Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 22, 2015
Levin wins National Medal of Science for unraveling ecological complexity
Simon Levin, Princeton University's George M. Moffett Professor of Biology and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will receive a National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor.

Are you a 'harbinger of failure'?
Some consumers have an unerring knack for buying unpopular products.

Mothers should be cautious when discussing weight with daughters
How should a concerned mother discuss issues of diet and weight with her daughter?

Extremely rare muscle rupture in a professional goalkeeper
The first case report of a professional footballer tearing his teres major -- an extremely rare injury -- is captured in a series of images published in the online journal BMJ Case Reports.

Jefferson Lab Accelerator delivers its first 12 GeV electrons
The newly upgraded accelerator at the US Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has delivered full-energy electrons as part of commissioning activities for the ongoing 12 GeV Upgrade project.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2016 Education Committee Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its Education Committee Travel Awards to attend the Biophysical Society's 60th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, Calif., Feb.

Move aside carbon: Boron nitride-reinforced materials are even stronger
When mixed with lightweight polymers, tiny carbon tubes reinforce the material, promising lightweight and strong materials for airplanes, spaceships, cars and even sports equipment.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2016 International Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its international travel grants to attend the Biophysical Society's 60th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, Calif., Feb.

FIU scientists discover how arsenic builds up in plant seeds
Researchers from FIU's Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Barry P.

Are you Facebook dependent?
This study examines what can create a dependency on Facebook.

In pursuit of the causes of cardiac hypertrophy
Specific genes are responsible for determining cell growth and differentiation during the early stages of cardiac development.

Infectious disease spread is fueled by international trade
International trade and travel has literally opened up new vistas for humans, ranging from travel to exotic places to enjoying the products and services of those distant lands.

Meta-analysis finds evidence for nalmefene in the treatment of alcohol dependence is weak
Currently available evidence from randomized controlled trials does not support the use of nalmefene for harm reduction for people with alcohol dependence, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published this week in PLOS Medicine.

Corals may fare better in turbid waters, Florida Tech research finds
New research from Florida Institute of Technology scientists Chris Cacciapaglia and Rob van Woesik shows that corals may survive better in warm oceans where the water is clouded by floating particles.

Low rate of job retention following colorectal cancer diagnosis
Nearly half of working individuals with stage III colorectal cancer surveyed did not retain their jobs reportedly due to their cancer diagnosis and treatment, according to a study in the Dec.

Researchers identify molecule with anti-inflammatory properties in maple syrup
Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases could someday be treated with medication containing a molecule from maple syrup.

Old drugs, new tricks: Medications approved for other uses also have antibiotic action
A number of drugs already approved to treat parasitic infections, cancers, infertility and other conditions also show promise as antibiotic agents against staph and tuberculosis infections, according to a new study by University of Illinois chemists and collaborators.

Newly discovered windows of brain plasticity may help stress-related disorders
Even under repeated stress, the brain maintains the potential to adapt and recover.

International study offers new insight for understanding leading cause of blindness
An international study has identified the number of genetic factors known to play a role in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the worldwide leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

A metabolic pathway in cyanobacteria could yield better biofuels and bioproducts from photosynthesis
Scientists from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have discovered that a metabolic pathway previously only suggested to be functional in photosynthetic organisms is actually a major pathway and can enable efficient conversion of carbon dioxide to organic compounds.

ATS applauds President Obama for release of drug resistant TB action plan
The American Thoracic Society applauds President Barack Obama and the Administration for the release of the National Action Plan to Combat Drug Resistant Tuberculosis today.

Algorithm helps turn smartphones into 3-D scanners
An algorithm developed by Brown University researchers helps turn smartphones and off-the-shelf digital cameras into structured light 3-D scanners.

UGA research links inorganic mercury exposure to damaged cell processes
University of Georgia research has found that inorganic mercury, which was previously thought to be a less harmful form of the toxic metal, is very damaging to key cell processes.

South Africa's child mortality reduction deemed 'a successful failure'
As the 25-year period for the UN Millennium Development Goals concludes on Dec.

By asking, 'what's the worst part of this?' physicians can ease suffering
When patients suffer, doctors tend to want to fix things and if they cannot many doctors then withdraw emotionally.

Harmful algal blooms and water quality
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur naturally, but their outbreaks are influenced by climate change and droughts, nutrient enrichment and manmade factors, such as contaminants from sewage and stormwater discharge, natural resource extraction or agricultural runoff, to name a few.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2016 Committee for Inclusion and Diversity Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winner of its Committee for Inclusion and Diversity (CID) Travel Awards to attend the Biophysical Society's 60th Annual Meeting at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, Calif., Feb.

Mental time travel: An exclusively human capacity
Are humans the only ones who are able to remember events that they had experienced and mentally time travel not only into the past but also the future?

Beneficial bacteria in Hawaiian squid attracted to fatty acids
A study published recently by scientists at the University of Hawai'i - Mānoa and University of Wisconsin - Madison revealed that the Hawaiian bobtail squid's symbiotic bacteria, Vibrio fischeri, has a novel type of receptors that sense the presence and concentration of fatty acids, a building block of all cell membranes.

Researchers examine cases in California of neurological illness affecting limbs
There have been nearly 60 cases identified in California from 2012-2015 of acute flaccid myelitis, a rare syndrome described as polio-like, with most patients being children and young adults, according to a study in the Dec.

Opioid dependency peaks among younger age group
A Michigan State University study shows that 14- and 15-year-olds are at a higher risk of becoming dependent on prescription drugs within a 12-month period after using them extra-medically, or beyond the prescribed amount.

Philippine coastal zone research reveals tropical cyclone disruption of nutrient cycling
The influence of Typhoon Haiyan damage on leaf nutrient traits in coastal habitats is explored.

Bariatric surgery is associated with long-term weight loss and health risk reductions
Bariatric surgery delivered in routine clinical practice in the UK is associated with a substantial initial weight loss that is sustained for at least four years after surgery, according to a study published this week in PLOS Medicine.

Long-term outcomes of preventing premature menopause during chemotherapy
Compared with receiving chemotherapy alone, women with breast cancer who also received the hormonal drug triptorelin to achieve ovarian suppression had a higher long-term probability of ovarian function recovery, without a statistically significant difference in pregnancy rate or disease-free survival, according to a study in the Dec.

Scientists discover that salty sea spray affects clouds
All over the planet, every day, oceans send plumes of sea spray into the atmosphere.

The components of imitation
We learn many things through imitation: how to walk, sports, and even more.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg create focused spin wave beams
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg Physics Department have finally found the secret to synchronize an unlimited number of spintronic oscillators.

Blocking fat transport linked to longevity
Everybody knows that a buildup of the wrong kind of fats can cause cardiovascular disease.

Tooth fillings of the future may incorporate bioactive glass
A few years from now millions of people around the world might be walking around with an unusual kind of glass in their mouth, and using it every time they eat.

Cool roofs in China offer enhanced benefits during heat waves
It is well established that white roofs can mitigate the urban heat island effect, reflecting the sun's energy back into space and reducing a city's temperature.

Brain tumor revealed by treatment-resistant depression
A woman who was thought to have treatment-resistant depression was later found to have a tumor in her brain, according to an article published in BMJ Case Reports.

Not enough YAP means too much deadly inflammation inside the brain
Inside the brain, a protein called YAP, best known for its ability to help right-size our developing hearts and livers, appears to have the different but equally important task of helping control inflammation.

Study links epigenetic processes to the development of the cerebellar circuitry
Researchers have, for the first time, described the pivotal changes responsible for controlling the formation of the part of the brain that allows us to learn and execute complex movements.

Even before ACA, cancer survivors in non-expansion states had less health-care access
Even in the health-care landscape as it existed before the ACA, cancer survivors in states without expanded Medicaid were less likely to have a personal doctor and more likely to report inability to see a doctor due to cost (odds ratios 0.76 and 1.14 respectively).

Mystery of heat loss from the Earth's crust has been solved
The first discovery of a new type of hydrothermal vent system in a decade helps explain the long observed disconnect between the theoretical rate at which the Earth's crust is cooling at seafloor spreading ridge flanks, and actual observations.

New study indicates that metformin has the potential to prevent and treat preeclampsia
An article published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that a commonly used drug for the treatment of diabetes, metformin, may have the potential to prevent and treat preeclampsia.

Mixing modern materials? NIST math app helps you manage your mashup
Polymers play a vast number of roles in daily life, but they lack many properties that would make them even more useful.

£10 million grant awarded for Barts Heart Centre
Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust have received £10.2 million from Barts Charity for the creation of a world-class cardiovascular academic medical center at the Trust's Barts Heart Centre, St.

Insilico Medicine joins the first beauty competition judged entirely by robot jury
Insilico Medicine, a bioinformatics company engaged in developing new methods for pathway activation analysis and deep learning for drug repurposing and drug discovery will partner with Youth Laboratories, Ltd. to develop an algorithm to evaluate age-related facial changes for beauty.AI, the first beauty competition, where humans are judged entirely by robot robot jury.

Toxic secretions from intracranial tumor damage the inner ear
A new study at Massachusetts Eye and Ear showed that in some cases of vestibular schwannoma, a sometimes-lethal tumor often associated with neurofibromatosis 2, secretions from the tumor contain toxic molecules that damage the inner ear.

Newly developed liquid crystal elastomer material could enable advanced sensors
At Kent State University, Peter Palffy-Muhoray, Ph.D., associate director of the Liquid Crystal Institute and professor of chemical physics, has been collaborating with the world's experts in liquid crystal elastomers research.

Evolocumab: No hint of added benefit
The manufacturer dossier contained no suitable data for hypercholesterolaemia or for mixed dyslipidaemia.

Behavioral studies from mobile crowd-sensing
Using mobile phones for research is not new. However, interpreting the data collected from volunteers' own smart phones-which has the potential to emulate randomized trials-can advance research into human behavior.

Findings suggest increased number of IVF cycles can be beneficial
Although in vitro fertilization (IVF) is often limited to three or four treatment cycles, new research shows the effectiveness of extending the number of IVF cycles beyond this number, according to a study in the Dec.

NREL research advances hydrogen production efforts
Researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have made advances toward affordable photoelectrochemical production of hydrogen.

Forensic seismology tested on 2006 munitions depot 'cook-off' in Baghdad
Curious seismologists who looked at the recordings made by a seismic station four miles away from the 'cook-off' of an ammunition holding area in Iraq in 2006 found they could distinguish, mortars, rockets, improvised explosive devices, helicopters and drones.

Girl's dream to be a veterinarian prompts $30,000 donation to TGen canine cancer studies
An 8-year-old girl's dream of becoming a veterinarian, cut short by a deadly tumor, is the driving force behind a $30,000 donation to support research of dogs and children with cancer at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Nature's masonry: The first steps in how thin protein sheets form polyhedral shells
Scientists have for the first time viewed how bacterial proteins self-assemble into thin sheets and begin to form the walls of the outer shell for nano-sized polyhedral compartments that function as specialized factories.

Largest study of Ebola survivors finds vision, hearing, joint pain problems
The largest study of survivors of the largest recorded outbreak of Ebola virus disease found they commonly reported complications such as vision, hearing and joint pain problems up to months after they were discharged from an Ebola treatment facility.

Fighting rice fungus
Plant scientists are uncovering more clues critical to disarming a fungus that leads to rice blast disease and devastating crop losses.

Pediatric medication poisonings more likely in poor, rural areas
Children younger than 5 who live in economically disadvantaged areas had a greater risk of medication poisoning that resulted in referral to a health care facility, according to scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and the University of California, San Diego.

The mechanism of an AIDS vaccine candidate filmed in vivo
Using innovative technology, scientists from the Institut Pasteur and Inserm have filmed in vivo the process by which an AIDS vaccine candidate, developed by the French Vaccine Research Institute and the ANRS, triggers the immune response.

Rare diseases: De novo mutation leading to Fanconi anemia identified
An international team of researchers has established the cause of rare syndrome consistent with Fanconi anemia: a de novo mutation in a so called RAD51 gene, which is responsible for repairing damages in the DNA.

Unusual central Nevada geologic terranes
This new Special Paper from The Geological Society of America is a product of nearly 25 years of geologic investigations.

Crows caught on camera fashioning special hook tools
Scientists have been given an extraordinary glimpse into how wild New Caledonian crows make and use 'hooked stick tools' to hunt for insect prey.

Model predicts 'shelf life' for library and archival collections
Heritage scientists at UCL have developed demographic models of decay and loss to predict when a large library or archival collection might age beyond repair.

NUS researchers uncover potent parasite-killing mechanism of anti-malarial drug
A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore has uncovered the mystery behind the potent parasite-killing effect of artemisinin, a drug that is considered to be the last line of defence against malaria.

Stroking helps calves develop a better relationship with humans and increases weight gain
Gentle interactions improve the relationship between humans and animals. In a recent study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, researchers at the Vetmeduni Vienna show that calves that were stroked by people early in their life gained weight more quickly than animals that were not stroked.

Biophysical Society announces speakers for 2016 Futures of Biophysics Symposium speakers
Now in its seventh year and supported by supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Futures of Biophysics Symposium highlights exciting research by young investigators at the interface of the physical and life sciences.

Cruise passengers spend less despite offers on land
Cruise passengers spend very little money during the port of call even when they are offered an increased number of spending options.

UNH research shows helmetless-tackling drills significantly reduce head impact
Sparked by national debate and efforts to help make football safer for players, research at the University of New Hampshire has found that a novel set of helmetless-tackling drills are effective in reducing head impacts by 28 percent in one season. invests $65,000 to support additional sites for natural history study
Last year, the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Science Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network funded the development of a consortium made up of 11 sites to study the natural history of Rett syndrome, MECP2 Duplication, CDKL5 disorder, and FOXG1 syndrome under their strong belief that collaborative activities are necessary to advance rare disease research.

China successfully developed 'Darwin,' a neuromorphic chip based on Spiking Neural Networks
Spiking Neural Network is a type of biologically inspired neural networks that perform information processing based on discrete-time spikes.

Chinese rover analyzes moon rocks: First new 'ground truth' in 40 years
The moon was never a fully homogenized body like Earth, analysis of moon rocks made by the Chinese rover, Yutu, suggests.

Study: Women can take blood thinners and hormones without higher blood clot, bleeding risk
New research published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology, is the first to demonstrate that women on blood thinners can take estrogen-containing contraception or hormone replacement therapy without an increased risk of blood clots or uterine bleeding.

NIH/NINDS grant awarded to develop methods for diagnosing CTE during life
Researchers from Boston University, the Cleveland Clinic, Banner Alzheimer's Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, have been awarded a $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Simple shell of plant virus sparks immune response against cancer
Shells of cowpea mosaic virus inhaled into a lung tumor or injected into ovarian, colon or breast tumors, not only triggered the immune system in mice to wipe out the tumors, but provided systemic protection against metastases.

Chronic kidney disease prevalence varies greatly across Europe
The prevalence of chronic kidney disease varies across European countries, ranging from 3 percent to 17 percent.

Midnight munchies mangle memory
Modern schedules can lead us to eat around the clock so it is important to understand how this could dull some of the functions of the brain.

Doctors issue warning over cough medicines that contain codeine
An article in the online journal BMJ Case Reports describes the first published case of confusional state in a healthy 14-year-old girl attributed to excessive consumption of over-the-counter cough medicine that contained codeine.

Rapid recovery: ONR-sponsored research fights cardio, muscular fatigue in navy divers
To determine the cause of extreme fatigue in Navy divers after routine missions, the Office of Naval Research is sponsoring work examining the most critical weapon in a diver's arsenal-oxygen itself.

UMass Medical School, UMass Lowell collaborating on technology to improve health care
Researchers at UMass Medical School and UMass Lowell are collaborating on a new cyberinfrastructure technology that will enable patients, researchers and physicians to transport and store large quantities of data, including sensitive information, through a secure system.

Low zinc levels may suggest potential breast-feeding problems
Zinc levels in breast milk may be able to serve as an indicator of breast function during lactation, according to Penn State health researchers.

Improving electric motor efficiency via shape optimization
In our competitive global society, successful and economical design of automotive and industrial structures is crucial.

Seasonal affective disorder: More than just the winter blues (video)
As the days get shorter, darker and colder, people seem to be getting gloomier.

Baghdad seismometer detects car bombs, mortar fire and more during Iraq war
As they report online Dec. 22 in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Ghassan I.

Screening male kidney transplant candidates for prostate cancer may do more harm than good
Among male kidney transplant candidates, prostate cancer screening was not associated with improved patient survival after transplantation.

An Open Science plan: Wikidata for Research
With Open Science and crowdsourcing attracting increasing attention within and across many research fields, a Horizon 2020 project was proposed to integrate research workflows with Wikidata into a new virtual research environment.

President Obama honors nation's leading scientists and innovators
The White House today announced the latest recipients of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation -- the nation's highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.

Vitamin D levels linked to weight-loss surgery outcomes
Low levels of vitamin D have long been identified as an unwanted hallmark of weight loss surgery, but now findings of a new Johns Hopkins study of more than 930,000 patient records add to evidence that seasonal sun exposure -- a key factor in the body's natural ability to make the 'sunshine vitamin' -- plays a substantial role in how well people do after such operations.

Towards the rational use of medicines
Rational use of medicines remains to be one of the most challenging problems in health systems worldwide.

Mutation of BAP1 gene passed down over centuries
In the findings published in PLOS Genetics, through genetic and genealogical studies by Michele Carbone, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UH Cancer Center's Thoracic Oncology Program and colleagues, it was demonstrated that the family members were related and that they descended from a couple that immigrated to the US from Germany in the early 1700's.

PPPL celebrates role in first research plasma on W7-X stellarator in Germany
The US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has designed and contributed major components to the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator in Germany and is collaborating on research.

Unusual drug generates exciting results in mouse models of metastatic breast cancer
A team at CSHL today publishes preclinical data based on experiments in mice suggesting the promise of a novel drug directed against a novel target in malignant mammary tumors.

Biophysical Society announces 2016 new and notable symposium speakers
The New and Notable Symposium highlights the latest and most exciting discoveries in biophysics.

Teenager infected with rat-bite fever from her pet rodent
A 17-year-old woman was infected with the rare, but treatable rat-bite fever, that developed from pet rodents that lived in her bedroom, report the doctors who treated her in the online journal BMJ Case Reports.

Harmful bacteria can survive in sandwich crackers, cookies for months, UGA study finds
Researchers at the University of Georgia found that pathogens, like salmonella, can survive for at least six months in cookies and crackers.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2016 CPOW Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its annual CPOW Travel Awards to attend the Biophysical Society's 60th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, Calif., Feb.

Study uncovers inherited genetic susceptibility across 12 cancer types
In a new analysis, researchers have shed light on the hereditary elements across 12 cancer types -- showing a surprising inherited component to stomach cancer and providing some needed clarity on the consequences of certain types of mutations in well-known breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2.

ORNL achieves milestone with plutonium-238 sample
With the production of 50 grams of plutonium-238, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have restored a US capability dormant for nearly 30 years and set the course to provide power for NASA and other missions.

Increased toxicity due to migration?
A seaweed from Asia -- used for human nutrition -- contains toxic compounds providing protection against animal consumers.

Effectiveness of pain medications for patients receiving treatment for lung condition
Use of NSAIDs vs opiates resulted in no significant difference in measures of pain but was associated with more rescue medication (additional medicine needed due to uncontrolled pain) among patients with malignant pleural effusions (excess fluid accumulates around the lungs that is a complication of cancer) undergoing pleurodesis (a treatment for this condition that closes up the pleural space), according to a study in the Dec.

Less financial burden for cancer patients with paid sick leave, study finds
In a survey of more than 1,300 patients with stage 3 colorectal cancer, researchers found that only 55 percent who were employed at the time of diagnosis retained their jobs after treatment.

Seven healthy heart measures may reduce heart failure risk
Middle-aged adults who scored well on the American Heart Association's Life' Simple 7 checklist were less likely to develop heart failure.

Healthy theme park meals?
When meals at Disney World restaurants came with a fruit or vegetables instead of fries, about half of diners opted to keep the healthier option!

Ringing in a new way to measure and modulate trapped light
Visualizing the vibration patterns will help scientists to perfect ultrasensitive optical sensors for detecting biomolecules and even single atoms.

World's first clinical guidelines for chronic fungal lung infections
The world's first guidelines for chronic fungal lung infections for doctors and laboratories have been published today, by the European Respiratory Society and the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Mazes and brains: When preconception trumps logic
Kyoto University identifies the regions of the brain responsible for preconception and decodes what scenes people picture in their minds.

Weight-loss surgery cuts risk of developing serious heart problems
Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery can reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart attacks and type 2 diabetes, as well improve existing conditions, according to a new study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in partnership with UCL and the UCLH Bariatric Centre for Weight Management and Metabolic Surgery. 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