Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 22, 2016
Successful laboratory test of photoswitchable anti-tumor agent
Photoswitchable agents might reduce side effects of a chemotherapy. So far, photodynamic therapies have been dependent on oxygen in the tissue.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Fantala slowing
On April 21, Fantala's maximum sustained wind speeds started to decrease since making a 'U-turn' and moving southeastward to a position northeast of Madagascar and the storm maintained strength on April 22.

Organ recipients with previous cancers linked to higher death rates, new cancers
People who had cancer before receiving an organ transplant were more likely to die of any cause, die of cancer or develop a new cancer than organ recipients who did not previously have cancer, a new paper has found.

When beauty becomes the beast: UC research efforts successfully combat invasive species
New UC biology research helps halt the spread of non-native plants into natural wooded areas, giving native plants a fighting chance and the opportunity to re-establish themselves.

International pediatric research meeting showcases cutting-edge discoveries on children's health
Researchers will present thousands of original research abstracts and posters on children's health at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2016 Meeting in Baltimore, including new research on the Zika virus, the impact of lead poisoning in Flint, Mich., sports-related concussions, autism, media, e-cigarettes, and marijuana exposure in states that have made it legal.

Old-growth forests may provide buffer against rising temperatures
The soaring canopy and dense understory of an old-growth forest could provide a buffer for plants and animals in a warming world, according to a study from Oregon State University published today in Science Advances.

Beyond milkweed: Monarchs face habitat, nectar threats
In the face of scientific dogma that faults the population decline of monarch butterflies on a lack of milkweed, herbicides and genetically modified crops, a new Cornell University study casts wider blame: sparse autumnal nectar sources, weather and habitat fragmentation.

Zinc deficiency may contribute to increased inflammation among HIV-positive individuals
In a new study, University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers Krishna Poudel and colleagues report that zinc deficiency may contribute to chronic inflammation among HIV-positive individuals.

Citizen seismologists multiply the impacts of earthquake studies
From matchbook-sized sensors plugged into a desktop computer to location-tagged tweets, the earthquake data provided by 'citizen seismologists' have grown in size and quality since 2000, according to the field's researchers.

Sleep loss detrimental to blood vessels
Getting too little sleep causes changes in the metabolism of cholesterol, demonstrates a study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule
Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

Gateway to the brain
Scientists from Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) have derived a structural model of a transporter at the blood-brain barrier called Mfsd2a.

Adding some salt to the recipe for energy storage materials
A team of researchers from Drexel University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Tsinghua University recently discovered a way to improve the recipe and make the resulting materials bigger and better and soaking up energy -- the secret?

NTU leads alliance to help Asia be better insured against natural catastrophes
Nanyang Technological University is spearheading the Natural Catastrophe Data and Analytics Exchange Alliance of leading multinational and regional companies in the insurance industry to enable more countries in Asia to better cope with the economic and financial fallout from natural disasters.

Responsible pet care associated with well-controlled blood sugar in diabetic children
In a sample of young people with type I diabetes, those who actively helped care for family pets were 2.5 times more likely to have well-controlled blood sugar levels, according to a study published April 22, 2016, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

New survey shows Americans believe civility is on the decline
A recent survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 74 percent of Americans think manners and behavior have deteriorated in the United States over the past several decades.

UTA student team wins EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge for plan to reduce stormwater runoff
A University of Texas at Arlington student team's design to reduce stormwater runoff that could result from future campus construction projects has won a national Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water award as part of the agency's 2015 Campus RainWorks Challenge.

Estrobolome disparities may lead to developing biomarkers that could mitigate cancer risk
Investigating disparities in the composition of the estrobolome, the gut bacterial genes capable of metabolizing estrogens in both healthy individuals and in women diagnosed with estrogen-driven breast cancer may lead to the development of microbiome-based biomarkers that could help mitigate the risk of certain cancers, according to a review paper published April 22 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Amos threatening American Samoa
As the seven islands of American Samoa were bracing for Tropical Cyclone Amos, NASA's Aqua satellite saw the storm affecting the Southwestern Pacific Islands of Wallis and Futuna.

Cpf1: CRISPR-enzyme scissors cutting both RNA and DNA
Scientists delineate molecular details of a new bacterial CRISPR-Cpf1 system and open possible avenue for alternative gene editing uses like targeting several genes in parallel.

UMMS scientists identify genes that control smooth muscle contraction
Researchers at UMass Medical School have identified a new molecular pathway critical for maintaining the smooth muscle tone that allows the passage of materials through the digestive system.

The Lancet: Smoking cessation medications do not appear to increase risk of neuropsychiatric side effects, study finds
The smoking cessation medications varenicline and bupropion do not appear to increase the incidence of serious neuropsychiatric side effects compared to placebo, according to a study published in The Lancet today.

Next-generation space weather simulator to improve forecasting, satellite tracking during storms
Physicists at The University of Texas at Arlington are leading a $7.3 million national initiative to develop a next generation space weather simulator capable of predicting energy distributions during space weather events like solar flares to an accuracy of one degree longitude and one degree latitude -- about 100 km in each direction.

ACS-Military Health System partnership prioritizes surgeon readiness and trauma systems
The Military Health System Strategic Partnership American College of Surgeons is working on a course curriculum to prepare surgeons before they are deployed to war zones or other areas affected by disasters.

BMJ to support healthcare professionals in Jaipur with learning & decision support tools
BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider, has signed an agreement with the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare (SIHFW) to provide leading clinical learning and decision support tools to healthcare professionals across Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Researchers uncover 'local heroes' of immune system
Research led by Dr. Axel Kallies and Dr. Klaas van Gisbergen at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and Dr.

High alpine dairying may have begun over 3000 years ago
The discovery of dairy fats on ancient pottery may indicate dairying high in the Alps occurred as early as the Iron Age over 3000 years ago, according to a study published April 21, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Francesco Carrer from the University of York, UK, and colleagues.

Researchers develop magnifying smartphone screen app for visually impaired
Researchers from the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School have developed a smartphone application that projects a magnified smartphone screen to Google Glass, which users can navigate using head movements to view a corresponding portion of the magnified screen.

Live-bearing anemone undergoes major shifts in nutrition as young develop
The offspring of a brooding sea anemone transition from using egg yolks to prenatal, then post-natal, parental feeding during their development, according to a study published April 22, 2016, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

The unique challenges of conserving forest giants
The redwood and sequoia trees in California, the baobab trees in Madagascar, and the rose gum Eucalyptus trees in northeastern Australia are only a few of the spectacular large, old trees still growing today.

METANANO is an annual international conference where the latest research in the field of metamaterials, nanophotonics, terahertz emission and optical engineering is presented.

Atoms placed precisely in silicon can act as quantum simulator
In a proof-of-principle experiment, researchers at UNSW Australia have demonstrated that a small group of individual atoms placed very precisely in silicon can act as a quantum simulator, mimicking nature -- in this case, the weird quantum interactions of electrons in materials.

Danish investigators reduce sugar content of yogurt without reducing sweetness
A team from a Danish food ingredients company has manipulated the metabolic properties of yogurt-producing bacteria to sweeten the yogurt naturally, while reducing sugar in the final product.

DNA barcodes gone wild
A team of researchers at Sinai Health System's Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and University of Toronto's Donnelly Centre has developed a new technology that can stitch together DNA barcodes inside a cell to simultaneously search amongst millions of protein pairs for protein interactions.

Older adults need better blood pressure and cholesterol control to prevent cardiovascular disease
Prevention of cardiovascular events in elderly patients presents a therapeutic challenge because this age group is generally underrepresented in clinical trials, and doctors often assume that it is too late to initiate preventive therapy in the elderly.

It is critical to screen patients with rheumatoid arthritis for hearing impairment
The objective of this review is to evaluate published clinical reports related to hearing impairment in patients with RA.

NEH grant will help UTA digitize disability history
Researchers with the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries and the UTA College of Liberal Arts will use a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to develop an online portal for disability history resources.

Research team realizes 3-color photodetector
There's a new approach to design results in a device that can detect different infrared wavebands, which could lead to applications in imaging and entertainment.

Thin-film solar cells: How defects appear and disappear in CIGSe cells
An international collaboration of German, Israeli, and British teams has investigated the deposition of thin chalcopyrite layers.

The Universe, where space-time becomes discrete
A theoretical study just published in Physical Review Letters and led by SISSA in Trieste has analyzed a model that saves special relativity and reconciles it with granularity by introducing small-scale deviations from the principle of locality demonstrating that it can be experimentally tested with great precision.

SMU 'Power Plays' conference to promote geothermal energy production in oil and gas fields
SMU's renowned Geothermal Lab will host its eighth international energy conference April 25-26 on the Dallas campus, focused on using the oilfield as a base for alternative energy production through the capture of waste heat and fluids.

Discover the genetic cause for intellectual disability
A research group led by Osaka University and collaborative institutions discovered that disorders in the same gene PIGG are the cause for intellectual disability with seizures and hypotonia.

Changing the world, 1 fridge at a time
To help change the world, have a look inside your fridge -- this is one of the messages contained in an article published in the most recent issue of the authoritative academic journal Science.

Study links hypoxemia from obstructive sleep apnea with renal complications in type 2 diabetes
Examining the poorly understood link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and type 2 diabetes complications, researchers identified specific measures of low blood oxygenation that are associated with impaired kidney function and diabetic nephropathy.

Sophisticated 'mini-brains' add to evidence of Zika's toll on fetal cortex
Studying a new type of pinhead-size, lab-grown brain made with technology first suggested by three high school students, Johns Hopkins researchers have confirmed a key way in which Zika virus causes microcephaly and other damage in fetal brains: by infecting specialized stem cells that build its outer layer, the cortex.

New book probes better ways to protect humanity of patients and families during ICU care
Using insights from cognitive psychology, Dr. Samuel Brown discusses new approaches to reduce suffering for patients and their families when they need high levels of care, including concrete strategies to apply before, during, and after a serious illness.

Corals most important for building reefs are now in sharp decline
Staghorns, the very corals responsible for establishing today's reefs, are now some of the most threatened coral species due to climate change and other man-made stressors.

Attosecond physics: New movies from the microcosmos
With the aid of terahertz radiation, Munich physicists have developed a method for generating and controlling ultrashort electron pulses.

Zika is test case for brain organoid mini-reactors
The Zika virus epidemic comes at a time when new stem cell techniques for studying the brain are being refined and tested.

Dark matter does not contain certain axion-like particles
Researchers at Stockholm University are getting closer to corner light dark-matter particle models.

BMJ and RCNi form exclusive international B2B sales partnership for RCNi Learning
Global healthcare knowledge provider BMJ is now the exclusive sales channel for institutional customers outside the UK wanting access to RCNi Learning -- a brand new e-learning platform from RCNi for nurses and nursing students.

Risk of liver cancer from hepatitis B persists even after clearing the virus
Long-term infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause liver inflammation and increase the risk of liver cancer.

Researcher studies how animals puncture things
If shooting arrows from a crossbow into cubes of ballistics gelatin doesn't sound like biological science to you, you've got a lot to learn from University of Illinois animal biology professor Philip Anderson, who did just that to answer a fundamental question about how animals use their fangs, claws and tentacles to puncture other animals.

Research shows certain genes, in healthy environments, can lengthen lifespan
Researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions have discovered how a gene in the brain's dopamine system can play an important role in prolonging lifespan: it must be coupled with a healthy environment that includes exercise.

Research reveals a new secret to the miracle of breast milk
One of the secrets to rich milk production in lactation has been uncovered by researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

Mergers not the answer for HEIs seeking savings, according to new research
As the sole UK academic presenting a paper at a large-scale conference in the USA, the University of Huddersfield's Professor Jill Johnes introduced her audience to some new concepts in education finance and also returned with fresh ideas of her own.

Queen's researcher explores effectiveness of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
Queen's University political researcher Nathan Andrews has co-authored a report on the effectiveness of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in improving transparency and domestic government in resource rich countries suffering from the 'resource curse.'

Cell death mechanism may -- paradoxically -- enable aggressive pancreatic cells to live on
The most aggressive form of pancreatic cancer -- often described as one of the hardest malignancies to diagnose and treat -- thrives in the presence of neighboring tumor cells undergoing a particular form of 'orchestrated cell death.' This is according to a major study from researchers at NYU Langone's Perlmutter Cancer Center and recently published in the journal Nature.

Scientists discover new reef system at mouth of Amazon River
A new reef system has been found at the mouth of the Amazon River, the largest river by discharge of water in the world.

Field Museum expedition captures animal selfies in Amazon Rainforest
A team of scientists from The Field Museum and their collaborators set up camera traps in Medio Putumayo-Algodón, Peru to record the biodiversity of that area of the Amazon Rainforest.

Dartmouth-led study of chimpanzees explores the early origins of human hand dexterity
Chimpanzees use manipulative dexterity to evaluate and select figs, a vital resource when preferred foods are scarce, according to a new Dartmouth-led study just published by Interface Focus.

Mobility assessment tool may help predict early postoperative outcomes for older adults
A quick, reliable and cost-effective mobility assessment tool may help to identify elderly patients at risk for adverse post-surgery outcomes, according to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers.

Infant BMI is good predictor of obesity at age 2
Babies with a high body mass index (BMI) at age two months are at risk for obesity at age two years, say pediatric researchers.

Fructose alters hundreds of brain genes, which can lead to a wide range of diseases
Consuming fructose, a sugar that's common in the Western diet, alters hundreds of genes that may be linked to many diseases, UCLA life scientists report.

Smoking cessation drugs do not elevate risk of serious neuropsychiatric adverse effects
Compared to the nicotine patch and a placebo, the smoking cessation aids varenicline (marketed as Chantix in the US) and bupropion (Zyban) do not show a significant increase in neuropsychiatric adverse events, reports an international team of researchers in a study published online April 22 in the journal The Lancet.

Developing tools to screen traumatic brain injury therapies
University of Houston biologist Amy Sater will be developing a model for studying traumatic brain injury, thanks to a two-year, $386,000 grant from the Robert J. 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