Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 29, 2016
NASA: Understanding the magnetic sun
Scientists have turned to a combination of real time observations and computer simulations to best analyze how material courses through the corona.

This plant sucks! (But how?)
The bladderwort has a trap faster than the blink of an eye.

Graphene shown to safely interact with neurons in the brain
Researchers have shown that graphene can be used to make electrodes that can be implanted in the brain, which could potentially be used to restore sensory functions for amputee or paralyzed patients, or for individuals with motor disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Study reveals subtle brain differences in men with autism
Research at King's College London has revealed subtle brain differences in adult males with autism spectrum disorder, which may go some way towards explaining why symptoms persist into adulthood in some people with the disorder.

Good cosmetic outcomes, improved quality of life with full facial feminization surgery
For patients with gender dysphoria undergoing male-to-female transformation, a stepwise approach to facial feminization surgery (FFS) leads to good cosmetic outcomes along with psychological, social, and functional benefits, according to a study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

First impressions: When the mating market resembles a super market
Two things people always need in life: food and love.

Remicade® developer funds new super-resolution microscope at Scripps Florida
The co-developer of Remicade®, one of the three top-selling drugs in the world, has donated more than $500,000 to fund what will be known as the Iris and Junming Le Foundation Super-Resolution Microscopy Facility on the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute.

Nanosheet growth technique could revolutionize nanomaterial production
After six years of painstaking effort, a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientists believe the tiny sheets of the semiconductor zinc oxide they're growing could have huge implications for the future of a host of electronic and biomedical devices.

Fat injection for breast reconstruction doesn't increase risk of recurrent breast cancer
For women undergoing breast cancer surgery, a technique called lipofilling -- using the patient's own fat cells to optimize the results of breast reconstruction -- does not increase the risk of recurrent breast cancer, reports a study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Mass. General study points to the first topical treatment for common benign skin lesions
An investigation into the molecular mechanisms responsible for the most common type of benign skin lesion may lead to the first nonsurgical treatment for the growths called seborrheic keratoses, which in addition to being cosmetically unattractive are often worrisome to patients.

US fisheries management clears high bar for sustainability
A peer-reviewed self-assessment that shows the standards of the United States fishery management system under the Magnuson-Stevens Act exceed the criteria of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization's ecolabelling guidelines.

US R&D increased in 2013, well ahead of the pace of gross domestic product
US expenditures in research and development (R&D) rose to $456.1 billion in 2013 -- a $20.7 billion increase over the previous year, according to a report from the National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

Spotlight on both old, difficult issues and humanitarian visions that drive new patents
The current issue of Technology and Innovation has articles on the 2015 Patents for Humanity Awards, asbestos exposure during outdoor recreational activities, the phenomenon of academic serial inventors, and a special section on regulatory science with articles on organic vs. conventional foods and the critical role of review criteria in peer review.

Recent studies show value of technology and in-person communications
Across four different research groups in the United States and Canada, findings from personality and social psychologists suggest that text messaging and social media can have emotional and psychological benefits.

'Pop quiz' could help predict sexually transmitted infections in young women
Researchers at Johns Hopkins say an online 'pop quiz' they developed in 2009 shows promising accuracy in predicting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in young women, although not, apparently, in young men.

NASA engineers tapped to build first integrated-photonics modem
A NASA team has been tapped to build a new type of communications modem that will employ an emerging, potentially revolutionary technology that could transform everything from telecommunications, medical imaging, advanced manufacturing to national defense.

Risk-taking propensity changes, especially in young adulthood and in older age
Longitudinal study examines individual and age-related changes in the willingness to take risks in various domains of life

CU-Boulder study: Ancient extinction of giant Australian bird points to humans
The first direct evidence that humans played a substantial role in the extinction of the huge, wondrous beasts inhabiting Australia some 50,000 years ago -- in this case a 500-pound bird -- has been discovered by a University of Colorado Boulder-led team.

Moon's tidal forces affect amount of rainfall on Earth
Satellite data shows that the moon's gravity puts a slight damper on rainfall on Earth.

Could blood pressure drugs have a role in Alzheimer's disease treatment?
In laboratory neuronal cultures, an FDA-approved drug used to treat high blood pressure reduced cell damage often linked to Alzheimer's disease, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health.

Seaweed offers the solution to transporting stem cells and wound treatment
Stem cells have been put into plasters and bandages to help heal wounds for the first time, thanks to a new technique developed by scientists at Newcastle University, UK.

The Lancet Oncology: Proton beam therapy offers potential to treat childhood brain cancer with fewer severe side effects than conventional radiotherapy
Proton beam therapy -- a more precise form of radiotherapy -- to treat the childhood brain cancer medulloblastoma appears to be as safe as conventional radiotherapy with similar survival rates, according to new research published in The Lancet Oncology journal today.

Vital clues to future cancer development in normal breast tissue DNA
Detecting molecular alterations in early breast cancer development is key in the development of more effective cancer prevention and early detection strategies.

Syracuse geophysicist questions stability of Antarctic ice sheet
A professor in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences is joining the growing debate over the fate of the world's largest ice sheet, whose sudden melting is sending shockwaves throughout the geophysics community.

Neurogenesis -- discovery of a new regulatory mechanism
Bassem Hassan's team at VIB/KU Leuven has discovered a previously unknown mechanism that is highly conserved between species and which regulates neurogenesis through precise temporal control of the activity of a family of proteins essential for brain development: the proneural proteins.

Discovery of mechanism that enables bacteria to elude antibiotics
The Molecular Microbiology Research Group in the UAB's Department of Genetics and Microbiology describes for the first time, in a work published in PLOSone, a model of behavior of a bacterial colony that shows how the colony protects itself against toxic substances, like antibiotics, during the colonization process.

New biomarker to assess stem cells developed
A research team led by scientists from UCL have found a way to assess the viability of 'manufactured' stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Mid-atlantic states present ocean data products
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), a five state partnership of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, today released an ambitious and wide-ranging set of information on the vast natural resources and economically-important uses of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean, which contribute to the health and vibrancy of the region's coastal communities.

Cohen Veterans Bioscience, Broad Institute launch largest study of PTSD genetic biomarkers
Two new collaborations between Cohen Veterans Bioscience and Broad Institute and McLean Hospital will provide critical research tools for understanding the underlying neurobiology and genetics of PTSD & TBI with the goal of accelerating the development of first-generation diagnostics and treatments within one year.

Lasting impressions: Psychologists discover what influences our food choices
With Americans tipping the scales more than ever, social and personality psychologists are at the forefront of understanding the psychological motivations for healthy food choices and consumption patterns.

Polar vortices observed in ferroelectric
Berkeley Lab researchers have observed polar vortices in a ferroelectric material that appear to be the electrical cousins of magnetic skyrmions.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Stan threaten Australia's Pilbara Coast
NASA satellites provided data as the tropical low pressure area known as System 92S has consolidated and intensified into Tropical Cyclone Stan, north of the Pilbara area of Western Australia.

Ancient rocks of Tetons formed by continental collisions
Plate tectonics were operating in what is now western Wyoming long before the collisions that created the Himalayas starting 40 million years ago.

Health care's familiarity with military culture critical to improving care for veterans
Health care systems and providers need to understand the unique realities of military culture in order to work effectively with veterans and military families, according to the findings of a study by a University at Buffalo research team.

Camouflage really does reduce the chances of being eaten
The research, by scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Cambridge, investigated the camouflage of ground-nesting birds in Zambia, using sophisticated digital imaging to demonstrate how they would appear from the perspective of a predator.

New NSF and NBC Learn video series shows off big discoveries from tiny particles
Why are things so small, so significant? A new video series created by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBCUniversal News, sheds light on this question.

Practice makes perfect, York U brain study confirms
The results showed that initial learning and performance at seven weeks led to increase in activation in cortical regions during visualization of the dance being learned when compared to the first week.

A new class of drug slows growth of castration-resistant prostate cancer cells
Sphingosine kinase inhibitors are a new category of drugs that act on specific enzymes involved in sphingolipid metabolism to reduce the formation of a pro-cancer, pro-inflammatory lipid signaling molecule known as sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P).

Effects of European earthworms in North America will be studied
The European Research Council has awarded an ERC Starting Grant to Professor Nico Eisenhauer, a scientist from the University of Leipzig and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research.

International ecancer symposium on prostate cancer
ecancer's symposium on prostate cancer will focus on recent progress in this pathology, with a unique perspective on the prevention and epidemiology of prostate cancer in Latin America.

Oncologists issue guidance for allocating scarce chemotherapy drugs
Claiming that clinicians lack formal and concrete allocation guidance when faced with a critical drug shortage, experts in pediatric oncology and bioethics have issued a framework to avoid waste and guide difficult prioritization decisions among children in need of scarce life-saving chemotherapy treatment.

The strain allows to control the magnetic properties of individual iron atom
The iron Fe2+ atom embedded in a semiconductor exhibits a single non-degenerate ground state of zero magnetic moment.

Proton therapy controls common pediatric brain tumor with fewer long-term side effects
The use of proton radiotherapy to treat the most common malignant brain tumor in children is as effective as standard photon (X-ray) radiation therapy while causing fewer long-term side effects such as hearing loss and cognitive disorders.

Study: Future for charismatic pika not as daunting as once feared
The American pika is thought by many biologists to be a prime candidate for extirpation as the planet continues to warm.

Cell biology: Harbingers of aging
Midlife crisis in the insect world: In a new study, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have detected age-dependent alterations in metabolism and gene regulation in middle-aged fruitflies, and show that these effects are linked to a reduction in lifespan.

From mother to child, passing on disease
University of Iowa researchers are reminding US doctors to watch for two vector-borne and potentially life-threatening diseases that can be passed from mother to child.

#AnalyzeMyData campaign looks at the way personal data is being used
Experts in the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute at The University of Nottingham have launched a Twitter based campaign to look at the way personal digital data is being used and analysed by companies, government, third-sector organisations and academics.

Neural networks adapt to the presence of a toxic HIV protein
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) afflict approximately half of HIV infected patients.

A new, cheap and fast IT system which allows to predict crimes and to better organize police shifts
Scientists from the Spanish National Police Corps and from the University of Granada have developed an IT system based in mathematical algorithms which allows to predict how many and what type of crimes are going to be committed in the next police shift.

Cornell researchers create first self-assembled superconductor
Building on nearly two decades' worth of research, a multidisciplinary team at Cornell has blazed a new trail by creating a self-assembled, three-dimensional gyroidal superconductor.

Climate change prompts makeover of New England's forests, Dartmouth study finds
Forest soils across New England will store fewer nutrients and metals -- some beneficial, some harmful -- as climate change prompts maples and other deciduous trees to replace the region's iconic evergreen conifers, a Dartmouth College study finds.

Energy-saving minicomputers for the 'Internet of Things'
The 'Internet of Things' is growing rapidly. Mobile phones, washing machines and the milk bottle in the fridge: the idea is that minicomputers connected to these will be able to process information, receive, and send data.

Researchers confirm attitude to aging can have a direct effect on health
Negative attitudes to aging affect physical and cognitive health in later years.

Media narratives counter prejudice attitudes
Research from several personality and social psychologists show that entertainment media with positive content or conciliatory messages can contribute to positive relationships between members of different ethnic groups and genders.

Laboratory-bred corals reproduce in the wild
Researchers of SECORE International (USA, Germany), the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and the Carmabi Marine Research Station (Curaçao) have for the first time successfully raised laboratory-bred colonies of a threatened Caribbean coral species to sexual maturity.

Icy ebb and flow influenced by hydrothermal activity
Hydrothermal activity along the mid-ocean ridge system suggests that the release of molten rock, or magma, in response to changes in seal level plays a significant role in the earth's climate.

Ocean acidification impacting population demography and hindering adaptation potential
Ocean acidification may be impacting upon the population dynamics of marine species and hindering their ability to genetically adapt to future climate change.

Discovered: How to unlock inaccessible genes
The mechanism used by specialized enzymes to remodel the extremely condensed genetic material in the nucleus of cells in order to control which genes can be used has been discovered.

TV a top source of political news for caucus-goers
Journalists from around the world will file countless reports from Iowa in the final days leading up to the caucuses.

Only time will tell? Looking deeply into variable drivers of plant evolution
Prior research has established that plants, by and large, are capable of evolution as their surroundings transform.

Study assesses how to avoid unnecessary acute admission to hospital
Hospitals around the world face pressure from unnecessary acute admissions to the ward from the emergency department. 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