Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 16, 2014
Turning harmful gas into valuable fuels, chemicals
A University of California, Riverside researcher is leading a team that won a nearly $500,000 grant to study a process that transforms harmful greenhouse gas emissions into valuable fuels and chemicals by using a unique catalyst.

Walking with mammoths and exploring mid-continental geology
Geoscientists from the north-central US and beyond will convene in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, on April 24-25, to discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the unique geologic and historic features of the region, with a special emphasis on applied geology, paleontology, and mid-continent geology.

Fish exposed to antidepressants exhibit altered behavioral changes
Fish exposed to the antidepressant Fluoxetine, an active ingredient in prescription drugs such as Prozac, exhibited a range of altered mating behaviours, repetitive behaviour and aggression towards female fish, according to new research published on in the latest special issue of Aquatic Toxicology: Antidepressants in the Aquatic Environment.

Vanderbilt researchers discover how intestinal cells build nutrient-absorbing surface
The 'brush border' -- a densely packed array of finger-like projections called microvilli -- covers the surfaces of the cells that line our intestines.

Mutant protein in muscle linked to neuromuscular disorder
Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a rare inherited neuromuscular disorder characterized by slowly progressive muscle weakness and atrophy.

New clinical trial launched for advance lung cancer
Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer -- marking a new era of research into personalized medicines to treat cancer.

Scientists capture ultrafast snapshots of light-driven superconductivity
A new study pins down a major factor behind the appearance of superconductivity -- the ability to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency -- in a promising copper-oxide material.

Scientists awarded $2 million to study improvements in anti-diabetic drug design
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have been awarded $2.1 million from the National Institutes of Health to study the therapeutic potential of safer and more effective alternatives to the current crop of anti-diabetic drugs, which have been limited in their use due to side effects including bone loss and congestive heart failure.

Scientists achieve first direct observations of excitons in motion
Technique developed at MIT reveals the motion of energy-carrying quasiparticles in solid material.

Study shows lasting effects of drought in rainy eastern US
But new research from the Harvard Forest shows how short-lived but severe climatic events can trigger cascades of ecosystem change that last for centuries.

Theoretical biophysics: Adventurous bacteria
To reproduce or to conquer the world? Surprisingly, bacteria also face this problem.

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots
A way of making hundreds -- or even thousands -- of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Low vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms
A new study from the Women's Health Initiative shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms.

The surprising consequences of banning chocolate milk
The new Cornell Food and Brand Lab study by Andrew Hanks, David Just, and Brian Wansink, found that eliminating chocolate milk from elementary schools decreased total milk sales by 10 percent, and increased milk waste by 29 percent.

At the origin of cell division
Movement and the ability to divide are two fundamental traits of living cells.

Making radiation-proof materials for electronics, power plants
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster made the dangers of radiation all too real.

U of T study finds toddlers 'surprisingly sophisticated' at understanding unfamiliar accents
A new study has found that by two years of age, children are remarkably good at comprehending speakers who talk with accents the toddlers have never heard before.

UTSA and Microsoft establish sustainable energy research and development pact
The University of Texas at San Antonio and Microsoft Corporation announced today a three-year agreement to research and develop sustainable technologies to make data centers more energy efficient and economically viable.

The Lancet: Changing where a baby is held immediately after birth could lead to improved uptake of procedure that reduces infant iron deficiency
Changing where a newborn baby is held before its umbilical cord is clamped could lead to improved uptake in hospitals of delayed cord clamping, leading to a decreased risk of iron deficiency in infancy, according to new results published in The Lancet.

Local homicide rate increases cause more elementary students to fail school
A new study finds that an increase in a municipality's homicide rate causes more elementary school students in that community to fail a grade than would do so if the rate remained stable.

Chemists celebrate Earth Day: Showcasing the scientists who keep our water safe (video)
Water is arguably the most important resource on the planet.

Research shows that bacteria survive longer in contact lens cleaning solution than thought
Each year in the UK, bacterial infections cause around 6,000 cases of a severe eye condition known as microbial keratitis, which can lead to loss of vision.

Stanford biologists help solve fungal mysteries
A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate change.

Recycling industrial waste water
A research group composed of Dr. Martin Prechtl, Leo Heim and their colleagues at the University of Cologne's Department of Chemistry has discovered a new method of generating hydrogen using water and formaldehyde.

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops
Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices.

Rice U. study: Performance measures for CEOs vary greatly
As companies file their annual proxy statements with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this spring, a new study by Rice University and Cornell University shows just how S&P 500 companies have tied CEO compensation to performance.

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis
New power plant design could provide enhanced safety, easier siting, and centralized construction.

Stanford scientists develop 'playbook' for reverse engineering tissue
Consider the marvel of the embryo. It begins as a glob of identical cells that change shape and function as they multiply to become the cells of our lungs, muscles, nerves and all the other specialized tissues of the body.

Atypical brain connectivity associated with autism spectrum disorder
Autism spectrum disorder in adolescents appears to be associated with atypical connectivity in the brain involving the systems that help people infer what others are thinking and understand the meaning of others' actions and emotions.

New type of barcode could make counterfeiters' lives more difficult
Counterfeiters, beware! Scientists are reporting the development of a new type of inexpensive barcode that, when added to documents or currency, could foil attempts at making forgeries.

Earliest ancestor of land herbivores discovered
New research from the University of Toronto Mississauga demonstrates how carnivores transitioned into herbivores for the first time on land.

Study: The trials of the Cherokee were reflected in their skulls
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors -- from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War -- led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people.

Scientists find new way to fight malaria drug resistance
An anti-malarial treatment that lost its status as the leading weapon against the deadly disease could be given a new lease of life, with new research indicating it simply needs to be administered differently.

Free drug samples can change prescribing habits of dermatologists
The availability of free medication samples in dermatology offices appears to change prescribing practices for acne, a common condition for which free samples are often available.

A study in scarlet
This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41.

Survey: Percent of uninsured Texans has declined since September 2013
The percentage of uninsured adults ages 18 to 64 in Texas declined from 24.8 to 23.5 between September 2013 and March 2014, according to a report released today by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Early career scientists and engineers receive highest honor from the White House
On Monday, 102 men and women received the United States government's highest honor for scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers-- the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

New species discovery sheds light on herbivore evolution
A new fossil may provide evidence that large caseid herbivores, the largest known terrestrial vertebrates of their time, evolved from small non-herbivorous members of that group.

Bristol academics invited to speak at major 5G summit
Two Bristol engineers, who are leaders in the field of wireless communications, have been invited to a meeting of technology leaders to discuss the future of wireless communications.

Celldex's Phase 1 study of CDX-1401 published in Science Translational Medicine
Celldex Therapeutics Inc. announced today that final data from its Phase 1 study of CDX-1401 in solid tumors, including long-term patient follow-up, have been published in Science Translational Medicine.

Why your nose can be a pathfinder
Waves in your brain make smells stick to your memories and inner maps.

IU cognitive scientists use 'I spy' to show spoken language helps direct children's eyes
In a new study, Indiana U. cognitive scientists demonstrate that children spot objects more quickly when prompted by words than if they are only prompted by images.

Scientists re-define what's healthy in newest analysis for Human Microbiome Project
As scientists catalog the trillions of bacteria found in the human body, a new look by the University of Michigan shows wide variation in the types of bacteria found in healthy people.

Ancient sea-levels give new clues on ice ages
International researchers, led by the Australian National University (ANU), have developed a new way to determine sea-level changes and deep-sea temperature variability over the past 5.3 million years.

TGen honors Catherine Ivy and Craig Jackson with Leadership; Collaborative Spirit awards
The Translational Genomics Research Institute recently honored two significant Arizona philanthropists at their annual Founders Dinner for their support of TGen's research into brain, colon and prostate cancer.

Off-season doesn't allow brain to recover from football hits, study says
Six months off may not be long enough for the brains of football players to completely heal after a single season, putting them at even greater risk of head injury the next season.

Medieval slave trade routes in Eastern Europe extended from Finland and the Baltic Countries to Asia
The routes of slave trade in Eastern Europe in the medieval and pre-modern period extended all the way to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia.

Los Alamos physicist honored with E.O. Lawrence Award
Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist John Sarrao is being honored by the US Department of Energy with the 2013 Ernest O.

Preterm births, multiples, and fertility treatment
While it is well known that fertility treatments are the leading cause of increases in multiple gestations and that multiples are at elevated risk of premature birth, these results are not inevitable, concludes an article in Fertility and Sterility.

Environmentally compatible organic solar cells
Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of 'MatHero.' The new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology aims at making organic photovoltaics competitive to their inorganic counterparts by enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells, reducing their production costs and increasing their life-time.

Berkeley Lab's Adam Arkin wins 2013 Lawrence Award
Adam Arkin, director of Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, has been named one of six recipients of the 2013 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

High-level NIH grant goes to professor Nicolas Doucet of INRS
Professor Nicolas Doucet of the Centre INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier has just received a research grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount of nearly $600,000.

Researchers track down cause of eye mobility disorder
In a paper published in the April 16 print issue of the journal Neuron, University of Iowa researchers Bernd Fritzsch and Jeremy Duncan and their colleagues at Harvard Medical School, along with investigator and corresponding author Elizabeth Engle, describe how their studies on mutated mice mimic human mutations.

Searching for dark energy with neutrons
It does not always take a huge accelerator to do particle physics: First results from a low energy, table top alterative takes validity of Newtonian gravity down by five orders of magnitude and narrows the potential properties of the forces and particles that may exist beyond it by more than one hundred thousand times.

At least 1 in 20 adult outpatients misdiagnosed in US every year
At least one in 20 adults is misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics in the US every year, amounting to 12 million people nationwide, and posing a 'substantial patient safety risk,' finds research published online in BMJ Quality & Safety.

Researchers: Obesity can amplify bone and muscle loss
Florida State University researchers have identified a new syndrome called 'osteosarcopenic obesity' that links the deterioration of bone density and muscle mass with obesity.

Body Mass Index associated with breast cancer, regardless of body shape
A study of predominantly white women finds a larger waist circumference is associated with higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, but not beyond its contribution to BMI.

2014 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference heads to San Diego
The 2014 AAPS National Biotechnology Conference will gather scientists from industry, government, and academia for three days of educational offerings specifically geared toward the biotechnology sector of the pharmaceutical sciences.

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation
Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude.

A greener source of polyester -- cork trees
On the scale of earth-friendly materials, you'd be hard pressed to find two that are farther apart than polyester (not at all) and cork (very).

Dartmouth-led study shows air temperature influenced African glacial movements
Changes in air temperature, not precipitation, drove the expansion and contraction of glaciers in Africa's Rwenzori Mountains at the height of the last ice age, according to a Dartmouth-led study funded by the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation.

Study provides crucial new information about how the ice ages came about
An international team of scientists has discovered new relationships between deep-sea temperature and ice-volume changes to provide crucial new information about how the ice ages came about.

Surveillance colonoscopy recommendations for average-risk patients with 1 to 2 small polyps consistent with guidelines
According to a new study, endoscopists' recommendations for timing of surveillance colonoscopy in average-risk patients with one to two small polyps are consistent with guideline recommendations in about 90 percent of cases.

Information storage for the next generation of plastic computers
Inexpensive computers, cell phones and other systems that substitute flexible plastic for silicon chips may be one step closer to reality, thanks to research published on April 16 in the journal Nature Communications.

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds
Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed.

Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are the first to recommend that young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended.

Dermatologists with access to sample drugs write costlier prescriptions, Stanford study finds
Dermatologists with access to free drug samples are more likely than those without access to samples to write prescriptions for drugs that are more expensive, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool
By comparing hospitalization records from Massachusetts hospitals with data reported to local boards of health found a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks.

First metritis vaccine protects dairy cows
Cornell scientists have created the first vaccines that can prevent metritis, one of the most common cattle diseases.

High disease load reduces mortality of children
Children who have been conceived during a severe epidemic are more resistant against other pathogens later in life.

Potential use of Google Glass in surgical settings
An article recently published in the International Journal of Surgery shows the potential applications for Google Glass in the surgical setting, particularly in relation to training.

Some immune cells defend only 1 organ
Scientists have discovered that some organs have the immunological equivalent of 'neighborhood police' -- specialized squads of defenders that patrol only one area, a single organ, instead of an entire city, the body.

Study provides new insight into how toddlers learn verbs
Parents can help toddlers' language skills by showing them a variety of examples of different actions, according to new research from the University of Liverpool.

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight
Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it.

Global scientific team 'visualizes' a new crystallization process
By combining a synchrotron's bright X-ray beam with high speed X-ray cameras, scientists from Stanford University in California and KAUST in Saudi Arabia shot a 'movie' showing how organic molecules form into crystals.

Meteorites yield clues to red planet's early atmosphere
Geologists analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars to understand the history of the Martian atmosphere.

Cancer drugs block dementia-linked brain inflammation, UCI study finds
A class of drugs developed to treat immune-related conditions and cancer -- including one currently in clinical trials for glioblastoma and other tumors -- eliminates neural inflammation associated with dementia-linked diseases and brain injuries, according to UC Irvine researchers.

Research may help doctors predict who gets long-term complications from Lyme disease
A team of scientists led by Johns Hopkins and Stanford University researchers has laid the groundwork for understanding how variations in immune responses to Lyme disease can contribute to the many different outcomes of this bacterial infection seen in individual patients.

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance
Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman and colleagues.

Scientists observe quantum superconductor-metal transition and superconducting glass
The article 'Collapse of superconductivity in a hybrid tin-grapheme Josephson junction array' (authors: Zheng Han, Adrien Allain, Hadi Arjmandi-Tash,Konstantin Tikhonov, Mikhail Feigelman, Benjamin Sacépé,Vincent Bouchiat, published in Nature Physics on March 30, 2014, presents the results of the first experimental study of the graphene-based quantum phase transition of the 'superconductor-to-metal' type, i.e. transformation of the system's ground state from superconducting to metallic, upon changing the electron concentration in graphene sheet.

Researchers develop a new drug to combat the measles
A novel antiviral drug may protect people infected with the measles from getting sick and prevent them from spreading the virus to others, an international team of researchers says.

SAGE journal International Journal of Care Coordination re-launching April 2014
Leading SAGE medical journal, the International Journal of Care Coordination, is being re-launched this month.

Family ties in the language jungle
Max Planck researchers reveal relationships between rare languages in the Colombian Amazon.

Researchers propose network-based evaluation tool to assess relief operations feasibility
A Singapore-based team of scientists from the Institute of High Performance Computing, A*STAR and The Logistics Institute-Asia Pacific has presented a model that looks into the logistics of disaster relief using open data and tools and measures developed in the field of network science.

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern
Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East.

In old age, lack of emotion and interest may signal your brain is shrinking
Older people who have apathy but not depression may have smaller brain volumes than those without apathy, according to a new study published in the April 16, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

In funk music, rhythmic complexity influences dancing desire
Rhythmic drum patterns with a balance of rhythmic predictability and complexity may influence our desire to dance and enjoy the music.

Expect changes in appetite, taste of food after weight loss surgery
Changes in appetite, taste and smell are par for the course for people who have undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery during which one's stomach is made smaller and small intestines shortened.

Scientists unlock secrets of protein produced by disease-causing fungus
The fungal pathogen Candida albicans causes yeast infections, diaper rashes and oral thrush, and is the most common fungal pathogen to infect humans.

Eavesdropping on brain cell chatter
Everything we do -- all of our movements, thoughts and feelings -- are the result of neurons talking with one another, and recent studies have suggested that some of the conversations might not be all that private.

Deaths from viral hepatitis surpasses HIV/AIDS as preventable cause of deaths in Australia
Deaths from viral Hepatitis B and C have surpassed HIV/AIDS in many countries, including Australia and in Western Europe, according to an analysis of the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study.

Significant baseline levels of arsenic found in Ohio soils are due to natural processes
Geologic and soil processes are to blame for significant baseline levels of arsenic in soil throughout Ohio, according to a new study.

Synapses -- stability in transformation
Synapses remain stable if their components grow in coordination with each other.

Sperm meets egg: Protein essential for fertilization discovered
Fertilisation occurs when an egg and a sperm recognise each other and fuse together.

Masculine boys, feminine girls more likely to engage in cancer risk behaviors
The most 'feminine' girls and 'masculine' boys -- are more likely than their peers to engage in behaviors that pose cancer risks, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers.

EU must take urgent action on invasive species
The EU must take urgent action to halt the spread of invasive species that are threatening native plants and animals across Europe, according to a scientist from Queen's University Belfast.

Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones
An escape route mapping system based on the behavior of ant colonies could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map of showing the shortest routes to shelters and providing regular updates of current situations such as fires, blocked roads or other damage via the smart phones of emergency workers and those caught up in the disaster.

Why interest is crucial to your success
Maintaining an interest in the goals you pursue can improve your work and reduce burnout, according to research from Duke University.

Researchers question emergency water treatment guidelines
The Environmental Protection Agency's recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens and are often impractical to carry out, a new study has found.

Scientists explain how memories stick together
Scientists at the Salk Institute have created a new model of memory that explains how neurons retain select memories a few hours after an event.

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues
Messenger RNA (mRNA) plays an important role in gene expression, and examining the types and amounts of mRNA present in an organism allows researchers to answer key questions about gene expression and regulation.

Shade grown coffee shrinking as a proportion of global coffee production
According to a new study, over the past couple of decades, global coffee production has been shifting towards a more intensive, less environmentally friendly style.

Two new species of yellow-shouldered bats endemic to the Neotropics
Lying forgotten in museum collections, two new species of yellow-shouldered bats have been unearthed by scientists at the American Museum of New York and the Field Museum of Natural History and described in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

Multiple births don't have to be an inevitable result of fertility treatments
While fertility treatments have helped many people become parents, they commonly result in multiple births, increasing the risk of prematurity, and leading to lifelong complications.

ASPB names 2014 awards recipients
The American Society of Plant Biologists is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2014 awards, honoring excellence in research, education, outreach, and service.

New technique detects microscopic diabetes-related eye damage
Indiana University researchers have detected new early-warning signs of the potential loss of sight associated with diabetes.

Progress in understanding immune response in severe schistosomiasis
Researchers at Tufts University have uncovered a mechanism that may help explain the severe forms of schistosomiasis, or snail fever, which is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases in the world.

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes
Caltech researchers discover that a cell's unique shape results from an internal tug-of-war: the cell needs to maintain structural integrity while also dynamically responding to the pushes and pulls of mechanical stress.

Declining catch rates in Caribbean green turtle fishery may be result of overfishing
A 20-year assessment of Nicaragua's legal, artisanal green sea turtle fishery has uncovered a stark reality: greatly reduced overall catch rates of turtles in what may have become an unsustainable take, according to conservation scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of Florida.

Ancient shark fossil reveals new insights into jaw evolution
The skull of a newly discovered 325-million-year-old shark-like species suggests that early cartilaginous and bony fishes have more to tell us about the early evolution of jawed vertebrates -- including humans -- than do modern sharks, as was previously thought.

Research uncovers DNA looping damage tied to HPV cancer
Certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause about five percent of all cancer cases, yet all the mechanisms aren't completely understood.

Gate for bacterial toxins found
Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Aktories and Dr. Panagiotis Papatheodorou from the University of Freiburg have discovered the receptor responsible for smuggling the toxin of the bacterium Clostridium perfringens into the cell.

UI named mentoring center for minority graduate students
The University of Iowa has been awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the Alfred P.

Hide and seek: Revealing camouflaged bacteria
A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells.

HIV+ women respond well to HPV vaccine
A three-nation clinical trial found that a vaccine can safely help the vast majority of HIV-positive women produce antibodies against the cancer-causing human papillomavirus, even if their immune system is weak and even if they've had some prior HPV exposure.
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