Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 01, 2017
How the Nazis invented nerve agents like sarin (video)
Nerve agents are arguably the most brutal chemical weapons. These infamous compounds, which include sarin gas and VX, originated in Nazi Germany when a chemist was trying to develop a more effective insecticide.

Zinc's negative effects on mineral digestibility can be mitigated, study shows
Researchers at the University of Illinois have shown that a common strategy for reducing postweaning digestive problems in pigs may have negative effects on calcium and phosphorus digestibility, and are suggesting management practices to counteract the effects.

Baby teeth link autism and heavy metals, NIH study suggests
Baby teeth from children with autism contain more toxic lead and less of the essential nutrients zinc and manganese, compared to teeth from children without autism, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

What's powering your devices?
Americans, regardless of whether they're Democrats or Republicans, want to power their homes with renewable energy, according to a new study by Washington State University sociologists.

How the Galapagos cormorant lost its ability to fly
UCLA scientists discovered that changes to the genes that shortened the Galapagos cormorant's wings are the same genes that go awry in a group of human bone disorders characterized by stunted arms and legs.

Why the Galapagos cormorant lost its ability to fly
A new study points to a number of genes that may underlie the loss of flight in the Galapagos cormorant.

Deployment stress impacts well-being through different mental health issues for female and male vets
Experiencing stress-related mental health issues following deployment exposures increases risk of reduced well-being in other life domains in the years following military service for veterans.

Who has better mental health: Public or private college students?
Using Reddit posts as an indicator, researchers found that students at higher-ranked schools have better mental health than those at lower-ranked colleges.

RIT scientists measure black hole's tilt and spin for clues to how massive stars die
RIT scientists working with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration measured and interpreted the spin and alignment of a newly formed black hole detected on Jan.

The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
A clearer picture of how the classic diabetes medication metformin works has emerged.

Rice U. scientists slash computations for deep learning
Rice University computer scientists have adapted a widely used technique for rapid data-lookup to slash the amount of computation -- and thus energy and time -- required for 'deep learning.' The research will be presented in August at the KDD 2017 conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Artificial transpiration for solar water purification
Solar steam and vapor generation is a promising technology for desalination, sterilization and chemical purification.

Gravitational waves detected a third time
On Jan. 4, 2017, an international team of scientists (including representatives from the University of Maryland) observed gravitational waves -- ripples in the fabric of spacetime -- for the third time.

A better dye job for roots -- in plants
Researchers discover chemical dye that reveals how a critical plant hormone helps root growth.

Dual role of fruit fly protein in connecting chromosome copies
Research at Nagoya University has identified a double function for the Drosophila Dmt protein in both establishing and maintaining cohesion whereby identical chromatids pair during DNA replication.

Combined optical and molecular imaging could guide breast-conserving surgery
Breast-conserving surgery is the primary treatment for early-stage breast cancer, but more accurate techniques are needed to assess resection margins during surgery to avoid the need for follow-up surgeries.

Imaging technique for treating heart condition should be more widely used to minimize radiation exposure
A technique to treat an irregular heartbeat that limits or eliminates patients' exposure to radiation should be more widely adopted by physicians, NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine cardiologists argue in a new review article in Heart Rhythm, published in the June print issue and previously published online.

Uncovering why playing a musical instrument can protect brain health
A recent Baycrest study uncovered a crucial piece into why playing a musical instrument can help older adults retain their listening skills and ward off age-related cognitive declines.

Tuberculosis bacterium may undermine immune regulation to drive disease progression
The bacterium that causes tuberculosis -- Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) -- may disrupt human immune system regulation processes to promote destruction of lung tissue, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Is the debate over coral skeletal development finally over?
A long-running debate over how coral skeletons are formed may be closer to resolution, as a new study reports that these structures form by a biologically controlled process, not one driven by chemical processes.

Fred Hutch scientists to discuss new treatments, public health findings at ASCO
Scientists from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will present new findings at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, to be held June 2-6 in in Chicago.

Why was a teenager with bone cancer buried on Witch Hill in Panama?
Likely the first bone tumor from an ancient skeleton in Central America is reported by Smithsonian archaeologists and colleagues.

Scientists give tumor-fighting cells a boost in battling bone marrow cancer
Researchers from Belgium led by Prof. Dirk Elewaut of the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research and the team of Prof.

Breaking Newton's Law
In the quantum world, our intuition for moving objects is strongly challenged and may sometimes even completely fail.

Asthma intervention study points to care and cost benefits
A new study showing how interventions by community pharmacists can help asthma patients achieve better asthma control could have major cost benefits for health services around the world.

Payments linked to higher odds of doctors prescribing certain cancer drugs
In preliminary findings (abstract 6510) that will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting 2017 in Chicago on Saturday, June 3, researchers show that when physicians had to choose between multiple, on-patent drugs for metastatic kidney cancer and chronic myeloid leukemia, they were more likely to prescribe drugs from companies they had received general payments from.

Researchers flip the script on magnetocapacitance
The study demonstrates for the first time a new type of magnetocapacitance, a phenomenon that could be useful in the next generation of 'spintronic' devices.

New insights into how the Zika virus causes microcephaly
Scientists have uncovered why Zika virus may specifically target neural stem cells in the developing brain, potentially leading to microcephaly.

Yale study finds cause of, and possible cure for, genetic skin disorder
Yale scientists have discovered the cause of a disfiguring skin disorder and determined that a commonly used medication can help treat the condition.

New human studies show multiple health benefits from consuming mangos
Emerging human studies on mango consumption have found potential health benefits associated with the superfruit including improved blood pressure, blood sugar control, and gut health.

Muon magnet's moment has arrived
On May 31, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab's accelerators, kicking off a three-year effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field.

NASA sees Tropical Depression 2E moving over Mexican state of Oaxaca
NASA's Aqua satellite analyzed Tropical Depression 2E in infrared, visible and microwave light as it began its landfall on June 1, bringing heavy rains to southern Mexico.

Sensing the nanoscale with visible light, and the fundamentals of disordered waves
A new experiment appearing in Science shows that features that are even 100 times smaller than the wavelength can still be sensed by light.

How to attack Africa's neonatal mortality problem
Giving birth at home is the most significant risk factor for neonatal deaths in major sections of Africa -- a continent that continues to be plagued by the highest neonatal mortality rates in the world, indicates a new study by Michigan State University scholars.

Subsidies promote overfishing and hurt small-scale fishers worldwide
Large-scale fisheries receive about four times more subsidies than their small-scale counterparts, with up to 60 percent of those subsidies promoting overfishing.

Why pot-smoking declines -- but doesn't end -- with parenthood
Adults who smoke marijuana often cut back after becoming parents -- but they don't necessarily quit.

Lupin seeds: Health impairments possible with bitter taste
For several years now, lupin seeds have been used increasingly to produce foods such as gluten-free bakery produce and pasta, as well as diet products for people with milk protein allergies.

A mother's age doesn't matter
A mother's advanced age at childbirth is not the reason for the elevated risks of low birth weight or preterm birth -- such risks may instead be related to individual circumstances and behavioral patterns of the mother.

Religious individuals regret having casual sex only slightly more
Religious and non-religious people regret casual sex about equally. They also regret missing an opportunity for casual sex to about the same degree.

Immune responses from early study of novel sarcoma vaccine
The critical component of an experimental vaccine led to an escalating immune response in patients with sarcoma, an indicator of its potential anti-cancer effects.

Immunology: How ancestry shapes our immune cells
A genetic variant that is particularly prevalent in people of African ancestry confers protection against malaria.

New model deepens understanding of the dynamics of quark-gluon plasmas
Study offers new theoretical approaches to explain and predict high-energy nuclear collisions experiments; Computer simulations performed enabled the researchers to make predictions to test, validate or correct the model.

Delaying meals impacts the sugar levels of the body
In the first human study of its kind, researchers from the University of Surrey discovered that delaying meal times delays the circadian rhythm of sugar in the blood.

Stony corals more resistant to climate change than thought, Rutgers study finds
Stony corals may be more resilient to ocean acidification than once thought, according to a Rutgers University study that shows they rely on proteins to help create their rock-hard skeletons.

Researchers find chromosome cooperation is long-distance endeavor
Multiple genomic elements work cooperatively and over long distances in order to ensure the proper functioning of chromosomes, a team of scientists has found.

Telehealth reduces wait time, improves care for children with autism living in remote areas
Kristin Sohl, director of ECHO Autism, says that the expanding ECHO Autism will help families and children with autism around the world, especially those living in remote areas.

UNH research finds seacoast roads under new threat from rising sea level
Research out of the University of New Hampshire has found that some roads, as far as two miles from the shore, are facing a new hazard that currently cannot be seen by drivers -- rising groundwater caused by increasing ocean water levels.

New teen drivers 3 times as likely to be involved in a deadly crash
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's latest study analyzes crash rates per mile driven for all drivers and found that for every mile on the road, drivers ages 16-17 are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash.

Third gravitational wave detection offers new insight into black holes
An international team of researchers has made a third detection of gravitational waves, ripples in space and time, in a discovery that provides new insights into the mysterious nature of black holes and, potentially, dark matter.

Pollution 'devastating' China's vital ecosystem, research shows
A pioneering new international study, led by the University of Exeter, has looked at the true impact air pollutants have in impeding the local vegetation's ability to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.

Emotions expressed by the dying are unexpectedly positive
Fear of death is a fundamental part of the human experience -- we dread the possibility of pain and suffering and we worry that we'll face the end alone.

New research reveals earliest directly dated rock paintings from southern Africa
Scientists have pioneered a technique to directly date prehistoric rock paintings in southern Africa, which reveal dates much older than previously thought.

How to block type 1 diabetes
Disrupting the AID/RAD51 axis protects nonobese diabetic mice from type 1 diabetes.

Beyond broke bones, CTs also detect frailty and predict survival
Using computed tomography (CT) to evaluate muscle health may help identify optimal treatments for older patients who fall and break their hips, a new study led by radiologists from UC Davis and Wake Forest Baptist medical centers has found.

Ultra-stable perovskite solar cell remains stable for more than a year
EPFL scientists have built a low-cost and ultra-stable perovskite solar cell that has been running at 11.2 percent efficiency for over a year, without loss in performance.

Yale chemists forge a new path in the search for antibiotics
Yale University scientists have developed a novel chemical process that may lead to the creation of a new class of antibiotics.

Get to know the omentum: The apron of fat that protects your abdomen
The quirkiest organ in the human body may be a large sheet of fat that stretches over the intestines, liver, and stomach like an elastic apron.

Public confused by climate change messages
Experts, charities, the media and government confuse the public by speaking 'different languages' on climate change, a new study says.

One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
A detour on the road to regenerative medicine for people with muscular disorders is figuring out how to coax muscle stem cells to fuse together and form functioning skeletal muscle tissues.

Unexpected mechanism behind chronic nerve pain
It has long been assumed that chronic nerve pain is caused by hypersensitivity in the neurons that transmit pain.

Geoscientific evidence for subglacial lakes
During the last glacial period -- when the ice in the Antarctic was far thicker and extended further offshore than it does today -- it has been speculated that subglacial lakes existed beneath it.

'Instantly rechargeable' battery could change the future of electric and hybrid automobiles
A technology developed by Purdue researchers could provide an 'instantly rechargeable' method that is safe, affordable and environmentally friendly for recharging electric and hybrid vehicle batteries through a quick and easy process similar to refueling a car at a gas station.

Delayed meal times reset body clocks
The human body runs according to a roughly 24-hour cycle, controlled by a 'master' clock in the brain and peripheral clocks in other parts of the body that are synchronized according to external cues, including light.

Deep brain stimulation without implants
MIT researchers have developed a method that excites neurons deep within the brain without using the implants required for current deep brain stimulation methods.

Key process for cell division revealed in molecular analysis
Biologists have discovered important details of a vital process that enables cells to divide correctly into two.

Artificial intelligence predicts patient lifespans
A computer's ability to predict a patient's lifespan simply by looking at images of their organs is a step closer to becoming a reality, thanks to new research led by the University of Adelaide.

A new twist on uranium's origin story, by CSU scientists
Colorado State University biogeochemists found biogenic, non-crystalline uranium occurring naturally in a Wyoming roll front, offering new clues to the mineral's origins.

Certain vaginal bacteria render HIV microbicide less effective
Certain types of vaginal bacteria rapidly degrade a medication used to prevent HIV, a study of South African women reveals.

Phagocytes in the brain: Good or bad?
The role of microglial cells in neurodegenerative disease is not fully understood.

HMGB1 may be linked to immunosuppression in patients who survive septic shock
A study published online in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology reveals that in the late stage of sepsis, HMGB1, or the 'high mobility group box 1' protein, might be a target for future therapies because the protein plays a key role in the development of post-sepsis immunosuppression and sepsis-induced dysfunction of neutrophils.

Researchers decipher the enigma of how faces are encoded in the brain
When you look at photos of faces, your brain is able to instantly identify the ones that you know and distinguish among those that you've never seen before.

Cholesterol -- a key player at the lung surface
Cholesterol, a naturally occurring compound at the lung surface, has been shown to have a clear effect on the properties of this nanoscale film that covers the inside of our lungs.

New report calls on federal and state collaboration to address brucellosis transmission
Efforts to control brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) should focus on reducing the risk of transmission from elk, which are now viewed as the primary source of the infection in new cases occurring in cattle and domestic bison, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

In atomic propellers, quantum phenomena can mimic everyday physics
In molecules there are certain groups of atoms that are able to rotate.

Why antibiotics fail
UCSB biologists correct a flaw in the way bacterial susceptibility to these drugs is tested.

A noninvasive method for deep brain stimulation
MIT researchers have developed a way to stimulate regions deep within the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp.

Locked movement in molecular motor and rotor
For a motor to power machinery, the local motion has to be translated into the ordered movement of other parts of the system.

Entangle, swap, purify, repeat: Enhancing connections between distant nodes
Scientists have developed a protocol that enhances quantum entanglement, confirming its effectiveness across a distance of two meters.

Auditory perception: Where microseconds matter
To localize sounds, particularly low-frequency sounds, mammals must perceive minimal differences in the timing of signal reception between the two ears.

Massive craters formed by methane blow-outs from the Arctic sea floor
A new study in Science shows that hundreds of massive, kilometer-wide craters on the ocean floor in the Arctic were formed by substantial methane expulsions.

How do signs of problem gambling differ in men and women?
Men and women experiencing problems with gaming machines (slot machines) display the same signs that their habit is out of control.

Video shows invasive lionfish feasting on new Caribbean fish species
Researchers from the University of Washington and Smithsonian Institution have reported the first observed case of lionfish preying upon a fish species that had not yet been named.

Common class of chemicals cause cancer by breaking down DNA repair mechanisms
A common class of chemicals found everywhere from car exhausts, smoke, building materials and furniture to cosmetics and shampoos could increase cancer risk because of their ability to break down the repair mechanisms that prevent faults in our genes, according to a study published today in the journal Cell.

The art of folding mitochondrial membranes
Oliver Daumke's lab figures out how the inner membranes of mitochondria 'get their groove' and assume the complex shapes they need to carry out crucial cellular functions.

Taking antidepressants during pregnancy not associated with neonatal problems at 2-4 weeks
Babies exposed to an antidepressant or a mood disorder during fetal life did not have any more signs of irritability, difficulty feeding, sleep disturbances and respiratory problems two to four weeks after birth than babies who were not exposed.

Sour taste cells detect water
New research suggests that sour-sensing taste cells also help us detect, or taste, water.

Researchers untangle mystery of tiny bird's trans-Pacific flight
Zoologists have documented the first record of a House Swift in the Americas -- and begun to unravel the mystery of how the tiny bird got from its south-east Asia breeding grounds to British Columbia, Canada.

Revealed: New step in plant mastermind hormone's pathway
Plants have a complex system of hormones that guide their growth and maximize their ability to take advantage of the environment.

2017 hurricane season follows year of extremes
2016 hurricane season started in January and ended 318 days later in late-November.

New consensus document for appropriate use of drug testing in clinical addiction medicine
A new Consensus Document from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) provides practical, evidence-based recommendations on the use of drug testing for identification, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of patients with or at risk for substance use disorders (SUDs).

First analysis of AACR Project GENIE data published
The first analysis of nearly 19,000 de-identified genomic records from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) international data-sharing initiative known as AACR Project Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange (GENIE) was published today in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the AACR.

New approach set to make peptide stapling widely available
UK scientists have created a new method to structure peptides, which they say will be cheaper and make the process of using stapled peptides in drug discovery much more widely available.

Meet the most nimble-fingered robot ever built
Roboticists at UC Berkeley have a built a robot that can pick up and move unfamiliar, real-world objects with a 99 percent success rate.

Gene finding to eradicate severe blistering disorder of the skin found in dogs
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have identified a novel gene defect that causes a hereditary blistering disorder of the skin, epidermolysis bullosa, in dogs.

Where to look for new treatments for alcoholism? The matrix
A new study in Biological Psychiatry may pave the way for treating alcohol addiction by reducing motivation to drink, rather than by altering the effects of alcohol itself.

Low cost, scalable water-splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy
The 'clean-energy economy' always seems a few steps away but never quite here.

Replacing coal with solar can save lives and money
By swapping solar photovoltaics for coal, the US could prevent 51,999 premature deaths a year, potentially making as much as $2.5 million for each life saved.

LIGO detects gravitational waves for third time
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has made a third detection of gravitational waves, ripples in space and time, demonstrating that a new window in astronomy has been firmly opened.

Nanosized silicon heater and thermometer combined to fight cancer
Russian physicists from ITMO University have found out that spherical silicon nanoparticles can be effectively heated up, and simultaneously emit light depending on their temperature.

Rover findings indicate stratified lake on ancient Mars
A long-lasting lake on ancient Mars provided stable environmental conditions that differed significantly from one part of the lake to another, according to a comprehensive look at findings from the first three-and-a-half years of NASA's Curiosity rover mission.

A protein that stem cells require could be a target in killing breast cancer cells
Researchers have identified a protein that must be present in order for mammary stem cells to perform their normal functions.

Puberty hormones trigger changes in youthful learning
A University of California, Berkeley, study of mice reveals, for the first time, how puberty hormones might impede some aspects of flexible youthful learning.

Exposure to specific toxins and nutrients during late pregnancy & early life correlate w autism risk
Mount Sinai study uses a unique source -- baby teeth -- to reveal that both the timing and amount of exposure can affect diagnosis.

New approach to antibiotic therapy is a dead end for pathogens
In the case of the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the evolution of resistance to certain antibiotics leads to an increased susceptibility to other drugs.

Ethnicity and breastfeeding influence infant gut bacteria
This study looked at the microbial population in the gastrointestinal tract of infants at a formative stage of life when metabolic set points are being established.

Poor understanding of ratios leads to bad shopping decisions, says University of Miami study
A new study published in the Journal of Marketing Behavior, says in situations where consumers must average ratio information, such as comparing the fuel efficiency of two cars using the ratio miles per gallon, they often incorrectly assume the mathematic equation to find miles per gallon would be to average the sum of the mileage of both cars and then divide by two, instead of using a more complex equation needed to accurately compare ratios.

Perseverance pays off in fight against deadly Lassa virus
This story starts with a young graduate student in San Diego and leads all the way to Sierra Leone, to a unique hospital where Lassa fever victims arrive by the thousands every year.

In utero tobacco exposure can lead to executive function issues in adolescents
Prenatal tobacco exposure is known to have negative short-term impacts including preterm birth, low birth weight and subsequent behavioral issues.

Radar reveals steep declines in Kauai's seabird populations
The island of Kauai is home to two endangered seabirds, the Hawaiian Petrel and the Newell's Shearwater.

Social laughter releases endorphins in the brain
Finnish and British researchers have revealed how laughter releases endorphins in the human brain.

Researchers identify specific neurons that distinguish between reality and imagination
New Western University research shows that neurons in the part of the brain found to be abnormal in psychosis are also important in helping people distinguish between reality and imagination.

Tobacco the 'silent killer' of HIV patients, say researchers
Researchers at the University of York have shown that tobacco use is more common among HIV positive individuals than HIV negative individuals.

The Spanish plant that was classified by mistake
Surprisingly, there are still plant species waiting to be discovered in the Iberian Peninsula.

Populist radical right a threat to core values of medicine and public health
The populist radical right is a threat to core values of medicine and public health, even within a functioning democratic system, according to a commentary published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

HIV status may affect the progression of HPV infection to cervical pre-cancer
A study of Senegalese women showed that human papillomavirus (HPV) infection was more likely to develop into cervical pre-cancer in women living with human immunodeficiency virus.

Volcanoes, referees for the life on Earth
At the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, 200 million years ago, some 60% of species living on Earth disappeared.

Soaring medical costs from bicycle accidents
Bicycle use has skyrocketed in popularity, but it's also led to more accidents, with medical costs from non-fatal bike crashes climbing steadily by $789 million annually, according to a new study by UC San Francisco.

Mice exposed to prenatal stress are predisposed to eating disorders later in life
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute prevented the onset of eating disorders through dietary intervention.

Georgia State neuroscientists rewire brain of 1 species to have connectivity of another
Scientists at Georgia State University have rewired the neural circuit of one species and given it the connections of another species to test a hypothesis about the evolution of neural circuits and behavior.

Researchers uncover clues about how HIV virus mutates
A new study published in Cell Host & Microbe led by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center completely maps all mutations that help the HIV virus evolve away from a single broadly neutralizing antibody, known as PGT151. 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