Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 28, 2016
Ocean temperatures predict US heat waves 50 days out
The formation of a distinct pattern of sea surface temperatures in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean can predict an increased chance of summer heat waves in the eastern half of the US up to 50 days in advance.

Heirloom dry beans suitable for small-scale organic production
Heirloom dry bean cultivars were evaluated for yield and yield stability at four small-scale organic vegetable productions in Minnesota.

Temple researchers to explore ability of compounds to protect brain against HIV infection
Antiretroviral drugs can greatly increase life expectancy for patients infected with HIV.

Penn studies show high out-of pocket costs limit access to lifesaving specialty drugs
Specialty drugs have become important treatment options for many serious and chronic diseases, and in some conditions like cancer they represent the only chance for long-term survival.

Nature-inspired nanotubes that assemble themselves, with precision
Berkeley Lab scientists have discovered a family of nature-inspired polymers that, when placed in water, spontaneously assemble into hollow crystalline nanotubes.

Survey gives clearer view of risky leaks from gas mains
Precise measurements of leaks from natural gas pipelines across metropolitan Boston have demonstrated that almost a sixth of the leaks qualified as potentially explosive, and that a handful of leaks emitted half of the total gas lost.

Expectation may be essential to memory formation
A theory that links memory encoding to expectations of future relevance may better explain how human memory works, according to a team of Penn State psychologists.

Improving care for nursing home residents: CMS ups support of OPTIMISTIC to $30.3 million
Long-stay nursing home residents suffer from high rates of multiple chronic illnesses and dementia.

GI tract bacteria help decrease stroke
Certain types of bacteria in the gut can leverage the immune system to decrease the severity of stroke, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine.

Study highlights importance of multimodal communication in higher ed
Research finds that 'multimodal' communication -- using a mix of words, images and other resources - is important for students and faculty in higher education, a finding that argues for increased instruction in multimodal communication for undergraduates.

Citrus scion/rootstock combinations show tolerance to huanglongbing
Scientists studied tolerance to huanglongbing under field conditions in trees of commercial citrus scion/rootstock combinations.

New terahertz source could strengthen sensing applications
Northwestern University researchers have developed a room temperature, continuous wave, monolithic tunable terahertz source that could lead to advances in biosensing, homeland security, and space exploration.

Oregon's new birth control law increases access, but more still to be done
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, University of Minnesota School of Public Health and George Mason University applaud Oregon's new birth control law which allows women age 18 or older to obtain some methods of hormonal contraception directly from pharmacies, without having to visit a prescribing clinician, yet note how the law could go even further to improve access to all forms of contraception, according to a viewpoint article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association today.

UCI scientists receive $8 million to help develop Q fever vaccine
A University of California, Irvine scientific team led by infectious diseases researchers Philip Felgner and Aaron Esser-Kahn has received $8 million from the US Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency to help develop a new vaccine for Q fever.

Patients with skin infections fail to complete antibiotics, leading to poor outcomes
In the first study of its kind, researchers found patients with skin infections took, on average, just 57 percent of their prescribed antibiotic doses, resulting in nearly half of them getting a new infection or needing additional treatment.

Oddball planet raises questions about origins of 'hot Jupiters'
Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists from MIT, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and elsewhere have observed an exoplanet by the name of HD 80606 b.

Global ocean's fish populations could double while providing more food and income
Groundbreaking research being published in the March 29 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows the majority of the world's fisheries could be recovered in just 10 years, and that global fish populations could double by 2050 with better fishing practices compared to business as usual.

Engineering black gold, as light as the bones of birds
New research affiliated with UNIST suggests a new material that is more solid and 30 percent lighter than standard gold.

Solved: First crystal structure of a transcription terminator protein
Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and elsewhere resolve the first protein structure in a family of proteins called transcription terminators that could provide insight into aging and cancer.

ACP policy paper recommends ways to stem the rising cost of prescription drugs
The American College of Physicians today released a new policy paper calling for changes that could slow the rising cost of prescription drugs.

Conspicuous consumption may drive fertility down
'As competition becomes more focused on social climbing, as opposed to just putting food on the table, people invest more in material goods and achieving social status, and that affects how many children they have,' says Emory University anthropologist Paul Hooper.

Michigan State University awarded $4.4 million for food security work in Mali
Michigan State University has been awarded $4.4 million from the US Agency for International Development in Mali to strengthen the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy and its efforts to battle hunger, reduce poverty and improve nutrition through better food policy in Mali.

2016 Arctic sea ice wintertime extent hits another record low
Arctic sea ice appears to have reached a record low wintertime maximum extent for the second year in a row, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA.

Safer, cheaper, 'greener,' more efficient system for the synthesis of organic compounds
Chemists at The University of Texas at Arlington have devised a safer, more environmentally friendly, less expensive and more efficient water-based system for the synthesis of organic compounds typically used in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, cosmetics, plastics, textiles and household chemicals.

Researchers identify SH2 domains as lipid-binding modules for cell signaling
Majority of human Src homology 2 domains not only bind to proteins, but also interact with membrane lipids with high affinity and specificity.

Next-generation holographic microscope for 3-D live cell imaging
Professor YongKeun Park of the Physics Department at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and his research team have developed a powerful method for 3-D imaging of live cells without staining.

A new function of the chromosomal terminus, vital for human health, discovered
A research group discovered a new function of the chromosomal terminus, which may lead to the clarification of the mechanism for developing abnormal telomere structure such as multiple malformation and mental retardation.

Ocean temps predict US heat waves 50 days out, study finds
The formation of a distinct pattern of sea surface temperatures in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean can predict an increased chance of summertime heat waves in the eastern half of the United States up to 50 days in advance.

An ancient killer: Ancestral malarial organisms traced to age of dinosaurs
A new analysis of the prehistoric origin of malaria suggests that it evolved in insects at least 100 million years ago, and the first vertebrate hosts of this disease were probably reptiles, which at that time would have included the dinosaurs.

Scientists find 'outlier' enzymes, potential new targets to treat diabetes, inflammation
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has discovered two enzymes that appear to play a role in metabolism and inflammation--and might someday be targeted with drugs to treat type 2 diabetes and inflammatory disorders.

Complexities of the Cordillera: A View from 2016
Geoscientists from the North American Cordillera and beyond will convene in Ontario, California, on April 4-6, 2016, to discuss new and hot-topic science, expand on current studies, and explore the region's unique geologic features.

New target makes end run against therapy-resistant prostate cancer
Researchers at UC Davis, in collaboration with the other institutions, have found that suppressing the nuclear receptor protein ROR-γ with small-molecule compounds can reduce androgen receptor (AR) levels in castration-resistant prostate cancer and stop tumor growth.

Structure of Parkinson's protein could lead to new diagnostic and treatment options
Chemists have identified the complex chemical structure of the protein that stacks together to form fibrils in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients.

CWRU researchers make biosensor 1 million times more sensitive
To provide oncologists a way to detect a single molecule of an enzyme produced by circulating cancer cells, physicists and engineers at Case Western Reserve University have developed an optical sensor, based on nanostructured metamaterials, that's 1 million times more sensitive than the current best available.

Breastfeeding, vaccinations help reduce ear infection rates in babies
In what would be considered good news for many parents a new study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston finds the rates of ear infections during a baby's first year have declined; the investigators suggested that higher rates of breastfeeding, use of vaccinations and lower rates of smoking may be the major contributors.

Scientific secrets for successful aging?
OIST researchers and collaborators identify age-related differences in human blood metabolites.

Study shows cardiac fibrosis reversal through gene targeting in heart failure models
CCN5, a matricellular protein, has been found to reverse established cardiac fibrosis in heart failure models, according to a study led by Roger J.

Restoring the American chestnut
Scientists performed four experiments in which they examined vessel type, hormone, activated charcoal concentrations, and using a vermiculite substrate to improve the post-rooting stage of an American chestnut propagation protocol.

The secret to a better shopping trip
Researchers found that shoppers should not rely on memory and always bring a shopping list to remember every item they originally planned to buy.

Researchers develop new method of trapping multiple particles using fluidics
Precise control of an individual particle or molecule is a difficult task.

A sensitive subject
UCSB researchers catalog for the first time patterns of vibration on the skin of the hand that are part of how we sense the world through touch.

Enzyme may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease caused by HIV medications
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 37 million people are living with HIV.

Water bears do not have extensive foreign DNA, new study finds
Tardigrades have not acquired a significant proportion of their DNA from other organisms, a new study shows.

NIH study seeks to improve quality-of-life measure for deaf and hard-of-hearing people
Improving the health of the deaf and hard-of-hearing population through accessible patient-reported outcome measures is the goal of a $1.6 million National Institutes of Health-funded study, led by Rochester Institute of Technology.

A world map of Neanderthal and Denisovan ancestry in modern humans
Most non-Africans possess at least a little bit Neanderthal DNA.

UT Dallas study: Driving curfews may curb teen crime
A new UT Dallas study found that teen driving curfews might do more than reduce car accidents.

The 'Not Face' is a universal part of language, study suggests
Researchers have identified a single, universal facial expression that is interpreted across many cultures as the embodiment of negative emotion.

New drug combinations could significantly improve tuberculosis treatment
Researchers from UCLA and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have made an important step toward a substantially faster and more effective treatment for tuberculosis, which infects some 10 million people and causes 1.5 million deaths each year.

New study shows desert mangroves are major source of carbon storage
Researchers found that short, stunted mangroves living along the coastal desert of Baja California store up to five times more carbon below ground than their lush, tropical counterparts.

Stressed out: SLU scientist details cells' response to lesions
In the paper, scientist Alessandro Vindigni, Ph.D., details several coping strategies cells use when they face replication stress: the cellular version of choosing yoga, meditation or a trip to the movies after a stressful event.

New nanoparticle reveals cancer treatment effectiveness in real time
A new technique developed in pre-clinical models by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) offers a new approach and a read out on the effectiveness of chemotherapy in as few as eight hours after treatment.

Improved 'liquid biopsy' technique from Stanford enhances detection of tumor DNA in blood
People with cancer have tumor DNA in their blood. A new way to quiet background 'noise' in the blood sample allows researchers to sequence minute quantities of these molecules to improve diagnosis and treatment.

Vascular brain injury is evident in people in their 40s
A large, multi-center study led by the UC Davis School of Medicine for the first time has shown that people as young as their 40s have stiffening of the arteries that is associated with subtle structural damage to the brain that is implicated in cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease later in life.

New mouse model for Zika virus to enable immediate screening of potential drugs and vaccines
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston announce the first peer-reviewed mouse model for Zika infection reported in decades.

Molecular mechanism for higher brain functions and neuropsychiatric disorders
A research group led by Osaka University and the University of Tokyo found that the intracellular protein trafficking is important for higher brain functions such as learning and memory.

Doubts about career potential can pave way for immoral professional conduct
For those highly determined to pursue a profession, receiving negative feedback may lead to the endorsement of immoral behavior, a team of researchers has found.

Empowering stakeholders: FP7 project EU BON shares know-how on biodiversity data policies
Engagement with relevant political authorities and other stakeholders is of crucial importance for a research project, making sure its objectives are in tune with the real-world problems and its results provide adapted solutions.

USC, JPL to launch fungi in journey to develop space meds
Researchers at USC and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory say they will be the first team in the world to launch fungi into space for the purpose of potentially developing new medicine for use both in space and on Earth.

Mount Sinai researchers assess accuracy of commercially available lab tests
Evaluation uncovers more variability than expected in basic blood tests of healthy adults.

Atmospheric nitrogen leads to loss of plant diversity in sites across US
Rising levels of atmospheric nitrogen pollution threaten plant diversity at nearly one-quarter of sites across a widespread portion of the US, according a new study led by University of Colorado Boulder researchers.

A view of the colorful microcosm within a proton
By analyzing the particle debris emitted from collisions of polarized protons at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, scientists say they've found a new way to glimpse the microcosm within these building blocks of matter.

Multilingual circuit: NIST's 'optomechanical transducer' links sound, light, radio waves
Researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a

Cloning of Northern Mexico cactus proves useful in conservation
In vitro clonal propagation based on axillary bud development was generated for Turbinicarpus valdezianus.

Study: Simple blood test can detect evidence of concussions up to a week after injury
Researchers at Orlando Health detected evidence of concussions in patients up to 7 days after their injury using a simple blood test -- which could greatly expand the window for diagnosing concussions, especially in patients who experience a delayed onset of symptoms.

'Transient contractions' in urinary bladder may lead to therapeutic interventions for bladder dysfunction
Researchers at the University of Vermont College of Medicine have made a discovery that helps explain how we know when to empty our bladders and may lead to new therapeutic interventions for bladder dysfunction.

OU anthropologists reconstruct mitogenomes from prehistoric dental calculus
Using advanced sequencing technologies, University of Oklahoma anthropologists demonstrate that human DNA can be significantly enriched from dental calculus (calcified dental plaque) enabling the reconstruction of whole mitochondrial genomes for maternal ancestry analysis -- an alternative to skeletal remains in ancient DNA investigations of human ancestry.

Cigarettes cheaper than e-cigarettes in 44 of 45 countries studied
Combustible tobacco cigarettes cost less to purchase than equivalent amounts of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in 44 of 45 countries sampled around the world.

Gene blocking lettuce germination also regulates flowering time
This study of lettuce and Arabidopsis shows for the first time that a gene known to direct the depth of seed dormancy and the timing of germination also influences flowering.

Study offers efficient alternative for Ebola screening program for travelers
As of Jan. 31, 2016, a total of 28,639 cases and 11,316 deaths have been attributed to Ebola, figures that may significantly underestimate the actual scope of the 2014 outbreak in West Africa.

ASU receives $10 million NASA grant to develop science education courseware
Arizona State University has received a $10.18 million grant from NASA's Science Mission Directorate Education Community to develop next-generation digital learning experiences that incorporate NASA science content.

ACP recommends policies to stem rising prescription drug costs
The American College of Physicians calls for changes that could slow the rising cost of prescription drugs.

Stem cells used to successfully regenerate damage in corticospinal injury
Writing in the March 28, 2016 issue of Nature Medicine, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, with colleagues in Japan and Wisconsin, report that they have successfully directed stem cell-derived neurons to regenerate lost tissue in damaged corticospinal tracts of rats, resulting in functional benefit.

Here comes the Sun
UCSB chemistry professor Thuc-Quyen Nguyen is recognized for her pioneering work on organic solar cells and their materials.

Choosing to die at home does not hasten death for patients with terminal cancer
A large study from Japan found that cancer patients who died at home tended to live longer than those who died in hospitals.

Study finds metal foam handles heat better than steel
A new study finds that novel light-weight composite metal foams are significantly more effective at insulating against high heat than the conventional base metals and alloys that they're made of, such as steel.

Fairy circles discovered in Australia by researchers at Ben-Gurion U. and Helmholtz
Analyzing this data, the researchers concluded that the barren patches in Australia are not produced by animal activities.

Impacts of salinity determined for agave
Hydroponic experiments evaluated the effects of salinity on biomass accumulation and nutrient levels of four types of Agave.

Biological mechanism passes on long-term epigenetic 'memories'
A new Tel Aviv University study pinpoints the precise mechanism that turns the inheritance of environmental influences 'on' and 'off.'

Widespread sexual harassment persists in India
Sexual harassment remains a pervasive problem in India despite tougher laws enacted more than three years ago after a woman was gang raped on a bus and later died of her injuries, indicates new research by a Michigan State University criminologist.

Fralin researchers use new technology to sequence mosquito sex chromosome
The new information about the Y chromosome will facilitate efforts to reduce female mosquitoes or create sterile males -- strategies of interest to research teams across the world.

Researchers find mutation that causes rare disease and confirm a role for nucleic acids
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have discovered a mutation that causes a rare systemic disorder known as X-linked reticulate pigmentary disorder (XLPDR) and, significantly, the unexpected cellular mechanism by which the mutation causes the disease.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) shown to form multiple types of functional lymphocytes in vivo
A new study demonstrates that iPSC have the potential to differentiate into multiple lineages of functional lymphocytes, including CD4+ T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells, without bias.

Physicists 'undiscovered' technetium carbide
An international team of scientists led by Artem Oganov, Head of Computational Materials Discovery Lab at MIPT, has proven that technetium carbide does not exist -- it was pure technetium that was mistakenly considered as such.

Stanford scientists resurrect an abandoned drug, find it effective against human viruses
Stanford scientists have resurrected a discarded drug that helps human cells in a lab dish fight off two different viruses.

Research on largest network of cortical neurons to date profiled in Nature
An international team of researchers, led by R. Clay Reid, Wei Chung Allen Lee and Vincent Bonin from the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Harvard Medical School and Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders, respectively, has published the largest network to date of connections between neurons in the cortex, where high-level processing occurs, and have revealed several crucial elements of how networks in the brain are organized.

Uric acid, gout and kidney disease: The chicken or the egg?
The increasing prevalence of both gout and chronic kidney disease has led to a growing interest in the association between hyperuricemia (an abnormally high level of uric acid in the blood) and kidney disease.

Quantum effects at work in the world's smelliest superconductor
Researchers have found that quantum effects are the reason that hydrogen sulphide -- which has the distinct smell of rotten eggs -- behaves as a superconductor at record-breaking temperatures, which may aid in the search for room temperature superconductors.

How cancer stem cells thrive when oxygen is scarce
Working with human breast cancer cells and mice, scientists at the Johns Hopkins University say new experiments explain how certain cancer stem cells thrive in low oxygen conditions.

NTU Singapore partners People's Bank of China in joint Renminbi centre
Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) is partnering China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, to launch a new research centre to study the demand and use of the Renminbi in international markets.

Earlier warnings for heat waves
In a new study, researchers from Harvard University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have identified sea surface temperatures patterns that can predict extreme heat waves in the Eastern US up to 50 days in advance.

qPAINT counts biomolecules inside cells
A new analytical tool developed by a team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has forged ahead with its previously developed DNA-PAINT and Exchange-PAINT super-resolution microscopy platform to now count different molecular species in biological samples with high accuracy and precision.

Reports suggest osteopathic manipulative treatment resolves concussion symptoms
Two case reports published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association document improvements in concussion-related symptoms following an initial session of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

Climate change: Greenland melting tied to shrinking Arctic sea ice
Vanishing Arctic sea ice. Dogged weather systems over Greenland. Far-flung surface ice melting on the massive island.

The non-driving millennial? Not so simple, says new research
A recently published study shows that the popular notion that millennials are choosing not drive may be oversimplified.

Study: CEO personality traits play role in incentive pay, compensation
Companies appear to structure compensation contracts and incentive pay based on a manager's personality traits, and not just firm characteristics, according to a new study from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Computer model explains sustained eruptions on icy moon of Saturn
The Cassini spacecraft has observed geysers erupting on Saturn's moon Enceladus since 2005, but the process that drives and sustains these eruptions has remained a mystery.

Wearable defibrillator may be an alternative to ICD for some patients
A wearable automatic defibrillator may be an alternative to an implantable cardiac defibrillator for a small group of patients.

Study: Autism intervention studies lack diversity
Special education professor Jason Travers co-authored a study that showed the field's leading research very rarely considers race or nationality of its participants which could present problems in creating the best interventions for young learners with autism spectrum disorders.

Running out of money linked to fear of death
A new study shows that people are less likely to buy annuities because they are afraid to think about their own death.

BIDMC researchers discover early indicators of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, is often diagnosed at a late stage, when curative treatment is no longer possible.

New study finds we still perceive women to be incompatible with STEM
Linda Carli's paper, entitled 'Stereotypes About Gender and Science: Women ≠ Science,' shows that despite significant progress made, women are still thought to lack the qualities needed to be successful scientists, and the findings suggest this may contribute to discrimination and prejudice against women in those fields.

How can chemistry help prevent another Flint water crisis? (video)
There's plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving beyond turkey, giblets and gravy. 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