Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 03, 2017
How babies' environments lead to poor health later
New Northwestern University research underscores how environmental conditions early in development can cause inflammation in adulthood -- an important risk factor for a wide range of diseases of aging, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and dementia.

Drug discovery: Alzheimer's and Parkinson's spurred by same enzyme
Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are different. But at the biochemical level, these two neurodegenerative diseases start to look similar.

Utah is home to earliest use of a wild potato in North America
Researchers have discovered potato starch residues in the crevices of a 10,900-year-old stone tool in Escalante, Utah -- the earliest evidence of wild potato use in North America.

Regional disparity in way local authorities and family courts deal with children
A North-South divide in the way children are dealt with by local authorities and the family courts has been uncovered by researchers from the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University.

Female cancer survivors are one-third less likely to achieve pregnancy than women in general populat
For the first time, a large population study has quantified the chance of pregnancy after treatment for cancer diagnosed in girls and women aged 39 or under.

Tilted microscopy technique better reveals protein structures
Salk Institute researcher describes new cryo-EM method to facilitate a better understanding of proteins involved in disease

Dinosaurs' loss was frogs' gain: The upside of a mass extinction
Based on earlier studies, biologists believed that the vast majority of today's frogs originated in a blossoming of new species 100 million years ago.

The more eggs the better in IVF?
A higher number of eggs retrieved in an IVF treatment cycle is independently associated with more chromosomally normal embryos available for transfer, according to a new Australian study.

Superstretchable, supercompressible supercapacitors
Flexible, wearable electronics require equally flexible, wearable power sources. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese scientists have introduced an extraordinarily stretchable and compressible polyelectrolyte which, in combination with carbon nanotube composite paper electrodes, forms a supercapacitor that can be stretched to 1,000 percent in length and compressed to 50 percent in thickness with even gaining, not losing capacity.

What are outcomes later in life for high school football players?
In a study of men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957, playing high school football was not adversely associated with cognitive impairment or depression later in life, according to an article published by JAMA Neurology.

Study: World Heritage Convention can play critical role in protecting wilderness
A new WCS and University of Queensland (UQ)-led study urges the UNESCO World Heritage Convention to better conserve wilderness areas through designation of Natural World Heritage Sites (NWHS).

CF patients and physicians use shared decision-making tool to determine regimens
Physician-researchers at the University of Cincinnati have developed a computerized decision-making model to promote shared decision-making with cystic fibrosis patients.

Differences in US infant mortality rates among black and white babies
A new research letter published by JAMA Pediatrics examined trends in overall and cause-specific infant mortality rates between non-Hispanic black and white infants because infant mortality is an important indicator of population health.

Key genes in nitrogen utilization in tobacco identified
A newly created genetic roadmap for tobacco has been used to identify two mutated genes implicated in the way some types of tobacco use nitrogen.

High-fat diet in pregnancy increases breast cancer risk over generations in animal study
Feeding pregnant female mice a diet high in fat derived from common corn oil resulted in genetic changes that substantially increased breast cancer susceptibility in three generations of female offspring, reports a team of researchers led by scientists at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Study shows childhood psychiatric disorders increase risk for later adult addiction
Children's health and well-being while growing up can be indicators of the potential health issues they may encounter years later.

Drugs to curb excess stomach acid may be linked to heightened risk of death
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) -- a widely available class of drug designed to curb excess stomach acid production -- may be linked to a heightened risk of death, indicates research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Baker's yeast can help plants cope with soil contamination
Most plant species, including crops, cannot tolerate the toxic effects of soil pollutants, which dramatically impair their growth and development.

Decreasing height, increasing arthritis risk evolutionarily advantageous for humans
Early humans evolved to have shorter bones and an increased risk of osteoarthritis, a trade-off that may have helped them in colder climates, Stanford researchers say.

Quantum probes dramatically improve detection of nuclear spins
Researchers have demonstrated a way to detect nuclear spins in molecules noninvasively, providing a new tool for biotechnology and materials science.

HKBU's clinical trial acupuncture proves effectiveness for weight control
The School of Chinese Medicine (SCM) of Hong Kong Baptist University recently completed a clinical trial on the use of acupuncture for weight control.

New studies of ancient concrete could teach us to do as the Romans did
A new look inside 2,000-year-old Roman concrete has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbor structures to withstand the test of time.

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk
Millions of US residents take proton pump inhibitors which are widely prescribed to treat heartburn, ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.

Colored glasses may provide light sensitivity relief post-concussion
Following a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), patients may suffer from light sensitivity or photophobia, making it challenging to return to normal activities.

Musical sun reduces range of magnetic activity
A study of the sun using sound waves suggests that the layer in which the significant magnetic activity is located has grown thinner in recent years.

Why does a Yellowstone microorganism prefer meager rations over rich ones?
A microorganism that thrives in a hot spring draws its nutrients from low-energy sources rather than rich ones -- and scientists can't figure out why.

Increased air pollution cuts victims' lifespan by a decade, costing billions
One of the benefits to cutting fossil fuel consumption is lowering air pollution.

UNIST researchers find new way to tackle cancer cells
South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has introduced, for the first time, the organelle-localized self-assembly of a peptide amphiphile as a powerful strategy for controlling cellular fate.

Alcohol consumption putting vast majority of Europeans at risk of digestive cancers
Alcohol & Digestive Cancers, a report launched today by United European Gastroenterology, revealed that the average daily intake of alcoholic drinks was 'moderate' (between 1 and 4 drinks per day) in all 28 EU states, placing these citizens at a heightened risk of both colorectal and esophageal cancer.

Flipping the switch on height variation
A new Harvard study has discovered a genetic 'switch' that changes the activity of a key skeletal gene related to height, and pinpointed a genetic variant in the switch that favors shortness and is far more prevalent among Eurasian populations than expected.

Study sheds new light on extinction risk in mammals
An international research team led by Colorado State University successfully measured habitat fragmentation for over 4,000 species of land-dwelling mammals.

Muscles can 'ask' for the energy they need
Muscles require energy to perform all of the movements that we do in a day, and now, for the first time, researchers at the Texas A&M College of Medicine have shown how muscles 'request' more energy from fat storage tissues in fruit fly models.

Back to the future: The most efficient option for treating unexplained infertility
An inexpensive fertility drug, which has been available for more than 50 years and can be taken orally, has proved as effective as other more costly hormones when used for ovarian stimulation before intrauterine stimulation (IUI).

Applying electric current to nerve for chronic low back pain does not provide clinically important improvement
In three randomized trials, treatment of chronic low back pain with radiofrequency denervation, a procedure that can be performed with different techniques including the application of an electric current to the pain-conducting nerve, resulted in either no improvement or no clinically important improvement in chronic low back pain, according to a study published by JAMA.

Generic drug prices increase when market competition decreases
Decreased market competition causes generic drug prices to rise significantly, according to an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Research examines how insect outbreaks affect forests and bats
New research indicates that bark beetle outbreaks in forests create several new roosting and foraging possibilities for the protected bat species Barbastella barbastellus.

First large-scale genomic analysis of key acute leukemia will likely yield new therapies
Charting the genomic landscape of T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients revealed insights that will guide research and help to lay the foundation for more targeted therapy.

ANU invention may help to protect astronauts from radiation in space
Scientists at the Australian National University have designed a new nano material that can reflect or transmit light on demand with temperature control, opening the door to technology that protects astronauts in space from harmful radiation.

Greening the city -- a measurement for a mindful environment
Scientists at the University of Bradford have developed the world's first Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool (TRAPT), a scientific process for measuring how relaxing urban environments and public spaces are.

Shingles increases risk of heart attack, stroke
Contracting shingles, a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, increases a person's risk of stroke and heart attack, according to a research letter published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Size of animals dating back 100-350 million years ago inferred from resurrected proteins
The Ikerbasque researcher Raúl Pérez-Jiménez of nanoGUNE's Nanobiomechanics group has led a piece of research in which, starting from the sequences of the titin protein of a selection of modern day animals, they inferred the phylogenetic tree of tetrapods (all animals with four limbs including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians), and reconstructed the sequence that this protein would have had in the common ancestors of these animal groups.

Temple researchers identify novel mechanism underlying efficacy of common heart failure drug
Beta-blocker drugs serve a key role in the treatment of heart failure, preventing bombardment of the heart by catecholamines -- substances like epinephrine and norepinephrine -- which overexcite and stress the heart.

How seawater strengthens ancient Roman concrete
While modern marine concrete structures crumble within decades, 2,000-year-old Roman piers and breakwaters endure to this day, and are stronger now than when they were first constructed.

Improved representation of solar variability in climate models
For upcoming climate model studies, scientists can use a new, significantly improved data set for solar forcing.

NASA examines Tropical Storm Nanmadol inside and out
Two NASA satellites provided a look at the Northwestern Pacific Ocean's latest tropical storm from outside and inside.

Certain OTC, less expensive hearing aids provide benefit similar to conventional hearing aid
A comparison between less-expensive, over-the-counter hearing assistance devices and a conventional hearing aid found that some of these devices were associated with improvements in hearing similar to the hearing aid, according to a study published by JAMA.

What's in a name? Big Data reveals distinctive patterns in higher education systems
Using lists of names collected from publicly available websites, two University of Chicago researchers have revealed distinctive patterns in higher education systems, ranging from ethnic representation, to gender imbalance in the sciences, to nepotism in Italian universities.

New technique 'sees' radioactive material even after it's gone
A new technique allows researchers to characterize nuclear material that was in a location even after the nuclear material has been removed -- a finding that has significant implications for nuclear nonproliferation and security applications.

Beech trees native to Scotland after all, scientists discover
Beech trees should be considered native to Scotland -- despite a long-running debate over their national identity, researchers at the University of Stirling and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture report.

Artificial bile ducts grown in lab & transplanted into mice could help treat liver disease
Cambridge scientists have developed a new method for growing and transplanting artificial bile ducts that could in future be used to help treat liver disease in children, reducing the need for liver transplantation.

Immune defense mechanism: How proteins bring together membrane blebs
Researchers have gained new insights into the mechanisms with which certain proteins help the immune defense mechanism in the human body.

Frogs illustrate the creative destruction of mass extinctions
Using the largest set of frog genetic data ever evaluated for evolutionary relationships, researchers discover not one but three explosions of new frog species, all concentrated in the aftermath of the mass die-off of most dinosaurs and many other species about 66 million years ago.

Is concussion associated with abnormal menstrual patterns in young women?
A study of nearly 130 girls and young women suggests concussion was associated with increased risk of having two or more abnormal menstrual bleeding patterns, according to an article published by JAMA Pediatrics.

Study calls into question theories on pulsar phenomena
Researchers at the University of Southampton have cast doubt over established explanations for certain behaviors in pulsars -- highly magnetized rotating neutron stars, formed from the remains of supernovae.

Solar cell design using diverse plant pigments
A member of the Faculty of Biology of the Lomonosov Moscow State University in cooperation with his colleagues has optimized and characterized TiO₂-based solar cell design using diverse plant pigments.

Making waves
Computer scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) and Nvidia have introduced a novel representation of waves that improves computational efficiency by at least an order of magnitude.

Long duration experiments reach 1,000th day
The first experiment placed on Diamond's Long Duration Experimental (LDE) facility, on beamline I11, has now been in place for 1,000 days.

Freeze-frames of enzymes in action have implications for a new cancer treatment concept
Structural biologists at CSHL shed light on how a family of enzymes called TUTases regulate let-7, an essential regulator of development that is dyregulated in lung and kidney cancers, among others.

3-D printed models could improve patient outcomes in heart valve replacements
Heart valve models created with advanced 3-D printers could soon assist cardiologists in preparing to perform life-saving heart valve replacements.

Radiosurgery reduces depression and improves quality of life for patients with facial pain
Doctors should consider radiosurgery earlier for patients with severe facial pain, according to a new study in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics (the 'Red Journal') -- the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Molecular electronics scientists shatter 'impossible' record
Researchers have far surpassed a theoretical limit on the rectification rate in the field of molecular electronics -- an accomplishment that was thought to be impossible.

Sea spray losing its sparkle?
Atmospheric aerosols are tiny particles that scatter and absorb sunlight but also influence climate indirectly through their role in cloud formation.

Extinction event that wiped out dinosaurs cleared way for frogs
The mass extinction that obliterated three-fourths of life on Earth, including non-avian dinosaurs, set the stage for the swift rise of frogs, a new study shows.

Naturally produced testosterone gives female athletes 'significant' competitive edge
High levels of testosterone that are naturally produced by some elite female athletes give them a 'significant' competitive edge in athletics events that depend on stamina and visuospatial abilities, reveals the first study of its kind, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Quick test finds signs of sepsis in a single drop of blood
A new portable device can quickly find markers of deadly, unpredictable sepsis infection from a single drop of blood.

Finnish mothers discovered to have gene variants that protect them from pre-eclampsia
Researchers at the University of Helsinki, in cooperation with researchers at the University of Washington and at the Broad Institute, have discovered that some Finnish mothers carry rare gene variants that protect them from pre-eclampsia, also known as toxaemia of pregnancy.

Low temperature increases risk of DNA damage from UV radiation
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure can cause DNA damage and may be one of the contributing factors in the global amphibian extinction crisis.

New data on the protective effects of Alzheimer's on cancer
Patients with Alzheimer's disease have a higher risk of developing glioblastoma and a lower risk of lung cancer.

Studies compare types of insulin for reducing episodes of low blood sugar for patients with Type 1 or 2 diabetes
Treatment with the insulin degludec compared to glargine U100 for 32 weeks resulted in a reduced rate of hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) episodes among patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes and at least one risk factor for hypoglycemia, according to two studies published by JAMA.

Seeing the colored light: Bee brains open way for better cameras
Cameras in drones and robots have trouble dealing with detecting color when the light is changing.

'Little Cub' gives astronomers rare chance to see galaxy demise
A primitive galaxy that could provide clues about the early universe has been spotted by astronomers as it begins to be consumed by a gigantic neighboring galaxy.

Cases of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection are soaring
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found evidence that the most difficult C. difficile cases, known as multiple recurring C. difficile infections (mrCDI), are rapidly becoming more common.

New research describes the differences between mice and humans
Research from King's College in London, UK, and Lund University in Sweden could explain why diabetes drugs which have worked in animal experiments are not equally successful in humans.

School's in for asthma medication adherence
Stephen J. Teach, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues tried to reduce missed doses of daily medications, improve asthma control and tamp down on schoolchildren's asthma attacks by outsourcing morning delivery of inhaled corticosteroids to the school nurse.

Blood of SIDS infants contains high levels of serotonin
Blood samples from infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) had high levels of serotonin, a chemical that carries signals along and between nerves, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

Greater understanding of plant hormone results in stem cells that grow shoots
Finding on how cytokinin targets genes could allow scientists to establish organ-growing stem cells for grains and may ultimately lead to solutions to agricultural problems.

Owls' wings could hold the key to beating wind turbine noise
A new study has revealed how inspiration from owls' wings could allow aircraft and wind turbines to become quieter. 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