Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 28, 2017
Study examines use of fat grafting for postmastectomy breast reconstruction
The use of fat grafting as a tool for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy may improve breast satisfaction, psychosocial well-being, and sexual well-being in patients, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Now or later: How taste and sound affect when you buy
New research finds the type of sensory experience an advertisement conjures up in our mind -- taste and touch vs. sight and sound -- has a fascinating effect on when we make purchases.

Trials show unique stem cells a potential asthma treatment
A study led by scientists at Monash University has shown that a new therapy developed through stem cell technology holds promise as a treatment for chronic asthma.

Injectable plant-based nanoparticles delay tumor progression
The researchers discovered injecting potato virus particles into melanoma tumor sites activates an anti-tumor immune system response.

Genomic copy number variants contribute to cognitive impairment in the UK
Genetic alterations of rare deletions or duplications of small DNA segments, called copy number variants (CNVs), have been known to increase risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disability.

Designed proteins to treat muscular dystrophy
The cell scaffolding holds muscle fibers together and protects them from damage.

3,000-year-old textiles are earliest evidence of chemical dyeing in the Levant
Tel Aviv University archaeologists have revealed that cloth samples found in the Israeli desert present the earliest evidence of plant-based textile dyeing in the region.

Gene networks dictate plants' responses to cold, stress
Recent advances in technology have allowed scientists to probe the molecular nature of life, analyzing thousands of genes at a time and recognizing patterns of gene interaction.

Paving the way for hydrogen fuel cells
The hype around hydrogen fuel cells has died down, but scientists have continued to pursue new technologies that could enable such devices to gain a firmer foothold.

Research group focuses on economics of transportation needs for rural elderly
A multidisciplinary team of researchers is examining economic issues associated with providing transportation for the rural elderly and other socially disadvantaged populations.

Potentially lethal parasite rat lungworm found throughout Florida
University of Florida researchers have found rat lungworm, a parasitic nematode that can cause meningitis in humans and animals, in five Florida counties.

NIAID scientists identify cause, possible treatment for life-threatening gut condition
Investigators at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and international colleagues have discovered a genetic cause and potential treatment strategy for a rare immune disorder called CHAPLE disease.

The value of nature
Money may not grow on trees, but trees themselves and all that they provide have a dollar value nonetheless.

Can antipoverty programs work globally? J-PAL offers user's guide
Leaders of MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), one of world's foremost centers for antipoverty research, have developed their own formal framework for thinking about this vexing question, over the last several years.

Palm cockatoos beat drum like Ringo Starr
New research from The Australian National University (ANU) shows when it comes to percussion, the palm cockatoo is the animal kingdom's match for Ringo Starr or Phil Collins.

Weighty matters
'Adolescent weight gain confers long-term increased stroke risk' Dr. Rexrode has co-authored an editorial about new research that highlights the link between adolescent weight gain and stroke risk later in life.

Artists and architects think differently compared to other people
Architects, painters and sculptors conceive of spaces in different ways from other people and from each other, finds a new study by UCL and Bangor University researchers.

Improving Chinese air pollution leads to business opportunities
China's trouble with smog and air pollution is well known, but air quality is beginning to improve as Chinese authorities start to tackle the problem.

It's kind of a drag
Imagine walking from one side of a swimming pool to the other.

Concurrent hot and dry summers more common in future
In the past, climate scientists have tended to underestimate the risk of a co-occurrence of heatwave and drought.

Personal assistance relationships are complex and need support, study finds
Personal assistance relationships are usually empowering and flexible for both employer and workers, but can become emotionally fraught and even wounded, according to a report launched today.

Study finds long-term sustained effect of biological psoriasis treatment
Biological treatment of psoriasis shows a good efficacy in clinical trials.

More summer sunshine leading to increased Greenland ice melt
A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has discovered that a marked decrease in summer cloud cover during the last 20 years has significantly accelerated melt from the Greenland ice sheet.

Johns Hopkins scientists develop super-strong metal for next tech frontier
Engineers have developed a strong, durable new material to help shape advanced MEMS sensors needed for the internet of things.

World first: New polymer goes for a walk when illuminated
Scientists have developed a new material that can undulate and therefore propel itself forward under the influence of light.

Bio-fuel from waste
Fuel from waste? It is possible. But hitherto, converting organic waste to fuel has not been economically viable.

Teenage weight gain linked to increased stroke risk as an adult
Kids who become overweight during their teenage years may be more likely to develop a stroke decades later than kids who did not become overweight during those years, according to a study published in the June 28, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Facial models suggest less may be more for a successful smile
Research using computer-animated 3-D faces suggests that less is more for a successful smile, according to a study published June 28, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Nathaniel Helwig from the University of Minnesota, US, and colleagues.

How are long strands of DNA packed into tiny cells?
Scientists are a step closer to understanding how our DNA is squeezed into every cell in the body.

Malaria control in African schools dramatically cuts infection and reduces risk of anemia
Schools that provide prevention education, insecticide-treated nets and antimalarial treatment, in regions where malaria is highly seasonal, could reduce the risk of schoolchildren developing anemia and improve their cognitive performance, according to new research by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Discovering, counting, cataloguing proteins
Scientists describe a well-defined mitochondrial proteome in baker's yeast.

Combating chronic kidney disease with exercise
A University of Delaware research team is combating chronic kidney disease (CKD) with exercise.

Health insurance expansion linked to fewer sudden cardiac arrests
The incidence of sudden cardiac arrest, a sudden and usually deadly loss of heart function, declined significantly among previously uninsured adults who acquired health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as 'Obamacare,' according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

EASL releases editorial response to Cochrane Review of DAAs in HCV
EASL raises serious concerns over a Cochrane systematic review and questions conclusions in an editorial published today in Journal of Hepatology.

CNIO researchers visualize early melanoma metastasis and identify new targets for treatment
A study led by the researcher Marisol Soengas at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) allows to visualize 'in vivo' how melanomas act before metastasis occurs, and how these invasive signals are reactivated when surgery is not efficient.

Nanostructures taste the rainbow
Engineers create nanoscale light detectors capable of distinguishing between different colors.

Scientists identify key locations for spread of Pin-tailed Whydahs
Invasive parasites are a biological oxymoron. And yet, they are in our backyards!

Tweaking muscle metabolism prevents obesity and diabetes in mice
Mildly stressing muscle metabolism boosts levels of a beneficial hormone that prevents obesity and diabetes in mice, according to a new University of Iowa study.

Socioeconomic status in childhood linked with cardiac structure and function in adulthood
The multicenter trial coordinated by the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Turku, Finland, shows that low socioeconomic status in childhood increases the risk of higher left ventricular mass and poorer diastolic function in adulthood.

Ancient antiviral defense system could revolutionize a new class of RNA-based medicine
Medicinal payload could be delivered by engineered RNAs that can be controlled by a billion year-old 'genetic fossil' found in all cells.

Does religion protect against suicide?
Religious participation is linked to lower suicide rates in many parts of the world, including the United States and Russia, but does not protect against the risk of suicide in sections of Europe and Asia, finds new research by a Michigan State University scholar.

Cheap, energy-efficient and clean reaction to make chemical feedstock
Combining experimental and computer chemistry, scientists find the conditions to break carbon-hydrogen bonds at low temperature with cheap titanium in place of rare metals.

Climate change impacts Antarctic biodiversity habitat
Ice-free areas of Antarctica -- home to more than 99 percent of the continent's terrestrial plants and animals -- could expand by more than 17,000 km2 by the end of this century, a study published today in Nature reveals.

Turning the climate tide by 2020
The world needs high-speed climate action for an immediate bending-down of the global greenhouse-gas emissions curve, leading experts caution.

Indoor air in schools could add to children's exposure to PCBs
The US banned PCBs nearly four decades ago, but they persist in the environment and have been found in animals and humans since then.

Barrier Proteins in Tumors are Possible Key to Immunotherapy Success
By comparing variations in protein expression in tumor samples from a single melanoma patient, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center say their findings have the potential to reveal some of the mechanisms underlying response or resistance to immunotherapy drugs.

Micron-sized hydrogel cubes show highly efficient delivery of a potent anti-cancer drug
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center have developed micro-cubes that can sponge up a hydrophobic anti-cancer drug and deliver it to cancer cells.

UM tesearch: Slow-growing ponderosas survive mountain pine beetle outbreaks
Slow-growing ponderosa pines may have a better chance of surviving mountain pine beetle outbreaks in western Montana as climate change increases the frequency of drought and insect pests, according to new research published by a team of University of Montana scientists.

This week from AGU: As climate stirs Arctic sea ice faster, pollution tags along
This week from AGU: As climate stirs Arctic sea ice faster, pollution tags along; New volcanic island unveils explosive past; Massive waves of melting Greenland ice warped Earth's crust; and more.

What's on your skin? Archaea, that's what
It turns out your skin is crawling with single-celled microorganisms -- and they're not just bacteria.

Tackling iron and zinc deficiencies with 'better' bread
The health effects of zinc and iron deficiencies can be devastating, particularly in developing countries.

Predicting eruptions using satellites and math
Volcanologists are beginning to use satellite measurements and mathematical methods to forecast eruptions and to better understand how volcanoes work, shows a new article in Frontiers in Earth Science.

Consensus recommendations on isotretinoin and timing of skin procedures
A new article published by JAMA Dermatology reports on a panel of national experts that was convened and a review of the medical literature that was done to provide evidence-based recommendations regarding the safety of skin procedures performed either concurrently with, or immediately after, treatment with the acne medication isotretinoin.

Mildly obese fare better after major heart attack
People who survive a major heart attack often do better in the years afterward if they're mildly obese, a study by UT Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists showed.

Does symmetry matter for speed? Study finds Usain Bolt may have asymmetrical running gait
Researchers from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, say world champion sprinter Usain Bolt may have an asymmetrical running gait, throwing into question whether symmetry matters for speed.

New antibody appears to re-activate immune system in cancer therapy
Adding an investigational antibody to the chemotherapy rituximab appears to restore its cancer-killing properties in certain leukemia patients with a natural resistance to the drug, according to a small, proof-of-concept study by Duke Cancer Institute researchers.

Revitalizing Detroit requires development of specific neighborhoods
Debuting a new economic model, a team of researchers from Princeton University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond have identified 22 Detroit neighborhoods that, if developed, could bring in millions of dollars and attract thousands of residents.

Study of US seniors strengthens link between air pollution and premature death
A new study of 60 million Americans -- about 97 percent of people age 65 and older in the United States -- shows that long-term exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone increases the risk of premature death, even when that exposure is at levels below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

An infallible hand-held probe to aid cancer surgery
Patients with common widespread forms of cancer will enjoy longer life expectancy and reduced risk of recurrence thanks to a multimodal optical spectroscopy probe developed by Canadian researchers.

Hacking the human brain -- lab-made synapses for artificial intelligence
One of the greatest challenges facing artificial intelligence development is understanding the human brain and figuring out how to mimic it.

Ruthenium rules for new fuel cells
Rice University scientists have fabricated a durable catalyst for high-performance fuel cells by attaching single ruthenium atoms to graphene.

Sleep disturbances predict increased risk for suicidal symptoms, Stanford study finds
Sleep disturbances can warn of worsening suicidal thoughts in young adults, independent of the severity of an individual's depression, a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine has found.

Engineers examine chemo-mechanics of heart defect
Elastin and collagen serve as the body's building blocks. Any genetic mutation short-circuiting their function can have a devastating, and often lethal, health impact.

Study raises concern over accuracy of melanoma diagnoses
Concerns over the accuracy of melanoma diagnoses are raised in a study of US pathologists published by The BMJ today.

Delaying lymph node biopsy after melanoma diagnosis does not affect survival rates
Postponing lymph node biopsy more than 30 days after melanoma diagnosis doesn't adversely impact long-term clinical outcomes, according to new study findings published on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website.

Antiviral inhibits epidemic SARS, MERS and animal coronaviruses
A new antiviral drug candidate inhibits a broad range of coronaviruses, including the SARS and MERS coronaviruses, a multi-institutional team of investigators reports this week in Science Translational Medicine.

A new weapon for the war on cancer
A group of researchers at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University has adapted an engineered human blood opsonin protein known as FcMBL, which was originally developed as a broad-spectrum pathogen capture agent, to target circulating tumor cells -- the notoriously rare and difficult-to-locate agents of metastasis.

Real-time vapor analysis could improve training of explosive-detecting dogs
With a sense of smell much greater than humans, dogs are considered the gold standard for explosive detection in many situations.

The multi-colored photons that might change quantum information science
With leading corporations now investing in highly expensive and complex infrastructures to unleash the power of quantum technologies, INRS researchers have achieved a breakthrough in a light-weight photonic system created using on-chip devices and off-the-shelf telecommunications components.

Type 2 inflammation might be good for the belly but bad for the liver
An inflammatory response once thought to protect against obesity could exacerbate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is why new findings suggest some targeted treatments for metabolic syndrome might need to be reevaluated.

Calculating 'old' and 'new' water runoff
Researchers use math and on-the-ground analyses to the follow water held in the soil versus fresh rainfalls.

Vortex-antivortex pairs found in magnetic trilayers
A international team of researchers has discovered magnetic vortex-antivortex pairs arising from correlated electron spins in a newly engineered trilayer material.

Analysis of Neanderthal teeth grooves uncovers evidence of prehistoric dentistry
A discovery of multiple toothpick grooves on teeth and signs of other manipulations by a Neanderthal of 130,000 years ago are evidence of a kind of prehistoric dentistry, according to a new study led by a University of Kansas researcher.

Bacteria-coated nanofiber electrodes clean pollutants in wastewater
Cornell University researchers may have created an innovative, cost-competitive electrode material for cleaning pollutants in wastewater.

No detectable limit to how long people can live
By analyzing the lifespan of the longest-living individuals from the USA, the UK, France and Japan for each year since 1968, Hekimi and Hughes found no evidence for such a limit, and if such a maximum exists, it has yet to be reached or identified.

UA researcher paves way for promising treatment for hot flashes
Fifteen years ago, Dr. Naomi Rance was at work when she experienced her first hot flash.

At-risk chronic pain patients taper opioids successfully with psychological tools
Psychological support and new coping skills are helping patients at high risk of developing chronic pain and long-term, high-dose opioid use taper their opioids.

Health insurance expansion via Obamacare linked to fewer cardiac arrests
The incidence of cardiac arrest significantly decreased among middle-aged adults who acquired health insurance after the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) expanded coverage.

Inequalities in malaria research funding in sub-Saharan Africa
A quarter of countries in sub-Saharan Africa receive very little funding for research into malaria despite having high malaria-related death rates.

Researchers document early, permananet human settlement in Andes
Examining human remains and other archaeological evidence from a site at nearly 12,500 feet above sea level in Peru, the scientists show that intrepid hunter-gatherers -- men, women and children -- managed to survive at high elevation before the advent of agriculture, in spite of lack of oxygen, frigid temperatures and exposure to elements.

Stanford engineers design a robotic gripper for cleaning up space debris
Researchers combined gecko-inspired adhesives and a custom robotic gripper to create a device for grabbing space debris.

Hoarding symptoms moderately stable during adolescence
Hoarding symptoms are stable during adolescence, mainly due to genetic effects, according to a study published June 28, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Volen Ivanov from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and colleagues.

'Bulges' in volcanoes could be used to predict eruptions
A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a new way of measuring the pressure inside volcanoes, and found that it can be a reliable indicator of future eruptions.

Social connections impact voter turnout, decisions, says FSU research
People more closely connected to electoral candidates in their social network vote at higher rates, according to Matthew Pietryka, an assistant professor of political science.

Adolescent obesity linked to early mortality from cardiovascular diseases
While there is solid evidence that adolescent overweight and obesity are associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, less is known about the association between body mass index (BMI) and rarer cardiovascular diseases.

New technology aims to provide peace and positive stimulation to dementia patients
To alleviate boredom and increase engagement, elderly patients in long-term care facilities can engage with the Ambient Activity Technology device any time to view family photos, hear their favorite music, and play games.

High sea surface temperatures may affect immune competence of California sea lions
Anomalously high sea surface temperatures may compromise the immune response of California sea lions, according to a study published June 28, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse from Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico, and colleagues.

Aspirin reduces risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
Taking a low-dose aspirin before bed can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, which can cause premature birth and, in extreme cases, maternal and fetal death.

NASA looks at rainfall from Tropical Storm Dora
Now a tropical storm, Hurricane Dora has been skirting southwestern Mexico's coast since it formed and has transported tropical moisture onshore that has produced some heavy rain showers.

Mitochondrial disease has a disproportionate healthcare burden in US
Mitochondrial diseases are a diverse group of disorders caused by mutated genes that impair energy production in a patient's cells, often with severe effects.

NIH study sheds light on immune responses driving obesity-induced liver disease
New findings from mouse models reveal that the type of immune response that helps maintain healthy metabolism in fatty tissues, called type 2 immunity, also drives obesity-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Stem-cell researchers solve mystery of relapse in acute myeloid leukemia
Leukemia researchers led by Dr. John Dick have traced the origins of relapse in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) to rare therapy-resistant leukemia stem cells that are already present at diagnosis and before chemotherapy begins.

Researchers develop yeast-based tool for worldwide pathogen detection
Columbia University researchers have developed a tool that is likely to revolutionize the way we detect and treat pathogens in everything from human health to agriculture to water.

The hippocampus underlies the link between slowed walking and mental decline
The connection between slowed walking speed and declining mental acuity appears to arise in the right hippocampus, a finger-shaped region buried deep in the brain at ear-level, according to a 14-year study conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

E-cigarettes increase risk of cigarette smoking in youth
A new collaborative Dartmouth study finds strong and consistent evidence of greater risk between initial e-cigarette use and subsequent cigarette smoking initiation, regardless of how initiation was defined and net other factors that predict cigarette smoking.

The gene behind follicular lymphoma
EPFL scientists have discovered an important gene whose loss lies behind follicular lymphoma, an incurable cancer.

New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors
Scientists have developed a groundbreaking method to reveal the structure of tissues and tumors with unprecedented detail, by completely dissolving away cells and leaving the delicate extracellular matrix intact.

Longer reproductive years linked to lower cardiovascular & cerebrovascular riskĀ in women
A new study has shown that every 1 year increase in reproductive duration -- years from menarche to menopause--was associated with a 3 percent reduction in a woman's risk of angina or stroke.

NSF-funded researchers demonstrate advanced network applications.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has long been a leader in supporting research that has formed the basis for smart and connected communities, pushing sensor and networking capabilities beyond today's Internet of Things (IoT) to next-generation technologies able to revolutionize our lives in smart communities across the nation.

Male infertility could be linked to noisy bedrooms, study suggests
Long-term exposure to a noisy environment, particularly at night, is linked to infertility in men, according to a study in Environmental Pollution.

Inflammatory bowel disease: Scientists zoom in on genetic culprits
Scientists have closed in on specific genes responsible for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) from a list of over 600 genes that were suspects for the disease.

Swimming microbots can remove pathogenic bacteria from water (video)
The lack of clean water in many areas around the world is a persistent, major public health problem.

Study illuminates serotonin contributions to cocaine's allure
A new study reinforces long-held suspicions that the brain chemical serotonin, a molecule usually associated with mood, appetite and libido, makes a direct contribution to the actions of cocaine.

Soybean rust study will allow breeders to tailor resistant varieties to local pathogens
Midwestern growers don't worry much about soybean rust, but the fungal disease has been popping up at the end of the growing season nearly every year since 2006.

CT technology shows how blood flow can predict effectiveness of ovarian cancer treatment
Technology developed at Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute can provide a new window into whether or not patients are responding to treatment for advanced ovarian cancer.

More precise diagnostics for improved cancer outcomes
In the future, it may be possible to diagnose cancer much earlier using improved detection systems.

Decrease in lead exposure in early childhood significantly responsible for drop in crime rate
Kids exposed to lead as young children are more likely to be suspended or incarcerated during their school years.

Study illustrates how the cortex assigns credit for causality
New research in the Journal of Neuroscience affirms a key role for neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the crucial learning task of determining what caused a desired result.

Highway safety: National Academies committee recommends implementation improvements
Congress asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to investigate whether the methods used to evaluate the safety of long-distance trucks and busses were adequate.

Why using antibiotic eye drops for pinkeye is the wrong way to go
Using antibiotic eye drops for pinkeye is often the wrong way to go but 60 percent of patients nationwide are getting prescriptions for the common eye infection that typically clears up on its own.

In Turkey, carved skulls provide the first evidence of a neolithic 'skull cult'
Three carved skull fragments uncovered at a Neolithic dig site in Turkey feature modifications not seen before among human remains of the time, researchers say.

Newly established, a national park in Australia unveils a new plant species
A new species of bush tomato discovered in a recently established national park in Australia provides a compelling argument for the importance of federal investment in science and conservation.

How family and friends influence breast cancer treatment decisions
When a woman walks into the oncologist's office, she's usually not alone.

How 'The Gruffalo' helped academics boost youngsters' motor skills and language ability
Combining movement and storytelling activities boosts pre-school children's key motor skills and language ability, according to Coventry University experts who used bestselling book 'The Gruffalo' during their research.

Coral may hold cancer insights
Stanford researchers are exploring how corals that re-colonized Bikini Atoll after nuclear bomb tests 70 years ago have adapted to persistent radiation.

Higher IQ in childhood is linked to a longer life
Higher intelligence (IQ) in childhood is associated with a lower lifetime risk of major causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, smoking related cancers, respiratory disease and dementia, finds a study published by The BMJ today. 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