Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 08, 2014
Geology student, Warriors of the Wild founder named Udall Scholar
With a deep love of nature and a passion for animal and environmental conservation, college sophomore Vanessa Alejandro has been chosen as the first-ever Udall Scholarship winner from the University of Houston.

Monitor for sunburn risk goes on sale
A monitor developed at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow for preventing the risk of over exposure to the sun is now available for sale online.

Rotational X-ray tracking uncovers hidden motion at the nanoscale
Over the past two decades or so, there has been increasing interest and development in measuring slow dynamics in disordered systems at the nanoscale, brought about in part from a demand for advancements in the food and consumer products industries.

Partisan media driving a wedge between citizens, study finds
Viewing partisan news reports from both the conservative and liberal viewpoints doesn't make people more accepting of citizens on the other side of the political fence.

Discovery that heart cells replicate during adolescence opens new avenue for heart repair
It is widely accepted that heart muscle cells in mammals stop replicating shortly after birth, limiting the ability of the heart to repair itself after injury.

Humans may benefit from new insights into polar bear's adaptation to high-fat diet
The polar bear diverged from the brown bear, or grizzly, as recently as several hundred thousand years ago, according to a genome comparison by American, Chinese and Danish researchers.

'Rice theory' explains north-south China cultural differences, study shows
A new cultural psychology study has found that psychological differences between the people of northern and southern China mirror the differences between community-oriented East Asia and the more individualistic Western world -- and the differences seem to have come about because southern China has grown rice for thousands of years, whereas the north has grown wheat.

GaitTrack app makes cellphone a medical monitor for heart and lung patients
By simply carrying around their cellphones, patients who suffer from chronic disease could soon have an accurate health monitor that warns their doctors when their symptoms worsen.

Homemade stink bug traps squash store-bought models, Virginia Tech researchers find
A Virginia Tech team of researchers has proven that homemade, inexpensive stink bug traps crafted from simple household items outshine pricier models designed to kill the invasive, annoying bugs.

Long-term childhood poverty contributes to young adult obesity rates
A new study from the University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance finds childhood poverty reaches into the lives of white, Hispanic and African-American young adult women, contributing to their propensity to be overweight and obese.

Health screening for low-income women under health care reform: Better or worse?
A group of authors from Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and several women's health centers and community hospitals in Boston, MA gathered data to evaluate whether the prevalence of screening mammography, Pap smear, and blood pressure measurement improved, stayed the same, or declined pre- and post-health insurance reform.

This FIB doesn't lie: New NIST microscope sees what others can't
Microscopes don't exactly lie, but they have limitations. Scanning electron microscopes can't see electrical insulators, and their high energies can actually damage some types of samples.

Ending the perfect storm: Protein key to beating flu pandemics
A protein called SOCS4 has been shown to act as a handbrake on the immune system's runaway reaction to flu infection, providing a possible means of minimizing the impact of flu pandemics.

Plant hormone has dual role in triggering flower formation, Penn study finds
A new paper by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania published in the journal Science has revealed that a plant hormone once believed to promote flower formation in annual plants also plays a role in inhibiting flowers from forming.

Beetles that taste like mustard
Cruciferous plants use a sophisticated defense system, known as the mustard oil bomb, to get rid of their enemies: If plant tissues are wounded, glucosinolates and an enzyme known as myrosinase come into contact, and, as a result, toxic metabolites are formed which deter most insects.

Army drug users twice as likely to use synthetic marijuana as regular marijuana
Social work researchers from the University of Washington have found that among a group of active-duty Army personnel who use illicit drugs, the most abused substance is synthetic marijuana, which is harder to detect than other drugs through standard drug tests.

Highly topical new book by Russian scholar
The energy issue, specifically trade in natural gas, has affected the conflict and developments in Ukraine and Russia more than is generally known.

Using genetics to measure the environmental impact of salmon farming
Determining species diversity makes it possible to estimate the impact of human activity on marine ecosystems accurately.

Adults with autism virtually learn how to get the job
Adults with autism spectrum disorder, who may have trouble talking about themselves and interacting socially, don't always make good impressions in job interviews and have low employment rates.

Fungus may help stop invasive spread of tree-of-heaven
A naturally occurring fungus might help curb the spread of an invasive tree species that is threatening forests in most of the United States, according to researchers.

IL-27 balances the immune response to influenza and reduces lung damage
Highly pathogenic (dangerous) influenza strains elicit a strong immune response which can lead to uncontrolled inflammation in the lung and potentially fatal lung injury.

IPM receives worldwide rights to HIV prevention medicine
The International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) has received exclusive worldwide rights to a promising HIV prevention medicine called dapivirine from Janssen R&D Ireland.

'Teenage' songbirds experience high mortality due to many causes, MU study finds
Frank Thompson, a scientist with the USDA Forest Service and an associate cooperative professor in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, found that the majority of juvenile bird deaths occur in the first three weeks after they leave the nest.

Exact outline of melanoma could lead to new diagnostic tools, therapies
Researchers have identified a specific biochemical process that can cause normal and healthy skin cells to transform into cancerous melanoma cells, which should help predict melanoma vulnerability and could also lead to future therapies.

Implantable device to beat high blood pressure
An implantable device that reduces blood pressure by sending electrical signals to the brain has been created by a group of researchers in Germany.

Hepatitis C virus: How viral proteins interact in human cells
Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have for the first time decrypted the interaction network of hepatitis C virus proteins in living human cells.

Bioprinting a 3D liver-like device to detoxify the blood
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a 3-D-printed device inspired by the liver to remove dangerous toxins from the blood.

Experimental antibody shows early promise for treatment of childhood tumor
Tumors shrank or disappeared and disease progression was temporarily halted in 15 children with advanced neuroblastoma enrolled in a safety study of an experimental antibody produced at St.

Super-charged tropical trees of Borneo vitally important for global carbon cycling
Scientists have found that the woody growth of forests in north Borneo is half as great again as in the most productive forests of north-west Amazonia, an average difference of 3.2 tons of wood per hectare per year.

35 scientists receive early career research program funding
The Department of Energy's Office of Science has selected 35 scientists from across the nation -- including 17 from DOE's national laboratories and 18 from US universities -- to receive significant funding for research as part of DOE's Early Career Research Program.

Collaboration between psychologists and physicians important to improving primary health care
Primary care teams that include both psychologists and physicians would help address known barriers to improved primary health care, including missed diagnoses, a lack of attention to behavioral factors and limited patient access to needed care, according to health care experts writing in a special issue of American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association.

Improving air quality in NYC would boost children's future earnings
Reducing air pollution in New York City would result in substantial economic gains for children as a result of increasing their IQs.

EPA honors interdisciplinary projects on stormwater management
One interdisciplinary team of Kansas State University students and faculty placed first and another team received honorable mention in the site design category in the EPA's second annual Campus RainWorks Challenge competition.

How immune cells use steroids
Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have discovered that some immune cells turn themselves off by producing a steroid.

Anti-aging factor offers brain boost too
A variant of the gene KLOTHO is known for its anti-aging effects in people fortunate enough to carry one copy.

Chemotherapy timing is key to success
Nanoparticles that stagger delivery of two drugs knock out aggressive tumors.

Mummy-making wasps discovered in Ecuador
Field work in the cloud forests of Ecuador by professor Scott Shaw, University of Wyoming, Laramie, and colleagues, has resulted in the discovery of 24 new species of Aleiodes wasps that mummify caterpillars.

Why a bacterium got its curve -- and why biologists should know
Princeton University researchers found that the banana-like curve of the bacteria Caulobacter crescentus provides stability and helps them flourish as a group in the moving water they experience in nature.

What doesn't kill you may make you live longer
What is the secret to aging more slowly and living longer?

Exploring the magnetism of a single atom
An EPFL-led research collaboration has shown for the first time the maximum theoretical limit of energy needed to control the magnetization of a single atom.

History, business professor Joe Pratt awarded state teaching honor
Of the many titles Joseph A. 'Joe' Pratt carries -- professor, historian, researcher, scholar, writer -- he is proudest of another title: teacher.

Climate change may worsen summertime ozone pollution
Ozone pollution across the continental United States will become far more difficult to keep in check as temperatures rise, according to new research results.

SOCS4 prevents a cytokine storm and helps to clear influenza virus from the lung
Certain influenza strains are highly virulent -- they cause more serious disease and kill more people.

'Parent' cells reset the cell division clock
Melbourne researchers have overturned a 40-year-old theory on when and how cells divide, showing that 'parent' cells program a cell division time for their offspring that is different from their own.

Universal neuromuscular training an inexpensive, effective way to reduce
As participation in high-demand sports such as basketball and soccer has increased over the past decade, so has the number of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in teens and young.

Fueling aviation with hardwoods
A multi-university team has addressed challenges of introducing advanced biofuels in the transportation pool through the concerted development of technology designed to transform lignocellulosic biomass into a jet fuel surrogate via catalytic chemistry.

New technology using florescent proteins tracks cancer cells circulating in the blood
After cancer spreads, finding and destroying malignant cells that circulate in the body is usually critical to patient survival.

Breakthrough made at Max F. Perutz Laboratories
Kristin Tessmar-Raible from the Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna, and her team describe the first method for generating specific and inheritable mutations in the species of the Platynereis model system.

Low-carbohydrate diet reduced inflammation
A low-carbohydrate diet, but not a low-fat diet, reduces inflammation in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to research at Linköping University in Sweden.

NIST advanced manufacturing program awards grant to develop national roadmap for photonics
The National Institute of Standards and Technology through its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia Program has awarded $500,000 to the University of Rochester's Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences to lead the development of a national roadmap for photonics.

Mid-level solar flare erupts from the sun
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 6:07 a.m.

Researching an endangered relationship
Imperfect together? Climate change could endanger the relationship between bees and the plants they pollinate say NJIT Researchers.

SEPM announces the publication of a new book
This publication is volume 11 of the Society's Concepts in Sedimentology and Paleontology Series.

Molly Carnes, M.D., receives inaugural Linda Joy Pollin Heart Health Leadership Award
Women's health pioneer Molly Carnes, M.D., M.S., has been awarded the inaugural Linda Joy Pollin Heart Health Leadership Award from the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

Mass number-crunching may help crack Alzheimer's disease code
George Mason University Alzheimer's disease researcher teams with software firm to ask volunteers to install software on their personal computers that will crunch numbers when the computer isn't in use.

Public perceive alcohol adverts breach regulatory code, research finds
Researchers surveyed 373 adults, aged 18-74 years, showing them one of seven adverts that had been broadcast in the previous month on leading commercial television channels.

Polar bear genome reveals rapid adaptation to fatty diet
Polar bears adapted to life in Arctic climates in part by relying on a high-fat diet mainly consisting of seals and their blubber.

Tackling test anxiety may help prevent more severe problems
Showing students how to cope with test anxiety might also help them to handle their built-up angst and fretfulness about other issues.

Investigating the role of aging and poor nutrition on colon cancer: NIH awards Einstein $3.2 million grant
Researchers, led by Leonard Augenlicht, Ph.D., at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have received a $3.2 million NIH grant to study the combined effect of aging and a Western-style diet on the development colon cancer.

A hundred ways to sustain grasslands and ranchers now at your fingertips: New online tool
A new online tool is being launched today with nearly 100 beneficial management practices aimed at ranchers, conservation organizations, government and academic institutions in North America.

Statins given early decrease progression of kidney disease
Results from a study by University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers show that pravastatin, a medicine widely used for treatment of high cholesterol, also slows down the growth of kidney cysts in children and young adults with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may have caused up to half of recorded stillbirths in worst hit areas
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may have been responsible for up to half of all recorded stillbirths in the worst hit areas, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Mouse study offers new clues to cognitive decline
New research suggests that certain types of brain cells may be 'picky eaters,' seeming to prefer one specific energy source over others.

Pesticides: Research provides new insights into their effects on shrimps and snails
Ground breaking research by an international team of scientists has resulted in greater understanding of the effects of pesticides on aquatic invertebrates such as shrimps and snails.

Antibiotic resistance genes are essentially everywhere
The largest metagenomic search for antibiotic resistance genes in the DNA sequences of microbial communities from around the globe has found that bacteria carrying those vexing genes turn up everywhere in nature that scientists look for them.

Emerging trends in worker health and safety
Eleven abstracts to be presented at the 2014 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition will reveal some exciting new strategies to protect worker health.

Study confirms mitochondrial deficits in children with autism
Children with autism experience deficits in a type of immune cell that protects the body from infection.

Just keep your promises: Going above and beyond does not pay off
If you are sending Mother's Day flowers to your mom this weekend, chances are you opted for guaranteed delivery: the promise that they will arrive by a certain time.

NASA sees system 91B lingering over southwestern India
The tropical low pressure area known as System 91B has been making a slow northerly crawl while sitting inland in southwestern India.

Recycling a patient's lost blood during surgery better than using banked blood
Patients whose own red blood cells are recycled and given back to them during heart surgery have healthier blood cells better able to carry oxygen where it is most needed compared to those who get transfusions of blood stored in a blood bank, according to results of a small study at Johns Hopkins.

Regenerating plastic grows back after damage
Looking at a smooth sheet of plastic in one University of Illinois laboratory, no one would guess that an impact had recently blasted a hole through it.

Gluten-free diet reduces risk of type 1 diabetes in mice
New experiments on mice show, that mouse mothers can protect their pups from developing type 1 diabetes by eating a gluten-free diet.

Grape skin extract may soon be answer to treating diabetes
Preliminary studies by researchers at Wayne State University have demonstrated that grape skin extract (GSE) exerts a novel inhibitory activity on hyperglycemia and could be developed and used to aid in diabetes management.

NASA sees system 90E moving toward southwestern Mexico
A tropical low pressure area known as System 90E is located a couple of hundred miles southwest of Zihuatenejo, Mexico, today and was seen by NASA's Terra satellite on its way to a landfall.

Open science journal publishes attempt to reproduce high-profile stem cell acid bath study
Scientists attempting to verify claims that bathing cells in acid can produce stem cells have formally published their full analysis and all available data in F1000Research for evaluation by peers.

Listening to bipolar disorder: Smartphone app detects mood swings via voice analysis
A smartphone app that monitors subtle qualities of a person's voice during everyday phone conversations shows promise for detecting early signs of mood changes in people with bipolar disorder, a University of Michigan team reports.

JCI online ahead of print table of contents for May 8, 2014
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers published online, May 8, 2014, in the JCI: 'Leptin-dependent regulation of reproduction,' 'Female susceptibility to CNS autoimmunity linked to sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor,' 'Dynamic Treg interactions with intratumoral APCs promote local CTL dysfunction,' 'Neural peptidase endothelin-converting enzyme 1 regulates endothelin 1-induced pruritus,' 'Combined MEK and JAK inhibition abrogates murine myeloproliferative neoplasm,' and more.

Hybrid SPECT-CT greatly improves localization of gastrointestinal bleeding
Planar 99mTc-labeled RBC scintigraphy is sensitive for detection of acute gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding but its accuracy for localization of a bleeding source is arguable, particularly in patients with complex GI anatomy from prior surgeries.

Immune cells found to fuel colon cancer stem cells
A subset of immune cells directly target colon cancers, rather than the immune system, giving the cells the aggressive properties of cancer stem cells, a new study finds.

Jairo Sinova and Stuart Parkin are awarded Alexander von Humboldt Professorships
Germany's Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka, and the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Helmut Schwarz, have today conferred six prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Professorships, among others to theoretical physicist professor Jairo Sinova of Mainz University and to professor Stuart S.

Frequent arguments with family and friends linked to doubling in death risk in middle age
Frequent arguments with partners, relatives, or neighbors may boost the risk of death from any cause in middle age, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Study shows short bursts of intense exercise before meals control blood sugar better than 1 continuous 30 minute session
New research published in Diabetologia indicates that brief bursts of intense exercise before meals helps control blood sugar in people with insulin resistance more effectively than one daily 30-minute session of moderate exercise.

Penn yeast study identifies novel longevity pathway
A Penn study identifies a new molecular circuit that controls longevity in yeast and more complex organisms and suggests a therapeutic intervention that could mimic the lifespan-enhancing effect of caloric restriction, no dietary restrictions necessary.

Professor in geosciences and chemistry receives Early Career funding
Dr. Nadine Kabengi, assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences and the Department of Chemistry at Georgia State University, has received a five-year, $750,000 award from the Early Career Research Program of the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Few women at high-risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer receive genetic counseling
Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for nearly 25 percent of hereditary breast cancers and most hereditary ovarian cancers, yet a study by cancer prevention and control researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center suggests an alarmingly small amount of women who qualify for BRCA genetic counseling actually receive the services.

Population genomics study provides insights into how polar bears adapt to the Arctic
In a paper published in the May 8 issue of the journal Cell as the cover story, researches from BGI, University of California, University of Copenhagen and other institutes presented the first polar bear genome and their new findings about how polar bear successfully adapted to life in the high Arctic environment, and its demographic history throughout the history of its adaptation.

Population screening for SCD in young people: Feasible with basic screening program
Despite fears over cost, the wide-scale screening of young people to detect risk of sudden cardiac death is feasible and cost effective, according to a study presented at EuroPRevent 2014.

New genomics technique could improve treatment and control of Malaria
Single-cell genomics could provide new insight into the biology of Malaria parasites, including their virulence and levels of drug resistance, to ultimately improve treatment and control of the disease, according to new research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health.

Neurovance's EB-1020 SR for adult ADHD shows stimulant-like efficacy in Phase 2a trial
Adult ADHD is a serious medical condition that can put patients in danger and greatly impair their lives.

Small mutation changes brain freeze to hot foot
Duke scientists have found a point mutation that alters one protein sufficiently to turn a cold-sensitive receptor into one that senses heat.

Eating more fruits, vegetables may cut stroke risk worldwide
Eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of stroke worldwide, according to a new analysis of 20 studies conducted in Europe, the United States and Asia.

Ovarian cancer cells are more aggressive on soft tissues
When ovarian cancer spreads from the ovaries it almost always does so to a layer of fatty tissue that lines the gut.

Better cognition seen with gene variant carried by 1 in 5
A scientific team led by the Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco has discovered that a common form of a gene already associated with long life also improves learning and memory, a finding that could have implications for treating age-related diseases like Alzheimer's.

From age 30 onwards, inactivity has greatest impact on women's lifetime heart disease risk
From the age of 30 onwards, physical inactivity exerts a greater impact on a woman's lifetime risk of developing heart disease than the other well-known risk factors, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Scientists find solution to 2 long-standing mysteries of cuprate superconductivity
Detailed studies of a material as it transforms from an insulator through the 'pseudogap' into a full-blown superconductor links two 'personality' changes of electrons at a critical point.

Obesity drug failing patients due to lack of education about side-effects
A new study, published today in the Journal of Health Psychology, found that patients who gained weight 18 months after taking Orlistat attributed their weight-loss failure either to the side effects which have prevented them from sticking to the medication or felt that the medication simply had not worked.

Urine test best detects alcohol use in liver transplant candidates, recipients
Researchers from Italy confirm that urinary ethyl glucuronide (uEtG) accurately detects alcohol consumption in liver transplant candidates and recipients.

An extra doctor visit may help prevent rehospitalization of kidney failure patients
Among kidney failure patients on dialysis who were treated in the hospital, one additional doctor visit in the month following hospital discharge was estimated to reduce the probability of 30-day hospital readmission by 3.5 percent.

Extinct kitten-sized hunter discovered
Case Western Reserve University researchers discovered an ancient kitten-sized predator that lived in Bolivia about 13 million years ago -- one of the smallest species reported in the extinct order Sparassodonta.

One in 25 middle school children binge drinking
Four percent of Canadians aged 12 to 14 years old had consumed five or more drinks on at least one occasion in the preceding year, according to a new study from the University of Toronto.

Three Nova Southeastern University researchers receive patents
Three Nova Southeastern University's professors from three different colleges recently secured patents for their innovations.

Study helps explain why MS is more common in women
A newly identified difference between the brains of women and men with multiple sclerosis may help explain why so many more women than men get the disease, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Wake Forest Baptist finds success with novel lung cancer treatment
An old idea of retreating lung tumors with radiation is new again, especially with the technological advances seen in radiation oncology over the last decade.

Lethal parasite evolved from pond scum
A genomic investigation by University of British Columbia researchers has revealed that a lethal parasite infecting a wide range of insects actually originated from pond scum, but has completely shed its green past on its evolutionary journey.

Single cell genome sequencing of malaria parasites
A new method for isolating and genome sequencing an individual malaria parasite cell has been developed by Texas Biomed researchers and their colleagues.

New paper provides important insights into carcinoma-associated fibroblasts
A new paper by a team of researchers led by Zachary T.

Role of middle predators in reef systems
New marine science research shows that the behavior of the 'middle child' in the predator-prey food chain plays a strong role in deter­mining how the reef as a whole will fare.

Spurt of heart muscle cell division seen in mice well after birth
The entire heart muscle in young children may be capable of regeneration.

Oregon researchers capture handoff of tracked object between brain hemispheres
When tracking a moving object, the two halves of the human brain operate much like runners successfully passing a baton during a relay race, according to a University of Oregon researcher.

What vigilant squid can teach us about the purpose of pain
Most of us have probably felt that lasting sense of anxiety or even pain after enduring some kind of accident or injury.

Common test used on heart patients who need defibrillator implants unnecessary: Study
New research from McMaster University suggests that a commonly performed test during certain types of heart surgery is not helpful and possibly harmful.

New grasshopper species named after Grammy winner
A newly discovered grasshopper by University of Central Florida scientists now bears the name of Grammy-award winning singer and activist Ana Lila Downs Sanchez.

Honolulu-based study reveals shorter men live longer
Short height and long life have a direct connection in Japanese men, according to new research based on the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program and the Kuakini Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. 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