Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 17, 2014
Feinstein Institute researcher publishes new perspective on sepsis
In a review published in the April issue of Immunity, Kevin J.

Pocket-sized anthrax detector aids global agriculture
A credit-card-sized anthrax detection cartridge developed at Sandia National Laboratories and recently licensed to a small business makes testing safer, easier, faster and cheaper.

Multitarget TB drug could treat other diseases, evade resistance
A drug under clinical trials to treat tuberculosis could be the basis for a class of broad-spectrum drugs that act against various bacteria, fungal infections and parasites, yet evade resistance, according to a study by University of Illinois chemists and collaborators.

Astronomers discover Earth-sized planet in habitable zone
Notre Dame astrophysicist Justin R. Crepp and researchers from NASA working with the Kepler space mission have detected an Earth-like planet orbiting the habitable zone of a cool star.

More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale
Researchers in France have hit on a novel method to help kidney stone sufferers ensure they receive the correct and most effective treatment possible.

BUSM researchers find anti-seizure drug may reduce alcohol consumption
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have discovered that the anti-seizure drug ezogabine, reduced alcohol consumption in an experimental model.

ASU researchers urge alternative identification methods for threatened species
With global climate change and rapidly disappearing habitat critical to the survival of endangered species, there is a sense of urgency to confirm the return of animals thought to be extinct, or to confirm the presence of newly discovered species.

Mantis shrimp, toucan and trilobite, oh my
A team of researchers led by a University of California, Riverside professor of engineering have been selected to receive a $7.5 million Department of Defense grant to uncover fundamental design rules and develop simple and basic scientific foundations for the predictable design of light-weight, tough and strong advanced materials inspired by a wide diversity of structures from plants and animals, including the mantis shrimp, toucan and bamboo.

Patented research remotely detects nitrogen-rich explosives
A Kansas State University engineer has developed a patented technique that improves military security and remotely detects improvised explosive devices.

Drought and fire in the Amazon lead to sharp increases in forest tree mortality
Ongoing deforestation and fragmentation of forests in the Amazon help create tinderbox conditions for wildfires in remnant forests, contributing to rapid and widespread forest loss during drought years, according to a team of researchers.

Trisomy 21: How an extra little chromosome throws the entire genome off balance
A study conducted by Stylianos Antonarakis and his team in the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development at the University of Geneva Faculty of Medicine light on how the extra chromosome 21 upsets the equilibrium of the entire genome, causing a wide variety of pathologies.

Is UK shale gas extraction posing a risk to public health?
More needs to be done to investigate the risks to human health that extracting shale gas poses, suggests a personal view published on bmj.com today.

Study sheds light on how the immune system protects children from malaria
According to a study published today in PLOS Pathogens, children who live in regions of the world where malaria is common can mount an immune response to infection with malaria parasites that may enable them to avoid repeated bouts of high fever and illness and partially control the growth of malaria parasites in their bloodstream.

Internet use can help ward off depression among elderly
It's estimated that as many as 10 million older Americans suffer from depression, often brought on by feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Loud talking and horseplay in car results in more serious incidents for teen drivers
Adolescent drivers are often distracted by technology while they are driving, but loud conversations and horseplay between passengers appear more likely to result in a dangerous incident, according to a new study from the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.

Live cell imaging reveals distinct alterations of subcellular glutathione potentials
Glutathione is the most abundant cellular redox buffer that both protects cells from oxidative damage and mediates cellular signaling.

Is Parkinson's an autoimmune disease?
The cause of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease is still unknown, but a new study proposes that neurons may be mistaken for foreign invaders and killed by the person's own immune system, similar to the way autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis attack the body's cells.

Research points to potential treatment strategy for Fragile X syndrome
Individuals with Fragile X syndrome cannot produce enough of a protein -- called the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) -- whose function has remained somewhat mysterious.

CU researchers discover target for treating dengue fever
Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for dengue fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other disease-causing flaviviruses.

New pain relief targets discovered
Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain.

How vision makes sure that little fish do not get carried away
Newly discovered types of neurons in the animals' brain help to compensate for self-motion.

East African honeybees are safe from invasive pests... for now
Several parasites and pathogens that devastate honeybees in Europe, Asia and the United States are spreading across East Africa, but do not appear to be impacting native honeybee populations at this time, according to an international team of researchers.

First genetic link discovered to difficult-to-diagnose breast cancer sub-type
The discovery of the genetic variant, in conjunction with other markers, could help in the development of future genetic screening tools to assess women's risk of developing invasive lobular cancer, and also gives researchers important new clues about the genetic causes of the disease and a related precursor to cancer called lobular carcinoma in situ.

Jump-starting natural resilience reverses stress susceptibility
Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons and experimentally reversed it.

Kepler astronomers discover new rocky planet that may have liquid water
An international team of researchers including San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane have announced the discovery of a rocky planet that could potentially have liquid water on its surface.

Researcher looks at public perceptions around newborn testing
Public opinion should matter when deciding extent of genetic tests, according to a new study.

AltaSim Technologies wins DOE grant for additive manufacturing
AltaSim Technologies will further develop the technologies that drive additive manufacturing -- adding momentum to AweSim, a public-private initiative led by the Ohio Supercomputer Center to boost industrial use of modeling and simulation.

Kessler Foundation awarded Department of Defense grant for spinal cord injury research
Kessler Foundation named awardee of a three-year grant for $1.8 million from Department of Defense Spinal Cord Injury Research Program.

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer
A Michigan State University study consisting of lung cancer patients, primarily smokers between the ages of 51 to 79 years old, is shedding more light on the stigma often felt by these patients, the emotional toll it can have and how health providers can help.

Connecting sleep deficits among young fruit flies to disruption in mating later in life
Mom always said you need your sleep, and it turns out, she was right.

Dual role: Key cell division proteins also power up mitochondria
An international team led by researchers at UC Davis has shown that the cyclin B1/Cdk1 protein complex, which plays a key role in cell division, also boosts the mitochondrial activity to power that process.

Re-emergence of Ebola focuses need for global surveillance strategies
EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on conservation and global public health issues, published a comprehensive review today examining the current state of knowledge of the deadly Ebola and Marburg virus.

Food shortages could be most critical world issue by mid-century
The world is less than 40 years away from a food shortage that will have serious implications for people and governments, according to a top scientist at the US Agency for International Development.

First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed by Gemini and Keck observatories
The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of another star has been confirmed by observations with both the W.

New gene variant found increases the risk of colorectal cancer from eating processed meat
A common genetic variant that affects one in three people appears to significantly increase the risk of colorectal cancer from the consumption of processed meat, according to study published today in PLOS Genetics.

New MRSA superbug emerges in Brazil
An international research team led by Cesar A. Arias, M.D., Ph.D., at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has identified a new superbug that caused a bloodstream infection in a Brazilian patient.

Vitamin B3 might have been made in space, delivered to Earth by meteorites
Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by NASA-funded researchers.

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning
Up to now, nitrous acid, HONO, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals, OH, which is regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself.

Our brains are hardwired for language
People blog, they don't lbog, and they schmooze, not mshooze.

Lab researcher discovers the green in Greenland
An international team of researchers, including a scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has discovered that ancient dirt in Greenland was cryogenically frozen for millions of years under nearly two miles of ice.

Wireless power transfer achieved at 5-meter distance
Chun T. Rim, a professor of Nuclear & Quantum Engineering at KAIST, and his team showcased, on April 16, 2014 at the KAIST campus, Daejeon, Republic of Korea, a great improvement in the distance that electric power can travel wirelessly.

Researchers find boosting depression-causing mechanisms in the brain increases resilience
Conventional antidepressants work by dampening neurobiological mechanisms in the brain, but a new study, unexpectedly, found for the first time time, that further activation of neurons opens a new avenue to mimic and promote natural resilience.

Progressive neurodegenerative disorder linked to R-loop formation
Researchers at UC Davis have identified a new feature of the genetic mutation responsible for the progressive neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome -- the formation of 'R-loops,' which they believe may be associated with the disorder's neurological symptoms, such as tremors, lack of balance, features of Parkinsonism, and cognitive decline.

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide
Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC.

Novel marker discovered for stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood
The development of stem cell therapies to cure a variety of diseases depends on the ability to characterize stem cell populations based on cell surface markers.

Thinnest feasible membrane produced
A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable.

20 years of data shows treatment technique improvement for advanced abdominal cancer
Wake Forest Baptist has the largest reported, single-center experience with cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC and analysis of 20 years' worth of patient data shows that outcomes have clearly improved for patients undergoing this treatment technique.

Animal study provides first evidence that gel can prevent multiple virus transmission in vagina/rectum
Population Council scientists and their partners have found that their proprietary microbicide gel is safe, stable, and can prevent the transmission of multiple sexually transmitted infections in both the vagina and rectum in animals: HIV, herpes simplex virus 2, and human papillomavirus.

Novel stapled peptide nanoparticle combination prevents RSV infection, study finds
A new preclinical study by teams at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's/Harvard and James A.

Call for alternative identification methods for endangered species
Researchers at Arizona State University and Plymouth University in the United Kingdom want to change the way biologists think about the 'gold standard' of collecting a 'voucher' specimen for species identification.

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key
Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between.

Impact of childhood bullying still evident after 40 years
The negative social, physical and mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident nearly 40 years later, according to new research by King's College London.

A family of compact schemes with minimized dispersion and controllable dissipation was developed
For the direct numerical simulation of turbulent flows, the numerical schemes should have good spectral properties to resolve the broadband of the turbulent scales.

'Dressed' laser aimed at clouds may be key to inducing rain, lightning
The adage 'Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it,' may one day be obsolete if researchers at the University of Central Florida's College of Optics & Photonics and the University of Arizona further develop a new technique to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning.

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises
Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives.

First structural insights into how plant immune receptors interact
The first structural definition of how plant immune receptors interact has broad implications for understanding their function.

Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates
The pass mark for a two-part test that international medical graduates must pass to work as a doctor in the UK should be raised to reduce differences in performance between international and UK medical graduates, suggest researchers on bmj.com today.

Testing protocols in Internet of Things by a formal passive technique
In recent years, Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is gaining momentum as the communication protocol in Internet of Things.

Massage therapy improves circulation, eases muscle soreness
Massage therapy improves general blood flow and alleviates muscle soreness after exercise, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for
A statistical analysis of the gift 'fulfillments' at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the happy couple.

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines
One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice.

AGU: More, bigger wildfires burning western US, study shows
Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years.

Bright points in sun's atmosphere mark patterns deep in its interior
Like a balloon bobbing along in the air while tied to a child's hand, a tracer has been found in the sun's atmosphere to help track the flow of material coursing underneath the sun's surface.

The ilk of human kindness
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that older women, plucky individuals and those who have suffered a recent major loss are more likely to be compassionate toward strangers than other older adults.

Patients with rare lung disease face agonizing treatment dilemma
The drug sirolimus can slow progression of the lung disease LAM, while also causing potentially fatal complications in lung transplant patients.

Fish consumption advisories fail to cover all types of contaminants
A new UTSC study suggests that fish consumption advisories for expecting mothers are ineffective in reducing infant exposure to contaminants like persistent organic pollutants.

Key milestone for brown fat research with a ground-breaking MRI scan
The first MRI scan to show 'brown fat' in a living adult could prove to be an essential step towards a new wave of therapies to aid the fight against diabetes and obesity.

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher
One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled upon an orchid they had never seen before.

Discovery could lead to novel therapies for Fragile X syndrome
Scientists studying the most common form of inherited mental disability -- a genetic disease called 'Fragile X syndrome' -- have uncovered new details about the cellular processes responsible for the condition that could lead to the development of therapies to restore some of the capabilities lost in affected individuals.

First Earth-size planet is discovered in another star's habitable zone
A team of astronomers that includes Penn State scientists has discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star at a distance where liquid water might pool on the planet's surface.

Surprise: Lost stem cells naturally replaced by non-stem cells, fly research suggests
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered an unexpected phenomenon in the organs that produce sperm in fruit flies: When a certain kind of stem cell is killed off experimentally, another group of non-stem cells can come out of retirement to replace them.

Five anthropogenic factors that will radically alter northern forests in 50 years
The journal Forest Science recently published a report by Forest Service scientists and partners that describes five anthropogenic factors that will radically alter forest conditions and management needs in the Northern United States.

New GSA book details the Peninsular Ranges batholith of California
In the newest addition to The Geological Society of America's memoir series, editors Douglas M.

More research called for into HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in African children
Researchers from LSTM have called for more research to be carried out into HIV and schistosomiasis coinfection in children in sub-Saharan Africa.

New evidence of suicide epidemic among India's 'marginalized' farmers
Latest statistical research finds strong causal links between areas with the most suicides and areas where impoverished farmers are trying to grow crops that suffer from wild price fluctuations due to India's relatively recent shift to free market economics.

Chiral breathing: Electrically controlled polymer changes its optical properties
Electrically controlled glasses with continuously adjustable transparency, new polarisation filters, and even chemosensors capable of detecting single molecules of specific chemicals could be fabricated thanks to a new polymer unprecedentedly combining optical and electrical properties.

New state-of-the-art biotech and nanotech equipment for INRS
Professor Marc André Gauthier and Professor Luca Razzari of the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre have each been awarded large grants from the John R.

Building 'smart' cell-based therapies
Northwestern University synthetic biologist Joshua Leonard and his team have developed a technology for engineering human cells as therapies that become activated only in diseased tissues.

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur
A new chemical process can transform waste sulfur into lightweight plastic lenses that have a high refractive index and are transparent to mid-range infrared light.

A cross-section of the universe
An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history.

JCI online ahead of print table of contents for April 17, 2014
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers published online, April 17, 2014 in the JCI: 'Double-stapled peptide inhibits RSV infection,' 'Fibroblast-derived exosomes mediate caridiomyocyte hypertrophy via microRNA delivery,' 'Patient response to cryptococcosis is dependent on fungal-specific factors,' 'The coinhibitory receptor PD-1H suppresses T cell responses,' 'Type-1 angiotensin receptors on macrophages ameliorate IL-1 receptor-mediated kidney fibrosis,' and more.

The story of animal domestication retold
A review of recent research on the domestication of large herbivores for 'The Modern View of Domestication,' a special feature of PNAS, suggests that neither intentional breeding nor genetic isolation were as significant as traditionally thought.

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced
A ten-year effort by an international team has sequenced the entire genome and all the RNA products of the most important pathogenic lineage of Cryptococcus neoformans, a strain called H99.These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why a fungus responsible for a million cases of pneumonia and meningitis every year is so malleable and dangerous.

Neurons in the brain tune into different frequencies for different spatial memory tasks
Your brain transmits information about your current location and memories of past locations over the same neural pathways using different frequencies of a rhythmic electrical activity called gamma waves, report neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin.

Sprifermin offers benefit for cartilage loss from knee osteoarthritis
Results published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology, showed that sprifermin dosed at 100μg reduced loss of cartilage thickness and volume in the total femorotibial joint and in the lateral knee compartment (outside of the knee).

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma
A discovery by scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

Adrenaline does little to increase patient's survival after cardiac arrest
Giving patients adrenaline after they suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital does not increase their prospects of surviving long-term, according to new research conducted at St.

New study says probiotic use for infant colic is not effective in reducing symptoms
Research into probiotic use for reduction of colic symptoms was showing promise, however, the April 1, 2014 issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ2014;348:g2107; Sung, Valerie) reported on a study,

Our relationship with God changes when faced with potential romantic rejection
Easter is a time when many people in the world think about their relationships with God.

Structure of sodium channels different than previously believed
Sodium channels are implicated in many serious conditions such as heart disease, epilepsy and pain, making them an important potential target for drug therapies.

Proteomics discovers link between muscle damage and cerebral malaria
Malaria-related complications remain a major cause of death for children in many parts of the world.

Genetic study tackles mystery of slow plant domestications
Did domesticating a plant typically take a few hundred or many thousands of years?

The malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscope
The tropical disease malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite.

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia
Can monitoring Wikipedia hits show how many people have the flu?

White House honors Clemson professor as 'Champion of Change' for solar deployment
The White House honored Clemson professor Rajendra Singh Thursday as a 'Champion of Change' for his efforts to promote and expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

Scientists discover brain's anti-distraction system
Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors' perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders.

McCullers reviews influenza, bacterial superinfections in Nature Reviews Microbiology
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Pediatrician-in-Chief Jon McCullers, M.D., was recently invited to submit a review in the April issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology, one of the world's foremost scientific publications.

Long-term effects of battle-related 'blast plus impact' concussive TBI in US military
Differences in measures of overall disability, cognitive function, post-traumatic stress, and depression six to 12 months after traumatic brain injury are reported in an article in Journal of Neurotrauma.

Surprising material could play role in saving energy
One strategy for addressing the world's energy crisis is to stop wasting so much energy when producing and using it, such as in coal-fired power plants or transportation.

Study finds adverse respiratory outcomes for older people with COPD taking benzodiazepines
A group of drugs commonly prescribed for insomnia, anxiety and breathing issues 'significantly increase the risk' that older people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, need to visit a doctor or emergency department for respiratory reasons, new research has found

How the immune system prevents repeated malaria fever episodes in highly exposed children
Children in Mali (and many other regions where malaria is common) are infected with malaria parasites more than 100 times a year, but they get sick with malaria fever only a few times.

Methane climate change risk suggested by proof of redox cycling of humic substances
Disruption of natural methane-binding process may worsen climate change.

Science: There's something ancient in the icebox
Scientists were greatly surprised to discover an ancient tundra landscape preserved under the Greenland Ice Sheet, below two miles of ice.

Prenatal risk factors may put children at risk of developing kidney disease
Low birth weight and maternal conditions, including diabetes and overweight/obesity, are linked the development of kidney disease in children.

Biomedical applications of shape-memory polymers: How practically useful are they?
Shape-memory polymers are an important class of materials in medicine, especially for minimally invasive deployment of devices.

Weight gain in children occurs after tonsil removal, not linked to obesity
Weight gain in children after they have their tonsils removed (adenotonsillectomy) occurs primarily in children who are smaller and younger at the time of the surgery, and weight gain was not linked with increased rates of obesity.

Internet use may cut retirees' depression
Spending time online has the potential to ward off depression among retirees, particularly among those who live alone, according to research published online in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines
Various fields have developed diverse approaches to understanding the way people process information.

Gene variant raises risk for aortic tear and rupture
Researchers from Yale School of Medicine and Celera Diagnostics have confirmed the significance of a genetic variant that substantially increases the risk of a frequently fatal thoracic aortic dissection or full rupture.

Refining the language for chromosomes
Brigham and Women's Hospital proposes a new classification system that may standardize how structural chromosomal rearrangements are described.

Study IDs new cause of brain bleeding immediately after stroke
By discovering a new mechanism that allows blood to enter the brain immediately after a stroke, researchers at UC Irvine and the Salk Institute have opened the door to new therapies that may limit or prevent stroke-induced brain damage.

Distracted driving among teens threatens public health and safety
Motor vehicle crashes rank as the leading cause of teen deaths and in 2008, 16 percent of all distraction-related fatal automobile crashes involved drivers under 20 years of age.

Queen's University Vice-Chancellor receives top European award
Queen's University Belfast's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Johnston, whose work has transformed cancer care in Northern Ireland, has been elected as a Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences.

Rapid whole-brain imaging with single cell resolution
In collaboration with several Japanese institutes, researchers at the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center in Japan demonstrate an easy and fast way to achieve whole brain imaging for 3-D analysis of gene expression profiles and neural circuits at the systems level.

Chickens to chili peppers
Suddenly there was a word for chili peppers. Information about archaeological remains of ancient chili peppers in Mexico along with a study of the appearance of words for chili peppers in ancient dialects helped researchers to understand where jalapenos were domesticated.
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