Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 06, 2015
How ticks that carry Lyme disease are spreading to new regions in the US
Lyme disease is currently estimated to affect 300,000 people in the US every year, and blacklegged ticks, the disease's main vector, have recently flourished in areas previously thought to be devoid of this arachnid.

Back to the basics of pattern recognition and machine learning
World Scientific's latest book on 'Introduction to Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning' adopts a detailed and methodological algorithmic approach to explain the concepts of pattern recognition.

Midlife changes in Alzheimer's biomarkers may predict dementia
Studying brain scans and cerebrospinal fluid of healthy adults, scientists have shown that changes in key biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease during midlife may help identify those who will develop dementia years later, according to new research.

Increased risk of complications, death during delivery for women with epilepsy
A small fraction of pregnancies occur in women with epilepsy but a new study suggests those women may be at higher risk for complications and death during delivery, according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology.

Safer, with more benefits: Parents' vaccine views shifting
Over the same time period that multiple outbreaks of measles and whooping cough made headlines around the country, parents' views on vaccines became more favorable.

Researchers learn to measure aging process in young adults
A research team from the US, UK, Israel and New Zealand has identified multiple health factors that may be combined to determine whether people are aging faster or slower than their peers.

Five-year study sheds light on hospice care in assisted living facilities versus in the home
Researchers have found several key differences among people who receive hospice care -- which maintains or improves the quality of life for someone whose condition is unlikely to be cured -- in assisted-living facilities compared with people who receive hospice care at home.

'Rambo' protein may not be so violent after all
A protein dubbed 'Bcl-Rambo' can protect against heart failure, suggests new research from King's College London and funded by the British Heart Foundation.

Even very small brain lesions increase risk for death
For asymptomatic patients with no history of clinical stroke, having even very small brain lesions detected by magnetic resonance imaging triples their risk for stroke and death, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Study explains how dengue virus adapts as it travels, increasing chances for outbreaks
A researcher from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is an integral member of a collaborative group that is the first to explain the mechanisms that the Dengue virus has developed to optimize its ability to cause outbreaks as it travels across the globe to new places and revisits old ones.

Killer sea snail a target for new drugs
University of Queensland pain treatment researchers have discovered thousands of new peptide toxins hidden deep within the venom of just one type of Queensland cone snail.

Emotion knowledge fosters attentiveness
Young children, who possess a good understanding of their own emotions and of those of their fellow human beings early on, suffer fewer attention problems than their peers with a lower emotional understanding.

Heightened hospital weekend death risk common in several developed countries
The heightened risk of death after admission to hospital at the weekend -- the so-called 'weekend effect' -- is a feature of several developed countries' healthcare systems, and not just a problem for hospitals in England, reveals research published online in BMJ Quality & Safety.

New paradigm for treating 'inflammaging' and cancer
Intermittent dosing with rapamycin breaks the inflammatory loop associated with senescence.

Drinking alcohol while pregnant is common in UK, Ireland, and Australasia
Drinking alcohol while pregnant is common, ranging from 20 to 80 pecent among those questioned in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, reveals a study of almost 18,000 women published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Protein implicated in osteosarcoma's spread acts as air traffic controller
The investigation of a simple protein has uncovered its uniquely complicated role in the spread of the childhood cancer, osteosarcoma.

UNC researchers find 2 biomarkers linked to severe heart disease
Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine created a first-of-its-kind animal model to pinpoint two biomarkers that are elevated in the most severe form of coronary disease.

Extra DNA acts as a 'spare tire' for our genomes
Carrying around a spare tire is a good thing -- you never know when you'll get a flat.

Older patients with spinal cord injury: Surgery less likely than for younger patients
Older patients with traumatic spinal cord injury are less likely than younger patients to receive surgical treatment and experience a significant lag between injury and surgery, according to new research in CMAJ.

Research shows how Japanese American internment camps were covered during World War II
Drexel Communications Professor Ron Bishop published a book analyzing how the internment of people of Japanese American descent, mostly American citizens, was covered by local newspapers during World War Two.

Fundamental observation of spin-controlled electrical conduction in metals
Ultrafast terahertz spectroscopy allows direct insight into the building block of modern magnetic memories.

28th ECNP Congress for Applied and Translational Neuroscience
Europe's largest meeting for the science and treatment of disorders of the brain, the 28th ECNP Congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) will take place at the Amsterdam RAI from Aug.

New study again shows: More strokes with intracranial stents
The VISSIT study confirms the assessment by IQWiG. If, after a stroke, patients also have stents inserted into blood vessels of the brain, new strokes occur considerably more often.

tRNAs are segmented into fragments in a manner that depends on race, gender and population
The study reports on a newly discovered category of tRNA fragments as well as shows that all tRNAs are rich sources of very diverse short molecules whose characteristics depend on a person's gender, population, and race and differ according to tissue and disease type.

Pazopanib improves progression-free survival without impairing HRQOL
Results of EORTC trial 62072 appearing in Cancer show that in patients with soft tissue sarcoma, whose disease had progressed during or after prior chemotherapy, pazopanib improved progression-free survival but did not change health-related quality of life.

NASA sees Nangka become a typhoon
Tropical Storm Nangka strengthened to a typhoon in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean just after NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead on July 6.

Temple-led research team finds bacterial biofilms may play a role in lupus
Lupus, multiple sclerosis, and type-1 diabetes are among more than a score of diseases in which the immune system attacks the body.

NIH-funded vaccine for West Nile Virus enters human clinical trials
A clinical trial of a new investigational vaccine designed to protect against West Nile Virus infection will be sponsored by the NIAID.

Non-invasive technique may help detect skin and other cancers
Researchers have developed a non-invasive technique that allows clinicians to accurately detect various forms of skin cancer.

Does that 'green' plasticizer make my PVC flexible enough for you?
What gives plastic objects their flexibility and reduces their brittleness is the concentration of plasticizer.

Tel Aviv/Tsinghua University project uses crowd computing to improve water filtration
A joint research project by Tel Aviv University and Tsinghua University proposes a novel nanotechnology-based strategy to improve water filtration.

UC Davis researchers find key mechanism that causes neuropathic pain
A biological process called endoplasmic reticulum stress appears to play a key role in causing neuropathic pain, according to this new study.

Gas sensors promise advances in Earth science
Rice University has been awarded a $1 million grant by the W.M.

Surfing a wake of light
For the first time, Harvard researchers have created wakes of light-like waves moving on a metallic surface, called surface plasmons, and demonstrated that they can be controlled and steered.

Why the skin wrinkles more on certain parts of the face
Differences in the number of oil-secreting glands in the skin may help explain why wrinkles are shallower in the forehead than in the outer eye area.

Ecoprofile for 2014 Ingeo® Biopolymers Production
NatureWorks has updated the ecoprofile data - -a life cycle assessment of energy, water, and other resource used together with air and water emissions and solid waste -- for producing 150,000 metric tons/year of its Ingeo polylactide polymers derived from renewable biomass.

NTU Singapore partners with Science Centre Singapore to find out how babies think
Nanyang Technological University Singapore will partner Science Centre Singapore to do research on early childhood learning.

Simple heart scan may help identify patients at risk for premature death
A study in the online edition of Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that coronary artery calcification scans could help physicians identify patients at risk for premature death.

Link found between autoimmune diseases, medications, and a dangerous heartbeat condition
Mohamed Boutjdir, Ph.D., professor of medicine, cell biology, and physiology and pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, has led a study with international collaborators identifying the mechanism by which patients with various autoimmune and connective tissue disorders may be at risk for life-threatening cardiac events if they take certain anti-histamine or anti-depressant medications.

Discovered a potential treatment option for children with Ewing's sarcoma
A research consortium made up of the Virgen del Rocio hospital in Seville, Sant Joan de Deu and the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, has found a new therapeutic alternative for children who suffer from a malignant pediatric tumor bone and soft tissue called Ewing's sarcoma.

Lifestyle factors associated with less heart failure after 65
Adults who walked briskly, were moderately active in their leisure time, drank moderately, didn't smoke and avoided obesity had half the risk of heart failure as adults who did not optimize these modifiable risk factors, according to a study that followed nearly 4,500 adults for two decades.

Aspirin may delay growth of asbestos-related cancer
A University of Hawai'i Cancer Center study finds aspirin may help mesothelioma patients.

AOSSM presents prestigious research awards at annual meeting
In order to recognize and encourage cutting-edge research in key areas of orthopaedic sports medicine, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine will present 10 research awards and seven grants during its Annual Meeting, July 9-12 in Orlando, Fla.

Structural shift elucidated with large-scale atomic simulations
Iron-nickel alloys are found at the earth's core and in meteorites.

Societal challenges and new treatments for Ebola virus disease
Since Ebola was first described in 1976, there have been several outbreaks, but all have been self-limiting.

Researchers develop world's most sensitive test to detect infectious disease, superbugs
Infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and some of the world's deadliest superbugs -- C. difficile and MRSA among them -- could soon be detected much earlier by a unique diagnostic test, designed to easily and quickly identify dangerous pathogens.

Fundamental beliefs about atherosclerosis overturned
Doctors' efforts to battle the dangerous atherosclerotic plaques that build up in our arteries and cause heart attacks and strokes are built on several false beliefs about the fundamental composition and formation of the plaques, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine shows.

Heart attack treatment hypothesis 'busted'
Researchers have long had reason to hope that blocking the flow of calcium into the mitochondria of heart and brain cells could be one way to prevent damage caused by heart attacks and strokes.

Dental pulp cell transplants help regenerate peripheral nerves
Researchers transplanted mobilized dental pulp stem cells into laboratory rats with sciatic nerve defects to investigate the regenerative capabilities of MDPCs and to compare the effectiveness of this procedure for repairing peripheral nerve damage to autologous nerve grafts or collagen implants provided to control groups with similar nerve damage.

Epigenetic driver of glioblastoma provides new therapeutic target
Using human tumor samples and mouse models, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center discovered that cancer stem cell properties are determined by epigenetic changes -- chemical modifications cells use to control which genes are turned on or off.

Perennial biofuel crops' water consumption similar to corn
Converting large tracts of the Midwest's marginal farming land to perennial biofuel crops carries with it some key unknowns, including how it could affect the balance of water between rainfall, evaporation and movement of soil water to groundwater.

ADHD medications linked to cardiac problems in children with hereditary heart disease
Long QT syndrome (LQTS), a rare hereditary heart condition, can lead to life-threatening arrhythmias, or fast heartbeat irregularities.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Linfa exiting northern Philippines
Tropical Storm Linfa moved over Luzon in the northern Philippines over July 4 and by early July 5, NASA's Aqua satellite saw the storm moving into the South China Sea.

Adolescents who view medical marijuana ads more likely to use the drug, study finds
A new study raises questions about whether there is a need to revise prevention programming for youth as the availability, visibility and legal status of marijuana changes.

Experts express concern over cyclone trends in the British-Irish Isles
By studying climate data in the British-Irish Isles over a 142-year period, researchers have confirmed the important role of cyclones.

'Here comes the sun': Does pop music have a 'rhythm of the rain?'
Weather is frequently portrayed in popular music, with a new scientific study finding over 750 popular music songs referring to weather, the most common being sun and rain, and blizzards being the least common.

Transition from 3 to 2 dimensions increases conduction, MIPT scientists discover
Scientists from the MIPT Department of Molecular and Chemical Physics have for the first time described the behavior of electrons in a previously unstudied analogue of graphene, two-dimensional niobium telluride, and, in the process, uncovered the nature of two-dimensionality effects on conducting properties.

Hypertension, high cholesterol, other heart disease risk factors increasing In Asia
The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes have been decreasing in the United States and Europe, however they appear to be on the rise in Asia, particularly Japan, according to a guest editor page published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Cactus scientists offer insights to solve future global agricultural challenges
Researchers have provided a new roadmap for tackling future agricultural production issues by using solutions that involve crassulacean acid metabolism, a specialized type of photosynthesis that enhances the efficiency by which plants use water.

Countering social influence and persuasion of extremist groups
Arizona State University will lead new research aimed at helping to solve the puzzle of how terror groups use social media to further their agenda of violence.

Pitt scientists lead consensus guidelines for thyroid cancer molecular tests
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute scientists recently led a panel of experts in revising national guidelines for thyroid cancer testing to reflect newly available tests that better incorporate personalized medicine into diagnosing the condition.

Blacklegged tick populations have expanded via migration, Penn biologists show
In a new study, biologists from the University of Pennsylvania used genetic and phylogeographic analyses to determine the origin and recent migratory history of newly discovered tick populations in the Northeastern United States.

Enriched blood cells preserve cognition in mice with features of Alzheimer's disease
Cedars-Sinai researchers have successfully tested two new methods for preserving cognition in laboratory mice that exhibit features of Alzheimer's disease by using white blood cells from bone marrow and a drug for multiple sclerosis to control immune response in the brain.

What's the best walking aid for patients with COPD?
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have investigated the impact of different walking aids on patients with chronic obstructive disease.

Study provides new insights into the genetics of drug-resistant fungal infections
A study by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Broad Institute, and Tel Aviv University, published in the journal eLife, offers new insights into how virulent fungi adapt through genetic modifications to fight back against the effects of medication designed to block their spread, and how that battle leaves them temporarily weakened.

Mass. General team generates therapeutic nitric oxide from air with an electric spark
Treatment with inhaled nitric oxide can be life saving for newborns, children and adults with several dangerous conditions, but the availability of the treatment has been limited by the size, weight and complexity of equipment needed to administer the gas and the therapy's high price.

Is phosphate the next sodium?
Is phosphate the next sodium -- a once seemingly benign and common food additive now linked to heart disease and death?

Autonomous taxis would deliver significant environmental and economic benefits
Imagine a fleet of driverless taxis roaming your city, ready to pick you up and take you to your destination at a moment's notice.

Risk of interbreeding due to climate change lower than expected
A surprising study of North and South American mammals, birds and amphibians finds that only about 6 percent of closely related species whose ranges do not currently overlap are likely to come into contact by the end of this century.

$2.2M to Rice from Houston Endowment and Arnold Foundation will support HISD research
With grants totaling $2.2 million from Houston Endowment and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Rice University's Houston Education Research Consortium plans to explore new areas of education research in the Houston Independent School District.

Why don't men live as long as women?
Across the entire world, women can expect to live longer than men.

Study finds people over 65 with traumatic brain injuries hospitalized 4 times as often as younger people
A disproportionate number of people hospitalized in Canada with traumatic brain injuries are 65 years or older, a new study from St.

How to rule a gene galaxy: A lesson from developing neurons
A new study published in Nature Communications by researchers from the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology at IoPPN, carried out in collaboration with the Tian lab at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, found that many RNA messengers encoding neuronal proteins contain specialized sequences that can promote their destabilization in the presence of an RNA-binding protein called tristetraprolin, or TTP.

Schwann cells 'dine in' to clear myelin from injured nerves
Researchers reveal how cells in the peripheral nervous system degrade myelin after nerve injury, a process that fails to occur in the central nervous system.

New blood pressure guidelines may lead to under treatment of older adults
In 2014, the Joint National Committee released the eighth update to the blood pressure guidelines (JNC8P).

Uncovering the mechanism of our oldest anesthetic
MIT researchers reveal brainwave changes in patients receiving nitrous oxide, or 'laughing gas.'

Detecting more small cancers in screening mammography suggests overdiagnosis
Screening mammography was associated with increased diagnosis of small cancers in a study across US counties but not with significant changes in breast cancer deaths or a decreased incidence of larger breast cancers, which researchers suggest may be the result of overdiagnosis, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

EARTH: Dinologue -- a dino blog brings the Mesozoic to life, and EARTH Magazine reviews it in the July 2015 issue.

Stress-fighting proteins could be key to new treatments for asthma
Investigators have discovered the precise molecular steps that enable immune cells implicated in certain forms of asthma and allergy to develop and survive in the body.

Big city life: New leafhopper species found on a threatened grass in New Jersey
Hidden in the New Jersey Pine Barrens near the northeastern megalopolis that extends from New York City to Washington, D.C., a previously unknown species of the North American leafhopper genus Flexamia was recently discovered by Andrew Hicks from the Museum of Natural History at the University of Colorado.

Older patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries less likely to get surgery
Older patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries are less likely to receive surgery compared with younger patients and they experience a significant lag between injury and surgery, according to new research by an orthopedic surgeon at St.

Policies on children's tech exposure confusing
New research suggests guidelines on children's exposure to radio frequency waves from technology are confusing for parents.

Learning from biology to accelerate discovery
Northwestern University professor Sinan Keten and his collaborators have authored a new review paper that explores the strategies nature employs to achieve different functions and the mechanics at play within those functions.

Georgia State, Morehouse partner to tackle diabetes, heart disease
The School of Public Health at Georgia State University has received nearly $400,000 in grant funds to support a three-year effort to reduce rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in African-American neighborhoods in southwest Atlanta.

Age-related cognitive decline tied to immune-system molecule
Researchers at UC San Francisco and Stanford School of Medicine have shown that a blood-borne molecule that increases in abundance as we age blocks regeneration of brain cells and promotes cognitive decline.

Producing biodegradable plastic just got cheaper and greener
Biodegradable drinking cups or vegetable wrapping foil: the bioplastic known as polylactic acid (PLA) is already a part of our everyday lives.

Cutting big data down to a usable size
Next-generation DNA sequencing technologies have turned the vision of precision medicine into a plausible reality, but also threaten to overwhelm computing infrastructures with unprecedented volumes of data.

Simply observing men with very low- and low-risk prostate cancer very effective and underused
Monitoring men with very low- and low-risk prostate cancers using watchful waiting or active surveillance, called expectant management, is a useful approach for a large number of men with localized tumors and could spare them the debilitating side effects of aggressive treatments.

UT Arlington-UNTHSC collaboration to build prototype shunt flow monitoring system
Scientists from the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas Health Science Center are building a prototype for an implantable in-line shunt flow monitoring system that would deliver both on-demand and continuous readings of hydrocephalus.

US ski team doctor, J. Richard Steadman, M.D., inducted into AOSSM Hall of Fame
Orthopaedic surgeon and ski team doctor, J. Richard Steadman, M.D., will be inducted into the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Hall of Fame on Friday, July 10, during the Society's Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Protein suggests a new strategy to thwart infection
The newfound ability of a protein of the intestines and lungs to distinguish between human cells and the cells of bacterial invaders could underpin new strategies to fight infections.

Brain imaging shows how children inherit their parents' anxiety
A study in an extended family of monkeys provides important insights into how the risk of developing anxiety and depression is passed from parents to children.

Sociologists to explore the topic of sexuality at annual meeting in Chicago, Aug. 22-25
More than 5,500 sociologists will convene in Chicago this August to explore ideas and scientific research relating to sexuality and many other topics, as part of the American Sociological Association's 110th Annual Meeting.

Typically disregarded brain lesions may warn of heightened stroke risk
Scientists with the University of Mississippi Medical Center and colleagues found that very small brain lesions noted on brain imaging that would typically be disregarded by clinicians are associated with a heightened risk of stroke and death.

NASA's infrared look at strengthening Typhoon Chan-Hom
During the early morning hours on July 6, Chan-Hom was a strong tropical storm.

Beetle tree of life reveals the evolutionary history of Earth's most diverse group of animals
New research reconstructs the beetle family tree and shows how this important group of insects diversified and otherwise flourished over the last nearly 300 million years.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia with psychiatric, medical conditions
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely used nonpharmacologic treatment for insomnia disorders and an analysis of the medical literature suggests it also can work for patients whose insomnia is coupled with psychiatric and medical conditions, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Investigators insert large DNA sequence into mammalian cells
For the first time, researchers have used a simplified technique derived from a defense mechanism evolved by bacteria and other single-celled organisms to successfully insert a large DNA sequence into a predetermined genomic site in mammalian cells.

Illicit drug use may affect sexual function in men
In a study of 1159 males who illicitly used amphetamines, half of participants said drug use had no impact on their sexual functions, while the other half reported impacts such as reduced erectile rigidity and sexual satisfaction, enhanced orgasmic intensity, and delayed ejaculation.

The Lancet: Religious groups could expedite response to biggest global health challenges of 21st century
Faith-based organisations are crucial in achieving the promise of universal health coverage -- an adequate standard of health care for all people -- especially for poor and marginalized groups, according to a new three-part Series on faith-based health care, published in The Lancet.

Tundra study uncovers impact of climate warming in the Arctic
Significant changes in one of the Earth's most important ecosystems are not only a symptom of climate change, but may fuel further warming, research suggests.

Cellular sentinel prevents cell division when the right machinery is not in place
For cell division to be successful, pairs of chromosomes have to line up just right before being swept into their new cells, like the opening of a theater curtain.

New smartphone app warns drinkers if they go over recommended daily/weekly units
A new smartphone app warns drinkers if they go over the recommended maximum daily/weekly units of alcohol, to help them better manage their intake, reveals a commentary published in the online journal BMJ Innovations.

Gerhard M. Sessler awarded the 2015 Gold Medal of the Acoustical Society of America
Gerhard M. Sessler, Professor at the Technische Universit├Ąt Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany, has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) for the development of electret and silicon-based micromachined microphones.

Study shows grey squirrels are quick learners
They may be viewed by some as an invasive species or a commonplace pest of public parks, but a new study from the University of Exeter has shown that grey squirrels are actually quick learners capable of adapting tactics to improve efficiency and reap the best rewards.

Restraint and confinement still an everyday practice in mental health settings
Providers of mental-health services still rely on intervention techniques such as physical restraint and confinement to control some psychiatric hospital patients, a practice which can cause harm to both patients and care facilities, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.

Survey finds many physicians, clinicians work sick despite risk to patients
Many physicians and advanced practice clinicians, including registered nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants, reported to work while being sick despite recognizing this could put patients at risk, according to the results of a small survey published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Satellite sees smoky skies over World Cup soccer
Soccer fever gripped the US at the same time as the smoke from Canadian wildfires gripped the skies over Vancouver, British Columbia.

Reducing stroke damage may be next for OCT technology widely used in vision healthcare
A new article by University of Washington researchers in the journal Neurophotonics, published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, reports on use of optical coherence tomography to obtain high-resolution images showing blood-flow dynamics in the brain before, during, and after stroke-like states.

Ion channel mechanics yield insights into optogenetics experiments
Optogenetics techniques, which allow scientists to map and control nerve cells using light stimulation, are being used to study neural circuits in the brain with unprecedented precision.

Extra heartbeats could be modifiable risk factor for congestive heart failure
Common extra heartbeats known as premature ventricular contractions may be a modifiable risk factor for congestive heart failure and death, according to researchers at UC San Francisco. 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