Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 07, 2015
Combined therapy can reduce chance of recurrence in women with small, HER2+ breast tumors
Dana-Farber researchers report women with small, HER2-positive breast tumors who received a combination of lower-intensity chemotherapy and a targeted drug following surgery were highly unlikely to have the cancer recur within three years.

How does salt melt ice? (video)
Winter weather can mean treacherous driving across much of the country.

Research findings have implications for regenerating damaged nerve cells
Two new studies involving the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia have identified a unique molecule that not only gobbles up bad cells, but also has the ability to repair damaged nerve cells.

NASA observatories take an unprecedented look into superstar Eta Carinae
New findings include Hubble Space Telescope images that show decade-old shells of ionized gas racing away from the Superstar Eta Carinae at a million miles an hour, and new 3-D models that reveal never-before-seen features of the stars' interactions.

Expressing anger linked with better health in some cultures
In the US and many Western countries, people are urged to manage feelings of anger or suffer its ill effects -- but new research with participants from the US and Japan suggests that anger may actually be linked with better, not worse, health in certain cultures.

Sticking to lifestyle guidelines may reduce risk for certain cancers and for overall mortality
A study of nearly a half-million Americans has found that following cancer prevention guidelines from the American Cancer Society may modestly reduce your overall risk of developing cancer and have a greater impact on reducing your overall risk of dying.

New approach may lead to inhalable vaccines for influenza, pneumonia
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University have uncovered a novel approach to creating inhalable vaccines using nanoparticles that shows promise for targeting lung-specific diseases, such as influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Science at risk as young researchers increasingly denied research grants
America's youngest scientists, increasingly losing research dollars, are leaving the academic biomedical workforce, a brain drain that poses grave risks for the future of science, according to a PNAS article by Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J.

Brain imaging may help predict future behavior
Noninvasive brain scans have led to basic science discoveries about the human brain, but they've had only limited impacts on people's day-to-day lives.

NIH grantees overcome hurdle to kill HIV-infected cells brought out of hiding
A major obstacle to curing people of HIV infection is the way the virus hides, in a reservoir primarily of dormant immune cells called resting memory CD4+ T cells.

Poor acceptance of illness associated with worse quality of life in chronic heart failure
Failure to accept illness is associated with poorer quality of life in patients with chronic heart failure, according to research published today in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.

Caregiver and families with mentally ill members all need help, CWRU researchers find
Listening to older sisters of mentally ill siblings discuss their mothers' difficult caregiving experiences made Case Western Reserve University co-investigator M.

Muslims and Latinos much more prominent in TV crime news than in real-life crime
The study found that Muslims and Latinos were significantly overrepresented, and African-Americans largely missing, in crime stories aired over five years on prominent network and cable breaking news programs.

Better dam planning strategies
By placing data from close to 6,500 existing large dams on a highly precise map of the world's rivers, an international team led by McGill University researchers has created a new method to estimate the global impacts of dams on river flow and fragmentation.

Mind-body connection not a one-way street
We usually think our mind is in control and telling our body what to do.

Too much gas, too little food appear major factors in injury, disease-related memory loss
Inflammation plays a role in learning and memory loss that can result from brain injury or disease, and researchers now have evidence that neurons may be suffering from too much gas and too little food.

NIH teams with industry to develop treatments for Niemann-Pick disease type C
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have entered into an agreement with biotechnology company Vtesse, Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md., to develop treatments for Niemann-Pick disease type C and other lysosomal storage disorders.

Researchers make new discoveries in key pathway for neurological diseases
A new intermediate step and unexpected enzymatic activity in a metabolic pathway in the body, which could lead to new drug design for psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, has been discovered by researchers at Georgia State University.

Researchers to design, market smartphone app that gauges Ebola risk
Within six months, your iPhone or Android mobile device could supply a real-time estimate of your likelihood of contact with the deadly Ebola virus.

Where did all the stars go?
Some of the stars appear to be missing in this intriguing new ESO image.

Tracking subtle brain mutations, systematically
DNA sequences were once thought to be identical from cell to cell, but it's increasingly understood that mutations can arise during brain development that affect only certain groups of brain cells.

An avocado a day keeps the cardiologist away
Adding an avocado to your daily diet may help lower bad cholesterol, in turn reducing risk for heart disease, according to health researchers.

Microfluidics to accelerate cell membrane research
Life processes depend fundamentally on phenomena occurring on the membranes separating cells from their environment.

Rosetta mission named Physics World 2014 Breakthrough of the Year
The journal Physics World has named the first landing of a research probe on a comet as its 2014 Breakthrough of the Year.

New sampling method reveals oil sand mining is not polluting Athabasca Delta
A new study into the pre-industrial baseline levels of heavy metals in sediment carried by the Athabasca River shows that emissions from the Alberta oil sands and other human activities have not yet increased the concentrations traveling to the Athabasca Delta around 200 kilometers from the oil sands.

Having a hard time focusing?
A research team at McGill University has for the first time convincingly identified a network of neurons in a particular area of the brain, the lateral prefrontal cortex, that interact with one another to promptly filter visual information while at the same time ignoring distractions.

An avocado a day may help keep bad cholesterol at bay
Individuals on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower bad cholesterol than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or on a lower-fat diet.

Withdrawal or expecting your lover to mind-read hurts relationships, but in different ways
When you have a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you withdraw like a turtle into its shell?

Women with more PTSD symptoms appear at higher risk for type 2 diabetes
Women with the most symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder appear to have a nearly two-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus compared to women not exposed to trauma, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

The biggest chemistry news from 2014 sets the scene for the New Year
Scrutinizing the flood of chemistry news from 2014 reveals which stories had the greatest impact on the field's science, policy and industry landscapes.

Physician survey indicates positive experience, desire for formal guidelines to improve peer review
A 2013 survey of radiation oncologists indicates that they would like more formal recommendations and guidance in order to improve the peer review process, according to a study published in the January-February 2015 issue of Practical Radiation Oncology, the clinical practice journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

UH study links TV use and unhealthy eating
A recent UH study conducted by professor Temple Northup suggests people who watch excessive amounts of TV tend to eat more unhealthy foods and might not understand the foundations of a healthy diet.

Genome wide expression changes in vascular tissue identified due to infection/diet
Although it has been shown that a diet high in fat and exposure to certain bacteria can cause atherosclerosis, researchers have for the first time identified distinct gene pathways that are altered by these different stimuli.

After weight-loss surgery, people could experience discrimination when interviewing for jobs
People say that they would be more likely to hire someone who has lost weight through exercise and dieting than through surgery.

Cool deep-water protects coral reefs against heat stress
Cool currents from the deep ocean could save tropical corals from lethal heat stress.

Ohio's diversion program helps juvenile offenders with behavioral health issues
An evaluation of Ohio's Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice initiative in 11 counties by social work researchers at Case Western Reserve University found the program benefits most young offenders diverted from detention centers to community-based agencies to treat mental health issues, drug problems or both.

Are human behaviors affecting bird communities in residential areas?
A new study from the Wildlife Conservation Society shows that habitat alteration may be less important than other factors -- such as human behavior -- in driving the effects of 'exurban' development on bird communities.

Research advocates urge Congress to advance top 5 science priorities in first 100 days
Research!America urges the 114th Congress to take action on five science priorities in the first 100 days of the legislative session in order to elevate research and innovation on the nation's agenda.

Chapman University publishes research on jealousy
In the largest study to date on infidelity, Chapman University has learned men and women are different when it comes to feeling jealous.

New light shed on electron spin flips
Researchers from Berlin Joint EPR Lab at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and University of Washington derived a new set of equations that allows for calculating electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) transition probabilities with arbitrary alignment and polarization of the exciting electromagnetic radiation.

Disney Research scans video to monitor nighttime behavior of giraffes
Disney researchers have developed a video technique for automatically detecting unusual behaviors of giraffes at night, providing naturalists with an improved tool for monitoring the health and safety of the animals in the wild and under human care.

Scientists identify first nutrient sensor in key growth-regulating metabolic pathway
Whitehead Institute scientists have for the first time identified a protein that appears to act as a nutrient sensor in the key growth-regulating mTORC1 metabolic pathway.

Genetics in depression: What's known, what's next
Even with modern genomewide analysis techniques, it has proven difficult to identify genetic factors affecting risk for depression, according to a topical review in the January issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Risks of youth rugby need urgent scrutiny
The unknown risks of youth rugby need urgent assessment to ensure the safety of junior players, says a senior doctor in The BMJ this week.

The best offense against bacteria is a good defense
A small protein active in the human immune response can disable bacterial toxins by exploiting a property that makes the toxins effective -- but also turns out to be a weakness.

Why some geckos lose their ability to stick to surfaces
A study led by biologists at the University of California, Riverside has found that evolution can downgrade or entirely remove adaptations a species has previously acquired, giving the species new survival advantages.

Restoring vision to the blind
Scientists have long known that species such as amphibians and fish can regenerate retinal cells -- so why can't mammals?

Forget the selfish gene -- the evolution of life is driven by the selfish ribosome
Since the discovery of how DNA encodes genetic information, most research on the evolution of life has focused on genes.

SEED has won the international Mars One University Competition
Seed was selected by popular vote from an initial 35 university proposals.

Added benefit of sucroferric oxyhydroxide is not proven
Patients were not treated in compliance with the approval in the two studies presented, which resulted in under- or overdosing.

Review article estimates annual US cost of psoriasis in 2013
The annual US cost of psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition, was estimated to be between $112 billion and $135 billion in 2013, according to a review article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Brain scientists figure out how a protein crucial to learning and memory works
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found out how a protein crucial to learning works: by removing a biochemical 'clamp' that prevents connections between nerve cells in the brain from growing stronger.

Nanowire clothing could keep people warm -- without heating everything else
To stay warm when temperatures drop outside, we heat our indoor spaces -- even when no one is in them.

Nate Silver to receive 2015 JPBM Communications Award
Silver was chosen for his award-winning website, his New York Times bestseller, 'The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail -- but Some Don't,' and a host of other ways in which he has helped the public to better understand the world through sound and innovative use of statistics and extraordinarily lucid explanations of his work.

Tracing tainted food back to its source within an hour
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers, in collaboration with the start-up DNATrek, have developed a cost-effective and highly efficient method to accurately trace contaminated food back to its source.

Study: Campus debit cards let students buy cigarettes with parents' money
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the British Medical Journal: Tobacco Control shows that of the top 100 universities as ranked by US News and World Report, 11 allow tobacco sales and 13 allow e-cigarette sales on 'campus cash' debit cards that are commonly prepaid by parents.

Shedding light on why blue LEDS are so tricky to make
Scientists at UCL, in collaboration with groups at the University of Bath and the Daresbury Laboratory, have uncovered the mystery of why blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are so difficult to make, by revealing the complex properties of their main component -- gallium nitride -- using sophisticated computer simulations.

Could gut bacteria that help us digest beer & bread fight disease, too?
Bacteria that have evolved to help us digest the yeast that give beer and bread their bubbles could support the development of new treatments to fight off yeast infections and Crohn's disease.

Two brain regions join forces for absolute pitch
People who have 'absolute pitch' can identify notes immediately without relying on a reference tone.

Scientists train immune system to spot and destroy cure-defying mutant HIV
Luring dormant HIV out of hiding and destroying its last cure-defying holdouts has become the holy grail of HIV eradication, but several recent attempts to do so have failed.

Broad immune response may be needed to destroy latent HIV
A major barrier to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS is the presence of latent HIV in the cells of chronically infected individuals.

Disney Research creates automated method to assemble story-driven photo albums
Taking photos has never been easier, thanks to the ubiquity of cell phones, tablets and digital cameras.

Humans erode soil 100 times faster than nature
European colonization accelerated rates of soil loss in parts of North America to more than 100 times that of pre-settlement, new research shows.

Type 2 diabetes risk varies with magnesium intake, genes and ethnicity
A new study investigated the complex interactions between magnesium intake, genes and ethnicity in determining risk for type 2 diabetes in two populations of women.

Doing more with less: Steering a quantum path to improved internet security
Research conducted at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, may lead to greatly improved security of information transfer over the internet.

Potential new tool to monitor radiotherapy side effects
Researchers in Manchester have investigated a patient-centered approach to assessing the side effects of radiotherapy and have shown that it may be able to improve the detection and management of treatment-related toxicity.

Responsive material could be the 'golden ticket' of sensing
A new responsive material 'glued' together with short strands of DNA, and capable of translating thermal and chemical signals into visible physical changes, could underpin a new class of biosensors or drug delivery systems.

Do infants judge others' language proficiency? It depends on their own, research shows
Monolingual infants expect others to understand only one language, an assumption not held by bilingual infants, a study by researchers at New York University and McGill University has found.

Mode of action of protein channelrhodopsin-2 decoded
Researchers have shed light upon the mode of action of the light-controlled channelrhodopsin-2 with high spatiotemporal resolution.

Levitation recreates nature's dumbbells
Using magnetic levitation to imitate weightlessness, researchers led by physicists at The University of Nottingham have manufactured solid wax models of these shapes.

Major study sends clear safety message to prevent brain injury in children
An exhaustive analysis of data from more than 40,000 cases of brain trauma in children -- published by the authoritative New England Journal of Medicine - provides convincing evidence that protecting children in advance from head injuries is the key to reducing their severity.

Are we there yet? A new tool to measure progress in cancer research
In a new paper published today in ecancermedicalscience, researchers aim to measure progress in cancer research through the use of a new tool that relies on multiple measures to determine the 'progress' and 'value' of research.

UNH scientists successfully grow onions overwintered in low tunnels
In response to high demand for year-round local produce, researchers with the University of New Hampshire report they have successfully grown bulbing onions planted in fall for a spring harvest with the aid of inexpensive low tunnels.

What's in the grime tarnishing the Taj Mahal?
Every several years, workers apply a clay mask to India's iconic but yellowing Taj Mahal to remove layers of grime and reveal the white marble underneath.

PTSD doubles diabetes risk in women
Women with post-traumatic stress disorder are nearly twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared with women who don't have PTSD, according to researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Harvard School of Public Health.

Music cuts across cultures
Whether you are a Pygmy in the Congolese rainforest or a hipster in downtown Montreal, certain aspects of music will touch you in exactly the same ways.

Eight graduate students and postdocs receive GSA's DeLill Nasser Award
The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is proud to name eight early-career scientists -- four graduate students and four postdoctoral researchers -- as spring 2015 recipients of GSA's DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics.

Which fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change?
A third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80-percent of current coal reserves globally should remain in the ground and not be used before 2050 if global warming is to stay below the 2°C target agreed by policy makers, according to new research by the University College London Institute for Sustainable Resources.

Dartmouth develops prognostic test for E2F4 in breast cancer
By looking at the expression levels of downstream genes of the regulators in breast cancer, Dartmouth researchers have identified a gene signature in E2F4 that is predictive of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer.

Surprise: High-dose testosterone therapy helps some men with advanced prostate cancer
In a surprising paradox, the male hormone testosterone, generally thought to be a feeder of prostate cancer, has been found to suppress some advanced prostate cancers and also may reverse resistance to testosterone-blocking drugs used to treat prostate cancer.

Satellite shows the snow-covered US deep freeze
NOAA's GOES-East satellite provided a look at the frigid eastern two-thirds of the US on Jan.

Misfit or Miss Goody Two Shoes? Adolescent misperceptions abound
It's true: teens are misunderstood. But apparently, teens themselves have dramatic misperceptions about what their peers are doing when it comes to sex, drugs and studying, possibly prompting them to conform to social norms that don't exist.

Wave energy integration costs should compare favorably to other energy sources
A new analysis suggests that large-scale wave energy systems developed in the Pacific Northwest should be comparatively steady, dependable and able to be integrated into the overall energy grid at lower costs than some other forms of alternative energy, including wind power.

Was Beethoven's music literally heartfelt?
Could it be that when Ludwig van Beethoven composed some of the greatest masterpieces of all time that he was quite literally following his heart?

A potential long-lasting treatment for sensitive teeth
Rather than soothe and comfort, a hot cup of tea or cocoa can cause people with sensitive teeth a jolt of pain.

Study of ancient dogs in the Americas yields insights into human, dog migration
A new study suggests that dogs may have first successfully migrated to the Americas only about 10,000 years ago, thousands of years after the first human migrants crossed a land bridge from Siberia to North America.

NOAA's DSCOVR to provide 'EPIC' views of earth
NASA has contributed two Earth science instruments for NOAA's space weather observing satellite called the Deep Space Climate Observatory or DSCOVR, set to launch in Jan., 2015.

Researchers at HKUST achieved novel nanobowl optical concentrator for organic solar cell
Light trapping is a simple and promising strategy to largely improve the optical absorption and efficiency of solar cells.

Analysis finds federal government under-funds chronic disease prevention research
The first comprehensive analysis of National Institutes of Health funding of research to prevent non-communicable chronic diseases shows that prevention research in the United States is severely underfunded.

Synthetic oil drug may bring promise for Huntington's disease
An early study suggests that a synthetic triglyceride oil called triheptanoin may provide hope for people with Huntington's disease.

Selective functionalization synthesizes chemotherapeutic natural products
Through an extensive international collaboration, scientists at the Center for Selective C-H Functionalization, Emory University and the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University have synthesized marine alkaloids with anti-cancer and therapeutic properties through a sequential C-H functionalization strategy.

Smile to remember a smile
Smiles are contagious, even when we're trying to remember them.

Breathing in diesel exhaust leads to changes 'deep under the hood'
Diesel exhaust switches some genes on, while switching others off, by altering the methylation of DNA.

From Venus to Earth: A radical new geological model
A new geological model developed by professor Lyal Harris, INRS Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre and Geological Survey of Canada researcher Jean Bédard has been selected as one of 10 2014 Discoveries of the Year by the magazine Quebec Science.

Physical recovery in critically ill patients can predict remission of anxiety and PTSD symptoms
In a two-year longitudinal study involving 13 intensive care units in four US hospitals, researchers found that better physical functioning -- basic and complex activities considered essential for maintaining independence -- is associated with remission of general anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

Special delivery
Polymeric microparticles are made to 'hitchhike' to inflamed tissue in order to deliver their drug payload.

Coral reefs threatened by a deadly combination of changing ocean conditions
The lowering of the ocean's pH is making it harder for corals to grow their skeletons and easier for bioeroding organisms to tear them down.

CU School of Medicine's April Armstrong estimates cost of psoriasis in the US
The annual US cost of psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition, was estimated to be between $112 billion and $135 billion in 2013, according to a review article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Robotic camera mimics human operators to anticipate basketball game action
Automated cameras make it possible to broadcast even minor events, but the result often looks ... well, robotic.

Study finds partisanship most fierce among highly educated Americans
A new University of Kansas study has found partisanship is at its highest levels among the most-educated Americans, who gravitate toward facts that agree with their own political leanings.

A self-directed walking program for older people did not prevent falls
The results of the Easy Steps randomized controlled trial, published online in the journal Age and Ageing, show that a self-directed walking program designed for sedentary older people did not reduce incidence of falls, although it did increase mobility levels.

Argonne partners with industry on nuclear work
Argonne National Laboratory will work with three of the world's leading nuclear products and services companies on projects that could unlock the potential of advanced nuclear reactor designs, helping create a new generation of safer, more efficient reactors.

Cheap asphalt provides 'green' carbon capture
Rice University scientists turn asphalt into an effective, environmentally friendly carbon-capture material for use at natural gas wellheads.

Reprogramming liver cells into pancreas cells
Diabetes researcher Dr. Francesca Spagnoli of the Max Delbrück Center has been awarded an extra research grant from the European Research Council.

Social equity in urban transportation planning
Most cities' transportation plans evoke a complex blend of environmental, economic, and social-equity goals -- all aimed at promoting 'sustainability.' Yet, many fail to include meaningful measurements of social-equity objectives, such as helping disadvantaged neighborhoods access essential services, according to researchers at McGill University. 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