Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 03, 2015
New study finds hospital readmissions following surgery are not tied to errors in care
A study from Northwestern Medicine® and the American College of Surgeons published today in JAMA suggests that penalizing hospitals for patient readmissions following surgery may be ineffective, and even counterproductive, for improving the quality of hospital care in America.

1 in 3 people would risk shorter life rather than take daily pill to avoid heart disease
In a survey, one in three adults say they would risk living a shorter life rather than taking a daily pill to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Sea slug has taken genes from algae it eats, allowing it to photosynthesize like a plant
How a brilliant-green sea slug manages to live for months at a time 'feeding' on sunlight, like a plant, is clarified in a recent study published in The Biological Bulletin.

Superager brains yield new clues to their remarkable memories
'Cognitive SuperAgers,' persons aged 80 and above with extraordinarily sharp memories, have distinctly different looking brains than those of normal older people, according to new research.

Stanford researchers discover insulin-decreasing hormone in flies, humans
An insulin-regulating hormone that, until now, only had been postulated to exist has been identified by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Can we talk? Patients may avoid topic of work-related asthma for fear of losing jobs
According to a new study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, only 15 percent of employed adults with asthma discussed with their doctor how work might affect their condition.

Fifteen million unwanted pregnancies a year caused by underuse of modern contraception
Fifteen million out of 16.7 million unwanted pregnancies a year could be avoided in 35 low- and middle-income countries if women had the opportunity to use modern methods of contraception, according to a study that applies to about one-third of the world's population.

First study to demonstrate long-term control of cane toads
Preventing cane toads from entering man-made dams to cool down in the hot, arid zones of Australia kills them in large numbers and is an effective way to stop their spread, University of New South Wales Australia-led research shows.

Study sheds new light on aggressive cancer in children
A new study involving researchers at The University of Nottingham has revealed how children with an aggressive cancer predisposition syndrome experience a never before seen flood of mutations in their disease in just six months.

23andMe study uncovers the genetics of motion sickness
23andMe data links motion sickness to 35 genetic variants.

Industrial pump inspired by flapping bird wings
Two New York University researchers have taken inspiration from avian locomotion strategies and created a pump that moves fluid using vibration instead of a rotor.

Loyola psychiatrist receives profession's highest honor
Loyola University Medical Center psychiatrist Murali Rao, MD, has achieved Distinguished Life Fellow status in the American Psychiatric Association, the highest honor the profession can bestow.

New findings on how the brain ignores distractions
By scanning the brains of people engaged in selective attention to sensations, researchers have learned how the brain appears to coordinate the response needed to ignore distractors.

Smoking linked to higher risk of death among colorectal cancer survivors
Colorectal cancer survivors who smoke cigarettes were at more than twice the risk of death than non-smoking survivors, according to a new American Cancer Society study

Study details how cocaine works in the brain, offers possibility of drug to treat addiction
A research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has discovered a mechanism in the brain that is key to making cocaine seem pleasurable, a finding that could lead to a drug treatment for fighting addiction.

Early childhood programs found to significantly lower likelihood of special education placements in third grade
Access to state-supported early childhood programs significantly reduces the likelihood that children will be placed in special education in the third grade, academically benefiting students and resulting in considerable cost savings to school districts, according to new research published today in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Children's hunger born from mothers' trauma
The roots of children's hunger today may stretch back, in part, to the past childhood trauma of their caregivers.

Genomic differences between developing male and female brains in the womb
The study, published today in the journal Genome Research, examined changes in the way that genes are regulated during human brain development.

Serendipity leads to discovery of adult cancer genes in young-adult Ewing Sarcoma
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the journal PLoS One finds alterations in expression of genes PIK3R3 and PTEN, more commonly observed in adult tumors, in the rare, young-adult bone cancer Ewing Sarcoma, potentially offering ways to improve therapy.

Stanford study ties immune cells to delayed onset of post-stroke dementia
A single stroke doubles a person's risk of developing dementia over the following decade, even when that person's mental ability is initially unaffected.

Researchers identify 2 genetic mutations that interact to lower heart attack risk
Researchers have determined that two mutations on a single gene can interact in a way that lowers the carrier's risk for a heart attack.

Partner caregivers of veterans with brain injuries may be at risk for chronic disease
Blame and anger associated with the grief of caring for a loved one with a traumatic-brain injury may be related to inflammation and certain chronic diseases, according to researchers from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

Trends in reproductive medicine: From conception to birth
The journal Trends in Molecular Medicine reviews the latest advances in reproductive medicine -- from mitochondrial replacement therapy to the infant microbiome -- with a special issue on 'Nurturing the Next Generation,' published Feb.

Choosing a cell phone, prescription drug plan or new car? Read this first
To help people make better choices when confronted by a large number of options, researchers have studied two decision-making strategies that break down the options into smaller groups that can be evaluated more effectively.

Only two-thirds of donations to Ebola crisis have reached affected countries
As of Dec. 31, 2014, pledges to the Ebola outbreak reached at least $2.89 billion, yet only around two-thirds ($1.9 billion) has actually reached affected countries, finds a report published by The BMJ this week.

New molecule protects heart from toxic breast cancer drugs
A new molecule has been found that protects the heart from toxic breast cancer drugs and also kills the cancerous tumor.

The future of holographic video
Holographic video displays, featuring 3-D images, are about to 'go large' and become a lot more affordable at the same time, thanks to the work of a team of Brigham Young University researchers and their collaborators at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Scientists to use research and education to guide conservation in central Africa
Researchers from Africa, North America and Europe have published a road map on how future evolutionary research and education efforts in Central African forests can guide conservation strategies and actions.

Center for BrainHealth tool provides unique insight for those with traumatic brain injury
A new study reveals that individuals with traumatic brain injury have significantly more difficulty with gist reasoning than traditional cognitive tests.

From pecan to walnut: American leafminer invades Italy on a new tree
A leafminer that has been invading Italian walnut orchards since 2010, has been shown to be identical to the North American species that feeds on hickories and pecan.

University partnerships in high- and low-income countries can increase research capacity
Developing national health research capacity in low- and middle-income countries is a key element toward strengthening their health systems.

Study compares effectiveness of different transfusion strategies for severe trauma
Among patients with severe trauma and major bleeding, those who received a transfusion of a balanced ratio of plasma, platelets, and red blood cells were more likely to have their bleeding stopped and less likely to die due to loss of blood by 24 hours compared to patients who received a transfusion with a higher ratio of RBCs, according to a study in the Feb.

New data revealed on Q10 coenzyme, whose deficiency causes a rare mitochondrial disease
A study which counts with the participation of University of Granada scientists has provided new data on the Q10 coenzyme, a molecule which is synthesized within the cells of the organism itself and which has essential functions for cellular metabolism.

Using genetics to customize drug therapy
Geneticists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health will provide their scientific expertise to a new initiative aimed at preventing and reducing the adverse effects of medications in people with mental illnesses.

White potatoes should be allowed under WIC, says IOM report
The US Department of Agriculture should allow white potatoes as a vegetable eligible for purchase with vouchers issued by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC), says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

Research reveals statistics is the fastest-growing degree
An analysis of federal education data shows that statistics -- the science of learning from data -- is the fastest-growing science, technology, engineering and math undergraduate degree in the United States over the last four years.

Precision medicine in action: Genomic test helps solve medical mystery
Precision medicine is getting a jump-start from a new national initiative announced in President Obama's State of the Union message.

New yeast species marks milestone for collection
The National Collection of Yeast Cultures at the Institute of Food Research has added the 4,000th yeast strain to its publicly-available collection.

Protective brain protein reveals gender implications for autism, Alzheimer's research
Both autism and Alzheimer's disease can have tragic consequences for sufferers and their families.

'Cleaner' protein protects against atherosclerosis
We have an innate mechanism that ensures that our blood vessels do not become blocked.

Culture shock -- Are lab-grown cells a faithful model for human disease?
Cell cultures used in research may not act as a faithful mimic of real tissue, according to research published in Genome Biology.

Healthy diet linked to lower risk of chronic lung disease
Eating a diet rich in whole grains, polyunsaturated fats and nuts -- and low in red and processed meat, refined grains and sugary drinks -- is associated with a lower risk of chronic lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD), finds a study published in The BMJ this week.

Rediscovering spontaneous light emission
LEDs could replace lasers for short-range optical communications with the use of an optical antenna that enhances the spontaneous emission of light from atoms, molecules and semiconductor quantum dots.

Children who get vitamin A may be less likely to develop malaria
Children under age 5 living in sub-Saharan Africa were 54 percent less likely to develop malaria if they had been given a single large dose of vitamin A, new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.

Study investigates the complex roads that lead families to food insecurity
Food insecurity creates a host of unhealthy consequences. The roads leading there can be very different.

NASA's Aqua satellite sees demise of Tropical Cyclone Ola
Tropical Cyclone Ola was being battered by vertical wind shear in the Southern Pacific Ocean when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured an infrared picture of the storm.

Artificial blood vessels
By combining micro-imprinting and electro-spinning techniques, researchers at Shanghai University's Rapid Manufacturing Engineering Center have developed a vascular graft composed of three layers for the first time.

Spanish scientists modify with pulsed light the protein that causes most allergies to milk
Spanish scientists from the University of Granada and the Azti-Tecnalia technology center have designed a type of lactose protein which is easier to digest by humans, and which could lower the allergenicity of milk.

Study examines link between participation in quality improvement program and complications
David A. Etzioni, M.D., M.S.H.S., of Mayo Clinic Arizona, Phoenix, and colleagues compared rates of any complications, serious complications, and death during a hospitalization for elective general/vascular surgery at hospitals that did vs did not participate in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

Staff turnover and complaints in mental health trusts could be suicide warning signs
A national study of every NHS mental health service in the UK has found that high turnover of staff and more patient complaints could be linked to suicide risk among patients.

Female sticklebacks prime their offspring to cope with climate change
Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research have shown that three-spined sticklebacks in the North Sea pass on information concerning their living environment to their offspring, without genetic changes.

Hospital readmissions after surgery often related to complications from surgery
In a study that included readmission information from nearly 350 hospitals, readmissions the first 30 days after surgery were associated with new postdischarge complications related to the surgical procedure and not a worsening of any medical conditions the patient already had while hospitalized for surgery, according to a study in the Feb.

A novel shuttle for fatty acids
Oils from plant seeds provide the basis for many aspects of modern life that are taken for granted, being used to make cooking oil, soap, fuel, cosmetics, medicines, flooring, and many other everyday products.

Socioeconomic differences in adolescent health getting wider
Health inequalities in young people have grown alongside socioeconomic disparities between the rich and poor.

Customers who binge-consume are more valuable, says INFORMS study
A study in Marketing Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, shows that in contrast to traditional market segmentation, one based on 'binge consumption' brings a higher long-term return to business.

CWRU astronomers find new details in first known spiral galaxy
Case Western Reserve University astronomers discovered faint plumes extending from the northeast and south of the nearby spiral galaxy M51a, also called the 'Whirlpool Galaxy,' by taking what is essentially a photograph made by a 20-hour exposure.

Researchers ID genetic cues for a big heart
An enlarged cardiac muscle can force the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body, weakening the organ until it eventually wears out.

Neurologists find movement tracking device helps assess severity of Parkinson's disease
A device that measures movement and balance can effectively help assess and track the progression of Parkinson's disease, even when medications are used to reduce Parkinson's symptoms

MicroRNAs can limit cancer spread
In cancer patients with limited spread, certain microRNAs suppress tumor cells' ability to adhere to other cell types, invade tissues and migrate to distant sites, the hallmarks of metastasis.

Giant rodent used incisors like tusks
The largest rodent ever to have lived may have used its front teeth just like an elephant uses its tusks, a new study led by scientists at the University of York and The Hull York Medical School has found.

Online photos provide evidence for the value of clean water
New research published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment presents a novel approach to calculating the value of clean water.

Puget Sound salmon face more ups and downs in river flows
Climate change projections predict increased climate variability, which is already appearing in the form of more pronounced fluctuations in salmon rivers around Puget Sound, Wash.

Transparent soft PDMS eggshell created as step towards embryo lab on a chip
Creating in vivo 3-D fluorescent imaging still faces barriers, although green fluorescent protein techniques have long been utilized rather well at the cellular level.

Researchers unlock new way to clone hemlock trees able to fight off deadly pest
For the first time, University of Georgia researchers have successfully cryogenically frozen germplasm from hemlock trees being wiped out across the eastern US by an invasive insect.

Cocaine users have impaired ability to predict loss
Cocaine addicted individuals may continue their habit despite unfavorable consequences like imprisonment or loss of relationships because their brain circuits responsible for predicting emotional loss are impaired, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published today in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Sparing hope for the future: Preserving fertility in cancer patients
While families around the world delay childbearing to later in life, cancer diagnoses are affecting people ever earlier in life.

Xerostomia, or dry mouth syndrome, can be a symptom of asthma, according to a recent study
Scientists at the University of Granada and the High Resolution Hospital in Loja prove that asthmatic patients who suffer from xerostomia have a poorer level of control disease

Study examines link between surgical quality improvement program and outcomes, costs
Nicholas H. Osborne, M.D., M.S., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues evaluated the association of participation in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program with surgical outcomes and payments among Medicare patients.

Three companies to receive seed funds to develop medical devices for children
The Philadelphia Pediatric Medical Device Consortium announces its first three awards to companies developing new medical devices for children.

New UT Arlington equipment will stimulate nanoscale-related research, manufacturing
A University of Texas at Arlington researcher will use an Army Research Office grant to purchase a micro-optics assembly and characterization system that will usher in more intricate nanoscale-related research and manufacturing in the College of Engineering.

Infant gut microbiota links gestation duration, delivery method, healthy weight gain
Researchers in Singapore and UK as part of the EpiGen consortium worked together with scientists at the Nestlé Research Center, Switzerland, on a new study on the bacterial makeup of the gut (gut microbiota) of infants in Singapore.

Add nature, art and religion to life's best anti-inflammatories
Taking in such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon, Sistine Chapel ceiling or Schubert's 'Ave Maria' may give a boost to the body's defense system.

Just knowing isn't enough: Issuing hospital report cards had no impact on surgery outcomes
If you're an older person having a major operation these days, it is very likely that your hospital is receiving a 'report card' on their performance.

Glioblastoma: Study ties 3 genes to radiation resistance in recurrent tumors
A new study identifies three genes that together enable a lethal form of brain cancer to recur and progress after radiation therapy.

Oxygen uptake in respiratory muscles differs between men and women during exercise
Muscles necessary for breathing need a greater amount of oxygen in women than in men, according to a study published today in The Journal of Physiology.

York academics reveal fishy cooking habits of North American hunter-gatherers
Archaeologists from the University of York and Queens College, City University New York have discovered the first use of pottery in north-eastern North America was largely due to the cooking, storage and social feasting of fish by hunter-gatherers.

If Facebook use causes envy, depression could follow
Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that Facebook use can lead to symptoms of depression if the social networking site triggers feelings of envy among its users.

There is not a single type of schizophrenia, as thought, but 8 different genetic diseases
Researchers from the universities of Granada and Washington in St Louis break new ground in what could be an important first step towards better diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

New technique doubles the distance of optical fiber communications
A new way to process fiber optic signals has been demonstrated by UCL researchers, which could double the distance at which data travels error-free through transatlantic sub-marine cables.

Machine learning offers insights into evolution of monkey faces, researchers find
Computers are able to use monkey facial patterns not only to correctly identify species, but also distinguish individuals within species, a team of scientists has found.

The rarely understood ammonium carbonate monohydrate
New structural studies of the superficially simple ammonium carbonate monohydrate could shed light on industrial processes, biochemistry and even the interstellar building blocks of life.

Artificially intelligent robot scientist 'Eve' could boost search for new drugs
Eve, an artificially intelligent 'robot scientist' could make drug discovery faster and much cheaper, say researchers writing in the Royal Society journal Interface.

Primed memories tempt people into gambling more
People are more likely to gamble after having their memories primed, an international team of researchers has found.

How will ocean acidification impact marine life?
A new analysis provides a holistic assessment of the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine organisms including coral, shellfish, sea urchins, and other calcifying species.

APS applauds Presdent Obama's goal to end sequestration in FY16 budget
The American Physical Society is pleased that President Obama's proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget calls for an end to sequestration -- automatic budget cuts that have been extremely detrimental to the nation's scientific enterprise.

Hepatitis C more prevalent than HIV/AIDS or Ebola yet lacks equal attention
'In West Africa, we believe that there are many transmission modes and they are not through IV drug use, but through cultural and every day practices,' says Jennifer Layden, MD, PhD principal investigator on a study recently published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Surgical metrics do not provide a clear path to improvement, Mayo Clinic study says
While surgical outcomes have improved nationally over time, surgical outcome reporting does not necessarily lead to better outcomes, according to a Mayo Clinic study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dartmouth researchers reprogram tumor's cells to attack itself
Inserting a specific strain of bacteria into the microenvironment of aggressive ovarian cancer transforms the behavior of tumor cells from suppression to immunostimulation, Dartmouth researchers have found.

University of South Florida researchers develop handheld sensor to sniff out fish fraud
Researchers at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science have developed a handheld sensor capable of debunking fraudulent seafood species claims, helping to ensure that consumers are get what they pay for.

A few cells could prevent bone marrow transplant infections
Researchers find clues for reducing infections after bone marrow transplantation for leukemia and lymphoma.

New research sheds light on neural circuit development
Using multiphoton imaging, researchers are now able to move beyond characterizing the properties of individual cells to investigate how communication among neurons changes over the course of development.

MGH/MIT study identifies neurons important for induction of natural REM sleep
An MGH/MIT team has found that that activation of cholinergic neurons -- those that release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine -- in two brain stem structures can induce REM sleep in an animal model.

Splash down
High-speed images capture patterns by which raindrops spread pathogens among plants.

Study finds our thoughts are susceptible to external influence -- even against our will
New San Francisco State research documents how our thoughts are influenced by our outside environment.

Announcing PeerJ Computer Science: A new open access journal in computer science
Award winning open access publisher PeerJ today announces the launch of PeerJ Computer Science, a cross-disciplinary open access journal publishing articles across all fields of computer science.

One-atom-thin silicon transistors hold promise for super-fast computing
Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering have created the first transistors out of silicene, the world's thinnest silicon material.

This week from AGU: Pacific wind patterns, Ethiopia's sedimentary record, US air quality
Unusual weather that contributed to the California drought also led to an unprecedented drop in small plant-like organisms in the northeastern Pacific Ocean that form the base of the ocean food chain, potentially affecting fish, birds and marine mammals, according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Penta-graphene, a new structural variant of carbon, discovered
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and universities in China and Japan have discovered a new structural variant of carbon called 'penta-graphene' -- a very thin sheet of pure carbon that has a unique structure inspired by a pentagonal pattern of tiles found paving the streets of Cairo.

Birth method, gestation duration may alter infants' gut microbiota
Environmental factors like mode of delivery and duration of gestation may affect how infants' gut bacteria mature, and that rate could help predict later body fat, international researchers from the EpiGen consortium have found in collaboration with scientists at Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland.

There have been a lot of cats in The New York Times, and not all just for fun
The cute cat video seems to be everywhere online, and it's become a handy epithet for everything that journalism should not be.

Researchers identify key mechanisms underlying HIV-associated cognitive disorders
New findings, published today by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, open the door to the development of new therapies to block or decrease cognitive decline due to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, estimated to affect 10 to 50 percent of aging HIV sufferers to some degree.

Simple strategies lead to improvements in 1 year-olds at risk for autism
A new study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers finds that a collection of simple strategies used by parents can lead to significant improvements in 1 year-olds at risk for autism spectrum disorder.

Care of patients prior to making a diagnosis rarely assessed by quality measures
An examination of process measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum finds that these measures focus predominantly on management of patients with established diagnoses, and that quality measures for patient presenting symptoms often do not reflect the most common reasons patients seek care, according to a study in the Feb.

Physicists observe motion of skyrmions
Small magnetic whirls may revolutionize future data storage and information processing if they can be moved rapidly and reliably in small structures.

Seeing the knee in a new light: Fluorescent probe tracks osteoarthritis development
A harmless fluorescent probe injected into a joint may make it easier to diagnose and monitor osteoarthritis, leading to better patient care.

US FDA grants priority review to YONDELIS NDA for advanced soft-tissue sarcoma
A decision by the FDA on the the NDA submitted by Janssen Research & Development, PharmaMar's strategic partner for the development of YONDELIS in the US, on Nov.

Fulbright scholar tracks puzzling disease that strikes from soils, thorns
Abdallah Samy's work on mycetoma eventually could help health workers to suppress the disease, which is not well-understood but can have devastating effects on people.

Role of gravitational instabilities in volcanic ash deposition: Eyjafjallajökull
Volcanic ash poses a significant hazard for areas close to volcanoes and for aviation.

Fruitful collaboration yields insight on the tomato genome
Plant biologists Julin Maloof and Neelima Sinha collaborate to understand how wild and cultivated tomato species thrive in disparate environments.

One in 2 people in the UK will get cancer
One in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to the most accurate forecast to date from Cancer Research UK, and published in the British Journal of Cancer.

CSIC researchers develop cheaper 'smart windows'
Researchers from the Spanish National Research Council have developed a novel technique that reduces the costs of the 'smart windows', with which the amount of light passing through glass can be controlled.

TGen-Scottsdale Lincoln personalized therapy offers hope for patients with advanced cancer
A 57-year-old Phoenix man, Phil Zeblisky, with advanced Stage 4 pancreatic cancer now has no detectable tumors, following a groundbreaking clinical trial directed by TGen and Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network.

The Lancet: International study reveals widening health inequalities among adolescents
Over the past decade, rising national wealth across high-income countries has contributed to some improvements in health and well-being among adolescents.

Power psychs people up about... themselves
We all know the type -- people who can talk on and on about their latest adventures, seemingly unaware that those around them may not be interested. 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