Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 26, 2015
Biophysicist receives EliteForsk Award 2015
Biophysics professor Lene Oddershede of the University of Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute at the Faculty of Science will receive an EliteForsk Award -- Denmark's largest public research award -- on Thursday, Feb.

Study affirms role of specialized protein in assuring normal cell development
Scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center and New York University have demonstrated that a specialized DNA-binding protein called CTCF is essential for the precise expression of genes that control the body plan of a developing embryo.

Novel precision medicine tool could help personalize cancer treatments
A new laboratory test accurately predicted which of many drug treatments would most effectively kill cancer cells in the laboratory and in the clinic.

Major research conference on child development in Philadelphia
The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) will hold its Biennial Meeting in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center March 19-21, 2015.

Intermediary neuron acts as synaptic cloaking device, says Carnegie Mellon study
A specific type of neuron might be thwarting researchers efforts at mapping the connectome by temporarily cloaking the synapses that link a wide field of neurons, says a Carnegie Mellon study.

Twin study lends new insights into link between back pain and depression
Genetic factors help to explain the commonly found association between low back pain and depression, suggests a large study of twins in the March issue of PAIN, the official publication of the International Association for the Study of Pain.

Embrace unknowns, opt for flexibility in environmental policies
Two University of Washington researchers argue in a Science perspectives piece that conservation managers must learn to make decisions about managing ecosystems and natural resources based on an uncertain future.

Traditional forms of media coverage valued over advertising, UGA study finds
In an age where digital media is constantly changing, public relations practitioners and business professionals still see the benefits of traditional media coverage, according to a recent Public Relations Journal study.

TSRI team shows how rare antibody targets Ebola and Marburg virus
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have captured the first images showing how immune molecules bind to a site on the surface of Marburg virus, pointing a way to target the virus's weak spots with future treatments.

Blood samples as surrogates for tumor biopsies in patients with lung cancer
A study examined the feasibility of using circulating free DNA from blood samples of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer as a surrogate for tumor biopsies to determine tumor-causing epidermal growth factor receptor mutations and then correlate that with expected patient outcomes, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Amphibian chytrid fungus reaches Madagascar
The chytrid fungus, which is fatal to amphibians, has been detected in Madagascar for the first time.

Undocumented Mexican immigrants' kids have higher risk of behavior problems
Children of undocumented Mexican immigrants have a significantly higher risk of behavior problems than their co-ethnic counterparts with documented or naturalized citizen mothers, according to a team of sociologists.

Aggressive plant fungus threatens wheat production
The spread of exotic and aggressive strains of a plant fungus is presenting a serious threat to wheat production in the UK, according to research published in Genome Biology.

A mollusk of a different stripe
Optical features embedded in marine shells may help develop responsive, transparent displays.

Living in the genetic comfort zone
Scientists at the Vetmeduni Vienna found that, despite underlying genetic differences, two separate strains of fruit flies had a very similar gene expression pattern at 18°C.

Interaction of estrogen receptor and coactivators seen for first time
In a recent study with Dr. Wah Chiu, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Baylor, O'Malley for the first time visualized the 900 kiloDalton molecular machine made up of the receptor, its coactivator SRC-3, another coactivator called p300, and the DNA that it controls, through the use of an electron cryo-microscope and advanced computational analysis.

People with disabilities experience unrecognized health disparities, new research shows
People with disabilities have unmet medical needs and poorer overall health throughout their lives, and as a result should be recognized as a health disparity group so more attention can be directed to improving their quality of life, a team of policy researchers has found.

New insight found in black hole collisions
New research by an astrophysicist at The University of Texas at Dallas provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe -- the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

New research signals big future for quantum radar
A prototype quantum radar that has the potential to detect objects which are invisible to conventional systems has been developed by an international research team led by a quantum information scientist at the University of York.

'Ecosystem services' help assess ocean energy development
In a new paper, Brown University environmental scientists suggest that the way to fill vast gaps in knowledge about the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of ocean energy development is to consider how the benefits provided by ocean ecosystems change before and after the placement of ocean energy infrastructure.

Studies find emergency doctors and paramedics commonly misinterpret documents for end-of-life care choices, reports Journal of Patient Safety
Emergency care providers vary in their understanding of a type of medical order intended to communicate seriously ill patients' choices for life-sustaining treatments, according to a pair of studies in the March Journal of Patient Safety.

Africa, from a CATS point of view
From Saharan dust storms to icy clouds to smoke on the opposite side of the continent, the first image from NASA's newest cloud- and aerosol-measuring instrument provides a profile of the atmosphere above Africa.

Looking deeply into the universe in 3-D
The MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope has given astronomers the best ever three-dimensional view of the deep universe.

New CMI process recycles valuable rare-earth metals from old electronics
Scientists at the Critical Materials Institute, headquartered at the Ames Laboratory, have developed a two-step recovery process that makes recycling rare-earth metals easier and more cost-effective.

Teacher prejudices put girls off math, science
Although higher education has already opened the door to equal opportunities for women and minorities in the US in the math and science professions, a new Tel Aviv University study suggests that elementary school teachers' unconscious biases significantly influence female students' academic choices later on.

Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D may control brain serotonin
In a new paper published in FASEB Journal by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., and Bruce Ames, Ph.D., of Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, serotonin is explained as the possible missing link tying together why vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acids might ameliorate the symptoms associated with a broad array of brain disorders.

OU engineering professors will play key role in NIST Community Resilience Center
University of Oklahoma College of Engineering professors will participate as part of a multi-disciplinary team from 10 universities on a $20 million cooperative agreement awarded by the US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology to Colorado State University to establish the Community Resilience Center of Excellence in Fort, Collins, Colo.

Yale researchers reverse type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease in rats
Yale researchers developed a controlled-release oral therapy that reversed type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease in rats, according to a study published on Feb.

Strong connection between violence and mental illness during Guatemala Civil War
Violence during the civil war in Guatemala from 1960 to 1996 resulted in the development of significant mental health problems and conditions for the county's people, according to a new multi-institution study from researchers under the Guatemala-Penn Partnership.

Urine test predicts heart failure patients' risk of kidney injury
Urinary angiotensinogen levels at the time of hospital admission predicted acute decompensated heart failure patients' risk of developing acute kidney injury with considerable accuracy.

Newly discovered neurons predict the cooperative behavior of others
Social interactions rely on the ability to anticipate others' intentions and actions, and identifying neurons that reflect another individual's so-called 'state of mind' has been a long-sought goal in neuroscience.

Could squirmy livestock dent Africa's protein deficit?
Two UW-Madison graduate students are working to introduce highly productive kits for farming mealworms to regions such as sub-Saharan Africa where eating insects is already culturally palatable.

Early signs in young children predict type 1 diabetes
New research shows that it is possible to predict the development of type 1 diabetes.

Better genes for better (more adaptable) beans
Out of thousands of legume species, only a few are used in mainstream agriculture.

Patient perceptions of physician compassion measured
Cancer patients perceived a higher level of compassion and preferred physicians when they provided a more optimistic message in a clinical trial that used videos with doctors portrayed by actors, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Why debunked autism treatment fads persist
The communication struggles of children with autism spectrum disorder can drive parents and educators to try anything to understand their thoughts, needs and wants.

Global health experts call into question sub-Saharan cancer data
Global health experts believe the current data on cancer prevalence, incidence and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa -- which determines how billions of pounds of international development money is spent -- are weak and could mean vital funds are being deflected from other priorities.

Interaction of Atlantic and Pacific oscillations caused 'false pause' in warming
The recent slowdown in climate warming is due, at least in part, to natural oscillations in the climate, according to a team of climate scientists, who add that these oscillations represent variability internal to the climate system.

Cancer screening concerns
Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are much less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer, research shows.

'Blue-green algae' proliferating in lakes
The organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries -- and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century, according to an international team of researchers led by scientists at McGill University.

Research to the rescue: Fishing for rhinos with Tekken
University of Guam researchers catch 25 times as many rhino beetles as standard pheromone traps with a newly developed cost-effective trap called Tekken.

New Notre Dame paper focuses on degree centrality in networks
In a recent paper published in Scientific Reports, a Nature publication, University of Notre Dame researchers study the problem of dynamics and evolution of node's centrality.

Fighting the Colorado potato beetle with RNA interference
Colorado potato beetles are a dreaded pest of potatoes. Since they do not have natural enemies in most regions, farmers try to control them with pesticides.

Social circles
An MIT study details the degree to which urban movement is linked to social activity.

New cicada species discovered in Switzerland and Italy
They belong to the best-known, biggest and loudest group of insects -- and yet they still manage to surprise: researchers at the University of Basel have discovered a new singing cicada species in Italy and southern Switzerland.

Hospitals face growing active shooter threat
The number of active shooter incidents in US hospitals has increased over the last decade to a frequency of more than one a month.

Ultrasound lags behind MRI for supplemental breast cancer screening
Although supplemental screening via ultrasound is unaffected by breast density, is not associated with ionizing radiation, and does not require IV contrast material, acceptance of this modality has lagged.

Minipool technology to prepare immunoglobulins to fight viral infections in developing countries
A study publishing Feb. 26, 2015, in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases describes a new, pragmatic, method for the production of immunoglobulin G from human plasma in developing countries.

How mantis shrimp evolved many shapes with same powerful punch
The miniweight boxing title of the animal world belongs to the mantis shrimp, a cigar-sized crustacean whose front claws can deliver an explosive 60-mile-per-hour blow akin to a bullet leaving the barrel of a gun.

Top-precision optical atomic clock starts ticking
A state-of-the-art optical atomic clock, collaboratively developed by scientists from the University of Warsaw, Jagiellonian University, and Nicolaus Copernicus University, is now 'ticking away' at the National Laboratory of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in Toru, Poland.

Statin use associated with reduced risk of liver cancer among those in the UK
In a nested-case control study of individuals living in the UK, a part of the world with a relatively low incidence of liver cancer, statin use is associated with a decreased risk of liver cancer, according to a new study published Feb.

Marshaling the body's own weapons against psoriasis
A three-character code brings relief to patients with psoriasis and sheds light on complex immunoregulation processes: IL-4, an abbreviation for the endogenous signaling molecule Interleukin 4.

Discovery about beliefs could prove useful in addiction treatment, researchers say
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have discovered that beliefs can regulate the effects of nicotine on the human brain.

Children of undocumented Mexican immigrants have heightened risk of behavior problems
Children of undocumented Mexican immigrants have a significantly higher risk of behavior problems than their co-ethnic counterparts with documented or naturalized citizen mothers, according to a new study.

Malaria transmission linked to mosquitoes' sexual biology
Sexual biology may be the key to uncovering why Anopheles mosquitoes are unique in their ability to transmit malaria to humans, according to researchers at Harvard T.

Researchers find link between persistent insomnia and increased mortality risk
A connection between persistent insomnia and increased inflammation and mortality has been identified by a group of researchers from the University of Arizona.

The building blocks of the future defy logic
Wake up in the morning and stretch; your midsection narrows.

Can coffee reduce your risk of MS?
Drinking coffee may be associated with a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis, 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.

The numbers are in: 1.8 millions Australian smokers likely to die from their habit
The first large-scale, direct evidence on smoking and mortality in Australia shows up to 1.8 million of our 2.7 million smokers are likely to die from their habit if they continue to smoke, losing on average 10 years of life expectancy.

World's challenges demand science changes -- and fast, experts say
The world has little use -- and precious little time -- for detached experts.

New evidence helps health workers in the fight against Ebola
One year after the first Ebola cases started to surface in Guinea, the latest findings from a Cochrane review show new ways of hydrating patients in critical care environments across the world.

Bioethics commission: Ebola teaches us public health preparedness requires ethics preparedness
Today the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues reported that the federal government has both a prudential and a moral responsibility to actively participate in coordinated global responses to public health emergencies wherever they arise.

Gene discovery sheds light on causes of rare type of dwarfism
A gene linked to a type of dwarfism has been identified by researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

MGH study identifies neurons that help predict what another individual will do
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have discovered two groups of neurons that play key roles in social interactions between primates -- one that is activated when deciding whether to cooperate with another individual and another group involved in predicting what the other will do.

Levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel may prove more effective for long-term treatment of PD
Continuous dosing via a levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel (LCIG, now carbidopa and levodopa enteral suspension in the US) directly into the small intestine may be the key to reducing the motor complications associated with long-term levodopa use.

EARTH Magazine: Hazard lingers after South Napa earthquake
After the Aug. 24, 2014, Napa Valley earthquake, movement continued along the principal fault to the north of the epicenter, according to a report released by the US Geological Survey.

Cancer drug first tested in pet dogs begins human trials
A new drug that prompts cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy cells is now entering phase I clinical trials in humans.

Leukemia-associated mutations almost inevitable as we age
It's almost inevitable that we'll develop mutations associated with leukemia as we age, according to research today in Cell Reports.

Better insurance access leads to more hip, knee replacements among minorities
Researchers at Boston Medical Center have found that the expansion of insurance coverage in Massachusetts increased the number of elective knee and hip replacement procedures by 4.7 percent, with greater increases among black and Hispanic patients.

Lithium from the coal in China
Coal from China could become a major source of the metal lithium, according to a review of the geochemistry by scientists published in the International Journal of Oil, Gas and Coal Technology.

Real-time observation of bond formation by using femtosecond X-ray liquidography
The research team of the Center for Nanomaterials and Chemical Reactions at the Institute for Basic Science has successfully visualized the entire process of bond formation in solution by using femtosecond time-resolved X-ray liquidography (femtosecond TRXL) for the first time in the world.

Thinking of God makes people bigger risk-takers
Reminders of God can make people more likely to seek out and take risks, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Looking into the light
Jon Schuller, professor of electrical and computer engineering, receives an NSF CAREER award to investigate the interactions between light and organic materials.

Researchers identify how humans can develop immunity to deadly Marburg virus
A collaborative team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Vanderbilt University and The Scripps Research Institute have identified mechanisms involved in antibody response to the deadly Marburg virus by studying the blood of a Marburg survivor.

Bumblebees make false memories too
It's well known that our human memory can fail us.

Growth signal can influence cancer cells' vulnerability to drugs, study suggests
Some cells within a tumor may succumb to anti-cancer drugs, while others survive to bring back the cancer.

New research predicts when, how materials will act
A material might melt or snap in half. And for engineers, knowing when and why that might happen is crucial information.

GLP-1 secretion is reduced in overweight, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes
The world's largest study looking at the secretion of the gut hormone GLP-1 has found that the secretion is reduced among overweight and obese people, people with pre-diabetes and newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes.

HIV latency is not an accident: It is a survival tactic employed by the virus
New research from the Gladstone Institutes for the first time provides strong evidence that HIV latency is controlled not by infected host cells, but by the virus itself.

NYU study successfully screens for diabetes at dental visits using oral blood
A new study confirms that using gingival crevicular blood for hemoglobin A1c testing produced values that were nearly identical to those obtained using finger stick blood, with a correlation of .991 between the two blood samples of 408 dental patients.

Online education tool helps bridge gaps in therapeutic decision-making for advanced NSCLC
A new interactive online tool helps educate practicing oncologists worldwide with therapeutic decision-making for advanced non-small cell lung cancer based on a patient's molecular and clinical characteristics by providing feedback from an expert panel.

Pollution is driving force behind growth of nuisance algal scums, study finds
Potentially toxic microbes which pose a threat to our drinking water have undergone a dramatic population explosion over the last 200 years as a result of pollution, research involving experts from The University of Nottingham has found.

The Lancet Hematology: Experts warn of stem cell underuse as transplants reach 1 million worldwide
Since the first experimental bone marrow transplant over 50 years ago, more than one million hematopoietic stem cell transplantations have been performed in 75 countries, according to new research charting the remarkable growth in the worldwide use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantations, published in The Lancet Hamatology journal.

Reasons for ibrutinib therapy discontinuation in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia
About 10 percent of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia discontinued therapy with the Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor drug ibrutinib because of disease progression during clinical trials, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

What makes carbon monoxide so deadly? (video)
It's colorless, odorless and can be deadly. Carbon monoxide is no joke, especially in the winter when people will do just about anything to warm up.

Real-life study for YONDELIS® in sarcoma show comparable or better efficacy than clinical trials
The study reinforces the efficacy of YONDELIS® (trabectedin) in multiple types of soft-tissue sarcoma and supports that long-term treatment delays disease progression.

A novel immunotherapy technique to treat patients with osteosarcoma and neuroblastoma
A novel phase 1 clinical trial that leverages T-cell immunotherapy is now under way at Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, bringing new hope to children and young adults with osteosarcoma and neuroblastoma.

NASA sees the Tropical Cyclone Glenda away from land
NASA's Aqua satellite gathered infrared data on the Southern Indian Ocean's Tropical Cyclone Glenda that showed powerful thunderstorms circling the storm's center.

IPCC sea-level rise scenarios not fit for purpose for high-risk coastal areas
The sea-level rise scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change do not necessarily provide the right information for high-risk coastal decision-making and management, according to new research involving scientists from the University of Southampton.

Urine test could lead to better treatment of bladder cancer
Researchers at the University of Birmingham believe that a simple urine test could help to guide clinicians in the treatment of bladder cancer patients.

Economic models provide insights into global sustainability challenges
Using models that blend global economics, geography, ecology and environmental sciences is essential to understanding how changes in trade and natural systems in one part of the world affect those in another, a review concludes.

Moving molecule writes letters
High performance materials for gas storage, thermal insulators or nanomachines need a thorough understanding of the behavior of the material down to the molecular level.

Moffitt researchers identify protein pathway involved in brain tumor stem cell growth
Glioblastomas are a highly aggressive type of brain tumor, with few effective treatment options.

Chemo before breast cancer operation increases likelihood of breast-preserving procedure
Patients with larger malignant tumors of the breast who undergo chemotherapy before a breast cancer operation are more likely to opt for a breast-preserving procedure and forgo a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast), according to a new study published online as an 'article in press' in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

A taxi ride to starch granules
Plant scientists at ETH have discovered a specific protein that significantly influences the formation of starch in plant cells.

Impact of a supermarket on children's diets
Locating full-service supermarkets within neighborhoods considered to be 'food deserts' may not result in healthful dietary habits or reductions in childhood obesity -- at least in the short term, according to a new study by New York University Langone Medical Center researchers in the Feb.

Researchers develop method for mapping neuron clusters
A team of scientists has developed a method for identifying clusters of neurons that work in concert to guide the behavior.

Cardiac and respiratory function supported by abdominal muscles in muscular dystrophy
Using mouse models, researchers found that abdominal muscles may be severely involved in the muscular dystrophy process.

Music teachers share their unique perspective on music education in America
Across the country music teachers believe that factors at the school level have the greatest impact on their programs.

Research shows Asian herb holds promise as treatment for Ebola virus disease
New research that focuses on the mechanism by which Ebola virus infects a cell and the discovery of a promising drug therapy candidate is being published Feb.

Human antibodies target Marburg, Ebola viruses; 1 step closer to vaccine
Researchers at Vanderbilt University, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and The Scripps Research Institute for the first time have shown how human antibodies can neutralize the Marburg virus, a close cousin to Ebola.

Scaffold-free iPS cell-based hyaline cartilage for joint repair
A team of researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have engineered cartilage that causes minimal scarring after transplantation.

Altering perception of feeding state may promote healthy aging
Targeting mechanisms in the central nervous system that sense energy generated by nutrients might yield the beneficial effects of low-calorie diets on healthy aging without the need to alter food intake, suggests new research from Harvard T.H.

AGA receives $2.25 million endowment for new research into neuroenteric disease
The American Gastroenterological Association Research Foundation has received a generous gift from prominent San Francisco philanthropist Athena Blackburn, which will create new research opportunities for young investigators who are interested in neuroenteric disease.

Skeleton of cells controls cell multiplication
A research team from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, led by Florence Janody, in collaboration with Nicolas Tapon from London Research Institute, discovered that the cell's skeleton can trigger the multiplication of cells through the action of proteins that control cellular rigidity.

Poor response to cholesterol drugs may indicate blocked arteries
Patients whose bad cholesterol levels don't respond to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may have more artery blockages than those whose cholesterol levels drop with treatment.

Novel gene variants found in a difficult childhood immune disorder
Genomics researchers analyzing a rare, serious immunodeficiency disease in children have discovered links to a gene crucial to the body's defense against infections.

Small molecule helps get stem cells to sites of disease and damage
Bioengineers from Brigham and Women's Hospital with collaborators at the pharmaceutical company Sanofi have identified small molecules that can be used to program stem cells to home in on sites of damage, disease and inflammation.

IU researchers identify pancreatic cancer patients who benefit from personalized treatment
Cancer researchers at Indiana University report that about 15 percent of people with pancreatic cancer may benefit from therapy targeting a newly identified gene signature.

Food security in Africa needs a tailored approach, suggests new research
A one-size-fits-all approach to African agriculture development will not lead to growth, suggests research published in Food policy. 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