Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 01, 2014
Deployment-related respiratory symptoms in returning veterans
In a new study of the causes underlying respiratory symptoms in military personnel returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, a large percentage of veterans had non-specific symptoms that did not lead to a specific clinical diagnosis.

Bone marrow transplantation shows potential for treating adults with sickle cell disease
Use of a lower intensity bone marrow transplantation method showed promising results among 30 patients (16-65 years of age) with severe sickle cell disease, according to a study in the July 2 issue of JAMA.

UH researchers identify one of world's thinnest piezoelectric materials
In collaboration with scientists at Rice University and University of Washington, University of Houston mechanical engineering chair Pradeep Sharma and his doctoral student Matthew Zelisko have identified one of the thinnest possible piezoelectric materials on the planet -- graphene nitride.

New NIST metamaterial gives light a one-way ticket
NIST researchers have built a silver, glass and chromium nanostructure that can all but stop visible light cold in one direction while giving it a pass in the other.

A Spaniard and a Portuguese discover a new species of beetle in the world's deepest cave
The unusual habitat of the Krubera cave in the Western Caucasus remains a mystery.

New spawning reefs to boost native fish in St. Clair River
Construction of two new fish-spawning reefs is about to begin in the St.

The inhibition of a protein opens the door to the treatment of pancreatic cancer
Researchers from IMIM have identified a new protein, galectin-1, as a possible therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer.

Millions in need of HIV services will continue to be left out
Millions in need will continue to be left out, unless HIV services are run more efficiently.

Tags reveal Chilean devil rays are among ocean's deepest divers
Thought to dwell mostly near the ocean's surface, Chilean devil rays (Mobula tarapacana) are most often seen gliding through shallow, warm waters.

Seeing your true colors: Standards for hyperspectral imaging
After a successful non-human trial, NIST researchers have started gathering data on how human skin looks under various wavelengths of light in order to develop badly needed standards for a diagnostic technique called hyperspectral imaging that gives doctors a noninvasive, painless way to discriminate between healthy and diseased tissue and reveal how well damaged tissue is healing over a wide area.

Freeze-storage egg banking for egg donation treatment
The rapid freezing technique of vitrification is set to revolutionize egg donation as a fertility treatment by enabling freeze-storage egg-banking.

Alcohol use disorders linked to decreased 'work trajectory'
Workers with alcohol use disorders are more likely to have a flat or declining 'work trajectory,' reports a study in the July Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command
A new generation of miniature biological robots is flexing its muscle.

EORTC presents European solution for effective cancer drug development
In a paper published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, the EORTC describes how collaborative molecular screening platforms can help researchers understand the biology of a cancer and support the design and conduct of subsequent confirmatory trials.

Updated guidelines covering fusion procedures for degenerative disease of the lumbar spine
The Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine is pleased to announce today's publication of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves' updated guidelines for the performance of fusion procedures for degenerative disease of the lumbar spine.

A sheep's early life experiences can shape behavior in later life
New research has found that a sheep's experiences soon after birth can shape its later behavior and also that of its offspring.

The Lancet: Infectious diseases cause significant burden in the USA
Infectious diseases remain major public health challenges in the United States, according to a new report published in The Lancet as part of a new Series, The health of Americans.

Catheter ablation a first-line treatment for atrial flutter
Use of catheter ablation is not only beneficial for treating atrial flutter but also can significantly reduce hospital visits -- both inpatient and emergency -- and lower the risk for atrial fibrillation, according to research by UC San Francisco.

Mayo Clinic researchers reveal treasure trove of genes key to kidney cancer
A genomic analysis of clear cell renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer, from 72 patients has uncovered 31 genes that are key to development, growth and spread of the cancer, say researchers from Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Adults stop anti-rejection drugs after stem-cell transplant reverses sickle cell disease
Half of patients in a trial have safely stopped immunosuppressant medication following a modified blood stem-cell transplant for severe sickle cell disease, according to a study in the July 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Behind a marine creature's bright green fluorescent glow
Probing the mysterious glow of light produced naturally by animals, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have deciphered the structural components related to fluorescence brightness in the primitive sea creature known as amphioxus.

GW researcher receives more than $1 million in grants to study epigenetics of pancreatic cancer
Alexandros Tzatsos, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and regenerative biology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, was awarded over one million dollars in grants from the National Institutes of Health to study the molecular foundations of pancreatic cancer.

The Lancet: Nearly 80 percent of US deaths in the first 3 decades of life are due to unintentional injury or violence
A new report on unintentional injury and violence in the United States, published in The Lancet as part of a new Series, The health of Americans, has found that prevention strategies across society show a great deal of promise in preventing unintended deaths and injuries.

Plants respond to leaf vibrations caused by insects' chewing, MU study finds
Previous studies have suggested that plant growth can be influenced by sound and that plants respond to wind and touch.

UCLA awarded $7 million to unravel mystery genetic diseases
The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is one of six institutions nationwide chosen by the National Institutes of Health to join their effort in tackling the most difficult-to-solve medical cases and develop ways to diagnose rare genetic disorders.

Bringing the bling to antibacterials
Bacteria love to colonize surfaces inside your body, but they have a hard time getting past your skin.

Chinese herbal extract may help kill off pancreatic cancer cells
In research appearing in AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, University of Minnesota researchers find an ancient Chinese herb decreases a protective protein that helps cells survive allowing cell death in pancreatic cancer cells.

Christof von Kalle, M.D., Ph.D. receives Pioneer Award
In recognition of his leadership and accomplishments, Dr. von Kalle has received a Pioneer Award from Human Gene Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Drug everolimus does not improve overall survival in patients with advanced liver cancer
Despite strong preclinical data, the drug everolimus failed to improve overall survival in patients with advanced liver cancer, compared to placebo, according to a study in the July 2 issue of JAMA.

New study involving CU-Boulder tells the tale of a kangaroo's tail
Kangaroos may be nature's best hoppers. But when they are grazing on all fours, which is most of the time, their tail becomes a powerful fifth leg, says a new study involving the University of Colorado Boulder.

Poor physical, financial health driven by same factors
Poor physical health and financial health are driven by the same underlying psychological factors, finds a new study out of the Olin Business School at Washington University in St.

Medicare-backed breast cancer screenings skyrocket, but do patients benefit?
Breast cancer screening costs for Medicare patients skyrocketed between 2001 and 2009, but the increase did not lead to earlier detection of new breast cancer cases, according to a study published by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the July 1 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Unsuspected aspect of immune regulation revealed
Until now, the immune cells known as 'B cells' have been thought to specialise only in the production of antibodies.

Pregnancies following egg donation associated with more than 3-fold higher risk of hypertension
With an ever-aging female patient population, egg donation is an increasingly common treatment in infertility.

New analysis of 'swine flu' pandemic conflicts with accepted views on how diseases spread
New analysis of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the US shows that the pandemic wave was surprisingly slow, and that its spread was likely accelerated by school-age children.

Comedy, the refuge of gays in Franco-era cinema
The more representation of gays and lesbians was prohibited, the more interest people took in these figures, represented most of all in comedy films.

Analysis of the Chinese facial profile: Contours of the side face in the Tu and Zang ethnic minorities
Researchers at Minzu University of China conducted geometric morphometric analyses, using advanced digital photography and image processing technology, of the contours of the side face and variations in the Tu and Zang (Tibetan) ethnic minorities from northwestern Qinghai province.

New Wayne State research to improve energy efficiency and lessen environmental pollutants
A Wayne State University professor has been awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, the agency's most prestigious award for up-and-coming researchers in science and engineering.

Mayo Clinic: Proton therapy has advantages over IMRT for advanced head and neck cancers
A new study by radiation oncologists at Mayo Clinic comparing the world's literature on outcomes of proton beam therapy in the treatment of a variety of advanced head and neck cancers of the skull base compared to intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has found that proton beam therapy significantly improved disease free survival and tumor control when compared to IMRT.

New compound blocks 'gatekeeper' enzyme to kill malaria
Melbourne researchers are homing in on a new target for malaria treatment, after developing a compound that blocks the action of a key 'gatekeeper' enzyme essential for malaria parasite survival.

Drink walkers do it because their mates think it's okay: QUT study
Friends may be the key to stopping their mates drink walking, a risky behavior that kills on average two Australians every week, a QUT study has found.

Cancer risk: Aspirin and smoking affect aging of genes
The risk of developing cancer increases with age. Factors like smoking and regular aspirin use also affect the risk of cancer -- although in the opposite sense.

Whole-exome sequencing helpful to id gene mutations linked to nervous system diseases
Use of exome sequencing improved the ability to identify the underlying gene mutations in patients with biochemically defined defects affecting multiple mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes (enzymes that are involved in basic energy production), according to a study in the July 2 issue of JAMA.

Patients with severe ME have little or no access to specialist treatment services
One in three severely affected adults with ME in England have no access to local specialist services, new research has shown.

The Lancet: Chronic disease prevention one of 21st century's key challenges
According to a report on chronic diseases by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers, published in The Lancet as part of a new Series, The health of Americans, half of all adults in the USA suffer from at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity, and over a quarter of adults have two or more.

Foodborne bacteria can cause disease in some breeds of chickens after all
Contrary to popular belief, the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is not a harmless commensal in chickens but can cause disease in some breeds of poultry according to research published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Zero tolerance for xenon
NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC has signed a RadioXenon Emissions Pledge with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization to help the world's nuclear test-ban monitors focus on the detection of nuclear tests.

Stanford engineers envision an electronic switch just 3 atoms thick
Stanford researchers believe they've discovered a crystal that can form a monolayer three atoms thick.

Short sleep, aging brain
Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age.

New compound blocks 'gatekeeper' enzyme to kill malaria
Melbourne researchers are homing in on a new target for malaria treatment, after developing a compound that blocks the action of a key 'gatekeeper' enzyme essential for malaria parasite survival.

Weekend emergency surgeries deadlier for children
Children who undergo simple emergency surgeries, such as hernia repairs or appendix removals, on weekends are more likely to suffer complications and even die than children getting the same kind of treatment during the week, according to results of a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study.

Separating finely mixed oil and water
Researchers have found an inexpensive way to separate fine mixtures of oil, water.

One in six adolescents in the ER has experienced dating violence
Of adolescents visiting the emergency department for any reason, one in five girls and one in eight boys reported dating violence in the past year.

Engaging parents, community to map student success in South King County
Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have found that students participating in an initiative to boost student achievement were most successful when schools and communities found creative and culturally responsive ways of engaging parents.

UH chemical engineer makes device fabrication easier, thanks to NSF grant
University of Houston chemical and biomolecular engineer Gila Stein received a $279,411, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to build models that can explain the complex physical and chemical reactions that take place in lithography systems used for device fabrication.

Scientists uncover the key to adaptation limits of ocean dwellers
The simpler a marine organism is structured, the better it is suited for survival during climate change.

Carnegie's Christopher Field awarded Roger Revelle Medal
The American Geophysical Union announced on June 30 that Christopher Field will receive the Roger Revelle Medal.

A case study of manta rays and lagoons
Doug McCauley chose one of the most isolated places in the world, Palmyra Atoll, to study the ecology of the Manta alfredi.

Study examines neurological outcomes for TBI treatments
In patients with a traumatic brain injury, neither the administration of the hormone erythropoietin or maintaining a higher hemoglobin concentration through blood transfusion resulted in improved neurological outcome at six months, according to a study in the July 2 issue of JAMA.

Enlightening cancer cells
Joint EMBO Journal paper by IST Austria and Vienna Medical University groups on engineered cell surface receptors activated by light.

NIH study reveals gene critical to the early development of cilia
Researchers at the National Eye Institute have described the functions of a gene responsible for anchoring cilia -- sensory hair-like extensions present on almost every cell of the body.

Finland to lead the way in developing the storage of solar and wind energy
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has joined forces with Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku in the launch of an extensive development project for a brand new energy system and its associated business sector in Finland.

Scientists discover how plastic solar panels work
Scientists don't fully understand how 'plastic' solar panels work, which complicates the improvement of their cost efficiency, thereby blocking the wider use of the technology.

Cesarean section linked to slight increase in future stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy
Cesarean section is associated with a slightly increased rate of subsequent stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy, according to a large study of women living in Demark, published in this week in PLOS Medicine.

NREL supercomputer tackles grid challenges
'Big data' is playing an increasingly big role in the renewable energy industry and the transformation of the nation's electrical grid, and no single entity provides a better tool for such data than the Energy Department's Energy Systems Integration Facility located on the campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Video games could provide venue for exploring sustainability concepts
Video games have the potential to educate the public and encourage development of creative solutions to social, economic and environmental problems related to global sustainability issues such as pollution, drought or climate change.

The biology of addiction risk looks like addiction
Research suggests that people at increased risk for developing addiction share many of the same neurobiological signatures of people who have already developed addiction.

Nanotechnology for a sustainable future, new book offers insights
A newly released book, Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety: Risk, Regulation and Management, offers insights into how these new technologies may be applied to build a sustainable future and provides practical strategies for identifying and mitigating the potential risks that accompany emerging nanotechnology.

Danish efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance inspire in the US Congress
Denmark's systematic and scientific strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance in food production has been on the agenda at a briefing in the US Congress.

Carnegie awarded $10 million for innovative energy research
The Department of Energy has awarded Carnegie $10 million over four years for basic research that could lead to the discovery of new energy materials through its program to support Energy Frontier Research Centers.

Fear, not data, motivates sunscreen users, research shows
We're often told that worrying can be harmful to one's health.

Study finds online bullying creates off-line fear at school
Cyberbullying creates fear among students about being victimized at school, a recent study by Sam Houston State University found.

Campus showcases high-performance buildings
Researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory are transforming the way the world uses energy -- and those transformations become apparent the moment one sets foot on the NREL campus in Golden, Colorado.

Exploring human nature through the social web
Over the last several years, the web has changed dramatically, both in the amount of content available and the nature of such content.

Biomarker predicts effectiveness of brain cancer treatment
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a new biomarker that predicts whether glioblastoma -- the most common form of primary brain cancer -- will respond to chemotherapy.

For cancer patients, sugar-coated cells are deadly
Every living cell's surface has a protein-embedded membrane that's covered in polysaccharide chains -- a literal sugar coating.

Genetic evidence that body mass increases the risk of asthma in mid-childhood
Some of the increase in asthma risk toward the end of the 20th century could be attributed to the increase in body mass index in mid-childhood, according to new research published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Locusts harness the sun to get their optimum diet
If you are a locust, the most nutritious plant to eat depends on the ambient temperature.

Clemson scientists: Kudzu can release soil carbon, accelerate global warming
Clemson University scientists are shedding new light on how invasion by exotic plant species affects the ability of soil to store greenhouse gases.

Studies: Addiction starts with an overcorrection in the brain
A trio of new studies show how the brain overcorrects to drugs and alcohol in a way that suppresses dopamine long-term, leading to withdrawal symptoms.

Eurofins Genomics and AmpTec close distribution agreement for very long synthetic RNAs
Joint expertise to provide custom services for in vitro transcribed single-stranded and double-stranded RNAs and for functional synthetic mRNAs.

3D printer to aid the visually impaired students in their educational endeavors
New technology has been developed to make tactile objects with ease thanks to the convergence technology of 3D printing and 3D thermal reflow treatment, which can be denoted as the revolution in manufacturing technology.

NREL bolsters batteries with nanotubes
Researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory are turning to extremely tiny tubes and rods to boost power and durability in lithium-ion batteries, the energy sources for cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles.

Reducing deer populations may reduce risk of Lyme disease
After a 13-year study was conducted, researchers in Connecticut have found that reduced deer populations can lead to a reduction in Lyme disease cases.

Cellular gates for sodium and calcium controlled by common element of ancient origin
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have spotted a strong family trait in two distant relatives: the channels that permit entry of sodium and calcium ions into cells turn out to share similar means for regulating ion intake, they say.

Predicting the outcome of hepatitis C virus treatment
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies a marker that can identify patients likely to have an HCV relapse after antiviral therapy.

How does your garden grow?
Growing plants in a microscope is helping scientists to view roots developing in 3-D and in real time.

Most women are aware of oocyte freezing for social reasons
While the majority of younger women are aware of egg freezing as a technique of fertility preservation and consider it an acceptable means of reproductive planning, only one in five would consider it appropriate for them, according to the results of an internet survey performed in the UK and Denmark.

Blind lead the way in brave new world of tactile technology
Imagine feeling a slimy jellyfish, a prickly cactus or map directions on your iPad Mini retina display, because that's where tactile technology is headed.

Smartphone app may revolutionize mental health treatment
A new technology developed by researchers at Tel Aviv University is poised to transform the way in which patients with mental illnesses are monitored and treated by clinicians.

Smarter than you think: Fish can remember where they were fed 12 days later
It is popularly believed that fish have a memory span of only 30 seconds.

Solar panels light the way from carbon dioxide to fuel
Researchers in the laboratory of Andrew Bocarsly, a Princeton professor of chemistry, collaborated with start-up company Liquid Light Inc. of Monmouth Junction, N.J., to devise an efficient method for harnessing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a potential alternative fuel known as formic acid.

Preconceptional factors in the prediction of fertility and the reproductive lifespan
A project in Denmark whose aim is to assess the reliability of preconceptional lifestyle and biological factors as predictors of fertility has found a pronounced effect of the contraceptive pill on markers used to assess 'ovarian reserve,' a predictor of future reproductive lifespan.

New insights from the modENCODE Project are published in Genome Research
Genome Research publishes six articles online and in print today describing recent advancements from the modENCODE Project.

How do ants get around? Ultra-sensitive machines measure their every step...
How do ants manage to move so nimbly whilst coordinating three pairs of legs and a behind that weighs up to 60 percent of their body mass?

Efforts to cut unnecessary blood testing bring major decreases in health care spending
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center used two relatively simple tactics to significantly reduce the number of unnecessary blood tests to assess symptoms of heart attack and chest pain and to achieve a large decrease in patient charges.

NREL and General Motors announce R&D partnership to reduce cost of automotive fuel cells
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and General Motors are partnering on a multiyear, multimillion dollar joint effort to accelerate the reduction of automotive fuel cell stack costs through fuel cell material and manufacturing research and development.

NIST test house exceeds goal; ends year with energy to spare
The NIST net-zero energy test house in suburban Washington, D.C., not only absorbed winter's best shot, it came out on top, reaching its one-year anniversary on July 1 with enough surplus energy to power an electric car for about 1,440 miles.

Institute of Physics announces 2014 award winners
The Institute of Physics today, Tuesday 1 July 2014, announces this year's award winners with IOP's International award, the Isaac Newton Medal, going to Professor Deborah Jin.

New approach identifies cancer mutations as targets of effective melanoma immunotherapy
A new approach demonstrated that the recognition of unique cancer mutations appeared to be responsible for complete cancer regressions in two metastatic melanoma patients treated with a type of immunotherapy called adoptive T-cell therapy.

Nature of solids and liquids explored through new pitch drop experiment
Physicists at Queen Mary University of London have set up a new pitch drop experiment for students to explore the difference between solid and liquids.

Thirty outstanding ASTRO members named fellows
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has selected 30 distinguished members of the Society to receive the Fellow of ASTRO designation.
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