Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 24, 2016
Timeless thoughts on the definition of time
The earliest definitions of time-interval quantities were based on observed astronomical phenomena.

High-throughput screen identifies potential henipavirus drug target
A study published on March 24, 2016 in PLOS Pathogens reports the first high-throughput RNA interference screen for host genes that are essential for live henipavirus infection of human cells, and identifies a specific cell protein called fibrillarin as a potential target for drugs against henipaviruses and other paramyxoviruses.

Microneedle patch delivers localized cancer immunotherapy to melanoma
Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a technique that uses a patch embedded with microneedles to deliver cancer immunotherapy treatment directly to the site of melanoma skin cancer.

Malaria family tree has bird roots
Extensive testing of malarial DNA found in birds, bats and other small mammals from five East African countries revealed that malaria has its roots in bird hosts.

Study finds vast diversity among viruses that infect bacteria
Viruses that infect bacteria are among the most abundant life forms on Earth.

Potential for misuse & diversion of opioids to addicts should not overshadow their therapeutic value
Opioids are very effective for treating some types of pain, such as cancer pain and postoperative pain, but not for other kinds of pain like chronic low back pain.

Graphene nanoribbons: It's all about the edges
As reported by the journal Nature in its latest issue, researchers from Empa, the Max Planck Institute in Mainz and the Technical University of Dresden have for the first time succeeded in producing graphene nanoribbons with perfect zigzag edges from molecules.

DFG establishes 17 new priority programs
Topics range from Computational Connectomics to Transfinite Geometry / Approximately 108 million euros for three years.

Heart attack patients getting younger, more obese
Despite increased understanding of heart disease risk factors and the need for preventive lifestyle changes, patients suffering the most severe type of heart attack have become younger, more obese and more likely to have preventable risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session.

EGPAF wins award to scale up innovative PMTCT medications in Uganda
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has been selected to receive the prestigious Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development Award for its model to nationally scale up use of the innovative 'Pratt Pouch' to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Uganda.

Osel scientists engineer vaginal lactobacillus to express neutralizing HIV-1 antibody fragments
A normal, predominant bacterial species of the healthy vaginal microbiota can be engineered for potential use as a novel protective agent against HIV-1 transmission in women, according to a new publication from scientists at Osel, Inc. and their collaborators.

You can thank diverse yeasts for that coffee and chocolate
Humans have put yeast to work for thousands of years to make bread, beer, and wine.

Economic analysis of PSA screening, selective treatment strategies
Can prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer be cost-effective?

GOES-R satellite could provide better data for hurricane prediction
The launch of the GOES-R geostationary satellite in Oct. 2016 could herald a new era for predicting hurricanes, according to Penn State researchers.

Insurance for an uncertain climate
The application of insurance as a mechanism to help vulnerable people adapt to the impacts of climate change is gaining international support.

Efficient methane C-H bond activation achieved for the first time
Using a new hybrid breed of computational and experimental chemistry, an international team of chemists, led by IBS Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalizations Associate Director Mu-Hyun Baik, was able to solve a puzzle that has been dubbed a 'Holy Grail reaction' and devise a method for catalyzing reactions with methane.

Obesity Day to highlight growing obesity epidemic in Europe
The growing obesity epidemic, which is predicted to affect more than half of all European citizens by 2030, will be the focus of European Obesity Day to be held on May 21.

Electronic counterpart to ecological models revealed
Predicting the future from the present -- that's what logistic maps can do.

NJIT researchers make a major cavefish discovery in Thailand
Researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology have identified unique anatomical features in a species of blind, walking cavefish in Thailand that enable the fish to walk and climb waterfalls in a manner comparable to tetrapods, or four-footed mammals and amphibians.

Tuberculosis to be tackled using crowd-sourced computer power
The University of Nottingham is launching a new project to tackle tuberculosis, using IBM's World Community Grid -- one of world's most powerful, virtual, super computers.

They're red hot
A team of Russian scientists including the researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University detected that a short exposure of cells to a heat stress induces a cellular senescence.

Mammograms: Another way to screen for heart disease?
Routine mammography -- widely recommended for breast cancer screening -- may also be a useful tool to identify women at risk for heart disease, potentially allowing for earlier intervention, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session.

Moving microswimmers with tiny swirling flows
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to use a microscopic, swirling flow to rapidly clear a circle of tiny bacteria or swimming robots.

Sequence features accurately predict genome-wide MeCP2 binding in vivo
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California-Davis are combining in vivo experimentation with computation for highly accurate prediction of the genome-wide binding pattern of a key protein involved in brain disorders.

First virus genome analysis gives new insights into Brazilian Zika outbreak
The first genome analysis of the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, which has been potentially linked to the birth condition microcephaly, offers new information on how and when the virus might have entered the Americas.

Human ancestors explored 'out of Africa' despite impaired nasal faculties
In humans inhaled air is conditioned poorly in the nasal cavity in comparison with primates, such as chimpanzees and macaques, according a recent study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Zika arrived in Americas during mid-2013, following upsurge in air travelers
By sequencing a small number of Zika virus genomes from Brazil, researchers have estimated that the virus had a single entry into the Americas, likely more than a year before the virus was reported in Brazil.

Brain induces preference for caloric food for energy storage
Given the choice between eating something caloric with an unpleasant taste and more palatable food with no calories, some vertebrates may choose the former, prioritizing energy to assure their survival.

The EBMT is launching the 1st Pharmacist Day, a unique initiative in Europe
This day-long session will take place on Tuesday, April 5.

Study: Children with simple skull fractures may not need hospitalization
Challenging the longstanding practice of keeping all children with head injuries in the hospital overnight, new research from Ann & Robert H.

2016 MPSA conference to feature return of empire series and breaking election year research
The Midwest Political Science Association conference, held April 7-10, 2016 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago is one of the largest in the discipline, with over 5,500 presenters in more than 1,000 sessions with presenters from around the United States and sixty-eight countries.

Developing better drugs for asthma and high blood pressure
If a patient is ill and takes drugs for that illness, these drugs often lead to further illnesses and complications.

ASU researcher improves crop performance with new biotechnology
Researchers with Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences have discovered a way to enhance a plant's tolerance to stress, which in turn improves how it uses water and nutrients from the soil.

New methods of enhancing efficiency of genetic engineering in mice and rats
A group of researchers led by Osaka University and National Institute of Genetics, Research Organization of Information and Systems developed two new gene modification methods.

NSF funds new $5.9 million Arctic data center at the University of California, Santa Barbara
The National Science Foundation has made a five-year, $5.9 million award to a national partnership, led by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to develop and curate a new archive for Arctic scientific data as well as other related research documents.

Dartmouth study provides new knowledge for managing tree-killing bark beetles
Outbreaks of the southern pine beetle can't be stopped by its main predator, but risks to forests from this tree-killing insect can be predicted with a simple, inexpensive monitoring program, according to a study by Dartmouth College and other institutions.

The Lancet: Experts call for global drug policy reform as evidence shows 'war on drugs' has harmed public health and human rights
Fifty years of drug policies aimed at restricting and criminalizing drug use and minor possession have had serious detrimental effects on the health, well-being and human rights of drug users and the wider public, according to a major new report by The Lancet and Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Insured Texans lack clear understanding of their health insurance plans
Texans who bought their own health insurance were less likely to understand basic terms and how to use their plans compared with those who have Medicare, Medicaid or employee-sponsored health insurance.

Unraveling the mystery of stem cells
Neuroscientists document some of the first steps in the process by which a stem cell transforms into different cell types.

Australopithecus fossils found east of the Great Rift Valley
New fossils from the outskirts of Nairobi reveal that Australopithecus afarensis lived far eastward beyond the Great Rift Valley, demonstrating how adaptable the early hominid species were to new environments.

Fighting high anxiety with fly anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent of all brain disorders, and yet there's been little progress in drug treatments for anxiety in more than 50 years.

No increased heart failure with incretin-based drugs
Incretin-based drugs, a type of medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, do not increase the risk of being hospitalized for heart failure relative to commonly used combinations of oral anti-diabetic drugs, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Common plastics chemical BPA linked to preterm birth
Higher concentrations of the common plastics chemical and environmental pollutant Bisphenol A, or BPA, in a pregnant mother's blood may be a contributing factor in preterm births, according to a new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Air pollution increases risk of death in Gothenburg
People who live where there are high levels of air pollution have an increased risk of dying prematurely.

Graphene nanoribbons: It's all about the edges
As reported by the journal Nature in its latest issue, researchers from Empa, the Max Planck Institute in Mainz and the Technical University of Dresden have for the first time succeeded in producing graphene nanoribbons with perfect zigzag edges from molecules.

Magnetar could have boosted explosion of extremely bright supernova
Kavli IPMU and Instituto de Astrofisica de La Plata scientists have found highly magnetized, rapidly spinning neutron stars called magnetars could explain the energy source behind two extremely unusual stellar explosions.

'Clogged-up' immune cells help explain smoking risk for TB
Smoking increases an individual's risk of developing tuberculosis -- and makes the infection worse -- because it causes vital immune cells to become clogged up, slowing their movement and impeding their ability to fight infection, according to new research published in the journal Cell.

Neuron type-specific gene loss linked to Angelman syndrome seizures
This study has helped determine that UBE3A gene loss specifically from GABAergic neurons is what's critical for seizures in Angelman patients.

Nanocage surfaces get 'makeover' in room temperature
Kyoto University team exploits preexisting crystal 'molds' to make copper oxide nanocrystals morph into hollow copper sulfide nanocages through anion exchange, and ultimately into cadmium sulfide and zinc sulfide nanocages.

Ecological collapse circumscribes traditional women's work in Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes
As the land at the heart of the cradle of civilization dries out, an ancient culture is being lost with the unique ecosystem that sustains it, researchers report the March 2016 issue of Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, a joint journal of the Ecological Society of America and Ecological Society of China.

Experts make breakthrough in cleft lip and palate research
Leading scientists have identified an important gene that is associated with cleft lip and palate.

High serum omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes
A new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that high serum omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations are linked to a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Read my lips: New technology spells out what's said when audio fails
New lip-reading technology developed at the University of East Anglia (UEA) could help in solving crimes and provide communication assistance for people with hearing and speech impairments.

New open source software for high resolution microscopy
Bielefeld physicists report their new development in Nature Communications.

Study finds vast diversity among viruses that infect bacteria
Now, a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Tolerance to daily versus seasonal temperature changes may dictate fitness
Vertebrates that have adapted to endure greater swings in seasonal temperatures tend to have greater elevational range sizes, the theory goes, but a new study analyzing more than 16,500 terrestrial vertebrates suggests this pattern is reversed in species adapted for high daily temperature fluctuations; instead, these species have smaller elevational range sizes, the study suggests.

Creation of minimal cell with just the genes needed for independent life
Researchers have designed and synthesized a minimal bacterial genome, containing only the genes necessary for life, and consisting of just 473 genes.

Scientists part the clouds on how droplets form
A new Berkeley Lab study reveals that much more is happening at the microscopic level of cloud formation than previously thought.

Voice-controlled nutrition tracker may aid weight loss
A few years ago, nutritionists from Tufts University who had been experimenting with mobile-phone apps for recording caloric intake approached members of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, with the idea of a spoken-language application that would make meal logging even easier.

Most kidney transplant recipients visit the emergency department after discharge
Among 10,533 kidney transplant recipients, 57 percent visited an emergency department within two years after transplantation.

New sensitive method for early detection of amyloidosis in humans
A team of scientists at Sweden's Linkoping University have developed a molecular probe that can detect an array of different amyloid deposits in several human tissues.

Damage-signalling protein shows parallels between plant and human immune systems
Professor Daniel Klessig and colleagues at the Boyce Thompson Institute have identified a novel 'DAMP' molecule in plants that triggers an immune response after tissue damage.

New research ensures car LCDs work in extreme cold, heat
New liquid crystal mixtures overcome a limitation of the many LCD displays proliferating in automobiles: The current technology becomes sluggish and blurry in extreme temperatures.

Couples' pre-pregnancy caffeine consumption linked to miscarriage risk
A woman is more likely to miscarry if she and her partner drink more than two caffeinated beverages a day during the weeks leading up to conception, according to a new study from researchers at the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University, Columbus.

Solar cell material can recycle light to boost efficiency
Scientists have discovered that a highly promising group of materials known as hybrid lead halide perovskites can recycle light -- a finding that they believe could lead to large gains in the efficiency of solar cells.

Poor root fillings can be the result of stress and the economy
Only half of all root fillings that are done in the Swedish public dental service are of good quality.

Prenatal steroids reduce risk of brain bleeding in preemies, Stanford study finds
Prenatal steroid treatment reduces by half a premature baby's risk for a severe form of brain hemorrhage after birth, a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine has found.

Data from 1800s can help researchers, forest managers maintain healthy forest ecosystems
When seeking clues to how well conservation efforts are working in the present, sometimes scientists look to the past -- and there may be no better historical record than the forest surveys conducted in Missouri by the Bureau of Land Management in the 1800s.

Ancient super-eruptions in Yellowstone Hotspot track 'significantly larger' than expected
International team led by researchers from the University of Leicester report 12 giant eruptions around the Snake River Plain in the United States between 8 and 12 million years ago.

Renewable energy investments: Major milestones reached, new world record set
According to 'Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016,' the 10th edition of UNEP's annual report, coal and gas-fired generation attracted less than half as much capacity investment as renewables last year; Renewables added more to global energy generation capacity than all other technologies combined; For first time, developing world investments in renewables (up 19 oercent in 2015) topped developed nations' (down 8 percent); and world record total of $286 billion invested in renewables last year; makes $2.3 trillion over 12 years.

Newly discovered organic nanowires leave manmade technologies in their dust
A microbial protein fiber discovered by a Michigan State University scientist transports charges at rates high enough to be applied in manmade nanotechnologies.

Deadly stars
Every now and then large sun storms strike the Earth where they cause aurora and in rare cases power cuts.

Simulation study shows that pandemic swine flu had a minor impact in Finland
Researchers have used modeling to estimate the true impact of infectious diseases, such as swine flu, when underreporting can mean the surveillance from time of the pandemic can miss the vast majority of infections that occur in the population.

Cancer cells show resilient nuclear rupture repair, but expose weakness in doing so
A new study led by Cornell University engineers finds that cancer cells have a resilient ability to repair themselves, but the nuclear deformation and rupture can compromise the genomic integrity of the cancer cells, which could drive further cancer progression.

Genetic changes that cause autism are more diverse than previously thought
The types of gene mutations that contribute to autism are more diverse than previously thought, report researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in the March 24 online issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics.

Leading global health commission calls for reform of drug policies worldwide
A leading global public health commission is calling for new policies that would transform our approach to drug use, addiction and control worldwide, including the decriminalization of minor and non-violent drug offenses.

EARTH: A long layover on the Bering Land Bridge
In 2013, researchers uncovered the graves of two infants laid to rest about 11,500 years ago outside of what is now Fairbanks, Alaska.

What's the relational toll of living in a sexist and heterosexist context?
Relationships, and especially romantic relationships, are central aspects of our social lives and primary sources of support.

Children with autism need intervention over a long period of time
Nine out of 10 preschool children with autism still have major difficulties within the autism field at school age, despite having received early intervention.

World TB Day: Medical trial to tackle tuberculosis in South Africa
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have been awarded a grant worth more than £400,000 to conduct a medical trial focused on controlling tuberculosis epidemics in South Africa.

ATS supports Osha's more protective crystalline silica exposure standard
While it took nearly three years of waiting, the American Thoracic Society is pleased that OSHA has issued its final rule establishing a more protective standard for occupational silica.

Embryo development: Some cells are more equal than others even at four-cell stage
Genetic 'signatures' of early stage embryos confirm that our development begins to take shape as early as the second day after conception, when we are a mere four cells in size, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge.

Curcumin may help overcome drug-resistant tuberculosis
New research indicates that curcumin -- a substance in turmeric that is best known as one of the main components of curry powder -- may help fight drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Hormone at key developmental period may point to origin of type 2 diabetes in kids
A new study led by researchers at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) reports that the presence of leptin -- a hormone secreted by fat cells that is critical to maintaining energy balance in the body -- inhibits the prenatal development of neuronal connections between the brain and pancreas.

Most individuals harbor B cells sensitive to HIV-fighting immunogen
Researchers have identified a relatively potent immunogen that could be harnessed to induce the immune system to target HIV.

Nanocrystal self-assembly sheds its secrets
The secret to a long-hidden magic trick behind the self-assembly of nanocrystal structures is starting to be revealed.

Change by the bundle
A study by UCSB researchers shows people are capable of multiple, simultaneous life changes

Findings in humans provide encouraging foundation for upcoming AIDS vaccine clinical trial
A research team co-led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has found that the right germline cells for one kind of HIV broadly neutralizing antibody are present in most people and has described the design of an HIV vaccine germline-targeting immunogen capable of binding those B cells.

Humans use 'sticky molecules' to hang on to good bacteria in the gut
Scientists have come up with an explanation for how humans keep hold of the good bacteria in the gut: by making them 'sticky.'

A new view of the X-ray sky
The 2RXS catalogue is the second publicly released ROSAT catalogue of point-like sources obtained from the ROSAT all-sky survey observations performed between June 1990 and August 1991, and is an extended and revised version of the 1RXS catalogue.

Researchers uncover factors associated with hospital deaths in the oldest old
Despite the rates of hospital deaths in England declining, nearly two-thirds of people aged 85 and over, and more than half of people aged 95 and over still die in hospital, new research has found.

Sleep tight -- gene responsible for sleep deprivation and metabolic disorders identified
Like humans, fruit flies sleep at night, caffeine affects their sleep, and if they get a lousy night's sleep it can affect their memory performance.

From gold mines to sand hills
Geoscientists from the southeastern United States and beyond will convene in Columbia, S.C., USA, on March 31-April 1 to discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the unique geologic features of the region.

President has constitutional power to appoint, not just nominate, successor to Scalia
In all 104 prior cases in which a president faced a Supreme Court vacancy and began the appointment process before a presidential election, a justice was confirmed, says a paper co-written by University of Illinois law professors Robin Kar and Jason Mazzone.

ASH to expand family of blood journals with launch of new cutting-edge publication
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will launch an open-access journal to complement Blood, its flagship publication and the most-cited journal in hematology.

Penn chemists lay groundwork for countless new, cleaner uses of methane
With a new method, a research team led by chemists at the University of Pennsylvania has demonstrated the potential to use methane not as a fossil fuel but as a versatile chemical building block with which to make more complex molecules, such as pharmaceuticals and other value-added substances.

The risks of growing up in interface communities in northern Ireland
A joint report produced by the University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University Belfast and the University of Notre Dame, Indiana released today (Friday, March 25, 2016) sheds new light on the risks encountered by young people and children growing up in places of high religious segregation.

UD researchers examine ways to break down, track synthetic compound in herbicides
In laboratory research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists from the University of Delaware report on the use of manganese oxide, found in soil, to break down the herbicide glyphosate and to identify released phosphate and its byproducts.

Penn study adapts proven community health worker model for outpatient setting
Penn's Innovative Community Health Worker model, shown to reduce admissions and lead to better health outcomes for hospitalized patients, can now be used in outpatient settings, according to a study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine in the journal Population Health Management.

Birmingham water science leads ecological survival battle
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed tools to help restore vital ecosystems found in tropical mangrove forests around the world.

Saving sunshine for a rainy day: New catalyst offers efficient storage of green energy
We can't control when the wind blows and when the sun shines, so finding efficient ways to store energy from alternative sources remains an urgent research problem.

Genetic cause found for loss of beta cells during diabetes development
New research, just published in the prestigious international scientific journal Nature Genetics, has discovered that a common genetic defect in beta cells may underlie both known forms of diabetes.

New computational method reveals significant degeneration of knee cartilage in overweight people
Published in Nature, a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland developed and validated a novel computational modelling method for the assessment of the patient-specific progression of osteoarthritis in the knee joint by using MRI data.

For the perfect eggs, roundworms use small RNAs
All multicellular organisms that reproduce sexually rely on eggs to support early life.

Study examines patients' willingness to pay to fix facial deformities
How much would you be willing to pay to fix a facial defect?

Research shows potential for emergence of new Ebola virus that causes disease in humans
New research at the University of Kent has highlighted the potential for the emergence of a new form of Ebola virus.

Reaction previously believed detrimental for photosynthesis proves to be beneficial
Finnish researchers have demonstrated that photoinhibition of photosystem I, which reduces the effectiveness of photosynthesis, is actually a plant's self-defense mechanism against more extensive harm.

Losing weight with a high-protein diet can help adults sleep better
Overweight and obese adults who are losing weight with a high-protein diet are more likely to sleep better, according to new research from Purdue University.

Ground-nesting bees on farms lack food, grow smaller
According to a recent study, the size of a common ground-nesting bee -- an important crop pollinator -- has grown smaller in heavily farmed landscapes.

Drexel researchers roll out new method for making the invisible brushes that repel dirt
Christopher Li, Ph.D., a professor in Drexel University's College of Engineering, reports in Nature Communications on his method for making polymer nanobrushes that spring from two-dimensional sheets of polymer crystals.

Land bridges linking ancient India and Eurasia were 'freeways' for biodiversity exchange
University of Kansas graduate student Jesse Grismer has found that before the final collision of Eurasia and the Indian subcontinent, land bridges between the landmasses may have served as 'freeways' of biodiversity exchange that flowed in both directions.

Bend it like Beckham
The Lomonosov Moscow State University psychologists found out how a level of footballers' play can be improved, when not only physical training, but also individual perspective and behavioral peculiarities of the players are considered.

Signs of stress in the brain may signal future heart trouble
New research shows that individuals with a greater degree of activity in the stress center of the brain also have more evidence of inflammation in their arteries and were at higher risk for cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke and death, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session. 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