Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 07, 2015
Easing the pain
Combining nortriptyline and morphine provides better pain relief than using either drug alone, according to a new study led by Queen's researcher Ian Gilron.

Six from CCNY named NSF Graduate Research Fellows
Danielle G. Rivera, a master of Science in biology major at The City College of New York and five recent CCNY graduates have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Cost of cancer drugs varies widely based on who's paying
Uninsured cancer patients are asked to pay anywhere from two to 43 times what Medicare would pay for chemotherapy drugs, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

No evidence that low-frequency magnetic fields accelerate development of Alzheimer's, ALS
Low-frequency alternating magnetic fields are considered a potential health risk.

How do single women seeking donor semen differ from cohabiting women?
Single women seeking treatment with donor semen do not differ from cohabiting women seeking treatment with regard to sociodemographic characteristics or attitudes toward motherhood, a new study of 311 Danish women shows.

Dr. Owen Witte recognized with AACR G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award
The American Association for Cancer Research is honoring Owen N.

Newly discovered ancient arthropod lived hundreds of millions of years ago
The Burgess Shale Formation, in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, is one of the most famous fossil locations in the world.

Does dual enrollment in VA and Medicare advantage plans improve or fragment care?
A new Health Services Research study has found that while dual use does not appear to erode quality of care, there's also no evidence that it improves it.

Physicians pioneer the use of stereotactic body radiation for deadly kidney cancer complication
UT Southwestern Medical Center Kidney Cancer Program investigators have published what is believed to be the first reported successful use of stereotactic body radiation therapy for an often deadly complication of kidney cancer.

NSF announces first NSF Research Traineeship awards
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce the first awardees for the recently launched NSF Research Traineeship program.

Which type of sustainable rooftop technology is best in cold climates?
Sustainable rooftop technologies -- including green roofs, white roofs, and solar photovoltaic panels -- can provide great environmental benefits, but studies of these technologies often look only at their use in hot climates and do not assess their full environmental consequences.

New tool to diagnose Ebola uncovers some surprises
Abdominal pain, fever and unexplained bleeding - which are commonly believed to indicate infection with the Ebola virus -- are not significantly predictive of the disease, according to the results of a study examining a new Ebola Prediction Score published online Friday in Annals of Emergency Medicine ('Derivation and Internal Validation of the Ebola Prediction Score for Risk Stratification of Patients with Suspected Ebola Virus Disease').

Kessler Foundation scientists link emotional processing deficits with white matter damage
Kessler Foundation researchers have linked inability to recognize facial affect (emotion) with white matter damage after traumatic brain injury, an important first step toward understanding this emotional processing deficit.

Are current dietary guidelines for sodium and potassium reasonable?
A recent study looked at how well people in France, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States are meeting World Health Organization dietary goals for limiting sodium and increasing potassium intake.

Shifts in electricity generation spur net job growth, but coal jobs decline
In four years following the 2008 recession, the US coal industry lost more than 49,000 jobs, while the natural gas, solar, and wind industries together created nearly four times that amount, according to a new Duke University study.

WSU study finds cigarette warning labels may be more effective with imagery
Young adults are more likely to appreciate the dangers of smoking when warnings are presented in images as well as text, according to a new study by a Washington State University Vancouver psychologist.

Swimming algae offer Penn researchers insights into living fluid dynamics
None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn't know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn't prevent fluid buildup.

Overconfidence in new technologies can influence decision-making
Technological advances in recent decades have transformed most aspects of daily life, and technology now plays a major role in business and society.

Stroke classification system called TOAST is easy to use and effective
A stroke classification system called TOAST is easy to use and effective, neurologists report in the journal Stroke.

Future electronics based on carbon nanotubes
A big barrier to building useful electronics with carbon nanotubes has always been the fact that when they're arrayed into films, a certain portion of them will act more like metals than semiconductors.

Purging a virus from organ transplants
EPFL scientists have discovered the switch that can awake a dormant cytomegalovirus, a dreadful pathogen in immuno-compromised patients.

Stanford-led study finds limited mutations involved in transmission of drug-resistant HIV
In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and their colleagues have found that worldwide only a limited number of mutations are responsible for most cases of transmission of drug-resistant HIV.

Obesity in children: Breastfeeding is best, but...
Yes, while breastfeeding is the optimal first food for a baby, it's not as simple to say that it will protect all children from becoming obese.

Discovery of communication link between brain areas implicated in schizophrenia
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists have discovered an inhibitory connection between two brain areas in mice that can control the timing of information flow into PFC.

More anti-inflammatory genes mean longer lifespans for mammals
We age in part thanks to 'friendly fire' from the immune system -- inflammation and chemically active molecules called reactive oxygen species that help fight infection, but also wreak molecular havoc, contributing to frailty, disability and disease.

Moffitt researchers discover novel mechanism controlling lung cancer stem cell growth
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers discovered a novel mechanism that plays an important role in the maintenance of lung cancer stem cells.

Namiko Mitarai receives prestigious Japanese elite researcher award
Namiko Mitarai, associate professor and researcher in biophysics in the research group BioComplexity at the Niels Bohr Institute, has been awarded the prestigious Japanese elite researcher award, The Young Scientists' Prize in the Commendation for Science and Technology.

Discovering another interoperability challenge in health information exchange
Regenstrief Institute investigator Brian Dixon, Ph.D., will propose strategies for improving and standardizing facility identification in electronic health record transactions in a presentation to the 2015 HIMSS Conference and Exhibition on April 13, 2015.

Asthma rates among black youth are similarly high in urban, rural communities
Asthma rates among black youth living in urban Detroit and rural Georgia are essentially the same, researchers report, a finding that conflicts with the widely held theory that city life is a risk factor, and pointing instead toward poverty.

Mortality and blood pressure directly linked to relationship quality
While other studies have shown that stress and negative marital quality can influence mortality and blood pressure, there has not been research that discussed how it might affect married couples over time.

Defect found in pancreatic cells could lead to new diabetes treatment
Researchers have found a cellular defect that can impair the body's ability to handle high glucose levels, pointing the way to new treatments for diabetes.

Leading cardiovascular societies release new guidance on use of heart pumps
Greater availability of percutaneous mechanical circulatory support devices for treatment of heart failure is helping expand treatment options for a rapidly growing number of acutely and chronically ill cardiac patients who could benefit from the devices.

Asbestos use in Asia poses serious health dangers
The use of asbestos continues to increase in Asia despite clear health hazards.

New, natural DNA-based drugs are safe, potent activators of immune system
An experimental single-stranded oligonucleotide-based drug, MGN1703, comprised only of natural DNA components, stimulates the human immune system to fight infections and attack cancer cells without causing the harmful side effects associated with similar compounds that also contain non-natural DNA components.

Food allergies can be transmitted from blood products to children in rare cases
In rare cases, children can develop anaphylactic allergies to previously tolerated foods after receiving blood products via transfusion, report the authors of a case study published in CMAJ.

Risk of breast and ovarian cancer may differ by type of BRCA1, BRCA2 mutation
In a study that involved more than 31,000 women who are carriers of disease-associated mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, researchers identified mutations that were associated with significantly different risks of breast and ovarian cancers, findings that may have implications for risk assessment and cancer prevention decision making among carriers of these mutations, according to a study in the April 7 issue of JAMA.

Into thin air and back
In a new publication in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, Scott, Cheviron et al., have examined the underlying muscle physiology from a group of highland and lowland deer mice.

Brontosaurus is back!
Although well known as one of the most iconic dinosaurs, Brontosaurus (the 'thunder lizard') has long been considered misclassified.

Gut immune system identified as a new and effective target in treating diabetes
A commonly used drug to treat inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease, has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in obese mice, potentially identifying the gut immune system as a new and effective target in treating diabetes in humans.

Sun experiences seasonal changes, new research finds
The sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability with its activity waxing and waning over the course of nearly two years, new research concludes.

UM study finds fast food just as effective for recovery as sports supplements
A new study, recently published by the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found there was no significant difference in glycogen recovery when cyclists ate fast food after a workout versus when they ingested traditional sports supplements such as Gatorade, Powerbar and Clif products.

Subtle discrimination is easier to acknowledge when self-esteem is high
Identifying discrimination is a necessary first step toward confronting and ultimately eliminating the stain of prejudice, yet victims may be unlikely to recognize some types of discrimination unless they have higher self-esteem, according to the results of a new study by two University at Buffalo psychologists.

Common birds bring economic vitality to cities, new study finds
A new study in the journal Urban Ecosystems tries to determine what economic value residents in two comparable cities place on having birds in their backyards and parks.

Leading scientists to discuss California drought research and response
At this conference, national researchers and state water managers will explore drought monitoring and prediction, seek to better understand the drought's impacts on the water supply and ecosystems, discuss possible links to climate change, and identify policy and management solutions to enhance California's resilience.

New study hints at spontaneous appearance of primordial DNA
The self-organization properties of DNA-like molecular fragments four billion years ago may have guided their own growth into repeating chemical chains long enough to act as a basis for primitive life, says a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Milan.

LA County gets C+ from UCLA on environmental issues
UCLA today issued the first comprehensive environmental report card for Los Angeles County.

Efforts needed to standardize criteria for age-related muscle loss
The term 'sarcopenia' is most often used to describe age-related loss in muscle mass and strength, and it is commonly considered analogous to osteoporosis.

Complex bacterial challenge in fight against deadly amphibian disease
New research from The University of Manchester and the Institute of Zoology has shed light on the complex challenge facing scientists battling one of the world's most devastating animal diseases.

Functional brain organization of newborns altered by prenatal cocaine exposure
A new study of newborns with prenatal drug exposure finds cocaine-specific disruptions in a part of the brain circuitry thought to play an important role in arousal regulation.

ORCID receives $3 million grant to build international engagement capacity
Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) has been awarded an 18-month, $3 million grant by The Leona M. and Harry B.

Default surrogate consent statutes may differ with wishes of patients
Among a sample of veterans in Connecticut, a substantial number had individuals listed as next of kin who were not nuclear family members, according to a study in the April 7 issue of JAMA.

Epidemiology of HIV-1 transmitted drug resistance
Only a limited number of surveillance drug-resistance mutations are responsible for most instances of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor- and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-associated resistance, and most strains of HIV-1 transmitted drug resistance in sub-Saharan Africa and south/southeast Asia arose independently, according to a study led by Soo-Yon Rhee of Stanford University, published this week in PLOS Medicine.

New model could help identify root cause of swallowing disorder
Nearly 40 percent of Americans 60 and older are living with dysphagia.

The hoo's hoo of gibbon communication
The secret communication of gibbons has been interpreted for the first time in a study published in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

The control of Idiazabal cheese is not limited to the absence of defects
Cheeses with the Idiazabal designation of origin are subjected to stringent controls at the UPV/EHU's Sensory Analysis Laboratory.

Declining great apes of Central Africa get new action plan for the next decade
The number of gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa continues to decline due to hunting, habitat loss, and disease, combined with a widespread lack of law enforcement and corruption in the judicial process, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF, and partners in a new conservation plan.

Seena Magowitz Foundation funds TGen's zebrafish studies of pancreatic cancer
Today, scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) are using zebrafish to accelerate investigations of pancreatic cancer, the nation's fourth-leading cause of cancer-related death.

Bumblebees differentiate flower types when arranged horizontally but not vertically
Bumblebees trained to go to feeders labelled with a certain color or pattern cue but avoid differently labelled alternative feeders did so when feeders were arranged horizontally but didn't when arranged vertically.

TSRI scientists find molecular trigger of schizophrenia-like behaviors and brain changes
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have identified a molecule in the brain that triggers schizophrenia-like behaviors, brain changes and global gene expression in an animal model.

New study reveals mixed picture on the effectiveness of Viagra and related drugs
Viagra and other related drugs are not a universal 'cure-all' for impotence, according to a new study from The University of Manchester and NatCen Social Research.

Eating disorders during adolescence may have lasting socioeconomic consequences for women
In a recent study, females with eating disorders in late adolescence were more likely to have lower levels of educational attainment and personal income in early adulthood.

Central signaling pathway in lymphoma can be blocked successfully
Cancer researchers from the University of Zurich have identified a key signaling pathway in B-cell lymphoma, a malignant type of blood cancer.

UMass Amherst food scientist honored for work with edible oils
A recognized international expert in edible oil applications and health and nutrition of lipids, Park will receive a plaque, a $750 honorarium and will deliver the award lecture, 'Conjugated Linoleic Acid: 30-year Research,' at the AOCS annual meeting in Orlando in May.

European Geosciences Union meeting: Press conferences live stream, on-site registration
Next week, over 12,000 scientists will gather in Vienna for the 2015 European Geosciences Union General Assembly, a meeting that provides an opportunity for journalists to hear about the latest research in the Earth and space sciences.

Common drug is re-engineered to improve surgery outcomes
A Northwestern University research team attached a gas molecule to protamine sulfate, creating a new nitric oxide generator that could potentially reduce bleeding complications during surgery.

New mechanisms of 'social networking' in bacteria
Bacteria have traditionally been viewed as solitary organisms that 'hang out on their own,' says molecular biologist Kevin Griffith of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Two ancient human fossils from Laos reveal early human diversity
An ancient human skull and a jawbone found a few meters apart in a cave in northern Laos add to the evidence that early modern humans were physically quite diverse, researchers report in PLOS ONE.

Risk of breast and ovarian cancer may differ by type of BRCA1, BRCA2 mutation
Researchers have identified mutations that are associated with significantly different risks of breast and ovarian cancers.

Education and awareness key to helping physicians address elder abuse
Elder abuse is common, affecting an estimated 5 to 10 percent of seniors; raising awareness among physicians is key to helping address the issue, according to a review in CMAJ.

Gene variant and environment can boost severity of respiratory syncytial virus
A particular genetic mutation combined with an urban environment increases the risk of severe disease in children infected with respiratory syncytial virus, an international team of investigators has found.

New technology making drones safer and smarter
Researchers at the University of Zurich have unveiled new technology enabling drones to recover stable flight from any position and land autonomously in failure situations.

Rates of ADHD appear to decrease at higher altitudes
The prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder decreases substantially as altitude increases.

ACL surgery may significantly improve physical health and function for at least six years in younger patients
A new study appearing in the April issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, found that most patients who underwent surgery to repair and rebuild an anterior cruciate ligament tear showed significant improvement in physical function at two years, which continued for at least six years following surgery.

Hannover Messe: Loyal errand boy and virtual excavator
At this year's Hannover Messe, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will have a special helper at its booth: FiFi, an electric errand boy follows its operator loyally like a well-trained dog and even carries his loads.

Just hit 'print': Office inkjet printer could produce simple tool to identify infectious diseases
Consumers are one step closer to benefiting from packaging that could give simple text warnings when food is contaminated with deadly pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, and patients could soon receive real-time diagnoses of infections such as C. difficile right in their doctors' offices, saving critical time and trips to the lab.

New study questions role of breast milk in obesity prevention
A new study supports human milk as the optimal first food for babies, but the study raises questions about whether breast milk protects children from becoming obese.

A better biomarker to predict cetuximab response in CRC patients
Scientists at Insilico Medicine Inc. and Champions Oncology Inc. have successfully demonstrated a method to predict response to cetuximab in patients with colorectal cancer using OncoFinder pathway activation strength.

Inventing a 2-D liquid
A University of Pennsylvania team has now shown how to make nanoparticles that are attracted to an oil-water interface but not to each other, creating a system that acts as a two-dimensional liquid.

Evelyn and Ernest Rady commit $100 million to UC San Diego's Rady School
With a $30 million lead gift in 2004, Evelyn and Ernest Rady and the Rady Family Foundation helped establish UC San Diego's world-class, entrepreneurial business school -- the Rady School of Management.

Novel therapeutic procedure helps stroke patient recover three-dimensional vision
Impaired vision is one of the most common consequences of a stroke.

Contaminants also a threat to polar bears
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus), one of the largest carnivorous mammals on Earth, is being made vulnerable by the series of dangers it faces.

Gotcha! Ultra-realistic robot proves there's more than 1 way to scare a fish
Researchers have published the first study showing that, in a side-by-side comparison, a robotic predator can frighten zebrafish just as well as the real thing.

Your better half (by half?): Improving your fitness may improve your spouse's
New research finds that exercising isn't only good for you -- it's also good for your spouse.

The rest of the brain gets in the way
In a new study, researchers measured the connections between different brain regions as participants learned to play a simple game.

Mummified bodies reveal how tuberculosis ravaged the heart of 18th century Europe
Bodies found in a 200-year-old Hungarian crypt have revealed the secrets of how tuberculosis took hold in 18th century Europe, according to a research team led by the University of Warwick.

Women, regardless of their backgrounds, seek help for the 'got to go' feeling
Regardless of their racial, ethnic, educational or socioeconomic background, women seek help for a frustrating -- and ubiquitous -- feature of becoming 'a woman of a certain age:' the need be close to the women's room.

X-raying the past: New insights into the life of extinct marine creatures
Using state-of-the-art imaging techniques, palaeontologists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have been examining extinct marine creatures.

Simons Foundation honors UMass Amherst mathematician
With her co-authors, Zhang will use her leave to seek both a theoretical understanding as well as new ways to connect mathematical ideas to a variety of complex phenomena by investigating the statistical properties of physical systems and their mathematical models.

Carbon nanotube computing?
In the Journal of Applied Physics, a group of researchers from Durham University in the UK and the University of São Paulo-USP in Brazil describes using single-walled carbon nanotube composites (SWCNTs) as a material in 'unconventional' computing.

Catheter-related bloodstream infections examined in home parenteral nutrition patients
Catheter-related bloodstream infection is the most prevalent and severe complication for patients who receive parenteral nutrition therapy at home.

Pavel Levkin is granted Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize
The chemist Pavel Levkin of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is granted the 2015 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize by the German Research Foundation.

Food for thought: Master protein enhances learning and memory
Salk scientists discover a single protein that energizes muscles and the brain.

Tunneling across a tiny gap
Researchers at MIT, the University of Oklahoma, and Rutgers University have developed a model that explains how heat flows between objects separated by gaps of less than a nanometer.

Why daring to compare online prices pays off offline
The sudden closures of big-box stores like Future Shop and Target may make it seem like online shopping is killing real-world stores.

Posttraumatic stress can have profound effects on sexual health
Although sexual dysfunction is not a specific symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is a frequent complaint among trauma survivors.

Open-angle glaucoma: Poor data for the fixed combination tafluprost/timolol
As the study results are uncertain and information on important outcomes is lacking, no added benefit can be determined for the fixed combination of tafluprost and timolol.

New from NYBG Press: An easy-to-use guide to lichens of northeastern North America
Designed to be a user-friendly reference for non-specialists, 'Common Lichens of Northeastern North America' is an easy-to-use field guide for anyone who wants to learn about lichens -- an important but often neglected group of species.

Lizards are larger and retain heat longer in high-altitude habitats
Scientists at the University of Granada have found that the long-tailed lizard, Psammodromus algirus, is larger when living at high altitude-with a cold climate-than at a lower, and therefore warmer, altitude.

Anesthetic gases raise Earth's temperature (a little) while you sleep
The gases used to knock out surgery patients are accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere, where they make a small contribution to climate change, report scientists who have detected the compounds as far afield as Antarctica. 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