Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 20, 2015
The human genome: A complex orchestra
A team of Swiss geneticists from the University of Geneva, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and the University of Lausanne discovered that genetic variation has the potential to affect the state of the genome at many, seemingly separated, positions and thus modulate gene activity, much like a conductor directing the performers of a musical ensemble to play in harmony.

Warming climate is deepening California drought
A new study says that global warming has measurably worsened the ongoing California drought.

Accelerating forage breeding to boost livestock productivity
The Genome Analysis Centre, with partners in the UK, Colombia and Kenya bring together their leading expertise in forage breeding for animal nutrition, cutting-edge genomics and phenomics technologies to accelerate the improvement of Brachiaria, a vital livestock feed crop in central Africa and Latin America.

UCLA physicist tests theories of dark energy by mimicking the vacuum of space
Besides the atoms that make up our bodies and all of the objects we encounter, the universe contains mysterious dark matter and dark energy.

Piece of protein may hold key to how the mammalian brain evolved
Toronto researchers have discovered that a single molecular event in our cells could hold the key to how we evolved to become the smartest animal on the planet.

Harvard's Wyss Institute improves its sepsis therapeutic device
As published in Biomaterials, a Wyss Institute team lead by Founding Director Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. has developed an improved spleen-mimicking device that synergizes with conventional antibiotic therapies and that has been streamlined for near-term translation to the clinic.

Study documents extent of unexpected sexual consequences for young women who drink alcohol
In-depth interviews conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine of 20 young women attending an urban sexually transmitted disease clinic have documented a variety of unexpected, unintended sexual encounters linked to their alcohol use before sex occurs.

Study finds association between people who have had a traumatic brain injury and ADHD
A new study has found a 'significant association' between adults who have suffered a traumatic brain injury at some point in their lives and who also have attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

Common electricity market needs more transmission networks
Insufficient transmission network capacity reduces equalization of wholesale prices in the Nordic electricity market.

Eating 'on the go' could lead to weight gain, new research finds
In a new study published today in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers from the University of Surrey have found dieters who eat 'on the go' may increase their food intake later in the day which could lead to weight gain and obesity.

Spouses of stroke survivors face lingering health issues
Caregiver spouses of stroke survivors are at an increased risk of mental and physical health issues that may continue for years after stroke.

Grape waste could make competitive biofuel
The solid waste left over from wine-making could make a competitive biofuel, University of Adelaide researchers have found.

Is hospice use alone a good indicator of quality of end-of-life care?
Hospice use is commonly accepted as an indicator of quality of end-of-life care, however, when researchers in the US studied variations in patterns of hospice use between states, they found troubling trends.

New arena of power generation set in motion with MOU
Sandia National Laboratories and eight other companies and research organizations will collaborate to advance a distributed power system that can produce cleaner, more efficient electricity.

Extracorporeal life support is 'bridge-to-life' for patients with sudden onset cardiogenic shock
A report from researchers in Padua, Italy finds that patients who have an acute onset of cardiogenic shock, for example following a heart attack, and are placed on extracorporeal life support, fare better than those who have a chronic cardiac pathology.

People with psychopathic traits are less likely to 'catch' a yawn than empathetic folks
People with psychopathic characteristics are less likely to be affected by 'contagious yawning' than those who are empathetic, according to a Baylor University psychology study.

Caught in a complex web
Food webs are incredibly complex networks of interactions between organisms and the things they eat.

Two proteins work together to help cells eliminate trash and Parkinson's may result
Two proteins that share the ability to help cells deal with their trash appear to need each other to do their jobs and when they don't connect, it appears to contribute to development of Parkinson's disease, scientists report.

St. Jude achieves Magnet Designation for nursing services
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has received designated Magnet status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

GW Center launches online tool to advance programs for children's health, resilience & academics
A new online resource from the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools will help school administrators, program directors, civic leaders, and others sustain programs that prepare children for academic success while promoting their social, emotional, and physical health.

No short cuts -- innovation work is about presence and ordinary labor
Successful innovation work requires that workers and leaders be present and involved in everyday practices.

Bacteria evolve differences within the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis
Treatments for the same opportunistic bacteria found in cystic fibrosis patients can work in one area in the lung and be less effective in others.

Brain waves behind indecisiveness
Some people find it difficult to make decisions. In a new study, neuroeconomists from the University of Zurich now reveal that the intensity of the communication between different regions of the brain dictates whether we are indecisive or not.

Study finds e-cigarette use linked to cough reflex sensitivity
The popularity of electronic cigarettes has steadily increased worldwide, but little is known about their effects on health.

Laser-burned graphene gains metallic powers
Rice University chemists embed metallic nanoparticles into laser-induced graphene, turning it into a useful catalyst for fuel cell and other applications.

Multiple strains of C. difficile cause severe patient outcomes
No single genetic strain of the widespread Clostridium difficile (C.

RI Hospital researchers: US hospitals flout CDC recommendations that prevent infections
According to a survey conducted by Rhode Island Hospital researchers, there is significant variability regarding how clinicians manage catheters placed in the arteries of patients in intensive care units.

Breastfeeding may expose infants to toxic chemicals
A widely used class of industrial chemicals linked with cancer and interference with immune function -- perfluorinated alkylate substances, or PFASs -- appears to build up in infants by 20-30 percent for each month they're breastfed, according to a new study co-authored by experts from Harvard T.H.

Virginia Tech researchers discover potential biomarker for pre-diabetes
Researchers made the connection by analyzing blood samples taken from 40 participants enrolled in the diaBEAT-it program, a long-term study run by the Fralin Translational Obesity Research Center.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center researchers publish landmark 'basket study'
Researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have announced results from the first published basket study, a new form of clinical trial design that explores responses to drugs based on the specific mutations in patients' tumors rather than where their cancer originated.

NASA's GPM Satellite analyzes Tropical Storm Danny's rain structure
Tropical Storm Danny became the fourth named storm of the season on Aug.

Without humans, the whole world could look like Serengeti
The fact that the greatest diversity of large mammals is found in Africa reflects past human activities -- and not climatic or other environmental constraints.

Lighting up cancer cells to identify low concentrations of diseased cells
Researchers in China have developed tiny nanocrystals that could be used in the next generation of medical imaging technologies to light up cancer cells.

Daycare doesn't lead to aggressive behavior in toddlers
Working parents often worry about sending their toddlers to daycare.

Special issue: Forest health
In this special issue, the editors of Science invite experts to provide closer looks at how natural and human-induced environmental changes are affecting forests around the world, from the luscious, diverse forests of the tropics, to the pristine, resilient boreal forests of the north.

Cartilage grown in lab implanted into man's knee
Doctors at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are testing a novel approach to repairing damaged cartilage in the knee.

Middle-aged drivers admit to using cellphones while driving, even with children in the car
A new study published in Journal of Transport & Health reveals that middle-aged drivers are at higher risk of crashes because they use their cellphone regularly while driving.

Anxiety in the workplace can lead to lower job performance
The effect of workplace anxiety on job performance is closely connected to the quality of relationships between employees, their bosses and their co-workers, according to a new study from the University of Toronto focusing on police officers.

New method of closing the incision during scoliosis surgery nearly eliminates infections
Patients with scoliosis who undergo surgery may be less likely to develop an infection or other complications after the procedure when a novel wound closure technique pioneered at NYU Langone Medical Center is utilized, according to a new study.

How long have primates been infected with viruses related to HIV?
Disease-causing viruses engage their hosts in ongoing arms races: positive selection for antiviral genes increases host fitness and survival, and viruses in turn select for mutations that counteract the antiviral host factors.

Altering daily light-dark cycles affects fertility in middle-aged female mice
The fertility cycle in mammalian females becomes more irregular during the transition to menopause.

A detector shines in search for dark matter
Results of the XENON100 experiment are a bright spot in the search for dark matter.

Humans as predators: An unsustainable appetite for adults and carnivores
Humans are just one of many predators in this world, but a new study highlights how their intense tendency to target and kill adult prey, as well as other carnivores, sets them distinctly apart from other predators.

TSRI scientists uncover surprising mechanism behind antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered that the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus develops resistance to the antibiotic arylomycin by 'switching on' a previously uncharacterized set of genes, explaining why antibiotic resistance rates in some bacteria are higher than in others.

Kessler researchers find ramelteon may be useful for sleep problems after TBI
Kessler researchers found preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of ramelteon for the treatment of sleep disturbances after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Electrospray solves longstanding problem in Langmuir-Blodgett assembly
By dispersing nanoparticles with an electrospray, Northwestern University professor Jiaxing Huang found a more efficient and safer way to use water-soluble solvents to create monolayer nanoparticle films.

Life in 3-D
Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg and Stanford University have shed new light on certain genetic variants can 'switch' on or off the regulatory elements which control the expression of genes and ultimately the manifestation of an individual's characteristics and disease predispositions.

Unique genes in Khoe-San people may lower risk of some pregnancy hazards
An unusual mutation in an immune system gene switches a receptor from one target molecule to another.

'Substantial' number of NHS hospital staff treat victims of human trafficking
A 'substantial' proportion of NHS hospital staff -- around one in eight, in some places -- treat the victims of people trafficking, with maternity services most likely to do so, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Disagreement among experts over bioweapons threat
Amid continued difficulties around assessing bioweapons threats, especially given limited empirical data, Crystal Boddie and colleagues took another route to gauge their danger: the collective judgment of multiple experts.

Regulatory, certification systems creating paralysis in use of genetically altered trees
Myriad regulations and certification requirements around the world are making it virtually impossible to use genetically engineered trees to combat catastrophic forest threats, according to a new policy analysis published this week in the journal Science.

NSU researcher receives up to $4.3 million for marine safety training
The Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill on April 20, 2010 was the largest disaster of its kind in history.

Neurobiologist receives Beckman Young Investigator award
Northwestern University neurobiologist Yevgenia Kozorovitskiy has been named a 2015 Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

New theory: If we want to detect dark matter we might need a different approach
Physicists suggest a new way to look for dark matter: They beleive that dark matter particles annihilate into so-called dark radiation when they collide.

Europe hit by 1 of the worst droughts since 2003
Much of the European continent has been affected by severe drought in June and July 2015, one of the worst since the drought and heat wave of summer of 2003, according to the latest report by the JRC's European Drought Observatory.

NASA's CloudSat slices into Super Typhoon Atsani
NASA's CloudSat Satellite passed over Super Typhoon Atsani as it moved through the western North Pacific Ocean.

PET imaging detects fast-growing prostate cancer
A molecular imaging biomarker is able to detect fast-growing primary prostate cancer and distinguish it from benign prostate lesions, addressing an unmet clinical need.

Ecologists roll a century's work on food-webs into a single model
In a paper released today in Science, a new model presents a common mathematical structure that underlies the full range of feeding strategies of plants and animals: from familiar parasites, predators, and scavengers to more obscure parasitic castrators and decomposers.

Maltreated children's brains show 'encouraging' ability to regulate emotions
A new study finds that given the right strategies, abused children have a surprising ability to regulate their emotions.

Cellphone data can track infectious diseases
Tracking mobile phone data is often associated with privacy issues, but these vast datasets could be the key to understanding how infectious diseases are spread seasonally, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More grasslands in Tibet could bring climate improvements
In the Arctic, enhanced vegetation growth amplifies global warming. On the Tibetan Plateau, however, the situation is the reverse.

ASA task force releases new book on climate change
Edited by Riley E. Dunlap and Robert J. Brulle, the forthcoming book, 'Climate Change and Society: Sociological Perspectives,' breaks new theoretical and empirical ground by presenting climate change as a thoroughly social phenomenon, embedded in behaviors, institutions, and cultural practices.

The Lancet Neurology: Experts claim number of people with dementia in some Western European countries could be stabilizing
In a Policy View published in The Lancet Neurology journal, a group of leading experts on the epidemiology of dementia state that the number of people with dementia -- both new cases and total numbers with the disease -- in some Western European countries is stabilizing despite population aging, in direct contrast to the 'dementia epidemic' reported in some recent studies.

Architecture of aquifers: Chile's Atacama Desert
The Loa River water system of northern Chile's Atacama Desert, in the Antofagasta region, exemplifies the high stakes involved in sustainable management of scarce water resources.

Long distance travelers likely contributing to antibiotic resistance's spread
Swedish exchange students who studied in India and in central Africa returned from their sojourns with an increased diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in their gut microbiomes.

Report shows uninsured Texans are twice as likely to delay seeking primary care, mental health care
Texans without health insurance are twice as likely to skip seeking primary and mental health care because of cost.

For trout fishermen, climate change will mean more driving time, less angling
When trying to explain the potential effects of climate change on plants, fish and wildlife, scientists usually resort to language that fails to convey the impact of warming.

S'no water in Sierra Nevadas
Changing climate conditions have caused dramatic changes in groundwater levels.

Experiment attempts to snare a dark energy 'chameleon'
Is dark energy hard to detect because it's hiding from us?

Study finds causal connection between genotypes and years of education achieved
A first-of-its-kind, nationally representative study of siblings finds that, within families, an adolescent with a higher 'polygenic score' -- which summarizes previously identified genome-wide associations for educational attainment -- than her or his sibling tended to go on to complete more years of schooling.

School vacations and humidity linked to multiple waves of influenza in Mexico during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic
Scientists studying the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic have found that the inconsistent regional timing of pandemic waves in Mexico was the result of interactions between school breaks and regional variations in humidity.

Scientists turn oily soil into fertile ground
Rice University scientists are cleaning soil contaminated by oil spills in a way that saves energy and reclaims the soil's fertility.

All together now: Group behavior in biomolecular systems
'Flocking' or 'swarming' behavior is omnipresent in the living world, observed in birds, fish, and even bacteria.

Antibodies in the blood provide clues to transplant recipients' likelihood of rejection
Among kidney transplant recipients, patients with mostly IgG3 donor-specific HLA antibodies had a higher likelihood of organ rejection soon after transplantation.

PharmaMar announces license agreement with STA for APLIDIN® (plitidepsin) in oncology
PharmaMar has entered into an exclusive license and commercialization agreement with the pharmaceutical company Specialised Therapeutics Australia Pty (STA) to market and distribute the drug candidate APLIDIN® (plitidepsin) in Australia and New Zealand.

GM -- 'the most critical technology' for feeding the world
A former adviser to the US Secretary of State says that genetic modification is the most critical technology in agriculture for meeting the challenges of feeding a growing global population, writing in the open access journal Agriculture & Food Security.

Engineered hot fat implants reduce weight gain in mice
UC Berkeley scientists have developed a novel way to engineer the growth and expansion of energy-burning 'good' fat, and then found that this fat helped reduce weight gain and lower blood glucose levels in mice.

TGen study finds genes associated with improved survival for pancreatic cancer patients
A study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute and other major research institutes, found a new set of genes that can indicate improved survival after surgery for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Carnegie Mellon-led team identifies structure of tumor-suppressing protein
An international group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University physicists Mathias Lösche and Frank Heinrich have established the structure of an important tumor suppressing protein, PTEN.

A new design for an easily fabricated, flexible and wearable white-light LED
Researchers from National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan have created highly flexible, efficient white LEDs with potential use in wearable displays and non-flat surfaces, such as curved and flexible television screens.

Robot technology to measure UK's marine wildlife
Working in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, the National Oceanography Centre has deployed a submarine glider and an Autonomous Surface Vehicle from Milford Haven, in Wales.

NASA sees Danny become the 2015 Atlantic season's first hurricane
NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Atlantic Ocean as Tropical Storm Danny intensified into the season's first hurricane.

FIC proteins send bacteria into hibernation
Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies.

Ductal carcinoma in situ carries a higher risk of death than previously thought
Women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) are twice as likely to die from breast cancer compared to the general US population, according to a new study led by Dr.

New data from Antarctic detector firms up cosmic neutrino sighting
Researchers using the IceCube Neutrino Observatory have sorted through the billions of subatomic particles that zip through its frozen cubic-kilometer-sized detector each year to gather powerful new evidence in support of 2013 observations confirming the existence of cosmic neutrinos.

Study shows what business leaders can learn from Formula One racing
Formula One racing teams may have a lesson to teach business leaders: Innovation can be overrated.

A paradigm shift in multidrug resistance
Using a Trojan horse strategy bacteria that respond to antibiotics in lab tests can become highly resistant in the body.

iPS cells discover drug target for muscle disease
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is disease that leads to the degeneration of muscle due to dysfunctional expression of the protein dystrophin.

Afatinib: Added benefit in certain mutations confirmed
In advanced non-small cell lung cancer, the new tyrosine-kinase inhibitor is more effective than combination chemotherapy in patients with certain mutations.

SLU researchers suggest approach to fight common virus in immunosuppressed patients
Findings by SLU researchers shed light on how adenovirus replicates in humans.

How newts can help osteoarthritis patients
Scientists at the University of York have taken a leaf out of nature's book in an attempt to develop effective stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis, a condition which affects millions of people in the UK alone.

Searching for ingredients of dark matter and dark energy
Two new reports advance efforts to identify components of dark matter and energy, which together comprise about 95 percent of the universe yet leave much to scientists' imaginations.

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP Satellite sees Typhoon Goni brush northeastern Philippines
Typhoon Goni appeared to be brushing Luzon, the northeastern Philippines in imagery from NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP Satellite on Aug.

Manchester team reveal new, stable 2-D materials
These 2-D crystals are capable of delivering designer materials with revolutionary new properties.

AGA proposes alternate pathway to recertification
Frustrated by a maintenance of certification process that doesn't improve patient care, the American Gastroenterological Association this week released a proposed alternate pathway to recertification that is based on established learning theory.

Women warriors at no greater risk for PTSD than men, study finds
While past research on the question has been mixed, a new study by Defense and VA researchers suggests that women in the military are at no greater risk than men for developing posttraumatic stress disorder, given similar experiences --including combat.

Pliable plant virus, a major cause of crop damage, yields its secrets after 75+ years
A hugely destructive plant virus so flexible that it has resisted efforts to describe its form since before World War II has finally surrendered its secrets.

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists
200 meticulously selected young researchers from over 50 nations gather in Heidelberg from Aug.

Fontem Ventures announces research alliance with Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Fontem Ventures, owner of market leading e-cigarette brand blu, announces research partnership with ETH Zurich to conduct study on exhaled e-cigarette aerosols.

Discovery of trigger for bugs' defenses could lead to new antibiotics
Bacteria react to stressful situations -- such as running out of nutrients, coming under attack from antibiotics or encountering a host body's immune system -- with a range of defense mechanisms.

The unique ecology of human predators
Research published today in the journal Science by a team led by Chris Darimont, professor of geography at the University of Victoria, reveals new insight behind widespread wildlife extinctions, shrinking fish sizes, and disruptions to global food chains.

'Memory region' of the brain also involved in conflict resolution
The hippocampus in the brain's temporal lobe is responsible for more than just long-term memory.

Study examines breast cancer mortality after ductal carcinoma in situ diagnosis
Researchers estimate the 20-year breast cancer-specific death rate for women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ to be 3.3 percent, although the death rate is higher for women diagnosed before age 35 and for black women, according to an article published online by JAMA Oncology.

Swiss researchers evaluate fetal progenitor tenocytes for repairing tendon injuries
Tendon injuries, not easily healed due to the fibrous nature of tendon tissues, often occur in wrists, knees, elbows and rotator cuffs resulting from over use when playing golf or tennis.

Home births save money, are safe, UBC study finds
Having a baby at home can save thousands of dollars over a hospital birth and is just as safe for low-risk births, according to a new UBC study.

Chapman University research on meat species shows mislabeling in commercial products
Researchers in Chapman University's Food Science Program have just published two separate studies on meat mislabeling in consumer commercial products.

Study provides hope for some human stem cell therapies
An international team of scientists headed by biologists at UC San Diego has discovered that an important class of stem cells known as human 'induced pluripotent stem cells,' or iPSCs, which are derived from an individual's own cells, can be differentiated into various types of functional cells with different fates of immune rejection.

Small, inexpensive, and incredibly resilient: A new femtosecond laser for industry
A team at the University of Warsaw, Faculty of Physics has created a laser capable of generating ultrashort pulses of light even under extremely difficult external conditions.

Boreal forests challenged by global change
Forest management must adapt in order to ensure that forests stay healthy in a time of unprecedented environmental change.

The next leap forward in energy storage
Editors Nancy J. Dudney, William C. West, and Jagjit Nanda have brought together a highly diverse and accomplished group of expert theorists and experimentalists in the field of solid-state batteries.

Nine risk factors may contribute to two-thirds of Alzheimer's cases worldwide
Nine potentially modifiable risk factors may contribute to up to two-thirds of Alzheimer's disease cases worldwide, suggests an analysis of the available evidence, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

There is lots of health data out there, how can it be used it to improve health care?
Regenstrief Institute investigators experienced in the use of data to improve health care and its delivery in resource constrained environments will introduce attendees at MedInfo 2015 to open source options for health information exchange and data analysis.

Patent expirations for blockbuster antipsychotic meds could save billions
Medicaid is expected to save billions of dollars a year as patents for several blockbuster antipsychotic medications expire and use of generic versions increases, according to new research.

Making hydrogen fuel from water and visible light highly efficient
Michigan Tech researchers have streamlined a method to improve the splitting water into hydrogen molecules using visible light.

UH Case Medical Center investigating adult stem cells for sports injuries
University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Dr. James Voos, Head Team Physician, The Cleveland Browns, outlined details about a pilot trial using mesenchymal stem cell therapies in patients and athletes at the MSC 2015 conference on Adult Stem Cell Therapy & Regenerative Medicine. 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