Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 28, 2015
Life's a yawn for budgie buddies
Have you ever caught yourself yawning right after someone else did?

RTOG 0537 shows acupuncture-like ENS may provide relief for radiation-induced dry mouth
Phase III results of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 0537 indicate that acupuncture-like, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may be equally effective as pilocarpine, the current prescription medication in a pill, to treat radiation-induced dry mouth, according to a study published in the June 1, 2015 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics.

Sleep quality influences the cognitive performance of autistic and neurotypical children
One night of poor sleep significantly decreases performance on intelligence tests in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and also in neurotypical children (without ASD).

Critter chemistry: Three amazing insect scientists (video)
There are an estimated 10 quintillion insects on the planet.

SAGE strengthens geography and psychology portfolio following acquisition of Pion
SAGE, one of the world's leading independent and academic publishers, has today announced the purchase of Pion Limited, independent publisher of high quality academic journals founded by Adam Gelbtuch and John Ashby in 1959.

Northern ice caused southern rain during last ice age
Armadas of icebergs that broke off the Greenland ice sheet into the northern Atlantic Ocean during the Last Glacial Period -- between about 110,000 and 12,000 years ago -- often increased methane production in the tropics, according to a new study.

Metformin use associated with reduced risk of developing open-angle glaucoma
Taking the medication metformin hydrochloride was associated with reduced risk of developing the sight-threatening disease open-angle glaucoma in people with diabetes, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

Algae industry to organize to capitalize on growing business opportunities
While Mainers have been harvesting seaweed for nearly 80 years for a variety of uses and products, in recent years wild harvests have not been able to meet market demand for some species.

KeyGenes can predict future identity of human fetal stem cells
A snapshot of gene activity can now determine what organ or tissue type that a cluster of fetal stem cells will ultimately become.

Protecting women from multiple sclerosis
An innocent mistake made by a graduate student in a Northwestern Medicine lab -- she accidentally used male mice instead of female mice during an experiment -- has led scientists to a novel discovery that offers new insight into why women are more likely than men to develop autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Unlearning implicit social biases during sleep
Can we learn to rid ourselves of our implicit biases regarding race and gender?

A new tool to study an important anti-cancer and immunosuppressive target
The chemical rapamycin is used clinically as an immunosuppressant and as an anti-cancer agent that works by inactivating a protein named TOR (Target Of Rapamycin).

Bladder cells regurgitate bacteria to prevent UTIs
Duke Medicine researchers have found that bladder cells have a highly effective way to combat E. coli bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.

Portable finger-probe device can successfully measure liver function in potential organ donors
A portable, finger-probe device successfully measured liver function in brain dead adult organ donors, a finding that could change the way organs are assessed and save thousands of dollars per transplant.

OSU researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound
Elemental particles that transmit both heat and sound -- known as acoustic phonons -- also have magnetic properties and can, therefore, be controlled by magnets, even for materials thought to be 'nonmagnetic,' such as semiconductors.

First Eastern Pacific tropical depression runs ahead of dawn
The first tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season formed during the early morning of Thursday, May 28, 2015, well southwest of Mexico.

Earning a college degree before, but not after, getting married protects against obesity
People who earn a college degree before getting married are much less likely to become obese than those who graduate from college after getting married, according to a new study.

Rubbers, roughness and reproduction
University of Leicester researchers discover the importance of using the right rubber for the job.

Researchers retrieve 'lost' memories
In a finding that casts new light on the nature of memory, published in Science, researchers from the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics demonstrated in mice that traces of old memories remain in the amnestic brain, and that the cellular pathways underlying them can be reactivated, allowing lost memories to be found.

Quasi-sexual gene transfer drives genetic diversity of hot spring bacteria
New work from a multidisciplinary team of scientists used massive DNA sequencing of bacterial populations that grow in the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park to determine their genetic diversity and explore the underlying evolutionary dynamics.

Pangolin trade study highlights the need for urgent reforms to CITES
New research by conservationists at the University of Kent suggests that in order to manage trade-threatened species more effectively the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora needs to act more upon the economic reality of wildlife trade.

Study shows treatment for genetically caused emphysema is effective
A landmark clinical study in the Lancet provides convincing evidence that a frequently overlooked therapy for genetically-caused emphysema is effective and slows the progression of lung disease.

Many UK patients with gonorrhea prescribed outdated antibiotics
Many UK patients with gonorrhea are being prescribed antibiotics that are no longer recommended for treating the infection by their family doctor, reveals research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

New study shows influence on climate of fresh water during last ice age
A new study shows how huge influxes of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean from icebergs calving off North America during the last ice age had an unexpected effect -- they increased the production of methane in the tropical wetlands.

Understanding how cells follow electric fields
Weak electric fields may be important in guiding cells into wounds to heal them.

Fox News, or MSNBC
Differences in political opinions engage the brain's evolved circuitry for tracking alliances and coalitions

Ancient microbe-sediment systems of the barberton greenstone belt, South Africa
The modern sedimentary environment contains a diversity of microbes that interact very closely with the sediments, sometimes to such an extent that they form 'biosediments.' But can such a phenomenon be fossilized?

New rapid-deployment plasma protocol effectively treats trauma patients quicker in the ER
Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death among people under age 45, but if trauma physicians could deliver plasma to these injury victims within minutes of their arrival in the emergency room, more of them would stand a better chance of survival.

Career tracking of doctorate holders
ESF has just published a report on a pilot study of the career paths of post-doctorates and doctorate alumni from five research funding and research performing organisations: AXA Research Fund, France, Fonds National de la Recherche, Luxembourg, Goethe Graduate Academy at the Goethe University Frankfurt, Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland and TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, a co-sponsored program of UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank and WHO.

Walnut twig beetle's origin and spread revealed in genetic studies
Even though the walnut twig beetle is likely native to Arizona, California, and New Mexico, it has become an invasive pest to economically and ecologically important walnut trees throughout much of the Western and into the Eastern United States.

Research roundup from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center
Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn's Perelman School of Medicine will present results from several clinical trials and other key studies during the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting from May 29 through June 2.

Peek eye testing app shown to work as well as charts for visual acuity
A new study shows potential for eye tests to be conducted easily and affordably using a smartphone app.

Large but unexplained variations in paracetamol-induced liver failure among European countries
A 50-fold between-country difference in rates of paracetamol-induced acute liver failure that leads to liver transplant has been revealed by a study that compared patient data from seven countries at the request of the European Medicines Agency: France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and the UK.

Nearly 1 in 7 Hispanic/Latino adults has some hearing loss
In the largest study to date of hearing loss among Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States, researchers have found that nearly 1 in 7 has hearing loss, a number similar to the general population prevalence.

Exciting new Canadian open access journal FACETS to launch, with Dr. Jules Blais as Editor
FACETS -- a new multidisciplinary open access journal led by Dr.

Merging galaxies break radio silence
In the most extensive survey of its kind ever conducted, a team of scientists have found an unambiguous link between the presence of supermassive black holes that power high-speed, radio-signal-emitting jets and the merger history of their host galaxies.

Physicists precisely measure interaction between atoms and carbon surfaces
Physicists at the University of Washington have conducted the most precise and controlled measurements yet of the interaction between the atoms and molecules that comprise air and the type of carbon surface used in battery electrodes and air filters -- key information for improving those technologies.

ASCO: Nivolumab treatment in melanoma patients has manageable safety profile
The monoclonal antibody nivolumab has shown promise as a therapeutic agent, particularly by improving the survival rates of melanoma patients.

Sanford-Burnham partners with Takeda on novel treatment for cardiovascular disease
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona today announced it has signed a two-year partnership agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. of Japan to study the potential role of several gene regulatory proteins as targets for the treatment of heart failure.

Vulnerability found in some drug-resistant bacteria
A new study analyzing the physical dynamics of all currently mapped structures in an important group of antibiotic-destroying enzymes has found a common structural feature: the physical coordination of a set of flexible components.

New cancer cases rise globally, but death rates are declining in many countries
New cases of virtually all types of cancer are rising in countries globally -- regardless of income -- but the death rates from cancer are falling in many countries, according to a new analysis of 28 cancer groups in 188 countries.

CU Anschutz researchers discover key step in how taste buds regenerate
Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered a key molecular pathway that aids in the renewal of taste buds, a finding that may help cancer patients suffering from an altered sense of taste during treatment.

End European agreements with tobacco industry designed to curb smuggling, urge experts
The agreements drawn up between the European Union and the four major transnational tobacco companies, to crack down on cigarette smuggling and recoup lost tax revenues, are failing to meet their stated aims, concludes research published online in the journal Tobacco Control.

Severe flooding hits central Texas, Oklahoma
A stagnant upper-air pattern that spread numerous storms and heavy rains from central Texas up into Oklahoma has resulted in record flooding for parts of the Lone Star State.

Genetically elevated triglyceride level associated with protection against type 2 diabetes
Elevated plasma triglyceride level is considered a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but new findings suggest that a genetically-elevated triglyceride level is associated with protection against type 2 diabetes.

UofL part of first successful study of virus attack on cancer
Scientists have found that stage IIIb to IV melanoma patients treated with a modified cold sore (herpes) virus had improved survival.

Stanford breakthrough heralds super-efficient light-based computers
Infrared light passes through silicon the way visible light passes through glass.

Deciphering dark and bright
The human sensory systems contend with enormous diversity in the natural world.

Brain training induces lasting brain & mental health gains for veterans, civilians with brain injury
In the first study of its kind, veterans and civilians with traumatic brain injury showed improved cognitive performance and psychological and neural health following strategy-based cognitive training.

Not making enough money? Check your attitude
Holding cynical beliefs about others may have a negative effect on your income according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Research links impulsivity and binge eating
Do you get impulsive when you're upset? If so, this could be putting you at risk for binge eating.

Estimating the global burden of cancer in 2013; 14.9 million new cases worldwide
Researchers from around the world have worked together to try to measure the global burden of cancer and they estimate there were 14.9 million new cases of cancer, 8.2 million deaths and 196.3 million years of a healthy life lost in 2013, according to a Special Communication published online by JAMA Oncology.

Ombitasvir/paritaprevir/r in hepatitis C: Indication of added benefit in certain patients
The new drug combination showed an advantage in three of a total of 16 patient groups, particularly regarding virologic response.

Nineteen medical school deans join together to call for sustainable biomedical research funding
Unstable funding is threatening the viability of academic biomedical research in this country, according to a new paper published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Hearing impairment higher among Hispanic/Latino men, older individuals
Hearing impairment was more prevalent among men and older individuals in a study of US Hispanic/Latino adults, according to a report published online by JAMA Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Wide variability in organ donation rates: Midwest leads nation in highest rates of donations
New research shows wide variation in the number of eligible organ donors whose loved ones consent to organ donation across the country.

How we make emotional decisions
MIT neuroscientists identify a brain circuit that controls decisions that induce high anxiety.

HIV's sweet tooth is its downfall
HIV has a powerful sweet tooth. After the virus invades an immune cell, it craves sugar and nutrients from the cell to replicate and grow.

A clear look at an efficient energy converter
Xiaochun Qin and colleagues have provided a high-resolution crystal structure of a plant protein supercomplex critical to photosynthesis, shedding new light on how this extremely effective solar energy converter achieves its impressive performance.

Ethiopian and Egyptian genomes help map early humans' route out of Africa
Although scientists are confident that all modern human populations can trace their ancestry back to Africa, the route taken out of Africa is still unclear.

Microscopic sonic screwdriver invented
A team of engineers have created tiny acoustic vortices and used them to grip and spin microscopic particles suspended in water.

ASCO: MEDI4736 combined with tremelimumab results in acceptable toxicity in NSCLC patients
Advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients have few effective treatment options and low 5-year survival rates.

Even when we're resting, our brains are preparing us to be social, UCLA reports
Our brains are wired to prepare us, during quiet moments, to be socially connected to other people, UCLA neuroscientists report.

Donuts, math, and superdense teleportation of quantum information
Quantum teleportation has been achieved by a number of research teams around the globe since it was first theorized in 1993, but current experimental methods require extensive resources and/or only work successfully a fraction of the time.

Scientists discover key to what causes immune cell migration to wounds
Immune cells play an important role in the upkeep and repair of our bodies, helping us to defend against infection and disease.

TGAC awarded £150,000 to help boost science innovation
TGAC, with partner Institutes, has been awarded £150,000 from the Norwich Research Park Translational Fund for three data-driven projects to advance bioinformatics tools from concept to commercialization for research and clinical use.

How sleep helps us learn and memorize
Sleep is important for long lasting memories, particularly during this exam season.

Spinning a new version of silk
Researchers analyze spiders' silk-spinning to create new synthetic fibers.

A good night's sleep helps modify deeply rooted attitudes
Long-held social biases can be reduced during sleep, a new report suggests.

Public raises alarm about ineffectiveness of some Montagu's harrier conservation measures
A citizen science program reveals the protection measures for the Montagu's harrier in the cereal crop season in France to be ineffective if nests are not protected to decrease predation after harvesting.

Sanford-Burnham researchers identify a new target for treating drug-resistant melanoma
A study explains why some melanoma tumors are resistant to BRAF inhibitor treatment.

Out of Africa via Egypt
Modern genomic analysis has been used to solve one of the questions around the ancient migration out of Africa of the early humans, showing that the main, successful migration was through the region of modern Egypt, and not through Ethiopia to the Arabian Peninsula.

ASCO: JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib has promising efficacy in CMML patients
Eric Padron, M.D., assistant member of the Malignant Hematology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center will report on the first phase 1 study of the JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in CMML patients at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Anthropologist receives $1.84 million to study craniofacial malformations
Penn State will receive $1.84 million over five years as a subcontract on a National Institutes of Health grant through the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY, to explore craniosynostosis, a birth defect that includes facial and cranial dysmorphology.

Understanding taste bud renewal may help cancer patients suffering from taste dysfunction
Dany Gaillard and colleagues at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered a key molecular pathway that aids the renewal of taste buds, a finding that may help cancer patients suffering from an altered sense of taste during treatment.

New findings shed light on complexities of emerging zoonotic malaria
Zoonotic malaria has been shown to be caused by two genetically distinct Plasmodium knowlesi parasite subpopulations associated with different monkey host species in Malaysia, according to new research led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Benefits of calorie restriction on par with balancing protein and carb intake in mice
Cutting calories through dietary restriction has been shown to lower cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and even prolong life in mammals.

Scientists use unmanned aerial vehicle to study gray whales from above
NOAA Fisheries scientists are using an unmanned aerial vehicle to take very precise overhead images of migrating gray whale mothers and calves.

Researchers use light to beat amnesia in mice
Memories that have been destabilized and forgotten by mice can nevertheless be retrieved by activating memory engrams, or specific patterns of neurons that fire when memories are encoded, with light, researchers say.

Scientists see a natural place for 'rewilded' plants in organic farming
One key element of organic agriculture, as defined by IFOAM, is that it rejects unpredictable technologies, such as genetic engineering.

UT Arlington electrical engineer's research pushing batteries to their limits
A University of Texas at Arlington engineering researcher is working to determine how oversized a battery has to be while operating safely and efficiently during its lifetime of use by the US Navy.

RAPTOR turbulent combustion code selected for next-gen supercomputer readiness project
RAPTOR, a turbulent combustion code developed by Sandia National Laboratories mechanical engineer Joseph Oefelein, was selected as one of 13 partnership projects for the Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR).

Genetic analysis of the American eel helps explain its decline
The numbers of American eels in freshwater areas have been decreasing rapidly but scientists have been puzzled as to why the fish can't recolonize.

Smoking legislation prevents over 11,000 child hospital admissions in England each year
The introduction of smoke-free legislation in England was associated with over 11,000 fewer admissions to hospital a year from respiratory infections in children, according to a new study.

Stanford researchers tie unexpected brain structures to creativity -- and to stifling it
Investigators at Stanford University have found a surprising link between creative problem-solving and heightened activity in the cerebellum, a structure located in the back of the brain and more typically thought of as the body's movement-coordination center.

SDSC, UCSD focus on sustainable computer science courses
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, has been awarded a three-year National Science Foundation grant valued at almost $1 million to help three of the region's school districts develop model 'villages' for introducing and sustaining up-to-date computer science courses in their curriculum.

Collision course: ONR testing high-speed planing hulls to better understand wave slam
Earlier this month, scientists sponsored by the Office of Naval Research performed experiments to better understand the motions, forces and pressures generated by waves on boats with high-speed planing hulls.

Parents feel racial socialization may help minority children succeed in school
A University of California, Riverside-led research team has uncovered a connection between certain approaches to racial socialization in early childhood and parents' expectations for greater success in school.

Controlling typhoid bacterium key to prevent gallbladder cancer in India and Pakistan
Controlling bacterial infections responsible for typhoid fever could dramatically reduce the risk of gallbladder cancer in India and Pakistan, according to Cell Host & Microbe study.

Restricting firearms access for people who misuse alcohol may prevent violence
Restricting access to firearms for people who misuse alcohol could prevent firearm violence, but policies that more clearly define alcohol misuse should be developed to facilitate enforcement, according to a review of existing research and public policies by the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program.

Wild chimps teach Stanford scientists about gene that encodes HIV-fighting protein
Different people can vary substantially in their genetic susceptibility to viruses, including HIV.

Do you have the time? Flies sure do
Flies might be smarter than you think. According to research reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 28, fruit flies know what time of day it is.

ASCO: Component in green tea may help reduce prostate cancer in men at high risk
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men and is predicted to result in an estimated 220,00 cases in the United States in 2015.

Acquiring 'perfect' pitch may be possible for some adults
If you're a musician, this sounds too good to be true: University of Chicago psychologists have been able to train some adults to develop the prized musical ability of absolute pitch, and the training's effects last for months.

Health factors influence ex-prisoners' chances of returning to jail
Ex-prisoners with a history of risky drug use, mental illness or poverty are more likely to end up back behind bars.

Endless oscillations
According to classical physics, the universe tends to equilibrium but the same does not apply to quantum systems, which are destined to shift constantly between different configurations without ever finding peace.

Inmates denied methadone treatment less likely to seek it once free
When people on methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) are incarcerated in the United States, they are almost always forced off of the addiction-controlling medicine.

Researchers find 'lost' memories
Researchers at MIT have found that memories that have been 'lost' as a result of amnesia can be recalled by activating brain cells with light.

Ancient DNA may provide clues into how past environments affected ancient populations
A new study by anthropologists from The University of Texas at Austin shows for the first time that epigenetic marks on DNA can be detected in a large number of ancient human remains, which may lead to further understanding about the effects of famine and disease in the ancient world.

New technique harnesses everyday seismic waves to image the Earth
Stanford Earth researchers have devised a technique that transforms the tiny tremors generated by the everyday hustle and bustle of city life into a tool for probing the subsurface of Earth.

Parental smoking puts nearly half a million UK children into poverty
Smoking is not only bad for your health; it also puts 400,000 children in poverty.

UH study finds news may influence racial bias
A recent University of Houston study suggests that long-term exposure to news may negatively influence racial bias towards social groups.

In battle of the sexes, a single night with a New York male is enough to kill
Men and women often enter relationships with different long-term goals.

Aftershock assessment
Earthquakes kill, but their aftershocks can cause the rapid collapse of buildings left standing in the aftermath of the initial quake.

New technique for isolating sunlight scattering could help illuminate Universe's birth
Astrophysicists have developed a new method for calculating the effect of Rayleigh scattering on photons, potentially allowing researchers to better understand the formation of the Universe.

Researchers unravel a genetic link with autistic behaviors -- and find a way to undo it
Scientists at the University at Buffalo have identified the mechanisms behind a genetic mutation that produces certain autistic behaviors in mice, as well as therapeutic strategies to restore normal behaviors.

High rates of MRSA transmission found between nursing home residents, health-care workers
Health-care workers frequently contaminate their gloves and gowns during everyday care of nursing home residents with drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, according to a new study.

A new mechanism protecting the liver from dangerous inflammation
Life-threatening liver inflammation can be caused by excess alcohol, fatty foods, toxins, as well as viral, bacterial, and parasite infections.

The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America
This is the editor's summary of recently published research on gun violence.

Challenges ahead for European clinical trials
The European Society for Medical Oncology, in collaboration with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, expressed their views on the EU Clinical Trials Regulation in an official position paper recently published in Annals of Oncology.

The Arctic: Interglacial period with a break
Scientists at the Goethe University Frankfurt and at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre working together with their Canadian counterparts, have reconstructed the climatic development of the Arctic Ocean during the Cretaceous period.

UM Regents Professor Emeritus receives 2015 Molecular Ecology Prize
The journal Molecular Ecology chose University of Montana Regents Professor Emeritus Fred Allendorf as the recipient of its 2015 Molecular Ecology Prize.

Boehringer Ingelheim and University of Michigan Health System partner in diabetes study
Researchers in the US and Germany will take a unique look at diabetes complications by studying Pima Indians, a population heavily impacted by kidney damage caused by diabetes. 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