Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 24, 2014
Interactive website helps lower-income smokers to stop smoking
People with lower incomes attempting to quit smoking are 36 percent more likely to succeed if they use a new interactive website called 'StopAdvisor' than if they use a static information website, finds a randomized controlled trial led by University College London researchers.

Most breast cancer patients who had healthy breast removed at peace with decision
More women with cancer in one breast are opting to have both breasts removed to reduce their risk of future cancer.

First mouse model for ALS dementia
The first animal model for ALS dementia, a form of ALS that also damages the brain, has been developed by Northwestern Medicine scientists.

NASA sees the end of post-depression Fung-Wong
Tropical Depression Fung-Wong looked more like a cold front on infrared satellite imagery from NASA than it did a low pressure area with a circulation.

Immune activity shortly after surgery holds big clue to recovery rate, Stanford team finds
The millions of people who undergo major surgery each year have no way of knowing how long it will take them to recover from the operation.

Fossil of multicellular life moves evolutionary needle back 60 million years
Virginia Tech geobiologist Shuhai Xiao and collaborators from the Chinese Academy of Sciences shed new light on multicellular fossils from a time 60 million years before a vast growth spurt of life known as the Cambrian Explosion occurred on Earth.

Discovery may lead to better treatments for autoimmune diseases, bone loss
Scientists have developed an approach to creating treatments for osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases that may avoid the risk of infection and cancer posed by some current medications.

Star Trekish, rafting scientists make bold discovery on Fraser River
A Simon Fraser University-led team behind a new discovery has '... had the vision to go, like Star Trek, where no one has gone before: to a steep and violent bedrock canyon, with surprising results.' That comment comes from a reviewer about a truly groundbreaking study just published in the journal Nature.

Sam Houston State study finds gang life is short-lived
Although membership in a gang often is depicted as a lifelong commitment, the typical gang member joins at age 13 and only stays active for about two years, according to a study at Sam Houston State University.

Bacterial 'communication system' could be used to stop and kill cancer cells, MU study finds
Researchers at the University of Missouri have discovered that a molecule used as a communication system by bacteria can be manipulated to prevent cancer cells from spreading.

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

A look at Florida's charterboat-based recreational shark fishery
A new study by researchers at the University of Miami examines the scale of Florida's charterboat shark fishing industry as well as the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of charterboat captains whose clients fish for sharks in Florida.

New linguistic tools can predict your dialect characteristics
A new linguistic study may make it possible to more accurately predict the dialect features people use based on their demographic characteristics and where they live.

UTHealth researchers to assess asthma risk in health care workers
Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health have been awarded a four-year, $1.3 million grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to study how the risk of asthma has changed for health care workers in Texas over the last 10 years.

A wriggly solution to a first-world problem
Australian researchers have achieved groundbreaking results in a clinical trial using hookworms to reduce the symptoms of celiac disease.

Scripps Research Institute scientists awarded $7.9 million to develop artificial immune system
Scientists from both campuses of The Scripps Research Institute have been awarded a total of $7.9 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense.

A single statistic can strengthen public support for traffic safety laws
Public support for effective road safety laws, already solid, can be strengthened by a single number: a statistic that quantifies the traffic-related injury risks associated with a given law, according to a new study from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

NRL researchers develop novel method to synthesize nanoparticles
Oxide nanoparticles have been shown to be crucial components in numerous applications to include electronic and magnetic devices, energy storage and generation, and as magnetic nanoparticles for use in magnetic resonance imaging.

2-D materials' crystalline defects key to new properties
Understanding how atoms 'glide' and 'climb' on the surface of 2-D crystals like tungsten disulphide may pave the way for researchers to develop materials with unusual or unique characteristics, according to an international team of researchers.

Clear skies on exo-Neptune
Astronomers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Kepler Space Telescope have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a planet outside our Solar System.

Stanford scientists use stem cells to learn how common mutation in Asians affects heart health
Over 500 million people worldwide carry a genetic mutation that disables a common metabolic protein called ALDH2.

How a single, genetic change causes retinal tumors in young children
David E. Cobrinik, M.D., Ph.D., of The Vision Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, together with colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, has answered the long-standing question of why mutations to the RB1 gene primarily cause tumors of the retina and not of other cell types.

Project aims to turn mobile phones into detectors of disease-spreading insects
The Virtual Vector Project already has built an ingenious prototype to recognize species of triatomine bugs that spread Chagas disease, endemic in much of rural Mexico, Central America and South America.

Findings give hope to plant extract as possible lupus treatment
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system turns against itself, attacking a person's healthy tissue, cells and organs.

Many elite college athletes return to play after ACL surgery
The majority of athletes included in a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine were able to return to play after having knee surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, injury.

Study: Biochar alters water flow to improve sand and clay
New research from Rice University and Colorado College could help settle questions about one of biochar's biggest benefits -- the seemingly contradictory ability to make clay soils drain faster and sandy soils drain slower.

From rats to humans: Project NEUWalk closer to clinical trials
A completely paralyzed rat can be made to walk over obstacles and up stairs by electrically stimulating the severed part of the spinal cord.

Colorado's Front Range fire severity not much different than past, say CU study
The perception that Colorado's Front Range wildfires are becoming increasingly severe does not hold much water scientifically, according to a massive new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

Good news for young patients with a leukemia subtype associated with a poor prognosis
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators found that adjusting treatment based on early response to chemotherapy made a life-saving difference to young patients with an acute lymphoblastic leukemia subtype associated with a poor outcome.

Grant to help find why people reveal information online
Penn State researchers have received a $262,383 grant from the National Science Foundation to better understand why people disclose or withhold private information during online transactions.

Realizing the promise of education
Two decades after its initiation, the University of Miami Linda Ray Intervention Program for substance-exposed babies and toddlers demonstrates long-term success.

Most stars are born in clusters, some leave 'home'
New modeling studies demonstrate that most of the stars we see were formed when unstable clusters of newly formed protostars broke up.

Arabic tweets point to US influence as fuel for anti-Americanism
An analysis of millions of Arabic-language tweets confirms high levels of anti-Americanism there, provides new and interesting information about attitudes in the Middle East toward particular US actions, and charts a path for using Twitter to measure public sentiment in ways opinion polls cannot.

Cyber Week 2014: Netanyahu, Kaspersky, and Gold tackle cyber 'game-changers'
Tel Aviv University's 4th Annual International Cybersecurity Conference on Sept.

'Funnel' attracts bonding partners to biomolecule
Water is a ubiquitous solvent in all life sciences -- sometimes referred to as the 'matrix of life.' Contrary to earlier assumptions, it is not a passive witness of biochemical processes; rather, it participates in them actively.

University of Minnesota-developed drug for rigid muscles moves ahead in clinical trials
A new formulation for a University of Minnesota-developed drug targeted at rare disorders is under development, with the potential to help a small number of Americans each year.

New ISERV tool enables rapid view of Earth images from space
One of NASA's tools for effective Earth observation has been orbiting our planet for more than 15 years -- the ISERV camera -- the International Space Station SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System.

Skin cells can be engineered into pulmonary valves for pediatric patients
Researchers have found a way to take a pediatric patient's skin cells, reprogram the skin cells to function as heart valvular cells, and then use the cells as part of a tissue-engineered pulmonary valve.

New study shows increased risk of venous thromboembolism among NSAIDs users
A new study published online today in the journal Rheumatology demonstrates that there is a statistically significant increased risk of venous thromboembolism -- a condition which includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism -- among users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Solar explosions inside a computer
Strong solar flares can bring down communications and power grids on Earth.

States need to assume greater role in regulating dietary supplements
States need to increase their regulation of dietary supplements used for weight loss and muscle building, which often do not deliver promised results, to protect consumers, particularly adolescents.

Indian scientists significantly more religious than UK scientists
Indian scientists are significantly more religious than United Kingdom scientists, according to the first cross-national study of religion and spirituality among scientists.

Higher risk of autism found in children born at short and long interpregnancy intervals
A study published in the October 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that children who were conceived either less than one year or more than five years after the birth of their prior sibling were more likely to be diagnosed with autism than children conceived following an interval of two to five years.

Modest acute changes in cardiac biomarkers and electrocardiogram findings following thoracic radiation therapy
There were only modest acute changes in cardiac biomarkers and electrocardiograms and there were no clinically significant cardiac events in patients with high-dose radiation exposure to the heart following thoracic radiation therapy and short-term follow-up.

US Army looks to Daphne Yao to provide a more secure cyber space
Virginia Tech computer scientist Daphne Yao's proposed solutions to prevent insider attacks in the cyber security world will provide a leap forward to stronger Army command and control of cyberspace capabilities on the battlefield as well as in day-to-day operations.

Cardiorespiratory fitness is often misdiagnosed
A recent study by the University of Eastern Finland shows that scaling maximal oxygen uptake and maximal workload by body weight confounds measures of cardiorespiratory fitness.

Brain scans reveal 'gray matter' differences in media multitaskers
Simultaneously using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices could be changing the structure of our brains, according to new University of Sussex research.

Recreational activity a major pollutant on Canadian coast of Pacific Ocean
From recreational boats and fishing vessels to commercial cruise ships and private marinas, a newly published study shows that oil discharges related to human maritime activity on the Canadian coast is posing a major threat to marine ecosystems in the Pacific Ocean.

Enzyme discovery paves way to tackling deadly parasite diseases
An enzyme found in all living things could hold the key to combating deadly diseases such as sleeping sickness, a study suggests.

When David beats Goliath
Body size has long been recognized to play a key role in shaping species interactions, with larger species usually winning conflicts with their smaller counterparts.

Less costly to screen for and treat early-stage lung than to treat late-stage lung cancer
The average cost to screen high-risk individuals for developing lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography plus the average cost of curative intent treatment, like surgery, is lower than the average cost to treat advanced stage lung cancer, which quite rarely results in a cure.

Tonsil stem cells could someday help repair liver damage without surgery
The liver provides critical functions, such as ridding the body of toxins.

NIH study supports camels as primary source of MERS-CoV transmission
NIH and Colorado State University scientists have provided experimental evidence supporting dromedary camels as the primary reservoir, or carrier, of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

Skirt size increase linked to 33 percent greater postmenopausal breast cancer risk
Going up a skirt size over a period of 10 years between your mid 20s and mid 50s is linked to a 33 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer after the menopause, finds a large observational study published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Identification of genetic risk factors for stroke
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies two genes that underlie cerebral small-vessel disease, a risk factor for stroke.

Think you have Alzheimer's? You just might be right, study says
New research by scientists at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging suggests that people who notice their memory is slipping may be on to something.

Celgene Global Health and DNDi expand collaboration
Celgene Global Health, a division of Celgene Corporation, and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) strengthen their collaboration with a four-year Research Collaboration Agreement to identify and optimize new drug candidates for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Better information about prenatal testing leads to fewer tests
A clinical trial led by UC San Francisco has found that when pregnant women are educated about their choices on prenatal genetic testing, the number of tests actually drops, even when the tests are offered with no out-of-pocket costs.

King Fire in California still blazing
Over 92,960 acres have been burned by the King Fire since it began on Sept.

Wavefront optics emerging as new tool for measuring and correcting vision, reports Optometry and Vision Science
A technique developed by astronomers seeking a clear view of distant objects in space is being intensively studied as a new approach to measuring and correcting visual abnormalities.

Scientists create new 'designer proteins' in fight against Alzheimer's and cancer
Chemists at the University of Leicester have reported a breakthrough in techniques to develop new drugs in the fight against diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's.

Are weak values quantum? Don't bet on it
New work asserts that a key technique used to probe quantum systems may not be so quantum after all, according to Perimeter postdoctoral researcher Joshua Combes and his colleague Christopher Ferrie.

Study: Pain keeps surgery patients awake, extends hospital stay
Pain can make it difficult for some patients to get a good night's rest while recovering in the hospital following certain surgical procedures, often resulting in longer hospital stays, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Pressure mounts on FDA and industry to ensure safety of food ingredients
Confusion over a 1997 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that eases the way for food manufacturers to use ingredients 'generally regarded as safe,' or GRAS, has inspired a new initiative by food makers.

Memory slips may signal increased risk of dementia years later
New research suggests that people without dementia who begin reporting memory issues may be more likely to develop dementia later, even if they have no clinical signs of the disease.

'Greener,' low-cost transistor heralds advance in flexible electronics
As tech company LG demonstrated this summer with the unveiling of its 18-inch flexible screen, the next generation of roll-up displays is tantalizingly close.

The plus side of population aging
An aging society will have numerous benefits, according to new research from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and researchers in Germany and the United States.

Pitt drug discovery researchers receive $5.8 million federal grant to build 3-D liver model
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have been selected by the National Institutes of Health to develop a microfluidic, 3-D human liver model for drug efficacy and toxicity testing as part of the organization's Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program.

Eyeless Mexican cavefish eliminate circadian rhythm to save energy
The Mexican tetra fish has two variants, a fully-eyed fish living close to the surface and a blind, deep water, cave-dwelling fish.

New EEG electrode set for fast and easy measurement of brain function abnormalities
A new, easy-to-use electroencephalography electrode set for the measurement of the electrical activity of the brain was developed in a recent study completed at the University of Eastern Finland.

Captive whooping cranes released into the wild
Four whooping crane chicks raised in captivity began their integration into the wild Saturday as part of the continuing effort to increase the wild population of this endangered species.

NASA sees System 98W become Tropical Depression Kammuri
Strong thunderstorms around the center of circulation in tropical low pressure System 98W were seen on infrared satellite imagery and were a clue to forecasters that the storm was intensifying.

Family-based therapies can treat anorexia in teens, Stanford/Packard study finds
Two different family-based therapies are both effective at combating anorexia nervosa in teenagers, according to the largest study ever to compare two such treatments for the life-threatening eating disorder.

Most metal-poor star hints at universe's first supernovae
In a new study, researchers point out that the elemental abundance of the most iron-poor star can be explained by elements ejected from supernova explosions of the universe's first stars.

Evolution of snake courtship and combat behavior
A small study suggests snakes may have developed courtship and male-to-male combat behavior, such as moving undulations, neck biting, and spur-poking, over time.

Researchers aim to improve educational software through speech and emotion detection
North Carolina State University researchers have won a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve educational software by enabling it to assess facial expression, body language, speech and other cues to better respond to a student's emotional state during the learning process.

Buffet pricing surprise
Does the price you pay at a buffet influence how much you like the food?

NIH announces network to accelerate medicines for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
The National Institutes of Health has awarded grants to 11 research groups across the United States to establish the Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus Network.

Elsevier announces the launch of open-access journal: Sensing and Bio-Sensing Research
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of a new journal: Sensing and Bio-Sensing Research.

Nanotechnology leads to better, cheaper LEDs for phones and lighting
Using a new nanoscale structure, the researchers, led by electrical engineering professor Stephen Chou, increased the brightness and efficiency of LEDs made of organic materials -- flexible carbon-based sheets -- by 57 percent.

Taking advantage of graphene defects
Electronic transport in graphene contributes to its characteristics. Now, the Russian scientist Sergei Koniakhin proposes a new theoretical approach to describe graphene with defects -- in the form of artificial triangular holes -- resulting in the rectification of the electric current within the material.

New dinosaur from New Mexico has relatives in Alberta
University of Alberta scientists help create new family tree for armoured dinosaur with northern cousins.

'Skin-like' device monitors cardiovascular and skin health
A new wearable medical device can quickly alert a person if they are having cardiovascular trouble or if it's simply time to put on some skin moisturizer, reports a Northwestern University and University of Illinois study.

Clinical trial examined treatment for complicated grief in older individuals
A treatment designed to help older individuals deal with complicated grief after the loss of a loved one appeared to be more effective than using a treatment designed for depression.

NCI/FDA lung cancer workshop leads to the innovatively designed clinical trials
The recent launch of two clinical trials offer innovative study designs for patients with lung cancer.

Colorado cancer experts launch plan with Japan for US carbon-ion radiotherapy center
Colorado cancer researchers and medical doctors on Wednesday announced they are launching a $200,000 feasibility study as a key step to building the nation's first carbon-ion radiotherapy research and treatment facility in Aurora, where they and colleagues hope to investigate and provide to patients leading-edge radiation therapy that is effective against the deadliest cancers and now is available only in Europe and Japan.

Wound healing response promotes breast cancer metastasis in postpartum mice
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggests that dying tumor cells in postpartum breast tissue promote metastatic disease.

Syracuse's new cooling system heats up physics research
A physicist in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences has received a major grant to support ongoing work in quantum information science.

The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Working long hours linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
People working for more than 55 hours per week doing manual work or other low socioeconomic status jobs have a 30 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the largest study in this field so far, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Drivers, don't trade in your smartphone for Google Glass yet
Texting while driving with Google Glass is clearly a distraction, a new University of Central Florida study has concluded -- but there is a twist.

Natural gas usage will have little effect on CO2 emissions, UCI-led study finds
Abundant supplies of natural gas will do little to reduce harmful US emissions causing climate change, according to researchers at UC Irvine, Stanford University, and the nonprofit organization Near Zero.

Alzheimer's patients can still feel the emotion long after the memories have vanished
A new University of Iowa study further supports an inescapable message: caregivers have a profound influence -- good or bad -- on the emotional state of individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes
The American Society for Microbiology will host the 5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes from Sept.

Survey: Costs of ACA health insurance in Texas vary significantly depending on income
The cost of monthly premiums for health insurance plans for Texans under the Affordable Care Act can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on a person's income and the level of coverage chosen, according to a report released today by the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

New milestone in the search for water on distant planets
Researchers found water vapor and hydrogen in the atmosphere of the exoplanet HAT P-11b, thanks to analyses of observations by three different NASA telescopes.

'Fracking' wastewater that is treated for drinking produces potentially harmful compounds
Concerns that fluids from hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' are contaminating drinking water abound.

A way to kill chemo-resistant ovarian cancer cells: Cut down its protector
Ovarian cancer is the most deadly gynecological cancer, claiming the lives of more than 50 percent of women who are diagnosed with the disease.

Customer experience matters more when economy is strong, research shows
Customers care more about their past experiences with service firms when the economy is doing well, according to a research team from the J. 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