Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 12, 2016
EPSRC announces winners of Healthcare Technologies Challenge Awards
Nine researchers, working on innovative projects that promise to improve healthcare diagnosis and treatment, across a wide spread of issues, were today announced as the first recipients of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's (EPSRC) Healthcare Technologies Challenge Awards.

Most precise measurement of energy range for particles produced by nuclear reactors
An international team that includes researchers from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has captured the most precise --and puzzling -- energy measurements yet of ghostly particles called reactor antineutrinos produced at a nuclear power complex in China.

How true is conventional wisdom about price volatility of tech metals?
Preliminary research by the Colorado School of Mines (Mines) and funded by the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) suggests that conventional wisdom about the high price volatility of by-product metals and minerals is generally true, but with several caveats.

UW scientists create ultrathin semiconductor heterostructures for new technologies
University of Washington scientists have successfully combined two different ultrathin semiconductors -- each just one layer of atoms thick and roughly 100,000 times thinner than a human hair -- to make a new two-dimensional heterostructure with potential uses in clean energy and optically-active electronics.

Registry data used to examine gender gaps in blood thinners, appropriate use
The American College of Cardiology's National Cardiovascular Data Registry was the source of data for several research studies published in the final three months of 2015, including a study examining outcomes between certified and non-certified physicians, gender gaps in the use of oral anticoagulants, and appropriate use criteria.

Food availability a problem in smaller urban cities, a Kansas State University study finds
Michael Miller, doctoral student in sociology at Kansas State University, found food stores are largely unavailable in the most densely populated inner-city, low-income neighborhoods of smaller urban cities.

An engineer's valentine to children
Children born with a certain congenital heart defect often need a percutaneous pulmonary valve surgically inserted when they are 10 to 15 years old.

Panel: Child abuse costs countries up to $150 billion per year
Beyond physical and emotional damage, child abuse has a steep economic price tag that costs economies billions of dollars each year, an international panel of experts will tell the 2016 General Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Friday, Feb.

Electronic healthcare records data reveal factors linked to emergency department revisits
A new study has identified distinctions in patient diagnoses and different patterns of Emergency Department usage between individuals who are more or less likely to return to the ED for care within a 72-hour period.

Stem cell gene therapy could be key to treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Scientists at UCLA have developed a new approach that could eventually be used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Graphene leans on glass to advance electronics
Scientists have developed a simple and powerful method for creating resilient, customized, and high-performing graphene: layering it on top of common glass.

Combination drug targeting opioid system may help relieve treatment-resistant depression
A clinical trial of an experimental drug for treatment-resistant major depression finds that modulation of the endogenous opioid system may improve the effectiveness of drugs that target the action of serotonin and related monoamine neurotransmitters.

Most precise measurement of reactor Antineutrino spectrum reveals intriguing surprise
Members of the International Daya Bay Collaboration, who track the production and flavor-shifting behavior of electron antineutrinos generated at a nuclear power complex in China, have obtained the most precise measurement of these subatomic particles' energy spectrum ever recorded.

It takes more than a village to build a house
Adequate housing is difficult to find in many parts of Africa even for the middle class and wealthy, but it is particularly difficult for the poor, according to an international team of housing specialists.

NYU research: A window to prevent HIV/AIDS epidemic in Colombia
A recent study examined injection risk behaviors among heroin injectors in the Colombian cities of Medellín and Pereira to explore the implications for possible increased HIV transmission within PWID.

Stability in ecosystems: Asynchrony of species is more important than diversity
Whether an animal or plant community remains stable does not depend on diversity alone: asynchrony across the species is also a crucial factor.

Anniversary grant from VILLUM FONDEN for a new center for developing sustainable
With a huge grant of DKK 150 million, VILLUM FONDEN supports the establishment of a new, ambitious research center at DTU.

New experimental test detects signs of Lyme disease near time of infection
Team from NIST and Johns Hopkins suggests the novel approach might also be useful for early detection of other elusive bacterial infections.

A new form of frozen water?
A University of Nebraska-Lincoln-led research team has predicted a new molecular form of ice with a record-low density.

Public health researchers map world's 'chemical landscape'
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have created a map of the world's chemical landscape, a catalogue of 10,000 chemicals for which there is available safety data that they say can predict the toxicity of many of the 90,000 or more other substances in consumer products for which there is no such information.

Gene signature could lead to a new way of diagnosing Lyme
Researchers at UC San Francisco and Johns Hopkins may have found a new way to diagnose Lyme disease, based on a distinctive gene 'signature' they discovered in white blood cells of patients infected with the tick-borne bacteria.

New nanotechnology detects biomarkers of cancer
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a new technology to detect disease biomarkers in the form of nucleic acids, the building blocks of all living organisms.

Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights receives $1 million grant to expand services
Boston Medical Center has been awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration to support the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights.

Caught in the act: UW astronomers find a rare supernova 'impostor' in a nearby galaxy
University of Washington astronomers have identified a rare type of supernova 'impostor' in a nearby galaxy, with implications for how scientists look at the short, complex lives of massive stars.

New CU study confirms giant flightless bird wandered the Arctic 50 million years ago
New research by the University of Colorado Boulder and the Chinese Academy of Sciences confirms there really was a giant, flightless bird with a head the size of a horse's wandering about in the winter twilight of the high Arctic some 53 million years ago.

Science predicts more frequent extreme events will shock the global food system
A panel of British and American researchers, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., will present updated research revealing how extreme events which affect the food system are increasingly likely to occur, resulting in 'food shocks.'

Alliterative product promotions pique purchasers
New research shows that promotional messages that use alliteration -- the phonetic overlap of the beginnings of words -- hold a greater appeal for consumers than non-alliterative messages, even accounting for cost differences.

On Darwin's birthday, tomato genetics study sheds light on plant evolution
On Charles Darwin's 207th birthday, a new study of evolution in a diverse group of wild tomatoes is shedding light on the importance of genetic variation in plants.

On Darwin's birthday, IU study sheds new light on plant evolution
A study reported today in the journal PLOS Biology employs genome-wide sequencing to the reveal highly specific details about the evolutionary mechanisms that drove genetic divergence in 13 species of wild tomatoes that share a recent common ancestor.

Gene switch may repair DNA and prevent cancer
New discoveries are bringing scientists closer to understanding how DNA repairs itself with a chemical modification which, when absent, can lead to tumor formation.

Gene previously observed only in brain is important driver of metastatic breast cancer
Scientists from The Wistar Institute have shown that one gene that was once thought only to be found in the brain is also expressed in breast cancer and helps promote the growth and spread of the disease.

Using stories to teach human values to artificial agents
Artificial intelligence technique Quixote teaches 'value alignment' to robots by training them to read stories, learn acceptable sequences of events and understand successful ways to behave in human societies.

Rare beluga data show whales dive to maximize meals
As the Arctic continues to change due to rising temperatures, melting sea ice and human interest in developing oil and shipping routes, it's important to understand belugas' baseline behavior, argue the authors of a new paper.

Genome studies can help identify lifestyle risks for diseases
A type of study commonly used to pinpoint genetic variants associated with diseases can also be used to identify the lifestyle predictors that increase the risk of a disease -- something that is often overlooked in genetic studies

When the boss's ethical behavior breaks bad
Is your boss ethical? Does he or she do what's right, as opposed to what's profitable?

Ants were socializing -- and sparring -- nearly 100 million years ago, Rutgers study finds
Like people, ants have often fought over food and territory.

'Jaws' may help humans grow new teeth, shark study suggests
A new insight into how sharks regenerate their teeth, which may pave the way for the development of therapies to help humans with tooth loss, has been discovered by scientists at the University of Sheffield.

Researchers identify 'neurostatin' that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease
An approved anti-cancer drug successfully targets the first step in the toxic chain reaction that leads to Alzheimer's disease, suggesting that treatments may be found to lower the risk of developing the neurodegenerative condition.

Drones give scientists a new self-service approach
Scientists and engineers are seeing a range of opportunities to enhance their research with use of drones -- i.e., unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Study finds mechanism by which obesity promotes pancreatic and breast cancer
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators may have uncovered a novel mechanism behind the ability of obesity to promote cancer progression.

From huts to cities: Changes in dwellings impact microbe exposure for human immune system
The shift from living in jungle huts to cities has dramatically changed human exposure to certain microbes.

Focus on basic determinants to address stunting globally: Prof Bhutta
In shifting the global burden of stunting and growth retardation, it is important to address determinants such as poor status of women in society, gender disparities, and invest actively in promoting education and economic empowerment of girls, said Professor Zulfiqar A Bhutta from the Aga Khan University and the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health.

New lens ready for its close-up
Researchers have always thought that flat, ultrathin optical lenses for cameras or other devices were impossible because of the way all the colors of light must bend through them.

ERC Consolidator Grants: €585 million for 302 top researchers in Europe
The European Research Council (ERC) has announced today the 302 winners of its 2015 Consolidator Grant competition.

Research success increasingly hinges on honing teamwork skills
Collaborative capabilities are more critical than ever as team science and engineering become the norm.

A new tool improves the diagnosis of frailty syndrome
The Telecommunications Engineer Nora Millor-Muruzábal has designed a new measuring tool that provides objective, quantifiable data to improve the diagnosis of frailty syndrome, a set of symptoms that render elderly people more vulnerable.

For a special Valentine? Beyond diamonds and gems: The world's rarest minerals
Scientists have inventoried and categorized Earth's 2,550 rarest mineral species, each sampled from five or fewer sites.

2015 AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize
Distinguished geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician Eric Steven Lander -- president and founding director of the Eli and Edythe L.

Memory replay prioritizes high-reward memories
Why do we remember some events, places and things, but not others?

International partnership to bolster world-leading evolution research
Milner Centre for Evolution and Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis announce new international evolution collaboration on Darwin Day.

Imaging with an 'optical brush'
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a new imaging device that consists of a loose bundle of optical fibers, with no need for lenses or a protective housing.

Kill the rabbit
Highlights from the February issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Eradication of an ecosystem engineer/ Focus on of charismatic great apes biases biodiversity research in tropical Africa and Asia/ Disconnecting ecosystem services from ecosystems.

Scientists win $1.7 million grant to advance new strategies to treat Huntington's disease
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have won nearly $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to investigate the mechanisms that contribute to Huntington's disease, a fatal inherited disease that some have described as having ALS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's -- at the same time.

F1000Workspace integrates with Google Docs
F1000Workspace -- a platform that enables scientists to collect, write and discuss scientific literature -- has added an innovative new piece of software to its portfolio to help scientists write papers and grants more efficiently.

Researchers present inner workings of Ebola vaccine trial
An experimental vaccine combined with an innovative way of vaccinating people has resulted in an estimated 100 percent efficacy of the vaccine against the Ebola virus in West Africa -- and the approach could establish a new way of responding to outbreaks of emerging pathogens, including the Zika virus.

Researchers create 'mini-brains' in lab to study neurological diseases
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say they have developed tiny 'mini-brains' made up of many of the neurons and cells of the human brain -- and even some of its functionality -- and which can be replicated on a large scale.

World Conference of Science Journalists announces details, sponsors for 2017 meeting
Organizers of the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ2017) unveiled details of the conference at an information session held today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

RIT to develop cybersecurity courses using warfare strategies and tactics
A gift from Intel will allow Rochester Institute of Technology faculty to transform computing security education by developing new cybersecurity curriculum on strategic thinking and tactics.

Not your grandfather's house, but maybe it should be
Everyone wants a house to live in, and more and more, people around the world want the kinds of houses seen in Europe and North America, rather than those they grew up with, according to a Penn State engineer.

Global agriculture expert Paul West to present at AAAS Annual Meeting
Paul West, co-director and lead of the Institute on the Environment's Global Landscapes Initiative, will present at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Feb.

Scientists in Panama call for alert as cobia, a potentially invasive fish, spreads
Like the lionfish in the Caribbean, a large fish called Cobia, which has escaped from an aquaculture facility in Ecuador, has the potential to become an important invasive species in the Central and Eastern Pacific

Important role nucleocytoplasmic transport in ALS & frontotemporal dementia
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are two devastating adult-onset neurodegenerative disorders.

Gene technology to help healthy skin in Aboriginal Australians
Australian researchers have used cutting-edge genome technologies to reveal the genetic makeup of a widespread skin parasite causing serious health problems in Aboriginal communities.

New app turns smartphones into worldwide seismic network
Sensor networks to detect earthquakes are expensive, and many nations have only rudimentary seismic networks.

Poor air quality kills 5.5 million worldwide annually
New research shows that more than 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution.

In the blink of an eye: Rapid basin formation 148 to 170 million years ago
Fast-paced and complex extensional and contractional deformation, between 170 and 148 million years ago, along the margin of Laurasia coincides with ocean-floor formation within basins. 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