Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 14, 2015
Ebola vaccine trial begins in Senegal
A trial evaluating an Ebola vaccine has begun in Dakar, after initial work at Oxford's Jenner Institute.

NASA's RapidScat measures winds of Atlantic Tropical Storm Claudette
The RapidScat instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station measured the winds of the third Atlantic Tropical Storm of the season.

Sounds of praise or tones of racism? A look at the marketing of Christian music
Researchers go behind the music to examine how two popular Christian music genres influence listeners' racial beliefs.

Acupuncture can improve outcomes in dermatological conditions
Medical evidence supports the potential for acupuncture to be significantly more effective in the treatment of dermatologic conditions such as dermatitis, pruritus, and urticaria than alternative treatment options, 'placebo acupuncture,' or no treatment, according to a review of the medical literature published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

New guidelines for statin eligibility improve prediction of cardiovascular risk
The new guidelines for determining whether patients should begin taking statins to prevent cardiovascular disease issued in 2013 by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association are more accurate and more efficient than an earlier set of guidelines in assigning treatment to adults at increased risk for cardiovascular events -- including heart attacks and strokes -- and identifying those whose low risk rules out the need to take statins.

Oregon study suggests organic farming needs direction to be sustainable
Large-scale organic farming operations, based on a review of almost a decade of data from 49 states, are not reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says a University of Oregon researcher.

Stem cells might heal damaged lungs
Transplanted cells made their way to the lungs in mice and began producing healthy tissue.

Aelan Cell Technologies publishes new research identifying biomarkers that could serve as companion diagnostics for patients being treated with IL-2
Aelan Cell Technologies, with an international research team, released a study today that reveals that age is a key determining factor in the efficacy of cell-based or pharmacological treatments.

Traditional Chinese exercises may help patients with COPD
In a new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients in remission who were randomized to LQG demonstrated marked improvements in their lung function, general health, mental health, and quality of life.

UT Arlington aerospace engineer improving advanced composite materials for aircraft
A University of Texas at Arlington professor is collaborating with Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. through a $1.35 million grant to design more durable materials and accelerate their implementation in composite aircraft.

Study highlights pneumonia hospitalizations among US adults
Viruses, not bacteria, are the most commonly detected respiratory pathogens in US adults hospitalized with pneumonia, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study released today and conducted by researchers at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and hospitals in Chicago and Nashville, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Agilent Technologies and A*STAR's BTI collaborate on new bioanalytical methodologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. and the Bioprocessing Technology Institute, a research institute of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research today announced that they will collaborate on new analytical approaches to analyzing specific protein-linked sugar compounds.

Dads' parenting of children with autism improves moms' mental health
Fathers who read to and care for children with autism at nine months reduce mothers' levels of depression and stress when children reach age 4.

Impact of Type 2 diabetes on lymphatic vessels identified
Approximately 28 million Americans live with Type 2 diabetes, a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels.

Study examines cost-effectiveness of newer cholesterol guidelines
A microsimulation model-based analyses suggests that the health benefits associated with the 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk threshold of 7.5 percent or higher used in the 2013 ACC-AHA cholesterol guidelines are worth the additional costs required to achieve these health gains, and that a more lenient threshold might also be cost-effective, according to a study in the July 14 issue of JAMA.

Nanospheres shield chemo drugs, safely release high doses in response to tumor secretions
Scientists coated nanospheres of the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel with a peptide shell that shields the drug as it travels through the circulatory system.

Benzodiazepines not recommended for patients with PTSD or recent trauma
Benzodiazepine drugs are widely used in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder, but available evidence suggests that they are not effective -- and may even be harmful, concludes a systematic review and meta-analysis in the July Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

City College establishes medical school with St. Barnabas Hospital
In a major development in the institution's 168-year history, the City College of New York announces the establishment of the CUNY School of Medicine at City College in partnership with Bronx-based St.

Substance abuse reduces brain volume in women but not men
Stimulant drug abuse has long-term effects on brain volume in women, according to a new study.

Foundations of Nonlinear Optics
Foundations of Nonlinear Optics will focus on fundamental issues of light-matter interactions from the quantum point of view, the transition between quantum and classical perspectives, and the applications of such insights in designing molecules and other artificial structures.

Paul G. Allen Family Foundation partners with the Alzheimer's Association to award grants
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Alzheimer's Association announced today the award of three grants at the frontier of investigating the role of the immune system in Alzheimer's disease.

Anti-stress hormone may provide indication of breast cancer risk
A new study from Lund University in Sweden shows that women with low levels of an anti-stress hormone have an increased risk of getting breast cancer.

Substance abuse is associated with lower brain volume in women but not in men
A new study by a team of researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus found that long-term stimulant abuse had more significant effects on brain volume in women compared with men.

Damage to key brain region important in predicting cognitive function after pediatric TBI
Disruptions in a key brain region can explain the varied outcomes after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children and adolescents, according to research published July 15 in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Few states require HPV vaccine
An examination of state vaccination requirements for adolescents finds that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is currently required in only two states, many fewer than another vaccine associated with sexual transmission (hepatitis B) and another primarily recommended for adolescents (meningococcal conjugate), according to a study in the July 14 issue of JAMA.

Clemson scientist shares $2.4 million from NSF to advance cotton genomic research
A five-member team that includes Clemson University scientist Chris Saski -- the director of Clemson's Genomics and Computational Biology Laboratory -- will share a $2.4 million grant recently awarded by the National Science Foundation to continue genomics research on Upland cotton.

Older age at onset of type 1 diabetes associated with lower brain connectivity later
People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in later childhood have weaker brain connectivity in midlife.

More women, children now on lifesaving HIV treatment worldwide
Global scale-up of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services has yielded remarkable results.

Spray application of respiratory cells holds promise for tissue engineering
A new study showing the ability to apply a thin coating of viable respiratory epithelial cells to tissue engineered constructs using a commercially available spray device is especially promising for therapeutic approaches in development to repair or replace challenging structures such as trachea or bronchi.

Vaginal douches may expose women to harmful phthalate chemicals
Women who use feminine care products called douches may increase their exposure to harmful chemicals called phthalates -- and black women may be at particularly high risk due to frequent use, according to a study published today in the journal Environmental Health.

New approach to spinal cord and brain injury research
Many an injury will heal, but the damaged spinal cord is notoriously recalcitrant.

Constant change
The fundamental constants that govern the laws of nature are being determined with increasing accuracy.

Consumers should seek a variety of fiber sources to get the maximum health benefits
Consumers who get fiber from many sources -- both naturally occurring and added in manufacturing -- may benefit more than people who limit their intake to a single type, according to a July 12 symposium at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago.

The sleep-deprived brain can mistake friends for foes
A new UC Berkeley study shows that sleep deprivation dulls our ability to accurately read facial expressions.

Dietary intervention primes triple-negative breast cancer for targeted therapy
A diet that starves triple-negative breast cancer cells of an essential nutrient primes the cancer cells to be more easily killed by a targeted antibody treatment, UW Carbone Cancer Center scientists report in a recent publication.

Treating more adults with statins would be cost-effective way to boost heart health
A new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers has found that it would be cost-effective to treat 48-67 percent of all adults aged 40-75 in the US with cholesterol-lowering statins.

Obesity-related behaviors increase when school's out
Regardless of family income, children on summer break consume more sugar, watch more television, and eat fewer vegetables than the rest of the year, according to researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Gut microbes enable coffee pest to withstand extremely toxic concentrations of caffeine
Berkeley Lab scientists discovered that coffee berry borers worldwide share 14 bacterial species in their digestive tracts that degrade and detoxify caffeine.

World-first epilepsy self-monitor app launched
A new self-monitoring app launched to support adults with epilepsy will help to 'fill the information gap' left by NHS funding cuts for GP epilepsy monitoring, according to specialist epilepsy charity SUDEP Action.

NTU's Earth Observatory of Singapore receives $2 million scholarship
The Earth Observatory of Singapore at Nanyang Technological University has received S$2 million to set up a postgraduate scholarship fund, to boost research in earth sciences.

MRI studies point to brain connectivity changes in autism spectrum disorders
Studies using magnetic resonance imaging techniques are beginning to reveal differences in brain connectivity -- the ways that different parts of the brain are connected to each other and work together -- in people with autism spectrum disorders, reports a review in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Researchers discover way to assess future literacy challenges
A quick biological test may be able to identify children who have literacy challenges or learning disabilities long before they learn to read, according to new research from Northwestern University.

$1.9 million NIH grant to enhance EPC-based cell therapy for vascular diseases
Wayne State University received a $1.9 million NIH grant (1R01HL128647) titled 'Chemokine Signaling in EPC Angiogenesis: A Role of Lysine Methylation,' aims to provide valuable information and potential therapeutic targets for enhancing endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs)-based cell therapy for certain vascular diseases, as well as advance the field of chemokine receptor biology.

Melon genome study reveals recent impacts of breeding
The first comprehensive genome analyses of seven melon varieties was completed by a research team led by Josep Casacuberta, Jordi Garcia-Mas and Sebastian Ramos-Onsins, providing breeders new knowledge important for understanding phenotypic variability and helping increasing plant quality yields by selective breeding.

Women should be allowed to get treatment for cystitis without a prescription
Women should be able to treat cystitis themselves with antibiotics without a prescription, says a general practitioner in The BMJ this week.

Researchers create model of early human heart development from stem cells
Researchers at UC Berkeley and the Gladstone Institutes have developed a template for growing beating cardiac tissue from stem cells, creating a system that could serve as a model for early heart development and as a drug-screening tool to make pregnancies safer.

A boost for international collaboration with top researchers
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität of Erlangen-Nuremberg has signed an agreement with the São Paulo Research Foundation in São Paulo, Brazil.

Framework to establish standards for psychosocial interventions used to treat mental health and subs
A considerable gap exists in mental health and substance abuse treatments known as psychosocial interventions between what is known to be effective and those interventions that are commonly delivered, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Noninvasive device could end daily finger pricking for people with diabetes
A new laser sensor technology that monitors blood glucose levels without penetrating the skin is being developed by Glucosense Diagnostics, a spin-out company jointly formed and funded by the University of Leeds and NetScientific plc.

NASA's RapidScat measures Typhoon Halola's concentrated winds
Typhoon Halola's typhoon-force winds are tightly concentrated around its center.

Paul G. Allen Family Foundation awards $7 million to reveal biology of Alzheimer's disease
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced today the award of Allen Distinguished Investigator grants to five teams of researchers with projects that will open new and innovative avenues of research in Alzheimer's disease by uncovering its elusive biological roots.

Memory-loss man case 'like nothing we have ever seen before'
A University of Leicester clinical psychologist published study of astonishing case of man left with 90 minute memory and feeling that it is the same day every day.

Two NIH grants support IU psychologist's effort to improve community mental health care
With a pair of National Institutes of Health grants totaling nearly $3 million, Indiana University clinical psychologist Cara Lewis will tackle two major issues in the effort to bring evidence-based mental health treatment into community mental health centers.

Mass map shines light on dark matter
An international team of researchers has developed a new map of the distribution of dark matter in the universe using data from the Dark Energy Survey.

You need this hole in the head -- to be smart
University of Adelaide researchers have shown that intelligence in animal species can be estimated by the size of the holes in the skull through which the arteries pass.

Multiple, co-existing groups of gut bacteria keep Clostridium difficile infections at bay
Multiple species of bacteria working together in healthy guts are responsible for keeping out nasty bacterial invader, Clostridium difficile, a hospital-acquired culprit responsible for 15,000 deaths each year.

Closing the quality chasm in mental health and substance use care
A plan to ensure that evidence-based psychosocial interventions are routinely used in clinical practice and made a part of clinical training for mental health professionals was released today by the National Academy of Medicine.

Scientists' discovery of zebra stripes in space resolves a half-century mystery
Scientists' discovery of zebra stripes in space resolves a half-century mystery.

Ecologists predict impact of climate change on vulnerable species
As climate changes, many species are spreading beyond their historical ranges.

Battery second use offsets electric vehicle expenses, improves grid stability
Plug-in electric vehicles have the potential to dramatically drive down consumption of carbon-based fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the relatively high price of these vehicles -- due in large part to the cost of batteries -- has presented a major impediment to widespread market penetration.

Stem cell transplant alleviates symptoms in lupus animal models
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that produces autoantibodies and subsequent immune reactions that can be life threatening when major organs are invaded.

Drug provides improvement for diabetic kidney disease patients with high potassium levels
Among patients with diabetic kidney disease and hyperkalemia (elevated potassium levels in the blood), a potentially life-threatening condition, those who received the new drug patiromer, twice daily for four weeks, had significant decreases in potassium levels which lasted through one year, according to a study in the July 14 issue of JAMA.

Nutrition policy expert Y. Claire Wang named Health Policy Fellow at RWJ Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation selected Y. Claire Wang, M.D., Sc.D., of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, as a Health Policy Fellow for 2015-2016.

NASA's RapidScat identifies Typhoon Nangka's strongest side
Typhoon Nangka's strongest typhoon-force winds were located on the northern half of the storm, as identified from the RapidScat instrument that flies aboard the International Space Station.

Key measure of hospital quality does not give accurate indication of avoidable deaths
Standardized mortality ratios for hospitals do not provide an accurate picture of how many deaths could have been avoided, according to a new study by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Imperial College London published in The BMJ.

Physician peer influence affects repeat prescriptions: INFORMS Marketing Science
A new study published in Marketing Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, finds that peer influence among physicians can affect both trial and repeat prescription behavior of a risky new prescription drug.

Scientific curiosity and preparedness for emerging pathogen outbreaks
An essay published on July 14 in PLOS Pathogens' new 'Research Matters' series reflects on a career path that started with the study of a somewhat obscure mouse virus mice and ended up at the frontline of the SARS and MERS coronavirus epidemics.

UK's Digital Economy research boosted by £23 million investment in 6 new world-leading centers
As part of the Government's Summer Budget, the Chancellor, George Osborne, confirmed funding for six new multidisciplinary research centers -- worth a total of £45 million with partner contributions -- that will drive forward the UK's Digital Economy research, knowledge and skills.

Curiosity rover finds evidence of Mars' primitive continental crust
The ChemCam laser instrument on NASA's Curiosity rover has turned its beam onto some unusually light-colored rocks on Mars, and the results are surprisingly similar to Earth's granitic continental crust rocks.

Exercise may reverse age-related bone loss in middle-aged men
University of Missouri researchers have found that certain types of weight-lifting and jumping exercises, when completed for at least six months, improve bone density in active, healthy, middle-aged men with low bone mass.

Should doctors recommend homeopathy?
Should doctors recommend homeopathy? Two experts debate the issue in The BMJ this week.

Syracuse physicists confirm existence of rare pentaquarks discovery
Physicists in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences have confirmed the existence of two rare pentaquark states.

Antidepressant trials exclude most 'real world' patients with depression
More than 80 percent of people with depression in the general population aren't eligible for clinical trials of antidepressant drugs, according to a study in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

Smart cornfields of the future
Scientists attending a workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory slipped the leash of scientific caution and tried to imagine what they would do if they could redesign plants at will.

World first: Significant development in the understanding of macroscopic quantum behavior
For the first time, the wavelike behavior of a room-temperature polariton condensate has been demonstrated in the laboratory on a macroscopic length scale.

Intellectual pursuits may buffer the brain against addiction
Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new University of California, Berkeley, study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain's reward system and buffer it against drug dependence.

Why kids' recovery times vary widely after brain injury
Why do some youngsters bounce back quickly from a traumatic brain injury, while others suffer for years?

New molecular mechanism of neuropathic pain in mice
A research group from Hiroshima University demonstrated that the downregulation of spinal astrocyte connexin43 expression causes sustained neuropathic pain following peripheral nerve injury.

Family support more important than pre-school care in securing children's wellbeing
The government needs to focus as much on supporting deprived and disadvantaged families as it does on increasing the number of hours of free pre-school care if it is to secure the best outcomes for young children, according to new research from the University of Warwick.

This is your brain on fried eggs
High-fat feeding can cause impairments in the functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine system, says Stephanie Fulton of the University of Montreal and the CHUM Research Centre.

New classification system for brain tumors
Despite modern chemoradiation therapy it is still very difficult to give reliable prognoses for malignant gliomas.

Density-near-zero acoustical metamaterial made in China
When a sound wave hits an obstacle and is scattered, the signal may be lost or degraded.

Rusty Gage receives Allen Distinguished Investigator Award
A Salk Institute research team aims to discover the fundamental causes of disease to generate successful treatments.

Airway test reveals e-cigarette vapor produces similar result as air
E-cigarette vapor from two different types of e-cigarette had no cytotoxic impact on human airway tissue, according to new research published in Toxicology in Vitro.

Researchers find gene associated with thinking skills
Researchers have identified a gene that underlies healthy information processing -- a first step on a complicated road to understand cognitive aging and age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Golden Goose Award to Wiesel, Hubel; cat vision research led to brain, cataracts advances
Neurophysiologists Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel, whose early research involved showing cats a black dot on a screen, are responsible for major progress in our understanding of the brain, significant advances in childhood cataracts treatment, and informing current research in computer technology.

Investigational drug prevents life-threatening side effects of kidney disease treatment
The investigational drug patiromer quickly reduced elevated blood-potassium levels -- a common life-threatening side effect of treatment for chronic diabetic kidney disease.

NUS study shows potential of blue LEDs as novel chemical-free food preservation technology
A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore has found that blue light emitting diodes have strong antibacterial effect on major foodborne pathogens, and are most effective when in cold temperatures (between 4°C and 15°C) and mildly acidic conditions of around pH 4.5.

Combined use of antidepressants and painkillers linked to bleeding risk
Taking a combination of antidepressants and common painkillers is associated with an increased risk of bleeding soon after starting treatment, finds a study published in The BMJ this week.

More precise estimate of Avogadro's number to help redefine kilogram
An ongoing international effort to redefine the kilogram by 2018 has been helped by recent efforts from a team researchers from Italy, Japan and Germany to correlate two of the most precise measurements of Avogadro's number and obtain one averaged value that can be used for future calculations.

Continued destruction of Earth's plant life places humans in jeopardy, says UGA research
Unless humans slow the destruction of Earth's declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable, according to a paper published recently by University of Georgia researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NCI study to test whether mindfulness-based stress reduction alleviates 'chemo brain'
The National Cancer Institute has awarded more than $2.8 million to University of South Florida College of Nursing to study memory and concentration among breast cancer survivors using a meditation-based stress reduction intervention.

Key protein controls nutrient availability in mammals
Case Western Reserve researchers have found a new benefit of Kruppel-like Factor 15 (KLF15) -- keeping the body in metabolic balance.

Satellites see Hurricane Dolores more organized
Hurricane Dolores appears more organized in satellite data today, July 14, and the cloud tops are colder, indicating that the storm is strengthening.

Researchers discover way to assess future literacy challenges
A quick biological test may be able to identify children who have literacy challenges or learning disabilities long before they learn to read, according to new research from Northwestern University.

Environment, not distance, triggers genetic differences in 'sky island' birds
Joseph Manthey's paper in Molecular Ecology has been hailed as a 'blueprint' for future isolation-by-environment studies.

Innovative project brings peace to those near death: McMaster study
Asking for and honoring last wishes helps to create meaning, memories and closure at death, and personalizes the dying process for patients and their families, says a new study led by a McMaster University professor.

Mathematics professor teaching in an elementary school -- a whole new learning experience
The book, 'Arithmetic for Parents: A Book for Grown-Ups About Children's Mathematics' offers parents who wish to help their children a second chance, a new view of elementary mathematics.

UTHealth research: Teen birth, mental health lead child hospitalizations in Texas
From 2004 to 2010 in Texas, mental illness was the most common reason for the hospitalization of children ages 10-14 while pregnancy/birth was the most common reason for the hospitalization of adolescents ages 15-17, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School.

Revealed: Positronium's behavior in particle billiards
Scientists at UCL have finally answered one of the basic questions that has remained outstanding until now: if, in a collision with matter, a positron -- the antimatter counterpart of electrons -- captures an electron, in which directions are the two likely to travel, and with what probability?

A satellite view of Tropical Storm Enrique
NOAA's GOES-West satellite provided an infrared view of Tropical Storm Enrique on July 14 as it continues to track west through the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Rice U research sheds light on Amazon vs. Wal-Mart competition
After Amazon announced plans last week for a day of online retail discounts July 15 comparable to Black Friday, Wal-Mart is launching a rival sale online the same day.

Visualizing RNA activity within brain tissues for efficient discovery of drugs
A group led by Assistant Professor Dan Ohtan Wang from Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences in Japan successfully visualized RNA behavior and its response to drugs within the living tissue brain of live mice by labeling specific RNA molecules with fluorescent probes.

How to turn tomato juice into a rainbow (video)
How can you turn tomato juice into a rainbow of color?

Kids expecting aggression from others become aggressive themselves
Hypervigilance to hostility in others triggers aggressive behavior in children, says a new Duke University-led study.

Law governing anomalous heat conduction revealed
How heat travels, matters. Yet, there is still no consensus on the exact physical mechanism that causes anomalous heat conduction -- despite the existence of previous numerical simulation, theoretical predictions and experimental observations.

How the lung repairs its wounds
Our lungs are permanently exposed to harmful environmental factors that can damage or even destroy their cells.

Advanced composites may borrow designs from deep-sea shrimp
New research is revealing details about how the exoskeleton of a certain type of deep-sea shrimp allows the animal to survive scalding hot waters in hydrothermal vents thousands of feet under water.

Nonmagnetic elements form unique magnet
How can two metals that are not magnetic combine to make a magnet?

Accuracy of newer cholesterol guidelines in identifying increased risk of CVD events
An examination of the 2013 guidelines for determining statin eligibility, compared to guidelines from 2004, indicates that they are associated with greater accuracy and efficiency in identifying increased risk of cardiovascular disease events and presence of subclinical coronary artery disease, particularly in individuals at intermediate risk, according to a study in the July 14 issue of JAMA.

High-pressure oxygen can effectively treat fibromyalgia
A new study by Tel Aviv University researchers found that women with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome, were able to drastically reduce, or even eliminate, their use of pain medication following hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

Could dissolvable microneedles replace injected vaccines?
Flu vaccines delivered using microneedles that dissolve in the skin can protect people against infection even better than the standard needle-delivered vaccine, according to new research published in Biomaterials.

Am I fat? Many of today's adolescents don't think so
Admitting that you have a weight problem may be the first step in taking action, but a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that an increasing number of overweight adolescents do not consider themselves as such. 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