Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 12, 2014
Low cholesterol linked with worse survival in patients with kidney cancer
People are often told to reduce their cholesterol to improve their heart health, but new research suggests that low cholesterol may increase kidney cancer patients' risk of dying from their disease.

Good bacteria armed with antibiotic resistance protect gut microbiome
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland have discovered that populating the gastrointestinal tracts of mice with Bacteroides species producing a specific enzyme helps protect the good commensal bacteria from the harmful effects of antibiotics.

Potential new treatment may protect celiac patients from gluten-induced injury
he gluten-specific enzyme ALV003 reduces a patient's exposure to gluten and its potential harm, according to a new phase 2 study appearing in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Scientists discover link between climate change and ocean currents over 6 million years
Scientists have discovered a relationship between climate change and ocean currents over the past six million years after analysing an area of the Atlantic near the Strait of Gibraltar, according to research published today in the journal Science.

Recreational football can treat hypertensive and type 2 diabetes patients
Football training produces significant changes in body composition and glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes patients, and effectively lowers blood pressure in men with high blood pressure.

New test detects toxic prions in blood
The first cases of mad cow disease in humans occurred in the late 1990s and are thought to be the consequence of eating contaminated beef products.

Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior
Without any pre-training or restrictions in partner choice among chimpanzees, researchers found for the first time that chimpanzees housed in a socially complex, contained setting spontaneously cooperate with multiple partners of their choosing.

Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center vaccine study hopes to improve pancreatic cancer treatment
Medical investigators at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare are studying a new cancer immunotherapy to see if it can successfully help patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

New study sheds light on what happens to 'cool' kids
A new study has found that teens who tried to act cool in early adolescence were more likely to experience a range of problems in early adulthood.

All men with gout should be routinely screened for erectile dysfunction
A new study presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress showed that erectile dysfunction is present in most men with gout and is frequently severe.

Study shows gut microbe composition different in young children with and without type 1 diabetes
New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) shows that children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have a less balanced composition of gut bacteria compared with children of the same age without diabetes.

Children showing signs of social withdrawal in risk of internalized distress
Children showing signs of social withdrawal are more susceptible to parental influences than others.

Protein anchors help keep embryonic development 'just right'
It's been known that specific proteins, called histones, must exist within a certain range -- if there are too few, a fruit fly's DNA is damaged; if there are too many, the cell dies.

Grit better than GRE at predicting success in STEM fields
Selecting graduate students in the fields of science and engineering based on an assessment of their character instead of relying almost entirely on their scores on a standardized test would significantly improve the quality of the students that are admitted and, at the same time, boost the participation of women and minorities in these key disciplines.

Tiny plants ride on the coattails of migratory birds
Since the days of Darwin, biologists have questioned why certain plants occur in widely separated places, the farthest reaches of North American and the Southern tip of South America but nowhere in between.

Heart rate variability may predict risk of disease in premature infants
Measuring variability of heart rate may identify premature infants at risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious inflammatory condition that can lead to death, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Scientists closing in on new obesity drug
Obesity and diabetes are among the fastest growing health problems in the world, and the hunt is in for a pill that can fight the problem.

Regular exercise beneficial in suppressing inflammation in rheumatic disease
Research findings presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress suggest that exercise transiently suppresses local and systemic inflammation, reinforcing the beneficial effects of exercise and the need for this to be regular in order to achieve clinical efficacy in rheumatic disease.

Immune response affects sleep and memory -- new study
Sickness-induced insomnia is common because of link between brain and immune system.

New research shows Western Amazon under threat from oil pollution
A new study of pollution records indicates that the Western Amazon, an area of unparalleled biological and cultural diversity, may have been contaminated by widespread oil pollution over a 30-year period.

African-Americans respond better to first-line diabetes drug than whites
African-Americans taking the diabetes drug metformin saw greater improvements in their blood sugar control than white individuals who were prescribed the same medication, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Imaging tools help radiologists diagnose lung cancer, save lives
Medical-imaging software under development at Rochester Institute of Technology could someday give radiologists a tool for measuring the growth of nodules in patients at risk of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists find trigger to decode the genome
Scientists from the University of Manchester have identified an important trigger that dictates how cells change their identity and gain specialized functions.

Blood product sterilization taken too far?
Certain processes used to sterilize blood products could potentially cause serious health issues in transfusion recipients, according to an international study led by Dr.

New computer program aims to teach itself everything about anything
Computer scientists from the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle have created the first fully automated computer program that teaches everything there is to know about any visual concept.

Does food addiction exist?
Women with weight problems were more impulsive than average in a food-related psychology test, a new research paper has shown.

Mountain ecosystems scientists to convene at University of Nevada, Reno
Scientists from around the world will convene at the University of Nevada, Reno for a multi-day conference on social, biological and environmental systems in mountain regions.

A picture's worth a thousand words
In a recent scientific publication, JDRF-funded researchers used a radiotracer or marker and PET scanning as a non-invasive technique to follow changes in how many active beta cells a person has.

Lower vitamin D level in blood linked to higher premature death rate
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that persons with lower blood levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to die prematurely as people with higher blood levels of vitamin D.

Hereditary disease genes found throughout the human body
A new study published in PLOS Computational Biology shows that genes associated with hereditary diseases occur throughout the human body.

Synchronized brain waves enable rapid learning
The human mind can rapidly absorb and analyze new information as it flits from thought to thought.

Cancer drug boosts levels of vascular-protective gene, KLF2
Case Western Reserve University researchers have discovered that an existing, drug, bortezomib, Velcade, used to help cancer patients has the potential to protect thousands of others from the often-deadly impact of vascular clots.

Scientists weed out pesky poison ivy with discovery of killer fungus
Researchers in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have found a natural and effective way to kill poison ivy using a naturally occurring fungus that grows on the fleshy tissue surrounding the plant's seed, potentially giving homeowners and forest managers the ability to rid landscapes of the pernicious pest.

With the right rehabilitation, paralyzed rats learn to grip again
After a large stroke, motor skills barely improve, even with rehabilitation.

Climate change winners and losers
A group of scientists have traced the genetics of modern penguin populations back to their early ancestors from the last Ice Age to better understand how three Antarctic penguin species -- gentoo, Adelie, and chinstrap penguins -- fared in response to past climate change.

Anti-dsDNA, surface-expressed TLR4 and endosomal TLR9 cooperate to exacerbate lupus
The study by Lee et al. reveals that risk factors, pathogenic anti-dsDNA and combined activation of extracellular and intracellular TLRs, induce SLE syndromes in normal mice.

The Bouchout Declaration: A commitment to open science for better management of nature
The Bouchout Declaration focuses on making digital data about our biodiversity open, offering members of the biodiversity community, for the first time, a way to demonstrate their commitment to open science for better management of nature.

Father's age influences rate of evolution
The offspring of chimpanzees inherit 90 percent of new mutations from their father, and just 10 percent from their mother, a finding which demonstrates how mutation differs between humans and our closest living relatives, and emphasises the importance of father's age on evolution.

New sensor to detect harmful bacteria on food industry surfaces
A new device designed to sample and detect foodborne bacteria is being trialled by scientists at the University of Southampton.

Alcohol abuse damage in neurones at a molecular scale identified for first time
Joint research between the University of the Basque Country and the University of Nottingham opens up pathways for generating new pharmaceutical drugs and therapies that enhance the life of alcoholic persons.

Grant to entomologist will advance research on African malaria mosquito
Bradley White, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, has received a five-year grant exceeding $1.8 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Movies with gory and disgusting scenes more likely to capture and engage audience
Recent research published in the Journal of Communication found that people exposed to core disgusts (blood, guts, body products) showed higher levels of attention the more disgusting the content grew even though they had negative reactions to the content.

Findings point toward one of first therapies for Lou Gehrig's disease
Researchers have determined that a copper compound known for decades may form the basis for a therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Potential anti-TNF response biomarker identified
DNA methylation has been identified as a potential biomarker of response to etanercept and adalimumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis according to preliminary results from one of the largest methylome-wide investigations of treatment response to anti-TNF therapies.

Ipilimumab in advanced melanoma: added benefit for non-pretreated patients not proven
Two addenda did not change the result of the dossier assessment: The results on which the drug manufacturer based its conclusions have methodological problems and are not informative.

Proteins causing daytime sleepiness tied to bone formation, target for osteoporosis
Orexin proteins, which are blamed for spontaneous daytime sleepiness, also play a crucial role in bone formation, according to findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers.

Acidification and warming threaten Mediterranean Sea iconic species
Scientist finalize their findings about the threat of Mediterranean Sea warming and acidification on key species and ecosystems after a 3.5 year study in Barcelona this week.

Long-range tunneling of quantum particles
The quantum tunnel effect manifests itself in a multitude of well-known phenomena.

Register now for the world's premier international congress in cardiovascular medicine
The world's greatest event in cardiology, ESC Congress 2014, will take place in Barcelona, Spain, from 30 August to 3 September, and as ever promises journalists a rich source of front-page news and feature background.

Scientists identify Deepwater Horizon Oil on shore even years later, after most has degraded
Years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill, oil continues to wash ashore as oil-soaked 'sand patties,' persists in salt marshes abutting the Gulf of Mexico, and questions remain about how much oil has been deposited on the seafloor.

Delinquent youth -- especially girls -- more likely to die violently as adults
Delinquency in youth predicts a significantly higher rate of violent death in adulthood -- nearly twice the rate of combat troops in wartime Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two Regenstrief investigators receive NIH career development awards
Two Regenstrief Institute investigators and Indiana University Center for Aging Research scientists -- Michael LaMantia, M.D., MPH, and Noll L.

Quantum computation: Fragile yet error-free
In a close collaborative effort, Spanish and Austrian physicists have experimentally encoded one quantum bit (qubit) in entangled states distributed over several particles and for the first time carried out simple computations on it.

Racial survival differences in young dialysis patients significant in poor neighborhoods
Young black adults on dialysis living in poor neighborhoods had a higher risk of dying while still young compared with all other young black and white adults.

Cranial ultrasound may replace temporal artery biopsy in diagnosis of giant cell arteritis
A new study presented for the first time today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress, shows that cranial ultrasound has a greater sensitivity than temporal artery biopsy,* and a comparable specificity in the diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteritis.

Severe scoliosis linked to rare mutations
Children with rare mutations in two genes are about four times more likely to develop severe scoliosis than their peers with normal versions of the genes, scientists have found.

Time-lapse study reveals bottlenecks in stem cell expansion
A time-lapse study of human embryonic stems cells has identified bottlenecks restricting the formation of colonies, a discovery that could lead to improvement in their use in regenerative medicine.

New evidence for oceans of water deep in the Earth
Northwestern University and University of New Mexico researchers report evidence for potentially oceans worth of water deep beneath the United States.

Use of cement in partial hip replacement linked to risk of death
The use of cement in partial hip replacement surgery may be linked to a risk of death -- often occurring within minutes -- finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Families like practical group wellness program -- and lose weight
Many children are obese these days, but what can be done about it?

Rise and fall of prehistoric penguin populations charted
A study of how penguin populations have changed over the last 30,000 years has shown that between the last ice age and up to around 1,000 years ago penguin populations benefitted from climate warming and retreating ice.

Unexpected origin for important parts of the nervous system
A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that a part of the nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, is formed in a way that is different from what researchers previously believed.

Processed red meat linked to higher risk of heart failure, death in men
Men who regularly eat moderate amounts of processed red meat such as cold cuts (ham/salami) and sausage may have an increased risk of heart failure incidence and a greater risk of death from heart failure.

Penn study describes new models for testing Parkinson's disease immune-based drugs
Using powerful, newly developed cell culture and mouse models of sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD), a team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has demonstrated that immunotherapy with specifically targeted antibodies may block the development and spread of PD pathology in the brain.

Study examines religious affiliation and social class
Philip Schwadel, a sociologist of religion at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, examines whether evangelical Protestants are improving in social class, as 20th-century theologian H.

NASA and NOAA satellites analyze Category 4 Hurricane Cristina
A fleet of satellites from NASA and NOAA are on the job monitoring the first major hurricane of the Eastern Pacific Ocean Season as Hurricane Cristina has reached Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Antibodies from the desert as guides to diseased cells
Nanoparticles are considered a promising approach in detecting and fighting tumour cells.

Toddlers whose parents use subsidies to buy center-based care more likely to enroll in Head Start
Using nationally representative data on approximately 2,100 children, a study by researchers from Georgetown University and Columbia University has found that children of parents who use subsidies to purchase center-based care in the toddler years are more likely to be enrolled in Head Start or public prekindergarten in their preschool years.

Smartphone apps carry higher infection risk than online dating sites or clubs
Phone dating apps used by gay men to find a sexual partner carry a higher risk of getting common sexually transmitted infections than meeting online or in bars and clubs, suggests research published online in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Mexican genetics study reveals huge variation in ancestry
In the most comprehensive genetic study of the Mexican population to date, researchers from UC San Francisco and Stanford University, along with Mexico's National Institute of Genomic Medicine have identified tremendous genetic diversity, reflecting thousands of years of separation among local populations and shedding light on a range of confounding aspects of Latino health.

David and Goliath: How a tiny spider catches much larger prey
In nature, it is very rare to find a proverbial much smaller David able to overpower and kill a Goliath for supper.

12 minutes of exercise improves attention, reading comprehension in low-income adolescents
A new Dartmouth study shows 12 minutes of exercise can improve attention and reading comprehension in low-income adolescents, suggesting that schools serving low-income populations should work brief bouts of exercise into their daily schedules.

Proliferation cues 'natural killer' cells for job change
Why would already abundant 'natural killer' cells proliferate even further after subduing an infection?

Habitat fragmentation increases vulnerability to disease in wild plants
Proximity to other meadows increases disease resistance in wild meadow plants, according to a study led by Anna-Liisa Laine at the University of Helsinki.

The transmission of information via proteins could revolutionize drug discovery
Published in Nature Communications, the article furthers a key theoretical field for drug discovery, as it would allow the discovery of many more drug binding sites in proteins of biomedical interest.

Childhood cancer survivors hospitalized frequently years after cancer treatment
Survivors of childhood cancers were hospitalized more often and for longer durations because of blood disorders and other problems, many years after cancer treatment was completed, compared with the general population, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New hi-tech approach to studying sedimentary basins
A radical new approach to analyzing sedimentary basins also harnesses technology in a completely novel way.

Vast genetic diversity among Mexicans found in large-scale study
The first large-scale, comprehensive analysis of the genomic diversity of Mexico -- led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of California-San Francisco and the Mexican National Institute of Genomic Medicine -- has identified a dazzling mosaic of genotypes and population substructures across the country.

Brain power
Columbia Engineering Professor Elizabeth M. C. Hillman has identified a new component of the biological mechanism that controls blood flow in the brain, demonstrating that the vascular endothelium plays a critical role in the regulation of blood flow in response to stimulation in the living brain.

NASA takes Tropical Cyclone Nanuak's temperature
Tropical Cyclone Nanauk is holding its own for now as it moves through the Arabian Sea.

Survivors of childhood liver transplant at risk of becoming 'skinny fat'
New research reports that survivors of childhood liver transplant remain nutritionally compromised over the long-term.

Viral infections, including flu, could be inhibited by naturally occurring protein
By boosting a protein that naturally exists in our cells, an international team of researchers led by the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, partner with UPMC CancerCenter, has found a potential way to enhance our ability to sense and inhibit viral infections.

6,000 steps a day keeps knee OA limitations away
A new study shows that walking reduces risk of functional limitation associated with knee osteoarthritis.

Active particles may enhance phase separation
An international team of researchers has studied the phase separation of a mixture of active and passive particles via molecular dynamics simulations and integral equation theoretical calculations.

Neural reward response may demonstrate why quitting smoking is harder for some
For some cigarette smokers, strategies to aid quitting work well, while for many others no method seems to work.

Researchers uncover new insights into developing rapid-acting antidepressant for treatment-resistant depression
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have generated fresh insights that could aid in the development of rapid-acting antidepressants for treatment-resistant depression.

Standing up gets groups more fired up for team work
Chairs provide great support during long meetings, but they may also be holding us back.

Broad Institute, MGH researchers chart cellular complexity of brain tumors
Scientists from the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital have conducted a first-of-its-kind study that characterizes the cellular diversity within glioblastoma tumors from patients.

When good people do bad things
MIT researchers find that being in a group makes some people lose touch with their personal moral beliefs.

Gun violence and mental illness: Study addresses perception vs. reality
Gun violence in America can be reduced, concludes an international team of scholars who analyzed dozens of studies on gun violence and mental illness.

Opioid use prior to spine surgery linked to diminished patient reported outcomes
A new study appearing in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery links the use of opioid pain relievers (prescription medications, such as Percocet) to less improvement and higher levels of dissatisfaction following spine surgery. 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