Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 08, 2017
UTHealth researchers identify genes in children linked to stress, bipolar disorder
Genetic alterations that can be modulated by stress have been identified in children at high risk for bipolar disorder, according to a recently published study by researchers at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

The evolutionary story of birch, told through 80 genomes
A new study sequences the genomes of 80 silver birch trees, a tree that has not been studied much by scientists despite its commercial value for papermaking, construction, furniture-building and more.

Insecticide-resistant flies 'rubbish' at courting females
Insecticide resistance sounds like a superpower for the average male fruit fly -- but there's a catch.

US international military training programs tied to fewer civilian casualties
US grant programs that provided training to international military and civilian personnel since 1995 are tied to fewer conflict-related civilian casualties in foreign countries that were recipients of the US security aid.

Ben-Gurion U researchers find that low levels of a specific protein cause Alzheimer's
According to the study, published last month in Cell Reports, one of the key components in this DNA repair process is the protein SIRT6.

Caltech chemical engineer explains oxygen mystery on comets
A Caltech chemical engineer who normally develops new ways to fabricate microprocessors in computers has figured out how to explain a nagging mystery in space -- why comets expel oxygen gas, the same gas we humans breathe.

The influence of zero-hours contracts on care workers' lives
A new paper published in Occupational Medicine indicates that deficiencies in health care workers' understanding of their role and the amount of control over their work were significant workplace hazards, though controversial zero-hours contracts did not adversely influence employee health and wellbeing.

Virtual reality for psychiatric treatment? Research shows promise for VR and other technologies in mental health care
A growing body of evidence suggests that virtual reality (VR) technology can be an effective part of treatment for phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other mental health conditions, according to a research review in the May/June issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Researchers discover neuronal targets that restore movement in Parkinson's disease model
Carnegie Mellon University researchers have identified two groups of neurons that can be turned on and off to alleviate the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Underlying molecular mechanism of bipolar disorder revealed
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), with major participation from Yokohama School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and UC San Diego, have identified the molecular mechanism behind lithium's effectiveness in treating bipolar disorder patients.

Drivers of insecticide use
The effects of certain landscape characteristics on insecticide use depend on context and crop type.

Organic electronics: Semiconductors as decal stickers
No more error-prone evaporation deposition, drop casting or printing: Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich and FSU Jena have developed organic semiconductor nanosheets, which can easily be removed from a growth substrate and placed on other substrates.

New cell separator could revolutionize medical advances in cancer
A new cell separator that began life as a tinfoil and epoxy glue prototype built with supplies from a University shop could revolutionize stem-cell and regenerative cell-based therapies.

Earth was barren, flat and almost entirely under water 4.4 billion years ago
Scientists at The Australian National University say the early Earth was likely to be barren, flat and almost entirely under water with a few small islands, following their analysis of tiny mineral grains as old as 4.4 billion years.

Installing solar to combat national security risks in the power grid
Power grid vulnerabilities are one of the most prevalent national security threats.

European Food Safety Authority confirms sucralose is safe and does not cause cancer
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirms sucralose is safe and does not cause cancer.

Garden-enhanced intervention improved BMI and nutrition knowledge of California students
The factors that affect rates of childhood obesity are complex.

'Incidental findings' from scans challenge efforts to reduce health care costs
In an analysis of medical records gathered from more than 300 hospitalized patients, a team of researchers reports that routine imaging scans used to help diagnose heart attacks generated 'incidental findings' (IFs) in more than half of these patients.

Trump's actions on sexual orientation/gender identity data collection send ominous message
The Trump/Pence Administration's recent removal of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) questions from a national aging survey and omission of a sexual orientation category and a transgender identity field from a national disability survey threaten to set back years of advances in collecting and using SOGI data to understand and intervene in the health disparities experienced by LGBT people.

Bird feathers inspire researchers to produce vibrant new colors
Nagoya University team replicates unique color of bird plumage. Raspberry-like particle systems simulate the spongy texture of Stellar's jay's blue feathers.

New research could transform how we filter water
A new process for water filtration using carbon dioxide consumes one thousand times less energy than conventional methods, scientific research published recently has shown.

Physical keyboards make virtual reality typing easier
What's better than a holographic keyboard? A real one, apparently.

Commuter marriage study finds surprising emphasis on interdependence
A study, 'Going the Distance: Individualism and Interdependence in the Commuter Marriage,' by Lehigh University's Danielle Lindemann, explores how the seemingly conflicting cultural norms of personal autonomy and a commitment to the institution of marriage play out 'on the ground' from the viewpoint of participants in commuter marriages -- in which a married couple lives apart in service to their dual professional careers.

Ethical business practice can flourish in nations with serious corruption problems
Ethical business practice can flourish even in countries with widespread corporate corruption problems, research shows.

Elementary school: Early English language lessons less effective than expected
Seven years later, children who start learning English in the first grade achieve poorer results in this subject than children whose first English lesson isn't until the third grade.

Research evaluates effectiveness of yoga in treating major depression
New research indicates that the benefits of hatha yoga in treating depression are less pronounced in early treatment, but may accumulate over time.

Studies reveal socioeconomic and racial disparities in lupus
Two new studies have uncovered socioeconomic disparities related to the health of patients with lupus.

Dartmouth-led team develops smartwatch with all the moves
A prototype smartwatch that moves in five different directions in an effort to make digital smartwatches more convenient for their users.

Scientists find skin cells at the root of balding, gray hair
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified the cells that directly give rise to hair as well as the mechanism that causes hair to turn gray -- findings that could one day help identify possible treatments for balding and hair graying.

Scientists watch fat metabolism in live fish, observe real-time lipid biochemistry
Studying how our bodies metabolize lipids such as fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol can teach us about cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health problems, as well as reveal basic cellular functions.

PTSD, certain prescriptions for PTSD may raise risk for dementia
Until now, researchers didn't know whether the kinds of medications used for people with PTSD could increase risks for dementia.

Study refutes findings behind challenge to Sierra Nevada forest restoration
A study led by ecologists at UC Berkeley has found significant flaws in the research used to challenge the US Forest Service plan to restore Sierra Nevada forests to less dense, and less fire-prone, environments.

Researchers unveil new password meter that will change how users make passwords
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Chicago have just unveiled a new, state-of-the-art password meter that offers real-time feedback and advice to help people create better passwords.

Public skeptical of research if tied to a company
When it comes to research warning us about the latest health risks or touting the latest cure, a new Michigan State University study indicates that many people won't trust the findings when an industry partner, even with a good reputation, is involved.

Bullying's lasting impact
A new study led by the University of Delaware found that kids who are bullied in fifth grade are more likely to suffer from depression in seventh grade; and have a greater likelihood of using alcohol, marijuana or tobacco in tenth grade.

New technology generates power from polluted air
Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, have succeeded in developing a process that purifies air and, at the same time, generates power.

Tillage farming damaging earthworm populations, say scientists
The digging, stirring and overturning of soil by conventional ploughing in tillage farming is severely damaging earthworm populations around the world, say scientists.

'Juicing' T cells with small molecules enhances immune response against melanoma
Medical University of South Carolina investigators report in the April 20, 2017 JCI Insight that 'juicing' Th17 cells with FDA-approved small molecule β-catenin and p110δ inhibitors during in vitro expansion for adoptive T cell therapy profoundly improves their therapeutic properties.

Paris 1.5°C target may be smashed by 2026
What appears to be a recent change to a positive phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation is likely to accelerate global warming, breaking through the agreed Paris target of 1.5°C by as early as 2026.

Cornell CIS and Adobe collaboration creates artificial intelligence photo tool
There may a new cool tool for image editing software in the future.

New findings may explain the advantages of polyunsaturated fat
Previous research has demonstrated that saturated fat is more fattening and less muscle building than polyunsaturated fats.

Space weather model simulates solar storms from nowhere
A kind of solar storm has puzzled scientists for its lack of typical warning signs: They seem to come from nowhere, and scientists call them stealth CMEs.

Village savings groups boosted financial inclusion and women's empowerment, study finds
Savings groups popular in rural areas of developing countries -- in which people pool money for saving and borrowing -- empower women, increase business investment, and provide greater access to financial services, according to a new three-country study released in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fabrication technology in the fourth dimension
Scientists use the term 4-D printing to refer to the simple production of objects that can transform their shape at different times.

Physician moms are often subject to workplace discrimination
Of the nearly 6,000 physician mothers in the survey, nearly 78 percent reported discrimination of any type.

Women perform worse in CPR
Does it matter whether a man or a woman carries out CPR?

Manufacturing technique can make proteins less effective
Biopharma and food businesses working with proteins now have access to better information about how a type of fluid flow commonly encountered in manufacturing processes can affect the quality of their products, following successful research.

Lung study points to new therapies to treat critical illness
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have pinpointed a chemical signal that worsens inflammation linked to a life-threatening lung condition.

How do toddlers learn best from touchscreens?
Research recently published in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that Educational apps for kids can be valuable learning tools, but there's still a lot left to understand about how to best design them.

Policy statement urges 'alternatives to discipline' for nurses with substance use disorders
A new position statement on substance use by nurses and nursing students emphasizes 'alternative-to-discipline' (ATD) approaches -- including specialized treatment and a pathway for return to practice, according to a position paper in the April/June issue of Journal of Addictions Nursing (JAN), the official journal of the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA).

'Humanlike' ways of thinking evolved 1.8 million years ago, suggests new study
By using highly advanced brain imaging technology to observe modern humans crafting ancient tools, an Indiana University neuroarchaeologist has found evidence that human-like ways of thinking may have emerged as early as 1.8 million years ago.

Drivers are slower to respond to emergencies in semi-automated cars
Drivers respond to emergencies more slowly and severely in semi-automated cars, according to a new study in the Journal of Safety Research.

Space radiation reproduced in the lab for better, safer missions
Man-made space radiation has been produced in research led by the University of Strathclyde, which could help to make space exploration safer, more reliable and more extensive.

Shortage of progranulin is a frequent cause of frontotemporal dementia
In a recent study in Human Molecular Genetics, researchers from VIB and KU Leuven led by prof.

Study: Black and white kids faring equally in subsidized housing
Once-formidable disparities between black and white families living in subsidized housing have largely vanished, and black and white children who grew up in such housing fared similarly in school, jobs and earnings.

Scrib protein identified as a natural suppressor of liver cancer
A protein that typically helps keep cells organized and on task becomes a tumor suppressor in the face of liver cancer, scientists say.

Stanford team brings quantum computing closer to reality with new materials
Quantum computing could outsmart current computing for complex problem solving, but only if scientists figure out how to make it practical.

Female hormones may trigger headache in girls battling migraine
Changes in female hormones may trigger headaches in adolescent girls, but their effect may depend on age and their stage of pubertal development, according to a new study from researchers at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Nutraceutical (Longevinex) reduces time it takes older eyes to adapt to the dark
For the first time eye researchers have been able to reduce the time it takes for older eyes to adapt to the dark with use of an oral nutraceutical (Longevinex).

Microscopic soil creatures could orchestrate massive tree migrations
Warming temperatures are prompting some tree species in the Rocky Mountains to 'migrate' to higher elevations in order to survive.

Scottish badgers highlight the complexity of species responses to environmental change
In a new study researchers have found that although warmer weather should benefit badger populations, the predicted human population increase in the Scottish highlands is likely to disturb badgers and counteract that effect.

CMU researchers create touchpads with a can of spray paint
Touch sensing is most common on small, flat surfaces such as smartphone or tablet screens.

Breast-feeding's role in 'seeding' infant microbiome
UCLA-led study finds that 30 percent of the beneficial bacteria in a baby's intestinal tract come directly from mother's milk, and an additional 10 percent comes from skin on the mother's breast.

In measuring gas exchange between water and air, size matters
A new study finds that the variability in gas exchange rates in small ponds increases with lake size -- an important finding since gas exchange variability is not well accounted for in global models of greenhouse gas emissions from inland waters.

Brain injury causes impulse control problems in rats
New research from the University of British Columbia confirms for the first time that even mild brain injury can result in impulse control problems in rats.

The BGRF is helping develop AI to accelerate drug discovery for aging and age-associated diseases
The Chief Science Officer of the Biogerontology Research Foundation (BGRF) will present new research on artificial intelligence for drug discovery at the NVIDIA Graphics Technology Conference (GTC) at the San Jose Convention Center, on Wednesday, May 10, 1-1:50 p.m. alongside two AI scientists from the BGRF and Insilico Medicine, where they will deliver a presentation titled 'Applications of Generative Adversarial Networks to Drug Discovery in Oncology and Infectious Diseases.'

Research center helps consumers 'fight bac' through national poultry food safety campaign
The Partnership for Food Safety Education is using research from Kansas State University's Center for Sensory Analysis and Consumer Behavior for its nationwide campaign promoting food safety and safe poultry handling.

'Hot' electrons don't mind the gap
Rice University scientists discover that 'hot' electrons can create a photovoltage about a thousand times larger than ordinary temperature differences in nanoscale gaps in gold wires.

NASA spots powerful Tropical Cyclone between Vanuatu and New Caledonia
Tropical Cyclone Donna continues to move through the South Pacific Ocean as a major hurricane.

Cotton tip applicators are sending 34 kids to the emergency department each day
A study conducted by Nationwide Children's Hospital researchers found that over a 21-year period from 1990 through 2010, an estimated 263,000 children younger than 18 years of age were treated in US hospital emergency departments for cotton tip applicator related ear injuries -- that's about 12,500 annually, or about 34 injuries every day.

New way to detect ecstasy discovered
While building molecular machines, researchers stumbled upon a new method to detect ecstasy.

Chemically tailored graphene
Graphene is considered as one of the most promising new materials.

How cancer turns a good-guy protein into a double agent
Under normal conditions, the CHD4 protein is one of the good guys: it stops cells from transcribing faulty DNA, thereby eliminating potential mutation.

Secondhand smoke ups heart disease in unique group of female nonsmokers -- Amish women
New research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine finds that secondhand smoke tends to have somewhat different effects on men and women.

Penn study identifies new target to fight prostate, lung cancer
A newly identified molecular chain of events in a mouse model of prostate cancer highlights novel targets to treat it and other cancers.

Narrative journaling may help heart health post-divorce
Journaling after divorce could improve cardiovascular health -- but only if it is done in an expressive way that tells a story, new University of Arizona research suggests.

Unpolarized single-photon generation with true randomness from diamond
The Tohoku University research group of Professor Keiichi Edamatsu and Postdoctoral fellow Naofumi Abe has demonstrated dynamically and statically unpolarized single-photon generation using diamond.

Pasture management and riparian buffers reduce erosion
A 12-year study was completed in Arkansas watersheds.

Kidney research leads to surprising discovery about how the heart forms
Kidney research at the University of Virginia School of Medicine has unexpectedly led to a discovery about the formation of the heart, including the identification of a gene responsible for a deadly cardiac condition.

Systemic therapy outperforms intraocular implant for treating uveitis
Systemic therapy consisting of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants preserved vision of uveitis patients better -- and had fewer adverse outcomes -- than a long-lasting corticosteroid intraocular implant, according to a clinical trial funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI).

Poor overall environmental quality linked to elevated cancer rates
Nationwide, counties with the poorest quality across five domains -- air, water, land, the built environment and sociodemographic -- had the highest incidence of cancer, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer.

New tool for analyzing mouse vocalizations may provide insights for autism modeling
Vocalization plays a significant role in social communication across species such as speech by humans and song by birds.

Refrigerator for quantum computers discovered
Researchers at Aalto University have invented a quantum-circuit refrigerator, which can reduce errors in quantum computing.

Expert rock climbing routes recreated indoors using 3-D modeling and digital fabrication
Through a combination of 3-D modeling, digital fabrication and other techniques, a Dartmouth-led research team has replicated sections of popular, outdoor rock climbing routes on an indoor climbing wall.

Global warming kills gut bacteria in lizards
Climate change could threaten reptiles by reducing the number of bacteria living in their guts, new research suggests.

Researchers use modified insulin and red blood cells to regulate blood sugar
Researchers have developed a new technique that uses modified insulin and red blood cells to create a glucose-responsive 'smart' insulin delivery system.

US strategy to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria needs overhaul
Longstanding weaknesses in America's Middle East strategy, spanning at least four decades, mean new options are needed to defeat the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, stabilize the Middle East and reestablish a sense of domestic security in the US and Europe, according to a new RAND report.

'Narrative expressive writing' might protect against harmful health effects of divorce-related stress
For people going through a divorce, a technique called narrative expressive writing -- not just writing about their emotions, but creating a meaningful narrative of their experience -- may reduce the harmful cardiovascular effects of stress related to marital separation, reports a study in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society.

The effects of obesity on cognitive decline in middle-aged and older African Americans
Despite the fact that more African Americans are affected by obesity and dementia than other individuals, few studies have examined the link between obesity and dementia among African Americans.

Archaeogeneticist pinpoints Indian population origins using today's populace
PhD student Marina Silva identifies the origins of Indian populations comprising migrating humans from Africa, Iran and Central Asia over a period of 50,000 years.

Ancient proteins studied in detail
How did protein interactions arise and how have they developed?

Cannabis reverses aging processes in the brain
Memory performance decreases with increasing age. Cannabis can reverse these ageing processes in the brain.

Lubing up industry, the natural way
Sesame oil might make a viable and sustainable alternative to mineral oil as an industrial lubricant, according to research published in the International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology.

Consumers are willing to pay $4,900 extra for a car that drives itself
The average consumer would be willing to pay $4,900 more for a car that had self-driving technologies, and $3,500 more for crash avoidance, according to a new study published in Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.

SPECT/CT combined with fluorescence imaging detects micrometastases
Researchers in The Netherlands have demonstrated that combining SPECT/CT and fluorescence imaging could help surgeons differentiate tumor tissue from normal tissue.

Rice U. unveils dual-channel biological function generator
Rice University bioengineers who specialize in creating tools for synthetic biology have unveiled the latest version of their 'biofunction generator and bioscilloscope,' an optogenetic platform that uses light to activate and study two biological circuits at a time.

Researchers demonstrated violation of Bell's inequality on frequency-bin entangled photon pairs
Making use of a specifically-developed slow light technique to reduce the velocity of light dramatically, researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology implemented a Bell Test and were able to generate frequency-bin entangled narrowband biphotons from spontaneous four-wave mixing (SFWM) in cold atoms with a double-path configuration, where the phase difference between the two spatial paths can be controlled independently and nonlocally.

Ultrasound for children with broken arms: Accurate, faster, less painful than X-rays
Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) assessment of distal forearm injuries in children is accurate, timely, and associated with low levels of pain and high caregiver satisfaction.

Statins may benefit cirrhotic patients with hepatitis B or C infections
Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) can lead to cirrhosis as well as liver cancer.

Maternal and paternal cooperation
Researchers disprove the assumption that parents conflict with one another during a plant's embryonic development.

Caution: Energy drinks put individuals with genetic heart condition at risk
Scientists in Australia have now assessed the risk of cardiac events following consumption of energy drinks in patients diagnosed with congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) that can cause rapid, irregular heartbeat that can lead to sudden death.

Police training program in age-related health helps better serve older adults
A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports that most police officers receive little to no training in aging-related health concerns, and that promising approaches to such training can improve how officers can help older adults in their communities when they're called to offer assistance. 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