Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 17, 2015
Language of gene switches unchanged across the evolution
The language used in the switches that turn genes on and off has remained the same across millions of years of evolution, according to a new study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Better breakfast, better grades
A new study from the University of Iowa reinforces the connection between good nutrition and good grades, finding that free school breakfasts help students from low-income families perform better academically.

Imperfect graphene opens door to better fuel cells
A major challenge in fuel cell technology is efficiently separating protons from hydrogen.

The rise of the new celebrity scientists
'The New Celebrity Scientists' examines how our media-driven celebrity culture produces popular scientific stars.

A better way of scrubbing CO2
Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a means by which the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants might one day be done far more efficiently and at far lower costs than today.

Social media training works best for student-athletes, study shows
Placing less reliance on monitoring software and modifying new media training to align with student-athletes' habits and input will promote more positive and responsible usage on social networks.

17-million-year-old whale fossil provides first exact date for East Africa's puzzling uplift
A 17-million-year-old whale fossil provides the first exact date for East Africa's puzzling tectonic uplift, says paleontologist Louis Jacobs, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, who rediscovered the fossil.

UTSW neuroscientists identify cell type in the brain that controls body clock circadian rhythms
UT Southwestern Medical Center neuroscientists have identified key cells within the brain that are critical for determining circadian rhythms, the 24-hour processes that control sleep and wake cycles, as well as other important body functions such as hormone production, metabolism, and blood pressure.

New lake surface temperature database will help to study climate change: York U researcher
Eighty two researchers from more than 20 countries were involved in the effort that began in 2011.

Finding a new test for children with concussions
Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, The Neuro, at McGill University and the MUHC, are working to develop a much needed tool for helping diagnose concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries suffered by thousands of young Canadians -- hockey and football players among them.

Duration of antiplatelet therapy following PCI, risk of adverse events
An additional 18 months of dual antiplatelet therapy among patients who received a bare metal coronary stent did not result in significant differences in rates of stent thrombosis (formation of a blood clot), major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events, or moderate or severe bleeding, compared to patients who received placebo, according to a study in the March 17 issue of JAMA.

The Lancet Global Health: Longer duration of breastfeeding linked with higher adult IQ and earning ability
Longer duration of breastfeeding is linked with increased intelligence in adulthood, longer schooling, and higher adult earnings, a study following a group of almost 3,500 newborns for 30 years published in The Lancet Global Health journal has found.

Old blood as good as fresh in patients with life-threatening illnesses
Just like milk and many other foods, blood used for transfusions is perishable.

The need for a more open attitude towards invasive alien species data
New research published with the support of the FP7 large-scale bioinformatics project Building the European Biodiversity Observation Network and the Alien Challenge COST action reveals the importance of open data in the study and control of invasive alien species.

New metabolic mechanisms discovered that regulate the macrophage's role in immune response
A group of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, Agios Pharmaceuticals and ITMO University has discovered new metabolic mechanisms that regulate macrophage polarization - the unique ability of these immune cells to change their specialization depending on the required task.

'Inspired to Change,' illustrates patient-centered care
'Inspired to Change,' one of the most valuable texts of 2014, looks at health care delivery from the patient's perspective.

Teens' approach to social media risk is different from adults'
For every parent who ever wondered what the heck their teens were thinking when they posted risky information or pictures on social media, a team of Penn State researchers suggests that they were not really thinking at all, or at least were not thinking like most adults do.

Sunglasses on demand (video)
Apart from their style, sunglasses have changed very little in the last few decades.

New model finds HIV acute phase infectivity may be lower than previously estimated
Previous calculations may have overestimated the importance of HIV transmission from recently infected individuals ('acute phase infectivity') in driving HIV epidemics, according to an article published by Steve Bellan of the University of Texas at Austin, and colleagues in this week's PLOS Medicine.

Interdisciplinary, OA journal launched by the Ecological Societies of American and China
Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, the first ecological journal published cooperatively by scientific societies from two countries, fosters communication of applied ecological research across national and disciplinary boundaries.

Graphene 'gateway' discovery opens possibilities for improved energy technologies
Graphene, a strong, lightweight carbon honeycombed structure, only one atom thick, holds great promise for energy research and development.

Workplace suicide on the rise: Specific occupations pose higher risks than others
In 2009, suicides surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death by injury in the US.

Cultivated papaya owes a lot to the ancient Maya, research suggests
A genetic study of papaya sex chromosomes reveals that the hermaphrodite version of the plant, which is of most use to growers, arose as a result of human selection, most likely by the ancient Maya some 4,000 years ago.

Study: Prices of cancer drugs have soared since 1995
The prices of leading cancer drugs have risen at rates far outstripping inflation over the last two decades, according to a new study co-authored by an MIT economist -- but the exact reasons for the cost increases are unclear.

First global review on the status, future of Arctic marine mammals
A multinational team surveys the status of all Arctic marine mammals, including whales, walruses, seals and polar bears.

Clean energy future: New cheap and efficient electrode for splitting water
UNSW Australia scientists have developed a highly efficient oxygen-producing electrode for splitting water that has the potential to be scaled up for industrial production of the clean energy fuel, hydrogen.

UChicago symposium focuses on advances in cancer immunotherapies
The Ben May Department for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago will hold a day-long symposium on cancer immunotherapy for physicians and researchers.

HIV not as infectious soon after transmission as thought
People who recently have been infected with HIV may not be as highly infectious as previously believed, a finding that could improve global efforts to prevent HIV transmission and save lives.

Diet soda linked to increases in belly fat in older adults
A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that increasing diet soda intake is directly linked to greater abdominal obesity in adults 65 years of age and older.

Viewers vs. doers
A new Food and Brand Lab study, finds that if you often cook from scratch and source your recipes from TV, you are likely to weigh about 11 pounds more than if you watch cooking shows for entertainment and don't often cook!

Comparing the diagnostic criteria for the DSM-5 and ICD-10
Both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Edition (ICD-10) have established diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorders.

Female health workers increased use of health services in hard-to-reach rural area
Female community health extension workers deployed to a remote rural community in northern Nigeria led to major and sustained increases in service utilization, including antenatal care and facility-based deliveries.

Women retain insulin sensitivity better than men
As people become overweight, their skeletal muscle develops insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Chimpanzees will travel for preferred foods, innovate solutions
Just as humans will travel to their favorite restaurant, chimpanzees will travel a farther distance for preferred food sources in non-wild habitats, according to a new study from scientists at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo that publishes on March 17 in the journal PeerJ.

Lancet: Phase 2b trial results of novel TB regimen show potential to shorten treatment
A new tuberculosis (TB) drug regimen designed to improve options for TB therapy eliminated more bacteria from sputum than standard therapy and did so at a faster rate, according to data from a phase 2b clinical trial published today in The Lancet.

Conifers' helicoptering seeds are result of long evolutionary experiment
Whirling seeds are produced by many plants today, such as maples, but the first to try them were the conifers 270 million years ago.

The secret to an effortless, split-second slime attack
New insights from anatomy, mathematics, experimental physics, and fluid dynamics explain how such a slow, neurologically simple worm can execute such a rapid and perfectly aimed movement.

ORNL and SINAP cooperate on development of salt-cooled reactors
Representatives from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics are meeting at ORNL this week as part of an agreement between the two institutions to work together on the advancement of salt-cooled nuclear reactor technologies.

SDSC researchers win NVIDIA's 2015 Global Impact Award
Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, are the recipient of NVIDIA's 2015 Global Impact Award for their collaborative work in developing an accelerated GPU (graphics processing unit) code to simulate earthquake physics necessary for safer building design.

West Coast waters shifting to lower-productivity regime, new NOAA report finds
Large-scale climate patterns that affect the Pacific Ocean indicate that waters off the West Coast have shifted toward warmer, less productive conditions that may affect marine species from seabirds to salmon, according to the 2015 State of the California Current Report delivered to the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

First in human nanotherapy brain cancer trial launched at CTRC
A CTRC neurosurgeon used a tiny catheter to insert radioactive liposomes, only 100 nanometers across, into the stubborn tumor in David Williams' brain.

Kansas State University graduate student to attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Courtney Passow, Kansas State University doctoral student in biology, is one of 672 young scientists selected worldwide to attend the prestigious Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany.

Emerging diseases likely to be more harmful in similar species
When viruses such as influenza and Ebola jump from one species to another, their ability to cause harm can change dramatically, but research from the University of Cambridge shows that it may be possible to predict the virus's virulence by looking at how deadly it is in closely related species.

Socioeconomic status moderates genetic and environmental influences on alcohol use
A new study has examined genetic and environmental influences underlying alcohol use.

Plants' defensive responses have downstream effects on nearby ecosystems
Chemical changes that occur in tree leaves after being attacked by insects and mammals can impact nearby streams, which rely on fallen plant material as a food source, report scientists from the University of Chicago Department of Ecology and Evolution.

Meta-analysis finds extended DAPT related to increased mortality after DES implantation
Data from a meta-analysis published today in The Lancet found that extended duration dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) after drug-eluting stent implantation was associated with significantly higher rates of mortality compared to shorter DAPT.

Identifying how drinking contexts and youth characteristics change over time
Certain contexts are associated with specific negative drinking-related outcomes. A new study examines associations between drinking contexts and youth characteristics over time.

World's first fully integrated research facility opens in Calgary wastewater plant
For the first time, university researchers are working side-by-side with municipal operators to advance wastewater treatment technologies and knowledge that will lead to cleaner water, a better protected ecosystem and improved public health.

New anti-inflammatory molecule could halt MS progression
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have developed a new drug-like molecule that can halt inflammation and has shown promise in preventing the progression of multiple sclerosis.

Findings from the BRIGHT trial published in JAMA
Data from the BRIGHT trial published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated that bivalirudin was superior to both heparin monotherapy and heparin plus tirofiban for patients with acute myocardial infarction undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention.

3-D snapshot of protein highlights potential drug target for breast cancer
One of 15 different polymerases tasked with copying our genetic material, POLQ is singled out in this study for its unique role -- captured in an X-ray crystallography visual -- in DNA repair pathways linked to breast cancer, and therefore, potential as a drug target.

How we became nature -- Anthropocene
Although Anthropocene as such is not a new concept, it is only now that the authors present stunning evidence in support of their claim.

Dairy industry making strides toward reducing its carbon footprint
Agricultural greenhouse gases (GHG) make up 8.1 percent of total US GHG emissions.

Teaching science to the brain: How the brain learns the way things work
For the first time, Carnegie Mellon University scientists have traced the brain processes that occur during the learning of technical concepts.

Gulf of Mexico marine food web changes over the decades
Scientists in the Gulf of Mexico now have a better understanding of how naturally-occurring climate cycles -- as well as human activities -- can cause widespread ecosystem changes.

A call to change recycling standards as 3-D printing expands
Buying plastic filament for 3-D printing can be expensive. But a Michigan Technological University researcher and his students have whittled the cost of printing to ten cents per kilogram -- down from $30 per kilogram.

Senior citizens increasingly satisfied with their sex lives
Senior citizens have experienced a considerable improvement in their sex lives since the 1970s.

Study raises concerns about reporting of noninferiority trials
An examination of the reporting of noninferiority clinical trials raises questions about the adequacy of their registration and results reporting within publicly accessible trial registries, according to a study in the March 17 issue of JAMA.

Genetic markers play role in who benefits from aspirin, NSAIDs to lower colon cancer risk
An Indiana University cancer researcher and her colleagues have identified genetic markers that may help determine who benefits from regular use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for lowering one's risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Effect of aspirin, NSAIDs on colorectal cancer risk may differ from genetic variations
Among approximately 19,000 individuals, the use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was associated with an overall lower risk of colorectal cancer, although this association differed according to certain genetic variations, according to a study in the March 17 issue of JAMA.

'Distracted driving' at an all-time high; new approaches needed
The advent of cell phones, text messaging and heavy urban traffic has taken the issue of 'distracted driving' to a historic level, a new report says, although it also identifies some training approaches that may be of value in educating young drivers about these special risks.

NASA awards UCI $9 million to study underlying mechanisms of 'space brain'
With $9 million in NASA funding, UC Irvine professor of radiation oncology Charles Limoli will lead a national effort to understand the early and long-term effects of space radiation on the central nervous system.

Doctor explains why a popular statin should not be prescribed
A doctor today reviews why the US Food and Drug Administration should have withdrawn the popular cholesterol lowering drug rosuvastatin (Crestor) and why it should not be prescribed.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Bavi losing steam
Tropical Cyclone Bavi's convection and developing thunderstorms have been waning because of wind shear, and NASA's Aqua satellite provided an infrared look at the weakening storm.

Macrophages may play critical role in melanoma resistance to BRAF inhibitors
Researchers at The Wistar Institute have discovered one way in which melanoma becomes resistant to a particular form of targeted therapy, and understanding this phenomenon may lead to a new melanoma target or prompt new designs of these treatments.

Use of anti-clotting drug more than 3 hours after stroke should be re-evaluated, say researchers
Advice to use the anti-clotting drug alteplase more than three hours after an acute stroke should be re-evaluated, say researchers writing in The BMJ this week.

Nanospheres cooled with light to explore the limits of quantum physics
A team of scientists at UCL led by Peter Barker and Tania Monteiro has developed a new technology which could one day create quantum phenomena in objects far larger than any achieved so far.

NASA's SDO sees sun's 2 coronal holes
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, captured this solar image on March 16, 2015, which clearly shows two dark patches, known as coronal holes.

Winter hack: Textured rubber that grips slick, icy surfaces
Researchers from Canada are developing new methods to mass-produce a material that may help pedestrians get a better grip on slippery surfaces after such storms.

Study reveals previously unknown site of anesthetic action
Anesthetics have been used in surgical procedures for more than 150 years, but the mechanisms by which inhaled anesthesia actually work are poorly understood.

Improving productivity of welding by reducing groove angle
LUT has been developing materials and technology suitable for Arctic conditions.

New cystic fibrosis research takes aim at deadly pathogen
A new method of testing the most common cause of life-threatening infection in people with cystic fibrosis could improve efforts to study and combat the illness.

NASA eyes Tropical Cyclone Nathan's Australian comeback
NASA's Aqua satellite saw Tropical Storm Nathan preparing for its Australian 'comeback' as the storm made a loop in the Coral Sea and is headed back to Queensland.

RapidScat eyes Ex-Tropical Cyclone Pam's winds near Chatham Islands
The New Zealand Meteorological Service issued a Storm Warning for the Chatham Islands today as NASA's RapidScat instrument found that winds in one quadrant of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Pam is still generating tropical-storm-force winds east of its center.

Data structures influence speed of quantum search in unexpected ways
Quantum computers will be able to find target items within large piles of data far faster than conventional computers though the speed of the search will likely depend on the structure of the data.

The future of 'bioprocessing' for medical therapies
What's in store for the future of industrial bioprocessing for medical therapies, which involves the use of living organisms or cells to create drugs or other agents?

Study examines diagnostic accuracy of pathologists interpreting breast biopsies
In a study in which pathologists provided diagnostic interpretation of breast biopsy slides, overall agreement between the individual pathologists' interpretations and that of an expert consensus panel was 75 percent, with the highest level of concordance for invasive breast cancer and lower levels of concordance for ductal carcinoma in situ and atypical hyperplasia, according to a study in the March 17 issue of JAMA.

What's on the menu for young African sawflies?
Three zoologists from Benin and Germany cooperated for three years to study the habits of two species of widespread West African sawflies.

New compound prevents type 1 diabetes in animal models -- before it begins
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have successfully tested a potent synthetic compound that prevents type 1 diabetes in animal models of the disease.

Study suggests precision medicine for adrenal cancer
In a randomized phase 3 trial, adrenal cancer patients receiving the investigational drug linsitinib fared no better than patients receiving a placebo.

'Smart bandage' detects bed sores before they are visible to doctors
UC Berkeley researchers have created a new 'smart bandage' that uses electrical currents to detect early tissue damage from pressure ulcers, or bedsores, before they can be seen by human eyes -- and while recovery is still possible.

Scientists offer new perspectives on China's long history of reunifications
Archaeologists from the Field Museum in Chicago, Ill., and Shandong University in Jinan, China, have investigated the historical processes leading up to China's political unification through the juxtaposition of macro- and micro-scale analysis.

Graphene membrane could lead to better fuel cells, water filters
An atomically thin membrane with microscopically small holes may prove to be the basis for future hydrogen fuel cells, water filtering and desalination membranes, according to a group of 15 theorists and experimentalists, including three theoretical researchers from Penn State.

Scientists unknowingly tweak experiments: ANU media release
A new study has found some scientists are unknowingly tweaking experiments and analysis methods to increase their chances of getting results that are easily published.

Microenvironment provides growth factor for metastasis
When a person has cancer that spreads to the bone and bone marrow, the tissue becomes increasingly fragile, often leading to increased bone resorption.

Research uncovers flawed IQ scoring system
Queen's University professor Allyson Harrison has uncovered anomalies and issues with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition, one of the most widely used intelligence tests in the world.

New study: Food TV a recipe for weight gain
Women aged 20 to 35 who obtained information about new food from food television and who cooked frequently from scratch had a higher body-mass-index, or BMI -- weighing on average 10 more pounds -- than those who obtained new food information from sources like family and friends, magazines and newspapers, or cooking classes.

Joint fluid harbors bacterial clumps after replacement despite pre-surgery antibiotics
Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University and NIH tested for prophylactic antibiotic concentrations in joint fluid samples after joint replacements.

Study: Erectile dysfunction drug relieves nerve damage in diabetic mice
New animal studies at Henry Ford Hospital found that sildenafil, a drug commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction, may be effective in relieving painful and potentially life-threatening nerve damage in men with long-term diabetes.

Time-lapse snapshots of a nova's fading light
Scientists in a collaboration led by Dai Takei of the RIKEN SPring-8 Center in Japan have, for the first time, examined a detailed 'time lapse' X-ray image of the expansion of a classical nova explosion using the GK Persei nova -- a binary star system which underwent a nova explosion in 1901.

How rocket science may improve kidney dialysis
Software from the aerospace industry has allowed an interdisciplinary team of UK researchers to design Arterio-Venous Fistulae with better, less unnatural flow patterns, which may reduce failure rates and improve clinical outcomes for patients with kidney failure who require dialysis.

The link between aspirin, NSAIDs and colon cancer prevention may hinge on genetic variations
The link between taking aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, and colorectal cancer prevention is well established, but the mechanisms behind the protective effect have not been understood.

Decline in heart health can start in childhood
Most people start life with robust heart health but can lose it with unhealthy childhood behaviors.

Chronic bowel inflammation is diagnosed too late in children and adolescents
Cramping abdominal pains, diarrhea, bloody stools -- these are common symptoms of chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Can engineered carbon nanotubes help to avert our water crisis?
Carbon nanotube membranes have a bright future in addressing the world's growing need to purify water from the sea, researchers say in a study published in the journal Desalination.

Greater-than-additive management effects key in reducing corn yield gaps
While many recent studies have documented that agricultural producers must significantly increase yields in order to meet the food, feed, and fuel demands of a growing population, few have given practical solutions on how to do this.

Hormones with statins may help women's hearts after menopause
Hormones may not protect women from heart disease or stroke after menopause, but when combined with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, they may help protect women from these killers, shows a population study from Sweden to be published in the April issue of Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society.

Drexel University materials research could unlock potential of lithium-sulfur batteries
Drexel researchers, along with colleagues at Aix-Marseille University in France, have discovered a high performance cathode material with great promise for use in next generation lithium-sulfur batteries that could one day be used to power mobile devices and electric cars.

Early imaging for back pain in older adults not associated with better outcomes
Older adults who had spine imaging within six weeks of a new primary care visit for back pain had pain and disability over the following year that was not different from similar patients who did not undergo early imaging, according to a study in the March 17 issue of JAMA.

GW researchers receive $6.2 million NIH program project grant to research pediatric dysphagia
An interdisciplinary group of researchers from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Children's National Health System has been awarded a program project grant for $6.2 million from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to solve pediatric dysphagia -- a chronic difficulty with feeding and swallowing in children.

Heart valve repair improves emotional wellbeing in patients with mitral regurgitation
Patients with severe mitral regurgitation often suffer from psycho-emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, but after undergoing mitral valve repair surgery patients experience a marked improvement in emotional and physical wellbeing, according to an article in the March 2015 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

A pinch of baking soda for better vision?
A new study from the Makino Laboratory at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School and colleagues at Salus University, describes how bicarbonate also alters how we see by modifying the visual signal generated by rod and cone photoreceptors that detect light.

Researchers describe 5 new species of marine invertebrates
Brazilian researchers described five new species of ascidians, commonly known as sea squirts, ascidians are marine invertebrates that generally form permanently submerged colonies.

Vitamin D may help prevent and treat diseases associated with aging, Loyola study finds
Vitamin D may play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with aging, according to researchers at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

Genetic background determines whether aspirin/NSAIDS will reduce colorectal cancer risk
An analysis of genetic and lifestyle data from 10 large epidemiologic studies confirmed that regular use of aspirin or NSAIDs appears to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in most individuals but also found that a few individuals with rare genetic variants do not share this benefit. 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