Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 11, 2014
Fast-food outlets in inner city neighborhoods fuel diabetes and obesity epidemic
A new study led by University of Leicester reveals that there is twice the number of fast-food outlets in inner city neighborhoods with high density non-white ethnic minority groups and in socially deprived areas.

Good cause + moderate discount = more sales
Many businesses now offer customers the opportunity to make charitable donations to good causes along with their purchases, but does this really encourage the customer to buy more?

Penn-Dresden study blocks multiple sclerosis relapses in mice
In a new study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and co-investigators have identified a key protein that is able to reduce the severity of a disease equivalent to multiple sclerosis in mice.

Altered milk protein can deliver AIDS drug to infants
A novel method of altering a protein in milk to bind with an antiretroviral drug promises to greatly improve treatment for infants and young children suffering from HIV/AIDS, according to a researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

UI researchers find East Coast hurricanes can flood the Midwest
University of Iowa researchers have found that North Atlantic tropical cyclones in fact have a significant effect on the Midwest.

Tail discovered on long-known asteroid
A two-person team of Carnegie's Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory has discovered a new active asteroid, called 62412, in the Solar System's main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Copernicus Climate Change and Atmosphere Monitoring Services launched
A ground-breaking agreement was signed in Brussels today between the European Commission and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Mann honored with 2014 Pongo Environmental Award
Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of meteorology and director of Penn State's Earth System Science Center, received a 2014 Pongo Environmental Award.

INFORMS awards 2014 Impact Prize to open source software program COIN-OR
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences recognized a longstanding open source software program with its 2014 INFORMS Impact Prize for the developers' creation of software that has spurred the growth of new applications over its more than dozen years of existence.

The Trojan Horse burger: Do companies that 'do good' sell unhealthy food?
When consumers see a company performing good deeds, they often assume that the company's products are healthy.

Helping patients with schizophrenia and their caregivers
For the study, patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and their caregivers participated in 15 weekly one-hour sessions.

Notre Dame network physicists create model to predict traffic patterns
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have designed a simple, yet highly accurate traffic prediction model for roadway transportation networks.

Tree diseases can help forests
Plant diseases attack trees and crops and can hurt lumber and food production, but University of Utah biologists found that pathogens that kill tree seedlings actually can make forests more diverse.

Effect of use of hospice care by Medicare patients on hospitalizations and costs
Medicare patients with poor­ prognosis cancers who received hospice care had significantly lower rates of hospitalization, intensive care unit admissions and invasive procedures at the end of life, along with significantly lower health care expenditures during the last year of life, according to a study in the Nov.

GigaScience publishes a virtual box of delights to aid the fight against heart disease
Early diagnosis of coronary heart disease is essential for prevention of most heart attacks, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a primary diagnostic tool.

Study: Farmers and scientists divided over climate change
Crop producers and scientists hold deeply different views on climate change and its possible causes, a study by Purdue and Iowa State universities shows.

Leading nursing journal finds mothers and babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact
Research during the past 30 years has found many benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns immediately after birth, particularly with aiding breastfeeding.

Study: Baby boomers will drive explosion in Alzheimer's-related costs in coming decades
The financial burden of Alzheimer's disease on the United States will increase from $307 billion annually to $1.5 trillion by 2050, according to models.

Long-term benefits of popular diets are less than evident
Dieters lost modest weight in the first year on popular diets such as Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, and Zone.

Why 'I'm so happy I could cry' makes sense
The phrase 'tears of joy' never made much sense to Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon.

Typhoid gene unravelled
People who carry a particular type of gene have natural resistance against typhoid fever according to new research published in Nature Genetics.

Next-gen melanoma drug, TAK-733, excels in lab tests
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published online this week in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics reports anti-cancer activity in 10 out of 11 patient tumor samples grown in mice and treated with the experimental drug TAK-733, a small molecule inhibitor of MEK1/2.

Novel molecular imaging drug offers better detection of prostate cancer
A novel study demonstrates the potential of a novel molecular imaging drug to detect and visualize early prostate cancer in soft tissue, lymph nodes and bone.

Tool created to help multinational companies assess risk of bribery when doing business in foreign countries
A tool to help multinational companies assess the business bribery risks faced when conducting business in foreign countries and tailor compliance policies to address those threats has been created by researchers from the RAND Corporation and TRACE International.

Multiple models reveal new genetic links in autism
With the help of mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the 'tooth fairy,' researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have implicated a new gene in idiopathic or non-syndromic autism.

Otago neuroscientists reveal mechanism crucial to molding male brains
New Zealand researchers have discovered that neural circuitry they previously showed was vital to triggering ovulation and maintaining fertility also plays a key role in molding the male brain.

Penn Vet team pieces together signaling pathway leading to obesity
A team of researchers led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's Kendra K.

Zelig Eshhar and Carl H. June honored for research on T cell engineering for cancer immunotherapy
Zelig Eshhar, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science and Sourasky Medical Center, and Carl H.

Bending -- but not breaking -- in search of new materials
Researchers at Drexel University and Dalian University of Technology in China have chemically engineered a new, electrically conductive nanomaterial that is flexible enough to fold, but strong enough to support many times its own weight.

Eye diseases identified by how we watch TV
One of the leading causes of blindness worldwide could be detected by how our eyes respond to watching TV according to a new study from researchers at City University London.

Scientists build a better eye on our world
Science begins with observation, and defining moments in scientific progress followed the introduction of new ways to observe the world, from microscopes and telescopes to X-rays and MRIs.

Administration of Tdap vaccine during pregnancy not linked with preterm delivery
Among approximately 26,000 women, receipt of the tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk of preterm delivery or small-for-gestational-age birth or with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, although a small increased risk of being diagnosed with chorioamnionitis -- an inflammation of the membranes that surround the fetus -- was observed, according to a study in the Nov.

Facial structure predicts goals, fouls among World Cup soccer players
The structure of a soccer player's face can predict his performance on the field -- including his likelihood of scoring goals, making assists and committing fouls -- according to a study led by a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Study finds traditional healers contribute to HIV care delays
If you're a native of rural Mozambique who contracts HIV and becomes symptomatic, before seeking clinical testing and treatment, you'll likely consult a traditional healer.

IU researcher publishes 'landmark' results for curing hepatitis C in transplant patients
A new treatment regimen for hepatitis C, the most common cause of liver cancer and transplantation, has produced results that will transform treatment protocols for transplant patients, according to research published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Weeds yet to reach their full potential as invaders after centuries of change
Weeds in the UK are still evolving hundreds of years after their introduction and are unlikely to have yet reached their full potential as invaders, UNSW Australia scientists have discovered.

They have a pill for that: How are weight loss drugs fueling the obesity epidemic?
Consumers place great faith in weight loss pills and remedies, buying and using them more than ever before.

Autophagy and antidepressants
FK506 binding protein 51 regulates acute and chronic effects of treatment with antidepressants via autophagic pathways (processes by which cells break down and recycle their components) in mice and is linked to the clinical response to antidepressants in humans, according to a study published by Theo Rein and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Germany in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Genes identify transplant rejection
Acute rejection after kidney transplantation occurs in about 15-20 percent of patients despite immunosuppressive therapy.

Controlling genes with your thoughts
Researchers led by ETH Zurich professor Martin Fussenegger have constructed the first gene network that can be controlled by our thoughts.

Mapping the spread of diarrhea bacteria a major step towards new vaccine
Every year hundreds of thousands of people die from diarrheal diseases caused by ETEC bacteria.

Controversial medication has benefits for breastfeeding
A controversial medication used by breastfeeding women should not be restricted because of the benefits it offers mothers and their babies, according to researchers at the University of Adelaide.

Space: The final frontier in silicon chemistry
Silicon, which is one of the most common elements in the Earth's crust, is also sprinkled abundantly throughout interstellar space.

MU researchers offer first analysis of new human glucose disorder
Glycogen storage disorders are metabolic conditions that manifest in the first years of life.

Anti-organic: Why do some farmers resist profitable change?
Why do some chemical farmers resist a profitable conversion to organic methods?

Genetics Society of America to assist authors in depositing preprints into CSHL's bioRxiv
The Genetics Society of America announced today that it is partnering with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press to assist authors in submitting unpublished manuscripts to bioRxiv, a fast-growing preprint server for the life sciences.

Medical ethics experts outline strategy for overcoming reimbursement barriers for clinical genome sequencing tests
Genomic tests using next generation sequencing technologies are increasingly being offered in a range of clinical settings, but these tests may only transform clinical practice if patients and clinicians have access to them, said medical ethics experts from Baylor College of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in a commentary published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Tools and primates: Opportunity, not necessity, is the mother of invention
When food is scarce, tool use among non-human primates does not increase.

Tracing the course of phosphorus pollution in Lake Pepin
In recent years, many lakes in the upper Midwest have been experiencing unprecedented algae blooms.

Creating bright X-ray pulses in the laser lab
To create X-rays -- short wave radiation -- scientists at TU Vienna start out with very long wavelengths -- infrared laser.

A heavier price: How do restaurant surcharges and labeling improve health?
The American obesity epidemic is out of control, and health advocates are working hard to ensure that food labels clearly list calorie content and all unhealthy ingredients.

This week from AGU: Volcano hazards and the role of westerly wind bursts in El Niño
Volcano hazards and the role of westerly wind bursts in El Niño are topics published this week by the American Geophysical Union's journals.

How to secure the entrepreneurial future of a family business
Concordia University management professor Peter Jaskiewicz believes there's hope for business owners who stay current by focusing on entrepreneurship in succession planning.

Infectious diseases researcher wins $1.225 million fellowship
Dr. Marc Pellegrini is one of three researchers to this year be awarded a 2014 Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation Senior Medical Research Fellowship.

Doctors raise serious concern over standard of mental health care at UK immigration centers
Leading doctors today raise serious concern over the standard of mental health care at UK immigration removal centers.

QUT helps China to better predict dengue fever outbreaks
Queensland University of Technology researchers have found the habit of Googling for an online diagnosis before visiting the doctor can be a powerful predictor of infectious diseases outbreaks.

Supercomputing beyond genealogy reveals surprising European ancestors
Most Europeans today derive from three distinct populations, as evidenced by sequenced genomes of nine ancient remains and 2,345 contemporary humans.

Majority of people -- including health professionals -- struggle to identify obesity
The majority of people -- including healthcare professionals -- are unable to visually identify whether a person is a healthy weight, overweight or obese according to research by psychologists at the University of Liverpool.

When bone density is good, no repeat tests needed for younger postmenopausal women
After menopause and before age 65, women who have normal bone density have a very low risk of fracture, shows a new study from the Women's Health Initiative published online in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Federal legislation ignores PTSD toll on civilians
Federal laws explicitly addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have overwhelmingly focused on the needs of military personnel and veterans, according to a new analysis.

Life expectancy among patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection and cirrhosis
Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection and advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis who attained sustained virological response (SVR) had survival comparable with that of the general population, whereas patients who did not attain SVR had reduced survival, according to a study in the Nov.

Groundwater warming up in synch
Global warming stops at nothing -- not even the groundwater, as a new study by researchers from ETH Zurich and KIT reveals: the groundwater's temperature profiles echo those of the atmosphere, albeit damped and delayed.

Study shows vaccination leads to decline in pneumococcal disease and antibiotic resistance
Wits University and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases released a new study, led by Wits academics, showing rates of invasive pneumococcal disease -- including cases caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria -- have fallen substantially in South Africa following the introduction of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in 2009.

Study identifying cell of origin for large, disfiguring nerve tumors lays groundwork for development
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have determined the specific type of cell that gives rise to large, disfiguring tumors called plexiform neurofibromas, a finding that could lead to new therapies for preventing growth of these tumors.

Heart attack, stroke survivors' care needs may be much greater than experts thought
A record number of people are surviving heart attacks and stroke but those who do may experience a sharp decline in physical abilities that steadily accelerates over time.

Many microbiome studies flawed by contamination
Many published microbiome studies are likely to have been contaminated and may incorrectly report the presence of microorganisms unintentionally introduced from the laboratory environment, says a study published in the open-access journal BMC Biology.

INFORMS awards prestigious 2014 Von Neumann Theory Prize to IBM's Nimrod Megiddo
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences today announced the award of its John Von Neumann Theory prize, a sometime harbinger of the Nobel Prize, to IBM's Nimrod Megiddo for innovations in game theory, linear programming, and combinatorial optimization.

Patients who do not enroll in hospice are more likely to receive aggressive cancer care
More patients with cancer use hospice today than ever before, but there are indications that care intensity outside of hospice is increasing, and length of hospice stay decreasing.

Progress in bipolar disorder -- update from Harvard Review of Psychiatry
Several lines of research have opened exciting new frontiers in scientific understanding and clinical management of bipolar disorder.

UEA research shows lung disease case finding in pharmacies could save £264 million
Using community pharmacies to identify undiagnosed cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at an early stage could save £264 million a year.

HIV-infected adults diagnosed with age-related diseases at similar ages as uninfected
New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that HIV-infected adults are at a higher risk for developing heart attacks, kidney failure and cancer.

Enriched environments hold promise for brain injury patients
A violent blow to the head has the potential to cause mild to severe traumatic brain injury -- physical damage to the brain that can be debilitating, even fatal.

Bizarre mapping error puts newly discovered species in jeopardy
WCS scientists in the Democratic Republic of Congo have discovered a new species of plant living in a remote rift valley escarpment that's supposed to be inside of a protected area.

Tumor-analysis technology enables speedier treatment decisions for bowel-cancer patients
Technology developed at the University of Sussex helps hospitals make earlier and more accurate treatment decisions and survival assessments for patients with bowel cancer.

Psychotropic drug prescriptions: Therapeutic advances or fads?
A parallel between the dilemmas facing medicine in the nineteenth century and those that currently exist in the field of mental health may are psychotropic drugs increasingly prescribed.

The oceans' sensitive skin
Ocean acidification might alter climate-relevant functions of the oceans' uppermost layer, according to a study by a group of marine scientists published in the 'Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.' In an experiment led by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the researchers observed a close coupling between biological processes in the seawater and the chemistry of the sea surface microlayer.

Commuting by bicycle: Why the Irish aren't like the Dutch -- yet
Cities around the world are pouring money into beautiful bicycle paths in hopes of convincing citizens to drive less and bike more.

New therapy for trauma survivors
A newly developed transdiagnostic psychotherapy, called the Common Elements Treatment Approach, is effective for reducing mental health symptoms among Burmese trauma survivors living in Thailand, according to a study published by Paul Bolton and colleagues from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and University of Washington, USA in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Salivary mucins play active role to fight cavities
Salivary mucins, key components of mucus, actively protect the teeth from the cariogenic bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, according to research published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Behavioral changes seen after sleep learning
Volunteers in a Weizmann Institute experiment smoked less after a night of olfactory conditioning.

Scoring system masks variation between GPs' communication skills
The research, led by the University of Exeter Medical School, in collaboration with Cambridge University, has discovered that higher scoring GP practices tend to include predominantly higher-scoring GPs, while lower-scoring practices have a wider variation in individual scores.

NJIT and Thai conglomerate SCG agree to jointly pursue research and technology innovation
NJIT signed an agreement last week with Siam Cement Group (SCG), one of Thailand's leading industrial conglomerates, that will bring both Thai graduate students and research funds to the university to further technology innovation in areas of shared interest such as materials science, wastewater treatment and intelligent transportation.

UH receives $1.5 million grant to prepare future cybersecurity workers
With breaches in data on the rise, cybersecurity is a growing concern.

Some plants regenerate by duplicating their DNA
When munched by grazing animals -- or mauled by scientists in the lab -- some herbaceous plants overcompensate -- producing more plant matter and becoming more fertile than they otherwise would.

Attitudes about knowledge and power drive Michigan's wolf debate
With both wolf proposals shot down by Michigan voters on election day, the debate over managing and hunting wolves is far from over.

'Eyespots' in butterflies shown to distract predatory attack
Like a matador waving a cape at a charging bull, research has demonstrated with some of the first experimental evidence that coloration or patterns can be used to 'deflect' attacks from predators, protecting an animal's most vulnerable parts from the predators most likely to attack them.

Twisted light waves sent across Vienna
A group of researchers from Austria have sent twisted beams of light across the rooftops of Vienna.

How do you really feel about the cake? Emotional awareness promotes healthier eating
As obesity rates rise, health professionals and policy makers scramble to help consumers resist unhealthy eating choices, often focusing on better labeling and improved nutritional knowledge.

State income taxes on the working poor vary by thousands of dollars
A report from the National Center for Children in Poverty finds that a significant number of states continues to push the working poor deeper into poverty by imposing income tax liabilities on poverty-level earnings.

New publications detail photonics advances by UT Arlington physics team
Publications in PLOS ONE and Nature Scientific Reports describe the work of a UT Arlington physics team using near infrared laser beams.

Microtubes create cozy space for neurons to grow, and grow fast
Tiny, thin microtubes could provide a scaffold for neuron cultures to grow so that researchers can study neural networks, their growth and repair, yielding insights into treatment for degenerative neurological conditions or restoring nerve connections after injury. 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