Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 01, 2015
Broad Institute-MIT team identifies highly efficient new cas9 for in vivo genome editing
A collaborative study between researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the National Institutes of Health has identified a highly efficient Cas9 nuclease that overcomes one of the primary challenges to in vivo genome editing.

Experimental Ebola vaccine safe, prompts immune response
An early-stage clinical trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine conducted at the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research found that the vaccine, called VSV-ZEBOV, was safe and elicited robust antibody responses in all 40 of the healthy adults who received it.

New class of insecticides offers safer, more targeted mosquito control
Purdue researchers have identified a new class of chemical insecticides that could provide a safer, more selective means of controlling mosquitoes that transmit key infectious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and elephantiasis.

Current residential development research is a poor foundation for sustainable development
A new paper from Colorado State University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and others shows that residential development research is lacking when it comes to achieving key sustainability objectives because in most cases it is limited by a single discipline perspective.

New cosmogenic burial ages for SA's Little Foot fossil and Oldowan artefacts
Researchers from South Africa, the US, Canada and France announce new dates pertaining to the internationally famous Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Gauteng, South Africa.

Oral pain specialists treat complex health issues, according to new survey
Case Western Reserve University dental researchers conducted a survey to better understand the work done by oral pain specialists.

Older people at higher risk of emergency cancer diagnosis
People over 60 are at higher risk of being diagnosed with lung or bowel cancer as an emergency in hospital than younger people, according to a Cancer Research UK-supported report, published today by BMJ Open.

Low T not just in males: Testosterone, atherosclerosis and obesity may be linked in females
While testosterone replacement therapies may be controversial in males, new research in The FASEB Journal may extend this controversy to females too.

Soldiers cite 'Medic!' as a top hearing priority
'Medic!', 'Hold fire!' and grid references are amongst the highest priorities for soldiers to be able to hear while on duty, according to new research from the University of Southampton.

Cancer prevention efforts in the US a mixed bag
While there has been substantial progress in some cancer control efforts in the past several decades, like reductions in smoking and increased utilization of cancer screening, progress in some areas is lagging, according to a new report.

Physicist Gordon Thomas joins the innovative elite at the National Academy of Inventors
Gordon Thomas, a professor of physics, prolific researcher and exuberant mentor, was inducted last month into the National Academy of Inventors at a ceremony that brought together luminaries from fields ranging from bioinformatics to protein engineering to intelligent mechanical systems.

Mind the gap: Nanoscale speed bump could regulate plasmons for high-speed data flow
The name sounds like something Marvin the Martian might have built, but the 'nanomechanical plasmonic phase modulator' is not a doomsday device.

Anticancer drug can spur immune system to fight infection
Imatinib, an example of a 'targeted therapy' against cancer, or related drugs might be tools to fight a variety of infections.

Will the Affordable Care Act eliminate health disparities?
Two new BMJ studies from Massachusetts indicate that racial and socioeconomic disparities persist even with nearly universal access to health coverage.

UC Davis neuroscientist recognized for color vision and aging contributions
John S. Werner, a UC Davis neuroscientist and international authority on visual perception, has been selected to receive the 2015 Verriest Medal from the International Colour Vision Society for his contributions to understanding the structural and functional basis of color vision, how and why vision changes across the life span, and factors that contribute to loss of vision associated with disease.

Springing ahead of nature: Device increases walking efficiency
It's taken millions of years for humans to perfect the art of walking.

A novel way to apply drugs to dental plaque
Therapeutic agents intended to reduce dental plaque and prevent tooth decay are often removed by saliva and the act of swallowing before they take effect.

Queen's scientists develop first perfume which smells better the more you sweat
The first-ever perfume delivery system to ensure the more a person sweats, the better they will smell, has been developed by scientists at Queen's University Belfast.

ERS and ATS publish statement on the current state and future directions of COPD research
The European Respiratory Society and American Thoracic Society have published a statement describing the current evidence on the diagnosis, assessment and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, identifying gaps in knowledge and making recommendations for the directions of future research.

Where no smartphone has gone before
Star Trek's 'Tricorder' was an essential tool, a multifunctional hand-held device used to sense, compute, and record data in a threatening and unpredictable universe -- and it's no longer science fiction.

New instrument dates old skeleton; 'Little Foot' 3.67 million years old
A skeleton named Little Foot is among the oldest hominid skeletons ever dated at 3.67 million years old, according to an advanced dating method.

Atmospheric energy escaped from the Tibetan Plateau
Global warming is caused by extra energy trapped by green-house gases.

Study finds EITC bolsters recipients' self-respect while helping them financially
America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Failed synchronization of the womb's clock with mother's body clock critical in miscarriages
If you are trying to have a baby, a good night's sleep is more important than ever.

LA BioMed researcher to study pulmonary rehab in underserved COPD patients
Dr. Harry Rossiter of LA BioMed is launching a study of the effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation in reducing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in an under-served population in Los Angeles.

New in the Hastings Center Report April 2015
A roundup of articles in the March-April 2015 Hastings Center Report includes: 'Why It's Not Time for Health Care Rationing;' 'The Structure of Clinical Translation: Efficiency, Information, and Ethics,' 'Men and Abortion Decisions,' and others.

Study: Older workers bring valuable knowledge to the job
In the workplace, age matters -- but hiring or promoting based on age-related mental abilities can be a minefield, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Predicting chronic pain in whiplash injuries
While most people recover from whiplash injuries within a few months, about 25 percent have long-term pain and disability for many months or years.

Widespread agricultural contaminant impacts fish reproductive behavior
A common growth-promoting hormone used worldwide in the cattle industry has been found to affect the sexual behaviors of fish at a very low concentration in waterways -- with potentially serious ecological and evolutionary consequences.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 2015
By studying fish and invertebrates in a creek with known mercury contamination, researchers are gaining a better understanding of the relationship between the toxin in the stream and bioaccumulation in organisms.

AAO-HNSF updated clinical practice guideline: Adult sinusitis
Sinusitis affects about one in eight adults in the United States, resulting in over 30 million annual diagnoses.

NIBIB at NIH expert can provide comment on current state of robotics in surgery
Johnson & Johnson announced a collaboration with Google on March 26, 2015, to advance surgical robots by integrating medical device technology with robotic systems, imaging and data analytics; National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health can provide comment on state of the science.

Polar bears unlikely to thrive on land-based foods
Polar bears, increasingly forced on shore due to sea ice loss, may be eating terrestrial foods including berries, birds and eggs, but any nutritional gains are limited to a few individuals and likely cannot compensate for lost opportunities to consume their traditional, lipid-rich prey -- ice seals.

Study finds each hour spent watching TV daily increases the risk of developing diabetes by 3.4 percent
Each hour spent watching TV daily increases the risk of developing diabetes by 3.4 percent, concludes a study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Quantum teleportation on a chip
The core circuits of quantum teleportation, which generate and detect quantum entanglement, have been successfully integrated into a photonic chip by an international team of scientists from the universities of Bristol, Tokyo, Southampton and NTT Device Technology Laboratories.

ORNL part of new project to study how tropical forests worldwide respond to climate change
Researchers from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory will play key roles in an expansive new project that aims to bring the future of tropical forests and the climate system into much clearer focus by coupling field research with the development of a new ecosystem model.

NOAA study provides detailed projections of coral bleaching
New NOAA research shows that while nearly all coral reefs in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico will experience bleaching by mid-century, there will be great variety in the timing and location of these harmful effects.

Femto-snapshots of reaction kinetics
Following six years' work, an international team comprising 11 research institutions has been successful in observing precisely how light affects the outer electrons of a metallic compound and activates this compound as a catalyst.

A multi-faceted poison
The Bacillus cereus bacteria is one of the potential causes of food poisoning.

Researchers improve efficiency of human walking
Humans have evolved to be incredibly efficient at walking. In fact, simulations of human locomotion show that walking on level ground and at a steady speed should theoretically require no power input at all.

Ancient seashell coloration patterns revealed using ultraviolet light
Nearly 30 ancient seashell species coloration patterns were revealed using ultraviolet light.

Oxygen-depleted toxic oceans had key role in mass extinction over 200 million years ago
Changes in the biochemical balance of the ocean were a crucial factor in the end-Triassic mass extinction, during which half of all plant, animal and marine life on Earth perished, according to new research involving the University of Southampton.

Life for specialists: In the poisonous breath of sleeping volcanos
Researchers of the University Jena analyze the microbial community in volcanically active soils.

Depression often co-occurs with joint diseases
Those suffering from depressive symptoms have an increased risk for physical diseases, especially for arthrosis and arthritis.

Diversity prevents resistance
A diverse and species-rich agricultural landscape is also beneficial to farmers.

Ebola planning created need for unprecedented preparedness in hospitals
Hospitals and health systems preparing for and treating patients with Ebola virus disease in the fall of 2015 faced unexpected challenges for ensuring safety of staff, patients and the community.

Adolescent mental healthcare improved through pediatric primary care training
Training pediatric primary care providers to screen and assess depression and suicide risk in adolescent patients improved providers' confidence and knowledge of these conditions and increased frequency of screenings for this critical patient population.

Blood test trumps accuracy of standard screening in detecting Down syndrome in early pregnancy
A blood test undertaken between 10 to 14 weeks of pregnancy may be more effective in diagnosing Down syndrome and two other less common chromosomal abnormalities than standard non-invasive screening techniques, according to a multicenter study led by a UCSF researcher.

PETA and PCRM researchers publish on in vitro methods for assessing tobacco toxicity
The tobacco industry and regulatory authorities should support more relevant and less costly in vitro toxicology testing methods over unreliable animal testing, according to a review of research advances published this week in the comment pages of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals.

Loyola cancer program receives national Outstanding Achievement Award
Loyola University Medical Center has received the 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.

Agricultural contaminant impacts fish reproductive behavior
A common growth-promoting hormone used worldwide in the cattle industry has been found to affect the sexual behaviors of fish at a very low concentration in waterways -- with potentially serious ecological and evolutionary consequences.

Student helps to discover new pain relief delivery method
A chemistry undergraduate at the University of York has helped to develop a new drug release gel, which may help avoid some of the side effects of painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Complete camel skeleton unearthed in Austria
Archaeologists uncovered a complete camel skeleton in a large refuse pit in Tulln, Lower Austria, dating back to the time of the Second Ottoman War in the 17th century.

Lifting families out of poverty -- with dignity
America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Texting too tempting for college students even when inappropriate
College students may realize that texting in the shower or at a funeral is inappropriate, but many do it anyway, according to Penn State psychologists.

Sexual dysfunction inadequately reported in hair loss drug trials
Not one of the 34 published clinical trial reports provided adequate information about the severity, frequency or reversibility of sexual adverse effects.

Chief of naval research talks naval STEM workforce at upcoming expo
The Naval STEM Exposition at Sea-Air-Space will be held on Sunday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Potomac Rooms at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

Mice sing like songbirds to woo mates
Male mice sing ultrasonic vocalizations beyond human hearing to seduce females, according to a new Duke study published in the Frontiers of Behavioral Neuroscience.

How long do firms live? Research finds patterns of company mortality in market data
New research by scientists at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico reveals a surprising insight: publicly traded firms die off at the same rate regardless of their age or economic sector.

Massachusetts health reform did not lower preventable hospitalizations or reduce racial disparities
In the first three years after Massachusetts implemented its 2006 health care reform, which reduced the number of uninsured people in the state by roughly half, the rate of preventable hospitalizations did not decline compared with states with similar populations that did not expand health insurance coverage.

Locking up an oncogenic transcription
A novel molecule designed by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Virginia inhibits progression of a hard-to-treat form of recurring acute myeloid leukemia in patient tissue.

Ocean-scale dataset allows broad view of human influence on Pacific coral reef ecosystems
A study published today by scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the University of Victoria in the journal PLOS ONE draws on data from nearly 40 islands and atolls across the central and western Pacific, including 25 unpopulated islands, to investigate the relative influence of environmental variation and human presence on reef fish assemblages.

NASA covers Super Typhoon Maysak's rainfall, winds, clouds, eye
NASA's fleet of satellites and instruments in space have covered Super Typhoon Maysak's rainfall, winds, clouds and an astronaut about the International Space Station captured a close-up photo of the storm's eye.

Complete camel skeleton unearthed in Austria
Archaeologists uncovered a complete camel skeleton in Tulln, Lower Austria.

Computer model predicts how our livers will store fat
As part of an effort to understand how an experimental drug for atherosclerosis causes the build-up of fat in the liver, scientists have developed a computer model that can predict how the rate at which liver stores fat in response to various situations.

Registration for inaugural Stanford Medicine X|ED conference opens today
Registration for two Stanford conferences is now open. The inaugural Stanford Medicine X|ED will be held Sept.

Old cancer drug could have new use in fighting cancer
Jeffrey Bryan, an associate professor of oncology at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, found that an old cancer drug can not only kill cancer cells, but also works to change how certain cancer cells function, weakening those cells so they can be killed by other drugs.

Cooling massive objects to the quantum ground state
Ground state cooling of massive mechanical objects remains a difficult task restricted by the unresolved mechanical sidebands.

The Lancet and The Lancet Global Health: Babies with clinically suspected serious infections can be safely and effectively treated outside hospital
Newborns and young infants with possible severe bacterial infections, such as pneumonia and sepsis, whose families do not accept or cannot access hospital care, can be safely and effectively treated with simplified antibiotic regimens outside hospital, according to the results of three large trials from Africa and Bangladesh published in The Lancet and The Lancet Global Health journals.

Drop the bounce test: A common battery test often bounces off target
The battery bounce test, popularized in online videos, has led to the common conclusion that a high bounce means a dead battery.

Study finds eyeliner application may cause eye problems
People who apply eyeliner on the inner eyelid run the risk of contaminating the eye and causing vision trouble, according to research by a scientist at the University of Waterloo.

BPA exposure during pregnancy linked to mothers' future diabetes risk
Exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A during pregnancy may raise a mother's susceptibility to weight gain and diabetes later in life, according to a new animal study published in the Endocrine Society's journal Endocrinology.

Poses of power are less powerful than we thought
Legs apart, chest thrust forward, shoulders back: these 'power poses' are supposed to influence hormone production and willingness to take on risk in accordance with a study that attained global attention.

Night owls face greater risk of developing diabetes than early risers
Night owls are more likely to develop diabetes, metabolic syndrome and sarcopenia than early risers, even when they get the same amount of sleep, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Penn Medicine: New receptors could underlie the many actions of the anesthetic ketamine
Penn Medicine researchers are continuing their work in trying to understand the mechanisms through which anesthetics work to elicit the response that puts millions of Americans to sleep for surgeries each day.

New research project to study how tropical forests worldwide respond to climate change
Tropical forests play major roles in regulating Earth's climate, but there are large uncertainties over how they'll respond over the next 100 years as the planet's climate warms.

Dangers of adolescent energy drink consumption for the heart
The rapid rise in popularity of energy drinks, particularly among adolescents (aged 10-19 years) and young adults, has serious implications for cardiac health.

VSV-EBOV Ebola vaccine appears safe and generates immune response
An experimental Ebola vaccine called VSV-EBOV appears safe and elicited a robust immune response in a small phase 1 clinical trial, according to findings to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine on April 2, 2015.

MD Anderson and NanoString Technologies announce multi-year collaboration
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and NanoString Technologies, Inc., a provider of life science tools for translational research and molecular diagnostic products, today announced a multi-year collaboration to accelerate the development and adoption of a new type of assay based on NanoString's nCounter® Analysis System.

Exercise for older mouse mothers lowers risk of heart defects in babies
In people, a baby's risk of congenital heart defects is associated with the age of the mother.

Eggs and chicken instead of beef reap major climate gains
Beef on our plates is one of the biggest climate villains, but that does not mean we have to adopt a vegan diet to reach climate goals.

Interview blues -- anxious, slow talkers often do not get the job
Researchers offer a few tips for those who are worried that their nerves might stand between them and acing their next job interview.

How we hear distance: Echoes are essential for humans to perceive how far away a sound is
Mammals are good at figuring out which direction a sound is coming from, whether it's a predator breathing down our necks or a baby crying for its mother.

Presence of heart pouch may explain strokes of unknown origin, UCI study finds
A pouchlike structure inside the heart's left atrial chamber in some people may explain strokes that otherwise lack an identifiable cause, according to UC Irvine School of Medicine researchers.

Deforestation is messing with our weather -- and our food
New research published today in Nature Communications provides insight into how large-scale deforestation could impact global food production by triggering changes in local climate.

Migrating immune cells promote nerve cell demise in the brain
The death of dopamine-producing nerve cells in a certain region of the brain is the principal cause underlying Parkinson's disease.

Common cholesterol drug stimulates the same receptors as marijuana
If you want the benefits of medical marijuana without the 'unwanted side effects' of cannabis, new research should leave you on a high note.

Wayne State study of brain networks shows differences in children with OCD
A new study by scientists at the Wayne State University School of Medicine demonstrates that communication between some of the brain's most important centers is altered in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Study: Ads in free mobile apps have hidden costs for both users and developers
Advertising may allow developers to make smartphone apps free, but it has hidden costs -- draining batteries, eating up network data, and using more memory.

Scientists drill down to genetic root of prostate tumor development
Scientists have revealed the root of prostate cancers in individual men, discovering that despite huge genetic variety between tumors they also share common gene faults -- insight that could offer new treatment hopes.

Suicide not associated with deployment among US military personnel
Deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom was not associated with suicide in a study of more than 3.9 million US military personnel in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Allow NHS doctors to prescribe cheap, safe and effective sight loss drug, says The BMJ
NHS doctors should be allowed to prescribe a cheap, safe and effective drug for the degenerative eye disease, wet age-related macular degeneration -- a leading cause of blindness among older patients, says an investigation by The BMJ today.

ActiveGuard mattress liners reduce bed bugs' ability to lay eggs, study finds
Ohio State University entomologists have found that bed bugs exposed to permethrin-impregnated ActiveGuard Mattress Liners are significantly less likely to take bloodmeals and to lay eggs -- even in pyrethroid-resistant populations.

Study affirms lethal prostate cancer can spread from other metastatic sites
A new genomic analysis of tissue from patients with prostate cancer has added more evidence that cells within metastases from such tumors can migrate to other body parts and form new sites of spread on their own.

Simpler antibiotic treatments could help millions of infants who lack access to hospitals
Giving fewer antibiotic injections to young infants in the developing world with severe infections such as pneumonia and sepsis is just as safe and effective as the standard course of twice daily injections over the course of a week, according to new Johns Hopkins School of Public Health research conducted in Bangladesh.

Barriers found that prevent Ugandans with RHD from receiving needed penicillin
Access to penicillin can prevent deaths from rheumatic heart disease.

Cancer's relentless evolution
In new research, Carlo Maley, Ph.D., and his colleagues describe compulsive evolution and dramatic genetic diversity in cells belonging to one of the most treatment-resistant and lethal forms of blood cancer: acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Adults who struggle to follow heart medication regimens should focus on behavior change
A University of Missouri researcher found that interventions to encourage patients to take their medications as prescribed were most effective when focused on changing the behavior of patients rather than the behavior of health care providers.

NSF awards 2015 Graduate Research Fellowships
The National Science Foundation has announced this year's recipients of Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF).

Launch of 'The Best in Science Writing from Asia 2015' book
Powered by emerging economies and a young, well-trained population, Asia is now not only an exciting place to do science but a fantastic place to write about it as well.

Outside CEOs could rejuvenate struggling businesses
CEOs hired from outside a company tend to spend more money on research and development, while CEOs hired from within are likely to make large, strategic acquisitions, new research from the University of Missouri has found.

Longer DNA fragments reveal rare species diversity
A challenge in metagenomics is that the more commonly used sequencing machines generate data in short lengths, while short-read assemblers may not be able to distinguish among multiple occurrences of the same or similar sequences, making it difficult to identify all the members in a microbial community.

Light-powered gyroscope is world's smallest: Promises a powerful spin on navigation
A team of applied physicists from City University of New York and Yale University have found a new detection scheme that may lead to the world's smallest gyroscope.

New knowledge on EphB signaling may improve treatment of intestinal cancers
A new study led by researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, provides experimental evidence that a drug that inhibits the EphB-signaling pathway in the cell effectively can suppress the development of intestinal tumors.

Accountancy ambitions
The media is littered with celebrity trainers, bakers, nutritionists, even gardeners.

Number of childhood cancer survivors increasing, most have morbidities
The prevalence of childhood cancer survivors is estimated to have increased, and the majority of those who have survived five or more years beyond diagnosis may have at least one chronic health condition.

Periodic puns, round 2: Chemistry jokes for April Fools' Day
Last year, Reactions shook up the comedy world with a video featuring nothing but chemistry jokes.

A CNIO team succeeds in doubling the life span of mice suffering from premature aging
An increase in the capacity to produce nucleotides, the 'building blocks' of DNA, reduces genome fragility and counteracts premature aging in mutant mice for the ATR protein.

Forecasting future flooding
David Hill, a researcher at Oregon State University, studies future levels of flooding in Tillamook Bay.

NJIT mathematician's 2015 Major League Baseball projections
This is the 18th year that NJIT mathematical sciences professor and associate dean Bruce Bukiet has published his model's projections of how the standings should look at the end of the regular season.

LSU professor's neurological research featured in the Journal of Neuroscience
The research, jointly conducted by scientists from the Barrow Neurological Institute and Arizona State University, involves recording single-neuron activity in the brains of epilepsy patients who require electrodes implanted to monitor seizures.

Negotiating: Careful choice of words increases chances of success
When negotiating your next pay raise, haggling at the flea market or selling a used car, attention should be paid to the choice of words. 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