Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 13, 2015
New target identified for potential brain cancer therapies
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Institute for Molecular Medicine have identified a new protein-protein interaction that could serve as a target for future therapies for the most common form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme.

Study sheds light on chemicals that insects use to communicate and survive
Most insects are covered with a thin layer of hydrocarbon molecules as a waterproofing barrier.

Endangered monkeys in the Amazon are more diverse than previously thought, study finds
New research by University of California Los Angeles life scientists and 50 colleagues from the US and six other countries illuminates hidden biodiversity among more than 150 species of monkeys in South America -- many of which are endangered.

Rescuing farmland after a flood
When levees fail, either naturally or as an intentional breach, as was the case on the Mississippi River in 2011, an orchestrated effort is made to remove or repair flood-damaged homes and other structures.

Brazilian scarab beetles found to be termitophiles
An international team of scientists has provided the first record of chafer leaf beetles (Leucothyreus suturalis) living in the nests of two different termite species in Brazil.

A breakthrough approach to addressing the causes of biodiversity loss
A simplified framework of the interactions between nature and people could potentially change the manner in which biodiversity assessments will be conducted in the future.

New model predicts Ebola epidemic in Liberia could be ended by June 2015
The Ebola epidemic in Liberia could likely be eliminated by June 2015 if the current high rate of hospitalization and vigilance can be maintained, according to a new model developed by ecologists at the University of Georgia and Pennsylvania State University.

Cold plasma treatment cuts norovirus germs
Treating surfaces with cold atmospheric pressure plasma may reduce the risk of transmitting norovirus, a contagious virus leading to stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea, according to a new study.

Feeling cold is contagious, scientists find
Just looking at somebody shivering is enough to make us feel cold, new University of Sussex research has found.

Women & Infants receives Women's Choice Award
Today it was announced that Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England Hospital, has received the 2015 Women's Choice Award® as one of America's Best Hospitals for Obstetrics.

BJOG analysis looks at risk factors for direct maternal deaths in the UK
Medical co-morbidities, when women have one or more medical conditions, are found to be an important factor associated with direct maternal deaths, suggests a new study published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

GMOs with health benefits have a large market potential
Genetically modified crops with an increased vitamin and/or mineral content have large potential to improve public health, but their availability for consumers is still hampered, as a result of the negative public opinion.

Advanced Biological Labs signs with UH Case Medical Center for HIV drug resistance tests
University Hospitals Case Medical Center has signed an agreement with Advanced Biological Laboratories, an information technology and diagnostic company based in Luxembourg, to join efforts on the designing and validation of an HIV drug resistance and tropism assay based on next-generation sequencing.

New model predicts Ebola epidemic in Liberia could be ended by June
The Ebola epidemic in Liberia could likely be eliminated by June if the current high rate of hospitalization and vigilance can be maintained, according to a new model developed by University of Georgia and Pennsylvania State University ecologists.

Men want commitment when women are scarce
The sexual stereotype, in line with evolutionary theory, is that women want commitment and men want lots of flings.

Teams better than individuals at intelligence analysis, research finds
When it comes to predicting important world events, teams do a better job than individuals, and laypeople can be trained to be effective forecasters even without access to classified records, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

From research to railgun: Revolutionary weapon to debut at Future Force EXPO
The Electromagnetic Railgun -- a weapon that will play a significant role in the future of the US Navy -- will be on display to the public for the first time on the East Coast Feb.

Researchers from MIPT predict properties of surface
An article in Physical Review Letters, which was written by a group of researchers led by Qinggao Wang from MIPT's Laboratory of Computer Design of New Materials, investigates the surface of titanium dioxide crystals.

Queen's University Belfast in breakthrough research to discover new planets
Scientists from Queen's University Belfast have partnered with leading astrophysicists across Europe for a ground-breaking space research project that will form a crucial step in the quest to study small, rocky planets orbiting other stars and discover new planets.

Clinical physiologists must be properly regulated to protect patients
Clinical physiologists must be properly regulated to ensure patient safety, argues a senior figure in The BMJ this week.

'Surgery: A Case Based Clinical Review' to be released Feb. 14
A new book provides medical students and other health-care professionals with a comprehensive understanding of surgical diseases in one easy-to-use reference.

Meet the chemist that transformed medicine (and foiled the Nazis along the way)
Since ancient times, scientists have tried to peek inside the living body.

Not always cool to stay cool in negotiations, study finds
Negotiators shouldn't always try to keep their cool during a heated meeting.

Cardiac specialists recommend donor heart allocation changes
A group of leading cardiac specialists has proposed new guidelines for the allocation of donor hearts to patients awaiting transplant.

World's oldest butchering tools gave evolutionary edge to human communication
Two and a half million years ago, our hominin ancestors in the African savanna crafted rocks into shards that could slice apart a dead gazelle, zebra or other game animal.

Clinical trial shows benefits of animal-assisted therapy in adult cancer patients undergoing complex cancer treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy
Therapy dogs may improve the emotional well-being of some cancer patients, according to results of a clinical study, the first to document the benefits of animal-assisted therapy in adult cancer patients.

£15 million initiative puts Scotland at forefront of gene-led health care
A major investment in gene sequencing technology will secure Scotland's place as a world leader in a genomics revolution that is set to transform healthcare.

Carnegie Mellon developing online tools to detect and identify sex traffickers
A contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science who are seeking to undercut sex traffickers by developing online tools that target a key vulnerability: the need to advertise.

Influenza and sepsis: Mayo expert describes warning signs of severe sepsis, septic shock
Sepsis can be a dangerous complication of almost any type of infection, including influenza, pneumonia and food poisoning; urinary tract infections; bloodstream infections from wounds; and abdominal infections.

How can we engage in direct modeling for computational fluid dynamics?
Direct modeling for computational fluid dynamics provides an effective methodology to develop multiscale numerical algorithms for flow simulation in all regimes from rarefied to continuum ones, which will help to improve the conventional CFD methods which are based on numerical partial differential equations.

First contracting human muscle grown in laboratory
Researchers from Duke University have grown human skeletal muscle in the laboratory that, for the first time, contracts and responds just like native tissue to external stimuli such as electrical pulses, biochemical signals and pharmaceuticals.

Decoding the gravitational evolution of dark matter halos
Researchers at Kavli IPMU and their collaborators have revealed that considering environmental effects such as a gravitational tidal force spread over a scale much larger than a galaxy cluster is indispensable to explain the distribution and evolution of dark matter halos around galaxies.

Estimated social cost of climate change not accurate, Stanford scientists say
The 'social cost' of carbon dioxide emissions may not be $37 per ton, as estimated by a recent US government study, but $220 per ton.

Pitcher plants 'switch off' traps to capture more ants
Insect-eating pitcher plants temporarily 'switch off' their traps in order to lure more prey into danger, new research from the University of Bristol, UK, and the University of Cambridge, UK, has found.

The challenges of providing obstetric care during an Ebola epidemic
Obstetric interventions during an Ebola epidemic are deeply challenging say two new commentaries published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

New book on participatory approach to modern geometry caters to non-math majors
World Scientific has published a book on the 'Participatory approach to Modern Geometry' by Jay Kappraff.

Danish researchers 1 step closer towards a cocaine antidote
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have gained new insight into the mechanism behind a protein dopamine transporter that could help in the development of future medical treatment against cocaine addiction.

Zinc oxide materials tapped for tiny energy harvesting devices
Today, we're surrounded by a variety of electronic devices that are moving increasingly closer to us -- we can attach and wear them, or even implant electronics inside our bodies.

Tumor micro-environment is a rough neighborhood for nanoparticle cancer drugs
Nanoparticle drugs -- tiny containers packed with medicine and with the potential to be shipped straight to tumors -- were thought to be a possible silver bullet against cancer.

Breast cancer diagnoses, survival varies by race, ethnicity
Among nearly 375,000 US women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, the likelihood of diagnosis at an early stage, and survival after stage I diagnosis, varied by race and ethnicity, with much of the difference accounted for by biological differences, according to a study in the Jan.

Dinosaurs wiped out rapidly in Europe 66 million years ago
The well-known theory that an asteroid suddenly killed the dinosaurs is based almost entirely on fossils from North America.

Researchers develop novel multiferroic materials and devices integrated with silicon chips
A research team led by North Carolina State University has made two advances in multiferroic materials, including the ability to integrate them on a silicon chip, which will allow the development of new electronic memory devices.

Fast sorting of CD4+ T cells from whole blood using glass microbubbles
This report demonstrated a new cell sorting technology for isolating CD4 positive T cells which may be used for HIV disease monitoring in resource-limited areas such as the developing countries in Africa.

WCS radio collars iconic South American mammal
Guanacos are back -- and getting into trouble -- says a team of scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society tracking these iconic hoofed mammals across a variety of landscapes on the Chilean side of the island of Tierra del Fuego.

Can inhaled oxygen cause cancer?
The ancient physician/alchemist, Paracelsus, said: 'The dose makes the poison.' According to a new study published in PeerJ, even oxygen may fall prey to the above adage.

100 million Americans live with chronic pain, but treatment research is insufficient
An estimated 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. A new report by an independent panel convened by NIH has found a need for evidence-based, multidisciplinary approaches to pain treatment that incorporate patients' perspectives and desired outcomes while also avoiding potential harms.

Researchers call for changes in 50 year-old drinking water standards
Andrea Dietrich, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, and her colleague Gary A.

Long working hours linked to increased risky alcohol use
Employees who work more than 48 hours per week are more likely to engage in risky alcohol consumption than those who work standard weeks, finds a new study published in The BMJ today.

Animal contraceptive vaccine could reduce euthanasia in shelters
Mooney's team will use already-FDA-approved materials in new and innovative ways to try to develop a safe approach for spaying and neutering dogs and cats using a one-time, permanent contraceptive vaccine.

Glass for battery electrodes
Today's lithium-ion batteries are good, but not good enough if our future energy system is to rely on electrical power.

Community-wide CVD prevention programs linked with improved health outcomes
In a rural Maine county, sustained, community-wide programs targeting cardiovascular risk factors and behavior changes were associated with reductions in hospitalization and death rates over a 40 year period (1970-2010) compared with the rest of the state, with substantial improvements seen for hypertension and cholesterol control and smoking cessation, according to a study in the Jan.

Women who are told that men desire larger-body women are happier with their weight
Telling women that men desire larger women who aren't model-thin made the women feel better about their own weight in a series of new studies from Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

Jewish Americans who attend synagogue enjoy better health, Baylor study finds
For Jewish Americans, going to synagogue makes a difference for health, according to a study of five large Jewish urban communities by Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.

Progress toward an HIV cure highlighted in special issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
A cure for HIV/AIDS is the ultimate goal of rapidly advancing research involving diverse and innovative approaches.

Half of young victims of fatal crashes in 9 US states used alcohol or marijuana
Half of young drivers who died in car crashes in US states such as California, Hawaii and West Virginia were under the influence of either alcohol or marijuana, or both.

Photonic crystal nanolaser biosensor simplifies DNA detection
A simple method to sense DNA, as well as potential biomarker proteins of cancer or other diseases such as Alzheimer's, may soon be within reach -- thanks to the work of a team of Yokohama National University researchers in Japan.

Link between stress and infertility can be broken
Researchers from the University of California Berkeley have identified the hormone linking stress to infertility and miscarriage.

First Northwestern Pacific tropical depression has moderate rainfall
NASA/JAXA's TRMM Satellite passed over newborn Tropical Depression 1W after it came together in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean on Jan.

Sizing up giants under the sea
Researchers sifted through multiple datasets and historical records to produce more accurate and comprehensive measurements for 25 species including the blue whale, giant squid, and great white shark.

Crops can do their own weed control
New research results from the University of Copenhagen's Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences report that weeds would have a tough time competing against crops such as corn, grains and beans if farmers were to alter their sowing patterns.

New device allows for manipulation of differentiating stem cells
A new device developed by researchers at Northwestern University creates nanopores in adherent cell membranes, allowing researchers to deliver molecules directly into the cells during differentiation.

The obese can teach us how to lose weight
Why can obese people not just make the extra effort, change their diet and lose weight?

UCLA researchers develop new tool to predict postoperative liver cancer recurrence after transplant
University of California Los Angeles transplantation researchers have developed a novel method that more accurately calculates the risk of disease recurrence in liver cancer patients who have undergone a liver transplant, providing a new tool to help physicians make treatment and surveillance decisions.

Bilingualism changes children's beliefs
Most young children are essentialists: They believe that human and animal characteristics are innate.

Blood test for brain injury may not be feasible
Complications involving the brain's unique waste removal system -- the existence of which has only recently been brought to light -- may thwart efforts to identify biomarkers that detect traumatic brain injury.

Grant funds effort to keep South African men in HIV care
In a country with especially high rates of HIV infection, many men in South Africa do not receive testing and treatment.

Stanford-led study says China's aquaculture sector can tip the balance in world fish supplies
China's booming aquaculture industry relies increasingly on fishmeal made from wild-caught fish.

Three new Begonia plant species from Brazil
Scientists discover and describe three new species of the plant genus Begonia, which holds many of the world-favorite decoratives.

The Lancet Psychiatry: Reducing fear avoidance beliefs key to improving symptoms and reducing disability in chronic fatigue syndrome
Reducing fears that exercise or activity will make symptoms worse is one of the most important factors determining the success of cognitive behavior therapy or graded exercise therapy in reducing fatigue and improving physical function in people with chronic fatigue syndrome, according to new analysis of data from the PACE trial, reported in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2015
While researchers in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's buildings group focus on increasing energy efficiency using new foam insulation panels, the nanophase materials sector experiments with catalyst performance, revealing an oxidation discovery that could help reduce vehicle emissions.

Development of psychosis: Gray matter loss and the inflamed brain
The thickness of cortical brain tissue progressively reduces as individuals develop psychosis, according to researchers of a large, multi-site study of young adults at clinical high risk.

Major grant will help diabetics
A new DKK 60 million research project being run from Denmark will study why up to half of all diabetics suffer from painful neuritis.

Good life satisfaction has beneficial effects on bone health
Women aged 60-70 who are satisfied with their lives have a higher bone density and they suffer from osteoporosis less frequently than their unsatisfied peers, according to a recent study completed at the University of Eastern Finland.

NASA sees major Tropical Cyclone Bansi north of Mauritius
NASA's Terra satellite passed Tropical Cyclone Bansi on Jan. 13 when it was about 170 nautical miles (195 miles/314 km) north of the Island of Mauritius and a major hurricane in the Southern Indian Ocean.

New report offers framework to analyze effects of potential changes to the US food system
To aid US policymakers and other stakeholders who make decisions about the nation's food system, a new report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council offers a framework for assessing the health, environmental, social, and economic effects of proposed changes to the system.

Crush those clinkers while they're hot
Clinkers pulverized to make cement should be processed right out of the kiln to save the most energy.

Nothing to squirm about: Space station worms help battle muscle and bone loss
Two Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency investigations on the space station help researchers seek clues to physiological problems found in astronauts by studying C. elegans -- a millimeter-long roundworm that is widely used as a model organism.

Why we do what we do? Ramsay MacMullen analyzes, probes and explains
'Why Do We Do What We Do? Motivation in History and the Social Sciences,' just published in open access by De Gruyter Open, pursues a question, as it is studied in four academic research areas: anthropology, psychology, sociology, and behavioral (not theoretical or number-driven) economics.

Use of surgical procedure to facilitate child birth declines
Between 2006 and 2012 in the US, there was a decline in rates of episiotomy, a surgical procedure for widening the outlet of the birth canal to make it easier for the mother to give birth, according to a study in the Jan.

Pivotal data for T2Candida and T2Dx published in Clinical Infectious Diseases
T2 Biosystems, a company developing innovative diagnostic products to improve patient health, today announced that results from its pivotal trial evaluating its lead products, the T2Candida® Panel and the T2Dx® Instrument were published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The Protein Society announces the 2015 Protein Science 'best paper' award winners
The Protein Society and its journal Protein Science are proud to announce that Chih-Chia (Jack) Su, Iowa State University, and Minttu Virkki, Stockholm University are the 2015 winners of the Protein Science Best Paper Awards.

No gain if unfair
For human beings, implementing and having others implement social equity is important, so much so that we are prepared to forego a sure advantage if this derives from an unfair distribution of resources, regardless of whether we ourselves or others are the target of the unfairness.

UC Santa Cruz to lead effort to build a new map of human genetic variation
Researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz Genomics Institute will develop a comprehensive map of human genetic variation.

UC3M strengthens its research presence in Europe
The STRENGTH project, which has recently begun at la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, is intended to strengthen the institution's European presence.

Detection thresholds drop with low noise quantum cascade laser driver
Electronic noise from Quantum Cascade Laser drivers has long limited the detection threshold of chemical sensors.

Widespread hepatitis C screening may result in more harms than benefits
Several organizations have recommended scaling up screening for hepatitis C infection.

Napping helps infants' memory development
Napping helps infants to develop their memory and retain new behaviours they have learnt, a new study from the University of Sheffield has revealed.

Panel cites need for individualized, patient-centered approach for chronic pain
An independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health concluded that individualized, patient-centered care is needed to treat and monitor the estimated 100 million Americans living with chronic pain.

Stalking risk increases among college students
According to a study by the Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University, college students are at higher risk for stalking than the general public, but are less likely to report the crime to police.

Bisexual women have worse mental health than lesbians in the UK
Bisexual women are more likely to experience poor mental health and mental distress than lesbians, according to new research from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Autonomous tots have higher cognitive skills
Higher cognitive skills are found in the children of mothers who are consistently able to support the development of their baby's sense of autonomy, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Montreal.

Study: Eat school lunch after recess
Millions of dollars of fruits and veggies are thrown away every day at school lunch.

Cooperation between hospitals and the university stimulates innovation
A prototype for doing a skin biopsy in 5 minutes and a simulator for training doctors in minimally invasive surgery are some of the innovative projects in the process of being patented that have arisen from the relationship between the university and medical centers in the region.

Surprise discovery off California exposes loggerhead 'lost years'
North Pacific loggerhead turtles hatch in Japan, with many later reappearing 6,000 miles away off southern Baja California to forage.

Asthma associated with increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea
Participants in a sleep study who had asthma had an increased risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea, with this association stronger with having had asthma longer, according to a study in the Jan.

Intrexon, ZIOPHARM and MD Anderson in exclusive CAR T pact
Intrexon Corporation, a leader in synthetic biology and its oncology partner, ZIOPHARM Oncology, today announced a broad exclusive licensing agreement with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, including an exclusive sublicensing agreement through MD Anderson for intellectual property developed at the University of Minnesota for the development of non-viral adoptive cellular cancer immunotherapies.

Trust through the olfactory fragrance of lavender
People's trust in others increases after smelling the olfactory fragrance of lavender.

Understanding the personalities of bacteria
Bacteria are as individual as people, according to new research by Professor Peter Young and his team in the Department of Biology at the University of York.

NASA releases images of first notable solar flare of 2015
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 11:24 p.m.

Rate of investment in medical research has declined in US, increased globally
From 2004 to 2012, the rate of investment in medical research in the US declined, while there has been an increase in research investment globally, particularly in Asia, according to a study in the Jan.

Possible treatments identified for highly contagious stomach virus
Antibiotics aren't supposed to be effective against viruses. But new evidence in mice suggests antibiotics may help fight norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus, report scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

New test helps guide treatment for bone marrow transplant patients with graft vs. host disease
Innovative scoring system uses 'Ann Arbor raft versus host disease score' to better predict how patients will respond, minimize side effects

This week from AGU: Thunderstorms and ozone, urban air pollution
A new study in Geophysical Research Letters offers for the first time unequivocal evidence that large storms move significant amounts of ozone from the stratosphere down to the troposphere, the lowest part of the atmosphere.

Do cytokines have a role in the initiation and progression of breast cancer?
Emerging data on the role of inflammation and the immune system in the development, growth, and spread of breast tumors have focused increased attention on the role cytokines such as interleukin and transforming growth factor-β play in breast cancer initiation, protection, and metastasis.

Sleeping after learning is important for infants' long-term memory
Sleep facilitates memory consolidation -- not just in adults, but also in infants in their first year of life.

Community-wide CVD prevention programs associated with reductions in hospitalizations
In a rural Maine county, sustained, community-wide programs targeting cardiovascular risk factors and behavior changes were associated with reductions in hospitalization and death rates over a 40-year period (1970-2010) compared with the rest of the state.

New research reveals that a bird 'paints' its own eggs with bacteria which protect the embryo
Researchers at the University of Granada and the CSIC have found that hoophoes (Upupa epops) cover their eggs with a certain fat which they produce themselves.

The recess swap
Many schools have reported that fruits and vegetables are feeding trash cans rather than students.

PharmaMar will start a Phase III study of PM1183 plus doxorubicin in relapsed SCLC
Data from a Phase 1b study demonstrate a marked anti-tumor activity in patients with relapsed SCLC treated with PM01183 in combination with doxorubicin, which was in general well-tolerated and induced several complete responses.

Widespread hepatitis C screening -- do benefits outweigh harms?
In light of recent recommendations for widespread hepatitis C screening, researchers are calling for clinical trials to determine if that screening would result in greater benefit or harm.

A novel inorganic material emitting laser light in solution is discovered
A team of scientists from the Spanish National Research Council and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic has discovered a new type of laser material based on an inorganic molecule -- a complex of boron and hydrogen and no carbon atoms -- that emits laser light in solution.

'Gold rush' threatens tropical forests in South America
A global 'gold rush' has led to a significant increase of deforestation in the tropical forests of South America.

Climate and friends influence young corals choice of real estate
Researchers in Australia have found that where baby corals choose to settle is influenced by ocean temperature and the presence of their symbiotic algae in the water. 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