Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 25, 2014
Researchers find way to turn sawdust into gasoline
Researchers at KU Leuven's Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis have successfully converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline.

Feeling -- not being -- wealthy drives opposition to wealth redistribution
People's views on income inequality and wealth distribution may have little to do with how much money they have in the bank and a lot to do with how wealthy they feel in comparison to their friends and neighbors, according to new findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Satellite views early Thanksgiving travel trouble areas in US
As the US Thanksgiving holiday approaches this Thursday, Nov. 27, NOAA's GOES-East and GOES-West satellites are keeping a weather eye out for storms that may affect early travelers.

Why do people with autism see faces differently?
The way people with autism spectrum disorder gather information - not the judgement process itself -- might explain why they gain different perceptions from peoples' faces, according to a new study from Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies and the University of Montreal.

Bioengineering study finds two-cell mouse embryos already talking about their future
Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that mouse embryos are contemplating their cellular fates in the earliest stages after fertilization when the embryo has only two to four cells, a discovery that could upend the scientific consensus about when embryonic cells begin differentiating into cell types.

One-two punch of drugs better than either alone against colorectal cancer
Experimental anti-cancer agents PF-04691502 and PD-0325901 excel in lab tests against colorectal cancer models and enter phase 1 trial.

Asymptomatic atherosclerosis linked to cognitive impairment
In a study of nearly 2,000 adults, researchers found that a buildup of plaque in the body's major arteries was associated with mild cognitive impairment.

Blind Scottish centipede unlocks clues to the origins of creepy crawlies
The arthropods are one of Earth's real success stories, with more species of arthropod than in any other animal phylum, but our knowledge of arthropod genomes has been heavily skewed towards the insects.

Body size requires hormones under control
In a study now published in the scientific journal eLife, a research group from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, led by Christen Mirth, shed new light on how animals regulate body size.

Long-term testosterone therapy does not increase the risk of prostate cancer
Testosterone (T) therapy is routinely used in men with hypogonadism, a condition in which diminished function of the gonads occurs.

Physicists bind single-atom sheets with the same force geckos use to climb walls
The approach is to design synergistic materials by combining two single-atom thick sheets, for example, that act as a photovoltaic cell as well as a light-emitting diode, converting energy between electricity and radiation.

Endangered species success: Idaho salmon regaining fitness advantage
Once on the brink of extinction with only a few fish remaining, Snake River sockeye salmon are regaining the fitness they need to rebuild wild populations.

Innovation experts publish holistic framework to achieving game-changing innovation
The book, 'The Tao of Innovation,' synthesizes the most influential thinking on innovation into a simple framework: nine key innovation questions that every innovator must answer throughout the innovation cycle, which apply to any business, organization, or industry.

International collaboration completes genome sequence of centipede
An international collaboration of scientists including Baylor College of Medicine has completed the first genome sequence of a myriapod, Strigamia maritima -- a member of a group venomous centipedes that care for their eggs -- and uncovered new clues about their biological evolution and unique absence of vision and circadian rhythm.

A hybrid vehicle that delivers DNA
A new hybrid vehicle is under development. Its performance isn't measured by the distance it travels, but rather the delivery of its cargo: vaccines that contain genetically engineered DNA to fight HIV, cancer, influenza and other maladies.

Better forecasts for sea ice under climate change
New research will help pinpoint the impact of waves on sea ice, which is vulnerable to climate change, particularly in the Arctic where it is rapidly retreating.

A warming world may spell bad news for honey bees
A bee parasites from exotic climates threatens UK bees. Research predicts that an exotic gut parasite could cause increasing damage to UK bees as climates warms.

A link between DNA transcription and disease-causing expansions
Scientists have believed that the lengthening of those repeats occur during DNA replication when cells divide or when the cellular DNA repair machinery gets activated.

Reported link between early life exposure to paracetamol and asthma 'overstated'
The reported link between early life exposure to the common painkiller paracetamol and a heightened risk of childhood asthma has been 'overstated,' suggests a review of the current evidence published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

New insights into breast cancer spread could yield better tests and treatments
A study combining patients' tumor cells with a laboratory model of blood vessel lining provides the most compelling evidence so far that a specific trio of cells is required for the spread of breast cancer.

'Utter neglect' of rheumatic heart disease revealed by results from global study
Rheumatic heart disease -- the most common acquired heart disease in children in many countries of the world -- is being neglected and poorly treated, according to new findings from the Global Rheumatic Heart Disease Registry (the REMEDY study), published online in the European Heart Journal.

Policing Canada in the 21st century: New policing for new challenges
A new expert panel report, 'Policing Canada in the 21st Century: New Policing for New Challenges,' released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, details the complexity and global nature of policing in the modern age.

Full-day preschool linked with increased school readiness compared with part-day
Children who attended a full-day preschool program had higher scores on measures of school readiness skills (language, math, socio-emotional development, and physical health), increased attendance, and reduced chronic absences compared to children who attended part-day preschool, according to a study in the Nov.

Entrepreneurs to venture capitalists: Don't be a Scrooge
A recently published study of more than 550 decisions and responses from 144 experienced entrepreneurs reveals that 'knowledge of explicit ethical or unethical behavior [by venture capitalists] profoundly shapes the entrepreneurs' willingness to partner.'

Mining can damage fish habitats far downstream, study shows
Anglers across the nation wondering why luck at their favorite fishing spot seems to have dried up may have a surprising culprit: a mine miles away, even in a different state.

Vanderbilt team uses e-health records to search for hidden drug benefits
With research and development costs for many drugs reaching well into the billions, pharmaceutical companies want more than ever to determine whether their drugs already at market have any hidden therapeutic benefits that could warrant putting additional indications on the label and increase production.

Mere expectation of treatment can improve brain activity in Parkinson's patients
Learning-related brain activity in Parkinson's patients improves as much in response to a placebo treatment as to real medication, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and Columbia University.

International team reveals barriers to public health data-sharing; life-saving solutions
Barriers to the sharing of public health data hamper decision-making efforts on local, national and global levels, and stymie attempts to contain emerging global health threats, an international team led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health announced today.

Centipede's genome reveals how life evolved on our planet
Centipedes have been genetically sequenced for the first time by an international team of over 100 scientists.

Missing gene linked to autism
Researchers at the University of Leeds have shed light on a gene mutation linked to autistic traits.

Blu-ray disc can be used to improve solar cell performance
Who knew about Blu-ray discs? One of the best ways to store high-definition movies and television shows because of their high-density data storage, Blu-ray discs also improve the performance of solar cells, according to a new Northwestern University study.

Powdered measles vaccine found safe in early clinical trials
A measles vaccine made of fine dry powder and delivered with a puff of air triggered no adverse side effects in early human testing and it is likely effective, according to a paper to be published Nov.

Therapy found effective in older, African-American lung cancer patients
University of Cincinnati researchers have found in a phase 2 clinical trial that a Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy could be effective in treating both older and African-American patients with advanced lung cancer who may not be candidates for chemotherapy.

New device may ease mammography discomfort
Researchers have developed a new device that may result in more comfortable mammography for women.

Using wash cloths in jails shows promise for reducing costly infections
New research shows providing detainees wash cloths treated with a skin cleanser could reduce the prevalence of S. aureus bacteria in US jails.

Vegetable oil ingredient key to destroying gastric disease bacteria
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is strongly associated with gastric ulcers and cancer.

Another reason to be thankful: Turkeys may be lifesavers
While the turkey you eat on Thursday will bring your stomach happiness and could probably kick-start an afternoon nap, it may also save your life one day.

Athletes' testosterone surges not tied to winning, study finds
A higher surge of testosterone in competition, the so-called 'winner effect,' is not actually related to winning, suggests a new study of intercollegiate cross country runners.

Genom Austria launches as a new member of the Personal Genome Project
Breakthrough sequencing technology makes it possible to analyze human genomes at relatively low cost.

Study supports free 'super Wi-Fi'
The need for the wireless transfer of data will increase significantly in the coming years.

Heat-conducting plastic developed at U-Michigan
The spaghetti-like internal structure of most plastics makes it hard for them to cast away heat, but a University of Michigan research team has made a plastic blend that does so 10 times better than its conventional counterparts.

The Lancet: Most comprehensive global study to date shows wide gulf in cancer survival between countries
The most comprehensive international comparison of cancer survival to date, covering countries that are home to two-thirds of the world's population, shows extremely wide differences in survival between countries.

Female color perception affects evolution of male plumage in birds
The expression of a gene involved in female birds' color vision is linked to the evolution of colorful plumage in males, reports a new study from the University of Chicago.

Why fruit flies could lead to better beer (video)
Your beer may attract annoying fruit flies, but listen up before you give them a swat.

Sweet-smelling breath to help diabetes diagnosis in children
The potential to quickly diagnose children with type 1 diabetes before the onset of serious illness could be achieved using a simple, non-invasive breath test, according to new research published today.

Trojan horse tactic gives parasites edge over immune systems
Parasites use Trojan horse subterfuge to suppress the immunity of their victims when causing infection, according to a study.

Pathology specialist contributes to debate on breast cancer gene screening
What are the risks and benefits of screening for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in the general adult population?

Homeless, mentally ill women face vicious cycle in India
An award-winning study has documented how homeless, mentally ill women in India face a vicious cycle: During psychotic episodes, they wander away from home, sometimes for long distances, and wind up in homeless shelters.

How can students efficiently get an introduction into materials concepts for solar cells?
To date there is mainly basic literature about the physics of solar cells and there are specialized articles and books about certain types or classes of solar cell materials.

Atmospheric scientist argues for adaptability of techniques of atmospheric modeling
How should we deploy the current resources, or those that may become available in the future, to improve the quantitative prediction of weather events with high societal and economic impact?

ADHD and related disorders: State of the science and art
The American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD), a US-based international organization of health professionals and scientists focusing exclusively on ADHD and related disorders, will hold its 2015 Annual Meeting, Jan.

UTSA immunologist Bernard Arulanandam selected as AAAS Fellow
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has selected University of Texas at San Antonio immunologist Bernard Arulanandam as a 2014 Fellow for his distinguished contributions to the field of mucosal immunology.

Researchers identify new ways to drain cancer's 'fuel tank'
Scientists at the University of Manchester have discovered a potential weakness in cancer's ability to return or become resistant to treatment, by targeting the 'fuel' part of stem cells which allows tumors to grow.

NIH scientists determine how environment contributes to several human diseases
Using a new imaging technique, National Institutes of Health researchers have found that the biological machinery that builds DNA can insert molecules into the DNA strand that are damaged as a result of environmental exposures.

Vultures evolved an extreme gut to cope with disgusting dietary habits
How is it that vultures can live on a diet of carrion that would at least lead to severe food-poisoning, and more likely kill most other animals?

Novel type 1 diabetes treatment shown to work on human beta cells transplanted into mice
A chemical produced in the pancreas that prevented and even reversed Type 1 diabetes in mice had the same effect on human beta cells transplanted into mice, new research has found.

20,000 meteorites and counting
A new book provides a history of the Antarctic Search of Meteorites program, details about thousands of specimens, what's been learned, and how researchers can obtain samples for free.

Problem gambling, personality disorders often go hand in hand
The treatment of people who cannot keep their gambling habits in check is often complicated because they also tend to suffer from personality disorders.

New evidence of ancient rock art across Southeast Asia
Research on the oldest surviving rock art of Southeast Asia shows the region's first people brought with them a rich art practice.

The Lancet Oncology: Overweight and obesity linked to nearly 500,000 new cancers in 2012
Excess body weight causes around 481,000 new cancer cases a year in adults -- or 3.6 percent of cancers worldwide -- new estimates published in The Lancet Oncology suggest.

Penn researchers identify protein that predicts post-concussion severity in professional athletes
New Penn Medicine research has found that elevated levels in the blood of the brain-enriched protein calpain-cleaved αII-spectrin N-terminal fragment, known as SNTF, shortly after sports-related concussion can predict the severity of post-concussion symptoms in professional athletes.

Professor outlines improvements to international trade: Create jobs and sustain development
Law professor Steve Charnovitz from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., has published his latest book, 'The Path of World Trade in the 21st Century,' with scientific publisher World Scientific.

New study examines the effect of timing of folic acid supplementation during pregnancy
Taking folic acid before conception significantly reduces the risk of small for gestational age at birth, suggests a new study published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Virtual money: User's identity can be revealed much easier than thought
Bitcoin is the new money: minted and exchanged on the Internet.

United Nations recognizes environmental champion
Monash Sustainability Institute Sir Louis Matheson Fellow Sir Bob Watson has received a United Nations Champions of the Earth award for his services to science.

Why cancer cells grow despite a lack of oxygen
Healthy cells reduce their growth when there is a lack of oxygen (hypoxia).

Superbug in SE Michigan shows recent decline
A new study finds a decrease in an emergent strain of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) that is resistant to last line defense antibiotics.

NASA's Webb Telescope mirror tripod in action
Setting up NASA's James Webb Space Telescope's secondary mirror in space will require special arms that resemble a tripod.

By any media necessary
By studying immigrants, book provides a new view on social media and political movements.

Lawrence Livermore researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals
Nanoporous metals -- foam-like materials that have some degree of air vacuum in their structure -- have a wide range of applications because of their superior qualities.

Scientists could save thousands of pounds with student's DIY microscope
Expensive tests for measuring everything from sperm motility to cancer diagnosis have just been made hundreds of thousands of pounds cheaper by a Ph.D. student from Brunel University London who hacked his own microscope.

Few operations for epilepsy despite their safety and efficacy
A study at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, has found that epilepsy surgery is a safe, effective and low-risk procedure.

Krishnaraj Rajalingam selected to be a fellow of the Gutenberg Research College
The Gutenberg Research College (GRC) of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has awarded the coveted GRC fellowship to Professor Krishnaraj Rajalingam.

Study maps how city neighborhoods affect diabetes risk
Ground zero for identifying ways to stop the rise in diabetes prevalence is Philadelphia, which has the highest diabetes rate among the nation's largest cities.

Researchers shed new light on the genetics of memory performance
In the largest study of the genetics of memory ever undertaken, an international researcher team including scientists from Boston University School of Medicine, have discovered two common genetic variants that are believed to be associated with memory performance.

Traditional approaches and innovative techniques for subcellular fractionation from CSHLP
'Subcellular Fractionation' published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press provides step-by-step protocols for the extraction of subcellular components from animal tissues, yeasts, plants, and cultured cells.

American Chemical Society members win National Medals
Four eminent American Chemical Society members are among a new class of 11 recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Diagnosing deafness early will help teenagers' reading development
Deaf teenagers have better reading skills if they were identified as deaf by the time they were nine months old, research from the University of Southampton has shown.

Carnegie's Marnie Halpern named AAAS Fellow
Biologist Marnie Halpern of Carnegie's Department of Embryology has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her 'fundamental contributions to developmental biology, particularly using novel genetic approaches to study patterning of the nervous system.'

Obstructive sleep apnea treatments may reduce depressive symptoms
Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure or mandibular advancement devices can lead to modest improvements in depressive symptoms, according to a study published by Marcus Povitz, Carmelle Bolo, and colleagues from University of Calgary, Canada, in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Emmanuel Candès to receive 2015 AMS-SIAM Birkhoff Prize
Candès is honored 'for his work on compressed sensing that has revolutionized signal processing and medical imaging and his related work on computational harmonic analysis, statistics and scientific computing.'

PharmaMar announces US partner Janssen files NDA for YONDELIS for soft-tissue sarcoma
Based on a phase 3 trial in which dacarbazine was used in the comparator arm, Janssen has submitted a NDA for YONDELIS (trabectedin) to the FDA for the treatment of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma, including liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma, who have received prior chemotherapy including an anthracycline.

New toolkit to aid implementation of fracture liaison services
Evidence now shows that Fracture Liaison Services are a practical and cost-effective means of preventing secondary fractures in patients who have suffered a fracture.

Web-savvy older adults who regularly indulge in culture may better retain 'health literacy'
Older people who are active Internet users and who regularly indulge in a spot of culture may be better able to retain their health literacy, and therefore maintain good health, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

IQWiG welcomes WHO statement on public disclosure of clinical trial results
World Health Organization's commenting period for its draft statement ended on Nov.

Breakthrough in flexible electronics enabled by inorganic-based laser lift-off
A research team headed by professor Keon Jae Lee of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST provides an easier methodology to realize high performance flexible electronics by using the Inorganic-based Laser Lift-off.

$1.3 million grant bolsters aerospace research in Montreal
Thanks to $680,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and a matching amount from collaborating companies Bombardier and Bell Helicopter, a new project called Lean Aerospace Value Streams is set to keep Canada at the forefront of aerospace research and development.

Study examines FDA influence on design of pivotal drug studies
An examination of the potential interaction between pharmaceutical companies and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discuss future studies finds that one-quarter of recent new drug approvals occurred without any meeting, and when such meetings occurred, pharmaceutical companies did not comply with one-quarter of the recommendations made by the FDA regarding study design or primary outcome, according to a study in the Nov.

Endangered hammerhead shark found migrating into unprotected waters
The precise movements of a young hammerhead shark have been tracked for the first time and are published in the open access journal Animal Biotelemetry.

UTMB part of national research group awarded $20 million HIV grant
The University of Texas Medical Branch is part of a collaboration led by the Oak Crest Institute of Science that received a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a novel intravaginal ring capable of delivering powerful antiretroviral drugs to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted HIV in women. 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