Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 04, 2015
Exposure to air pollution in the first year of life increases risk for allergies
New research from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study shows that exposure to outdoor air pollution during the first year of life increases the risk of developing allergies to food, mold, pets and pests.

Odd histone helps suppress jumping genes in stem cells, study says
Research begun at Rockefeller University has uncovered a purpose for a rare type of histone: preventing mutations by keeping certain so-called 'jumping genes' in place.

How our view of what makes us happy has changed in 80 years
In 2014 Sandie McHugh and Professor Jerome Carson repeated the Mass Observation survey by asking people from the town, via the Bolton News, to complete a questionnaire that repeated the questions from 1938 as closely was possible.

Primary care visits available to most uninsured, but at a high price
Uninsured people don't have any more difficulty getting appointments with primary care doctors than those with insurance, but they get them at prices that are likely unaffordable to a typical uninsured person, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research.

Enhancing emergency medical care for seniors could reduce hospital admissions
Applying palliative care principles to emergency departments may reduce the number of geriatric patients admitted to intensive care units.

Nanoparticles in consumer products can significantly alter normal gut microbiome
Exposure of a model human colon to metal oxide nanoparticles, at levels that could be present in foods, consumer goods, or treated drinking water, led to multiple, measurable differences in the normal microbial community that inhabits the human gut.

Patients with AIDS at increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration
Patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome have a four-fold increase in their risk of developing intermediate-stage age-related macular degeneration compared to people of the same age who are not infected with HIV, according to results from the Longitudinal Study of the Ocular Complications of AIDS presented today at the 2015 ARVO Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo.

Space technology 'could reduce cost of renewable energy'
Space-based radar technology could be harnessed by the renewable energy sector to drive down costs, according to academics at the University of Strathclyde.

Study reveals how a Rab protein controls HIV-1 replication
Researchers reveal how a Rab protein that controls intracellular trafficking supports HIV-1 assembly by promoting high levels of an important membrane lipid.

Yale and University of South Florida scientists receive Sanberg Awards from ASNTR
The American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair ASNTR awarded The 2015 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair to John D.

UTMB study shows cost-effective expert recommended asthma test underutilized by physicians
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have found, for the first time, that spirometry was underutilized for asthma diagnosis and management in US adults from 2001 to 2011, despite it's accuracy, cost effectiveness and the publication of national guidelines advocating its use.

Premature birth alters brain connections
Premature birth can alter the connectivity between key areas of the brain, according to a new study led by King's College London.

Multiple types of resistance to new lung cancer drug identified
After identifying three different types of resistance to a promising investigational lung cancer drug in a phase 1 trial, a team of researchers led by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists say new targeted inhibitors and combinations are urgently needed to stay ahead of tumors' constant and varied molecular shape-shifting.

Pollen and clouds: April flowers bring May showers?
The main job of pollen is to help seed the next generation of trees and plants, but a new study from the University of Michigan and Texas A&M shows that the grains might also seed clouds.

BGI adopts single molecule, real-time sequencing from Pacific Biosciences
Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. today announced that BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, has purchased its first PacBio RS II instrument and plans to purchase additional units in order to integrate Single Molecule, Real-Time Sequencing into its global service business.

Are scare tactics off the table for public health campaigns targeting HIV?
Over the last 10 years, public health campaigns in New York City around smoking, obesity, and HIV underwent a dramatic shift to use fear and disgust to spur behavior change, sometimes with the unintended consequence of stigmatizing affected populations.

New study suggests prominent role for pharmacies in reducing asthma-related illness
A new study shows how pharmacies might collaborate with physicians and families to reduce asthma-related illness.

INFORMS journal study finds double-digit growth for firms creating own online communities
A new study published in Marketing Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, shows double-digit revenue growth for firms that create their own brand-specific online communities.

As the river rises: Cahokia's emergence and decline linked to Mississippi River flooding
As with rivers, civilizations across the world rise and fall.

Virginia Tech researcher shines light on origin of bioluminescence
Bioluminescence at least in one millipede may have evolved as a way to survive in a hot, dry environment, not as a means to ward off predators, according to scientists publishing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New climate projections paint bleak future for tropical coral reefs
As greater atmospheric carbon dioxide boosts sea temperatures, tropical corals face a bleak future.

Recurrence of prostate cancer detected earlier with innovative PSMA-ligand PET/CT
A recent study reported in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine compared use of the novel Ga-68-PSMA-ligand PET/CT with other imaging methods and found that it had substantially higher detection rates of prostate-specific membrane antigen in patients with biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy.

Researchers get a closer look at how the Huntington's gene works
A closer look at the DNA around the Huntington's disease gene offers researchers a new understanding of how the gene is controlled and how this affects the disease.

'Performance enhancing' drugs decrease performance
Doping is damaging the image of sport without benefiting athletes' results, according to University of Adelaide research.

Fungi enhances crop roots and could be a future 'bio-fertilizer'
'Ancient relationship' between fungi and plant roots creates genetic expression that leads to more root growth.

Researchers hope to improve dental health by changing caregiver's behavior
Studies have long associated low-income areas with poor oral health.

Fjords are 'hotspots' in global carbon cycling
While fjords are celebrated for their beauty, these ecosystems are also major carbon sinks that likely play an important role in the regulation of the planet's climate, new research reveals.

Kids likely to sleepwalk if parents have history of nocturnal strolls
More than 60 percent of children developed sleepwalking when both their parents were sleepwalkers in a study among children born in the Canadian province of Quebec, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Combining computer vision and brain computer interface for faster mine detection
Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have combined sophisticated computer vision algorithms and a brain-computer interface to find mines in sonar images of the ocean floor.

Personal cues can have a strong effect on craving in individuals with addiction
Unique person-specific cues -- such as the presence of a specific friend or hearing a specific song -- appear to have a robust effect on craving addictive substances, a recent study shows.

Culture clash
MIT scholar's new book explores fierce debates over immigration.

Ocean currents disturb methane-eating bacteria
Bacteria that feed on methane can control its concentration once it is released from the ocean floor.

Puget Sound's clingfish could inspire better medical devices, whale tags
Researchers at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories are looking at how the biomechanics of clingfish could be helpful in designing devices and instruments to be used in surgery and even to tag and track whales in the ocean.

Dulaglutide in type 2 diabetes: Hint of added benefit with short-acting insulin
In combination with metformin, advantages and disadvantages are balanced; no suitable data were available for other research questions.

Study points to possible treatment for lethal pediatric brain cancer
Using brain tumor samples collected from children in the United States and Europe, an international team of scientists found that the drug panobinostat and similar gene regulating drugs may be effective at treating diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, an aggressive and lethal form of pediatric cancer.

Insight into how we protect ourselves from certain bacteria and fungi
Australian scientists have shown that a specific gene determines the development and function of important cells that shield us against a variety of fungal and bacterial infections.

May 2015 Gastrointestinal Endoscopy highlights
The May issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, features a meta-analysis pointing to botulinum toxin A as a possible obesity treatment; a study reporting that, in some cases, it may be safe to store endoscopes longer than five days after reprocessing; and an article reviewing a promising group of procedures for patients with advanced illness from gastric obstruction.

UH researchers create lens to turn smartphone into microscope
Researchers at the University of Houston have created an optical lens that can be placed on an inexpensive smartphone to magnify images by a magnitude of 120, all for just 3 cents a lens.

Enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen has big role in the healthy, injured brain
An enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen appears to have significant impact in a healthy and injured brain, scientists report.

Carnegie Mellon's Krzysztof Matyjaszewski wins Dreyfus Prize
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, has won the 2015 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences.

Lab test commonly used to assess water toxicity
Hyalella azteca are invertebrates that are widely used for sediment and water toxicity studies.

Hot under the collar: The untold dangers firefighters face in the line of duty
What do you think is the biggest cause of death for firefighters on duty?

Study shows dietary supplements are good for coral health
Most people know the health benefits of taking daily supplements, but what about endangered corals?

Decoding DNA's phonebook
A high-res genome catalog captures long-distance calls between DNA segments that may influence diseases.

Study examines incidence of concussion in youth, high school, college football
A slight majority of concussions happened during youth football games but most concussions at the high school and college levels occurred during practice, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

'Fuzzy thinking' in depression & bipolar disorder: New research finds effect is real
People with depression or bipolar disorder often feel their thinking ability has gotten 'fuzzy', or less sharp than before their symptoms began.

Mutations in 2 genes linked to familial pulmonary fibrosis and telomere shortening
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified mutations in two genes that cause a fatal lung scarring disease known as familial pulmonary fibrosis.

Comprehensive Swedish research study reveals family, neighborhood impact on mental health
A team of researchers from Sweden and the United States have examined the potential role of the family environment and neighborhood factors on mental health outcomes in a new study published in Journal of Psychiatric Research.

These gigantic whales have nerves like bungee cords
Nerves aren't known for being stretchy. In fact, 'nerve stretch injury' is a common form of trauma in humans.

Frederick Alt, Ph.D., awarded 2015 Szent-Gyoergyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research
Frederick Alt, Ph.D., director of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, has been honored with the 2015 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research.

Why are avocados so awesome? (video)
Whether they're in a big bowl of guacamole for your Cinco de Mayo festivities or scooped on top of your salad, avocados enjoy a special place in our hearts and stomachs.

Juvenile shale gas in Sweden
A new hydrogeochemical approach shows the juvenile age of shale gas.

BGI integrates QIAGEN Ingenuity Variant Analysis to its sequencing services
BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, announced to expand relationship with QIAGEN N.V.

Youth just as likely to try e-cigarettes as smoking
Young people are just as likely to try electronic cigarettes as smoking, according to a new report from the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo.

Scientists identify tissue-degrading enzyme in white-nose syndrome
Scientists at UC San Francisco and Brown University have figured out the likely way that white-nose syndrome breaks down tissue in bats, opening the door to potential treatments for a disease that has killed more than six million bats since 2006 and poses a threat to the agricultural industry.

Weight loss may increase risk of premature death in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
In contrast to the general population, low body mass index has been associated with premature death in patients with rheumatoid arthritis -- a situation known as the 'obesity paradox.' A new Arthritis & Rheumatology study shows that weight loss, as opposed to low body mass index per se, is a strong predictor of mortality in these patients.

Green tea extract and exercise hinder progress of Alzheimer's disease in mice
According to the National Institutes of Health, Alzheimer's disease may affect as many as 5.5 million Americans.

New screening technique could pick up twice as many women with ovarian cancer
A new screening method can detect twice as many women with ovarian cancer as conventional strategies, according to the latest results from the largest trial of its kind led by UCL.

How oxidizing a heart 'brake' causes heart damage
Oxidative stress has been long known to fuel disease, but how exactly it damages various organs has been challenging to sort out.

Defects in atomically thin semiconductor emit single photons
Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown that defects on an atomically thin semiconductor can produce light-emitting quantum dots.

Gigantic whales have stretchy 'bungee cord' nerves
University of British Columbia researchers have discovered a unique nerve structure in the mouth and tongue of rorqual whales that can double in length and then recoil like a bungee cord.

Detecting knee-cushion problems early could lead to better treatments
The menisci, best known as the shock absorbers in the knee, help disperse pressure, reduce friction and nourish the knee.

The British Psychological Society Annual Conference, May 5-7, 2015
The British Psychological Society Annual Conference takes place at the Arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool from May 5-7, 2015.

Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions
States will gain large, widespread, and nearly immediate health benefits if EPA sets strong standards in the final Clean Power Plan, according to the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Study finds inhibitor for COPD lung destruction
Newly published observations in patients and experiments in mice provide evidence that cigarette smoke reduces expression of the protein NLRX1 in the lung, taking the restraints off a destructive immune response that results in COPD.

Joining the genomic dots
Researchers have developed and used a new technique to join the dots in the genomic puzzle.

Pitt team follows zinc to uncover pathway that fine-tunes brain signaling
A study team led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who used specially developed technologies to 'follow the zinc' have uncovered a previously unknown pathway the brain uses to fine-tune neural signaling.

Nature paper describes revolutionary method of making RNAs
Scientists -- and ultimately patients -- could benefit from a new approach to making ribonucleic acids.

UNC team uses cellular bubbles to deliver Parkinson's meds directly to brain
Exosomes could help with longstanding medical issues from cancer diagnosis to sophisticated research tool.

'Dr. Google' doesn't know best -- search engine self-diagnosis and 'cyberchondria'
QUT research is aiming to improve search engines after finding online self-diagnosis of health conditions provides misleading results that can do more harm than good.

Off-label use of device to prevent stroke in a-fib patients is prevalent, potentially dangerous
The Lariat device is associated with a significant incidence of death and urgent cardiac surgery during its frequent off-label use to prevent stroke in patients with the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation.

Disney Research algorithm combines videos from unstructured camera arrays into panoramas
Even non-professionals may someday be able to create high-quality video panoramas using multiple cameras with the help of an algorithm developed by a team of Disney researchers.

New technique shows shale-drilling additives in drinking-water taps near leak
Substances commonly used for drilling or extracting Marcellus shale gas foamed from the drinking water taps of three Pennsylvania homes near a reported well-pad leak, according to new analysis from a team of scientists.

Rheumatoid arthritis patients at increased risk of surprise heart attack
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk of a surprise heart attack, according to new research presented today at ICNC 12 by Dr.

Digoxin increases the risk of death in patients with heart problems
There is conflicting evidence about whether digoxin, a drug that has been used worldwide for centuries to treat heart disease, might contribute to an increase in deaths in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or congestive heart failure.

The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation funds groundbreaking project
The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation grants $130,000 to the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs to advance an immunocontraceptive vaccine to offer long-term fertility control for unowned free-roaming and feral cats.

Partners herald new cancer immunotherapy company
The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Ottawa Hospital, the University of Ottawa and McMaster University congratulate its researchers on forming Turnstone Biologics Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing new treatments for cancer that harness the patient's own immune system.

Scientists dramatically improve method for finding common genetic alterations in tumors
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have developed a significantly better computer tool for finding genetic alterations that play an important role in many cancers but were difficult to identify with whole-genome sequencing.

Discovery could help reverse glucocorticoid resistance in some young leukemia patients
Researchers led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified a mechanism that helps leukemia cells resist glucocorticoids, a finding that lays the foundation for more effective treatment of cancer and possibly a host of autoimmune diseases.

The random raman laser: A new light source for the microcosmos
Researchers at Texas A&M University have demonstrated for the first time that a newly emerging technique known as random Raman lasing emission can produce a bright, speckle-free, strobe light source with potential application in high-speed wide-field microscopy.

Racial differences in male breast cancer outcomes
While black and white men under age 65 diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer received similar treatment, blacks had a 76 percent higher risk of death than whites.

An unexpected role for calcium in controlling inflammation during chronic lung infection
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have identified an important role for calcium signaling in immune responses to chronic infection resulting from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium causing tuberculosis.

Researchers 'un-can' the HIV virus
If the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a bit like a hermetically sealed tin can no one has yet been able to break open, the good news is that researchers at the CHUM Research Centre, affiliated with the University of Montreal, have identified a way to use a 'can opener' to force the virus to open up and to expose its vulnerable parts, allowing the immune system cells to then kill the infected cells.

'Freezing a bullet' to find clues to ribosome assembly process
Researchers from Caltech and Heidelberg University figure out how protein-synthesizing cellular machines are assembled in a stepwise fashion.

Scientists find new link between diabetes and Alzheimer's
Researchers have uncovered a unique connection between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, providing further evidence that a disease that robs people of their memories may be affected by elevated blood sugar, according to scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Electronic health records may not improve outcomes in ischemic stroke patients
Electronic health records may be necessary for a more high-tech and transparent health care system, but hospitals with electronic health records for ischemic stroke patients did not demonstrate better quality of care or clinical outcomes for those patients when compared to similar hospitals without electronic health records, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

India drift
MIT researchers explain mystery of India's rapid move toward Eurasia 80 million years ago.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Noul strengthening, organizing
The RapidScat instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station and measures surface winds gathered data that showed newborn Tropical Storm Noul strengthening and organizing.

A new finding on cell movement dynamics sheds light on cancer therapy
Kobe University Biosignal Research Center has discovered the first molecular evidence that cell motility, a key component in immunity, development, and other fundamental biological mechanisms, is regulated by a physical factor -- membrane tension stress.

Discovered the sixth DNA base?
The director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program at IDIBELL, Manel Esteller, has published an article in Cell that suggests the existence of a sixth DNA base: the methyl-adenine that would regulate the expression of certain genes in eukaryotic cells and which could have a specific role in stem cells and in early stages of development.

ASU physics professor John Spence is elected to the Royal Society
Arizona State University Regents professor John C.H. Spence has been elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society, London.

From brittle to plastic in 1 breath
Theory shows it may be possible to turn brittle two-dimensional materials into superplastics simply by changing the environmental conditions around them, according to Rice University researchers.

Moderate exercise may make cancer treatments more effective, kinesiologist finds
Kansas State University kinesiology research offers encouraging information for cancer patients: A brisk walk or a slow jog on a regular basis may be the key to improved cancer treatments.

Carrying a little extra weight decreases mortality from type 2 diabetes
Patients with type 2 diabetes who are overweight but not obese live longer than those who are underweight or normal-weight, according to a study is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Chicxulub and the Deccan eruptions: Just a coincidence?
In a new paper published online by GSA Bulletin on 30 April, researchers Mark Richards and colleagues address the 'uncomfortably close' occurrence of the Chicxulub impact in the Yucatán and the most voluminous phase of the Deccan Traps flood basalt eruptions in India.

Malarial parasites dodge the kill
Scientists have uncovered a potential mode of parasite drug resistance in malaria infection, opening new opportunities for the design of anti-malarial drugs.

Keeping legalized marijuana out of hands of kids
As the realities of legalized marijuana take hold in four states and the District of Columbia, legislators and regulators could learn a lot from the successes -- and failures -- of the tobacco and alcohol industries in keeping their harmful products out of the hands of children and adolescents.

Study identifies desire and arousal as the main players in women's sexual health
In a 4-year study of 178 pre- and 329 postmenopausal women, investigators found that women's sexual functioning was moderately stable over time.

Study IDs collagen-damaging protein in White Nose syndrome
In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Brown University and the University of California at San Francisco identify an enzyme that may damage bats in the fungal disease White Nose syndrome.

Emergency department opioid prescribing
In new research published online by the Annals of Emergency Medicine, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital found that the majority of opioid prescriptions in the ED setting had a low pill count and almost exclusively were immediate-release formulations, not the long-acting medications such as methadone, Oxycontin and MS-Contin, which are more strongly associated with overdoes.

Real stereotypes continue to exist in virtual worlds
Stereotypes related to gender and appearance that burden women in the real world could follow them into virtual ones, according to researchers.

Warm oceans caused hottest Dust Bowl years in 1934/36
Ocean hotspots that caused the record heat during the Dust Bowl years may help long range forecasters predict the likelihood of extremely hot summers in Central US months ahead.

Proteomics identifies DNA repair toolbox
Various repair mechanisms help our cells to revert continuous damage to their DNA.

3-D printed trachea among key Mount Sinai research presented at AATS meeting
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai researchers presented several landmark studies at the 2015 American Association for Thoracic Surgery meeting in Seattle.

Scientists reconcile three unrelated theories of schizophrenia
A Duke study in mice links three previously unrelated hypotheses about the causes of schizophrenia, a debilitating mental disorder that affects how people think, act and perceive reality.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, May 2015
Law enforcement and national security agencies could benefit from an Oak Ridge National Laboratory technology able to determine a person's age, race and gender with high fidelity.

Duke study uncovers foundations of heart regeneration
Duke researchers have found that a key to the zebrafish's ability to regenerate cardiac tissue lies in the outer layer of the heart known as the epicardium.

Pitch for support, in Spanish and offering recognition, scores for nonprofit
Messaging matters, and tailoring communications to resonate with a target audience can pay off for a nonprofit organization seeking new support.

School competitive food policies appears tied to neighborhood socioeconomics
Policy changes in California to make the food and beverages that compete with school meal programs more healthy for students appear to have improved childhood overweight/obesity prevalence trends, although improvement was better among students attending schools in socioeconomically advantaged neighborhoods, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Established a psychological technique to helps smokers quite tobacco
An international research project led by scientists from the U.

Rumors have it
A study by an MIT researcher shows that attempts to debunk political rumors may only reinforce their strength.

Identifying species imperiled by the wildlife trade may require a trip to the market
Princeton University-led researchers found that species that are disappearing as a result of the pet trade can be identified by changes in their market prices and trade volumes -- increasing prices and decreasing availability could mean that wild populations are plummeting.

Bystander CPR helps cardiac arrest survivors return to work
In Denmark, more bystanders performing CPR contributed to more cardiac arrest survivors returning to work. 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