Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 21, 2015
Parent training can reduce serious behavioral problems in young children with autism
A multi-site study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health finds young children with autism spectrum disorder and serious behavioral problems respond positively to a 24-week structured parent training.

Stanford team makes biotechnology interactive with games and remote-control labs
What if you could interact with cells like fish in an aquarium?

Caltech researchers create 'comb' that detects terahertz waves with extreme precision
Caltech chemists have created a device that generates and detects terahertz waves over a wide spectral range with extreme precision, allowing it to be used as an unparalleled tool for measuring terahertz waves.

Hurdles to US climate change action are in economics and politics, not divided science
The US Congress successfully hears the 'supermajority' consensus on the reality and causes of climate change, according to scientists from Texas A&M University, Idaho State University, and University of Oklahoma.

Mayo Clinic researchers identify methylated DNA markers -- noninvasive cancer screen
A team of Mayo Clinic researchers has succeeded in identifying the source of cancer in patients' gastrointestinal tracts by analyzing DNA markers from tumors.

Scientists identify brain circuitry responsible for anxiety in smoking cessation
In a promising breakthrough for smokers who are trying to quit, neuroscientists at UMass Medical School and Scripps Research Institute have identified circuitry in the brain responsible for the increased anxiety commonly experienced during withdrawal from nicotine addiction.

Amazon rainforest losses impact on climate change, study shows
Human activity has removed more than one-tenth of trees and plants from the Amazon rainforest since the 1960s, a study shows.

Zip me up!
Scientists from the Goethe University Frankfurt, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Heidelberg, and the University of Zurich explain skin fusion at a molecular level and pinpoint the specific molecules that do the job in their latest publication in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Regular consumption of yogurt does not improve health
Dietary recommendations support the consumption of dairy products as part of a healthy diet.

Stem cell pioneer Elaine Fuchs wins cell biologists' highest science honor
Hailed as a pioneer in exploring the basic principles of stem cell biology, Elaine Fuchs of Rockefeller University has been named the winner of the 2015 E.B.

Surprising contributor to Rett syndrome identified
The immune system is designed to protect us from disease.

Incidence of serious diabetes complication increases in Colorado youth
The incidence of a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes, called diabetic ketoacidosis, increased by 55 percent between 1998 and 2012 in youth in Colorado, according to a study by researchers from the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes and the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

Babies feel pain 'like adults'
The brains of babies 'light up' in a very similar way to adults when exposed to the same painful stimulus, a pioneering Oxford University brain scanning study has discovered.

What happens when multiple sclerosis patients stop taking their medication?
According to researchers, we know a lot about what happens when therapy is started, but we know very little about what happens when therapy is stopped.

Study shows feasibility of using gene therapy to treat rare immunodeficiency syndrome
In a small study that included seven children and teens with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a rare immunodeficiency disorder, use of gene therapy resulted in clinical improvement in infectious complications, severe eczema, and symptoms of autoimmunity, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health.

Foresight 2025: Integrated and fast-evolving standards key to innovation
A JRC foresight study suggests the European standardization system should accelerate and rely on an integrated strategy.

Higher education finds a better way to implement cloud services
Cloud service integration on campus is a key focus for higher education IT departments, who are leveraging the cloud to improve operating efficiency while preserving data and employing advanced security services now available at cloud scale.

New super-fast MRI technique demonstrated with song 'If I Only Had a Brain'
With a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique developed at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, the vocal neuromuscular movements of singing and speaking can now be captured at 100 frames per second.

Proteins for anxiety in humans and moulting in insects have common origin
Researchers have discovered that a protein which controls anxiety in humans has the same molecular ancestor as one which causes insects to moult when they outgrow their skins.

Oral insulin shows potential for preventing type 1 diabetes in high-risk children
In a pilot study that included children at high risk for type 1 diabetes, daily high-dose oral insulin, compared with placebo, resulted in an immune response to insulin without hypoglycemia, findings that support the need for a phase 3 trial to determine whether oral insulin can prevent islet autoimmunity and diabetes in high-risk children, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health.

Parent training significantly reduces disruptive behavior in children with autism
A new study suggests that doctors may want to focus on parents and not just on their patients when it comes to caring for children with autism spectrum disorder.

When genes are expressed in reverse: Discovered a regulatory mechanism of antisense DNA
A study published by the Genetics and Cancer Biology group at Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides new clues to understand the functions of antisense DNA and its alterations in cancer.

Type 2 diabetes: Understanding regulation of sugar levels for better treatment
Joint research units 1190, Translational Research for Diabetes, directed by François Pattou, and 1011, Nuclear Receptors, Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes, directed by Bart Staels, describe a new mechanism that controls glucagon secretion in humans, making it possible to elucidate this phenomenon and suggesting a modification of this new type of treatment.

Parent training program helps reduce disruptive behavior of children with autism
A 24-week parent-training program, which provided specific techniques to manage disruptive behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder, resulted in a greater reduction in disruptive and non-compliant behavior compared to parent education, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health.

Myth of tolerant dogs and aggressive wolves refuted
Dogs are regarded as more tolerant and less aggressive compared to their ancestors, the wolves.

Why some neurons 'outsource' their cell body
Nerve cells come in very different shapes. Researchers at the Bernstein Center Berlin now reveal why, in insects, the cell body is usually located at the end of a separate extension.

Phytoplankton, reducing greenhouse gases or amplifying Arctic warming?
Scientists with Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, and Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, presented on Monday, April 20, in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences online, the geophysical impact of phytoplankton that triggers positive feedback in the Arctic warming when the warming-induced melting of sea ice stimulates phytoplankton growth.

Children at risk for type 1 diabetes show immune response when given oral insulin
Children at risk for type 1 diabetes, who were given daily doses of oral insulin, developed a protective immune response to the disease that researchers with the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus say could possibly lay the groundwork for a vaccine against the chronic illness.

New gene therapy success in a rare disease of the immune system
French teams from CIC Biothérapie, from pediatric hematology department of Necker Hospital for Children, led by Marina Cavazzana, Salima Hacein Bey Albina and Alain Fischer and from Genethon led by Anne Galy, and English teams from UCL Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London led by Adrian Thrasher and Bobby Gaspar demonstrated the efficacy of gene therapy treatment for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.

Trial shows benefit of 'BRCA-targeting' drug in prostate cancer
Men with prostate cancer benefit from treatment with the pioneering drug olaparib -- the first cancer drug to target inherited mutations -- according to the results of a major trial presented at the American Association of Cancer Research conference in Philadelphia.

Type 1 diabetes: First hurdle taken on the way to an insulin vaccine
Scientists from the DFG Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden, TU Dresden and the Institut für Diabetesforschung, Helmholtz Zentrum München, together with researchers from Vienna, Bristol and Denver (USA) have successfully completed the first step in development of an insulin vaccine to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Cannabis consumers show greater susceptibility to false memories
The study conducted at Sant Pau and Bellvitge hospitals, published in the American journal Molecular Psychiatry and conducted with the use of neuroimaging techniques, demonstrates for the first time that cannabis consumers have a less active hippocampus, a key structure related to the storage of memories.

Fourteen early career researchers receive awards at fungal genetics conference
The Genetics Society of America (GSA) and the community of fungal geneticists are pleased to announce the winners of the GSA poster awards at the 28th Fungal Genetics Conference, which took place in Pacific Grove, Calif., March 17-22, 2015.

Robert Flanigan, M.D., receives Distinguished Service Award
Loyola University Medical Center urologist Robert Flanigan, M.D., has won a Distinguished Service Award from the Chicago Urological Society.

Likely cause of 2013-14 earthquakes: Combination of gas field fluid injection and removal
A seismology team led by Southern Methodist University, Dallas, finds that high volumes of wastewater injection combined with saltwater (brine) extraction from natural gas wells is the most likely cause of earthquakes near Azle, Texas, from late 2013 through spring 2014.

Certain interactive tools click with web users
Before web developers add the newest bells and the latest whistles to their website designs, a team of researchers suggests they zoom in on the tools that click with the right users and for the right tasks.

Childhood cancer survivors more likely to claim social security support as adults
Survivors of childhood cancer are five times more likely to have been enrolled on Social Security disability assistance than people without a cancer history.

UT Austin researchers inform development of Ebola vaccine trials
As the current Ebola outbreak wanes, scientists have to make the most of every opportunity to prepare for future outbreaks.

Parkinson's patient experiences symptom relief with new medication
Marion Cox was experiencing the expected decline in the potency of his medications for Parkinson's disease when his doctor offered him a spot in a clinical trial for a new drug delivery system.

Have we achieved the millennium development goals?
As the deadline for the millennium development goals approaches, experts writing in The BMJ this week take stock of the successes, failures, and oversights, and look ahead to the next phase -- the sustainable development goals.

Protein identified that serves as a 'brake' on inflammation
Researchers have identified a protein that offers a new focus for developing targeted therapies to tame the severe inflammation associated with multiple sclerosis, colitis and other autoimmune disorders.

Cost-efficiency of plug-in hybrids calculated a thousand times faster
Plug-in hybrids have low fuel consumption, but require more costly parts than cars with a regular combustion engine.

'Call the Midwife' actor Stephen McGann describes authenticity in medical TV drama
Actor Stephen McGann, who plays GP Dr. Patrick Turner in the hit BBC period drama 'Call the Midwife,' has described the steps taken by the writers, production team and actors to ensure the series has sufficient medical accuracy and authenticity.

Virtual telescope expands to see black holes
A team led by the UA has added Antarctica's largest astronomical telescope to the Event Horizon Telescope -- a virtual telescope as big as planet Earth -- bringing the international EHT collaboration closer to taking detailed images of the very edge, or 'event horizon,' of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

New tabletop detector 'sees' single electrons
MIT physicists have developed a new tabletop particle detector that is able to identify single electrons in a radioactive gas.

Incidence of serious diabetes complication may be increasing among youth in US
The incidence of a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, in youth in Colorado at the time of diagnosis of type 1 diabetes increased by 55 percent between 1998 and 2012, suggesting a growing number of youth may experience delays in diagnosis and treatment, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health.

Initiatives in tackling the world's leading cause of death at preventive cardiology congress
While death rates from heart disease in Europe have more than halved in many countries and in most population groups since the early 1980s, heart disease remains by far the leading cause of death.

New perspectives on how ecological communities are assembled
What do you get when you combine a professor who literally wrote the book on community ecology and another who has more than 40 years experience as a leader in the field of evolutionary biology?

Failing to provide for kids leads to aggression and delinquency, according to new study
A new study by two researchers in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work has shown that parents who chronically neglect their children contribute to the likelihood that they will develop aggressive and delinquent tendencies later in adolescence, and the one factor that links neglect with those behaviors appears to be poor social skills.

Fishing impacts on the Great Barrier Reef
New research shows that fishing is having a significant impact on the make-up of fish populations of the Great Barrier Reef.

A sex difference in competitiveness even among the fastest runners
Sex differences in some behaviors are well established, but it's unclear whether differences still occur within highly selective sub-populations, such as expert financial decision makers or elite athletes.

Immune cells help 'good bacteria' triumph over 'bad bacteria' in the gut
The body's immune system may be the keeper of a healthy gut microbiota, report scientists in the journal Immunity.

Silk sponges that can help the body heal (video)
A team at Tufts University has developed materials using ordinary silk that can be programmed to help the body heal.

Concerns over UK government plan to increase participation in school rugby
Government plans to increase participation in rugby within schools fail to take into account data on the serious levels of school rugby-related injury and are happening in the absence of systems for injury surveillance and prevention -- according to experts from Queen Mary University of London and published in the BMJ.

'Holey' graphene for energy storage
Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have discovered a method to increase the amount of electric charge that can be stored in graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon.

Breathless: How blood-oxygen levels regulate air intake
Researchers have unraveled the precise mechanism that cells in the carotid bodies use to detect oxygen levels in the blood and send signals through the carotid sinus nerve to stimulate or relax breathing rates.

Caring for blindness: A new protein in sight?
A team of Inserm researchers at the Vision Institute, in association with a team from the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center, have demonstrated in an animal model that blocking another protein, Slit2, prevents the pathological blood vessel development that causes these diseases.

Researchers win $3.9 million in grants to study brain regions that suppress addiction cravings
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have been awarded two grants to study brain mechanisms that actively suppress relapse associated with cocaine and alcohol addiction.

Northwestern, Tel Aviv Universities forge new ties in first joint workshop
Building on and strengthening close scientific and engineering partnerships, the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering of Tel Aviv University and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science of Northwestern University held their first interdisciplinary workshop at TAU earlier this year.

High-level commission focuses on law's power to significantly improve world's health
Law should be viewed as a major determinant of health and safety and can be utilized as a powerful and innovative tool to address pressing global health concerns, says a newly formed, high-level commission announced today by the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in partnership with The Lancet.

Book details misconceptions about smallpox's role in Native depopulation
As part of his new book, 'Cherokee Medicine, Colonial Germs: An Indigenous Nation's Fight against Smallpox, 1518-1824,' a University of Kansas history professor disputes the idea that infectious diseases themselves gave Europeans an advantage over Native-Americans because indigenous peoples did not have the right medicine or knowledge base to fight these new diseases, such as smallpox.

NREL releases report describing guidelines for PV manufacturer quality assurance
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released an updated proposal that will establish an international quality standard for photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing.

Whiteboards of the future: New electronic paper could make inexpensive electronic displays
A simple structure of bi-colored balls made of tough, inexpensive materials is well suited for large handwriting-enabled e-paper displays.

First case of rabies in over a decade: Lessons for health-care personnel
A team of French clinicians has diagnosed the first case of rabies in that country since 2003.

New archive creates global access to rare African photos
Hoping to preserve cultural heritage and change Western thought on Africa, a Michigan State University researcher will use a $300,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize 100,000 original black-and-white negatives of Mali's most important photographers, dating from the 1940s.

Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics honored for achievements
The Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics at Brigham Young University has been chosen to receive the 2015 Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference Award from the American Mathematical Society.

Early child care experiences play role in kids' future
Children who use center-based child care and multiple care arrangements across their early years are better prepared for school, a new Queensland University of Technology study has found.

The Lancet Psychiatry: Death rate from alcohol and drug misuse in former prisoners alarmingly high
Alcohol and drug misuse are responsible for around a third of all deaths in former male prisoners and half in female ex-prisoners, a new study of almost 48,000 ex-prisoners published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal has found.

Miriam Hospital among first in US to earn new designation for quality bariatric surgery
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island has awarded The Miriam Hospital a Blue Distinction Center+ designation for bariatric surgery.

MCW researcher to investigate diabetic heart susceptibility to cardiac sensivity
The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a five-year, $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences to investigate the mechanisms responsible for the susceptibility of diabetic hearts to cardiac injury.

New research points to elderly as growing contributor to tuberculosis in China
A major contributor to the number of tuberculosis infections and cases in China will likely be the elderly over the next decades, requiring a refocus in efforts to control a disease affecting millions in China, according to preliminary new research presented today at the Fourth Global Forum on TB Vaccines in Shanghai.

Link between respiration and high blood pressure in sleep apnea studied at IUPUI
IUPUI applied mathematician Yaroslav Molkov is developing a computational model to simulate the electrical signals generated by neurons that travel from the brain to the muscles controlling breathing and blood vessels as he looks at the link between respiration and high blood pressure in obstructive sleep apnea.

Sweet potato naturally 'genetically modified'
Sweet potatoes from all over the world naturally contain genes from the bacterium Agrobacterium.

Online discussion forums good for well-being, study shows
A new study has found that internet discussion forums have positive links to well-being and are even associated with increased community engagement offline, contrary to a common perception of them being outdated and prone to trolling.

Global warming progressing at moderate rate, empirical data suggest
A study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Immune cells support good gut bacteria in fight against harmful bacteria
The immune cell protein ID2 is critical for the maintenance of healthy gut microbiota, helping good bacteria fight off harmful bacteria.

UT Dallas study details how competitors should invest in capacity of supplier
Firms considering investing in suppliers that also supply their competitors need to think strategically about how their competitors or other firms may respond to their action, according to a new study from The University of Texas at Dallas.

Maternal stress increases development of fetal neuroblastoma in animal model
While genetics play a substantial role in development of neuroblastoma, scientists say that something else is in play that elevates the risk: stress.

UAlberta research reveals new possibilities for islet and stem cell transplantation
Efforts from UAlberta researchers could soon mark a new standard of treatment for patients suffering from diabetes or a wide variety of other diseases.

Bookmark and share printable version assuring solar modules will last for decades
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory is co-leading an international push to assure the reliability of solar panels -- an assurance demanded by customers, manufacturers, lenders, and utilities.

Sex matters ... even for liver cells
Female liver cells, and in particular those in menopaused women, are more susceptible to adverse effects of drugs than their male counterparts, according to new research carried out by the JRC.

RIT scientist chosen as an Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador
The NSF Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program has picked a Rochester Institute of Technology professor to help convey the value of astronomical research beyond the scientific community.

Pacific Coast Undergraduate Mathematics Conference honored for achievements
The Pacific Coast Undergraduate Mathematics Conference has been chosen to receive the 2015 Mathematics Programs that Make a Difference Award from the American Mathematical Society.

How to approach your boss about a treadmill desk
People walking on treadmill desks perform cognitive tasks nearly as well as those at sitting desks, new research finds.

No association found between MMR vaccine and autism, even among children at higher risk
In a study that included approximately 95,000 children with older siblings, receipt of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was not associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), regardless of whether older siblings had ASD, findings that indicate no harmful association between receipt of MMR vaccine and ASD even among children already at higher risk for ASD, according to a study in the April 21 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child health.

Labels on the front of food packaging can enable healthier choices, new research finds
In a new study published today in the British Journal of Nutrition, a team of researchers led by the University of Surrey, has found that front of package nutrition labels can enable consumers to make healthier food choices.

More than 85 percent of surgeons disregard USPSTF breast screening recommendation
The vast majority of surgeons continue to recommend that women 40 years old or older with an average risk for breast cancer be screened annually for the disease, despite a 2009 US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation that such women be screened biennially beginning at 50 years old and continuing through age 74.

Patients grapple with high cost of arthritis medications
The first national investigation of Medicare coverage of biologic disease modifying drugs (DMARDs) found that in starting a single biologic DMARD, patients face more than $2,700 in copayments each year before receiving relief from catastrophic coverage.

Printing silicon on paper, with lasers
A group of researchers at Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, has pioneered a method that allows silicon itself, in the polycrystalline form used in circuitry, to be produced directly on a substrate from liquid silicon ink with a single laser pulse -- potentially ousting its pale usurpers.

Engineered softwood could transform pulp, paper and biofuel industries
Scientists have demonstrated the potential for softwoods to process more easily into pulp and paper if engineered to incorporate a key feature of hardwoods.

Link between serotonin and depression is a myth, says top psychiatrist
The widely held belief that depression is due to low levels of serotonin in the brain -- and that effective treatments raise these levels -- is a myth, argues a leading psychiatrist in The BMJ this week.

Finding liver cancer early and reversing its course
Liver cancer is often lethal in humans because it is diagnosed in late stages, but new work in animal models has identified a potential diagnostic biomarker of the disease and a potential way to reverse the damage done.

More detailed findings confirm that coffee protects against breast cancer recurrence
A number of research studies have shown that coffee helps to protect against breast cancer.

Rafts on the cell membrane
Proteins and lipids have been assumed to move through cell membranes as 'nano rafts.' This 'raft hypothesis' has now been disproved by scientists at TU Wien.

Electronic cigarettes are not a 'safe alternative' for young people
Although heavily promoted as a safer cigarette and an aid to quit smoking, electronic cigarettes and the nicotine they deliver pose particular risks to the developing brains and organs of children.

BMC develops protocol for preserving forensic evidence after a terrorist attack
Boston Medical Center pathologists have developed a set of protocols for processing and preserving forensic evidence, such as shrapnel, bullets and other projectiles, in surgical specimens (i.e. amputated limbs, injured organs, etc.) after a terrorist attack based on lessons learned from the Boston Marathon bombing.

Concerns over UK government plan to increase participation in school rugby
The UK government plan to fund and to increase participation in rugby in schools has not been informed by injury data, warn experts in The BMJ this week.

Messenger RNA-associated protein drives multiple paths in T-cell development
The lab of Kristen Lynch, Ph.D., studies how this splicing occurs in T cells and how it is regulated by multiple proteins.

Getting better all the time: JILA strontium atomic clock sets new records
In another advance at the far frontiers of timekeeping by National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers, the latest modification of a record-setting strontium atomic clock has achieved precision and stability levels that now mean the clock would neither gain nor lose one second in some 15 billion years -- roughly the age of the universe.

Genetic variance explains poor response to common asthma medications
Researchers have identified a biological basis for asthmatic children who do not respond well to corticosteroid treatment -- currently the most effective treatment for chronic asthma and acute asthma attack.

Depression raises risk of poor outcomes for blacks with heart failure
Even moderate depressive symptoms may raise the risk of hospitalization or death in black heart failure patients.

Extending climate predictability beyond El Niño
Tropical Pacific climate variations and their global weather impacts may be predicted much further in advance than previously thought, according to research by an international team of climate scientists from the USA, Australia, and Japan.

Traffic emissions may pollute 1 in 3 Canadian homes
A trio of recently published studies from a team of University of Toronto engineers has found that air pollution could be spreading up to three times farther than thought -- contributing to varying levels of air quality across cities.

Calculating how the Pacific was settled
Using statistics that describe how an infectious disease spreads, a University of Utah anthropologist analyzed different theories of how people first settled islands of the vast Pacific between 3,500 and 900 years ago.

Ability to identify 'killer' bees a boon to the honeybee industry
A genetic test that can prevent the entry of 'killer' bees into Australia and their spread around the world has been created by researchers at the University of Sydney and their collaborators at York University in Canada.

Immune system protein regulates sensitivity to bitter taste
New research from the Monell Center reveals that tumor necrosis factor, an immune system regulatory protein that promotes inflammation, also helps regulate sensitivity to bitter taste. 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