Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 30, 2015
Young adults with autism show improved social function following UCLA skills program
Researchers at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA have found that a social skills program for high-functioning young adults with autism spectrum disorder significantly improved the participants' ability to engage with their peers.

Novel model developed to predict the amount of nicotine emitted from e-cigarettes
Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center researchers at the VCU Center for the Study of Tobacco Products have developed the first ever, evidence-based model that can predict with up to 90 percent accuracy the amount of nicotine emitted by an electronic cigarettes.

Get up for your heart health and move for your waistline
More time spent standing rather than sitting could improve your blood sugar, fats in the blood and cholesterol levels, according to a new study published in the European Heart Journal.

Urgent action needed to protect salamanders from deadly fungus, scientists warn
The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans could cause salamander population declines and extinctions if brought to North America via international trade, biologists at San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley and UCLA warn.

IDIBELL licenses to Oxford Immunotec a tool to identify high risk of kidney rejection
The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute has licensed to the company Oxford Immunotec, a technology to measure the secretion of anti-HLA antibodies from memory B cells to improve the efficiency of kidney transplants and prevent rejection of graft.

Elsevier to publish official journal of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, have announced that Elsevier will publish NCSBN's flagship journal, Journal of Nursing Regulation.

HKUST-Tsinghua University scientists solve the structure of the eukaryotic MCM2-7 complex
Scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and Tsinghua University have solved the structure of the MCM2-7 Complex. led by Professor Bik Tye at HKUST, and Professor Ning Gao at Tsinghua University, solved the structure of the MCM2-7 complex at 3.8Å, an astounding resolution that has not been achieved before.

Robotic insect mimics nature's extreme moves
By analyzing the natural mechanics of the water strider that enable it to launch off water's surface, an international team of Seoul National University and Harvard University researchers have emulated this extreme form of locomotion in novel robotic insects.

Computerized treatment may combat PTSD symptoms
Tel Aviv University, NIMH, and Creighton University researchers have developed a novel new computer training program to combat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Drought's legacy on trees is worth modeling
Forests slow their growth for up to four years after severe drought, a period during which they are less able to act as carbon sinks, a new study reports.

Science and technology partnerships grow in South America
Scientific diplomacy took a giant step forward July 24 as Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm.

Special issue: Philae results shed light on the nature of comets
During the first ever landing of a probe on a comet, the world held its breath as Philae survived a bouncy landing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Nov.

Stormy seas in Sagittarius
Some of the most breathtaking views in the Universe are created by nebulae -- hot, glowing clouds of gas.

How a single molecule turns one immune cell into another
All it takes is one molecule to reprogram an antibody-producing B cell into a scavenging macrophage.

Trying to quit smoking? First strengthen self-control
The desire to quit smoking -- often considered a requirement for enrolling in treatment programs -- is not always necessary to reduce cigarette cravings, argues a review of addiction research published July 30 in Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Bio-inspired robots jump on water
By studying how water striders jump on water, Je-Sung Koh and colleagues have created a robot that can successfully launch itself from the surface of water.

Non-surgical approach helps people with paralysis voluntarily move their legs
Five men who have been completely paralyzed for years achieved substantial progress -- moving their legs in a rhythmic motion -- as a result of a new, noninvasive method of stimulating the spinal cord, which does not involve surgery, UCLA scientists report in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Reproducible research for biofuels and biogas
New research in the open-access journal GigaScience presents a virtual package of data for the production of biogas, which is promising for use in biofuels.

Take a trip through the brain
A new imaging tool developed by Boston scientists could do for the brain what the telescope did for space exploration.

Countering pet obesity by rethinking feeding habits
The No. 1 cause of malnutrition in American pets is obesity.

Rotten tomatoes and 2 thumbs up
How online shoppers respond when faced with wide variations in online reviews can give retailers insights into how to display the reviews and what to expect.

Scientists urge ban on salamander imports to fend off deadly fungus
California amphibian experts warn that a recently discovered fungus already devastating salamanders in Europe could imperil American salamanders, and urge the US Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately halt salamander imports until there is a plan to detect and prevent spread of the fungus.

amfAR report highlights priorities to help states achieve national HIV/AIDS strategy goals
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, in collaboration with the National HIV/AIDS Initiative at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law, has released a set of recommendations for how states across the US can improve HIV prevention and care outcomes in an effort to achieve the goals identified within the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Sol-gel capacitor dielectric offers record-high energy storage
Using a hybrid silica sol-gel material and self-assembled monolayers of a common fatty acid, researchers have developed a new capacitor dielectric material that provides an electrical energy storage capacity rivaling certain batteries, with both a high energy density and high power density.

New candidate genes for immunodeficiency identified by using dogs as genetic models
IgA deficiency is one of the most common genetic immunodeficiency disorders in humans and is associated with an insufficiency or complete absence of the antibody IgA.

New prevention target: IUPUI studies effect of depression treatment on heart attack risk
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers led by Jesse Stewart of the School of Science, have received a $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the first randomized controlled trial to determine whether depression treatment can help prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.

When surgeons listen to their preferred music, their stitches are better and faster
A new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston shows that when plastic surgeons listen to music they prefer, their surgical technique and efficiency when closing incisions is improved.

Most adolescents feel better after gastric bypass
Teenagers suffering from severe obesity generally feel worse than their peers, but after undergoing gastric bypass nearly all experience improved mental health.

This could replace your silicon computer chips
Researchers working at the Institute for Basic Science Center for Integrated Nanostructure Physics at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, led in part by Director Young Hee Lee, have created a high performance transistor using black phosphorus which has revealed some fascinating results.

Depressive ruminations and the idling brain
Depressed people often find themselves preoccupied with guilty, shameful, or self-defeating thoughts for large parts of their day.

Studying killer whales with an unmanned aerial vehicle
Last year, for the first time, scientists used an unmanned aerial vehicle to photograph killer whales from above, giving scientists a new way to monitor killer whale health while giving us all a stunning new view of the species.

Gene variants modifying Huntington's symptom onset may lead to new therapeutic strategies
A study that took a novel approach to investigating factors affecting the emergence of symptoms of Huntington's disease has identified at least two genome sites that house variants that can hasten or delay symptom onset.

The bold and the shy one: Could woodlice have personalities?
Put before a predator, one of the defensive behavior terrestrial crustaceans like the Common rough woodlouse can exercise is feigning death.

The Lancet: From Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Fukushima -- Series highlights long-term psychological impact of nuclear disasters
On the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a three-part Series published in The Lancet looks at the enduring radiological and psychological impact of nuclear disasters, including the most recent accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011.

Carnegie's Frommer elected to German Academy
Wolf B. Frommer, Director of Carnegie's Department of Plant Biology, has been elected as a member of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, one of the world's oldest national academies.

Researchers resurrect ancient viruses in hopes of improving gene therapy
Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute have reconstructed an ancient virus that is highly effective at delivering gene therapies to the liver, muscle, and retina.

Researchers resurrect ancient viruses in hopes of improving gene therapy
Researchers have recreated the evolutionary lineage of adeno-associated viruses to reconstruct an ancient viral particle that is highly effective at delivering gene therapies targeting the liver, muscle, and retina.

Generally accepted tools used to select patients for aneurysm treatment in need of further evaluation
A study released today at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery 12th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, indicates that strict adherence to two commonly used tools to weigh the risk of treating unruptured aneurysms may not prevent the majority of morbidity-mortality outcomes associated with ruptured intracranial aneurysms.

New study exposes negative effects of climate change on Antarctic fish
Scientists at University of California Davis and San Francisco State University have discovered that the combination of elevated levels of carbon dioxide and an increase in ocean water temperature has a significant impact on survival and development of the Antarctic dragonfish (Gymnodraco acuticeps).

California 'rain debt' equal to average full year of precipitation
A new NASA study has concluded California accumulated a debt of about 20 inches of precipitation between 2012 and 2015 -- the average amount expected to fall in the state in a single year.

New study narrows the gap between climate models and reality
A new study led by a University of York scientist addresses an important question in climate science: how accurate are climate model projections?

Changing clocks and changing seasons: Scientists find role for neuronal plasticity
A team of scientists has linked changes in the structure of a handful of central brain neurons to understanding how animals adjust to changing seasons.

Cell aging slowed by putting brakes on noisy transcription
Working with yeast and worms, researchers found that incorrect gene expression is a hallmark of aged cells and that reducing such 'noise' extends lifespan in these organisms.

Plastic surgeons urged to 'embrace the change' to single-stage implant breast reconstruction
Some women with breast cancer can now undergo a 'one and done' approach combining nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate single-stage implant breast reconstruction in a single procedure, according to a report in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Paralyzed men move legs with new non-invasive spinal cord stimulation
Five men with complete motor paralysis were able to voluntarily generate step-like movements thanks to a new strategy that non-invasively delivers electrical stimulation to their spinal cords.

Every country in the world can afford to support its smokers to stop
That is the conclusion of a major new review, written by leading world experts and published in the medical journal, Addiction.

Breeding a better peanut butter
A new variety of peanut, called OLé, has recently been released by a team of researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture -- Agricultural Research Service and their colleagues at Oklahoma State University.

Research explores future energy security of China
China needs to reduce its dependence on coal and improve the range of fuels it uses if it is to have long term energy security, according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Root radar: UGA researchers discover how parasitic plants know when to attack
Researchers have discovered how parasitic plants evolved the ability to detect and attack their hosts.

Depressed females have over-active glutamate receptor gene
Numerous genes that regulate the activity of a neurotransmitter in the brain have been found to be abundant in brain tissue of depressed females.

Safeguarding the greater good
Research teams from the Wyss Institute and University of California, San Diego -- the only two groups to have published work on RNA-guided CRISPR gene drives -- have proactively assembled an international group of 26 experts, including prominent genetic engineers and fruit fly geneticists, to unanimously recommend a series of preemptive measures to safeguard gene drive research.

Genetic tug of war in the brain influences behavior
Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine report on a version of genetic parental control that is more nuanced, and specialized, than classic genomic imprinting.

Blood test predicts prognosis for traumatic brain injuries
A new blood test could help emergency room doctors quickly diagnose traumatic brain injury and determine its severity.

BMC Ecology Image Competition 2015 winners announced
This year's BMC Ecology Image Competition includes photos showing a Palestinian sunbird's careful maneuvers, endangered storks foraging in a garbage dump and a pregnant bat in mid-flight.

Why female physicians are paid less than men
In a survey of hospital medical physicians across the United States, women made nearly $15,000 less than their male counterparts, with a portion of this disparity explained by female doctors' tendency to prioritize collegiality and control over personal time, rather than substantial pay.

Argonne National Lab finds butanol is good for boats
Argonne has collaborated with Bombardier Recreational Products and the National Marine Manufacturers Association to demonstrate the effectiveness of a fuel blend with 16 percent butane.

Drought's lasting impact on forests
In a global study of drought impacts, forest trees took an average of two to four years to resume normal growth rates, a revelation indicating that Earth's forests are capable of storing less carbon than climate models have assumed.

With racial segregation declining between neighborhoods, segregation now taking new form
Recent research has shown that racial segregation in the US is declining between neighborhoods, but a new study indicates that segregation is manifesting itself in other ways -- not disappearing.

I think I found a new species, now how do I illustrate it?
No matter if you are a specialist or not, there is one vital rule in illustrating descriptions of new plant or animal species: you have to do it!

Electric fields signal 'no flies zone'
A new piece of research led by the University of Southampton has found that the behavior of fruit flies, which are commonly used in laboratory experiments, is altered by electric fields.

Group calls for more transparency of experiments on primates
Thousands of nonhuman primates continue to be confined alone in laboratories despite 30-year-old federal regulations and guidelines mandating that social housing of primates should be the default.

Researchers find that Earth's magnetic shield is much older than previously thought
Since 2010, the best estimate of the age of Earth's magnetic field has been 3.45 billion years.

Promising progress for new treatment of type 1 diabetes
New research from Uppsala University shows promising progress in the use of anti-inflammatory cytokine for treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Evolutionary war between microorganisms affecting human health, IU biologist says
Health experts have warned for years that the overuse of antibiotics is creating 'superbugs' able to resist drugs treating infection.

Research could lead to protective probiotics for frogs
In research that could lead to protective probiotics to fight the 'chytrid' fungus that has been decimating amphibian populations worldwide, Jenifer Walke, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, and her collaborators have grown bacterial species from the skin microbiome of four species of amphibians.

IASLC to host 2015 World Conference on Lung Cancer in Denver
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer will host the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer Sept.

Sugar in your cuppa ... not just about a sweet tooth!
New research by scientists at the University of York has given tea and coffee drinkers new information about why their favorite drinks taste as they do.

Gestational diabetes can be prevented in high-risk women
Gestational diabetes can be prevented by a simple, easily applicable individualized lifestyle intervention in high-risk women, finds a study led by Helsinki University Hospital and South Karelia Central Hospital, Finland.

Interactive Autism Network approved for $1.6 million to join PCORnet Research Network
Kennedy Krieger's Interactive Autism Network receives approval for a three-year $1.6 million funding award to be part of PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network.

UChicago Medicine supports new organ transplant fund for the uninsured
The University of Chicago Medicine has become the first transplant center to contribute to the Illinois Transplant Fund, a new not-for-profit that provides financial support for organ transplants to qualified uninsured residents of northern and central Illinois and Northwest Indiana.

Drinking at conception boosts diabetes risk for baby: UQ study
Babies conceived by women who drink alcohol around the time of conception face dramatically increased risks of type 2 diabetes and obesity in early middle age, a University of Queensland study has found.

The body and the brain: The impact of mental and physical exertion on fatigue development
Do you ever notice how stress and mental frustration can affect your physical abilities?

Piecing together the Pangea puzzle
Two hundred and fifty million years ago, all the major continents were joined together, forming a continent called Pangea (which means 'all land' in Greek).

Mouth rinse could help predict recurrence of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers
Oropharyngeal cancer patients who were found to have detectable traces of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) in their saliva following cancer treatment are at an increased risk for recurrence, a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found.

North America's salamanders at risk of epidemic from overseas
The international pet trade threatens to spread a deadly fungal infection to North America's rich wild salamander population and must be frozen, according to the authors of this Policy Forum.

Newly identified mechanism of p53-induced cell death could aid cancer therapy
Research led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital reveals how the tumor suppressor protein p53 works in the cytoplasm to trigger death via apoptosis and identifies a potential cancer treatment strategy.

UC Davis partners in new photonics manufacturing institute
UC Davis is a partner in new $610 million institute for photonics manufacturing innovation announced July 27 by Vice President Joe Biden at an event in Greece, N.Y.

Kicking latent HIV: New strategies to reactivate reservoirs of latent infection
In cells with latent HIV infection, the virus is dormant, and such cells are therefore not attacked by the immune system or by standard antiretroviral therapy.

Liver plays role in pneumonia, sepsis susceptibility
New evidence highlights the importance of the liver in immunity against bacterial pneumonia.

Pharmacists help patients with hypertension
Patients with hypertension benefit from interacting with a medical team that includes a pharmacist.

Moffitt Cancer Center teams up with MD Anderson to discover, test novel agents to prevent cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center has joined MD Anderson's National Cancer Institute Phase 0/I/II Cancer Prevention Clinical Chemoprevention Trials Consortia.

Nature has more than one way to grow a crystal
The findings in the journal Science have implications for questions regarding how animals and plants grow minerals into shapes that have no relation to their original crystal symmetry, and why some contaminants are difficult to remove from stream sediments.

Computer model forecasts flu outbreaks in a subtropical climate
Scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the School of Public Health of Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong have shown for the first time that it is possible to predict the timing and intensity of influenza outbreaks in subtropical climates like Hong Kong where flu seasons can occur at different times and more than once during a year.

Cost of physician board recertification fuels questions about best outcomes for patients
Many physicians are pushing back against or debating new requirements for maintaining medical board certifications, which affect more than 250,000 physicians nationwide.

Not Schrödinger's Cat: NIST PET phantoms bring new accuracy to medical scans
Teaming with a medical equipment company, NIST researchers have demonstrated the first calibration system for Positron Emission Tomography scanners directly tied to national measurement standards.

Discovery about brain protein causes rethink on development of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at the University of Melbourne have discovered that a protein involved in the progression of Alzheimer's disease also has properties that could be helpful for human health.

'Golden jackals' of East Africa are actually 'golden wolves'
Despite their remarkably similar appearance, the 'golden jackals' of East Africa and Eurasia are actually two entirely different species.

Preventable onset of myocardial infarction through coadministration of 2 drugs
Scientists at Kumamoto University, Japan have discovered both a regression of coronary plaque and a lipid-lowering effect may be obtained through the coadministration of two drugs.

Positive reinforcement plays key role in cognitive task performance in ADHD kids
A little recognition for a job well done means a lot to children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder -- more so than it would for typically developing kids.

Bering Sea hotspot for corals and sponges
North of the Aleutian Islands, submarine canyons in the cold waters of the eastern Bering Sea contain a highly productive 'green belt' that is home to deep-water corals as well as a plethora of fish and marine mammals.

GW Cancer Institute approved for a $250,000 Engagement Award by PCORI
The George Washington University Cancer Institute has been approved for a $250,000 Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award by the Patient-centered Outcomes Research Institute to create the first-ever online Community of Practice for patient-centered care.

Scientists create functional liver cells from stem cells
Evaluating drug-induced liver injury is a critical part of pharmaceutical drug discovery and must be carried out on human liver cells.

Telescopes team up to find distant Uranus-sized planet through microlensing
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii have made independent confirmations of an exoplanet orbiting far from its central star.

Treating ships' ballast water: Filtration preferable to disinfection
Untreated ballast water discharge from ships can spread living organisms and even pathogens across the world thereby introducing non-native or invasive species into the local environment.

Waking up HIV
Highly active anti-retroviral therapy has helped millions survive the human immunodeficiency virus.

Stanford team's brain-controlled prosthesis nearly as good as one-finger typing
Brain-controlled prostheses sample a few hundred neurons to estimate motor commands that involve millions of neurons.

'Mommy makeover' combines procedures for postpartum body contouring
More women are expressing interest in plastic surgery to restore a more youthful figure after having children.

Forecasting flu outbreaks in a subtropical climate
Worldwide, influenza kills an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people each year.

How to become a T follicular helper cell
Follicular helper Tcells (TFH cells), a rare type of immune cell that is essential for inducing a strong and lasting antibody response to viruses and other microbes, have garnered intense interest in recent years but the molecular signals that drive their differentiation had remained unclear.

Ants in the lead
A physics-based model can explain how ants cooperate in steering food to their nest.

Research spotlights a previously unknown microbial 'drama' playing in the Southern Ocean
A team of marine researchers funded by the National Science Foundation has discovered a three-way conflict raging at the microscopic level in the frigid waters off Antarctica over natural resources such as vitamins and iron.

New national study finds COPD knowledge severely lacking, impacts quality of life and care
In a new national survey of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, Health Union reveals a surprising lack of awareness of risk factors and knowledge of diagnosis stage among patients.

Group launches plan to reduce youth problems by 20 percent in a decade
A national coalition of experts has published a proposal for reducing behavioral health problems such as violence and depression among young people across the country by 20 percent in a decade.

HPV16 detection in oral rinses for oropharyngeal cancer
The presence of persistent human papillomavirus type 16 DNA in oral rinses after treatment for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer was rare but it appears to be associated with poor prognosis and therefore may have potential as a long-term tool for tumor surveillance, according to an article published online by JAMA Oncology.

How to look for a few good catalysts
Research shows non-wetting surfaces promote chemical reaction rates.

Penn study questions presence in blood of heart-healthy molecules from fish oil supplements
A new study questions the relevance of fish oil-derived substances and their purported anti-inflammatory effects in humans.

A cheaper, high-performance prosthetic knee
Researchers design cheap prosthetic knee that mimics normal walking motion.

Cancer patients lose faith in healthcare system if referred late by GP
If it takes more than three trips to the GP to be referred for cancer tests, patients are more likely to be dissatisfied with their overall care, eroding confidence in the doctors and nurses who go on to treat and monitor them.

Newly identified molecular mechanism plays role in type 2 diabetes development
New research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health describes a molecular mechanism that helps explain how obesity-related inflammation can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Lanosterol revealed clues for cataract prevention and treatment
On July 30, 2015, researchers from Sichuan University, Sun Yat-sen University, University of California, BGI, and others, reported the latest study on congenital cataracts.

HVTN 505 vaccine induced antibodies nonspecific for HIV
A study by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Duke University helps explain why the candidate vaccine used in the HVTN 505 clinical trial was not protective against HIV infection despite robustly inducing anti-HIV antibodies: the vaccine stimulated antibodies that recognized HIV as well as microbes commonly found in the intestinal tract, part of the body's microbiome.

Byproduct of intestinal bacteria may jeopardize heart health in kidney disease patients
Blood levels of TMAO, a byproduct generated from intestinal bacterial as they metabolize dietary nutrients, progressively increase with advancing severity of kidney disease.

American Chemical Society national meeting features variety of presidential events
American Chemical Society President Diane Grob Schmidt, Ph.D., will sponsor several events related to the theme of the ACS 250th National Meeting & Exposition, 'Innovation from Discovery to Application.' The meeting runs from Aug.
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