Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 03, 2014
Ever tried a 'laser delicious' apple?
The ability to detect when to harvest 'climacteric' fruits -- such as apples, bananas, pears and tomatoes -- at the precise moment to ensure 'peak edibleness' in terms of both taste and texture may soon be within reach for farmers, thanks to the work of a team of researchers from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon and the Université de Bretagne Occidentale de Brest in France.

UNC researchers pinpoint chemo effect on brain cells, potential link to autism
University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers have found for the first time a biochemical mechanism that could be a cause of chemo brain' -- the neurological side effects such as memory loss, confusion, difficulty thinking, and trouble concentrating that many cancer patients experience while on chemotherapy to treat tumors in other parts of the body.

Scientists detect brain network that gives humans superior reasoning skills
When it comes to getting out of a tricky situation, we humans have an evolutionary edge over other primates.

Atomic-level view provides new insight into translation of touch into nerve signals
The sensation of touch starts as mechanical force that is transformed into an electrical signal.

Common prostate cancer treatment associated with decreased survival in older men
A common prostate cancer therapy should not be used in men whose cancer has not spread beyond the prostate, according to a new study led by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

Barrier-breaking drug may lead to spinal cord injury treatments
Injections of a new drug may partially relieve paralyzing spinal cord injuries, based on indications from a study in rats, which was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health

Learning science: Taking stock of what happens outside of school
Where did you have some of your earliest experiences with science?

Human influence important factor in possible global and UK temperature records
Early figures show 2014 is on course to be one of, if not the warmest, year on record both globally and for the UK.

Tumor microenvironment of hepatitis B virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is intimately associated with a chronically diseased liver tissue, with one of the most prevalent etiological factors being hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Longer surgery duration associated with increased risk for blood clots
The longer surgery lasts the more prone patients appear to be to develop blood clots (venous thromboembolisms, VTE), according to a report published online by JAMA Surgery.

VTT: Demolition planning as part of construction
With good planning, it is possible to promote the reuse of construction and demolition waste and thereby both conserve the environment and save on material costs.

Lethal control of wolves backfires on livestock
Washington State University researchers have found that it is counter-productive to kill wolves to keep them from preying on livestock.

Separate and unequal in suburbia
A new research brief from the US2010 Project at Brown University probes the status of minorities in American suburbs.

Where hockey and engineering collide: NJIT Highlanders join a pioneering concussion study
Hockey players will be tested in a novel diagnostic machine built by NJIT biomedical engineers.

Computer model enables design of complex DNA shapes
MIT biological engineers have created a new computer model that allows them to design the most complex three-dimensional DNA shapes ever produced, including rings, bowls, and geometric structures such as icosahedrons that resemble viral particles.

Glass houses: Your personality helps predict your real estate choices
According to a new study from Tel Aviv University researchers, personality traits are strong indicators of real-estate decisions.

Study set to shape medical genetics in Africa
The African Genome Variation Project has, in partnership with doctors and researchers in Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda, collected genetic data from 1,800 people to produce the most comprehensive characterization of African genetic variation to date.

Reliable RNA analysis now easier with NIST 'dashboard' tool
An international multi-laboratory team has demonstrated a new NIST software tool, the 'erccdashboard,' that can evaluate the performance of experimental methods used to study gene expression.

Many chest X-rays in children are unnecessary
Researchers at Mayo Clinic found that some children are receiving chest X-rays that may be unnecessary and offer no clinical benefit to the patient, according to a new study.

NJ brain injury researchers find retrieval practice improves memory in youth with TBI
Brain injury researchers in New Jersey have identified retrieval practice as a useful strategy for improving memory among children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury.

New study explains the role of oceans in global 'warming hiatus'
New research shows that ocean heat uptake across three oceans is the likely cause of the 'warming hiatus' -- the current decade-long slowdown in global surface warming.

Check less to reduce email stress
Is your inbox burning you out? Then take heart -- research from the University of British Columbia suggests that easing up on email checking can help reduce psychological stress.

Novel approach to treating asthma: Neutralize the trigger
Current asthma treatments can alleviate wheezing, coughing and other symptoms felt by millions of Americans every year, but they don't get to the root cause of the condition.

Arabian Sea humpback whale population may have been isolated for about 70,000 years
A population of humpback whales that resides in the Arabian Sea may have been isolated for approximately 70,000 years.

Common knee surgery may lead to arthritis and cartilage loss
A popular surgery to repair meniscal tears may increase the risk of osteoarthritis and cartilage loss in some patients, according to new research.

Secondary relaxation in metallic glasses: A key to glassy materials and glassy physics
Focusing on metallic glasses as model systems, scientists in China and Germany review the features and mechanisms of the β-relaxations, which are intrinsic and universal to supercooled liquids and glasses.

Citizen science increases environmental awareness, advocacy
Citizen science boosts environmental awareness and advocacy more than previously thought and can lead to broader public support for conservation efforts, according to a new study conducted in India by Duke University researchers.

New European research will improve interaction between virtual and physical worlds
With a new EUR 8 million research project, Aarhus University will spearhead a project that aims to develop a new form of interaction between physical objects and their computer control using different software models.

Brain activity after smokers quit predicts chances of relapsing, Penn study suggests
Quitting smoking sets off a series of changes in the brain that Penn Medicine researchers say may better identify smokers who will start smoking again.

Report: More Hispanics earning bachelor's degrees in physical sciences and engineering
A new report from the American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center has found that the number of Hispanic students receiving bachelor's degrees in the physical sciences and engineering has increased over the last decade or so, passing 10,000 degrees per year for the first time in 2012.

SHSU eyewitness ID study earns gold for Houston police
The Houston Police Department took home the Gold Award in Research from the International Association of Chiefs of Police for an experiment conducted in collaboration with Sam Houston State University on eyewitness identification procedures.

NIH-led scientists describe new herpes treatment strategy
Scientists have developed a novel treatment approach for persistent viral infections such as herpes.

New book on 'The Biology of Heart Disease' from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
'The Biology of Heart Disease' from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press describes how recent advances in genetics, stem cell biology, and developmental biology are transforming the way we understand and treat heart disease.

The Lancet Respiratory Medicine: Current guidelines not clear on which children most at risk of severe flu complications
Children born prematurely are at an increased risk of flu-related complications, despite not being identified as an 'at risk' group in UK, USA, or WHO guidelines, and should be a priority group for the seasonal flu vaccination, new research published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine suggests.

Brain research reveals new hope for patients with anorexia nervosa
Researchers from the Translational Developmental Neuroscience Lab led by Professor Stefan Ehrlich at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus at the TU Dresden used state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging techniques to investigate the consequences of anorexia nervosa on brain structure.

How soil microorganisms get out of step through climate change
Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München, in collaboration with colleagues from the TU München and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, have studied how soil microorganisms react to climatic change.

Green meets nano
A doctoral student in materials science at Technische Universitat Darmstadt is making multifunctional nanotubes of gold -- with the help of vitamin C and other harmless substances.

OUP to launch new open-access journal Neuroscience of Consciousness in 2015
Oxford University Press is delighted to announce that it is to launch a brand new open-access journal, Neuroscience of Consciousness, in partnership with the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness.

Tinkering with the Tao of pandas
Good news on the panda front: Turns out they're not quite as delicate -- and picky -- as thought.

Yale joins with leader in 3-D organ printing to transform transplants
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine's Department of Surgery and Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science have joined forces with a leading three-dimensional biology company to develop 3-D printed tissues for transplant research.

Small drains mean big problems at 'baby beaches'
High fecal counts frequently detected at so-called 'baby beaches' may not be diaper-related.

Wireless nanorod-nanotube film enables light stimulation of blind retina
Scientists have developed a new light-sensitive film that could one day form the basis of a prosthetic retina to help people suffering from visual impairment.

Scientists in China, US, Israel review the worldwide rise of the 'network of networks'
Network science is witnessing a second revolution with the rise in studies of the 'network of networks.' The dynamics of interdependent networks are being examined and characterized worldwide.

Volunteers can now help scientists seek Ebola cure in their (computer's) spare time
Beginning today, anyone can download a safe and free app that will put their computer or Android-based mobile device to work to form a virtual supercomputer to help The Scripps Research Institute screen millions of chemical compounds to identify new drug leads for treating Ebola.

Study to investigate the role of proteins in dementia
Researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry have received funding from Alzheimer's charity BRACE for a pilot study to investigate the role of proteins in the development of dementia diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Parasite researcher wins international malaria medal
Melbourne researcher professor Alan Cowman has won the Sornchai Looareesuwan Medal 2014 for his significant contributions to understanding how the malaria parasite causes disease and for his search for potential malaria vaccines.

Mapping the interactome
Researchers at the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore have comprehensively described the network of proteins involved in cell-cell adhesions, or the cadherin interactome.

Are there safe and effective treatments for hereditary angioedema in children?
Hereditary angioedema (HAE), a rare genetic disease that causes recurrent swelling under the skin and of the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract and upper airway, usually first appears before 20 years of age.

Smart anti-icing system for rotor blades
In very cold climate zones, the wind can blow with tremendous force.

Arabian Sea humpback whales isolated for 70,000 years
Scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, the Environment Society of Oman, and other organizations have made a fascinating discovery in the northern Indian Ocean: humpback whales inhabiting the Arabian Sea are the most genetically distinct humpback whales in the world and may be the most isolated whale population on earth.

New book on 'Innate Immunity and Inflammation' from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
'Innate Immunity and Inflammation' from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press reviews the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in innate immunity and all types of inflammation.

Press invitation: International Symposium on Cancer in Young Women
You are warmly invited to attend the International Symposium 'Cancer in Young Women' on Feb.

Satellite time-lapse movie shows California soaker
A new time-lapse animation of data from NOAA's GOES-West satellite provides a good picture of why the US West Coast continues to experience record rainfall.

'Mirage Earth' exoplanets may have burned away chances for life
Planets orbiting close to low-mass stars -- easily the most common stars in the universe -- are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Parasites and the evolution of primate culture
Learning from others and innovation have undoubtedly helped advance civilization.

Animal welfare could be improved by new understanding of their emotions
New research from researchers at Queen Mary University of London looking at how goats express subtle positive emotions could lead to greater understanding of animal welfare.

U-M releases online tool to help cities in Great Lakes region plan for climate impacts
Reduced water availability and quality, floods and problems related to heat stress are some of the potential impacts cities face with a changing climate.

New study shows computer-based approach to treating anxiety may reduce suicide risk
A group of psychology researchers at Florida State University have developed a simple computer-based approach to treating anxiety sensitivity, something that could have major implications for veterans and other groups who are considered at risk for suicide.

Creating a better health care experience for lesbian, bisexual women
Sitting on an exam table in a flimsy gown can intimidate anyone.

No link found between bladder cancer and use of pioglitazone or rosiglitazone, Avandia
Some previous studies have linked the diabetes medication pioglitazone to bladder cancer.

Movements help measure child sleep problems
New research from the University of Adelaide has helped to shed light on the complexities of child sleep, and could lead to improved diagnosis of children with sleep-related breathing problems.

Perfect chocolate sheen on confection and sweets
White flecks on sweets with a chocolate glaze are harmless -- but aesthetically unappealing.

Geckos are sticky without effort
Scientists have studied a variety of features in geckos such as the adhesive toe pads on the underside of the feet with which geckos attach to surfaces with remarkable strength.

Carrot or stick?
What motivates people to cooperate in collaborative endeavors? 'First carrot, then stick.' Tatsuya Sasaki, mathematician from the University of Vienna, has put forth for the first time ever a mathematical proof of this process.

PET scans help identify effective TB drugs, says Pitt School of Medicine study
Sophisticated lung imaging can reveal whether or not a treatment drug is able to clear tuberculosis lung infection in human and macaque parallel studies, according to Pitt researchers.

People conceived during the Dutch famine have altered regulation of growth genes
Individuals conceived in the severe Dutch Famine may have adjusted to this horrendous period of World War II by making adaptations to how active their DNA is.

Solving a long-standing mystery, scientists identify principal protein sensor for touch
A team led by biologists at The Scripps Research Institute has solved a long-standing mystery in neuroscience by identifying the 'mechanoreceptor' protein that mediates the sense of touch in mammals.

Brain study from UT Dallas uncovers new clues on how cues may affect memory
New research out of the University of Texas at Dallas shows that the brain activity prior to seeing an item is related to how well it is later remembered.

Study discovers RX approach that reduces herpes virus infection
A new study reports an effective treatment approach to inhibit and keep latent viruses like herpes simplex from reactivating and causing disease by blocking a protein which plays a major role in the initiation of infection.

Sexting and pornography or music video viewing among adolescents: Is there a link?
Are adolescents who view pornography or music videos more likely to engage in sexting, in which they share sexually explicit content via text, photo, or video using cell phones, email, or social networking sites?

Toxin from tobacco smoke could increase pain in spinal cord injury
A neurotoxin called acrolein found in tobacco smoke that is thought to increase pain in people with spinal cord injury has now been shown to accumulate in mice exposed to the equivalent of 12 cigarettes daily over a short time period.

Koalas selective about eucalyptus leaves at mealtime
Koala population distribution may be influenced by eucalyptus leaf toxin and nutrient content, especially in areas with low-quality food options.

How to create and sustain clinical-research partnerships
Pragmatic clinical trials -- real-life tests done in real-world settings -- are increasingly important for answering pressing questions about how best to deliver health care.

NASA tracks intensifying Typhoon Hagupit
Typhoon Hagupit continues to intensify as it continued moving through Micronesia on Dec.

Mediterranean diet linked to improved CV function in erectile dysfunction patients
Erectile dysfunction is not a symptom of aging, it is a bad sign from the body that something is wrong with the vasculature.

'Wound response' of cancer stem cells may explain chemo-resistance in bladder cancer
A novel mechanism -- similar to how normal tissue stem cells respond to wounding -- might explain why bladder cancer stem cells actively contribute to chemo-resistance after multiple cycles of chemotherapy drug treatment.

Jeffrey Lagarias and Chuanming Zong to receive 2015 Conant Prize
Jeffrey Lagarias of the University of Michigan and Chuanming Zong of Peking University will be awarded the 2015 AMS Levi L.

Study: How red wine prevents cancer
'Alcohol damages cells and resveratrol kills damaged cells,' says Robert Sclafani, Ph.D., investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Researchers develop clothes that can monitor and transmit biomedical info on wearers
Researchers at Université Laval's Faculty of Science and Engineering and Centre for Optics, Photonics and Lasers have developed smart textiles able to monitor and transmit wearers' biomedical information via wireless or cellular networks.

Reducing drug allergies without compromising efficacy
An enzyme that usually triggers strong allergic reactions now circulates in the veins of a group of mice without alerting the immune system.

Global recognition for developing eye tests to diagnose diabetes-related nerve damage
Researchers from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation developing eye tests to assess diabetic neuropathy and pave the way for earlier treatment are key partners in a consortium awarded $US1.1 million from the National Institutes of Health.

Colorful nano-guides to the liver
Jena scientists have been successful in producing highly specific nanoparticles.

NIH researchers link chromosome region to duplication of gene on X chromosome appears to cause excessive growth
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a duplication of a short stretch of the X chromosome in some people with a rare disorder that causes excessive childhood growth.

Toward a low-cost 'artificial leaf' that produces clean hydrogen fuel
For years, scientists have been pursuing 'artificial leaf' technology, a green approach to making hydrogen fuel that copies plants' ability to convert sunlight into a form of energy they can use.

Low-grade waste heat regenerates ammonia battery
An efficient method to harvest low-grade waste heat as electricity may be possible using reversible ammonia batteries, according to Penn State engineers.

Vitamin E deficiency linked to greater risk of miscarriage among poor women
Pregnant women in Bangladesh with low levels of the most common form of vitamin E are nearly twice as likely to have a miscarriage than those with adequate levels of the vitamin in their blood, according to new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Mapping human disease: 'Not all pathogens are everywhere'
Researchers at North Carolina State University have for the first time mapped human disease-causing pathogens, dividing the world into a number of regions where similar diseases occur.

Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute physician-researcher awarded NHLBI grant
One of medicine's most prominent experts in sudden cardiac arrest has received a new $2.36 million grant to study how to better predict the deadly heart condition that kills an estimated 300,000 Americans each year.

New study validates usefulness of genomic medicine in children with neurologic disorders
Published in Science Translational Medicine, this is the first study to show that a genome-based diagnostic approach directly impacts patient care of infants and older children with neurologic and developmental disorders.

Taming neural excitations
What do lasers, neural networks, and spreading epidemics have in common?

Could artificial intelligence put words into Stephen Hawking's mouth?
Can machines think? Are they conscious of their own attempts to recognize the problem, and understand the problem by forming a perception from sensory information gathered and concepts stored in our memories -- so as to develop a strategy, either inductively and deductively, to work out a solution and make a decision to act on an option?

Guidebook focuses on ecosystem service approach to decision making
A new online resource, the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook, helps resource managers account for the benefits nature provides, such as the coastal protection offered by oyster beds or carbon sequestered in soils that help to stabilize climate.

Is a brace necessary for spinal fracture healing?
Compression fractures in the spine are due to osteoporosis, a common condition causing progressive bone loss and increased fracture risk.

Deconstructing Ebola to find its weakness and defeat it
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has pushed the decades-long search for a treatment to a frenetic pace.

Researcher works to block the blood-vessel dysfunction that occurs in diabetes
One of diabetes' dangerous consequences is dysfunction of the single-cell layer that lines our blood vessels.

Peptide shows great promise for treating spinal cord injury
Case Western Reserve scientists have developed a new chemical compound that shows extraordinary promise in restoring function lost to spinal cord injury.

Higher blood clot risk in longer surgeries
Longer surgeries result in a higher risk of a life-threatening blood clot, according to the first large-scale, quantitative national study of the risk across all surgical procedures.

Space travel is a bit safer than expected
Analysis of data from the MATROSHKA experiment, the first comprehensive measurements of long-term exposure of astronauts to cosmic radiation, has now been completed.

Proteins off the roll
Protein-coated Petri dishes are increasingly being used to support cell growth during cell cultivation.

Commuting linked to lower life satisfaction
The more time you spend getting to and from work, the less likely you are to be satisfied with life, says a new Waterloo study.

Not all induced pluripotent stem cells are made equal: McMaster researchers
Human stem cells made from adult donor cells 'remember' where they came from and that's what they prefer to become again.

Protect the world's deltas
Extensive areas of the world's deltas -- which accommodate some of the world's major cities -- will be drowned in the next century by rising sea levels, according to a Comment piece in this week's Nature.

USDA grant supports UNH research on how plants recognize friends and foes
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have received a near $400,000 grant from the USDA to investigate the chemical processes that allow certain plants and bacteria to signal each other that they are friends, not foes, and thus work together in an ecologically mutual partnership.

Buckyballs enhance carbon capture
Amines bound by buckyballs can absorb carbon dioxide from emissions at industrial plants and at natural gas wells, according to Rice University scientists.

Bioplastic -- greener than ever
Polylactic acid is a degradable plastic used mostly for packaging.

Scientists concerned that culture of research can hinder scientific endeavor
Aspects of the culture of research in UK higher education institutions can encourage poor research practices and hinder the production of high quality science, according to scientists who took part in a project exploring the ethical consequences of the culture of research led by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Mainz-based anthropologist Carola Lentz receives 2014 Melville J. Herskovits Award
Mainz anthropologist Carola Lentz received the 2014 Melville J. Herskovits Award for her book 'Land, Mobility, and Belonging in the West African Savanna,' published by Indiana University Press in 2013.

People in unhappy places are depressed more than a week a month
People in the country's unhappiest communities spend about a quarter of the month so far down in the dumps that it can harm their productivity, according to economists.

Cancer from asbestos caused by more than one cell mutation
It has been a long held belief that tumors arising from exposure to asbestos are caused by mutations in one cell, which then produces multiple clones.

Mainz Egyptologist receives approval for long-term project on Egyptian cursive scripts
The Joint Science Conference of the German federal and state governments has ratified the 2015 Academies' Program, coordinated by the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities and worth an approximate total of EUR 62 million, and approved two new long-term projects of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz, including the project 'Ancient Egyptian Cursive Scripts: Digital Paleography and Systematic Analysis of Hieratic and Cursive Hieroglyphs.'

Laser sniffs out toxic gases from afar
Scientists have developed a way to sniff out tiny amounts of toxic gases -- a whiff of nerve gas, for example, or a hint of a chemical spill -- from up to one kilometer away.

Birds conform to local 'traditions'
Birds learn new foraging techniques by observing others in their social network, 'copycat' behavior that can sustain foraging 'traditions' that last years, according to a study of how innovations spread and persist in wild great tits -- Parus major.

Researchers get a rabbit's-eye view
Researchers are using innovative imaging techniques to map the properties of vegetation that influence how and when animals use cover from the elements and predators.

Virginia Tech researchers connect sleep cycle, cancer incidence
Researchers reveal that a protein responsible for regulating the body's sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm, also protects the body from developing sporadic forms of cancers.

Interventional radiology procedure preserves uterus in patients with placenta accreta
Researchers report on a procedure that can preserve fertility and potentially save the lives of women with a serious pregnancy complication called placenta accreta.

Ethnic inequalities mapped across the country with new online profiler
The lives of ethnic minorities across the country have been mapped by experts at The University of Manchester with a new profiler that allows you to explore standards of living in each area of England and Wales.

Psychology of relationships, well-being, generosity and more
The 16th Annual Convention of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology will bring together 3,500 scientists to share their latest research in 84 symposia and 2,256 posters.

3-D compass in the brain
A neural 3-D compass has been discovered in the mammalian brain.

World's fastest 2-D camera may enable new scientific discoveries
A team of biomedical engineers at Washington University in St.

Medical schools have ethical obligation to accept undocumented immigrants
Medical schools have an ethical obligation to change admission policies in order to accept applications from undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, according to a report in the December 2014 issue of the journal Academic Medicine.

'Ocean Worlds'
Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams's new book, 'Ocean Worlds,' examines the nature and deep history of oceans, looks at how and when oceans may have formed on Earth and how they evolved, explores the importance of oceans in hosting life on which both humans and animals depend, considers how climate change, pollution, and over-exploitation are putting resources at risk, looks at what we know of oceans on other planets and considers what may become of our oceans in the future.

Does your boss find you proactive ... or pushy?
Those wishing to prove themselves as 'doers' must not only be hands-on and demonstrate proactive behavior but also have social acumen and a feel for favorable opportunities.

Gut bacteria from a worm can degrade plastic
Plastic is well-known for sticking around in the environment for years without breaking down, contributing significantly to litter and landfills. 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