Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 18, 2015
Buyer's remorse -- model shows people demand all that bad news
Bad news in the media got you down? News consumers have only themselves to blame, says new research showing that it's actually buying habits that drive negative press.

Towards 'printed' organic solar cells and LEDs
Flexible optoelectronic devices that can be produced roll-to-roll -- much like newspapers are printed -- are a highly promising path to cheaper devices such as solar cells and LED lighting panels.

Understanding democracy and development traps using a data-driven approach
Why do some countries seem to develop quickly while others remain poor?

The ecstasy and the agony: Compression studies of MDMA
This study investigates the compression of the illicit material MDMA or 'ecstasy.'

Antibiotic resistance linked to corruption: ANU media release
Researchers have linked antibiotic resistance with poor governance and corruption around the world.

NASA-JAXA's GPM satellite close-up of Cyclone Pam's rainfall
As one of the strongest cyclones every recorded in the South Pacific Ocean, Cyclone Pam devastated the island archipelago of Vanuatu.

Bats are surprisingly fast decision makers
Bats are not as stereotyped when they hunt as previously believed.

Healthy diet reduces risk of cardiovascular disease by a third in over-40s
Men and women who adapt their daily diet to meet current UK dietary guidelines could reduce their risk of a heart attack or a stroke by up to a third, according to a new study by King's College London.

John Innes Centre scientist awarded Royal Microscopical Society Vice President's Medal
Kim Findlay, head of bio-imaging at the John Innes Centre has been awarded the Royal Microscopical Society Vice President's Medal for her outstanding contribution to the field of electron microscopy in plant and microbial imaging.

Evolution of the back-to-belly axis
Early in our embryogenesis, the two main body axes are established to provide positional cues through a coordinate system for the differentiating cells.

Computer sims: In climatic tug of war, carbon released from thawing permafrost wins handily
There will be a lot more carbon released from thawing permafrost than the amount taken in by more Arctic vegetation, according to new computer simulations conducted by Berkeley Lab scientists.

Brain networks differ among those with severe schizophrenia, CAMH study shows
People with a severe form of schizophrenia have major differences in their brain networks compared to others with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy individuals, a new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health shows.

An antihypertensive drug improves corticosteroid-based skin treatments
Basic research on blood pressure has led researchers from Inserm to obtain unexpected results: drugs used to treat high blood pressure reduce side effects from corticosteroid-based creams used to treat certain skin diseases.

Manaslu 2015: A scientific expedition at over 5,000 m altitude
For five weeks, five international research teams will conduct a scientific expedition in Nepal, in the heart of the Himalayas, close to the summit of Mount Manaslu.

New iPad game uses citizen science to track endangered species in the wild
Today, a new app for the iPad was released that could change the way wildlife is monitored in the future.

How planthoppers got their wings
Each year, rice faces a big threat from a sesame seed-sized insect called the brown planthopper.

Finding support for surgery on Facebook
Despite the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, scientists are only beginning to learn how they affect human interaction.

Use of transplanted regulatory T cells could provide relief for inflammatory diseases
With a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, a team of researchers -- including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Juergen Hahn -- will investigate the potential of using transplanted regulatory T cells to reduce inflammation in diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, which currently has no known viable treatment options.

Electronic waste has energy value
Using discarded electronic boards, the UPV/EHU researcher Andoni Salbidegoitia has, in collaboration with international researchers, developed a system for obtaining clean hydrogen that can be used as fuel.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Nathan sporting hot towers, heavy rainfall
The TRMM satellite revealed that Tropical Cyclone Nathan had powerful thunderstorms known as 'hot towers' near its center which are indicative of a strengthening storm.

New 3-D simulator generates training, expertise on subs
Sailors aboard the US Navy's Virginia-class submarines now have a new training tool in their arsenal -- a 3-D simulator that provides training on emergency generators.

Unconscious race and social class biases appear unassociated with clinical decisions
While unconscious race and social class biases were present in most trauma and acute-care clinicians surveyed about patient care management in a series of clinical vignettes, those biases were not associated with clinical decisions, according to a report published online by JAMA Surgery.

Why people with diabetes can't buy generic insulin
A generic version of insulin, the lifesaving diabetes drug used by 6 million people in the US, has never been available in this country because drug companies made incremental improvements that kept insulin under patent from 1923 to 2014.

Ag-tech startup helps farmers analyze water use
As California enters its fourth year of drought, farmers are looking to make careful use of every drop of water.

Is it dementia, or just normal aging? New tool may help triage
Researchers at Mayo Clinic developed a new scoring system to help determine which elderly people may be at a higher risk of developing the memory and thinking problems that can lead to dementia.

Structure of genetic messenger molecules reveals key role in diseases
Messenger RNAs (mRNA) are linear molecules that contain instructions for producing the proteins that keep living cells functioning.

Who will develop memory problems? New tool may help predict
Researchers have developed a new scoring system to help determine which elderly people may be at a higher risk of developing the memory and thinking problems that can lead to dementia, according to a new study published in the March 18, 2015, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

On the origin of theory: Were forensic examiners first to uncover 'ecological succession'?
Generations of students have learned that

IU scientists discover mechanism that may help parasites manipulate their hosts
Rodents infected with a common parasite lose their fear of cats, resulting in easy meals for the felines.

Study may explain low blood oxygen for cystic fibrosis patients with infected lungs
Researchers have defined a new bodily process in mice that may explain why blood oxygen levels are lower for patients with cystic fibrosis when they get a lung infection.

Protein sequencing solves Darwinian mystery of 'strange' South American mammals
Scientists have resolved pieces of a nearly 200-year-old evolutionary puzzle surrounding the group of mammals that Charles Darwin called the 'strangest animals ever discovered.' New research shows that South America's 'native ungulates' are related to mammals like horses rather than elephants and other species with ancient evolutionary ties to Africa.

Exciting data presented at the 4th Gut Microbiota For Health Summit
On March 14-15, 2015, internationally leading experts in gut microbiota research met in Barcelona, Spain, to present the latest findings and discuss their significance for health and diet.

Better products and services for winter maintenance and traffic safety
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. has participated as a research partner in a project in which Finnish companies have developed increasingly better road weather and winter maintenance services, and combined them into product and service packages.

Amazon's carbon uptake declines as trees die faster
The most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date reveals it is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

mHealth app ideal for breast cancer risk assessment, prevention
Interviewing women at a breast-imaging center in an urban safety net institution before and after they used a 'mHealth' mobile health app on a tablet, Dartmouth researchers concluded that older, diverse, and low income women found it easy to use and acceptable.

Landscape-level habitat connectivity is key for species that depend on longleaf pine
Preserving isolated patches of habitat isn't enough to save species such as Bachman's sparrow (Peucaea aestivalis) that depend on longleaf pine, according to a new paper in The Condor: Ornithological Applications; habitat connectivity at the landscape level is also crucial.

How green tea could help improve MRIs
Green tea's popularity has grown quickly in recent years. Its fans can drink it, enjoy its flavor in their ice cream and slather it on their skin with lotions infused with it.

Following gestational diabetes, obese women who put on 5 kg are more than 40 times more likely to develop full blown type 2 diabetes
New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) shows that in women who have developed gestational diabetes mellitus during pregnancy, being obese before the pregnancy and putting on more weight after it massively increases the risk of later developing type 2 diabetes.

Robot model for infant learning shows bodily posture may affect memory and learning
Through observing the behavior of infants and robots, an Indiana University cognitive scientist and collaborators have found that posture is critical in the early stages of acquiring new knowledge.

Submarine groundwater discharge adds as much nutrients as rivers to the Mediterranean Sea
Research led by the UAB demonstrates the importance of submarine groundwater discharge as a source of nutrients for the marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea.

Study sheds new light on asthma, COPD
In diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the body produces too much mucus, making breathing difficult.

Potential treatment identified for myotonic muscular dystrophy
A doctor who was one of the discoverers of the gene responsible for myotonic muscular dystrophy has now identified a therapeutic that could slow progression of muscle damage and muscle dysfunction associated with the disease.

New optical materials break digital connectivity barriers
In our increasingly networked world, we need much faster computer components to support enormous amounts of data transfer and data processing.

NIST's MRI measurement tools to help diagnose veterans' traumatic brain injuries
More than 300,000 US veterans have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in recent years, but these numbers don't tell the whole story.

Parasite turns shrimp into voracious cannibals
Parasites can play an important role in driving cannibalism, according to a new study.

Leaf odor attracts Drosophila suzukii
The spotted-wing Drosophila suzukii lays its eggs in fresh and ripening fruits.

Promising new target may treat pulmonary fibrosis
By uncovering the mechanism by which fibrous tissue cells in the lung multiply, researchers at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, along with colleagues in Mexico and Canada, have identified a promising new approach for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.

Penn researchers describe new approach to promote regeneration of heart tissue
The heart tissue of mammals has limited capacity to regenerate after an injury such as a heart attack, in part due to the inability to reactivate a cardiac muscle cell and proliferation program.

Melatonin can help you get a good night's sleep in a noisy environment
Using melatonin could provide more and better quality sleep compared to using an eye mask and earplugs in a simulated noisy and illuminated environment, according to research published in open-access journal Critical Care.

Sense of smell may reveal weight bias
Could our reaction to an image of an overweight or obese person affect how we perceive odor?

Light as puppeteer
OIST researchers successfully trap and control particles along microfibers with stronger light forces.

Researchers identify protein needed for repair of injured kidney cells
Cardiovascular researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have shown that a protein known as MG53 is not only present in kidney cells, but necessary for the organ to repair itself after acute injury.

Are antipsychotic drugs more dangerous to dementia patients than we think?
Drugs aimed at quelling the behavior problems of dementia patients may also hasten their deaths more than previously realized, a new study finds.

MSU leads $7 million effort to improve science teaching
A Michigan State University professor created a successful model for teaching middle- and high-school students about carbon cycling, the primary driver of climate change.

Cardiometabolic risk factors harden arteries early in Mexican-Americans
Metabolically unhealthy Mexican-Americans showed signs of early atherosclerosis. Metabolic profile, including blood sugar, insulin resistance and blood pressure, may be a stronger indicator of early atherosclerosis than obesity in Mexican-Americans.

Early recall rates decline after second round of lung cancer screening
The German Lung Cancer Screening Intervention Trial shows that the early repeat scan rate for suspicious findings decreased by more than 80 percent with the second and subsequent low-dose computed tomography screens, but emphasizes the need to have an organized screening program with the baseline scan available for comparison.

Frequency of blood tests in heart surgery patients may lead to anemia, transfusions
Laboratory testing among patients undergoing cardiac surgery can lead to excessive bloodletting, which can increase the risk of developing hospital-acquired anemia and the need for blood transfusion, according to an article in the March 2015 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

30 years after C60: Fullerene chemistry with silicon
Goethe University chemists have managed to synthesize a compound featuring an Si20 dodecahedron.

Understanding proteins involved in fertility could help boost IVF success
Women who have difficulty getting pregnant often turn to in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but it doesn't always work.

Rice fine-tunes quantum dots from coal
The size of graphene quantum dots made from coal can be finely tuned in a single step for electronic and fluorescent properties, according to scientists at Rice University.

Iron rain fell on early Earth, new Z machine data supports
Physical tests at Sandia's Z machine reveal that, at pressures rivaling those when worlds collide, iron vaporizes at far lower pressures than assumed by theoreticians, explaining why the element is distributed in Earth's mantle rather than collected at its core.

Doctors say women with aytpia or DCIS should seek second opinions after breast biopsies
While doctors almost always agree on a pathological diagnosis of invasive breast cancer, there is room for improvement when diagnosing atypia (or atypical ductal hyperplasia-ADH) and DCIS (ductal carcinoma in-situ), Dartmouth researchers have found.

Kessler Foundation scientists test Actual Reality in functional assessment post-TBI
A recent article by Kessler Foundation researchers describes Actual Reality; as a new tool for assessing performance of activities of everyday life in people with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Measuring the effect of urban planning changes
With a population likely to grow 27 percent by 2031, putting an end to urban sprawl in Greater Montreal appears impossible for the short to medium term.

Superradiant matter: A new paradigm to explore dynamic phase transitions
In a new approach to understand dynamic phase transitions, now reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a joint experimental and theoretical effort was undertaken by a team of scientists lead by Andreas Hemmerich and Ludwig Mathey of the University Hamburg, using a novel type of quantum matter in a so-called superradiant state.

Planets in the habitable zone around most stars, calculate researchers
Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets using the Kepler satellite.

A speech-based system for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease
One of the ELEKIN group's lines of research is biomedical engineering.

Unaweep Canyon and Earth's deep-time past
Unaweep Canyon is a puzzling landscape -- the only canyon on Earth with two mouths.

Caltech scientists develop cool process to make better graphene
A new technique invented at Caltech to produce graphene -- a material made up of an atom-thick layer of carbon -- at room temperature could help pave the way for commercially feasible graphene-based solar cells and light-emitting diodes, large-panel displays, and flexible electronics.

New study shows MeMed's blood test accurately distinguishes bacterial and viral infections
1000 patient study in PLOS ONE shows immune biomarker-based test distinguished bacterial and viral infections with sensitivity and specificity > 90 percent.

Glad to be home
Absence, it seems, really does make the heart grow fonder.

NSF grant will support Rocky Mountains research, expose minority teens to geosciences
Majie Fan, UT Arlington assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, will use a $485,627 National Science Foundation grant to research the Rocky Mountains and to expose underrepresented youth to the geosciences.

SDSC/UCSD study uncovers mechanisms of cancer-causing mutations
Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have described for the first time the molecular mechanism of cancer development caused by well-known 'resistance' mutations in the gene called epidermal growth factor receptor.

Pesticides not the sole culprit in honey bee colony declines
A new multiyear, field-based study from the University of Maryland shows that the world's most common insecticide does not significantly harm honey bee colonies at real-world dosage levels.

Ras protein regulates circadian rhythm
Biochemists at the Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum have gained new insights into the generation and maintenance of circadian rhythms.

Male fish dig pits and build sand castles at the bottom of Lake Malawi to attract females
A new study shows that courtship rituals evolve exceptionally fast among cichlid fish in Lake Malawi.

Location, location, location: Bike-sharing systems need revamp to attract more riders
A new study by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Assistant Professor Elena Belavina, INSEAD Professor of Sustainable Development Karan Girotra and INSEAD Ph.D. candidate Ashish Kabra found that it is possible for cities to increase ridership without spending more money on bikes or docking points -- simply by redesigning the network.

Could your e-mail address keep job recruiters from reading your online resume?
Job recruiters may review hundreds of online resumes for a position, often screening them quickly and discarding those that are not appropriate.

NCCS pioneers new drug regimen which reduces toxicities for renal cancer patients
A study led by the Genitourinary oncology team at National Cancer Centre Singapore has revealed conclusive results in reducing toxicities for Asian patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma or cancer that has spread beyond the kidney.

MSU doctors' discovery of how malaria kills children will lead to life-saving treatments
In a groundbreaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Michigan State University's Dr.

Changes in health care delivery essential to combat chronic disease
Chronic disease accounts for seven of every 10 deaths in the United States and more than 75 percent of total health care costs.

MSU doctors' discovery of how malaria kills children will lead to life-saving treatments
In a groundbreaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Michigan State University's Dr.

Extent of moon's giant volcanic eruption is revealed
Scientists have produced a new map of the moon's most unusual volcano showing that its explosive eruption spread debris over an area much greater than previously thought.

Fatal uncoupling in the epileptic brain
A team of researchers under the guidance of the Institute of Cellular Neurosciences at the University of Bonn has discovered a new cause to explain the development of temporal lobe epilepsy: at an early stage, astrocytes are uncoupled from each other.

What motivates men who kill police?
Who intentionally seeks to kill a policeman and why? In 2014 the rate of policemen purposely killed in the line of duty in the US was nearly 1.5 times greater than in 2013.

New research suggests insect wings might serve gyroscopic function
Gyroscopes are rarely found in nature. But University of Washington researchers have discovered that insect wings may act as gyroscopes, helping insects perform aerial acrobatics and maintain stability and direction.

Out-of-wedlock childbearing increasingly common among educated women in Latin America
In Latin America, legal marriages and consensual unions are seen as similarly acceptable family arrangements for bearing and raising children.

Beetles beat out extinction
A new study combs through fossil records to arrive at a unique new perspective: The rich diversity of beetles results more from low extinction rates rather than high origination rates.

Natural sleep cycles identified in rural community -- new study finds
A new study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, has identified a rural community in Brazil that still follows the earlier sleep and wake times similar to pre-industrial times.

Stem cells help researchers peg rabies resistance
Researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research have developed a new technology to determine sensitivity or resistance to rabies virus.

Buckyballs become bucky-bombs
Scientists have built nanoscale explosives out of buckyballs that could one day be used to eliminate cancer cells without damaging surrounding tissue.

New molecular tool assesses vaginal microbiome health, diagnoses infections -- fast
A new microarray-based tool, called VaginArray, offers the potential to provide a fast, reliable and low-cost assessment of vaginal health and diagnoses of infections.

An improved method for coating gold nanorods
Researchers have fine-tuned a technique for coating gold nanorods with silica shells, allowing engineers to create large quantities of the nanorods and giving them more control over the thickness of the shell.

Moral decisions can be influenced by eye tracking
Our opinions are affected by what our eyes are focusing on in the same instant we make moral decisions.

Finding out what's in 'fracking' wastewater
In early January, almost 3 million gallons of wastewater from a hydraulic fracturing operation in North Dakota spilled into nearby creeks.

Is too much artificial light at night making us sick?
Modern life, with its preponderance of inadequate exposure to natural light during the day and overexposure to artificial light at night, is not conducive to the body's natural sleep/wake cycle.

More than a million stars are forming in a mysterious dusty gas cloud in a nearby galaxy
An extremely hot, dusty cloud of molecular gases is forming more than a million young stars in a tiny nearby galaxy, an international team of astronomers reports March 19 in the journal Nature.

EU ban on ditching unwanted fish 'will be difficult for industry to comply with'
The fishing industry will have difficulty complying with new EU Common Fisheries Policy rules banning the throwing away of unwanted fish, according to research at the University of Strathclyde.

AgriLife Research study opens doors for increases in Texas corn yields, aflatoxin resistance
A ground-breaking Texas A&M AgriLife Research-led study on corn has identified useful gene variations for yield increases, drought tolerance and aflatoxin resistance that could make a real difference to Texas producers in the years to come, according to researchers.

The new frontier in plasma medicine
Applications of plasmas in medicine are a new frontier in therapeutic treatment.

Who do you think you really are? The first fine-scale genetic map of the British Isles
Many people in the UK feel a strong sense of regional identity, and it now appears that there may be a scientific basis to this feeling, according to a landmark new study into the genetic makeup of the British Isles.

NASA's RapidScat sees waning winds of Tropical Depression Bavi
Tropical Cyclone Bavi weakened to a depression and NASA's RapidScat instrument measured its waning winds from space.

The Lancet: Targeted drug doubles progression free survival in Hodgkin lymphoma
A phase 3 trial of brentuximab vedotin (BV), the first new drug for Hodgkin lymphoma in over 30 years, shows that adults with hard-to-treat Hodgkin lymphoma given BV immediately after stem cell transplant survived without the disease progressing for twice as long as those given placebo -- 43 months vs 24 months.

Two commonly used antibiotics have similar cure rates for uncomplicated skin infections
Two antibiotics frequently prescribed to treat serious skin infections -- clindamycin and trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) -- had similar rates of success in curing uncomplicated infections in outpatients.

WSU researchers show how fatty acids can fight prostate cancer
Washington State University researchers have found a mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells.

Traffic fatalities spike during spring break
Come spring break, college students from all over the country travel to warmer climates for time off from school and to escape the cold weather.

Many plastics labeled 'biodegradable' don't break down as expected
Plastic products advertised as biodegradable have recently emerged, but they sound almost too good to be true.

Dramatic rise expected in adults living with cystic fibrosis
The number of people living with cystic fibrosis into adulthood is expected to increase dramatically by 2025, prompting calls for the development of adult cystic fibrosis services to meet the demand.

AfricaPCR 2015
The second annual AfricaPCR congress will take place in in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the March 26-28.

Penn State's Tom Baker to deliver 2015 Founders' Memorial Lecture at Entomology 2015
Dr. Thomas C. Baker, a distinguished professor of entomology and chemical ecology at Penn State University, has been selected to deliver the Founders' Memorial Award lecture at Entomology 2015, the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America to be held Nov.

Special supplement presents latest evidence on benefits of standardized tobacco packaging
An editorial points to the future packaging innovations tobacco companies would be able to employ in the absence of standardized packaging.

Los Alamos creates bioinformatics tool for metagenome analysis
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a new method for DNA analysis of microbial communities such as those found in the ocean, the soil, and our own guts.

Insuring undocumented residents could help solve multiple US health care challenges
Alex Ortega, a professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and colleagues conducted an extensive review of published scientific research on Latino health care.

Standardized packaging with large graphic health warnings encouraged more thoughts about quitting
Introduction of standardized packaging for tobacco products in Australia prompted more smokers to think about quitting and to attempt to quit, show findings of surveys of adults smokers published in Tobacco Control.

World's first method for continuous purification of valuable antibodies
Scientists at acib and the University of Natural Resources Vienna develop world's first continuous purification method for valuable drugs.

Low vitamin D levels and depression linked in young women, new OSU study shows
A new study from Oregon State University suggests there is a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and depression in otherwise healthy young women. 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