Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 04, 2015
U of M researchers call for US government to expand role in helping rebuild Somalia
As Somalia continues to rebuild after a prolonged civil war that began in the early 1990s, researchers at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs recommend the US government shift its work from peacekeeping to rebuilding in ways that will help grow Somalia's economy.

Amazon deforestation 'threshold' causes species loss to accelerate
One of the largest area studies of forest loss impacting biodiversity shows that one-third of the Amazon is headed toward or has just past a threshold of forest cover below which species loss is faster and more damaging.

Trying to lose weight? How to avoid setting yourself up for failure
If you're on a diet, just skipping dessert can seem like a huge accomplishment, leading you to think you're well on your way to losing weight.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a more effective carbon capture method
Trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants and various industries could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

Argonne research expanding from injectors to inhalers
In collaboration with Australian researchers, Argonne's scientists are using decades of experience analyzing vehicle fuel injectors to study medical inhalers, hoping to unlock the secrets of the devices that are so well known to asthma sufferers everywhere.

Queen's University breakthrough to take the pain out of catheters
A new pharmaceutical product that could significantly improve quality of life for catheter users all over the world is to be developed by Queen's University Belfast after it won a national award.

Hormone-blocking drug prevents ovarian failure and improves fertility in breast cancer patients
Breast cancer patients who are given the hormone-blocking drug goserelin during chemotherapy are less likely to experience ovarian failure and more likely to have successful pregnancies, according to results from the Prevention of Early Menopause Study to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Experiment and theory unite at last in debate over microbial nanowires
Scientific debate has been hot lately about whether microbial nanowires, the specialized electrical pili of the mud-dwelling anaerobic bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens, truly possess metallic-like conductivity as its discoverers claim.

How big data can be used to understand major events
With the most unpredictable UK general election looming in modern times, how can big data be used to understand how elections are covered by the media?

ILROG issues treatment guidelines for pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma
The International Lymphoma Radiation Oncology Group has issued a guideline that outlines the use of 3-D computed tomography (CT)-based radiation therapy planning and volumetric image guidance to more effectively treat pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma and to reduce the radiation dose to normal tissue, thus decreasing the risk of late side effects.

Why isn't the universe as bright as it should be?
This study explains why galaxies don't churn out as many stars as they should.

Scientists quantify healthy years gained by avoiding risk factors
Obesity, hypertension and diabetes are known risk factors for heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

Obesity is associated with brain's neurotransmitters
Researchers at Aalto University and University of Turku have revealed how obesity is associated with altered opioid neurotransmission in the brain.

Study: Men tend to be more narcissistic than women
With three decades of data from more than 475,000 participants, a new study on narcissism from the University at Buffalo School of Management reveals that men, on average, are more narcissistic than women.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research announces annual meeting details
The International Society for Stem Cell Research's 13th annual meeting will take place June 24-27, 2015, at the Stockholmsmässan Exhibition and Convention Center in Stockholm, Sweden.

Energy-generating cloth could replace batteries in wearable devices
From light-up shoes to smart watches, wearable electronics are gaining traction among consumers, but these gadgets' versatility is still held back by the stiff, short-lived batteries that are required.

Permafrost's turn of the microbes
As the Arctic warms, tons of carbon locked away in Arctic tundra will be transformed into the powerful greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane, but scientists know little about how that transition takes place.

Family interventions reduce smoking rates in children and adolescents
A global review by Canada's University of Calgary and QUT into the effectiveness of family-based programs has found these programs can be highly effective in stopping children from taking up smoking.

Earliest known fossil of the genus Homo dates to 2.8 to 2.75 million years ago
The earliest known record of the genus Homo -- the human genus -- represented by a lower jaw with teeth, recently found in the Afar region of Ethiopia, dates to between 2.8 and 2.75 million years ago, according to an international team of geoscientists and anthropologists.

Air pollution connected with narrowing of the arteries
People living in areas with more air pollution face a greater risk of carotid artery stenosis, a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the brain, according to research scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Time for balance? Preventing atypical femoral fractures related to bisphosphonates
Two recent articles, one publishing in JBJS Reviews; the other published in JBJS Case Connector, examine the relationship between bisphosphonates and atypical fractures of the femur.

Where you live could mean 'greener' alternatives do more harm than good
University of Toronto engineering professor proposes a new 600-ton threshold that could indicate when switching to 'low carbon' alternatives may actually increase emissions.

Manipulating cells' shapes could treat breast cancer
Changing the shape of breast cancer cells could make the disease more sensitive to treatments -- even driving the body's own inflammatory response against a tumor -- a new study shows.

Genetic data can help predict how pine forests will cope with climate change
Data from only a small number of gene variants can predict which maritime pine trees are most vulnerable to climate change, scientists report in the March issue of GENETICS.

Deciding on a purchase: Does it matter if you look up or down while shopping?
Next time you look up at a higher shelf in a store or down at your phone when making a purchase, think about how the direction you are looking could influence your decision.

Solar cells get growth boost
Growing film for use in solar cells under controlled conditions isn't necessarily the best way.

Professor analyzes role of trade sanctions against Iran
Raj Bhala, law professor and international trade expert, analyzes, explains and critiques the most comprehensive set of trade sanctions ever imposed.

Chance as a motivator? Uncertainty can make people work harder
Can uncertainty motivate people to work harder? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, people will often put in more effort to obtain uncertain rewards.

History holds valuable lessons in the war on drugs
A special issue of a research journal opens a new frontier of research into the Latin American drug trade and its effect on world culture.

Activating genes on demand
A new approach developed by Harvard geneticist George Church, Ph.D., can help uncover how tandem gene circuits dictate life processes, such as the healthy development of tissue or the triggering of a particular disease, and can also be used for directing precision stem cell differentiation for regenerative medicine and growing organ transplants.

Marriage more likely to end in divorce when wives get sick, according to ISU study
A new Iowa State University study analyzed the divorce rate for couples in which either spouse was diagnosed with a serious illness.

Time management: Why we feel busier when close to reaching a goal
Is there any worse time to be interrupted than right now?

Heritability of autism spectrum disorder studied in UK twins
Substantial genetic and moderate environmental influences were associated with risk of autism spectrum disorder and broader autism traits in a study of twins in the United Kingdom, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Scientists question rush to build Nicaragua canal
A consortium of environmental scientists including Rice University's Pedro Alvarez has expressed strong concern about the impact of a controversial Central American canal across Nicaragua.

LSU Health New Orleans discovers retina protein that may help conquer blindness
Research led by Nicolas Bazan, M.D., Ph.D., Boyd Professor and Director of the LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence, discovered a protein in the retina that is crucial for vision.

Dog DNA tests alone not enough for healthy pedigree, experts say
Breeding dogs on the basis of a single genetic test carries risks and may not improve the health of pedigree lines, experts warn.

New study reveals widespread risk of infectious diseases to wild bees
Researchers have discovered a network of viruses, which were previously associated with managed honeybees, may now pose a widespread risk to bumblebees in the wild, according to a new study published Wednesday, March 4, in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

Atrial fibrillation patients on digoxin face increased risk of death
Patients taking digoxin to control atrial fibrillation face a 27 percent greater risk of dying than atrial fibrillation patients who are not taking digoxin, according to an analysis of 19 studies involving more than 500,000 patients scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Study quantifies costs, utilization, access to care for patients with eczema
Adults with the common chronic skin condition eczema had higher out-of-pocket health care costs, more lost workdays, poorer overall health, more health care utilization and impaired access to care compared to adults without eczema, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

UT Dallas technology could make night vision, thermal imaging affordable
This technology reaches nearly 10 terahertz, the highest frequency manufactured in CMOS.

Siemens grants $30 million in software licenses to the George Washington University
The $30 million in-kind software grant was announced at the opening of the new Science and Engineering Hall at GW.

Oxytocin may enhance social function in psychiatric disorders
Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have shown inducing the release of brain oxytocin may be a viable therapeutic option for enhancing social function in psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.

Using fruit flies to understand how we sense hot and cold
Innately, we pull our hand away when we touch a hot pan on the stove, but little is known about how our brain processes temperature information.

UBC scientists uncover cause of tree-killing fungus
Forest scientists at the University of British Columbia believe they've discovered the root cause of a deadly tree fungus: extra genes.

UH researchers find link between flame retardants and obesity
Could your electronics be making you fat? According to University of Houston researchers, a common flame retardant used to keep electronics from overheating may be to blame.

Endocrine Society publishes comprehensive report on hormone health statistics
The Endocrine Society today published the first chapter of a new report compiling the latest peer-reviewed statistics on hormone health conditions into a single resource.

Wild yaks -- shaggy barometers of climate change
A new study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society, University of Montana, Qinghai Forestry Bureau, Keke Xili National Nature Reserve, and other groups finds that climate change and past hunting in the remote Tibetan Plateau is forcing female wild yaks onto steeper and steeper terrain.

Mediterranean diet cuts heart disease risk by nearly half
Adults who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease over a 10-year period compared to similar adults who did not closely follow the diet, according to a study to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Twitter chatter predicts health insurance marketplace enrollment, Penn study shows
An increase in Twitter sentiment, the positivity or negativity of tweets, is associated with an increase in state-level enrollment in the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplaces -- a phenomenon that points to use of the social media platform as a real-time gauge of public opinion and provides a way for marketplaces to quickly identify enrollment changes and emerging issues.

Determining recipes for some of the world's oldest preserved beers
Some breweries have taken to resurrecting the flavors of ages past.

Big box stores could ditch the grid, use natural gas fuel cells instead
Natural gas-powered solid oxide fuel cells, located at the point of use to produce electricity for facilities the size of big box stores, could provide economic and environmental benefits, with additional research, according to new study.

Excavation reveals ancient town and burial complex in Diros Bay, Greece
Recent research by The Diros Project, a five-year excavation program in Diros Bay, Greece has uncovered the remains of an ancient town and burial complex that date to the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

Kids and robots learn to write together
Who is the teacher: the student or the machine? By showing a robot how to write letters, children improve their writing skills and gain self-­confidence.

Novel approach helps prevent early menopause in breast cancer patients, study finds
Early menopause can be prevented and fertility may be preserved in young women with early stage breast cancer, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Mental health soon after war-zone concussions predicts disability
Evaluating military personnel with blast-related mild traumatic brain injuries, researchers have found that early symptoms of post-traumatic stress, such as anxiety, emotional numbness, flashbacks and irritability, are the strongest predictors of later disability.

Strong genetic risk factor for MS discovered in family of five affected siblings
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a genetic variation that in women significantly increases their risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

America's Next Top Model: How do fans contribute to the decline of their favorite TV shows?
Popular TV shows can rapidly lose much of their audience.

Research uncovers basis for cadmium toxicity
University of Adelaide research has uncovered how the metal cadmium, which is accumulating in the food chain, causes toxicity in living cells.

Cell powerhouse sequencing technology provides deeper look at inherited disease risk
A new sequencing technique may provide a clearer picture of how genes in mitochondria, the 'powerhouses' that turn sugar into energy in human cells.

Discovery of jaw by ASU team sheds light on early Homo
For decades, scientists have been searching for African fossils documenting the earliest phases of the Homo lineage, but specimens recovered from the critical time interval between 3 and 2.5 million years ago have been frustratingly few and often poorly preserved.

Older, white males with advanced bladder cancer at high risk for suicide
Older, single white males with advanced bladder cancer have the highest suicide risk among those with other cancers of the male genitals and urinary system, researchers report.

Full-annual-cycle models track migratory bird populations throughout the year
Many birds spend only a few months of the year in their breeding range before leaving to spend the winter in another region or even on another continent, and models that only make use of data from one season may not paint a complete picture.

SAS 2015: Call for registration is open
Research groups from all over the world are using small-angle scattering as a method to reveal nanostructures in materials and biological samples.

Choice of monitoring method could be key for babies with poor growth in the womb
Babies that grow poorly in the womb could have better outcomes if a method for the timing of delivery was used more widely, a study suggests.

Penn scientists describe the function of an enzyme critical to male fertility
In a study published in the journal Genes and Development, University of Pennsylvania researchers have filled in details of how an enzyme, through interactions with a network of nearly two dozen other genes, protects the integrity of the germ line by giving rise to a class of RNA molecules that are essential to sperm development.

Breakthrough in nonlinear optics research
A method to selectively enhance or inhibit optical nonlinearities in a chip-scale device has been developed by scientists, led by the University of Sydney.

Often-ignored glucose value in routine blood tests correlates with risk of type 2 diabetes
Glucose values obtained during routine blood tests are often overlooked, but could provide valuable insight into whether someone is at risk for having type 2 diabetes, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

NSU researchers discover hurricanes helped accelerate spread of lionfish
NSU researchers studied the correlation between hurricanes and spread of invasive species, lionfish, due to changes in ocean currents.

Animal functional diversity started out poor, became richer over time
The finding refutes a hypothesis by the famed evolutionary biologist Stephen J.

First-of-its kind reference on pelvic malignancies
Loyola University Medical Center radiation oncologist William Small, Jr., M.D., is co-editor of 'Pelvic Malignancy and its Consequences,' the first-of-its kind stand-alone reference on the subject.

Budget first, thank yourself later: Are realistic consumers more successful?
Every time you run errands, you make decisions about what to get done and how much to spend.

New data provided by seabed sediments on the climate within the Mediterranean basin
An international team of scientists which included three University of Granada and the Andalusian Institute of Earth Sciences researchers (a joint UGR-CISC center) have found new data on the weather in the Mediterranean basin over the course of the past 20.000 years thanks to the chemical composition of sediments deposited in its seabed.

70 Nobel laureates and 672 young scientists expected at Lindau
70 laureates and 672 young scientists from 88 countries will participate in the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

Catching the drinking game bug
When the conversation fades and the food runs out, exuberant partygoers might turn to drinking games for their postprandial entertainment.

X-ray imaging of a single virus in 3-D
By imaging single viruses injected into the intense beam of an X-ray free-electron laser, researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of the mimivirus.

An alternative to medical marijuana for pain?
Medical marijuana is proliferating across the country due to the ability of cannabis ingestion to treat important clinical problems such as chronic pain.

New materials discovered to detect neutrons emitted by radioactive materials
A new research paper reveals how specially prepared carbon foam can be used in the detection of neutrons emitted by radioactive materials -- a task of critical importance to homeland security, as well as industry and safety.

New research could lead to more efficient electrical energy storage
Lawrence Livermore researchers have identified electrical charge-induced changes in the structure and bonding of graphitic carbon electrodes that may one day affect the way energy is stored.

Northeastern researchers make breakthrough discovery in cancer treatment
Michail Sitkovsky, an immunophysiology expert at Northeastern, and his research colleagues have found that supplemental oxygenation could shrink tumors and improve cancer immunotherapy.

How to make palm oil without destroying forests
The versatility of palm oil has led to its use in not just food products but also in everyday goods from lipstick to laundry detergent.

Smoking when pregnant increases cancer risk for daughters
A new study has found women who smoke when pregnant are putting their daughters at a greater risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer later in life.

Miscanthus-based ethanol boasts bigger environmental benefits, higher profits
A recent study simulated a side-by-side comparison of the yields and costs of producing ethanol using miscanthus, switchgrass, and corn stover.

Characterizing permafrost microbes in a changing climate
With global temperatures projected to rise over the coming centuries, the frozen Arctic soils may thaw completely, potentially causing the largest contribution of carbon transferred to the atmosphere by a single terrestrial process.

Common antidepressant may hold the key to heart failure reversal
A team led by researchers at Temple University School of Medicine found that a commonly prescribed antidepressant restored heart function in mice with heart failure, a finding that could lead to clinical trials for a disease long considered irreversible.

Think twice about investing in own company
Employees whose retirement plan is invested in stock of the company where they work do not pull out money as the firms approach financial distress, a recently released, but yet to be published paper, co-authored by a University of California, Riverside assistant professor found.

Study shows that use of statins increases risk of developing diabetes by 46 percent
New research published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, shows that use of statins is associated with a 46 percent increase in the risk of developing diabetes, even after adjustment for confounding factors.

Exercise benefits when young could be undermined in people unable to cope with stress
Young people who exercise may be less likely to benefit from it in terms of avoiding heart disease later in life if they are prone to have a poor ability to cope with stress, reveals research published online in Heart.

What does space smell like? (video)
You can see it through a telescope, or watch a documentary about it, but you can't stick your nose out and take a whiff.

New protein booster may lead to better DNA vaccines and gene therapy
Scientists have discovered a new way to manipulate how cells function, a finding that might help advance an experimental approach to improving public health: DNA vaccines, which could be more efficient, less expensive and easier to store than traditional vaccines.

Galactic 'rain' could be key to star formation
Some of the galaxies in our universe are veritable star nurseries.

Analysis of spider venom reveals 7 promising compounds with potential to relieve chronic pain
New research shows that seven compounds of the countless found in spider venom block a key step in the body's ability to pass pain signals to the brain.

Top experts meet in Cambridge to address climate change and the future of plant life
On March 26, New England Wild Flower Society will host 'Climate Change and the Future of Plant Life,' a Symposium where five global and regional experts will discuss the state of global plant life, New England's plant communities and the impact of climate change, and explore how we can shape a resilient future for New England ecosystems.

Omega-3 fatty acids appear to protect damaged heart after heart attack
Taking omega-3 fatty acids appeared to lower inflammation and guard against further declines in heart function among recent heart attack survivors already receiving optimal standard care, according to results from a randomized, controlled trial to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Better midlife fitness may slow brain aging
People with poor physical fitness in their 40s may have accelerated brain aging by the time they hit 60.

L.A. story: Cleaner air, healthier kids
A 20-year study shows that decreasing air pollution in Los Angeles has led to healthier lungs for millennials when compared to children in the '90s.

The brain works as a 'cyclops,' compensating the optical differences between the eyes
The eyes differ in their optical properties what results in a blur projected in each retina, despite we see sharp images because the visual system calibrates itself.

MARC Travel Awards announced for EB 2015
FASEB MARC Program has announced the travel award recipients for the Experimental Biology 2015 meeting in Boston, Mass., from March 28-April 1, 2015.

Team to study Montana forest to help forests across American West
Jia Hu's research has taken her to Australia and Tibet.

Study reveals mechanism behind most common form of inherited Alzheimer's disease
A study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital reveals for the first time exactly how mutations associated with the most common form of inherited Alzheimer's disease produce the disorder's devastating effects.

Personalized health coaching helps reverse progression to diabetes
People with prediabetes who took part in a comprehensive health program to improve nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep were able to revert to normal blood glucose metabolism, reducing their risk for developing diabetes--a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease -- according to a study to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Online Icicle Atlas offers jackpot of scientific data
Anyone who might be dreading the end of winter or cannot wait until it arrives again can now enjoy the beauty and mystery of icicles all year long with the Icicle Atlas.

Deadly frog fungus dates back to 1880s, studies find
A pair of studies show that the deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, responsible for the extinction of more than 200 amphibian species worldwide, has coexisted harmlessly with animals in Illinois and Korea for more than a century.

Launching a new brand: Is partnering with a popular brand a good idea?
If you're trying to sell a new brand of cereal, teaming up with Kellogg's or General Mills would seem like a really great idea.

Gout may lessen chances of developing Alzheimer's disease
People who have gout are significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, concludes research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

New information on Parkinson's disease: GDNF not needed by the midbrain dopamine system
A recent Finnish study overturns results from seven years ago.

New models yield clearer picture of emissions' true costs
New models developed at Duke University calculate and compare the true costs of various fuels to health, climate and the environment.

Can exercise training prevent premature death in elderly?
Generation 100 is the first and largest randomized clinical study evaluating the effect of regular exercise training on morbidity and mortality in elderly people.

Defined by your possessions? How loving parents unintentionally foster materialism in their children
Can loving and supportive parents unintentionally encourage their children to define their self-worth through possessions?

GeneSight multi-gene test more predictive of antidepressant response
The combinatorial, multi-gene GeneSight test has been found to better predict antidepressant treatment outcomes for patients with depression, and their use of health care resources, than any of the individual genes that comprise the test, according to a peer-reviewed analysis by investigators from the Mayo Clinic and Assurex Health, and published online by The Pharmacogenomics Journal.

Infant gut bacteria and food sensitization: Associations in the first year of life
Canadian researchers are shedding new light on changes in intestinal bacteria of infants that can predict future development of food allergies or asthma.

Cities have a memory and interact with their neighbors
Demographic changes in large cities depend on millions of individual decisions, but the population evolves depending on two factors: what 'reminds' them of their recent past and the existence of other urban areas around them.

Strength in numbers
When scientists develop a full quantum computer, the world of computing will undergo a revolution of sophistication, speed and energy efficiency that will make even our beefiest conventional machines seem like Stone Age clunkers by comparison.

New studies fail to find cardiovascular risk with testosterone therapy
Two studies scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego failed to find a connection between testosterone therapy in men and heart problems, contradicting research that prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to investigate its safety.

Direct evidence that drought-weakened Amazonian forests 'inhale less carbon'
An international research team has provided direct evidence of the rate at which individual trees in the Amazonian basin 'inhale' carbon from the atmosphere during severe drought.

AMP launches micro-costing and health economic evaluation tools for GSP
AMP releases cost analysis results and health economic evaluation models for several genomic sequencing procedure codes.

James Cook University in major study on rapid fish acclimatization
A JCU team from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies has been granted more than $600,000 to find out why fish exposed to high water temperatures have offspring that are born already acclimatized to the high temperatures.

Usual prey gone, a fish survives by changing predictably
Without the Bahamas mosquitofish to eat, bigmouth sleepers slide down the food chain and survive on insects, snails and crustaceans.

Study: One-third of Americans do not have access to stroke center within 1 hour
One-third of the US population does not have access to a primary stroke center within one hour by ambulance, and even under optimal conditions, a large proportion of the US would be unable to access a stroke center within this window, according to a new study published in the March 4, 2015, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Metabolic path to improved biofuel production
Researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute have found a way to increase the production of fuels and other chemicals from biomass fermented by yeast without the need of environmentally harsh pre-treatments or expensive enzyme cocktails.

Male images seen by left side of the brain, new study finds
A new study published today in the journal Laterality, has found that people are quicker to categorize a face as being male when it is shown to the left side of the brain.

Flexible sensors turn skin into a touch-sensitive interaction space for mobile devices
Computer scientists at Saarland University have developed flexible silicone rubber stickers with pressure-sensitive sensors that fit snugly to the skin. 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