Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 06, 2017
Homing system delivers drugs to specific neurons
Biomedical engineers have developed a way to deliver drugs to specific types of neurons in the brain, providing an unprecedented ability to study neurological diseases while promising a more targeted way to treat them.

Physicists develop ultrathin superconducting film
Experimental physicists in the research group led by Professor Uwe Hartmann at Saarland University have developed a thin nanomaterial with superconducting properties.

UN-backed report: Record new renewable power capacity added worldwide at lower cost
As clean technology costs continue to fall, the world added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016, at an investment level 23 percent lower than 2015, new UN-backed research shows.

Giant viruses may simply be a Frankenstein of mini viruses
The notion that giant viruses represent a potential fourth domain of life is now closer to being disproven, researchers say.

Strong early education equals better long-term relationships with parents, research shows
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists say children who are given high-quality education at an early age -- starting at six weeks -- are more likely to be employed full-time and have better relationships with their parents as adults.

Device boosts interaction between light and motion
Novel design developed by Brazilian researchers couples light waves and mechanical waves at higher intensity levels.

Married couples with common ancestry also share similar genes
When two married people appear similar, it isn't necessarily a coincidence, but may be related to the tendency to marry someone with the same ancestry; a trend that can have important effects on the genetics of different populations, report Ronnie Sebro of the University of Pennsylvania, and senior authors Josée Dupuis from the Boston University School of Public Health and Neil Risch from the University of California, San Francisco, in a study published April 6, 2017, in PLOS Genetics.

Feeding fat to fungi: Evidence for lipid transfer in arbuscular mycorrhiza
Researchers from the labs of Dr. Maria Harrison at the Boyce Thompson Institute and Dr.

Where does your blood actually come from?
Scientists at Lund University in Sweden have developed a new understanding of how the first blood cells form during human development as they transition from endothelial cells to form blood cells of different types.

Study helps explain varying outcomes for cancer, Down Syndrome
Disorders caused by aneuploidy, a condition in which cells contain an abnormal number of chromosomes, can vary widely in severity from one individual to another.

Postpartum hospital admissions for women with intellectual and developmental disabilities
A new study has shown that women with intellectual and developmental disabilities had nearly twice the risk of a hospital or emergency department visit with the first few weeks after giving birth compared to women without these disabilities.

Attitudes vary across groups regarding meal choice in restaurants
Differences in opinions between parents and children and executives of restaurant chains represent a challenge in terms of promoting healthy eating habits.

Wise plant analysis
Weizmann Institute's WeizMass and MatchWeiz help identify plant metabolites.

Buckle up! Climate change to increase severe aircraft turbulence
Turbulence strong enough to catapult unbuckled passengers and crew around the aircraft cabin could become twice or even three times as common because of climate change, according to a new study from the University of Reading published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

Clinical trial shows benefit of yoga for side effects of prostate cancer treatment
Men who attended a structured yoga class twice a week during prostate cancer radiation treatment reported less fatigue and better sexual and urinary function than those who didn't, according to a clinical trial led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Scientists link California droughts and floods to distinctive atmospheric waves
The crippling wintertime droughts that struck California from 2013 to 2015, as well as this year's unusually wet California winter, appear to be associated with the same phenomenon: a distinctive wave pattern that emerges in the upper atmosphere and circles the globe.

Patients on HeartMate 3 have fewer blood-related events than those on HeartMate II
A six-month analysis of the MOMENTUM 3 trial found that patients implanted with the HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist system had fewer clotting and bleeding events than those implanted with HeartMate II; 69 percent of the patients on Heartmate 3 survived without bleeding or clotting-related events, compared to 55 percent of those on Heartmate II.

NASA's Hubble takes close-up portrait of Jupiter
On April 3, 2017, as Jupiter made its nearest approach to Earth in a year, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope viewed the solar system's largest planet in all of its up-close glory.

Coming to a lab bench near you: Femtosecond X-ray spectroscopy
Berkeley Lab researchers have, for the first time, captured the ephemeral electron movements in a transient state of a chemical reaction using ultrafast, tabletop X-ray spectroscopy.

New tool illuminates cell signaling pathways key to disease
In a major advance for fundamental biological research, UC San Francisco scientists have developed a tool capable of illuminating previously inscrutable cellular signaling networks that play a wide variety of roles in human biology and disease.

Hospital care standards released for delivering high-quality surgical care to older adults
The first comprehensive set of hospital-level surgical care standards for older adults has been released and published on the Annals of Surgery website.

When old growth beats old school
A fifteen-year study in Vermont shows that imitating old-growth forests enhances carbon storage in managed forestland far better than conventional forestry techniques.

Scientists show how cells react to injury from open-heart surgery
Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute investigators have learned how cardiac muscle cells react to a certain type of injury that can be caused by open-heart surgery.

Hubble takes close-up portrait of Jupiter
During April 2017 Jupiter is in opposition: it is at its closest to Earth and the hemisphere facing Earth is fully illuminated by the Sun.

Distinct bacterial communities share nutrients for the common good
While researchers have not known whether bacteria in separate populations can communicate to coordinate behavior, new research in adjacent biofilm communities shows they can -- in this case, in order to optimize the sharing of limited nutrients.

Discovered: Novel group of giant viruses
Viruses are thought to outnumber the microbes on Earth; both outnumber the stars in the Milky Way.

Low ammonium levels in urine may indicate serious risks for kidney disease patients
In patients with chronic kidney disease, low urine ammonium excretion identified individuals at high risk of kidney disease progression or death.

Tibet sediments reveal climate patterns from late Miocene, 6 million years ago
Researchers at the University of Rochester surveyed sediment samples from the northern Tibetan Plateau's Qaidam Basin and constructed paleoclimate cycle records from the late Miocene epoch of Earth's history, which lasted from approximately 11 to 5.3 million years ago.

'Smart' cephalopods trade off genome evolution for prolific RNA editing
Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish are famous for engaging in complex behavior, from unlocking an aquarium tank and escaping to instantaneous skin camouflage to hide from predators.

Unraveling the mystery of snowflakes, from the Alps to Antarctica
Using a special multi-angle camera, EPFL researchers have gained important insights into the structure of snowflakes.

Stem cell drug screen yields potential alternative to statins
In the April 6, 2017 issue of Cell Stem Cell, scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina report that cardiac glycosides reduce a precursor of LDL cholesterol in a drug screen of statin-resistant hypercholesterolemia.

Stem cell consortium tackles complex genetic diseases
Much of stem cell research over the past decade has focused on Mendelian disorders -- those caused by a single gene, such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Huntington's disease.

Hospitals put your data at risk, study finds
Lying in a hospital bed, the last thing you should have to worry about is a personal data breach.

Salk scientists expand ability of stem cells to regrow any tissue type
The new technique, which allows scientists to generate both embryonic and non-embryonic tissues from cultured stem cells, is a step toward growing donor organs and replacement tissues to combat aging and diseases.

What is threshold for lips perceived as artificial, unnatural-appearing?
Recognizing the perceptual threshold for when lips appear unnatural is important to avoid an undesirable outcome in lip augmentation.

Cognitive decline after surgery tied to brain's own immune cells
After undergoing surgery, elderly patients often experience cloudy thinking that can last for weeks or even months.

SWOG publishes key statistics on 18 years of physician-aid-in-dying in Oregon
Researchers have analyzed and reported on a sweeping data set on the Death with Dignity Act, Oregon's first-in-the-nation law that allows physicians to provide terminally ill patients with a lethal dose of medication.

Honey bees have sharper eyesight than we thought
Research conducted at the University of Adelaide has discovered that bees have much better vision than was previously known, offering new insights into the lives of honey bees, and new opportunities for translating this knowledge into fields such as robot vision.

SNMMI publishes appropriate use criteria for bone scintigraphy in prostate and breast cancer
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has published appropriate use criteria (AUC) for bone scintigraphy (scans to identify bone metastases) in patients with prostate or breast cancer.

Lactate from human cells may trigger key step in invasion by meningitis-causing bacteria
Lactate produced in the upper throat might trigger meningitis-causing bacterial cells to detach from tiny colonies and spread within the body, according to a new study published in PLOS Pathogens.

Teacher resignation letters paint bleak picture of US education
As teacher resignation letters increasingly go public - and viral - new research indicates teachers are not leaving solely due to low pay and retirement, but also because of what they see as a broken education system.

To save honey bees, human behavior must change
In the search for answers to the complex health problems and colony losses experienced by honey bees in recent years, it may be time for professionals and hobbyists in the beekeeping industry to look in the mirror.

Synthetic biologists engineer inflammation-sensing gut bacteria
Synthetic biologists at Rice University have engineered gut bacteria capable of sensing colitis in mice.

A viral explanation for celiac disease
An asymptomatic infection may play a role in facilitating celiac disease, a new study in mice reveals.

Will Trump administration seize opportunity to disrupt ailing health-care system?
'President Donald Trump has a unique opportunity to fundamentally disrupt a fragmented, expensive, inequitable, and illogical health-care system by making a 'deal' that puts patients first,' states Stephen K.

Next Generation TimeTree: An expanded history of life on Earth at your fingertips
A golden age of a global family tree of life on Earth is upon us now with the widespread use of next-generation DNA sequencing generating millions of sequence data.

Gene mutation helps explain night owl behavior
Some people stay up late and have trouble getting up in the morning because their internal clock is genetically programmed to run slowly, according to a study published April 6 in Cell.

Solving medical 'cold cases' through genetics
Researchers have identified the genetic mutation responsible for one patient's serious health problems, finally solving a medical mystery that has endured for over 30 years.

Report evaluates results of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act
Oregon's Death with Dignity Act is the longest-running physician-aided dying program in the United States.

Scientists further understanding of a process that causes heat loss in fusion devices
In the past year, scientists at PPPL have made important advances in understanding secondary electron emission.

Inflammation: It takes two to tango
Signal molecules called chemokines often work in tandem to recruit specific sets of immune cells to sites of tissue damage.

In 4 related papers, researchers describe new and improved tools for stem cell research
In a new paper, a large team of researchers led by senior author Kelly Frazer, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at University of California San Diego School of Medicine describe a new collection of 222 systematically derived and characterized iPSC lines generated as part of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's NextGen consortium.

Why do some with radical views become terrorists yet others don't?
Since most people who hold radical views do not become terrorists, what are the factors that drive some to violent extremism?

Ingredients for lasting memories
Scientists at the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics (CNCG) have found evidence that helps explain how long lasting cortical engrams are formed in the brain.

Financial math models may help build a better HIV vaccine
Using computational tools inspired by financial math models developed to predict changes in stock prices, University of Iowa researchers were able to accurately predict how different properties of the HIV surface protein (Env) evolved in the population of Iowa over the course of 30 years.

Leaf vein structure could hold key to extending battery life
The natural structure found within leaves could improve the performance of everything from rechargeable batteries to high-performance gas sensors, according to an international team of scientists.

Pet exposure may reduce allergy and obesity
If you need a reason to become a dog lover, how about their ability to help protect kids from allergies and obesity?

Nuclear architecture emerges at the awakening of the genome
Max Planck scientists unravel when the 3-D organization of the genome in the nucleus arises during development.

Cardiologist warns against dissolvable stents in NEJM
In a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) editorial published last week, Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D., provides expert commentary on bioresorbable stents, an alternative to the traditional stents used in patients with cardiac conditions.

Neuroscientists identify brain circuit necessary for memory formation
MIT study of neural circuits that underlie memory consolidation reveals memories are formed simultaneously in the hippocampus and long-term storage location of brain's cortex, with long-term memories remaining 'silent' for two weeks before maturing, which upends dominant theories of memory consolidation.

Death by insulin -- management of self-harm and suicide in diabetes management
A special issue of Current Diabetes Reviews examining the management of diabetes in special populations: Death by Insulin -- Management of Self-Harm and Suicide in Diabetes Management.

A NASA infrared look at the Southern Indian Ocean's 15th tropical cyclone
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone 15S in the Southern Indian Ocean and obtained temperature data on the cloud tops, enabling scientists to see where the strongest part of the storm was located.

Making spines from sea water
How do creatures like sea urchins take up the calcium they need to build hard structures?

Are your muscles genetically prepared to run a marathon?
For a few years, running has been fashionable. But there is a great difference between the physical demands of running a few kilometers and doing a marathon.

Are men with a family history of prostate cancer eligible for active surveillance?
Active surveillance -- careful monitoring to determine if or when a cancer warrants treatment -- is an increasingly prevalent choice for prostate cancer, but it's unclear if the strategy is appropriate for men with a family history of prostate cancer.

Keys to attracting scientific talent in the health sciences
Social capabilities (working conditions and other benefits) can be decisive in the return of scientific talent.

Endocrine Society issues statement to improve detection of curable forms of hypertension
A new Scientific Statement issued by the Endocrine Society advises healthcare providers on ways to spot hormonal causes of high blood pressure that can be cured with surgery or treated effectively with medication.

Keeping the code: How cultural beliefs affect police, court decisions
Researchers found that individuals were more likely to be arrested and convicted when they adopted what is referred to as 'code of the street' or lived in areas where this belief system was entrenched in the community.

Hearing and touch mediate sensations via osseointegrated prostheses
A new study has found that people with a prosthesis attached directly to their skeleton can hear by means of vibrations in their implant.

Scientists created nanopowders for the synthesis of new aluminum alloys
The research team of Siberian Federal University together with the scientists of the Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the SB RAS has developed a method for the synthesis of aluminum alloys, the use of which will allow the creation of new types of products with improved characteristics based on aluminum.

Rutgers researchers determine structure of tuberculosis drug target
Rutgers University scientists have determined the three-dimensional structure of the target of the first-line anti-tuberculosis drug rifampin.

UC San Diego biologists discover timesharing strategy in bacteria
Biologists at UC San Diego and Universitat Pompeu Fabra have discovered that communities of bacteria have been employing a social timesharing strategy for millions of years.

Expanding waistlines and metabolic syndrome: Researchers warn of new 'silent killer'
For decades, American waistlines have been expanding and there is increasing cause for alarm.

NASA infrared imagery shows wind shear blowing Cyclone 14P apart
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone 14P gathering data in infrared light and observed that westerly wind shear pushed the strongest storms east of the center.

WSU researchers improve technology to save sperm stem cells
Washington State University researchers have found a promising way to preserve sperm stem cells so boys could undergo cancer treatment without risking their fertility.

Gold-plated crystals set new standard for natural gas detectors
Materials scientists and engineers have developed a sensor that is fast, sensitive and efficient enough to detect specific wavelengths of electromagnetic energy while on the move.

Private insurers in New York state see surge in claims related to opioid addiction
Private insurance claims for emergency room visits, substance use treatment and other services related to opioid addiction surged in New York between 2007 and 2014, well before the latest coverage mandates took effect.

UMD-led study finds ancient Earth's fingerprints in young volcanic rocks
Earth's mantle is made of solid rock that nonetheless circulates slowly over millions of years.

Further reductions in radiotherapy to young children with brain tumors less successful
A team of investigators has determined that young children participating in a clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of reduced radiotherapy did worse when there were deviations from the treatment protocol.

Urine test may be able to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea in children with Down syndrome
A study from Massachusetts General Hospital investigators raises the possibility of identifying children with Down syndrome who may also have obstructive sleep apnea without the need for expensive and inconvenient sleep studies.

Cancer commandeers immature immune cells to aid its successful spread
More typically, these immature immune cells might help us fight cancer, but scientists have now shown cancer can commandeer the cells to help it spread.

Archaeogenetic findings unlock ancestral origins of Sardinians
University of Huddersfield researcher Dr. Maria Pala has taken part in a project that has helped to unlock the genetic secrets of her Mediterranean homeland.

Mount Sinai study reveals how learning in the present shapes future learning
The prefrontal cortex shapes memory formation by modulating hippocampal encoding.

'What do old books smell like?' -- Preserving smells as important cultural heritage
A 'Historic Book Odour Wheel' which has been developed to document and archive the aroma associated with old books, is being presented in a study in the open access journal Heritage Science.

Kids' hands may be a source of significant nicotine exposure
Children may carry significant levels of nicotine on their hands just by coming into contact with items or surfaces contaminated with tobacco smoke residues, even when no one is actively smoking around them at the time.

The Arctic Ocean is becoming more like the Atlantic
The eastern Arctic Ocean is becoming more like the Atlantic Ocean, a new study combining remote sensing and local data finds.

The Lancet: Structural racism, mass incarceration, and health care system fuel growing health inequalities in the USA
Structural racism, mass incarceration, and the widening income gap between rich and poor all feed growing health inequalities in the USA, which the health care system -- by its very design and financing -- only helps exacerbate, according to a new five paper Series published in The Lancet.

Turning skin cells into blood vessel cells while keeping them young
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a molecular switch that converts skin cells into cells that make up blood vessels, which could ultimately be used to repair damaged vessels in patients with heart disease or to engineer new vasculature in the lab.

Under challenge: Girls' confidence level, not math ability hinders path to science degrees
A Florida State University research team found that girls rate their math abilities lower than boys, even when there is no observable difference between the two.

Seemingly innocuous virus can trigger celiac disease
Infection with reovirus, a common but otherwise harmless virus, can trigger the immune system response to gluten that leads to celiac disease, according to new research from the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

More than half of the racial college completion gap explained by pre-college factors
In an analysis of Texas students, more than 60 percent of the racial gap in college completion rates can be attributed to factors that occur before college -- factors that are beyond the control of many colleges and universities, finds a new study led by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Irish researchers make major breakthrough in smart printed electronics
Researchers in Ireland have fabricated printed transistors consisting entirely of 2-dimensional nanomaterials for the first time.

How a beneficial gut microbe adapted to breast milk
Breast milk provides vital nutrients not only to infants, but also to beneficial microbes that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract.

How octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish defy genetics' 'central dogma'
'RNA editing' is rarely used to recode proteins in most animals, but octopuses and their kin edit RNA base pairs in over half of their transcribed genes.

For horseshoe bats, wiggling ears and nose makes biosonar more informative
Virginia Tech researchers have discovered that these tiny movements pack more information into ultrasound pulses the bats send and receive, helping them locate objects around them.

Study identifies 'night owl' gene variant
Scientists have discovered a common mutation that might explain why some people have trouble going to sleep at night and getting up early.

Fatty liver diagnosis improved with magnetic resonance
Taking tissue samples from the liver to diagnose fatty liver can be replaced in most cases by a painless magnetic resonance investigation.

New DNA research shows true migration route of early farming in Europe 8,000 years ago
New DNA research shows true migration route of early farming in Europe 8,000 years ago, correcting previous theories.

When peaceful coexistence suddenly turns into competition
Biologists agree that climate change reduces biological diversity. The specific processes that ultimately cause species to go extinct have, however, been little studied so far. 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