Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 16, 2015
Tiny silica particles could be used to repair damaged teeth, research shows
Researchers at the University of Birmingham have shown how the development of coated silica nanoparticles could be used in restorative treatment of sensitive teeth and preventing the onset of tooth decay.

Immune system may be pathway between nature and good health
Research has found evidence that spending time in nature provides protections against a startling range of diseases, including depression, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many more.

Study finds association between energy drinks and traumatic brain injury in teens
Teens who reported a traumatic brain injury in the past year were seven times more likely to have consumed at least five energy drinks in the past week than those without a history of TBI, according to a study published today in PLOS ONE.

California sage-grouse remain genetically diverse... for now
Genetic diversity is essential for a species to be able to adapt to environmental change, and when a population is divided into small, isolated fragments, that can spell trouble.

Novel competitors affect species' responses to climate change
As the climate warms, many plants face an uphill struggle for survival.

Undiagnosed Diseases Network launches online application portal
The Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN), an initiative of the National Institutes of Health, has opened an online patient application portal called the UDN Gateway.

Using ultrasound to clean medical instruments
Researchers from the University of Southampton have demonstrated how a pioneering ultrasonic device can significantly improve the cleaning of medical instruments and reduce contamination and risk of infection.

IRB Barcelona identifies the gene responsible for metastasis of breast cancer to the bone
Physicians currently have no tools to help them detect which breast cancer patients will suffer metastasis to the bone, a process that occurs in 15-20 percent of cases.

Targeted drug delivery with these nanoparticles can make medicines more effective
Nanoparticles disguised as human platelets could greatly enhance the healing power of drug treatments for cardiovascular disease and systemic bacterial infections.

New oral drug effective treatment for ulcerative colitis, researchers say
A novel, one-step method to treat ulcerative colitis with an oral drug consisting of microparticles and natural herbal molecules that target the colon shows promise as an effective therapy, according to researchers from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University and Southwest University in China.

China's protection of giant pandas good for other species too
China has invested substantially in nature reserves to protect giant pandas in the wild.

Cornell nanotech facility receives $8 million NSF grant
The National Science Foundation has selected the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility to be part of the newly established National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure.

Bolivian biodiversity observatory takes its first steps
EcoHealth Alliance, an environmental health nonprofit organization that focuses on local conservation and global health issues, announced the creation of the first centralized repository to collect data on the biological diversity in Bolivia.

Researchers isolate possible ovarian cancer biomarkers
Researchers from North Carolina State University utilized a highly sensitive mass spectrometry analysis to identify and measure difficult-to-detect N-glycan biomarkers associated with ovarian cancers in stages I-IV.

UF Health researchers find some evidence of link between stress, Alzheimer's disease
University of Florida Health researchers have uncovered more evidence of a link between the brain's stress response and a protein related to Alzheimer's disease.

Hearts build new muscle with this simple protein patch
An international team of researchers has identified a protein that helps heart muscle cells regenerate after a heart attack.

Scientists create immunity to deadly parasite by manipulating host's genes
Researchers have silenced genes within human cells to induce immunity to the parasite E. histolytica, demonstrating the effectiveness of an entirely new approach to protecting people from infectious diseases.

What happens on the molecular level when smog gets into the lungs?
Coughing. A sore throat. Maybe a pain in your chest as you take a deep breath.

UI Health validates cure for sickle cell in adults
Physicians at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System have cured 12 adult patients of sickle cell disease using a unique procedure for stem cell transplantation from healthy, tissue-matched siblings.

A quantum lab for everyone
A virtual laboratory allows, for the first time, to actively engage with topical quantum physics.

Penn team pinpoints immune changes in blood of melanoma patients on PD-1 drugs
A simple blood test can detect early markers of 'reinvigorated' T cells and track immune responses in metastatic melanoma patients after initial treatment with the anti-PD-1 drug pembrolizumab, researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania report in new research being presented at the inaugural CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference.

Ban on microbeads offers best chance to protect oceans, aquatic species
An outright ban on the common use of plastic 'microbeads' from products that enter wastewater is the best way to protect water quality, wildlife, and resources used by people, a group of conservation scientists suggest in a new analysis.

Pinpointing punishment
A new study explains how and why a brain region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex plays a key role in third party punishment, the type of decisions made by judges and juries.

Antibacterial soap no more effective than plain soap at reducing bacterial contamination
Scientists in Korea have discovered that using antibacterial soap when hand-washing is no more effective than using plain soap, according to a paper published today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Gene editing study reveals possible 'Achilles heel' of sickle cell disease
Researchers from Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, using CRISPR-based gene-editing tools, have found that changes to a small stretch of DNA may circumvent the genetic defect behind sickle cell disease (SCD).

BIDMC cardiology team receives $3 million NIH grant to identify microRNA biomarkers
A research team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has received a $3 million grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health to support ongoing work to identify microRNA biomarkers in patients with heart disease.

New approach to mammograms could improve reliability
Detecting breast cancer in women with dense mammary tissues could become more reliable with a new mammogram procedure that researchers have now tested in pre-clinical studies of mice.

A shy galactic neighbor
The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy, pictured in this new image from the Wide Field Imager camera, installed on the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory, is a close neighbor of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

HIV cure, better therapies subjects of $6.3 million in grants to Pitt vaccine scientist duo
A husband-wife team researching a cure for HIV/AIDS at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research recently received $6.3 million total in two grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Study suggests that patients with type 2 diabetes should be prioritized for obesity surgery
New research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology suggests that, when considering overall costs of healthcare, obese patients with type 2 diabetes, especially those with recent disease onset, should be prioritized for obesity surgery over those without type 2 diabetes, since many patients see a reversal of diabetes after surgery and thus need fewer expensive diabetes medications or treatment for complications in future.

Twin study suggests genetic factors contribute to insomnia in adults
A new study of twins suggests that insomnia in adults is partially explained by genetic factors, and this heritability is higher in females than in males.

Criminals acquire guns through social connections
Criminals are far more likely to acquire guns from family and acquaintances than by theft, according to new studies by researchers at Duke University and the University of Chicago.

Synthetic biology needs robust safety mechanisms before real world application
Targeted cancer treatments, toxicity sensors and living factories: synthetic biology has the potential to revolutionize science and medicine.

Choice of college major influences lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree
A new study based on longitudinal data confirms a college degree provides an advantage in lifetimes earnings, but a related decision once students make it to college could prove to be even more crucial as STEM majors earn roughly $700,000 more over 40 years than social science or humanities majors.

Fairbanks to host international Arctic science leaders
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has been selected to host the largest international meeting of Arctic science and policy leaders in the world in 2016.

E-cigarettes: Special issue from Nicotine & Tobacco Research
Today, Nicotine & Tobacco Research publishes a special issue on e-cigarettes which includes twelve original investigations, one brief report, and three letters.

Scripps Research Institute receives $5.65 million gift from philanthropist Helen Dorris
The Scripps Research Institute announced today that it has received a $5.65 million gift from Helen Dorris, a San Diego mental health advocate and founder of TSRI's Dorris Neuroscience Center.

Alzheimer's disease consists of 3 distinct subtypes, according to UCLA study
Alzheimer's disease, long thought to be a single disease, really consists of three distinct subtypes, according to a UCLA study.

Robots help to map England's only deep-water Marine Conservation Zone
The first true three-dimensional picture of submarine canyon habitats has been produced using a unique combination of marine robotics and ship-based measurements.

Report: Cancer remains leading cause of death in US Hispanics
While cancer is the second leading cause of death overall in the United States, it remains the leading cause of death among US Hispanics, according to an American Cancer Society report.

$8.4 million grant to Children's Hospital Los Angeles funds 5-year HIV study
Researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles have received an $8.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research to improve HIV care and prevention in a study focusing on Black, Latino and multiracial gay and bisexual young men -- a group at the highest risk for contracting HIV.

This week from AGU: India's monsoon, lunar craters, drone squadrons and new research papers
This week from AGU are items on India's monsoon, lunar craters, drone squadrons and five new research papers.

Fearless fowl grow and lay better
A reduced fear of humans can be the driving force behind the characteristics that have developed since wild animals became domesticated, according to research by ethologists at Linköping University in Sweden.

New book on 'Size Control in Biology,' from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
'Size Control in Biology,' from CSHLP, examines our current understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that precisely regulate the sizes of biological structures so that they can function efficiently in their cellular, organismal, or ecological context.

Crime ties are relative in youth offenders' substance abuse
A new UT Dallas study has found that having family or friends involved in crime was the best predictor of whether a youth offender would become a long-term marijuana user or heavy drinker.

Chapman University publishes research on attractiveness and mating
Chapman University has published research on what people find 'desirable' and 'essential' in a long-term partner based on two of the largest national studies of mate preferences ever conducted.

No way? Charity's logo may influence perception of food in package
New research at the University of Oregon finds that an organization's logo on a food product can trigger quick perceptions by consumers about an item's healthiness and influence their decision-making.

Researchers pursue ideal ingredients for cartilage recipe
Case Western Reserve University and Harvard University researchers will build a microfactory that churns out a formula to produce joint cartilage, which could one day benefit millions of people in the United States who suffer from cartilage loss or damage.

Fruit and vegetables aren't only good for a healthy body -- they protect your mind too
Eating a Mediterranean diet or other healthy dietary pattern, comprising of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and low in processed meats, is associated with preventing the onset of depression, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

NASA's RapidScat and Aqua satellite see Tropical Depression 9 developing
The ninth tropical depression of the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season developed in the central Atlantic on Sept.

Can mindfulness help patients stay in treatment?
Brown University researchers will lead a multi-institutional set of studies examining whether mindfulness interventions are effective in helping patients stick with medically recommended lifestyle changes.

ONR's MOVER technology: Improving therapy for brain injury patients
To provide brain injury patients with a safe, engaging and easy way to maintain their therapy regimens, the Office of Naval Research is supporting efforts to develop the Mobile, Virtual Enhancements for Rehabilitation (MOVER).

CU-Boulder study shows caffeine at night delays human circadian clock
A new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder and the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England shows for the first time that evening caffeine delays the internal circadian clock that tells us when to get ready for sleep and when to prepare to wake up.

Watching an exoplanet in motion around a distant star
A team of astronomers has given us our best view yet of an exoplanet moving in its orbit around a distant star.

CWRU leads solar power study inspired by field of medicine
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University will do an epidemiological, disease control-type study of more than five million solar panels at hundreds of power plants around the world to learn how photovoltaic modules degrade under varying conditions.

New support for converging black holes in Virgo constellation
In a new study in Nature, astronomers at Columbia University provide additional evidence that a pair of closely orbiting black holes deep in the Virgo constellation is causing the rhythmic flashes of light coming from quasar PG 1302-102.

UNC to break new ground in health innovation by sharing work with no strings attached
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the newest member of a pioneering international partnership that aims to completely map the single most successful targets for cancer drugs known to date and will share their work with no fees or restrictions on intellectual property.

To be fragrant or not: Why do some male hairstreak butterflies lack scent organs?
Female butterflies generally choose among male suitors, but with hundreds of related species living in close proximity, how can they decide which are the right ones?

Economic prosperity can't break chains of child labor
Unequal access to education ensures hundreds of millions of children remain trapped in child labour despite dramatic falls in worldwide poverty levels, according to QUT research.

Dominant strain of drug-resistant MRSA decreases in hospitals, but persists in community
The incidence of the most common strain of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections has decreased in hospital-onset cases, but has failed to decline in the broader community, according to new research published online today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

How much water do US fracking operations really use?
The oil and gas extraction method called hydraulic fracturing remains controversial for multiple reasons, one of which is its water use.

A 'home run' approach: Yale lab finds new ways to synthesize HIV inhibitor
Yale University chemists have created a new process for synthesizing an organic, nitrogen-based compound that inhibits HIV.

Being overweight may increase risk of type of brain tumor
Being overweight or obese may be tied to an increased risk of a type of brain tumor called meningioma, according to a new meta-analysis published in the Sept.

Microbiome implicated in sickle cell disease -- but antibiotics can counter its effects
New research on sickle cell disease has found that using antibiotics to deplete the body's microbiome may prevent acute sickle cell crisis and could offer the first effective strategy for warding off the disease's long-term complications, such as organ failure.

What do cement, rocket fuel and cancer therapies have in common? Rajesh Dave
Rajesh Davé, a problem-driven inventor whose relish for re-engineering tiny particles has led to advances in such diverse areas as weapons safety and drug delivery systems, while earning him a stream of patents, has been tapped by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for one of its major career awards.

Saving the last groups of wild Sumatran rhinoceros
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Wildlife Conservation Society's Indonesia Program carried out an island-wide survey of the last wild population of Sumatran rhinoceros, and now recommend that wildlife conservation managers consolidate the small population, provide strong protection for the animals, determine the percent of breeding females remaining and 'recognize the cost of doing nothing.'

Lawrence Livermore National Lab to explore spectral imaging to detect moisture in solar cells
Over the next two years, Mihail Bora, a Materials Engineering Division research team member at the Lab, will try to prove that spectral imaging can be used to evaluate the moisture content of PV modules and to create two-dimensional maps and models of water concentration.

Study finds people's conservative and liberal traits show up in their Twitter vocabulary
A study of nearly a million tweets from over 10,000 Twitter users has found that liberals swear more, conservatives are more likely to talk about religion, and liberals use more individual words like 'me' while conservatives opt more for the group-oriented 'us.'

UF Health researchers find some evidence of link between stress, Alzheimer's disease
University of Florida Health researchers have uncovered more evidence of a link between the brain's stress response and a protein related to Alzheimer's disease.

ESA receives NSF award to seed new Network for Next Generation Careers
The Ecological Society of America, in partnership with the Society for Conservation Biology, will create a new network of prospective employers, faculty and professional societies over the next eighteen months with a $48,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

OU welcomes environmental journalists to Oklahoma
Nearly 500 journalists, scientists, government officials, representatives of business and industry from around the world will explore Oklahoma's ecologically-diverse landscape during the 25th Society of Environmental Journalists annual meeting in Norman, Oct.

Antidepressant was misrepresented as safe for adolescents
A University of Adelaide led study has found that a psychiatric drug claimed to be a safe and effective treatment for depression in adolescents is actually ineffective and associated with serious side effects.

Counting underwater vital for marine conservation
Understanding how genetic diversity occurs within species is paramount for conservation, according to University of Queensland scientists.

Restoring ocean health
More than a decade ago, California established marine protected areas (MPAs) in state waters around the northern Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara.

Citizen scientists contribute to dog research
Five hundred citizen scientists around the world have contributed data to a study of what goes on inside the minds of their dogs.

Nanotech expertise earns Virginia Tech a spot in National Science Foundation network
The award, which carries $2.5 million in funding for five years and is renewable for a second five-year period, will establish the Virginia Tech National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure.

UW labs win $4.5 million NSF nanotechnology infrastructure grant
The University of Washington and Oregon State University have won a $4.5 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to advance nanoscale science, engineering and technology research in the Pacific Northwest and support a new network of user sites across the country.

An essential guide to the genetic terms that impact your research, from CSHLPress
In 'Decoding the Language of Genetics,' from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, the distinguished geneticist David Botstein offers help to scientists and physicians daunted by the arcane technical terms that flourish in his discipline.

Mayo researchers identify protein -- may predict who will respond to PD-1 immunotherapy for melanoma
Mayo Clinic researchers have identified a protein marker whose frequency may predict patient response to PD-1 blockade immunotherapy for melanoma.

Beet juice boosts muscle power in heart patients
Scientists have evidence that Popeye was right: spinach makes you stronger.

NASA sees a comma-shaped Tropical Storm Krovanh over Marianas
The Marianas Islands in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean were in the tail of Tropical Storm Krovanh's 'comma shape' when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead early on Sept.

High consumption of sugar sweetened beverages linked to overall poor diet
New research presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Stockholm shows that high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which has been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, is part of a poor overall diet.

Delivering missing protein heals damaged hearts in animals, study finds
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and their colleagues have enabled damaged heart tissue in animals to regenerate by delivering a protein to it via a bioengineered collagen patch.

New studies show no long term effects of antidepressant use during pregnancy
The use of antidepressants during pregnancy has no long term neurodevelopmental or behavioral effects on the child, however they may be associated with an increased risk of postpartum haemorrhage, suggests the findings from three studies published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).

US defense agencies increase investment in federal synthetic biology research
A new analysis by the Synthetic Biology Project at the Wilson Center finds the Defense Department and its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency fund much of the US government's research in synthetic biology, with less than 1 percent of total federal funding going to risk research.

Surgical probe seeks out where cancer ends and healthy tissue begins
A new surgical tool that uses light to make sure surgeons removing cancerous tumors 'got it all' was found to correlate well with traditional pathologists' diagnoses in a clinical study, showing that the tool could soon enable reliable, real-time guidance for surgeons.

How your brain decides blame and punishment -- and how it can be changed
Juries in criminal cases typically decide if someone is guilty, then a judge determines a suitable level of punishment.

Women who give birth in rural hospitals are more likely to need to be later readmitted
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Texas A&M Health Science Center compared hospital readmission rates for women who delivered their baby in rural versus urban hospitals.

Rapamycin prevents Parkinson's in mouse model of incurable neurodegenerative disease
Rapamycin, a drug that extends lifespan in several species, prevented Parkinson's disease in middle-age mice that were genetically fated to develop the incurable neurodegenerative disease.

The Lancet: Harmful alcohol use linked with increased risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury
A new study of alcohol use in countries of all income levels shows that current use increases the risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury, with no reduction in risk of mortality or cardiovascular disease overall.

Placental problems in early pregnancy associated with 5-fold increased risk of OB & fetal disorders
First-trimester ultrasound scanning to pinpoint placental vascular disorders may be used to identify women at risk of developing serious obstetric complications.

International team discovers natural defense against HIV
Researchers at Michigan State University were part of a team to discover a new natural defense against HIV infection.

UT study: Invasive brood parasites a threat to native bird species
North Americans might be seeing new species of birds in certain areas of the continent in the near future.

The influence of citizen science grows despite some resistance
Citizen science is taking off and could make a difference at regional and national regulatory levels.

Unlocking secrets of how fossils form
Fossils tell amazing stories and inspire them, too -- just think of this summer's 'Jurassic World' blockbuster.

A toddler with type 2 diabetes
New research detailing the case of a 3-year old girl with type 2 diabetes -- thought to be one of the youngest ever people to present with the condition -- is presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm.

Uniquely human brain region enables punishment decisions
Humans are unique among social creatures in their willingness to bear personal costs to punish those who have harmed others.

Multiple myeloma patients vulnerable to 'financial toxicity,' due to costly treatments
Even patients with health insurance who have multiple myeloma may be vulnerable to 'financial toxicity' -- including those who make over $100,000 a year -- because of the higher use of novel therapeutics and extended duration of myeloma treatment, researchers from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center report in this week's Lancet Haematology.

Reanalysis of antidepressant trial finds popular drug ineffective & unsafe for adolescents
The widely used antidepressant paroxetine is neither safe nor effective for adolescents with depression, concludes a reanalysis of an influential study originally published in 2001.

NASA mapped heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Vamco
Tropical Storm Vamco was a short-lived tropical storm but brought large amounts of rainfall to southeastern Asia.

UT Institute of Agriculture to develop national training program for produce food safety
The Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture's College of Veterinary Medicine announced it has received a $1.5 million grant from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Platinum and iron oxide working together get the job done
Using pictures with atomic resolution, the mechanism of an important chemical reaction has finally be explained: When platinum nanoparticles act as catalysts on an iron oxide surface, the surface plays a crucial role.

GW researcher receives $750,000 to study the link between PTSD and heart disease
Paul Marvar, MS, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology and physiology at the George Washington University, received a $750,000 grant from the American Heart Association to study a link between stress and anxiety-related mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and increased development of cardiovascular disease.

Not all rhythmic skills are related, which may have implications for language ability
Tapping to a beat and remembering rhythms may not be related skills, which may also have implications for language ability.

Analyzing the keys to environmental mobilization through social networks
Recognizing an opportunity, defining a clear message and reacting; these are the three keys to the success of environmental campaigns on social networks, according to research by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and INGENIO, a joint center of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and CSIC, which also received an international award for the best article about entrepreneurship.

U-M researchers to study Detroit River phosphorus, impacts of green infrastructure
Researchers at the University of Michigan have been awarded a three-year, $3 million grant from the Erb Family Foundation to determine the Detroit River's contributions to algae blooms that plague Lake Erie each summer.

No such thing as ghosts?
Crystallographers are always pushing boundaries when it comes to determining complex structures with less than optimal experimental data.

Workforce report released summarizing the Geoscience Career Master's Preparation Survey
The results of a survey have been published in a report assessing the academic experiences of Master's candidates against the skill sets identified as valuable for non-academic working professionals.

Plant species' responses to climate change altered by novel competitors
With climate change and rising average temperatures, many wild animals and plants are forced into new habitats.

New catalyst yields more accurate PSA test
A research team led by Michigan Tech chemist Xiaohu Xia developed a catalyst that improves the sensitivity of the standard PSA test over 100-fold.

Bush Blitz: The largest Australian nature discovery project finds 4 new bee species
Four new native bee species were recognized as part of the largest Australian nature discovery project 'Bush Blitz.' The South Australian bee specialists used molecular and morphological evidence to prove them as new. 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