Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 14, 2014
Food allergies more widespread among inner-city children
Already known for their higher-than-usual risk of asthma and environmental allergies, young inner-city children appear to suffer disproportionately from food allergies as well, according to results of a study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Long antibiotic treatments: Slowly growing bacteria to blame
Whether pneumonia or sepsis -- infectious diseases are becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

Laser makes microscopes way cooler
Laser physicists have found a way to make atomic-force microscope probes 20 times more sensitive and capable of detecting forces as small as the weight of an individual virus.

Vitamin D deficiency may reduce pregnancy rate in women undergoing IVF
Women with a vitamin D deficiency were nearly half as likely to conceive through in vitro fertilization as women who had sufficient levels of the vitamin, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

CF mucus defect present at birth
New research by University of Iowa scientists shows that cystic fibrosis (CF), a life-shortening, inherited condition that affects about 30,000 Americans, causes abnormalities in airway mucus that impairs the ability to clear particles and germs out of the airway.

Drugs that flush out HIV may impair killer T cells, possibly hindering HIV eradication
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have shown promise in 'flushing out' HIV from latently infected cells, potentially exposing the reservoirs available for elimination by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), also called killer T cells.

Elsevier announces 2013 Journal Impact Factor highlights
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the highlights of its journal Impact Factor performance in 2013.

Tissue development 'roadmap' created to guide stem cell medicine
In a boon to stem cell research and regenerative medicine, scientists at Boston Children's Hospital, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Boston University have created a computer algorithm called CellNet as a 'roadmap' for cell and tissue engineering, to ensure that cells engineered in the lab have the same favorable properties as cells in our own bodies.

NSAIDs benefit overweight breast cancer patients, study finds
Researchers have determined that postmenopausal overweight or obese breast cancer patients receiving hormone therapy as part of their treatment and who use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen have significantly lower breast cancer recurrence rates and a sizable delay in time to cancer recurrence.

Antibodies, together with viral 'inducers,' found to control HIV in mice
A new strategy devised by researchers at Rockefeller University harnesses the power of broadly neutralizing antibodies, along with a combination of compounds that induce viral transcription, in order to attack latent reservoirs of HIV-infected cells in an approach termed 'shock and kill.'

Dynamic culture of a thermosensitive collagen hydrogel improves tissue-engineered peripheral nerve
In a study reported on Neural Regeneration Research, a thermosensitive collagen hydrogel remained as a liquid when kept at temperatures below 10C and gelled when the temperature was increased to 37C in an incubator for 30 minutes, which was used as an extracellular matrix and combined with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to construct tissue-engineered peripheral nerve composites in vitro.

Early antibiotic exposure leads to lifelong metabolic disturbances in mice
A new study published today in Cell suggests that antibiotic exposure during a critical window of early development disrupts the bacterial landscape of the gut, home to trillions of diverse microbes, and permanently reprograms the body's metabolism, setting up a predisposition to obesity.

Novel treatment strengthens bones in genetic disease neurofibromatosis type-1
An enzyme therapy may prevent skeletal abnormalities associated with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type-1, Vanderbilt investigators have discovered.

Reduced testosterone tied to endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure
Men, women and children exposed to high levels of phthalates -- endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics and some personal care products -- tended to have reduced levels of testosterone in their blood compared to those with lower chemical exposure, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

High prevalence of opioid use by Social Security disability recipients, reports Medical Care
More than 40 percent of Social Security Disability Insurance recipients take opioid pain relievers, while the prevalence of chronic opioid use is over 20 percent and rising, reports a study in the September issue of Medical Care.

Study: Brain imaging shows brain differences in risk-taking teens
New research from the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas investigating brain differences associated with risk-taking teens found that connections between certain brain regions are amplified in teens more prone to risk.

A husband's declining health could put Taiwanese women at risk for health issues
Taiwanese wives with ailing husbands see increases in blood glucose levels, says a new report published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Scientists fold RNA origami from a single strand
RNA origami is a new method for organizing molecules on the nanoscale, making it possible to fabricate complicated shapes from a single strand of RNA.

Single enzyme is necessary for development of diabetes
An enzyme called 12-LO promotes the obesity-induced oxidative stress in the pancreatic cells that leads to pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

Strong state alcohol policies reduce likelihood of binge drinking
People living in states with stronger alcohol policy environments have a substantially lower likelihood of any binge drinking, frequent binge drinking, and high-intensity binge drinking, according to a new study by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health and Boston Medical Center, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Food allergies more widespread among inner-city children
Already known for their higher-than-usual risk of asthma and environmental allergies, young inner-city children appear to suffer disproportionately from food allergies as well, according to results of a study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Mysteries of space dust revealed
The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks, which likely originated from beyond our solar system, are more complex in composition and structure than previously imagined.

New non-invasive technique controls size of molecules penetrating the blood-brain barrier
A new technique developed by Elisa Konofagou, associate professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at Columbia Engineering, has demonstrated for the first time that the size of molecules penetrating the blood-brain barrier can be controlled using acoustic pressure -- the pressure of an ultrasound beam -- to let specific molecules through.

Workaholism: The addiction of this century
Researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway has been the first to assess workaholism in a nationally representative sample.

Scientists study 'talking' turtles in Brazilian Amazon
Turtles are well known for their longevity and protective shells, but it turns out these reptiles use sound to stick together and care for young, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations.

Protein found to block benefits of vitamin A cancer therapy
Retinoic acid is a form of vitamin A that is used to treat and help prevent the recurrence of a variety of cancers, but for some patients the drug is not effective.

UT Arlington receives Walmart, Walmart Foundation innovation grant
UT Arlington has received a $229,214 grant from the Walmart Foundation to build a robotic small motors assembly and testing system that would cut the manufacturing costs of goods, allowing those goods to be produced in the United States that were formerly built overseas.

New shock-and-kill approach could eradicate barrier to curing HIV
Despite tremendous progress in combatting HIV-1 infection with antiretroviral therapy, there is still no cure for the disease because these drugs do not kill a hidden reservoir of infected cells in the body.

Immune cell discovery could help to halt cancer spread
Melbourne researchers have revealed the critical importance of highly specialized immune cells, called natural killer cells, in killing melanoma cells that have spread to the lungs.

Researchers identify a mechanism that stops progression of abnormal cells into cancer
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine report that a tumor suppressor pathway, called the Hippo pathway, is responsible for sensing abnormal chromosome numbers in cells and triggering cell cycle arrest, thus preventing progression into cancer.

Molecular engineers record an electron's quantum behavior
A team of researchers led by the University of Chicago has developed a technique to record the quantum mechanical behavior of an individual electron contained within a nanoscale defect in diamond.

RNA-targeted drug candidate for Lou Gehrig's disease found
By targeting RNA molecules that tangle and clump in the nervous systems of patients with the most common genetic form of ALS and FTD, researchers have shown they can effectively limit those damaging elements in cells taken from patients.

New tool makes a single picture worth far more than a thousand words
A photo is worth a thousand words, but what if the image could also represent thousands of other images?

Bypass commands from the brain to legs through a computer
A Japanese research group led by Shusaku Sasada, research fellow and Yukio Nishimura, associate professor of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences and National Institutes of Natural Sciences, has successfully made an artificial connection from the brain to the locomotion center in the spinal cord by bypassing with a computer and exercised control over walking.

Scientists detail urgent research agenda to address chronic disease toll
According to recommendations resulting from a multidisciplinary conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, scientists and physicians in low- and middle-income countries should build on existing HIV research to study and treat chronic conditions.

NSAIDs may lower breast cancer recurrence rate in overweight and obese women
Recurrence of hormone-related breast cancer was cut by half in overweight and obese women who regularly used aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, according to data published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Space Station sharper images of Earth at night crowdsourced for science
Citizen scientists can now help catalog night imagery of Earth taken by astronauts on the International Space Station to help save energy, contribute to better human health and safety and improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry.

New Irish research sheds light on how aspirin works to reduce cancer deaths
Researchers have discovered that women who had been prescribed aspirin regularly before being diagnosed with breast cancer are less likely to have cancer that spread to the lymph nodes than women who were not on prescription aspirin.

Global public health objectives need to address substance abuse in developing countries
Substance addiction is a large and growing problem for developing societies.

Seven tiny grains captured by Stardust likely visitors from interstellar space
The 1999 Stardust mission flew by comet Wild-2 in 2004, capturing cometary and interstellar dust, and delivered its dust-loaded collectors to Earth in 2006.

NASA to investigate climate impacts of Arctic Sea ice loss
A new NASA field campaign will begin flights over the Arctic this summer to study the effect of sea ice retreat on Arctic climate.

New analysis links tree height to climate
In research to be published in the journal Ecology -- and currently posted online as a preprint -- Thomas Givnish, a professor of botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, attempts to resolve a debate as to which factors actually set maximum tree height, and how their relative importance varies in different parts of the world.

Tropical Storm Karina forms in Eastern Pacific near Socorro Island
Socorro Island in the Eastern Pacific received an unwelcome tropical visitor on the morning of August 13 when satellite data confirmed the formation of Tropical Storm Karina.

Plants may use newly discovered language to communicate, Virginia Tech scientist discovers
A Virginia Tech scientist has discovered a potentially new form of plant communication, one that allows them to share an extraordinary amount of genetic information with one another.

Aspirin may slow recurrence in breast cancer patients
New findings published in the journal Cancer Research reveal some postmenopausal overweight breast cancer patients who use anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen have significantly lower breast cancer recurrence rates.

New Milky Way maps help solve stubborn interstellar material mystery
An international team of sky scholars has produced new maps of the material located between the stars in the Milky Way.

NASA sees fragmented thunderstorm bands wrapped around Tropical Storm Karina
Although Tropical Storm Karina is still strengthening in the Eastern Pacific Ocean NASA's Aqua satellite revealed a large band of fragmented thunderstorms wrapping into its center from the north.

Adipose-derived stem cells and nerve regeneration
Current clinical treatment of peripheral nerve injuries predominantly relies on sacrificing a section of nerve from elsewhere in the body to provide a graft at the injury site.

Elsevier announces the launch of open-access journal: Neurobiology of Stress
Elsevier, world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce the launch of a new open-access journal: Neurobiology of Stress.

Disruption of gut bacteria early in life can lead to obesity in adulthood
A new study reveals that these microbes in the gut shape their hosts' metabolism early in life and that disrupting them with short-term exposure to antibiotics during infancy can cause metabolic changes that appear to increase the risk of obesity in adulthood.

Inside the cell, an ocean of buffeting waves
Harvard-led researchers put forth a new model of the cytoplasm as a gel, not a liquid, and demonstrate that ATP-driven processes are indirectly responsible for transport within the cell.

Woodrats' genes help them to win the arms race against their food
A handful of genes arm the woodrat against the toxic chemicals in its foodstuff, the creosote plant, according to research published in the open-access journal BMC Ecology.

UT Arlington and Pediatrix partner to bring simulation training direct to practice
A publication in the August issue of Clinical Simulation in Nursing describes a new project called 'remote-controlled distance simulation' that links university professors with nurses and physicians in clinics and hospitals.

New frontiers of fecal microbiota transplantation
Fecal microbiota transplantation is one of the most innovative new treatments of the 21st century.

UTSA research sheds light on factors affecting veteran hiring
UTSA researcher Christopher Stone sheds light on the factors affecting hiring decisions about veterans.

Computation and collaboration lead to significant advance in malaria
Researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine have developed a new computational method to study the function of disease-causing genes, starting with an important new discovery about a gene associated with malaria -- one of the biggest global health burdens.

Newborns' genetic code sends infection distress signal
Babies suffering from life-threatening bacterial infections such as sepsis could benefit from improved treatment, thanks to a ground-breaking study.

Gender disparities uncovered in desire to receive living donor kidney transplants
In two predominantly black dialysis clinics, women were less likely to want to undergo living donor kidney transplantation compared with men, despite being more likely than men to receive unsolicited offers for kidney transplants from family and friends.

Study details shortage of replication in education research
Although replicating important findings is essential for helping education research improve its usefulness to policymakers and practitioners, less than 1 percent of the articles published in the top education research journals are replication studies, according to new research published today in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Hoopoes' eggs show their true colors
Hoopoe females use cosmetics on their eggs -- and the eggs gradually change color when they are incubated.

The Lancet: virus-like particle vaccine shows promise against chikungunya
The first human trial of a new vaccine developed using non-infectious virus-like particles appears likely to offer protection against chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne infection, according to a study published in The Lancet.

Severity of sleep apnea impacts risk of resistant high blood pressure
A new study shows a strong association between severe, untreated obstructive sleep apnea and the risk of elevated blood pressure despite the use of high blood pressure medications.

Understanding parallels of human and animal parenting can benefit generations to come
Strong evidence now shows that human and animal parenting share many nervous system mechanisms.

Memories of errors foster faster learning
Using a deceptively simple set of experiments, researchers at Johns Hopkins have learned why people learn an identical or similar task faster the second, third and subsequent time around.

Scripps Research Institute chemists uncover powerful new click chemistry reactivity
Chemists led by Nobel laureate K. Barry Sharpless at The Scripps Research Institute have used his click chemistry to uncover unprecedented, powerful reactivity for making new drugs, diagnostics, plastics, smart materials and many other products.

Common mutation successfully targeted in Lou Gehrig's disease and frontotemporal dementia
An international team led by scientists from the Florida campuses of the Scripps Research Institute and the Mayo Clinic have for the first time successfully designed a therapeutic strategy targeting a specific genetic mutation that causes a common form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, as well a type of frontotemporal dementia.

EARTH Magazine: Are slow-slip earthquakes under Tokyo stressing faults?
New research examining plate movements under Tokyo has found that since the massive magnitude-9 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, recurrence intervals for nondamaging slow-slip quakes beneath Japan's capital have shortened.

Experimental chikungunya vaccine induces robust antibody response
An experimental vaccine to prevent the mosquito-borne viral illness chikungunya elicited neutralizing antibodies in all 25 adult volunteers who participated in a recent early-stage clinical trial conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

New technology offers insight into cholesterol
With new advanced techniques developed by the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics at the University of Copenhagen it is possible to study cells in greater detail than ever before.

New gene editing method shows promising results for correcting muscular dystrophy
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers successfully used a new gene editing method to correct a mutation that leads to Duchenne muscular dystrophy in a mouse model of the condition.

Forcing chromosomes into loops may switch off sickle cell disease
Scientists have altered key biological events in red blood cells, causing the cells to produce a form of hemoglobin normally absent after the newborn period.

Researchers develop strategy to combat genetic ALS, FTD
A team of researchers at Mayo Clinic and The Scripps Research Institute in Florida have developed a new therapeutic strategy to combat the most common genetic risk factor for the neurodegenerative disorders amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and frontotemporal dementia.

MD Anderson, Foundation Medicine, team up to improve targeted therapies in metastatic disease
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced today an alliance with Cambridge, Mass.-based Foundation Medicine.

Potential drug therapy for kidney stones identified in mouse study
New research in mice suggests that a class of drugs approved to treat leukemia and epilepsy also may be effective against kidney stones.

Message to parents: Babies don't 'start from scratch'
There's now overwhelming evidence that a child's future health is influenced by more than just their parents' genetic material, and that children born of unhealthy parents will already be pre-programmed for greater risk of poor health, according to University of Adelaide researchers.

EARTH Magazine: La Brea climate adaptation as different as cats and dogs
Two new studies focusing dire wolves and saber-toothed cats are characterizing how the tar pits' two top predators coped with the warming climate toward the end of the last ice age, and the results are surprisingly dissimilar: while the wolves got smaller, the cats got bigger.

Scientists use lasers to control mouse brain switchboard
Using mice and flashes of light, scientists show that just a few nerve cells in the brain may control the switch between internal thoughts and external distractions.

UTSA chemistry professor Banglin Chen listed as one of world's Highly Cited Researchers
Banglin Chen, professor of chemistry in the UTSA College of Sciences, has been named among the world's 2014 Highly Cited Researchers by Thomson Reuters.

People fake to look authentic on social media
Presenting an authentic image on social network sites includes an element of fakery according to a new study by researchers at Aalto University.

Make your mobile device live up to its true potential -- as a data collection tool
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have developed Easy Leaf Area, a free software that calculates leaf surface area from digital images.

Genetic signal prevents immune cells from turning against the body
Salk scientists find a control signal for the immune system that could help treat autoimmune diseases and cancer.

PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma
There are many forms of memory and only some of these may be critical for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reports a new study by researchers at the University at Albany and the University of California Los Angeles.

Low education, smoking, high blood pressure may lead to increased stroke risk
Poorly educated adults who smoke face a higher risk of stroke than smokers with a higher education.

Lionfish characteristics make them more 'terminator' than predator
New research on the predatory nature of red lionfish, the invasive species that is decimating native fish populations in parts of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, seems to indicate that lionfish are not just a predator, but more like the 'terminator' of movie fame.

Parasitic worms sniff out their victims as 'cruisers' or 'ambushers'
It has been speculated that soil-dwelling parasitic worms use their sense of smell to find suitable hosts for infection.

Prevalence, risk factors for diabetic macular edema explored in study
The odds of having diabetic macular edema, a leading cause of vision loss in patients with diabetes mellitus, appears to be higher in non-Hispanic black patients than white patients, as well as in those individuals who have had diabetes longer and have higher levels of hemoglobin A1c.

Study of Chilean quake shows potential for future earthquake
Near real-time analysis of the April 1 earthquake in Iquique, Chile, showed that the 8.2 event occurred in a gap on the fault unruptured since 1877 and that the April event was not what the scientists had expected, according to an international team of geologists.

Adults with autism at higher risk of sexual victimization: York University study
Adults with autism are at a higher risk of sexual victimization than adults without, due to lack of sex education, but with improved interventions that focus on sexual knowledge and skill building, the risk could be reduced, according to a York U study.

Fukushima's legacy
Scientists began gathering biological information only a few months after the disastrous 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima power plant in Japan.

The Lancet: European Society of Cardiology Congress media alert
The Lancet is pleased to announce that the following papers will be published ahead of the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2014, taking place in Barcelona, Spain, from Aug.

Predicting fracking policy
In an article in Environmental Sciences Europe, Igor Linkov of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Concord, Mass., and colleagues discuss the importance of predicting how countries move to regulate their domestic hydraulic fracturing industries in the midst of uncertain risks and benefits.

Harnessing the power of bacteria's sophisticated immune system
Bacteria's ability to destroy viruses has long puzzled scientists, but researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say they now have a clear picture of the bacterial immune system and say its unique shape is likely why bacteria can so quickly recognize and destroy their assailants.

Researchers identify a brain 'switchboard' important in attention and sleep
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and elsewhere, using a mouse model, have recorded the activity of individual nerve cells in a small part of the brain that works as a 'switchboard,' directing signals coming from the outside world or internal memories.

Mass layoffs linked to increased teen suicide attempts
Mass layoffs trigger increased suicide attempts and other suicide-related behaviors among some teenagers, especially black teens, says new research from Duke University.

Mayo Clinic challenges some recommendations in updated cholesterol treatment guideline
A Mayo Clinic task force challenges some recommendations in the updated guideline for cholesterol treatment unveiled by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association in 2013.

Broader organ sharing won't harm liver transplant recipients
Findings published in Liver Transplantation, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the International Liver Transplantation Society, do indicate that broader sharing of organs will significantly increase the percentage of donor organs that are transported by flying rather than driving.

Human contribution to glacier mass loss on the increase
By combining climate and glacier models, scientists headed by Ben Marzeion from the University of Innsbruck have found unambiguous evidence for anthropogenic glacier mass loss in recent decades.

Freeways as fences, trapping the mountain lions of Los Angeles
That mountain lions have managed to survive at all in the Santa Monica Mountains of California -- in the vicinity of Los Angeles -- is a testament to the resilience of wildlife, but researchers studying these large carnivorous cats now show that the lions are also completely isolated, cut off from other populations by the freeway.

A self-organizing thousand-robot swarm
The first thousand-robot flash mob has assembled at Harvard University.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Julio now far from Hawaii
Hurricane Julio moved past the Hawaiian Islands like a car on a highway in the distance, and NASA's Terra satellite captured an image of the storm, now downgraded to a tropical storm located more than 700 miles away.

9/11 dust cloud may have caused widespread pregnancy issues
Pregnant women living near the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks experienced negative birth outcomes, according to a new working paper by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. 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