Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 04, 2014
Climate-smart agriculture requires three-pronged global research agenda
A focused, three-pronged research agenda is needed if the world is to boost agricultural production and meet the demands of its upwardly spiraling population, while dealing with climate change and limited options for expanding agricultural land, report researchers summarizing findings from the most recent Climate Smart Agriculture Conference.

Reliance Foundation, University of Chicago partner on innovative training technology for doctors
Reliance Foundation and the University of Chicago announced a collaboration to develop innovative technology that will help train medical students and clinicians for better diagnosis and improved healthcare.

Scientists prove ground and tree salamanders have same diets
Salamanders spend the majority of their lives below ground and surface only for short periods of time.

Reacting to personal setbacks: Do you bounce back or give up?
Sometimes when people get upsetting news -- such as a failing exam grade or a negative job review -- they decide instantly to do better the next time.

Scientists apply biomedical technique to reveal changes within the body of the ocean
For decades, medical researchers have sought new methods to diagnose how different types of cells and systems in the body are functioning.

UCLA professor honored for expanding our understanding of tropical forests
Stephen Hubbell, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at University of California Los Angeles, will be presented a Scientific Achievement Award during the opening ceremony of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations World Congress on Oct.

Avian influenza virus isolated in harbor seals poses a threat to humans
A study led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists found the avian influenza A H3N8 virus that killed harbor seals along the New England coast can spread through respiratory droplets and poses a threat to humans.

Cocaine rewires the brain: New study to unlock keys that could disrupt addiction
Why do cocaine addicts relapse after months or years of abstinence?

Research shows declining levels of acidity in Sierra Nevada lakes
A team led by an environmental scientist at the University of California, Riverside has conducted research on lakes in the Sierra Nevada -- the most sensitive lakes in the US to acid rain, according to the Environmental Protection Agency -- and described human impacts on them during the 20th century.

Public trust has dwindled with rise in income inequality
Trust in others and confidence in societal institutions are at their lowest point in over three decades, analyses of national survey data reveal.

Hospitalizations for heart failure increase CKD patients' risk of kidney failure
Among patients with chronic kidney disease, the risks of developing kidney failure or dying prematurely increased markedly in a step-wise fashion after each successive hospitalization for heart failure.

The Lancet: 1 in 5 child deaths in England preventable
Child deaths have fallen to very low rates in all industrialized countries, but many deaths in children and adolescents are still potentially preventable, and much more could be done to cut future deaths, according to a new three-part Series on child deaths in high-income countries, published in The Lancet.

Hartman Foundation expands support for co-op program
The Hartman Foundation Inc., founded by David Hartman, a 1958 graduate of the Case Institute of Technology, is investing time and money to expand co-op opportunities at Case Western Reserve University.

Most accurate measures of gene expression
RNA-sequencing data analysis method BitSeq developed by Academy Research Fellow Antti Honkela's, Univeristy of Helsinki, research group and University of Manchester researchers has been found to be the most accurate gene transcript expression estimation method in a large international assessment.

Study resolves discrepancy in Greenland temperatures during end of last ice age
A new study of three ice cores from Greenland documents the warming of the large ice sheet at the end of the last ice age -- resolving a long-standing paradox over when that warming occurred.

Messenger molecules identified as part of arthritis puzzle
The way in which some cells alter their behavior at the onset of osteoarthritis has been identified for the first time by researchers at the University of Liverpool.

Birth of a mineral
One of the most important molecules on earth, calcium carbonate crystallizes into chalk, shells and minerals the world over.

Wiley Current Protocols Method Prize for Nucleic Acid Chemistry awarded
The editors of Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry were pleased to award the first Current Protocols Method Prize for Nucleic Acid Chemistry to Anna-Skrollan Geiermann, University of Tokyo, for the poster presentation, 'Native Chemical Ligation of Hydrolysis-Resistant RNA-Peptide Conjugates That Bind to the Ribosome,' at the recent XXI IRT-International Roundtable of Nucleosides, Nucleotides, and Nucleic Acids conference held in Poznan, Poland Aug.

News media losing role as gatekeepers to new 'social mediators' on Twitter, study finds
The US government is doing a better job of communicating on Twitter with people in sensitive areas like the Middle East and North Africa without the participation of media organizations, according to a study co-authored by a University of Georgia researcher.

Drexel team unveils Dreadnoughtus: A gigantic, exceptionally complete sauropod dinosaur
The new 65-ton (59,300 kg) dinosaur species Dreadnoughtus schrani is the largest land animal for which body mass can be accurately calculated.

Study shows complexities of reducing HIV rates in Russia
Results of a new study conducted in St. Petersburg, Russia, show that decreasing HIV transmission among Russian HIV-infected drinkers will require creative and innovative approaches.

Finding new approaches for therapeutics against Ebola virus
Researchers from the University of Liverpool in collaboration with Public Health England have been investigating new ways to identify drugs that could be used to treat Ebola virus infection.

Speaking of Chemistry: Rethinking football head injuries (video)
This week's Speaking of Chemistry focuses on a brain disorder called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), whose symptoms include memory loss, depression and aggressive or violent behavior.

First international standards for growth of developing babies and size of newborns
The first international standards for fetal growth and newborn size have been developed by a global team led by scientists from Oxford University.

The Lancet: First international growth standards for the developing baby could help combat stunting and obesity
New international standards for fetal growth and newborn size provide the first accurate measurements of ideal growth and development from conception to birth.

A metallic alloy that is tough and ductile at cryogenic temperatures
A multi-element high‐entropy alloy not only tests out as one of the toughest materials on record, but, unlike most materials, the toughness as well as the strength and ductility of this alloy actually improves at cryogenic temperatures.

Breakthrough study identifies genetic link between the circadian clock and seasonal timing
University of Leicester researchers uncover new insights into day-length measurement in flies.

Plant-based research at Penn prevents complication of hemophilia treatment in mice
In a new study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and the University of Florida College of Medicine teamed up to develop a strategy to prevent one of the most serious complications of hemophilia treatment.

Artificial cells take their first steps
Using only a few ingredients, the biophysicist professor Andreas Bausch and his team at the Technische Universität München have successfully implemented a minimalistic model of the cell that can change its shape and move on its own.

LSU Health research discovers new therapeutic target for diabetic wound healing
Research led by scientists in Dr. Song Hong's group at LSU Health New Orleans has identified a novel family of chemical mediators that rescue the reparative functions of macrophages -- a main type of mature white blood cells -- impaired by diabetes, restoring their ability to resolve inflammation and heal wounds.

An 'anchor' that keeps proteins together
Under the auspices of Dr. Ines Teichert, Ruhr-University Bochum biologists have discovered a new scaffold protein in hyphae fungi.

Study identifies gene network behind untreatable leukemia and possible treatment target
Researchers have identified a genetic/molecular network that fuels a high-risk and aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia and its precursor disease myelodysplastic syndrome -- providing a possible therapeutic strategy for an essentially untreatable form of the blood cancer.

Cystic fibrosis: Additional immune dysfunction discovered
Cystic fibrosis is a frequent genetic disease affecting the lung and the gastrointestinal tract.

Golden Goose Award: Massages for baby rats lead to better outcomes for premature infants
What could we possibly learn from massaging rat pups? The answer is, a lot.

AGU: Ozone pollution in India kills enough crops to feed 94 million in poverty
In one year, India's ozone pollution damaged millions of tons of the country's major crops, causing losses of more than a billion dollars and destroying enough food to feed tens of millions of people living below the poverty line.

The yin and yang of overcoming cocaine addiction
Yaoying Ma says that biology, by nature, has a yin and a yang -- a push and a pull.

Team identifies important regulators of immune cell response
In a collaborative study, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology have developed a more effective method to determine how immune cells called T cells differentiate into specialized types of cells that help eradicate infected cells and assist other immune cells during infection.

Soy supplementation adversely effects expression of breast cancer-related genes
Soy supplementation alters expression of genes associated with breast cancer, raising concerns that soy could have adverse effects in breast cancer, according to a new study published Sept.

Trinity geologists re-write Earth's evolutionary history books
Life forms appeared at least 60 million years earlier than previously thought.

FDA approves 'game changing' drug for melanoma
The US Food and Drug Administration today approved a new immunotherapy drug to treat advanced melanoma, signaling a paradigm shift in the way the deadly skin cancer is treated.

Scientists identify rare stem cells that hold potential for infertility treatments
Rare stem cells in testis that produce a biomarker protein called PAX7 help give rise to new sperm cells -- and may hold a key to restoring fertility, research by scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center suggests.

Nano-pea pod model widens electronics applications
Periodic chain-like nanostructures are widely used in nanoelectronics. Typically, chain elements include the likes of quantum rings, quantum dots, or quantum graphs.

Harvard and Cornell researchers develop untethered, autonomous soft robot
A multidisciplinary team detail the innovative composite materials, design features, and fabrication methods they used to develop a soft robot capable of functioning for several hours using a battery pack or for longer periods with a light-weight electrical tether, and able to carry payloads of up to 8 kg.

Coffee genome sheds light on the evolution of caffeine
An international research team has sequenced the genome of the coffee plant Coffea canephora.

How good is the fossil record?
Do all the millions of fossils in museums around the world give a balanced view of the history of life, or is the record too incomplete to be sure?

Titania-based material holds promise as new insulator for superconductors
Research from North Carolina State University shows that a type of modified titania, or titanium dioxide, holds promise as an electrical insulator for superconducting magnets, allowing heat to dissipate while preserving the electrical paths along which current flows.

WHO-commissioned report on e-cigarettes misleading, say experts
World leading tobacco experts argue that a recently published World Health Organization (WHO)-commissioned review of evidence on e-cigarettes contains important errors, misinterpretations and misrepresentations putting policy-makers and the public in danger of foregoing the potential public health benefits of e-cigarettes.

Greener neighborhoods lead to better birth outcomes, new research shows
Mothers who live in neighborhoods with plenty of grass, trees or other green vegetation are more likely to deliver at full term and their babies are born at higher weights, compared to mothers who live in urban areas that aren't as green, a new study shows.

NASA sees Dolly's remnants bringing showers to the Rio Grande Valley
Tropical Storm Dolly fizzled out quickly on September 3 after making landfall in eastern Mexico, and NASA's Aqua satellite saw some of the remnants moving into southern Texas.

University of Houston researchers begin work on $1.8 million design-and-build project
Paul Chu, T.L.L. Temple Chair of Science and founding director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston, will lead a group of investigators as they build a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment designed to further their research and ultimately help make superconductivity and thermoelectricity more commercially viable.

UCSB researchers develop ultra sensitive biosensor from molybdenite semiconductor
UC Santa Barbara researchers demonstrate atomically thin, ultrasensitive and scalable molybdenum disulfide field-effect transistor based biosensors and establish their potential for single-molecule detection

Apolipoprotein E and apolipoprotein CI are involved in cognitive impairment progression in Chinese late-onset Alzheimer's disease
According to a recent study reported in the Neural Regeneration Research, APOE ε4 plays an important role in augmenting cognitive decline, and APOC1 H2 may act synergistically with APOE ε4 in increasing the risk of cognitive decline in Chinese patients with late-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Implact of dexamethasone on intelligence and hearing in preterm infants
Findings published in the Neural Regeneration Research attempt to provide evidence for clinical application of dexamethasone in the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome and chronic lung diseases in preterm infants.

Would web support be good for patients in an exercise referral scheme?
Exercise referrals are a useful tool available to doctors for the benefit of their patients.

Disparities persist in early-stage breast cancer treatment, MD Anderson study finds
Despite its acceptance as standard of care for early stage breast cancer almost 25 years ago, barriers still exist that preclude patients from receiving breast conserving therapy, with some still opting for a mastectomy, according to research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Hurricane Norbert pinwheels in NASA satellite imagery
The Eastern Pacific's Hurricane Norbert resembled a pinwheel in an image from NASA's Terra satellite as bands of thunderstorms spiraled into the center.

Visualizing plastic changes to the brain
Tinnitus, migraine, depression, Alzheimer's: all these are examples of diseases with neurological causes, the treatment and study of which is more and more frequently being carried out by means of magnetic stimulation of the brain.

The Lancet: International health systems fund could have averted Ebola outbreak
The Ebola crisis in west Africa could have been averted if governments and health agencies had acted on the recommendations of a 2011 World Health Organization Commission on global health emergencies, according to a new Comment, published in The Lancet.

The newest precision medicine tool: Prostate cancer organoids
Research led by investigators at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has shown for the first time that organoids derived from human prostate cancer tumors can be grown in the laboratory, giving researchers an exciting new tool to test cancer drugs and personalize cancer treatment.

2014 Breast Cancer Symposium highlights research advances in prevention, screening, therapy
Five studies from the 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium were highlighted today in an embargoed presscast for reporters.

Normal-weight counselors feel more successful at helping obese patients slim
A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that normal-weight nutrition and exercise counselors report feeling significantly more successful in getting their obese patients to lose weight than those who are overweight or obese.

Brain scans show how perceived control over setbacks promotes persistence
What makes people decide whether to persist or to give up on their goals in the face of setbacks?

Archerfish target shoot with 'skillfully thrown' water
Archerfish hunt by shooting jets of water at unsuspecting prey on leaves or twigs above, knocking them into the water below before gobbling them up.

ESF symposium focuses on 'New American Environmentalism'
A group of leading environmental scientists and policy experts will gather Sept.

Outdoor activities may be linked to exfoliation syndrome in eyes
Outdoor activities may increase the odds of developing exfoliation syndrome in the eyes, a condition which has been linked to cataracts and glaucoma.

Study: Oxidized LDL might actually be 'good guy'
A team of investigators at the University of Kentucky has made a thought-provoking discovery about a type of cholesterol previously believed to be a 'bad guy' in the development of heart disease and other conditions.

INFORMS study: Customer experience matters more when economy is doing better, not worse
Customer experience matters more when the economy is doing well than when it is doing poorly, according to a new study in the Articles in Advance section of Marketing Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Knowing how bacteria take out trash could lead to new antibiotics
A team of scientists has reconstructed how bacteria tightly control their growth and division, the cell cycle, by destroying specific proteins through regulated protein degradation.

How the brain finds what it's looking for
University of Chicago scientists have identified a brain region that appears central to perceiving the combination of color and motion.

Breast conserving therapy shows survival benefit compared to mastectomy in early-stage patients
When factoring in what is now known about breast cancer biology and heterogeneity, breast conserving therapy may offer a greater survival benefit over mastectomy to women with early stage, hormone-receptor positive disease, according to research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

To clean air and beyond: Catching greenhouse gases with advanced membranes
Researchers in Japan have developed an advanced membrane for cleaning up greenhouse gases.

Past temperature in Greenland adjusted
One of the common perceptions about the climate is that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, solar radiation and temperature follow each other.

2-D or 3-D? That is the question
Researchers at the University of Utah examined whether 3-D film is more effective than 2-D when used as a research method for evoking emotion.

Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology specialists studied jet fuel ignition
Scientists from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology published an experimental study of ignition of jet fuel.

Mantle plumes crack continents
Using a simulation with an unprecedentedly high resolution, Earth scientists from University of Paris VI and ETH Zurich have shown that magma columns in the Earth's interior can cause continental breakup -- but only if the Earth's skin is already taut.

Magnetic nanocubes self-assemble into helical superstructures
Collaborating with nanochemists led by Rafal Klajn at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who found that magnetite nanocubes can self-assemble into helical superstructures under certain conditions, UIC theoretical chemist Petr Kral and his students simulated the phenomenon and explained the conditions under which it can occur.

Researchers turn to plants to help treat hemophilia
Accidents as minor as a slip of the knife while chopping onions can turn dangerous for patients with hemophilia, who lack the necessary proteins in their blood to stem the flow from a wound.

Researchers identify new rare neuromuscular disease
An international team of researchers has identified a new inherited neuromuscular disorder.

Should scientists handle retractions differently?
A study by MIT scholars quantifies the fallout for scientists whose fields suffer high-profile retractions, with a twist: Even valid older research, when cited in a retracted study, loses credibility -- especially if the retracted paper involves malfeasance.

Potassium-rich foods cut stroke, death risks among older women
Older women who eat foods with higher amounts of potassium may be at lower risk of stroke and death than women who consume less potassium-rich foods.

Bats change strategy when food is scarce
Bats could be more flexible in their echolocation behavior than previously thought, according to a new study into the foraging techniques of the desert long-eared bat by researchers at the University of Bristol.

Use of dengue vaccine may cause short-term spikes in its prevalence
As researchers continue to work toward vaccines for serious tropical diseases such as dengue fever, experts caution in a new report that such vaccines will probably cause temporary but significant spikes in the disease in the years after they are first used.

New protagonist in cell reprogramming discovered
A group of researchers from the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona have described the role of a protein that is crucial for cell reprogramming.

Breast radiation trial provides more convenience, better compliance, lowered cost
An experimental regimen of once-weekly breast irradiation following lumpectomy provides more convenience to patients at a lower cost, results in better completion rates of prescribed radiation treatment, and produces cosmetic outcomes comparable to the current standard of daily radiation.

Study reveals breast surgery as a definitive and safe treatment for elderly patients
A study conducted by National Cancer Centre Singapore has shown that age per se is not a contraindication to breast cancer surgery, and such surgeries may be safely performed for women aged 80 years and above.

Rosetta-Alice spectrograph obtains first far ultraviolet spectra of a cometary surface
NASA's Alice ultraviolet spectrograph aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet orbiter has delivered its first scientific discoveries.

Phase III FIRST (MM-020/IFM 07-01) trial of REVLIMID (lenalidomide) plus dexamethasone in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients who are not candidates for stem cell transplant published in New England Journal of Medicine
The study met the primary endpoint as a significant progression-free survival benefit was seen for patients treated with continuous REVLIMID plus dexamethasone compared with those treated with a standard of care.

New research offers help for spinal cord patients
In a study on rats, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered the cause of the involuntary muscle contractions which patients with severe spinal cord injuries frequently suffer.

New reprogramming factor cocktail produces therapy-grade induced pluripotent stem cells
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may hold the potential to cure damaged nerves, regrow limbs and organs, and perfectly model a patient's particular disease.

Researcher advances a new model for a cosmological enigma -- dark matter
Medvedev's work solves long-standing and troublesome puzzles.

Atomically thin material opens door for integrated nanophotonic circuits
Researchers at the University of Rochester describe a new combination of materials that could be a step towards building computer chips capable of transporting digital information at the speed of light.

A lifetime of outdoor activity may contribute to common eye disease; sunglasses may help
Residential geography, time spent in the sun, and whether or not sunglasses are worn may help explain why some people develop exfoliation syndrome, an eye condition that is a leading cause of secondary open-angle glaucoma and can lead to an increased risk of cataract and cataract surgery complications, according to a study published on Sept.

Decoding the role of water in gold nanocatalysis
Researchers from the University of Houston and Trinity University have, for the first time, provided direct evidence of a water-mediated reaction mechanism for the catalytic oxidation of carbon monoxide.

Liver injury caused by herbals, dietary supplements rises in study population
New research shows that liver injury caused by herbals and dietary supplements increased from 7 percent to 20 percent in a US study group over a 10-year period.

T. rex times 7: New dinosaur species is discovered in Argentina
Scientists have discovered and described a new supermassive dinosaur species with the most complete skeleton ever found of its type.

Intestinal barrier damage in multiple sclerosis
The present study investigates whether the function of the intestines is also attacked in multiple sclerosis.

A minimally invasive, high-performance intervention for staging lung cancer
Endoscopic biopsy of lymph nodes between the two lungs (mediastinum) is a sensitive and accurate technique that can replace mediastinal surgery for staging lung cancer in patients with potentially resectable tumours.

Yellow filters in eye result in higher visibility, UGA research finds
Human eyes naturally contain yellow pigment in the macula, a spot near the center of the retina responsible for high-resolution vision.

Researchers define a spontaneous retinal neovascular mouse model
In a study featured in the Sept. 4 issue of PLOS ONE, researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston Children's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School characterized a novel mutant mouse model, termed neoretinal vascularization 2, which develops abnormal neovessels from retinal vascular plexus.

Sugar substitutes not so super sweet after all
The taste of common sugar substitutes is often described as being much more intense than sugar, but participants in a recent study indicated that these non-nutritive sugar substitutes are no sweeter than the real thing, according to Penn State food scientists. 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