Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 05, 2014
Interactive teaching methods help students master tricky calculus
The key to helping students learn complicated math is to understand how to apply it to new ideas and make learning more interactive, according to a new study by UBC researchers.

Gene study shows how sheep first separated from goats
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute have helped to crack the genetic code of sheep to reveal how they became a distinct species from goats around four million years ago.

HorseFly 'octocopter' primed to fly the future to your front door
Have you ever seen a horse fly? Maybe you have, but never like this one.

Outcomes of a 2-year national rare disease gene discovery project
A Canadian research team discovered 67 novel genes that had never been associated with a rare disease before.

Amunix presents XTEN half-life extension technology at Next Generation Protein Therapeutics Summit
Amunix Operating Inc. said today it is presenting unpublished data from its XTEN half-life extension technology development programs during two sessions this week at IBC's 9th Annual Next Generation Protein Therapeutics Summit in San Francisco, Calif.

New report: Local public grants for art varies across US
A new report from the University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center looks at public funding for the arts across 13 metro regions in the US.

New research explains how we use the GPS inside our brain to navigate
The way we navigate from A to B is controlled by two brain regions which track the distance to our destination, according to new research funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in Current Biology.

Importance of patient reported outcomes in cardiovascular clinical trials
Patient reported outcomes (PROs) should be comprehensively included in cardiovascular clinical trials using the best available tools, according to leading cardiologists and industry representatives in the Cardiovascular Round Table.

Flowers' polarization patterns help bees find food
Bees use their ability to 'see' polarized light when foraging for food, researchers based at the University of Bristol have discovered.

Protecting mainland Europe from an invasion of grey squirrels
The first genotyping of grey squirrels sampled from Italy and the UK shows a direct link between their genetic diversity and their ability to invade new environments.

Research could lead to new cancer assay, aid both dogs and humans
Veterinary researchers have identified a unique group of proteins that indicate the presence of transitional cell carcinoma -- the most common cause of bladder cancer -- and may lead to a new assay which could better diagnose this disease in both dogs and humans.

Diabetes care depends on how your doctor is paid
From 2006 to 2008, nearly 75 percent of Ontarians with diabetes did not receive all of the tests recommended to properly monitor their disease.

Neurons transplanted into Parkinson's-affected brains appear healthy after 14 years
When transplanted into the midbrains of adult patients with Parkinson's disease, dopamine neurons derived from fetal tissue can remain healthy for many years.

Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system
In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage -- a major side effect of chemotherapy -- but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

Activating the immune system could treat obesity and diabetes
Obesity is a worldwide epidemic that is causing alarming rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but currently there is a lack of effective drug treatments.

Stimulating a protein in skin cells could improve psoriasis symptoms
Environmental contaminants can trigger psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders, and it is thought that a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, which senses environmental toxins, could play a role.

Race could be a factor in head and neck cancer survival rates, MU researchers find
The national survival rates for African-Americans diagnosed with head and neck cancer have not improved in the last 40 years despite advances in the treatment and management of the disease, University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers have found.

MAD: Scientists shed light on braking mechanisms in cellular signaling
A team of researchers studying a flowering plant has zeroed in on the way cells manage external signals about prevailing conditions, a capability that is essential for cells to survive in a fluctuating environment.

Sleep after learning strengthens connections between brain cells and enhances memory
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center show for the first time that sleep after learning encourages the growth of dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions from brain cells that connect to other brain cells and facilitate the passage of information across synapses, the junctions at which brain cells meet.

NASA sees remnants of Tropical Storm Boris merging with Gulf low
The remnants of former Tropical Storm Boris moved over southern Mexico and NASA and NOAA satellite data showed that they were merging with a low pressure area in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

First 3-D pterosaur eggs found with their parents
Researchers have discovered the first three-dimensionally preserved pterosaur eggs in China.

Is glaucoma a brain disease?
Findings from a new study published in Translational Vision Science & Technology show the brain, not the eye, controls the cellular process that leads to glaucoma.

McLean Hospital researchers see promise in transplanted fetal stem cells for Parkinson's
Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital have found that fetal dopamine cells transplanted into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease were able to remain healthy and functional for up to 14 years, a finding that could lead to new and better therapies for the illness.

Rice developing mobile DNA test for HIV
Rice University bioengineers are developing an efficient test to detect signs of HIV and its progress in patients in low-resource settings.

Our own treacherous immune genes can cause cancer after viral infection
Mutations that cause cancer following HPV, human papillomavirus, infection are caused by a family of genes that normally protect against viral infections, finds new UCL research.

HIV transmission networks mapped to reduce infection rate
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have mapped the transmission network of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in San Diego.

Endocrine Society honors 2014 Early Investigators, FLARE Internship Award winners
The Endocrine Society is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Early Investigators Awards and the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) Internship Awards.

Stem cells hold keys to body's plan
Case Western Reserve researchers have discovered landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body.

LSU biologist John Caprio, Japanese colleagues identify unique way catfish locate prey
John Caprio, George C. Kent Professor of Biological Sciences at LSU, and colleagues from Kagoshima University in Japan have identified that these fish are equipped with sensors that can locate prey by detecting slight changes in the water's pH level.

International collaboration explains sheep genome, secrets of unique digestive and metabolic systems
An international team of scientists including the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine has completed the first ever sequence of the sheep genome, shedding new information on the species' unique and specialized digestive and metabolic systems.

Bloodstream infections reduced through better central line care at three hospitals
Whether through the use of alcohol-containing caps or basic cleaning of the injection port of the central line, infection preventionists at three hospitals are finding successful ways to stop germs from entering central line catheters and causing bloodstream infections in patients.

Alcohol-related terms can increase aggression
New psychology research shows that exposing people to alcohol-related words can influence aggressive behavior in ways similar to actually consuming alcohol.

The connection between oxygen and diabetes
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have, for the first time, described the sequence of early cellular responses to a high-fat diet, one that can result in obesity-induced insulin resistance and diabetes.

New tuberculosis test more than skin deep
A new screening process for tuberculosis infections in Canadian prisons could mean that more than 50 percent of those screened won't undergo unnecessary treatment due to false positives.

Understanding active pharmaceutical ingredients
Active pharmaceutical ingredient is the term used to refer to the biologically active component of a drug product (e.g. tablet, capsule).

New research provides better understanding of endometriosis
A mouse model of endometriosis has been developed that produces endometriosis lesions similar to those found in humans, according to a report published in The American Journal of Pathology.

Turbulent black holes: Fasten your seatbelts ... gravity is about to get bumpy!
New research at Perimeter shows that gravitational fields around black holes might eddy and swirl.

Molecular self-assembly scales up from nanometers to millimeters
A joint effort of the Aalto University of Helsinki, the Politecnico di Milano, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has now demonstrated that it is possible to align molecular self-assemblies from nanometers to millimeters without the intervention of external stimuli.

New clues to why older women are more vulnerable to breast cancer
Berkeley Lab scientists have gained more insights into why older women are more susceptible to breast cancer.

Cellular traffic control system mapped for the first time
The transport routes of nutrients and messenger cargos can be compared to the traffic system of a city: A worldwide unique quantitative study of cell biologists of the University of Zurich shows that cells regulate the main routes, side routes and intersections by an intricate traffic control system, which guides the spatial and temporal distribution of substances within the cell.

Smart application of surfactants gives sustainable agriculture
Anton Fagerström at Malmö University, Sweden, has investigated the interaction between the plant's barrier, plant protection products and adjuvants that are added to increase the effect of the plant protection product.

UH chemist's work could impact disease management, treatments
A University of Houston chemist hopes his work will one day impact the treatment of such diseases as cancer and malaria by better understanding how molecules react and how atoms come together to form bonds.

Unmasking viral invaders
Using a technological platform commonly used in physics and chemistry called mass spectrometry, researchers describe the dynamics of a viral infection over a three-day course, discovering ways the pathogen evades the immune system and how certain viral proteins target and destroy human proteins that defend against infection.

Stem cells found to play restorative role when affecting brain signaling process
When mesenchymal stem cells, MSCs, were transplanted into the brains of mice modeled with Alzheimer's disease, AD, the cells stimulated neural cell growth and repair in the hippocampus, a key brain area damaged by AD.

Researchers at the Gladstone Institutes find novel approach to reactivate latent HIV
A team of scientists at the Gladstone Institutes has identified a new way to make latent HIV reveal itself, which could help overcome one of the biggest obstacles to finding a cure for HIV infection.

CQ Researcher author Frank Greve wins 2014 Mirror Award for issue on Combat Journalism
CQ Researcher contributing writer Frank Greve was honored yesterday with the 2014 John M.

Scripps Florida scientists unravel the molecular secret of short, intense workouts
The benefits of short, intense workouts have been extolled by researchers and exercise fans as a metabolic panacea capable of providing greater overall fitness, better blood sugar control and weight reduction -- all of it in periods as short as seven minutes a few times a week.

Navy, small business converge at opportunity forum
Top naval leaders met with representatives from some of the nation's most cutting-edge small businesses this week at the Navy Opportunity Forum in Crystal City, Va., with the goal of discovering new technologies and capabilities for America's Sailors and Marines.

Short nanotubes target pancreatic cancer
Short, customized carbon nanotubes have the potential to deliver drugs to pancreatic cancer cells and destroy them from within, according to researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Investors' risk tolerance decreases with the stock market, MU study finds
Michael Guillemette, an assistant professor of personal financial planning in the University of Missouri College of Human Environmental Sciences, analyzed investors' 'risk tolerance,' or willingness to take risks, and found that it decreased as the stock market faltered.

Study finds public awareness of head and neck cancers low
Public awareness of head and neck cancer is low, with few Americans knowing much about risk factors such as tobacco use and human papillomavirus.

Alcohol may protect trauma patients from later complications
Intoxicated trauma patients have a reduced risk for cardiac and renal complications, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study.

Making artificial vision look more natural
In laboratory tests, researchers have used electrical stimulation of retinal cells to produce the same patterns of activity that occur when the retina sees a moving object.

Future heat stroke treatment found in dental pulp stem cells
Intravenous injections of stem cells derived from human exfoliated deciduous tooth pulp have a protective effect in mice against brain damage from heat stroke.

Shorter TB treatment regimens will reduce cost for patients and their families
These conclusions come from an international alliance of researchers, led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who carried out a comparative study in Tanzania and Bangladesh looking at the out-of-pocket costs incurred by TB patients in both countries.

Seemingly invincible cancers stem cells reveal a weakness
Metastatic cancer cells, which can migrate from primary tumors to seed new malignancies, have thus far been resistant to the current arsenal of anticancer drugs.

Scientists find new targets that could increase effectiveness of breast cancer treatments
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have found new targets for potential intervention in breast cancer.

Team demonstrates continuous terahertz sources at room temperature
Northwestern University professor Manijeh Razeghi and her team are the first to develop a room-temperature, compact, continuous terahertz radiation source.

New evidence links air pollution to autism, schizophrenia
A new study describes how exposure to air pollution early in life produces harmful changes in the brains of mice, including an enlargement of part of the brain that is seen in humans who have autism and schizophrenia.

New method reveals single protein interaction key to embryonic stem cell differentiation
Researchers from the University of Chicago have pioneered a new technique to simplify the study of protein networks and identify the importance of individual protein interactions.

Gestures research suggests language instinct in young children
Young children instinctively use a 'language-like' structure to communicate through gestures, according to psychologists.

Exploring a legal and ethical gray area for people with dementia
Many of the legal and ethical options for refusing unwanted interventions are not available to people with dementia because they lack decision-making capacity.

YbeY is essential for fitness and virulence of V. cholerae, keeps RNA household in order
YbeY is a conserved protein that is present in most bacteria.

New therapy for pancreatic cancer patients shows promising results
A clinical trial conducted by researchers at the Virginia G.

Can mice mimic human breast cancer? MSU study says 'yes'
Eran Andrechek, a physiology professor in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University, has discovered that many of the various models used in breast cancer research can replicate several characteristics of the human disease, especially at the gene level.

Looking for the best strategy? Ask a chimp
If you're trying to outwit the competition, it might be better to have been born a chimpanzee, according to a study by researchers at Caltech, which found that chimps at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute consistently outperform humans in simple contests drawn from game theory.

Psychologists find that entitlement predicts sexism, in both men and women
Entitled attitudes appear to be linked to sexism -- even among women, according to a personality study by psychologists from Case Western Reserve University and San Diego State University.

Scientists crack sheep genome, shining spotlight on rumen evolution and lipid metabolism
The latest study presents a high-quality sheep genome and reveals genomic and transcriptomic events that may be associated with rumen evolution and lipid metabolism that have relevance to both diet and wool.

Can virtual reality therapy help alleviate chronic pain?
Chronic pain due to disease or injury is common, and even prescription pain medications cannot provide acceptable pain relief for many individuals.

How do phytoplankton survive a scarcity of a critical nutrient?
How do phytoplankton survive when the critical element phosphorus is difficult to find?

Cutting edge methods reveal what makes Purkinje neurons unique
In a collaboration between RIKEN's Brain Science Institute and Center for Life Science Technologies in Japan, scientists combined cutting edge methods to obtain a comprehensive catalogue of proteins that are manufactured in specific parts of Purkinje neurons.

Parliamentary means dissensus
Research launched by Academy of Finland Professor project shows that consensus is rare in parliaments.

New findings out on brain networks in children at risk for mental disorders
Attention deficits are central to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and are thought to precede the presentation of the illnesses.

New book by James Watson: Perfect for anyone who has ever learned something from a father
After a lifetime of accomplishment in research, writing, education, and science advocacy, James Watson delves for the first time publicly into his own lineage to chronicle an archetypical American family from before the Civil War to Vietnam.

A new model of liver regeneration
Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists at Boston Children's Hospital have new evidence in mice that it may be possible to repair a chronically diseased liver by forcing mature liver cells to revert back to a stem cell-like state.

Discovered a new way to control genetic material altered in cancer
When we speak of genetic material, we are usually referring to the DNA that we inherit from our parents.

Scientists discover the basis of allergic reactions
It is known that a specific birch pollen protein causes the immune system to overreact.

Structural Genomics Consortium and CHDI Foundation announce new partnership
The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) and CHDI Foundation have entered into a unique open-access research collaboration to discover and characterize new drug targets for Huntington's disease using structural and chemical biology In this first partnership of its kind, SGC and CHDI have explicitly agreed not to file for patents on any of the collaborative research and to make all reagents and knowledge available without restriction to the wider research community, including pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic research groups.

University of Toronto biologists pave the way for improved epilepsy treatments
University of Toronto biologists leading an investigation into the cells that regulate proper brain function, have identified and located the key players whose actions contribute to afflictions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia.

Team finds on-off switch to burning stored fat
Scientists' discovery of how white fat cells are converted to beige, and the on-off switch for the process, could lead to novel diabetes and obesity drugs.

Immune system molecules may promote weight loss, UCSF study finds
The calorie-burning triggered by cold temperatures can be achieved biochemically -- without the chill -- raising hopes for a weight-loss strategy focused on the immune system rather than the brain, according to a new study by UC San Francisco researchers.

Termites, fungi and climate change
Climate change models could have a thing or two to learn from termites and fungi, according to a new study released this week.

Demographics drive fitness partner decisions online, Penn study finds
According to a new study led by University of Pennsylvania's Damon Centola, participants in an online fitness program ignored the fitness aptitude of their potential partners, instead choosing partners based on age, gender and BMI.

A sand-dwelling new species of the moonseed plant genus Cissampelos from the Americas
Researchers from the Missouri Botanical Garden have discovered in dry forests and transient sand dunes in Bolivia and Paraguay, a new plant species in the moonseed family Menispermaceae.

Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers find the mechanism that forms cell-to-cell catch bonds
Strong cell-to-cell bonds are important to heart health and fighting cancer.

Brazil leads the world in reducing carbon emissions
A new Science study provides the first in-depth analysis of how Brazil became the global-leader in reducing carbon emissions and deforestation -- and managed to increase its agriculture production at the same time.

Vanderbilt scientists discover that chemical element bromine is essential to human life
Twenty-seven chemical elements are considered to be essential for human life.

State of wildland fire emissions, carbon, and climate research
The current state of knowledge, critical knowledge gaps, and importance of fire emissions for global climate and terrestrial carbon cycling is the focus of nine science syntheses published in a special issue in the Forest Ecology and Management journal titled, Wildland Fire Emissions, Carbon, and Climate: Science Overview and Knowledge Needs.

Improved glucose control slows progression to end-stage renal disease in type 1 diabetes
The results of a 20-year study confirm that people with type 1 diabetes who have developed kidney complications can slow the progress of their complications by improving control of their blood glucose over the long term.

Scientists generate long-sought molecular map of critical genetic machinery
A team led by researchers at The Scripps Research Institute has used advanced electron microscopy techniques to determine the first accurate structural map of Mediator, one of the largest and most complex 'molecular machines' in cells.

Doing more means changing less when it comes to gene response, new study shows
An international team led by scientists at the University of Turku in Finland studied thermally-adapted fish populations to discover that the more biological functions a gene has, the less it responds to environmental change.

A new diagnostic tool for dementia diseases
A new diagnostic tool helps clinicians to differentiate between Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia and mild cognitive impairment.

For forests, an earlier spring than ever
Over the last two decades, spurred by higher temperatures caused by climate change, Harvard scientists say, forests throughout the Eastern US have experienced earlier springs and later autumns than ever before.

Fasting may help protect against immune-related effects of chemotherapy and aging
Chemotherapy can cause many side effects, including the depletion of immune cells.

New EU reforms fail European wildlife
Despite political proclamation of increased environmental focus, experts argue that the European Union's recent agricultural reforms are far too weak to have any positive impact on the continent's shrinking farmland biodiversity, and call on member states to take action.

A new way to make laser-like beams using 250x less power
With precarious particles called polaritons that straddle the worlds of light and matter, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a new, practical and potentially more efficient way to make a coherent laser-like beam.

Brain circuit problem likely sets stage for the 'voices' that are symptom of schizophrenia
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified problems in a connection between brain structures that may predispose individuals to hearing the 'voices' that are a common symptom of schizophrenia.

Early palliative support services help those caring for patients with advanced cancer
Dartmouth researchers have found that those caring for patients with advanced cancer experienced reduced depression and felt less burdened by caregiving tasks when palliative support services were offered soon after the patient's diagnosis.

Healthy tissue grafted to the brains of Huntington's patients also develops the disease
A study published in Annals of Neurology reports that healthy human tissue grafted to the brains of patients with Huntington's disease in the hopes of treating the neurological disorder also developed signs of the illness, several years after the graft.

Couples sleep in sync when the wife is satisfied with their marriage
Couples are more likely to sleep in sync when the wife is more satisfied with their marriage.

What a 66-million-year-old forest fire reveals about the last days of the dinosaurs
As far back as the time of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, forests recovered from fires in the same manner they do today, according to a team of researchers from McGill University and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

Science Elements podcast highlights chemistry for search-and-rescue missions
The June feature of Science Elements, the American Chemical Society's weekly podcast series, shines the spotlight on devices that use chemistry to locate people trapped in collapsed buildings.

Restoring trust in VA health care
In the wake of recent revelations of overly long patient wait times and systematic manipulation and falsification of reported wait-time data, UC Davis and Harvard public policy leaders believe the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health-care system's problems can be fixed by strong leadership, greater transparency and reforms that refocus the organization on its primary mission of providing timely access to consistently high-quality care.

Research shows compassion and euthanasia don't always jibe
New research from Case Western Reserve University found that when faced with moral dilemmas, compassionate thinking can produce counterintuitive results, challenging prevailing views of empathy's effects on moral judgment.

Researchers use living systems as a guide to develop advanced technologies
Biologically driven design leads to the development of novel multi-functional materials, miniaturized electromechanical systems, and reliable living tissues as a more sustainable solution to pressing technological problems facing the human race.

Use of gestures reflects language instinct in young children
Young children instinctively use a 'language-like' structure to communicate through gestures, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

New isotopic evidence supporting moon formation via Earth collision with planet-sized body
A new series of measurements of oxygen isotopes provides increasing evidence that the moon formed from the collision of the Earth with another large, planet-sized astronomical body, around 4.5 billion years ago.

Licensing executive named distinguished fellow by international organization
Craig Smith, a licensing and business development specialist at Sandia National Laboratories, has been selected as a distinguished fellow by the Licensing Executives Society International and its Chemicals, Energy, Environment and Materials sector.

Northern Ireland Assembly to receive policy recommendations
A report of the political science event -- which was entitled The Northern Ireland 'Culture Wars' Symposium -- has now been published and it includes policy recommendations.

Hurricane Sandy no help to Obama in 2012 presidential race, new study suggests
Results suggest that immediately following positive news coverage of Obama's handling of the storm's aftermath, Sandy positively influenced attitudes toward Obama, but that by Election Day, reminders of the hurricane became a drag instead of a boon for the president, despite a popular storyline to the contrary.

Overcoming barriers to successful use of autonomous unmanned aircraft
While civil aviation is on the threshold of potentially revolutionary changes with the emergence of increasingly autonomous unmanned aircraft, these new systems pose serious questions about how they will be safely and efficiently integrated into the existing civil aviation structure, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Silent mutations speak up
Returning to research of years ago, U biologists developed an assay to test effects of all possible silent mutations on protein translation.

Research helps clarify how obesity leads to type 2 diabetes, cancer
In a study published online June 5 in the journal Cell, a researcher at The University of Texas at Dallas and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego found that a protein called HIF-1 alpha plays a key role in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in obese mice.

What's in the sheep genome? Wool see
After eight years of work, researchers have completed the first sequencing of the entire sheep genome.

New York City's history from the ground up in Steinberg's 'Gotham Unbound'
After exploring the environmental impact of the American obsession with green lawns in his last book, Case Western Reserve University historian Ted Steinberg now has turns his attention to the environmental footprint of one of the world's most iconic cities: New York. 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