Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 31, 2014
Is fleet diversity key to sustainable fisheries?
Concern about fisheries is widespread around the world. Over the past several decades, a robust discussion has taken place concerning how to manage fisheries better to benefit ecosystems and humans.

Tau, not amyloid-beta, triggers neuronal death process in Alzheimer's
New research points to tau, not amyloid-beta plaque, as the seminal event that spurs neuron death in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

'Divide and rule' -- raven politics
Mythology has attributed many supernatural features to ravens. Studies on the cognitive abilities of ravens have indeed revealed that they are exceptionally intelligent.

Breaking down DNA by genome
A new study in the November issue of Applications in Plant Sciences provides plant biologists with an efficient approach for separating plant nuclear DNA from organellar DNA for genomic and metagenomic studies.

Goodbye to rainy days for US, Japan's first rain radar in space
After 17 years of groundbreaking 3-D images of rain and storms, the joint NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission will come to an end next year.

Cell division, minus the cells
Researchers have reconstituted cell division -- complete with signals that direct molecular traffic -- without the cell.

Viewing cancer on the move: New device yields close-up look at metastasis
Johns Hopkins engineers have invented a lab device to give cancer researchers an unprecedented microscopic look at metastasis, the complex way that tumor cells spread through the body, causing more than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths.

Fun and games make for better learners
Four minutes of physical activity can improve behavior in the classroom for primary school students, according to new research by Brendon Gurd.

Drug tests on mothers' hair links recreational drug use to birth defects
Drug tests on 517 mothers in English inner city hospitals found that nearly 15 percent had taken recreational drugs during pregnancy and that mothers of babies with birth defects of the brain were significantly more likely to have taken drugs than mothers with normal babies.

Fracture-controlled erodibility, great rock climbing
Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park is an iconic American landscape: It is a sub-alpine meadow surrounded by glacially sculpted granitic outcrops in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Cancer cell fingerprints in the blood may speed up childhood cancer diagnosis
Newly-identified cancer cell fingerprints in the blood could one day help doctors diagnose a range of children's cancers faster and more accurately, according to research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference next week.

Efficient genetic editing
Led by professor of chemistry and chemical biology David Liu, a team of Harvard researchers have developed a system that uses commercially-available molecules called cationic lipids -- long, greasy molecules that carry a positive charge -- to efficiently deliver genome-editing proteins into cells, and have even demonstrated that the technology can be used to perform genome editing in living animals.

Tests will track improved thinking in people with Fragile X, Down syndromes
Leading researchers, funded through a new, five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, are collaborating to develop and evaluate tests designed to measure and track changes in the cognitive functioning of people who typically are difficult to assess accurately: those with an intellectual disability, formerly termed mental retardation.

Bladderwrack: Tougher than suspected
The bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus is actually one of the most important species of brown algae along the North Atlantic coasts.

UT Southwestern Microbiologist awarded prestigious NIH research grant
Dr. John Schoggins, assistant professor of microbiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has received a prestigious New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Wayne State receives $1.16 million HRSA grant to enhance statewide regional centers
The Michigan Area Health Education Center, a Wayne State University program that seeks to increase access to quality primary care providers in underserved communities, today announced that it has been awarded a one-year, $1.16 million grant from the US Health Resources and Services Administration to promote and provide health care career preparation initiatives, clinical experiences and continuing education programs across Michigan.

NTU Singapore lights up photonics research with $100 million institute
The next generation ultra-fast Internet or ground-breaking electronic circuits powered by light instead of electricity could very well be built on research done at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore).

Scientists replicate the tide with two buckets, aquarium tubing, and a pump
A design for a new, inexpensive tidal simulation unit enables researchers to investigate tidal marsh plant growth in a controlled setting.

The digital therapist
A program that analyzes your speech and uses it to gain information about your mental health could soon be feasible, thanks in part to research from the University of Maryland showing that certain vocal features change as patients' feelings of depression worsen.

Proton therapy shown to be less costly than some alternative radiotherapy techniques
In terms of duration of treatment and cost, patients with early stage breast cancer may benefit from accelerated partial breast irradiation with proton therapy versus whole breast irradiation, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center.

Decoding the emergence of metastatic cancer stem cells
In the first study of its kind, Rice University researchers have mapped how information flows through the genetic circuits that cause cancer cells to become metastatic.

Massive geographic change may have triggered explosion of animal life
A new paper by The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences published in the November issue of Geology suggests a major tectonic event may be connected with the apparent burst of life that occurred 530 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion.

NYU research: Majority of high school seniors favor more liberal marijuana policies
The study analyzed adolescents' positions toward marijuana decriminalization and legalization.

Are my muscular dystrophy drugs working?
People with muscular dystrophy could one day assess the effectiveness of their medication with the help of a smartphone-linked device, a new study in mice suggests.

Avivagen publishes evidence for natural alternative to antibiotic use in livestock
Today the leading journal PLOS ONE published research that provides underlying scientific support for a fundamentally new type of natural alternative to the use of antibiotics in livestock feeds for growth promotion and disease prevention.

Captive rhinos exposed to urban rumbles
The soundtrack to a wild rhinoceros's life is wind passing through the savannah grass, birds chirping and distant animals moving across the plains.

Raising cryptography's standards
Calculating encryption schemes' theoretical security guarantees eases comparison, improvement.

Tweet much to gain popularity is an inefficient strategy
The imbalanced structure of Twitter, where some users have many followers and the large majority barely has several dozen followers, means that messages from the more influential have much more impact.

Strange, fanged deer persists in Afghanistan
More than 60 years after its last confirmed sighting, a strange deer with vampire-like fangs still persists in the rugged forested slopes of northeast Afghanistan according to a research team led by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which confirmed the species presence during recent surveys.

Tropical Depression Nuri now haunting the western Pacific Ocean
Tropical Depression Nuri formed on Halloween morning, Oct. 31, and is haunting the waters of the western North Pacific Ocean.

Tracking a gigantic sunspot across the sun
An active region on the sun -- an area of intense and complex magnetic fields -- rotated into view on Oct.

Transforming 'big data' into knowledge
The HMS Center for Biomedical Informatics has received two major government grants totaling nearly $28 million.

Advance directives can benefit patients, families, and health care system
Nearly one out of four older Americans say that either they or a family member have experienced excessive or unwanted medical treatment, according to the latest issue of The Gerontological Society of America's Public Policy & Aging Report, which goes on to show that Americans strongly support holding doctors accountable when they fail to honor patients' end-of-life health care wishes.

Report examines health care challenges for pregnant women enrolled in covered California
A new report by Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University examines the challenge of maintaining enriched health care for pregnant women who are enrolled in Covered California and who are also eligible for Medi-Cal, which includes the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program.

Case Western Reserve, Cuyahoga County, YMCA of greater Cleveland: Public health grants
The Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine is a key player in nearly $13.32 million in federal grants awarded to improve community health in Northeast Ohio.

Countries can learn from Cyprus' 2013 economic crash, according to Imperial report
Countries can learn lessons from Cyprus' economic crash and subsequent bailout package in terms of preventing future financial crises, according to a report out today.

Scientists trigger self-destruct switch in lung cancer cells
Cancer Research UK scientists have found a drug combination that can trigger the self-destruct process in lung cancer cells -- paving the way for new treatments.

Improved mouse model will accelerate research on potential Ebola vaccines, treatments
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and colleagues have developed the first genetic strain of mice that can be infected with Ebola and display symptoms similar to those that humans experience.

Green spaces don't ensure biodiversity in urban areas
Green spaces in cities are great, but they don't ensure biodiversity, according to University of Iowa biologists.

Synthetic lethality offers a new approach to kill tumor cells, explains Moffitt researcher
The scientific community has made significant strides in recent years in identifying important genetic contributors to malignancy and developing therapeutic agents that target altered genes and proteins.

ESA Frontiers November preview
Connectivity cost calculations for conservation corridors, crop companions, jellyfish and human well-being and micromanaging microbes.

Mussels on California coast contaminated with giardia transmitted from land-based sources
The pathogen Giardia duodenalis is present in mussels from freshwater run-off sites and from areas where California Sea Lions lounge along the coast of California, according to a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis.

Tropical Storm Vance's center looks like a pumpkin to NASA's Terra satellite
Tropical Depression 21E strengthened overnight on Oct. 30 and by Halloween morning, Tropical Storm Vance was haunting the waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Sexual fantasies: Are you normal?
Hoping for sex with two women is common but fantasizing about golden showers is not.

A new generation of storage -- ring
The MAX IV facility, currently under construction in Lund, Sweden, is the first of a new generation of storage-ring-based synchrotron light sources which employ a multibend achromat lattice to reach emittances in the few hundred pm rad range in a circumference of a few hundred meters.

Insomnia increases risk of motor vehicle deaths, other fatal injuries
New research suggests that insomnia is a major contributor to deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional fatal injuries.

New step towards eradication of H5N1 bird flu
A University of Adelaide-led project has developed a new test that can distinguish between birds that have been vaccinated against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza virus or 'bird flu' with those that have been naturally infected.

Study of Chile earthquake finds new rock structure that affects earthquake rupture
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have found an unusual mass of rock deep in the active fault line beneath Chile which influenced the rupture size of a massive earthquake that struck the region in 2010.

The 29th Discover Conference and the Dairy NRC
The American Dairy Science Association is again taking the lead in assuring that the National Research Council's Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle (7th rev. ed., 2001), is updated in a timely manner.

Lack of oxygen delayed the rise of animals on Earth
Scientists have long speculated as to why animal species didn't flourish sooner, once sufficient oxygen covered the Earth's surface.

NASA sees remnants of Nilofar go to cyclone graveyard
Wind shear has caused the demise of former Tropical Cyclone Nilofar in the northern Arabian Sea.

Resveratrol could reverse benefits of being active
Adding resveratrol supplements to your exercise routine may not enhance the effects of physical activity.

Broad Institute, Univ. of California team awarded NCI Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilot contract
A team from the Broad Institute, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Santa Cruz, was awarded one of three National Cancer Institute Cancer Genomics Cloud Pilot contracts with the goal of building a system that will enable large-scale analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas and other datasets by co-locating the data and the required computing resources in one cloud environment.

Scientists seek cure for devastating witches' broom disease of the chocolate tree
As children across the country savor the last of this year's Halloween candy, a deadly and untreatable fungus, Moniliophthora perniciosa, is hexing chocolate tree, Theobroma cacao, plantations in many South and Central American countries, threatening livelihoods and imperiling the world's favorite treat.

Twin Cities to host national health conference on community-level prevention
On Thursday, Nov. 6 and Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, experts and leaders from throughout the country who are promoting and working on such community-level prevention efforts are coming together in Minnetonka for the second annual national conference, Connecting to Transform Communities: Stakeholders in Health & Wellness.

Ant behavior might shed insight on problems facing electronics design
The National Science Foundation has awarded Michael Hsiao, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech, a grant of $418,345 to improve the accuracy in electronics design, using algorithms he designed that simulate ant behavior.

Immune cells proposed as HIV hideout don't last in primate model
New research from Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, sheds light on the question of which cells support viral replication and persistence, and the answers have implications for future efforts to eliminate HIV from the body in human patients. 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