Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 02, 2015
American Cancer Society awards new research and training grants
The American Cancer Society, the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has awarded 100 national research and training grants totaling more than $45.6 million in the first of two grant cycles for 2015.

Beta secretase inhibitors to treat Alzheimer's disease
With each new amyloid-targeting treatment for Alzheimer's disease that has been developed, there has been a corresponding concern.

Astronomers watch unfolding saga of massive star formation
Astronomers are getting a unique, real-time look as a massive young star develops, with the promise of greatly improved understanding of the process.

The brain-belly connection: Team finds genetic triggers in weight-regulating brain cells
The little voice inside your head that tells you to eat, or stop eating, isn't a little voice -- it's actually a cluster of about 10,000 specialized brain cells.

Suzaku studies supernova 'crime scene,' shows a single white dwarf to blame
Using archival data from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite, astronomers have determined the pre-explosion mass of a white dwarf star that blew up thousands of years ago.

Raising retirement age would widen benefit disparities for disadvantaged
The age to receive full Social Security benefits should be closer to 70, according to a report published in the journal Daedalus.

Body's cancer defenses hijacked to make pancreatic and lung cancers more aggressive
Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered that a vital self-destruct switch in cells is hijacked -- making some pancreatic and non small cell lung cancers more aggressive, according to research published in Cancer Cell today.

Deaths from cardiovascular disease increase globally while mortality rates decrease
Deaths from cardiovascular disease increase globally while mortality rates decrease.

One test can predict which kids will become nearsighted
A study of 4,500 US children over 20 years has identified a single test that can predict which kids will become nearsighted by the eighth grade: a measure of their current refractive error.

TRMM satellite makes direct pass over Super Typhoon Maysak
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite delivered a remarkable image of Super Typhoon Maysak on March 31.

Louisiana Tech University wins EDA grant for I-20 Corridor Maker's Innovation Network
US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced Monday that Louisianan Tech University is among 17 winners of the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategiesi6 Program national competition designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country.

Witnessing drug problems or domestic violence causes greater asthma incidence
New study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows that children exposed to greater number of adverse childhood experiences had increased risk of asthma incidence.

Potential chemoresistance after consuming fatty acid in fish, fish oil
Researchers found that consuming the fish herring and mackerel, as well as three kinds of fish oils, raised blood levels of the fatty acid 16:4(n-3), which experiments in mice suggest may induce resistance to chemotherapy used to treat cancer, according to a study published online by JAMA Oncology.

Dying patients' choices not always aligned to caregivers'
An illuminating study compares the willingness of stage IV cancer patients, and their caregivers; to pay to extend their lives by one year against that of other end-of-life improvements.

Element of surprise helps babies learn
Infants have innate knowledge about the world and learn best when their expectations are defied.

Rice U. study: Algae from wastewater solves 2 problems
In one of the first studies to examine the potential for using municipal wastewater as a feedstock for algae-based biofuels, Rice University scientists found they could grow high-value strains of oil-rich algae while simultaneously removing more than 90 percent of nitrates and more than 50 percent of phosphorous from wastewater.

Deconstructing brain systems involved in memory and spatial skills
In work that reconciles two competing views of brain structures involved in memory and spatial perception, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have conducted experiments that suggest the hippocampus -- a small region in the brain's limbic system -- is dedicated largely to memory formation and not to spatial skills, such as navigation.

Plowing prairies for grains: Biofuel crops replace grasslands nationwide
Clearing grasslands to make way for biofuels may seem counterproductive, but University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers show in a study today that crops, including the corn and soy commonly used for biofuels, expanded onto 7 million acres of new land in the US over a recent four-year period, replacing millions of acres of grasslands.

Mayo Clinic researchers combine common genetic variants to improve breast cancer
Recent large-scale genomic analyses have uncovered dozens of common genetic variants that are associated with breast cancer.

Stem cells age-discriminate organelles to maintain stemness
A study suggests that asymmetric apportioning of old cellular components during cell division may represent an anti-aging mechanism by stem cells.

USC Norris study finds herpesvirus activates RIG-I receptor to evade body's immune system
Using herpesvirus, molecular immunologists from the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a cellular process that activates a critical immune defense against pathogens, which could have implications for developing drugs to bolster one's immunity to infection.

NTU finds new treatment options for colon cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University and Sweden's Karolinska Institutet have discovered that an existing chemotherapy drug used to treat leukemia could prevent and control the growth of colorectal tumors.

Adolescent drinking affects adult behavior through long-lasting changes in genes
Binge-drinking during adolescence may perturb brain development at a critical time and leave lasting effects on genes and behavior that persist into adulthood.

The science of stress (video)
It's supposed to help keep our bodies healthy in stressful situations.

Clinical trial uses patients' own cells for treatment after bone marrow transplant
A clinical trial using personalized cellular therapy has begun enrolling children and adults suffering from graft-versus-host-disease, a life-threatening complication of bone marrow transplantation in which donor immune lymphocytes attack the organs of the bone marrow transplant recipient.

Hubble finds phantom objects near dead quasars
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed a set of wispy, goblin-green objects that are the ephemeral ghosts of quasars that flickered to life and then faded.

Pick a color, any color
A small team of chemists, having learned the secrets of light absorption from chlorophylls a and b, can now tune molecules to absorb anywhere in the solar spectrum.

Rapid increase in neonicotinoid insecticides driven by seed treatments
Use of a class of insecticides, called neonicotinoids, increased dramatically in the mid-2000s and was driven almost entirely by the use of corn and soybean seeds treated with the pesticides, according to researchers at Penn State.

Modular brains help organisms learn new skills without forgetting old skills
New research suggests that when brains are organized into modules they are better at learning new information without forgetting old knowledge.

Free guide from AGS, AARP helps older Chinese-Americans understand health
A new, free guide from the AGS and AARP helps older Chinese-Americans understand and manage their health during National Minority Health Month.

Future Science Group announces free access to peer-reviewed journals focused on cancer
Future Science Group today announced that it will provide free access to three of its peer-reviewed, cancer-focused journals for the remainder of 2015.

Critical windows to turn away junk food craving
University of Adelaide researchers have shown there are two critical windows during the developmental pathway to adulthood when exposure to junk food is most harmful, particularly for female offspring.

Scientists win $3.3 million grant to speed development of treatments for autism, epilepsy
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have been awarded $3.3 million by the National Institutes of Health to identify biomarkers to accelerate drug development for disorders including autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy and some types of intellectual disability.

Small RNA plays big role suppressing cancer
Researchers at UC Davis have unraveled some of these relationships, identifying several interactions that directly impact liver and colon cancer.

Virginia Tech, Ecuadoran scientists study rare 'Pinocchio Lizard' in effort to save it
A long lizard nose is an important part of their social interactions and a unique aspect of the natural history of this remarkable lizard.

Cancer genes turned off in deadly brain cancer
Scientists have identified a small RNA molecule that can suppress cancer-causing genes in mice with glioblastoma mulitforme, a deadly and incurable type of brain tumor.

Strong grasp of immune response dynamics will enhance checkpoint blockade
Spreading the success of cancer immunotherapy beyond those patients currently enjoying powerful, long-term responses to treatment requires greater understanding of the immune response to tumors, two leaders in the field note in a review in the April 3 Science.

Accurate blood pressure measurement fundamental to early diagnosis in pregnancy
Accurate blood pressure measurement is fundamental to the early diagnosis of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, says a review published April 1, 2015, in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.

Pathway known to suppress tumors may also reduce burden of neurodegenerative diseases
A molecular pathway known to suppress tumors appears to also be a major player in clearing cells of damaged proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and certain types of dementia, new research in roundworms and human cells suggests.

NYU researchers dramatically improve ART adherence for minority PHLA
The intervention was found to be feasible and acceptable. Eight months post-baseline, intervention participants tended to be more likely to evidence 'good' adherence and also had lower HIV viral load levels.

Services users and their needs to be at the center of health-care services
The use of technology in daily life is getting easier all the time as people accumulate knowledge and skills in information and communications technology.

Black holes don't erase information, scientists say
Some physicists have argued that black holes are the ultimate vault, sucking in information and then evaporating without leaving behind any clue as to what they once contained.

DNA can't explain all inherited biological traits, research shows
Characteristics passed between generations are not decided solely by DNA, but can be brought about by other material in cells, new research shows.

Optics, nanotechnology combined to create low-cost sensor for gases
Engineers have combined innovative optical technology with nanocomposite thin-films to create a new type of sensor that is inexpensive, fast, highly sensitive and able to detect and analyze a wide range of gases.

Researchers observe new charge transport phenomenon
In the tunneling phenomenon a particle can, with certain likelihood, penetrate the thin interface between materials, even if it would be seen as impossible according to classical physics.

Sanford-Burnham licenses small molecule to Daiichi Sankyo for further development
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute today announced that it has signed a licensing agreement to further develop a first-in-class small molecule with Daiichi Sankyo for the treatment of cardiovascular-metabolic disease.

Circulation of highly pathogenic avian flu in North American birds
Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 viruses of Eurasian origin continue to circulate and evolve in North American wild birds.

Hubble finds ghosts of quasars past
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a set of enigmatic quasar ghosts -- ethereal green objects which mark the graves of these objects that flickered to life and then faded.

Liver injury in NASH leads to a leaky gut
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the more severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that can progress to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, is associated with leakiness of the intestinal wall, which in turn may worsen liver disease, according to research published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the new basic science journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

A new breakthrough in thermoelectric materials
A joint South Korean and American research group has developed a scalable production method for a state of the art alloy for the use in solid state thermoelectric devices.

UofL recognized as Kentucky's expert for public health workforce development
Helping thousands of public health professionals provide better care to the medically underserved is the focus of the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences' involvement in a national public health training center consortium.

Polio vaccination: Paper highlights final steps to polio eradication
April 12, 2015, marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Jonas Salk's landmark polio vaccine trial results, which confirmed that the first vaccine against polio was safe and effective.

Body clock genes could hold key to recurrent miscarriages
Researchers at the University of Warwick and UHCW have discovered how body clock genes could affect women's ability to have children.

How to crowdsource the world for emergency medicine
Two new studies, published online Tuesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine, illustrate the power of social media and the Internet to promote scholarly dialogue around the world and the importance of establishing criteria for what constitutes high-quality blogs and podcasts -- 'Global Emergency Medicine Journal Club: A Social Media Discussion About the ADJUST-PE Trial' and 'Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Blogs and Podcasts: Establishing an International Consensus on Quality.'

Statistical analysis reveals Mexican drug war increased homicide rates
A new statistical analysis suggests that, in the short term, the Mexican government's war against drugs increased the average murder rate in regions subjected to military-style interventions.

New study finds a natural oil dispersion mechanism for deep-ocean blowout
A first-of-its-kind study observed how oil droplets are formed and measured their size under high pressure.

Study finds new genetic clues to pediatric seizure disorders
Researchers have identified a new genetic mutation at the heart of a severe and potentially deadly seizure disorder found in infants and young children.

BioMed Central to publish new journal Research Integrity and Peer Review
One of the hot topics in science and academic publishing at the moment is peer review, and much work is going into research integrity and promoting good practice from all involved with research.

Eating eggs reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
Egg consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to new research from the University of Eastern Finland.

Being born in lean times is bad news for baboons
The saying 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' may not hold up to scientific scrutiny.

Some false postive prenatal genetic screens due to mother's extra DNA segments
In prenatal care, maternal blood screening for extra chromosomes in the fetus is becoming increasingly common.

Physical activity benefits lung cancer patients and survivors
Exercise and physical activity should be considered as therapeutic options for lung cancer as they have been shown to reduce symptoms, increase exercise tolerance, improve quality of life, and potentially reduce length of hospital stay and complications following surgery for lung cancer.

Microbes scared to death by virus presence
University of Illinois researchers found the microbe Sulfolobus islandicus can go dormant, ceasing to grow and reproduce, in order to protect themselves from infection by Sulfolobus spindle-shaped virus 9 (SSV9).

Elsevier's new open-access journal, Heliyon, is now accepting submissions
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has announced the call for submissions for its new open-access journal Heliyon.

Dual therapy's 1-2 punch knocks out drug-resistant lung cancer
Capitalizing on a rare opportunity to thoroughly analyze a tumor from a lung cancer patient who had developed resistance to targeted drug treatment, UC San Francisco scientists identified a biological escape hatch that explains the resistance, and developed a strategy in mice for shutting it down.

Nanoparticles may exploit tumor weaknesses to selectively attack cancers
Delving into the world of the extremely small, researchers are exploring how biodegradable nanoparticles can precisely deliver anticancer drugs to attack neuroblastoma, an often-deadly children's cancer.

Age-discrimination during cell division maintains the 'stem' in stem cells
A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered that during division, stem cells distinguish between old and young mitochondria and allocate them disproportionately between daughter cells.

With geomagnetic compass hooked to the brain, blind rats act like they can see
By attaching a microstimulator and geomagnetic compass to the brains of blind rats, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 2 found that the animals can spontaneously learn to use new information about their location to navigate through a maze nearly as well as normally sighted rats.

Battery energy storage project shows promise for electricity network
Published research from Australia's Griffith University has revealed the potential of a new battery energy storage system to reduce electricity prices while improving power efficiency and quality.

Depression and insomnia are strongest risk factors for frequent nightmares
A new study suggests that symptoms of depression and insomnia are the strongest predictors of having frequent nightmares.

NASA's ISS-RapidScat: Typhoon Maysak's strongest winds tightly wound
The RapidScat instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station saw Typhoon Maysak's strongest winds wrapped tightly around its center, extending outward to over 30 miles from the eye.

WebTIPS helps make surgery less scary for children -- and their parents
A newly developed website provides parents and children with individualized information and support -- based on factors like coping style and levels of worry and fear -- to help lower anxiety before outpatient surgery in children, according to a pair of articles in the April issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Personalized melanoma vaccines marshal powerful immune response
Personalized melanoma vaccines can be used to marshal a powerful immune response against unique mutations in patients' tumors, according to early data in a first-in-people clinical trial at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

High-fat dairy products linked to reduced type 2 diabetes risk
Consumption of high-fat yogurt and cheese are linked to a reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as one-fifth, according to new research from Lund University in Sweden.

Symposium addresses latest thinking on obesity
The 15th Plymouth Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome Symposium will take place at Plymouth Postgraduate Medical Centre on May 21 .

Could a tiny particle stem the plague of citrus greening?
A $4.6 million USDA grant will fund field trials of Zinkicide, a nanoparticle designed to be small enough to move within a citrus trees' stems, leaves, trunk and roots.

Through the grapevine: Molecular mechanisms behind Pinot berry color variation
Variations in the color of grapevine berries within the Pinot family result from naturally-occurring genetic mutations that selectively shut down the genes responsible for the synthesis of red pigments, called anthocyanins.

Palos Community Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center form innovative affiliation
Palos Community Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center have announced plans to join together to create an innovative affiliation in Illinois.

Bridging the gap between biodiversity data and policy reporting needs
Reporting under policy instruments to inform on the trends in biodiversity requires information from a range of different elements of biodiversity, from genetically viable populations to the structure of ecosystems.

UK death rates for children's heart surgery have almost halved over past decade
Deaths within 30 days of children's heart surgery have almost halved in the UK over the past decade, despite a rise in the number and complexity of cases during that period, reveals an analysis of national data, published in the online journal Open Heart.

Analytical innovations bring $10 million back to national laboratory, Battelle
A suite of analytical innovations used to detect and measure very low levels of compounds and elements has topped $10 million in licensing income for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and its operator Battelle.

Passive exposure to bleach at home linked to higher childhood infection rate
Passive exposure to bleach in the home is linked to higher rates of childhood respiratory and other infections, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

UTMB develops new online tool for nurses
The University of Texas Medical Branch has developed a new program that trains nurses how to pose questions that will point them to the needed information quickly.

HIV spreads like internet malware and should be treated earlier
A new model for HIV progression finds that it spreads in a similar way to some computer worms and predicts that early treatment is key to staving off AIDS.

Newly discovered link between Calaveras, Hayward faults means potentially larger quakes
UC Berkeley seismologists have proven that the Hayward and Calaveras faults are essentially the same system, meaning that a rupture on one could trigger a rupture on the other, producing considerably larger quakes than once thought.

Mitochondria are altered in human cell model of Parkinson's disease
Based on research in fruit flies, it has long been suspected that the most common mutation linked to both sporadic and familial Parkinson's disease (PD) wreaks its havoc by altering the function of mitochondria in neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Placenta reflects arsenic exposure in pregnant women and fetuses, Dartmouth study shows
The placenta can be used to reliably measure arsenic exposure in pregnant women and how much of the toxic metal is transferred to their fetuses, a Dartmouth College study shows in the largest ever analysis of household drinking water arsenic and the mother-to-fetus connection.

Alcohol study yields surprising results
The mortality of alcohol dependent patients in general hospitals is many times higher than that of patients without alcohol dependency.

An 'evolutionary relic' of the genome causes cancer
Pseudogenes have long been considered 'genomic junk,' mysterious remnants of evolution.

Cigarette smoke makes superbugs more aggressive
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an antibiotic-resistant superbug, can cause life-threatening skin, bloodstream and surgical site infections or pneumonia.

Can light therapy help the brain?
An innovative therapy that applies red and near-infrared light to the brain is now being tested at the Boston VA for Gulf War Illness, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD.

To improve bicycle safety, crash reports need to capture more data
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers are calling upon police in all states to improve their reporting of crashes involving vehicles and bicycles, according to a study being published April 2, 2015.

Researchers produce iPSC model to better understand genetic lung/liver disease
Using patient-derived stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to study the genetic lung/liver disease called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, researchers have for the first time created a disease signature that may help explain how abnormal protein leads to liver disease.

Researchers create artificial link between unrelated memories
The ability to learn associations between events is critical for survival, but it has not been clear how different pieces of information stored in memory may be linked together by populations of neurons.

Key mechanism identified in tumor-cell proliferation in pediatric bone cancers
A particular molecular pathway permits stem cells in pediatric bone cancers to grow rapidly and aggressively, according to researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center.

'Open' stem cell chromosomes reveal new possibilities for diabetes
Cells of the intestine, liver and pancreas are difficult to produce from stem cells.

Hormone and bone tests may be indicative of dialysis patients' heart health
High parathyroid hormone levels and subsequent bone loss are major risk factors for worsening of coronary artery calcification in patients on dialysis. 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