Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 01, 2016
Racial disparity in breast reconstruction? African-American women more likely to undergo autologous reconstruction
African-American women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer are more likely than white women to undergo autologous breast reconstruction using their own tissue, rather than implant-based reconstruction, reports a study in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Study using animal model provides clues to why cocaine is so addictive
Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are one step closer to understanding what causes cocaine to be so addictive.

Still changing after all these years
If Paul Simon were to write a song about the bacteria in Richard Lenski's long-term evolution experiment, or LTEE, it could be titled, 'Still Changing After All These Years.'

Found: A potential new way to sway the immune system
A new international collaboration involving scientists at The Scripps Research Institute opens a door to influencing the immune system, which would be useful to boost the effectiveness of vaccines or to counter autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Study finds no link between sleep apnea and joint pain
Consistent with previous reports, poor sleep quality was linked with joint pain in a recent Arthritis Care & Research study of the general population, but the study found no association between obstructive sleep apnea and pain or daytime sleepiness.

Princeton researchers identify autism genes using new approach
Princeton University and Simons Foundation researchers have developed a machine-learning approach that for the first time analyzes the entire human genome to predict which genes may cause autism spectrum disorder, raising the number of genes that could be linked to the disorder from 65 to 2,500.

Green monkeys acquired Staphylococcus aureus from humans
Already it's known that many deadly diseases that afflict humans were originally acquired through contact with animals.

Opposing mountain ranges
In the future, people in the Himalayas will have to contend with flooding, while those in the Andes will have longer dry spells and less water.

Study: Bioenergy decisions involve wildlife habitat and land use trade-offs
New research finds that choosing how to meet bioenergy goals means making trade-offs about which wildlife species and ecosystems will be most impacted.

If you build it, they will come
Multichannel grocery retailers that create an online store that mirrors their physical stores and then do the analytics to define their customers' needs will be able to expand their 'share of wallet.'

Shaking up surgery
A small vibrating device added to surgical tools could improve surgeons' sensitivity to different shapes and textures inside their patients' bodies.

High animal protein intake associated with higher, plant protein with lower mortality rate
The largest study to examine the effects of different sources of dietary protein found that a high intake of proteins from animal sources -- particularly processed and unprocessed red meats -- was associated with a higher mortality rate, while a high intake of protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death.

DNA's dynamic nature makes it well-suited to serve as the blueprint of life
A new study could explain why DNA and not RNA, its older chemical cousin, is the repository of genetic information.

These tiny satellites could take on NASA's riskiest missions (video)
At the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., NASA is preparing tiny satellites the size of briefcases for a mission to Mars.

Swapping substrates improves edges of graphene nanoribbons
Miniscule ribbons of graphene are highly sought-after building blocks for semiconductor devices because of their predicted electronic properties.

CO2 rise makes night fall
Evolutionary alterations to circadian rhythm genes help reef fish adapt to the higher levels of carbon dioxide of future oceans.

FAMIN or feast? Newly discovered mechanism influences how immune cells 'eat' invaders
A new mechanism that affects how our immune cells perform -- and hence their ability to prevent disease -- has been discovered by an international team of researchers led by Cambridge scientists.

Faintest hisses from space reveal famous star's past life
Using a telescope in remote outback Australia, astronomers have peered into the past of a nearby star millions of years before its famous explosion.

Handheld device takes high-resolution images of children's retinas
Engineers and physicians at Duke University have developed a handheld device capable of capturing images of a retina with cellular resolution.

Discovery sheds light on new strategy to treat some instances of preterm labor
A new research report appearing in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology reveals a potentially new therapeutic target for preventing or stopping preterm labor.

Early antiretroviral therapy dramatically reduces HIV DNA set point
When antiretroviral therapy is initiated during early acute HIV infection, it can significantly reduce total HIV DNA levels in the body, which may have implications for the goal of achieving long-term HIV remission.

Award supports UTSA professor's efforts to freeze aneurysms and save lives
Ender Finol, associate professor of biomedical engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has been honored with the American Heart Association's Collaborative Sciences Award.

Griffith scientists unlock the 'Malaria box'
A 'Malaria Box' that could hold the answer to discovering new drugs to treat tropical diseases and cancer has been created for researchers around the world.

What factors affect contact lens discomfort? Optometry and Vision Science presents research update
Do you have dry eyes or other symptoms related to wearing contact lenses?

Lessons learned from 'The Biggest Loser' study
Much media attention was given to a recent Obesity study that found that metabolism remained suppressed even when participants in 'The Biggest Loser' television series regained much of the weight they lost while dieting.

A new leaf: Scientists turn carbon dioxide back into fuel
In a new study from Argonne and the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers have found a way to convert carbon dioxide into a usable energy source.

Cheaper, faster, more accurate method to quantify water in solid pharmaceutical drugs
Chemists at The University of Texas at Arlington have invented a method to quantify water content in solid pharmaceutical drugs that is faster, cheaper, more accurate and more precise than Karl Fischer titration, the method currently recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration and widely used worldwide.

Life on the edge
New research shows the impact of the 'edge effect' on over 90 percent of species and suggests forest 'islands' of less than 500m across are putting many species at risk.

Replacing ill workers with healthy ones accelerates some epidemics
When disease outbreaks occur, people with essential roles -- healthcare workers, first responders, and teachers, for example -- are typically up close and personal with infected people.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, may aid healing after heart attack
Taking a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, daily for six months after a heart attack improved the function of the heart and reduced scarring in the undamaged muscle.

Study examines symptom spikes in kids after concussion
Symptom exacerbations after concussion appeared to be common in a secondary analysis of a clinical trial that included 63 children studied for 10 days after injury, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Restoring prairie and fighting wildfire with (drone launched) fire(balls)
Ecologist Dirac Twidwell wants to change the way we think about prescribed burns.

Meat consumption contributing to global obesity
Should we be warning consumers about over-consumption of meat as well as sugar?

The oceans are full of barriers for small organisms
Subtle and short-lived differences in ocean salinity or temperature function as physical barriers for phytoplankton, and result in a patchy distribution of the oceans' most important food resource.

One of the most common viruses in humans may promote breast cancer development
New research reveals that infection with the Epstein-Barr virus may put some women at increased risk for developing breast cancer.

Primary liver carcinoma may be misclassified based solely on major imaging features
A study released in the July 2016 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology found that biphenotypic primary liver carcinoma may be misclassified as hepatocellular carcinoma.

NASA spots Typhoon Nida's rainfall, approach to China
NASA satellites provided a look at Typhoon Nida's size, clouds, rainfall and cloud heights as it approached southeastern China.

No platelets, no immune response
When a virus attacks our organism, an inflammation appears on the affected area.

Researchers develop new framework for human nutrition
Existing models for measuring health impacts of the human diet are limiting our capacity to solve obesity and its related health problems, claim two of the world's leading nutritional scientists in their newest research.

Excessive alcohol consumption impacts breathing
Loyola University Chicago researchers have discovered a potential new health concern related to excessive alcohol consumption.

Heart attacks continue notable 15-year decline in Northern California
Heart attack rates among an ethnically diverse population of more than 3.8 million Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California fell 23 percent from 2008 to 2014, as reported today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Tapping crowd-sourced data unearths a trove of depression genes
Scientists have discovered 15 genome sites - the first ever -- linked to depression in people of European ancestry.

Antibiotic resistance persists in bacteria, even absent selection pressure from antibiotics
Plasmids are pieces of independent DNA that often carry multiple antibiotic resistance genes.

Eating more plant protein associated with lower risk of death
Eating more protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death and eating more protein from animals was associated with a higher risk of death, especially among adults with at least one unhealthy behavior such as smoking, drinking and being overweight or sedentary, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

New studies from the Center for Genome Architecture at Baylor explore 3-D structure of DNA
In a set of papers published last week in Cell Systems, Dr.

Antarctic sea ice may be a source of mercury in southern ocean fish and birds
New research has found methylmercury -- a potent neurotoxin - in sea ice in the Southern Ocean.

Here's why the epidemic strain of C. difficile is so deadly -- and a way to stop it
A new, epidemic strain of C. difficile is proving alarmingly deadly, and new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine not only explains why but also suggests a way to stop it.

New study finds CD4 T-Cell and Blimp-1 protein critical to toxoplasmosis regulation
Researchers from the George Washington University published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine finding a way to regulate chronic toxoplasmosis, one of the most common parasitic diseases worldwide.

New lipid-lowering drugs help patients reduce LDL cholesterol
A recent analysis indicates that adding new therapies called anti-PCSK9 antibodies to other lipid-lowering treatments can help patients lower their LDL cholesterol levels.

Patients with non-functional adrenal tumors at increased risk of diabetes
Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have found that 'non-functional' adrenal tumors can increase a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

New rare congenital heart disease disorders found in children
In one of the largest international genetic studies of congenital heart disease, researchers have discovered gene mutations linked to three new rare congenital heart disorders.

New silicon structures could make better biointerfaces
A team of researchers have engineered silicon particles one-fiftieth the width of a human hair, which could lead to 'biointerface' systems designed to make nerve cells fire and heart cells beat.

New MIT system can identify how much power is being used by each device in a household
A new system from MIT can identify how much power is being used by each device in a household.

New anti-HIV medication provides protection for women and infants
Each year, 1.5 million women living with HIV become pregnant.

'No ethical barriers' to face transplant in children, experts conclude
Should children be considered for facial transplantation? While there are some special ethical and psychological concerns, these shouldn't rule out the possibility of performing face transplant in carefully selected children, according to an expert review in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation announces Klerman-Freedman Prizes
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced the winners of its annual Klerman & Freedman Prizes, recognizing exceptional clinical and basic research by scientists who have been supported by NARSAD Young Investigator Grants.

Higher BMI not associated with bigger heart attack, death risk in heavier twin
A study of monozygotic Swedish twins suggests that while a higher BMI was not associated with increased risk of heart attack or death for the heavier twin, it was associated with increased risk for the onset of diabetes for that twin, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Higher BMI not associated with increased risk of heart attack or death, twin study shows
A study of 4,046 genetically identical twin pairs with different amounts of body fat shows that twin siblings with a higher body mass index, as a measure of obesity, do not have an increased risk of heart attack or mortality.

Heating the exterior of suitcases may decrease the spread of bed bugs through luggage
New research indicates that brief heat treatment is a promising way to decrease the spread of bed bugs being transported on the outer surface of luggage.

No link found between erectile dysfunction drugs and risk of prostate cancer
While some previous studies have indicated that taking erectile dysfunction drugs may reduce the likelihood of developing prostate cancer, new research published in The Journal of Urology found that these drugs do not play a role in preventing prostate cancer.

New high-temperature device captures a broader solar wavelength spectrum
Using a heat-resistant device, made of tungsten and alumina layers, researchers from Aalborg University have found that the device can absorb the sun's broad spectrum radiation and convert it to electricity.

Leaky calcium triggers brainstem blackout that results in sudden cardiac death
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine report how a mutation in a gene involved in the regulation of calcium inside brain cells can help trigger blackouts of the brainstem, the center that controls heartbeat and breathing, and increase the risk of sudden unexpected death.

Combining medications could offer better results for ADHD patients
Three studies to be published in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry report that combining two standard medications could lead to greater clinical improvements for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than either ADHD therapy alone.

Mystery solved: The case of the slipping finger
Researchers discover that ultrasonic vibrations reduce friction on flat screens by causing the fingertip to bounce on pockets of trapped air.

Tweets better than Google Trends at forecasting TV program ratings
How well does the emotional and instantaneous content in tweets perform relative to the more deliberate searches recorded in Google Trends in forecasting future TV ratings?

UCI scientists identify a new approach for treating skin cancer
Using new and innovative immune-therapeutic approaches to silence 'don't eat me' signaling proteins recognized by specialized cells of the immune system, University of California, Irvine molecular biologists and their colleagues have identified an effective way to combat metastatic melanoma.

UM research: Mountain environments more vulnerable to climate change than previously reported
New research by University of Montana forest landscape ecology Professor Solomon Dobrowski shows that organisms will face more hardships as they relocate when climate change makes their current homes uninhabitable.

Antioxidant therapies may help in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases
A new review examines the potential of antioxidant approaches for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis.

The search for the earthquake nucleus
Where a tectonic plate dives under another, in the so-called subduction zones at ocean margins, many strong earthquakes occur.

HPV vaccine found safe in girls and women with autoimmune diseases
In a recent study of girls and women diagnosed with at least one autoimmune disease, vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) did not increase the risk of developing another autoimmune disease.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation grants fellowships to 17 top young scientists
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on supporting innovative early career researchers, named 17 new Damon Runyon Fellows at its spring Fellowship Award Committee review.

Nonfunctional adrenal tumors significantly increase risk for diabetes
Patients with nonfunctional adrenal tumors have a significantly higher risk for diabetes compared to patients without adrenal tumors.

Is Earthly life premature from a cosmic perspective?
The universe is 13.8 billion years old, while our planet formed just 4.5 billion years ago.

Study shows heat dangers of inflatable bounce houses
Heat safety issues in bounce houses can put children in danger, says a new University of Georgia study.

Mechanistic finding may help develop treatment for Ice Bucket Challenge disease
Motor neuron diseases rob patients of their ability to walk, eat, talk or breathe since they affect the motor neurons controlling the muscles.

NASA spots Tropical Storm Howard developing in Eastern Pacific
Infrared data from NASA's Aqua satellite showed strong thunderstorms within the ninth tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, as the storm was strengthening.

Iron catalysts can modify amino acids, peptides to create new drug candidates
For medicinal chemists, making tweaks to peptide structures is key to developing new drug candidates.

New areas of the brain identified where ALS gene is active
For the first time novel expression sites in the brain have been identified for a gene which is associated with motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia.

'Generic' biologic drugs appear comparable to brand-name counterparts
Generic forms of a biologic drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis appear to be as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts, a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analysis suggests.

Real and artificially generated 3-D films are nearly impossible to distinguish
For viewers it seems to be very difficult to tell the difference between real and artificially rendered 3-D films.

Robot to find and connect medical scientists working on the same research via Open Data
Open science can bring huge benefits to medical research. A grant proposal, published in the open-access journal Research Ideas and Outcomes, suggests SCINDR, the SCience Introduction Robot.

Coordinated response cuts time to treatment for deadly heart attacks
The largest nationwide demonstration project aimed at reducing time to treatment for people suffering ST segment elevation myocardial infarction suggests a coordinated response results in more people getting life-saving treatment sooner.

More is better when it comes to online product selection
Retailers should take advantage of the unlimited retail space online and offer everything they sell.

Novel study method identifies 15 genomic regions associated with depression
A genomic study using a novel method of enrolling participants has identified for the first time 15 regions of the genome that appear to be associated with depression in individuals of European ancestry.

Study examines different types of surgery for kidney cancer
For completely endophytic kidney tumors, which grow inward, both open partial nephrectomy (OPN) and robotic partial nephrectomy (RPN) led to excellent patient outcomes in a recent study.

Anti-gravity treadmill tested for impact on cardiac imaging for heart patients
Marilyn Cotter needed a heart stress test. Unable to handle exercise due to foot problems, Cotter, under the care of University of Cincinnati physicians, used a space-age option: an anti-gravity treadmill.

Yale researchers shed light on evolutionary mystery: Origins of the female orgasm
Female orgasm seems to be a happy afterthought of our evolutionary past when it helped stimulate ovulation, a new study of mammals shows.

Trading changes how brain processes selling decisions
Experience in trading changes how the human brain evaluates the sale of goods, muting an economic bias known as the endowment effect in which people demand a higher price to sell a good than they're willing to pay for it.

Examining embryo-like fossils from the Ediacaran Doushantuo formation, South China
The origin and early evolution of animals have been a fascinating topic since Charles Darwin.

Scientists determine how birds soar to great heights
Biologists and physicists at UC San Diego have demonstrated with mathematical models how glider pilots might be able to soar more efficiently by adopting the learning strategies that birds use to navigate their way through thermals.

New robot overcomes obstacles
It looks like a bicycle chain, but has just twelve segments about the size of a fist.

Synthetic vaccine particles immune tolerance mechanism published in Nature Nanotechnology
Preclinical studies show that Selecta Biosciences' proprietary immune therapies use a targeted mechanism of action to improve the efficacy and safety of biologic therapeutics and to address autoimmune diseases and allergies.

People not technology will drive success of autonomous vehicles
As the world moves closer to autonomous and self-driving vehicles, road safety experts are turning from technology to psychology to better understand the road to safer mobility, according Professor Narelle Haworth, director of QUT's Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety -- Queensland.

A giant stellar void in the Milky Way
A major revision is required in our understanding of our Milky Way Galaxy according to an international team led by Professor Noriyuki Matsunaga of the University of Tokyo.

Big trash pickup
Autophagy (self eating) has long been considered a kind of indiscriminate Pac-man like process of waste disposal.

Zika vaccine development: UNC researchers seeking individuals exposed to arboviruses
Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine are conducting studies that utilize blood donations from individuals who have been diagnosed with or potentially exposed to mosquito-borne viruses as part of ongoing dengue and Zika research and vaccine development.

St. Paul Island mammoths most accurately dated 'prehistoric' extinction ever
While the Minoan culture on Crete was just beginning, woolly mammoths were disappearing from St.

An angel on my shoulder: Mobile telemedicine for nursing homes
ZeriscopeTM, a mobile telemedicine platform, empowers nurses at White Oak Manor, a skilled nursing facility (SNF) in North Charleston, SC, to prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions by providing 24/7 access to physicians.

Lack of water likely caused extinction of isolated Alaska mammoths
A remnant population of woolly mammoths on a remote Alaska island was likely pushed to extinction by rising sea levels and a lack of access to fresh water, according to a newly published study.

Over 750 biomarkers identified as potentials for early cancer screening test
Researchers have identified 788 biomarkers in blood that could be used to develop an early stage cancer screening test for the general population.

Exercise results in larger brain size and lowered dementia risk
Regular physical activity for older adults could lead to higher brain volumes and a reduced risk for developing dementia.

Labrador study offers vets clues on why dogs' tails lose their wag
A painful condition that affects dogs' tails may be more common than previously thought, a University of Edinburgh study suggests.

Brazil faces major challenges in liver transplantation
A recent analysis indicates that more than 1,700 liver transplantations are performed annually in Brazil.

Smartwatch interface could improve communication, help prevent falls at nursing homes
Poor communication systems at nursing homes can lead to serious injury for residents who are not tended to in a timely manner.

Researchers produce first major database of non-native English
After thousands of hours of work, MIT researchers have released the first major database of fully annotated English sentences written by non-native speakers. 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