Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 12, 2014
Linking diet to human and environmental health
The world is gaining weight and becoming less healthy, and global dietary choices are harming the environment.

BMC awarded $21 million NIH grant to investigate tuberculosis, improve treatment
Boston Medical Center has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate why Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection affects individuals so differently.

National study provides insights into childhood head injuries
This week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine features an article that highlights an unprecedented analysis of the nation's childhood head injuries.

China's old-growth forests vanishing despite government policies, Dartmouth research shows
China's anti-logging, conservation and ecotourism policies are accelerating the loss of old-growth forests in one of the world's most ecologically fragile places, according to studies led by a Dartmouth College scientist.

NIDA researchers confirm important brain reward pathway
Details of the role of glutamate, the brain's excitatory chemical, in a drug reward pathway have been identified for the first time.

New 'care bundle' achieves drop in death rate for emergency abdominal surgery patients
Four UK hospitals have achieved a huge reduction in the number of patients dying following emergency abdominal surgery, after adopting a 'care bundle' devised by patient safety specialists.

HIV virulence depends on where virus inserts itself in host DNA
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can insert itself at different locations in the DNA of its human host -- and this specific integration site determines how quickly the disease progresses, report researchers at KU Leuven's Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy.

Moving cameras talk to each other to identify, track pedestrians
University of Washington electrical engineers have developed a way to automatically track people across moving and still cameras by using an algorithm that trains the networked cameras to learn one another's differences.

Large-scale study on vein filter use launches
The first large-scale, multispecialty prospective clinical research trial to evaluate the use of inferior vena cava filters and related follow-up treatment in the United States -- initiated by a collaboration between the Society of Interventional Radiology and the Society for Vascular Surgery -- is set to enroll the first patient in spring 2015 with participation from seven filter manufacturers.

Tiny needles offer potential new treatment for two major eye diseases
Needles almost too small to be seen with the unaided eye could be the basis for new treatment options for two of the world's leading eye diseases: glaucoma and corneal neovascularization.

Study at SLAC explains atomic action in high-temperature superconductors
A study at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory suggests for the first time how scientists might deliberately engineer superconductors that work at higher temperatures.

Atomic timekeeping, on the go
A new approach may enable more stable and accurate portable atomic clocks.

Moderate consumption of sugary drinks has little impact on adolescents' metabolic health
University of Missouri researchers have found that short-term, moderate consumption of high-fructose and high-glucose beverages has little impact on the metabolic health of weight-stable, physically active adolescents.

Single molecular switch may contribute to major aging-related diseases
A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has identified what appears to be a molecular switch controlling inflammatory processes involved in conditions ranging from muscle atrophy to Alzheimer's disease.

Brain protein influences how the brain manages stress; suggests new model of depression
A discovery of new molecular and behavioural connections may provide a foundation for the development of new treatments to combat some forms of depression.

Hope for those with social anxiety disorder: You may already be someone's best friend
Making friends is often extremely difficult for people with social anxiety disorder and to make matters worse, people with this disorder tend to assume that the friendships they do have are not of the highest quality.

Addressing the opportunity for wilderness experiences on military lands
In a new book, ecologist Mary Cablk, Ph.D., challenges the traditional definition of wilderness to pose the question -- 'Does wilderness exist on military installations?' Intended to spark discussion, and not supported by grants or research sponsors, Cablk contrasts the social and environmental costs of allowing access to the 109.4 million acres of designated wilderness in the US, with the unique and unexpected landscapes that exist within the 30.2 million acres of federally managed military lands.

American College of Cardiology joins with 1776 to identify, support health startups
The American College of Cardiology is partnering with 1776, the global incubator and investment fund, as an association partner in addition to supporting 1776's Challenge Cup -- a global competition spanning 16 cities in 11 countries to identify the most promising health startups solving some of the health care industry's biggest challenges.

Pre-pregnancy body weight affects early development of human embryos
New research indicates that the embryos of women who are overweight or obese at the time they conceive display distinct differences in early development compared to embryos from women of a healthy weight.

Electronic 'tongue' to ensure food quality
An electronic 'tongue' could one day sample food and drinks as a quality check before they hit store shelves.

Single-dose, needle-free Ebola vaccine provides long-term protection in macaques
Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a single-dose, needleless Ebola vaccine given to primates through their noses and lungs protected them against infection for at least 21 weeks.

Older women with sleep-breathing problems more likely to see decline in daily functions
Older women with disordered breathing during sleep were found to be at greater risk of decline in the ability to perform daily activities, such as grocery shopping and meal preparation, according to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco.

'Smart' drugs won't make smart people smarter
It is claimed one in five students have taken the 'smart' drug Modafinil to boost their ability to study and improve their chances of exam success.

The whole-genome sequences of the world's oldest living people published
Using fewer than 20 genomes, researchers were unable to find rare protein-altering variants significantly associated with extreme longevity.

High blood pressure puts 1 in 4 Nigerians at risk, study says
High blood pressure -- already a massive hidden killer in Nigeria -- is set to sharply rise as the country adopts western lifestyles, a University of Edinburgh study suggests.

Quarter of patients have subsequent surgery after breast conservation surgery
Nearly one-quarter of all patients who underwent initial breast conservation surgery for breast cancer had a subsequent surgical intervention, according to a report published online by JAMA Surgery.

Primordial galaxy bursts with starry births
Peering deep into time with one of the world's newest, most sophisticated telescopes, astronomers have found a galaxy -- AzTEC-3 -- that gives birth annually to 500 times the number of suns as the Milky Way galaxy, according to a new Cornell University-led study published Nov.

Learning languages is a workout for brains, both young and old
Learning a new language changes your brain network both structurally and functionally, according to Penn State researchers.

Mongoose sentinels respond flexibly to threats
Just as soldiers on sentry duty constantly adjust their behavior to match the current threat level, dwarf mongoose sentinels exhibit flexible decision-making in relation to predation risk, new research from the University of Bristol has shown.

Research links tobacco smoke and roadway air pollution with childhood obesity
New research from Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California bolsters evidence that exposure to tobacco smoke and near-roadway air pollution contribute to the development of obesity.

Picture emerges of how kids get head injuries
A study in which more than 43,000 children were evaluated for head trauma offers an unprecedented picture of how children most frequently suffer head injuries, report physicians at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Self-inflation harms kids' relationships at school
'I am the smartest kid in class.' We all want our kids to be self-confident, but unrealistic perceptions of their academic abilities can be harmful.

Fewer surgeries with degradable implants
Until now, in cases of bone fracture, doctors have used implants made of steel and titanium, which have to be removed after healing.

UT Arlington team says non-genetic changes can help parents or offspring, not both
A new study from The University of Texas at Arlington challenges current theory about how an organism changes physical characteristics because of its environment.

Depression, overwhelming guilt in preschool years linked to brain changes
A key brain region involved in emotion is smaller in older children diagnosed with depression as preschoolers, and predicts risk of later recurrence, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Inhabit(ants) of New York City: High diversity underfoot in urban environments
Cities have more species diversity than you'd expect. A study of ants in Manhattan found not only a wide range of species, but also significant differences in the levels of biodiversity in different urban areas.

Semen directly impairs effectiveness of microbicides that target HIV
Researchers from the Gladstone Institutes and the University of Ulm have discovered why microbicides developed to prevent HIV succeed in the lab but fail in clinical trials: Semen.

Electric cars without drivers
E-Mobile will park independently in the future and will also be able to find the next charging station without a driver.

How does the brain develop in individuals with autism?
Geneticists at Heidelberg University Hospital's Department of Molecular Human Genetics have used a new mouse model to demonstrate the way a certain genetic mutation is linked to a type of autism in humans where the protein FOXP1 is not synthesized and the brain structures degenerate.

Jackson Laboratory researchers discover lung regeneration mechanism
A research team led by Jackson Laboratory professors Frank McKeon, Ph.D., and Wa Xian, Ph.D., reports on the role of certain lung stem cells in regenerating lungs damaged by disease.

Genetic tweak gave yellow fever mosquitoes a nose for human odor
One of the world's deadliest mosquitoes sustains its taste for human blood thanks in part to a genetic tweak that makes it more sensitive to human odor, according to new research.

New survey of US workers reveals 2 in 5 survey participants missed work due to depression
Nearly one-quarter of US respondents indicated they have been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime and two in five (nearly 40 percent) of those patients reported taking time off of work -- an average of 10 days a year -- as a result of their diagnosis.

Dr. Barrance of Kessler Foundation awarded $600,000 NIDRR grant to study arthritis of knee
Peter Barrance, Ph.D., of Kessler Foundation, was awarded a three-year field-initiated grant by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Did men evolve navigation skills to find mates?
A University of Utah study of two African tribes found evidence that men evolved better navigation ability than women because men with better spatial skills - the ability to mentally manipulate objects -- can roam farther and have children with more mates.

Oral cancer-causing HPV may spread through oral and genital routes
Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infections were more common among men who had female partners with oral and/or genital HPV infection, suggesting that the transmission of HPV occurs via oral-oral and oral-genital routes, according to a McGill University study led by professsor Eduardo L.

Latest supercomputers enable high-resolution climate models, truer simulation of extreme weather
Not long ago, it would have taken several years to run a high-resolution simulation on a global climate model.

Bilingual brains better equipped to process information
Speaking more than one language is good for the brain, according to new research that indicates bilingual speakers process information more efficiently and more easily than those who know a single language.

Improving seniors' mental function is goal of NIH grant to IU School of Medicine
Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have been awarded a $2.5 million National Institutes of Health grant to evaluate the advantages of physical exercise, cognitive exercise or a combination of both on the aging brain.

Rice University program models more detailed evolutionary networks from genetic data
Rice University computer scientists develop software to build more accurate evolutionary networks from genomic data sets.

Artificial retina could someday help restore vision
The loss of eyesight, often caused by retinal degeneration, is a life-altering health issue for many people, especially as they age.

Predicting US Army suicides after hospital discharge
A new report from the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers suggests that some Army suicides can be predicted with enough accuracy to justify implementing preventive interventions in patients at high risk.

Prostate cancer researchers develop personalized genetic test to predict recurrence risk
Prostate cancer researchers have developed a genetic test to identify which men are at highest risk for their prostate cancer to come back after localized treatment with surgery or radiotherapy.

A tale of two seas: Last Ice Age has shaped sharks across Europe
Shark populations in the Mediterranean are highly divided, an international team of scientists, led by Dr Andrew Griffiths of the University of Bristol, has shown.

Experts address challenges of delivering critical care in resource-poor countries
Critical care is defined by life-threatening conditions, which require close evaluation, monitoring, and treatment by appropriately trained health professionals.

Major class of fracking chemicals no more toxic than common household substances
The 'surfactant' chemicals found in samples of fracking fluid collected in five states were no more toxic than substances commonly found in homes, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Virtual reality helps people to comfort and accept themselves
Self-compassion can be learned using avatars in an immersive virtual reality, finds new research led by UCL.

Patent awarded for genetics-based nanotechnology against mosquitoes, insect pests
Kansas State University researchers have been awarded a US patent for microscopic, genetics-based technology that can help safely kill mosquitoes and other insect pests.

Twenty-seven researchers named as EMBO Young Investigators
EMBO announced today the selection of 27 young researchers as EMBO Young Investigators.

Soldiers at increased suicide risk after leaving hospital
US Army soldiers hospitalized with a psychiatric disorder have a significantly elevated suicide risk in the year following discharge from the hospital, according to research from the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers.

Innovative approach to treating pancreatic cancer combines chemo- and immuno-therapy
VCU Massey Cancer Center and VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine researchers discovered a unique approach to treating pancreatic cancer that may be potentially safe and effective.

Focus on self-regulating skills in kindergarten may provide lasting academic effects
An educational approach in kindergarten focused on the development of executive functions -- the ability to avoid distractions, focus attention, hold relevant details in working memory, and regulate impulsive behavior -- in children improved academic learning in and beyond kindergarten, helping to overcome deficits in school readiness associated with poverty.

Do homing pigeons navigate with gyroscope in brain?
No one knows how homing pigeons do it, but now a team of Swiss and South African scientists have discovered that the bird's navigation is affected by disturbances in gravity, suggesting that they navigate using a gravity map and that they may carry an internal gyroscope to guide them home.

Study: Vitamin B may not reduce risk of memory loss
Taking vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements may not reduce the risk of memory and thinking problems after all, according to a new study published in the Nov.

Live longer? Save the planet? Better diet could nail both
A new study led by University of Minnesota ecologist David Tilman shows how a shift away from this trajectory and toward healthier traditional Mediterranean, pescatarian or vegetarian diets could not only boost human lifespan and quality of life, but also slash greenhouse gas emissions and save habitat for endangered species.

Insights into plant growth could curb need for fertilizers
New insights into how plants regulate their absorption of an essential nutrient could help avoid pollution caused by excess use of fertilizer.

A twisted world -- chemists build a molecular banister
Chemists at the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded in twisting a molecule by combining molecular strands of differing lengths.

Scientists unveil new targets, test to develop treatments for memory disorder
In a pair of related studies, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have identified a number of new therapeutic targets for memory disorders and have developed a new screening test to uncover compounds that may one day work against those disorders.

$2.5 million grant to support cancer research breakthroughs
Australian cancer researchers will gain access to first-in-Australia technology through new funding from Australian Cancer Research Foundation to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

UC Davis investigational medication used to resolve life-threatening seizures in children
In its first clinical application in pediatric patients, an investigational medication developed and manufactured at UC Davis has been found to effectively treat children with life-threatening and difficult-to-control epileptic seizures without side effects, according to a research report by scientists at UC Davis and Northwestern University.

Not all elderly Americans will surf to health
Providing health information on the internet may not be the 'cure all' that it is hoped to be.

Gene sequencing projects link two mutations to Ewing sarcoma subtype with poor prognosis
An international collaboration has identified frequent mutations in two genes that often occur together in Ewing sarcoma and that define a subtype of the cancer associated with reduced survival.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grants
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced the award of NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grants valued at $1.5 million to 15 scientists, who are full professors or the equivalent, conducting innovative projects in diverse areas of neurobiological and behavioral research.

Climate change puts coastal crabs in survival mode, study finds
Intertidal zone crabs can adapt to a warming climate, but will not have energy for much else besides basic survival, researchers at San Francisco State University have learned.

Amateur, professional astronomers alike thrilled by extreme storms on Uranus
The normally bland face of Uranus has become increasingly stormy, with enormous cloud systems so bright that for the first time, amateur astronomers are able to see details in the planet's hazy blue-green atmosphere.

Predicting US soldier suicides following psychiatric hospitalization
A study that looked at predicting suicides in US Army soldiers after they are hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder suggests that nearly 53 percent of posthospitalization suicides occurred following the 5 percent of hospitalizations with the highest predicted suicide risk, according to a report in JAMA Psychiatry.

Focusing on executive functions in kindergarten leads to lasting academic improvements
An educational approach focused on the development of children's executive functions -- the ability to avoid distractions, focus attention, hold relevant information in working memory, and regulate impulsive behavior -- improved academic learning in and beyond kindergarten, according to a new study by NYU Steinhardt researchers.

Research suggests how mosquitoes evolved an attraction to human scent
The female mosquitoes that spread dengue and yellow fever didn't always rely on human blood to nourish their eggs.

Stock market models help NYU researchers predict animal behavior
Modeling used to forecast fluctuations in the stock market has been discovered to predict aspects of animal behavior.

New partnership to further commercialization of graphene
The National Physical Laboratory and the University of Manchester have signed a memorandum of understanding to help move the potential benefits of graphene closer to practical use, by accelerating the commercialization of the remarkable 2-D material.

New scientific review reveals huge gaps in understanding preterm birth
Preterm birth is now the leading cause of death for children under 5 worldwide, and a new scientific paper reveals a startling lack of knowledge about what causes it and how to prevent it.

Scientists discover new properties of microbes that cause common eye infection
Scientists from Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology have used the power of new genomic technology to discover that microbes that commonly infect the eye have special, previously unknown properties.

A piece of the quantum puzzle
While the Martinis Lab at UC Santa Barbara has been focusing on quantum computation, former postdoctoral fellow Pedram Roushan and several colleagues have been exploring qubits (quantum bits) for quantum simulation on a smaller scale.

New test developed at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center
In a major advance in the care of patients with leukemia and other blood disorders, physicians at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center have begun using Rapid Heme Panel, a high-tech genetic test that provides, within a matter of days, an unprecedented amount of critical information to aid the choice of treatment.

Giant otter's repertoire includes 22 distinct vocalizations
Giant otters may have a vocal repertoire with 22 distinct vocalization types produced by adults and 11 neonate vocalization types.

Errors in single gene may protect against heart disease
Rare mutations that shut down a single gene are linked to lower cholesterol levels and a 50 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack, according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Understanding natural compounds
Antibiotic-resistant germs, dangerous viruses, cancer: unsolved medical problems require new and better drugs.

Valuable movies and valued movies may be two different things
Action movies may drive box office revenues, but dramas and deeper, more serious movies earn audience acclaim and appreciation, according to a team of researchers.

IU-led research team identifies genetic variant linked to better memory performance
People with a newly identified genetic variant perform better on certain types of memory tests, a discovery that may point the way to new treatments for the memory impairments caused by Alzheimer's disease or other age-associated conditions.

Mental health providers not well prepared to care for military veterans, study finds
Policymakers have expanded military veterans' access to community-based health providers as a way to meet demands, given capacity constraints in the VA health system.

Humans' big brains might be due in part to newly identified protein
A protein that may partly explain why human brains are larger than those of other animals has been identified by scientists from two stem-cell labs at University of California San Francisco.

Dartmouth researchers test first 'smart spaces' using light to send data
One of the problems in the high-tech field of visible light communication -- or using light to send data wirelessly -- is decidedly low tech: The data transmission stops whenever the light is blocked by people's movements, shadows or other obstacles.

Fighting crime through crowdsourcing
Researchers at the University of Miami are developing a computing model that uses crowdsourcing to combine and optimize human efforts and machine computing elements.

NYU professor wins premier award in the data visualization field
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers presented the 2014 Visualization Technical Achievement Award to NYU professor Claudio Silva.

Puree helps kids make smooth transition to vegetables
Adding tiny amounts of vegetable puree to milk and then rice at the time of weaning makes children more likely to eat vegetables, new University of Leeds research shows.

NPL contributes to major growth in the innovation, research and technology sector
The innovation, research and technology (IRT) sector continues to punch well above its weight in the national economy, as shown by an independent study carried out by Oxford Economics.

Detecting leaks in biogas plants by laser
Servicing biogas plants is challenging. Leaks from which methane escapes are particularly problematic -- from a security, a technical, an economic as well as an environmentally friendly perspective.

Best supporting actors in your ears? Research points to potential way to restore hearing
There's a cast of characters deep inside your ears -- many kinds of tiny cells working together to allow you to hear.

Mothers nurture emotions in girls over boys, new study finds
A new study published today in The British Journal of Developmental Psychology has found that conversations mothers have with their daughters tend to contain more emotional words and content, than the conversations they have with their sons.

Industry partnership supports Australian production of next-generation photonics
CUDOS at the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Australian National University and Alnair Labs in Tokyo have developed an optical oscillope with 20 times the resolution of conventional instruments

In preschoolers, office test overestimates eye's ability to change focus, reports Optometry and Vision Science
In preschool-aged children, a simple test performed in the ophthalmologist's or optometrist's office greatly overestimates the eye's ability to 'flex and focus' in order to see small objects clearly, reports a study in the November issue of Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry.

A previously unrecognized flame retardant found in Americans for the first time
This is the first study to find the carcinogenic flame retardant TCEP in the bodies of Americans.

New book from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press: Tuberculosis
Written and edited by experts in the field, 'Tuberculosis' from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press examines all aspects of M. tuberculosis biology, transmission, and infection, as well as ongoing strategies to treat and control it.

Regulatory and scientific complexity of generic nanodrugs could delay savings for patients
Nanomedicine is offering patients a growing arsenal of therapeutic drugs for a variety of diseases but often at a cost of thousands of dollars a month.

African-Americans at greater risk from stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases
Researchers at The University of Texas have found that compared to Caucasian-Americans, African-Americans have impaired blood flow regulation in the brain that could contribute to a greater risk of cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke, transient ischemic attack ('mini stroke'), subarachnoid haemorrhage or vascular dementia.

New materials for more powerful solar cells
Applying a thin film of metallic oxide significantly boosts the performance of solar panel cells -- as recently demonstrated by professor Federico Rosei and his team at the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre at Institut national de la recherche scientifique.

CWRU nursing school receives $2.35 million to study brain-health behavior change link
A five-year, $2.35 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research will allow researchers from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University to study how brain activity motivates the chronically ill to manage their illnesses.

Shaking the topological cocktail of success
Take ultracold potassium atoms, place a honeycomb lattice of laser beams on top of them and shake everything in a circular motion: this recipe enabled ETH researchers to implement an idea for a new class of materials first proposed in 1988 in their laboratory.

Ethanol and heterogeneous catalysts for biodiesel production
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel to conventional fossil ones. The EU policies of boosting biodiesel have achieved its implementation in the transport fuels market and increasingly its sustainable nature is being taken into account.

The backwards brain? Study shows how brain maps develop to help us perceive the world
In a new study, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute reveal that physically moving forward actually trains the brain to perceive the world normally. 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