Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 08, 2015
Alcohol warnings from parents matter
Parenting practices and restrictions when it comes to alcohol use can make a difference with adolescent drinking, and there is considerable value to consistent and sustained parental attitudes about drinking, according to new research by a University at Buffalo psychologist.

Neuroprosthetics for paralysis: Biocompatible, flexible implant slips into the spinal cord
New therapies are on the horizon for individuals paralyzed following spinal cord injury.

WHO grants approval for safe, effective meningitis A vaccine for infants
The World Health Organization has opened the door to routine immunization of infants in sub-Saharan Africa by approving for use an innovative and affordable vaccine that has all but rid the meningitis belt of a major cause of deadly epidemics.

Quantum optical hard drive breakthrough
Scientists developing a prototype optical quantum hard drive have improved storage time by a factor of over 100.

Solving a case of intercellular entrapment
Optogenetics, which uses light to control cellular events, is poised to become an important technology in molecular biology and beyond.

Malassezia yeasts -- everywhere and sometimes dangerous
Malassezia yeasts have been found in human dandruff, deep-sea vents, and pretty much everywhere in between.

Added benefit of idelalisib is not proven
The drug manufacturer presented no suitable data for the therapeutic indication chronic lymphocytic leukaemia or for refractory follicular lymphoma.

Algae use same molecular machinery as land plants to respond to a plant hormone
Land-based plants -- including the fruits and vegetables in your kitchen -- produce and respond to hormones in order to survive.

Researchers work to counter a new class of coffee shop hackers
If you're sitting in a coffee shop, tapping away on your laptop, feeling safe from hackers because you didn't connect to the shop's Wi-Fi, think again.

Neurons that detect disease
Life in a group entails a major risk: that of being exposed to contagious pathogens.

Integrated space-group and crystal-structure determination
SHELX is a system of nine programs for the solution and refinement of crystal structures against X-ray and neutron diffraction data.

Astronomers use vanishing neutron star to measure space-time warp
In an interstellar race against time, astronomers have measured the space-time warp in the gravity of a binary star and determined the mass of a neutron star -- just before it vanished from view.

Eliminating ACA subsidies would cause nearly 10 million to lose insurance, study finds
The US Supreme Court has agreed to decide a case this year that challenges whether it is legal to offer subsidies to low- and moderate-income people who purchase coverage through federally run health insurance marketplaces.

Screening HPV infection alone more accurate than Pap test in detection of cervical cancer
Screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection alone gives more accurate results than Pap testing for cervical cancer, say the authors of two papers to published today in the journal Gynecologic Oncology.

Miriam Hospital 1 of 3 New England hospitals using technology to detect, treat bladder cancer
The Miriam Hospital is using a new minimally invasive technology that improves the ability for doctors to detect bladder cancer.

GraphExeter defies the Achilles heel of 'wonder material' graphene
A resilience to extreme conditions by the most transparent, lightweight and flexible material for conducting electricity could help revolutionize the electronic industry, according to a new study.

New study from Harvard compares design of fuel systems for soft robots
By defining a set of key metrics to evaluate the fuel systems available to drive autonomous and wearable soft robots, a team of engineers and chemists are able to compare the advantages and limitations of current technology options.

Compact batteries enhanced by spontaneous silver matrix formations
The formation of a highly conductive silver matrix inside an otherwise poorly performing battery enhances its efficiency and offers new potential applications.

How quality of sleep impacts academic performance in children
Making sure school-aged kids get to sleep at a regular hour is often a struggle for parents.

Daily consumption of blueberries may lower blood pressure
With hypertension affecting nearly 80 million people in the United States and cardiovascular disease the leading cause of death, any intervention that can lower blood pressure has the potential to save lives.

Breakthrough: Statin treatment reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in women
A large international study, published today in The Lancet, has shown conclusively that statin treatment reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.

Ritual circumcision linked to increased risk of autism in young boys
Research published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggests that circumcised boys are more likely than intact boys to develop autism spectrum disorder before the age of 10.

Elsevier launches open-access journal that publishes sound research across all disciplines
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has announced it is developing a new open-access journal covering all disciplines.

Smoking, alcohol, gene variant interact to increase risk of chronic pancreatitis
Genetic mutations may link smoking and alcohol consumption to destruction of the pancreas observed in chronic pancreatitis, according to a 12-year study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Sipuleucel-T in prostate cancer: Added benefit is not proven
Data on survival were not evaluable because group differences might have been caused by the circumstances of the subsequent therapies.

T cell receptor ensures Treg functionality
Misdirected immune responses that target the body's own tissue can result in diseases. regulatory T cells combat this effect by suppressing excessive immune responses and responses against our own bodies.

Rihanna eases kids' pain after surgery
Pediatric patients who listened to 30 minutes of songs by Rihanna, Taylor Swift and other singers of their choosing -- or audio books -- had a significant reduction in pain after major surgery, according to a new study.

BIDMC study suggests worsening trends in headache management
Each year more than 12 million Americans visit their doctors complaining of headaches, which result in lost productivity and costs of upward of $31 billion annually.

New research explores effects of moderate fat diets that include avocados
A moderate fat diet that includes one fresh avocado daily showed greater improvement in certain blood lipid markers when compared to an energy matched moderate fat diet without avocado or a low fat diet without avocado, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

CU Denver study shows direct link between ethnic discrimination and health
New research from the University of Colorado Denver shows that women who experience racial discrimination while pregnant suffer significant health impacts that are passed on to their infants.

Insulin nasal spray shows promise as treatment for adults with dementia and Alzheimer's
A man-made form of insulin delivered by nasal spray may improve working memory and other mental capabilities in adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease dementia, according to a pilot study led by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

NASA's ISS-RapidScat looks at the winds in US east coast's 'wind chill'
The strong cold front that ushered in frigid Arctic air to two-thirds of the eastern US brought in strong winds and bitter wind chills.

Huntington's disease: Therapeutic potential of triheptanoin confirmed
A team of researchers from Inserm led by Fanny Mochel and located at the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute (Inserm/CNRS/UPMC/AP-HP) has just demonstrated the therapeutic potential of triheptanoin in 10 patients with Huntington's disease.

Best job performance comes from match between first and later work experiences
What's better for an employee's long-term success: starting off at a company when the good times are rolling?

Characterizing baobab, the nutritious African 'Tree of Life'
A new publication, 'Descriptors for Baobab,' opens the way for accelerated and better-standardized research into this iconic tree.

Students testing Indian toilets
A group of University of Delaware students and researchers spent New Year's installing sanitation systems in India.

'Assassin' targets supernovae in our neighborhood of the universe
While many astronomical collaborations use powerful telescopes to target individual objects in the distant universe, a new project at The Ohio State University is doing something radically different: using small telescopes to study a growing portion of the nearby universe all at once.

An ecological rule for animals applies to flowers
Pitt investigators show that flower pigmentation evolves in response to ultraviolet light -- and may be a bellwether of climate disruption.

Scientists illuminate mysterious molecular mechanism powering cells in most forms of life
A team led by structural biologists at The Scripps Research Institute has taken a big step toward understanding the intricate molecular mechanism of a metabolic enzyme produced in most forms of life on Earth.

Deworming programs in animal, human populations may have unwanted impacts
A study of the effects of worming medications on infectious disease in wildlife herds showed an unexpected and alarming result -- it helped reduce individual deaths from a bovine tuberculosis infection, but hugely increased the potential for spread of the disease to other animals.

Epic survey finds regional patterns of soot and dirt on North American snow
A first large-scale survey of snow in the US and Canada finds that disturbed soil often darkens the snow as much as air pollution.

Smithsonian scientists explain spread of chikungunya vector
The tropical disease chikungunya began twisting Western tongues in July when the first locally transmitted case was reported in Florida.

New book aims to clear up 'hookup culture' confusion
As students return to campus post-holiday break, a Michigan State University professor has released an e-book she hopes will demystify the 'hookup culture' that often accompanies the college social scene.

Focusing on lasting legacy prompts environmental action
Prompting people to think about the legacy they want to leave for future generations can boost their desire and intention to take action on climate change, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Sophisticated system prevents self-fertilization in petunias
Plants use genetic mechanisms to prevent inbreeding by recognizing self and non-self pollen.

Newly discovered antibiotic kills pathogens without resistance
In a breakthrough study, Northeastern University researchers discover new resistance-free antibiotic by using a novel device to extract drugs from bacteria growing in soil

Mapping snake venom variety reveals unexpected evolutionary pattern
Venom from an eastern diamondback rattlesnake in the Everglades is distinct from the cocktail of toxins delivered by the same species in the Florida panhandle area, some 500 miles away.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Study supports link between injectable hormonal contraceptive and HIV risk
Women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, commonly known as Depo-Provera or the birth control shot, have a moderately increased risk of becoming infected with HIV, a large meta-analysis of 12 studies involving more than 39 500 women published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases has found.

Nutrition intervention leads to dietary behavior changes in Latina breast cancer survivors
An intervention designed to provide Latina breast cancer survivors with the knowledge and skills needed to change and sustain dietary behaviors helps survivors adhere to recommended guidelines to eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

AMP releases 'A Molecular Diagnostic Perfect Storm' paper
Health care providers -- those developing and delivering innovative diagnostic tests -- along with patients, who are the ultimate intended beneficiaries, are caught in the middle of policies imposed by FDA and CMS.

3-D 'pop-up' silicon structures: Transforming planar materials into 3-D microarchitectures
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have invented simple routes to complex classes of 3-D micro/nanostructures in high performance materials, with relevance to electronics, photovoltaics, batteries, biomedical devices, and other microsystems technologies.

Practice really does make perfect
New research into the way in which we learn new skills finds that a single skill can be learned faster if its follow-through motion is consistent, but multiple skills can be learned simultaneously if the follow-through motion is varied.

Novel vision of the death of massive stars
A consortium, in which the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country and the Spanish National Scientific Research Council are participating, has taken a qualitative and quantitative leap forward when studying three phenomena simultaneously.

Treatment for parasitic worms helps animals survive infectious diseases -- and spread them
In a new study of African buffalo, University of Georgia ecologist Vanessa Ezenwa has found that de-worming drastically improves an animal's chances of surviving bovine tuberculosis -- but with the consequence of increasing the spread of TB in the population.

Scientists document longest-ever case of sperm storage in sharks
Steinhart Aquarium biologists at the California Academy of Sciences were taken aback when a shark egg case dropped by an adult bamboo shark, who spent nearly 4 years isolated from males, showed signs of healthy development.

The devil is in the detail
Researchers have looked at a species of fish to help unravel one of the biggest mysteries in evolutionary biology.

Algae blooms create their own favorable conditions, new study finds
Fertilizers are known to promote the growth of toxic cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater and oceans worldwide, but a new multi-institution study shows the aquatic microbes themselves can drive nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in a combined one-two punch in lakes.

Researchers grow functional tissue-engineered intestine from human cells
A new study by researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles has shown that tissue-engineered small intestine grown from human cells replicates key aspects of a functioning human intestine.

Teachers on the front line following attack in Boston
Results of a survey to be published in School Mental Health, published by Springer, suggest that while teachers are well-tuned to student psychological distress following a crisis, support varies considerably.

Albiglutide in type 2 diabetes: Hint of minor added benefit
Study data for a combination with metformin show a hint of a minor added benefit because symptomatic hypoglycemia occurs less frequently.

Know when to fold 'em
For over a half-century, games have been test beds for new ideas in Artificial Intelligence and the resulting successes have marked significant milestones - Deep Blue defeated Kasparov in chess and Watson defeated Jennings and Rutter on Jeopardy!

Study of Andromeda's stellar disk indicates more violent history than Milky Way
A detailed study of the motions of different stellar populations in the disk of the Andromeda galaxy has found striking differences from our own Milky Way, suggesting a more violent history of mergers with smaller galaxies in Andromeda's recent past.

Requirements of implementing next generation science standards
A new report released today by the National Research Council offers guidance to district and school leaders and teachers on necessary steps for putting the Next Generation Science Standards into practice over the next decade and beyond.

Study provides insights into the role of genetic variants in kidney disease
Among patients with a kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, those who had certain genetic variants tended to have more advanced disease when they were diagnosed.

How do men and women respond to gender bias in STEM?
A new study out today in Psychology of Women Quarterly examined a well-known space for candid sharing of thoughts -- the comments sections of online articles -- and found that men are much less likely to agree with scientific evidence of gender bias in STEM than women.

Resolved to get in shape? Here are 4 facts about sweat (video)
If you're like a lot of people, your New Year's resolution probably involves getting in shape.

Facial motion activates a dedicated network within the brain, research shows
Like humans, rhesus macaque monkeys have a network of small areas within their brains that respond to images of faces.

Hacking fat cells' metabolism does not affect insulin resistance
In the race to find a safe and effective weight loss drug, much attention has focused on the chemical processes that store and use energy.

Fear of terror may lead to job burnout over time
A new Tel Aviv University study addresses for the first time the direct link between terrorism and increased incidence of job burnout over time.

Blood vessel lining cells control metastasis
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and from the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University paved the way for an innovative combination therapy against metastases: They treated mice with a combination of a low-dose metronomic chemotherapy and an antibody against Ang-2, a regulatory protein of the blood vessel lining cells.

Emissions-free cars get closer
Hydrogen fuel cells -- possibly the best option for emission-free vehicles -- require costly platinum.

New study findings help physicians and patients determine prostate cancer risk
A discovery by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute shows that looking at whether a man's uncles and great-grandparents, among other second- and third-degree relatives, had prostate cancer could be as important as looking at whether his father had prostate cancer.

New research outlines global threat of smoldering peat fires
New research published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, co-authored by Adam Watts, a fire ecologist at Nevada's Desert Research Institute and deputy director of DRI's Climate, Ecosystems, Fire and Applications Program, outlines the threat of drying peatlands (also known as mires) across the globe and their increased vulnerability to fire and carbon loss.

Ancient maize followed two paths into the Southwest
DNA from archaeological samples and traditional maize varieties indicate that ancient maize moved from Mexico into the Southwest US by a highland route and later a coastal lowland route, settling a long debate over its path.

How quickly smokers metabolize nicotine may point to most effective way to quit
In a first-of-its-kind randomized clinical trial, researchers from Penn Medicine and collaborators have shown that the most-suited treatment for each smoker may depend on how quickly they metabolize the nicotine in their body after quitting.

To trigger energy-burning brown fat, just chill
UC Berkeley researchers found that exposure to cold increases levels of a newly discovered protein that is critical for the formation of brown fat, the type of fat in our bodies that burns energy and generates heat.

Pathogen strains competing for the same host plant change disease dynamics
The epidemics caused by co-infection of several pathogen strains in a plant population is more severe than epidemics caused by single strains.

Hunting bats rely on 'bag of chips effect'
When bats hunt in groups at night, they rely on the sounds of their fellow bats to tip them off on the best places to a grab a good meal.

AMP presents at FDA workshop on LDTs, delivers message of importance of molecular diagnostics
AMP the premier global, non-profit organization serving molecular testing professionals, will speak at the FDA's Public Workshop, Framework for Regulatory Oversight of LDTs.

Mercury from gold mines accumulates far downstream
Researchers have determined that the risks taken on by artisanal, small-scale gold miners in Peru extend beyond personal and local health risks by creating hazardous levels of mercury in the food chain at least 350 miles away.

Monkeys can learn to see themselves in the mirror
Unlike humans and great apes, rhesus monkeys don't realize when they look in a mirror that it is their own face looking back at them.

Moving origami techniques forward for self-folding 3-D structures
Though the past 15 years have seen an exciting run of creative scientific advances in fabricating three-dimensional (3-D) structures by self-folding of 2-D sheets, the complexity of structures achieved to date falls far short of what can easily be folded by hand using paper, says polymer scientist Ryan Hayward at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Blueberries: Small fruit delivers big reward
Just one cup of blueberries per day could be the key to reducing blood pressure and arterial stiffness, both of which are associated with cardiovascular disease.

Study links common human protein to adverse parasitic worm infections
Worm infections represent a major global public health problem, leading to a variety of debilitating diseases and conditions.

New recommendations for return to activity after concussion in military personnel
Military service members with mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, should follow a six-step process of progressive activity, leading to return to active duty, according to new clinical recommendations by an expert panel.

On a tropical island, fossils reveal the past -- and possible future -- of polar ice
The balmy islands of Seychelles couldn't feel farther from Antarctica, but their fossil corals could reveal much about the fate of polar ice sheets.

iPhone separation linked to physiological anxiety, poor cognitive performance
Research from the University of Missouri has found that cell phone separation can have serious psychological and physiological effects on iPhone users, including poor performance on cognitive tests.

Surviving typhoons
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology researcher Mary Grossmann studied micro-organisms during three typhoons to figure out what happened to the ocean's tiny creatures when the waters churn.

In head and neck cancer, surgeons need solid answers about tumor recurrence
Partnering with head and neck surgeons, pathologists developed a new use for an old test to determine if a patient's cancer is recurring, or if the biopsy shows benign inflammation of mucosal tissues.

Study links birth control shot to moderately increased risk of HIV infection
An analysis of 12 observational studies from sub-Saharan Africa involving 39,560 women has found that use of an injectable birth control moderately increased the risk of becoming infected with HIV.

OPTIMISTIC: New care model to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations of frail older adults
A new study from Indiana University and Regenstrief Institute researcher-clinicians reports on the first year of the implementation of OPTIMISTIC, an innovative program they developed and implemented to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations of nursing facility residents.

'Pop-up' fabrication technique trumps 3-D printing on many levels
Northwestern University and University of Illinois researchers have developed a simple new fabrication technique to create beautiful and complex 3-D micro- and nanostructures with many advantages over 3-D printing. 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