Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 21, 2016
Molecular Velcro boosts microalgae's potential in biofuel, industrial applications
Michigan State University scientists have engineered 'molecular Velcro' into to cyanobacteria, boosting this microalgae's biofuel viability as well as its potential for other research.

NEJM reports on study of waitlisted opioid-dependent adults
In rural states like Vermont, opioid-dependent adults desperate for treatment often find themselves stuck on a wait list, sometimes for eight months or more, increasing their risk of continuing to use illicit opioids, contract an infectious disease, overdose and prematurely die.

Food withdrawal results in stabilization of important tumor suppressor
Tumor suppressors stop healthy cells from becoming cancerous. Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Medical University of Graz and the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbruecke have found that p53, one of the most important tumor suppressors, accumulates in liver after food withdrawal.

Novel technique helps ID elusive molecules
Stuart Lindsay, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, has devised a clever means of identifying carbohydrate molecules quickly and accurately.

New ultrasound technique is first to image inside live cells
Researchers at The University of Nottingham have developed a break-through technique that uses sound rather than light to see inside live cells, with potential application in stem-cell transplants and cancer diagnosis.

Ultra-small nanocavity advances technology for secure quantum-based data encryption
Researchers have developed a new type of light-enhancing optical cavity that is only 200 nanometers tall and 100 nanometers across.

UT Extension's Shirley Hastings celebrated as legend
Shirley Hastings, director of UT Extension Strategic Planning and former associate dean of Family and Consumer Sciences, has been honored as a Legend in Family and Consumer Sciences by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS).

Routine drug screening should be part of primary care settings, UCLA study recommends
Drug misuse is so prevalent in Tijuana and East Los Angeles that community clinics in those areas should routinely screen for it.

Report calls for improved methods to assess earthquake-caused soil liquefaction
Effectively engineering infrastructure to protect life and to mitigate the economic, environmental, and social impacts of liquefaction requires the ability to accurately assess the likelihood of liquefaction and its consequences.

NASA looks at rainfall rates in Tropical Cyclone Yvette
Tropical Cyclone 02S formed in the Indian Ocean northwest of Australia on Dec.

Huntington's disease linked to dysfunction of brain structure
Scientists have identified a link between Huntington's disease and dysfunction of the subthalamic nucleus, a component of the basal ganglia, a group of brain structures critical for movement and impulse control.

NASA spots Tropical Depression 30W form in Northwestern Pacific
NASA's Aqua satellite flew over the Northwestern Pacific Ocean and captured infrared data on newly formed Tropical Depression 30W.

Music in the brain: The first imaging genetic study linking dopaminergic genes to music
Sounds, such as music and noise, are capable of reliably affecting individuals' moods and emotions, possibly by regulating brain dopamine, a neurotransmitter strongly involved in emotional behavior and mood regulation.

Buddhism along the Silk Roads
Prof. Dr. Carmen Meinert from Ruhr-Universität Bochum has been awarded a two-million euros Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council (ERC).

New drug target for inflammatory disease is all the RAGE
Researchers have shown that Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products (RAGE) helps to regulate a key signaling pathway known to promote both acute and chronic inflammation.

Magnetic force pulls baby reef fish back home
Baby reef fish have an internal magnetic 'compass' that directs them home at night, world-first research has revealed.

Chemistry research breakthrough that could improve nuclear waste recycling technologies
Researchers from The University of Manchester have taken a major step forward by describing the quantitative modelling of the electronic structure of a family of uranium nitride compounds -- a process that could in the future help with nuclear waste recycling technologies.

Driverless platoons
MIT engineers have studied a simple vehicle-platooning scenario and determined the best ways to deploy vehicles in order to save fuel and minimize delays.

Shortened treatment for middle ear infection is less effective than standard course
A five-day antimicrobial treatment regimen for middle ear infections in young children is inferior to the standard 10-day regimen, according to newly published research.

Live cell imaging using a smartphone
A recent study from Uppsala University shows how smartphones can be used to make movies of living cells, without the need for expensive equipment.

UTHealth research could lead to blood test to detect Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
The detection of prions in the blood of patients with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease could lead to a noninvasive diagnosis prior to symptoms and a way to identify prion contamination of the donated blood supply, according to researchers at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Distinctive brain pattern may underlie dyslexia
A distinctive neural signature found in the brains of people with dyslexia may explain why these individuals have difficulty learning to read, according to a new study from MIT neuroscientists.

Study: Children can 'catch' social bias through non-verbal signals expressed by adults
Research from the University of Washington shows that preschool-age children can learn bias through nonverbal signals displayed by adults and are likely to generalize that learned bias to other people.

Platform for rapid innovation
Harvard's Office of Technology Development has established a collaborative research agreement with Facebook.

Survey: Cardiology workforce is aging, male-dominated
Cardiologists are highly satisfied in their careers; however, disparities remain between the career experiences of men and women, according to the American College of Cardiology's third Professional Life Survey published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

New approach captures the energy of slow motion
A new concept in energy harvesting could capture energy currently wasted due to its characteristic low frequency and use it to power next-generation electronic devices, according to a team of Penn State materials scientists and electrical engineers.

The challenge of defining maturity when the brain never stops changing
Neuroscientists don't know when your brain is a legal adult.

Impact of climate change on microbial biodiversity
New research indicates that the impact of climate change on biodiversity depends on how much human beings have already affected the environment.

Graphene able to transport huge currents on the nano scale
New experiments have shown that it is possible for extremely high currents to pass through graphene, a form of carbon.

Study examines melanoma incidence, death
A new research letter published online by JAMA Dermatology updates information on trends in melanoma incidence and death in the United States since 2009.

Analysis examines characteristics of users of online infidelity matchmaking
By analyzing data originally stolen and released by Internet hackers, investigators have examined the characteristics of individuals who paid to engage in extramarital affairs using the online infidelity matchmaking site Ashley Madison.

Female promiscuity in butterflies controls paternity
The eggs of some butterfly and moth species vary to give females control over the paternity of their offspring, according to new research published today.

Penn: Epigenetic change ties mitochondrial dysfunction to tumor progression
In a new report published in the journal Cell Discovery, a team led by researchers in the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has identified a mechanism by which mitochondria can drive changes in nuclear gene expression that are associated with tumor progression.

Study finds substantial rate of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy when procedure not indicated
In a survey of women who underwent treatment for early-stage breast cancer in one breast, contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM; both breasts are surgically removed, the breast that contains cancer and the healthy breast) use was substantial among patients without clinical indications but was low when patients reported that their surgeon recommended against it, according to a study published online by JAMA Surgery.

Biomarker for oxidative stress plays a major role in hepatic inflammation
Diet-related diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are known to have a major inflammatory component, but their exact molecular pathways remained elusive.

Blood test for prion disease could make blood supply safer
A blood test accurately diagnosed a total of 32 patients with a rare form of prion disease, two new analyses report, offering a potentially valuable tool for preventing prion contamination of the blood supply.

Scientists crack genetic code determining leaf shape in cotton
Researchers know that the variation in leaf shapes can mean big differences in a farmer's bottom line.

Scientists build bacteria-powered battery on single sheet of paper
Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have created a bacteria-powered battery on a single sheet of paper that can power disposable electronics.

One more piece in the puzzle of liver cancer identified
Manuela Baccarini and her team at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna are one step closer to unraveling the mechanisms behind liver cancer.

The last frontier
Neuroscientist Kenneth S. Kosik examines the molecular basis of brain plasticity and the manner in which neurons 'learn'.

High-severity wildfires complicate natural regeneration for California conifers
A study spanning 10 national forests and 14 burned areas in California found that conifer seedlings were found in less than 60 percent of the study areas five to seven years after fire.

New Special Issue on digestive tumors in Latin America
ecancermedicalscience has published a new Special Issue on digestive cancers in Latin America, bringing together five articles from experts in the region.

Challenges remain in HIV care in Africa
Barriers to diagnosis and lack of access to modern medications have combined to place caregivers and HIV-positive patients in sub-Saharan Africa between a rock and a hard place.

Cancer cells' transition can drive tumor growth, UF Health researchers find
As cancerous tumors fester in the body, they need an ever-increasing blood supply to deliver the oxygen and nutrients that fuel their growth.

Astrophotography as a gateway to science
Non-science students enrolled in astrophotography classes created by scientists at the University of California, Riverside reported a better understanding of how to use a telescope and camera and how to process images, according to a recently published paper about the class.

A fertilizer dearth foiled animal evolution for eons?
Earth was inhospitable to complex life for billions of years, practically suffocating evolution in a nearly oxygen-free environment.

Speeding up comprehension with grasping actions
Hearing or seeing a word doesn't mean that it is immediately understood.

Recovery from brain injury and better sleep go hand in hand
After a traumatic brain injury, people also experience major sleep problems, including changes in their sleep-wake cycle.

New drug could help prevent artery disease in high-risk patients
According to the American Heart Association, approximately 2,200 Americans die each day from heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.

Stressed snakes strike first
Whether a wild cottonmouth snake will attempt to strike in an encounter depends on its baseline stress level, according to a team of scientists led by undergraduate researcher Mark Herr.

Crop Science Society celebrates two UTIA turf specialists
Among the awards presented by the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) at its November 6-9 annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, were two significant honors for UTIA members John Stier and Jim Brosnan.

Indiana University researchers launch tool to understand spread of fake news
The Observatory on Social Media at Indiana University has launched a powerful new tool in the fight against fake news.

Study finds 'striking' use of double mastectomy
Nearly half of early stage breast cancer patients considered having double mastectomy and one in six received it -- including many who were at low risk of developing a second breast cancer, a new study finds.

Toeing the line: Study finds brain cells that signal path of travel
In a paper published by Nature Neuroscience, UC San Diego cognitive scientists say they have found neurons that help an animal align itself within a cognitive map of its environment.

Inside the world of cell signaling: A G-protein breakthrough
Scientists have few good methods for manipulating and investigating G-protein signaling.

Scripps Florida scientists uncover cellular process behind premature aging
In a new study, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have shown how two genes 'balance' each other to maintain normal cell function.

Threading the RSV vaccine needle
Crafting a vaccine against RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), a common cause of lung infections in infants, has been a minefield for 50 years.

Declining male offspring further imperil endangered flycatchers in southern California
A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications documents the steep decline of a population of endangered southwestern willow flycatchers over 16 years -- and the change in the sex ratio that has left the birds' future hanging on a dwindling number of males.

Reducing antibiotic duration does more harm than good for ear infections in young children
A shortened course of antibiotic treatment has worse clinical outcomes without reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance or adverse events.

Newly discovered mechanism in cells can regulate the immune system
Special proteins play an important role in processes of the immune system.

Hawaii's newest species named in honor of President Obama
Scientists from the Bishop Museum, NOAA, and the Association for Marine Exploration published a description of a new species of coral-reef fish that they named in honor of President Barack Obama.

Light powers new chemistry for old enzymes
Princeton researchers have developed a method that irradiates biological enzymes with light to expand their highly efficient and selective capacity for catalysis to new chemistry.

Study finds state tort reforms linked to decreases in radiography utilization
According to new research from the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, state tort reform has been associated with a decrease in physician ordering of radiographs.

NSF-funded startups demo tech at CES 2017 Eureka Park
More than 20 small businesses funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will showcase their early stage technologies at the 2017 CES, a global conference that unveils up-and-coming consumer technologies.

133 new species described by the California Academy of Sciences in 2016
In 2016, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences added 133 new plant and animal species to our family tree.

New insight for developing more effective drugs to combat inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is commonly treated with one of several available biological drugs that block an inflammatory molecule, but not everybody is helped by this treatment.

Rejuvenating the brain's disposal system
A characteristic feature of Alzheimer's disease is the presence of so called amyloid plaques in the patient's brain -- aggregates of misfolded proteins that clump together and damage nerve cells.

New instrumentation for research
DFG to fund 12 projects for the development of new technologies through new call.

TSRI scientists show how drug binds with 'hidden pocket' on flu virus
A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is the first to show exactly how the drug Arbidol stops influenza infections.

Innovative proposal in the wind energy sector won the APREN Award
Bernardo Marques Amaral Silva, a INESCTEC researcher and a MIT Portugal Program Sustainable Energy Systems Phd doctorate at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto won the first prize of the Portuguese Association of Renewable Energies Award (APREN) for his thesis which presented a pioneering approach to take the best profit of Wind farms (WF).

Rat study provides insights on tendon overuse injuries
In research conducted in rats, investigators have shown for the first time the effect of rotator cuff tendon overuse, or tendinopathy, on surrounding tissues.

'Glue' that makes plant cell walls strong could hold the key to wooden skyscrapers
Molecules 10,000 times narrower than the width of a human hair could hold the key to making possible wooden skyscrapers and more energy-efficient paper production, according to research published today in the journal Nature Communications.

National Family Forests Education Award goes to UT Extension's David Mercker
A multi-partner program coordinated by UT Extension forestry specialist David Mercker has been awarded the 2016 Family Forests Education Award by two national forest-focused organizations.

Calculating 1 billion plasma particles in a supercomputer
At the National Institutes of Natural Sciences National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) a research group using the NIFS 'Plasma Simulator' supercomputer succeeded for the first time in the world in calculating the movements of one billion plasma particles and the electrical field constructed by those particles.

School attendance improves when girls are given free sanitary pads and puberty lessons
A new paper shows there is now good evidence from a large-scale study to show puberty lessons and free sanitary products improve school attendance of girls and women.

JDR studies examine the trends and impact of NIH research funding to dental schools
Today, the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) published three articles in the Journal of Dental Research that focus on the trends and impact of National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding to dental schools and institutions.

HIV patients have nearly twice the heart attack risk
Current methods to predict the risk of heart attack and stroke vastly underestimate the risk in individuals with HIV, which is nearly double that of the general population, reports a new study.

First light for band 5 at ALMA
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has begun observing in a new range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

JILA atomic clock mimics long-sought synthetic magnetic state
JILA physicists have caused atoms in a gas to behave as if they possess unusual magnetic properties long sought in harder-to-study solid materials.

Cerium hexaboride challenges physicists to come up with new theory
Cerium hexaboride is strongly correlated materials. Up to now, many theories have been proposed to explain the anomalous physical properties of cerium hexaboride, but they all proved unable to predict the results of ESR experiments.

Report finds additional radioactive materials in gas-well drill cuttings
Hydraulic fracturing has boosted US energy production while coming under scrutiny for its potential environmental impacts, mostly related to the wastewater the method generates.

Researchers confirm molecule's role in kidney formation
The discovery in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame could help advance understanding to address issues such as birth defects and repair of the kidney after illness or injury.

Nanoarray sniffs out and distinguishes multiple diseases
Before modern medical lab techniques became available, doctors diagnosed some diseases by smelling a patient's breath.

The biggest chemistry-related stories from 2016
From green pools at the Olympics to regulatory reforms, chemistry-related news made big waves in 2016.

Food supplement may be key to treatment of rare disease
A new Tel Aviv University study finds that a popular food supplement called phosphatidylserine may be instrumental in reversing the detrimental effects of Familial Dysautonomia (FD), a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that affects approximately 1 in 31 Jewish people of Eastern European, or Ashkenazi, ancestry.

Why big brains are rare
Do big-brained creatures steal energy for them from other organs or eat more to supply this expensive tissue?

Flame retardant exposure linked to income, BMI and household smoking
A class of flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been phased out of production in the US out of concern for their potential neurotoxic effects, particularly in young children.

Dyslexics show a difference in sensory processing
Neuroscientists have discovered that a basic mechanism underlying sensory perception is deficient in individuals with dyslexia, according to study published Dec.

Police-led addiction program in Gloucester shows first-year success, BU study finds
About 95 percent of individuals with substance-use disorders who came to the Gloucester Police Department for help accessing addiction treatment were placed in detoxification or substance-use treatment programs during the first year of a widely publicized initiative aimed at combating the opioid epidemic, according to a report by Boston University researchers.

RNA pathway plays key role in health, lifespan, fly study shows
The piRNA pathway was thought to be most active in the reproductive organs of animals, but researchers have discovered in the common fruit fly that the pathway also operates in a non-reproductive body tissue, playing a vital role in maintaining health and lifespan.

University of Rochester and West Health Collaborate on Summit 2017
In collaboration with West Health, the University of Rochester is hosting the third annual Summit, a forum for health care and technology leaders, entrepreneurs, senior care advocates and policymakers to exchange ideas, create new partnerships, and foster disruptive technological and process innovations to improve the lives of the nation's aging population.

Tattoos mark the spot -- for surgery -- then disappear
Tattoos aren't just for body art. They can have medical applications, too.

UTHealth's Wolinsky is senior author of paper on new therapy for primary MS
Positive results of an investigational medication study for primary progressive multiple sclerosis were published online in today's New England Journal of Medicine in a paper led by senior author Jerry Wolinsky, M.D., of McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Study shows discrimination interacts with genetics and impacts health
It's no secret that discrimination is stressful for those who experience it, but turns out the issue is more than skin deep -- these stressors can interact with our genetics to negatively impact our health, a new University of Florida study shows.

UTA bioengineering professor Kytai Nguyen named AIMBE Fellow
Kytai Nguyen, a professor in the Bioengineering Department at The University of Texas at Arlington, has been named a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Vitamin D improves gut flora and metabolic syndrome
A high fat diet alone is not enough to cause metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that pose as risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

The luxury of causality: Parallel Intelligence, a proposed move toward the intelligent future
Defined as the interaction between actual reality and virtual reality, parallel intelligence flips traditional AI.

Watching water freeze (video)
Every winter, snow and ice dusts mountains and makes roads slick in cold climates.

Artificial leaf as mini-factory for drugs
To produce drugs sustainably and cheaply, anywhere you want. Whether in the middle of the jungle or even on Mars.

Store and supply: How the brain saves time
Neurons in the brain store RNA molecules -- DNA gene copies -- in order to rapidly react to stimuli.

AZTI to coordinate scientific advisory services to the EC on fishing outside the EU waters
AZTI is going to provide the European Commission scientific advice regarding fisheries outside the EU.

Fish sperm race for reproductive success
Many organisms compete for access to and acceptance by mates.

New appropriate use criteria for coronary revascularization released
The American College of Cardiology, along with several partnering organizations, today released updated appropriate use criteria for performing coronary revascularization in patients with acute coronary syndromes.

Fewer children per man than per woman
Men on average have fewer children than women and have them later in life.

Penn reseachers given $12 million from NIH establish pancreas research program
NIDDK gave Penn Medicine a $12 Million, four-year grant to establish the Human Pancreas Analysis Program (HPAP).

Could Rudolph and friends help to slow down our warming climate?
Reindeer may be best known for pulling Santa's sleigh, but a new study suggests they may have a part to play in slowing down climate change too.

New disease could signal hope for sufferers of brain aging conditions
Genetic disease discovered by experts at the University of Sussex could prove significant for researchers looking into more common brain ageing conditions.

A library for food security
Researchers are uncovering the genome of cowpeas, also known as black-eyed peas, in response to challenging growing conditions and the need for food security. 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