Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 08, 2017
Lost ecosystem found buried in mud of southern California coastal waters
Paleontologists investigating the sea bed off California have discovered a lost ecosystem that for thousands of years had nurtured communities of scallops and shelled marine organisms called brachiopods.

Growth mechanism of fungi decoded
Fungi grow with tubular cells extending by kilometers. Growth takes place exclusively at the tip.

Research targets PFOA threat to drinking water
A highly toxic water pollutant, known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), last year caused a number of US communities to close their drinking water supplies.

Developing fetuses react to face-like shapes from the womb
It's well known that young babies are more interested in faces than other objects.

Wide-Open accelerates release of scientific data by identifying overdue datasets
Advances in genetic sequencing and other technologies have led to an explosion of biological data, and decades of openness (both spontaneous and enforced) mean that scientists routinely deposit data in online repositories.

Study finds failure to sustain reductions in carcinogens in cigarettes
Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are potent carcinogens formed predominantly during the cigarette manufacturing process.

New study shows setting stretch goals can undermine organizational performance
While the general consensus regarding stretch goals is that they boost drive, innovation, and improve organizational performance, new research in the INFORMS journal Organization Science shows that this is the exception, and not the rule.

New leukemia treatment outperforms standard chemotherapies
Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) are working on a new treatment for an aggressive type of leukemia that outperforms standard chemotherapies.

Nature: Optical communication at record-high speed
Researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have set a new record for optical data transmission: As reported in Nature, the team exploits optical solitons circulating in silicon nitride microresonators to generate broadband optical frequency combs.

Mind changing can be risky
When leaders use a moral argument rather than a pragmatic one as the basis for a position, they may be judged harshly if they change that position later.

Nepal: 15 years after legalizing abortions, gaps in access, equity, quality continue to exist
Nepal is often heralded as a model of successful implementation and rapid scale-up of safe abortion services.

Calculator estimates success of kidney transplants with particular donor-recipient pairs
A new calculator estimates the likelihood that a given patient who receives a kidney transplant from a particular living donor will maintain a functioning kidney.

Does your name match your face?
People tend to associate round names such as 'Bob' and 'Lou' with round-faced individuals, and they have an inherent preference for names and faces that go well together.

Sanitation access linked to children's growth and health
An estimated 1 billion people in the world live without access to any type of sanitation facility, such as a toilet or latrine.

Study examines adolescents' responses to racism in school
When adolescents read a hypothetical scenario about verbal racism in school, age, ethnicity, cross-group friendships, and ethnic socialization predicted their bystander responses.

Fatherhood factors influence how dads spend time with children
A father's resources, relationships, and parenting beliefs affect how he spends time with his children and financially provides for his family, finds a study led by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Researchers use a synthetic 'tongue' to sort out whiskies
Whiskies may differ in taste and smell, but they are so similar in chemical composition that most analyses can't tell two closely related brews apart.

World's first success in asymmetric borylation of ketones
A team of Hokkaido University researchers has developed the world's first method to achieve the catalytic asymmetric borylation of ketones, a breakthrough expected to facilitate the development of new medicines and functional chemicals.

Simulations pinpoint atomic-level defects in solar cell nanostructures
Heterogeneous nanostructured materials are widely used in various optoelectronic devices, including solar cells.

Optical communication using solitons on a photonic chip
Researchers from KIT and EPFL used optical silicon nitride micro-resonators on a photonic chip that can easily be integrated into compact communication systems.

Male sexual behavior linked to elevated male sex hormone receptors in muscles of sex-changing fish
Sex-changing fish exhibit differences in androgen receptor (AR) expression in muscles that are highly sensitive to androgens (male sex hormones) and essential for male courtship behavior, according to a Georgia State University study.

Research for an oil (palm) change
In recent research, scientists have developed a technique that shows great promise for helping oil palm growers optimize production and reduce environmental impacts.

New software tool could help doctors diagnose genetic diseases
An open-source software tool called Mendel,MD could help doctors analyze patients' genetic data in order to diagnose diseases caused by mutations.

Scientists develop molecular code for melanin-like materials
Scientists across the City University of New York (CUNY) have developed a new approach for producing materials that mimic the properties of melanin, and also provide unprecedented control over expressing specific properties of the biopolymer, according to a paper published today in the journal Science.

Behavioral 'nudges' offer a cost-effective policy tool
Governments around the world have increasingly turned to behavioral science to help address various policy problems -- new research shows that some of the best-known strategies derived from behavioral science, commonly referred to as 'nudges,' may be extremely cost effective.

Heroin's use rising, costing society more than $51 billion
Heroin use in the United States was estimated to cost society more than $51 billion in 2015, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Improving adolescents' social and emotional lives must go beyond teaching them skills
School programs designed to educate children and adolescents on how to understand and manage emotions, relationships and academic goals must go beyond improving the skills of the individuals to create a respectful climate and allow adolescents more autonomy in decision making, according to psychology research at The University of Texas at Austin.

Researchers uncover new instruction manual to repair broken DNA
Researchers have discovered how the Rad52 protein is a crucial player in RNA-dependent DNA repair.

NASA looks at extreme Florida rainfall by satellite
Extremely heavy rain has recently fallen over Florida and the Global Precipitation Measurement or GPM mission core satellite looked at that some of that rainfall on June 7.

Lost your appetite? Try inviting yourself to dinner
Researchers at Nagoya University discovered that when study participants ate alone, the food tasted better and they ate more if they could see themselves reflected in a mirror.

Scientific advances in thoracic oncology in 2016 highlighted by the IASLC
Capturing and summarizing the remarkable progress in lung cancer prevention, diagnosis, staging and treatment in 2016, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) announces the second annual publication of 'Scientific Advances in Thoracic Oncology,' available online now and in the August 2017 issue of the IASLC's Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO).

California Academy of Sciences advancing hope for reefs in the Philippines
Researchers return from the Philippines with new species discoveries and deeper insights into threatened coral reef ecosystems.

Simple tasks don't test brain's true complexity
New research strategies are needed to find out how information flows through the brain's neural networks, according to neuroscientists at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine.

World first: Stem cell treatment for lethal STAT1 gene mutation -- shows 'disappointing' but promising results
First study assessing how patients with 'gain of function' mutation of STAT1 gene respond to stem cell transplantation has taken place.

Report looks at liver cancer, fastest-growing cause of cancer deaths in US
A new report provides an overview of incidence, mortality, and survival rates and trends for liver cancer, a cancer for which death rates have doubled in the United States since the mid-1980s

New waterproofing and antifouling materials developed by Swansea Scientists
New materials have been developed by scientists in the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) at Swansea University which is nontoxic, economical and shows promise to replace more expensive and hazardous materials used for waterproofing and antifouling/fogging.

Snake venom might provide a safer antiplatelet drug
In preliminary research, an antiplatelet drug based on a snake venom protein prevented blood clotting without leading to excessive bleeding, a dangerous side effect of currently available antiplatelet drugs.

The brain's hippocampus can organize memories for events as well as places
Researchers at Japan's RIKEN Brain Science Institute have found that the hippocampus can generalize, putting not just places but also events into sequence by changing the neural code in the rat brain.

Culprit hidden in plain sight in Alzheimer disease development
A new study by researchers at the University of Montana, Universidad del Valle de México, Instituto Nacional de Pediatría, Boise State, and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, heightens concerns over the detrimental short- and long-term impact of airborne iron-rich strongly magnetic combustion-derived nanoparticles present in young urbanites' brains.

Breast cancer risk reduced in women with diabetes who take low-dose aspirin
A new study of nearly 149,000 women with diabetes over 14 years showed an overall 18 percent reduced breast cancer risk for women who used low-dose aspirin compared to those who did not.

Making vessels leaky on demand could aid drug delivery
Scientists use magnets and nanoparticles to cause 'leaks' in blood vessels on demand.

Pigments by design
Researchers have discovered how to tune the optical and electrical properties of a synthetic polymer similar to melanin, a natural pigment that's the primary factor affecting skin color.

Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths
Paper looks at diverging trajectories of cannabis and tobacco policies in the US and attempts to explain some of the reasoning behind the different paths, while discussing possible implications.

From the somatic cell to the germ cell
Researchers discover a regulatory pathway that changes the way cells divide in plants.

ALMA finds ingredient of life around infant Sun-like stars
ALMA has observed stars like the Sun at a very early stage in their formation and found traces of methyl isocyanate -- a chemical building block of life.

Kidney graft success -- does age and sex matter?
A new study led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre revealed that young women had poorer transplant outcomes compared to young men, whereas women of post-menopausal age had similar or slightly better outcomes than men of the same age.

Why do Americans own handguns? Fear of crime and a broader sense of danger
New psychological theoretical framework suggest US handgun ownership motivated by combination of fear of crime and a general sense that the world is an unpredictable dangerous place.

Human brain tunes into visual rhythms in sign language
In a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Chicago scholars use sign language to understand whether neural entrainment is specialized for spoken language.

New cellular imaging paves way for cancer treatment
Researchers at the Universities of York and Leiden have pioneered a technique which uses florescent imaging to track the actions of key enzymes in cancer, genetic disorders and kidney disease.

How the brain recognizes what the eye sees
New Salk Institute work outlining brain's visual process could improve self-driving cars and point to therapies for sensory impairment.

Carotid artery gives away human biological age
Biological age is a concept which is used to describe the state of our organisms and it's determination is important when it comes to developing anti-aging medicines.

Moving towards better global foodborne disease surveillance
Almost one in 10 people worldwide fall ill every year after eating contaminated food which commonly causes bacterial diarrhea, resulting in 230,000 deaths each year.

Investigational vaccine protected monkeys from HIV-like virus
Building on insights from an HIV vaccine regimen in humans that had partial success during a phase 3 clinical trial in Thailand, a Duke-led research team used a more-is-better approach in monkeys that appeared to improve vaccine protection from an HIV-like virus.

Hubble astronomers use a century-old relativity experiment to measure a white dwarf's mass
Astronomers have used the sharp vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to repeat a century-old test of Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Researchers identify immune component up-regulated in brain after viral infection
A new study of infection by a virus that causes brain inflammation and seizures in a mouse model has shown increased levels of complement component C3.

A fish of all flavors
Japanese researchers achieve atomic resolution images of taste receptors in fish.

Fat tissue may impede radiotherapy for breast cancer patients
According to research published online in The FASEB Journal, repeated irradiation of breast fat (also known as adipose tissue) produces an inflammatory response that ultimately reduces the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients.

Comets may have delivered significant portions of Earth's xenon
A new study suggests that roughly 22 percent of the element xenon found in Earth's atmosphere may have come from comets.

Not so elementary
A UCSB physicist and colleagues review three experiments that hint at a phenomenon beyond the Standard Model of particle physics.

Control of material crystallization by agitation
Research team finds that oscillation of materials at a specific frequency markedly accelerates their crystallization.

Competitive football players have superior vision, study suggests
The visual abilities of competitive football players are substantially better than those of healthy non-athletes, according to the first-ever comprehensive assessment of visual function in English Premier League players, published in Science and Medicine in Football.

Tiny glow sticks
Optical data transmission allows information to be transmitted as light by way of optical waveguides in fiber optic networks.

Quantum nanoscope
Researchers have studied how light can be used to 'see' the quantum nature of an electronic material.

The mysterious bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor chain
The volcanic islands of Hawaii represent the youngest end of a 80 million years old and roughly 6,000 kilometers long mountain chain on the ground of the Pacific Ocean.

Organic compound found in early stages of star formation
Scientists seeking to understand the origins of life have found a new organic compound in the material from which a star like the Sun is forming.

Genetic mutations predict patient response to immunotherapy
Results of a new clinical study establish particular genetic defects in tumors as clinical indicators for successful response to a type of immunotherapy called PD-1 blockade.

Cosmic inflation: Higgs says goodbye to his 'little brother'
In the first moments after the Big Bang, the Universe was able to expand even billions of billions of billions of times faster than today.

Distinct wiring mode found in chandelier cells
Researchers from Hiroki Taniguchi's lab at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) published a study in eNeuro in May 2017 showing for the first time that a unique type of inhibitory interneuron called chandelier cells -- which are implicated in several diseases affecting the brain such as schizophrenia and epilepsy -- seem to develop their connections differently than other types of neurons.

Your smile gives you away
Researchers from USC's Institute for Creative Technologies study how reacting with a smile affects game outcomes, hoping one day to empower virtual humans with this knowledge.

Study finds delayed food introduction increases risk of sensitization
Using data from more than 2,100 Canadian children, the researchers found that infants who avoided cow's milk products in their first year were nearly four times as likely to be sensitized to cow's milk compared to infants who consumed cow's milk products before 12 months of age.

Synthetic nanochannels for iodide transport
Iodide channels have the potential to treat thyroid diseases and some types of cancers.

Study of sisters helps explain dad's influence on risky sexual behavior
Researchers have shown links between father involvement and daughters' sexual behavior, with the standard explanation attributing that influence to shared genes that impact both a father's behavior and relationships and his child's problem behavior, including engaging in risky sex and affiliating with delinquent peers.

Pet dogs could help older owners be more active
Owning a dog may help older adults to meet physical activity levels recommended by the World Health Organisation, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

Balance, gait negatively impacted after chemotherapy treatment
A single chemotherapy treatment can result in a significant negative impact on walking gait and balance, putting patients at an increasing risk for falls, according to a new study involving breast cancer patients conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

X-ray study reveals way to control molecular vibrations that transmit heat
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new way to track dynamic molecular features in soft materials, including the high-frequency molecular vibrations that transmit waves of heat, sound, and other forms of energy.

Neutrons zero in on the elusive magnetic Majorana fermion
Neutron scattering has revealed in unprecedented detail new insights into the exotic magnetic behavior of a material that could pave the way for quantum calculations far beyond the limits of a computer's binary code.

Unprofitable subsidiaries becoming new tax haven for multinational corporations
Multinational corporations are moving income from their profitable, high-tax subsidiaries into unprofitable ones to save money on taxes.

How plants prevent oxidative stress
When excess light energy is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis, harmful reactive oxygen species are produced.

Opioids following cesarean delivery may be over-prescribed
In two papers, both published online June 8 in Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers quantified the number of pills that are typically prescribed following cesarean delivery and tested a shared decision making tool, in which patients select the amount of medication they are prescribed.

Overriding the urge to sleep
The discovery of neurons that control arousal has implications for insomnia and other sleep disorders.

Obesity increases risk of complications after shoulder joint replacement surgery
For patients undergoing shoulder joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty), higher body mass index is linked to increased complications -- including the need for 'revision' surgery, reports a study in the June 7 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Extinct early whales listened like their relatives on land, fossil evidence shows
Whales show surprisingly vast differences in hearing ability. Baleen whales tune into infrasonic sounds to communicate over long distances.

Bitter taste receptors may hold the key to managing preterm labor
This could be good news for those trying to prevent preterm labor: New research published online in The FASEB Journal suggests that exposing bitter taste receptors in the uterus to certain substances can stop many unwanted contractions that occur during premature labor.

Cost-effectiveness of HIV/AIDS interventions in South Africa
An international African collaboration has turned to statistical analysis to determine the cost effectiveness of major HIV/AIDS interventions in South Africa with a view to advising policy makers on the optimal approach to managing the disease.

The road not taken: Do stress-specific mutations lead down different evolutionary paths?
Evolutionary divergences, the emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria or cancer in humans are all empowered by many types of mutational DNA change.

Inherited, rare skin disease informs treatment of common hair disorders, Penn study finds
Penn researchers studying an inherited disorder of skin, hair follicles, nails, sweat glands, and teeth called hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED) have identified a mechanism that may also be disrupted in male pattern baldness, a more common condition.

New international guidelines issued on dementia with Lewy bodies
According to research reported online today in Neurology, the international Dementia with Lewy Bodies Consortium issued new guidelines about diagnosing and treating the disease and called for more clinical trials into the illness.

Brain imaging reveals neural roots of caring
When others suffer, we humans empathize. Our feelings of empathy take different forms, such as distress when we imagine and internalize someone's pain and compassion as we sympathize with their condition.

Nanotechnology reveals hidden depths of bacterial 'machines'
New research from the University of Liverpool, published in the journal Nanoscale, has probed the structure and material properties of protein machines in bacteria, which have the capacity to convert carbon dioxide into sugar through photosynthesis.

Study reveals sweetened drinks during pregnancy puts infants at higher risk for obesity
A recent Danish study of children born to women with gestational diabetes, found that maternal daily consumption of artificially-sweetened beverages during pregnancy was associated with a higher body mass index score and increased risk of overweight/obesity at 7 years.

Five years before brain cancer diagnosis, changes detectable in blood
Changes in immune activity appear to signal a growing brain tumor five years before symptoms arise, new research has found.

Where climate change is most likely to induce food violence
While climate change is expected to lead to more violence related to food scarcity, new research suggests that the strength of a country's government plays a vital role in preventing uprisings.

Researchers identify how class of drugs blocks Hepatitis C virus replication
For the first time, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill show how the antiviral class of drugs called NS5A inhibitors interacts with the hepatitis C virus, and these findings show a difference between strains of HCV.

The role of the protein Rrm3 in the repair of breaks in DNA during replication
A research group from the University of Seville has reached this result by using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism.

New approach in T-cell therapy to treat cancer
Scientists have armed immune cells with a new surface molecule.

Autonomous machines edge towards greater independence
Cars that can drive autonomously have made recently made headlines.

OU astrophysicist identifies composition of Earth-size planets in TRAPPIST-1 system
A University of Oklahoma post-doctoral astrophysics researcher, Billy Quarles, has identified the possible compositions of the seven planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system.

Sensitivity to inequity is in wolves' and dogs' blood
Not only dogs but also wolves react to inequity -- similar to humans or primates. 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