Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 20, 2015
Gut worms protect babies' brains from inflammation
A Duke University study in rats finds that gut worms can protect babies' brains from inflammation and long-term learning and memory problems caused by newborn infections.

How neurons remember
Scientists at Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin have identified a mechanism at the level of the individual neurons that may play a role in the formation of memory.

Uncovering the secrets of immune system invaders
Some bacteria and viruses take advantage of the way our immune system works to infect us.

For kids with injured ankles, less treatment may be more
Emergency physicians can safely reduce X-rays in children with hurt ankles by as much as 23 percent and save emergency patients both money and time.

HPTN 067 demonstrates high-risk populations adhere well to daily PrEP regimen
Results from HPTN 067, a Phase II, randomized, open-label study, demonstrate most study participants had higher coverage of sex events and better adherence when they were assigned to the daily dosing arm, investigators from the HIV Prevention Trials Network reported today at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada.

Satellite data shows Tropical Cyclone Halola getting stronger
NASA data pinpointed the area of strongest sustained winds on July 19 and the extent of those winds expanded on July 20 as Halola became a tropical storm again.

Warming slow-down not the end of climate change, study shows
A slow-down in global warming is not a sign that climate change is ending, but a natural blip in an otherwise long-term upwards trend, research shows.

Antibiotic exposure could increase the risk of juvenile arthritis
Taking antibiotics may increase the risk that a child will develop juvenile arthritis, according to a study from Rutgers University, University of Pennsylvania and Nemours A.I. duPont Hospital for Children published today in Pediatrics.

Alcohol consumption linked to lower disability in patients with chronic pain
In a study of 2,239 individuals with chronic widespread pain, the key feature of fibromyalgia, those who regularly consumed alcohol had lower levels of disability than those who never or rarely drank.

TGen and NAU developing accurate test to diagnose debilitating Lyme disease
Focus On Lyme, an initiative sponsored by the Leadership Children's Foundation of Gilbert, Ariz., has donated $75,000 to the Translational Genomics Research Institute to support research into the development of a quick, affordable and accurate method of diagnosing Lyme disease.

Ocean acidification may cause dramatic changes to phytoplankton
A team of researchers from MIT, the University of Alabama, and elsewhere has found that such increased ocean acidification will dramatically affect global populations of phytoplankton -- microorganisms on the ocean surface that make up the base of the marine food chain.

Researchers awarded by MetLife Foundation at Alzheimer's Association International Conference®
At the Alzheimer's Association International Conference® 2015 in Washington D.C., MetLife Foundation presented its annual MetLife Foundation Awards for Medical Research.

Novel monoclonal antibodies show promise for Alzheimer's disease treatment
Scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center's Center for Cognitive Neurology have evidence that monoclonal antibodies they developed may provide the blueprint for effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease.

Study finds autism, ADHD run high in children of chemically intolerant mothers
Mothers with chemical intolerances are two to three times more likely than other women to have a child with a autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Yale leads NIH-funded autism biomarkers study of pre-school and school-aged children
Yale School of Medicine researchers will lead a national multi-center study of preschool and school-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to identify non-invasive biological markers (biomarkers) that could help physicians diagnose, track, and assess treatments in autism patients.

Is Facebook use always associated with poorer body image and risky dieting?
College women who are more emotionally invested in Facebook and have lots of Facebook friends are less concerned with body size and shape and less likely to engage in risky dieting behaviors.

Genomic fingerprint may predict aggressive prostate cancer in African-Americans
A set of genes could help stratify African-American men in need of more aggressive treatment for prostate cancer.

Health-care providers a major contributor to problem of antibiotic overuse
Differences in the routines of individual providers drives variation in antibiotic prescribing, more than differences in patient characteristics, standards of practice at different hospitals, or clinical settings (emergency department, primary care, urgent care).

Spintronics just got faster
In a tremendous boost for spintronic technologies, EPFL scientists have shown that electrons can jump through spins much faster than previously thought.

New techniques improve specificity of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tools
To overcome the off-target mutations that commonly occur with CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing methods, researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed two strategies that greatly improve the specificity of RNA-guided nucleases for the DNA region targeted to be cut and repaired.

Stanford team links gene expression, immune system with cancer survival rates
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have compiled a database that integrates gene expression patterns of 39 types of cancer from nearly 18,000 patients with data about how long those patients lived.

Georgia State study finds state regulations linked to late cancer diagnoses
States' regulations of health insurance and practitioners significantly influence when patients receive colorectal or breast cancer diagnoses, especially among people younger than the Medicare-eligible age of 65, according to a new study by researchers at Georgia State University's School of Public Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

How music alters the teenage brain
Music training, begun as late as high school, may help improve the teenage brain's responses to sound and sharpen hearing and language skills, suggests a new Northwestern University study.

New Pap smear schedule led to fewer chlamydia tests, new U-M study suggests
It's a tale of two tests: one for early signs of cervical cancer, the other for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia.

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk
Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread to humans.

Russian Internet investor teams with UC Berkeley in $100 million search for ET
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or SETI, got a major boost with the commitment by internet investor Yuri Milner of $100 million over 10 years to Breakthrough Listen, the most comprehensive scientific SETI project yet.

Alefacept preserves beta cell function in some new-onset type 1 diabetes patients
Individuals with new-onset type 1 diabetes who took two courses of alefacept (Amevive, Astellas Pharma Inc.) soon after diagnosis show preserved beta cell function after two years compared to those who received a placebo.

Technique may reveal the age of moon rocks during spaceflight
Researchers are developing instruments and methods for measuring the ages of rocks encountered during space missions to the moon or other planets.

Archaeologists use new methods to explore move from hunting, gathering to farming
Recent research by a team of archaeologists sheds new light on the variables that might have affected the human shift from hunting and gathering to food production.

Cool summer of 2013 boosted Arctic sea ice
The volume of Arctic sea ice increased by a third after the summer of 2013 as the unusually cool air temperatures prevented the ice from melting, according to UCL and University of Leeds scientists.

New study suggests evidence for serotonergic dissociation between anxiety and fear
Researchers from the Institute and Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo, Brazil; the Imperial College of London, UK; the University of Western Australia, and the University of Toronto, Canada, have just published a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggesting that what had been clustered as anxiety disorders is not homogenous in terms of functioning of the serotonergic system.

Georgetown scientist awarded Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Innovation Grant
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to finding better treatments and ultimately cures for all children with cancer, has awarded a 2015 Innovation Grant to Todd Waldman, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

HPTN 052 demonstrates sustained benefit of early antiretroviral therapy
Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection provides lasting protection against the sexual transmission of the virus from infected men and women to their HIV-uninfected sexual partners, investigators from the HIV Prevention Trials Network reported today at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada.

Adolescent friendship study confirms 'birds of a feather flock together -- stay together'
No one likes to lose a friend, especially adolescents. Adolescent friendships are fleeting.

Mouse model tests health risks of circadian disturbances
People who work outside of the normal 9-5 schedule or experience frequent jet lag have been found to be at an increased risk for everything from weight gain to cancer, but there are too many variables involved to conduct multi-decade, controlled studies in humans to confirm whether sleep pattern disruption is a correlation or the cause.

Drugs in wastewater contaminate drinking water
Both prescription and illegal drugs that are abused have been found in Canadian surface waters.

Differences in brain structure development may explain test score gap for poor children
Low-income children had atypical structural brain development and lower standardized test scores, with as much as an estimated 20 percent in the achievement gap explained by development lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Stanford researchers find prawn solution to spread of deadly disease
New Stanford research shows that the river prawn, a natural predator of parasite-carrying snails, proves effective at curbing the spread of schistosomiasis in West Africa.

Science and technology help Navy prepare for future Arctic operations
Last week, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mat Winter was the Navy keynote speaker at the Sixth Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Maritime and Naval Operations.

New tool for investigating RNA gone awry
RNA is a fundamental ingredient in all known forms of life -- so when RNA goes awry, a lot can go wrong.

Most chronic pain patients use alternative therapies, but many don't tell their doctors
More than half of chronic pain patients in a managed care setting reported using chiropractic care or acupuncture or both, but many of these patients didn't discuss this care with their primary care providers.

Blacks are at greater risk for sudden cardiac arrest
Blacks are more likely to experience sudden cardiac arrest, and at a much younger age, than whites.

July/August 2015 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
This tip sheet includes synopses of original research and commentary published in the July/August 2015 issue of Annals of Family Medicine research journal.

Teens' overall substance use declining, but marijuana use rising
Marijuana use in teenagers is on the rise, while cigarette and alcohol use are stable or declining, according to health statistics researchers.

The planetary sweet spot
Planet Earth is situated in what astronomers call the Goldilocks Zone -- a sweet spot in a solar system where a planet's surface temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.

Rare form: Novel structures built from DNA emerge
Hao Yan, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, has worked for many years to refine the technique of DNA origami.

Hereditary swellings caused by defective blood protein
Hereditary angioedema type III is a rare, hereditary, and serious disorder, characterized by painful swellings in the skin and other organs.

Keystone species: Which are the most important functional genes in an ecosystem?
Microbial ecosystems such as biological wastewater treatment plants and the human gastrointestinal tract are home to a vast diversity of bacterial species.

Major new textbook on cerebrovascular disease
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, José Biller, M.D., an internationally known expert on stroke, is co-editor of a major new textbook, 'Common Pitfalls in Cerebrovascular Disease.'

Infants use expectations to shape their brains
Infants can use their expectations about the world to rapidly shape their developing brains, researchers have found.

Lifetime Achievement Awards presented at Alzheimer's Association International Conference
The Alzheimer's Association recognizes four leading scientists for their contributions to advancing Alzheimer's disease and dementia research.

Keep fears at bay by learning something new
Exposure therapy is a commonly used and effective treatment for anxiety disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.

Self-proclaimed experts more vulnerable to the illusion of knowledge
New research reveals that the more people think they know about a topic in general, the more likely they are to allege knowledge of completely made-up information and false facts, a phenomenon known as 'overclaiming.' The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Study shows promise of precision medicine for most common type of lymphoma
A clinical trial has shown that patients with a specific molecular subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma are more likely to respond to the drug ibrutinib (Imbruvica) than patients with another molecular subtype of the disease.

A new mechanism to explain how a financial crisis happens
Dr. Kobayashi Teruyoshi, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University and Dr.

African-Americans face twice the rate of sudden cardiac arrest, compared to Caucasians
Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans face twice the rate of sudden cardiac arrest, according to a new study from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

MCW Medical Scientist Training Program receives federal funding
The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a five-year, $1.5 million training grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medicine Sciences to fund MCW's Medical Scientist Training Program.

Stopping malaria in its tracks
A new drug acts as a roadblock for malaria, curing mice of established infection, according to researchers.

$3.78 million Department of Defense grant supports SMU STEM program for minority students
The US Department of Defense recently awarded the STEMPREP Project at Southern Methodist University a $3.78 million grant to support its goal of increasing the number of minorities in STEM fields.

MSU's BEACON Center nets $22.5 million grant to continue evolution research
Michigan State University has been awarded $22.5 million by the National Science Foundation to continue the research, education and outreach activities of the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.

Child's home address predicts hospitalization risk for common respiratory diseases
Children who require hospitalization for several common respiratory illnesses tend to live in inner-city neighborhoods with less than optimal socioeconomic conditions, according to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center researchers.

Why offspring cope better with climate change -- it's all in the genes!
In a world first study, researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University have unlocked the genetic mystery of why some fish are able to adjust to warming oceans.

Research investigates whether solar events could trigger birth defects on Earth
A new NASA-funded investigation has found radiation from solar events is too weak to cause worry at ground level.

CRISPR-based genome editing technologies poised to revolutionize medicine and industry
CRISPR/Cas systems for genome editing have revolutionized biological research over the past three years, and their ability to make targeted changes in DNA sequences in living cells with relative ease and affordability is now being applied to clinical medicine and will have a significant impact on advances in drug and other therapies, agriculture, and food products.

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans
The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease across diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world.

NIH joins public-private partnership to fund research on autism biomarkers
Government, nonprofit, and other private partners will fund a multi-year project to develop and improve clinical research tools for studying autism spectrum disorder.

Fossil fuel emissions will complicate radiocarbon dating, warns scientist
Fossil fuel emissions could soon make it impossible for radiocarbon dating to distinguish new materials from artifacts that are hundreds of years old.

Study: Property of non-stick pans improves solar cell efficiency
Study published July 20 in Nature Communications shows that a 'non-wetting' surface, like those to create non-stick cookware, improves solar cell efficiency.

Study: The Angelina Jolie Effect on breast cancer screening
Angelina Jolie received widespread media attention in 2013 when she told the public that she'd tested positive for BRCA1, a gene associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and subsequently had a double mastectomy.

NASA satellite camera provides 'EPIC' view of Earth
A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.

Michelangelo likely used mathematics when painting 'The Creation of Adam'
New research provides mathematical evidence that Michelangelo used the Golden Ratio of 1.6 when painting 'The Creation of Adam' on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

The chemistry of wine (video)
If you're stumped in the wine aisle of the store, then you're not alone.

Life-saving breast cancer drugs going untaken in Appalachia
Nearly one-third of breast cancer survivors in Appalachia are not taking the critical, potentially life-saving follow-up treatment -- despite having insurance that would pay for it, a troubling new study has found.

Yale researchers beat untreatable eczema with arthritis drug
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have successfully treated patients with moderate to severe eczema using a rheumatoid arthritis drug recently shown to reverse two other disfiguring skin conditions, vitiligo and alopecia areata.

Novel glycoengineering technology gives qualitative leap for biologics drug research
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have discovered a way of improving biotech drugs.

Metlife Foundation, GHR Foundation honored at Alzheimer's Association International Conference®
The Alzheimer's Association recognizes two foundations today for their philanthropic efforts to support Alzheimer's disease research.

As the oceans warm, wide-ranging species will have an edge
Marine species that already have large ranges are extending their territories fastest in response to climate change, according to new research from University of British Columbia biodiversity experts.

Study sheds light on the ability of different marine species to respond to climate warming
In Eastern Australia, the ocean has been warming at a rate that's four times that of the global average.

Stanford scientists see iron-containing inflammatory cells in Alzheimer's brains
Examining post-mortem tissue from the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators identified what appear to be iron-containing microglia in a particular part of the hippocampus, a key brain structure whose integrity is critical to memory formation.

NIST calculates high cost of hydrogen pipelines, shows how to reduce it
NIST has put firm numbers on the high costs of installing pipelines to transport hydrogen fuel and also found a way to reduce those costs.

Finding the origins of life in a drying puddle
Anyone who's ever noticed a water puddle drying in the sun has seen an environment that may have driven the type of chemical reactions that scientists believe were critical to the formation of life on the early Earth.

Francis Clarke is recipient of 2015 W. T. and Idalia Reid Prize
Francis Clarke of Université Claude Bernard is the recipient of the 2015 W.

T-cell receptor therapy achieves encouraging clinical responses in multiple myeloma
Results from a clinical trial investigating a new T cell receptor therapy that uses a person's own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells demonstrated a clinical response in 80 percent of multiple myeloma patients with advanced disease after undergoing autologous stem cell transplants.

HIV control through treatment durably prevents heterosexual transmission of virus
Antiretroviral treatment that consistently suppresses HIV is highly effective at preventing sexual transmission of the virus in heterosexual couples where one person is HIV-infected and the other is not, investigators report today at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment & Prevention in Vancouver, Canada.

What is a good looking penis?
In a new study, women considered the position and shape of the urethral opening to be the least important aspects of a penis' appearance.

Inflammatory link discovered between arthritis and heart valve disease
Australian researchers have used models to identify a potential link between excess production of inflammatory proteins that cause rheumatoid arthritis and the development of heart valve disease.

UTMB study finds that testosterone therapy is not linked with blood clot disorders in veins
A new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston of more than 30,000 commercially insured men is the first large comparative analysis to show that there is no link between testosterone therapy and blood clots in veins.

Scientists reveal 'woodquakes'
The structural properties of brittle materials like rock or ceramic, such as cracking under stress, have long been studied in detail, providing insight into avalanches, earthquakes and landslides.

Researchers demonstrated the first realization of invisible absorbers and sensors
Devices consuming the energy of electromagnetic radiation, such as absorbers and sensors, play an essential role in the using and controlling of light.

Mayo Clinic study uncovers key differences among ALS patients
Researchers on Mayo Clinic's Florida campus have identified key differences between patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) and those with the most common genetic form of ALS, a mutation in the C9orf72 gene.

Patients' own genetically altered immune cells show promise in fighting blood cancer
In recent years, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising treatment for certain cancers.

Tesoro Foundation awards $200,000 grant to support San Antonio engineering program
San Antonio-based Tesoro Foundation has made a two-year, $200,000 grant to the San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP), according to a joint announcement by Tesoro Corporation and The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Sticky tape and phosphorus the key to ultrathin solar cells: ANU media release
Scientists studying thin layers of phosphorus have found surprising properties that could open the door to ultrathin and ultralight solar cells and LEDs.

Better off apart: Wasp genera Microplitis and Snellenius revised and proved separate
An international team conducted a research into the two parasitoid wasp genera Microplitis and Snellenius, concluding that although sometimes indistinguishable in practice, the two taxa are actually separate ones.

Researchers examine energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in almond production
Two new articles published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology examine the environmental impacts of California's almond production, focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and energy.

Global study of seed consumption uncovers wider risk to plant species
The first worldwide study of animals and the seeds they eat has overturned a long-held assumption -- that large animals mainly eat large seeds.

Microsoft's Jennifer Tour Chayes to deliver The John von Neumann Lecture
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics is pleased to announce that the 2015 John von Neumann Lecture is awarded to Microsoft's Jennifer Tour Chayes for her leadership in the research community, as well as her seminal contributions to the study of phase transitions in both mathematical physics and the theory of computing.

Computer interface helps disabled patients set tone of musical performance
Pioneering technology created at Plymouth University has been used to unite a string quartet and four people living with severe disability for a world first in musical performance.

Nonprofit calls for less talk, more action to make the scientific enterprise sustainable
In an article published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology describe eight steps that should improve the sustainability of the scientific enterprise.

Mom's weight during first pregnancy may impact second child
Saint Louis University researchers showed a relationship between mom's weight during her first uncomplicated pregnancy and problems with subsequent babies.

Stem cell therapy shows promise in small clinical trial for rare lung disease
Canadian researchers have published promising results of the first clinical trial in the world of a genetically-enhanced stem cell therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Eruption of Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland spread SO2 pollutants over Europe
The six month long eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano from August 2014 to February 2015, released more SO2 that was released in Europe in the whole of 2011, and enough lava to cover Manhattan Island.

3-D printing process could help treat incurable diseases
A team of Binghamton University researchers are creating a 3-D printing process to build implantable tissues and organs to treat otherwise incurable diseases.

Common chemicals may act together to increase cancer risk, study finds
Common environmental chemicals assumed to be safe at low doses may act separately or together to disrupt human tissues in ways that eventually lead to cancer, a task force reports.

The New York Times can predict your future weight
What you're reading now secretly tells you whether your country will be skinnier or fatter in three years.

3-D-printed 'smart cap' uses electronics to sense spoiled food
UC Berkeley engineers are expanding the portfolio of 3-D printing technology to include microelectronics and integrated wireless sensors.

Cognitive decline may be uncommon after heart procedures
Articles being featured in the next issue of Annals of Internal Medicine include 'Evidence questions link between heart procedures and cognitive decline' and 'Antibiotics overprescribed in the VA health system.'

How effective is total knee replacement in patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
Studies that have assessed the effects of total knee replacement on quality of life are scarce and have been almost exclusively limited to patients with osteoarthritis, even though rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory arthritis for which the surgery is indicated.

New insights into biofilm formation could lead to better therapies, but mysteries remain
Biofilms are tough, opportunistic, highly antibiotic resistant bacterial coatings that form on catheters and on medical devices implanted within the body.

Discovered a cause of mental retardation and autism
The term intellectual disability covers a large number of clinical entities, some with known cause and others of uncertain origin.

Dartmouth study sheds new light on mind-brain relationship
A new Dartmouth study sheds light on how the mind and brain work together to visualize the world.

Novel treatments emerging for human mitochondrial diseases
Using existing drugs, such as lithium, to restore basic biological processes in human cells and animal models, researchers may have broken a long-standing logjam in devising effective treatments for human mitochondrial diseases.

Research suggests football helmet tests may not account for concussion-prone actions
Mounting evidence suggests that concussions in football are caused by the sudden rotation of the skull.

Marine travellers best able to adapt to warming waters
Marine species that already roam far and wide throughout our oceans are extending their territories further and faster in response to climate change, according to new research involving the University of Southampton and an international team of biodiversity experts.

Perovskite solar technology shows quick energy returns
In the solar power research community, a new class of materials called perovskites is causing quite a buzz, as scientists search for technology that has a better 'energy payback time' than the silicon-based solar panels currently dominating the market.

MD Anderson study finds one-third of colorectal cancers diagnosed before 35 are hereditary
Hereditary colorectal cancers, caused by inherited gene mutations, are relatively rare for most patients.

'Pill on a string' could help spot early signs of cancer of the gullet
A 'pill on a string' developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge could help doctors detect esophageal cancer -- cancer of the gullet -- at an early stage, helping them overcome the problem of wide variation between biopsies, suggests research published today in the journal Nature Genetics. 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