Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 23, 2014
Strong neighborhood ties can help reduce gun violence
The bonds that tie a neighborhood together can help shield community members from gun violence, according to new findings by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program.

Activating hair growth with a little help from the skin
Restoring hair loss is a task undertaken not only by beauty practitioners.

To remove the gallbladder or not -- that is the question
Gallbladder removal is one of the most common operations performed in older adults.

Bacteria could be rich source for making terpenes
New research at Brown University and in Japan suggests bacteria could be a rich source of terpenes, the natural compounds common in plants and fungi that are used to make drugs, food additives, perfumes, and other products.

Researchers shed light on how 'microbial dark matter' might cause disease
For decades the bacteria group Candidate Phylum TM7, thought to cause inflammatory mucosal diseases, has posed a particular challenge for researchers.

New standards of care from the American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association is recommending a less stringent diastolic blood pressure target for people with diabetes and that all people with diabetes take either moderate or high doses of statins, in keeping with recent changes to guidelines for cardiovascular risk management enacted by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association.

Maternal supplementation with multiple micronutrients compared with iron-folic acid
In Bangladesh, daily maternal supplementation of multiple micronutrients compared to iron-folic acid before and after childbirth did not reduce all-cause infant mortality to age 6 months, but did result in significant reductions in preterm birth and low birth weight, according to a study in the Dec.

High-fat diet, obesity during pregnancy harms stem cells in developing fetus
Physician-scientists at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital reveal a high-fat diet and obesity during pregnancy compromise the blood-forming, or hematopoietic, stem cell system in the fetal liver responsible for creating and sustaining lifelong blood and immune system function.

Effect of longer, deeper cooling for newborns with neurological condition
Among full-term newborns with moderate or severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy -- damage to cells in the central nervous system from inadequate oxygen -- receiving deeper or longer duration cooling did not reduce risk of neonatal intensive care unit death, compared to usual care, according to a study in the Dec.

Breakthrough in predictions of pressure-dependent combustion chemical reactions
Researchers at Sandia and Argonne national laboratories have demonstrated, for the first time, a method to successfully predict pressure-dependent chemical reaction rates.

Christmas colors disguise gliding lizards in the rainforest
By mimicking the red and green colors of falling leaves, Bornean lizards avoid falling prey to birds whilst gliding, new research has found.

Research to improve bad bosses among new Waterloo projects funded
An estimated that 50 percent of people will experience an abusive supervisor during their working lives -- potentially causing anxiety, depression, and illness.

Study confirms Ebola and Marburg virus DNA vaccines are safe and immunogenic in Africa
Results from the first Ebola vaccine clinical trial conducted in Africa (in 2009-2010) reveal a vaccine candidate produces the same immune response seen in the United States in an African setting.

Genetic study sheds light on how mosquitoes transmit malaria
An international research team, including researchers from Simon Fraser University, has determined the genetic sequencing of 16 mosquitoes (Anopheles genus) -- the sole carriers of human malaria -- providing new insight into how they adapt to humans as primary hosts of the disease.

Armed virus shows promise as treatment for pancreatic cancer
A new combination of two different approaches -- virotherapy and immunotherapy -- is showing 'great promise' as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, according to new research from Queen Mary University of London.

Molecular mechanism behind health benefits of dietary restriction identified
A new study led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers identifies a key molecular mechanism behind the health benefits of dietary restriction.

UC researchers find alternate drug therapy lowers antibodies
Findings of a three-year clinical trial led by University of Cincinnati transplant researchers suggest that a novel pre-operative drug therapy reduces antibodies in kidney patients with greater success than with traditional methods, with the potential to increase the patients' candidacy for kidney transplantation and decrease the likelihood of organ rejection.

Researchers reveal Schisandra chinensis' unique properties
The book provides a comprehensive but concise account on a commonly used herb in Chinese medicine, Schisandrae fructus.

Buffer zone guidelines may be inadequate to protect produce from feedlot contamination
'The pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7 can spread, likely airborne, more than one tenth mile downwind from a cattle feedlot onto nearby produce, according to a paper published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Overweight teens lose weight for the right reasons, study shows
Study looked at formerly obese or overweight teens who had lost weight and kept it off.

Researchers confirm whole-genome sequencing can successfully identify cancer-related mutations
UT Southwestern Medical Center cancer researchers have demonstrated that whole-genome sequencing can be used to identify patients' risk for hereditary cancer.

Genes show the way to better treatment of hepatitis C
One of the most common causes of hepatitis C (formerly known as infectious hepatitis) is a hepatitis C virus infection in the liver.

Newly discovered assassin bug was incognito, but now it's incognita
A North American assassin bug that has remained hidden for over 100 years has been determined to be a new species.

Popular diabetes drug may be safe for patients with kidney disease
The most popular treatment for type 2 diabetes, metformin, may be safer for patients with mild to moderate kidney disease than guidelines suggest, according to a new, systematic review of the literature published by Yale investigators in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Daily multivitamin improves pregnancy outcomes in South Asia, JAMA study suggests
A multivitamin given daily to pregnant women in rural Bangladesh reduced pre-term births, increased infant birth weight and resulted in healthier babies overall, according to the large randomized trial conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers.

How electrons split: New evidence of exotic behaviors
A study led by EPFL has shown for the first time that electrons split into electrical charge and magnetic moment in a two-dimensional model.

EurekAlert! 2014 most popular news releases revealed
A news release about the unintended consequences of disclosing public officials' wages drew nearly 180,000 visits to EurekAlert! in 2014, making it the most popular news release of the year.

CNIO researchers activate hair growth by modifying immune cells
How to restore hair loss is a task not undertaken exclusively by beauty practitioners.

That smartphone is giving your thumbs superpowers
When people spend time interacting with their smartphones via touchscreen, it actually changes the way their thumbs and brains work together, according to a report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Dec.

Three new fellows to help guide NREL research
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently named Richard DeBlasio, Sarah Kurtz and Suhuai Wei to its Research Fellows Council, the laboratory's top advisory council, comprised of internationally recognized NREL scientists and engineers.

The accurate elastodynamic equations for inhomogeneous media
A recent study found out that the gradient of pre-stresses plays an important role in the accurate elastodynamic equations for inhomogeneous media.

Many patients with gout do not receive recommended treatment
Among patients in England with gout, only a minority of those with indications to receive urate-lowering therapy were treated according to guideline recommendations, according to a study in the Dec.

Scientists report on trial of early-generation Ebola, Marburg vaccine candidates
esults of an early-stage clinical trial of two experimental vaccines against Ebola and Marburg viruses -- the first to be completed in an African country -- showed that they were safe and induced immune responses in healthy Ugandan adult volunteers.

SFU scientists help put bedbugs to bed forever
A team of scientists at Simon Fraser University has found a way to conquer the global bedbug epidemic.

Stress may increase desire for reward but not pleasure, research finds
Feeling stressed may prompt you to go to great lengths to satisfy an urge for a drink or sweets, but you're not likely to enjoy the indulgence any more than someone who is not stressed and has the same treat just for pleasure, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Using laparoscopy for ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement
Researchers conducted a prospective randomized controlled clinical trial to compare a laparoscopic procedure with a mini-laparotomy for insertion of a peritoneal catheter during ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery.

Identifying brain variations to predict patient response to surgery for OCD
Identifying brain variations may help physicians predict which patients will respond to a neurosurgical procedure to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder that does not respond to medication or cognitive-behavioral therapies, according to a report published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Trends in indoor tanning among us high school students
While indoor tanning has decreased among high school students, about 20 percent of females engaged in indoor tanning at least once during 2013 and about 10 percent of girls frequently engaged in the practice by using an indoor tanning device 10 or more times during the year, according to a research letter published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Ants show left bias when exploring new spaces
Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don't have any difficulty turning left.

Echolocation acts as substitute sense for blind people
Human echolocation operates as a viable 'sense,' working in tandem with other senses to deliver information to people with visual impairment, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

European fire ant impacts forest ecosystems by helping alien plants spread
An invasive ant species that has become increasingly abundant in eastern North America not only takes over yards and delivers a nasty sting, it's helping the spread of an invasive plant species.

SLU researcher discovers a way to control internal clocks
Researchers hypothesize that targeting components of the mammalian clock with small molecules like REV-ERB drugs may lead to new treatments for sleep disorders and anxiety disorders.

Comprehensive care for high-risk, chronically ill children reduces serious illnesses
High-risk children with chronic illness who received care at a clinic that provided both primary and specialty care and features to promote prompt effective care had an increase in access to care and parent satisfaction and a reduction in serious illnesses and costs, according to a study in the Dec.

Research opens opportunities to develop targeted drug therapy for cardiac arrhythmia
Biomedical engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered that for one important channel in the heart, the membrane voltage not only causes the channel to open, but also determines the properties of the electrical signals.

UTHealth research: Children's High Risk Clinic reduces serious illness by 55 percent
High-risk children with chronic illness who received comprehensive care at a special clinic staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, had a dramatic reduction in serious illnesses as documented in a study published in the Dec.

Digital boom, scandal and war -- what do these have in common?
Drawing on interviews, oral histories, memoirs, archival collections and news reports, W.

Researchers map paths to cancer drug resistance
A team of researchers led by Duke Cancer Institute has identified key events that prompt certain cancer cells to develop resistance to otherwise lethal therapies.

Extreme heat in US associated with increased risk of hospitalization among older adults
Between 1999 and 2010, periods of extreme heat in the US were associated with an increased risk of hospitalization for older adults for fluid and electrolyte disorders, kidney failure, urinary tract infections, septicemia and heat stroke, according to a study in the Dec.

Reproduce mechanical property of granular materials via numerical triaxial simulation
Mechanical behavior of granular material in landslides is of great significance.

The heat is on: Causes of hospitalization due to heat waves identified
In the largest and most comprehensive study of heat-related illness to date, Harvard School of Public Health researchers have identified a handful of potentially serious disorders that put older Americans at significantly increased risk of winding up in the hospital during periods of extreme heat.

Taking the grunt work out of Web development
A new programming language automatically coordinates interactions between Web page components.

'July effect' does not impact stroke outcomes, according to new study
Patients with strokes caused by blood clots -known as acute ischemic strokes- who were admitted in July had similar outcomes compared to patients admitted any other month, according to a new study.

Grant supports use of data science to optimize HIV treatment monitoring
A Brown University biostatistician and an infectious disease specialist have received a $3.5-million grant to develop new ways to use data from patient health records to optimize effectiveness of HIV treatment where resources are limited, such as in the developing world.

NREL demonstrates 45.7 percent efficiency for concentrator solar cell
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has announced the demonstration of a 45.7 percent conversion efficiency for a four-junction solar cell at 234 suns concentration.

Watts up -- Planes go hybrid-electric
An aircraft with a parallel hybrid engine -- the first ever to be able to recharge its batteries in flight -- has been successfully tested in the UK, an important early step towards cleaner, low-carbon air travel. announces new 2014 grants, investing over $3.1 million to accelerate research
The International Rett Syndrome Foundation -- now doing business as -- announces today that twelve new grants were added to their research portfolio for a $1.2 million investment, bringing the total 2014 research spend over $3.1 million.

'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials
When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, 'minding the gap' will help researchers create artificial electronic materials one atomic layer at a time, according to a team of materials scientists.

Functional materials research gets £20 million boost from EPSRC
The EPSRC announced 10 research projects to advance the UK's manufacturing capability and develop new, exciting functional materials.

Research finds greater risk of premature deaths in neighborhoods with high concentrations of check-cashing places
A new research paper suggests a relation between the density of both check-cashing places and alcohol outlets in a given neighborhood and the risk of premature death in people ages 20-59 years.

Study finds Facebook popularity hampers fundraising efforts
People with fewer friends on Facebook raise more money for charity than those with lots of connections, research by an economist at the University of Warwick has found.

American Diabetes Association releases position statement
The American Diabetes Association is lowering the Body Mass Index (BMI) cut point at which it recommends screening Asian Americans for type 2 diabetes, aligning its guidelines with evidence that many Asian Americans develop the disease at lower BMI levels than the population at large, according to a position statement being published in the January issue of Diabetes Care.

Spanish TV during Franco educated children to be good citizens
Several children's programs were aired during the Franco regime; however, they did not have their own programming.

Could playing Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker' and other music improve kids' brains?
In a study called 'the largest investigation of the association between playing a musical instrument and brain development,' Medicine Vermont child psychiatry team has found that musical training might also help kids focus their attention, control their emotions and diminish their anxiety.

Weather and environmental satellite crowd sourcing: 2 new apps
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's academic partner, the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed two free mobile apps that bring the ability to see and capture satellite data to mobile users' fingertips.

Scientists discover oldest stone tool ever found in Turkey
Scientists have discovered the oldest recorded stone tool ever to be found in Turkey, revealing that humans passed through the gateway from Asia to Europe much earlier than previously thought, approximately 1.2 million years ago.

NREL receives Editors' Choice Awards for supercomputer research
Two prestigious scientific magazines have awarded the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory with Editors' Choice awards for the Peregrine high-performance computer and the groundbreaking research it made possible. 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