Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 04, 2015
Scientists predict earth-like planets around most stars
Planetary scientists have calculated that there are hundreds of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy which might support life, by applying a 200 year old idea to the thousands of exo-planets discovered by the Kepler space telescope.

Rapid and unexpected weight gain after fecal transplant
A woman successfully treated for a recurrent Clostridium difficile infection with stool from an overweight donor rapidly gained weight herself afterwards, becoming obese, according to a case report published in the new journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

UM School of Communication to create open educational resource on ocean health
The University of Miami's Department of Cinema and Interactive Media at the School of Communication has received a two-year grant of over $405,000 from the Friends of Stark Parks and the Herbert W.

Information sheet can help women avoid pregnancy and acne medication-related birth defects
An information sheet for women being treated for severe acne improves understanding of contraceptive effectiveness and ways to avoid pregnancy and medication-induced birth defects, a study published today in JAMA Dermatology has found.

Potential pancreatic cancer treatment could increase life expectancy
Pancreatic cancer cells are notorious for being protected by a fortress of tissue, making it difficult to deliver drugs to either shrink the tumor or stop its growth.

Health-care professionals back overhaul of prescription charging system in England
Two-thirds of primary care health professionals surveyed think that the current exemption criteria for prescription charges in England should be widened to include anyone with a long term condition, reveal the results of a survey commissioned by Drug & Therapeutics Bulletin.

New nanoparticle gene therapy strategy effectively treats deadly brain cancer in rats
New insights into specific gene mutations that arise in glioma, an often deadly form of brain cancer, have pointed to the potential of gene therapy, but it's very difficult to effectively deliver toxic or missing genes to cancer cells in the brain.

New DoD funded study to tackle chronic amputee pain for veterans and civilians
Northwestern Medicine researchers are leading a new multi-center clinical trial to evaluate a unique surgical method, known as targeted muscle reinnervation, to treat chronic pain that can result from limb amputation.

Women and people with offspring are more prepared to pay for environmental improvements
One of the methodologies to know population preferences that has been spreading most worldwide involves the so-called discrete choice experiments.

New catalyst uses light to convert nitrogen to ammonia
Northwestern University scientists are the first to develop a catalyst that can perform a remarkable feat found only in nature: take nitrogen from the air and turn it into ammonia under natural conditions.

Keck Medicine of USC researchers win $4.3 million for stem cell research
Three scientists from Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California have won grants exceeding $4.3 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for research that includes creating a temporary liver for transplant patients, finding novel ways to treat immune disorders and blood diseases and developing a new animal model for exploring diseases like heart failure, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

Mapping of the canary genome
Nature lovers are fascinated by the increasing number of singing birds when spring is approaching.

X-ray pulses uncover free nanoparticles for the first time in 3-D
For the first time, researchers have determined the three-dimensional shape of free-flying silver nanoparticles, using DESY's X-ray laser FLASH.

Heavy rainfall events becoming more frequent on Big Island, finds new study
A recent study by University of Hawai'i - Manoa researchers determined that heavy rainfall events have become more frequent over the last 50 years on Hawai'i Island.

Paramedics may be first source of treatment for stroke patients, UCLA study finds
In the first study of its kind, a consortium led by UCLA physicians found that paramedics can start medications for patients in the first minutes after onset of a stroke.

Supercapacitors poised to help boost vehicle fuel efficiency
Unlike slow and steady batteries, supercapacitors gulp up energy rapidly and deliver it in fast, powerful jolts.

Different mental disorders cause same brain-matter loss, Stanford study finds
In a study analyzing whole-brain images from nearly 16,000 people, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine identified a common pattern across a spectrum of psychiatric disorders that are widely perceived to be quite distinct.

TSRI scientists find more DNA and extra copies of disease gene in Alzheimer's brain cells
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have found diverse genomic changes in single neurons from the brains of Alzheimer's patients, pointing to an unexpected factor that may underpin the most common form of the disease.

Fossils from heart of Amazon provide evidence that South American monkeys came from Africa
The early evolutionary history of monkeys in South America is cloaked in mystery.

Mining the immune systems of Ebola survivors for therapeutic gold
Does the blood of Ebola virus disease survivors contain antibodies and immune cells that could help doctors fight Ebola infections in other people?

Premature babies grow out of asthma
Large-scale Danish study from the University of Copenhagen shows that premature babies grow out of the asthma which they are likely to develop in early life.

University of Toronto study finds high levels of equality for Muslim women in Canada
A landmark study on gender equality among religious minorities in Canada sharply disputes the stereotype Muslim women are more repressed by men than other groups of immigrants.

MGH team identifies factors predicting infection risk in patients with serious burns
A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has identified a set of characteristics -- including differences in gene expression -- that may indicate which patients recovering from severe burns are at greatest risk for repeat infections.

Final results of the HIV prevention study VOICE are published in NEJM
Researchers who conducted the VOICE study involving more than 5,000 women in Africa detail in the NEJM how none of the products (tenofovir, Truvada and tenofovir vaginal gel) was effective in preventing HIV and the extent that women did not use them.

Scripps offers new treatment for peripheral artery disease
A doctor at Scripps Green Hospital this week became the first in California to use a new drug-coated balloon to treat peripheral artery disease in a patient since regulatory approval of the IN.PACT Admiral device in January by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pay-to-play sports: Parents with traditional beliefs about gender may shortchange daughters
Parents with the most traditional beliefs about masculinity and femininity are likelier to view pay-to-play sports fees as too high for daughters compared with sons, a new study from the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology suggests.

Tiny robotic 'hands' could improve cancer diagnostics, drug delivery
Many people imagine robots today as clunky, metal versions of humans, but scientists are forging new territory in the field of 'soft robotics.' One of the latest advances is a flexible, microscopic hand-like gripper.

Inhospitable climate fosters gold ore formation
South Africa's Witwatersrand is the site of the world's largest and richest gold deposit.

Anti-epilepsy drug preserves brain function after stroke
New research conducted in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio suggests that an already-approved drug could dramatically reduce the debilitating impact of strokes, which affect nearly a million Americans every year.

Scientists call for antibody 'bar code' system to follow Human Genome Project
More than 100 researchers from around the world have collaborated to craft a request that could fundamentally alter how the antibodies used in research are identified, a project potentially on the scale of the now-completed Human Genome Project.

Cheap and abundant chemical outperforms precious metals as a catalyst
Caltech chemists discover that a cheap, safe, and abundant potassium compound can be used instead of rare precious metals as a catalyst in the production of chemicals important for drug discovery, agricultural science, medical imaging, and the creation of new materials.

Lung cancer now leading cause of cancer death in females in developed countries
A new analysis led by researchers at the American Cancer Society in collaboration with the International Agency for Research on Cancer finds lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in females in developed countries.

Brain marker hints at depression, anxiety years later
A car accident, the loss of a loved one, and financial trouble are just a few of the myriad stressors we may encounter in our lifetimes.

Contraceptive counseling at dermatologist's office improves knowledge of effectiveness
Providing women who take a powerful acne drug with a fact sheet about contraception while visiting the dermatologist can significantly improve their awareness of the most effective birth control options and may prevent unintended pregnancies and birth defects that can be caused by the drug.

Shade coffee is for the birds
The conservation value of growing coffee under trees instead of on open farms is well known, but hasn't been studied much in Africa.

Understanding air pollution from biomass burners used for heating
As many places in the US and Europe increasingly turn to biomass rather than fossil fuels for power and heat, scientists are focusing on what this trend might mean for air quality -- and people's health.

Scientists reprogram plants for drought tolerance
A team led by a University of California, Riverside plant biologist reports that drought tolerance in plants can be improved by engineering them to activate water-conserving processes in response to an agrochemical already in use -- an approach that could be broadly applied to other parts of the same drought-response pathway and a range of other agrochemicals.

Lieber Institute for Brain Development wins grand prize at National Collegiate Conference
The National Collegiate Research Conference awarded its 2015 Grand Prize to Mahima Sukumar, an undergraduate student working at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development.

Antibodies in the lab: Higher quality through DNA technology
Antibodies are now established as therapeutics and indispensable in the research lab.

BICEP2 and Planck joint study: Gravitational waves remain elusive
A new joint analysis of data from two South Pole-based experiments -- the BICEP2 telescope and the Keck Array, both supported by the National Science Foundation -- and the European Space Agency's Planck satellite, has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational waves, despite earlier reports of a possible detection.

Crucial role of breast cancer tumor suppressor revealed
A new study led by José Javier Bravo-Cordero, Spanish researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, details how cells with low levels of the profilin 1 protein in breast tumors increase their capacity to metastasize and invade other tissues.

The brain's social network: Nerve cells interact like friends on Facebook
Neurons in the brain are wired like a social network, report researchers from Biozentrum, University of Basel.

Pigeon power
A new University of Iowa study finds pigeons can categorize 128 photographs into 16 categories of natural and manmade objects, a skill researchers say is similar to the mechanism children use to learn words.

Paramedics may be first line of treatment for stroke
There is no time to waste when it comes to stroke.

Time-based training can decrease impulsivity, research finds
Kansas State University researchers conduct first study demonstrating increases in both self-control and timing precision as a result of a time-based intervention.

A smart grid self-organized simply
Electricity supply and demand can be coordinated in an entirely decentralized way with the help of a new type of smart grid control.

National Science Foundation fiscal year 2016 budget request continues commitment to discovery, innovation and learning
Today, National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France A. Córdova outlined President Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request to Congress for NSF.

Wealthier men less likely to help partners with housework
Men on lower incomes are more likely to help their partners with housework than higher-earners, although women are still by far doing the most around the home, no matter how many hours they work or how much they are paid.

A bright-yellow new species of water frog from the Peruvian Andes
Scientists discovered a new water frog species from the Pacific slopes of the Andes in central Peru.

Listening carefully
The elderly often complain about hearing difficulties, especially when several people are talking all at once.

UH gets Homeland Security funding to fight bioterror
The University of Houston received funding from the US Department of Homeland Security to conduct research on making biochemical threat detection economically sustainable.

AcademyHealth and Aetna Foundation select five for scholars in residence fellowship
AcademyHealth announced today the five individuals selected for the AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Scholars in Residence Fellowship Program.

Kidney images reveal the secrets of how organ develops
Striking images from the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute reveal new insights into how the kidney develops from a group of cells into a complex organ.

Compound found in grapes, red wine may help prevent memory loss
A compound found in common foods such as red grapes and peanuts may help prevent age-related decline in memory, according to new research published by a faculty member in the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.

The earliest stages of star formation in the Ophiuchus molecular cloud
It is not currently well understood how cores evolve into stars in a medium mass star-forming region such as the Ophiuchus molecular cloud.

Females with primary Sjogren's syndrome more likely to experience sexual dysfunction
Researchers have today warned that sexual dysfunction should not be ignored in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome after finding that women with the condition experience significantly more sexual dysfunction than healthy controls.

Improving the drug withdrawal process could reduce number of deaths
The number of deaths associated with drugs that were subsequently withdrawn from the market could have been reduced had there been fewer delays in the withdrawal process, according to research published in the open-access journal BMC Medicine.

Newly discovered protein has link to gestational diabetes
For at least 40 years, scientists who study how the body metabolizes sugar have accepted one point: there are four enzymes that kick-start the body's process of getting energy from food.

Is surgery a viable treatment option for patients age 80+ with acute spinal conditions?
As the number of Americans age 80 and older continues to rise, so does the percentage of patients with acute spinal conditions.

Brain's response to angry or fearful faces may reveal vulnerability to stress
Scientists have a new strategy to predict whether individuals are at an increased risk for depression or anxiety after stressful events, and therefore might benefit from interventions aimed at safeguarding their mental health.

Smartphone, finger prick, 15 minutes, diagnosis -- done!
Columbia Engineering professor Samuel Sia has developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers -- HIV and syphilis -- from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes.

Tropical wasps attack intruders with unfamiliar faces
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London in collaboration with the University of Florence, have discovered that a species of tropical wasps can memorize the faces of members of their colony and will attack any individual with an unfamiliar face.

Attention! How eyes reveal the brain's focus
A primate's ability to pay attention to, or tune out, particular sights and sounds is crucial for success and survival.

BGI study confirms accuracy of its NIFTY in nearly 147,000 pregnancies
BGI has published a study tracking the clinical performance of its whole genome sequencing-based non-invasive prenatal test (the NIFTY test) in nearly 147,000 pregnancies, the largest such study to date.

Major study links 2 new genetic variants to breast cancer
A worldwide study of the DNA of 100,000 women has discovered two new genetic variants associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Malocclusion and dental crowding arose 12,000 years ago with earliest farmers
Hunter-gatherers had almost no malocclusion and dental crowding, and the condition first became common among the world's earliest farmers some 12,000 years ago in Southwest Asia, according to findings published in the journal PLOS ONE.

VISTA stares right through the Milky Way
A new image taken with ESO's VISTA survey telescope reveals the Trifid Nebula in a new light.

Satellite animation shows February return of the Pineapple Express
The 'Pineapple Express' has set up again and is bringing wet weather to the US Pacific Northwest.

Programming safety into self-driving cars
For decades, researchers in artificial intelligence, or AI, worked on specialized problems, developing theoretical concepts and workable algorithms for various aspects of the field.

Opioid and heroin crisis triggered by doctors overprescribing painkillers
Researchers at Brandeis University, the University of North Florida and Johns Hopkins University say policymakers must look beyond painkiller abuse in their efforts to reduce opioid overdose deaths.

Evidence from warm past confirms recent IPCC estimates of climate sensitivity
New evidence showing the level of atmospheric CO2 millions of years ago supports recent climate change predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Bioengineered miniature structures could prevent heart failure
The delivery of tiny biodegradable microstructures to heart tissue damaged by heart attack may help repair the tissue and prevent future heart failure.

Researchers identify peptide that reduces urge to eat
Researchers have identified a peptide and hormone that when administered to a specific area of the brain may reduce the desire for food.

Swedish researchers question treatment of infertility with stem cells
New studies by Swedish researchers at institutions including the University of Gothenburg and Karolinska Institute are questioning the notion that infertility can be treated with stem cells.

E-cigarette exposure impairs immune responses in mouse model, new research finds
In a study with mice, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers have found that e-cigarettes compromise the immune system in the lungs and generate some of the same potentially dangerous chemicals found in traditional nicotine cigarettes.

An extra protein gives naked mole rats more power to stop cancer
A protein newly found in the naked mole rat may help explain its unique ability to ward off cancer.

Neuroimaging studies review suggests areas of agreement in psychiatric diagnoses
A review of neuroimaging studies suggests there are areas of agreement across psychiatric diagnoses in terms of the integrity of the brain's anterior insula/dorsal anterior cingulate network, which may relate to executive function deficits seen across the various diagnoses, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

MedImmune and Manchester announce partnership to advance protein formulation
MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and The University of Manchester have entered into a new research collaboration to generate cutting-edge protein formulation science.

No more money and time down the drain say antibody experts in Nature
In today's issue of Nature, a worldwide group of antibody experts appeal for a standardised approach to the creation and use of antibodies in research and therapeutics.

Rice U. study: CEO-to-employee pay ratios are lower than popularly thought
For the vast majority of United States commercial banks, the ratio of CEO-to-employee pay is substantially lower than the levels popularized in the financial media, according to a forthcoming study by accounting experts at Rice University and the University of Houston.

Religion can help college women who are sexual victims deal with distrust, study finds
College women who have been sexually victimized not only fear their attackers -- or those similar to them -- but often have trouble trusting anyone after being assaulted.

New microscopy technique allows mapping protein synthesis in living tissues and animals
Building on previously published research, investigators have advanced technology to allow for time-lapse images of protein synthesis with high spatial-temporal resolution in live cells/tissues and map protein degradation in live cells/tissue.

Pfizer Research Prize 2015 for Valérie D'Acremont
Valérie d'Acremont, clinical epidemiologiste at Swiss TPH, is one of the nine Pfizer Research Prize 2015 awardees for her paper on febrile illnesses published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Increasing contraceptive knowledge to promote safe use of isotretinoin
An information sheet on contraceptives improved knowledge about their effectiveness among women visiting a dermatology practice, which could help promote safer use of the acne medicine isotretinoin which is linked to birth defects, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Drinking green tea before taking supplements may offer protection from toxicity
As high doses of green tea extract supplements for weight loss become more popular, potential liver toxicity becomes a concern.

A rare new plant inspires the first genus named after Sir David Attenborough
A new genus and species of flowering plants from the custard apple family, Annonaceae, has been discovered in the jungles of Gabon by French and Gabonese botanists.

Electricity delivers therapy to tumors in potentially new treatment, bioengineer says
A team of researchers has devised a new way to target tumors with cancer-fighting drugs, a discovery that may lead to clinical treatments for cancer patients.

Online comments influence opinions on vaccinations
With measles and other diseases once thought eradicated making a comeback in the United States, healthcare websites are on the spot to educate consumers about important health risks.

Unnecessary antibiotics frequently given for respiratory infections in outpatient settings
A new study found 45 percent of patients with respiratory tract infections were inappropriately prescribed antibiotics in an outpatient practice of general internal medicine and family medicine.

Study finds link between early menopause and CFS
A newfound link between chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and early menopause was reported online today in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Five-year outcomes following bariatric surgery in patients with BMIs of 50 to 60
The bariatric surgical procedure biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch resulted in more weight loss and better improvement in blood lipids and glucose five years after surgery compared with usual gastric bypass surgery but duodenal switch was associated with more long-term surgical and nutritional complications and more adverse gastrointestinal effects, according to a report published online by JAMA Surgery.

New finding may compromise aging studies
Scientists found that a hormone they were using to selectively activate genes in flies for life span studies was actually extending the lives of mated female flies by 68 percent.

A gift to heal injured brains: Family transformed by TBI gives to U-M research
A tragic accident 32 years ago forever altered the lives of an entire prominent Michigan auto industry family, as a beloved wife and mother suffered a devastating traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

Recent gut and urinary tract infections may curb risk of rheumatoid arthritis
Recent gut and urinary tract infections may curb the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, suggests research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Scientists discover viral 'Enigma machine'
Researchers have cracked a code that governs infections by a major group of viruses including the common cold and polio.

Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip both authoritarian and pragmatic
Hamas rule in Gaza has been characterized by strong authoritarian elements, and yet characterized also by a pragmatic approach to its own ideology.

Bariatric surgery may reduce life expectancy for super obese diabetic patients
Bariatric surgery improves life expectancy for many obese diabetic patients, but it may cut life expectancy for patients who are super obese with very high body mass indexes, according to a University of Cincinnati researcher.

Brain scans predict effectiveness of talk therapy to treat depression
UNC School of Medicine researchers have shown that brain scans can predict which patients with clinical depression are most likely to benefit from a specific kind of talk therapy.

An end to the medicine dropper for eye injuries?
For years, treating scratches and burns to the eyes has usually involved dropping medicine onto the eyes several times a day, sometimes for weeks -- a treatment that lends itself to missed doses and other side effects. 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