Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 23, 2015
Medical anthropologist explores reproductive travel in 'Fertility Holidays'
New research from Dr. Amy Speier, assistant professor of medical anthropology at The University of Texas at Arlington, explores the growing number of North Americans traveling to Central Europe for low-cost in vitro fertilization treatments to create a particular kind of family -- one with blonde-haired, blue-eyed babies.

Unsynching the heartbeat a bit each day halts worsening heart failure
Johns Hopkins has demonstrated in animals that applying a pacemaker's mild electrical shocks to push the heart in and out of normal synchronized contraction for part of each day may be an effective way to slow down the progression of heart failure, a disorder that afflicts millions of Americans.

How temperature determines sex in alligators
Some reptiles such as crocodilians and some turtles are known to display temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), where the ambient temperature of the developing eggs determines the individual's sex.

UTA engineer developing more precise lung cancer imaging, radiation results
Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Washington are working on a solution and have developed a new, personalized respiratory-motion system that uses mathematical modeling to capture images of a patient's lung when it is depressed -- offering a clearer, more precise image of the tumor to be destroyed.

Engineers demo first processor that uses light for ultrafast communications
Engineers have successfully married electrons and photons within a single-chip microprocessor, a landmark development that overcomes a major bottleneck in optical communications.

Description of mechanism that halts solar eruptions
At the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, researchers led by physicist Clayton Myers have identified a mechanism that may halt eruptions before they leave the sun.

HIV antibody infusion safely suppresses virus in infected people
A single infusion of a powerful antibody called VRC01 can suppress the level of HIV in the blood of infected people who are not taking antiretroviral therapy, scientists at the National Institutes of Health report in a paper published today.

New SIR-Network Model helps predict dengue fever epidemic in urban areas
An article 'SIR-Network Model And its Application to Dengue Fever,' authored by Lucas M.

A mathematical model for animal stripes
The back of a tiger could have been a blank canvas.

In China, training doctors reduced STI risk
Results of a randomized, controlled clinical trial in two Chinese provinces show that providing sexually transmitted infection training and education for physicians resulted in significantly reduced infection risk among their patients.

Flexible soaring style keeps vultures aloft longer
New research in The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows how vultures use small-scale turbulence to stay aloft even when weather conditions don't favor the formation of thermals.

UCLA researchers create exceptionally strong and lightweight new metal
A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has created a super-strong yet light structural metal with extremely high specific strength and modulus, or stiffness-to-weight ratio.

Precision immunization: NASA studies immune response to flu vaccine in space and on Earth
NASA Human Research Program Twins Study investigator Emmanuel Mignot, M.D., Ph.D, known for discovering the cause of narcolepsy is related to the immune system, is studying twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly.

Dating historic activity at Oso site shows recurring major landslides
Radiocarbon dating of landslides near the deadly March 2014 mudslide in Oso, Wash., show that this is a geologically active region, with other large slides in the relatively recent past.

Changing architecture: A new understanding of the spatial organization
Fifteen years ago, scientists had determined the entire sequence of the genetic letters making up our DNA.

Helmet safety research aims to kick start in new directions
The year 2016 is looking bright for Simon Fraser University researcher Daniel Abram, the creator of Brainshield™ and CTO of Shield-X Technology Inc. and his team.

Educating patients improves knowledge and attitudes about participating in research
A five-center national study led by Neal Meropol, M.D., and a team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center demonstrated that a little information goes a long way in encouraging cancer patients to enroll in clinical trials, a decision that could be potentially lifesaving.

Targeting fat-tissue hormone may lead to type 2 diabetes treatment
A new study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and colleagues describes the preclinical development of a therapeutic that could potentially be used to treat type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and other metabolic diseases.

Vitamin D deficiency does not increase risk and severity of OSA
A recent study of elderly men found no evidence that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increased in severity (or prevalence) as a result of vitamin D deficiency.

JBJS 'watch' offers tips for reducing risk of ceramic femoral-head fractures
Four 'golden rules' orthopaedic surgeons can follow to reduce the risk of ceramic femoral-head fractures, including making sure that the tapers on both the head and stem are compatible in all dimensions.

Study: Positive results for new oral drug for pulmonary hypertension
Largest study ever of pulmonary hypertension shows effective treatment may get easier for the mostly young women patients who have the rare heart disease.

FDA continues recent trend of approval with new 2nd generation lung cancer treatment
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer is once again gratified to see the approval of a new second-generation lung cancer treatment that can help many patients with the FDA's rapid progression of lung cancer drug approvals -- this time for alectinib for patients with advanced (metastatic) ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer if their disease deteriorated after treatment with another therapy called crizotinib.

Music therapy increases effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD patients
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other chronic respiratory disorders who received music therapy in conjunction with standard rehabilitation saw an improvement in symptoms, psychological well-being and quality of life compared to patients receiving rehabilitation alone, according to a new study by researchers at the Louis Armstrong Center of Music and Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

Marijuana derivative reduces seizures in people with treatment-resistant epilepsy
Cannabidiol (CBD), a medical marijuana derivative, was effective in reducing seizure frequency and well-tolerated and safe for most children and young adults enrolled in a year-long study led by epilepsy specialists at NYU Langone Medical Center.

A quantum of light for material science
Scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, led by Professor Ángel Rubio of the UPV/EHU have shown how the effects of the photons can be properly included in computer simulations that predict the light-induced change in the physical and chemical properties of complex systems, molecules, nanostructures and solids.

Study assessed impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on sea turtles
Researchers investigating the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on sea turtles found that over 320,000 juvenile sea turtles from populations throughout the Atlantic Ocean were likely present in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the 87-day oil spill.

How to assess the effectiveness of activity trackers for improving health
The rise of wearable activity trackers, such as Fitbit, Fuelband, and Jawbone, has generated a lot of public excitement as well as interest from researchers who are enthused about the opportunities these devices may provide to monitor activity and help people lead healthier lives.

Researchers found an unconventional phase transition in photonic structures
A team of physicists from ITMO University, Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute and Australian National University have researched the phenomenon of phase transition between photonic crystals and metamaterials -- two types of periodic structures capable of manipulating light in intricate ways.

Mapping cancer's 'social networks' opens new approaches to treatment
Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have designed a computer model that applies techniques used to analyze social networks to identify new ways of treating cancer, according to research published in PLOS Computational Biology today.

Evidence of past volcanic activity in the Caribbean Sea
Reconstructing the magnitude of past volcanic eruptions is important in informing predictions about future eruptions and hazards.

Study reveals arms race between Ebola virus and bats, waged for millions of years
Ebola virus and bats have been waging a molecular battle for survival that may have started 25 million years ago, according to a study led by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the CU-Boulder and the USAMRIID that published online today in eLife.

The power of touch
Many animals change sex at some point in their lives, often after reaching a certain size.

Exeter scientists call for reduction in plastic lab waste
In a Correspondence article entitled 'Labs should cut plastic waste too' published in the journal Nature this week, they estimate that bio scientific research is responsible for 1.8 percent of total global plastic production, waste which weighs the equivalent of 67 cruise ships a year.

Two Alzheimer's risk genes linked to brain atrophy, promise future blood markers
Two genetic variants previously linked to Alzheimer's disease have been more specifically tied to brain atrophy that is characteristic of the disease.

Hepatitis C tied to increased risk of Parkinson's
The hepatitis C virus may be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the Dec.

Re-evaluating guidelines for testing and treating toenail fungus
Onychomycosis -- a fungal infection of the toenails -- is the most common nail disease in adults.

January JDR highlights dental implant complications and peri-implantitis
The International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) have published in the January issue of the Journal of Dental Research articles that explore new evidence on the biological complications of dental implants and the great challenges associated with predictable implant therapy.

Optoelectronic microprocessors built using existing chip manufacturing
Using only processes found in existing microchip fabrication facilities, researchers at MIT, Berkeley, and University of Colorado have produced a working optoelectronic microprocessor, which computes electronically but uses light to move information.

Serpentinization: Nutrients of biological organisms in hydrothermal fields
Serpentinization is potentially significant for the origin and evolution of life during the early history of the Earth and possibly on other planets.

An ice core study to determine the timing and duration of historical climate stages
In ice core studies, accurate and precise dating is important to better constrain the timing, sequence, and duration of past climatic events.

Geologic formation could hold clues to melting glacier floodwaters
Geologists investigating an unusual landform in the Wabash River Valley in southern Illinois expected to find seismic origins, but instead found the aftermath of rushing floodwaters from melting Midwestern glaciers after the last ice age.

Competition and climate change combine to threaten Bicknell's thrush
Bicknell's thrush is a songbird that breeds in New England mountaintop forests threatened by climate change, and research forthcoming in The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that this threat could be exacerbated by competition from related birds living downslope.

Levels of antibodies in saliva are associated with risk of mortality
New research from the University of Birmingham has found that lower levels of antibodies in saliva are associated with of an elevated risk of mortality, and could be an early indicator of risk.

Genome misfolding unearthed as new path to cancer
Researchers from the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital reveal a completely new biological mechanism that underlies cancer.

Comparing chemical and surgical castration for prostate cancer
Surgical castration to remove the testicles (orchiectomy) of men with metastatic prostate cancer was associated with lower risks for adverse effects compared with men who underwent medical castration with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) therapy, according to an article published online by JAMA Oncology.

This computer program can find new chemical combos to kill pathogenic yeast
The drugs of tomorrow may be discovered by computers. A proof-of-concept study published Dec.

Images and codes could provide secure alternative to multiple device password systems
A system using images and a one-time numerical code could provide a secure and easy to use alternative to multi-factor systems dependent on hardware or software and one-time passwords, a study by Plymouth University published in Information Security Journal: A Global Perspective suggests.

Study examines intent of glaucoma patients to use marijuana for treatment in city where legal
A survey of patients with glaucoma in Washington, DC, showed that the perception of the legality and acceptability of marijuana use was significantly associated with intentions to use marijuana for the treatment of glaucoma, even though research has indicated it is of limited benefit, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

UAlberta innovation sheds light on how genetic information travels from cell's nucleus
Discovery science led by the University of Alberta is opening a window on cell biology rarely seen before.

UTA wins $1.24 million Navy grant to show how shockwaves injure brains of soldiers
Michael Cho, chair of bioengineering at The University of Texas at Arlington, has won a $1.24 million Navy grant to show how shockwaves injure brains of soldiers in battle.

Mental disorders associated with subsequent chronic physical conditions
International survey data suggest an assortment of mental disorders were associated with increased risk of the onset of a wide array of chronic physical conditions.

What is cost effectiveness of confirmatory testing before treating nail fungus?
An analysis based on data from previously published literature suggests it is more cost effective to treat all suspected cases of nail fungus (onychomycosis) with the oral medication terbinafine than to perform confirmatory diagnostic tests beforehand, although confirmatory testing before treatment with the expensive topical medicine efinaconazole, 10 percent, was associated with reduced costs, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Personalizing cancer therapies may combat resistance to targeted therapy drugs
Massachusetts General Hospital physicians report the case of a patients whose lung cancer was re-sensitized to crizotinib, a first-generation targeted therapy drug, by a mutation conferring resistance to a more selective, next-generation ALK inhibitor.

UGA ecologist finds another cause of antibiotic resistance
The University of Georgia's J. Vaun McArthur is concerned that there's more to the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria than the misuse of common medications.

Articles examine relationship between skin and endocrine disorders
Two studies and an editorial published online by JAMA Dermatology examine the relationship between skin disorders and endocrine diseases.

How does type of toy affect quantity, quality of language in infant playtime?
Electronic toys for infants that produce lights, words and songs were associated with decreased quantity and quality of language compared to playing with books or traditional toys such as a wooden puzzle, a shape-sorter and a set of rubber blocks, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

UTA physicists devise gene therapy platform for macular degeneration patients
Physics researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington have developed a new platform that uses ultrafast near-infrared lasers to deliver gene therapy to damaged areas of the retina to enable vision restoration in patients with photo-degenerative diseases.

Guarding against immune responses limiting efficacy of antibody-based approaches to HIV
Immunogeneticist specializing in immunoglobulin GM genes at the Medical University of South Carolina monitored for immune responses that could limit the effectiveness of the broadly neutralizing antibody VRC01 in HIV-infected individuals in a phase 1 trial conducted by a team at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

This week from AGU: Data science, blogs from the fall meeting, and 3 new papers
This week from AGU: data science, blogs from the fall meeting, and three new papers.

Brain's mysteries unraveled through computational neuropsychiatry
New research using computational neuroscience has unraveled a longstanding mystery of a fundamental property of the brain, topographic organization.

Large permanent reserves required for effective conservation of old fish
Permanent marine protected areas and wilderness -- places where fish can grow old -- are critical to the effective conservation of marine ecosystems according to a new study conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, James Cook University, and Lancaster University.

Swedish teachers and students often talk about religion as something outdated and strange
In Swedish classrooms, religion is often associated with an obsolete time when people just didn't know better -- as if religion used to serve a purpose but there is no need for it in the modern world.

Absence of serotonin alters development and function of brain circuits
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have created the first complete model to describe the role that serotonin plays in brain development and structure.

Weight-loss programs tailored to a person's genome may be coming soon
Some health experts predict that the next big advance in helping overweight people achieve a healthier weight will be to use an individual's genetic data to customize diets and physical activity plans, an approach known as 'precision weight loss,' described in a new paper out this week in the journal Obesity.

Kidney injury common following vascular surgery
Both acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease were common in patients undergoing major vascular surgical procedures and were associated with an increase in long-term cardiovascular-specific death compared with patients with no kidney disease, according to a study published online by JAMA 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