Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 18, 2017
Fake caterpillar study reveals global pattern in predation
A new Oxford University collaboration revealing the world's prime insect predation hotspots, achieved its landmark findings using an unusual aid: plasticine 'dummy caterpillars.' The new study published in Science has revealed a global pattern of predation on insect herbivores.

Women drive quest for insights into painful infertility condition
Women with endometriosis -- a common and painful disease linked to infertility -- have called for more studies to understand its causes and find a possible cure.

Water efficiency in rural areas is getting worse, even as it improves in urban centers
A nationwide analysis of water use over the past 30 years finds that there is a disconnect between rural and urban areas, with most urban areas becoming more water efficient and most rural areas becoming less and less efficient over time.

The 'reality' of virtual reality pornography
How the latest digital technology could blur the line between reality and fantasy, pushing the dangers of porn to a whole new level.

Zinc effects on common cold duration illustrate problems of routine statistical analyses
Two randomized trials that examined the effects of zinc lozenges for the duration of common cold symptoms found that colds were shortened on average by 4.0 days and by 1.77 days.

FDA-approved drug helps treat rare immunologic disease, study finds
Adding the injectable drug mepolizumab to standard treatment for eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA), a rare immunologic disease, significantly improved clinical outcomes among participants in an advanced clinical trial, scientists report.

Fine-tuning dosage of mutant genes unleashes long-trapped yield potential in tomato plant
A team of plant geneticists at CSHL demonstrates how bringing together beneficial traits in agricultural breeding can have negative consequences.

Gang members, domestic extremists vastly different, says CU Boulder study
Domestic extremists tend to be much older, better educated, more affluent, more religious, and are more likely to be white than street gang members, according to a sweeping new University of Colorado Boulder study that systematically compares the groups for the first time.

Climate stabilization: Planting trees cannot replace cutting CO2 emissions
Growing plants and then storing the CO2 they have taken up from the atmosphere is no viable option to counteract unmitigated emissions from fossil fuel burning, a new study shows.

Want to avoid predators? Head to the poles
The pressure of predation increases towards lower latitudes and elevations, a new study modeling herbivore arthropods across the globe finds.

Researchers discover first human antibodies that work against all ebolaviruses
After analyzing the blood of a survivor of the 2013-16 Ebola outbreak, a team of scientists from academia, industry and the government has discovered the first natural human antibodies that can neutralize and protect animals against all three major disease-causing ebolaviruses.

Study reveals recommendations for certifying emotional support animals
Little consensus exists when it comes to the certification of 'emotional support animals' (ESAs).

Tooth truth
Researchers have developed a new method to read imperfections in teeth caused by a lack of sunlight, creating a powerful tool to trace events ranging from human evolution and migration out of Africa to the silent damage of vitamin D deficiency that continues to affect 1 billion worldwide.

A recipe for concrete that can withstand road salt deterioration
Engineers have known for some time that calcium chloride salt, commonly used as deicer, reacts with the calcium hydroxide in concrete to form a chemical byproduct that causes roadways to crumble.

Brain fights West Nile Virus in unexpected way
A biochemical self-destruct trigger found in many types of cells takes on a different role in brain cells infected with West Nile virus.

Antibodies from Ebola survivor protect mice and ferrets against related viruses
Researchers funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, have studied the blood of an Ebola survivor, searching for human antibodies that might effectively treat people infected with Ebola virus and those infected with related viruses.

Newly discovered brain network offers clues to social cognition
By studying rhesus monkeys, researchers have identified a brain network dedicated to processing social interactions -- a discovery that offers tantalizing clues to the origins of our ability to understand what other people are thinking.

Untangling the genetic legacy of tomato domestication
Favorable mutations that went along with increased fruit size and other beneficial traits in tomato plants do not always play well together.

Study estimates number of US women living with metastatic breast cancer
A new study shows that the number of women in the United States living with distant metastatic breast cancer, the most severe form of the disease, is growing.

Keeping young women's weight gain to less than 800g/year could help prevent progression from healthy weight to overweight and obesity
New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Porto, Portugal (May 17-20) shows that rates of weight gain are established by the time women are 18-23 years old.

Tiny bite marks reveal a global pattern in predation
A new study deploys 'dummy caterpillars' across the world to reveal predation hotspots -- and who is behind them.

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst
Nanoscale stretching or compressing significantly boost the performance of ceria, a material widely used in catalytic converters and clean-energy technologies, Stanford scientists report.

New tools safeguard census data about where you live and work
New methods enable people to learn as much as possible from census data for policy-making and funding decisions, while guaranteeing that no one can trace the data back to your household or business.

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries
Rice University scientists build high-capacity lithium metal batteries with anodes made of a graphene-carbon nanotube hybrid.

Deaths from Chagas disease under-reported
Chagas disease, affecting millions of people in Central and South America, is classified as one of the 17 most important neglected diseases by the World Health Organization.

NIH researchers identify key regulator of fetal growth in mice
A protein called ZFP568 regulates an important fetal growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2), according to a mouse study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

There's more to attraction than what meets the eye
Attractiveness isn't just a matter of good looks, but also the right voice and scent, highlights a mini review in Frontiers in Psychology.

Towards more effective therapies to fight breast cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common in women in Italy and in the world.

Mouse study looks at safety of stem cell therapy for early menopause
Now that we know that egg-making stem cells exist in adults and that these cells can be transplanted into mice with premature ovarian failure to produce offspring, the next question is to assess whether the offspring from an adult mouse are normal compared to natural births.

GIS -- a powerful tool to be used with caution
A recent study, published in Open Archaeology, provides a new perspective on the severe impacts of escalating climate change on the heritage resources of Canadian Arctic.

Life in the Precambrian may have been much livelier than previously thought
An interdisciplinary study suggests that the strange creatures which lived in the Garden of the Ediacaran more than 540 million years ago before animals came on the scene may have been much more dynamic than experts have thought.

New coral reef fish species shows rare parental care behavior
The vast majority of coral reef fish produce large numbers of young that disperse into the ocean as larvae, drifting with the currents before settling down on a reef.

Study finds association between father's pre-conception vitamin D intake and child height and weight at 5 years old
New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Porto, Portugal (May 17-20) shows that a father's vitamin D intake pre-conception is associated with his child's height and weight at five years old.

Deconstructing osmosis provides insight for medical and industrial use
New research into osmosis-driven behavior now provides a more granular theoretical understanding of the deterministic mechanisms, appearing as a pair of publications this week in The Journal of Chemical Physics.

Mechanisms behind sensory deficits in Parkinson's disease
Although Parkinson's disease is often associated with motor symptoms such as stiffness, poor balance and trembling, the first symptoms are often sensory and include a reduced sense of touch and smell.

Among Wall Street analysts, men benefit more from their networks than women
Male analysts on Wall Street benefit more from their networks than women.

Eating more fruits and vegetables may lower risk of blockages in leg arteries
Eating three or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day may lower your risk of developing blockages in leg arteries.

MOFs provide a better way to remove water from gas
A breakthrough in generating water-stable metal-organic frameworks allows efficient removal of water from gases.

Teacher racial bias matters more for students of color
English and math teachers underestimate the academic abilities of students of color, which in turn has an impact on students' grades and academic expectations, finds a new study by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Warm-bloodedness possibly much older than previously thought
Warm-bloodedness in land animals could have developed in evolution much earlier than previously thought.

Customized, frequent emails show promise in tobacco cessation
Smokers who received frequent, tailored emails with quitting tips, motivational messages, and social support had cessation rates rivaling that of the most effective medication available for cessation.

How enzymes communicate
Freiburg scientists explain the cell mechanism that transforms electrical signals into chemical ones.

UCI scientists find evolution in butterfly eye dependent on sex
By analyzing both the genes that control color detecting photoreceptors and the structural components of the eye itself, University of California, Irvine evolutionary biologists have discovered male and female butterflies of one particular species have the unique ability to see the world differently from each another because of sex-related evolutionary traits.

This gene variant reduces the risk of severe malaria by 40 percent
Researchers have identified gene variants present in some subpopulations of Africans that help these individuals ward off severe malaria.

Advancing next-generation batteries towards 4S: Stable, safe, smart, sustainable
Next-generation batteries such as Li-S have been reviving in both the academic and the industry because of their great potential in extending the range of electric vehicles and lowering the battery costs.

Neurological events with TAVI and surgical valve replacement in intermediate-risk patients
EuroPCR 2017, Paris, France: Patients at intermediate risk for surgery have lower risk of early neurological complications including stroke with transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) than with surgical aortic valve replacement, showed results reported for the first time at EuroPCR 2017 from the large, randomized SURTAVI (Surgical Replacement and Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) trial.

First European randomized trial of PCI vs. optimized medical therapy in CTO
EuroPCR 2017, Paris, France: Revascularization with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) achieves a high success rate with low procedural risk in patients with coronary chronic total occlusion, show results reported at EuroPCR 2017 from the first European randomized trial to compare PCI with optimized medical therapy in this group of patients.

Study compares different measures of body fat for predicting kidney function decline
In a new study, a higher amount of body fat was linked with an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Control mechanism unveiled for gene that causes Opitz syndrome
Opitz G/BBB (Opitz) syndrome is a hereditary disorder that affects people in different ways, causing malformations in medial (midline) organs and structures, intellectual disability and developmental disorders.

Region in brain found to be associated with fear of uncertain future
People who struggle to cope with uncertainty or the ambiguity of potential future threats may have an unusually large striatum, an area of the brain already associated with general anxiety disorder, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Measuring the human impact of weather
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has announced today world records for the highest reported historical death tolls from tropical cyclones, tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms.

New algorithm tracks neurons in bendy brain of freely crawling worm
Scientists at Princeton University have developed a new algorithm to track neurons in the brain of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans while it crawls.

A neural explanation for 'monkey see, monkey do'
Researchers have identified a neural circuit in primates that is exclusively devoted to the analysis of social interactions, like grooming, playing, and fighting.

Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
It's a fat-burning secret anyone interested in bone health should know.

The Charlie Sheen effect on HIV testing
On Nov. 17, 2015, actor Charlie Sheen publicly disclosed he was HIV-positive on NBC's Today Show.

Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs
Using neutron crystallography, a Los Alamos research team has mapped the three-dimensional structure of a protein that breaks down polysaccharides, such as the fibrous cellulose of grasses and woody plants, a finding that could help bring down the cost of creating biofuels.

Scientists perform first-principles simulation of transition of plasma edge to H-mode
PPPL physicists have simulated the spontaneous transition of turbulence at the edge of a fusion plasma to the high-confinement mode that sustains fusion reactions.

Researchers create a T-shirt that monitors the wearer's breathing rate in real time
Researchers at Université Laval's Faculty of Science and Engineering and its Center for Optics, Photonics, and Lasers have created a smart T-shirt that monitors the wearer's respiratory rate in real time.

Deadly flower power? Imported tulip bulbs spread anti-fungal resistance
Tulip and narcissus bulbs imported into Ireland from the Netherlands may be acting as vehicles for the international spread of a drug-resistant fungus -- with potentially fatal consequences.

Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables could cut obesity risk
Pro-vegetarian diets (with a higher consumption of plant-based foods compared to animal-based foods) could provide substantial protection against obesity, according to new research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Porto, Portugal.

New comprehensive national database advances gun policy research
While the number of firearms' laws has nearly doubled in the US in the last 26 years, the increase has not been consistent, with some states even decreasing the number of laws, leading to an increasing disparity in the scope of laws potentially impacting violence, according to new research led by the Boston University School of Public Health.

FSU study reports encouraging trend in infant mortality
Eighteen states are on track to eliminate racial disparities in infant mortality by the year 2050 if current trends hold, according to a newly published paper from researchers at Florida State University's College of Medicine.

Know thyself to understand others
Through targeted training, people can be guided to develop a better inner awareness about their own mental states, and to have a better understanding of the mental state of others.

World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world
Researchers pave way towards integration of 3-D holography into electronics like smart phones, computers and TVs, with development of nano-hologram 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.

Low self-esteem partners create their own regret in relationship sacrifices
People with low self-esteem end up regretting sacrifices they make, big or small, in relationships because they do not feel appreciated or supported by their partner.

How the injured brain tells the body it's hurt
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have identified a new way that cells in the brain alert the rest of the body to recruit immune cells when the brain is injured.

Photocatalyst makes hydrogen production 10 times more efficient
Hydrogen is an alternative source of energy that can be produced from renewable sources of sunlight and water.

Molecular Lego for nanoelectronics
The ability to assemble electronic building blocks consisting of individual molecules is an important objective in nanotechnology.

ALMA eyes icy ring around young planetary system
ALMA has made the first complete millimeter-wavelength image of the ring of dusty debris surrounding the young star Fomalhaut.

How GMOs are, or are not, regulated (video)
Though most scientists say GMOs are safe, the products still face fierce opposition from critics.

Members of the University of Seville discover neural stem cells can become blood vessels
Mother cells from the adult carotid body can transform into blood vessels, as well as into neurons.

Study: Consumers see much greater risk than reward in online ads
The risks far outweigh the benefits for most consumers in their response to personalized online ads, known as online behavioral advertising, suggests a study by University of Illinois advertising professor Chang-Dae Ham.

Study finds history of Titan's landscape resembles that of Mars, not Earth
In a paper published in Science, researchers report that Titan, like Mars but unlike Earth, has not undergone any active plate tectonics in its recent past.

Scientists describe origins of topographic relief on Titan
Fluid erosion has carved river networks in at least three bodies in our solar system in the form of water on Earth and Mars and liquid hydrocarbons on Titan.

Studies link healthy brain aging to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the blood
Two new studies link patterns of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the blood to the integrity of brain structures and cognitive abilities that are known to decline early in aging.

Cystic fibrosis study offers new understanding of silent changes in genes
Researchers studying the root cause of cystic fibrosis have made a major advance in our understanding of silent gene changes with implications for the complexity of cystic fibrosis.

Even non-migratory birds use a magnetic compass
Not only migratory birds use a built-in magnetic compass to navigate correctly.

Gene study sheds light on causes of childhood sight loss
A genetic mutation that contributes to sight loss in children has been identified by scientists.

Obesity is in the eye of the beholder
Doctors have a specific definition of what it means to be overweight or obese, but in the social world, gender, race and generation matter a lot for whether people are judged as 'thin enough' or 'too fat.'

Natural resistance to malaria linked to variation in human red blood cell receptors
Researchers have discovered that protection from the most severe form of malaria is linked with natural variation in human red blood cell genes.

NASA mission uncovers a dance of electrons in space
NASA's MMS mission studies how electrons spiral and dive around the planet in a complex dance dictated by the magnetic and electric fields, and a new study revealed a bizarre new type of motion exhibited by these electrons.

First-ever global study finds massive health care inequity
A first-ever global study finds massive inequity of access to and quality of health care among and within countries, and concludes people are dying from causes with well-known treatments.

3-D-printed polymer stents grow with pediatric patients and biodegrade over time
A new study demonstrates proof-of-concept for combining computational design and simulation tools with 3-D printing technology to produce self-expandable polymer stents that can grow with pediatric patients, are biodegradable, and require only a minimally-invasive procedure for implantation.

Camera-equipped drones preserve framing when shooting video
At the International Conference on Robotics and Automation later this month, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and ETH Zurich will present a system that allows a director to specify a shot's framing -- which figures or faces appear where, at what distance.

NYSCF announces robust, high-throughput protocol for deriving microglia from human stem cells
Scientists from the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute have developed a robust, efficient method for deriving microglia, the immune cells of the brain, from human stem cells.

NIH/NINDS: Researchers connect brain blood vessel lesions to intestinal bacteria
study in mice and humans suggests that bacteria in the gut can influence the structure of the brain's blood vessels, and may be responsible for producing malformations that can lead to stroke or epilepsy.

Diagnostic biomarkers in saliva show promise in recognizing early Alzheimer's disease
Your spit may hold a clue to future brain health.

Hubble spots moon around third largest dwarf planet
Astronomers uncovered a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, 2007 OR10, in the frigid outskirts of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt.

Worse pain outcomes after knee replacement for patients who took opioids before surgery
Six months after knee replacement surgery, pain outcomes were not as good for patients who previously took prescription opioids, according to a study in the May 17 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Deciphering the fluid floorplan of a planet
An assessment of ancient drainage systems on Earth, Mars and Titan provides new insights into the topography-generating mechanisms on planetary bodies.

Data sharing can offer help in science's reproducibility crisis
Criticism that researchers in the psychological and brain sciences are failing to reproduce studies -- a key step in the scientific method -- may have more to do with the complexity of managing data, rather than an attempt to hide methods and results, according to researchers.

Using seaweed to kill invasive ants
Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have developed an inexpensive, biodegradable, seaweed-based ant bait that can help homeowners and farmers control invasive Argentine ant populations.

Using graphene to create quantum bits
EPFL researchers have developed a quantum capacitor based on graphene, which has multiple applications.

Imaging from UK biobank participants shows that people with higher internal organ fat and thigh muscle fat spend more nights in hospital
New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Porto, Portugal (May 17-20) shows that middle-aged people who spend the most nights in hospital (and thus have the highest healthcare burden) have on average much higher levels of visceral fat (internal fat that surrounds their organs) and fat within their thigh muscles than those who spend no nights in hospital.

Research shows the impact of invasive plants can linger long after eradication
A new study featured in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management shows the impact of weedy invaders can linger for years.

Predators are real lowlifes
By deploying green clay caterpillar models across six continents, researchers unmasked an important global pattern.

Opioid use before knee replacement surgery results in worse pain outcomes for patients
A team of investigators found patients who had higher pain catastrophising, the degree of an exaggerated, negative response to pain, were more likely to take opioids for pain relief.

Sensors detect disease markers in breath
A small, thin square of an organic plastic that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in a building's air could soon be the basis of portable, disposable sensor devices.

Love hormone is released during crises
Partners who were more invested in a relationship released more oxytocin when they thought about their relationship than the less invested partner did.

Engineering heart valves for the many
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the University of Zurich announced today a cross-institutional team effort to generate a functional heart valve replacement with the capacity for repair, regeneration, and growth.

Monash discovery may help unlock the key to infertility in older women
Findings from new research led by the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and University College London may finally resolve, and potentially provide answers, as to why older women have higher incidences of miscarriage and have babies with chromosomal abnormalities.

In a neutron-rich tin nucleus, electromagnetism can win over the strong force
In a recent experiment performed at the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory at RIKEN, an international collaboration with scientists from eleven countries, led by scientists of the Instituto de Estructura de la Materia, CSIC (Spain) and the RIKEN Nishina Center (Japan), made a very surprising observation: High-energy gamma rays -- which are mediated by the electromagnetic force -- are emitted in the decay of a certain excited nucleus -- tin 133, in competition with neutron emission, the decay mode mediated by the strong nuclear force.

Study suggests using a mindfulness approach helps weight loss
New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Porto, Portugal (May 17-20) suggests using a mindfulness approach is an effective way to aid weight loss.

Comprehensive cancer study assesses potential targets for personalized medicine and finds new ones
A comprehensive approach confirmed molecular changes in cancer cells most likely involved in the development of the disease and discovered others that had not been typically linked to cancer before.

New study helps solve a great mystery in the organization of our DNA
After decades of research aiming to understand how DNA is organized in human cells, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have shed new light on this mysterious field by discovering how a key protein helps control gene organization.

Being overweight in childhood may heighten lifetime risk of depression
New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity suggests that being overweight, especially from a young age, may substantially increase the lifetime risk of major depression.

Cancer prevention & early detection, 2017-2018
A new report assess cancer prevention measures in the United States and finds while there have been improvements in some areas, the use of potentially lifesaving measures is suboptimal.

Nanophysics: Saving energy with a spot of silver
Tomorrow's computers will run on light, and gold nanoparticle chains show much promise as light conductors.

Phosphorene-like SiS and SiSe: Promising anode materials for sodium-ion batteries
Seeking for appropriate anode materials is crucial for the development of sodium-ion batteries.

100-year-old fertility technique reduces need for IVF
Infertile couples have a major opportunity to achieve a successful pregnancy without the need for IVF, thanks to new research into a 100-year-old medical technique.

Antarctica 'greening' due to climate change
Plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change, scientists have found.

Antarctic has seen widespread change in last 50 years, moss study reveals
In 2013, researchers studying mosses and microbes growing at the southern end of the Antarctic Peninsula documented unprecedented ecological change over the last 50 years, driven by warming temperatures.

Flat Antarctica
Temperatures in the Arctic are increasing twice as fast as in the rest of the globe, while the Antarctic is warming at a much slower rate. 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