Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 22, 2015
Researchers identify plant cultivation in a 23,000-year-old site in the Galilee
The Middle East is called the 'Cradle of Civilization' because it is where our hunter-gatherer ancestors first established sedentary farming communities.

Hospitals often overestimate their ability to deliver fast stroke care
When asked about administering the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator to stroke patients, hospital staff perceptions did not always line up with actual performance.

Smarter window materials can control light and energy
Chemical engineering professor Delia Milliron and her team have engineered two new advancements in electrochromic materials -- a highly selective cool mode and a warm mode -- not thought possible several years ago.

Hair ice mystery solved
Hair ice -- a type of ice shaped like fine, silky hairs that resembles white candy floss -- grows on the rotten branches of certain trees when the weather conditions are just right, usually during humid winter nights when the air temperature drops slightly below 0°C.

Static synapses on a moving structure: Mind the gap!
A new study published in PNAS by researchers from the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology characterizes a novel way in which neurons remain electrically stable when confronted with chronic increases in neuronal activity.

New checklist helps identify children, teens with bereavement disorder
An assessment tool developed jointly by psychiatrists at UCLA and the University of Texas, Houston will be the first to help identify maladaptive grief in youth between 8 and 18.

Researchers find key player in diabetic kidney disease through power of metabolomics
Tapping the potential of metabolomics, an emerging field focused on the chemical processes of metabolism, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a new and pivotal player in diabetic kidney disease.

New analysis points the way to earlier diagnosis of chest tumors
Scientists found two previously overlooked clues in the health records of 131 children and teens with chest masses.

New research from Lawson uncovers important molecule in ovarian cancer
Scientists at Lawson Health Research Institute have uncovered an important new target for ovarian cancer therapy.

ALMA witnesses assembly of galaxies in the early universe for the first time
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has been used to detect the most distant clouds of star-forming gas yet found in normal galaxies in the early universe.

Research with dolphins provides hope for prevention of diabetes in humans
Can butter help prevent diabetes? By comparing 55 fatty acids in blood levels of dolphins and their diets, scientists at the National Marine Mammal Foundation have discovered a specific dietary saturated fat, called heptadecanoic acid, that may help alleviate what's known as 'pre-diabetes' in humans.

Study finds some Vietnam vets currently have PTSD 40 years after war ended
While it has been 40 years since the Vietnam War ended, about 271,000 veterans who served in the war zone are estimated to have current full posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) plus subthreshold war-zone PTSD and more than one-third have current major depressive disorder, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Antiviral compound protects nonhuman primates against Marburg virus
An experimental drug that protected monkeys from the deadly Marburg virus appears to have potential for treating people who have been exposed to the virus, according to a study published in the July 23 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Engineers to transform genomic medicine with deep learning startup
U of T Engineering researchers launch first company combining world-leading expertise in deep learning and genomic medicine, to transform genetic testing, pharmaceutical development and personalized medicine.

UNC doctors analyze treatment options for gallbladder disease
A new review article, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, explores the pros and cons of five different interventional approaches to treating gallbladder disease -- a condition that affects more than 25 million Americans.

Targeting the strain of bacteria that causes ulcers may help prevent stomach cancer
A new review published in the Cochrane Library, indicates that eradicating Helicobacter pylori bacterium -- the main cause of stomach ulcers -- with a short course of therapy comprising two commonly used medicines may help to reduce the risk of gastric cancer.

NYU Langone researchers to present new findings at 2015 Alzheimer's Association Conference
Researchers from the NYU Langone Medical Center, NYU School of Medicine will present new findings at the 2015 Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, D.C., July 18-23, 2015.

New battery technologies take on lithium-ion
Lithium-ion batteries remain the technology-of-choice for today's crop of electric cars, but challengers are revving up to try to upset the current order.

Coping by avoidance in making decisions for relatives in ICU may lead to PTSD
Family members who make major medical decisions for relatives in an intensive care unit may suffer posttraumatic stress disorder if they cope by avoiding the situation, according to a new study by scientists at Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Increasing prevalence of autism is due, in part, to changing diagnoses
The greater than three-fold increase in autism diagnoses among students in special education programs in the United States between 2000 and 2010 may be due, in large part, to the reclassification of individuals who previously would have been diagnosed with other intellectual-disability disorders.

Banned chemical pollutant lowers fertility in UK porpoises
A collaborative study led by international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London has found that harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) are struggling to successfully reproduce as a result of chemical pollutants found in European waters.

Climate change reduces coral reefs' ability to protect coasts
Climate change reduces coral reefs' ability to protect coasts.

Scientists see risks in biodiversity offsets misuse
Australian scientists have warned governments against using biodiversity offsetting to meet existing conservation commitments.

Boosting gas mileage by turning engine heat into electricity
Automakers are looking for ways to improve their fleets' average fuel efficiency, and scientists may have a new way to help them.

Crushing snakes kill by blood constriction, not suffocation
When a boa constrictor strikes and begins to squeeze a victim it looks as if it is killing the prey by suffocation, but in a new study by Scott Boback at Dickinson College, USA, it turns out that the snakes rapidly subdue their victims by shutting down the blood circulation and oxygen supply to the heart, brain and other vital organs, which probably causes the victim to black-out and die quickly.

Wayne State faculty chosen for national policy organization's innovation fellowship
The Washington, D.C.-based educational and policy studies organization The Aspen Institute has selected Wayne State University School of Medicine's Patrick Hines, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Physiology and an assistant professor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, one of only 20 health care leaders in the country for the inaugural class of its Health Innovators Fellowship.

Unlocking mints' secrets could advance medicine, spices, more
Michigan State University has netted a $5.1 million National Science Foundation grant to explore the diverse world of mints.

Don't make me wait: Doctor appointment availability went up after Michigan Medicaid expansion
Getting access to health insurance, and getting access to a doctor, are two very different things.

Kiwi genomes explain the unusual characteristics of an endangered bird
The kiwi bird's unique nocturnal behavior is linked to some altered genes that eliminate color vision and others that modify its sense of smell, according to the first kiwi genome published in the open-access journal Genome Biology.

Dark plumage helps birds survive on small islands
Animal populations on islands tend to develop weird traits over time, becoming big or small or losing the ability to fly.

Guidelines: Authors' conflicts of interest should lead to consequences
In a recent original article in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, Gisela Schott et al. determine that most guideline authors do declare their conflicts of interest.

What makes kids aggressive later in life?
A University at Buffalo developmental psychologist has received a $550,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study possible pathways that might lead young children toward different types of aggressive behavior later in life.

American Chemical Society expands reach to include rapidly emerging area of sensor science
The Publications Division of the American Chemical Society today announced the forthcoming 2016 publication of ACS Sensors, a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary research journal to be devoted to the dissemination of original research findings from across all areas of modern sensor science.

Soybean oil causes more obesity than coconut oil and fructose
A diet high in soybean oil causes more obesity and diabetes than a diet high in fructose, a sugar commonly found in soda and processed foods, according to a just published paper by scientists at the University of California, Riverside.

DIGIMET: Technology for treating steel plant dust
EAF steel dust is in terms of volume the greatest hazardous solid waste produced by the steel industry.

Gene knockout: Loss of a gene can be compensated by another gene
Effects of genome interventions depend on the methods used.

Using low-dose irradiation, researchers can now edit human genes
For the first time, researchers have employed a gene-editing technique involving low-dose irradiation to repair patient cells, according to a study published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Job services lacking for young people with autism
As autism becomes more prevalent, the need grows for services that help young people with the disorder to find and keep jobs, indicates new research led by Michigan State University education scholars.

New study from Florida Tech finds Pacific reef growth can match rising sea
The coral reefs that have protected Pacific Islanders from storm waves for thousands of years could grow rapidly enough to keep up with escalating sea levels if ocean temperatures do not rise too quickly, according to a new study from Florida Institute of Technology.

Time spent on social networking sites linked to mental health problems in teens
A new study indicates that adolescents who use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for more than two hours each day are more likely to report poor mental health, high psychological distress, suicidal thoughts, and an unmet need for mental health support.

SAGE launches open-access journal, Educational Neuroscience
SAGE today announces the launch of Educational Neuroscience, an open-access journal that explores developing brain-behavior relationships and their implications for the science of learning, academic skill acquisition, and education practice at multiple levels of the educational systems from early childhood to higher education.

A dictionary of the language of cells
A research group led by scientists from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies has published an overall map of how the cells in the human body communicate by systematically analyzing the relationship between ligands and receptors.

Mowing dry detention basins makes mosquito problems worse, team finds
A study of the West Nile virus risk associated with 'dry' water-detention basins in Central Illinois took an unexpected turn when land managers started mowing the basins.

Zebrafish reveal drugs that may improve bone marrow transplant
Using large-scale zebrafish drug-screening models, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have identified a potent group of chemicals that helps bone marrow transplants engraft or 'take.'

Is your favorite grocery store making you fat?
Is your favorite grocery store making you fat? According to new research findings, a Grocer Retailer Scorecard may be an effective healthy shopping tool that benefits both grocers and shoppers.

Additional radiation reduces breast-cancer recurrence for some patients: Hamilton study
A study has found no increase in overall survival but a reduction in breast cancer recurrence when additional radiation is given to the lymph nodes as well as the standard treatment of whole-breast irradiation after breast-conserving surgery.

Atomic view of cellular pump reveals how bacteria send out proteins
Researchers at The Rockefeller University have determined the structure of a simple but previously unexamined pump that controls the passage of proteins through a bacterial cell membrane.

Study: Popular new anticoagulants drive increase in atrial fibrillation treatment
Popular new blood thinners may be behind a surge in doctor visits to treat an irregular heartbeat, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

Schools with higher black, minority populations call cops, not docs
Poor schools that have more black and minority students tend to punish students rather than seek medical or psychological interventions for them, according to a Penn State sociologist.

NOAA's GOES-S sensor gets clean bill of health from hospital
One of the sensors that will fly aboard NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S was recently given a clean bill of health from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Preserving photoreceptor cells following retinal injury
Mass. Eye and Ear/HMS Researchers discovered that there was a significant increase in the immune system's 'alternative complement pathway' following retinal detachment and that this pathway facilitated early photoreceptor cell death after injury.

New study indicates ankle-brachial index associated with mild cognitive impairment
In a large population-based study of randomly selected participants in Germany, researchers found that mild cognitive impairment occurred significantly more often in individuals diagnosed with a lower ankle brachial index, which is a marker of generalized atherosclerosis and thus cumulative exposure to cardiovascular risk factors during lifetime.

Diagnostic test developed for enterovirus D68
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a diagnostic test to quickly detect enterovirus D68, a respiratory virus that caused unusually severe illness in children last year.

Long-sought discovery fills in missing details of cell 'switchboard'
A biomedical breakthrough in the journal Nature reveals never-before-seen details of the human body's cellular switchboard that regulates sensory and hormonal responses.

The unexpected one: A new pale nectar-feeding bat species found in Brazil
Having been long-mistaken for one of its relatives, a new bat species, L. inexpectata, has been now discovered.

Poor survival in multiple myeloma patients linked to genetic variation
Researchers have found that multiple myeloma patients with a genetic variation in the gene FOPNL die on average 1-3 years sooner than patients without it.

Progressively reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes may not lead smokers to quit
The US Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, passed in 2009, permits the US Food and Drug Administration to set standards for cigarette nicotine content.

Harvard's Wyss Institute launches startup to improve bedside monitoring
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University today announced that its bedside data-acquisition software will be commercialized by a recently formed startup company, MediCollector LLC.

Cold crystallization has a dual nature
In some vitrous substances, when heated, not one, but two physical mechanisms are responsible for crystallization, as scientists working at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Krakow, Poland, have discovered.

MathFest Science-Policy Panel to feature Gates, Holt, Manderscheid
How can educators inspire more US students to succeed in mathematics?

Carnegie's Chris Field awarded 2015 Schneider Award for climate science communications
Chris Field, the founding director of Carnegie Science's Department of Global Ecology, will be awarded the fifth annual Stephen H.

Computer security tools for journalists lacking in a post-Snowden world
Despite heightened awareness of surveillance tactics and privacy breaches, existing computer security tools aren't meeting the needs of journalists working with sensitive material, a new University of Washington and Columbia University study finds.

Scientists determine structure of important drug target using groundbreaking approach
Using the brightest X-ray laser in the world, scientists have determined the structure of a molecular complex that is responsible for regulating vital physiological functions, and that serves as a major pharmacological drug target.

Educational benefits of deworming children questioned by re-analysis of flagship study
Deworming children may not improve school attendance and the evidence that informs international policy needs to be re-appraised following a major re-analysis of data from an influential trial.

Having wealthy neighbors may skew beliefs about overall wealth distribution
Wealthy people may be likely to oppose redistribution of wealth because they have biased information about how wealthy most people actually are, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

From 30 days to 30 minutes: 3-D digital scanning shortens denture-fitting time
The process of fitting dentures hasn't significantly changed in 100 years.

SwRI's McComas awarded NASA's Exceptional Public Service Medal
NASA has awarded Dr. David McComas, assistant vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute, an Exceptional Public Service Medal.

New source of lead in drinking water identified: Galvanized steel pipe coatings
When unsafe levels of lead are found in drinking water, the culprit has typically been lead pipes or lead-containing brass and bronze fittings, but in a new study researchers clearly show that lead present in the zinc coating of galvanized steel pipes can be a very significant long-term source of lead in water.

Low levels of hormone linked to social deficit in autism, Stanford study finds
A brain-chemistry deficit in children with autism may help to explain their social difficulties, according to new findings from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

E-cigarettes may be as addictive as traditional ones
Electronic cigarettes or 'e-cigs' have been touted as a tool smokers can use to wean themselves off of traditional cigarettes, which many believe are more harmful than their 'e' counterparts.

Tel Aviv University among researchers to discover first evidence of farming in Mideast
Until now, researchers believed farming was 'invented' some 12,000 years ago in an area that was home to some of the earliest known human civilizations.

ORNL researchers make scalable arrays of 'building blocks' for ultrathin electronics
For the first time, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have combined a novel synthesis process with commercial electron-beam lithography techniques to produce arrays of semiconductor junctions in arbitrary patterns within a single, nanometer-thick semiconductor crystal.

Queen's University Belfast, UK, researchers discover how to cut worrying levels of arsenic
Queen's researchers discover simple solution to worrying levels of arsenic in our rice.

Testing for malaria reduces overprescription by more than 70 percent
Using malaria rapid diagnostic tests in registered drug shops in Uganda substantially reduced overdiagnosis of malaria, improving the use of valuable malaria drugs, according to a new study by the Ministry of Health in Uganda and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Molecular mechanisms contributing to addiction resistance uncovered
A genetic variant leading to a single change in the amino acid sequence of a cell surface protein, the mu-opioid receptor, is associated with lower susceptibility to a variety of addictive behaviors in humans, including smoking, alcoholism, and morphine abuse.

Modified DNA building blocks are cancer's Achilles heel
In studying how cells recycle the building blocks of DNA, Ludwig Cancer Research scientists have discovered a potential therapeutic strategy for cancer.

New material forges the way for 'stem cell factories'
Experts at The University of Nottingham have discovered the first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells.

New smart drug targets and reduces site-specific inflammation
The uniqueness of this novel anti-inflammatory molecule, reported in the current issue of Journal of Immunology, can be found in a singular property.

Women's sexual risk-taking focus of new study
Sexual risk-taking -- with steady partner or acquaintances -- is a vacation 'must' for some women, providing sense of empowerment, erotic thrills and bragging rights.

Benefits of strip-till surface after five-year study
Researchers find improved soil properties compared to no-till method, A major result was that after just five years, soil organic matter content was 8.6 percent greater in the strip-till plots when compared to the no-till plots.

Readiness of America's biology teachers questioned
Data spanning 1987 to 2007 show changing demographics among public high school biology teachers.

Teeth reveal lifetime exposures to metals, toxins
Is it possible that too much iron in infant formula may potentially increase risk for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's in adulthood -- and are teeth the window into the past that can help us tell?

The light of fireflies for medical diagnostics
EPFL scientists have exploited the light of fireflies in a new method that detects biological molecules without the need for complex devices and high costs.

Musical tastes offer a window into how you think
Do you like your jazz to be Norah Jones or Ornette Coleman, your classical music to be Bach or Stravinsky, or your rock to be Coldplay or Slayer?

Novel scissor-like bridge structure for use during emergencies
A test of the Mobile Bridge® Version 4.0 (MB4.0) over a real river demonstrated its viability for practical use.

Reintroduced Channel Islands eagles thrive on a diet of seabirds and fish
Reintroducing a species into an area where it has vanished can be a great tool for conservation, but for reintroduction to be successful it's crucial to understand how the habitat has changed in the interim.

MD Anderson named as 1 of 2 Genome Characterization Centers
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been named a site for one of two new Genome Characterization Centers funded through the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers find Massachusetts schools are improving food options
Northeastern researchers examined schools across the commonwealth following the implementation of a statewide nutrition bill.

NASA's RapidScat identifies Typhoon Halola's strongest side
Typhoon Halola'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.

Programming adult stem cells to treat muscular dystrophy and more by mimicking nature
Stem cells hold great potential for addressing a variety of conditions from spinal cord injuries to cancer, but they can be difficult to control.

Neuroscientist honored at Alzheimer's Association International Conference® 2015
The Alzheimer's Association is recognizing Ralph A. Nixon, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Cell Biology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City and Director of Research and of the Center for Dementia Research at the Nathan Kline Institute in Orangeburg, NY, with the Zaven Khachaturian Award for his achievement in advancing the field of Alzheimer's disease science.

Déjà-vu, new theory says dark matter acts like well-known particle
A new theory says dark matter acts remarkably similar to pions, subatomic particles known to science since the 1930s.

This week from AGU: Arctic mercury, EarthQuiz challenge & 5 new research papers
The amount of mercury in the Arctic Ocean is declining as the region rapidly warms and loses sea ice, according to a new study.

Gene mutation contributes to liver disease in patients of normal weight
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major worldwide health problem.

UC Davis researchers identify the source of the debilitating memory loss in people with psychosis
As disabling as its delusions and hallucinations, psychosis' devastating toll on memory arises from dysfunction of frontal and temporal lobe regions in the brain that rob sufferers of the ability to make associative connections, a UC Davis study has found, pinpointing potential target areas for treatments to help the more than 3.2 million Americans for whom medication quells the voices and visions, but not the struggle to remember.

Researchers identify genetic mutation causing lethal condition in infants
Newborn children born with a mutation in the Plasmalemma Vesicle Associated Protein gene develop severe protein losing enteropathy, according to a case study published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the basic science journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

DNA damage seen in patients undergoing CT scanning, Stanford study finds
Using new laboratory technology, scientists have shown that cellular damage is detectable in patients after CT scanning, according to a new study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Resolving social conflict is key to survival of bacterial communities
Far from being selfish organisms whose sole purpose is to maximize their own reproduction, bacteria in large communities work for the greater good by resolving a social conflict among individuals to enhance the survival of their entire community.

Kiwi bird genome sequenced
The kiwi, national symbol of New Zealand, gives insights into the evolution of nocturnal animals.

ONR-sponsored technology aids recovery of Alaska plane wreck
Recently, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, US Air Force, Alaska Army National Guard and Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency used a portable weather station, developed with support from the Office of Naval Research, to monitor conditions at a 1952 crash site of a military transport aircraft.

Boehringer Ingelheim to sponsor ACC-Led Diabetes Collaborative Registry
The American College of Cardiology has announced that Boehringer Ingelheim is the newest industry sponsor of The Diabetes Collaborative Registry, an interdisciplinary effort led by the College in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the Joslin Diabetes Center.

Screening in pregnancy key to eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission
Canada has almost eliminated mother-to-child HIV transmission, known as vertical transmission, in recent years by ensuring that all women have the opportunity to be screened for HIV in pregnancy and that women with the disease receive treatment before giving birth.

Menopause associated with more fat around heart, raising risk for heart disease
Late- and post-menopausal women have significantly greater volumes of fat around their hearts -- a risk factor for heart disease -- than their pre-menopausal counterparts, a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study has shown for the first time.

Predicting the shape of river deltas
Now researchers from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have devised a simple way to predict a river delta's shape, given two competing factors: its river's force in depositing sediment into the ocean, and ocean waves' strength in pushing that sediment back along the coast.

Springer content available across ReadCube platform
Springer has signed an agreement with the publishing technology company ReadCube to enhance and increase the discoverability of its journal articles, book chapters and conference proceedings via ReadCube's web, desktop and mobile applications.

Researchers quantify nature's role in human well-being
The benefits people reap from nature -- or the harm they can suffer from natural disasters -- can seem as obvious as an earthquake.

Twisted wasps: Two new unique parasitoid wasp species sting the heart of Europe
A rare finding of two new physiologically unique parasitoid wasp species was made at the heart of Europe, the Swiss Alps and Swiss Central Plateau.

Space-eye-view could help stop global wildlife decline
Conservation scientists need to collaborate with space agencies, such as NASA and the European Space Agency, to identify measures which help track biodiversity declines around the world.

Serum biomarkers can predict women at risk of pre-eclampsia
Levels of biomarkers in the blood of pregnant women can be used to predict which women are at risk of pre-eclampsia, finds a study published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

New evidence of cultural diversification between neighboring chimpanzee communities
Newly discovered tool-length 'subcultures' in our closest living relatives provide striking parallel with cultural differences observed between adjacent groups in human societies.

Stanford researchers link HIV susceptibility to little-understood immune cell class
High diversity among certain cells that help fight viruses and tumors is strongly associated with the likelihood of subsequent infection by HIV, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have found.

Current dietary protein recommendations need updating
New research based on modern techniques suggests that recommendations for protein intake in healthy populations may be incorrect.

University of Southampton to map impact of infectious diseases against research spending
Scientists at the University of Southampton are set to analyze research investments into infectious disease research, particularly pneumonia and maternal and neonatal infections, after receiving over £370,000 in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

UTMB study uncovers mechanism responsible for pollen-induced allergies
A new study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has uncovered a mechanism that is central to becoming allergic to ragweed pollen and developing allergic asthma or seasonal nasal allergies. 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