Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 26, 2017
Bare bones: Making bones transparent
A new bone clearing technique is a breakthrough for testing osteoporosis drugs.

Seabird parents compensate for struggling partners
For species where both parents work together to raise their offspring, cooperation is key -- it's as true for birds as it is for us!

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
Two physicists at Argonne offered a way to mathematically describe a particular physics phenomenon called a phase transition in a system out of equilibrium.

The clever cell
A biological chemistry working group at the University of Konstanz has decoded a molecular mechanism that inhibits the swarming motility of bacterial populations.

More women with atrial fibrillation die after ER discharge than men
A new study from the University of Alberta adds to the growing evidence that women with cardiovascular disease may receive different health care from men -- and experience worse outcomes.

A chicken-egg question: Where do baby genes come from?
New genes are more likely to emerge full-fledged from a genome's 'junk' DNA than many scientists would have expected, according to new research by UA evolutionary biologists.

Headless dinosaur reunited with its skull, one century later
Researchers at the University of Alberta have matched the headless skeleton to a Corythosaurus skull from the university's Paleontology Museum that had been collected in 1920 by George Sternberg to the headless dinosaur.

UCI physicists design 2-D materials that conduct electricity at almost the speed of light
Physicists at the University of California, Irvine and elsewhere have fabricated new two-dimensional quantum materials with breakthrough electrical and magnetic attributes that could make them building blocks of future quantum computers and other advanced electronics.

Study signals need to screen genes for stem cell transplants
New research shows that as stem cell lines grow in a lab dish, they often acquire mutations in the TP53 (p53) gene, an important tumor suppressor responsible for controlling cell growth.

p53 critical to recovering from acetaminophen overdose
A new study shows that after an acetaminophen overdose, the p53 protein plays a key role in preventing the progression of liver damage and signaling the liver to repair itself.

Providers who prescribe PrEP don't see most patients increasing risky sexual behavior
A new study examining medical provider attitudes toward prescribing PrEP to prevent HIV found that those who already prescribe it do not see widespread increases in risky sexual behavior among their patients as a result.

Want to better comply with dietary guidelines, and save money? Cook dinner at home
The best culinary paths to better health are not always paved with cash, new research shows, and cooking at home can provide the best bang-for-the-buck nutritionally as well as financially.

New publication highlights the anti-malarial efficacy of exciting new clinical candidate
A new paper published today in the prestigious journal Science Translational Medicine describes the discovery, and biological profiling, of an exciting new anti-malarial clinical drug candidate, MMV390048, effective against resistant strains of the malaria parasite, and across the entire parasite lifecycle, with the potential to cure and protect in a single dose.

Newly prescribed sleeping pills increase risk of hip fracture
Older people newly prescribed sleeping pills like benzodiazepines and 'Z-drugs' have over double the odds of a hip fracture in the first two weeks compared with non-users, according to a new study by researchers at Cardiff University and King's College London.

JNeurosci: Highlights from the April 26 issue
Check out these newsworthy studies from the April 26, 2017, issue of JNeurosci.

The automation of art: A legal conundrum
Deep Neural Networks are systems that are able to simulate human perception by 'memorizing' complex patterns on a mathematical level.

Seeing is believing: Diamond quantum sensor reveals current flows in next-gen materials
In a world-first, researchers have imaged electrons moving in graphene using a quantum probe found only in diamonds.

Stabilizing molecule could pave way for lithium-air fuel cell
Lithium-oxygen fuel cells boast energy density levels comparable to fossil fuels and are thus seen as a promising candidate for future transportation-related energy needs.

Tel Aviv University study links cannabis use in adolescence to schizophrenia
A new Tel Aviv University study points to cannabis as a trigger for schizophrenia.

Video captures bubble-blowing battery in action
PNNL researchers have created a unique video that shows oxygen bubbles inflating and later deflating inside a tiny lithium-air battery.

Hard rocks from Himalaya raise flood risk for millions
Scientists have shown how earthquakes and storms in the Himalaya can increase the impact of deadly floods in one of Earth's most densely populated areas.

Barley genome sequenced
Looking for a better beer or single malt Scotch whiskey?

Conservation endocrinology sheds light on a changing world
The endocrine system is the set of glands that release hormones directly to the blood.

Resistance exercises recover motor and memory impairment caused by flavor enhancer
A study in rats, published in Experimental Physiology, showed that resistance exercise recovers memory and motor impairment caused by the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate.

Nanoparticles can travel from lungs to blood, possibly explaining risks to heart
Tiny particles in air pollution have been associated with cardiovascular disease, which can lead to premature death.

HIPPO's molecular balancing act helps nerves not short circuit
Scientists report Nature Communications it may be possible to therapeutically fine tune a constantly shifting balance of molecular signals to ensure the body's peripheral nerves are insulated and functioning normally.

High-fructose diet during and after pregnancy can cause a fatty liver in offspring
A diet high in fructose-containing sugars eaten during pregnancy or while breastfeeding can cause offspring to have a fatty liver, increasing their chances of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes.

Did illicit cannabis use increase more in states with medical marijuana laws?
A study using data from three US national surveys indicates that illicit cannabis use and cannabis use disorders increased at a greater rate in states that passed medical marijuana laws than in other states, according to a new article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Nanotechnology designed to speed up the hardening of concrete
It has been possible to demonstrate scientifically that tobermorite can be produced at 400 C when above 200 C it had been thought to be impossible.

Scientists propose mechanism to describe solar eruptions of all sizes
From long jets to massive explosions of solar material and energy, eruptions on the sun come in many shapes and sizes.

Food photos help Instagram users with healthy eating
People are turning to Instagram as a place where they can log food intake and track healthy eating behaviors by posting photos of everything they eat -- and being held accountable by followers for sticking to their goals, a new study finds.

Early blood signatures of vaccine immunogenicity
Within seven days of vaccination, a blood test early after vaccination can predict whether vaccines based on living, modified viruses have had the desired effect.

Rationale and prospects of targeting bacterial 2-component systems
Antimicrobial resistance is a major societal problem as there are resistant bacteria to any antibiotic available, and they spread across countries and continents.

Tracking unstable chromosomes helps predict lung cancer's return
Scientists have found that unstable chromosomes within lung tumours increases the risk of cancer returning after surgery, and have used this new knowledge to detect relapse long before standard testing.

Readmission penalties don't correlate to heart attack outcomes
A program that penalizes hospitals for high early readmission rates of heart attack patients may be unfairly penalizing hospitals that serve a large proportion of African-Americans and those with more severe illness, a study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggests.

Limited gene flow between 2 Bengal tiger populations in the western Himalayan foothills
The flow of genes between Bengal tigers in two reserves of the Terai Arc Landscape in western Himalayan foothills is too low, according to a study published April 26, 2017, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Surendra Prakash Goyal from Wildlife Institute of India, India, and colleagues.

Fecal microbiota transplant is safe and effective for patients with ulcerative colitis
A single transplant of microbes contained in the stool of a healthy donor is a safe and effective way to increase diversity of good bacteria in the guts of patients with ulcerative colitis, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian.

Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a noninvasive 'spectral fingerprint' technique using terahertz waves that reveals the corrosion of concrete-encased steel before it can cause any significant degradation of the structure it supports.

Dual coil defibrillators still more common than single coil models
The number of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) that use two coils to shock the heart has decreased in the last five years but are still more common than single coil models, according to a study published in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

Smartphone-controlled cells help keep diabetes in check
Cells engineered to produce insulin under the command of a smartphone helped keep blood sugar levels within normal limits in diabetic mice, a new study reports.

Human forebrain circuits under construction -- in a dish
Neuroscientists have created a 3-D window into the human brain's budding executive hub assembling itself during a critical period in prenatal development.

Ingesting soy protein may ease severity of inflammatory bowel disease
A diet supplemented with soy protein may be an effective adjunct therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases, Penn State researchers reported after completing a study that included mice and cultured human colon cells.

Link discovered between immune system, brain structure and memory
In two independent studies, scientists at the University of Basel have demonstrated that both the structure of the brain and several memory functions are linked to immune system genes.

Common pesticide damages honey bee's ability to fly
Biologists at UC San Diego have provided the first evidence that a widely used pesticide can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly.

Longer-lasting pain relief with MOFs
To treat headaches, back pain or fever, most of us have reached for ibuprofen at one point or another.

New test assesses sperm function
Two new publications in the journal Molecular Reproduction and Development validate the usefulness of a test that determines if sperm can capacitate, a process that allows them to fertilize an egg.

Illuminating the secret of glow-in-the-dark mushrooms
Scientists now understand what makes bioluminescent mushrooms glow, which may pave the way to new possibilities for harnessing fungal bioluminescence in analytical and imaging technologies.

Paleontologists identify new 508-million-year-old sea creature with can opener-like pincers
Paleontologists have uncovered a new fossil species that sheds light on the origin of mandibulates, the most abundant and diverse group of organisms on Earth, to which belong familiar animals such as flies, ants, crayfish and centipedes.

Fighting cancer with immunotherapy: Signaling molecule causes regression of blood vessels
Immunotherapy with T-cells offers great hope to people suffering from cancer.

Study finds major health benefits linked to indoor temperature variation
Exposure to environments outside a comfortable temperature could help tackle major metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.

Global warming accounts for tripling of extreme West African Sahel storms, study shows
UK-based Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) has led an international team of scientists who reveal global warming is responsible for a tripling in the frequency of extreme West African Sahel storms observed in just the last 35 years.

Scientists using high tech microscope find clues to an autoimmune disease
Using a unique microscope capable of illuminating living cell structures in great detail, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found clues into how a destructive autoimmune disease works, setting the stage for more discoveries in the future.

New progress toward finding best cells for liver therapy
In an important step toward using transplanted cells to treat liver failure, researchers demonstrate successful transplantation of fetal rat liver cells to an injured adult rat liver.

Researcher says customized content on political websites hurts democracy
Having it your way on political websites and seeing only the content that aligns with your beliefs is not good for democracy, according to Ivan Dylko, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo's Department of Communication and an expert in the political effects of communication technology.

Possible new tool for first responders: An ice bag to the face
Cardiovascular decompensation is a significant risk after blood loss, even once the person is no longer actively bleeding.

Can aromatherapy calm competition horses?
Although studies suggest that inhaling certain scents may reduce stress in humans, aromatherapy is relatively unexplored in veterinary medicine.

Berkeley Lab scientists discover new atomically layered, thin magnet
Berkeley Lab scientists have found an unexpected magnetic property in a 2-D material.

Teenagers can become disruptive if teachers use psychological pressure
The study, which was led by Stephen Earl from the University's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, discovered that psychological pressure from teachers can contribute to disengagement amongst teenage pupils under 14.

Actress Kiruna Stamell debates gene editing with ethicist Dr. Christopher Gyngell
Two papers published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, debate gene editing and the health of future generations.

Researchers identify genes that help trout find their way home
In the spring when water temperatures start to rise, rainbow trout that have spent several years at sea traveling hundreds of miles from home manage, without maps or GPS, to find their way back to the rivers and streams where they were born for spawning.

New model could help predict major earthquakes
Nagoya University-led researchers characterized several earthquakes that struck South America's west coast over the last 100 years by using seismographic data, tsunami recordings, and models of the rapid plate movements associated with these natural disasters.

Government's counterterrorism strategy is having little impact in the NHS
NHS organizations are obliged by law to report people it fears at risk of becoming terrorists under the Prevent strategy -- part of the UK government's counterterrorism plan aimed at stopping people becoming terrorists.

Researchers explore personalized pharmacotherapy to treat panic attacks
Although drug therapy is the accepted first-line treatment for panic disorders (PDs), 17% to 64% of patients do not respond adequately and continue to exhibit one of the most common symptoms of PD, the panic attack (PA).

New study deems dairy 'excellent' source of protein for children
Researchers at the University of Illinois are using pigs as a model to study the best way of evaluating protein quality in foods eaten by children, a method that was proposed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2011.

'First arrival' hypothesis in Darwin's finches gets some caveats
Being first in a new ecosystem provides major advantages for pioneering species, but the benefits may depend on just how competitive later-arriving species are.

Virtual humans help aspiring doctors learn empathy
How a revolutionary technology -- which assesses a student's body language, facial expressions and communication strategies -- is helping train more empathetic doctors.

Temple researchers uncover vital role for mitochondrial calcium exchange in heart function
Scientists have long thought that calcium transport into mitochondria is a key signal linking cardiac workload, or how hard the heart pumps, with energy production.

Saturn spacecraft toting CU Boulder instrument starts swan song
Toting a $12 million instrument built by the University of Colorado Boulder, NASA's Cassini spacecraft made the first of 22 dives between the rings of Saturn and the gaseous planet today, the beginning of the end for one of NASA's most successful missions ever.

Could Parkinson's disease start in the gut?
Parkinson's disease may start in the gut and spread to the brain via the vagus nerve, according to a study published in the April 26, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future
On the rust-colored north flank of one of Earth's largest volcanoes, a backpack-sized instrument monitors our atmosphere and, at the same time, helps set the stage for possible human exploration of other worlds.

Media portrayal of public shooters can perpetuate stereotypes
Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Journalism have found that media portrayals of public shooters vary based on the race of the shooter, regardless of the circumstances of the shooting.

NASA satellites see Tropical Storm Muifa in Northwestern Pacific Ocean
Tropical Storm Muifa continued to move through the open waters of the Northwestern Pacific Ocean as NASA's Aqua satellite gathered temperature data on the storm.

Synthetic two-sided gecko's foot could enable underwater robotics
Geckos are well known for effortlessly scrambling up walls and upside down across ceilings.

New consensus published on preventing and treating sport-related concussions
Researchers at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Kinesiology have played an integral role in shaping an international consensus on recognizing and treating concussion in sport.

Chronic fatigue syndrome linked to imbalanced microbiome
Scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health have discovered abnormal levels of specific gut bacteria related to chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS, in patients with and without concurrent irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.

New evidence finds standardized cigarette packaging may reduce number of people who smoke
A Cochrane Review published today finds standardized tobacco packaging may lead to a reduction in smoking prevalence and reduces the appeal of tobacco.

Experts make the case for ending routine blood tests
The practice of ordering routine blood tests ('routine bloods') for patients attending hospital regardless of clinical need is wasteful and potentially damaging, argue experts in The BMJ this week.

Stanford scientists assemble working human forebrain circuits in a lab dish
Peering into laboratory glassware, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have watched stem-cell-derived nerve cells arising in a specific region of the human brain migrate into another brain region.

Italian-style coffee reduces the risk of prostate cancer
Add another typical component of the Italian way of life to the list of foods characterizing one of the most healthy populations in the world.

Autism Speaks issues special report
Autism Speaks today issued the first in a series of annual, in-depth reports on special topics in autism.

Emerging companies aim to treat conditions that medication cannot relieve
Emerging companies describe how they are using neuromodulation to address challenges such as autism, paralysis, and persistent, medication-resistant pain, as part of an Innovations Day preconference on May 28 before the International Neuromodulation Society 13th World Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Wasps and wine: Paper wasps contribute to sour rot disease, a scourge of wine industry
New research led by Tufts University shows that the invasive European paper wasp, Polistes dominulus, plays a role in facilitating sour rot disease in the absence of other insects.

Do medical marijuana laws promote illicit cannabis use and disorder?
Illicit cannabis use and cannabis use disorders increased at a greater rate in states that passed medical marijuana laws than in other states, according to latest research.

ER health promotion advocates help teens struggling with substance use get treatment
Health promotion advocates in the pediatric emergency room serve as a vital resource for young people experimenting with substances and linking them with necessary resources and treatment, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH).

Corn with a cover of grass
Corn raised for biofuel can result in eroded soils, as all materials are removed from the field.

Nanodiamond-enhanced MRI offers greater range of diagnostic and therapeutic applications
A team of investigators based at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital has devised a means of noninvasively tracking nanodiamonds with magnetic resonance imaging, opening up a host of new applications.

Energy drinks linked to more heart, blood pressure changes than caffeinated drinks alone
Two hours after drinking 32 ounces of a commercially available energy drink, the heart's electrical activity was abnormal compared to drinking a caffeine-matched control drink.

Animal testing essential to medical progress but protocols could be improved
The use of animals in biomedical research has long been the focus of campaigns by animal rights activists.

Serious violence in England and Wales drops 10 percent in 2016
The number of people injured in serious violence dropped by 10 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, according to a national report on serious violence published by Cardiff University.

Several EPA programs face possible elimination under Trump proposal
The Trump administration's proposed plan for the US Environmental Protection Agency includes completely defunding several programs related to climate change, public health and pollution, according to an internal agency memo that was leaked to the media last month.

Light can improve perovskite solar cell performance
Publishing in Nature, EPFL scientists show how light affects perovskite film formation in solar cells, which is a critical factor in using them for cost-effective and energy-efficient photovoltaics.

Penn researchers quantify the changes that lightning inspires in rock
New research by University of Pennsylvania scientists identified the minimum temperature of a bolt of lightning as it strikes rock.

Clearing out old cells could extend joint health, stop osteoarthritis
In a preclinical study in mice and human cells, researchers report that selectively removing old or 'senescent' cells from joints could stop and even reverse the progression of osteoarthritis.

Larger schooling fish found to have stronger attraction forces
In schooling fish, collective movement emerges as a result of multiple social interactions between individuals.

System can 3-D print an entire building
MIT researchers have developed a system that can 3-D print the basic structure of an entire building.

Concise consent forms are effectively understood by clinical trial participants
Shortening consent documents makes no significant difference to how well potential research participants understand a clinical study, according to a study published April 26, 2017, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Christine Grady from the NIH Clinical Center, US, and colleagues.

Early evidence of Middle Stone Age projectiles found in South Africa's Sibudu Cave
Innovations in stone knapping technology during the South African Middle Stone Age enabled the creation of early projectile weapons, according to a study published April 26, 2017, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Veerle Rots from University of Liège, Belgium, and colleagues.

Engineers shine light on deadly landslide
Late in the morning of March 22, 2014, a huge chunk of land cut loose and roared down a hillside in the Stillaguamish River Valley just east of Oso, Washington, about 60 miles northeast of Seattle.

Sun's eruptions might all have same trigger
Large and small scale solar eruptions might all be triggered by a single process, according to new research that leads to better understanding of the sun's activity.

Simple treatment for severe bleeding could save lives of mothers around the world
An inexpensive and widely available drug could save the lives of one in three mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a major study published in The Lancet and coordinated by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

New studies refocus attention on the genotoxicity of AAV vectors in gene therapy
A growing number of preclinical studies in mice suggests that therapeutic gene delivery using recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors (rAAVs) can cause insertional mutagenesis and increase the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. 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