Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 26, 2014
Animals built reefs 550 million years ago, fossil study finds
It is a remarkable survivor of an ancient aquatic world -- now a new study sheds light on how one of Earth's oldest reefs was formed.

Scientists find potential new use for cancer drug in gene therapy for blood disorders
Scientists working to make gene therapy a reality have solved a major hurdle: bypassing a blood stem cell's natural defenses and insert disease-fighting genes into the cell's genome.

Revisions needed for current IV feeding safeguards against bloodstream infections
Current guidelines to help prevent bloodstream infections during intravenous feeding may need revisions to strengthen protections for patients, a new study finds.

New insights could help in battle to beat Parkinson's disease
Scientists have taken a step closer to understanding the causes of Parkinson's disease, identifying what's happening at a cellular level to potentially help develop future treatments.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: New estimates suggest noroviruses cause around a fifth of all cases of acute gastroenteritis worldwide
Noroviruses are a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) across all age groups, responsible for almost one-fifth of all cases worldwide.

Blocking key enzyme minimizes stroke injury, UT Southwestern research finds
A drug that blocks the action of the enzyme Cdk5 could substantially reduce brain damage if administered shortly after a stroke, UT Southwestern Medical Center research suggests.

Diabolical duo: Known breast cancer gene needs a partner to initiate and spread tumors
A team led by Princeton University researchers has found that a gene known as Metadherin promotes the survival of tumor-initiating cells via the interaction with a second molecule called SND1.

Chimps like listening to music with a different beat, research finds
Nonhuman primates preferred African, Indian tunes over strong beats typical of Western music.

Do people with autism struggle with driving?
In the first pilot study asking adults on the autism spectrum about experiences with driving, researchers at Drexel University found significant differences in self-reported driving behaviors and perceptions of driving ability compared to non-autistic adults.

Two years status of excellence: 'Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden' strengthens Dresden
Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden, cfaed, scientists have started the project 'FAST -- Fast Actuators Sensors and Transceivers.' The Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with a grant of € 45 million.

Study examines aesthetic nasal tip projection, rotation in white women
A nasal tip rotation of 106 degrees was considered the most aesthetic in a study of young white women, although what defines beauty for white faces is not necessarily applicable to the faces of other races or ethnicities.

Victoria's volcano count rises
Geologists have discovered three previously unrecorded volcanoes in volcanically active southeast Australia.

Veterans who identify as LGB could benefit from informed mental health services
In 2011, the United States Military repealed its 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that prevented gay and lesbian service members from disclosing their sexual orientation.

Penn study shows changing roles of physicians with MBAs
According to a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, physician graduates from the MBA program in heath care management report that their dual training provided such benefits as career acceleration, professional flexibility, and credibility in multidisciplinary domains.

Public sector not more effective attracting socially motivated workers than private sector
Research by the University of Southampton has found workers in the public sector are more likely to engage in socially motivated activities than their private sector counterparts.

ASPIRE Phase III trial of vaginal ring to prevent HIV completes enrollment of 2,629 women
ASPIRE, one of two Phase III trials of a promising method for preventing HIV in women -- a vaginal ring worn for a month at a time -- has completed enrollment, with 2,629 women from 15 clinical research sites in Africa now taking part in the study.

Lab monitoring tests not always ordered per recommendations
Why does one physician in a walk-in practice order laboratory monitoring tests for patients more often than a colleague working down the hallway?

54th ICAAC: Media registration now open
News media registration for the annual infectious diseases meeting of the American Society for Microbiology is now open.

Salmonella's Achilles' heel: Reliance on single food source to stay potent
Scientists have identified a potential Achilles' heel for Salmonella -- the bacteria's reliance on a single food source to remain fit in the inflamed intestine.

NNI releases progress review on environmental, health, & safety research
The National Nanotechnology Initiative released today a Progress Review on the Coordinated Implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy, a document that demonstrates the wide range of research activities, accomplishments, and collaborations of Federal agencies working toward the responsible development of nanotechnology.

Cambridge team breaks superconductor world record
A new record for a trapped field in a superconductor, beating a record that has stood for more than a decade, could herald the arrival of materials in a broad range of fields.

Scientists find the shocking truth about electric fish
Scientists have found how the electric fish evolved its jolt.

Rosin up that bow, maestro. And thank your genes
Mom or dad may have driven you to cello rehearsal all those years, but you can also thank your genes for pushing you to practice, according to new research led by a Michigan State University professor.

Awareness month spurs web searches for autism
According to a new analysis of web search trends by researchers at Drexel University, Autism Awareness Month in April does appear to drive an increase in Google searches for autism -- by a third over searches in March in recent years.

NIH scientists establish proof-of-concept for host-directed tuberculosis therapy
In a new study published in Nature, scientists describe a new type of tuberculosis treatment that involves manipulating the body's response to TB bacteria rather than targeting the bacteria themselves, a concept called host-directed therapy.

A mini-antibody with broad antiviral activity chews up viral DNA and RNA
Antibodies and their derivatives can protect plants and animals -- including humans -- against viruses.

To avoid interbreeding, monkeys have undergone evolution in facial appearance
Old World monkeys have undergone a remarkable evolution in facial appearance as a way of avoiding interbreeding with closely related and geographically proximate species, researchers from NYU and the University of Exeter have found.

Traffic light labels can give a false sense of security
The labeling of product attributes using a traffic light system influences consumers in their purchasing decisions.

Leslie Greengard to deliver The John von Neumann Lecture
Leslie F. Greengard of the Simons Foundation and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University has been awarded the 2014 John von Neumann Lecture prize.

Researchers conduct comprehensive review of treatments for depression in cancer patients
When depression co-exists with cancer, patients may be at an increased risk of death from cancer and from suicide.

Autism Speaks awards more than $1 million to fund research on autism spectrum disorders
Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced the awarding of three new targeted research grants totaling more than $1 million.

Controlling movement with light
MIT neuroscientists inhibit muscle contractions by shining light on spinal cord neurons.

Peanuts don't panic parents as much as milk and eggs
A new study in the July issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology examined 305 caregivers of children allergic to milk, egg, peanut or tree nut.

You can't teach speed: Sprinters break 10-year rule
Grand Valley State University researchers found that exceptional speed prior to formal training is a prerequisite for becoming a world-class sprinter.

Slaying bacteria with their own weapons
A novel antibiotic delivery system would exploit small molecules called siderophores that bacteria secrete to scavenge for iron in their environments.

Shaken, not stirred -- mythical god's capsules please!
Everything depends on how you look at them. Looking from one side you will see one face; and when looking from the opposite side -- you will see a different one.

A versatile joystick for animation artists
Manipulating three-dimensional animated characters on a 2D screen is challenging and requires years of training.

Not much force: Berkeley researchers detect smallest force ever measured
Berkeley Lab researchers have detected the smallest force ever measured -- approximately 42 yoctonewtons -- using a unique optical trapping system that provides ultracold atoms.

Small changes to US kidney allocation policy may help reduce geographic disparities
In Tennessee and Florida, waiting times and other measures of geographic disparity in kidney transplantation became almost equal after the states adopted a Statewide Sharing variance to the national kidney allocation policy in the early 1990s.

DFG and Leopoldina: Recommendations on 'scientific freedom and scientific responsibility'
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina presented their joint recommendations on 'Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility' on 26 June 2014 in Berlin.

A new approach to negotiations
An MIT professor's book emphasizes the importance of long-term, strategic thinking.

SAGE and ALA announce 2014 Peter Lyman Memorial Scholarship winner
SAGE and the American Library Association today announce Samuel Dodson as the recipient of the 2014 Peter Lyman Memorial/SAGE Scholarship in New Media and a travel grant to the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.

Research says TB infection may be underestimated among people taking corticosteroid pills
Tuberculosis infection among people taking corticosteroid pills may be underestimated, new research suggests.

Study: Foreign-trained physicians frustrated at lack of residency positions
Foreign-trained physicians feel there are not enough residency positions for them in countries such as Canada and the United States and this information was not communicated to them before they emigrated, a new study has found.

Increased nearsightedness linked to higher education levels and more years spent in school
German researchers have found strong evidence that attaining a higher level of education and spending more years in school are two factors associated with a greater prevalence and severity of nearsightedness, or myopia.

Caltech-led team develops a geothermometer for methane formation
A team of scientists led by Caltech geochemist John M.

The social psychology of nerve cells
UCSB researchers demonstrate that cholinergic amacrine cells creates a 'personal space' in much the same way that people distance themselves from one another in an elevator.

Water-cleanup catalysts tackle biomass upgrading
Rice University chemical engineer Michael Wong has spent a decade amassing evidence that palladium-gold nanoparticles are excellent catalysts for cleaning polluted water, but even he was surprised at how well the particles converted biodiesel waste into valuable chemicals.

Risk factors for chronic kidney disease are present decades before diagnosis
Obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and diabetes increase a person's risk of developing chronic kidney disease decades later.

Capturing CO2 emissions needed to meet climate targets
Technologies that are discussed controversially today may be needed to keep the future risks and costs of climate change in check.

Eco-friendly versatile nanocapsules developed
The Institute for Basic Science has announced that the Center for Self-assembly and Complexity have succeeded in developing a new technology that introduces metal nanoparticles on the surface of polymer nanocapsules made of cucurbit[6]uril.

Decoding characteristic food odors
How are we able to recognize foodstuffs like strawberries, coffee, barbecued meat or boiled potatoes by smell alone?

Sequencing electric eel genome unlocks shocking secrets
For the first time, the genome of the electric eel has been sequenced.

First-grade teachers using ineffective instruction for math-challenged students
First-grade teachers in the United States may need to change their instructional practices if they are to raise the mathematics achievement of students with mathematics difficulties, according to new research published online today in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

A simple solution for big data
Categorizing and representing huge amounts of data -- we're talking about peta- or even exabytes of information -- synthetically is a challenge of the future.

Continued use of low-dose aspirin may lower pancreatic cancer risk
The longer a person took low-dose aspirin, the lower his or her risk for developing pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

R+D to develop an intelligent new high performance electric motorcycle
The 'intelligence' of Bultaco's new electric motorcycle is being developed on the south side of Madrid, in Science Park of the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid, where the company has established its R + D center to work on new products and more innovative technology.

Ancient ocean currents may have changed pacing and intensity of ice ages
In a new study in Science, researchers find that the deep ocean currents that move heat around the globe stalled or even stopped about 950,000 years ago, possibly due to expanding ice cover in the north.

Over-activity of enzyme HDAC6 exacerbates symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Scientists at VIB and KU Leuven have demonstrated in fruit-flies that over-activity of the enzyme HDAC6 in the nerve ends exacerbates the symptoms of the neurodegenerative condition Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS/ Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Telemedicine catches blinding disease in premature babies
Telemedicine is an effective strategy to screen for the potentially blinding disease known as retinopathy of prematurity, according to a study funded by the National Eye Institute.

New test predicts the risk of non-hereditary breast cancer
A simple blood test is currently in development that could help predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer, even in the absence of a high-risk BRCA1 gene mutation, according to research published in the open access journal Genome Medicine.

Let there be light: Chemists develop magnetically responsive liquid crystals
University of California, Riverside chemists have constructed liquid crystals with optical properties that can be instantly and reversibly controlled by an external magnetic field.

A new non-invasive cancer test expands laboratory.
The ONCOblot Test identifies the ENOX2 protein species which resides in the blood and is unique only to malignant cancer cells.

Men and women use mental health services differently
Women with chronic physical illnesses are more likely to use mental health services than men with similar illnesses; they also seek out mental health services six months earlier than those same men, according to new study from St.

Researchers discover 'Trojan Horse' method of penetrating cellular walls without harm
Scientists with Texas A&M AgriLife Research have found a 'Trojan horse' way to deliver proteins into live human cells without damaging them.

Researchers call for patients who receive home nutritional care to have emergency plans
On the heels of the 2014 hurricane season, researchers are calling for home parenteral and enteral nutrition consumers and their homecare providers to have a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan to ensure that special needs are met during the time of a disaster.

'Big data' technique improves monitoring of kidney transplant patients
A new data analysis technique could radically improve monitoring of kidney transplant patients, according to new research published this week in PLOS Computational Biology.

Stanford's Precourt Institute partners with KQED on a new e-book series on energy
The Precourt Institute for Energy and KQED, public media for Northern California, have created a free, two-part e-book series on energy for iPads and Mac computers primarily targeted at grades eight to 13.

US should re-evaluate definition of skilled workers in immigration policy
New immigration research from Rice University, the University of North Carolina and the Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies suggests the US should re-evaluate its definition of skilled workers to include informal skills of migrant workers.

Researchers identify brain circuits involved in stress-induced fevers
When we feel mentally stressed, we often also feel physiological changes, including an increase in body temperature.

Treating gum disease improves vascular health in Indigenous Australians: Study
A simple non-surgical gum disease treatment markedly reduces the thickness of the wall of the arteries, a risk factor for heart disease, according to a first of its kind study among Aboriginal Australians.

A breakthrough for organic reactions in water
Green-chemistry researchers at McGill University have discovered a way to use water as a solvent in one of the reactions most widely used to synthesize chemical products and pharmaceuticals.

Miriam Hospital researchers develop app focused on making obese adults less sedentary
More sedentary time, regardless of physical activity levels, is associated with greater risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease and mortality.

Notorious pathogen forms slimy 'streamers' to clog up medical devices
A group of researchers from the US has moved a step closer to preventing infections of the common hospital pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, by revealing the mechanisms that allow the bacteria to rapidly clog up medical devices.

IED detector developed by Sandia Labs being transferred to Army
Sandia National Laboratories is transferring its IED detector, a highly modified MiniSAR system mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles, to the US Army to support combat military personnel.

Bloodsucking mite threatens UK honeybees
Scientists have discovered how a bloodsucking parasite has transformed deformed wing virus into one of the biggest threats facing UK honeybees.

Foul fumes derail dinner for hungry moths
In new research on how pollinators find flowers when background odors are strong, researchers have found that both natural plant odors and human sources of pollution can conceal the scent of sought-after flowers.

'Land grabbing' could help feed at least 300 million people, study suggests
Crops grown on 'land-grabbed' areas in developing countries could have the potential to feed an extra 100 million people worldwide, a new study has shown.

Packing hundreds of sensors into a single optical fiber for use in harsh environments
By fusing together the concepts of active fiber sensors and high-temperature fiber sensors, a team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh has created an all-optical high-temperature sensor for gas flow measurements that operates at record-setting temperatures above 800 degrees Celsius.

Sociologists to explore economic inequality at annual meeting in San Francisco, Aug. 16-19
The conference will feature nearly 600 sessions and more than 3,600 studies covering such subjects as family, education, sex, health, religion, work, same-sex marriage, immigration, bullying, race, social media, crime, relationships, gender, technology, socioeconomics, children, disability, political participation, neighborhood life, substance abuse, climate change, and an abundance of others.

Why tech transfer brings universities 'more than money'
Academic technology transfer -- the process of moving research from the lab to the market -- provides intrinsic benefits to universities that go far beyond any potential revenues from licenses and royalties, according to authors from five universities across the country and the Association of University Technology Managers in a new article from the National Academy of Inventors published in the current issue of Technology and Innovation.

Does psychostimulant use increase cardiovascular risk in children with ADHD?
Psychostimulant use to treat children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is increasing worldwide, and the evaluation of the cardiovascular safety of stimulant medication used in treatment has been a recent topic of concern.

Deeper insights into protein folding
Investigating the structure and dynamics of so-called Meso-Bio-Nano systems -- micron-sized biological or nanotechnology entities -- is a rapidly expanding field of science.

New species of small mammal discovered by scientists from California Academy of Sciences
Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences have discovered a new species of round-eared sengi, or elephant-shrew, in the remote deserts of southwestern Africa.

Which interferons best control viral infections?
Respiratory and intestinal infections caused by RNA viruses stimulate infected cells to produce interferons, which can act alone or in combination to block virus replication.

Organic agriculture boosts biodiversity on farmlands
Organic farming fosters biodiversity. At least that's the theory. In practice, however, the number of habitats on the land plays an important role alongside the type and intensity of farming practices.

University of Utah ophthalmologist receives $100,000 from Research to Prevent Blindness
Research to Prevent Blindness, a New York-based foundation, has announced that University of Utah researcher Wolfgang Baehr, Ph.D., will receive the Nelson Trust Award for Retinitis Pigmentosa -- and an accompanying $100,000 to pursue new scientific leads to understand contributors to blindness.

Walking the rocks: GSA Today article studies undergraduate field education
In the July 2014 issue of GSA Today, Heather Petcovic of Western Michigan University and colleagues Alison Stokes and Joshua Caulkins examine the question of geoscientists' perceptions of the value of undergraduate field education.

Virus infection supports organ acceptance
Chronic hepatitis C virus infections are among the most common reasons for liver transplants.

Researchers home in on way to predict aggressiveness of oral cancer
Studying mouth cancer in mice, researchers have found a way to predict the aggressiveness of similar tumors in people, an early step toward a diagnostic test that could guide treatment, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Fighting parasitic infection inadvertently unleashes dormant virus
Signals from the immune system that help repel a common parasite inadvertently can cause a dormant viral infection to become active again, a new study shows.

US rich get richer on stock market investments while modest investors are left behind
People on modest incomes in the US are not benefiting from stocks and bonds in the same way as the wealthy, contributing to growing wealth inequality.

Little or poor sleep may be associated with worse brain function when aging
Research published today in PLOS ONE by researchers at the University of Warwick indicates that sleep problems are associated with worse memory and executive function in older people.

We speak as we feel -- we feel as we speak
A team of researchers headed by the Erfurt-based psychologist Professor Ralf Rummer and the Cologne-based phoneticist Professor Martine Grice has carried out some ground-breaking experiments to uncover the links between language and emotions.

Silver lining found for making new drugs
Chemists at Queen Mary University of London have discovered a new chemical to aid drug manufacturing processes, making it more environmentally-friendly and easier to scale up for industry.

Ask the crowd: Robots learn faster, better with online helpers
University of Washington computer scientists have shown that crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks.

New NASA images highlight US air quality improvement
Anyone living in a major US city for the past decade may have noticed a change in the air.

Iowa State engineers turn LEGO bricks into a scientific tool to study plant growth
Iowa State University engineers are using transparent LEGO bricks to build controlled environments to study how variations in climate and soil affect plant growth.

New infections cause dormant viruses to reactivate
The famous slogan is 'A diamond is forever,' but that phrase might be better suited to herpes: Unlike most viruses, which succumb to the immune system's attack, herpes remains in the body forever, lying in wait, sometimes reactivating years later.

Tofu ingredient could revolutionize solar panel manufacture
The chemical used to make tofu and bath salts could also replace a highly toxic and expensive substance used to make solar cells, a University study published in the journal Nature has revealed. 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