Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 10, 2015
1 in 5 suicides is associated with unemployment
Every year, around 45,000 people take their own lives because they are out of work or someone close to them is affected by unemployment, as a study by the University of Zurich now reveals.

Growing number of donor hearts rejected, need for transplants rises, Stanford study finds
Surgeons and transplant centers nationwide increasingly have rejected hearts donated for transplantation despite a growing need for them, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

University physicist receives Humboldt award for lifetime research achievements
Uwe Thumm, professor of physics, has received the international Humboldt Research Award for his lifetime achievements in research.

Study: Urban design influences level of physical activity in Chinese cities
The study by researchers from NYU and East China Normal University explored the implications of urban design and the built environment for walking and health in Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Smoking thins vital part of brain
A major study by an international team including the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and the University of Edinburgh shows new evidence that long-term smoking could cause thinning of the brain's cortex.

The Lancet Psychiatry: Unemployment linked with around 45,000 deaths by suicide every year
Unemployment might account for nine times as many deaths by suicide every year (about 45,000) as the recent economic crisis (around 5,000 excess suicides), a long-term analysis of suicide risk across 63 countries between 2000 and 2011, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal has found.

New global 'ratings agency' ranks the 500 institutions with power to end deforestation by 2020
On the heels of a year marked by bold zero deforestation commitments the first ever comprehensive ranking of the powerbrokers that control the global supply chains that drive over half of tropical deforestation finds that only a small minority are equipped to tackle this problem.

Einstein scientists develop novel technique for finding drugs to combat malaria
Each year nearly 600,000 people -- mostly children under age five and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa -- die from malaria, caused by single-celled parasites that grow inside red blood cells.

New therapeutic principle for Parkinsonian dyskinesia shows clinical effect
Involuntary dyskinetic movements induced by treatment with levodopa are a common problem for people with Parkinson's disease.

Changes proposed to improve research on health information technology
The American health system is investing a vast amount of money to adopt health information technology, but the benefits and drawbacks of the move are not fully understood.

Lower-cost metal 3-D printing solution available
3-D printing of plastic parts to prototype or manufacture goods is becoming commonplace in industry, but there is an urgent need for lower-cost 3-D printing technology to produce metal parts.

Extreme-temperature electronics
a team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discovered that molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a semiconductor material, may be a promising candidate to make thin-film transistors for extreme temperature applications.

Babies can identify complex social situations and react accordingly
In the social world, people constantly gather information through visual cues that are used to evaluate others and interact.

Grant preparation blowout despite simplified NHMRC process
A new study shows the time Australian researchers spent applying for National Health and Medical Research Council project grants last year blew out by a collective 67 years, despite the funding body streamlining its application process.

Dartmouth study shows brain area involved in eye movements, heading
An area of the brain involved in eye movements also plays an important role in establishing our direction and navigating our environment, a Dartmouth College study finds.

Does a competent leader make a good friend?
New research shows that when we elect leaders and politicians we tend to prefer dominant-looking, masculine men, but when we are looking to make new friends we seek the opposite.

Creatine does not slow rate of Parkinson's disease progression
Treatment with creatine monohydrate for at least five years for patients with early and treated Parkinson disease failed to slow clinical progression of the disease, compared with placebo, according to a study in the Feb.

UM brain disorder research moves toward clinical testing
University of Montana is one step closer to turning a discovery into a drug.

Smartphone apps just as accurate as wearable devices for tracking physical activity
Although wearable devices have received significant attention for their ability to track an individual's physical activity, most smartphone applications are just as accurate, according to a new research letter in JAMA.

Chronic fatigue syndrome -- What's in a name?
A new report in Annals of Internal Medicine from the Institute of Medicine presents new diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome and examines whether a new name for the condition is warranted.

Mesothelioma in southern Nevada likely result of asbestos in environment
Malignant mesothelioma has been found at higher than expected levels in women and in individuals younger than 55 years old in the southern Nevada counties of Clark and Nye, likewise in the same region carcinogenic mineral fibers including actinolite asbestos, erionite, winchite, magnesioriebeckite and richterite were discovered.

Study: Listeria pathogen is prevalent, persistent in retail delis
Purdue University research shows that standard cleaning procedures in retail delis may not eradicate Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which can cause a potentially fatal disease in people with vulnerable immune systems.

Electronics you can wrap around your finger
A new multiferroric film keeps its electric and magnetic properties even when highly curved, paving the way for potential uses in wearable devices.

Google gives University of California's Lick Observatory $1 million
Google Inc. has given $1 million to UC's Lick Observatory in what UC Berkeley astronomer Alex Filippenko hopes is the first of many private gifts to support an invaluable teaching and research resource for the state.

Study shows iron supplementation after blood donation shortens hemoglobin recovery time
A National Institutes of Health-funded study comparing low dose iron supplementation to no supplementation in blood donors found that supplementation significantly reduced the time to recovery of post-donation lost iron and hemoglobin -- an iron-rich protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells throughout the body.

Water ice renders short-lived molecule sustainable
'Antiaromatic compounds' is what chemists call a class of ring molecules which are extremely instable -- the opposite of the highly stable aromatic molecules.

Oldest fur seal identified, ending 5-million-year 'ghost lineage'
The oldest known fur seal has been discovered by a Geology PhD student at New Zealand's University of Otago, providing a missing link that helps to resolve a more than 5-million-year gap in fur seal and sea lion evolutionary history.

Earthquake activity linked to injection wells may vary by region
The Williston Basin in north central US produced fewer earthquakes caused by wastewater injection than in Texas, suggesting the link between seismicity and production activities may vary by region, according to a new study published in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

BP-lowering treatment for type 2 diabetes linked to longer survival
Blood pressure-lowering treatment among patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and heart disease events and improved mortality, according to a study in the Feb.

Smartphone applications, wearable devices appear to be accurate in tracking step counts
The testing of 10 smartphone applications and wearable devices intended to track physical activity found that most were accurate in tracking step counts, according to a study in the Feb.

Alzheimer's Association, Weston Brain Institute and Alzheimer's Research UK unite to fund research
Three leading research funders from the UK and North America have joined forces to launch a new global initiative called MEND or, MEchanisms of cellular death in NeuroDegeneration, with a fund of $1.25 million (£820,000/$1.56CDN) for targeted research into brain diseases that cause dementia, such as Alzheimer's.

Exposure to mercury, seafood associated with risk factor for autoimmune disease
Mercury in seafood -- even at low levels generally considered safe -- was associated with autoimmunity.

Pitt team developing technology to allow amputees to feel with prosthetic limb
Rehabilitation experts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine hope to one day give people with an arm amputation a prosthetic limb that not only moves like a natural one, but 'feels' like it, too.

Understanding how to teach 'intelligence'
More than ever, we need problem-solving skills to be able to adapt to our fast changing economies and societies.

ORCA prototype ready for the open ocean
Its name refers to one of the biggest animals in the sea, but ORCA, the Ocean Radiometer for Carbon Assessment instrument, will be observing the smallest.

NASA study shows global sea ice diminishing, despite Antarctic gains
Sea ice increases in Antarctica do not make up for the accelerated Arctic sea ice loss of the last decades, a new NASA study finds.

UTSW receives key NCI funding to plan first US Center for Heavy Ion Radiation Therapy Research
The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health awarded UT Southwestern a $1 million planning grant to establish the country's first National Center for Heavy Ion Radiation Therapy.

University of Tennessee study: Crocodiles just wanna have fun, too
The research shows that crocodilians engage in all three main types of play distinguished by behavior specialists: locomotor play, play with objects and social play.

New strategy to revert the effects of obesity on female fertility
Obesity has been linked to fertility problems and long-lasting effects on offspring, partially because overnutrition in females causes damage to the egg cells they produce.

Iron supplementation improves hemoglobin recovery time following blood donation
Among blood donors with normal hemoglobin levels, low-dose oral iron supplementation, compared with no supplementation, reduced the time to recovery of the postdonation decrease in hemoglobin concentration in donors with low or higher levels of a marker of overall iron storage (ferritin), according to a study in the Feb.

Not all EGFR mutations are the same when it comes to therapy for NSCLC
Certain rare epidermal growth factor receptor mutations are associated with tobacco smoking, worse prognosis and poor response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy compared to the more common 'classical' EGFR mutations.

Power efficiency in the violin
A new study identifies key design features that boost violins' acoustic power.

Low childhood vitamin D linked to adult atherosclerosis
Low levels of 25-OH vitamin D in childhood were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis over 25 years later in adulthood, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

TSRI scientists find new cellular pathway defect in cystinosis
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have identified a new cellular pathway that is affected in cystinosis, a rare genetic disorder that can result in eye and kidney damage.

22nd Lavender Languages conference on study of queer language
Students and scholars of language and sexuality will gather Feb.

Testing the boundaries: Study reveals inner workings of cricket teams
A study by QUT researchers found cricket batsmen who were close to reaching personal milestones were likely to alter their strategy in a way which, at first sight, seems detrimental to the team.

Cybersecurity students from Saarland University discover security gaps in 39,890 online databases
Anyone could call up or modify several million pieces of customer data online including names, addresses and e-mails.

SIB designated the FAO Reference Centre for bioinformatics
The Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics has been designated the reference center for bioinformatics by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO.

Novel non-stick material joins portfolio of slippery surface technologies
The technology leverages the molecular structure of polymers, which makes them highly capable of taking up and storing considerable volumes of lubricating liquids in their molecular structure, like sponges.

Institute for Glycomics combats human parainfluenza virus
Gold Coast research has made a giant leap forward in understanding one of the most common causes of respiratory infections worldwide.

$2 million endowment will expand architecture exchange program
A $2 million gift from University of Colorado alumnus and Saudi Arabian businessman Zuhair Fayez will enable the expansion and extension of an innovative exchange program that builds cultural understanding among graduate architecture students from the University of Colorado Denver and Dar Al-Hekma University, a women's college in Saudi Arabia.

DNA 'cage' could improve nanopore technology
Researchers from Brown University have designed a tiny cage that can trap a single strand of DNA after it has been pulled through a nanopore.

Engineers put the 'squeeze' on human stem cells
After using optical tweezers to squeeze a tiny bead attached to the outside of a human stem cell, researchers now know how mechanical forces can trigger a key signaling pathway in the cells.

Napping reverses health effects of poor sleep
A short nap can help relieve stress and bolster the immune systems of men who slept only two hours the previous night, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Temple researchers receive $7.4 million grant to explore brain impairment in HIV patients
Researchers at Temple University School of Medicine have been awarded a $7.4 million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to determine how cocaine and HIV-1 interact to cause brain impairment in patients infected with HIV.

Adult fish facility opens Oregon's South Santiam basin to threatened salmon and steelhead
Oregon's Foster Dam just got an upgrade, one that is proving vital to the survival of threatened Upper Willamette River spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead.

90 percent approve of cancer screening but screening uptake is lower
Nine in 10 people think that cancer screening is 'almost always a good idea' despite the fact that screening uptake is lower, a Cancer Research UK study in the British Journal of Cancer shows.

Impact of obesity on fertility can be reversed
In a breakthrough discovery, researchers at the University of Adelaide have revealed how damage from obesity is passed from a mother to her children, and also how that damage can be reversed.

Unwanted impact of antibiotics broader, more complex than previously known
Researchers have discovered that antibiotics have an unwanted impact on the microorganisms that live in an animal's gut that's more broad and complex than previously known.

Drowned children do not benefit from resuscitation beyond 30 minutes
Findings question current guidelines for prolonged resuscitation.

Meeting to outline effective education about aging as America's senior population grows
The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education -- the educational branch of The Gerontological Society of America -- will hold its 41st Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference from Feb.

Protein linked to longevity and enhanced cognition protects against Alzheimer's symptoms
Scientists from the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California, San Francisco report in the Journal of Neuroscience that raising levels of the life-extending protein klotho can protect against learning and memory deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Women scientists in developing countries receive Elsevier Foundation Awards
Four physicists and a mathematician have been named winners of the 2015 Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World, in recognition of research that has strong potential social and economic benefits.

Avian malaria also affects wild birds in Austria
Avian malaria is not uncommon in Central Europe, as many endemic wild birds are infected with species of Plasmodium, which cause avian malaria.

NASA-JAXA's TRMM and GPM satellites measure rainfall rates in Typhoon Higos
TRMM and GPM both saw moderate rainfall occurring in Typhoon Higos as it moved over open waters of the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Harrington Discovery Institute and American Society for Clinical Investigation honor Douglas Lowy, M.D.
The second annual Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine has been awarded to oncologist/researcher Douglas R.

Surgery for pulmonary embolism may prevent
A surgical procedure that was virtually abandoned in the 1950s because of its high mortality rates in trying to save patients with acute pulmonary embolism may actually prevent more deaths in severely ill patients than current drug therapies alone, according to a new analysis of cases conducted in the North Shore-LIJ Health System over the past decade.

Researchers investigate the communications behind swarming
New research seeks to investigate the directional information flow underlying collective animal behavior.

Caution concerning the possible health benefits of alcohol
Protective effects of moderate drinking may have been over-estimated, warn experts.

Plain packaging reduces 'cigarette-seeking' response by almost 10 percent, says study
Plain tobacco packaging may reduce the likelihood of smokers seeking to obtain cigarettes by almost 10 percent compared to branded packs, according to research from the universities of Exeter and Bristol.

New reporter system to study bone-related regenerative medicine generated by UMN labs
A new reporter system used to study the bone regeneration potential of human embryonic stem cells has been generated in research led by the University of Minnesota.

New IOM report identifies 5 symptoms to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome -- commonly referred to as ME/CFS -- is a legitimate, serious, and complex systemic disease that frequently and dramatically limits the activities of affected individuals, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

Coral reef symbiosis: Paying rent with sugar and fat
Scientists have revealed how coral-dwelling microalgae harvest nutrients from the surrounding seawater and shuttle them out to their coral hosts, sustaining a fragile ecosystem that is under threat.

When is a Pollock not a Pollock?
Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock was perhaps most famous for his 'drip painting' technique.

Size of biomarker associated with improved survival following transplantation
Among patients with severe aplastic anemia who received stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor, longer leukocyte (white blood cells) telomere length (a structure at the end of a chromosome) was associated with increased overall survival at five years, according to a study in the Feb.

SLAC Researchers to present at AAAS 2015
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory researchers will share the latest discoveries and innovations in a wide range of fields at this year's AAAS Annual Meeting including X-ray lasers, quantum materials, citizen science, new materials for electronics, cosmology visualization, computer-aided catalyst design, next-generation batteries, accelerators, advanced adaptive optics, cosmic inflation and nanoscale optical tomography.

Nanotubes self-organize and wiggle: Evolution of a nonequilibrium system demonstrates MEPP
Since the mid-20th century, research has pointed to an extension of the second law for nonequilibrium systems: the Maximum Entropy Production Principle states that a system away from equilibrium evolves in such a way as to maximize entropy production, given present constraints.

Drug targeting Ebola virus protein VP24 shows promise in monkeys
An experimental medication that targets a protein in Ebola virus called VP24 protected 75 percent of a group of monkeys that were studied from Ebola virus infection, according to new research conducted by the US Army, in collaboration with Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc.

Depression predicts disturbed sleep among stroke survivors
Depression is a powerful predictor of nighttime sleep disturbances among stroke survivors, according to research presented at the Nursing Symposium of the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2015.

Arachnid Rapunzel: Researchers spin spider silk proteins into artificial silk
Incredibly tough, slightly stretchy spider silk is a lightweight, biodegradable wonder material with numerous potential biomedical applications.

New approach to childhood malnutrition may reduce relapses, deaths
Children treated for moderate acute malnutrition experience a high rate of relapse and even death in the year following treatment and recovery.

Epigenetic breakthrough: A first of its kind tool to study the histone code
University of North Carolina scientists have created a new research tool, based on the fruit fly, to help crack the histone code.

New reports say climate intervention techniques not ready for wide-scale deployment
There is no substitute for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change, a National Research Council committee concluded in a two-volume evaluation of proposed climate-intervention techniques.

Too much of a good thing: Extra genes make bacteria lethal
We, as most animals, host many different beneficial bacteria. Being beneficial to the host often pays off for the bacteria, as success of the host determines the survival and spread of the microbe.

Advent of geoengineering may help lower temperature of debate over climate change
Geoengineering, an emerging technology aimed at counteracting the effects of human-caused climate change, also has the potential to counteract political polarization over global warming, according to a new study.

2011 Houston heat wave led to significant rise in emergency department visits
Houston experienced its hottest summer on record in 2011, resulting in 278 excess emergency department visits per day during the August heat wave, according to research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston published recently in Environmental Health.

Review finds 'significant link' between cannabis use and onset of mania symptoms
Researchers from the University of Warwick have found evidence to suggest a significant relationship between cannabis use and the onset and exacerbation of mania symptoms.

Antiviral compound protects nonhuman primates against Ebola virus
Scientists protected 75 percent of rhesus monkeys infected with Ebola virus that were treated with a compound targeting the expression of VP24, a single Ebola virus protein -- suggesting that VP24 may hold the key to developing effective therapies for the deadly disease.

Historic Indian sword was masterfully crafted
The master craftsmanship behind Indian swords was highlighted when scientists and conservationists from Italy and the UK joined forces to study a curved single-edged sword called a shamsheer.

The princess and the pea: Cells' ultra-sensitivity for strong molecular forces
Knowing how cells exert force and sense mechanical feedback in their microenvironment is crucial to understanding how they activate a wide range of cellular functions, such as cell reproduction, differentiation and adhesion.

Crowdfunding helps solve rare disease mystery
The cost of identifying the source and progression of rare diseases remains prohibitive for many families, but there is hope for them in our Internet age.

Rate of Latino physicians shrinks, even as Latino population swells
Latinos are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, with their numbers having risen 243 percent since 1980.

US sees declining use of available donor hearts for transplantation despite a growing waiting list
Increasing numbers of people in the United States are developing heart failure, which leads to death within five years in approximately half of patients.

Smaller pre-surgery radiation targets reduces long term side effects, not survival rates
The Journal of Clinical Oncology just published clinical trial results that more firmly establish that for patients with soft tissue sarcomas, image-guided radiation directed towards a smaller target area great reduced long term negative impact without effecting survival rates.

EARTH Magazine: Pentagon report calls for military to prepare for climate change
The US Department of Defense has identified a new foe in the national security battle: climate change.

Predicting plant responses to drought
A new US Geological Survey study shows how plants' vulnerability to drought varies across the landscape; factors such as plant structure and soil type where the plant is growing can either make them more vulnerable or protect them from declines.

Worms in space: Exploring health effects of microgravity
To prepare for people for safely journeying into space for extended periods of time in the future, it's crucial to gain a better understanding of the biophysics involved within reduced gravity and microgravity environments.

Geoengineering report: Scientists urge more research on climate intervention
Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, while necessary, may not happen soon enough to stave off climate catastrophe.

The NELSON lung cancer screening trial results are inferable for the general high-risk
Results of the NELSON lung cancer screening trial using low dose computed tomography can be used to predict the effect of population-based screening on the Dutch population even though there were slight differences in baseline characteristics of participants in the control arm versus eligible non-participants.

Lung cancer may be treatable with use of SapC-DOPS technology, research shows
A University of Cincinnati study, published in the advance online edition of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, provides hope that the therapeutic agent SapC-DOPS could be used for treatment of this cancer.

This week from AGU: Disappearing dinosaur exhibits, ocean greenhouse gases, ham radio ionosphere obs
Are dinosaurs going extinct in museums? Some science museums are updating, or even removing, their dinosaur exhibits.

The most effective surgical procedure for extreme obesity should be used with caution
Based on five-year follow-up of patients in a randomized clinical trial, researchers have concluded that gastric bypass is the preferred treatment for extreme obesity. 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