Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 11, 2017
Precision chronology sheds new light on the origins of Mongolia's nomadic horse culture
According to new research, nomadic horse culture -- famously associated with Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes -- can trace its roots back more than 3,000 years in the eastern Eurasian Steppes, in the territory of modern Mongolia.

Florida manatees likely to persist for at least 100 years -- US Geological Survey
Florida's manatee population is highly likely to endure for the next 100 years, a study by the US Geological Survey and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has found.

Environmental DNA helps protect great crested newts
Research by the University of Kent has revealed how tiny amounts of DNA (eDNA) released into water by great crested newts can be used to monitor the species.

Feinstein Institute examines use of antiparasitic drug as new treatment for brain tumors
Marc Symons, PhD, professor at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is examining if a common medication administered to treat pinworms, could replace the current treatment used for certain brain cancers.

The Lancet Haematology: Global inequalities in survival for childhood leukaemia persist, highlighting need for better care
Although global inequalities in survival from childhood leukaemia have narrowed, they still persist with five-year survival in some countries nearly twice as high as in others for children diagnosed during 2005-2009, according to a study published in The Lancet Haematology.

Cross-cultural study strengthens link between media violence and aggressive behavior
New Iowa State research offers compelling evidence that media violence affects aggressive behavior.

Self-assembling polymers provide thin nanowire template
In a recent study, a team of researchers from Argonne, the University of Chicago and MIT has developed a new way to create some of the world's thinnest wires, using a process that could enable mass manufacturing with standard types of equipment.

Physicists discover hidden aspects of electrodynamics
Radio waves, microwaves and even light itself are all made of electric and magnetic fields.

Bubble group dancing
A group of researchers at Zhejiang University recently discovered that a new bubbling mechanism may exist within the realm of physics.

'Cold' Great Spot discovered on Jupiter
Massive aurorae-generated weather system revealed by University of Leicester astronomers.

Exacerbating the replication crisis in science: Replication studies are often unwelcome
The tendency of scientific journals to prefer to publish positive and original research contributes to the replication crisis.

Seismic mapping helps detect abandoned mines in Wyoming
At the 2017 Seismological Society of America's (SSA) Annual Meeting, Jamey Turner of Fugro will discuss his team's efforts to locate mining voids, which can pose a risk to buildings, roads and other infrastructure.

Point/counterpoint debate takes aim at the opioid epidemic
Two experts with opposing views squared off on the hotly debated topic of how best to control the exploding opioid epidemic in the US- with increasing regulation of physician prescribing practices or by better educating patients and doctors.

Detecting Alzheimer's disease earlier using ... Greebles?
Unique graphic characters called Greebles may prove to be valuable tools in detecting signs of Alzheimer's disease decades before symptoms become apparent.

Fresh fruit consumption linked to lower risk of diabetes and diabetic complications
In a research article published in PLOS Medicine, Huaidong Du of the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom and colleagues report that greater consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a lower incidence of diabetes, as well as reduced occurrence of complications in people with diabetes, in a Chinese population.

Parent-mediated therapy may help babies at risk of developing autism
The earliest autism intervention study in the world that uses video to provide feedback to parents of babies at family risk of autism, has indicated a reduction in the severity of emerging signs of autism.

Team tackles mysterious disease afflicting wild and captive snakes
Biologists and veterinarians across the central and eastern United States are calling on researchers at the University of Illinois to help them identify, understand and potentially treat snake fungal disease, a baffling affliction affecting more than a dozen species of wild and captive snakes in at least 15 states.

Teaching case examines 'average is beautiful' doll as an entrepreneurial opportunity
Could an 'average is beautiful' doll appeal to children and represent a potential business opportunity?

IU, Regenstrief study explores adherence and tolerability to Alzheimer's medications
Indiana University Center for Aging Research and Regenstrief Institute researchers have performed first study conducted in US under real-world conditions comparing patient adherence and tolerability to a class of drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors.

Study finds genetic basis for drug response in childhood absence epilepsy
Consider two children who have childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), the most common form of pediatric epilepsy.

Assessing noise in Southern California whale habitat
A new study assessing the underwater soundscape off Southern California found that blue, fin and humpback whales experience a range of acoustic environments, including noise from shipping traffic as well as quieter areas within a national marine sanctuary.

Bombay beach event demonstrates difficulties in earthquake swarm forecasting
In a presentation at the 2017 Seismological Society of America's (SSA) Annual Meeting, US Geological Survey seismologist Andreas Llenos will discuss lessons learned from the 2016 Bombay Beach swarm, in particular the challenges in modeling swarms and communicating their risk to the public.

CDC/WHO Ebola guidelines could put sewer workers at risk
Research from Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh suggests that guidelines for safe disposal of liquid waste from patients being treated for the Ebola virus might not go far enough to protect water treatment workers from being exposed.

Legionella bacteria's escape route revealed
The precise mechanism used by Legionella bacteria to escape the body's defences has been unpicked in intricate detail and is described for the first time in the journal eLife.

When children see war as better than peace
For most people, the end of a war offers relief, hope, and an end to violence.

Rock giants Pink Floyd honored in naming of newly discovered, bright pink -- pistol shrimp
A fuchsia pink-clawed species of pistol shrimp, discovered on the Pacific coast of Panama, has been given the ultimate rock and roll name in recognition of the discoverers' favorite rock band -- Pink Floyd.

RIT scientist measures brightness of the universe with NASA's New Horizons spacecraft
Images taken by NASA's New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto, and now the Kuiper Belt, have given scientists an unexpected tool for measuring the brightness of all the galaxies in the universe, said a Rochester Institute of Technology researcher in a paper published this week in Nature Communications.

'Indistinguishable photons' key to advancing quantum technologies
Indistinguishable photons are critical for quantum information processing, and researchers are tapping nitrogen impurity centers found within gallium arsenide to generate them -- making a significant contribution toward realizing a large number of indistinguishable single-photon sources.

Flexible processors with atomically thin materials
The first fully functional microprocessor logic devices based on few-atom-thick layered materials have been demonstrated by researchers from the Graphene Flagship, working at TU Vienna in Austria, with promise for integrating computational power into everyday objects and surfaces

Metabolic mechanism identified for R-LA induced cell death in liver cancer cells
A new study that measured metabolite levels over time in starved rat liver cancer cells showed that treatment with a form of alpha-lipoic acid (LA) inhibited glucose uptake and glycolysis, and led to decreased cellular glucose production from non-carbohydrate sources, which may help explain how the naturally occurring R enantiomeric form of LA (R-LA) promotes the death of hepatoma cells.

Distantly related fish find same evolutionary solution to dark water
Changes in a single color-vision gene demonstrate convergent evolutionary adaptations in widely separated species and across vastly different time scales, according to a study publishing on April 11 in the open access journal PLOS Biology by David Marques of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and colleagues.

Antarctic penguin colony repeatedly decimated by volcanic eruptions
One of the largest colonies of gentoo penguins in Antarctica was decimated by volcanic eruptions several times during the last 7,000 years according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications.

First photoactive drug for pain treatments
Experts from the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona, the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC) from CSIC, are designing the first light-operated drug to treat pain

Wiring of the 'little brain' linked to multiple forms of mental illness
Nearly half of people with one mental illness also experience another mental illness at the same time.

Success of sensory cell regeneration raises hope for hearing restoration
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have regenerated immature auditory hair cells in adult mice by manipulating two genes.

First systemic evidence for safety of tPA in stroke patients with sickle cell disease
Adult patients with sickle cell disease who experience a stroke caused by a clot (i.e., ischemic strokes) can be treated safely with tissue plasminogen activator if they qualify, report investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina and elsewhere in the March 2017 issue of Stroke.

Infants show racial bias toward members of own race and against those of other races
Two studies by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto and their collaborators from the US, UK, France and China, show that six- to nine-month-old infants demonstrate racial bias in favor of members of their own race and racial bias against those of other races.

Eyewitness confidence can predict accuracy of identifications, researchers find
Many individuals have been falsely accused of a crime based, at least in part, on confident eyewitness identifications, a fact that has bred distrust of eyewitness confidence in the US legal system.

New study offers hope for more effective treatment of leukemia
The discovery of a protein signature that is highly predictive of leukemia could lead to novel treatments of the leading childhood cancer, according to new study showing that competition among certain proteins causes an imbalance that leads to leukemia.

PID1 gene enhances effectiveness of chemotherapy on brain cancer cells
Investigators at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles have found that the gene PID1 enhances killing of medulloblastoma and glioblastoma cells.

New potential treatment for aggressive brain cancer in children
Findings present an opportunity for a precision medicine approach to brain tumor treatment.

Researchers identify new target for abnormal blood vessel growth in the eyes
A team led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers has identified a novel therapeutic target for retinal neovascularization, or abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina, a hallmark of advanced diabetic eye disease (proliferative diabetic retinopathy).

New protein regulated by cellular starvation
The protein SHPRH not only helps to fix mistakes generated during DNA replication, but also contributes to the generation of new ribosomes, the cell's 'protein factories.'

NIH researchers trace origin of blood-brain barrier 'sentry cells'
National Institutes of Health researchers studying zebrafish have determined that a population of cells that protect the brain against diseases and harmful substances are not immune cells, as had previously been thought, but instead likely arise from the lining of the circulatory system.

Evaluating cultural value of landscapes using geotagged photos
Researchers have developed a new method for assessing the cultural value of landscapes using geotagged photos shared on a social-networking service.

'Neuron-reading' nanowires could accelerate development of drugs for neurological diseases
A team led by engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed nanowires that can record the electrical activity of neurons in fine detail.

Seismic listening system offers new look at Old Faithful geyser
After deploying hundreds of seismometers around the Old Faithful Geyser in 2015 and 2016, scientists have a clearer picture of how the geyser erupts and what may lie beneath the popular tourist attraction in Yellowstone National Park.

CWRU researchers discover 3 new species of extinct South American marsupials
The discovery of three extinct species and new insights to a fourth indicates a little-known family of marsupials, the Palaeothentidae, was diverse and existed over a wide range of South America as recent as 13 million years ago.

Group works toward devising topological superconductor
A team led by Cornell physics associate professor Eun-Ah Kim has proposed a topological superconductor made from an ultrathin transition metal dichalcogenide that is a step toward quantum computing.

Viral fossils reveal how our ancestors may have eliminated an ancient infection
Scientists have uncovered how our ancestors may have wiped out an ancient retrovirus around 11 million years ago.

Higher tobacco taxes needed to reduce smoking rates in South Asia, new analysis says
Higher taxes on tobacco could reduce consumption in South Asia by at least one-third and avoid 35-45 million premature deaths, concludes an analysis published today in The British Medical Journal.

New research reveals that college students study best later in the day
The University of Nevada, Reno and The Open University in the United Kingdom used a survey-based, empirical model and a neuroscience-based, theoretical model to analyze the learning patterns of college students to determine optimum times when cognitive performance can be expected to be at its peak.

Western University researchers identify mechanism that regulates acoustic habituation
Most people will startle when they hear an unexpected loud sound.

Researchers unravel the drivers of large iceberg movement
When, in the foreseeable future, a tabular iceberg nearly seven times the size of Berlin breaks off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in the Antarctic, it will begin a journey, the course of which climate researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research can accurately predict.

Maternal stress during pregnancy could influence the biological clock for ageing
The stress that some mothers experience during their pregnancies could influence the genetic makeup their babies are born with and, eventually, lead to premature biological ageing and associated age-related diseases.

Super sensitive devices work on recycling atoms
Next-generation sensors to be used in fields as diverse as mineral exploration and climate change will be turbo boosted thanks to University of Queensland and University of Sussex research.

Researchers at SSA discuss performance of earthquake early warning systems
The future of earthquake early warning systems may be contained in smartphones -- and vehicles, and 'smart' appliances and the increasing number of everyday objects embedded with sensors and communication chips that connect them with a global network.

Potential number of organ donors after euthanasia in Belgium
An estimated 10 percent of all patients undergoing euthanasia in Belgium could potentially donate at least one organ, according to a study published by JAMA.

Stress flips cocaine relapse to 'on'; research switches it back to 'off'
Even a single, brief stress can induce days of relapse to cocaine-seeking among rats, but a new study shows how the tendency to relapse persists and how to shut it down, suggesting a new pathway for developing addiction treatment medications.

Religiosity does not increase the risk of anorexia nervosa
Religiosity has been associated with various forms of fasting and self-starvation for thousands of years.

Natural systems show nonlocal correlations
Researchers at ICFO, MPQ, Univ. of Innsbruck and the Center for Theoretical Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences develop a new method to show that the low energy states of some physical spin Hamiltonians can exhibit these nonlocal correlations.

Conscious sedation is a safe alternative to general anesthesia for heart valve procedure
UCLA scientists have found that conscious sedation -- a type of anesthesia in which patients remain awake but are sleepy and pain-free -- is a safe and viable option to general anesthesia for people undergoing a minimally invasive heart procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

Ant agricultural revolution began 30 million years ago in dry, desert-like climate
Millions of years before humans discovered agriculture, ants were farming fungus beneath the surface of the Earth.

Assessing the impact of climate risks on the financial system
Climate change brings new risks for financial investments, in particular for pension funds.

What's a knot -- and what's not -- in genomic mapping
Genome mapping complements DNA sequencing, offering insight into huge, intact molecules between 150,000 and 1 million base pairs in length.

Relocation of proteins with a new nanobody tool
Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have developed a new method by which proteins can be transported to a new location in a cell.

New England's glacial upland soils provide major groundwater storage reservoir
A study of natural groundwater storage reservoirs in New England by hydrologist David Boutt at UMass Amherst found that upland aquifer systems dominated by thin deposits of surface till -- a jumbled, unsorted material deposited by glaciers -- make up about 70 percent of the region's active and dynamic storage.

Long-awaited rescue for valuable silk tunic
Until now, a heavy glass pane weighing approximately 80 kilos has prevented a valuable, centuries-old silk tunic attributed to Saint Ambrose from being restored in Milan.

Drones collect measurements from a volcanic plume at Volc√°n de Fuego, Guatemala
A team of volcanologists and engineers from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge have collected measurements from directly within volcanic clouds, together with visual and thermal images of inaccessible volcano peaks.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone cook strongly affected by wind shear
NASA's Aqua satellite observed how strong wind shear was literally pushing Tropical Cyclone Cook apart as it displaced the bulk of clouds to the southeast of the center.

No democracy without women's rights
Why did the Arab spring fail? Despite a number of revolutions in the Arab world, in the end only Tunisia emerged as a functioning democracy.

Microprocessors based on a layer of just 3 atoms
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics.

Who are you on social media? New research examines norms of online personas
According to the Pew Research center, the majority of adults on the internet have more than one social networking profile on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Intestinal bacteria may protect against diabetes
A high concentration of indolepropionic acid in the serum protects against type 2 diabetes, shows a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.

Can dealing with emotional exhaustion enhance happiness?
New research from the University of East Anglia suggests that the process of dealing with emotional exhaustion can sometimes increase happiness.

Anthrax spores use RNA coat to mislead immune system
Researchers from Harvard Medical School have discovered that the body's immune system initially detects the presence of anthrax spores by recognizing RNA molecules that coat the spores' surface.

Premature cell differentiation leads to disorders in pancreatic development
University of Helsinki researchers have uncovered a mechanism through which a mutation in the STAT3 gene leads to a disorder in the development of the pancreas and to infant diabetes.

3-D printing helps surgeons sharpen their craft
Surgical training is one more way University of Michigan researchers are using 3-D printing to advance the quality of care.

The accidental discovery of LSD (video)
Bicycle Day (April 19) honors chemist Albert Hoffman's colorful journey after he accidentally discovered LSD.

Shoe-string theory: Science shows why shoelaces come untied
A new study by mechanical engineers at UC Berkeley finally shows why your shoelaces may keep coming untied.

Researchers develop predictive model measuring nitrous oxide emissions in streams, rivers
Jennifer Tank, Galla Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences co-authored new research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

All in one against CO2
A 'self-heating' boron catalyst that makes particularly efficient use of sunlight to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) serves as a light harvester, photothermal converter, hydrogen generator, and catalyst in one.

Technology to improve rockfall analysis on cliffs could save money, lives
Researchers in the Pacific Northwest have developed a new, automated technology to analyze the potential for rockfalls from cliffs onto roads and areas below, which should speed and improve this type of risk evaluation, help protect public safety and ultimately save money and lives.

Can Latina breast cancer patients and their doctors bridge the cultural divide?
The largest study to date of how Latina breast cancer patients evaluate treatment options highlights the need to counteract language barriers, information overload and a tendency to defer to rather than partner with doctors.

Glowing bacteria detect buried landmines
Clearing landmines is dangerous work, posing risk of injury or death to personnel trying to find them.

Two in 5 GPs to 'quit within 5 years'
Around two in every five GPs in the South West of England have said they intend to quit within the next five years, exposing the magnitude of the region's impending healthcare crisis suggesting that the picture for the UK may be particularly challenging.

Spinal manipulation treatment for low back pain associated with modest improvement in pain, function
Among patients with acute low back pain, spinal manipulation therapy was associated with modest improvements in pain and function at up to six weeks, with temporary minor musculoskeletal harms, according to a study published by JAMA.

Some strategies to limit sugary drinks may backfire
In response to policy efforts aimed at limiting individuals' intake of sugary drinks, businesses could enact various strategies that would allow them to comply with the limits while preserving business and consumer choice.

Diversity within Latino population may require more nuanced public health approaches
Not all Latinos face the same health challenges, suggesting that public health approaches may need to be tailored based on needs of the diverse groups within the Latino population, new research from Oregon State University indicates.

Kaiser Permanente study tests new way to reduce 'vaccine hesitancy'
Results are promising for a new approach to reducing 'vaccine hesitancy,' which happens when parents' concerns about vaccine safety lead them to delay or skip their children's immunizations, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in Health Promotion Practice.

Could a Colorado earthquake have been triggered by dinosaur extinction impact?
Researchers have found signs of fault displacement at well-known rock outcrops in Colorado that mark the end-Cretaceous asteroid impact that may have hurried the extinction of the dinosaurs.

New method could deliver DNA-based vaccines in pill form
An oral-delivery method for DNA-based vaccinations and cancer-treating gene therapies would help make the medications more widely available.

An innovative model for the study of vision
New approaches to the study of vision both from the neurobiological perspective and with a view to the technological development of artificial vision systems.

It's not just big business -- Crowdsourcing creates a 'win-win situation'
Why do ordinary people sign on to help design or produce a product without much compensation?

New research shows role-playing disability promotes distress, discomfort and disinterest
A recent Hiram College (Ohio) study reveals that disability simulations often result in feelings of fear, apprehension and pity toward those with disabilities.

So you think you can secure your mobile phone with a fingerprint?
No two people are believed to have identical fingerprints, but researchers have found that partial similarities between prints are common enough that the fingerprint-based security systems used in electronic devices can be more vulnerable than previously thought.

Silk clothing did not improve eczema in children
No significant differences were observed in eczema severity for children with moderate to severe eczema who wore silk garments compared with those who wore their usual clothing, according to a randomized controlled study published in PLOS Medicine by Kim Thomas from University of Nottingham, UK, and colleagues.

New study quadruples known genetic risk factors for Fuchs dystrophy
Researchers discovered three novel genetic mutations associated with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, the most common corneal disorder requiring transplantation.

When firms and customers share social responsibility, profits rise but donations can fall
Firms sharing social responsibility with customers is generally seen as a win-win -- more patronage from socially responsible customers and larger benefits to society.

Heart surgeons actively involved with TAVR patients every step of the way
Cardiothoracic surgeons are fully invested in the patient-centered, team-based model of care, guiding patients through the entire transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) experience, from the decision to undergo TAVR to discharge from the hospital and return to normal activities, according to a new survey published online in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

One in 3 teens with autism spectrum disorder receives driver's license
A new study from finds one in three adolescents with autism spectrum disorder acquires an intermediate driver's license, and the majority does so in their 17th year.

KU Leuven researchers unravel how stevia controls blood sugar levels
What makes stevia taste so extremely sweet? And how does the sweetener keep our blood sugar level under control?

Study links 26 novel genes to intellectual disability
Researchers at Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Queen's University have identified 26 new genes linked to intellectual disability.

Findings support role of vascular disease in development of Alzheimer's disease
Among adults who entered a study more than 25 years ago, an increasing number of midlife vascular risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking, were associated with elevated levels of brain amyloid (protein fragments linked to Alzheimer's disease) later in life, according to a study published by JAMA. 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