Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 31, 2016
Weight loss following bariatric surgery sustained long-term
Obese patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) lost much more weight than those who did not and were able to sustain most of this weight loss 10 years after surgery, according to a study published online by JAMA Surgery.

Sexual function problems prevalent among younger adults after heart attack; more common among women
Among men and women 18 to 55 years of age, more than half of women and just under half of men had sexual function problems in the year after a heart attack, according to a study published online by JAMA Cardiology.

Parents' psychiatric disease linked to kids' risk of suicide attempt, violent offending
Risk for suicide attempts and violent offending by children appears to be associated with their parents' psychiatric disorders, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Motivating eco-friendly behaviors depends on cultural values
The specific cultural values of a country may determine whether concern about environmental issues actually leads individuals to engage in environmentally friendly behaviors, according to the new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Study assesses climate change vulnerability in urban America
One of the first efforts to systematically assess how cities are preparing for climate change shows that city planners have yet to fully assess their vulnerability to climate change, leaving serious risks unaddressed.

Crowdsourcing can help create better science tests cheaper
A group of researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysicshas found a way for schools, professors, textbook publishers, and educational researchers to check the quality of their test questions that turns out to be both fast and cheap.

Customer publishes performance evaluation of first commercial mini-synchrotron
A team from the Technical University Munich (TUM) recently reported an independent analysis of the operation of the Munich Compact Light Source (MuCLS) in the Sept.

The Great Elephant Census reports massive loss of African savanna elephants
Results of the two-year, $8 million Great Elephant Census of African savanna elephants led by Elephants Without Borders were released today at an international wildlife conference in Hawaii, confirming massive declines in elephant numbers over just the last decade.

New research uncovers the first steps of how human organs and tissues develop
For the first time, the precise way individual human organs and tissue develop has been mapped -- providing new insight into how genetic disorders can occur during the crucial early phase of development.

Body's cellular building blocks arise from genetic tugs of war
Developing blood cells are caught in tugs of war between competing gene regulatory networks before finally deciding what type of cell to become, according to a study published Aug.

New digital antenna could revolutionize the future of mobile phones
Aalto University's Radio Science and Engineering researchers have developed a method that allows antennas to make the shift from the analogue to the digital world.

Want to hit your target? Good luck, short stuff
Tall quarterbacks might have more going for them than a clear view over the offensive line.

Subatomic microscopy key to building new classes of materials
Researchers at Penn State and the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are pushing the limits of electron microscopy into the tens of picometer scale, a fraction of the size of a hydrogen atom.

Algorithms offer insight into cellular development
Through RNA sequencing, researchers can measure which genes are expressed in each individual cell of a sample.

Gaming for gut research
Jerôme Waldispühl, who teaches computer science at McGill University, led the group that created a new game called Colony B that is designed to help scientists better understand how particular microbes may be linked to our habits and ultimately our health.

Simple measures cut sepsis deaths nearly in half
Sepsis, also called blood poisoning, is a common affliction that can affect people of all ages.

NASA's Terra satellite sees development of Depression 15W
Tropical Depression 15W has formed in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean and NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead and analyzed the storm in infrared light.Tropical Depression 15W has formed in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean and NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead and analyzed the storm in infrared light.

A data-cleaning tool for building better prediction models
New software developed by computer scientists at Columbia University and University of California at Berkeley analyzes a user's prediction model to decide which data to clean first, while updating the model as it works.

No link to lower IQs in children of mothers who have taken newer forms of epilepsy drugs
Two newer epilepsy drugs may not harm the thinking skills or IQs of school-aged children whose mothers took them while pregnant -- but an older drug is linked to cognitive problems in children, especially if their mothers took high doses -- according to new research from the University of Manchester.

Widely used brain cancer cell line faces identity crisis
A cell line considered to be the most commonly used in brain cancer research is different from the original patient tumor from which it was derived, say Bengt Westermark and colleagues, who first established the cell line nearly 50 years ago.

Researchers use a single molecule to command stem cells to build new bone
Researchers at the University of California San Diego have discovered an easy and efficient way to coax human pluripotent stem cells to regenerate bone tissue -- by feeding them adenosine, a naturally occurring molecule in the body.

Baker Institute experts: Without pushing deregulation, the Japanese economy cannot grow
Japan's once-booming economy has been sluggish, mainly as a result of deflation and decreased productivity, according to international economics experts at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The Great Elephant Census reports massive loss of African savanna elephants
Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Inc. today announced the results of the $7 million, three-year Great Elephant Census, the first-ever pan-African survey of savanna elephants using standardized data collection and validation methods.

Antibody reduces harmful brain amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's patients
Aducanumab, an antibody developed by the University of Zurich, has been shown to trigger a meaningful reduction of harmful beta-amyloid plaques in patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

How did prehistoric humans occupy the Tibetan Plateau?
When did humans first occupy the Tibetan Plateau? Where did they come from and how did they adapt to the high elevation environment?

Which snowy owls thrive in Saskatchewan's winters
Snowy owls capture the imagination, but ornithologists know surprisingly little about how these birds of the far north fare during the harsh winters they endure.

Military should address gender stereotypes when integrating combat roles, study finds
Even though the Defense Secretary Ash Carter earlier this year formally opened all combat jobs to women, based on focus groups with soldiers University of Kansas researchers say the US military needs to work on changing significant cultural aspects to fully integrate women in the armed forces.

Concerns over glutathione skin bleaching in the UK
Skin bleaching with the use of glutathione is on the rise, despite the potential ethical issues and adverse side effects associated with the practice, warns a doctor in The BMJ this week.

Patients with cancer at heightened risk of injuries during diagnosis
Patients with cancer have heightened risks of unintentional and intentional injuries during the diagnostic process, reveal findings from a large study published by The BMJ today.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel may contain hidden symbols of female anatomy
Publications on the works of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel indicate that numerous codes and hidden messages may have been inserted for various purposes.

Lowering the cost and environmental footprint of white LEDs
Replacing traditional light bulbs with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could take a significant bite out of global energy consumption.

NASA observes large eye of Hurricane Gaston
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over Hurricane Gaston as it continued to track over the open waters of the North Central Atlantic Ocean and move farther away from Bermuda and toward the Azores Islands.

Study suggests size of Zika epidemic may be underestimated
A study at the São José do Rio Preto Medical School (FAMERP) in São Paulo State, Brazil, suggests official statistics may underestimate the size of the epidemic caused by Zika virus.

New survey finds 75 percent of Americans think discrimination still an issue for women
In the wake of Hillary Clinton's historic nomination as the first woman presidential candidate of a major political party in the US, women continue to face obstacles in politics and the workplace, according to a national poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

WSU researchers see hyperbaric chamber easing drug withdrawal symptoms
Washington State University researchers have found that treatments of pure oxygen in a high-pressure chamber can relieve the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

Internet and mobile devices prompt positive lifestyle changes
When guided by internet programs or mobile devices, people can become more physically active, eat better, lose a little weight and reduce tobacco and alcohol use.

Study shows combination drug therapy for asthma patients is safe
A post-marketing safety study mandated by the US Food and Drug Administration has shown that a combination drug therapy for the treatment of asthma is safe and effective.

Building the world's largest health study on heart-, vascular- and lung diseases
SCAPIS, a population-based health research project on heart-, vascular- and lung diseases, is launched today in Umeå, Sweden.

Novel method enables absolute quantification of mitochondrial metabolites
Whitehead Institute scientists have developed a method to quickly isolate mitochondria from mammalian cells and systematically measure the concentrations of mitochondrial metabolites.

The pros & cons of supplementary materials in scientific publishing
The ascendance of the Internet has changed academic publishing in ways that scientists are still adjusting to.

Americans lack awareness about heart valve disease, new public opinion surveys find
New public opinion surveys from the Alliance for Aging Research reveal the urgent need for more awareness about heart valve disease.

First test of oral rabies vaccine brings hope to the world's rarest canid
Research published this week in the journal Vaccine reports field trials of the oral vaccine SAG2 in Ethiopian wolves, Africa's most threatened carnivore and the world's rarest canid.

DFG awards 2016 Bernd Rendel Prize
Young geoscientists are recognized for their predoctoral research.

Johns Hopkins and Salk co-lead $15m initiative to unravel bipolar disorder, schizophrenia
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies will co-lead a $15.4 million effort to develop new systems for quickly screening libraries of drugs for potential effectiveness against schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the National Institute of Mental Health has announced.

Habitat is a crucial factor in survivability of released tortoises
In a paper published in the recent edition of the Journal of Applied Ecology, a team of wildlife experts from San Diego Zoo Global, the US Geological Survey, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Nevada analyzed the effect of habitat quality on the survival and dispersal of released desert tortoises.

Discovery one-ups Tatooine, finds twin stars hosting three giant exoplanets
A team of Carnegie scientists has discovered three giant planets in a binary star system composed of stellar 'twins' that are also effectively siblings of our Sun.

Study points to a novel culprit type 2 diabetes gene at well-established genomic location
Gene researchers have used sophisticated scientific tools to reveal a new gene for type 2 diabetes at a well-established genomic location.

SLAC's high-speed 'electron camera' films atomic nuclei in vibrating molecules
An ultrafast 'electron camera' at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has made the first direct snapshots of atomic nuclei in molecules that are vibrating within millionths of a billionth of a second after being hit by a laser pulse.

New population data provide insight on aging, migration
A new dataset provides a comprehensive look at population dynamics in Europe, including the influence of migration on population growth and the effect of population aging.

Bird bugs shed new light on malaria infection
A study into bird malaria could provide important clues about the causes of parasite co-infections in animals, including people.

NASA gets 2 views of Tropical Depression 8 off the Carolina coast
NASA got a look at Tropical Depression 8 in infrared and visible light as it started moving away from the coast of North Carolina.

Sexual function problems occur after heart attack, disparities exist between men and women
New research from the University of Chicago investigates what happens to men's and women's sexual function and relationships after a heart attack in an effort to help clinicians develop better care guidelines for patients.

The Lancet Psychiatry: Increasing number of US adults using marijuana as fewer people perceive the drug as harmful
An increasing number of US adults are using marijuana, as fewer people perceive the drug as harmful, according to a survey of over 500000 US adults conducted between 2002 and 2014 published in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Selenium status influence cancer risk
As a nutritional trace element, selenium forms an essential part of our diet.

Food puzzles enhance feline wellbeing
Greater understanding of the importance of environmental enrichment in enhancing an animal's physical and social environment is bringing benefits for pet cats -- particularly those that are kept solely indoors.

Insecure childhood can make dealing with stress harder
Emotional bonds with our primary caregiver or parent in early childhood are thought to be the basis of our ability to regulate our emotions as adults.

'Ask a Doctor' surfaces reliable information about heart conditions
A Google search for heart conditions will now prominently display important questions patients should ask their doctor based on clinical guidelines developed by the American College of Cardiology.

New study finds connection between chronic pain and anxiety disorders
New study results provide insight into a long-observed, but little-understood connection between chronic pain and anxiety and offer a potential target for treatment.

Lunar cycle affects timing of birth in cows
A popular belief that there is a higher number of births around the full moon has been shown to be true for dairy cows by a group of University of Tokyo researchers.

Satellites show Hurricane Madeline weakening upon approach to Hawaii
Hurricane Madeline was a powerful Category 4 storm that has now weakened to a Category 1 storm as it nears the Big Island of Hawaii.

ICU patients lose helpful gut bacteria within days of hospital admission
The microbiome of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital differs dramatically from that of healthy patients, according to a new study published in mSphere.

Case Western Reserve researcher outlines road map for addressing ethical concerns tied to research
Insoo Hyun, PhD, associate professor of bioethics at the School of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, has proposed a framework for addressing ethical questions surrounding potentially revolutionary research on part-human, part-animal embryos, which can be produced when human stem cells are transplanted into animal embryos.

Notre Dame researchers find transition point in semiconductor nanomaterials
Collaborative research at Notre Dame has demonstrated that electronic interactions play a significant role in the dimensional crossover of semiconductor nanomaterials.

Intensifying Tropical Depression 9 checked by NASA
Heavy rainfall is a big part of Tropical Depression 9, which is strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico.

LJI researchers gain new understanding of how neutrophils latch onto vessel walls to protect from infection and clean up injured tissue
As an arm of the innate immune system, white blood cells called neutrophils form the first line of defense against invading pathogens.

What your choice of smartphone says about you
Choice of smartphone provides valuable information about its owner. This is one of the findings of a doctoral study conducted by Heather Shaw, from University of Lincoln's School of Psychology.

Study suggests persistent childbirth pain increases risk of postnatal depression
New research presented at this year's World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in Hong Kong Aug.

Breast cancer mortality lower in women who breastfeed
A new study of women 20 years after undergoing surgery for primary breast cancer shows that breastfeeding for longer than 6 months is associated with a better survival rate.

IPHI report shows impact of cancer screening in California over past 15 years
A new report from the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement shows the impact of cancer screening over the past 15 years, identifying areas where increased screening and other cancer-control efforts would save lives and significantly benefit population health.

Freshening of the Southern Ocean
Over the past decades, the northward drift of sea ice surrounding Antarctica has strengthened.

Out of sync: How genetic variation can disrupt the heart's rhythm
New research from the University of Chicago shows how deficits in a specific pathway of genes can lead to the development of atrial fibrillation, a common irregular heartbeat, which poses a significant health risk.

Many with migraines unhappy with treatments and struggle to fight stigma
Migraine in America 2016, a national survey by Health Union of more than 3,900 individuals experiencing migraines, reveals that patients have numerous treatment options, but are often dissatisfied with results.

Multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis supports improved education of clinicians
A number of common conditions are mistaken for multiple sclerosis, a disabling central nervous system disease, say researchers at four academic medical centers across the US in a study published online today in the journal Neurology.

Female rhesus macaque calls may reflect familiarity rather than relatedness
An acoustic analysis showed that similarities between contact calls -- known as coos -- of female rhesus macaques may be explained by familiarity rather than relatedness, according a study published Aug.

This week from AGU 08-31-16
This Week from AGU: Failing faults, the Maya collapse, and 3 research spotlights.

Half-a-million people experience food insecurity in British Columbia, says new report
Almost half a million British Columbians experienced some level of household food insecurity in 2011-2012, according to a new report from PROOF, a research group based at the University of Toronto.

Springer's LOD platform offers new service for authors and conference organizers
Springer Nature is offering a new feature on its Linked Open Data (LOD) platform.

New role of adenosine in the regulation of REM sleep discovered
The regulation and function of sleep is one of the biggest black boxes of today's brain science.

Liberian malaria cases declined following mass drug administration during Ebola outbreak
Mass drug administration may have reduced malarial incidence during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia, according to a study published Aug.

Major step towards Alzheimer's blood test
A research team, led by Cardiff University, has made a significant step towards the development of a simple blood test to predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

NIH awards $11.3 million grant to study biomolecular communication
An $11.3 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence will support Nebraska researchers as they investigate how the human body's cells communicate to function properly -- and how pathogens and environmental factors can disrupt that communication to cause disease.

CU study: Feeling heavy, light, or about right? Your genes may be to blame
Do you feel overweight, about right, or too skinny? Your answer to that question may be tied to genes you inherited from your parents, especially if you are a female, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

Study finds potential new biomarker for cancer patient prognosis
Berkeley Lab researchers linked the overexpression of 14 genes related to cell division to cancer patients' prognosis and response to specific treatments.

NYU dental researcher to study 'mitochondrial permeability transition'
The National Institutes of Health have awarded Dr. Evgeny Pavlov, assistant professor of basic science and craniofacial biology at the New York University College of Dentistry, a $1.8M, five-year grant to study the phenomenon known as the 'Mitochondrial Permeability Transition' to prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Stanford seed grants push the boundaries of innovative energy research
The Precourt Institute and the TomKat Center have awarded 15 seed grants for clean-energy research at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Lightning strikes: Thunderstorms spread mercury pollution
In a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, Assistant Professor of Meteorology Christopher Holmes writes that thunderstorms have 50 percent higher concentrations of mercury than other rain events.

Helping farmers improve air quality
A team of scientists, led by Darrel Jenerette, a University of California, Riverside landscape ecologist, have shown that modifying fertilization and irrigation practices in high temperature environments can reduce losses of nitrogen to the atmosphere by 50 percent.

Ramon Lopez awarded 2016 Richard Carrington Education and Public Outreach Award
Ramon Lopez, a professor of physics at The University of Texas at Arlington, has been named the winner of the 2016 Richard Carrington Education and Public Outreach Award by the Space and Aeronomy section of the American Geophysical Union.

UTA to develop catalysts to transform hydrocarbons into molecules for industrial processes
Chemists at The University of Texas at Arlington are developing novel ways to use metal ions to activate simple hydrocarbons present in natural gas or petroleum products to produce more complex molecules valuable to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

A new key in fighting Kennedy's disease
If a disease affects motoneurons, cells that control voluntary muscle activity, researchers should focus their efforts on motoneurons to find potential treatments, right?

Scientists discover noninvasive technique to monitor migraines
New UBC research has found that amplified electroencephalograms can produce diagnostic results of a brainwave associated with migraines and epilepsy that are comparable to the current, more invasive, standard -- a discovery that could lead to better treatment and diagnosis of these conditions.

Genetic diversity of enzymes alters metabolic individuality
Scientists from Tohoku University's Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization have published research about genetic diversity and metabolome in Scientific Reports.

NASA's GPM examines Category Four Hurricane Lester
NASA Peered into Category Four Hurricane Lester using instruments aboard the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite as it continued tracking through the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

CRISPR/Cas9 technology to inactivate cancer mutations
As for many other biomedical and biotechnology disciplines, the genome scissor 'CRISPR/Cas9' also opens up completely new possibilities for cancer research.

Predictive tool vital to sustainable environmental futures
A new predictive tool, which for the first time combines human perception of the environment with land-use planning and socioeconomic data, could help governments mitigate the impact of climate change in developing countries.

Potential new treatment for cocaine addiction
A team of researchers led by Cardiff University has discovered a promising new drug treatment for cocaine addiction.

Forensic DNA analysis checks the origin of cultured cells
Cell lines are cultured cells that are commonly used in medical research.

Walking a tightrope: Regulators balancing need for safety and flexibility in approvals for new medicines
It can be challenging for regulators to keep up with advances related to medical drugs and devices.

Newer epilepsy drugs taken while pregnant not associated with lower IQs in children
Two epilepsy drugs, levetiracetam and topiramate, may not harm the thinking skills and IQs of school-age children born to women who took them while pregnant, according to a recent study.

High alcohol intake associated with slightly decreased female fertility
Women who drink 14 or more servings of alcohol a week are slightly more likely to have reduced fertility, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Accumulation of a product of cell metabolism found to be linked with kidney tumor growth
Researchers funded by the Medical Research Council have shown that when the metabolite fumarate accumulates in a hereditary form of renal cancer it leads to an epigenetic reprogramming that drives cancer.

New theory -- embryo geometry -- proposes explanation for how vertebrates evolved
A new theory aims to explain how the complex vertebrate body, with its skeleton, muscles, nervous and cardiovascular systems, arises from a single cell during development and how these systems evolved over time.

Johns Hopkins and Salk co-lead $15M initiative to unravel bipolar disorder, schizophrenia
Partnership of government, academics and industry will develop new ways of studying and screening drugs for major psychiatric illnesses

Bloodthirsty brains
South African and Australian researchers calculated how blood flowing to the brain of human ancestors changed over course of time.

JNeurosci: Highlights from the Aug. 31 issue
Check out these newsworthy studies from the Aug. 31, 2016, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

New study highlights high rates of suicide and self-harm among transgender youth
In a new study, 30 percent of transgender youth report a history of at least one suicide attempt, and nearly 42 percent report a history of self-injury, such as cutting.

Purdue researchers discover signaling cascade that drives fatty tumors
A common cell signaling pathway that controls differentiation of stem cells may also control the formation of tumor cells in fat, according to a Purdue University study.

Multiple sclerosis misdiagnosis study supports improved education of clinicians
A new study in the journal Neurology defines the current problems that lead patients to be misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and the possible reasons why they are misdiagnosed.

Scientists show that a 'Superman' disguise could actually work
Researchers at the University of York have shown that small alterations to a person's appearance, such as wearing glasses, can significantly hinder positive facial identification.

Researchers peel back another layer of chemistry with 'tender' X-rays
Scientists can now directly probe a previously hard-to-see layer of chemistry thanks to a unique X-ray toolkit developed at Berkeley Lab. 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