Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 06, 2014
Black, Hispanic children with autism more likely to regress than whites
Some children with autism appear to be developing normally when they are very young.

Discovery offers new possibilities for clean energy research
University of Houston physicists have discovered a new thermoelectric material offering high performance at temperatures ranging from room temperature up to 300 degrees Celsius, or about 573 degrees Fahrenheit.

Revealing the healing of 'dino-sores'
Scientists have used state-of-the-art imaging techniques to examine the cracks, fractures and breaks in the bones of a 150-million-year-old predatory dinosaur.

Graphene for real-world devices
Graphene is an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, but a number of practical challenges must be overcome before it can emerge as a replacement for silicon.

As kids age, snacking quality appears to decline
A new study by researchers at Brown University and Tufts University suggests that while snacks uniformly contribute to energy intake in both children and adolescents, the effect of snacking on diet quality differs by age group.

Linking vascular inflammation to obesity and atherosclerosis
Researchers show that IKK╬▓ functions in smooth muscle cells to regulate vascular inflammatory responses and atherosclerosis development in mice.

Cedars-Sinai researchers identify how heart stem cells orchestrate regeneration
Investigators at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute -- whose previous research showed that cardiac stem cell therapy reduces scarring and regenerates healthy tissue after a heart attack in humans -- have identified components of those stem cells responsible for the beneficial effects.

Access to electronic health records may influence care
A new study found access to electronic health records is likely to influence medical management in a number of cases involving imaging.

Breakthrough NIH study will have major implications for treating pediatric UTIs
A major new pediatric research study led by a Wayne State University researcher, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, has 'major implications' for the treatment of urinary tract infections in millions of American children.

Shrinking helped dinosaurs and birds to keep evolving
A study that has 'weighed' hundreds of dinosaurs suggests that shrinking their bodies may have helped the group that became birds to continue exploiting new ecological niches throughout their evolution, and become hugely successful today.

Snacking contributes to fatty liver and abdominal obesity
Researchers from The Netherlands found that snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods was independently associated with abdominal fat and fatty liver: hepatic steatosis.

The damaging effect of media violence on young children
Research has demonstrated a link between screen violence and real-world aggression, both in traditional media like violent movies and in newer media including first-person shooter games.

Scientists identify new protein in the neurological disorder dystonia
Researchers have discovered that the protein BiP plays a key role in a genetic mutation that is affiliated with early onset torsion dystonia.

UH professor Kevin Burke receives 2014 Arthur Holmes Medal
The European Geosciences Union has named University of Houston geology professor Kevin C.

Planck reveals magnetic fingerprint of our galaxy
An international team of astrophysicists has released an unprecedented map of the entire sky that charts the magnetic field shaping our Milky Way Galaxy.

Regulatory effects of glial cells on retinal synaptic plasticity
Different types of retinal damage could induce plastic changes of retinal synapses, which might precede the serious damage of neuron soma.

Mother's Day science: Reactions highlights amazing facts about pregnancy -- video
Pregnant women go through a lot to bring a baby into this world: 2 a.m. food cravings, hypersensitivity to certain smells and morning sickness, not to mention labor and delivery.

National Academy of Sciences elects Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies scientist
Jonathan Cole, a Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Redescription of the oldest-known dolphin skull sheds light on their origins and evolution
Dolphins are the most diverse family of living marine mammals and include species such as the bottlenose dolphin and the killer whale.

Meeting: Universities 2.0: Advancing global health in the post-MDG era
More than 1,500 people will be gathering at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health's fifth annual conference in Washington, D.C., May 9-12.

Dinosaurs and birds kept evolving by shrinking
Although most dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, one dinosaur lineage survived and lives on today as a major evolutionary success story -- the birds.

Sports and energy drink consumption linked with negative behaviors
Weekly consumption of sports drinks and energy drinks among adolescents is significantly associated with higher consumption of other sugar-sweetened beverages, cigarette smoking, and screen media use, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Duke University.

Water from improved sources is not consistently safe
Although water from improved sources (such as piped water and bore holes) is less likely to contain fecal contamination than water from unimproved sources, improved sources in low- and middle-income countries are not consistently safe, according to a study by US and UK researchers, published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Distinct avian influenza viruses found in Antarctic penguins
An international team of researchers has, for the first time, identified an avian influenza virus in a group of Adelie penguins from Antarctica.

Working to cure 'dry eye' disease
The eye is an exquisitely sensitive system with many aspects that remain somewhat of a mystery -- both in the laboratory and in the clinic.

The first globally complete glacier inventory has been created
For the first time ever, we have a complete inventory of all the glaciers on Earth.

Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa: Making sense of uncertainties
Overlapping impacts of climate change such as drought or flooding, declining crop yields or ecosystem damages create hotspots of risk in specific parts of Africa.

When newlyweds believe in sharing household chores, follow-through is everything
Of all the starry-eyed just-married couples you know, which couples are likely to stay the happiest?

How have changing sea-levels influenced evolution on the Galapagos Islands?
The Galapagos Islands have an iconic status in the history of evolutionary study, now new research shows that the islands' own geological past may have influenced the evolution of the chain's native species.

'Exploding head syndrome' -- a real but overlooked sleep disorder
It sounds like a phrase from Urban Dictionary, or the title of an animated gif, but a Washington State University researcher says 'exploding head syndrome' is an authentic and largely overlooked phenomenon that warrants a deeper look.

Nearest bright 'hypervelocity star' found
A University of Utah-led team discovered a 'hypervelocity star' that is the closest, second-brightest and among the largest of 20 found so far.

Social workers can help patients recover from mild traumatic brain injuries
A University of Washington researcher has found that a 20-minute conversation with a social worker has the potential to significantly reduce the functional decline of those diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.

Lots of fruits and vegetables, but lots of high-fat snacks
The home is an important microenvironment in models of obesity and can trigger behaviors both positively and negatively associated with weight status.

Study: Concussion rate in high-school athletes more than doubled in 7-year period
Concussion rates in US high-school athletes more than doubled between 2005 and 2012, according to a new national study using data on nine team sports.

Are we ready for contact with extraterrestrial intelligence?
The SETI project scientists are known for tracking possible extraterrestrial signals, but now they are also considering sending messages from Earth telling of our position.

New 'magnifying glass' helps spot delinquency risks
Drug abuse, acts of rampage -- what's really the matter with kids today?

International team maps nearly 200,000 global glaciers in quest for sea rise answers
An international team led by glaciologists from the University of Colorado Boulder and Trent University in Ontario, Canada, has mapped virtually all of the world's glaciers -- including their locations and sizes -- allowing for calculations of their volumes and ongoing contributions to global sea rise as the world warms.

The Red Sea -- an ocean like all others, after all
Actually, the Red Sea is an ideal study object for marine geologists.

Computer scientists develop tool for uncovering bot-controlled Twitter accounts
Complex networks researchers at Indiana University have developed a tool that helps anyone determine whether a Twitter account is operated by a human or an automated software application known as a social bot.

Expert guidance strengthens strategies to prevent most common and costly infection
Surgical site infections are the most common and costly healthcare-associated infection in the United States.

University of Toronto researchers find seeing 'Jesus in Toast' phenomenon perfectly normal
University of Toronto researchers and partners in China have found that the phenomenon of 'face pareidolia' -- where onlookers report seeing images of Jesus, Virgin Mary, or Elvis in objects such as toasts, shrouds, and clouds -- is normal and based on physical causes.

World's smallest, leadless heart pacemaker implanted at Ohio State
Doctors at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are among the first in the country to implant a tiny, high-tech pacemaker directly into the heart of patients.

More support needed for teaching swimming in schools
Britain could become a nation of non-swimmers if drastic changes aren't made to ensure all young people have access to adequate lessons and facilities, according to academics at the University of East Anglia.

Substantial improvements made in EPA's IRIS Program, report says
A new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council says that changes EPA has proposed and implemented into its Integrated Risk Information System process are 'substantial improvements.'

Two-lock box delivers cancer therapy
Rice University scientists have designed a tunable virus that works like a safe deposit box.

News from the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition -- JPEN -- May 2014
Select clinical nutrition research findings from the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Parenteral and External Nutrition are presented.

GW researcher looks 'inside the box' for a sustainable solution for intestinal parasites
John Hawdon, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology, immunology, and tropical medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, was recently published in the Journal of Parasitology on sustainable solutions for controlling soil-transmitted helminths infections.

Black male incarceration can compromise research studies
Federal restrictions on including prisoners in medical research have negatively impacted research involving black men, who are disproportionately imprisoned, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

NeuroStar TMS therapy shows favorable outcomes compared to antidepressants for depression
Neuronetics, Inc. announced today a new analysis of data at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association that shows Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) administered with the NeuroStar TMS Therapy System resulted in greater symptom improvement than next-choice conventional antidepressant medication among patients with Major Depressive Disorder who failed to benefit from prior antidepressant medication.

Racism -- not what the doctor ordered
Patients from minority ethnic groups in the US may be facing racist attitudes and beliefs that can unintentionally affect their treatment, a review of healthcare providers has found.

New Mayo Clinic cardiovascular surgical care model improves care value, predictability and the patient experience
New research from Mayo Clinic shows that implementing a uniform method to care for lower-risk cardiac surgical patients improves outcomes, reduces patients' time in the hospital and lowers overall per patient costs by 15 percent.

Protein molecule may improve survival in deadly lung disease
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have discovered a protein molecule that seems to slow the progression of pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive lung disease that is often fatal three to five years after diagnosis.

Gender may contribute to recovery time after concussion
A study of concussion patients using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) found that males took longer to recover after concussion than females did.

All teeth and claws? New study sheds light on dinosaur claw function
How claw form and function changed during the evolution from dinosaurs to birds is explored by a new University of Bristol study into the claws of a group of theropod dinosaurs known as therizinosaurs.

Lumosity awards $150,000 Human Cognition Grant to UNC at Chapel Hill researchers
Lumosity, a leading cognitive training and neuroscience research company, today awarded the first Human Cognition Grant, a research grant of $150,000 dedicated to advancing the understanding of neural bases of cognitive training, to Joseph Hopfinger Ph.D., professor of cognitive psychology and Kathleen Gates, Ph.D., assistant professor of quantitative psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Predator-prey made simple
A team of UK researchers has developed a way to dramatically reduce the complexity of modeling 'bistable' systems which involve the interaction of two evolving species where one changes faster than the other -- 'slow-fast systems.' Described in the Journal of Chemical Physics, the work paves the way for easier computational simulations and predictions involving such systems, which are found in fields as diverse as chemistry, biology and ecology.

Childhood obesity trends -- not time to celebrate, yet
Despite reports in the media that the obesity rate among young children has declined dramatically during the past 10 years, that is not the conclusion reached by recent studies published in the medical literature.

Study finds ADHD and trauma often go hand in hand
When children struggle with focusing on tasks, staying organized, controlling their behavior and sitting still, they may be evaluated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

GW Cancer Institute receives $100,000 for patient navigator from the Avon Foundation
The Avon Foundation announced a $100,000 grant to The George Washington University Cancer Institute at the 12th annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington, D.C.

Chimpanzees show similar personality traits to humans, Georgia State researchers say
Chimpanzees have almost the same personality traits as humans, and they are structured almost identically, according to new work led by researchers at Georgia State University.

Neutron star magnetic fields: Not so turbulent, after all?
A study by McGill University physicists sheds new light on the expected geometry of the magnetic field in neutron stars.

Study shows that impulsivity is risk factor for food addiction
Have you ever said to yourself that you would only have a handful of potato chips from the bag then, minutes later, realized you ate the whole thing?

Molecular switches age-related memory decline? Genetic variant protect against brain aging
Even among the healthiest individuals, memory and cognitive abilities decline with age.

TGen and George Mason University announce precision medicine alliance to benefit patients
The Translational Genomics Research Institute and George Mason University today announced the creation of a strategic research alliance to benefit patients with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Scientists challenge FIFA: Save the 3-banded armadillo
New research in Biotropica asks FIFA to follow through with its environmental claims.

Ability to isolate and grow breast tissue stem cells could speed cancer research
By carefully controlling the levels of two proteins, researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered how to keep mammary stem cells -- those that can form breast tissue -- alive and functioning in the lab.

College kids need to change unhealthy ways
A new study from Northwestern Medicine and Northeastern Illinois University found that the majority of college students are engaging in unhealthy behaviors that could increase their risk of cancer later on.

A cup of coffee a day may keep retinal damage away
Coffee drinkers, rejoice! Aside from java's energy jolt, food scientists say you may reap another health benefit from a daily cup of joe: prevention of deteriorating eyesight and possible blindness from retinal degeneration due to glaucoma, aging and diabetes.

AGU journal highlights -- May 6, 2014
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics: 'Polar hexagon-shaped jet stream could reveal Saturn's rotational period,' 'Antarctica's Whillans Ice Plain ice flows are highly variable,' 'Climate change, water rights, and agriculture: A case study in Idaho,' 'Low impact development boosts groundwater recharge,' 'Beaufort Gyre sea ice thins in recent decades, impacts climate,' and 'New model describes toppling of salt marsh banks.'

Mealtime TV viewing during pregnancy may set stage for childhood obesity
Turning the TV off during mealtimes to help prevent childhood obesity may need to start even before a child is born, according to a study to be presented Tuesday, May 6, at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Perceived barriers limit WIC CVV use in Arizona
Low-income and minority communities and people participating in food assistance programs are more likely to consume fewer fruits and vegetables, depriving them of the health benefits of those foods.

US welfare spending up, but help for the neediest down
Although the nation is spending more on welfare than ever before, most of that money is going to better-off families rather than the very poorest, a researcher found.

Study finds pregnant women show increased activity in right side of brain
Pregnant women show increased activity in the area of the brain related to emotional skills as they prepare to bond with their babies, according to a new study by scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Nanocellulose sponges to combat oil pollution
A new, absorbable material from Empa wood research could be of assistance in future oil spill accidents: a chemically modified nanocellulose sponge.

The Pael-R gene does not mediate the changes in rotenone-induced PD model cells
Currently, the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease is not entirely clear, but it has been generally considered to be the result of interactions among various genetic and environmental factors.

Mohammed Jameel funds food and water lab at MIT
MIT alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel gives major gift to solve urgent challenges in world food and water security.

State of the nation's egotism: On the rise for a century
Forget the 'me' generation. A new analysis of long-term trends in egotism shows there's been a 'me' century in America.

Yawning to cool the brain
Why do we yawn? We tend to yawn before sleep and after waking, when we are bored or under stimulated.

New photo sharing service izitru establishes Photoshop-free zone
Fourandsix Technologies Inc. today has launched, a free image hosting site that applies advanced image forensics to prove that hosted photos have not been modified with Photoshop or other tools.

A novel transgenic mouse model of Chinese Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2L
Dr. Ruxu Zhang and colleagues from Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University in China previously found that the K141N mutation in heat shock protein B8 was responsible for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2L in a large Chinese family.

Patients with AMD may not need monthly injections
Reseearchers have found that, contrary to prvious clinical trial findings, monthly injections to counteract age-related macular degeneration may not be necessary.

One step closer to cell reprogramming
Researchers from the CRG discover the essential role played by the Wnt pathway in the cell reprogramming process.

Adults at higher risk of suicide attempt if parent abused alcohol, research finds
People who grew up with a parent who abused alcohol may be 85 percent more likely to attempt suicide than people whose parents did not abuse alcohol, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Danish social workers have become the moral agents of the state
Social workers in the job centers have gone from being the citizens' advocates to being agents of the state.

AMPK and inflammatory mediators are involved in postoperative cognitive dysfunction
Postoperative cognitive dysfunction is associated with neuronal apoptosis, which may result from post-surgery inflammation, the phosphorylation of tau protein and the accumulation of amyloid in aged people.

GW researcher discovers the mechanisms that link brain alertness and increased heart rate
David Mendelowitz, Ph.D., vice chair and professor of pharmacology and physiology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience on how heart rate increases in response to alertness in the brain.

Making wireless 10 times faster
It is rush hour and every motorist on the highway is driving in the right lane.

Early obesity linked to increased probability of severe obesity later in life
Exposure to long-term obesity has become more common with increases in obesity at younger ages.

Can you tell a person's gender by their video game avatar?
According to a new study by researchers at Concordia University, Colorado State University, Syracuse University, Hofstra University and the University of Toronto, a male gamer who chooses to play as a female character will still display signs of his true gender.

Staying on task in the automated cockpit
A new study published in Human Factors indicates that pilots may have a hard time concentrating on the automated flight systems that now carry out many of the tasks once completed by humans.

Donor livers preserved and improved with room-temperature perfusion system
A system developed by investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Engineering in Medicine and the MGH Transplant Center has the potential to increase both the supply and the quality of donor organs for liver transplantation.

Mass vaccination campaigns reduce the substantial burden of yellow fever in Africa
Yellow fever, an acute viral disease, is estimated to have been responsible for 78,000 deaths in Africa in 2013 according to new research published in PLOS Medicine this week.

$200 bird scaring line for trawlers can cut albatross deaths by over 90 percent
The sight of seabirds following trawlers in order to feast from discarded fish is a common maritime sight, but each year many thousands of seabirds are killed by overhanging cables or in nets.

New expert guidelines aim to focus hospitals' infectious diarrhea prevention efforts
With rates of Clostridium difficile now rivaling drug-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as the most common bacteria to cause health care-associated infections, new expert guidance encourages health-care institutions to implement and prioritize prevention efforts for this infectious diarrhea.

iPhone app offers quick and inexpensive melanoma screening
The idea sounds simple: Take a photo of a suspicious mole or lesion with your phone, run it through an embedded software program and find out within a few seconds if it is likely to be cancerous.

Detecting fetal chromosomal defects without risk
In a paper published online this week in the Early Edition of PNAS, a team of scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and in China describe a new benchtop semiconductor sequencing procedure and newly developed bioinformatics software tools that are fast, accurate, portable, less expensive and can be completed without harm to mother or fetus.

Ban cigarette filters to save the environment, suggest researchers
Ban cigarette filters. Start a deposit-return scheme for used butts.

The new face of tofu
Cornell Food and Brand Lab researchers found that many young American women prepare tofu because they want something that's quick, easy to cook and that can help keep them trim.

Mobile health apps lack behavior-change techniques
Behavior-change techniques are not well represented in the marketing materials for top-rated physical-activity apps, according to a team of Penn State researchers. 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