Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 07, 2016
Press registration open for Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting in New York, April 2-5
Join us in the Big Apple to explore the underlying nature of how we think!

By the dozen: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope mirrors
One dozen flight mirrors are now installed on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, out of the 18 mirror segments that make up the primary mirror.

Scientist identifies energy sensor as potential target for cancer drugs
An international research team formed by a University of Cincinnati cancer researcher has shown for the first time that a specific enzyme is responsible for sensing the available supply of GTP, an energy source that fuels the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells.

Veterans and civilian patients at risk of ICU-related PTSD up to a year post discharge
One in ten patients is at risk of having new post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to their ICU experience up to a year post-discharge.

Random mutation, protein changes, tied to start of multicellular life
All it took was one mutation more than 600 million years ago.

New technology to provide insights into the health of students
Researchers from the University of Notre Dame used the centrality of cellphones in college students' lives to delve deep into students' usage habits and how their social networks affect their everyday lives.

New NDV-H5Nx avian influenza vaccine has potential for mass vaccination of poultry
In the course of three months, Kansas State University researchers were able to develop and test a new vaccine that protects chickens and other poultry from multiple strains of avian influenza found in the US, including H5N1, H5N2 and H5N8.

IOP publishing launches Quantum Science and Technology
The field of quantum science has attracted considerable funding in recent years reflecting the potential for converting quantum-physics research into commercial products.

Researchers study 'hidden' pollutants in Gulf of Mexico from BP oil spill
More than 100 chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exist, but the EPA tracks only 16.

Bug eyes: Tiny 3-D glasses confirm insect 3-D vision
Miniature glasses have proved that mantises use 3-D vision -- providing a new model to improve visual perception in robots.

New report shows fewer Texans have problems paying medical bills
Fewer Texans say they have problems paying their medical bills in 2015 compared with 2013, according to a new report released today by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Small changes in DNA can affect nicotine consumption
Nicotine is an addictive substance and genetic factors are known to play a role in smoking behaviors.

How to pack tropical trees
How many cookies fit on a baking sheet? How many oranges fit in a bag?

Having more children slows down aging process -- study
A study by Simon Fraser University researchers suggests the number of children born to a woman influences the rate at which her body ages.

Penguins, food and robots
In a study reported in the Nature publication Scientific Reports, University of Delaware oceanographers consider whether Adelie penguins and gentoo penguins -- newcomers to the Palmer Station region over the last two decades -- may be competing for the same food resources and whether this might exacerbate the Adelie population decline.

What lessons have we learned from the 2014 ebola epidemic in West Africa?
An academic from the University of British Columbia has analysed, in a review published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology, what could have been done differently in the efforts to prevent the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

An electrifying breakthrough by the team headed up by professor Roberto Morandotti
The use of lasers to guide an electrical discharge around obstacles: this breakthrough by Professor Roberto Morandotti and his team made Québec Science magazine's list of the ten biggest discoveries in 2015.

Odds are good that risky gambling choices are influenced by a single brain connection
Whether a person will place a risky bet comes down to a newly discovered tract of neurons spanning two brain regions.

Student-built experiment integrated onto NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission
A student-built experiment aboard NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has been integrated onto the spacecraft.

Dam projects on world's largest rivers threaten fish species, rural livelihoods
Advocates of huge hydroelectric dam projects on the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong river basins often overestimate economic benefits and underestimate far-reaching effects on biodiversity, according to an article in the Jan.

UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Janssen R&D collaborate to treat Chagas disease
Researchers at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego have entered into a research collaboration with Janssen Research & Development, LLC (Janssen R&D), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to identify new therapeutic targets for Chagas disease, a parasitic infection that is the leading cause of heart failure in Latin America.

Religious beliefs don't always lead to violence
From the Christian Crusades to the Paris attacks, countless conflicts and acts of violence have been claimed to be the result of differing religious beliefs.

Galaxy quakes could improve hunt for dark matter
A trio of brightly pulsating stars at the outskirts of the Milky Way is racing away from the galaxy and may confirm a method for detecting dwarf galaxies dominated by dark matter and explain ripples in the outer disk of the galaxy.

With the right algorithms: Optimizing cell cycle analysis
Scientists of the the Helmholtz Zentrum München have found a new approach improving the identification of cell cycle phases using imaging flow cytometry data.

Roman toilets gave no clear health benefit, and Romanization actually spread parasites
Archaeological evidence shows that intestinal parasites such as whipworm became increasingly common across Europe during the Roman Period, despite the apparent improvements the empire brought in sanitation technologies.

Engineer receives $2 million DOE energy grant to study capture of CO2
Joan Brennecke, Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, is the recipient of a $2 million US Department of Energy grant for research that could fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy

Slow stem cell division may cause small brains
Duke University researchers have figured out how a developmental disease called microcephaly produces a much smaller brain than normal: Some brain stem cells are simply too slow as they proceed through the neuron production process.

NASA sees out-of-season Central Pacific tropical depression form
Infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite showed powerful thunderstorms persisting in the center of a newly developed out-of-season tropical depression in the Central Pacific Ocean.

Small box holds big promise in cardiac care
St. Joseph's Hospital in London is the only Canadian cardiac rehabilitation center testing the AngioDefender, a non-invasive tool that can assess the health of blood vessels by using a simple blood pressure cuff.

Uni experts aim to cut the costs of pressure ulcers
Pressure ulcers resulting from factors such as immobility by elderly patients and residents in hospitals and care homes can have serious medical consequences, requiring plastic surgery in extreme cases.

Publishers to require ORCID identifiers for authors
A group of seven publishers today announced that, during 2016, they will begin requiring authors to use an ORCID identifier (iD) during the publication process.

Earth-science pioneer Don L. Anderson honored
This new GSA Special Paper is a memorial to Don L.

Team identifies ancient mutation that contributed to evolution of multicellular animals
A single chance mutation caused an ancient protein to evolve a new function essential for multicellularity in animals, about a billion years ago, according to research co-led by UChicago scientists.

Flexible gene expression may regulate social status in male fish
Scientists show how the selective expression of genes through epigenetics can regulate the social status of African cichlid fish.

CHEST issues new antithrombotic guideline update for treatment of VTE disease
Each year, there are approximately 10 million cases of venous thromboembolism (VTE) worldwide.

Overcoming hurdles to climate change adaptation in the Arctic
Outdated land management practices, a dearth of local decision-making bodies with real powers, a lack of long-term planning, along with long-standing educational and financial disempowerment and marginalization are among the hurdles the prevent Arctic communities from adapting to climate change, says a McGill-led research team.

Access to millions of US patents records will dramatically improve
A team of UMass Amherst computer scientists took the top prize in an international competition sponsored by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and US Department of Commerce.

The Anthropocene: Hard evidence for a human-driven Earth
Evidence for a new geological epoch which marks the impact of human activity on the Earth is now overwhelming according to a recent paper by an international group of geoscientists

Tweak in gene expression may have helped humans walk upright, Stanford researchers say
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama, have identified a change in gene expression between humans and primates that may have helped give us this edge when it comes to walking upright.

Saliva test to detect GHB and alcohol poisonings
Scientists working at Loughborough University, UK, and the University of Cordoba, Spain, have developed a new method for the rapid diagnosis of poisoning in apparently drunk patients.

New research grant awarded to help cut heart disease in South Asia
A new international collaboration has received a £2 million award to fund research into combatting the rising numbers of deaths in rural South Asia caused by cardiovascular disease.

Current malaria treatment fails in Cambodia due to drug-resistant parasites
New findings from NIAID confirm dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, the first-line treatment for Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection in Cambodia, has failed in certain provinces due to parasite resistance to artemisinin and piperaquine.

Snappy Sleep Stager system identifies gene related to shorter sleep
Now, researchers at the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center have advanced sleep genetics research by developing a new method for monitoring mouse sleep cycles.

From Sherborn to ZooBank: Moving to the interconnected digital nomenclature of the future
Names are our primary framework for organizing information. But how do we tie scientific names to a foundation so they provide stability and repeatability to fluid conceptual topics such as taxonomies?

Researchers gauge quantum properties of nanotubes, essential for next-gen electronics
Today, a group of scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lehigh University and Harvard University are reporting on the discovery of an important method for measuring the properties of nanotube materials using a microwave probe.

Kessler Foundation and NJIT secure $5M grant to study wearable robots
A joint team from Kessler Foundation and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is developing new applications for wearable robotic exoskeleton devices with a $5 million federal grant, 'Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Wearable Robots,' which funds five projects to improve mobility and independence in people with spinal cord injury, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and stroke.

Low-income communities more likely to face childhood obesity
Race matters less than expected in study showing relationship between poverty and obesity.

Successful Access to Research pilot leads to extension of service
The Access to Research initiative, which gives users in public libraries free access to over 10 million academic articles, has been given the green light by publishers and librarians to continue.

Feinstein Institute clinical study reveals new approach to diagnosing low back pain
Scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered a new, personalized approach to diagnosing low back pain.

DFG supports 21 new specialised information services
A total of 21.2 million euros for expansion of literature and information provision at research libraries / completion of restructuring of former special subject collections.

A 'printing press' for nanoparticles
Gold nanoparticles have unusual properties, which scientists are seeking to put to use in a range of technologies.

Long-term ozone exposure increases ARDS risks in critically ill
Critically ill patients who are exposed to higher daily levels of ozone are more likely to develop acute respiratory disease syndrome, according to a new study published online ahead of print in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Gene editing technique improves vision in rats with inherited blindness
A new technique that has the potential to treat inherited diseases by removing genetic defects has been shown for the first time to hinder retinal degeneration in rats with a type of inherited blindness, according to a Cedars-Sinai study.

Detecting when and why deadly blood clots form
Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have devised a better assay for testing blood's clotting tendency, also known as hemostasis, which could one day prove lifesaving in a variety of clinical situations in which a patient's health is jeopardized by abnormal blood coagulation and platelet function.

Enhanced recovery program for colorectal surgery patients can save money for hospitals
The cost of implementing an innovative quality improvement program that helps colorectal surgery patients recover faster is more than offset by savings from their reduced lengths of stay at hospitals of any size.

New iron transporter essential for Leishmania parasite virulence is potential drug target
Leishmaniasis is a serious parasitic disease that affects 12 million people worldwide.

Valuing your time more than money is linked to happiness
Valuing your time more than the pursuit of money is linked to greater happiness, according to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

NASA analyzes Tropical Storm Ula's winds
Tropical Storm Ula continued to weaken as it pulled farther away from Fiji in the Southern Pacific Ocean.

Pathogens found in Otzi's stomach
Scientists are continually unearthing new facts about Homo sapiens from the mummified remains of Otzi, the Copper Age man, who was discovered in a glacier in 1991.

Winner announced for Dove Medical Press inaugural Video Abstract Award
Dove Medical Press is pleased to announce the winner for their inaugural Video Abstract Award (2015).

Zoning out or deep thinking?
Reading stories about values you hold sacred activates a part of your brain once thought to be used for zoning out.

Three new chigger mite species discovered on rodents in Thailand
Three new species of chigger mites have been discovered on rodents in Thailand, and are described in an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Filmmakers just know how to help you read on-screen emotions
Movie makers implicitly know how important it is to be able to read someone's expression, and that distance influences how easy this is done.

Discovery shows dinosaurs may have been the original lovebirds
Dinosaurs engaged in mating behavior similar to modern birds, leaving the fossil evidence behind in 100 million year old rocks, according to new research by Martin Lockley, professor of geology at the University of Colorado Denver.

Most distant massive galaxy cluster identified
Astronomers at MIT, the University of Missouri, the University of Florida, and elsewhere, have detected a massive, sprawling, churning galaxy cluster that formed only 3.8 billion years after the Big Bang.

Lead exposure linked to ADHD in kids with genetic mutation
Exposure to small amounts of lead may contribute to ADHD symptoms in children who have a particular gene mutation, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Epigenetic regulation of metastatic breast cancer progression may guide prognosis and future therapy
A gene that plays a role in the development of breast cancer to metastatic disease has been identified which may help to predict disease progression and serve as a target for the development of future breast cancer therapies.

Orthopedic surgery simulation
A unique training simulator for orthopedic open surgery (knee reconstruction with total joint replacement) has been developed by OSSim Technologies Inc. in partnership with three University of Montreal orthopedic surgeons.

Single-chip laser delivers powerful result
Northwestern University researchers have made a breakthrough in mid-infrared semiconductor laser technology that combines tunable wavelength emission with high-output power on a single chip.

South London hospital cuts waiting times for mental health patients
Staff at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust have reduced waiting times for mental health patients after redesigning their referral system.

Banning trophy hunting could do more harm than good
Trophy hunting shouldn't be banned but instead it should be better regulated to ensure funds generated from permits are invested back into local conservation efforts, according to a new paper co-authored by a leading University of Adelaide conservation ecologist.

Gun, fire, motor vehicle safety practices linked to parents' depressive symptoms
American University School of Public Affairs assistant professor Taryn Morrissey conducted a study that links parental depression to increased safety risks for their children.

Smokers diagnosed with pneumonia found to have higher risk of lung cancer
A new study from Tel Aviv University proposes that screening heavy smokers admitted to the hospital with community-acquired pneumonia could facilitate the early diagnosis of lung cancer and thereby reduce the incidence of mortality.

Study reveals deep ties between diverse tropical rainforests
A study from a team of researchers at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, Princeton University, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute reveals striking new findings about the structure of tropical rainforests and how the trees in them interact with one another.

Stable perovskite cell boosts solar power efficiency
Adding cesium to perovskite solar cells significantly increases their thermal and photostability, while maintaining high efficiency, a new study demonstrates.

Higher cancer death rate associated with solid-organ transplant recipients
In solid-organ transplant recipients, the cancer death rate was higher than in the general population in a new study from Ontario, Canada, published online by JAMA Oncology.

Cellular 'switch' helps brain distinguish safety from danger, new study finds
Researchers at Columbia University's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University Medical Center have identified a cellular circuit that helps the mouse brain to remember which environments are safe, and which are harmful.

MD Anderson and Kymab announce research and development strategic partnership in immuno-oncology
Kymab, a leading human monoclonal antibody biopharmaceutical company, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Oncology Research for Biologics and Immunotherapy Translation (ORBIT) unit today announced a strategic cancer drug discovery and development alliance.

Eat less and be happy -- really!
New brain-imaging research reveals that small, uncertain incentives stimulate the same reward center of the brain as food.

Numerous markers provide evidence for a 'human' epoch
Millions of years from now, will the geological record of Earth's history display evidence of a 'human' epoch?

NASA's Fermi Space Telescope sharpens its high-energy vision
Major improvements to methods used to process observations from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have yielded an expanded, higher-quality set of data that allows astronomers to produce the most detailed census of the sky yet made at extreme energies.

Self-compacting concrete -- now fire resistant as well
Self-compacting high-performance concrete (SCHPC) has till now suffered from one weakness -- when exposed to fire it flakes and splits, which reduces its loadbearing capacity.

Exercise DVDs could be psychologically harmful for users, new OSU research shows
Using fitness DVDs to work out at home may seem like a good way to get started on new exercise goals this year, but those DVDs may also include negative imagery and demotivating language.

Trees employ similar strategies to outcompete their neighbors
Trees worldwide compete in some of the same ways, making simpler models of forest response to climate change possible.

Your symptoms? Evolution's way of telling you to stay home
Research suggests that our selfish genes are behind the aches and fever.

Can manufacturers institute disappointed in limiting language in new dietary guidelines
The Can Manufacturers Institute commends the Secretaries of the U.S.

Certain yoga positions may impact eye pressure in glaucoma patients
Glaucoma patients may experience increased eye pressure as the result of performing several different head-down positions while practicing yoga, according to a new study published by researchers at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) in the journal PLOS ONE.

Cancer death rate continues steady drop
Steady reductions in smoking combined with advances in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in a 23 percent drop in the cancer death rate since its peak in 1991.

A carbon sink that can't be filled
According to new research, as global temperatures rise the organic matter in forests appears to break down more quickly, which is accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

EARTH: Treated water that's too pure lets arsenic sneak in
In an effort to reduce water use in California, communities are turning to wastewater purification.

Neanderthal genes gave modern humans an immunity boost, allergies
When modern humans met Neanderthals in Europe and the two species began interbreeding many thousands of years ago, the exchange left humans with gene variations that have increased the ability of those who carry them to ward off infection.

Increased legal liabilities limit prescribed fire use for brush control
Private landowners and managers tend to shy away from the use of prescribed fire for maintaining rangeland and forest ecosystems in spite of the known benefits due to the potential liability factor, according to a Texas A&M University study.

Negotiation tip: Gain sympathy and gain the advantage
Is sympathy considered a sign of weakness or is there a place for sympathy in negotiations?

Study shows beneficial effects of blocking brain inflammation in experimental model of Alzheimer's
A University of Southampton-led study has found that blocking a receptor in the brain responsible for regulating immune cells could protect against the memory and behavior changes seen in the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

NSF commits $30 million to expand the frontiers of computing
The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced $30 million in funding to three Expeditions in Computing projects.

Project to engineer cells that compute awarded $10M NSF grant
The Living Computing Project is a comprehensive effort to quantify synthetic biology using a computing engineering approach to create a toolbox of carefully measured and cataloged biological parts that can be used to engineer organisms with predictable results.

Researchers ride new sound wave to health discovery
Acoustics experts have created a new class of sound wave -- the first in more than half a century -- in a breakthrough they hope could lead to a revolution in stem cell therapy.

Genetic traffic signal orchestrates early embryonic development
New research by UC San Francisco stem cell biologists has revealed that a DNA-binding protein called Foxd3 acts like a genetic traffic signal, holding that ball of undifferentiated cells in a state of readiness for its great transformation in the third week of development.

Improving musical synchronization with mathematical modeling
In a recently-published paper in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, authors Donald Drew, Kevin Dolch, and Maury Castro propose a stochastic differential equation model that simulates how musical performers in a large ensemble sustain tempo and phase while responding to a conductor, other musicians, and additional distractions modeled as 'noise.'

Portable NIST kit can recover traces of chemical evidence
A chemist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed a portable version of his method for recovering trace chemicals such as environmental pollutants and forensic evidence including secret graves and arson fire debris.

Teens with autism and caregivers should plan early for adulthood
As the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders continues to rise, medical professionals have emphasized early diagnosis, intervention and treatment.

In rainforests, battle for sunlight shapes forest structure
Researchers have discovered that competition for sunlight among rainforest trees leads to the remarkably consistent pattern of tree sizes seen in tropical forests around the globe.

Study tracks migration of chronically homeless mentally ill adults to Vancouver's DTES
A study by Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Dr.

Study shows superiority of chromoendoscopy in dysplasia detection in patients with IBD
Mount Sinai researchers led a long-term surveillance study, the first of its kind, showing chromoendoscopy is more effective than standard colonoscopy in these patients.

New role of protein kinases in embryo development and cancer
A group of protein kinases have been found to play an important role in embryo development and may even be a potential cancer drug target, says research led by Queen Mary University of London and the Francis Crick Institute, UK.

$10 million grant helps Cornell launch multi-institutional virtual research lab
The National Science Foundation today announced $30 million in new awards to three Expeditions in Computing projects, one of which has been awarded to Cornell University Computer Science Professor Carla Gomes, also with appointments in Information Science and the Dyson School and director of the Institute for Computational Sustainability.

VIB researchers discover possible strategy against stroke
Scientists at VIB and KU Leuven have identified the oxygen sensor PHD1 as a potential target for the treatment of brain infarction (ischemic stroke).

Paying for hydro energy with tropical biodiversity and fisheries
As a boom of hydroelectric dams in the tropics is underway, it's important to fully assess the true economic benefits, which are often overstated, and the far-reaching effects on biodiversity and fisheries, which are often underestimated, authors of this Policy Forum say.

'Window of recovery' can reopen after stroke
Using mice whose front paws were still partly disabled after an initial induced stroke, Johns Hopkins researchers report that inducing a second stroke nearby in their brains let them 'rehab' the animals to successfully grab food pellets with those paws at pre-stroke efficiency.

A nanoscale look at why a new alloy is amazingly tough
A team of researchers led by scientists from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has identified several mechanisms that make a new, cold-loving material one of the toughest metallic alloys ever.

Tiny 'flasks' speed up chemical reactions
Self-assembling nanosphere clusters may improve everything from drug synthesis to drug delivery.

The Iceman's gut microbes shed light on ancient human geography
Analysis of microbes from the gut of the 'Iceman,' a famous 5,300-year-old European glacial mummy, provides insights into not only his health status right before he was murdered, but historical human geography as well.

ISHLT issues updated candidacy criteria for heart transplantation
To determine patient eligibility for heart transplant, the International Society for Heart Lung Transplantation maintains a list of criteria, first issued in 2006, that acts as a guideline for physicians.

New touchless device makes earlier detection of heart problems possible
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a revolutionary system for monitoring vital signs that could lead to improved detection and prevention of some cardiovascular issues, as well as greater independence for older adults.

Blocking melanoma's escape: Avatars break theraping resistance in relapsed cancers
By utilizing a revolutionary method that allows mice to serve as 'avatars' for patients, scientists at The Wistar Institute have shown that a previously ineffective targeted drug for melanoma may actually be quite potent in halting the progression of disease in certain patients.

1 in 4 kids sexually harassed by friends online
It's not just strangers who target children online. Kids' own friends are sexually harassing them over the Internet, finds new research led by a Michigan State University cybercrime expert.

In Arctic winter, marine creatures migrate by the light of the moon
A few months ago, researchers reported the surprising discovery that marine creatures living in one Arctic fjord keep busy through the permanently dark and frigid winter months.

Authors of Science journal article strive to save world's mightiest rivers
A group of 40 international scientists led by a Texas A&M University System professor says three of the Earth's mightiest rivers are being ravaged in the name of progress. 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