Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 25, 2015
Is your busy schedule affecting your health? Time might not be the problem
The modern schedule is infamously frantic, leaving many of us feeling constantly pressed for time.

One in 3 women could potentially be spared chronic pain after breast cancer surgery
One in every three women undergoing a mastectomy could potentially be spared chronic post-operative pain if anesthesiologists used a regional anesthetic technique in combination with standard care, according to a new study.

Sub-Saharan Africans rate their wellbeing and health care among the lowest in the world
Sub-Saharan Africans rate their own wellbeing, their health and their health-care systems among the lowest in the world, according to a new report published by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Widely used food additive promotes colitis, obesity and metabolic syndrome, research shows
Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes the development of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome, new research shows.

Sleeping over 8 hours a day associated with greater risk of stroke
People who sleep for more than eight hours a day have an increased risk of stroke, according to a study by the University of Cambridge -- and this risk doubles for older people who persistently sleep longer than average.

More than 2 hours of TV a day increases high blood pressure risk in children by 30 percent
A study on European children concludes that spending more than two hours a day in front of a screen increases the probability of high blood pressure by 30 percent.

International classification of functioning, disability and health benefits neurorehab research and patient care
Use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) has increased significantly over the last decade.

Postoperative mortality rates low among patients with HIV prescribed ART
Postoperative mortality rates were low among patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus who are receiving antiretroviral therapy, and those mortality rates were influenced as much by age and poor nutritional status as CD4 cell counts, according to a report published online by JAMA Surgery.

Warning on use of drug for children's sleep
Sleep researchers at the University of Adelaide are warning doctors and parents not to provide the drug melatonin to children to help control their sleep problems.

Future vehicles will be virtually tested before the first prototype is built
Future cars and trucks will be tested in a virtual environment long before the first vehicle prototype is built.

Playful adults preferred in choice of partner
Which characteristics do young adults value in a potential partner for long-term relationships?

Study IDs key birds that host Lyme disease bacteria in California
A new UC Berkeley-led study has found that birds are more important than previously recognized as hosts for Lyme disease-causing bacteria in California.

Novel anti-cancer DNA vaccine may fight aging, chronic inflammation and osteoporosis
The CureLab consortium has discovered a DNA vaccine, which systemically alleviates chronic inflammation in the body.

Workplace negativity can hurt productivity
Employees who point out problems in the office may help the company improve, but could be hurting themselves in the process.

The future is looking less cloudy
Thick fogbanks can blanket open roads and runways and dramatically reduce visibility -- often causing devastating accidents.

Sharp rise in experimental animal research in US
The use of animals in experimental research has soared at leading US laboratories in recent years, finds research published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Scientists grow leg muscle from cells in a dish
A team of researchers from Italy, Israel and the United Kingdom has succeeded in generating mature, functional skeletal muscles in mice using a new approach for tissue engineering.

ORNL signs agreement with Whirlpool Corp. to develop new energy-efficient refrigerator
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Whirlpool Corporation are collaborating to design a refrigerator that could cut energy use by up to 40 percent compared with current models.

How the 'mute' cicada sings
'Mute' cicadas may use the sound of wing impact to communicate.

Johns Hopkins researchers find hospital design has little effect on patient satisfaction
Contrary to previous reports, a study led by Johns Hopkins researchers found that patients' satisfaction scores only modestly improved based on the newly remodeled design of a hospital.

Bariatric surgery affects risk of pregnancy complications
Bariatric surgery has both a positive and negative influence on the risk of complications during subsequent pregnancy and delivery, concludes a new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Monster black hole discovered at cosmic dawn
The discovery of the brightest quasar in the early universe, powered by the most massive black hole yet known at that time presents a puzzle to researchers: How could something so massive and luminous form so early in the universe, only 900 million years after the Big Bang?

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Glenda may be developing an eye
Tropical Cyclone Glenda is strengthening in the Southern Indian Ocean and NASA's Aqua satellite saw a potential eye developing when it passed overhead on Feb.

The body's 'Transformers'
Like the shape-shifting robots of 'Transformers' fame, a unique class of proteins in the human body also has the ability to alter their configuration.

Epigenetic 'switch' regulates RNA-protein interactions
A new study finds that epigenetic modifications to mRNA act as a structural 'switch' that allows RNA-binding proteins to recognize and read mRNA regions that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Quick antibiotics reduce PICU needs and mortality of pediatric cancer patients
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer shows that pediatric cancer patients who receive antibiotics within 60 minutes of reporting fever and showing neutropenia (low neutrophil count), go on to have decreased intensive care needs and lower mortality compared with patients who receive antibiotics outside the 60-minute window.

UCLA physicists offer a solution to the puzzle of the origin of matter in the universe
Most of the laws of nature treat particles and antiparticles equally, but stars and planets are made of particles, or matter, and not antiparticles, or antimatter.

Research suggests anesthetics could have long-term impact on children's brains
A group of anesthesiologists and toxicologists today issued a caution to parents and health care professionals about the use of general anesthetics in children.

New findings show stark inequalities in aging as government encourages us to work longer
Changes in pension and employment policies are making it increasingly necessary for older people in the UK to work beyond the age of 65.

Fundraising 101: Tempting alternatives increase willingness to donate
Charities are always trying to understand what type of appeal will increase the likelihood of donations.

Pitt to lead $14 million national trial comparing approaches to treat back pain, avoid surgery
The University of Pittsburgh will lead a $14 million clinical trial to determine how well an intervention that helps people better understand their back pain early on works toward promoting recovery and keeping the pain from becoming chronic down the road.

Could an HIV drug beat strep throat, flesh-eating bacteria?
With antibiotic resistance on the rise, scientists are looking for innovative ways to combat bacterial infections.

Felling of tropical trees has soared, satellite shows, not slowed as UN study found
The rate at which tropical forests were cut, burned or otherwise lost from the 1990s through the 2000s accelerated by 62 percent, according to a new study which dramatically reverses a previous estimate of a 25 percent slowdown over the same period.

Understanding faith, teaching evolution not mutually exclusive
Discussing the relationship between science and faith, rather than avoiding the discussion, may better prepare future high school biology teachers for anticipating questions about evolution, according to Penn State political scientists.

New compound may lead to development of cheaper anti-cancer drugs
A new compound developed at the University of Toronto Scarborough could play an important role in developing cheaper anti-cancer drugs.

Magnetic nanoparticles enhance performance of solar cells
Magnetic nanoparticles can increase the performance of solar cells made from polymers -- provided the mix is right.

The Lancet: People with ADHD are twice as likely to die prematurely, often due to accidents
People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have a lower life expectancy and are more than twice as likely to die prematurely as those without the disorder, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Predicting consumer preferences? Do NOT walk a mile in their shoes
Salespeople have long believed that by imagining themselves as the customer, they can steer clear of their own personal preferences and make decisions that will appeal to consumers in general.

Improving inmate health can lead to better community health and safety
If prisoners received better health care while behind bars and after release, both their health and the community's health would improve, new research has found.

Plant chemicals may prevent liver damage caused by fat accumulated during menopause
Women going through menopause often struggle with weight gain that results when their estrogen levels drop, and many turn to weight-loss supplements.

Helmet add-ons may not lower concussion risk in athletes
Football helmet add-ons such as outer soft-shell layers, spray treatments, helmet pads and fiber sheets may not significantly help lower the risk of concussions in athletes, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., April 18-25, 2015.

New technology could make treatment of oil and gas wastewater simpler, cheaper
Oil and gas operations in the United States produce about 21 billion barrels of wastewater per year.

Shopping vouchers could help 1 in 5 pregnant women quit smoking
Financial incentives could help one in five women quit smoking during pregnancy, according to new research published today in the journal Addiction.

How the landscape of the pancreatic cancer genome is coming into view
Scientists from Australia and the UK have done the most in-depth analysis yet of 100 pancreatic cancer genomes and highlighted four subtypes that may help guide future patient treatment.

Study maps extroversion types in the brain's anatomy
Brown University scientists have mapped the similarities and the differences in the brain between the two different kinds of extroverts: 'Agentic' go-getters and 'affiliative' people persons.

Mechanistic insight into immortal cells could speed clinical use
The mechanistic understanding of the relatively new technique for growing cells in culture indefinitely -- known as conditional reprogramming -- has been deciphered.

Causes of Great Lakes smelt population decline are complex
The reasons for the dwindling population of smelt prey fish in the Great Lakes to near historic lows are more complicated than previously believed, new research from Purdue University and collaborators suggests.

Consumer behavior and free trials: What makes a customer stay?
Free trials are wildly popular, but customers attracted with these promotions behave very differently from standard customers, according to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research.

International marketing: Are store brands becoming a global phenomenon?
Big name brands in the United States and Western Europe face a serious and growing threat from successful store brands.

Found: Ancient, super-bright quasar with massive black hole
Quasars -- supermassive black holes found at the center of distant massive galaxies -- are the most-luminous beacons in the sky.

Largest study of its kind documents causes of childhood community-acquired pneumonia
To investigate causes of childhood community-acquired pneumonia, University of Utah Health Sciences collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the largest study of its kind, the Etiology of Pneumonia in the Community.

Regulating genome-edited crops that (according to current regulations) aren't GMOs
A survey of rice, wheat, barley, fruit, and vegetable crops found that most mutants created by advanced genetic engineering techniques may be out of the scope of current genetically modified organism regulations.

Blockbusters: Can EEGs predict a movie's success better than surveys?
Seventy-five percent of movies earn a net loss during their run in theaters.

Unusual disease that causes acute confusion may be underdiagnosed
An unusual disease called Susac syndrome, which can cause acute confusion and problems with hearing and eyesight, is rare but probably under reported, Loyola University Medical Center physicians report in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

Malaria plays hide-and-seek with immune system by using long noncoding RNA to switch genes
Up to a million people are killed each year by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes malaria.

Researchers enable solar cells to use more sunlight
Scientists of the University of Luxembourg and of the Japanese electronics company TDK report progress in photovoltaic research: they have improved a component that will enable solar cells to use more energy of the sun and thus create a higher current.

Navigators help patients overcome health-care inequities
A new study shows that guidance from trained navigators can help patients overcome health-care inequities.

Elsevier launched new Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice (JIEP)
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announces the launch of the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice, the official journal of the National Academies of Practice and affiliated with the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Broader impacts in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology leave hope for improvement
The National Science Foundation's Broader Impacts Criterion was envisioned as a way for grant proposals to be judged not only on their intellectual merit but also on the ability of the proposed research to produce wider societal benefits.

One-minute test predicts how well a patient may recover after an operation
Frailty has been used to predict how well a patient may recover from a major operation.

Endocrine Society honors 2015 Helmsley Award winners
The Endocrine Society today announced it has selected 22 winners of the Helmsley Charitable Trust Abstract Awards in Type 1 Diabetes.

Isolated wetlands have significant impact on water quality
Geographically isolated wetlands play an outsized role in providing clean water and other environmental benefits even though they may lack the regulatory protections of other wetlands, according to an article by Indiana University researchers and colleagues.

Study shows troubling rise in use of animals in experiments
Despite industry claims of reduced animal use as well as federal laws and policies aimed at reducing the use of animals, the number of animals used in leading US laboratories increased a staggering 73 percent from 1997 to 2012, according to a new study by PETA to be published Feb.

Should smoking be banned in UK parks?
Should smoking be banned in UK parks?

Oat breakfast cereals may contain a common mold-related toxin
Oats are often touted for boosting heart health, but scientists warn that the grain and its products might need closer monitoring for potential mold contamination.

Why companies don't learn from their mistakes
Economists from the University Jena present a study about customers' complaints in the service industry: According to this, three out of four complaints to service employees don't even reach the line manager.

Clinical studies: Broad definition of 'commercially confidential' endangers transparency
EMA's commenting period for the transparency aspect of the EU study database specifications ended on the Feb.

Study shows less aggressive behavior toward strangers in autism spectrum disorder model
Much speculation has occurred in the media over the possibility of generally heightened aggression in those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Agricultural insecticides pose a global risk to surface water bodies
Streams within approximately 40 percent of the global land surface are at risk from the application of insecticides.

Researchers find link between inflammation, tissue regeneration and wound repair response
Writing in the Feb. 25 online issue of Nature, an international team of scientists, headed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report finding new links between inflammation and regeneration: signaling pathways that are activated by a receptor protein called gp130.

Antifreeze protein from ticks fights frostbite in mice
A protein that protects ticks from freezing temperatures also prevents frostbite when introduced in mice, a Yale-led study has found.

New flow battery to keep big cities lit, green and safe
The new zinc-polyiodide redox flow battery uses an electrolyte that has more than two times the energy density of the next-best flow battery used to store renewable energy and support the power grid.

Molecular feedback loop gives clues to how flowers drop their petals
As Valentine's Day fades into the past, you may be noticing a surfeit of petals accumulate around your vase of flowers.

Study reveals possible biological trigger for canine bone cancer
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine have identified the biological mechanism that may give some cancer cells the ability to form tumors in dogs.

New study shows safer methods for stem cell culturing
A new study led by researchers at The Scripps Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine shows that certain stem cell culture methods are associated with increased DNA mutations.

Astronomers find impossibly large black hole
Astronomers have found a huge black hole which was powering the brightest object in the early universe.

What does the future hold for treating patients with locally advanced breast cancer?
Treating patients with locally advanced inoperable breast cancer is an extremely difficult task.

NSF grant to impact understanding of vesicle transport system of cells
Wayne State University's Takeshi Sakamoto, biophysicist and assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, the agency's most prestigious award for up-and-coming researchers in science and engineering.

DARPA contract to fund exploration of hard-to-find information on the web
DARPA awarded NYU data scientists a contract to develop methods to locate and explore hard-to-find information on the web surface and on the deep web, which is not indexed by standard search engines.

Heart's inner mechanisms to be studied with NIH grant
Jianmin Cui, Ph.D., has received a nearly $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the molecular bases for the function of potassium channels vital for the heart, brain, inner ear and other tissues.

How does the human brain tackle problems it did not evolve to solve?
Online dating, chatty smartphones, and social media played no role in the evolution of our ancestors, yet humans manage to deal with and even exploit these hallmarks of modern living.

$14 million funding award for first statewide study of comprehensive post-stroke treatment
The South is known as the Stroke Belt with good reason.

A simple way to make and reconfigure complex emulsions
MIT researchers have devised a new way to make complex liquid mixtures, known as emulsions, that could have many applications in drug delivery, sensing, cleaning up pollutants, and performing chemical reactions.

Using 'fuzzy logic' to optimize hybrid solar/battery systems
A group of researchers in Tunisia and Algeria show how fuzzy logic has helped them create an ideal photovoltaic system that obeys the supply-and-demand principle and its delicate balance.

Public perceptions of monkeys affected by the media
The way that monkeys are displayed in the media, such as in human settings and in contact with humans, can have serious effects on the way that the public perceives those species, according to a new study that publishes on Feb.

Parkinson's disease patients have reduced visual contrast acuity
Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) often have difficulties with visual acuity in low-contrast images.

Frequent sauna use protects men against cardiac death
Frequent -- even daily -- taking a sauna can reduce the risk of cardiac death, according to a recent study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland.

Sticky protein hails new approach for treating Parkinson's
UK scientists have developed a peptide that sticks to the protein that causes Parkinson's disease, stopping it from killing brain cells.

Systemic sclerosis patients with unhealed digital ulcers benefit from fat cell transplant
Researchers found that local implants of autologous adipose tissue-derived cells resulted in significant pain reduction and healing for 15 patients with long-lasting, non-healing digital ulcers (DUs), a frequent, painful, and quality of life altering complication of systemic sclerosis, a connective tissue disease resulting changes in organs and tissues.

Sewage provides insight into human microbiome
A new study demonstrates that sewage is an effective means to sample the fecal bacteria from millions of people.

Competition among physicians and retail clinics drive up antibiotic prescribing rate
Competition among doctors' offices, urgent care centers and retail medical clinics in wealthy areas of the United States often leads to an increase in the number of antibiotic prescriptions written per person, a team led by Johns Hopkins researchers has found.

Warming up the world of superconductors
Clusters of atoms known as 'superatoms' represent an entirely new family of superconductors -- one that appears to work at temperatures well above standard superconductors.

Using snus doubles the risk of alcohol dependency
People who use snus run twice the risk of developing alcohol dependency compared with non-users, and the more one uses snus, the higher the risk.

Facebook and University of Washington launch suicide prevention effort
Facebook and Forefront, an organization based at the University of Washington, teamed up to provide support to suicidal people and tell those who see suicidal posts on Facebook how they can help.

Cystic fibrosis discovery may lead to new treatment strategy, help patients breathe easier
A team led by UC San Francisco professor of medicine John Fahy, M.D., has discovered why mucus in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis is thick, sticky and difficult to cough up, leaving these patients more vulnerable to lung infection.

Auk and Condor articles for the last 15 years now on journals' website
More than 2,000 articles from the journals The Auk and The Condor have been added to the journals' website.

Penn vet researchers identify effective treatment for Niemann Pick Type C
A study coming out in Science Translational Medicine and led by University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine researchers has shown that cats with Niemann Pick Type C -- which mirrors the human version of the disease -- show vast improvements when treated with a compound called cyclodextrin.

UT Dallas criminologist's study shows lack of mental health care for prisoners
New research by a University of Texas Dallas criminologist has found that a substantial number of prison inmates have not received treatment for mental health conditions.

European Geosciences Union meeting: Program online, provisional press conference topics
The program for the 2015 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) is now online.

Fossil database to create cross-discipline collaboration
A team of over 20 paleontologists, molecular biologists and computer programmers from around the world launched The Fossil Calibration Database on Feb.

Graphene shows potential as novel anti-cancer therapeutic strategy
University of Manchester scientists have used graphene to target and neutralize cancer stem cells while not harming other cells.

Hidden gene gives hope for improving brain function
US and Australian scientists have found the mechanism a novel gene uses to affect brain function and elicit behavior related to neuropsychiatric disease.

Team approach boosts human and environmental wellbeing
Even seemingly intractable problems such as the antibiotic crisis and the obesity epidemic could be resolved by treating human health and society as an integral part of an ecosystem.

Electric-car driving range and emissions depend on where you live
Many car buyers weighing whether they should go all electric to help the planet have at least one new factor to consider before making the switch: geography.

Molecular mouse-trap technique sheds light on key cell processes
Scientists have shed new light on the fundamental biological process of cell division, thanks to an emerging analytical method.

Tagging drugs to fight counterfeit medicines
The US and other countries are enacting rules to clamp down on the sales of fake pharmaceuticals, which pose a public health threat.

Cherenkov Effect improves radiation therapy for patients with cancer
The characteristic blue glow from a nuclear reactor is present in radiation therapy, too.

Electronic alerts may do more harm than good for kidney patients
The use of electronic alerts by hospitals treating patients with acute kidney injury may increase interventions without improving care, a study by Yale researchers found.

RI Hospital and Day One to evaluate sexual violence prevention programs for men and boys
RI Hospital and Day One will collaborate on the evaluation of high school-based sexual violence prevention programs.

In quest for better lithium-air batteries, chemists boost carbon's stability
Chemists Dunwei Wang, of Boston College, and Wei Fan, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, report nano-coatings increased the stability of a unique form of carbon, yielding performance gains focused on next generation lithium-air batteries.

Culture clash: How stem cells are grown affects their genetic stability
Writing in the Feb. 25 online issue of the journal PLOS ONE, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with collaborators from The Scripps Research Institute, have definitively shown for the first time that the culture conditions in which stem cells are grown and mass-produced can affect their genetic stability.

Heart failure patients struggling with daily tasks more often hospitalized, die early
Heart failure patients who struggled doing everyday tasks were more likely to be hospitalized and die early.

Million man study examines long-term effects of blocking inflammation
Inflammation -- the body's response to damaging stimuli -- may have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease, according to a study published today in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

Multicenter study finds respiratory viruses most common cause of pneumonia in children
Respiratory viruses, not bacterial infections, are the most commonly detected causes of community-acquired pneumonia in children, according to new research released Feb.

Shining new light on vascular diseases in diabetics
Columbia Engineering professor Andreas Hielscher is developing a novel technology that could improve diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease and make it easier to monitor patients.

Do long sleepers have an increased risk of stroke?
People who sleep more than eight hours a night may have an increased risk of stroke, according to a new study published in the Feb.

Demanding piloting in Helsinki
Helsinki Region Transport and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. will launch an extensive joint pilot to introduce highly efficient lightweight electric buses.

First direct observation of carbon dioxide's increasing greenhouse effect at the Earth's surface
Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide's greenhouse effect at the Earth's surface for the first time.

Climate-warmed leaves change lake ecosystems, Dartmouth-led study finds
Rising soil temperatures significantly affect autumn leaves and consequently the food web, appearance and biochemical makeup of the lakes and ponds those leaves fall into, a Dartmouth College-led study finds.

Learning by eye: Silicon micro-funnels increase the efficiency of solar cells
A biological structure in mammalian eyes has inspired scientists to design an inorganic counterpart for use in solar cells: micron-sized vertical funnels were etched shoulder-to-shoulder in a silicon substrate.

Breakfast habits affect teens' metabolic responses to protein-packed morning meals
An University of Missouri researcher compared young women who habitually skip breakfast to those who routinely eat breakfast and found that their metabolic responses to eating a high-protein breakfast were different.

New nanowire structure absorbs light efficiently
Researchers at Aalto University, Finland have developed a new method to implement different types of nanowires side-by-side into a single array on a single substrate.

Vaccine hesitancy: A PLOS Currents collection investigating vaccination decision-making
Researchers explore individuals' confidence or reluctance to vaccinate their families and the associated effects on global health.

Mountain birds beat the odds
Living on harsh, unforgiving icy mountains can make one mentally sharper, and this applies to birds as well.

Researchers demonstrate optogenetic stimulation of the brain to control pain
New research led by Samarendra Mohanty, UT Arlington assistant professor of physics, reveals for the first time how a small area of the brain can be optically stimulated to control pain. 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