Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 23, 2014
A step in the right direction to avoid falls
Researchers have developed a mathematical model that lends new insight to how humans walk.

UTSA microbiologists discover regulatory thermometer that controls cholera
Karl Klose, professor of biology and a researcher in UTSA's South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, has teamed up with researchers at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany to understand how humans get infected with cholera, Their findings were released this week in an article published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

XenOPAT, mouse models for personalized cancer treatment
On Sept. 8, the company XenOPAT SL, a spin-off of the Institute of Biomedical Research and the Catalan Institute of Oncology was established with the aim of bringing the company the latest scientific developments to the service combating cancer with two main branches: the development of new drugs and advance the implementation of personalized cancer treatments.

New supplemental awards apply sex and gender lens to NIH-funded research
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $10.1 million in supplemental funding to bolster the research of 82 grantees to explore the effects of sex in preclinical and clinical studies.

Eating five a day may keep the blues away
Fruit and vegetable consumption could be as good for your mental as your physical health, new research suggests.

Lack of sleep increases risk of failure in school
A new Swedish study shows that adolescents who suffer from sleep disturbance or habitual short sleep duration are less likely to succeed academically compared to those who enjoy a good night's sleep.

Advancing the understanding of an understudied food allergy disorder
Investigators at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have published the first study to extensively characterize eosinophilic gastritis.

Patients accept false-positives to achieve diagnostic sensitivity
Both patients and healthcare professionals believe diagnosis of extracolonic malignancy with screening computed tomography colonography greatly outweighs the potential disadvantages of subsequent radiologic or invasive follow-up tests precipitated by false-positive diagnoses, according to a new study.

Paraffins to cut energy consumption in homes
40 percent of the total consumption of energy in Europe takes place in buildings, so reducing this consumption is becoming increasingly important.

Solar energy-driven process could revolutionize oil sands tailings reclamation
A civil engineering research team at the University of Alberta has developed a new way to clean oil sands process affected water and reclaim tailings ponds in Alberta's oil sands industry.

NYU-Mount Sinai Beth Israel study explores drug users' opinions on genetic testing
The study gauged drug users' attitudes and understandings of genetics and genetic testing through six focus groups segregated by race and ethnicity to increase participants' comfort in talking about racial and ethnic issues.

Nanotubes help healing hearts keep the beat
Patches to heal pediatric heart defects are improved when infused with carbon nanotubes.

Getting to the root of the problem in space
Plant biology investigations called Petri Plants explore the fundamental genetic mechanisms plants use to adapt to a microgravity environment.

Brain wave may be used to detect what people have seen, recognize
Brain activity can be used to tell whether someone recognizes details they encountered in normal, daily life, which may have implications for criminal investigations and use in courtrooms, new research shows.

Presence or absence of early language delay alters anatomy of the brain in autism
Individual differences in early language development, and in later language functioning, are associated with changes in the anatomy of the brain in autism.

Study uncovers genetic driver of inflammation, uses it to prevent and treat liver cancer
Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have demonstrated for the first time in preclinical studies that blocking the expression of a gene known as astrocyte elevated gene-1 halts the development and progression of liver cancer by regulating inflammation.

'Space bubbles' may have aided enemy in fatal Afghan battle
A new study provides evidence that plasma bubbles may have contributed to the communications outages during the battle of Takur Ghar and presents a new computer model that could help predict the impact of such bubbles on future military operations.

Note to young men: Fat doesn't pay
Men who are already obese as teenagers could grow up to earn up to 18 percent less than their peers of normal weight.

New anti-cancer peptide vaccines and inhibitors developed by Ohio State Researchers
Researchers have developed two new anticancer peptide vaccines and two peptide inhibitors as part of a larger peptide immunotherapy effort at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Being sheepish about climate adaptation
In a first-of-its kind study that combined molecular and environmental data, professor Meng-Hua Li et al., performed a search for genes under environmental selection from domesticated sheep breeds.

A piece of work demonstrates various ways for controlling light in the terahertz frequency
The Journal of Optics has devoted the front page of its special edition on Mid-infrared and THz Photonics to the work produced by Public University of Navarre researchers.

Termites evolved complex bioreactors 30 million years ago
Achieving complete breakdown of plant biomass for energy conversion in industrialized bioreactors remains a complex challenge, but new research shows that termite fungus farmers solved this problem more than 30 million years ago.

Heels for a cause: FFANY, QVC present $240,000 from shoe sales to Pitt researchers
The Fashion Footwear Association of New York and QVC recently presented $240,000 for breast cancer research to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Academia Sinica, UC Davis sign agreement on exchanges and tech transfer
UC Davis and Academia Sinica of Taiwan have entered into a collaborative agreement to develop a unique educational and scientific exchange program that couples cutting-edge research with opportunities to translate innovative technologies and commercially relevant discoveries into new companies.

Los Alamos researchers uncover properties in nanocomposite oxide ceramics for reactor fuel
The relationship between the termination chemistry and the dislocation structure of the interface offers potential avenues for tailoring transport properties and radiation damage resistance of oxide nanocomposites.

Lung cancer test less effective in areas where infectious lung disease is more common
An analysis of 70 studies finds that use of the diagnostic imaging procedure of fludeoxyglucose F18-positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography may not reliably distinguish benign disease from lung cancer in populations with endemic (high prevalence) infectious lung disease compared with nonendemic regions, according to a study in the Sept.

New analysis of human genetic history reveals female dominance
Female populations have been larger than male populations throughout human history, according to research published today in the open-access journal Investigative Genetics.

Higher cigarette taxes and stronger smoke-free policies may reduce alcohol consumption
Increasing cigarette taxes and smoke-free policies are known to reduce smoking prevalence.

Effect of intervention, removal of costs, on prenatal genetic testing
An intervention for pregnant women that included a computerized, interactive decision-support guide regarding prenatal genetic testing, and no cost for testing, resulted in less prenatal test use and more informed choices, according to a study in the Sept.

Does the belief in guardian angels make people more cautious?
While many believe that guardian angels watch over to keep them safe in a dangerous world, a new study finds that those who believe are actually less inclined to take risks despite this believed protection.

Kessler Foundation researchers find foot drop stimulator beneficial in stroke rehab
Kessler Foundation scientists have published a study showing that use of a foot drop stimulator during a task-specific movement for 4 weeks can retrain the neuromuscular system.

Stop taking patients in cardiac arrest to hospital, says expert
It's time to stop taking patients in cardiac arrest to hospital and let ambulance crews deliver the best possible care at the scene, argues a senior UK doctor in The BMJ this week.

Recreating the stripe patterns found in animals by engineering synthetic gene networks
Researchers at the CRG try to understand how networks of genes work together to create specific patterns like stripes.

New measure provides more data on oxygen levels during sedation
The 'area under the curve of oxygen desaturation' may provide a more sophisticated approach to monitoring blood oxygen levels during procedures using sedation, according to a study published in Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Artificial intelligence that imitates children's learning
The computer programs used in the field of artificial intelligence are highly specialized.

Antifreeze proteins in Antarctic fish prevent both freezing and melting
Antarctic fish that manufacture their own 'antifreeze' proteins to survive in the icy Southern Ocean also suffer an unfortunate side effect, researchers funded by the National Science Foundation report: The protein-bound ice crystals that accumulate inside their bodies resist melting even when temperatures warm.

Does size matter? MRI imaging sheds light on athletes most at risk for severe knee injury
With only 200-300,000 per year, ACL injuries are far less common than ankle ligament injuries, which number more than two million annually.

The mechanics of tissue growth
Pitt, Carnegie Mellon engineers combine mechanics with biology to make key discovery about communication between cells.

Gene mutation discovered in blood disorder
An international team of scientists has identified a gene mutation that causes aplastic anemia, a serious blood disorder in which the bone marrow fails to produce normal amounts of blood cells.

Skin coloring of rhesus macaque monkeys linked to breeding success, new study shows
Skin color displayed amongst one species of monkey provides a key indicator of how successfully they will breed, a new study has shown.

Kinsey study of single parents' dating, sexual activity contradicts assumptions
Contrary to what is often assumed about single parents, particularly single parents of young children, a new study from The Kinsey Institute has found that single parents of children younger than age 5 date and are sexually active as often as singles without children -- and more so than single parents of older children.

Diabetes: Complexity lost
Extracting information from the largely-ignored instantaneous dynamics of the small ups and downs of blood sugar may illuminate some of the poorly understood frontiers of human physiology and possibly suggest new ways to monitor and treat diabetes based on maintaining and restoring the complexity of the overall control system, a notion they dub using the 'system as target.'

Unless Congress acts, patients may soon lose access to primary care
A national report showing the benefits of preventing a reduction in the rates physicians receive for providing Medicaid services was released today by the American College of Physicians.

Speaking of Chemistry: Why we need antibiotics (video)
Antibiotics revolutionized health care in the early 20th century, helping kill bacteria that once killed thousands of people.

Smart meters could cause conflict for housemates, study shows
Research from academics at The University of Nottingham has revealed that new technology to allow people to monitor their energy usage in the home could lead to conflict among housemates.

Researchers reveal new rock formation in Colorado
An astonishing new rock formation has been revealed in the Colorado Rockies, and it exists in a deeply perplexing relationship with older rocks.

Researchers identify brain areas activated by itch-relieving drug
Brain areas that respond to reward and pleasure are linked to the ability of the drug butorphanol to relieve itch, according to new research led by Dr.

Alcohol-evoked drinking sensations differ among people as a function of genetic variation
Taste strongly influences food and beverage intake, including alcohol. A new study looks at the relationship between alcohol-related sensations and polymorphisms in bitter and burn receptor genes.

Airway muscle-on-a-chip mimics asthma
New drugs are urgently needed to treat asthma. Hope may be on the horizon thanks to a team that has developed a human airway muscle-on-a-chip that accurately mimics the way smooth muscle contracts in the human airway, under normal circumstances and when exposed to asthma triggers.

Beating stress outdoors? Nature group walks may improve mental health
Group nature walks are linked with significantly lower depression, less perceived stress and enhanced mental health and well-being, according to the study conducted by the University of Michigan, with partners from De Montfort University, James Hutton Institute, and Edge Hill University in the United Kingdom.

Opportunities to reduce patient burden associated with breast cancer screening
The many misperceptions about breast cancer screening options and risks, the benefits and costs of screening, and the need for new approaches and better education are discussed in a series of articles in a supplement to Journal of Women's Health.

New hope for beloved family pets
University of Leicester researchers work with Avacta Animal Health Ltd to develop novel system for diagnosing lymphoma in dogs.

NIH funds next phase of Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program
The National Institutes of Health will award funds to support the next phase of its Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program to improve ways of predicting drug safety and effectiveness.

EORTC presentations at ESMO 2014 Congress
EORTC investigators will present the results of their cancer research at ESMO 2014 Congress, Sept.

NREL Industry Growth Forum attracts clean energy entrepreneurs and investors
Thirty clean energy companies will present their business cases to a panel of investors and industry experts Oct.

Critically ill ICU patients lose almost all of their gut microbes and the ones left aren't good
Researchers at the University of Chicago have shown that after a long stay in the Intensive Care Unit only a handful of pathogenic microbe species remain behind in patients' intestines.

NASA sees Tropical Depression Fung-Wong becoming more frontal
Tropical Depression Fung-Wong skirted the coast of mainland China and is moving through the East China Sea.

Dying brain cells cue new brain cells to grow in songbird
Using a songbird as a model, scientists have described a brain pathway that replaces cells that have been lost naturally and not because of injury.

This week from AGU: New geologic map of Mars, storm surge in Florida
Currently, five spacecraft are investigating Mars, and a swarm of new missions to the Red Planet either have been launched or are in development.

UW-Madison team developing 'tissue chip' to screen neurological toxins
A multidisciplinary team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research is creating a faster, more affordable way to screen for neural toxins, helping flag chemicals that may harm human development.

Study helps assess impact of temperature on belowground soil decomposition
The Earth's soils store four times more carbon than the atmosphere and small changes in soil carbon storage can have a big effect on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

Chimpanzees raised as pets or performers suffer long-term effects on their behavior
Although the immediate welfare consequences of removing infant chimpanzees from their mothers are well documented, little is known about the long-term impacts of this type of early life experience.

Safe passages into adulthood: Preventing gender-based violence and its consequences
Gender-based violence affects the physical and mental health of girls and boys, men and women worldwide.

Research shows alcohol consumption influenced by genes
How people perceive and taste alcohol depends on genetic factors, and that influences whether they 'like' and consume alcoholic beverages, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Could suburban sprawl be good for segregation?
Racially and economically mixed cities are more likely to stay integrated if the density of households stays low, finds a new analysis of a now-famous model of segregation.

Surveys may assess language more than attitudes, says study involving CU-Boulder
Scientists who study patterns in survey results might be dealing with data on language rather than what they're really after -- attitudes -- according to an international study involving the University of Colorado Boulder.

New research suggests sleep apnea screening before surgery
Scheduled for surgery? New research suggests that you may want to get screened and treated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) before going under the knife.

Aberrant PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway found in vestibular schwanommas may be therapeutic target
Researchers from the University of Toronto, directed by Drs. Gelareh Zadeh and Boris Krischek, investigated gene expression in normal vestibular nerves and vestibular schwannomas.

Water-quality trading can reduce river pollution
Allowing polluters to buy, sell or trade water-quality credits will reduce pollution in rivers and estuaries faster and at lower cost than requiring them to meet compliance costs on their own, a Duke-led study finds.

Microplastic pollution discovered in St. Lawrence River sediments
A team of researchers from McGill University and the Quebec government have discovered microplastics (in the form of polyethylene 'microbeads,' less than 2 mm in diameter) widely distributed across the bottom of the St.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthcare?
A new Tel Aviv University study has found that privatized medical care in the US has contributed to greater wealth-health inequality than state-sponsored healthcare systems in Sweden, the UK, Israel, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

Best friends' drinking can negate the protective effects of an alcohol dehydrogenase 1B gene variant
Alcohol use that begins during adolescence affects the development of alcohol use disorders during adulthood.

Interactive map reveals rooftop reflectance for 5 California cities
Berkeley Lab scientists use aerial imagery to create an interactive map that displays the solar reflectance (also known as albedo) of individual roofs in Bakersfield, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose.

AWHONN recommends reducing overuse of labor induction
The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses is calling upon healthcare providers and pregnant women to avoid induction of labor at any time during pregnancy unless it is medically necessary.

Researchers develop new DNA sequencing method to diagnose tuberculosis
Researchers working in the UK and The Gambia, have developed a new approach to the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) that relies on direct sequencing of DNA extracted from sputum -- a technique called metagenomics -- to detect and characterize the bacteria that cause TB without the need for time-consuming culture of bacteria in the laboratory.

Protecting our processors
The National Science Foundation and Semiconductor Research Corporation today announced nine research awards to 10 universities totaling nearly $4 million under a joint program focused on Secure, Trustworthy, Assured and Resilient Semiconductors and Systems.

Future flexible electronics based on carbon nanotubes
Researchers have demonstrated a new method to improve the reliability and performance of transistors and circuits based on carbon nanotubes, a semiconductor material that has long been considered by scientists as one of the most promising successors to silicon for smaller, faster and cheaper electronic devices.

Mefloquine fails to replace SP for malaria prevention during pregnancy
In this issue of PLOS Medicine, Clara Menendez from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Spain, and colleagues report results from two large randomized controlled trials conducted in Africa to test an alternative drug for malaria prevention in HIV-negative and HIV-positive pregnant women.

Modest effect of statins on diabetes risk and bodyweight related to mechanism of action
The mechanism by which statins increase the risk of type 2 diabetes has been investigated in a large-scale analysis from an international team led by researchers from UCL and the University of Glasgow, using information from genetic studies and clinical trials.

New NIH/DOE grant for life science studies at NSLS-II
A new grant just awarded by the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Energy will fund the operation of a suite of powerful experimental tools for Life Sciences research at DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Organ donation: Do we opt-in or opt-out?
Researchers say there should be an international database containing the very latest information about organ donations and transplants, so policy makers can make informed decisions on whether to adopt an opt-out or opt-in system.

Rate of diabetes in US may be leveling off
Following a doubling of the incidence and prevalence of diabetes in the US from 1990-2008, new data suggest a plateauing of the rate between 2008 and 2012 for adults, however the incidence continued to increase in Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adults, according to a study in the Sept.

Eureka Therapeutics raises $21 million in Series C to expand cancer immunotherapy pipeline
Eureka Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that the company has secured $21 million in a Series C Financing.

Federal food program puts food on the table, but dietary quality could be improved
A new study suggests that participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as the food stamp program, had lower dietary quality scores compared with income eligible non-participants.

'Bendy' LEDs
'Bendy' light-emitting diode displays and solar cells crafted with inorganic compound semiconductor micro-rods are moving one step closer to reality, thanks to graphene and the work of a team of researchers in Korea.

Immune system is key ally in cyberwar against cancer
Research by Rice University scientists who are fighting a cyberwar against cancer finds that the immune system may be a clinician's most powerful ally.

Insect genomes' analysis challenges universality of essential cell division proteins
Scientists from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have found that one of the foundational proteins in cell division, previously shown to be essential in organisms as diverse as yeast, flies and humans, has been surprisingly lost on multiple occasions during insect evolution.

Video blinds us to the evidence, NYU, Yale study finds
Where people look when watching video evidence varies wildly and has profound consequences for bias in legal punishment decisions, a team of researchers at NYU and Yale Law School has found.

Mother-infant bed sharing messaging should be tailored, according to UGA researcher
Bed sharing, a practice where mother and infant sleep on the same surface, remains popular all over the world despite potential health risks for the infant.

Study questions accuracy of lung cancer screens in some geographic regions
A new analysis of published studies found that FDG-PET technology is less accurate in diagnosing lung cancer versus benign disease in regions where infections like histoplasmosis or tuberculosis are common.

Virtual water: Tracking the unseen water in goods and resources
Trading in virtual water between water-rich and water-poor regions has been suggested as a means to allay water scarcity.

Results of the 1st EORTC Cancer Survivorship Summit
A special issue of the European Journal of Cancer presents detailed reports on the wide range of research presented during the 1st EORTC Cancer Survivorship Summit held this past January in Brussels, Belgium.

Interdisciplinary research team finds method for more precise diagnosis of pneumonia
An interdisciplinary team of George Washington University researchers are investigating more accurate and rapid methods of identification of bacterial pathogens in patients with pulmonary infections, which could lead to more targeted antimicrobial therapy with potentially less adverse effects and lower costs.

Study finds gallbladder surgery can wait
Study finds surgeons can wait until regular business hours and still safely perform gallbladder removals on patients needing the surgery.

Australasian Symposium on Health Communication, Advertising and Marketing
Effective behavior and social change health campaigns will be the focus of the inaugural Australasian Symposium on Health Communication, Advertising and Marketing, also known as Health CAM 14, at Queensland University of Technology's Gardens Point on Tuesday, Sept.

Facial masculinity not always a telling factor in mate selection
Women living where rates of infectious disease are high, according to theory, prefer men with faces that shout testosterone when choosing a mate.

Increased knowledge of HPV vaccines does not predict a higher rate of vaccination
A year-long study of over 360 adolescents who were considered to be ideal candidates to receive the HPV vaccine showed that neither increased parental or adolescent knowledge about HPV or the vaccine resulted in higher rates of vaccination.

State policies are effective in reducing power plant emissions, CU-led study finds
A new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder found that different strategies used by states to reduce power plant emissions -- direct ones such as emission caps and indirect ones like encouraging renewable energy -- are both effective.

Slight alterations in microRNA sequences hold more information than previously thought
MicroRNA isoforms show population-specific and gender-specific signatures -- a finding that could affect how researchers view and study microRNAs.

NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain
The National Institutes of Health is convening a Pathways to Prevention workshop to assess the available scientific evidence on the long-term effectiveness and potential risks of opioids for treating chronic pain.

'Brain Breaks' increase activity, educational performance in elementary schools
A recent survey about an exercise DVD that adds short breaks of physical activity into the daily routine of elementary school students found it had a high level of popularity with both students and teachers, and offered clear advantages for overly sedentary educational programs.

BU receives NSF grant to develop 'smart city' cloud platform
Boston University's Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering has received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop a 'smart-city' cloud platform designed to streamline and strengthen multiple municipal functions.

Moving to the 'burbs is bad for business
A new study from Concordia University shows that higher profits are had by retailers located furthest from where the market is expanding.

Case Western Reserve University on track to become No. 1 synchrotron lab in world
Case Western Reserve University's synchrotron facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory is on its way to becoming the No.

Big changes in the Sargasso Sea
In the region of the North Atlantic Ocean known as the Sargasso Sea, circling ocean currents accumulate mats of Sargassum seaweed that shelter a surprising variety of fishes, snails, crabs, and other small animals.

Search for better biofuels microbes leads to the human gut
Scientists have scoured cow rumens and termite guts for microbes that can efficiently break down plant cell walls for the production of next-generation biofuels, but some of the best microbial candidates actually may reside in the human lower intestine, researchers report.

Infant cooing, babbling linked to hearing ability, MU researcher finds
University of Missouri research shows that infant vocalizations are primarily motivated by infants' ability to hear their own babbling.

First drink to first drunk
An early age of onset of drinking is a risk factor for subsequent heavy drinking and negative outcomes.

Southampton scientists grow a new challenger to graphene
A team of researchers from the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre has developed a new way to fabricate a potential challenger to graphene.

Insects' fear limits boost from climate change, Dartmouth study shows
Scientists often measure the effects of temperature on insects to predict how climate change will affect their distribution and abundance, but a Dartmouth study shows for the first time that insects' fear of their predators, in addition to temperature, ultimately limits how fast they grow.

Asteroid named for University of Utah makes public debut
What's rocky, about a mile wide, orbits between Mars and Jupiter and poses no threat to Earth?

A multi-function protein is key to stopping genomic parasites from 'jumping'
Most organisms, including humans, have parasitic DNA fragments called 'jumping genes' that insert themselves into DNA molecules, disrupting genetic instructions in the process.

Medical students who attended community college likelier to serve poor communities
Among students who apply to and attend medical school, those from underrepresented minority backgrounds are more likely than white and Asian students to have attended a community college at some point. 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