Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 14, 2014
Critical access hospitals have higher transfer rates after surgery
Hospital transfers happened more often after surgery at critical access hospitals (CAHs) but the proportion of patients using post-acute care was equal to or less than that of patients treated at non-CAHs.

California mountains rise as groundwater depleted in state's Central Valley
The weight of water pumped from California's agricultural heartland, the Central Valley, over the past 150 years is enough to allow Earth's crust to rebound upward, raising surrounding mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, some six inches.

Moving towards a more robust, secure and agile Internet
Today, the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering awarded $15 million to support three, multi-institutional projects that will further develop, deploy and test future Internet architectures.

CHORI scientist Dan Granoff awarded prestigious Maurice Hillman/Merck Award
Dan Granoff, M.D., of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland's research arm CHORI, has been named the 2014 Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award Laureate by the American Society for Microbiology.

Study finds free fitness center-based exercise referral program not well utilized
Eliminating financial barriers to a fitness center as well as providing physician support, a pleasant environment and trained fitness staff did not result in widespread membership activation or consistent attendance among low income, multi-ethnic women with chronic disease risk factors or diagnoses according to a new study from Boston University School of Medicine.

Too much prolonged high-intensity exercise risks heart health
Overdosing on high-intensity exercise may actually increase the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke in those with existing heart disease, suggests German research published online in the journal Heart.

Bioethics commission plays early role in BRAIN Initiative
Calling for the integration of ethics across the life of neuroscientific research endeavors, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released volume one of its two-part response to President Obama's request related to the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

Researchers discover how DHA omega-3 fatty acid reaches the brain
Researchers from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore have conducted a new study identifying that the transporter protein Mfsd2a carries DHA to the brain.

Building a longer-lasting, high-capacity electric car battery from sulfur -- video
Jeff Pyun, Ph.D., and his team at the University of Arizona are using modified sulfur, a common industrial waste product, to boost the charge capacity and extend the life of these batteries.

Novel blood test may help predict impending preterm birth
A blood-based diagnostic test accurately predicted whether 70 percent of female study participants with threatened preterm labor would or would not give birth prematurely.

Study finds outcome data in clinical trials reported inadequately, inconsistently
There is increasing public pressure to report the results of all clinical trials to eliminate publication bias and improve public access.

ACP, CECity, and Pfizer collaborate to increase adult immunization rates
The American College of Physicians, CECity, and Pfizer Inc. today announced a new initiative designed to increase adult immunization rates by assisting physicians and other health care providers in strongly recommending appropriate vaccination and tracking adult immunization rates for quality measurement and improvement.

UChicago to lead quantum engineering research team
The University of Chicago's Institute for Molecular Engineering will lead a team of researchers from five universities in an ambitious five-year, $6.75 million project to create a new class of quantum devices that will allow communication among quantum computers.

@millennials wary of @twitter, #MSU study finds
A new study indicates young adults have a healthy mistrust of the information they read on Twitter.

$31 million gift will fund early stage UW research by high-tech entrepreneurs
The University of Washington is receiving a $31.2 million gift from Washington Research Foundation to boost entrepreneurship and support research that tackles some of society's most crucial challenges.

Study examines prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke on inhibition control
Individuals prenatally exposed to tobacco smoke exhibited weaker response in some regions of the brain while processing a task that measures inhibition control (the ability to control inappropriate responses).

New efforts aim to shore up forensic science -- but will they work?
Five years ago, a report on the state of forensic science by the National Academy of Sciences decried the lack of sound science in the analysis of evidence in criminal cases across the country.

Zinc supplementation boosts immune system in children, Cochrane Review finds
Zinc supplements reduce diarrhoea and other infections in malnourished children, and may prevent death, according to a new study published in The Cochrane Library.

Environmental conditions may impact bird migration
Wind conditions during spring migration may be a predictor of apparent annual survival and the timing of breeding in yellow warblers.

Virtual pet leads to increase physical activity for kids, UGA research says
Placing children into a mixed reality -- part virtual environment and part real world -- has great potential for increasing their physical activity and decreasing their risk of obesity, according to University of Georgia researchers.

Prevent premature deaths from heart failure, urges the Heart Failure Association
Awareness of Heart Failure is alarmingly poor among the general public and healthcare professionals alike.

NSF-managed US Antarctic Program recognized for its search-and-rescue efforts
The New Zealand Search and Rescue Council has recognized the US Antarctic Program, which is managed by the National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs, for its cooperation with Antarctica New Zealand in response to the January 2013 loss of a Twin Otter aircraft and its crew in the Antarctic.

Book reviews yield gains of major US crops
Studying increases in yield important to understanding how food and fiber needs will be met in the future.

To curb hepatitis C, test and treat inmates
The nation's oversized prison population provides an opportunity to battle the US hepatitis C epidemic because inmates have a high prevalence of infection and are readily reachable for testing and treatment, argue authors of a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Scientists test hearing in Bristol Bay beluga whale population
How well do marine mammals hear in the wild? WHOI biologist Aran Mooney and his colleagues are the first to publish a study of hearing in a population of wild marine mammals.

@millennials wary of @twitter, #MSU study finds
Nearly anyone can start a Twitter account and post 140 characters of information at a time, bogus or not, a fact a new study's participants seemed to grasp.

Nanowire bridging transistors open way to next-generation electronics
Combining atoms of semiconductor materials into nanowires and structures on top of silicon surfaces shows promise for a new generation of fast, robust electronic and photonic devices.

Victims want to change, not just punish, offenders
Revenge is a dish best served with a side of change.

First diplodocid sauropod from South America found
The discovery of a new sauropod dinosaur species, Leinkupal laticauda, found in Argentina may be the first record of a diplodocid from South America and the youngest record of Diplodocidae in the world.

In the wake of high-profile battery fires, a safer approach emerges
As news reports of lithium-ion battery fires in Boeing Dreamliner planes and Tesla electric cars remind us, these batteries -- which are in everyday portable devices, like tablets and smartphones -- have their downsides.

Mobile phone data helps combat malaria
An international study led by the University of Southampton and the National Vector-borne Diseases Control Programme in Namibia has used mobile phone data to help combat malaria more effectively.

Virginia Tech updates football helmet ratings, 5 new helmets meet 5-star mark
Each helmet model's ability to reduce concussion risk is assessed through 120 impact tests that are analyzed using the STAR Evaluation System, with each test weighted based on how often that impact condition occurs on the field.

Scientists investigate the role of the 'silent killer' inside deep-diving animals
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and Sonoma State University have furthered science's understanding of carbon monoxide's natural characteristics and limitations by studying the gas in one of the world's best divers: the elephant seal.

How cone snail venom minimizes pain
The venom from marine cone snails, used to immobilize prey, contains numerous peptides called conotoxins, some of which can act as painkillers in mammals.

Snubbing lion hunters could preserve the endangered animals
A change in longstanding cultural practice in Tanzania is saving some endangered lions from being killed by hunters.

Who should be saved? Study gets diverse MD community views on healthcare disaster planning
Few disaster preparedness plans have taken community values regarding allocation into account, but a new study is aiming to change that through public engagement with diverse groups of Maryland residents.

Research shows hope for normal heart function in children with fatal heart disease
After two decades of arduous research, a National Institutes of Health-funded investigator at the Children's Hospital of Michigan at the Detroit Medical Center and the Wayne State University School of Medicine has published a new study showing that many children with an often fatal type of heart disease can recover 'normal size and function' of damaged sections of their hearts.

Deformable mirror corrects errors
Very high power is needed to cut or weld using a laser beam.

Manmade artificial shark skin boosts swimming
People have thought for decades that the rough skin of sharks may give them a swimming boost and now scientists from Harvard University, USA, have made the first ever realistic simulated shark skin.

Most common genetic heart valve abnormality associated with risk of aneurysm
Dr. Subodh Verma, cardiac surgeon at St. Michael's Hospital, said it's becoming increasingly clear that people with bicuspid aortic valves may also be at a higher risk of developing aortic aneurysms.

CEBAF beam goes over the hump: Highest-energy beam ever delivered at Jefferson Lab
The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at Jefferson Lab has achieved the final two accelerator commissioning milestones needed for approval to start experimental operations following its first major upgrade.

Can anti-depressants help prevent Alzheimer's disease?
A University of Pennsylvania researcher has discovered that the common selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram arrested the growth of amyloid beta, a peptide in the brain that clusters in plaques that are thought to trigger the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Widely used drug no more effective than FDA approved medication in treating epileptic seizures
A National Institutes of Health-sponsored study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that lorazepam -- a widely used but not yet Food and Drug Administration approved drug for children -- is no more effective than an approved benzodiazepine, diazepam, for treating pediatric status epilepticus.

Over €100 million for climate change innovation programs announced in Europe
Climate-KIC, the European Union's main climate innovation initiative, has announced that it is supporting four new flagship pan-European innovation programs to accelerate the organization's efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Tropical cyclone 'maximum intensity' is shifting toward poles
Over the past 30 years, the location where tropical cyclones reach maximum intensity has been shifting toward the poles in both the northern and southern hemispheres at a rate of about 35 miles, or one-half a degree of latitude, per decade according to a new study, 'The Poleward Migration of the Location of Tropical Cyclone Maximum Intensity,' published May 14 in Nature.

Study shows tropical cyclone intensity shifting poleward
The latitude at which tropical cyclones reach their greatest intensity is gradually shifting from the tropics toward the poles at rates of about 33 to 39 miles per decade, according to a study published May 14, 2014, in the journal Nature.

The Anatomical Record introduces a true game changer
This month the oldest continuously published journal of the American Association of Anatomists, The Anatomical Record, launched its first AR -- WOW Video Article, the first of its kind in the field of anatomy, providing researchers with state-of-the-art video figures of research results, anatomical procedures, or step-by step demonstrations through streaming video.

By itself, abundant shale gas unlikely to alter climate projections
A Duke policy analysis appearing in Environmental Science and Technology finds that if natural gas is abundant and less expensive, it will encourage greater consumption of gas and less of coal, renewables and nuclear power.

International standards significantly reducing insect stowaways in wood packaging material
A new international standard for wood packaging material used in international trade is significantly slowing the inadvertent export of stowaway invasive bark- and wood-boring insects.

Possible new plan of attack for opening and closing the blood-brain barrier
Researchers have identified the first gene that controls blood-brain barrier permeability through a little-studied phenomenon calledtranscytosis.

Phase I data suggest PLX3397 is a potential therapy for patients with advanced PVNS
New research from Memorial Sloan Kettering highlighted in advance of the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology demonstrates the powerful clinical benefit of giving patients a drug that targets the molecular abnormality driving the growth of advanced pigmented villonodular synovitis, a rare and debilitating joint disease.

Study sheds light on penguins first year far from home
In the first study of its kind, scientists tracked penguins first year away from home and found young king penguins explored new habitat, eventually learning to find food similarly to their parents.

Early menopause ups heart failure risk, especially for smokers
Women who go through menopause early -- at ages 40 to 45 -- have a higher rate of heart failure, according to a new study published online today in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Hitting a moving target
A vaccine or other therapy directed at a single site on a surface protein of HIV could in principle neutralize nearly all strains of the virus -- thanks to the diversity of targets the site presents to the human immune system.

Beer foam secrets tapped in new study
It's an unlikely beer-drinking toast: 'Here's to L-T-P-One!' Yet, the secret to optimal foam in the head of a freshly poured brew, according to Cornell food science research, is just the right amount and kind of barley lipid transfer protein No.

Enzyme helps stem cells improve recovery from limb injuries
While it seems like restoring blood flow to an injured leg would be a good thing, it can actually cause additional damage that hinders recovery, researchers say.

California Central Valley groundwater depletion slowly raises Sierra Nevada mountains
Winter rains and summer groundwater pumping in California's Central Valley make the Sierra Nevada and Coast Mountain Ranges sink and rise by a few millimeters each year, creating stress on the state's faults that could increase the risk of an earthquake.

Reduction in volume in hippocampus region of brain seen in psychotic disorders
Reduction in brain volume in the hippocampus (a region related to memory) was seen in patients with the psychotic disorders schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and psychotic bipolar disorder.

Obesity associated with longer hospital stays, higher costs in total knee replacement patients
Obesity is associated with longer hospital stays and higher costs in total knee replacement patients, independent of whether or not the patient has an obesity-related disease or condition (comorbidity), according to a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Extended-release medication offers promise for treating alcohol, opioid dependence
A medication for alcohol and opioid dependence that's injected once a month instead of taken orally once a day appears to be significantly more effective than some other medications -- because more patients actually continue the prescribed regimen.

Turtle migration directly influenced by ocean drift experiences as hatchlings
New research has found that adult sea-turtle migrations and their selection of feeding sites are directly influenced by their past experiences as little hatchlings adrift in ocean currents.

Different approaches needed to control cardiovascular disease risks for those with HIV
Even if treated, hypertension and high cholesterol are increasingly common for people with human immunodeficiency virus, according to a new study from researchers at Mount Sinai St.

Inhibiting protein family helps mice survive radiation exposure, Stanford study finds
Tinkering with a molecular pathway that governs how intestinal cells respond to stress can help mice survive a normally fatal dose of abdominal radiation, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Study: Dangerous storms peaking further north, south than in past
Powerful, destructive tropical cyclones are now reaching their peak intensity farther from the equator and closer to the poles, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT scientist.

New smart coating could make oil-spill cleanup faster and more efficient
In the wake of recent off-shore oil spills, and with the growing popularity of 'fracking' -- in which water is used to release oil and gas from shale -- there's a need for easy, quick ways to separate oil and water.

Elephant seals' carbon monoxide levels are as high as heavy human smokers'
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, but now scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA, have discovered that elephant seals have natural blood carbon monoxide levels that are as high as those of heavy human smokers.

Control methane now, greenhouse gas expert warns
As the shale gas boom continues, the atmosphere receives more methane, adding to Earth's greenhouse gas problem.

Extinct relative helps to reclassify the world's remaining 2 species of monk seal
The recently extinct Caribbean monk seal was one of three species of monk seal in the world.

Cancer patient demands rarely lead to unnecessary tests and treatments
Despite claims suggesting otherwise, inappropriate cancer patient demands are few and very rarely lead to unnecessary tests and treatments from their health care providers, according to new results from a study that will be presented by researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago in early June.

New technology simplifies production of biotech medicines
The final step in the production of a biotech medicine is finishing with the correct sugar structure.

SapC-DOPS technology may help with imaging brain tumors, research shows
The Cincinnati Cancer Center and University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute research studies published in an April online issue of the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and a May issue of the Journal of Visualized Experiments reveal possibly new ways to image glioblastoma multiforme tumors -- a form of brain tumor -- using the SapC-DOPS technology.

Advance brings 'hyperbolic metamaterials' closer to reality
Researchers have taken a step toward practical applications for 'hyperbolic metamaterials,' ultra-thin crystalline films that could bring optical advances including powerful microscopes, quantum computers and high-performance solar cells.

Societies publish recommendations to guide minimally invasive valve therapy programs for patients
As minimally invasive therapies are increasingly used to treat diseased heart valves, newly published recommendations provide guidance on best practices for providing optimal care for patients.

Researchers propose treating prison population to fight US hepatitis C epidemic
Nearly four million Americans may be infected with the hepatitis C virus, with many people unaware of their status.

Study shows breastfeeding, birth control may reduce ovarian cancer risk in women with BRCA mutations
Breastfeeding, tubal ligation -- also known as having one's 'tubes tied' -- and oral contraceptives may lower the risk of ovarian cancer for some women with BRCA gene mutations, according to a comprehensive analysis from a team at the University of Pennsylvania's Basser Research Center for BRCA and the Abramson Cancer Center.

Research reveals New Zealand sea lion is a relative newcomer
The modern New Zealand sea lion is a relative newcomer to our mainland, replacing a now-extinct, unique prehistoric New Zealand sea-lion that once lived here, according to a new study.

High-speed solar winds increase lightning strikes on Earth
Scientists have discovered new evidence to suggest that lightning on Earth is triggered not only by cosmic rays from space, but also by energetic particles from the sun.

Unified superconductors
Superconductors are promising materials, with applications ranging from medicine to transport.

Antidepressant may slow Alzheimer's disease
A commonly prescribed antidepressant can reduce production of the main ingredient in Alzheimer's brain plaques, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

New insight into thermoelectric materials may boost green technologies
A University of Miami physicist and his collaborators have found remarkable thermoelectric properties for a metal that may impact the search for materials useful in power generation, refrigeration or energy detection.

Scrap 'iniquitous' and 'outdated' NHS prescription charges, urges DTB
The NHS prescription charge is 'iniquitous' and 'outdated' and should be scrapped, urges the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin in an editorial published in this month's issue.

New way to predict response to chemo in triple-negative breast cancer
Researchers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine will present findings from a study that found the presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, ahead of treatment may help predict response to platinum-based chemotherapy in women with triple-negative breast cancer.

Relationship satisfaction linked with changing use of contraception
Women's sexual satisfaction in long-term heterosexual relationships may be influenced by changes in hormonal contraceptive use, research from the University of Stirling shows.

Microchip-like technology allows single-cell analysis
Engineers have developed a system similar to random access memory chips that allows the fast, efficient control and separation of individual cells.

Large panel genetic testing produces more questions than answers in breast cancer
While large genetic testing panels promise to uncover clues about patients' DNA, a team of researchers from Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center has found that those powerful tests tend to produce more questions than they answer.

UH physicists look for answers to questions about the universe
Three University of Houston physicists will share a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Energy, money they will use to continue work on separate but related experiments involving subatomic particles that could yield answers about the fundamental nature of the universe.

PCB increases harmful effects of smoking
In a new study published today in the journal Plos One, researchers at Uppsala University show that the harmful effect of smoking is aggravated if the person has high blood levels of PCB.

Texas A&M-led study shows how 'body clock' dysregulation underlies obesity, more
A team of Texas A&M University System scientists have investigated how 'body clock dysregulation' might affect obesity-related metabolic disorders.

A better way to treat ACE inhibitor angioedema in the ED
Emergency medicine and allergy experts at the University of Cincinnati have reported a safe and effective treatment for life-threatening angioedema attacks in the emergency department.

The International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR)
The International Society for Autism Research, a scientific and professional organization devoted to advancing knowledge about autism spectrum disorders, convened more than 1,700 researchers, delegates, autism specialists and students from 40 countries for the 13th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research, the world's largest scientific gathering on autism research, from May 15-17 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Ga.

Protein Data Bank Archives its 100,000th molecule structure
Four data centers, including one co-located at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; and the San Diego Supercomputer Center/Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, support online access to the three-dimensional structures of biological macromolecules that help researchers understand many facets of biomedicine, agriculture, and ecology, from protein synthesis to health and disease to biological energy.

Magnetar formation mystery solved?
Magnetars are the super-dense remnants of supernova explosions. They are the strongest magnets known in the Universe -- millions of times more powerful than the strongest magnets on Earth.

To wilt or not to wilt
Plant stomata play a role in water loss and CO2 uptake from leaves.

MAVEN solar wind ion analyzer will look at key player in Mars atmosphere loss
This past November, NASA launched the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission in the hope of understanding how and why the planet has been losing its atmosphere over billions of years.

Digitization of the Church Mission Society periodicals
Adam Matthew today announced the signing of an agreement with the Church Mission Society to digitize hundreds of thousands of pages of periodicals covering 1841 to 2009.

NIH takes action on sex/gender in cell and animal studies
NIH leadership is available to answer questions from reporters about new policies that will be published online Wednesday in Nature to ensure that sex is treated as a fundamental variable in the preclinical biomedical research that it funds.

Deconstructing goal-oriented movement
Our human brains are filled with maps: visual maps of our external environments, and motor maps that define how we interact physically within those environments.

Higher death rates for weekend hospital stays regardless of day of admission
People hospitalized with COPD or pneumonia are more likely to die during a weekend stay in hospital, according to a new study.

INFORMS announces details for its annual Business of Big Data 2014 Conference
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) today announced the first details of its 2014 The Business of Big Data Conference, including an impressive line-up of top technology industry executive speakers, industry case studies to be presented, technology workshops scheduled, and a number of important networking sessions.

Strongly interacting electrons in wacky oxide synchronize to work like the brain
Current computing is based on binary logic -- zeroes and ones -- also called Boolean computing, but a new type of computing architecture stores information in the frequencies and phases of periodic signals and could work more like the human brain using a fraction of the energy necessary for today's computers, according to a team of engineers.

Researchers ID changes that may occur in neural circuits due to cocaine addiction
This is the first study to demonstrate the critical links between the levels of the trafficking protein, the potassium channels' effect on neuronal activity and a mouse's response to cocaine.

A new approach to treating peanut and other food allergies
These days, more and more people seem to have food allergies, which can sometimes have life-threatening consequences. 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