Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 12, 2015
UCI-led team begins first clinical trial of stem cell-based retinitis pigmentosa treatment
Participants are being enrolled in the first clinical trial that tests the use of retinal progenitor cells to treat retinitis pigmentosa, reported project director Dr.

New study finds GeneSight CPGx precision medicine test provides significant health care cost savings
A new study published in Current Medical Research and Opinion demonstrated $1,036 in annual prescription savings per patient when healthcare providers used the GeneSight combinatorial pharmacogenomic test results to guide treatment decisions compared with usual trial-and-error prescribing.

Helping preschoolers deploy 'superpowers' against sunburn
Five globe-trotting, sun-blocking superheroes teach preschoolers about lifelong sun safety in a new curriculum available this summer based on research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Predicting risk for deadly cardiac events
A marker commonly used to determine if a patient is having a heart attack can also be used to identify stable patients at high risk for deadly cardiac events, according to a new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Breakthrough in 'marriage-broker' protein
Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -The Neuro, at McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre, have made a breakthrough in understanding an important protein that appears to act as a kind of cellular 'marriage broker.' The protein called Netrin1 brings cells together and maintains their healthy relationships.

Male elephant seals use 'voice recognition' to identify rivals, study finds
Male elephant seals compete fiercely for access to females during the breeding season, and their violent, bloody fights take a toll on both winners and losers.

Decoding the genome of an alien
OIST researchers and collaborators have sequenced and analyzed an octopus genome, making it the first cephalopod to be decoded.

Adrenals run amok: Discovery could aid precision medicine for high blood pressure
Each of your kidneys wears a little yellow cap that helps keep your blood pressure in check, and much more.

Male doctors are more likely to have legal action taken against them
Male doctors have nearly two and half times increased odds of having medico-legal action taken against them than their female counterparts, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

DNA/RNA heteroduplex oligonucleotide: The third class oligonucleotides
Heteroduplex oligonucleotide is a brand new oligonucleotide drug, pioneered by researchers of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Osaka University and ISIS.

Fifteen scientists named ASBMB award winners
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology this week named 15 scientists the winners of its annual awards.

Protein-packed breakfast prevents body fat gain in overweight teens
University of Missouri researchers compared the benefits of consuming a normal-protein breakfast to a high-protein breakfast and found the high-protein breakfast -- which contained 35 grams of protein -- prevented gains of body fat, reduced daily food intake and feelings of hunger, and stabilized glucose levels among overweight teens who would normally skip breakfast.

Predicting the weather or the economy? How to make forecasts more trustworthy
Attention all you would-be forecasters out there. Do you want people to think you know the future?

New contrast agent spotlights tiny tumors and micrometastases
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent that detects much smaller aggressive breast cancer tumors and micrometastases than current agents can identify.

Molecular discovery paves way for new diabetic heart disease treatments
Researchers at New Zealand's University of Otago have discovered why heart disease is the number-one killer of people with diabetes, a breakthrough finding opening the way for new treatments to combat the disease in diabetic patients by targeting a key protein called Beclin-1.

Blood vessel 'doorway' lets breast cancer cells spread through blood stream
Using real-time, high-resolution imaging, scientists have identified how a 'doorway' in the blood vessel wall allows cancer cells to spread from breast tumors to other parts of the body.

Seller beware: International transactions require much more than a contract
A contract between countries spelling out in detail the terms of sale and delivery should eliminate the chance that the buyer would violate those terms.

Rare octopus shocks scientists with unusual mating and reproductive strategies
A remarkable yet little-known species of octopus is once again exciting the cephalopod community with its surprisingly social behavior, unconventional mating and reproductive habits, unusual predatory behavior, and unique body patterns, most of which have never before been observed among octopuses.

Greenland ice sheet's winds driving tundra soil erosion, Dartmouth study finds
Strong winds blowing off the Greenland Ice Sheet are eroding soil and vegetation in the surrounding tundra, making it less productive for caribou and other grazing animals, carbon storage and nutrient cycling, a Dartmouth College study finds.

Debate: Should the NHS provide free access to wi-fi?
Free internet access should be rolled out across NHS premises because it is essential for better decision making and outcomes for patients, argues Victoria Betton, mHabitat programme director at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

NSF invests in interstate collaboration in science and engineering research
The National Science Foundation's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program has made eight awards, totaling $42 million, aimed at fostering research collaborations among investigators and institutions across 12 states.

Improving wildfire management and safety with unmanned aircraft systems
Annual federal spending to fight wildland fires averaged over $3.3 billion during the past five years, with a significant portion of those funds spent on aviation resources.

Are marine organisms evolving to protect their young in response to ocean acidification?
Marine organisms living in acidified waters exhibit a tendency to nurture their offspring to a greater extent than those in more regular conditions.

Statistical model predicts with high accuracy play-calling tendency of NFL teams
If a defensive coordinator of a National Football League team could predict with high accuracy whether their team's opponent will call a pass or run play during a game, he would become a rock star in the league and soon be a head coach candidate.

New life of old molecules: Calcium carbide
A joint project of scientists from St. Petersburg State University and Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russia investigated chemical applications of calcium carbide.

Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project awards $9.3 million for energy research
GCEP has awarded scientists at Stanford and four other universities funding to develop a suite of promising energy technologies.

CO2 emissions change with size of streams and rivers
Researchers have shown that the greenhouse gas appears in streams by way of two different sources -- either as a direct pipeline for groundwater and carbon-rich soils, or from aquatic organisms releasing the gas through respiration and natural decay.

Toxoplasma parasite's greedy appetite may be its downfall
Researchers are a step closer to developing drug targets for Toxoplasmosis, after gaining insight into its unique feeding behaviour.

Powering off TB: New electron transport gene is a potential drug target
The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first new drug to fight tuberculosis in more than 40 years, but treatment still takes six months, 200 pills and leaves 40 percent of patients uncured.

Rice University bioengineers advance computing technique for health care and more
Rice University scientists have developed a big data technique that could have an impact on health care and more.

EUR 850,000 for Advanced Lab for Electrochemistry and Electroorganic Synthesis
Over the next four years, the Carl Zeiss Foundation will be providing support in the form of EUR 850,000 to the Advanced Lab for Electrochemistry and Electroorganic Synthesis, a unique collaborative research concept based at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany.

South American example illustrates Rocky Mountain formation
New work from an international team of researchers including Carnegie's Lara Wagner improves our understanding of the geological activity that is thought to have formed the Rocky Mountains.

USF and cancer advocacy organization FORCE get $1.45M to advance clinical research network
A team led by the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and the leading national hereditary breast and ovarian cancer advocacy organization, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) received a three-year, $1.45-million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to continue to advance and expand the ABOUT Network as part of the second phase of PCORnet: the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network.

Exercise may be associated with reduced disease activity in children with MS
A new study suggests children with multiple sclerosis who exercise regularly may have a less active disease.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess examine the impact of OpenNotes on patient safety
Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are homing in on the potential benefits of allowing patients access to the notes their clinicians write after a visit.

New research from the Population Council shows child marriage can be delayed
Today the Population Council released new evidence on what works to delay the age of marriage for extremely vulnerable girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

Better estimates of worldwide mercury pollution
An international team led by MIT researchers has conducted a new analysis that provides more accurate estimates of sources of mercury emissions around the world.

Researchers pioneer use of capsules to save materials, streamline chemical reactions
MIT researchers find that wax capsule delivery systems can simplify a wide range of chemistry transformations.

Wild boars are gaining ground
The wild boar population in Europe is growing. However, the reasons for this growth were not yet clear.

UCLA receives $2.5 million grant to improve geriatric care in underserved Riverside County
The UCLA division of geriatrics has received a three-year, $2.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to enhance geriatric education, training and workforce development in Riverside County.

The Lancet: Listening to music improves recovery after surgery and should be available to everyone having an operation
Listening to music before, during, or after a surgical procedure is beneficial to patients and can significantly reduce pain and anxiety, and decrease the need for pain medication, according to the most comprehensive review of the evidence so far, involving almost 7000 patients, published in The Lancet.

NASA's Webb sunshield gives an 'open wide' for inspection
The sunshield on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is the largest part of the observatory -- five layers of thin, silvery membrane that must unfurl reliably in space.

New, rapid dementia screening tool rivals 'gold standard' clinical evaluations
Determining whether or not an individual has dementia and to what degree is a long and laborious process that can take an experienced professional such as a clinician about four to five hours to complete.

Combining chemotherapy with an immune-blocking drug could stop cancer growing back
Giving patients a drug that blocks part of the immune system from going into overdrive might help prevent cancer coming back in some people, according to research published in Cancer Research.

Flexible, biodegradable device can generate power from touch (video)
Long-standing concerns about portable electronics include the devices' short battery life and their contribution to e-waste.

Planning and improvisation actually play well together in export markets
Exporting is a popular way to enter an international market.

Statisticians using social media to track foodborne illness and improve disaster response
The growing popularity and use of social media around the world is presenting new opportunities for statisticians to glean insightful information from the infinite stream of posts, tweets and other online communications that will help improve public safety.

Science-backed brain game eases distraction, anxiety
Researchers have created a surprisingly simple yet targeted brain game that reduces anxiety by helping people focus in an increasingly distracting world.

Can stem cells cause and cure cancer?
Simply put, cancer is caused by mutations to genes within a cell that lead to abnormal cell growth.

Photoredox catalyst unlocks new pathways for nickel chemistry
Using a light-activated catalyst, researchers at Princeton have unlocked a new pathway in nickel chemistry to construct carbon-oxygen bonds that would be highly valuable to pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.

Retrieving eggs earlier during IVF may improve success rates for older women
IVF success rates for women aged 43 and above could improve by retrieving eggs from their ovaries at an earlier stage of fertility treatment, according to a new study published today in Journal of Endocrinology.

Researchers reveal mystery of how contractions in labor grow stronger
Scientists, for the first time, have identified a mechanism in the muscle cells of the uterus that could point to how contractions in childbirth grow stronger.

Octopus genome sequenced
The first whole genome analysis of an octopus reveals unique genomic features that likely played a role in the evolution of traits such as large complex nervous systems and adaptive camouflage.

Competition from cats drove the extinction of many species of ancient dogs
Competition played a more important role in the evolution of the dog family (wolves, foxes, and their relatives) than climate change, shows a new international study published in PNAS.

Developing a targeted hydrogel to treat inflammatory bowel disease
Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and collaborators from Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT set out to find a better way to deliver medicine using a gel-like material created in the lab.

Paying off small debts first may get you in the black quicker
In debt and don't know what to do? Conventional economic wisdom says to pay off high-interest loans first.

Diagnostic imaging can rule out coronary artery disease in patients with atypical chest pain
Non-invasive diagnostic imaging can rule out coronary artery disease (CAD) in about 50 percent of women with atypical chest pain who are at relatively low risk for CAD, while exposing them to only a modest dose of radiation.

Making the 9-1-1 call for stroke differs by race, sex
During a stroke, slightly more than half of patients use emergency medical services to get to the hospital, with white women the most likely, and Hispanic men the least likely to use EMS transport.

Migratory patterns of eastern Golden Eagle population revealed
Eastern North America is home to a small population of Golden Eagles, but despite their potential vulnerability to habitat loss and wind energy development, little information has been available on the patterns of their annual migration.

Brain plasticity after vision loss has an 'on-off switch'
KU Leuven biologists have discovered a molecular on-off switch that controls how a mouse brain responds to vision loss.

Target healthy cells to stop brain cancer 'hijack': UBC study
New UBC research into brain cancer suggests treatments should target the cells around a tumor to stop it from spreading.

A new CSI tool could pinpoint when fingerprints were left behind (video)
The crime scene investigators on TV's popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation series seem able to solve any mystery thanks to a little science and a lot of artistic license.

Songbirds make mysterious altitude changes during nighttime migratory flights
Many songbirds travel long distances during their annual migrations, and it makes sense for them to do everything they can to conserve their energy during these journeys.

Nicotine-eating bacteria could one day help smokers kick the habit
Most people who smoke cigarettes know it's bad for their health, but quitting is notoriously difficult.

Moderate physical activity associated with lower risk of heart failure in men
Men who participated in moderate amounts of physical activity, particularly walking and bicycling, were associated with a lower risk of future heart failure compared to those with lower and higher levels of activity.

Do Legos, standardized testing, and Googling hamper creativity?
Legos, the popular toy bricks, may be great for stimulating creativity in little kids.

Octopus shows unique hunting, social and sexual behavior
When the larger Pacific striped octopus was first observed in the 1970s, its unusual social and mating behavior were so strange that no one would publish it.

Evolution peaks on tropical mountain
Tropical mountains have an exceptionally high biodiversity. This is also the case for Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

How lipids are flipped
A team of researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Bern has succeeded in determining the structure of a lipid flippase at high resolution, which has provided insight into how this membrane protein transports lipids by flipping.

US distributed solar prices fell 10 to 20 percent in 2014, with trends continuing into 2015
The installed price of distributed solar photovoltaic power systems in the United States continues to fall precipitously.

ESC Congress features packed press program
Journalists attending ESC Congress can expect a packed program, including-details with more than ten press conferences showcasing state-of-the art international research from across the field of cardiovascular disease.

Neurons' broken machinery piles up in ALS
NIH researchers have learned how a mutation in the gene for superoxide dismutase 1, which causes ALS, leads cells to accumulate damaged materials.

Gravel-camouflaged nests give threatened shorebirds a boost
When it comes to reproduction, not every individual equally pulls his or her weight.

Helping injured children walk, 1 step at a time
A University of Houston engineer has received funding to create a pediatric exoskeleton, designed to help children with spinal cord injuries and other mobility disorders walk.

CMU BrainHub engineers receive NSF grant to study neuron variability and motor learning
When we move, we rarely move in the exact same way twice.

Rett Syndrome Association of Massachusetts and continue their partnership
The Rett Syndrome Association of Massachusetts and announce today their renewed commitment to work together to defeat Rett syndrome.

NASA sees heavy rain in Hurricane Hilda, south of Hawaii
Hurricane Hilda has been on a weakening trend and by Aug.

Color changing sand fleas flummox predatory birds
Sand fleas have a remarkable ability to change color in order to match dramatically different backgrounds, according to a new study from the University of Exeter and the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department.

Value-added models focus of JSM 2015 panel discussion
Panelists talked about various aspects of value-added models, commonly referred to as VAMs, while the discussant posed a new question about the use of evaluation models during a panel discussion on the hot-button topic today at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle.

Pulmonary hypertension: A growing problem in US children
A review of 15 years' worth of data in a national pediatric medical database has documented a substantial increase in the rate of hospitalizations for children with a form of high blood pressure once most common in those with congenital heart disease.

Adult IQ of very premature babies can be predicted by the age of 2
Research from the University of Warwick indicates that the IQ of adults born very premature or of very low birth weight can be predicted when they are just a toddler.

PINK1 protein crucial for removing broken-down energy reactors
Scientists showed that a protein called PINK1 that is implicated in Parkinson's disease is critical for helping cells get rid of dysfunctional mitochondria.

Suomi NPP satellite sees Molave on the move
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite flew over Tropical Storm Molave as it was moving away from Japan.

Tell-tale biomarker detects early breast cancer in NIH-funded study
Researchers have shown that MRI can detect the earliest signs of breast cancer recurrence and fast-growing tumors.

Human and organizational factors influence software quality
A new doctoral dissertation by Frank Philip Seth at Lappeenranta University of Technology proposes that human factors involved in the software development processes will determine the quality of the products developed.

Rapid eye movements in sleep reset dream 'snapshots'
A new study from Tel Aviv University based on rare neuronal data offers the first scientific evidence of the link between rapid eye movement, dream images, and accelerated brain activity.

Average EU consumer wastes 16 percent of food; most of which could be avoided
A new study analyzing available statistics on consumer food waste has estimated that Europeans waste an average of 123 kg per capita annually, or 16 percent of all food reaching consumers.

Protons and antiprotons appear to be true mirror images
In a stringent test of a fundamental property of the standard model of particle physics, known as CPT symmetry, researchers from the RIKEN-led BASE collaboration at CERN have made the most precise measurements so far of the charge-to-mass ratio of protons and their antimatter counterparts, antiprotons.

Pancreas cancer spread from multiple types of wayward cells
Tumor cells associated with pancreatic cancer often behave like communities by working with each other to increase tumor spread and growth to different organs.

McMaster hematologist identifies different limb loss syndromes
Symmetric peripheral gangrene and venous limb gangrene are identified and a rational approach to treating these conditions explored.

Best interest of the child: Improving health, well-being of low resource country orphans
Researchers from Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University, Brown University, University of Toronto, and Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya are building upon their landmark study of Kenyan orphans which found that those living in orphanages were healthier, both physically and mentally, than those living with extended family members.

Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy linked with liver cancer
In a new study of more than 125,000 pregnant women in Sweden, researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy found that the risk of hepatobiliary cancer and immune-mediated and cardiovascular diseases later in life is higher in women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy than in women without this condition.

Fetal ECG during labor offers no advantage over conventional fetal heart rate monitoring
A recent study found that fetal electrocardiogram ST segment analysis, or STAN, which is largely used in Europe to measure fetal heart activity, does not improve outcomes during labor and delivery or decrease cesarean deliveries compared with conventional fetal heart rate monitoring.

Study links cardiorespiratory fitness, thinner gray matter and better math skills in kids
A new study in the journal PLOS ONE reveals that 9- and 10-year-old children who are aerobically fit tend to have significantly thinner gray matter and do better on math tests than their 'lower-fit' peers.

Postmenopausal women prefer vaginal estrogen to achieve higher sexual quality of life
Local vaginal estrogen appears to have escaped the shroud of doubt cast upon hormone therapy as a result of the Women's Health Initiative Study by providing numerous medical benefits without systemic effects.

Want your company to remain innovative? Think twice before going public
New companies are often successful because they are innovative. In search of new capital, these companies often go public.

Pelvic pain may be common among reproductive-age women, NIH study finds
A high proportion of reproductive-age women may be experiencing pelvic pain that goes untreated, according to a study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City.

Antidepressant drug trials criteria not generalizable
Mark Zimmerman, M.D., a clinical researcher at Rhode Island Hospital, and his team analyzed the criteria used in antidepressant efficacy studies and learned that the inclusion/exclusion criteria for AETs have narrowed over the past five years so that the most patients are excluded.

Significant breath from streams and rivers
Running streams are key sources of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, but why is it so?

This week from AGU: Natural arches, Italian earthquake, Canadian rivers & research papers
Natural arches hum their health and scientists are listening For the first time, scientists have found a way to detect if the breathtaking natural arches of Utah's Canyonlands and Arches national parks are suffering from internal damage that could lead to their collapse, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters.

Computer scientists find mass extinctions can accelerate evolution
Computer scientists have found that robots evolve more quickly and efficiently after a virtual mass extinction modeled after real-life disasters such as the one that killed off the dinosaurs.

Children who are leaner report eating more polyunsaturated fatty acids
Children who report eating more polyunsaturated fatty acids, found in tree nuts, seeds and fatty fish, and consume a higher ratio of PUFA: saturated fatty acids, were found to be leaner, have less body fat and less abdominal adiposity.

Toxic blue-green algae pose increasing threat to nation's drinking, recreational water
Blooms of toxic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are a poorly monitored and underappreciated risk to recreational and drinking water quality in the United States, and may increasingly pose a global health threat.

GSA pleased to be a founding member of Plant Science Research Network
The Genetics Society of America is pleased to be a founding member of the Plant Science Research Network, which was launched this week.

Genetic analysis supports elevating Cape Parrot to new species
In support of previous research, the Cape Parrot should be elevated to the species level.

Overreliance on imagination may be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder
Confusing reality with imagination and losing contact with reality are two key characteristics that could play a role in the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Fetal ECG readings offer no advantage over heart rate monitoring during labor
A new technology that tracks the electrical activity of the fetal heart offers no advantages over conventional technology in preventing birth complications, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health.

Quantum computing advance locates neutral atoms
For any computer, being able to manipulate information is essential, but for quantum computing, singling out one data location without influencing any of the surrounding locations is difficult.

Unique behaviors of larger Pacific striped octopus observed in captivity
Unique behaviors like beak-to-beak mating, den co-occupancy by a mating pair, extended spawning, and unique prey-capture were observed in captive larger Pacific striped octopus.

Fireflies predict network loyalty
Online social networking generates vast quantities of data that might be useful to the service providers, advertising agencies, and even the users themselves.

UTHealth research: Older breast cancer patients less likely to benefit from chemo
Chemotherapy prolongs life for older adults with most types of cancer, but for women over the age of 80 with breast cancer, the chances of survival due to chemotherapy are significantly lower, according to a study led by researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Study links insulin resistance with language problems in women
New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) shows that insulin resistance -- one of the hallmarks of type 2 diabetes -- is associated with language problems (a lack of verbal fluency) in women, a sign of cognitive decline associated with dementia.

Searching the Internet inflates estimates of internal knowledge
Actively searching the Internet inflates our sense of the knowledge we actually possess because we fail to recognize the extent to which we rely on external sources for information.

Octopus genome reveals cephalopod secrets
Researchers from UC Berkeley, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and University of Chicago sequenced and annotated the first cephalopod genome, the California two-spot octopus.

Newly discovered brain network recognizes what's new, what's familiar
New research from Washington University in St. Louis has identified a novel learning and memory brain network that processes incoming information based on whether it's something we've experienced previously or is deemed to be altogether new and unknown, helping us recognize, for instance, whether the face before us is that of a familiar friend or a complete stranger.

Scent matters to fur seals
Researchers studying Antarctic fur seals have discovered their scent has a unique 'profile' which enables them to recognize their offspring.

New study confirms listening to music during surgery reduces pain and anxiety
Scientists have proved that listening to music before, during and after surgery reduces people's pain, anxiety and need for painkillers -- according to the most comprehensive review of available evidence so far, published today in The Lancet.

Scientists uncover a difference between the sexes
Many brain disorders vary between the sexes, but how biology and culture contribute to these differences has been unclear.

Health care innovation isn't about smart phone apps, Penn Medicine researchers say
Health care has much to learn from innovative high-tech companies, but not in the way most people think, according to a Perspective published today in the New England Journal of Medicine and authored by innovation experts from the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Concern over claims about how technology affects young brains
Claims by Susan Greenfield, a senior research fellow at Lincoln College Oxford, that intense use of the internet and computer games can harm the adolescent brain are not backed by current scientific evidence, warn experts in The BMJ this week. 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