Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 06, 2015
Cancer drug target also essential for blood cell recovery
Blocking key 'survival' proteins is a promising tactic for treating cancer, however new research suggests care should be taken as these proteins are also vital for emergency blood cell production.

Study suggests new role for gene in suppressing cancer
Scientists at the University of Manchester have discovered that a previously known gene also helps cells divide normally and that its absence can cause tumors.

Emergency rooms see rising rate of patients with chronic conditions, lower rate of injuries
The rate of emergency department visits in California for non-injuries has risen while the rate of visits for injuries has dropped, according to a new study led by University of California San Francisco that documents the increasing amount of care provided in emergency departments for complex, chronic conditions.

Lead hokes the age
Rocks do not loose their memory during Earth history but their true ages might be distorted.

Lower extremity revascularization not effective in majority of nursing home residents
Only a few US nursing home residents who undergo lower extremity revascularization procedures are alive and ambulatory a year after surgery, according to UCSF researchers, and most patients still alive gained little, if any, function.

Plants use sixth sense for growth aboard the Space Station
Although it is arguable as to whether plants have all five human senses -- sight, scent, hearing, taste and touch -- they do have a unique sense of gravity, which is being tested in space.

Common cancers hijack powerhouses of cells
In a breakthrough in the understanding of how cancer does its deadly work, researchers have shown that many cancers -- including nearly all pancreatic cancers -- enslave and deform mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, to create an environment more conducive to tumor growth.

EARTH: Kamikaze typhoons spared Japan from Kublai Kahn
In a small lake along the Japanese coast, scientists have found evidence of turbulent waters centuries ago.

Tropical Depression Haishen moves away from Fananu
Tropical Storm Haishen has weakened and moved farther away from the island of Fananu in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Endangered tortoises thrive on invasive plants
Introduced plants make up roughly half the diet of two subspecies of endangered tortoise, field research in the Galapagos reveals.

New report links frequency of diet soda use to waist increases
Diet soda consumption may not keep weight off, especially around the waist in older individuals, a new study from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio suggests.

Pulling the strings of our genetic puppetmasters
Researchers have developed a new method to activate genes by synthetically creating a key component of the epigenome that controls how our genes are expressed.

Multiple sclerosis patients could benefit from brain boost study
Multiple sclerosis patients could one day benefit from treatments that boost their brain function, a study suggests.

News from Annals of Internal Medicine April 7, 2015
In the next issue of Annals of Internal Medicine are: Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig come out on top among commercial weight loss programs; Physical therapy as effective as surgery for lumber spinal stenosis; and Leading internists call for more thoughtful use of CPR.

Many nursing home residents die, don't walk after lower extremity revascularization
Many nursing home residents who underwent lower extremity revascularization died, did not walk or had functional decline following the procedure, which is commonly used to treat leg pain caused by peripheral arterial disease, wounds that will not heal or worsening gangrene, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Working up a sweat -- it could save your life
Physical activity that makes you puff and sweat is key to avoiding an early death, a large Australian study of middle-aged and older adults has found.

Study suggests ways to simplify health insurance enrollment
The federal health-care law has reduced the number of uninsured people by about 10 million.

Enhancing mechanism of capsaicin-evoked pain sensation
Drs. Takayama and Tominaga in National Institute for Physiological Sciences -- Okazaki Institute for Integrative Bioscience -- clarified that an interaction between capsaicin receptor TRPV1 and chloride channel anoctamin 1 causes enhancement of the capsaicin-evoked pain sensation in mice in collaboration with Dr.

University of Houston researchers discover N-type polymer for fast organic battery
Researchers at the University of Houston have reported developing an efficient conductive electron-transporting polymer, a long-missing puzzle piece that will allow ultra-fast battery applications.

Few commercial weight-loss programs show evidence of effectiveness, Johns Hopkins reports
In a bid to help physicians guide obese and overweight patients who want to try a commercial weight-loss program, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed 4,200 studies for solid evidence of their effectiveness but concluded only a few dozen of the studies met the scientific gold standard of reliability

US scientists celebrate the restart of the Large Hadron Collider
After two years of upgrades and repairs, proton beams once again circulate around the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

NIH-funded scientists identify receptor for asthma-associated virus
Scientists funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have identified a cellular receptor for rhinovirus C, a cold-causing virus that is strongly associated with severe asthma attacks.

Study identifies protein that triggers lupus-associated immune system activation
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have found that a protein that regulates certain cells in the innate immune system -- the body's first line of defense against infection -- activates a molecular pathway known to be associated with the autoimmune disorder systemic lupus erythematosus and that the protein's activity is required for the development of lupus symptoms in a mouse model of the disease.

Discovery by Virginia Tech may be breakthrough for hydrogen cars
Unlike other hydrogen fuel production methods that rely on highly processed sugars, the Virginia Tech team used dirty biomass -- the husks and stalks of corn plants -- to create their fuel.

Team determines structure of toxin in respiratory infections
By determining the structure of a common respiratory bacterium's toxin, researchers from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio have taken a step toward development of drugs and vaccines for reactive airway diseases.

Regulating poinsettia's height
A study determined whether a range of plant height can be achieved using controlled water deficit, and investigated possible adverse effects of WD on ornamental qualities of poinsettia.

Neighborhood stigma affects online transactions, NYU researchers find
The stigma associated with particular neighborhoods has a direct impact on economic transactions, a team of NYU sociologists has found.

New book provides workable approaches for combating bullying
'Practical Strategies for Clinical Management of Bullying' provides the latest findings about bullying and workable approaches for combating this social epidemic.

Aluminum battery from Stanford offers safe alternative to conventional batteries
Stanford University scientists have invented the first high-performance aluminum battery that's fast-charging, long-lasting and inexpensive.

Teams with a critical mass of women lets them 'lean in' and aim for science careers
For years, educators and have sounded an alarm about the fact that fewer girls and women enter STEM fields than their male peers, and more girls and women leave.

Young guns: Study finds high firearm violence rate in high-risk youth after assault injury
Two young men sit in an inner-city emergency room. One is getting care for injuries he suffered in a fight, the other, for a sore throat.

How many organisms do live in this aquatic habitat?
A new measurement method has been developed at Hiroshima University, Japan.

For marketers, failing to align the emotions of your ads with TV programs may turn off consumers
The research shows why marketers and ad buyers might want to opt for ads that are only moderately energetic as opposed to ads with boundless energy and pep.

Liquid corn, fish fertilizers 'good options' for organic blackberry production
Researchers evaluated the impact of organic fertilizer source on growth, fruit quality, and yield of two blackberry cultivars grown in a machine-harvested, organic production system.

Childhood cancer survivors face chronic health problems
Childhood cancer survivors have increased, but the majority of those who have survived face chronic health problems, diseases and disability related to treatment, reports a new study.

Researchers create first metal-free catalyst for rechargeable zinc-air batteries
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University and the University of North Texas have made what they believe is the first metal-free bifunctional electrocatalyst that performs as well or better than most metal and metal oxide electrodes in zinc-air batteries.

How do you feel? Video of your face may tell all
Rice University researchers are developing a touch-free system that monitors patients' vital signs via video while compensating for skin tone, lighting and movement.

Can cancer vaccines prolong survival?
Therapeutic anti-cancer vaccines developed to treat metastatic disease such as advanced prostate cancer or melanoma rarely have a noticeable effect on the tumor but have been associated with a statistically significant increase in patient survival.

New test measures deadly protein in Huntington's disease patients' spinal fluid
A new test has been able to measure for the first time the build-up of a harmful mutant protein in the nervous system of patients during the progression of Huntington's disease.

ROIS collaboration on Data Centric Science
ROIS based in Tokyo signed MoUs on Data Centric Science research collaboration with European organizations, CSC -- IT Center for Science, Finland, DSI and EUDAT.

Under the microscope, strong-swimming swamp bacteria spontaneously organize into crystals
The researchers dubbed the individual cells 'microscopic tornadoes' for their rapid rotation, which both forms the crystals by drawing in other cells and then powers the crystals' own motion.

Stress and obesity: Your family can make you fat
A new study from the University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance and Texas Obesity Research Center suggests a relationship between long-term exposure to three specific types of family stressors and children becoming obese by the time they turn 18.

Researchers track protein 'hitchhiker' in fluorescent worms
University of Iowa researchers have identified a new mechanism that ensures proper cell division in worms.

Study points the way toward producing rubber from lettuce
Prickly lettuce, a common weed that has long vexed farmers, has potential as a new cash crop providing raw material for rubber production, according to Washington State University scientists.

Living mulch, organic fertilizer tested on broccoli
Field experiments examined whether the effects of living mulch on broccoli yield and yield components are dependent on fertilizer rates.

Northern coastal marshes more vulnerable to nutrient pollution
Salt marshes at higher latitudes, including those in densely populated coastal regions of New England and Europe, are more vulnerable to the effects of eutrophication, which, if left unchecked, can trigger intense overgrazing by marsh herbivores that can destabilize marshes and reduce their ability to defend shorelines from erosion.

Climate change, plant roots may accelerate carbon loss from soils
Soil, long thought to be a semi-permanent storehouse for ancient carbon, may be releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere faster than anyone thought.

Characteristic pattern of protein deposits in brains of retired NFL players who suffered concussions
A new UCLA study takes another step toward the early understanding of a degenerative brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which affects athletes in contact sports who are exposed to repetitive brain injuries.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone 22S 'come together right now'
Like the classic song from 1969, NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone 22S in the Southern Indian Ocean and saw it 'come together, right now.'

Origin of cancer wasting identified in fruit flies
The progressive wasting of muscle and fat tissue throughout the body is one of the most visible and heartbreaking manifestations of cancer, yet little is known about how tumors cause distant tissues to degenerate.

Study reveals Internet-style 'local area networks' in cerebral cortex of rats
Studying 40 years' worth of data on rat brains, scientists found that the rat cerebral cortex has hubs and 'local area networks,' much like the Internet.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, US Navy develop next-gen temperature sensor to measure ocean dynamics
Temperature is one of the key variables in studying the ocean.

Physically active middle-aged adults have low risk of sudden cardiac arrest
The incidence of sudden cardiac arrest during sports activities is relatively low among physically active middle-aged adults.

Expedition will sample crater left by dinosaur-killing asteroid
An international research team is formalizing plans to drill nearly 5,000 feet below the seabed to take core samples from the crater of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Accelerating materials discovery with world's largest database of elastic properties
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have published the world's largest set of data on the complete elastic properties of inorganic compounds, increasing by an order of magnitude the number of compounds for which such data exists.

The brain game
Why are some people able to master a new skill quickly while others require extra time or practice?

Computers that mimic the function of the brain
A team of Northwestern University researchers used a promising new material to build more functional memristors, bringing us closer to brain-like computing.

New advancements in 3-D designs for neural tissue engineering
Several new designs for 3-D neural tissue constructs are described using stem cells grown on nanofiber scaffolding within a supportive hydrogel.

Inning limits don't prevent MLB pitching injuries
Restricting the number of innings young Major League Baseball pitchers throw does not prevent injuries, according to new research from the University of Waterloo.

A third of breast cancer patients concerned about genetic risk
A new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds that many women diagnosed with breast cancer are concerned about the genetic risk of developing other cancers themselves or of a loved one developing cancer.

Western Canada to lose 70 percent of glaciers by 2100
Seventy percent of glacier ice in British Columbia and Alberta could disappear by the end of the 21st century, creating major problems for local ecosystems, power supplies, and water quality, according to a new study.

Can you make your own Game of Thrones sword using chemistry?
The fantasy epic Game of Thrones is back this Sunday night, and it is sure to be chock full of intrigue, indiscretions and, of course, swords.

For ticks, researchers find lemur noses to be males only in Madagascar
Out of 295 ticks collected from the noses of lemurs in Madagascar, 100 percent of them were male.

Breastfeeding women and sex: Higher sex drive or relationship management?
New mothers in the Philippines spend more time in the bedroom with their partner in the first few weeks after giving birth than they did before they became pregnant.

Sound separates cancer cells from blood samples
Separating circulating cancer cells from blood cells for diagnostic, prognostic and treatment purposes may become much easier using an acoustic separation method and an inexpensive, disposable chip, according to a team of engineers.

Middle-aged athletes at low risk for sudden cardiac arrest while exercising
Middle-aged athletes are at low risk for having a sudden cardiac arrest while playing sports, and those who do have a greater chance of surviving the usually fatal condition, shows a new Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute study.

Extraversion may be less common than we think
New research documents the 'friendship paradox' within the emerging social networks of a new class of MBA students, showing that extroverted people tend to be disproportionately represented in the social networks.

CU researchers: Brain activity boosts processes that promote neural connections
Brain activity affects the way the developing brain connects neurons and a study by researchers at the School of Medicine on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Children's Hospital Colorado suggests a new model for understanding that process.

How to train your astronauts
As NASA develops deep space exploration missions on its journey to Mars, the agency is investigating current training methods in order to adapt to the longer and longer missions.

Highly competitive NASA grant will fund UT Arlington study of space weather
UT Arlington physics professor Ramon Lopez plans to use a $502,956 NASA grant to study the role of solar wind fluctuations in solar wind-geospace coupling.

Two compounds target the gut to lower blood sugar -- in obese or diabetic rats
Researchers at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute have discovered metformin (the most widely prescribed type 2 diabetic medication) and resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, trigger novel signaling pathways in the small intestine to lower blood sugar.

Obstetrician-gynecologist training in Sub-Saharan Africa bolstered by new collections
A new project provides free access to educational materials to support obstetrician-gynecologist training in Africa and improve maternal and newborn care.

Women and men have different exclusion criteria for rtPA
After analyzing stroke treatment records, researchers at Rhode Island Hospital in collaboration with researchers from the University of Cincinnati learned that women and men have different reasons for being excluded from receiving the common clot-dissolving drug, recombinant tissue plasminogen activator.

Oregon study: Consequences of driving drunk are paying off
Punishments for drivers whose blood alcohol content is measured above legal thresholds for impairment have reduced the likelihood of repeat offenses, says a University of Oregon economist.

New blood signature analysis may help diagnose Parkinson's disease earlier
A new blood test may more accurately identify blood signatures, or biomarkers, for Parkinson's disease, according to a new study published in the journal Movement Disorders.

Study of vehicle emissons will aid urban sustainability efforts
Boston University researchers have created DARTE (Database of Road Transportation Emissions), a new nationwide data inventory that can help to provide this crucial information.

Dwarf dragons discovered in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador
Scientists have discovered three new species of dragon-esque woodlizards in the Andes of Peru and Ecuador.

Water makes wires even more nano
Rice University researchers create sub-10-nanometer wires from a variety of materials by using water as a mask in a simple etching process.

Antipsychotic use may increase the risk for diabetes in some children
In the largest study to date documenting the significant risks to children's health associated with prescription antipsychotics, researchers found results suggest that initiating antipsychotics may elevate a child's risk not only for significant weight gain, but also for type 2 diabetes by nearly 50 percent.

Common antidepressant increased coronary atherosclerosis in animal model
A commonly prescribed antidepressant caused up to a six-fold increase in atherosclerosis plaque in the coronary arteries of non-human primates, according to a study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

New target for anticancer drugs: RNA
Messenger RNAs -- the working copies of genes that are used to assemble proteins -- have typically been ignored as drug targets because they all look about the same.

Cold, callous and untreatable? Not all psychopaths fit the stereotype, says new study
A new study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology shows that a subset of pre-psychopathic youth, who appear callous and unemotional to others, are actually masking an unmanageable surplus of feeling and can be treated using approaches like cognitive or dialectical behavioral therapy.

Fishing amplifies forage fish collapses
A new study implicates fishing in the collapse of forage fish stocks and recommends risk-based management tools that would track a fishery's numbers and suspend fishing when necessary.

Using pediatric cholesterol guidelines for teens, young adults would increase statin use
Application of pediatric guidelines for lipid levels for persons 17 to 21 years of age who have elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels would result in statin treatment for more than 400,000 additional young people than the adult guidelines, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Rage against the machines: A computer engineer battles malicious bots
Defending websites from malicious intruder bots is not unlike fighting viruses: neutralize them and they reinvent themselves, finding new ways to penetrate.

Physical therapy, surgery produce same results for stenosis in older patients
Pitt researchers find equal outcomes in a two-year study, but policy issues may lurk underneath lumbar spinal stenosis issues.

NASA spots an eye in fast-developing Cyclone Ikola
Tropical Cyclone Ikola formed quickly on April 6 and quickly strengthen to hurricane-force in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Winning women
Political parties find that their fortunes improve when they put more women on the ballot, according to a study co-authored by an MIT economist.

UH study links Facebook use to depressive symptoms
The social media site, Facebook, can be an effective tool for connecting with new and old friends.

Study: Near-death brain signaling accelerates demise of the heart
What happens in the moments just before death is widely believed to be a slowdown of the body's systems as the heart stops beating and blood flow ends.

Providers have mixed feelings about prescribing HIV prevention
People at substantial ongoing risk for HIV have a prevention option in addition to practicing safer sex: pre-exposure prophylaxis.

Sleep problems prevalent for military members
Improving the quality and quantity of US military members' sleep following deployment could help reduce other health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Mysterious desert fairy circles share pattern with skin cells
A new finding may shed light on the unknown origin of fairy circles.

Women smokers concerned about weight are less likely to try to quit
Women who believe smoking helps them manage their weight are less likely to try quitting in response to anti-smoking policies than other female smokers in the US.

Cells exercise suboptimal strategy to survive
Analysis of suboptimal metabolic pathways gives a more realistic picture of why organisms are able to adapt to new environments, according to researchers at Rice University studying systemic response to hypoxia and exercise.

Erythropoietin combined with radiation therapy does not improve local-regional control in anemic patients with head and neck cancer
Long-term analysis of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 9903 demonstrates that the addition of erythropoietin did not improve local-regional control for anemic patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma who receive radiation therapy or chemoradiation, according to a study published in the April 1, 2015 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics.

Research debunks commonly held belief about narcissism
Contrary to popular belief, excessive use of first-person singular pronouns such as 'I' and 'me' does not necessarily indicate a narcissistic tendency, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

With breast cancer treatment, you do get what you pay for
Despite concerns about the increasing costs of treating illnesses like breast cancer, higher treatment costs are linked to better survival rates, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Cancer Outcomes Public Policy and Effectiveness Research Center at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center.

Neurologic function, temperature management in patients after cardiac arrest
Quality of life was good and cognitive function was similar in patients with cardiac arrest who received targeted body-temperature management as a neuroprotective measure in intensive care units in Europe and Australia, according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology.

NTU scientists discover new treatment for dementia
Pushing new frontiers in dementia research, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore scientists have found a new way to treat dementia by sending electrical impulses to specific areas of the brain to enhance the growth of new brain cells.

New research complicates seismic hazard for British Columbia, Alaska region
The Pacific and North America plate boundary off the coast of British Columbia and southeastern Alaska is a complex system of faults capable of producing very large earthquakes.

Producing strawberries in high-pH soil at high elevations
Scientists designed an experiment with 16 strawberry cultivars planted in two perennial planting systems in New Mexico.

Saving lives by making malaria drugs more affordable
New research forthcoming in Management Science determines that the 'shelf life' of malaria-fighting drugs plays a significant role in how donors should subsidize the medicine in order to ensure better affordability for patients.

Study finds cow milk is added to breast milk and sold to parents online
A study on the safety of human breast milk bought over the Internet found that 10 percent of samples contained added cow's milk.

Device extracts rare tumor cells using sound
A simple blood test may one day replace invasive biopsies thanks to a new device that uses sound waves to separate blood-borne cancer cells from white blood cells.

We can fix the Great Barrier Reef
Leading coral reef scientists say Australia could restore the Great Barrier Reef to its former glory through better policies that focus on science, protection and conservation.

Sea sponge anchors are natural models of strength
The Venus' flower basket sea sponge has hair-like appendages that hold it in place on the sea floor.

Better sensors for medical imaging, contraband detection
MIT researchers have developed a new, ultrasensitive magnetic-field detector that is 1,000 times more energy-efficient than its predecessors. 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