Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 05, 2015
Hitting the borders of expansion
IST Austria scientists research how population size and genetic drift affect the limits to a species' range.

NREL announces participants for executive energy leadership program
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has selected 21 leaders to participate in its 2015 Executive Energy Leadership program, which empowers executives to integrate clean energy solutions in their communities.

One in five people will develop heart failure
One person in five is expected to develop heart failure in developed countries, a disease with no cure but which is largely preventable.

First extensive description of the human secreted miRNome
In an elaborate study, biologists of the University of Luxembourg have found out that small molecules named microRNAs are, against many hopes, not yet suitable for early diagnosis of skin cancer, and supposedly for other types of cancer, in blood samples.

Online training can teach psychotherapists evidence-based treatments, study finds
Psychotherapy treatments can lag years behind what research has shown to be effective because there simply are not enough clinicians trained in new methods.

23andMe launches the lupus research study in collaboration with Pfizer Inc.
23andMe Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced the launch of the Lupus Research Study in collaboration with Pfizer Inc.

Study reveals how relaxation response may help treat 2 gastrointestinal disorders
A pilot study has found that participating in a nine-week training program including elicitation of the relaxation response had a significant impact on clinical symptoms of the gastrointestinal disorders irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease and on the expression of genes related to inflammation and the body's response to stress.

How noise changes the way the brain gets information
In a study on mice, cells that relay information from the ear to the brain changed their behavior and structure in response to the noise level in the environment.

Toward a squishier robot
What if a new material would allow for development of a 'soft robot' that could reconfigure its own shape and move using its own internally generated power?

Plasticity Forum to host its 4th international conference in Cascais, Portugal
The Plasticity Forum will hold its 4th annual conference on June 8-9 in Cascais, Portugal.

Simulating seasons
Malawi, a small landlocked country in southeast Africa, is home to 13 million people and is one of the least-developed countries in the world.

Trial of 'resistance-busting' skin cancer drug begins as first patient receives treatment
A patient has become the first to receive a new 'resistance-busting' experimental skin cancer drug with the launch of a phase I clinical trial.

How do neural cells respond to ischemia?
The World Health Organization reports cardiovascular diseases to be the leading cause of morbility globally as the majority of deaths are caused by strokes and ischemic heart disease.

New form of DNA modification may carry inheritable information
Scientists at the University of Chicago, Harvard, and China have described the surprising discovery and function of a new DNA modification in insects, worms, and algae.

Changing attitudes about sex
Acceptance of premarital sex is at an all-time high along with an acceptance of homosexuality, find researchers led by Jean M.

Redesigned systems may increase access to MRI for patients with implanted medical devices
New technology developed at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital may extend the benefits of magnetic resonance imaging to many patients whose access to MRI is currently limited.

Childhood maltreatment linked to sleep problems among adult Canadians
Adults who experienced multiple incidents of childhood maltreatment were more than two times as likely to have trouble sleeping than their counterparts who were not maltreated during childhood, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, and Western University.

Shedding light on rods
By using 'unusual' optic fibres in a novel fashion, an international team of researchers led by the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, scrutinized the response to light of rods, the light-sensitive cells of the retina, and demonstrated that the intensity of response varies according to the region of the cell hit by the light.

Who benefits from a catheter -- and who doesn't? New guide aims to protect patients
What's the only thing worse than having a urinary catheter when you're in the hospital?

Gene variant determines early or late onset of Huntington's disease
Researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institutet and the University of British Columbia, Canada, have identified a gene variant that influences whether Huntington's disease breaks out earlier or later than expected.

Enzyme responsible for obesity-related high blood pressure identified
Obesity is a serious health problem affecting approximately one-third of the adult population in the United States.

Strategy found for safely prescribing antidepressants to children and adolescents
A multidisciplinary team of Johns Hopkins researchers has developed two new strategies to treat depression in young people using the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class of medications.

Astronomers unveil the farthest galaxy
An international team of astronomers led by Yale University and the University of California-Santa Cruz have pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5 percent of its present age.

Profiling approach to enable right lung cancer treatment match
Manchester researchers have tested a new way to genetically profile lung cancer samples, potentially allowing doctors to more easily identify the most appropriate treatment for patients.

Accelerated brain aging in type 1 diabetes related to cognitive complications
The brains of people with type 1 diabetes show signs of accelerated aging that correlate with slower information processing, according to research led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Hepatitis C common among HIV-positive patients in sub-Saharan Africa
A new study has found high levels of infection with hepatitis C across Africa, particularly in people infected with HIV.

Study finds positive effects of job corps participation
A statistical analysis of Job Corps data strongly suggests positive average effects on wages for individuals who participated in the job-training program.

Slowdown after Ice Age sounds a warning for Great Barrier Reef's future
Environmental factors similar to those affecting the present day Great Barrier Reef have been linked to a major slowdown in its growth 8,000 years ago, research led by the University of Sydney, Australia shows.

Yap Island typhoon warning in place for Noul
Tropical Storm Noul is still threatening Yap Island located in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean.

Nonstop shopping
Customers who adopted mobile technology for their grocery shopping shopped more often and placed larger orders.

Studies show effectiveness of combo treatment for HCV patients with, without cirrhosis
In two studies appearing in the May 5 issue of JAMA, patients with chronic hepatitis C virus genotype 1 infection and with or without cirrhosis achieved high rates of sustained virologic response after 12 weeks of treatment with a combination of the direct-acting-antiviral drugs daclatasvir, asunaprevir, and beclabuvir.

New chip architecture may provide foundation for quantum computer
In a paper appearing this week in the Journal of Applied Physics, a team of researchers at Georgia Tech Research Institute and Honeywell International have demonstrated a new device that allows more electrodes to be placed on a chip -- an important step that could help increase qubit densities and bring us one step closer to a quantum computer that can simulate molecules or perform other algorithms of interest.

Bringing high-energy particle detection in from the cold
Conventional semiconductor detectors made from germanium and silicon are standard equipment in nuclear physics, but are less useful in many emerging applications because they require low temperatures to operate.

Nail biters, beware: Teeth grinding is next
A new study by Tel Aviv University researchers finds that anxiety experienced in social circumstances elevates the risk of bruxism -- teeth grinding -- causing tooth wear, fractures, and jaw pain.

Improving organic transistors that drive flexible and conformable electronics
A revolution is coming in flexible electronic technologies as cheaper, more flexible, organic transistors come on the scene to replace expensive, rigid, silicone-based semiconductors, but not enough is known about how bending in these new thin-film electronic devices will affect their performance, say materials scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

RIT researcher wins NIH award for developing new atrial fibrillation solution
Behnaz Ghoraani, engineering faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology, was recently awarded a $456,000 grant from the National Institutes for Health for the project 'Catheter guidance algorithm for identification of atrial fibrillation ablation.' Ghoraani and her research team are developing a novel low-risk, low-cost algorithm allowing improved and patient-specific localization of electrical disturbance sites to improve clinical intervention for atrial fibrillation.

A model approach for sustainable phosphorus recovery from wastewater
A study in the Journal of Environmental Quality examined methods for recovering phosphorus from wastewater using mathematical modeling.

The dark side of cannabis
Although the use of cannabis as a medical drug is currently booming, we should not forget that leisure time consumption -- for example, smoking weed -- can cause acute and chronic harms.

The media is the message: How stem cells grow depends on what they grow up in
Writing in the May 4 online issue of the journal Scientific Reports, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine used a powerful statistical tool called 'design of experiments' or DOE to determine the optimal cell culture formula to grow and produce hPSCs.

'Tangles' trigger early-stage Alzheimer's abnormalities in neocortical networks
A ground-breaking study has now, for the first time anywhere, characterized early-stage changes that occur inside individual, Alzheimer's-affected cells in the intact brain.

Gutenberg Research College welcomes new members and bestows 2015 Gutenberg Research Award
It is the highlight of the year for the Gutenberg Research College (GRC): the evening ceremony held to induct the new GRC fellows and to bestow the annual Gutenberg Research Award to internationally renowned researchers.

Doctors should not be allowed to do both private and NHS work
Private practice directly affects the quality of care that NHS patients receive and doctors should not be allowed to work 'on both sides of the divide,' writes a senior doctor in The BMJ this week.

Gutenberg Research Award for polymer chemist Kazunori Kataoka and theologian Kwok Pui Lan
The Gutenberg Research College of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has granted the Gutenberg Research Award 2015 to the Japanese polymer chemist Professor Kazunori Kataoka and to the theologian Professor Kwok Pui Lan, who teaches in the USA.

Say what? How the brain separates our ability to talk and write
Although the human ability to write evolved from our ability to speak, writing and talking are now such independent systems in the brain that someone who can't write a grammatically correct sentence may be able say it aloud flawlessly.

Earthquake scientists go to Himalayas for seismic research
Steve Wesnousky, a geologist and professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been studying the Himalayan Frontal Thrust Fault since 1999.

Stanford researchers observe the moment when a mind is changed
Researchers studying how the brain makes decisions have, for the first time, recorded the moment-by-moment fluctuations in brain signals that occur when a monkey making free choices has a change of mind.

Chest strap heart rate monitor
A team of Empa scientists has, together with industrial partners, developed a novel chest strap device for the long-term monitoring of patients with heart and circulatory problems.

Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition transfers to BioMed Central
The open-access Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition is now being published by BioMed Central.

SwRI reveals the first 'images' of thunder
For the first time, scientists have imaged thunder, visually capturing the sound waves created by artificially triggered lightning.

Volcano Loki observed from Earth
Large Binocular Telescope shows a lava lake on Jupiter's moon Io.

¡Tequila! University of Utah assistant professor researches history of drink
University of Utah assistant professor Marie Sarita Gayan's research took her to Mexico, to places including Tequila, Amatitán, Arandas and Guadalajara.

America's best teachers get creative
America's best teachers rap their algebra lessons, use music to teach Kafka and find other ways to use their own creative interests to teach their students, finds a new study by Michigan State University scholars.

NASA IMERG sees Australia's bicoastal rainfall
The rainfall accumulation analysis above was computed from data generated by the Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) during the period from April 28 to May 3, 2015.

INL and NREL demonstrate power grid simulation at a distance
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory have successfully demonstrated the capability to connect grid simulations at their two labs for real time interaction via the Internet.

First evolutionary history of 50 years of music charts using big data analysis of sounds
Evolutionary biologists and computer scientists have come together study the evolution of pop music.

ASTRO issues guideline on definitive and adjuvant RT for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer
The American Society for Radiation Oncology is issuing a new guideline, 'Definitive and adjuvant radiotherapy in locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer: An American Society for Radiation Oncology evidence-based clinical practice guideline.'

Thoughts drive dieting plans but feelings drive dieting behavior, study finds
Dieting is a process that involves a plan to change eating behavior and behaving according to that plan.

Molecular link found between high glucose, metabolic disease
Scientists at Johns Hopkins say they've discovered a cause-and-effect link between chronic high blood sugar and disruption of mitochondria, the powerhouses that create the metabolic energy that runs living cells.

A hot start to the origin of life?
Researchers from Berkeley Lab and the University of Hawaii at Manoa have shown for the first time that cosmic hot spots, such as those near stars, could be excellent environments for the creation of molecular precursors to DNA.

3-D models of neuronal networks reveal organizational principles of sensory cortex
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, VU University Amsterdam and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience have succeeded in reconstructing the neuronal networks that interconnect the elementary units of sensory cortex -- cortical columns.

Companies' bottom lines benefit when former politicians join leadership teams
A new study has found that companies can experience a significant improvement to their bottom lines when a former politician takes a leadership role, but company leaders who move into the political area do not provide the same benefits.

U of T astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets
A recent and famous image from deep space marks the first time we've seen a forming planetary system, according to a study by U of T astrophysicists.

Proteomics provides new leads into nerve regeneration
Using proteomics techniques to study injured optic nerves, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have identified previously unrecognized proteins and pathways involved in nerve regeneration.

Research charts a course for increasing edamame acreage in the Midwest
There have been limitations to growing edamame in the US Midwest, including little research on the cultivars that could be used here and how to grow the crop sustainably.

Wayne State researchers seek to stamp out herpes simplex virus 1
Wayne State University has received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to garner more genomic information about herpes simplex virus 1 with the hope of developing the cellular defense mechanisms of host defenses that could lead to new anti-herpes treatments.

Late-night snacking: It it your brain's fault?
Researchers at BYU have shed new light on why you, your friends, neighbors and most everyone you know tend to snack at night: some areas of the brain don't get the same 'food high' in the evening.

UTEP named first Satellite Center for America Makes
America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is proud to announce its plans to open its first America Makes Satellite Center on the campus of the institute's platinum-level member, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), in conjunction with UTEP's renowned W.M.

Penn Medicine researchers receive $7.5 million to expand HIV gene therapy work
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine and the Penn Center for AIDS Research have been awarded $7.5 million over five years from the National Institutes of Health to initiate a multi-project HIV study investigating a new gene therapy approach to render immune cells of HIV positive patients resistant to the virus.

NREL report estimates market potential of shared solar
Analysis from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory finds that by making shared solar programs available to households and businesses that currently cannot host on-site photovoltaic systems shared solar could represent 32 to 49 percent of the distributed photovoltaic market in 2020.

Just like humans, dolphins have social networks
They may not be on Facebook or Twitter, but dolphins do, in fact, form highly complex and dynamic networks of friends, according to a recent study by scientists at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University.

WSU researchers produce jet fuel compounds from fungus
Washington State University researchers have found a way to make jet fuel from a common black fungus found in decaying leaves, soil and rotting fruit.

Interferon-free therapy clears hepatitis C in 93 percent of patients in trial
A 12-week dose of an investigational three-drug hepatitis C combination cured the virus in 93 percent of patients with liver cirrhosis who hadn't previously been treated, according to a study in the May 5, 2015, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Historic AAAS Kavli competition expands to honor excellence in science journalism worldwide
The American Association for the Advancement of Science today announced a global expansion of its historic science journalism awards program, thanks to an additional generous endowment from the Kavli Foundation.

Breast cancer vaccines may work better with silicon microparticles
The effectiveness of cancer vaccines could be dramatically boosted by first loading the cancer antigens into silicon microparticles, report scientists from Houston Methodist and two other institutions in an upcoming Cell Reports.

Scientists to examine wildfire effects on fish habitat
Fire and aquatic scientists will gather in Portland, Ore., on the brink of an anticipated severe wildfire season to discuss how wildfires may help or hurt habitat for salmon, trout and other aquatic life and how restoration of fish habitat can improve its resiliency to fire and other influences such as climate change.

Bacteria research opens way for new antibiotics
University of Adelaide researchers have discovered a target for the development of completely new antibiotics against disease-causing bacteria.

ECOG-ACRIN names Stanford University's Heather Wakelee as young investigator of the year
ECOG-ACRIN names Stanford University's Heather Wakelee as young investigator of the year for excellence in lung cancer research.

Ontario adults who reported a TBI also reported more road rage than people who did not have a TBI
Ontario adult drivers who say they have experienced at least one traumatic brain injury in their lifetime also report significantly higher incidents of serious road-related driving aggression, said a new study published Monday in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Treatment reduces risk of recurrence of C. difficile infection
Among patients with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) who recovered following standard treatment with the antibiotics metronidazole or vancomycin, oral administration of spores of a strain of C. difficile that does not produce toxins colonized the gastrointestinal tract and significantly reduced CDI recurrence, according to a study in the May 5 issue of JAMA.

Ethanol refining may release more of some pollutants than previously thought
Ethanol fuel refineries could be releasing much larger amounts of some ozone-forming compounds into the atmosphere than current assessments suggest, a new study finds.

Connecting uninsured patients to primary care could reduce emergency department use
An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland.

Nerves move to avoid damage
New research from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital can help explain the prevalence of widespread syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica.

Popular electric brain stimulation method detrimental to IQ scores
Using a weak electric current in an attempt to boost brainpower or treat conditions has become popular among scientists and do-it-yourselfers, but a new University of North Carolina School of Medicine study shows that using the most common form of electric brain stimulation had a statistically significant detrimental effect on IQ scores.

Field-effect transistors on hybrid perovskites fabricated for first time
Researchers from Wake Forest University and the University of Utah are the first to successfully fabricate halide organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite field-effect transistors and measure their electrical characteristics at room temperature.

A neural network model predicts whether a bank can go bust
The learning mechanism of neurones has inspired researchers at the University of Valladolid, Spain to create algorithms that can predict whether a bank will go bust.

Women hospitalized 60 percent more than men after emergency asthma treatment
A new study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows that women with acute asthma who are treated in the emergency department are 60 percent more likely than men to need hospitalization.

Ocean energy: EU leads in technology development and deployment
New technologies in the last decade have shown slow but steady progress of ocean and sea energy power: about 30 tidal and 45 wave energy companies are currently at an advanced stage of technological development worldwide, many of them nearing pre-commercial array demonstration and others deploying full-scale prototypes in real-sea environment, according to a new JRC ocean energy status report.

Anaerobic co-digestion of farm-based manure & food waste, are there benefits vs. landfilling?
Based on a comprehensive life cycle analysis comparing the environmental impacts and economic outcomes for managing manure and food waste produced on a dairy farm, researchers found that anaerobic co-digestion of the waste products had substantial cost, energy, and environmental benefits compared to digestion of manure but disposal of food waste in a landfill.

Loyola shows oral spores of harmless C. difficile prevents repeat infection
n what is a major step towards the prevention of recurring bouts of Clostridium difficile infection, Dale Gerding, M.D., Loyola and Hines research physician and professor, has shown that giving spores of non-toxic C. diff by mouth is effective in stopping repeated bouts of C. diff infection.

New methods for realistic surface rendering in computer games
Computer scientists have come up with a new and simple method to simulate the effect of light scattering below the surface of various materials.

'Microcombing' creates stronger, more conductive carbon nanotube films
Researchers have developed an inexpensive technique called 'microcombing' to align carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which can be used to create large, pure CNT films that are stronger than any previous such films.

Snow and avalanche research: Remote assessment of avalanche risk
In cooperation with a Swiss research team, geographers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich have developed a novel measuring system relying on two different physical methods that promises to enhance forecasting of avalanches and spring floods.

Treating gum disease reduces prostate symptoms, CWRU researchers find
Treating gum disease reduced symptoms of prostate inflammation, called prostatitis, report researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Departments of Urology and Pathology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Artificial muscles created from gold-plated onion cells
The onion, a humble root vegetable, is proving its strength outside the culinary world -- in an artificial muscle created from onion cells.

New centimeter-accurate GPS system could transform virtual reality and mobile devices
Todd Humphreys and his team in the Radionavigation Lab have built a low-cost centimeter-accurate GPS system that reduces location errors from the size of a large car to the size of a nickel -- a more than 100 times increase in accuracy.

Aarhus scientists look through the mirror to reveal the secrets of a new drug
Research results from Aarhus University can help develop anti-inflammatory drugs.

Mining, water quality, and mastodons: Geoscientists to meet in Madison, Wisc., USA
Geoscientists from the north-central US and beyond will convene in Madison, Wisc., on May 19-20 to discuss hot-topic science, expand on current science, and explore the region's unique geologic features.

Alzheimer's Association launches new open-access journal
Reflecting significant changes in journal publishing and acknowledging the importance of biomarkers to advancing Alzheimer's disease research, the Alzheimer's Association and Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association introduce a new open-access journal -- creating an additional channel for Alzheimer's and dementia researchers to communicate scientific findings and knowledge. 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