there's the more practical problem of waste -- in particular, what to do with astronaut pee.

Digestive Disease Week press program highlights announced -- register now
This year's Digestive Disease Week press program features the latest research on new treatments for hepatitis C, the promise and challenges ahead in microbiome research, new technological advances in colorectal cancer screening, and how things like grape seeds, caffeine and other dietary choices affect digestive health.

Emerging research suggests a new paradigm for 'unconventional superconductors'
An international team of scientists has reported the first experimental observation of the quantum critical point in the extensively studied 'unconventional superconductor' TiSe2, finding that it does not reside as predicted within the superconducting dome of the phase diagram, but rather at a full GPa higher in pressure.

Centuries of global democracy have been provoked by who lived next door
It may be news to some foreign policy analysts and democracy advocates on the right and the left, but there is now concrete evidence that, repeatedly over the last 200 years, nations have moved toward democracy not for the reasons assumed for many decades (literacy levels, foreign aid, degree of national development) but because of strong networks between non-democratic states and their democratic neighbors.

Dabrafenib: Also no added benefit over vemurafenib
Results from an indirect comparison did not allow any reliable conclusions.

Physical activity is beneficial for late-life cognition
Physical activity in midlife seems to protect from dementia in old age, according to a study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland.

Europeans and biomedical research
The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) is currently the leading biomedical research organization in Europe, and plays a key role in developing European research.

Primary care doctors to learn more about addiction at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Conference
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation hosts conference for primary health care providers to learn more about the issues surrounding addiction.

Butterfly larvae mimic queen ant to avoid detection
Parasitic butterfly larvae may mimic ants' acoustic signals to aid in the infiltration of their host colonies.

NASA's TRMM satellite sees Tropical Cyclone Ita intensifying
Tropical Cyclone Ita has been intensifying as it tracks from Papua New Guinea toward Queensland, Australia, and NASA's TRMM satellite noticed the development of an eye feature.

Novel approach to accelerate metabolism could lead to new obesity treatment
By manipulating a biochemical process that underlies cells' energy-burning abilities, investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have made a novel discovery that could lead to a new therapy to combat obesity and diabetes.

Water users can reduce the risk of spreading invasive species
Foreign species that are devastating water ecosystems could be 'hitchhiking' around Britain on canoeists' and anglers' kit, according to a new study.

Seven innovators from Peru receive $100,000 seed grants from Grand Challenges Canada
Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, today announced $100,000 seed grants to enable seven innovators from Peru to pursue promising bold ideas to help address pressing health issues in Peru.

New handbook is an essential guide for scientists venturing into biomedical consulting
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is pleased to announce the publication of 'Connecting with Companies: A Guide to Consulting Agreements for Biomedical Scientists' by Edward Klees, J.D. and H.

Age does not predict success for those in court-based mental health treatment programs
The amount of older adults in the criminal justice system has quadrupled in the past 15 years.

Spike in postoperative cardiac surgery deaths may be linked to 30-day survival measurement
Analyzing a national database of hospital inpatient records, a team of researchers reports an expected spike in mortality six days after cardiac surgery, but also a more surprising and potentially troubling jump in deaths at the 30-day mark.

Oyster aquaculture could significantly improve Potomac River estuary water quality
Oyster aquaculture in the Potomac River estuary could result in significant improvements to water quality, according to a new NOAA and US Geological Survey study published in the journal Aquatic Geochemistry.

See what a child will look like using automated age-progression software
University of Washington researchers have developed software that automatically generates images of a young child's face as it ages through a lifetime.

UC San Diego researchers develop bacterial 'FM radio'
A team of biologists and engineers at UC San Diego has developed a 'rapid and tunable post-translational coupling' for genetic circuits.

New research reveals the reality of adoption breakdowns
The most comprehensive study ever to be carried out into adoption in England has confirmed that the rate of breakdown is lower than anticipated, but it also reveals a stark picture of the problems faced by families.

Grant awarded to study impact of pain medication exposure in the womb on developing brain
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have been awarded a $472,500 Cutting Edge Basic Research Award by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health to study models of the brain development of newborns who have been exposed -- and become addicted -- to prescription pain medication while still in the womb.

Technical tests of biodiversity
A team of physicists from SISSA and the Polytechnic University of Turin has developed and analysed a model that simulates the effect of migration on the genetic biodiversity of populations, and discovered that the effect is all but trivial.

Is the increased risk of death due to alcohol intake greater for women or men?
A study that compared the amount of alcohol consumed and death from all causes among nearly 2.5 million women and men showed that the differences between the sexes became greater as alcohol intake increased.

Counting the invisible by sound -- a new approach to estimate seabird populations
Many seabird species nest underground, approach their nests only during darkness, and are essentially invisible on land and impossible to count.

2nd BBEST Conference will discuss advances in bioenergy
Scientists, students, NGOs and representatives of industry and government will participated from Oct.

Violence intervention program effective in Vanderbilt pilot study
Violent behavior and beliefs among middle school students can be reduced through the implementation of a targeted violence intervention program, according to a Vanderbilt study released in the Journal of Injury and Violence Research.

Scientists firm up origin of cold-adapted yeasts that make cold beer
As one of the most widely consumed and commercially important beverages on the planet, one would expect the experts to know everything there is to know about lager beer.

Researchers say Neanderthals were no strangers to good parenting
Archaeologists at the University of York are challenging the traditional view that Neanderthal childhood was difficult, short and dangerous.

Older people with faster decline in memory/thinking skills may have lower risk of cancer death
Older people who are starting to have memory and thinking problems, but do not yet have dementia may have a lower risk of dying from cancer than people who have no memory and thinking problems, according to a study published in the April 9, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Study tests theory that life originated at deep sea vents
One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth.

660 nm red light-enhanced BMSCs transplantation for hypoxic-ischemic brain damage
A series of previous studies suggested that the neuronal differentiation rate of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells during the in vitro culture reached 78-92 percent, but their in vivo transplantation efficiency, and survival and differentiation rates were very low.

Stanford scientists discover a novel way to make ethanol without corn or other plants
Stanford scientists have created a copper-based catalyst that produces large quantities of ethanol from carbon monoxide gas at room temperature.

Unity is strength in the marketing of smallholder farm produce
Smallholder farmers often face the challenge of accessing markets and selling their produce at competitive prices because they produce in small quantities that may not be commercially viable.

Toward a faster, more accurate way to diagnose stroke
When someone suffers from a stroke, a silent countdown begins.

Onur Gunturkun wins 2014 Communicator Award
Biopsychologist Onur Gunturkun is the winner of this year's Communicator Award, conferred by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany.

New 'switch' could power quantum computing
A light lattice that traps atoms may help scientists build networks of quantum information transmitters.

Researchers looking to create new bone tissue generation technique
UT Arlington and Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital are investigating whether bone grown from the body's own stem cells can replace traditional types of bone grafting.

Scientists in Singapore develop novel ultra-fast electrical circuits using light-generated tunneling
Scientists in Singapore successfully designed and fabricated electrical circuits that can operate at hundreds of terahertz frequencies, which is tens of thousands times faster than today's state-of-the-art microprocessors.

Rare leafcutter bee fossils reveal Ice Age environment at the La Brea Tar Pits
The La Brea Tar Pits are celebrated for saber-toothed cats and mastodons.

UNC researchers show how cancer cells may respond to mechanical force
Two UNC-Chapel Hill studies, published in Nature Cell Biology and the Journal of Immunology, identify the processes and cellular pathways that allow cells to move, stiffen, and react to physical stresses.

No compromises: JILA's short, flexible, reusable AFM probe
JILA researchers have engineered a short, flexible, reusable probe for the atomic force microscope that enables state-of-the-art precision and stability in picoscale force measurements.

Scientists reconstruct ancient impact that dwarfs dinosaur-extinction blast
Although scientists had previously hypothesized enormous ancient impacts, much greater than the one that may have eliminated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, now a new study reveals the power and scale of a cataclysmic event some 3.26 billion years ago which is thought to have created geological features found in a South African region known as the Barberton greenstone belt.

UCLA/RAND community research team win prestigious translational science award
A team of community leaders and researchers from UCLA and RAND has been awarded the 2014 Joint Team Science Award in recognition of a 10-year effort to conduct community engaged, population-based translational science to improve care for depression in low-income areas.

Love is a many-faceted thing
Regular churchgoers, married people or those who enjoy harmonious social ties are most satisfied with their love life.

CU researchers unraveling what's behind the sniffles, hoping for a treatment
Scientists at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have shed light on one of the most common of ailments -- the runny nose.

Synthetic collagen promotes natural clotting
Synthetic collagen invented at Rice University may help wounds heal by directing the natural clotting of blood.

Spironolactone not reduce primary outcome, did reduce hospitalizations for heart failure
Findings from the Treatment of Preserved Cardiac Function Heart Failure with an Aldosterone Antagonist trial, have revealed that adding the medication known as spironolactone to existing therapy did not significantly reduce the composite time to either death from cardiovascular causes, surviving a cardiac arrest, or hospitalization to manage heart failure in patients with heart failure and a preserved ejection fraction.

Brain size influences development of individual cranial bones
In mammals, embryonic cranial development is modular and step-wise: The individual cranial bones form according to a defined, coordinated schedule.

UC-led research finds chips with olestra cause body toxins to dip
According to a clinical trial led by University of Cincinnati researchers, a snack food ingredient called olestra has been found to speed up the removal of toxins in the body.

Periodontal disease associated with cardiovascular risk in large multicenter study
Periodontal disorders such as tooth loss and gingivitis have been identified as a potential risk marker for cardiovascular disease in a large study reported today.

$8.5 million contract will foster development of agriculture policy/programming in Ethiopia
The Agricultural Knowledge, Learning, Documentation and Policy Project contract awarded to Tufts University researchers will support evidence-gathering from a wide range of agriculture, livestock, nutrition and food security projects as part of USAID's Feed the Future initiative.

Vigilance for kidney problems key for rheumatoid arthritis patients
Rheumatoid arthritis patients are likelier than the average person to develop chronic kidney disease, and more severe inflammation in the first year of rheumatoid arthritis, corticosteroid use, high blood pressure and obesity are among the risk factors, new Mayo Clinic research shows.

Breastfeeding and infant sleep
In a new article published online today in the journal Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, professor David Haig argues that infants that wake frequently at night to breastfeed are delaying the resumption of the mother's ovulation and therefore preventing the birth of a sibling with whom they would have to compete.

Security barriers in US/Mexico national parks affect movement of animals
Security barriers in national parks on the US/Mexican border which aim to deter illegal migrants are affecting the movements of some native animal species while not necessarily restricting the movement of humans, according to new research from the University of Bristol, published today in PLOS ONE.

Pharma firms turn attention to hearing loss
Hearing loss affects 36 million Americans to some degree, often leaving them feeling isolated, but it has received little attention from the pharmaceutical industry -- until now.

Stressful environments genetically affect African-American boys
Stressful upbringings can leave imprints on the genes of children, including African-American boys, according to a study led by Princeton University and the Pennsylvania State University.

Skulls of red and giant pandas provide insight into coexistence
New research on the skulls of red pandas and giant pandas provides further explanation as to why the two species -- which are not closely related but dine on the same food, bamboo, in the same geographic area -- are able to coexist.

EASL publishes online recommendations on the management of hepatitis C
The European Association for the Study of the Liver will this week be announcing new online recommendations on the management of hepatitis C at the International Liver Congress.

Sunken logs create new worlds for seafloor animals
When it comes to food, most of the deep sea is a desert.

NCI award supports access to national clinical trials to test new treatment for adults
UT Southwestern has been selected as one of only 30 academic sites in the NCI National Clinical Trials Network, giving UTSW patients access to the cancer research trials sponsored by the NCI.

Reef fish arrived in 2 waves
The world's reefs are hotbeds of biological diversity, including over 4,500 species of fish.

Patients over 65 have more complications after colorectal cancer surgery
Most colorectal cancer surgeries are performed on patients older than 65 years, and older patients have worse outcomes than younger patients, although the total number of colon cancer operations has decreased in the past decade.

Can animals really help people in hospitals, aged care?
While many people have an opinion on whether animals can help to improve well-being and care for patients in hospitals, does anyone really know whether there are benefits both for the patients and the animals themselves?

New research unwraps the study of ancient Egypt
The study and popular perception of Egyptian antiquities focuses too much on the unwrapping of mummies and the use of technologies such as scanning, according to an academic from the University of East Anglia.

DNA data could help doctors treat MRSA shows new study
A team of scientists led by the University of Bath has developed a new technique to predict the toxicity of an MRSA infection from its DNA sequence.

China looks to science and technology to fuel its economy
Maintaining stability in the face of rapid change and growth, and partaking in cooperative global ties in science and technology fields will be key in helping China become an innovation-based economy, according to Denis Simon, vice provost at Arizona State University.

Consuming a high-fat diet is associated with increased risk of certain types of BC
High total and saturated fat intake were associated with greater risk of estrogen receptor- and progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer, and human epidermal growth factor 2 receptor-negative disease, according to a new study published April 9 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Polysaccharides from Angelica sinensis alleviate oxidative damage to neurons
Polysaccharides from Angelica sinensis alleviate oxidative damage to neurons.

One kind of supersymmetry shown to emerge naturally
Tarun Grover and his colleagues show that a topological superconductor is conducive to displaying phenomena of emergent supersymmetry.

Are chromium supplements helpful in lowering blood sugar levels?
A new study by a University of Miami researcher analyzes nearly three decades of data on the effect of chromium supplementation on blood sugar and concludes that chromium supplements are not effective at lowering fasting blood sugar in healthy individuals, or diabetics.

A bad penny: Cancer's thirst for copper can be targeted
Drugs used to block copper absorption for a rare genetic condition may find an additional use as a treatment for certain types of cancer, researchers at Duke Medicine report.

Study examines mental health toll exacted on civilians working with military in war zones
The punishing psychological toll endured by military personnel in war zones has been extensively documented for years by researchers, perhaps more than ever in the wake of recent military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Genome sequencing of MRSA infection predicts disease severity
The spread of the antibiotic-resistant pathogen MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) remains a concerning public health problem, especially among doctors trying to determine appropriate treatment options for infected patients.

Medication therapy management works for some but not all home health patients
Low-risk Medicare patients entering home health care who received medication therapy management by phone were three times less likely to be hospitalized within the next two months, while those at greater risk saw no benefit.

USA top in the world for entrepreneurship
The USA is the most entrepreneurial economy in the world, according to the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index.

Organization of cellular photosystems
A new DFG Research Unit will study the biogenesis of the complex membrane systems in which the light reactions of photosynthesis take place.

ORNL study pegs fuel economy costs of common practices
People who pack their cars and drive like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's 'Vacation' pay a steep penalty when it comes to fuel economy.

NIH grant to further SLU research on link between prescription painkillers and depression
An epidemiologist explores which patients are more susceptible to depression.

Lemelson-MIT announces National Collegiate Student Prize Competition winners
The Lemelson-MIT Program today announced winners of the Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize Competition, a nationwide search for the most inventive undergraduate and graduate students.

Stanford scientists model a win-win situation: Growing crops on photovoltaic farms
A new model for solar farms that 'co-locates' crops and solar panels could result in a harvest of valuable biofuel plants along with solar energy. 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