Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 09, 2014
Miniature camera may lead to fewer accidents
Measuring only a few cubic millimeters, a new type of camera module might soon be integrated into future driver assistance systems to help car drivers facing critical situations.

Researchers uncover how 'love hormone' regulates sexual behavior
Oxytocin has been called the 'love hormone' because it plays an important role in social behaviors, such as maternal care and pair bonding.

Pitt selected by NIH to lead center of excellence in national big data research consortium
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Pittsburgh an $11 million, four-year grant to lead a Big Data to Knowledge Center of Excellence, an initiative that will help scientists capitalize more fully on large amounts of available data and to make data science a more prominent component of biomedical research.

Quantifying physical changes in red blood cells as they mature in the bloodstream
During their approximately 100-day lifespan in the bloodstream, red blood cells lose membrane surface area, volume, and hemoglobin content.

Advanced X-ray, neutron beam imaging reveal workings of powerful biochemical switch PKA
A University of Utah-led study using X-rays and neutron beams has revealed the inner workings of a master switch that regulates basic cellular functions, but that also, when mutated, contributes to cancer, cardiovascular disease and other deadly disorders.

Minimally invasive surgery with hydraulic assistance
Endoscopic surgery requires great manual dexterity on the part of the operating surgeon.

Lewis School receives HRSA grant for interprofessional graduate health education
The Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions has been awarded a three-year, $1,146,189 grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration to develop a new interprofessional model for graduate nursing education.

Penn Medicine's 'sepsis sniffer' generates faster sepsis care and suggests reduced mortality
An automated early warning and response system for sepsis developed by Penn Medicine experts has resulted in a marked increase in sepsis identification and care, transfer to the ICU, and an indication of fewer deaths due to sepsis.

Manipulating memory with light
UC Davis neuroscientists have used light to erase a specific memory in mice, showing how the hippocampus and cortex work together to retrieve memories.

Low birth rates can actually pay off in the US and other countries
As birth rates decline in countries that include parts of Europe and East Asia, threatening the economic slowdown associated with aging populations, a global study from the University of California, Berkeley, and the East-West Center in Hawaii suggests that in much of the world, it actually pays to have fewer children.

Ebola research shows rapid control interventions key factor in preventing spread
New Ebola research demonstrates that quick and forceful implementation of control interventions are necessary to control outbreaks and avoid far worse scenarios.

Balancing birds and biofuels: Grasslands support more species than cornfields
In a study published today, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin DNR scientists examined whether corn and perennial grassland fields in southern Wisconsin could provide both biomass for bioenergy production and bountiful bird habitat.

University of Chicago establishes national center to study genetics of drug abuse in rats
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded the University of Chicago a $12 million, five year grant to establish a national Center of Excellence to study drug abuse-associated behaviors by conducting research with rats.

Nanoparticle research could enhance drug delivery through skin
Scientists at the University of Southampton have identified key characteristics that enhance a nanoparticle's ability to penetrate skin, in a milestone study which could have major implications for the delivery of drugs.

Researchers reveal genomic diversity of individual lung tumors
A study led by scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center addresses the challenge of what scientists call genomic heterogeneity, the presence of many different variations that drive tumor formation, growth and progression, and likely complicate the choice and potential efficacy of therapy.

Hospitalized children benefit from antibiotic stewardship programs
Hospitalized children go home sooner and are less likely to be readmitted when the hospital has an antibiotic stewardship program that's dedicated to controlling antibiotic prescriptions and treatment, according to a study being presented at IDWeek 2014.

New technique yields fast results in drug, biomedical testing
A new technique makes it possible to quickly detect the presence of drugs or to monitor certain medical conditions using only a single drop of blood or urine, representing a potential tool for clinicians and law enforcement.

TSRI scientists create mimic of 'good' cholesterol to fight heart disease and stroke
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have created a synthetic molecule that mimics 'good' cholesterol and have shown it can reduce plaque buildup in the arteries of animal models.

All that glitters is... slimy? Gold nanoparticles measure the stickiness of snot
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a way to use gold nanoparticles and light to measure the stickiness of mucus in the airways.

A cost-effective and energy-efficient approach to carbon capture
Scientists from EPFL, UC Berkley and Beijing have developed a slurry-based process that can revolutionize carbon capture.

Set of molecules found to link insulin resistance in the brain to diabetes
A key mechanism behind diabetes may start in the brain, with early signs of the disease detectable through rising levels of molecules not previously linked to insulin signaling, according to a study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai published today in the journal Cell Metabolism.

New increase in antimicrobial use in animals in Denmark
Antimicrobial usage in animals in Denmark continued to increase in 2013 -- mainly due to an increased use in pigs.

Researchers find RNA molecules in urine and tissue that detect prostate cancer
Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have identified a set of RNA molecules that are detectable in tissue samples and urine of prostate cancer patients but not in normal healthy individuals.

Scientists discover a 'good' fat that fights diabetes
Researchers uncovered a new class of lipids in humans that is linked to reduced inflammation and improved blood sugar levels in diabetes.

Clove oil tested for weed control in organic Vidalia sweet onion
A study evaluated combinations of sprayer output volumes and herbicide adjuvants used with clove oil for cool-season weed control in organic Vidalia sweet onion.

Study examines effect of antibiotic susceptibility for patients with bloodstream infection
In an analysis of more than 8,000 episodes of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections, there were no significant differences in the risk of death when comparing patients exhibiting less susceptibility to the antibiotic vancomycin to patients with more vancomycin susceptible strains of S. aureus, according to a study published in JAMA.

Earth to data: Making sense of environmental observations
As with the proverbial canary in the coal mine, birds serve as an indicator of the health of our environment.

Mouse version of an autism spectrum disorder improves when diet includes a synthetic oil
When young mice with the rodent equivalent of a rare autism spectrum disorder, called Rett syndrome, were fed a diet supplemented with the synthetic oil triheptanoin, they lived longer than mice on regular diets.

Space-based methane maps find largest US signal in Southwest
An unexpectedly high amount of the climate-changing gas methane, the main component of natural gas, is escaping from the Four Corners region in the US Southwest, according to a new study by the University of Michigan and NASA.

When judging art, men and women stand apart
The sexes show stark differences in how they evaluate art, finds a new study co-authored by a Michigan State University marketing scholar.

Researchers reveal lung cancer can stay hidden for over 20 years
Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered that lung cancers can lie dormant for over 20 years before suddenly turning into an aggressive form of the disease.

Of bio-hairpins and polymer-spaghetti
By looking at the microscopic building blocks -- known as 'filaments' -- of biopolymer networks, researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany and the FOM Institute AMOLF in the Netherlands, revealed that such materials soften by undergoing a transition from an entangled spaghetti of filaments to aligned layers of bow-shaped filaments that slide past each other.

Satellite movie shows Hurricane Simon's remnants moving through US
NOAA's GOES-East satellite has captured visible and infrared images of Hurricane Simon since birth, and a new animation of the data created by NASA shows Simon's landfall in Mexico and movement into the US Southwest.

Intracranial stents: More strokes than with drug treatment alone
Patients who, after a stroke, not only receive medications, but also stent implantation in their blood vessels in the brain, have another stroke considerably more often.

NASA's Hubble maps the temperature and water vapor on an extreme exoplanet
A team of scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made the most detailed global map yet of the glow from a turbulent planet outside our solar system, revealing its secrets of air temperatures and water vapor.

Similar but different: New discovery for degenerative disease
Researchers from the University of Melbourne have established how two diseases that present in similar ways are in fact quite different.

Neuroscientists claim rare pair of research grants
In a rare distinction for one university, neuroimaging world leaders and USC Professors Arthur Toga and Paul Thompson will receive two major research center awards to advance their exploration of the human brain.

Discovery of new subatomic particle sheds light on fundamental force of nature
The discovery of a new particle will 'transform our understanding' of the fundamental force of nature that binds the nuclei of atoms, researchers argue.

'Superglue' for the atmosphere
New insights into cloud formation were obtained by scientists from the Goethe University of Frankfurt in an international collaboration.

From human embryonic stem cells to billions of human insulin producing cells
Harvard stem cell researchers today announced that they have made a giant leap forward in the quest to find a truly effective treatment for type 1 diabetes, a condition that affects an estimated three million Americans at a cost of about $15 billion annually.

Migrating animals' pee affects ocean chemistry
Tiny animals migrating from the ocean's surface to the sunless depths release ammonia, the equivalent of our urine, that plays a significant role in marine chemistry, particularly in low-oxygen zones.

New NIH Big Data to Knowledge center of excellence
National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins today announced a new national initiative, the National Center of Excellence for Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge, focused on developing computational tools to facilitate the collection and analysis of large-scale health data generated by mobile and wearable sensors.

New computational approach finds gene that drives aggressive brain cancer
Using an innovative algorithm that analyzes gene regulatory and signaling networks, Columbia University Medical Center researchers have found that loss of a gene called KLHL9 is the driving force behind the most aggressive form of glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer.

GPA, GRE inadequate for evaluating non-traditional students for graduate school admissions
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that traditional measures such as Graduate Records Examinations test scores and undergraduate grade point average are not adequate for predicting success for non-traditional students who are returning to school after spending several years in the workforce.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals alter thyroid hormone activity during pregnancy
A new study in human placenta provides the strongest evidence to date that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals can interfere with thyroid hormone action in pregnant women.

Chemists uncover new role of a key base in organic synthesis
An international team of chemists has discovered a new piece to the puzzle of how a powerful base used in organic synthesis, cesium carbonate, plays a pivotal role during a catalytic reaction.

Bowel cancer risk reduced by adopting multiple healthy behaviors
Adoption of a combination of five key healthy behaviors is associated with a reduction in the risk of developing bowel cancer.

Special chromosomal structures control key genes
Scientists have long theorized that the way in which the roughly three meters of DNA in a human cell is packaged to fit within a nuclear space just six microns wide, affects gene expression.

The geoscience community honors the man who shook up earthquake science
The American Geosciences Institute is honoring one of the scientists who advanced earthquake hazards preparedness and mitigation in the US by his superlative service to the earth sciences.

Eleanor Roosevelt, a radio pioneer, perceived as both 'ordinary' and 'expert'
This new article examines the way in which Eleanor Roosevelt communicated with her listeners and finds that she was remarkable at integrating the domestic with the global, at balancing her public and private personas as well as her personas as a knowledgeable expert and an ordinary, inquisitive learner.

The Lancet Global Health: Widely used sanitation programs do not necessarily improve health
A sanitation program currently being widely implemented in low-income communities in India significantly increases latrine coverage but does not actually improve health, a study involving 100 rural villages, published in The Lancet Global Health has found.

Electrically conductive plastics promising for batteries, solar cells
An emerging class of electrically conductive plastics called 'radical polymers' may bring low-cost, transparent solar cells, flexible and lightweight batteries and ultra-thin antistatic coatings for consumer electronics and aircraft.

College athletes in contact sports more likely to carry MRSA, study finds
Even if they don't show signs of infection, college athletes who play football, soccer and other contact sports are more likely to carry the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Scientists reveal why beer tastes good to us and to flies
Beer yeasts produce chemicals that mimic the aroma of fruits in order to attract flies that can transport the yeast cells to new niches, report scientists from VIB, KU Leuven and NERF in the reputed journal Cell Reports.

Stanford team invents sensor that uses radio waves to detect subtle changes in pressure
The sensor is made of a special rubber layer between two strips of copper.

Hunger games: How the brain 'browns' fat to aid weight loss
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have uncovered a molecular process in the brain known to control eating that transforms white fat into brown fat.

Greek Bronze Age ended 100 years earlier than thought, new evidence suggests
Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analyses.

Hubble project involving CU-Boulder maps temperature, water vapor on wild exoplanet
A team of scientists including a University of Colorado Boulder professor used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to make the most detailed global map yet of the glow from a giant, oddball planet orbiting another star, an object twice as massive as Jupiter and hot enough to melt steel.

Mining big data yields Alzheimer's discovery
Scientists at The University of Manchester have used a new way of working to identify a new gene linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Multiple neurodevelopmental disorders have a common molecular cause
Neurodevelopmental disorders such as Down syndrome and autism-spectrum disorder can have profound, lifelong effects on learning and memory, but relatively little is known about the molecular pathways affected by these diseases.

NSF awards $300,000 to MU to research open online communities
Open online communities, such as Wikipedia or free and open source software development projects, have emerged as significant drivers of innovation, economic activity and social well-being.

University of Illinois, Mayo Clinic collaborate to revolutionize genomic data analysis
Today's researchers have unleashed a river of valuable biomedical data.

Wild tomato species focus of antioxidant study
Researchers analyzed antioxidant and agronomic traits of three wild tomato species accessions and compared them with the same traits in cultivated tomato.

Thanks, fruit flies, for that pleasing beer scent
The familiar smell of beer is due in part to aroma compounds produced by common brewer's yeast.

Snakes and snake-like robots show how sidewinders conquer sandy slopes
The amazing ability of sidewinder snakes to quickly climb sandy slopes was once something biologists only vaguely understood and roboticists only dreamed of replicating.

Entire female reproductive tract susceptible to HIV infection in macaque model
Most women are infected with HIV through vaginal intercourse, and without effective vaccines or microbicides, women who cannot negotiate condom use by their partners remain vulnerable.

Embryos receive parent-specific layers of information, study shows
The information that interprets the genetic code in a new embryo differs depending on whether it comes from the father or mother, researchers at San Francisco State University have found.

The mathematics behind the Ebola epidemic
Researchers in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich have calculated new benchmark figures to precisely describe the Ebola epidemic in West Africa from a mathematical perspective.

'Data smashing' could unshackle automated discovery
Cornell computing researchers have come up with a new principle they call 'data smashing' for estimating the similarities between streams of arbitrary data without human intervention, and without access to the data sources.

Understanding the bushmeat market: Why do people risk infection from bat meat?
Ebola, as with many emerging infections, is likely to have arisen due to man's interaction with wild animals -- most likely the practice of hunting and eating wild meat known as 'bushmeat.' A team of researchers has surveyed almost 600 people across southern Ghana to find out what drives consumption of bat bushmeat -- and how people perceive the risks associated with the practice.

Engineering new vehicle powertrains
Car engines -- whether driven by gasoline, diesel, or electricity -- waste an abundance of energy.

UC Santa Cruz leads $11 million Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $11 million to UC Santa Cruz to create the technical infrastructure needed for the broad application of genomics in medicine and biomedical research.

UCLA awarded $11 million to lead NIH Center of Excellence for Big Data computing
The National Institutes of Health have awarded University of California Los Angeles $11 million to form a Center for Excellence for Big Data Computing.

UChicago Medicine wins CDC grant to lead unique hepatitis C alliance
The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes Chicago program at the University of Chicago Medicine has received a $6.2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead a public health collaboration aimed at building Chicago's capacity to test for and cure hepatitis C infections.

NASA eyes Tropical Cyclone Hudhud as Warnings posted for East-Central India
NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Tropical Cyclone Hudhud on Oct.

Why men are the weaker sex when it comes to bone health
Alarming new data published today by the International Osteoporosis Foundation, shows that one-third of all hip fractures worldwide occur in men, with mortality rates as high as 37 percent in the first year following fracture.

Big Data methods in biobehavioral health goal of training grant
A National Institutes of Health Big Data to Knowledge Program grant to Donna Coffman, research associate professor in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development and principal investigator at the Methodology Center, targets the development of big data methods for biobehavioral change and maintenance.

Nanoparticles get a magnetic handle
Glowing nanoparticles can be manipulated using magnetic fields.

Long-term treatment success using gene therapy to correct a lethal metabolic disorder
Excessive and often lethal blood levels of bilirubin can result from mutations in a single gene that are the cause of the metabolic disease known as Crigler-Najjar syndrome type 1 (CNS1).

UPMC investigation into GI scope-related infections changes national guidelines
National guidelines for the cleaning of certain gastrointestinal scopes are likely to be updated due to findings from UPMC's infection prevention team.

Newly discovered brain cells explain a prosocial effect of oxytocin
New research at Rockefeller University reveals a mechanism by which the 'love hormone' oxytocin has its effect, at least in certain situations.

Former world leaders to launch new book on Mid-East, water, energy: Oct. 20
In Wales Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, the InterAction Council, an association of 40 former world leaders, and the United Nations University will launch their new publication: 'Water, Energy, and the Arab Awakening' at the Celtic Manor Resort, Coldra Woods, the Usk Valley, Newport, South Wales.

Unusual skin cancer linked to chronic allergy from metal orthopedic implant
In rare cases, patients with allergies to metals develop persistent skin rashes after metal devices are implanted near the skin.

First-of-its-kind Geostationary Lightning Mapper completed for GOES-R satellite
The Geostationary Lightning Mapper instrument for NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) completed development and testing and is now ready for integration with the spacecraft.

Analyzing gold and steel -- rapidly and precisely
Optical emission spectrometers are widely used in the steel industry but the instruments currently employed are relatively large and bulky.

UPMC programs to improve hand hygiene reduced infections, increased compliance
UPMC Presbyterian Hospital's infection prevention teams have improved hand washing and sanitizing compliance at the hospital to nearly 100 percent among clinical staff through accountability and educational measures.

Stunning finds from ancient Greek shipwreck
A Greek and international team of divers and archaeologists has retrieved stunning new finds from an ancient Greek ship that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the remote island of Antikythera.

Hubble reveals most detailed exoplanet weather map ever
A team of scientists using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made the most detailed map ever of the temperature of an exoplanet's atmosphere, and traced the amount of water it contains.

The cichlids' egg-spots: How evolution creates new characteristics
The evolution of new traits with novel functions has always posed a challenge to evolutionary biology.

DNA nano-foundries cast custom-shaped metal nanoparticles
Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have unveiled a new method to form tiny 3-D metal nanoparticles in prescribed shapes and dimensions using DNA, Nature's building block, as a construction mold.

Researchers unfold new details about a powerful protein
Using X-rays and neutron beams, a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, University of Utah and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have teased out new information about Protein Kinase A, or PKA, a ubiquitous master switch that helps regulate fundamental cellular functions like energy consumption and interactions with hormones, neurotransmitters and drugs.

Cold exposure prompts body to convert white fat to calorie-burning beige fat
Exposure to cold temperatures can convert white fat tissue from the thighs and belly to beige fat that burns calories for heat, but this biological response is hampered in obese people, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Researchers to receive $4.4 million from NIH to harness biomedical data 'goldmines'
San Diego researchers at The Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Translational Science Institute will receive more than $4.4 million as part of a National Institutes of Health initiative called 'Big Data to Knowledge.'

Plant communities in Holy Land can cope with climate change of 'biblical' dimensions
An international research team comprised of German, Israeli and American ecologists, including Dr.

NASA's Aqua Satellite tracking Super Typhoon Vongfong in the Philippine Sea
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Super Typhoon Vongfong as it tracked through the Philippine Sea on Oct.

University of Maryland School of Medicine begins Ebola vaccine trials in Mali
Professor Myron M. Levine, MD, Director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E.

Unstoppable magnetoresistance
Researchers at Princeton University have discovered a material (WTe2) with an extremely large magnetoresistance, which is the change in resistance as a material is exposed to stronger magnetic fields.

Human papillomavirus vaccines offer public health opportunity for Texas
The state of Texas should create a policy that encourages adolescents to obtain the full series of shots for the human papillomavirus vaccine, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

New leafhopper species named after University of Illinois entomologist
Three new species of leafhoppers from China in the genus Futasujinus were recently identified during a review of leafhoppers in museum collections in China, the UK, and Illinois.

Climate change alters the ecological impacts of seasons
'We describe, for the first time, changes in temperature variability across the globe.

Griffith and Menzies Foundation health collaboration
Griffith and the Menzies Foundation are set to collaborate together in a move which will position the University as a leader in world-class allied health research.

More efficient transformer materials
Almost every electronic device contains a transformer. An important material used in their construction is electrical steel.

Human health, wealth require expanded marine science, experts say
Toxic nanoparticles, micro-plastic pollution and the potential of rising seawater temperatures to transform chemicals at a molecular level into 'substances able to stimulate / participate in tumour genesis' are among concerns behind a collective call by 340 scientists and other experts for greater scrutiny of the close connections between the oceans and human health.

Dead star shines on
A supernova is the cataclysmic death of a star, but it seems its remnants shine on.

Dark matter half what we thought, say scientists
A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought.

Coastal living boosts physical activity
People who live close to the coast are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines than inland dwellers, finds a new study released today.

Drinking decaf coffee may be good for the liver
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute report that decaffeinated coffee drinking may benefit liver health.

Researchers identify a new class of 'good' fats
The surprising discovery of a previously unidentified class of lipid molecules that enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control offers a promising new avenue for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Tumor segmentation software receives 510k clearance from FDA
Columbia University's imaging software that facilitates 3-D lung tumor segmentation, licensed to Varian Medical Systems, has been incorporated into the Smart Segmentation module of Varian's Eclipse treatment planning system and has received Food and Drug Administration 510k clearance.

UCLA study finds link between neural stem cell overgrowth and autism-like behavior in mice
People with autism spectrum disorder often experience a period of accelerated brain growth after birth.

Recent kidney policy changes have not created racial disparities in care
After the implementation of a new payment system for kidney failure care and changes to dosing guidelines for anemia drugs, there were no meaningful differences by race regarding changes in management practices or laboratory measures among dialysis patients.

New advances in additive manufacturing using laser solid forming to produce metallic parts
Laser Solid Forming is an innovative method for direct fabrication of metallic components in additive manufacturing.
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