Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 10, 2017
Common sweetener in low-cal foods also a marker for weight gain
A new study has identified the sugar alcohol erythritol as a biomarker for increasing fat mass.

Laser, sound waves provide live views of organs in action
Biomedical engineers are now able to take a live, holistic look at the inner workings of a small animal with enough resolution to see active organs, flowing blood, circulating melanoma cells and firing neural networks.

Hospitals must be prepared for ransomware attacks
Hospitals need to be prepared for ransomware attacks, warns a doctor in The BMJ today.

Postmenopausal hormone therapy associated with higher risk of hearing loss
Use of postmenopausal hormone therapy was associated with higher risk of hearing loss, and the risk tended to increase with longer duration of use.

Observatories combine to crack open the Crab Nebula
Astronomers have produced a highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula, by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum.

NASA spots Eastern Pacific season's earliest first tropical storm in satellite era
The first tropical storm in the Eastern Pacific Ocean has formed west of Costa Rica as NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP Satellite passed overhead.

New breakthrough makes it easier to turn old coffee waste into cleaner biofuels
Future Americano, cappuccino and latte drinkers could help produce the raw material for a greener biofuel that would reduce our reliance on diesel from fossil fuels.

Cosmetic makers bottle bacteria for beautiful skin
Cosmetic companies have started developing and selling products designed to harness the skin microbiome to help treat a range of skin conditions from acne to eczema.

Our taste in movies is highly idiosyncratic -- and at odds with critics' preferences
Our taste in movies is notably idiosyncratic, and not linked to the demographic traits that studios target, finds new study on film preferences.

Can the motion of checking your smartwatch charge it?
Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) are small devices that convert movement into electricity, and might just be what bring us into an era of energy-harvesting clothes and implants.

Mandatory headwear does not influence surgical site infections
Surgical site infections are noteworthy and costly health complications. Patients with infections are likely to stay longer an intensive care unit and a hospital.

Proving Einstein right using the most sensitive Earth rotation sensors ever made
Einstein's theory of gravity predicts that a rotating body, such as Earth, partially drags inertial frames along with its rotation.

Trigger for autoimmune disease identified
Researchers at National Jewish Health have identified a trigger for autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Uncovering the answer to an age-old question: How do snowflakes form?
New research led by a Tufts University chemist has shed new light on ice crystal formation by combining an electron backscatter with a large single crystal ice model.

How cells combat Salmonella
With drug resistance being on the rise worldwide, bacterial infections pose one of the greatest global threats to human health.

Do red Smarties make you happier? 'Live the trial' class debunks the myth
A test to assess the effect of red Smarties on happiness has been used to teach the often 'dull' or 'boring' concepts of clinical research.

Study: Access to long-lasting contraception after childbirth lags behind demand
Before leaving the hospital after childbirth, more women are opting to check one thing off their list: birth control.

Wavy energy potential patterns from scattering nuclei reveal hidden information
Anomalies occur at sub-atomic scale, as nuclei collide and scatter off into each other -- an approach used to explore the properties of atomic nuclei.

Targeted, high-energy cancer treatments get a supercomputing boost
Radiation therapy shoots high-energy particles into the body to destroy or damage cancer cells, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue.

Scientists unveil the UK's largest resource of human stem cells from healthy donors
Reported in Nature today, one of the largest sets of high quality human induced pluripotent stem cell lines from healthy individuals has been produced by a consortium involving the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Decrease in the number of fatalities, but great power involvement worries researchers
According to new data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), the number of fatalities in organized violence decreased for the second consecutive year in 2016.

Estimating the size of animal populations from camera trap surveys
Camera traps are a useful means to observe the behaviour of animal populations in the wild at remote locations.

CCNY, TechnoVax translational research leads to potential Zika virus vaccine
Preclinical results of research by City College of New York scientists and TechnoVax, Inc. in animal models demonstrate favorable outcomes in developing a vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

A protein, a 'molecular staple' and CRISPR to develop an Ewing sarcoma model
A team from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has optimized a system capable of generating a cellular model of Ewing sarcoma.

Molecular imaging reveals mechanism for resistance to immune checkpoint blockade
A study from Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has identified a surprising mechanism for resistance to immune checkpoint blockade.

Image release: Telescopes team up for dramatic new look at the crab nebula
Multiwavelength image with VLA, Spitzer, Hubble, XMM-Newton, and Chandra observatories shows the 'whole picture' of the famous Crab Nebula supernova remnant, and provides astronomers with new insights into the object's complex physics.

Study finds worsening outcomes in service members 5 years after mild blast-induced concussion
According to a new study in JAMA Neurology, US military service members who endured a mild concussion after blast injury while deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan may continue to experience mental health symptoms as well as decreases in quality of life for at least five years after their injury.

African lions face same threats as extinct Ice Age ancestors
The extinction trends that caused the demise of several Ice Age species, including many of the sabre-toothed family, may be a threat to wildlife today and particularly to the African lion, a new Oxford University research collaboration has revealed.

Research links genetics to early-onset pancreatitis in pediatric patients
A study published today in The Journal of Pediatrics suggests that early-onset pancreatitis in children is strongly associated with certain genetic mutations and family history of pancreatitis.

Quit-smoking drug safe for patients with lung disease, study finds
Medication that helps smokers to quit is safe for use by people with chronic lung conditions, research led by the Universities of Edinburgh and Dusseldorf suggests.

3-D-printed 'bionic skin' could give robots the sense of touch
Engineering researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a revolutionary process for 3-D printing stretchable electronic sensory devices that could give robots the ability to feel their environment.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Donna shearing apart
NASA's Terra satellite captured an infrared image of Tropical Cyclone Donna as it was being sheared apart by winds southeast of New Caledonia.

Pet dogs help kids feel less stressed, study finds
Pet dogs provide valuable social support for kids when they're stressed, according to a study by researchers from the University of Florida, who were among the first to document stress-buffering effects of pets for children.

African lions under same threats as extinct sabre-toothed tigers faced
African lions are under the same threats extinct sabre-toothed tigers faced.

Genome sequence of fuel-producing alga announced
The genome of the fuel-producing green microalga Botryococcus braunii has been sequenced by a team of researchers led by a group at Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Virtual support groups help grieving spouses with depression
For older adults who can't attend a grief support group after losing a spouse, a virtual version may be effective, helping with loneliness, stress, sleep problems and depressive symptoms, University of Arizona research found.

Proteins on the loose in a rare childhood disease
Australian scientists have shown, for the first time, that a family of untethered proteins builds up in the cells of children with a rare and serious genetic condition, known as mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD).

Sugar or protein? How fruit fly brains control what they choose to eat
Using fruit flies, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have identified a specific and very small set of brain cells -- dubbed dopamine wedge neurons -- responsible for driving the insects' food preferences toward what they need, rather than what they like.

Rising temperatures threaten stability of Tibetan alpine grasslands
A warming climate could affect the stability of alpine grasslands in Asia's Tibetan Plateau, threatening the ability of farmers and herders to maintain the animals that are key to their existence, and potentially upsetting the ecology of an area in which important regional river systems originate, says a new study by researchers in China and the United States.

Live interactions with robots increase their perceived human likeness
A recent study by researchers at the University of Koblenz-Landau, University of Wurzburg, and Arts Electronica Futurelab, found that people who watched live interactions with a robot were more likely to consider the robot to have more human-like qualities.

Scientists identify novel technique to build better vaccine adjuvants
A study published this week in mBio demonstrates that a novel technique can be used to build better vaccines for infectious diseases.

Study reveals a new method to address a major barrier to eradicating HIV
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes discovered that an enzyme called SMYD2 could be a new therapeutic target for flushing out the HIV that hides in infected individuals.

High levels of exercise linked to 9 years of less aging at the cellular level
Despite their best efforts, no scientist has ever come close to stopping humans from aging.

Tumor-dwelling immune cells thwart cancer immunotherapy
Researchers have caught tumor-associated immune cells called macrophages in the act of stealing checkpoint inhibitor antibodies away from their intended T cell targets, and blocking this thievery led to improved therapeutic responses in tumor-bearing mice.

Penn study finds relationship between common brain disease and gut microbiome
Bacteria in the gut microbiome drive the formation of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs), clusters of dilated, thin-walled blood vessels in the brain that can cause stroke and seizures.

Astrophysicists find that planetary harmonies around TRAPPIST-1 save it from destruction
U of T astrophysicists create a digital symphony to highlight the unique configuration of the recently discovered TRAPPIST-1 system.

Microdevice provides novel method of measuring cell mechanical properties
Researchers from Kumamoto University in Japan have developed a new method of measuring the Young's modulus of a cell.

Gene-delivery system prevents vision loss from inherited eye disease
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed gene-carrying nanoparticles that home in on target cells and prevent vision loss in mice with a human form of Leber congenital amaurosis.

Climate change could increase ER visits for allergy-related asthma
More children could wind up in hospital emergency rooms suffering from allergy-induced asthma if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and cause longer oak pollen seasons, according to a new study.

Scientists help thin-film ferroelectrics go extreme
Scientists have created the first-ever polarization gradient in thin-film ferroelectrics, greatly expanding the range of functional temperatures for a key material used in a variety of everyday applications.

At last: Beautiful, consistent carbon belts
Chemists have tried to synthesize carbon nanobelts for more than 60 years, but none have succeeded until now.

Training surgeons to teach the public is effective in advancing bleeding control knowledge
Training surgeons in bleeding control techniques so that they can in turn train the general public is an effective way to disseminate bleeding control knowledge and teach skills, according to study findings published on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website.

Women in East Germany will be more likely to die from smoking than those in West Germany
Due to a silent but dramatic increase in the number of young East German women smoking after reunification, their death rates are forecasted to exceed those in the West within the next few decades according to forecasts up to the year 2036 by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock.

Researchers develop software to convene rapid, on-demand 'flash organizations'
Flash organizations are a new crowdsourcing technique that enables anyone to assemble an entire organization from a paid crowdsourcing marketplace and lead that organization in pursuit of complex, open-ended goals.

NIST physicists find a way to control charged molecules -- with quantum logic
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) physicists have solved the seemingly intractable puzzle of how to control the quantum properties of individual charged molecules, or molecular ions.

New light sensing molecule discovered in the fruit fly brain
Six biological pigments called rhodopsins play well-established roles in light-sensing in the fruit fly eye.

New method can selectively remove micropollutants from water
Engineers at MIT and in Germany develop a new way to get toxic micropollutants, including pesticides and pharmaceuticals, out of water.

Dread of roses: Neurobehavioral effects found in children exposed to flower pesticides
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Ecuador and Minnesota, have found altered short-term neurological behaviors in children associated with a peak pesticide spraying season linked to the Mother's Day flower harvest.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Ella affecting American Samoa
NASA's Terra satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Ella in the Southern Pacific Ocean and visible light imagery on May 9 revealed thick bands of thunderstorms over the islands of American Samoa.

Internet of things made simple: One sensor package does work of many
Ubiquitous sensors seem almost synonymous with the internet of things (IoT), but some Carnegie Mellon University researchers say ubiquitous sensing -- with a single, general purpose sensor for each room -- may be better.

New 3-D printing method promises vastly superior medical implants for millions
For the millions of people every year who have or need medical devices implanted, a new advancement in 3D printing technology developed at the University of Florida promises significantly quicker implantation of devices that are stronger, less expensive, more flexible and more comfortable than anything currently available.

Ongoing natural selection against damaging genetic mutations in humans
Investigators report that, as a species, humans are able to keep the accumulation of damaging mutations in check because each additional mutation that's added to a genome causes larger, and larger consequences, decreasing an individual's ability to pass on genetic material.

Thirsty seeds reach for medicine cabinet
Scientists have found that salicylic acid -- also used to make aspirin -- can help the cowpea be more drought tolerant.

Stem cell vaccine found to increase immune responses, inhibit tumors in animal models
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that a cancer stem cell vaccine, engineered to express a pro-inflammatory protein called interleukin-15 (IL-15) and its receptor (IL-15Ralpha), caused T cell production in animal models and enhanced immune responses against tumors.

Making volunteer-based legislatures work: Overcoming barriers for gender equality
A Dartmouth-led study finds that volunteer-based state legislatures by their very nature, may perpetuate gender inequality in political representation.

Study beefs up support for brain cells that control protein hunger
Have you ever found yourself craving a steak or a burger?

Engineering human stem cells to model the kidney's filtration barrier on a chip
A team at Harvard's Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering now reports an approach in Nature Biomedical Engineering, which enables the differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into mature podocytes with more than 90 percent efficiency.

Antibiotic breakthrough: Team discovers how to overcome gram-negative bacterial defenses
Scientists report that they now know how to build a molecular Trojan horse that can penetrate gram-negative bacteria, solving a problem that for decades has stalled the development of effective new antibiotics against these increasingly drug-resistant microbes.

The dark side of helping coworkers
If you show up at work tired, you may want to focus strictly on your own tasks.

Tai chi relieves insomnia in breast cancer survivors
Tai chi relieves insomnia in breast cancer survivors. New research shows that the slow-moving meditation practice -- frequently offered at community centers and libraries -- works just as well as talk therapy, and better than medication.

Program for recovery after surgery linked with decrease in length of hospital stay, postoperative complications
Implementation at 20 hospitals of an enhanced recovery after surgery program among patients undergoing elective colorectal resection or emergency hip fracture repair was associated with decreases in hospital length of stay and postoperative complication rates, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Guiding light
Biologists discover an unexpected role for a light-sensitive receptor protein in the central brain that regulates circadian rhythms.

Enhanced recovery after surgery program at Kaiser Permanente improves surgical outcomes
A comprehensive Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program implemented in Kaiser Permanente's 20 Northern California medical centers involved nearly 9,000 surgical patients and resulted in a one-third relative reduction in postoperative complication rates and a 21 percent reduction in opioid prescribing rates.

Older age at menopause and use of hormone therapy produce increased risk of hearing loss
It has long been suspected that menopause and the use of hormones had a direct effect on hearing.

In brain evolution, size matters -- most of the time
Which came first, overall bigger brains or larger brain regions that control specialized behaviors?

Team uncovers novel epigenetic changes in leukemia
UT Health San Antonio researchers discovered epigenetic changes that contribute to one-fifth of cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive cancer that arises out of the blood-forming cells in bone marrow.

Three-dimensional direction-dependent force measurement at the subatomic scale
Osaka University and collaborators have developed a new atomic force microscopy (AFM) technique that can measure the three-dimensional force fields of atoms.

A defence mechanism that can trap and kill TB bacteria
A natural mechanism by which our cells kill the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis (TB) has been discovered by scientists at the Francis Crick Institute, which could help in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Glaciers rapidly shrinking and disappearing: 50 years of glacier change in Montana
The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S.

First year of grade school sharpens kids' attention skills
The first year of elementary school markedly boosts a child's attentiveness, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Early epigenetic switches associated with childhood bone health
The health of children's bones could be determined before they are born, a new University of Southampton study has shown.

Controlling bacteria's necessary evil
Until now, scientists have only had a murky understanding of how these relationships arise.

Experts argue that obesity is a chronic, relapsing, progressive disease
In a new article, World Obesity Federation experts consider the argument for obesity as a chronic relapsing disease process.

Shelf sediments reveal climate shifts through the eons
Climate change around Antarctica can severely affect Australia's rainfall and even influence the distribution of wet and dry zones across southeast Asia, an international study has revealed.

Penn expert probes possible reasons for loss of smell
Studies have shown that loss of the sense of smell can be among the first warning signs of diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Conservation endocrinology in a changing world
The BioScience Talks podcast ( features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.

Scientists print nanoscale imaging probe onto tip of optical fiber
A team of researchers has developed a way to print a nanoscale imaging probe onto the tip of a glass fiber as thin as a human hair, accelerating the production of the promising new device from several per month to several per day.

A bath for precision printing of 3-D silicone structures
Researchers have developed an oil-based 'bath,' or support system, that facilitates precise 3-D printing of silicon materials in a variety of shapes.

Scientists create unique disease 'catalog' linked to immune system gene variations
A study led by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy has generated the first comprehensive catalog of diseases associated with variations in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes that regulate the body's immune system.

Molecular dynamics simulations reveal chaos in electron transport
Plants are very efficient at turning photons into electrons. But the transport of these electrons is a rather chaotic process, University of Groningen scientists have discovered.

Vitamin D and calcium from food is associated with lower risk of early menopause
A new study led by epidemiologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst's School of Public Health and Health Sciences suggests that high intake of dietary vitamin D and calcium may be modestly associated with lower risk of early menopause, the cessation of ovarian function before age 45.

Study: The family dog could help boost physical activity for kids with disabilities
The family dog could serve as a partner and ally in efforts to help children with disabilities incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

Brain cancer discovery reveals clues in quest for new therapies
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have pinpointed two key molecules that drive the growth of an aggressive type of adult brain cancer.

Nipping flu pandemics in the bud
The threat of a major flu pandemic is a perennial concern.

Loss of spinal nerve fibers not the only cause of disability in multiple sclerosis
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have now sampled spinal cords of thirteen people with MS and five healthy controls, and found that spinal cord cross sectional area is not a good predictor of axonal loss.

Experts advise against surgery for almost all patients with degenerative knee damage
Knee arthroscopy (keyhole surgery to relieve pain and improve movement) should not be performed in almost all patients with degenerative knee disease, say a panel of international experts in The BMJ today.

Mapping reveals reactions differ in male and female brains during cardiovascular activity
A region of the brain that helps to manage body functions including stress, heart rate and blood pressure reacts differently between men and women when presented with certain stimuli, according to a new study from the UCLA School of Nursing.

Fish should figure in to fate of nation's aging dams
As nearly 75 percent of the nation's largest dams approach the high maintenance years, safety and economics figure large in decisions to fix or replace.

The continuum of HIV care: What does it mean and how is Europe doing?
From diagnosis of HIV to successful viral suppression: this new ECDC report summarizes key findings concerning and the Continuum of HIV Care in Europe based on data reported by countries in Europe and Central Asia.

Believing a cocktail contains an energy drink makes you feel more drunk
New research suggests that simply telling a young man that an energy drink has been added to his alcoholic beverage can make him feel more intoxicated, daring and sexually self-confident.

Harnessing geometric frustration to tune batteries for greater power
A new generation of higher-powered batteries for phones and cameras could result from ground-breaking research led by scientists at the University of Kent.

Does HIV infection affect brain connectivity and cognitive performance?
A new study has shown that compared to HIV-negative young adults, those positive for HIV infection with limited or no treatment history had significant disruptions in whole brain structural networks, poorer strength and efficiency of connections, and corresponding reductions in cognitive performance.

ADHD medication associated with reduced risk for motor vehicle crashes
In a study of more than 2.3 million patients in the United States with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), rates of motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) were lower when they had received their medication, according to a new article published by JAMA Psychiatry.

Story of silver birch from genomic big data
Researchers at University of Helsinki, Finland and University at Buffalo, USA have analyzed the evolutionary history of silver birch using big data from the genomes of 150 birches.

Helping clinicians through traumatic events also helps the bottom line, analysis shows
Peer-support program can save close to $2 million annually, according to new study.

New model of plasma stability could help researchers predict and avoid disruptions
PPPL physicists have helped develop a new computer model of plasma stability in doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks.

Biologists identify key step in lung cancer evolution
MIT biologists have identified a major switch that occurs as lung adenomas transition to more aggressive adenocarcinomas -- and that blocking this switch prevents the transition.

Gene sequencing study reveals unusual mutations in endometriosis
Using gene sequencing tools, scientists from Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of British Columbia have found a set of genetic mutations in samples from 24 women with benign endometriosis, a painful disorder marked by the growth of uterine tissue outside of the womb.

Stroke, MS patients walk significantly better with neural stimulation
A research volunteer with MS and another who had suffered a stroke were able to walk significantly better with the aid of neural stimulation systems.

Personalized music may help nursing home residents with dementia
People with dementia living in nursing homes that implemented the MUSIC & MEMORY program were more likely to cease using antipsychotic and antianxiety drugs and engaged in fewer problematic behaviors, according to the first evaluation of the program.

Waves of lava seen in Io's largest volcanic crater
The most active volcanic crater in the solar system, Loki Patera on Jupiter's moon Io, is thought to be a lava lake that periodically brightens because of overturning lava.

'Fingertip touch' clue to human ancestors exploiting treetop environments
Research by scientists at the University of Birmingham suggests that ancestral humans may have been more adept at negotiating unstable arboreal environment than previously thought.

Kids, parents alike worried about privacy with internet-connected toys
University of Washington researchers have conducted a new study that explores the attitudes and concerns of both parents and children who play with internet-connected toys.

The extent of neuronal loss in the brain during MS
A study by researchers from Queen Mary University of London establishes for the first time the extent of neuronal loss in the brain of a person with MS over their life, and finds that demyelination may not be as good an indicator of disease progression as previously thought.

Through a child's eyes: Classroom study measures vision and academic achievement
QUT researchers have investigated how vision can affect a child's ongoing learning, with results showing 30 per cent of Year 3 students tested had uncorrected eye problems that could affect their academic performances.

Computer accurately identifies and delineates breast cancers on digital tissue slides
A deep-learning computer network developed through research led by Case Western Reserve University was 100 percent accurate in determining whether invasive forms of breast cancer were present in whole biopsy slides.

Stretchable hologram can switch between multiple images (video)
The possibility of sending and receiving holographic messages has long tantalized sci-fi fans.

Novel tissue-engineered islet transplant achieves insulin independence in type 1 diabetes
Diabetes Research Institute at University of Miami scientists produced the first clinical results demonstrating that islet cells transplanted within a tissue-engineered platform can successfully engraft and achieve insulin independence in type 1 diabetes.

Yogurt consumption in older Irish adults linked with better bone health
The largest observational study to date of dairy intakes and bone and frailty measurements in older adults has found that increased yogurt consumption was associated with a higher hip bone density and a significantly reduced risk of osteoporosis in older women and men on the island of Ireland, after taking into account traditional risk factors.

Experimental technology monitors and maintains drug levels in the body
A new technology can monitor and maintain the level of drug in the bloodstream of animals. 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