Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 19, 2017
A role for mutated blood cells in heart disease?
A new study provides some of the first links between relatively common mutations in the blood cells of elderly humans and atherosclerosis.

Time to put TB on a diet!
The tuberculosis bacillus is growing resistant to antibiotics. For this reason, biochemists at UNIGE are attempting to identify the mechanisms that enable the bacterium to reproduce, spread and survive in latent form in our macrophages.

1 percent of Cambodian children live in orphanages yet have a living parent
Nearly 80 percent of adolescents living in Cambodia's orphanages have one or more living parents, according to a study by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Breast cancer prognosis of African-American patients may improve with chemotherapy before surgery
Administering chemotherapy to African-American breast cancer patients prior to surgery could improve their prognosis and survival rates from the disease, according to a new study.

Creating atomic scale nanoribbons
A recent study conducted by researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has demonstrated the first important step toward integrating atomically precise graphene nanoribbons (APGNRs) onto nonmetallic substrates.

Making AI systems that see the world as humans do
Northwestern University professor Ken Forbus and his colleagues have developed an artificial intelligence system that performs at human levels on a standard intelligence test.

IT network upgrades support LSUHealthNO research enterprise
The Department of Information Technology at LSU Health New Orleans successfully competed for its first National Science Foundation grant.

New low-cost technique converts bulk alloys to oxide nanowires
A simple technique for producing oxide nanowires directly from bulk materials could dramatically lower the cost of producing the one-dimensional nanostructures.

Jumbled chromosomes may dampen the immune response to tumors
How well a tumor responds to immunotherapy may depend in part on whether its chromosomes are intact or in a state of disarray, a new study reports.

Georgia State study uses social media, internet to forecast disease outbreaks
When epidemiological data are scarce, social media and Internet reports can be reliable tools for forecasting infectious disease outbreaks, according to a study led by an expert in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

Treated carbon pulls radioactive elements from water
Scientists at Rice University and Kazan Federal University in Russia have developed inexpensive, oxidized carbon particles that extract radioactive metals from water.

Trump presidency to affect the quality of financial reporting information
The number of companies using 'creative accounting techniques' can be expected to increase in Republican-governed states and decrease in Democrat-governed states when Donald Trump becomes US President tomorrow, according to new research from the University of Bath.

Oregon faces obstacles expanding health insurance to all residents, study finds
Creating a Medicare-like public insurance option for residents of Oregon may be the easiest system to extend health coverage to more people in the state, but other proposals such as single-payer plan or a system to provide limited private insurance to all residents would eventually cover more people, according to a new study.

Advanced cookstoves provide environmental benefits, but less than expected
Researchers have found that while advanced wood-burning cookstoves can provide benefits to the environment and climate, these benefits are less than expected due to higher emissions measured in the field compared to laboratory settings.

Roots of related genetic diseases found in cell powerhouses
Scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered the mechanisms behind a genetic change known to cause a set of related diseases.

Blood test can predict life or death outcome for patients with Ebola virus disease
Scientists have identified a 'molecular barcode' in the blood of patients with Ebola that can predict whether they are likely to survive or die from the viral infection.

Atherosclerosis: Endogenous peptide lowers cholesterol
Cells of the innate immune system that play an important role in development of atherosclerosis contain a protein that reduces levels of cholesterol in mice -- and thus helps to inhibit or mitigate the disease.

As cells age, the fat content within them shifts
As cells age and stop dividing, their fat content changes, along with the way they produce and break down fat and other molecules classified as lipids.

A role for mutated blood cells in heart disease?
A new study provides some of the first links between relatively common mutations in the blood cells of elderly humans and atherosclerosis.

Novel regulatory mechanism controls how plants defend themselves against pathogens
Together with collaborators in Austria, scientists at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich are unraveling the complex mechanisms underlying plants' innate abilities to resist pests and pathogens.

Great differences in the view of withdrawing futile intensive care
The views among physicians and the general public when it comes to deciding whether to withhold or withdraw treatment of terminally ill patients differ greatly.

New TSRI method could turbocharge drug discovery, protein research
A team led by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute has developed a versatile new method that should enhance the discovery of new drugs and the study of proteins.

Scientists uncover the genetic history of cocoa in Brazil
In na article published in PloS One, Brazilian scientists details the genetic structure and molecular diversity of the varieties of cocoa grown in the state of Bahia for over 200 years and identifies trees resistant to witch's broom

Bodyguards in the gut have a chemical weapon
Beneficial bacteria in the gut of moth larvae produce an antibiotic that kills competing bacteria which otherwise have detrimental effects on insect development.

UTA works with Boeing and NASA to understand social networks' impact on online students' grades, completion rates
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington are working with Boeing and NASA to better understand the role that social networks play in the completion rates and academic performance of students taking online courses.

Children's menus still laden with fat, sodium, and calories despite industry pledges
Despite a 2011 pledge among United States chain restaurants to improve the nutritional value of children's menu options, a new study finds no significant improvements have been made to cut calories, saturated fat, or sodium.

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology
Scientists at Swansea University show nanoscale modifications to the edge region of nanocontacts to nanowires can be used to engineer the electrical function of the interfaces.

New study will help find the best locations for thermal power stations in Iceland
A new research article, with lead authors from the University of Gothenburg, gives indications of the best places in Iceland to build thermal power stations.

Why the lights don't dim when we blink
Every few seconds, our eyelids automatically shutter and our eyeballs roll back in their sockets.

New book explores why the discovery of sex in plants took so long
Sexual reproduction in animals has been recognized since ancient times and used in the breeding of domesticated animals for more than 10,000 years.

Teenagers who access mental health services see significant improvements, study shows
Young people with mental health problems who have contact with mental health services are significantly less likely to suffer from clinical depression later in their adolescence than those with equivalent difficulties who do not receive treatment, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

Protein complex prevents genome instability
An international collaboration between Osaka University and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland is investigating the repair process of a serious form of DNA damage that can lead to instability of genetic material and tumor formation.

Insecticides mimic melatonin, creating higher risk for diabetes
Synthetic chemicals commonly found in insecticides and garden products bind to the receptors that govern our biological clocks, University at Buffalo researchers have found.

Number of women who take maternity leave has stalled
The number of US women taking maternity leave has not changed in 22 years despite factors that suggest it should be increasing, a new study found.

Brain stimulation used like a scalpel to improve memory
Scientists showed for the first time that non-invasive brain stimulation can be used like a scalpel to affect a specific improvement in precise memory.

Lead on climate change to 'make America great again,' respiratory doctors urge Trump
If the new US president wants to keep his promise to 'make America great again,' then he should follow the example of the late British premier Margaret Thatcher on climate change, say a group of UK and US respiratory doctors, in an editorial published online in the international journal Thorax.

Accelerating fuel-efficient car production with disruptive 3-D print process
Engineers at The University of Nottingham are developing lightweight automotive components using new additive manufacturing processes to boost vehicle fuel efficiency, while cutting noise and CO2 emissions.

Chip-sized, high-speed terahertz modulator raises possibility of faster data transmission
Tufts University engineers have invented a chip-sized, high-speed modulator that operates at terahertz (THz) frequencies and at room temperature at low voltages without consuming DC power.

Interventions create more welcoming learning environment
Disparities in persistence and completion rates of massive open online courses (MOOCs) can be eliminated through interventions that reassure learners that they belong in MOOCs, René F.

Leaders issue 'call to action' on gun safety; urge consensus vs. confrontation
In an unprecedented call to action, public health leaders from some of the nation's top universities on Thursday urged consensus-building on gun safety, rather than confrontation, saying that the election of President Donald Trump had 'changed the national conversation on firearms' and made federal policy changes unlikely.

The glorification of history may give rise to a willingness to fight in a war
Countries in the process of modernisation see historical progress in a more positive light.

New 'immunoprofiler' initiative will advance drug discovery
UC San Francisco scientists have formed an innovative research alliance with three global pharmaceutical companies to improve patients' responses to cancer immunotherapy and to increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy across a wider range of cancer types.

More than half of atrial fibrillation patients become asymptomatic after catheter ablation
More than half of patients with atrial fibrillation become asymptomatic after catheter ablation, reports the largest study of the procedure published today in European Heart Journal.

Successful immunotherapy requires system-wide immune response
New research led by researchers from UC San Francisco and Stanford University has found that successful cancer immunotherapy appears to depend on whether the treatment can trigger a system-wide immune response, rather than just a local response within the tumor itself.

Quality control inside the cell
The ability to dispose of proteins that are either aberrant or (in the worst case) toxic is fundamental to a cell's survival.

Sea-surface temps during last interglacial period like modern temps
Sea-surface temperatures during the last interglaciation period were like those of today, a new study reports.

New technique could enable safer production of polio vaccines
A new method to produce a stable fragment of poliovirus could enable safer production of vaccines, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.

Women's cognitive decline begins earlier than previously believed
Mental sharpness in women begins to decline as early as their 50s.

Press registration now open for 2017 Experimental Biology meeting
Press registration is open for the 2017 Experimental Biology meeting (EB 2017) to be held in Chicago April 22-26.

Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
Scientists under the leadership of the University of Bonn have harnessed rabies viruses for assessing the connectivity of nerve cell transplants: coupled with a green fluorescent protein, the viruses show where replacement cells engrafted into mouse brains have connected to the host neural network.

Curb your immune enthusiasm
Salk scientists discover how to prevent undesirable immune attacks on therapeutic viruses

Bodywide immune response important for fighting cancer, Stanford researchers say
Effective anti-tumor activity requires a systemic, rather than only a local, immune response at the tumor site.

Motors matter: From DVD players to robotic surgeons
A team of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Bari, in Italy, are working to improve how industrial electric drives operate.

NASA Goddard scientist wins 2017 GLBT Scientist Award
Matthew McGill of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals Scientist of the Year Award.

Low levels of circulating protein linked to kidney function decline
Decreased blood levels of a protein called soluble klothos were linked with an increased likelihood of experiencing kidney function decline in a group elderly well-functioning adults.

Scientists aim to create the world's largest sickle cell disease stem cell library
Scientists at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are creating an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based research library that opens the door to invaluable sickle cell disease research and novel therapy development.

CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
A new cell screening method combines two revolutionary tools of biomedical research: Scientists at CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have integrated CRISPR genome editing with single-cell RNA sequencing.

Ants use sun and memories to guide their backwards walk home
They are famed for their highly developed work ethic ...

Graphene's sleeping superconductivity awakens
The intrinsic ability of graphene to superconduct (or carry an electrical current with no resistance) has been activated for the first time.

Disadvantaged women at greater risk of heart disease than men
Women from low socioeconomic backgrounds are 25 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than disadvantaged men, a major new study has found.

Public health experts support federally mandated smoke-free public housing
In response to a new federal rule mandating smoke-free policies in federally funded public housing authorities, three public health experts applaud the efforts of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to protect nonsmoking residents from the harmful effects of tobacco exposure.

Surgical site infections are the most common and costly of hospital infections
The Journal of the American College of Surgeons has published updated guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of surgical site infections, which affect as many as 300,000 patients per year in the United States.

New, old science combine to make faster medical test
Magnetic nanoparticles are coated with an antibody, then aligned in formation within a magnetic field and tallied under laser optics.

In Alzheimer's, excess tau protein damages brain's GPS
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have linked excess tau protein in the brain to the spatial disorientation that leads to wandering in many Alzheimer's disease patients.

Herbaria prove valuable in demonstrating long-term changes in plant populations
A new study published today in Botany demonstrates how herbaria can be valuable resources for studying the impact over time of large herbivores on perennial plant populations.

Official abortion rate declined in Texas after law restricted access to clinics
In Texas, increases in travel distance to the nearest abortion clinic caused by clinic closures were closely associated with decreases in the official number of abortions.

New smartwatch application for accurate signature verification developed by Ben-Gurion U
The research team developed software that uses motion data gathered from the movements of a person's wrist to identify the writer during the signing process.

Mayo researchers identify mechanism of oncogene action in lung cancer
Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified a genetic promoter of cancer that drives a major form of lung cancer.

Molecule flash mob
Neurotransmitter transporters are some of the most popular transport proteins in research as they play a major role in the processing of signals in the brain.

Access to anesthesia care is not improved when states eliminate physician supervision
Patient access to anesthesia care for seven common surgical procedures is not increased when states 'opt-out' of the Medicare rule that requires anesthesia to be administered with physician supervision, reports a study published in the online first edition of Anesthesiology, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

HPV prevalence rates among US men, vaccination coverage
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, as well as a cause of various cancers, and a new study published online by JAMA Oncology estimates the overall prevalence of genital HPV infection in men ages 18 to 59.

What causes sleepiness when sickness strikes
It's well known that humans and other animals are fatigued and sleepy when sick, but it's a microscopic roundworm that's providing an explanation of how that occurs, according to a study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Caves in central China show history of natural flood patterns
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found that major flooding and large amounts of precipitation occur on 500-year cycles in central China.

Brief interventions help online learners persist with coursework, Stanford research finds
New research shows people in underdeveloped parts of the world are not as likely to complete massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

Study: Technological progress alone won't stem resource use
While some scientists believe that the world can achieve significant dematerialization through improvements in technology, a new MIT-led study finds that technological advances alone will not bring about dematerialization and, ultimately, a sustainable world.

Magnetic moment of a single antiproton determined with greatest precision ever
The multinational BASE collaboration at CERN has set a new benchmark in the search for a small difference between a particle and its antiparticle that could explain why matter actually exists by successfully measuring an important characteristic of the antiproton with the greatest accuracy ever achieved.

SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
San Francisco State astronomer Stephen Kane and a team of researchers locate the habitable zone, the region where water could exist on the surface of a planet, on the Wolf 1061, a planetary system that's 14 light years away.

Employee wages not just linked to skills, but quality of co-workers
The presence of high-performing co-workers can improve an individual's earnings, research at the University of York has shown.

One in 5 adults secretly access their friends' Facebook accounts
Most people are concerned about the prospect of their social media accounts being hacked, but a new University of British Columbia study finds that it's actually people we know who frequently access our accounts without our permission.

Americans in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have higher mortality
An analysis of health data from almost half-a-million US adults over the span of a decade finds higher all-cause and cardiometabolic mortality among individuals participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), compared to nonparticipants with the same income levels.

Theorists propose new class of topological metals with exotic electronic properties
Researchers at Princeton, Yale, and the University of Zurich have proposed a theory-based approach to characterize a class of metals that possess exotic electronic properties that could help scientists find other, similarly-endowed materials.

New genital herpes vaccine candidate provides powerful protection in preclinical tests
Approximately 500 million people around the world are infected with the genital herpes virus known as herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2).

Digital assay of circulating tumor cells may improve diagnosis, monitoring of liver cancer
Use of an advanced form of the commonly used polymerase chain reaction method to analyze circulating tumor cells may greatly increase the ability to diagnose early-stage cancer, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment.

Queen's researcher publishes new findings on how plants manage immune response
New research, being published tomorrow in the journal Science, has uncovered a previously unknown means by which plants are able to regulate how their immune systems respond to pathogens.

Moth gut bacterium defends its host by making antibiotic
Nearly half of all insects are herbivores, but their diets do not consist of only plant material.

One night stand regrets
Women regret saying yes to casual sex much more often than men do.

Ants find their way even while traveling backward
Some of us struggle to find our way back home while walking from an unfamiliar location in the usual, forward direction.

USDA announces $8.8 million available for agricultural programs at Hispanic serving institutions
The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture today announced availability of $8.8 million in funding to support agricultural science education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).

Geosciences-inspired engineering
The Mackenzie Dike Swarm and the roughly 120 other known giant dike swarms located across the planet may also provide useful information about efficient extraction of oil and natural gas in today's modern world.

How much drought can a forest take?
Why do some trees die in a drought and others don't?

The speed limit for intra-chip communications in microprocessors of the future
Scientists at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology found how the level of noise can be reduced to ensure the maximum bandwidth of the nanophotonic interface.

Wayne State University research team develops new diagnostic tool to identify tinnitus in animals
A team of researchers from Wayne State University has developed a behavioral tool that may significantly aid in understanding the underlying mechanisms of tinnitus, ultimately leading to new drugs and treatment methods.

Pancreatic tumors rely on signals from surrounding cells
Salk scientists find that targeting the interaction between a pancreatic tumor and its microenvironment could weaken cancer

The Lancet: 1 in 4 men with suspected prostate cancer could avoid unnecessary biopsy if given an MRI scan first, study estimates
Giving men with suspected prostate cancer an MRI scan could improve diagnosis and save those who do not have aggressive cancers from having an unnecessary biopsy, according to a study published in The Lancet.

Computer-based cognitive training program may help patients with severe tinnitus
In a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, researchers evaluated the effect of a cognitive training program on tinnitus.

USDA invests $13.6 million in citrus greening research
The US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced four grants totaling more than $13.6 million to combat a scourge on the nation's citrus industry, citrus greening disease, aka Huanglongbing.

Save the date; 3 months to go until The International Liver CongressTM 2017
With just over three months to go until The International Liver Congress 2017, we invite you to attend the 52nd Annual Congress of The European Association for the Study of the Liver to be held April 19-23, at the RAI Congress Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Limited window to change commuting habits
Over 128 million daily commuters in the US and 75% report they drive alone.

New theory may explain mystery of Fairy Circles of Namibia
One of nature's greatest mysteries -- the 'Fairy Circles' of Namibia -- may have been unraveled by researchers at the University of Strathclyde and Princeton University.

'Marine repairmen' -- new research shows limpets are construction workers of the seashore
New research shows that limpets can repair their damaged shells with biological material so that they are as strong as the originals.

Balance may rely on the timing of movement
Zebrafish learn to balance by darting forward when they feel wobbly, a principle that may also apply to humans.

Study discusses model for understanding nutrition and brain development
For nearly a decade, researchers at the University of Illinois have studied the piglet as a translational model to understand which aspects of early brain development are affected by nutrition interventions.

UNIST embarks on journey to develop ultrafast train
UNIST signs cooperation MoU with KICT, KOTI, KIMM, KERI, ETRI, KRRI, and Hanyang University to accelerate the realization of futuristic transportation system, 'Hyper Tube Express.'

Precision medicine advances pediatric brain tumor diagnosis and treatment
In the largest clinical study to date of genetic abnormalities in pediatric brain tumors, researchers performed clinical testing on more than 200 tumor samples and found that a majority had genetic irregularities that could influence how the disease was diagnosed and/or treated with approved drugs or agents being evaluated in clinical trials.

Harvests in the US to suffer from climate change
Some of the most important crops risk substantial damage from rising temperatures.

Increase in distance to nearest abortion facility in Texas associated with decline in abortions
In Texas counties without an abortion facility in 2014, an increase in distance to the nearest facility was associated with a decline in abortions between 2012 and 2014, according to a study published online by JAMA.

The Large Hadron Collider -- the greatest adventure in town
World Scientific's latest book, 'The Large Hadron Collider,' homes in on the ATLAs Experiment to illustrate how and why this process happens, why it has an importance well beyond traditional spin-off and how it adds new meaning to the cost of this research and to the value of international collaboration.

Team uncovers cellular responses to bird flu vaccine
New research from Vanderbilt eavesdrops on gene expression in human immune system cells before and after vaccination against bird flu, exposing cellular responses associated with a vaccine constituent called AS03, short for adjuvant system 03.

Plan A is to get patients to stick to their blood pressure pills
There is value in starting off patients with high blood pressure on an all-in-one pill.

New regional sea level scenarios help communities prepare for future economic risks
New US regional sea level scenarios developed by NOAA and its partners will give coastal communities better, more localized data to help them plan for and adapt to the risk of rising sea levels to their economies and infrastructure.

Your 'anonmyized' web browsing history may not be anonymous
Researchers wrote computer programs that found patterns among anonymized data about web traffic and used those patterns to identify individual users.

Regional sea-level scenarios will help Northeast plan for faster-than-global rise
Sea level in the Northeast and in some other US regions will rise significantly faster than the global average, according to a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

'FishTaco' sorts out who is doing what in your microbiome
How much do different bacterial species contribute to disease-associated imbalances in the human microbiome?

Advances in imaging detect blunt cerebrovascular injury more frequently in trauma patients
Advances in diagnostic imaging technology have meant that more trauma patients are being diagnosed with blunt cerebrovascular injuries, and as a result, stroke and related death rates in these patients have declined significantly over the past 30 years.

Type 1 diabetes linked to gut inflammation, bacteria changes
People with type 1 diabetes exhibit inflammation in the digestive tract and gut bacteria -- a pattern that differs from individuals who do not have diabetes or those who have celiac disease, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Binge drinking may quickly lead to liver damage
Alcohol consumed during just seven weeks of intermittent binge drinking harms the liver in ways that more moderate daily drinking does not, according to researchers at UC San Francisco.

Major Viking Age manor discovered at Birka, Sweden
For centuries it has been speculated where the manor of the royal bailiff of Birka, Herigar, might have been located.

Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
In the Jan. 20, 2017 issue of Science, a team led by University of Washington's David Baker in collaboration with DOE Joint Genome Institute researchers reports that structural models have been generated for 12 percent of the protein families that had previously had no structural information available.

Tough aqua material for water purification
Water purification processes usually make use of robust membranes for filtering off contaminants while working at high pressures.

Global threat to primates concerns us all
In cooperation with an international team of experts, scientists from the German Primate Center demand immediate measures to protect primates.

Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
Scientists have discovered how a unique bacterial enzyme can blunt the body's key weapons in its fight against infection.

System links data scattered across files, for easy querying
System finds and links related data scattered across digital files, for easy querying and filtering.

Statins could halt vein blood clots, research suggests
Statins could hold the key to eradicating one of the most preventable causes of hospital deaths after researchers uncovered a new role for the cholesterol-lowering pill. 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