Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 09, 2016
Making artificial 'cells' move like real cells (video)
Artificial 'cells' could someday zoom around in the body and deliver medicines to specific locations, act as in-tissue diagnosticians and provide viable replacements for whole cells and organs.

Healthy living equals better brain function
New research suggests living a healthier lifestyle could also increase executive function, which is the ability to exert self-control, set and meet goals, resist temptation, and solve problems.

High-intensity statins linked to better survival rates of cardiovascular patients
A large national study has confirmed the value of high-intensity statin treatments for people with cardiovascular disease, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

A warm climate is more sensitive to changes in CO2
A new study, published this week in Science Advances and led by Tobias Friedrich from the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) at the University of Hawai?i at Mānoa (UHM), concludes that warm climates are more sensitive to changes in CO2 levels than cold climates.

Three new bird species discovered in Africa
Three never before documented bird species have been found in Africa, and researchers say there could well be more.

Researchers reveal how neurodegenerative diseases spread through the brain
Synapses, the place where brain cells contact one another, play a pivotal role in the transmission of toxic proteins.

Narwhal echolocation beams may be the most directional of any species
Analysis of some of the first recordings of wintering narwhals showed that they may have the most directional sonar of any species, according to a study published Nov.

New therapeutic vaccine approach holds promise for HIV remission
The study demonstrates combining an experimental vaccine with innate immune stimulant may help lead to viral remission in patients with HIV/AIDS.

Primates regain control of paralyzed limb
Non-human primates regain control of their paralyzed leg -- as early as six days after spinal cord injury -- thanks to a neuroprosthetic interface that acts as a wireless bridge between the brain and spine, bypassing the injury.

DNA sequencing determines lymphoma origin, prognosis, Stanford researchers say
Sequencing tiny bits of DNA circulating in the blood of patients with lymphoma can accurately identify the cancer subtype and pinpoint mutations that might cause drug resistance, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Rising CO2 threatens coral and people who use reefs
Damage to coral reefs from ocean acidification and sea surface temperature rise will be worst at just the spots where human dependence on reefs is highest, according to a new analysis appearing in PLOS ONE.

Most indoor tanning salons comply with Texas tanning ban for those under 18
When female employees of a mystery shopping firm called posing as 17-year-olds interested in tanning, 81 percent of indoor tanning facilities complied with the Texas ban on indoor tanning for those under the age of 18 in a study conducted by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Study finds major ocean current is widening as climate warms
A new study by University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers found that the Indian Ocean's Agulhas Current is getting wider rather than strengthening.

CT scans reveal birds' built-in air conditioners
Birds' beaks come in an incredible range of shapes and sizes, adapted for survival in environments around the world.

Scientists develop computer models to predict cancer cell network activity
A multi-institution academic-industrial partnership of researchers led by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has developed a new method to broadly assess cell communication networks and identify disease-specific network anomalies.

Study suggests probable scientific misconduct in bone health studies
A new study suggests probable scientific misconduct in at least some of 33 bone health trials published in various medical journals.

Remote sensing data reveals hundreds more species at risk of extinction
More than 200 bird species in six rapidly developing regions are at risk of extinction despite not being included on the IUCN 'Red List' of at-risk species.

Researchers describe bone marrow stem cell population with potential for repeat transplantation
A new study demonstrates that non-blood cell forming stem cells present in human bone marrow play an important role in maintaining the hematopoietic microenvironment, and these stromal cells appear to retain full self-renewal potential after primary and secondary transplantations, according to an article published in Stem Cells and Development.

Novel method to identify illicit designer drugs developed
A new technique has been identified that quickly and cheaply recognizes illegal designer drugs that normally evade detection.

'Bottlebrush' polymers make dielectric elastomers increasingly viable for use in devices
A multi-institutional research team has developed a new electroactive polymer material that can change shape and size when exposed to a relatively small electric field.

Enhanced wheat curl mite control found in genes
The Texas High Plains high winds are known for causing more than just bad hair days; they are a major contributor to the spread of wheat curl mite-transmitted viral diseases in wheat.

Scientists probe underground depths of Earth's carbon cycle
Understanding how carbon dissolves in water at the molecular level under extreme conditions is critical to understanding the Earth's deep carbon cycle -- a process that ultimately influences global climate change.

Using clinical features to identify patients at high risk for melanoma
Can an individual's risk factors for melanoma be used to tailor skin self-examinations and surveillance programs?

Quantifying the hidden environmental cost of hydroelectric dams
Hydroelectricity is a renewable energy, and the facilities that produce it give off less greenhouse gases than other power plants.

Human health risks from hydroelectric projects
In a new study, Harvard University researchers find over 90 percent of potential new Canadian hydroelectric projects are likely to increase concentrations of the neurotoxin methylmercury in food webs near indigenous communities.

Researchers restore leg movement in primates using wireless neural interface
The research is a step toward the development of a system that might help in rehabilitating people who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

Presurgical endocrine therapy less toxic than chemotherapy for ER-positive breast cancer
Neoadjuvant endocrine therapy -- designed to reduce the size of breast tumors before surgical removal -- appears to be as effective as neoadjuvant chemotherapy for patients with localized, estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer with considerably fewer side effects.

New study points to a possible cause of many preterm births
The discovery that small calcium deposits in fetal membranes may lead to a mother's water breaking prematurely suggests that dietary or other interventions could prevent those preterm births.

The golden drool: Study finds treasure trove of info in saliva of foraging bears
A new study, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, documents the ability of researchers to gather DNA from residual saliva on partially consumed salmon to the point that they can even identify individual bears from the genetic samples.

Brazilian free-tailed bat is the fastest flyer in the animal kingdom
Bats are not just skilful aviators, they can also reach record-breaking speeds.

Regular intake of sugary beverages, but not diet soda, is associated with prediabetes
An epidemiological analysis of data from 1,685 adult Americans finds that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, but not diet soda, is associated with increased risk of prediabetes and increased insulin resistance.

What the 'cold fusion' debacle has revealed
'Cold fusion' has a serious legacy problem. Back in 1989, researchers announced that they had demonstrated the phenomenon -- a nuclear reaction producing excess heat at room temperature -- that promised to revolutionize clean energy.

Elucidating sex differences in Alzheimer's disease risk
Researchers reveal specific changes in memory function that correspond to sex and menopausal stage, rather than chronological age.

My contribution to Arctic sea ice melt
Measurements reveal the relationship between individual CO2 emissions and the Arctic's shrinking summer sea ice.

Can safety netting improve cancer detection in patients with vague symptoms?
There is an assumption that following up people with symptoms which are low risk but no risk of cancer will improve cancer pick up.

Two NASA Goddard employees win Women in Aerospace awards
Dr. Colleen Hartman and Dr. Holly Gilbert of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., recently received awards for their contributions to the aerospace community.

Mammalian bone gene may be repurposed to fuel cognition in humans
Neurobiologists from Harvard Medical School report they have uncovered evidence that osteocrin, a gene involved in bone growth in mammals, may be retooled as a regulator of higher-level cognitive functions in the human brain.

Knowing risk factors could help catch melanomas
University of Sydney researchers and their collaborators have pinpointed risk factors that could help doctors tailor individuals' skin examinations and catch melanoma at an early stage.

Study links shorter sleep and sugar-sweetened drink consumption
People who sleep five or fewer hours a night are likely to also drink significantly more sugary caffeinated drinks.

Blood test may help identify fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Texas A&M College of Medicine and the Omni-Net Birth Defects Prevention Program in Ukraine have identified a blood test that may help predict how severely a baby will be affected by alcohol exposure during pregnancy.

Who has the better memory -- men or women?
In the battle of the sexes, women have long claimed that they can remember things better and longer than men can.

Simulation brings global 100 percent renewable electricity system alive for the first time
A new model developed by Lappeenranta University of Technology shows how an electricity system mainly based on solar and wind works in all regions of the world.

Personality tests for fish could help boost reproduction rates
Aquaculture experts from the University of Stirling and the Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA) in Catalonia, have found the way fish, Senegalese sole, cope with stress is determined by their personality and remains consistent regardless of the situation they are in.

New pathway towards treatments for inflammatory diseases
A molecule thought to play a key role in some inflammatory diseases can be switched off by two widely used medicines, new research has shown.

Investigational HIV therapeutic vaccine approach helps control SIV in preclinical studies
An investigational treatment combination of a therapeutic vaccine and an immune-stimulator improves virologic control and delays viral rebound following the discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy in non-human primates infected with SIV.

$1.1 million grant aimed at preventing coal mine collapses
No one can predict exactly when a coal mine will collapse, but a $1.1 million grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health aims to change that, according to a Penn State mineral engineer.

Sculpting solar systems
Sharp new observations have revealed striking features in planet-forming discs around young stars.

Noninvasive imaging technique protects healthy tissues during freezing of cancer lesions
A new article in the Journal of Biomedical Optics reports on an imaging technique for real-time optoacoustic temperature monitoring during cryotherapy which helps protect healthy adjacent tissues while treating cancerous lesions.

Ensemble forecast of a major flooding event in Beijing
The intensity of the rainfall on July 21, 2012, was significantly underpredicted by models.

What makes Francisella such a bad actor?
New technologies and techniques are giving scientists an insider's look behind the notorious infectivity of Francisella tularensis, the cause of tularemia in humans, rabbits and rodents, among others.

Empa Innovation Award for new flame retardant
The Empa Innovation Award 2016 went to chemist Sabyasachi Gaan and his team.

Disability, reduced social participation associated with chronic conditions in middle-age
Middle-age adults living with a combination of arthritis, heart disease or diabetes, and depression are more likely to experience disability and limited involvement in society, new research from McMaster University has found.The research team analyzed population-based data from more than 15,000 participants in the Canadian Community Health Survey on Healthy Aging.

When crystal vibrations' inner clock drives superconductivity
Superconductivity is like an Eldorado for electrons, as they flow without resistance through a conductor.

Environment-friendly hydrophobic coating made with salt particles
A team of researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) has found an elegant, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly method of applying a superhydrophobic layer to objects by using commercially available salt particles, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and water.

Expensive new cancer drugs have little effect on survival of many cancers
Despite considerable investment and innovation, new cancer drugs approved in the past 10 years may have little effect on survival in adults with cancer, raising a number of concerns, argues an expert in The BMJ today.

More women sexually active into old age
Although many of us don't want to think about grandma still 'getting it on,' multiple studies show that older women are still sexually active beyond their seventh decade of life.

Visitors to countryside not attracted by conservation importance
Countryside visitors choose where to go based on the presence of features such as coastline, woodland or abundant footpaths, rather than a site's importance to conservation, according to new research.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments consortium formed
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant for $3.6 million over five years will support formation of MARISA (Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments), a consortium of NOAA, the RAND Corporation, Penn State, Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University.

Electricity giants extend their might to financial institutions on advanced tech path to Paris goals
An association of global electricity giants today extended their members' collective might and expertise to development finance institutions and other international organizations to jointly identify necessary electricity technology investments that can deliver lower or zero carbon emissions needed to reach the Paris climate goals.

Why do seabirds eat plastic? The answer stinks
We know plastic in the ocean is a problem. But why do seabirds eat marine plastic in the first place? A UC Davis study found that marine plastic debris emits the scent of a sulfurous compound that some seabirds have relied upon for thousands of years to tell them where to find food. This olfactory cue essentially tricks the birds into confusing marine plastic with food.

Growth in SNAP retailers followed enrollment spike during recession
Increased enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Georgia contributed to the growth of grocery retailers at all levels from 2007 to 2014.

Researchers find that even mild pulmonary complications after surgery can pose major risks
Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, along with seven other major institutions, have found that even mild postoperative pulmonary complications are significantly associated with increased death within the first week after surgery.

It's not a bird! It's not a plane! It's the fastest flying mammal, says UT study
When most people think of animals moving at high speed, they envision cheetahs or swiftly diving raptors.

New research shows promise for immunotherapy as HIV treatment
Immunotherapy has revolutionized treatment options in oncology, neurology, and many infectious diseases and now there is fresh hope that the same method could be used to treat or functionally cure HIV, according to two related studies from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

TSRI scientists awarded $6.6 million for research in computational biology
Three groups at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop methods for computational modeling and to apply them to cutting-edge systems in biology and health.

The thinnest photodetector in the world
Graphene-based device could accelerate the development of 2-D photoelectronics.

Now you see it, now you don't
University of Utah electrical and computer engineering associate professor Rajesh Menon and his team have developed a cloaking device for microscopic photonic integrated devices -- the building blocks of photonic computer chips that run on light instead of electrical current -- in an effort to make future chips smaller, faster and consume much less power.

Higher intensity of statin therapy associated with lower risk of death in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
Among more than 500,000 patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, researchers found an inverse association between intensity of statin therapy and mortality, with patients who received high-intensity statins having the greatest reductions in risk of death, according to a study published online by JAMA Cardiology.

Increased smartphone screen-time associated with lower sleep quality
Exposure to smartphone screens is associated with lower sleep quality, according to a study published Nov.

Accelerating cancer research with deep learning
Using the Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at ORNL, Tourassi's team applied deep learning to extract useful information from cancer pathology reports, a foundational element of cancer surveillance.

South China Sea summer monsoon onset
Scientists proposed four indices that depict the SCSSM onset from both the dynamical and thermal perspectives.

The double wonder of worms
A study recently published in Waste Management by researchers from Concordia's Faculty of Arts and Science shows that one method of composting could yield high quality compost and high value by-products.

Geologists find key indicator of carbon sources in Earth's mantle
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame found evidence of varying ratios of boron isotopes in igneous rocks, known as carbonatites, of different ages.

Solar cells get boost with integration of water-splitting catalyst onto semiconductor
Scientists at Berkeley Lab have found a way to engineer the atomic-scale chemical properties of a water-splitting catalyst for integration with a solar cell, and the result is a big boost to the stability and efficiency of artificial photosynthesis.

New findings on physical activity could shape treatment for mild Alzheimer's disease
Understanding the daily pattern in physical activity could be key to designing interventions, perhaps by targeting more physical activity in morning.

Will unanticipated genetic mutations lead to subsequent disease?
A study published Nov. 9 in the journal Science Translational Medicine is the first to show that mutations in certain cancer and cardiovascular genes put individuals at an increased risk for dominantly inherited, actionable conditions, regardless of family medical history.

Aorta more rigid in African-Americans, may explain rates of hypertension and heart disease
can-Americans have more rigidity of the aorta, the major artery supplying oxygen-rich blood to the body, than Caucasians and Hispanics, according to a study by UT Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists.

Experimental drug delivers one-two punch to prostate cancer cells
An experimental drug that targets abnormally high levels of a protein linked to cancer growth appears to significantly reduce the proliferation of prostate cancer cells in laboratory cell cultures and animals, while also making these cells considerably more vulnerable to radiation, according to results of a study led by Johns Hopkins scientists.

Computers made of genetic material?
Tinier than the AIDS virus- - that is currently the circumference of the smallest transistors.

$1.8 million grant funds digestive disease research in El Paso
Co-principal investigators Richard McCallum, M.D., and Irene Sarosiek, M.D., have received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Ludwig researchers show how a targeted drug overcomes suppressive immune cells
A Ludwig Cancer Research study shows that an experimental drug currently in clinical trials can reverse the effects of troublesome cells that prevent the body's immune system from attacking tumors.

Lack of plasmodium surface-protein blocks mosquito infection
A previously unknown feature of the malaria parasite development has just been published in the journal Cell Host&Microbe.

Nano-scale electronics score laboratory victory
Researchers have pioneered a method for growing an atomic scale electronic material at the highest quality ever reported.

Skin pigment could help strengthen foams and fabrics
Melanin is the natural molecule in animals' skin, hair and the iris of eyes that gives them color and helps protect them from ultraviolet light.

New In-Situ Combustion advancements researched by Kazan University
New results in in-situ combustion technologies have been achieved at the In-Situ Combustion Lab of Kazan Federal University.

Full detonation in the hippocampus
Altering synaptic plasticity leads to a computational switch in a hippocampal synapse: the presynaptic neuron turns into 'detonator' mode, causing its postsynaptic partner to fire more readily.

Experts call on climate change panel to better reflect ocean variability in their projections
Ocean variability and realistic marine regional projections should be included in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to better inform policy-makers, state researchers from the University of Bristol and University of Tasmania.

Blood test may help identify fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, research shows
Researchers at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Omni-Net Birth Defects Prevention Program in Ukraine have identified a blood test that may help predict how severely a baby will be affected by alcohol exposure during pregnancy, according to a study published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

Coral reefs and their communities may be severely affected by rising CO2 levels
Rising CO2 levels may affect most of the world's coral reefs and the populations which depend on them by 2050, according to a study published Nov.

Reservoirs are a major source of greenhouse gases
The BioScience Talks podcast ( features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences

Researchers discover new regulator in glucose metabolism
A key genetic switch in the liver regulates glucose metabolism and insulin action in other organs of the body.

Game theory shows how tragedies of the commons might be averted
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a theory to unite the study of behavior and its effect on the environment.

Key protein in prostate cancer energy production identified
Scientists at The Wistar Institute have demonstrated how a protein called TRAP1 -- an important regulator of energy production in healthy and cancerous cells -- is an important driver of prostate cancer and appears to be a valuable therapeutic target for the disease.

Penn program trains librarians to improve public health and welfare
Libraries are uniquely positioned to address public health needs in underserved populations, according to findings from a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Free Library of Philadelphia in this month's issue of Health Affairs.

Trickling electrons
Close to absolute zero, the particles exhibit their quantum nature.

Licorice compound interferes with sex hormones in mouse ovary, study finds
A study of mouse reproductive tissues finds that exposure to isoliquiritigenin, a compound found in licorice, disrupts steroid sex hormone production in the ovary, researchers report.

Scouts and guides have better mental health in later life, study finds
Children who take part in the scouts or guides tend to have a lower risk of mental heath in middle age, a study suggests.

NYU Meyers nursing research identifies predictors of depression among women with diabetes
Research shows adults with diabetes are disproportionately prone to depression and the risk to be significantly greater for women than it is for men.

Awards event to recognize heroes of green and open neuroscience
On Monday, November 14, at 6:30 p.m., the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the founders of the Green Neuroscience Laboratory will recognize individuals and organizations that help forward the principles and culture of Green and Open Neuroscience.

Eco-friendly replacement for surfactants researched at Kazan University
New types of biological agents can become essential in more efficiently streamlining oil recovery processes.

Particle clusters named a culprit in premature birth
A new study of more than 100 pregnant women pinpoints the abnormal buildup of mineral-protein clusters in amniotic fluid (AF) as a potential culprit in premature birth.

Focus on quiescent cells brings to light essential role of RNAi in transcription control
A CSHL team demonstrates for the first time that most cells cannot survive in a quiescent state unless an epigenetic mechanism called RNA interference (RNAi) is up and running.

Toward a hand-held 'breathalyzer' for diagnosing diabetes
For several years, scientists have been working toward 'breathalyzers' that can diagnose various diseases without painful pinpricks, needles or other unpleasant methods.

Jounrnal of Neuroscience: Highlights from the November 9 issue
Check out these newsworthy symposia featured in the Nov. 9, 2016, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. 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