Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 12, 2015
KAIST introduces a new UI for K-Glass 2 that works with eye blinking
K-Glass 2 detects users' eye movements to point the cursor to recognize computer icons or objects in the Internet, and uses winks for commands.

UTEP research at NASA to explore space safety
The University of Texas El Paso has signed a five-year, $5 million contract with NASA Johnson Space Center contractor Jacobs Technology.

Mind reading thanks to metaphors
Observe whether two people use metaphors in conversation with each other if you want to guess how close they are as friends.

Boosting a natural protection against Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a gene variant that may be used to predict people most likely to respond to an investigational therapy under development for Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists develop atomic force microscopy for imaging nanoscale dynamics of neurons
Atomic force microscopy is a leading tool for imaging, measuring, and manipulating materials with atomic resolution.

Actresses must be picky about with whom they work to survive in movie industry
Actresses need to be pickier than men about with whom they work if they want to survive in the movie industry, suggests a new study.

In vitro effects of topical neuromodulatory medication on orofacial tissue
Today at the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, researcher M.J.

Special issue of Educational Researcher examines value-added measures
The American Educational Research Association has published a special edition of its peer-reviewed journal Educational Researcher devoted to examining value-added measures.

Engineers create chameleon-like artificial 'skin' that shifts color on demand
Borrowing a trick from nature, engineers from the University of California at Berkeley have created an incredibly thin, chameleon-like material that can be made to change color -- on demand -- by simply applying a minute amount of force.

NASA measures Tropical Cyclone Nathan's winds near Queensland Coast
The RapidScat instrument aboard the International Space Station analyzed Tropical Cyclone Nathan's winds while NASA's Terra satellite provided an overall look at the extent of the storm along Queensland, Australia's Cape York Peninsula.

Lawrence Livermore deploys world's highest peak-power laser diode arrays
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has installed and commissioned the highest peak power laser diode arrays in the world, representing total peak power of 3.2 megawatts.

TRMM satellite finds heavy rain in Tropical Storm Bavi
After Tropical Storm Bavi formed in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean, NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's TRMM satellite passed overhead and found heavy rain occurring in the western quadrant of the storm.

Building a genomic GPS
A new 'app' for finding and mapping chromosomal loci using multicolored versions of CRISPR/Cas9, one of the hottest tools in biomedical research today, has been developed by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Neuralstem announces topline results of Phase II ALS trial
Neuralstem reports top-line data in Phase II ALS stem cell trial.

Hospital ratings on social media appear to reflect quality of care
A new study from Massachusetts General Hospital investigators finds a correlation between how hospitals are rated on Facebook's five-star system and how well they performed on a widely used measure of quality care.

Super-resolution microscopes reveal the link between genome packaging and cell pluripotency
A study using super-resolution microscopy reveals that our genome is not regularly packaged and links these packaging differences to stem cell state.

As Oso disaster anniversary nears, kentucky geologists urge preparation for landslides
As the anniversary of the most fatal landslide in the history of the continental United States approaches, we are reminded of the importance of evaluating geologic hazards and communicating that information to communities that may be at risk, including Kentucky, where landslides were reported in Muhlenburg and Caldwell counties this month.

Study details microRNA's role as a double agent during Hep C infection
Once inside a liver cell, the hepatitis C virus must bind to miRNA-122 in order to establish a persistent infection.

Satellite sees rare subtropical storm 90Q in southern Atlantic
The Brazilian Navy Hydrographic Centre reported that a sub-tropical storm had formed on March 11 near east of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, the southeastern most state in Brazil.

Social status has impact on overall health of mammals
High social status has its privileges -- when it comes to aging -- even in wild animals.

Increased susceptibility to measles a side effect of Ebola epidemic
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers say that major disruptions in the health care systems in West Africa caused by the Ebola crisis have led to significant decreases in vaccinations for childhood diseases, increasing susceptibility to measles and other vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Unique proteins found in heat-loving organisms attach to plant matter
Unique proteins newly discovered in heat-loving bacteria are more than capable of attaching themselves to plant cellulose, possibly paving the way for more efficient methods of converting plant matter into biofuels.

Secret of how plants regulate their vitamin C production revealed
Australian and New Zealand researchers have discovered that in the regulation of vitamin C, it is the level of vitamin C itself in each plant cell that decides whether RNA turns into the protein which makes vitamin C.

SwRI-led researchers study methane-rich plumes from Saturn's icy moon Enceladus
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has measured a curious abundance of methane spewing into the atmosphere of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus.

NOAA expands Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones marine sanctuaries off California
Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries off northern California will both more than double in size following a final rule released today by NOAA.

Frozen highly charged ions for highest precision spectroscopy
A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Braunschweig and the University of Aarhus in Denmark demonstrated for the first time Coulomb crystallization of highly charged ions (HCIs).

Cells target giant protein crystals for degradation
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan engineered a fluorescent protein that rapidly assembles into large crystals inside living cells, and showed that cells actively targeted the crystals for degradation.

Tracking marine plankton provides new information to reconstruct past climate
A new study from an international team of scientists uncovered new information about the tiny, globetrotting organisms commonly used to reconstruct past climate conditions.

UH researcher part of SXSW Personalized Medicine Panel March 17
University of Houston professor Preethi Gunaratne will be part of a panel addressing personalized medicine at the South by Southwest Health and MedTech Expo in Austin Tuesday, March 17.

Summer storm weakening leads to more persistent heat extremes
Storm activity in large parts of the US, Europe and Russia significantly calmed down during summers over the past decades, but this is no good news.

Predicting your risk of infection
Research publishing this week in PLOS Computational Biology analyses the livestock trade in Italy and sexual encounters in a Brazilian prostitution service to find a correlation between loyalty and infection risk.

Age-related discrimination can add to healthcare woes
Being discriminated against by the healthcare profession or system can cause much more than just mere distress to older people.

Study bolsters 'turbocharged' protein as a promising tool in hemophilia gene therapy
Using gene therapy to produce a mutant human protein with unusually high blood-clotting power, scientists have successfully treated dogs with the bleeding disorder hemophilia, without triggering an unwanted immune response.

Intestinal gas could be used to diagnose diseases
A perspective article published in Trends in Biotechnology presents evidence that gut microbes produce gases that may contribute to gastrointestinal diseases and could be used as biomarkers for one's state of health.

Magnetic brain stimulation
Magnetic nanoparticles could allow brain stimulation without wires.

Liver-sparing operation associated with higher survival rates in cancer patients
A surgical approach in which a surgeon removes less than a lobe of the liver in a patient undergoing an operation for liver cancer is associated with lower mortality and complication rates, according to new study results published online as an 'article in press' in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Olwyn nearing landfall in Australia
Tropical Cyclone Olwyn was close to making landfall in the northern region of Western Australia when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead.

Can breastfeeding women have menopause-like symptoms?
After giving birth, a woman's estrogen levels drop to lower than usual levels, and while they return to the normal range relatively quickly among women who are not breastfeeding, this hypoestrogenic state may continue in lactating women and cause menopause-like symptoms.

Immune system-in-a-dish offers hope for 'bubble boy' disease
Salk researchers have been able to grow patient-derived, healthy cells in the lab, coming a step closer to treating fatal blood disorders.

Distinct brain mechanisms related to dental pain relief
Today at the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, researcher Michael L.

A 'warhead' molecule to hunt down deadly bacteria
Boston College chemist Jianmin Gao and researchers in his lab report they achieved selective modification of two common lipids, producing a new bio-chemical method to label deadly bacteria and potentially target them with antibiotics with reduced harm to healthy cells, according to a new report in Nature Communications.

Ponds are disappearing in the Arctic
Ponds in the Arctic tundra are shrinking and slowly disappearing, according to a new study by University of Texas at El Paso researchers.

Mind reading: Spatial patterns of brain activity decode what people taste
A team of researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam and the Charité University Hospital in Berlin have revealed how taste is encoded in patterns of neural activity in the human brain.

Gene leads to malformation of the urinary tract
A team of researchers under the direction of the University of Bonn Hospital have discovered a gene which is associated with a rare congenital anomaly of the urinary tract called classic bladder exstrophy.

The origin of the lymphatic vasculature uncovered
In a new study, published in Cell Reports, researchers at Uppsala University describe a novel mechanism by which lymphatic vessels form during embryonic development.

High cholesterol, triglycerides can keep vitamin E from reaching body tissues
In the continuing debate over how much vitamin E is enough, a new study has found that high levels of blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides can keep this essential micronutrient tied up in the blood stream, and prevent vitamin E from reaching the tissues that need it.

Naturally acidic waters of Puget Sound surround UW's Friday Harbor Labs
Two years of measurements in Puget Sound show that these waters naturally tend to be more acidic, with 13 to 22 percent of the unusual acidity due to human-driven climate change.

Antibiotic nanoparticles attack respiratory infection and reduce drug side effects
Treating respiratory disease is often difficult because drugs have to cross biological barriers such as respiratory tissue and mucosa, and must therefore be given in large quantities in order for an effective amount to reach the target.

Health law hasn't cut insurers' rate of overhead spending: Study
Despite claims by the Obama administration that the Affordable Care Act will reduce health insurance companies' spending on overhead, thereby channeling a greater share of consumers' premium dollars into actual patient care, insurers' financial filings show the law had no impact on the percentage of insurer expenditures on such things as administration, marketing and profits.

Germline TP53 mutations in patients with early-onset colorectal cancer
In a group of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer at 40 or younger, 1.3 percent of the patients carried germline TP53 gene mutations, although none of the patients met the clinical criteria for an inherited cancer syndrome associated with higher lifetime risks of multiple cancers, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Low breast density in mammography worsens breast cancer prognosis
Very low mammographic breast density worsens the prognosis of breast cancer, according to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland.

Large gains with new chip design for medical devices
Systems-on-a-chip for extremely critical applications would use 28 percent less energy and 48 percent less chip area while offering nine times lower hardware failure rate, if designed with the completely novel Desyre architecture.

Max Planck Florida hosts Sunposium 2015 Neural Circuits Conference
Several internationally recognized scientists will be speaking at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience's second biennial conference highlighting some of the most complex issues at the forefront of understanding neural circuits.

You are when you eat
A new study finds that limiting flies to specific eating hours protected their hearts against aging.

The Holberg Prize names Marina Warner as 2015 laureate
Today, The Holberg Prize, the largest annual international prize awarded to outstanding researchers in the arts and humanities, social science, law or theology, named British author, scholar and critic Marina Warner as its 2015 laureate.

3-D printer for small molecules opens access to customized chemistry
Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have simplified the chemical synthesis of small molecules, eliminating a major bottleneck that limits the exploration of a class of compounds offering tremendous potential for medicine and technology.

Nature's inbuilt immune defense could protect industrial bacteria from viruses
Findings from a new study that set out to investigate the evolution of immune defenses could boost the development of industrial bacteria that are immune to specific viral infections.

Study shows why exercise magnifies exhaustion for chronic fatigue syndrome patients
The mechanism that causes high-performance athletes to 'feel the burn' turns out to be the culprit in what makes people with chronic fatigue syndrome feel exhausted by the most common daily activities, new University of Florida Health research shows.

Political liberals display greater happiness, UCI study finds
What does it mean to be happy? Is it how happy you say you are, or is it how happy you act?

New work schedule could cure your 'social jetlag'
Many of us are walking around all the time in a fog caused by 'social jetlag.' That's what happens when we lose sleep because our daily schedules don't match our bodies' natural rhythms.

Understanding loneliness through science
Loneliness may be a fundamental part of the human condition, but scientists have only recently begun exploring its causes, consequences, and potential interventions.

Reaching '80 percent by 2018' would prevent more than 20,000 colorectal cancer deaths per year
Increasing colorectal cancer screening rates to 80 percent by 2018 would prevent an additional 21,000 colorectal cancer deaths per year by 2030, according to a new study.

Inspiring geology for 50 years: Geoscientists to meet in Bretton Woods, N.H., USA
Geoscientists from the Northeastern US and beyond will convene in Bretton Woods, N.H., on 23-25 March to discuss hot-topic science, expand on current findings, and explore the region's unique geologic features.

Study examines association of inappropriate prostate, breast cancer imaging
An association of high rates of inappropriate imaging for prostate cancer and breast cancer identified in a study of Medicare beneficiaries suggests that, at the regional level, regional culture and infrastructure could contribute to inappropriate imaging, something policymakers should want to consider as they seek to improve the quality of care and reduce health care spending, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Cebit 2015: Computer scientists from Saarland University simplify parallel programming
Modern software takes computational speed for granted. But modern microprocessors can only speed up by increasing the number of cores.

AIDS to Ebola, report confronts key challenge: Maintaining US leadership in global health technology
Today, the world is looking to the US for cutting-edge diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines that could have the last word on an Ebola outbreak that is down but not out.

New genome-editing technology to help treat blood cancers
Melbourne researchers have developed a new genome editing technology that can target and kill blood cancer cells with high accuracy.

Ebola outbreak of 2014 may have laid tracks for deadly measles epidemic in Africa
Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University researchers report that the African countries most affected by the 2014 Ebola outbreak could now be highly susceptible to measles epidemics due to severe disruptions in routine health care such as vaccinations.

Computer scientist and social choice expert Lirong Xia receives NSF CAREER Award
Xia will use the five-year $524,989 grant to investigate computational mechanisms that improve individual contributions to collective decision making processes -- such as news rankings -- including crowd-sourcing in the presence of online 'noise answers.'

The Lancet: Experts call for a tobacco-free world by 2040
Leading public health researchers today call for the sale of tobacco to be phased out by 2040, showing that with sufficient political support and stronger evidence-based action against the tobacco industry, a tobacco-free world -- where less than 5 percent of adults use tobacco -- could be possible in less than three decades.

Can aging be eliminated or 'cured'?
The construct that the aging trajectory is different for each individual has profound implications for the concept of personalized medicine and how we understand the whole nature of non-infectious diseases.

Sweet nanoparticles target stroke
Materials resulting from chemical bonding of glucosamine, a type of sugar, with fullerenes, kind of nanoparticles known as buckyballs, might help to reduce cell damage and inflammation occurring after stroke.

New evidence that increasing economic inequality rises out of political partisanship
Political scientists at the University at Buffalo and Pennsylvania State University have published new research investigating how partisan differences in macroeconomic policy have contributed to substantial and rising economic inequality in the United States.

The ACA may reduce ER visits (slightly) but doesn't affect hospitalizations
Two patient groups created by the Affordable Care Act -- Medicare patients enrolled in federally designated patient-centered medical homes and people under age 26 who are allowed to remain on their parents' health insurance -- had slightly fewer emergency department visits than they had before health care reform.

'Chemistry of natural resources' focus of plenaries at American Chemical Society meeting
Problems producing biofuels, the role of gas hydrates in energy production and how to supply clean, safe water are the topics of three plenary talks at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, taking place March 22-26 in Denver.

High power and high safety oxide-based negative electrode materials for Li-ion battery
Toyohashi Tech researchers in Japan show electrochemical Li insertion and deinsertion property of Ti-Nb mixed oxide Ti2Nb10O29 (TNO) at high current rate is greatly improved by vacuum annealing.

NIH awards UC biologist $1.9 million for genetic research
An additional award of over $500,000 from the National Science Foundation will explore why animals lose traits over time, and how that might apply to loss of skin pigmentation in humans.

Regeneration in a hostile environment
Damage to the spinal cord rarely heals because the injured nerve cells fail to regenerate.

Raising minimum age to buy cigarettes to at least 21 would reduce smoking and save lives
Increasing the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products will prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults, particularly those ages 15 to 17, and improve the health of Americans across the lifespan, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

RIKEN CSRS and Nagoya University's WPI-ITbM sign joint research collaboration agreement
The RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science and Nagoya University's Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules have announced that the research centers have entered a collaborative agreement to promote interdisciplinary research, particularly focusing on synthetic chemistry and plant biology.

€2 million for studying protein motions and implications for the treatment of prostate cancer
It is known that signalling occurs within proteins; however, how these signals are transmitted remains unclear, and it is a question that could transform the field of drug discovery.

Inflammatory factor IL-3 may play essential role in development of sepsis
A new study finds that Interleukin-3, an inflammatory factor most associated with allergic reactions, has an important role in the overwhelming, life-threatening immune reaction called sepsis.

NIH researchers develop database on healthy immune system
An extensive database identifying immune traits, such as how immune cell function is regulated at the genetic level in healthy people, is reported by researchers from NIH and their collaborators.

Geography matters: Imaging overuse seen in certain US regions
Researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center conclude that patients with low-risk prostate or breast cancer were more likely to receive inappropriate imaging during treatment, based on the region of the country in which they received medical care.

Stem cells lurking in tumors can resist treatment
Scientists are eager to make use of stem cells' extraordinary power to transform into nearly any kind of cell, but that ability also is cause for concern in cancer treatment.

Optogenetics without the genetics
Light can be used to activate normal, non-genetically modified neurons through the use of targeted gold nanoparticles, report scientists from the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Predicting which African storms will intensify into hurricanes
A new study by Tel Aviv University's professor Colin Price finds most hurricanes over the Atlantic that eventually make landfall in North America actually start as intense thunderstorms in Western Africa one or two weeks earlier.

Toddlers in trouble
A father's depression during the first years of parenting -- as well as a mother's -- can put their toddlers at risk of developing troubling behaviors such as hitting, lying, anxiety and sadness during a critical time of development, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Solving the obstetrical dilemma
A new study found no connection between hip width and efficient locomotion, and suggests that scientists have long approached the problem in the wrong way.

New protocol can help emergency departments evaluate patients with acute chest pain
A recently developed risk-evaluation protocol can help hospital emergency department personnel more efficiently determine which patients with acute chest pain can be sent home safely, according to a randomized trial conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Tropical Cyclone Pam gives NASA an eye-opening view
NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Pam as it continued intensifying in the Southern Pacific Ocean and captured an image of the storm's 20 nautical mile-wide, cloud-filled eye.

Payments for ecosystem services? Here's the guidebook
A team of investors, development organizations, conservationists, economists, and ecologists have published in the journal Science six natural science principles to ensure success of Payments for Ecosystem Services, mechanisms that have helped preserve carbon stocks stored in Madagascar's rainforests, maintain wildlife populations important for tourism in Tanzania, and protect watersheds in France by working with local farmers.

Major chemistry advances reported in Science by REVOLUTION Medicines founder
REVOLUTION Medicines Inc. today announced the publication of new research by the company's scientific founder Martin D.

New food prototypes using whey from cheese-making dairies
AZTI's Food Research Unit has managed to obtain a series of food prototypes using whey produced by cheese-making dairies, which allows a commercial outlet to be provided for an organic product that is routinely treated as waste and which could end up causing pollution if it is not properly disposed of.

NASA's Hubble observations suggest underground ocean on Jupiter's largest moon
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon.

In pursuit of the perfectly animated cloud of smoke
Simulations of impressive landscapes and alien creatures have become commonplace, especially in fantasy and science fiction films.

Molecule-making machine simplifies complex chemistry
A new molecule-making machine could do for chemistry what 3-D printing did for engineering: Make it fast, flexible and accessible to anyone.

E-cigarette advertising makes one crave ... tobacco?
Television advertisements for e-cigarettes may be enticing current and even former tobacco smokers to reach for another cigarette.

Inflammation in the mouth and joints in rheumatoid arthritis
Today at the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, researcher Sheila Arvikar, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA, will present a study titled 'Inflammation in the Mouth and Joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis.' The IADR General Session is being held in conjunction with the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research and the 39th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research.

Largest review of clinical trials to assess risk of patients using Champix
Findings from the largest review of clinical trials to date to determine whether patients prescribed the smoking cessation drug Varenicline (brand name Champix in the UK) are at an increased risk of neuropsychiatric events are published online in the British Medical Journal today.

Government corruption in South Africa contributes to overfishing
Bribery among government officials who inspect fishing along the coast of South Africa contributes to overfishing -- this is shown in a new study.

Penn immunotherapy pioneer Carl June awarded Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize
University of Pennsylvania cancer and HIV expert Carl June, M.D., has been named one of two recipients of the 2015 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for his outstanding work in cancer immunotherapy.

Humans adapted to living in rainforests much sooner than thought
An international research team has shed new light on the diet of some of the earliest recorded humans in Sri Lanka.

NNI publishes report on carbon nanotube (CNT) commercialization
The National Nanotechnology Initiative today published the proceedings of a technical interchange meeting on 'Realizing the Promise of Carbon Nanotubes: Challenges, Opportunities, and the Pathway to Commercialization,' held at NASA Headquarters on Sept.

Some genes 'foreign' in origin and not from our ancestors
Many animals, including humans, acquired essential 'foreign' genes from microorganisms co-habiting their environment in ancient times, according to research published in the open-access journal Genome Biology.

Preventing heart cells from turning to bone
Researchers from the Gladstone Institutes have used human cells to discover how blood flow in the heart protects against the hardening of valves in cardiovascular disease.

Teen cannabis users have poor long-term memory in adulthood
Teens who were heavy marijuana users -- smoking it daily for about three years -- had an abnormally shaped hippocampus and performed poorly on long-term memory tasks, reports a new study.

Flight and nuclear safety boosted by sound research
A system for using sound waves to spot potentially dangerous cracks in pipes, aircraft engines and nuclear power plants has been developed by a University of Strathclyde academic.

Case Western Reserve scientists find hidden meaning and 'speed limits' within genetic code
Case Western Reserve scientists have discovered that speed matters when it comes to how messenger RNA deciphers critical information within the genetic code -- the complex chain of instructions critical to sustaining life.

Measles cases predicted to almost double in Ebola epidemic countries
An international study involving the University of Southampton suggests there could be a rise in measles cases of 100,000 across the three countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa due to health system disruptions.

Cochlear implantation improved speech perception, cognitive function in older adults
Cochlear implantation was associated with improved speech perception and cognitive function in adults 65 years or older with profound hearing loss, according to a report published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Statin guidelines miss middle-age patients and over-target seniors
The newest guidelines for the use of cholesterol-lowering statins in people at risk of heart disease may be too generic, excluding middle-aged adults who could benefit from the drugs, and over-prescribing in older adults, according to a new study from the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Chronic kidney disease may increase certain risks during pregnancy
Among pregnant women, the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes -- such as preterm delivery or the need for neonatal intensive care -- increased across stages of chronic kidney disease. 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