Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 22, 2014
Mathematical model shows how the brain remains stable during learning
Complex biochemical signals that coordinate fast and slow changes in neuronal networks keep the brain in balance during learning, according to an international team of scientists from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan, UC San Francisco, and Columbia University in New York.

Can bariatric surgery lead to severe headache?
Bariatric surgery may be a risk factor for a condition that causes severe headaches, according to a study published in the Oct.

Camera-traps capture wild chimps' nighttime raiding activities
Wild chimpanzees living in a disturbed habitat may use innovative strategies, like foraging crops at night, to coexist with nearby human activities.

Ph.D. designs new devices based on metamaterials
Víctor Torres Landivar, telecommunications engineer, has designed and manufactured new devices based on metamaterials; he achieved the first experimental demonstration ever with epsilon-near-zero metamaterials.

Brain simulation raises questions
What does it mean to simulate the human brain? Why is it important to do so?

Arrested development -- Sediment wreaks havoc with fish larvae
Sediments associated with dredging and flood plumes could have a significant impact on fish populations by extending the time required for the development of their larvae, according to Australian researchers

Fast modeling of cancer mutations
A new genome-editing technique enables rapid analysis of genes mutated in tumors.

Seaweed engineers build crustacean homes; old forests store new nitrogen
In this month's issue of Ecology, invasive seaweed shelters native crustaceans, mature forests store nitrogen in soil, and stream invertebrates aren't eating what we thought they were eating.

NASA's TRMM Satellite calculates Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo rainfall
NASA used TRMM and other satellite data to calculate rainfall from Atlantic hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo.

Secret wing colors attract female fruit flies
Bright colors appear on a fruit fly's transparent wings against a dark background as a result of light refraction.

BJOG releases MPT special supplement
Broad-spectrum prevention that can simultaneously prevent unintended pregnancy along with STIs, including HIV, is on the horizon say experts in a special supplement of the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Baker Institute paper: Data indicate there is no immigration crisis
Is there an 'immigration crisis' on the US-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Silencing the speech gene FOXP2 causes breast cancer cells to metastasize
A research team led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has identified an unexpected link between a transcription factor known to regulate speech and language development and metastatic colonization of breast cancer.

Some scientists share better than others
Some scientists share better than others. While astronomers and geneticists embrace the concept, the culture of ecology still has a ways to go.

New window on the early universe
Scientists at the universities of Bonn and Cardiff see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from galaxies at the edge of the universe.

University Hospitals Neurological Institute earns Gold Center of Excellence designation
University Hospitals Neurological Institute was designated as a Gold Center of Excellence and featured as a top performing center in a white paper by NeuStrategy, Inc.

Finding durable foul-release coatings to control invasive mussel attachment
The Bureau of Reclamation has released a report summarizing six years of testing coatings to control the attachment of quagga and zebra mussels to water and power facilities.

Sopping up proteins with thermosponges
A research team led by Brigham and Women's Hospital has developed and tested a novel nanoparticle platform that efficiently delivers clinically important proteins in vivo in initial proof-of-concept tests.

Clinical trial could change standard treatment for stroke
A large international clinical trial has shed new light on the effectiveness of current hospital protocols for managing blood pressure in stroke patients.

Expert recommendations for diagnosing pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome
A panel of leading clinicians and researchers across various general and specialty pediatric fields developed a consensus statement recommending how to evaluate youngsters in whom neuropsychiatric symptoms suddenly develop, including the abrupt, dramatic onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Thermal receipt paper may be a potentially significant source of BPA
Thermal paper, sometimes used in cash register receipts, may be a potential source of exposure to the hormone disruptor bisphenol-A.

Automated tracking increases compliance of flu vaccination for health-care personnel
New research found tracking influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel through an automated system increased vaccination compliance and reduced workload burden on human resources and occupational health staff.

UNC scientists discover hidden subpopulation of melanoma cells
UNC researchers discover a subpopulation of melanoma cancer cells in blood vessels of tumors.

University of Alaska Fairbanks reaches new heights with $23.8 million biomedical grant
The University of Alaska Fairbanks received a $23.8 million, five-year award from the National Institutes of Health to launch a new undergraduate program that will engage students from diverse backgrounds, especially those from rural Alaska, in biomedical research as a way to foster their interest and success in biomedical and health careers.

Cooling with molecules
An international team of scientists have become the first ever researchers to successfully reach temperatures below minus 272.15 degrees Celsius -- only just above absolute zero -- using magnetic molecules.

The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute announces largest-ever stem cell repository
The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute, through the launch of its repository in 2015, will provide for the first time the largest-ever number of stem cell lines available to the scientific research community.

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis
A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

Early intervention could boost education levels
Taking steps from an early age to improve childhood education skills could raise overall population levels of academic achievement by as much as 5 percent, and reduce socioeconomic inequality in education by 15 percent, according to international research led by the University of Adelaide.

Quality of biopsy directly linked to survival in bladder cancer patients
UCLA researchers have shown for the first time that the quality of diagnostic staging using biopsy in patients with bladder cancer is directly linked with survival.

Research suggests team-based care is most effective way to control hypertension
Patients diagnosed with high blood pressure are given better control of their condition from a physician-pharmacist collaborative intervention than physician management alone, according to new research.

When heart cancer hides in the brain
The 59-year-old woman had complained of chest pain and shortness of breath.

New insights on carbonic acid in water
A new study by Berkeley Lab researchers provides valuable new insight into aqueous carbonic acid with important implications for both geological and biological concerns.

Study examines readmission after colorectal cancer surgery as quality measure
No significant variation was found in hospital readmission rates after colorectal cancer surgery when the data was adjusted to account for patient characteristics, coexisting illnesses and operation types, which may prompt questions about the use of readmission rates as a measure of hospital quality.

Steadily rising increases in mitochondrial DNA mutations cause abrupt shifts in disease
New work by a pioneering scientist details how subtle changes in mitochondrial function may cause a broad range of common metabolic and degenerative diseases.

Human skin cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells
Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington's disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder.

Exposure therapy appears helpful in treating patients with prolonged grief
Cognitive behavioral therapy with exposure therapy, where patients relive the experience of a death of a loved one, resulted in greater reductions in measures of prolonged grief disorder than CBT alone.

Frontiers launches new open-access journal: Frontiers in ICT
Frontiers -- a community-driven open-access publisher and research networking platform -- is pleased to launch Frontiers in ICT.

Tackling blindness, deafness through neuroengineering
The Bertarelli Program in Translational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering, a collaborative program between Harvard Medical School and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, has announced a new set of grants worth $3.6 million for five research projects.

Global consumption an increasingly significant driver of tropical deforestation
International trade with agricultural and wood products is an increasingly important driver of tropical deforestation.

Aphthous ulcers: Causes of mucosal inflammation are unclear
A painful inflamed lesion on the oral mucosa, which often seems to be burning at the periphery: every third individual has at one point had such a lesion -- an aphthous ulcer.

UTMB researchers uncover powerful new class of weapons in the war on cancer
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch, and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have identified small molecules that can represent a new class of anticancer drugs with a novel target for the treatment of lung cancer.

UH researcher wins $1.5 million federal solar energy award
A University of Houston researcher is trying a novel approach to create high efficiency, low cost solar cells in an effort to bring the cost down to that of traditional electricity sources.

Adaptive zoom riflescope prototype has push-button magnification
Sandia National Laboratories announces a prototype of a Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles that would enable the user to zoom in and out at the push of a button without having to remove their eyes from their rifles.

Baden-Wuerttemberg Consortium signs pioneering agreement with Springer
Starting January 2015, researchers, faculty members and students affiliated with colleges and universities in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg will have convenient access to 1,917 electronic journals published by Springer.

Turning waste from whisky-making into fuel -- Close to commercial reality?
A start-up company in Scotland is working to capitalize on the tons of waste produced by one of the country's most valued industries and turn the dregs of whisky-making into fuel.

UT Arlington researcher earns NSF grant to protect financial institutions
A University of Texas Arlington associate professor has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to identify insider risk and develop proper protection strategies for information systems within a financial institution.

100 days in Michigan: U-M team releases new analysis of state's Medicaid expansion
Right out of the starting gate, Michigan's expansion of health coverage for the poor and near-poor holds lessons for other states that are still on the fence about expanding their own Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, a new analysis shows.

Recently discovered microbe is key player in climate change
Scientists have discovered how an invisible menagerie of microbes in permafrost soils acts as global drivers of Earth processes such as climate via gas exchange between soils and the atmosphere.

NIST's Cloud Computing Roadmap details research requirements and action plans
NIST has published the final version of the US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, Volumes I and II.

An effective, cost-saving way to detect natural gas pipeline leaks
Major leaks from oil and gas pipelines have led to home evacuations, explosions, millions of dollars in lawsuit payouts and valuable natural resources escaping into the air, ground and water.

Researchers record sight neurons in jumping spider brain
For the first time, a team of interdisciplinary researchers have made recordings of neurons associated with visual perception inside the poppy seed-sized brain of a jumping spider using a hair-sized tungsten recording electrode.

How people view their own weight influences bariatric surgery success
Negative feelings about one's own weight, known as internalized weight bias, influence the success people have after undergoing weight loss surgery, according to research appearing in the journal Obesity Surgery, published by Springer.

Online dermatologic follow-up for atopic dermatitis earns equivalent results
An online model for follow-up care of atopic dermatitis, better known as eczema, that gave patients direct access to dermatologists resulted in equivalent clinical improvement compared to patients who received traditional in-person care.

NIH begins early human clinical trial of VSV Ebola vaccine
Human testing of a second investigational Ebola vaccine candidate is under way at the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center.

Rafael Ortega, M.D., honored at Annual Leaders in Diversity Awards
Rafael Ortega, M.D., the associate dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Boston University School of Medicine, has been selected by the Boston Business Journal as an honoree for the Annual Leaders in Diversity Awards.

Vaccination for nicotine addiction being developed with NIH grant
A Virginia Tech professor is working on a vaccine that could help smokers conquer their nicotine addiction, making many smoking-related diseases and deaths relics of the 21st century.

Drones help show how environmental changes affect the spread of infectious diseases
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, can collect detailed information in real time at relatively low cost for ecological research.

Finally: A missing link between vitamin D and prostate cancer
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Prostate offers compelling evidence that inflammation may be the link between vitamin D and prostate cancer.

Indiana Project screenings show need for more mental health services in youth detention
Indiana is at the forefront of providing mental health screening and services to juvenile offenders, but more efforts are needed to improve the services provided to detained youths, according to Indiana University School of Medicine research findings published in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

New ALS-associated gene identified using innovative strategy
Using an innovative exome sequencing strategy, a team of international scientists led by John Landers, Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has shown that TUBA4A, the gene encoding the Tubulin Alpha 4A protein, is associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal neurological disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Susceptibility for relapsing major depressive disorder can be calculated
The question if an individual will suffer from relapsing major depressive disorder is not de-termined by accident.

Autism Speaks commits $2.3 million to research on gut-brain connection
Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, has selected two major research projects -- one focused on intestinal bacteria, the other on chronic constipation -- to advance understanding of autism's gut-brain connection.

Two families of comets found around nearby star
The HARPS instrument at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star.

New 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiency
New today in Optics Letters, researchers have devised an ultra-thin LCD screen that operates without a power source, making it a compact, energy-efficient way to display visual information.

Hospital logs staggering 2.5 million alarms in just a month
Following the study of a hospital that logged more than 2.5 million patient monitoring alarms in just one month, researchers at University of California San Francisco have, for the first time, comprehensively defined the detailed causes as well as potential solutions for the widespread issue of alarm fatigue in hospitals.

Protecting us from our cells
A molecule called insulin-like growth factor-1 boosts the body's natural defence auto-immune diseases such as type-1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, scientists at EMBL Monterotondo have found.

No silver bullet: ISU study identifies risk factors of youth charged with murder
News of a school shooting or a homicide involving a teenage suspect always leads to the question of why?

Olive oil more stable and healthful than seed oils for frying food
Frying is one of the world's most popular ways to prepare food -- think fried chicken and french fries.

Individual metropolises now global political players
By providing the infrastructure that connects global flows and financial systems, major cities have increased their political power alongside the nation-states.

Tropical Depression 9 forms in Gulf of Mexico
Tropical Depression 9 formed over the western Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico and is forecast to make a quick landfall on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES-East Satellite captured the birth of the depression.

Bipolar disorder discovery at the nano level
A nano-sized discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists helps explain how bipolar disorder affects the brain and could one day lead to new drug therapies to treat the mental illness.

Study finds no increase in pregnancy-related death for African-American women
In contrast to national trends, a study performed at Alabama's largest hospital finds no racial difference in the risk of pregnancy-related death between African-American and Caucasian women, reports the November issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Paralyzed patients have weaker bones and a higher risk of fractures than expected
People paralyzed by spinal cord injuries lose mechanical strength in their leg bones faster, and more significantly, than previously believed, putting them at greater risk for fractures from minor stresses, according to a study by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Lessons from the 'Spanish flu,' nearly 100 years later
Just in time for flu season, a new Michigan State University study of 'the mother of all pandemics' could offer insight into infection control measures for the flu and other epidemic diseases.

SF State awarded $17 million by NIH to enhance workforce diversity in biomedical research
SF State has been awarded $17.04 million to address issues of workforce diversity in biomedical research, the National Institutes of Health announced.

New feather findings get scientists in a flap
Scientists from the University of Southampton have revealed that feather shafts are made of a multi-layered fibrous composite material, much like carbon fiber, which allows the feather to bend and twist to cope with the stresses of flight.

Third substantial solar flare in 2 days
The sun erupted with another significant flare today, peaking at 10:28 a.m.

New tool identifies high-priority dams for fish survival
Scientists have identified 181 California dams that may need to increase water flows to protect native fish downstream.

Researchers resolve the Karakoram glacier anomaly, a cold case of climate science
Researchers from Princeton University and other institutions may have hit upon an answer to a climate-change puzzle that has eluded scientists for years, namely why glaciers in the Karakoram range of the Himalayas have remained stable and even increased in mass while glaciers nearby and worldwide have been receding.

If you're over 60, drink up: Alcohol associated with better memory
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, University of Kentucky, and University of Maryland found that for people 60 and older who do not have dementia, light alcohol consumption during late life is associated with higher episodic memory -- the ability to recall memories of events.

Rescued 'abandoned' penguin chicks' survival similar to colony rates
Abandoned penguin chicks that were hand-reared and returned to the wild showed a similar survival rate to their naturally reared counterparts.

New window of opportunity to prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases
Future prevention and treatment strategies for vascular diseases may lie in the evaluation of early brain imaging tests long before heart attacks or strokes occur, according to a systematic review conducted by a team of cardiologists, neuroscientists, and psychiatrists from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published in the October issue of JACC Cardiovascular Imaging.

A real-time tracking system developed to monitor dangerous bacteria inside the body
Combining a PET scanner with a new chemical tracer that selectively tags specific types of bacteria, Johns Hopkins researchers working with mice report they have devised a way to detect and monitor in real time infections with dangerous Gram-negative bacteria.

Cause of aging remains elusive
A report by Chinese researchers in the journal Nature a few months ago was a small sensation: they appeared to have found the cause for why organisms age.

The Rockefeller University Press offers free access to books
The Rockefeller University Press has expanded access to its book collection, with nearly 50 titles available for free download in multiple e-book formats at books.rupress.org.

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas
Researchers of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have developed the new BiogàsPlus, a technology which allows increasing the production of biogas by 200 percent with a controlled introduction of iron oxide nanoparticles to the process of organic waste treatment.

Males of great bustard self-medicate to appear more attractive to females
Males of great bustard consume small doses of poison with a dual purpose: to eliminate intern parasites and, especially, to look healthier and stronger before females, allowing them to achieve a greater reproductive success.

Thermal paper cash register receipts account for high bisphenol A (BPA) levels in humans
Research conducted at the University of Missouri is providing the first data that BPA from thermal paper used in cash register receipts accounts for high levels of BPA in humans.

NASA-led study sees Titan glowing at dusk and dawn
New maps of Saturn's moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles.

Cancer patients should not hesitate to speak with their doctors about dietary supplements
Many cancer patients use dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals and herbs or other botanicals but often don't tell their doctor.

A 'Star Wars' laser bullet -- this is what it really looks like
Action-packed science-fiction movies often feature colorful laser bolts. But what would a real laser missile look like during flight, if we could only make it out?

NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP Satellite team ward off recent space debris threat
Space debris, also known as 'space junk,' is an ongoing real-life concern for teams managing satellites orbiting Earth, including NOAA-NASA's Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, or Suomi NPP, satellite.

Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice
A new drug, known as OTS964, can eradicate aggressive human lung cancers transplanted into mice.

NASA's Terra Satellite sees wind shear affecting Tropical Storm Ana
Tropical Storm Ana was being battered by wind shear when NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead and saw the bulk of showers and thunderstorms pushed north and east of the center.

Research reveals how lymph nodes expand during disease
Cancer Research UK and UCL scientists have discovered that the same specialized immune cells that patrol the body and spot infections also trigger the expansion of immune organs called lymph nodes, according to a study published in Nature on Wednesday, Oct.

New study shows that shifting precipitation patterns affect tea flavor, health compounds
New research shows that major antioxidant compounds that determine tea health properties and taste fell up to 50 percent during an extreme monsoon.

Producing solar power with impure silicon
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have developed a new method of producing solar cells could reduce the amount of silicon per unit area by 90 percent compared to the current standard.

Proper dental care linked to reduced risk of respiratory infections in ICU patients
New research shows vulnerable patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) who received enhanced oral care from a dentist were at significantly less risk for developing a lower respiratory tract infection, like ventilator-associated pneumonia, during their stay.

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection
When studying extremely fast reactions in ultrathin materials, two measurements are better than one.

Trans fats still weighing Americans down
Americans are eating less trans and saturated fats than they were three decades ago, but they're still consuming these bad fats more than what's recommended for good cardiovascular health.

Association between air toxics and childhood autism
Children with autism spectrum disorder were more likely to have been exposed to higher levels of certain air toxics during their mothers' pregnancies and the first two years of life compared to children without the condition, according to the preliminary findings of a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigation of children in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Skin patch could replace the syringe for disease diagnosis
Drawing blood and testing it is standard practice for many medical diagnostics.

UT Austin leads $58 million effort to study potential new energy source
A research team led by The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded nearly $58 million to analyze deposits of frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico that hold enormous potential to increase the world's energy supply.

UNL researcher wins federal grant for groundbreaking solar energy project
Jinsong Huang, associate professor of mechanical and materials engineering at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, wins $1.2 million, four-year, award from US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to refine solar cells that feature perovskite.

The 2011 English summer riots: Courts accused of 'collective hysteria'
A review of sentencing following the 2011 English riots has shown that sentences were much harsher than realized at first.

The unexpected benefits of adjustable rate mortgages
As would be expected during a time of consumer deleveraging, households applied more than 70 percent of their mortgage savings to reducing outstanding credit card debts.

National report finds bullying in schools still prevalent
Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers from Clemson University and Professional Data Analysts Inc., and published by the Hazelden Foundation.

Molecule could suppress immune system's 'friendly fire'
Scientists have found a molecule that could potentially accelerate clinical trials to combat autoimmune diseases.

Baby cries show evidence of cocaine exposure during pregnancy
A new study conducted by University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers provides the first known evidence of how a similar acoustic characteristic in the cry sounds of human infants and rat pups may be used to detect the harmful effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on nervous system development.

NIST offers electronics industry 2 ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules
The idea of a practical manufacturing process based on getting molecules to organize themselves in useful nanoscale shapes once seemed a little fantastic.

Harvard study offers first-ever look at how NCAA concussion guidelines are followed
Though most NCAA colleges and universities have created programs to help athletes deal with concussions, a new Harvard study has found that, when it comes to specific components of those plans, many institutions still lag behind accepted standards.

Organic molecules in Titan's atmosphere are intriguingly skewed
While studying the atmosphere on Saturn's moon Titan, scientists discovered intriguing zones of organic molecules unexpectedly shifted away from its north and south poles.
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