Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 12, 2015
Elevated blood-sugar levels in pregnancy tied to baby's heart-defect risk
Pregnant women with elevated blood-sugar levels are more likely to have babies with congenital heart defects, even if their blood sugar is below the cutoff for diabetes, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Children's Health.

Establishment of systems metabolic engineering strategies to develop microbial strains
Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee and Dr. Hyun Uk Kim, both from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, have recently suggested ten general strategies of systems metabolic engineering to successfully develop industrial microbial strains.

Scientists track speed of powerful internal waves
For the first time researchers directly measured the speed of a wave located 80 meters below the ocean's surface from a single satellite image.

Keren Haroush and Jerry Chen receive Gruber International Research Award
The award recognizes two promising young scientists for outstanding research and educational pursuit in an international setting.

'Beeting' high altitude symptoms with beet juice
One sign of successful acclimatization to altitude is that the blood vessels are able to deliver enough oxygen throughout the body.

Soil research around the world topic of symposium
Exploring soil beyond local borders is helpful for growers.

Fruit fly pheromone flags great real estate for starting a family
In what they say was a lucky and unexpected finding, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they've discovered that male fruit flies lay down an odorant, or pheromone, that not only attracts females to lay eggs nearby, but also guides males and females searching for food.

Billions of juvenile fish under the Arctic sea ice
Using a new net, marine biologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute have, for the first time, been able to catch polar cod directly beneath the Arctic sea ice with a trawl, allowing them to determine their large-scale distribution and origin.

Ed Boyden and Nachum Ulanovsky receive Young Investigator Award
The Society for Neuroscience will present the Young Investigator Award to Ed Boyden, Ph.D., of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Nachum Ulanovksy, Ph.D., of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Red wine with dinner can improve cardiovascular health of people with type 2 diabetes
In this first two year long alcohol study, just published in the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers aimed to assess the effects and safety of initiating moderate alcohol consumption in diabetics, and sought to determine whether the type of wine matters.

Prostate cells undergo 'reprogramming' to form tumors, study finds
Researchers link early prostate cancer to alterations in a program controlled by a 'master regulator' of cell growth.

IU scientists find the external environment, oxidation greatest threats to DNA
A study led by Indiana University biologist Patricia Foster and colleagues has found that forces in the external environmental and oxidation are the greatest threats to an organism's ability to repair damage to its own DNA.

Extreme weight loss tactics among UK cage fighters prompt alarm and call for action
UK cage fighters are indulging in potentially dangerous behaviors in a bid to lose large amounts of weight in the shortest possible time before a fight, reveal doctors in a snapshot survey of preferred slimming tactics, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Double enzyme hit may explain common cancer drug side effect
Many leukemias are caused by loss of the enzyme Pten.

HIV drugs provide added benefit of protecting against hepatitis B virus
In a study involving 2,400 men who have sex with men who were also enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, researchers report that men with HIV who were treated effectively with HIV therapy were the least likely (80 percent less likely) to get infected with HBV over a median follow-up of approximately 9.5 years.

Flood hazards: Vermont and Colorado as case studies
Catastrophic floods in 2011 in Vermont and 2013 in Colorado devastated many communities.

From hummingbird to owl: New research decodes bird family tree
A study published in the journal Nature in coordination with Yale University resolved the bird family tree, something that has never been accomplished by scientists.

Society for Neuroscience announces achievement awards
The Society for Neuroscience will honor the winners of major achievement awards during Neuroscience 2015, SfN's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

Study sees powerful winds carving away Antarctic snow
A new study has found that powerful winds are removing massive amounts of snow from parts of Antarctica, potentially boosting estimates of how much the continent might contribute to sea level.

Babies need free tongue movement to decipher speech sounds
Inhibiting infants' tongue movements impedes their ability to distinguish between speech sounds, researchers with the University of British Columbia have found.

New optoelectronic probe enables communication with neural microcircuits
The burgeoning field of optogenetics makes it possible for scientists to control brain activity using pulses of light.

Forecasters look higher for clues to winter weather
Meteorologists at the University of Reading, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and Environment Canada found that by taking account of changing winds in the stratosphere, forecasters could be twice as certain of their winter weather predictions for between a fortnight and a month in advance.

Mama or dada? Research looks at what words are easiest for kids to learn
New Florida State University research delves into how children build vocabularies and what words are easier for them to learn.

Climate models used to explain formation of Mars valley networks
The extensive valley networks on the surface of Mars were probably created by running water billions of years ago, but the source of that water is unknown.

Tiny thrusters, safer seafood, and novel fungicidal treatments at plasma physics meeting
The unique characteristics of plasmas offer a plethora of novel applications including spacecraft propulsion, medical treatments and industrial manufacturing innovations, to name just a few possibilities that will be be featured at the 68th Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference/9th International Conference on Reactive Plasmas/33rd Symposium on Plasma Processing in Hawaii.

Dielectric film has refractive index close to air
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a dielectric film that has optical and electrical properties similar to air, but is strong enough to be incorporated into electronic and photonic devices -- making them both more efficient and more mechanically stable.

Global marine analysis suggests food chain collapse
A world-first global analysis of marine responses to climbing human CO2 emissions has painted a grim picture of future fisheries and ocean ecosystems.

In females, childhood head injury could lead to alcohol abuse later in life
Girls who suffer a concussive bump on the head in childhood could be at increased risk for abusing alcohol as adults, a new study suggests.

Acrylamide exposure from smokeless tobacco dwarfed by dietary exposure or smoking
The first comprehensive assessment of the acrylamide content of smokeless tobacco products (STPs) has shown that exposure to acrylamide through STP use is much smaller than -- approximately 1 percent of -- exposure from the diet or from cigarette smoking.

New computational method for the simulation of solids aids in prediction of fracture
Parting with the classical continuum concepts of stress and strain, a new approach called the peridynamic method has been developed.

Turncoat protein regulates sensitivity of breast cancer cells to drug
A surprising, paradoxical relationship between a tumor suppressor molecule and an oncogene may be the key to explaining and working around how breast cancer tumor cells become desensitized to a common cancer drug.

'Window to the brain' research to ramp up
A team of scientists from the University of California, Riverside and three Mexican universities have received about $5 million in funding to support research to continue development of a novel transparent skull implant that literally provides a 'window to the brain.'

New research discovers that drinking cranberry juice may protect the heart
Results from a new study presented at the Cranberry Health Research Conference preceding the annual Berry Health Benefits Symposium 2015 in Madison, Wisc., revealed that cranberry juice consumption may play a role in protecting against cardiovascular disease.

Study examines concussion-like symptom reporting in uninjured athletes
Uninjured athletes reported concussion-like symptoms in a new study that suggests symptom reporting in the absence of recent concussion is related to male or female sex and preexisting conditions, which can include prior treatment for a psychiatric condition or substance abuse, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Joshua Levitz receives Nemko Prize in Cellular or Molecular Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience will award the Nemko Prize in Cellular or Molecular Neuroscience to Joshua Levitz, Ph.D., of the University of California, Berkeley.

Vaccinating children may be cost-effective for tackling flu
Extending flu vaccine administration to UK children may be a cost-effective way to reduce disease burden in the general population, according to research published in the open-access journal BMC Medicine.

A key to clarifying the mechanism which accelerates aging in smokers
A research group of Osaka University found that smoking habits affected the aging-related molecule α-klotho in blood serum.

GW to establish national chimpanzee brain resource for neuroscience research
For the past two decades, chimpanzees housed in National Primate Research Centers have been the subjects of intensive cognitive and behavioral research studies.

Vines add surprising variable to tropical forest carbon storage
A new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that lianas, a type of woody vine suspected of reducing forests' ability to store carbon for the long term because they have a higher leaf-to-stem ratio than trees, do indeed reduce the carbon uptake capacity of tropical forests.

New study projects that melting of Antarctic ice shelves will intensify
New research published today projects a doubling of surface melting of Antarctic ice shelves by 2050 and that by 2100 melting may surpass intensities associated with ice shelf collapse, if greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumption continue at the present rate.

Health care, research failing to adapt to US's growing multiracial population
Health care, research failing to adapt data collection methods to the growing multiracial population in the US.

Supercoiled DNA is far more dynamic than the 'Watson-Crick' double helix
Researchers have imaged in unprecedented detail the three-dimensional structure of supercoiled DNA, revealing that its shape is much more dynamic than the well-known double helix.

Penn Medicine researchers discover hidden brain pathways crucial to communication
New studies from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania clarify how two crucial features of audition are managed by the brain.

New study reveals key differences in brain activity in people with anorexia nervosa
When people with anorexia nervosa decide what to eat, they engage a part of the brain associated with habitual behavior.

Advanced care, increased risk
Patients with trauma, stroke, heart attack and respiratory failure who were transported by basic life support ambulances had lower mortality than patients who were transported by advanced life support ambulances.

Workplace mentors benefit female employees more than men
The success of online networking sites such as LinkedIn illustrates the popularity of building a wide-ranging contact list.

Children born in the summer more likely to be healthy adults
Women who were born in the summer are more likely to be healthy adults, suggests new research published in the journal Heliyon.

Scientists uncover 4 different types of bowel cancer
Bowel cancer can be divided up into four distinct diseases, each with its own set of biological characteristics, a major new study reports.

Ancient human ear-orienting system could yield clues to hearing deficits in infants
Vestigial organs, such as the wisdom teeth in humans, are those that have become functionless through the course of evolution.

Marine mathematics helps to map undiscovered deep-water coral reefs
A team of marine scientists has discovered four new deep-water coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean using the power of predictive mathematical models.

Computerized cognitive training improves childhood cancer survivors' attention and memory
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital study shows computer-based cognitive training is as effective as medication for improving working memory and attention in childhood cancer survivors with cognitive deficits.

Africa's urban waste, a valuable source of electricity
Estimated electricity production from the total waste generated in Africa could reach 122.2 TWh in 2025, or more than 20 percent of the electricity consumed in 2010 at continental level (661.5TWh), according to a JRC co-authored study which analyzed the potential of urban solid waste for Africa's electricity needs.

More extreme weather projected in the Amazon could have global climate consequences
A new paper co-authored by WHRC scientists Philip Duffy and Paulo Brando evaluates the accuracy of current climate models and uses them to project future drought and wet periods in the Amazon.

Ebola treatment beds prevented 57,000 Ebola cases and 40,000 deaths in Sierra Leone
The introduction of thousands of Ebola treatment beds by the UK and Sierra Leone governments and NGOs prevented an estimated 57,000 Ebola cases and 40,000 deaths in Sierra Leone.

TRIGA Mainz reaches world record of 20,000 pulses in 50 years
The research reactor TRIGA at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has reached a new milestone: after 50 years of consecutive operation, TRIGA Mainz achieved a total number of 20,000 pulses on Oct.

Farmers' responses to crises key to informing effective food security policy
A better understanding of how farmers in developing countries cope in times of stress is needed if funding to support food security is to be used effectively, according to an academic at the University of East Anglia.

Smithsonian scientists say vines strangle carbon storage in tropical forests
Although useful to Tarzan, vines endanger tropical forests' capacity to store carbon.

How hallucinations emerge from trying to make sense of an ambiguous world
In research published today in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers based at Cardiff University and the University of Cambridge explore the idea that hallucinations arise due to an enhancement of our normal tendency to interpret the world around us by making use of prior knowledge and predictions.

NIH grants $3.7 million to develop new system for understanding the 3-D genome
A five-year, $3.7 million grant was awarded to a team led by Professor Yijun Ruan, Ph.D., of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine to fund research into how the human genome is organized in the nucleus of the cell.

VTT's beauty patch is applicable from skincare to medical patches
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has analyzed the effectiveness of its beauty patch, using a technique for imaging live tissue to demonstrate the patch's beneficial effects on the skin.

Natural metabolite might reset aging biological clocks
Weizmann Institute researchers show that our daily rhythms are governed by a substance that declines with age.

Another reason to drink red wine every day
Drinking a glass of red wine every day as part of a healthy diet can help patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes improve cardiac health and manage cholesterol, according to an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Lithium safe, effective for children with bipolar disorder
A multicenter study of young patients with bipolar disorder provides what may be the most scientifically rigorous demonstration to date that lithium -- a drug used successfully for decades to treat adults with the condition -- can also be safe and effective for children suffering from it.

UTSA professor receives Department of Army grant to detect chemical terrorist attacks
UTSA associate professor of mechanical engineering Kiran Bhaganagar has received a $260,000 grant from the Department of the Army in an effort to slash that number significantly with a new method of predicting the path of weaponized chemical agents, which would allow for swifter evacuation.

New Oregon approach for 'nanohoops' could energize future devices
When the University of Oregon's Ramesh Jasti began making tiny organic circular structures using carbon atoms, the idea was to improve carbon nanotubes for use in electronics or optical devices.

Video conferencing could increase shared decision-making in hospice care
Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that shared decision-making, although beneficial, could be enhanced in hospice care.

Trends in travel over 5 decades: We're traveling farther but not more often
The most striking trend of the past half-century is that individuals are traveling further but not more often.

RNA's part in determining the health of stem cells
Working with mouse embryonic stem cells, scientists at the IBS Center for RNA Research have come one step closer to understand how to control induced pluripotent stem cells.

Cardiac patients receive comparable care from physicians, advanced practice providers
Patients with coronary artery disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation receive comparable outpatient care from physicians and advanced practice providers -- physician assistants and nurse practitioners -- although all clinicians fell short in meeting performance measures, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

William B. Kristan receives Award for Education in Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience will present the Award for Education in Neuroscience to William B.

RNA editing technique treats severe form of muscular dystrophy
An RNA editing technique called 'exon skipping' has shown preliminary success in treating a rare and severe form of muscular dystrophy that currently has no treatment.

Pietro De Camilli receives Julius Axelrod Prize
The Society for Neuroscience will award the Julius Axelrod Prize to Pietro De Camilli, M.D., of Yale University.

IU researchers find pathway to cancer-associated muscle weakness
Cancer researchers at Indiana University and their colleagues have discovered how cancer-induced bone destruction causes skeletal muscle weakness.

Comprehensive genomic study provides evidence that dengue has become endemic and diverse in China
The first-ever comprehensive genomic analysis of the virus that causes dengue fever suggests that it may survive year-round in southern China.

'I am right for your child!' -- the key to winning over your future in-laws
The key to dealing with future in-laws who disapprove of your relationship may involve showing them what a good influence you are on their child, rather than manipulating them with gifts.

Study analyzes use of 7 low-value services in Choosing Wisely campaign
An analysis of seven clinical services with minimal benefit to patients identified as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign found significant declines in two services: the use of imaging for headaches and cardiac imaging in low risk patients, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Yan Dong receives Jacob P. Waletzky Award
The Society for Neuroscience will award Yan Dong, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh with the Jacob P.

Society for Neuroscience announces awards for excellence in science education and outreach
The Society for Neuroscience will honor the winners of science education and outreach awards at Neuroscience 2015, SfN's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

Cleaning water one stroke at a time
A material created by University of California, Riverside engineers is the key component of a swimsuit that won an international design competition for its ability to clean water as a person swims.

Penn study stops vision loss in late-stage canine X-linked retinitis pigmentosa
Three years ago, a team from the University of Pennsylvania announced that they had cured X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, a blinding retinal disease, in dogs.

University of Hawai'i Cancer Center awarded $5.5 million grant
The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center has been awarded a five-year $5.5 million to support its ongoing partnership with the University of Guam, addressing cancer health disparities among Pacific Islanders in Hawai'i, Guam and neighboring US Associated Pacific Islands.

DNA coils, uncoils, and writhes to drive cell activity
Using a multidisciplinary approach, researchers, led by those at Baylor College of Medicine, revealed in unprecedented detail the three-dimensional structure of biologically active DNA.

Story Landis receives Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience will present its highest award, the Ralph W.

AAOS Board of Directors approves information statement to combat growing opioid epidemic
To help address the growing opioid epidemic in the US, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Board of Directors is calling for a comprehensive effort to increase and improve physician, caregiver and patient education; the tracking of opioid prescription use; research funding for alternative pain management; and support for more effective opioid abuse treatment programs.

Genes linked with malaria's virulence shared by apes, humans
The malaria parasite molecules associated with severe disease and death have been shown to share key gene segments with chimp and gorilla malaria parasites, which are separated by several millions of years, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H.

No proof that 85 percent of depression treatment apps accredited by NHS actually work
There is no proof that 85 percent of the depression apps currently recommended by the NHS for patients to manage their condition actually work, say experts in the journal Evidence Based Mental Health.

Matthew Lovett-Barron receives Donald B. Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience will award the Donald B. Lindsley Prize to Matthew Lovett-Barron, Ph.D., of Stanford University.

Sixth sense: How do we sense electric fields?
A variety of animals are able to sense and react to electric fields, and living human cells will move along an electric field, for example in wound healing.

Do hearts fail because they're hooked on blood sugar?
Researchers are seeking to prevent heart failure by examining what they believe are damaging effects of glucose (blood sugar).

New tool: How to get meaningful information out of big data
Every second trillions of data bits are accumulated and stored.

Researchers use 'Avatar' experiments to get leg up on locomotion
Results of a biomechanical study of leg motion could be used to create robotic devices to assist human locomotion, setting the stage for merging human and machine.

Terrence Sejnowski receives Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience will award the Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience to Terrence Sejnowski, Ph.D., of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Allergic asthma: UFZ researchers identify a key molecule
Allergies are becoming more commonplace, particularly in industrialized countries. In addition to hay fever, allergic asthma is currently considered to be one of the most widespread allergies.

3-D printed fetal head helps manage care for baby with life-threatening airway mass
Conan Thompson becomes first baby to have a 3-D printed model made of his face while still in the womb to help doctors determine whether he would need a lifesaving procedure at birth.

First comprehensive profile of non-protein-coding RNAs in human cancers
70 percent of the genome is made into non-coding RNA, but most studies of genomic alterations in cancer have focused on the miniscule portion of the human genome that encodes protein. 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