Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 15, 2014
Land and power: Women discover one can lead to the other
UC Santa Cruz assistant professor of psychology Shelly Grabe finds that when women in developing countries own land, they gain power within their relationships and are less likely to experience violence.

Genetic study confirms link between earliest Americans and modern Native-Americans
Remains of 12,000- to 13,000-year-old teenage girl found in and underwater Mexican cave establish definitive link between the earliest Americans and modern Native-Americans.

Next frontier: How can modern medicine help dying patients achieve a 'good' death?
The overall quality of death of cancer patients who die in an urban Canadian setting with ready access to palliative care was found to be good to excellent in the large majority of cases, helping to dispel the myth that marked suffering at the end of life is inevitable.

Most NHL players peak by age 29: Study
A new study identifies when the clock runs out on an NHL player's peak performance, giving team executives insight into how best to build a roster.

First 'heavy mouse' leads to first lab-grown tissue mapped from atomic life
Molecular 'fingerprint' for tissue taken from first isotope-enriched mouse has huge potential for scientific breakthroughs, as well as improved medical implants.

Tumor cells in the blood may indicate poor prognosis in early breast cancer
Tumor cells in bone marrow of early breast cancer patients predict a higher risk of relapse as well as poorer survival, but bone marrow biopsy is an invasive and painful procedure.

Pharmacy students honored for leadership, service and clinical skills
University of Houston pharmacy students wrapped up the spring semester with a round of awards for excellence in leadership, professional service and clinical skills.

The shrinking of Jupiter's Great Red Spot
Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot -- a swirling storm feature larger than Earth -- is shrinking.

Communicating with the world across the border
All living cells are held together by membranes, which provide a barrier to the transport of nutrients.

Making money from lignin: Roadmap shows how to improve lignocellulosic biofuel biorefining
When making cellulosic ethanol from plants, one problem is what to do with a woody agricultural waste product called lignin.

Marine scientists use JeDI to create world's first global jellyfish database
An international study, led by the University of Southampton, has led to the creation of the world's first global database of jellyfish records to map jellyfish populations in the oceans.

Walking may have profound benefits for patients with kidney disease
Among patients with chronic kidney disease who were followed for an average of 1.3 years, those who walked for exercise were 33 percent less likely to die and 21 percent less likely to need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

New tool to grow cancer cells streamlines laboratory research
A new technique that allows the growth of both normal and cancer cells and keeps them alive indefinitely is transforming and expediting basic cancer research.

MIPT experts reveal the secret of radiation vulnerability
MIPT experts reveal the secret of radiation vulnerability. The discovery can help both in predicting the consequences of irradiation and understanding the fundamental patterns of morphogenesis.

On the shoulder of a giant: Precursor volcano to the island of O'ahu discovered
Researchers recently discovered that O'ahu, Hawai'i, actually consists of three major Hawaiian shield volcanoes, not two, as previously thought.

Genetic study helps resolve years of speculation about first people in the Americas
A new study could help resolve a longstanding debate about the origins of the first people to inhabit the Americas, researchers report in the journal Science.

How some trypanosomes cause sleeping sickness while others don't
Trypanosome parasites transmitted by tsetse flies cause devastating diseases in humans and livestock.

Silly Putty material inspires better batteries
Using a material found in Silly Putty and surgical tubing, a group of researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a new way to make lithium-ion batteries that will last three times longer between charges compared to the current industry standard.

UNM plays major role in establishing link between ancient and modern Native-Americans
Her name is Naia, and for thousands and thousands of years, the skeleton of this young woman was buried underwater in an elaborate cave system in the Yucatan Peninsula after she apparently falling into a dry deep pit.

TEDx on Excellence in Science and Science Education at the Weizmann Institute
TEDx Weizmann Institute, a conference on excellence in science and science education, will be held on May 20 at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Mothers' sleep, late in pregnancy, affects offspring's weight gain as adults
Poor-quality sleep during the third trimester of pregnancy can increase the odds of weight gain and metabolic abnormalities in offspring once they reach adulthood.

'Bystander' chronic infections thwart development of immune cell memory
Studies of vaccine programs in the developing world have revealed that individuals with chronic infections such as malaria and hepatitis tend to be less likely to develop the fullest possible immunity benefits from vaccines for unrelated illnesses.

Nizar Ibrahim joins ranks of National Geographic's Emerging Explorers
The National Geographic Society has selected University of Chicago paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim to its 2014 class of Emerging Explorers.

Domesticated animals provide vital link to emergence of new diseases
Research at the University of Liverpool suggests pets and other domesticated animals could provide new clues into the emergence of infections that can spread between animals and humans.

Where have all the mitochondria gone?
Weizmann Institute researchers have shed light on a crucial step in fertilization.

Two large meals (breakfast and lunch) better than 6 small meals with same calories for controlling weight and blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes
Research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) suggests that two large meals (breakfast and lunch), rather than six small meals with the same total calories, are better for controlling weight and blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

Justifying wartime atrocities alters memories
Stories about wartime atrocities and torture methods, like waterboarding and beatings, often include justifications -- despite whether the rationale is legitimate.

This is your brain on meditation
Your brain processes more thoughts and feelings during meditation than when you are simply relaxing, a team of Norwegian and Australian researchers has shown.

Sugar implicated in cardiovascular disease risk independent of weight gain
Researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago have uncovered evidence that sugar has a direct effect on risk factors for heart disease, and is likely to impact on blood pressure, independent of weight gain.

Effects of alcohol in young binge drinkers predicts future alcoholism
Heavy social drinkers who report greater stimulation and reward from alcohol are more likely to develop alcohol use disorder over time, report researchers from the University of Chicago, May 15 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Study uncovers new evidence on species evolution
A study involving Simon Fraser University researchers and published today in the journal Science has found evidence for the genomic basis of how new species evolve, in adapting to different environments.

KAIST made great improvements of nanogenerator power efficiency
Keon Jae Lee, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST, and his colleagues have recently proposed a solution by developing a robust technique to transfer a high-quality piezoelectric thin film from bulk sapphire substrates to plastic substrates using laser lift-off.

B cells produce antibodies 'when danger calls, but not when it whispers'
The immune system's B cells protect us from disease by producing 'smart bullets' that target invaders such as pathogens and viruses.

Springer launches CrossMark service for journal content
Springer is launching CrossMark, an identification service from CrossRef, for forthcoming journal articles, ensuring that the user always gets the latest updates and most current content.

Stem cell therapy shows promise for MS in mouse model
Mice crippled by an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis regained the ability to walk and run after a team of researchers led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, University of Utah and University of California, Irvine implanted human stem cells into their injured spinal cords.

Going beyond the surface
The new tech involves using near-infrared beams of light that, upon penetrating deep into the body, are converted into visible light that activates the drug and destroys the tumor.

HIV patient nutrition more vital than once assumed
Roughly 25 million Africans live with HIV, many of who now have access to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

Learning from sharks
Genetically engineered antibodies are deployed successfully in cancer diagnostics and therapy.

Detailed studies reveal how key cancer-fighting protein is held in check
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have mapped the structural details of how p53 attaches to its regulatory protein, called BCL-xL, in the cell.

Researchers examine intersection of aging, chronic disease
A new collection of articles appearing in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences examine how the basic biology of aging drives chronic disease.

Stability lost as supernovae explode
Exploding supernovae are a phenomenon that is still not fully understood.

Study -- overweight teens more likely to be rejected as friends by normal weight peers
Overweight young people are more likely to be rejected as friends by peers who are of normal weight, according to new research by Arizona State University social scientists.

VTT's vision of life in the era of a bioeconomy in Finland in 2044
What might life be like in Finland after the era of oil in a bioeconomy?

Study: Targeted funding can help address inequities in early child care programs
The quality of early child care and education programs is influenced both by funding and by the characteristics of the communities in which the programs operate, new research from Oregon State University shows.

Genetic tracking identifies cancer stem cells in human patients
The gene mutations driving cancer have been tracked for the first time in patients back to a distinct set of cells at the root of cancer -- cancer stem cells.

Cancer's potential on-off switch
A team of Boston University School of Medicine researchers have proposed that an 'on and off' epigenetic switch could be a common mechanism behind the development of different types of cancer.

Single episode of binge drinking can adversely affect health according to new UMMS study
New research by clinical scientists at UMass Medical School found that a single episode of binge drinking can have significant negative health effects resulting in bacteria leaking from the gut, leading to increased levels of endotoxins in the blood.

Novel genetic mechanism protects plants from toxic zinc
Researchers from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência have now discovered a novel genetic mechanism that protects plants from toxic zinc levels.

One of oldest human skeletons in North America is discovered
Cave-diving scientist Patricia Beddows of Northwestern University is a member of an international team announcing the discovery in an underwater Yucatán Peninsula cave of 'Naia,' one of the oldest human skeletons found in North America.

Marijuana use involved in more fatal accidents in Colorado
The proportion of marijuana-positive drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes in Colorado has increased dramatically since the commercialization of medical marijuana in the middle of 2009, according to a study by University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers.

Researchers show emissions from forests influence very first stage of cloud formation
Clouds are the largest source of uncertainty in present climate models.

'Physician partners' free doctors to focus on patients, not paperwork
Primary care doctors now spend so much time on clerical duties such as entering data into patient records that their time with patients is severely curtailed.

How octopuses don't tie themselves in knots
An octopus's arms are covered in hundreds of suckers that will stick to just about anything, with one important exception.

2 JAMA Ophthalmology studies focus on glaucoma medication adherence
Electronic monitoring to measure medication adherence by patients with glaucoma documented that a sizable number of patients did not regularly use the eye drops prescribed to them.

Richest marine reptile fossil bed along Africa's South Atlantic coast is dated at 71.5 million years ago
New research at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, is the first to tie the stable carbon isotope record of Africa's South Atlantic coast to global records.

UH researchers find definitive evidence of how zeolites grow
Researchers have found the first definitive evidence of how silicalite-1 zeolites grow, showing that growth is a concerted process involving both the attachment of nanoparticles and the addition of molecules.

New imaging technology
Phase contrast X-ray imaging has enabled researchers at ETH Zurich, the Paul Scherrer Institute and the Kantonsspital Baden to perform mammographic imaging that allows greater precision in the assessment of breast cancer and its precursors.

UTHealth research: Children of parents in technical jobs at higher risk for autism
Children of fathers who are in technical occupations are more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

First test of pluripotent stem cell therapy in monkeys is a success
Researchers have shown for the first time in an animal that is more closely related to humans that it is possible to make new bone from stem-cell-like induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) made from an individual animal's own skin cells.

Synthetic biology still in uncharted waters of public opinion
A new set of focus groups convened by the Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center found continued low awareness of synthetic biology, as well as concerns about specific applications.

IU, Paradigm team up to test genomic sequencing for women with aggressive breast cancer
Researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center are using targeted DNA sequencing in a new clinical trial for women with triple negative breast cancer, to test whether certain treatment choices improve survival rates.

UH Case Medical Center neurosurgeon uses depth electrodes for speech mapping
Neurosurgeon Jonathan Miller, MD, tested a potential alternative to the traditional WADA test, called the 'Electric WADA,' with patients who received deep brain implants.

Quantum simulator gives clues about magnetism
Researchers optically trapped a cloud of gas a billion times colder than air in a very low-pressure vacuum, and found a lower speed limit to diffusion.

Fewer smokers believe e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to cigarettes
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wanted to examine changes in e-cigarette awareness, how harmful people believe them to be, and if those attitudes have any connection to smoking cessation attempts.

Dr. Beverly Lange, retired CHOP oncologist, receives distinguished career award
Beverly J. Lange, M.D., an exemplary physician and researcher at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for over 40 years, will receive the 2014 Distinguished Career Award from the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Combination therapy a potential strategy for treating Niemann Pick disease
Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a potential dual-pronged approach to treating Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) disease, a rare but devastating genetic disorder.

Negative stereotypes can cancel each other out on resumes
Stereotypes of gay men as effeminate and weak and black men as threatening and aggressive can hurt members of those groups when white people evaluate them in employment, education, criminal justice and other contexts.

Not just a pretty face, although that helps female politicians on election day
Female politicians' success can be predicted by their facial features, especially in conservative states where women with more feminine faces tend to do better at the ballot box, a Dartmouth College-led study finds.

A skeleton clue to early American ancestry
In a watery cave on the Yucatán Peninsula, scientists have found an early American skeleton with a combination of gene variants common to modern Native Americans, a new study reports.

Living conditions in Iraq must improve if investment in health system is to yield results
Despite enormous investment in Iraq's health system in the 10 years since the US-led invasion, the health condition of Iraqis has deteriorated and will fail to improve unless more is done to improve living conditions.

WSU anthropologist leads genetic study of prehistoric girl
As head of the team studying the DNA of Naia, an adolescent girl who fell into a Yucatan sinkhole some 12,000 years ago, Brian Kemp has helped illuminate the origins of the first people to inhabit the Americas and their possible connection to native people today.

New kidney allocation policy could improve the success of transplantations in the US
Simulation models predict that a newly approved kidney allocation policy will lead to an average 7.0 percent increase in median patient life-years per transplant and an average 2.8 percent increase in median allograft years of life.

E-cigarette awareness goes up, as (apparently) so does skepticism
National survey of 3,600 Americans finds awareness of e-cigarettes is up, but so is skepticism.

Watching stressful movies triggers changes to your heartbeat
Watching films with stressful scenes can trigger changes to the heart's beating pattern, reports a new study published in the journal Circulation, Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.

Dating and DNA show Paleoamerican-Native American connection
Eastern Asia, Western Asia, Japan, Beringia and even Europe have all been suggested origination points for the earliest humans to enter the Americas because of apparent differences in cranial form between today's Native-Americans and the earliest known Paleoamerican skeletons.

Older migraine sufferers may have more silent brain injury
Older migraine sufferers may be more likely to have silent brain injury.

Goldschmidt -- the world's biggest geochemistry conference, Sacramento, Calif., June 8-13
Goldschmidt2014 is due to take place in Sacramento, Calif., from June 8-13, 2014, and journalists are welcome to attend.

Mothers' symptoms of depression predict how they respond to child behavior
Depressive symptoms seem to focus mothers' responses on minimizing their own distress, which may come at the expense of focusing on the impact their responses have on their children, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

UH announces investment deal to launch faculty startups
The University of Houston has signed a deal with a group of investors to commercialize technologies created by its faculty, boosting the UH Energy Research Park as a focal point for entrepreneurial activity in the Houston region.

West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is under way
Models using detailed topographic maps show that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet has begun.

Low-dose anticoagulation therapy can be used safely with new design mechanical heart valve
Less aggressive anticoagulation therapy, combined with low-dose aspirin, can be used safely in conjunction with a newer generation mechanical heart valve.

Sense of obligation leads to trusting strangers, study says
Trusting a stranger may have more to do with feeling morally obligated to show respect for someone else's character than actually believing the person is trustworthy, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Added benefit of the fixed combination of dapagliflozin and metformin is not proven
As was the case in dapagliflozin monotherapy, the drug manufacturer also presented no suitable data for the therapeutic indication in its dossier on the fixed combination with metformin.

National Institutes of Health funding to help expand data storage capacity at UC Riverside
The University of California, Riverside, has received funding of $600,000 from the National Institutes of Health to support data-intensive research -- also often called Big Data science.

Neural pathway to parenthood
In a study in mice, Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology Catherine Dulac have pinpointed galanin neurons in the brain's medial preoptic area, that appear to regulate parental behavior.

Anti-craving drug and counseling lower alcohol harm in homeless, without sobriety demands
Abstinence-based treatment has not been effective for many homeless people with alcohol dependence.

Significant differences in CVD risk factors between men and women with type 2 diabetes
A new study shows that cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels differ significantly between men and women.

NYC safe routes to school program reduces injuries and saves hundreds of millions of dollars
In an effort to create safe environments for American children to walk or bike to school, New York City made safety changes to the most dangerous intersections near schools including narrowing intersections by building out sidewalks and installing speed humps among other interventions.

Visual clue to new Parkinson's Disease therapies
A biologist and a psychologist at the University of York have joined forces with a drug discovery group at Lundbeck in Denmark to develop a potential route to new therapies for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease.

Latest research on heart rhythm treatment and devices presented at CARDIOSTIM-EHRA EUROPACE 2014
Information on the trial phases of revolutionary technical advances will be discussed, including pacemakers and miniature defibrillators, new catheters with a navigation system based on the magnetic triangulation principle and how genetic factors influence atrial and ventricular fibrillation, heart failure and other rhythm pathologies.

Getting chemo first may help in rectal cancer
A new phase II study to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology finds that if chemotherapy is offered before radiation and surgery, more patients will be able to tolerate it and receive a full regimen of treatment.

Giant telescope tackles orbit and size of exoplanet
Using one of the world's largest telescopes, a Lawrence Livermore team and international collaborators have tracked the orbit of a planet at least four times the size of Jupiter.

Study shows young men increasingly outnumber young women in rural Great Plains
A peer-reviewed study takes a first look at how gender ratios change in rural communities as residents go from their teens to their 20s.

Penn Vet study reveals Salmonella's hideout strategy
A study led by researchers in the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine reveals how some Salmonella bacteria hide from the immune system, allowing them to persist and cause systemic infection.

Interrupted breathing during sleep affects brain neurons necessary to regulate heart rate
Sufferers of a common sleep-breathing disorder have diminished activity among neurons responsible for keeping heart rate low, reveals a new study published today in The Journal of Physiology.

NPL and Dstl present potential '£billion global market' in quantum technologies
UK physicists are bringing the quantum science of atomic clocks to timing and positioning technologies for industry, academia and commerce.

Mice with MS-like condition walk again after human stem cell treatment
Mice severely disabled by a condition similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) were able to walk less than two weeks following treatment with human neural stem cells.

New data show how states are doing in science
The newly updated, online, interactive state data tool allows policymakers, educators and other users to discern trends in education, science and research in each of the 50 states.

Research finds human impact may cause Sierra Nevada to rise, increase seismicity of San Andreas Fault
Research finds human impact may cause Sierra Nevada mountains to rise and to increase seismicity of San Andreas Fault in California.

The color of blood: Pigment helps stage symbiosis in squid
The relationship between the Hawaiian bobtail squid and the bacterium Vibrio fischeri is well chronicled, but writing in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a group led by University of Wisconsin-Madison microbiologists Margaret McFall-Ngai, Edward Ruby and their colleagues adds a new wrinkle to the story.

Oldest most complete, genetically intact human skeleton in New World
In a paper released today in the journal Science, an international team of researchers and cave divers present the results of an expedition that discovered a near-complete early American human skeleton with an intact cranium and preserved DNA.

Fires in San Diego County blazing
The single fire that ignited and split into nine separate fires still blazes in Southern California today.

MIPT scientists develop algorithm for anti-aging remedy search
MIPT scientists have provided an algorithm which can help in the search for aging-suppressing drugs.

The state of rain
CHIRPS relates space-based rainfall observations to current and historical ground-based rainfall data.

Complex interactions may matter most for longevity
A new study of the biology of aging shows that complex interactions among diet, mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA appear to influence lifespan at least as much as single factors alone.

Protein sharpens salmonella needle for attack
A tiny nanoscale syringe is Salmonella's weapon. Using this, the pathogen injects its molecular agents into the host cells and manipulates them to its own advantage.

Study: Addressing 'mischievous responders' would increase validity of adolescent research
'Mischievous responders' play the game of intentionally providing inaccurate answers on anonymous surveys, a widespread problem that can mislead research findings.

Caught in the act: Study probes evolution of California insect
A first-of-its-kind study this week suggests that the genomes of new species may evolve in a similar, repeatable fashion -- even in cases where populations are evolving in parallel at separate locations.

Tricking the uncertainty principle
Today, we can measure the position of an object with unprecedented accuracy, but the uncertainty principle places fundamental limits on our ability to measure.

Metlife Foundation recognizes Emory Alzheimer's disease researcher
Lary C. Walker, Ph.D., research professor of neuropharmacology and neurologic diseases and associate professor of neurology, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, is a recipient of the 2014 MetLife Foundation Awards for Medical Research.

CHOP expert Dr. Garrett Brodeur honored for career work in neuroblastoma
The Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association is conferring its highest honor on pediatric oncologist Garrett M.

Study finds hazardous flame retardants in preschools
A new study led by UC Berkeley researchers finds that finds that flame retardants are prevalent indoors in preschools and day care centers, potentially exposing young children to chemicals known to be hazardous. 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