Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 12, 2016
Collegiate inventors awarded Lemelson-MIT Student Prize
The Lemelson-MIT Program today announced the winners of the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, a nationwide search for the most inventive college students.

Milestone reached on path to new form of male contraception
Researchers developing a new form of male contraception have isolated an enzyme they hope will allow them to stop sperm from swimming to the egg.

7th Annual Medical Technology Showcase to be held on Capitol Hill
The goal for this event is to educate all attendees -- policymakers, advocates and the public -about the positive impact that imaging technology has on patient care; the value of NIH-funded academic research; and, the importance of effective collaboration among academia, industry and patient advocacy groups.

Prevalence of homosexuality in men is stable throughout time since many carry the genes
Around half of all heterosexual men and women potentially carry so-called homosexuality genes that are passed on from one generation to the next.

Potential role for vaccine in malaria elimination
Although the World Health Organization decided not to recommend the use of RTS,S/AS01, the most advanced malaria vaccine candidate that is in development, in infants within the Expanded Programme of Immunisations (EPI), termination of further development of RTS,S/AS01 would be a loss for malaria elimination efforts according to Roly Gosling of the UCSF Global Health Group's Malaria Elimination Initiative and Lorenz von Seidlein of the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Thailand.

Reclaiming 'shame'
In a new paper, Thomas Scheff, an emeritus professor of sociology at UCSB, explores 'the hidden literature of shame'.

How the brain produces consciousness in 'time slices'
EPFL scientists propose a new way of understanding of how the brain processes unconscious information into our consciousness.

Key switch in the immune system regulated by splicing
The protein MALT1 is an important switch in immune cells and affects their activity.

When the 100-year-old man can no longer climb out of the window
100-year-old persons in Germany are affected by substantial numbers of illnesses, and the frequency of untreated pain in this cohort is alarming.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards $3.9 million in NARSAD grants
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced its 2016 Independent Investigator Grants, which award $3.9 million in funding to 40 mid-career scientists from 30 institutions in 16 countries for basic research, new technologies and next-generation therapies for schizophrenia, major affective disorders, and other serious mental illnesses.

Pain drug in pipeline as researchers unwind marine snail puzzle
A University of Queensland researcher has made a big step toward the holy grail of biomedical science -- a new form of effective pain relief.

Two undergrads win Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for gloves that translate sign language
Two University of Washington undergraduates have won a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for their

Boston Children's Hospital launches cloud-based education on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices
Through a new skill created for Amazon Alexa-enabled devices, parents will now be able to ask Alexa a variety of questions around fever and other common symptoms.

Tropical birds develop 'superfast' wing muscles for mating, not flying
Studies in a group of tropical birds have revealed one of the fastest limb muscles on record for any animal with a backbone.

Will raindrops stick to a spider web's threads?
If you go out after a rain, you may notice spider webs glistening with water droplets.

Swarming red crabs documented on video
A research team studying biodiversity at the Hannibal Bank Seamount off the coast of Panama has captured unique video of thousands of red crabs swarming in low-oxygen waters just above the seafloor.

Sexually transmitted infections, peer pressure may have turned humans into monogamists
Prehistoric humans may have developed social norms that favour monogamy and punish polygamy thanks to the presence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and peer pressure, according to new research from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

From Genome Research: Single-cell analysis of embryos reveals mis-segregation of parental genomes
Single-cell embryos contain a set of maternal and paternal chromosomes, and as the embryo grows, daughter cells receive a copy of each.

A success story -- Bookmetrix's first year of empowering book authors
Bookmetrix, a new platform launched at last year's London Book Fair, celebrates its first year of operation.

CHOP expert named to blue ribbon panel of national cancer moonshot initiative
Peter C. Adamson, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Chair of the Children's Oncology Group, will join other thought leaders in advising the scientific direction and goals of Vice President Joe Biden's National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

B-School innovation professor discovers pathway between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease
In a new paper published by The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Professor Melissa Schilling, a strategy and innovation expert at the NYU Stern School of Business, uncovers a surprising new connection between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease: hyperinsulinemia, which is most often caused by prediabetes, early or undiagnosed diabetes, or obesity, is responsible for almost half of all cases of Alzheimer's disease.

Autonomous vehicles cannot be test-driven enough miles to demonstrate their safety
Autonomous vehicles would have to be driven hundreds of millions of miles and, under some scenarios, hundreds of billions of miles to create enough data to clearly demonstrate their safety, according to a new RAND report.

Standing up for comfort
In a new study published in Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, researchers were interested in determining if a study using a psychophysical protocol could provide guidance for the development of guidelines for standing computer workstations similar to those for seated workstations.

Over-the-counter drug may reverse chronic vision damage caused by multiple sclerosis
A common antihistamine used to treat symptoms of allergies and the common cold, called clemastine fumarate, partially reversed damage to the visual system in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a preliminary study released today that will be presented today at the American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, April 15 to 21, 2016.

Concussion can alter parent-child relationships
A study published in the Journal of Neuropsychology, reveals the adverse effects of mild traumatic brain injury on the quality parent-child relationships.

Southern California's reduction in smog linked to major improvement in children's health
A USC study that tracked Southern California children over a 20-year period has found they now have significantly fewer respiratory symptoms as a result of improved air quality.

UI researchers find benefits to using telehealth with ASD families
A new University of Iowa study shows that parents with children on the autism spectrum are able to have a specialist address challenging behavior in these children by interacting over the computer, too -- and at less than half of the cost of receiving similar care in person.

Progress of simulating dynamics in heterogeneous materials
Energy transformation and dissipation mechanisms in dynamical responses of heterogeneous materials are far from clear to scientists, which challenges their engineering applications.

Did butter get a bad rap?
New research of old data suggests that using vegetable oils high in linoleic acid failed to reduce heart disease and overall mortality even though the intervention reduced cholesterol levels.

An invisible system to rescue the heart
Heart failure affects over one million people in France. Although the blood system is the first to have been explored for the purpose of improving heart function, a study by Inserm has revealed the potential of a secondary system that had previously received scant attention.

Louisiana Tech University hosts 'Maker Month' to celebrate creativity, innovation
The Innovation Enterprise at Louisiana Tech University is proud to announce its inaugural 'Maker Month' -- a celebration of all things made and to showcase through exhibitions, competitions and galleries what students, faculty and regional entrepreneurs have created.

Moffitt researchers discover liver metastases have different radiation sensitivities
Radiation is a commonly used therapeutic option to treat liver metastases, with the majority of tumors maintained under control after one year.

The International Liver CongressTM 2016 Press Conference Webcasts
If you miss one of the official press conferences at The International Liver CongressTM 2016, or simply wish to view one again, then make sure you watch the delayed webcasts that will be made available on the ILC 2016 website to registered journalists only.

Low-risk drinking guidelines vary widely among countries, Stanford study finds
Inconsistency among countries about what constitutes a 'standard drink' and definitions of low-risk drinking hampers international research and confuses people attempting to drink responsibly.

Predicting gentrification through social networking data
Data from location-based social networks may be able to predict when a neighbourhood will go through the process of gentrification, by identifying areas with high social diversity and high deprivation.

PolyU develops solar cells with highest power conversion efficiency
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has successfully developed perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells with the world's highest power conversion efficiency of 25.5% recently.

For kids raised in stable families, no difference in well-being with same-sex versus different-sex parents
Children raised by same-sex female parents with a stable family life show no difference in general health, emotional difficulties, coping and learning behavior, compared to children of different-sex parents in similarly stable relationships, concludes a study in the April Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Celebrating 50 years of geoscience in the mid-continent
The 50th Annual Meeting of GSA's North-Central Section will take place on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on April 18-19.

The trouble with drinking guidelines: What, in the world, is a standard drink?
The controversy over the UK's new safe drinking guidelines revealed how much people within a country can disagree about drinking.

Coordinated response could reduce spread of emerging superbug in health facilities
A simulation of how the so-called 'superbug' carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) might spread among health care facilities found that coordinated efforts prevented more than 75 percent of the often-severe infections that would have otherwise occurred over a five-year period.

Lung ultrasound may be a safe substitute for chest X-ray when diagnosing pneumonia in children
Lung ultrasound has been shown to be highly effective and safe for diagnosing pneumonia in children.

Mice engineered with rare kidney disease shed light on how cells repair broken DNA
Mutations in many genes involved in a certain type of DNA repair cause a rare anemia, but one such gene has been shown to cause kidney disease instead.

GW physician publishes Lancet review article on testosterone therapy for transgender men
George Washington University's Dr. Michael S. Irwig published a review article in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal on testosterone therapy for transgender men, calling for more research.

Simulating CO2 saturation in rocks gives potential breakthrough in carbon capture, storage
An international trio of researchers based at Kyushu University's International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER) has developed a successful new simulation method for characterizing CO2 transfer and storage in natural rock reservoirs.

Open-source collaborative platform to collect content from over 350 institutions' archives
With the technical and financial capacity of any existing institution failing to answer the needs for a platform efficiently archiving the web, American researchers have come up with a solution, submitted to the US Institute of Museum and Library Services and published in the open-access journal Research Ideas and Outcomes.

More blood vessels in adipose tissue may alleviate type 2 diabetes
The International Diabetes Federation has declared diabetes 'A Global Emergency' in urgent need of effective therapies.

Potential effects of fertility treatments on breast density and cancer risk
Infertility and hormonal fertility treatments may influence the amount of dense tissue in the breast, a risk factor for breast cancer, according to a study involving 43,313 women, published in the open access journal Breast Cancer Research.

Better coffee through chemistry (video)
It's one of the most popular beverages in the world, and many of us rely on it to stay awake every day.

European Geosciences Union meeting: Press conferences live stream, on-site registration
Next week, April 17-22, 13,000 scientists will gather in Vienna for the 2016 EGU General Assembly, a meeting featuring the latest research in the Earth, planetary and space sciences.

Cary Institute receives $5 million for study on reducing ticks, Lyme disease
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has awarded a $5 million leadership grant to the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies to support a scientific study, being done in partnership with Bard College, that seeks to reduce Lyme disease in neighborhoods.

Sorry kids, seniors want to connect and communicate on Facebook, too
Older adults, who are Facebook's fastest growing demographic, are joining the social network to stay connected and make new connections, just like college kids who joined the site decades ago, according to Penn State researchers.

Bringing the landslide laboratory to remote regions
Thanks to millions of years' accumulation of the wind-deposited, highly-porous sediment from which China's Loess plateau takes its name, the region has been called the most erosion-prone on Earth.

The Miriam Hospital receives NIH grant to study benefits of stress management for chronic diseases
The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine received a $464,465 grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health to enable researchers to conduct a comprehensive, four-year study on the benefits of stress management interventions for chronic pain and illness.

The pyrophilic primate
Fire, a tool broadly used for cooking, constructing, hunting and even communicating, was arguably one of the earliest discoveries in human history.

Researchers find new clue in lupus autoantibody production
A signaling molecule called interferon gamma could hold the key to understanding how harmful autoantibodies form in lupus patients.

New Swedish study on the grammar of subclauses in historical English
When do English speakers say whether that will happen is unknown and when do they say it is unknown whether that will happen?

IIVS workshop explores exposure and dosimetry considerations for non-animal testing
The Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS) brought together stakeholders from industry, government and academia to discuss considerations for exposure and dosimetry for non-animal testing during its 2.5-day workshop,

1917 astronomical plate has first-ever evidence of exoplanetary system
You can never predict what treasure might be hiding in your own basement.

International college students are less likely to experience violent crimes
International students attending universities in the United States, particularly females, may be less at risk for violent, non-sexual victimization than their domestic counterparts, due, in part, to their choices in lifestyles and activities, new research suggests.

Mayors make a commitment to the digital future for New Jersey students
The New Jersey Black Mayors Alliance for Social Justice, along with top-ranking school officials and administrators, met on April 7 at New Jersey Institute of Technology to establish a statewide partnership and dialogue between their municipalities and schools to prepare students for education and work in the digital environment of the 21st century.

Misregulation of DNA building blocks associated with the development of colon cancer
When cells divide, the proper balance between the four DNA building blocks is required in order for the DNA to be copied without the introduction of potentially harmful mutations.

Decrease in air pollution associated with decrease in respiratory symptoms among children
Decreases in ambient air pollution levels over the past 20 years in Southern California were associated with significant reductions in bronchitic symptoms in children with and without asthma, according to a study appearing in the April 12 issue of JAMA.

Physicians' knowledge about FDA approval standards for 'breakthrough therapy'
In a study appearing in the April 12 issue of JAMA, Aaron S.

Mobility plays important role in development for toddlers with disabilities
Typical toddlers simultaneously spend about three hours a day in physical activity, play and engagement with objects such as toys, while their peers with mobility disabilities are less likely to engage in all of those behaviors at the same time, new research from Oregon State University shows.

Understanding genes linked to autism-relevant behavior in high-risk siblings
University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences psychology researchers are searching for early markers of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Improving treatments for post-Ebola syndrome sufferers
Researchers from the University of Liverpool and the King's Sierra Leone Partnership are to present new findings into post-Ebola syndrome at a major European conference this week.

Researchers create insulin-producing beta cells in a dish
Generating fully functional pancreatic beta cells in the lab has been a challenge for diabetes researchers.

Consensus on consensus
A research team confirms that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by humans.

New open access publishing platform for scientific research now live
Canadian Science Publishing (CSP) is pleased to announce that FACETS, Canada's first and only multidisciplinary open access science journal, has now fully launched.

Fueling future progress for 46 million older adults at 2016 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting
Presentations at the prestigious Plenary Paper Session at AGS16 (May 19-21; Long Beach, Calif.) represent some of geriatrics most promising scholarship as assessed by peer experts and program planners from a pool of more than 800 abstract submissions.

Mobile phone surveillance could help tackle rabies
A mobile-phone-based system for rabies surveillance in Tanzania is demonstrating huge potential for mobile technologies to improve public health service delivery, especially in resource-poor settings, according to a new article in PLOS Medicine by Katie Hampson from the University of Glasgow, UK, and colleagues.

Antibiotic resistance genes increasing
Around the world, antibiotic use and resistance is increasing while the discovery of new antibiotics has nearly halted.

First description of 2015 Zika virus outbreak in Rio de Janiero
Since the recent link to severe neurological defects in infants born to mothers infected during pregnancy, Zika virus (ZIKV) has become a public health and research priority.

Economic development does mean greater carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions
Must greater prosperity necessarily lead to a greater carbon footprint and increased greenhouse gas emissions?

New technology could improve insect control in cotton
A new biotech trait currently in the development stage could provide improved control of thrips and plant bugs in cotton.

Healthcare workers' radiation exposure tied to range of health problems
Healthcare workers in cardiac catheterization labs may have higher odds than workers elsewhere for health problems including cataracts, skin lesions, cancers and orthopedic illness.

The 6 elements of an effective apology, according to science
There are six components to an apology -- and the more of them you include when you say you're sorry, the more effective your apology will be, according to new research.

Commonly used strategy for website protection is not waterproof
Cloud-based security providers commonly use DNS redirection to protect customers' websites.

Biomarker discovery offers hope for new TB vaccine
Researchers have identified new biomarkers for Tuberculosis (TB) which have shown for the first time why immunity from the widely used Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is so variable.

How climate change dries up mountain streams
The western United States relies on mountain snow for its water supply.

Strategies and milestones for Alzheimer's patient and caregiver support outlined
Over the past five years milestones have been identified to meet National Alzheimer's Project Act's biomedical research goal.

XVII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development
From April 19 - 22, 2016, the XVII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development will take place in Moscow.

Study links fetal and newborn dolphin deaths to Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Scientists have finalized a study of newborn and fetal dolphins found stranded on beaches in the northern Gulf of Mexico between 2010 and 2013.

Older women, especially blacks, receive targeted breast cancer treatment at low rates
The advent of targeted drugs for a specific type of breast cancer -- HER2 positive -- has dramatically improved survival rates for women with the disease.

Multifaceted quality improvement intervention does not reduce risk of death in ICUs
Implementation of a multifaceted quality improvement intervention with daily checklists, goal setting, and clinician prompting did not reduce in-hospital mortality compared with routine care among critically ill patients treated in intensive care units in Brazil, according to a study appearing in the April 12 issue of JAMA.

Numenta researchers discover how the brain learns sequences, a key to intelligent systems
Jeff Hawkins and Subutai Ahmad, researchers at Numenta Inc., have published a new theory that represents a breakthrough in understanding how networks of neurons in the neocortex learn sequences.

NASA eyes powerful storms in newborn Tropical Cyclone Fantala
Powerful thunderstorms circled the low-level center of newborn Tropical Cyclone Fantana in infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite.

Rush receives $14.5 Million to fight Alzheimer's
A $14.5 million NIA grant is supporting a new study led by researchers at Rush that aims to determine if an intervention known as the MIND diet can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Mapping software tracks threats to endangered species
Modelling software and satellite imagery can be used to rapidly predict the movements of endangered species in remote or inaccessible regions, a Duke-led study shows.

Russian scientists develop long-range secure quantum communication system
A group of scientists from ITMO University in Saint Petersburg, Russia, has developed a novel approach to the construction of quantum communication systems for secure data exchange.

Red Journal's May 2016 edition features special focus on particle therapy
The International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics' (Red Journal) May edition is a special issue focused entirely on particle therapy.

Lowering cholesterol with veg oils may not curb heart disease risk or help you live longer
Replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils rich in linoleic acid lowers blood cholesterol, but doesn't curb heart disease risk or help you live longer, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Scientists discover how the brain repurposes itself to learn scientific concepts
The human brain was initially used for basic survival tasks, such as staying safe and hunting and gathering.

21st century renaissance man
George Legrady, a new media pioneer at UCSB, receives a Guggenheim Fellowship to explore the intersection of art and engineering.

Children of older mothers do better
The benefits associated with being born in a later year outweigh the biological risks associated with being born to an older mother.

Stop denying migrants their fundamental right to healthcare, says doctor
European countries must stop denying migrants their fundamental right to healthcare, argues a doctor in The BMJ today.

Calcium isotope holds the secret to the mass of neutrinos
Scientists around the world are being kept in suspense by the negligible mass of neutrinos, subatomic particles that could be matter and antimatter at the same time.

UC San Diego scientists receive $9.5 million NIH grant to combat antibiotic resistance
Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have received a five-year, $9.5-million award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health to establish an interdisciplinary center to define the systems biology of antibiotic resistance.

Salk scientists find 'secret sauce' for personalized, functional insulin-producing cells
Researchers uncover molecular switch to make effective sugar-responsive, insulin-releasing cells in a dish, offering hope for diabetes therapy.

Gloria Heppner honored for writing one of the most influential articles in Cancer Research
Cancer Research, the premier journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research, is celebrating its 75-year history.

Early treatment for post-traumatic stress accelerates recovery but does not sustain it
The majority of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recover after early treatment -- but a substantial number still suffer for years after a traumatic event even with early clinical interventions, according to a study led by NYU Langone Medical Center and publishing online April 12 in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Pan American conference for alternative methods to help companies reduce animal testing
Experts and stakeholders from across the Americas will gather on April 12-14, 2016 at Johns Hopkins University for the Pan American Conference for Alternative Methods to share information on non-animal testing methods.

A flexible camera: A radically different approach to imaging
Columbia Engineering researchers have developed a novel sheet camera that can be wrapped around everyday objects to capture images that cannot be taken with one or more conventional cameras.

AGS seeks progress at 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting
More than 2,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene at AGS16 to expand engagement and expertise in clinical practice, education, health policy, and research.

Mathematics to fight cancer
Mathematicians and physicians at the University of Bonn have developed a new model for immunotherapy of cancer.

Scientists reveal new target for anti-lymphangiogenesis drugs
In an emerging field of research, a study in Nature Communications reveals a mechanism in the regulation of lymphangiogenesis.

Oxygen key to containing coal ash contamination
The level of oxygen in a coal ash disposal site can greatly affect how much toxic selenium and arsenic can be leached from the system.

Research reveals trend in bird-shape evolution on islands
In groundbreaking new work, Natalie Wright, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montana, has discovered a predictable trend in the evolution of bird shape.

Tumble-proof cargo transporter in biological cells
Ever wondered how molecular nanomotors work when transporting material such as organelles in the cell?

How depression may compound risk of type 2 diabetes
Depression may compound the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people with such early warning signs of metabolic disease as obesity, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, according to researchers from McGill University, l'Université de Montréal, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal and the University of Calgary.

Liver disease risk increased by type 2 diabetes, study finds
People with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of serious liver disease than those without the condition, research from the universities of Edinburgh and Southampton has shown. 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