Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 27, 2015
Effective sleep apnea treatment lowers diabetes risk
Using a continuous positive airway pressure device for eight hours a night to treat sleep apnea can help people with prediabetes improve their blood sugar levels and may reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.

Study links insomnia to impaired work performance in night shift workers
A new study of night shift workers suggests that overnight occupational and cognitive impairment is more strongly correlated to insomnia than it is to sleepiness.

A CRISPR antiviral tool
Cas9 is part of the CRISPR genetic defense system in bacteria, which scientists have been harnessing to edit DNA in animals, plants and even human cells.

Detection of critical heart disease before birth lags among poor
While prenatal ultrasounds are doing a good job of identifying critical congenital heart disease, those living in poor or rural communities are less likely to find out their baby has heart disease before birth than those in more affluent or urban communities, according to research to be presented Monday, April 27, at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego.

Scientists join forces to reveal the mass and shape of single molecules
Scientists have developed a revolutionary new technology that can image and weigh single molecules and instantly identify a single virus or bacteria particle.

World's largest open source health information technology project tackles Ebola
An accurate, up to the minute, accessible medical record system is fundamental to effective treatment and tracking of the Ebola virus.

Ambiguous situations make it easier to justify ethical transgressions
Findings from two related experiments show that people are apt to cheat on a task in favor of their self-interest but only when the situation is ambiguous enough to provide moral cover.

UTMB study shows that augmenting a gas naturally in our bodies fights RSV infection
A new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is the first to show that hydrogen sulfide, a gas produced naturally within our bodies, reduces the severity of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Rare dune plants thrive on disturbance
A demographic study of two endangered plants at Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco shows that they favor recently disturbed open areas over areas that have established plant cover.

Effective, biodegradable and broad-spectrum nanoparticles as potent antibacterial agents
To develop novel antibacterial materials to reduce growing antibacterial resistance, in a paper appearing recently in Science Bulletin, a team of scientists at the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, China, led by Guangjun Nie and Yuliang Zhao, has designed and synthesized biocompatible and biodegradable ε-poly-lysine (EPL)/poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) nanoparticles (NPs), which have effective antibacterial activity and no significant cytotoxicity to mammalian cells.

Bumblebees use nicotine to fight off parasites
Bumblebees that have been infected by parasites seek out flowers with nicotine in the nectar, likely to fight off the infection, new research has found.

Health insurance coverage among cancer patients varies greatly by demographics and cancer type
A new analysis has found that, among patients with cancer, rates of health insurance coverage vary by patient demographics and by cancer type.

Study demonstrates potential of rapid whole-genome sequencing in critically ill infants
A study published today in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine and presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting revealed the early results of the clinical usefulness of rapid whole-genome sequencing in neonatal and pediatric intensive care units (NICUs and PICUs).

Autonomous convergence and divergence of the self-powered soft liquid metal vehicles
The autonomous convergence and divergence of macroscopic soft vehicle with a velocity level of centimeters per second have been achieved.

Controlling arterial tone and blood flow in the brain
Researchers have performed the first human-based study to identify calcium channels in cerebral arteries and determine the distinct role each channel plays in helping control blood flow to the brain.

Time to move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?
The month of May brings many things, among them Mother's Day, tulips, and Lyme Disease Awareness campaigns.

Tracking an invasive bird
The monk parakeets that have invaded Europe and North America over the last 40-50 years fortifying their massive communal nests atop utility poles in many urban areas appear to have originated from the same small area in South America, according to a new study.

Hate to diet? It's how we're wired
If you're finding it difficult to stick to a weight-loss diet, scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus say you can likely blame AGRP neurons -- hunger-sensitive cells in your brain.

Study finds no health drawbacks to veterans' dual use of VA, Medicare Advantage
In a study that looked at a handful of quality measures for chronic disease care, veterans who used both Veterans Affairs care and a Medicare Advantage plan during 2008 or 2009 did no better or worse than those who relied strictly on VA.

International research team discovers new mechanism behind malaria progression
A team of researchers from four universities, including Carnegie Mellon, has pinpointed one of the mechanisms responsible for the progression of malaria, providing a new target for possible treatments.

Oil or fat?
Palmitate, the major saturated fatty acid in our diet, is known to cause ER stress and cell death in a number of cell types.

$4.5 million grants to fund research literacy for hospital chaplains
Health-care chaplains have embraced the importance of evidence-based practice but lack the training to realize it.

ORNL scientists generate landmark DOE hydropower report
For the first time, industry and policymakers have a comprehensive report detailing the US hydropower fleet's 2,198 plants that provide about 7 percent of the nation's electricity.

Family break-up linked to heightened risk of psychosomatic problems in teens
Parental separation or divorce is linked to a heightened risk of psychosomatic problems among the children in the family, indicates research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Donation funds expansion of research between leading innovation universities
A $1.6-million gift to the University of Waterloo and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology by The Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation is enabling world-changing research in a range of disciplines, including lung diseases and quantum computing.

How can science contribute to sustainable global development?
A Joint Conference of the DFG and UNU in New York brought together research, policy makers and political and civil society organizations.

Most women don't know female-specific stroke signs
A new national survey shows that most women don't know the risks or symptoms females face when it comes to having a stroke.

Mayo Clinic-led research team identifies master switch for cancer-causing HER2 protein
Herceptin has been touted as a wonder drug for women with HER2-positive breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease that is fueled by excess production of the HER2 protein.

New class of cholesterol drug proves safe and effective for patients with dyslipidemia
Treatment with PCSK9 antibodies reduces mortality and produces profound reductions in LDL-cholesterol and lipoprotein in patients with dyslipidemia.

Maternal overweight and obesity increases risk of type 1 diabetes in children when neither parent has diabetes
A study of more than 1.2 million children in Sweden has concluded that children of parents with any type of diabetes are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes (T1D), and that maternal overweight and obesity increases the risk of the child developing T1D when neither parent has diabetes.

MPSA announces Kenneth J. Meier award recognizing scholarship in public administration and policy
The Midwest Political Science Association has established a new annual award recognizing outstanding scholarship in politics, public administration, and public policy in honor of Kenneth J.

Is the universe a hologram?
The 'holographic principle,' the idea that a universe with gravity can be described by a quantum field theory in fewer dimensions, has been used for years as a mathematical tool in strange curved spaces.

Heroin use spikes among whites who abuse prescription painkillers
Researchers looked at the frequency of nonmedical prescription opioid use and the risk of heroin-related behaviors and found that past-year heroin use rose among individuals taking opioids like oxycontin and these increases varied by race and ethnicity.

Lower back pain may have ties to our last common ancestor with chimpanzees
A Simon Fraser University researcher has uncovered what may be the first quantified evidence demonstrating a relationship between upright locomotion and spinal health.

Gladstone scientists discover potential new treatment for multiple sclerosis
Scientists from the Gladstone Institutes have discovered a way to prevent the development of multiple sclerosis in mice.

Combining ecology and human needs, researchers assess sustainability of Baja fisheries
The waters of Baja California Sur are both ecosystems and fisheries where human needs meet nature.

Locusts provide insight into brain response to stimuli, senses
By training a type of grasshopper to recognize odors, a team of biomedical engineers at Washington University in St.

Improving geothermal energy
The University of Utah's Energy & Geoscience Institute is one of five research groups selected to study new techniques for developing geothermal energy in places where it's not currently feasible.

A new coral-inhabiting gall crab species discovered from Indonesia and Malaysia
Fieldwork in Indonesia and Malaysia by researcher Sancia van der Meij from Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands lead to the discovery of a new coral-dwelling gall crab.

Antibiotic commonly prescribed for bladder infections less effective than others
Older women with urinary tract infections who are taking the commonly prescribed antibiotic nitrofurantoin are more likely to experience treatment failure, resulting in a second antibiotic prescription or a hospital visit, than if they received another antibiotic, according to research in CMAJ.

'Motion-tracking' MRIs reveal harbingers of stroke in people with heart rhythm disorder
Researchers performing sophisticated motion studies of heart MRI scans have found that specific altered function in the left atrium -- one of the heart's four chambers -- may signal stroke risk in those with atrial fibrillation and, possibly, those without it.

Norwegian neuroscientists elected to American Philosophical Society
Norwegian neuroscientists and 2014 Nobel Laureates May-Britt and Edvard Moser were elected members of the American Philosophical Society at the society's semiannual meeting on April 25-26 in Philadelphia.

New 3-D method improves the study of proteins
Researchers from the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and from the University of Warsaw have developed a new computational method called AGGRESCAN3D which will allow studying in 3-D the structure of folded globular proteins and substantially improve the prediction of any propensity for forming toxic protein aggregates.

Georgetown is 1 of 6 institutions in new District of Columbia Center for AIDS research
An interdisciplinary, city-wide consortium of institutions, including Georgetown University Medical Center, has received a significant National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to establish the District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR).

Studies yield mixed findings on high-dose flu vaccine for elders
Is the high-dose version of the flu vaccine more effective than the standard dose for older folks?

HIV prevention and risk behaviors follow weekly patterns
The peak time for seeking information on topics related to HIV, such as prevention and testing, is at the beginning of the week, while risky sexual behaviors tend to increase on the weekends, according to a new analysis by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Monday Campaigns.

Bats use both sides of brain to listen -- just like humans
Researchers have shown that, like humans, mustached bats use the left and right sides of their brains to process different aspects of sounds.

Neuronal positioning system: A GPS to navigate the brain
Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Harvard University have announced a 'Neuronal Positioning System' (NPS) that maps the brain's circuitry similar to how a Global Positioning System (GPS) triangulates our location on the planet.

Two-dimensional semiconductor comes clean
Columbia Engineering Professor James Hone led a team in 2013 that dramatically improved the performance of graphene by encapsulating it in boron nitride.

New UW app can detect sleep apnea events via smartphone
The gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea -- a disease which affects roughly 1 in 13 Americans -- requires an overnight hospital stay and costs thousands of dollars.

Peanut-allergic children are more at risk of exposure at home than at school
Children who are allergic to peanuts are far more likely to be exposed to them in their own homes that at school, says University of Montreal's Sabrine Cherkaoui.

Gastroenterology Special Issue confirms: You are what you eat
The editors of Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, are pleased to announce the publication of this year's highly anticipated special 13th issue on food, the immune system and the gastrointestinal tract.

Ocean bacteria get 'pumped up'
Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and their Rutgers University colleague discovered a surprising new short-circuit to the biological pump.

Your adolescent brain on alcohol: Changes last into adulthood
Repeated alcohol exposure during adolescence results in long-lasting changes in the region of the brain that controls learning and memory, according to a research team at Duke Medicine that used a rodent model as a surrogate for humans.

Would you rather work for Megatron or Optimus Prime?
Peter Harms, an assistant professor of management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his frequent collaborator, Seth Spain of Binghamton University, rated the leadership skills of more than 120 characters featured in 'The Transformers' cartoon in 1984-85 and 'The Transformers: The Movie' in 1986.

The view from up there, down here
As NASA continues our Earth month celebrations, the High Definition Earth Viewing investigation on the space station that provides unprecedented panoramic views of our home will celebrate its first year in space.

How to short circuit hunger
Researchers discover a brain circuit that both eliminates gnawing hunger pangs and leads to feelings of fullness, providing a promising new target for the development of weight-loss drugs.

Single cells seen in unprecedented detail
Researchers can now sequence the DNA and measure the gene activity of a single cell in parallel.

Self-assembling biomaterial forms nanostructure templates for human tissue formation
Unlike scaffold-based methods to engineer human tissues for regenerative medicine applications, an innovative synthetic material with the ability to self-assemble into nanostructures to support tissue growth and ultimately degrade offers a promising new approach to deliver cell and tissue therapies.

Making LED-illuminated advertisements light and flexible
VTT is involved in a European project, developing novel LED advertising displays, which combine thin, lightweight and bendable structures with advanced optical quality.

Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space
In the Observation and Analysis of Smectic Islands In Space (OASIS) study, scientists are using bubbles and the International Space Station to understand fluid dynamics and liquid crystal physics.

Climate change: How Brits feel about 'smart' energy
Reluctance to share data about personal energy use is likely to be a major obstacle when implementing 'smart' technologies designed to monitor use and support energy efficient behaviors, according to new research led by academics at the University of Nottingham.

HPV vaccine should not be delayed
New research out of Queen's University shows early benefits from the human papillomavirus vaccine in young girls.

Strange supernova is 'missing link' in gamma-ray burst connection
Astronomers find that 'central engines' in supernova explosions can come in different strengths, and include those that produce powerful blasts of gamma rays, and weaker versions that produce no such bursts.

Astrophysicists draw most comprehensive map of the universe
Astrophysicists have created a 3-D map of the universe that spans nearly two billion light years and is the most complete picture of our cosmic neighborhood to date.

Study finds cardiorespiratory fitness contributes to successful brain aging
Cardiorespiratory fitness may positively impact the structure of white matter in the brains of older adults.

How are we warm-blooded? A picture of CRISPR/Cas and fragile X advance
Three recent Cell Press studies are highlighted: Scientists generate a 3-D 'crystal structure' of the CRISPR/Cas system (Molecular Cell); a molecular explanation for why veins and arteries are close together in mammals (Developmental Cell); and a new therapeutic approach to fragile X syndrome (Cell Reports).

Finding the body clock's molecular reset button
An international team of scientists has discovered what amounts to a molecular reset button for our internal body clock.

Researchers train computers to identify gene interactions in human tissues
Dartmouth researchers and their collaborators have trained a computer to crunch big biomedical data in order to recognize how genes work together in human tissues.

DC Center for AIDS Research established with new grant from the NIH
An interdisciplinary, city-wide consortium of researchers, led by Alan E.

Musculoskeletal outcomes from study on adolescent bariatric surgery safety
Outcomes regarding musculoskeletal disease among severely obese adolescents participating in the 'Teen Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery' (Teen-LABS) study were published this week in JAMA Pediatrics.

Study reveals how FOXO1 slows diabetic wound healing
A protein that normally fosters tissue repair instead acts to inhibit healing when sugar levels are high.

Neurons constantly rewrite their DNA
Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered that neurons are risk takers: they use minor 'DNA surgeries' to toggle their activity levels all day, every day.

Mechanical engineering professor chosen as Fulbright scholar
Valentine aims to strengthen research ties between UCSB and ESPCI ParisTech.

Alternate theory of inhabitation of North America challenged
The most widely accepted theory of the inhabitation of North America is that humans migrated from Siberia to Alaska by means of a 'land bridge' that spanned the Bering Strait.

How an RNA gene silences a whole chromosome
Researchers at Caltech have discovered how an abundant class of RNA genes, called lncRNAs can regulate key genes.

Greener pest control
An international research project funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 program will develop new pest control methods that neither cause environmental pollution nor harm beneficial insects.

More is less in novel electronic material
A team reports the first quantum evidence of system-shrinking negative electronic compressibility in a novel insulator.

New tool to evaluate next-generation tobacco and nicotine products
A new smoking-specific survey has been developed that is much better than a currently available general health questionnaire at discriminating between different types of 'otherwise healthy' smokers.

New breast cancer gene identified by Women's College Hospital scientists
A new breast cancer gene has been identified in a study led by Women's College Hospital researcher Dr.

Atrial fibrillation increases risk of only 1 type of heart attack
Refining the results of a 2013 study, researchers have found that atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, is associated with only one type of heart attack -- the more common of the two types.

Claims about the decline of the West are 'exaggerated'
A new paper by Oxford researchers argues that some countries in Western Europe, and the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand now have birth rates that are now relatively close to replacement, that the underlying trend in Europe is upwards, and that population aging, although inevitable, is likely to be 'manageable'.

Stopping HIV in its tracks
Findings published this week in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy report that a novel, subdermal implant delivering potent antiretroviral drugs shows extreme promise in stopping the spread of HIV.

High-pitched sounds cause seizures in old cats
When the charity International Cat Care asked veterinary neurologists at Davies Veterinary Specialists, UK, for help with several enquiries it had received regarding cats having seizures, seemingly in response to certain high-pitched sounds, the answer was that the problem was not documented and little, if anything, was known about it.

Helmsley Charitable Trust launches type 1 diabetes prevention initiative across globe
As the incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) rises worldwide, The Leona M. and Harry B.

Yale scientists use gene editing to correct mutation in cystic fibrosis
Yale researchers successfully corrected the most common mutation in the gene that causes cystic fibrosis, a lethal genetic disorder.

Model uncovers malaria parasite causes red blood cell changes
A model of a malaria-infected red blood cell may lead to better ways to treat malaria, according to a team of engineers and molecular biologists who investigated how this parasite infection causes the red blood cells to stiffen.

Two new iguanid lizard species from the Laja Lagoon, Chile
A team of Chilean scientists discover two new species of iguanid lizards from the Laja Lagoon, Chile.

Conifer study illustrates twists of evolution
An apparently advantageous mechanism of conifer pollination has nevertheless been disappearing over millions of years, a new study finds.

Bizarre 'platypus' dinosaur discovered
Although closely related to the notorious carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex, a new lineage of dinosaur discovered in Chile is proving to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle, as it preferred to graze upon plants.

Hodgkin's lymphoma survivors have higher risk for cardiovascular diseases
Survivors of Hodgkin's lymphoma appear to be at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases and both physicians and patients need to be aware of this increased risk, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

UC Davis makes breakthrough in understanding Canavan disease
UC Davis investigators have settled a long-standing controversy surrounding the molecular basis of an inherited disorder that historically affected Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe but now also arises in other populations of Semitic descent, particularly families from Saudi Arabia.

Bumblebee genome mapped
A research collaboration spearheaded by ETH Zurich has shed light on the genome of two commercially important species of bumblebees.

Autism Speaks names 7th annual class of Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellows
Autism Speaks is pleased to announce its seventh annual class of Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellows.

How cracking explains underwater volcanoes and the Hawaiian bend
University of Sydney geoscientists have helped prove that some of the ocean's underwater volcanoes did not erupt from hot spots in the Earth's mantle but instead formed from cracks or fractures in the oceanic crust.

Stegosaurus plates provide first solid evidence that male, female dinosaurs looked different
The discovery of a single anatomical difference between males and females of a species of Stegosaurus provides some of the most conclusive evidence that some dinosaurs looked different based on sex, according to new Princeton University research.

Unexplained gap in global emissions of potent greenhouse gases resolved
Reported emissions of a group of potent greenhouse gases from developed countries are shown to be largely accurate, but for the wrong reasons, according to new findings from an international team, led by researchers at the University of Bristol, UK.

New Zealand stoats provide an ark for genetic diversity
British stoats suffered a dramatic loss in genetic diversity in the 20th century but extinct British genes were preserved in the stoat population of New Zealand, a new study has found.

Abu Dhabi meeting aims to stem rising risk of cardiovascular disease
The American College of Cardiology will host sessions on the prevention of cardiovascular disease and treatments for heart failure at the 20th Asia Pacific Society of Cardiology Congress in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Lightweight membrane can significantly reduce in-flight aircraft noise
Riding in a helicopter or airplane can be a noisy experience for passengers.

Tidal tugs on Teflon faults drive slow-slipping earthquakes
Teasing out how slow, silent earthquakes respond to tidal forces lets researchers calculate the friction inside the fault, which could help understand when and how the more hazardous earthquakes occur.

'Chemo brain' is real, say UBC researchers
UBC research shows that chemotherapy can lead to excessive mind wandering and an inability to concentrate.

Physical exercise helps women with breast cancer to better tolerate chemotherapy
Women with breast cancer who follow a physical exercise program during their chemotherapy treatment experience less side effects like fatigue, reduced physical fitness, nausea and pain.

Google searches for 'n-word' associated with black mortality
Google searches could unveil patterns in Black mortality rates across the US, according to a new study.

Patient portals could widen health disparities
Online patient portals are increasingly important for doctor-patient communication and access to health care information.

Media registration now open for TCT 2015
TCT 2015 (Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics) is the annual Scientific Symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation and the world's premier educational meeting specializing in interventional cardiovascular medicine.

Potassium improved blood pressure in teen girls, salt had no adverse effect
Eating 3,000 mg per day of salt or more appears to have no adverse effect on blood pressure in adolescent girls, while those girls who consumed 2,400 mg per day or more of potassium had lower blood pressure at the end of adolescence, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Chemistry of seabed's hot vents could explain emergence of life
Hot vents on the seabed could have spontaneously produced the organic molecules necessary for life, according to new research by UCL chemists.

Bullying leads to depression and suicidal thoughts in teens
High school students subjected to bullying and other forms of harassment are more likely to report being seriously depressed, consider suicide and carry weapons to school, according to findings from a trio of studies reported at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in San Diego.

NASA's ISS-RapidScat wind data proving valuable for tropical cyclones
The ISS-RapidScat instrument has been in orbit seven months, and forecasters are already finding this new eye-in-the-sky helpful as they keep watch on major storms around the globe.

Brain balances perception and action when caught in an illusion
Two wrongs can make a right, at least in the world of visual perception and motor functioning, according to two University of Oregon brain scientists who tracked the eyes of students during exercises in a dark laboratory.

TSRI study: Nerve cells and blood vessels in eye 'talk' to prevent disease
A new study from scientists at The Scripps Research Institute shows that nerve cells and blood vessels in the eye constantly 'talk' to each other to maintain healthy blood flow and prevent disease.

Outsmarting smartphones: Technology reduces distracted driving among teens
Technology can bolster efforts by parents, lawmakers and insurance companies to reduce distracted driving among novice teen drivers, according to a study to be presented Monday, April 27, at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego.

UT Southwestern plastic surgeons identify link between migraines and carpal tunnel syndrome
Plastic surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center have demonstrated for the first time an association between migraines and carpal tunnel syndrome, with migraines more than twice as prevalent in those with carpal tunnel syndrome as those without, according to the study.

Children's eye injuries from nonpowder guns on the rise
Over 3,000 children were treated in US emergency departments in 2012 for eye injuries related to paintball guns, airsoft guns, BB guns and pellet guns, which are popular nonpowder guns.

More power to the mitochondria: Cells' energy plant also plays key role in stem cell development
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered that mitochondria, the major energy source for most cells, also play an important role in stem cell development -- a purpose notably distinct from the tiny organelle's traditional job as the cell's main source of the adenosine triphosphate energy needed for routine cell metabolism.

Olga Troyanskaya brings order to big data of human biology
Combining genomic data from 38,000 experiments, plus relevant GWASs, this group has generated functional genetic maps for 144 human tissues types and organs.

University of Utah professor reframes conversation around domestic violence in new book
Sonia Salari, an associate professor and graduate director in the University of Utah's Department of Family and Consumer Studies, has long research murder-suicides among elderly couples.

The cost of staying cool when incomes heat up
The demand for more 'AC' will also cause consumers to use more electricity causing stress on energy prices, infrastructure, and environmental policy, according to a new study. 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