Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 03, 2017
Researchers advance low-cost, low-tech Zika virus surveillance tool
Using loop-mediated isothermal amplification, or LAMP, researchers found that they could easily detect Zika virus in human and mosquito samples from the United States, Brazil and Nicaragua.

Scientists discover how world's biggest volcanoes formed
A study led by The Australian National University has solved the 168-year-old mystery of how the world's biggest and most active volcanoes formed in Hawaii.

Death rate higher in women than men after discharge from emergency departments for heart arrhythmias
Atrial fibrillation and flutter (also known as AFF) is associated with serious health problems and is a significant contributor to death rates.

Mayo Clinic-invented technologies show brain tumor firmness, adhesion before surgery
It's not often that a fall saves someone's life. Helen Powell, 74, says that was the case for her.

Scientists suggest the world should brace itself for a new wave of biological invasions
An international team of scientists has identified how our rapidly changing world will bring new types of invaders, often from very unexpected places.

Psychological benefits for kids when mums keep taking folic acid
Taking folic acid supplements throughout pregnancy may improve psychological development in children.

Disfiguring eye symptoms diminish in Graves' eye disease drug trial
Graves' eye disease, also known as thyroid eye disease, takes a physical and emotional toll on patients as inflammation and tissue buildup cause the eyes to bulge painfully from their sockets.

Antibiotic doxycycline may offer hope for treatment of Parkinson's disease
A study published in the journal Scientific Reports, an online journal published by Springer Nature, suggests that doxycycline, an antibiotic used for over half a century against bacterial infections, can be prescribed at lower doses for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Super P carbon black for reversible lithium and sodium ion storage
Super P carbon black (SPCB) has been widely used as the conducting additive in lithium/sodium ion batteries.

Novel treatment offers kidney failure patients with rare disorder new hope
A novel treatment offers kidney failure and kidney transplant patients with a rare disorder new hope.

Phthalates increase the risk of allergies among children
Phthalates, which are used as plasticizers in plastics, can considerably increase the risk of allergies among children.

Fish step up to lead when predators are near
Researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered that some fish within a shoal take on the responsibilities of leader when they are under threat from predators.

How neurons and glia cells are created in the developing brain
Neurons and glia are the cells that make up our brain.

In severe pediatric heart defect, more brain abnormalities appear as staged surgeries progress
As children with single-ventricle disease, a complex and severe heart defect, undergo a series of three reconstructive surgeries, pediatric researchers have detected higher rates of brain abnormalities at each stage.

You're not too old to learn that
A new theory by UC Riverside psychology professor Rachel Wu asserts that if we as adults continue to learn the way we did as children, we can redefine what it means to be an 'aging' adult.

Doubling vegetable consumption in schools with a lower-cost gaming approach
A new study shows that the successful strategy to get elementary school children to eat more vegetables based on use of the FIT Game, can be just as effective and less costly to implement when teachers no longer administer the game.

First evidence of ischemia-induced multipotent stem cells in post-stroke human brain
Researchers have shown that following a stroke-induced ischemic injury to the human brain, stem cells are produced that have the potential to differentiate and mature to form neurons that can help repair the damage to the brain.

Anemonefish dads further fathering research
Like the father in 'Finding Nemo,' anemonefish dads will do almost anything to support their offspring.

Ancient meteorite impact sparked long-lived volcanic eruptions on Earth
Large impacts were common on the early Earth and were likely much more important than previously thought in shaping our planet.

New blood test predicts who will benefit from targeted prostate cancer treatments
A new blood test could predict which men with advanced prostate cancer will respond to new targeted treatments for the disease.

35-year South Carolina alligator study uncovers mysteries about growth and reproduction
Research by wildlife biologists from Clemson University and the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center near Georgetown is shattering conventional scientific understanding about American alligator growth and reproduction.

Does my algorithm work? There's no shortcut for community detection
Community detection is an important tool for scientists studying networks, but a new paper published in Science Advances calls into question the common practice of using metadata for ground truth validation.

Portland State research shows link between home styles and high water use
Affluent neighborhoods with lawns -- and occasionally swimming pools -- use up to 10 times more water than neighborhoods with higher density housing with less landscaping, according to a Portland State University study.

The IASLC Atlas of PD-L1 Immunohistochemistry (IHC) Testing in Lung Cancer released
The IASLC has released the IASLC Atlas of PD-L1 Immunohistochemistry (IHC) Testing in Lung Cancer, a resource designed to help pathologists, clinicians, other health care personnel and patients better understand emerging programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays, as well as important areas of clarity and debate.

Water-repellant material sheds like a snake when damaged (video)
Imagine a raincoat that heals a scratch by shedding the part of the outer layer that's damaged.

Large trial of acupuncture for allergic asthma finds benefits in quality of life
A large randomized controlled, pragmatic trial involving 1445 patients with allergic asthma found that an integrative medicine approach in which acupuncture is added to routine care demonstrated improvements in both quality of life and physical and mental health for those receiving acupuncture.

Robots may bring reef relief
The University of Delaware is part of a multinational team that used underwater vehicles to map deep sea reefs near the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean.

Report: Younger women battling breast cancer face more aggressive diagnoses
Younger women are more likely to be diagnosed with later stage cancers (Stages III and IV), and when they are, the excess costs to treat them are more than $132,000, compared to $124,000 for older women.

The Earth sank twice, flooding the Western Amazon
A tiny shark tooth, part of a mantis shrimp and other microscopic marine organisms reveal that as the Andes mountains rose, the Western Amazon sank twice, each time for less than a million years.

March for Science draws hundreds of thousands of supporters across the globe
Hundreds of thousands of scientists and others participated in more than 500 marches on Earth Day across the U.S. and the world to show their support for science.

Childhood exposure to cardiovascular risk factors impairs learning and memory in midlife
A Finnish study coordinated by the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Turku shows that exposure to cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, elevated serum LDL-cholesterol and smoking in childhood and adolescence, is associated with poorer learning ability and memory in middle age.

Marine conservation must consider human rights
Ocean conservation is essential for protecting the marine environment and safeguarding the resources that people rely on for livelihoods and food security.

Recognizing food brands puts preschoolers at risk for obesity
Young children who recognize food name brands, such as Lucky Charms, M&M's and Cheetos, often eat unhealthy items that lead to their high body mass index.

Training program may improve police officers' ability to help older adults
After participating in a training program in aging-related health, police officers anticipated having more empathy for and awareness of aging-related conditions, and greater ability to provide older adults with appropriate community referrals.

Helistroke service: Flying the physician to the stroke patient works
Flying a stroke specialist by helicopter to a nearby stroke patient for emergency care is feasible, saves money and, most importantly, gets critical care to patients faster than transporting the patient to a hospital first, according to a single-patient, proof-of-concept study by a Johns Hopkins Medicine research team.

Cardiorespiratory fitness can reduce risk of fatty liver
According to a new Finnish study, cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely related to risk of fatty liver.

Review highlights challenges faced by birds in the Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is hugely important to birds that migrate between North America and the Neotropics -- almost all migrants have to go around it or across it.

Got hives? Hold the steroids
Despite standard use for the itching associated with urticaria (commonly known as hives), prednisone (a steroid) offered no additional relief to emergency patients suffering from hives than a placebo did, according to a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group study published online yesterday in Annals of Emergency Medicine ('Levocetirizine and Prednisone Are Not Superior to Levocetirizine Alone for the Treatment of Acute Urticaria: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial').

New role found for brain region: Focusing attention during decision-making
Long thought to simply pass on information received from the senses, the thalamus may also quickly assemble the circuits that enable successful decisions.

Tracking devices reduce warblers' chances of returning from migration
The tools ornithologists use to track the journeys of migrating birds provide invaluable insights that can help halt the declines of vulnerable species.

Report: Even in death, indigenous border crossers marginalized
Of the hundreds of people who die trying to cross into the US from Mexico each year, those with indigenous backgrounds are less likely to be identified than those with more European ancestry, a new analysis reveals.

Turning chicken poop and weeds into biofuel
Chicken is a favorite, inexpensive meat across the globe. But the bird's popularity results in a lot of waste that can pollute soil and water.

Excessive DNA replication and its potential use against cancer
When parts of the genome are duplicated more than once, cells suffer from 'genomic instability', and this process gives rise to aberrant cells as those detected in many carcinomas.

Imaging mRNA right where it is made -- at the site of translation
Think of life as a house: if DNA molecules are blueprints, then messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are orders, describing the required parts (proteins) and when they should arrive.

Tighter building controls needed to achieve government global warming targets
Thousands of new homes, schools and offices may be using much more energy than they should, and the reason is rather unexpected, according to the authors of a new study published by the University of Bath.

A speedy, sensitive, and low-cost detection test for Zika virus
A fast, highly sensitive, and inexpensive new test not only detects Zika virus in mosquitoes and human bodily fluids, but can also distinguish between African and Asian strains -- a result that could improve efforts to more effectively track the virus' spread.

Hand that sees offers new hope to amputees
Bioengineers at Newcastle University, UK, have developed a 'hand that sees' which is able to reach for and grasp objects automatically, responding ten times quicker than current prosthetics.

Biophysics: Conflict or coexistence
Competition within mixed bacterial populations can give rise to complex growth dynamics.

Utilizing tumor suppressor proteins to shape nanomaterials
A new method combining tumor suppressor protein p53 and biomineralization peptide BMPep successfully created hexagonal silver nanoplates, suggesting an efficient strategy for controlling the nanostructure of inorganic materials.

Nearly 1 in 5 with highest cardiac risk don't think they need to improve health
A Canadian study found that nearly one in five of those at highest risk for a heart attack did not believe they needed to improve their health.

UK health spending needs to grow faster than GDP
The NHS is frequently in the news about its ongoing funding crisis.

Cost of Zika outbreak in the United States could be high
Even a relatively mild Zika outbreak in the United States could cost more than $183 million in medical costs and productivity losses, suggests a computational analysis led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers, while a more severe one could result in $1.2 billion or more in medical costs and productivity losses.

Engineering research focuses on bringing efficiency to network processes
It is human nature to seek to spend the least amount of energy, time and cost on any given task to achieve a desirable result, whether that is working out at the gym, finding the best path to travel to work or buying cereal at the grocery.

Operating smart devices from the space on and above the back of your hand
Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch have been called a 'revolution on the wrist', but the operation of these devices is complicated, because the screen is small.

Lasers shed light on the inner workings of the giant larvacean
New laser technology is allowing MBARI scientists to look into the structure of giant larvaceans -- tadpole-like marine animals that are important players in ocean ecosystems.

'Persistent photoconductivity' offers new tool for bioelectronics
Researchers have developed a new approach for manipulating the behavior of cells on semiconductor materials, using light to alter the conductivity of the material itself.

Keeping cool in the summer leads to increased air pollution
As the weather warms, so does the use of air conditioners.

Spotted skunk evolution driven by climate change
Climate plays a key role in determining what animals can live where.

How do fishes perceive their environment?
Fishes perceive changes in water currents caused by prey, conspecifics and predators using their lateral line.

Study looks at maternal smoking in pregnancy, severe mental illness in offspring
A population-based study that analyzed data for nearly 1.7 million people born in Sweden suggests family-related factors, rather than causal teratogenic effects (birth defect causing), may explain much of the association between smoking during pregnancy and severe mental illness in offspring, according to a new article published by JAMA Psychiatry.

Elephant herpes: Super-shedders endanger young animals
Elephants have species-specific herpesviruses, which frequently lead to death, especially in the young.

Mysterious molecule's function in skin cancer identified
SBP researcher Ranjan Perera uncovered the M.O. of a mysterious molecule called SPRIGHTLY that acts as a hub for cancer-related genes in the nucleus.

Social smoking carries same heart-disease risks as everyday habit
Social smokers' risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol is identical to those who light up every day, new research has found.

What roundworms can teach us about human growth
Human beings and the roundworm C. elegans have more in common than you'd expect.

Gene mutation may speed up memory loss in Alzheimer's disease
A gene mutation may accelerate the loss of memory and thinking skills in people who are at risk for Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the May 3, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Register changes in professional sopranos may correspond to vocal fold vibrations
Register shifts in professional singers may correspond to altered vocal fold vibration patterns which are audible to experts, according to a study published May 3, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Matthias Echternach from University of Freiburg, Christian Herbst from University of Vienna and colleagues.

New study defines the environment as an influencer of immune system responses in dolphins
Two populations of wild dolphins living off the coast of Florida and South Carolina are experiencing more chronically activated immune systems than dolphins living in controlled environments, raising concerns of researchers about overall ocean health, and the long-term health of bottlenose dolphins.

Judging moral character: A matter of principle, not good deeds
According to new research by Berkeley-Haas Assoc. Prof. Clayton Critcher, people evaluate others' moral character -- being honest, principled, and virtuous -- not simply by their deeds, but also by the context that determines how such decisions are made.

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP spots formation of Tropical Cyclone Donna
The tropical low pressure area previously known as System 99P organized and developed into tropical cyclone Donna in the South Pacific and now threatens Vanuatu.

A new unexpected key player in melanoma development identified
In The Journal of Clinical Investigation researchers from VIB, KU Leuven (Belgium) together with colleagues from INSERM (France) now report the important role for FES in the initiation and progression of melanoma, a malignant type of skin cancer, that is notoriously quick to metastasize and that responds poorly to existing cancer treatments.

Stopping the brain's memory circuits from overheating
In the absence of CA2 activity, mice experience epilepsy-like activity, a sign that this area is essential for regulating the balance of excitation and inhibition in the brain.

Speech and language deficits in children with autism may not cause tantrums
Speech or language impairments may not be the cause of more frequent tantrums in children with autism, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Meerkat call patterns are linked to sex, social status and reproductive season
Within a group of meerkats, call patterns vary with factors including sex, rank and reproductive season -- but not with stress hormones, according to a study published May 3, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jelena Mausbach from University of Zurich, Switzerland; Marta Manser from University of Pretoria, South Africa; and colleagues.

First result from Jefferson Lab's upgraded CEBAF opens door to exploring universal glue
The first experimental result has been published from the newly upgraded Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at the US Department of Energy's Jefferson Lab.

Daily stress can trigger uptick in illegal drug use for those on parole, probation
A recent study finds that even small, day-to-day stressors can cause an increase in illegal drug use among people on probation or parole who have a history of substance use.

VISTA peeks through the Small Magellanic Cloud's dusty veil
VISTA's infrared capabilities have now allowed astronomers to see the myriad of stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy much more clearly than ever before.

How technology use affects at-risk adolescents
More use of technology led to increases in attention, behavior and self-regulation problems over time for adolescents already at risk for mental health issues, a new study from Duke University finds.

More than half of mental health NHS patients experience relapses
A new study has shown that approximately 53 percent of NHS patients displayed clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety within a year after completing psychological treatments.

Rub each other up the right way
Giving your partner a massage can improve both their well being and yours.

Research sheds new light on 'world's oldest animal fossils'
A team of researchers, led by the University of Bristol, has uncovered that ancient fossils, thought to be some of the world's earliest examples of animal remains, could in fact belong to other groups such as algae.

Neuroscientists seek brain basis of craving in addiction and binge eating
A new article in JAMA Psychiatry details the first step in revealing how craving works in the brain.

Brain 'relay' also key to holding thoughts in mind
Long assumed to be a mere 'relay,' an often-overlooked egg-like structure in the middle of the brain also turns out to play a pivotal role in tuning-up thinking circuity.

New hope in the fight against superbugs
In a new paper published in the journal Structure, researchers from McGill University present in atomic detail how specific bacterial enzymes, known as kinases, confer resistance to macrolide antibiotics, a widely used class of antibiotics and an alternative medication for patients with penicillin allergies.

Deep-diving technology finds little filter feeder has giant carbon cycling impact
Using a novel deep-sea technology, scientists have measured for the first time how a species of zooplankton called giant larvaceans contributes to the transfer of atmospheric carbon to the deep ocean.

Researchers identify evidence of oldest orchid fossil on record
A newly published study documents evidence of an orchid fossil trapped in Baltic amber that dates back some 45 million years to 55 million years ago, shattering the previous record for an orchid fossil found in Dominican amber some 20-30 million years old.

Study suggests genetic reason for impaired skilled movements
Scientists report in Neuron the lost function of two genes prevents infant laboratory mice from developing motor skills as they mature into adults.

Consumers warned about accuracy of heart rate apps
Consumers are being warned about the accuracy of heart rate apps after a study found huge variability between commercially available apps, even those using the same technology.

Resilience offers escape from trapped thinking on poverty alleviation
Development aid reached a new peak of US$142.6 billion, according to recent data from the OECD.

Study: Half of patients make poor decisions about breast reconstruction
After receiving a devastating breast cancer diagnosis, women have a lot of tough decisions to make about treatment options.

Making the numbers work: Researchers use math to develop personalized chemo treatments
A team of Florida State University researchers is using mathematical modeling to find the best and most effective chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients.

Modified soybeans yield more in future climate conditions
In a three-year field study, researchers proved engineered soybeans yield more than conventional soybeans in 2050's predicted climatic conditions.

Detailed images reveal interactions that affect signaling in the brain
Detailed images of chemical signaling in the brain may shed light on neurodegenerative disease processes.

DMM launches new special collection on neurodegeneration
As a growing number of the aging population are affected by diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, a new special collection from Disease Models & Mechanisms compiles the latest research in neurodegenerative disorders, providing a valuable resource for researchers in the field.

Starvation causes atypical cell death
Researchers from IDIBELL -- within the Marie Curie ITN TRAIN-ERs -- have characterized the cell death process due to starvation, in which the endoplasmic reticulum plays a leading role.

First clear-cut risk genes for Tourette disorder revealed
Tourette disorder afflicts as many as one person in a hundred worldwide with potentially disabling symptoms including involuntary motor and vocal tics.

Lab mice may not be effective models for immunology research
Laboratory mice may not be effective models for studying immune responses to disease.

'Last African dinosaur' discovered in Moroccan mine
One of the last dinosaurs living in Africa before their extinction 66 million years ago has been discovered in a phosphate mine in northern Morocco.

Diving deep, WSU researchers find wealth of fish
Washington State University marine biologists for the first time have documented a wealth of fish in the 'vastly underexplored' deep coral reefs off Hawaii Island.

Compilation of research showcases latest advances in obesity treatment
More than 60 percent of American adults weigh more than is healthy.

Surprising link between blood sugar and brain cancer found
New research further illuminates the surprising relationship between blood sugar and brain tumors and could begin to shed light on how certain cancers develop.

Study could provide first clues about the social lives of extinct human relatives
A new study from The Australian National University (ANU) of the bony head-crests of male gorillas could provide some of the first clues about the social structures of our extinct human relatives, including how they chose their sexual partners.

Prenatal cocaine exposure increases risk of higher teen drug use
Mothers smoking crack cocaine during pregnancy -- and its lingering effects on their children -- are the focus of 20-plus years of ongoing research by Case Western Reserve University.

Study: Mexican-Americans receive less intensive stroke rehabilitation
Michigan Medicine researchers found that allocation of rehabilitation services differs by ethnicity, which may help explain why Mexican-Americans have worse outcomes after stroke.

New tool reflects black men's experiences of police-based discrimination
Researchers have developed a new tool to catalog police and law enforcement interactions with black men, the Police and Law Enforcement (PLE) Scale, with the hope of documenting people's experiences and perceptions of police-based discrimination.

Drosophila buzzatii fruit fly females may use courtship songs to pick same-species mates
Female Drosophila buzzatii cluster fruit flies may be drawn to the specific courtship songs of males of their own species, according to a study published May 3, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Patricia Iglesias and Esteban Hasson from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

One step closer to finding out how wine may protect your neurons
Low to moderate intake of red wine can delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Research shows prejudice, not principle, often underpins 'free-speech defense' of racist language
A new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals a positive correlation (Pearson r = .43) between having racial prejudice and defending racist speech using the 'free speech argument' -- a stronger correlation than the researchers expected.

First large-scale population analysis reinforces ketamine's reputation as antidepressant
Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego mined the FDA Adverse Effect Reporting System (FAERS) database for depression symptoms in patients taking ketamine for pain.

Fake news and filters aren't fooling internet users
Despite what some politicians argue, fake news and biased search algorithms aren't swaying public opinion, finds a Michigan State University researcher.

Doctoring the soil
Researchers studied the impact of conservation agriculture techniques over a span of 11 years on two different farms.

Political talk plagues workers months after US election
American workers are more likely to say they are feeling stressed and cynical because of political discussions at work now than before the 2016 presidential election, according to survey results released today by the American Psychological Association.

UMD exercise study offers hope in fight against Alzheimer's
A new study led by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers adds more information about how physical activity impacts brain physiology and offers hope that it may be possible to reestablish some protective neuronal connections.

Damaged genes considered high risk for developing tourette syndrome identified
Rearchers from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, UC San Francisco, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Florida, Yale University and other institutions across the world identified one damaged, or mutant, 'high confidence' risk gene for Tourette's as well as three others they believe are genes whose mutation is a probable risk for the disorder.

Half of breast cancer patients pursue reconstruction without understanding risks
More than half of breast cancer patients (57 percent) undergoing mastectomy lack the necessary medical knowledge to make a high-quality decision about reconstructive surgery that aligns with their personal goals, suggesting a trend toward overtreatment, according to a new study conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

'Princess pheromone' tells ants which larvae are destined to be queens
Scientists have identified a 'princess pheromone' that tells an ant colony when a larva is preparing to become a queen.

Study measures air pollution increase attributable to air conditioning
A new University of Wisconsin-Madison study shows that the electricity production associated with air conditioning causes emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide to increase by hundreds to thousands of metric tons, or 3 to 4 percent per degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

Computers learn to understand humans better by modelling them
Researchers from Aalto University, University of Birmingham and University of Oslo present results paving the way for computers to learn psychologically plausible models of individuals simply by observing them.

How calorie restriction may prolong life
A new review proposes a theory to explain how calorie restriction can extend life across a variety of species.

Cell 'cannibalism' educates our defenses
CNIC scientists show that when macrophages ingest these expired cells they acquire protective properties.

Common cold duration is shortened similarly by zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges
There is no significant difference between zinc acetate lozenges and zinc gluconate lozenges regarding their efficacy in shortening the duration of common colds according to a meta-analysis published in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open.

Nickel: A greener route to fatty acids
Chemists designed a nickel catalyst that easily transforms petroleum feedstocks into valuable compounds like fatty acids.

Migrating mule deer track 'green waves' of spring forage
New research has documented that these economically and ecologically important game animals are not just moving from low-elevation winter range to high-elevation summer range.

Neonic pesticides threaten wild bees' spring breeding, study finds
A University of Guelph study has revealed that thiamethoxam, one of the most commonly used neonicotinoid, leads to fewer fully developed eggs in queen bumblebees from four wild bumblebee species. 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