Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 03, 2015
Making nanowires from protein and DNA
Using computational and experimental methods, researchers at Caltech have developed a technique for creating so-called protein-DNA nanowires -- a hybrid biomaterial that could have important applications.

Growing up on a farm provides protection against asthma and allergies
Researchers at VIB, a leading life sciences institute in Flanders, Belgium, and Ghent University have successfully established a causal relationship between exposure to so-called farm dust and protection against asthma and allergies.

Mutation protects plants against harmful explosive, TNT
Researchers have identified a mutation in plants that allows them to break down TNT, an explosive that has become highly prevalent in soil in the last century, particularly at manufacturing waste sites, mines, and military conflict zones.

Newcastle University stem cell spin-out secures investment
Life-science start-up Newcells Biotech Ltd has successfully secured seed investment to build a provision of products and services using stem cells for drug discovery and development targeting pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic customers.

NASA's Aqua Satellite sees Typhoon Kilo headed west
Typhoon Kilo is the westernmost tropical cyclone of a four storms in the Pacific Ocean basin on September 4.

Loyola surgeon honored with prestigious lectureship in his name
An annual lectureship in surgical oncology has been established in the name of Gerard V.

'Littlest' quark-gluon plasma revealed by physicists using Large Hadron Collider
Researchers at the University of Kansas at the Large Hadron Collider have helped to produce quark-gluon plasma -- a state of matter thought to have existed right at the birth of the universe -- with fewer particles than previously thought possible.

Rapid testing for TB aims to reduce drug resistance, lower mortality rate
Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have documented the accuracy of three new tests for more rapidly diagnosing drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis, which are much harder and more expensive to treat and which, experts say, represent a major threat to global public health.

New strategy to lower blood sugar may help in diabetes treatment
Working in mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

A switch for health heart muscle
CRG researchers have discovered a protein, called Mel18, that regulates the development of heart muscle.

Health risks of saturated fats aggravated by immune response
High levels of saturated fat in the blood could make an individual more prone to inflammation and tissue damage, a new study suggests.

Caring for people with dementia -- a new Australian-first guide on respite care
It's Dementia Awareness Month in Australia and World Alzheimer's Day on Sept.

Historical data hold secrets of 1 of UK's favorite fish
UK fisheries survey logbooks from the 1930s to 1950s have been digitized for the first time, revealing how cod responded to changing temperatures in the last century.

New role for an old protein: Cancer causer
A protein known to play a role in transporting the molecular contents of normal cells into and out of various intracellular compartments can also turn such cells cancerous by stimulating a key growth-control pathway.

NASA's Aqua Satellite sees Ignacio in a trio across the Pacific
The tropical trio of tropical cyclones continued on September 3 when NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Pacific Ocean.

Targeting newly discovered pathway sensitizes tumors to radiation and chemotherapy
In some patients, aggressive cancers can become resistant to chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Major grant for Manchester graphene research
The University of Manchester has been awarded a £3m research grant to develop breakthrough applications for two-dimensional materials.

Targeting glucose production in liver may lead to new diabetes therapies
A new University of Iowa study shows that a biological checkpoint known as the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier is critical for controlling glucose production in the liver and could potentially be a new target for drugs to treat diabetes.

Immune cells take cue from animal kingdom: Together, everyone achieves more
Much like birds fly in flocks to conserve energy and ants create complex nests to protect their queens, immune cells engage in coordinated behavior to wipe out viruses like the flu.

IU scientists use Instagram data to forecast top models at New York Fashion Week
Researchers at Indiana University have predicted the popularity of new faces to the world of fashion modeling with over 80 percent accuracy using advanced computational methods and data from Instagram.

Study shows how investments reflected shift in environmental views
This study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, is the first to use financial investors' actions, rather than self-reported opinions, to investigate the trans-Atlantic difference in public opinion on climate change and the environment.

Penn study identifies viral product that promotes immune defense against RSV
Research led by University of Pennsylvania's Carolina López found a viral product that promotes a strong immune response against respiratory syncytial virus, a threat to infants and the elderly.

Increased odds for type 2 diabetes after prenatal exposure to Ukraine famine of 1932-33
Men and women exposed in early gestation to the man-made Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 in regions with extreme food shortages were 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

Back to school and back to sleep
A new study from Concordia University shows that poor sleep might explain how stress impacts health in kids.

Laughter, then love: Study explores why humor is important in romantic attraction
Research from the University of Kansas found the when two strangers meet, the more times a man tries to be funny and the more a woman laughs at those attempts, the more likely the woman is interested in the man.

New model of cognitive flexibility gives insight into autism spectrum disorder
In a new paper published in the journal Trends in Neurosciences, University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences researchers clarify many of the concepts surrounding cognitive flexibility and propose a model of its underlying neural mechanisms.

New findings move flexible lighting technology toward commercial feasibility
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology holds promise for developing residential and commercial lighting options with greatly enhanced levels of flexibility as well as environmental, health, and cost benefits -- but challenges remain.

The Alaska fire season -- before and after
The 2015 Alaska fire season has been particularly brutal this year.

Cotton and fiber symposium announced
The impact of climate change and need for genetic diversity is important to a $25 billion US industry.

Long-sought chiral anomaly detected in crystalline material
A study by Princeton researchers presents evidence for a long-sought phenomenon -- first theorized in the 1960s and predicted to be found in crystals in 1983 -- called the 'chiral anomaly' in a metallic compound of sodium and bismuth.

Family tree for orchids explains their astonishing variability
Orchids, a fantastically complicated and diverse group of flowering plants, have long blended the exotic with the beautiful.

Rainforest cowboys
A UCSB anthropologist explores cattle raising in the Amazon and the tensions between conservation and development.

Pursuit of happiness leads to a $2.1 million grant award for University of South Carolina, Chicago
A pair of philosophy researchers from the University of South Carolina and the University of Chicago has been awarded a $2.1 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to study the connections between virtue, happiness and the meaning of human life and society.

Marine species on the move
An NCEAS study predicts that climate change will cause significant reshuffling of marine biodiversity.

Acupuncture reduces hot flashes in breast cancer survivors
Acupuncture may be a viable treatment for women experiencing hot flashes as a result of estrogen-targeting therapies to treat breast cancer, according to a new study.

NASA's RapidScat sees winds increase in Tropical Storm Kevin
NASA's RapidScat instrument observed tropical storm-force winds in the Eastern Pacific Ocean's Tropical Depression 14E or TD14E that helped forecasters see it was strengthening.

Huddling rats behave as a 'super-organism'
Rodents huddle together when it is cold, they separate when it is warm, and at moderate temperatures they cycle between the warm center and the cold edges of the group.

Greedy kestrel provides first proof of bird breeding in Ancient Egypt
3D imaging of a mummified kestrel that died due to forced overeating provides evidence that the ancient Egyptians bred birds of prey as offerings for the gods, according to a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Study finds increased risk of MGUS in Vietnam Vets exposed to Agent Orange
A study that used stored blood samples from US Air Force personnel who conducted aerial herbicide spray missions of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war found a more than two-fold increased risk of the precursor to multiple myeloma known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), according to an article published online by JAMA Oncology.

Do antipsychotic medications affect cortical thinning?
People diagnosed with schizophrenia critically rely upon treatment with antipsychotic medications to manage their symptoms and help them function at home and in the workplace.

Beyond species counts: Using evolutionary history to inform conservation
With limited funding available, a common strategy for conservation planners is to identify areas of high species richness and endemicity, but this approach ignores evolutionary history and so may overlook important regions for conservation.

Using stellar 'twins' to reach the outer limits of the galaxy
A new method of measuring the distances between stars enables astronomers to climb the 'cosmic ladder' and understand the processes at work in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

NASA shows upper-level westerly winds affecting Tropical Storm Fred
Upper-level westerly winds have been affecting Tropical Storm Fred in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean and continue to do so today, September 3.

'Democratic peace' may not prevent international conflict
Using a new technique to analyze 52 years of international conflict, researchers suggest that there may be no such thing as a 'democratic peace.'

SA fossil is the long-awaited link to the evolution of turtles
The study finds that the skull of Eunotosaurus has a pair of openings set behind the eyes that allowed the jaw muscles to lengthen and flex during chewing.

Interdisciplinary research at Louisiana Tech University leading to new UAV technologies
Faculty from a number of academic disciplines at Louisiana Tech University are working together to develop new and innovative technologies in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that could impact industries from public safety to forestry to oil and gas exploration.

Ice sheets may be more resilient than thought, say Stanford scientists
Stanford study suggests that today's ice sheets may be more resilient to increased carbon dioxide levels than previously thought.

Team decodes structure of protein complex active in DNA repair
The multifunctional ubiquitin tweaks the activity of newly made proteins, which can influence DNA damage repair via BRCA1 and anti-inflammatory responses.

Hubble survey unlocks clues to star birth in neighboring galaxy
In a survey of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope images of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighboring Andromeda galaxy, astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass.

Fighting explosives pollution with plants
Biologists at the University of York have taken an important step in making it possible to clean millions of hectares of land contaminated by explosives.

The OICR and SGC develop and give away new drug-like molecule to help crowd-source cancer research
Researchers from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto have developed a new drug prototype called OICR-9429 and made it freely available to the research community.

Girls and boys with autism differ in behavior, brain structure
A study of about 800 children with autism found gender differences in a core feature of the disorder, as well as in the youngsters' brain structures.

UNH research: Crop rotation boosts soil microbes, benefits plant growth
In the first study of its kind, new research from the University of New Hampshire shows that crop rotations, in isolation from other management factors, can increase the functions performed by soil microbial communities that benefit plant growth.

Clues from ancient Maya reveal lasting impact on environment
Evidence from the tropical lowlands of Central America reveals how Maya activity more than 2,000 years ago not only contributed to the decline of their environment but continues to influence today's environmental conditions, according to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

Babies benefit from parenting classes even before birth
A brief series of classes to help first-time parents better support each other through the often stressful transition to parenthood has a positive effect on birth outcomes as well, according to health researchers.

Surgery achieves better long-term control of type 2 diabetes than standard therapy
Metabolic or bariatric surgery may be more effective than standard medical treatments for the long-term control of type 2 diabetes in obese patients, according to a new study by King's College London and the Universita Cattolica in Rome, Italy.

Novel genes found in inflammatory bowel disease under Age 5
Researchers analyzing the complicated genetic influences in inflammatory bowel disease have discovered new gene variants associated with an often-severe type of the disease that affects children under age five.

Finding a way forward in the fight against prion disease
A University of Alberta study has found bile acids may prolong survival in models of prion disease.

Image-tracking technology helps scientists study nature v. nurture in neural stem cells
One of the longstanding debates in science, that has, perhaps unsurprisingly, permeated into the field of stem cell research, is the question of nature versus nurture influencing development.

Aspirin could hold the key to supercharged cancer immunotherapy
Giving cancer patients aspirin at the same time as immunotherapy could dramatically boost the effectiveness of the treatment, according to new research published in the journal Cell.

Microscopic animals inspire innovative glass research
When Juan de Pablo and his collaborators set about to explain unusual peaks in what should have been featureless optical data, they thought there was a problem in their calculations.

In analyzing a scene, we make the easiest judgments first
Psychologists have hypothesized that when we try to understand the scenery we see, we begin by assessing some preordained priorities.

NSF awards maximum support to Iowa State-based Center for Biorenewable Chemicals
The National Science Foundation has awarded full and final funding to the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals based at Iowa State.

Self-sweeping laser could dramatically shrink 3-D mapping systems
UC Berkeley researchers are using light to move mirrors, a novel concept to automate the way a light source changes its wavelength as it sweeps the surrounding landscape.

Fontem Ventures announces research alliance with IONICON Analytik GmbH, Austria
Fontem Ventures, parent company of blu, a leading e-cigarette brand in the United States and the United Kingdom, today announced it is partnering with IONICON Analytik GmbH to conduct pioneering research into e-cigarette aerosols.

Shared habitats
The gut is an important reservoir for drug-resistant bacteria responsible for life-threatening hospital-acquired infections.

Multi-million pound project to use nanotechnology to improve safety
The University of Southampton has been awarded a multi-million grant from Lloyd's Register Foundation to find new ways of using nanotechnologies to improve safety at sea, on land and in the air.

New mechanism discovered behind infant epilepsy
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden have discovered a new explanation for severe early infant epilepsy.

California rising
Spatially corrected sea-level records for the Pacific coast indicate that uplift rates are overestimated by 40 percent.

Metallic gels produce tunable light emission
Tunable luminescent gels could find use in chemical, biological detectors.

Unraveling the Web
We call them 'hunches,' 'snap judgments' and 'gut feelings,' these notions we're barely conscious of that can nevertheless inform countless decisions we make each day.

Attorneys in civil courts make bigger impact working the system than knowing the law
Civil courts are where many people meet the legal system.

Not on my watch: Chimp swats film crew's drone
Cool. Calm. And oh, so calculated. That's how a chimpanzee living in the Royal Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands set out to swat an aerial drone that was filming her group.

Study shows that teens lose sleep after change to daylight saving time
A new study shows that high school students lose sleep on school nights following the change to daylight saving time that occurs in March.

How dusty or dairy farm air protect against allergies
Regular exposure to bacteria particles and farm dust protects children from allergies because it blunts their inflammatory immune responses, a new mouse study suggests.

Four fairies watch over Sleeping Beauty
Seed germination is a crucial step in the life cycle of a plant.

Genetic factors drive roles of gut bacteria in diabetes and obesity
Researchers at Joslin found that one strain of mice which were genetically prone to become obese became resistant to excess weight gain after their populations of gut microbiota were transformed simply by an sharing an environment with other mice.

Customizing 3-D printing
Researchers at MIT and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel have designed a new system that automatically turns CAD files into visual models that users can modify in real time, simply by moving virtual sliders on a Web page.

Arabs or Jews, children who need pain relief in the ER get it
Children with broken bones or joint dislocations in northern Israel emergency departments received equal pain treatment, regardless of their ethnicity or the ethnicity of the nurses who treated them, even during a period of armed conflict between the two ethnic groups.

Elsevier's reviewer recognition platform expands its functionality
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has announced that its Reviewer Recognition platform has launched a new functionality which enables reviewers to list their entire review history, including their reviews for non-Elsevier journals, in one place online.

UOG team improves understanding of Guam plant's pollination syndrome
Laboratory tests confirm wind-borne cycad pollen grains travel long distances.

Study reveals the genetic start-up of a human embryo
An international team of scientists led from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet has for the first time mapped all the genes that are activated in the first few days of a fertilized human egg.

Free e-book offers tips for reducing breast cancer risk
A free e-book, 'Together - Every Woman's Guide to Preventing Breast Cancer' aims to help women improve their breast health and the breast health of their loved ones.

X-rays reveal fossil secrets
A sophisticated imaging technique has allowed scientists to virtually peer inside a 10-million-year-old sea urchin, uncovering a treasure trove of hidden fossils.

New robot has crown-of-thorns starfish in its sights
QUT roboticists have developed the world's first robot designed to seek out and control the Great Barrier Reef's crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), which are responsible for an estimated 40 per cent of the reef's total decline in coral cover.

Before nature selects, gene networks steer a course for evolution
Natural selection is a race to reproduce, a competition between individuals with varying traits that helps direct evolution.

D.C. needle exchange program prevented 120 new cases of HIV in 2 years
The District of Columbia's needle exchange program prevented 120 new cases of HIV infection and saved an estimated $44 million over just a two-year period, according to a first-of-a-kind study published today by researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

How to curb emissions? Put a price on carbon
Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions.

Potential of disk-shaped small structures, coccoliths
Researchers at Hiroshima University and the University of Tsukuba showed that coccolith disks made of calcium carbonate in Emiliania huxleyi, one of the promising biomass resources, potentially perform roles in reducing and enhancing the light that enters the cell by light scattering.

Emotional behavior altered after multiple exposures to anesthesia during infancy
Repeated exposure to anesthesia early in life causes alterations in emotional behavior that may persist long-term, according to a study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in collaboration with the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists®.

Scientists win up to $10 million to complete preclinical trials for new migraine treatment
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have received a grant of nearly $4.5 million -- with the possibility of up to $10 million including outsourced studies -- from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to complete preclinical studies on a new anti-migraine drug candidate.

Extra hour of screen time per day associated with poorer GCSE grades
An extra hour per day spent watching TV, using the internet or playing computer games during Year 10 is associated with poorer grades at GCSE at age 16 -- the equivalent of the difference between two grades -- according to research from the University of Cambridge.

Drug for fungal infections in lung transplant recipients increases risk for cancer, death
Voriconazole, a prescription drug commonly used to treat fungal infections in lung transplant recipients, significantly increases the risk for skin cancer and even death, according to a new study by UCSF researchers.

Variations in cell programs control cancer and normal stem cells
In the breast, cancer stem cells and normal stem cells can arise from different cell types and tap into distinct yet related stem cell programs, according to Whitehead Institute researchers.

Magnetic wormhole connecting 2 regions of space created for the first time
Scientists in the Department of Physics at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have designed and created in the laboratory the first experimental wormhole that can connect two regions of space magnetically.

Why aren't there more lions?
McGill researchers have discovered a surprising consistency in the relation of predators to prey in a variety of ecosystems.

Innovative visualization technology to help strengthen climate change action
Data scientists at the University of Warwick are starting a new project using innovative visualization techniques, which they believe could transform how evidence is used to inform climate change adaptation initiatives.

The BMJ reveals 'unethical' targets in India's private hospitals
Many doctors working in India's private hospitals are under pressure to carry out unnecessary tests and procedures to meet revenue targets, according to The BMJ this week.

Predator-prey pattern consistent across diverse ecosystems
Ecological communities around the world are richly varied, but a new study finds that many of these diverse communities follow an unexpected, yet consistent pattern: where prey are abundant, there are not proportionally more predators.

One step closer to cheaper antivenom
Researchers involved in an international collaboration across six institutions, including the University of Copenhagen and the National Aquarium of Denmark (Den Blå Planet), have successfully identified the exact composition of sea snake venom, which makes the future development of synthetic antivenoms more realistic.

Special edition: Science in Iran
A special news edition, Science in Iran, looks closely at the scientific challenges and triumphs of a country that has faced international isolation in recent years.

NASA's GPM sees Hurricane Jimena's eroding eyewall
Hurricane Jimena, a once powerful Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds estimated at 140 mph by the National Hurricane Center, has continued to weaken well east of Hawaii.

Pollution dispersion in cities improved by trees, research shows
University of Leicester researchers show how trees benefit pedestrians in city environments.

Making the easiest judgments first
Evidence from a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology by researchers from Brown University and led by Assistant Professor Thomas Serre suggests that when we analyze scenery we simply make the easiest judgments first, rather than following a priority order of categories.

The science of stereotyping: Challenging the validity of 'gaydar'
'Gaydar' -- the purported ability to infer whether people are gay or straight based on their appearance -- seemed to get a scientific boost from a 2008 study that concluded people could accurately guess someone's sexual orientation based on photographs of their faces.

MD Anderson and Cellectis announce pre-clinical and clinical alliance in cancer immunotherapy
Cellectis, the gene editing company employing proprietary technologies to develop best-in-class CAR T-cell products in adoptive immunotherapy for cancer, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have entered into a research and development alliance aimed at bringing novel cellular immunotherapies to patients suffering from different types of liquid tumors.

U of G ecologists wondering where the lions -- and other top predators -- are
Researchers found that relative amounts of predator and prey biomass in diverse ecosystems around the globe are 'remarkably well-predicted by a simple mathematical function called a power scaling law,' said a U of Guelph professor.

How kidney injury during combat affects the long-term health of today's soldiers
Among 51 military service members who experienced severe acute kidney injury during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 88 percent of the injuries were due to blasts or projectiles.

Could more intensive farming practices benefit tropical birds?
Does it help when farms share the land with birds and other animals?
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