Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 13, 2017
Squirrels have long memory for problem solving
Squirrels can remember problem-solving techniques for long periods and can apply them to new situations, researchers have discovered.

50-year-old flu virus model revamped, revealing pandemic prediction possibilities
The scientific textbook depiction of the flu virus is about to get a facelift, due to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine team's discovery that a model of the influenza genome architecture untouched since the 1970s isn't so perfect after all.

Researchers investigate possible link between carnitine deficiency and autism
At Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Arthur Beaudet has been following clinical and genetic clues in patients with autism spectrum disorder and experimental results in animal models that have led him to propose that the lack of carnitine, a nutrient needed for the normal development and workings of the brain, the liver, the heart and other muscles, might be involved in triggering mild forms of autism.

Optimizing hydrogen-powered passenger ferries focus of Sandia Labs study
Maritime transportation has emerged as one solution to the traffic gridlock that plagues coastal cities.

Bacterium actively drives colorectal cancer tumor cell growth
A subspecies of the bacterium Streptococcus gallolyticus appears to actively promote the development of colorectal cancer, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

A neural switch for becoming alpha male
Researchers have identified a neural circuit in the brains of mice that plays a role in social dominance.

Chillier winters, smaller beaks
Researchers find that cold winters contributed to the evolution of beak size in Australasian songbirds.

ASTRO updates insurance coverage recommendations for proton therapy
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has issued an update to its recommendations for medical insurance coverage regarding the use of proton beam therapy to treat cancer.

Low doses of radiation could harm cardiovascular health, study suggests
Ionizing radiation, such as X-rays, has a harmful effect on the cardiovascular system even at doses equivalent to recurrent CT imaging, a new study published in the International Journal of Radiation Biology suggests.

Genetically enhanced, cord-blood derived immune cells strike B-cell cancers
Immune cells with a general knack for recognizing and killing many types of infected or abnormal cells also can be engineered to hunt down cells with specific targets on them to treat cancer, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report in the journal Leukemia.

Ga-ga, goo-goo, why a baby likes you
By the age of one, infants already prefer speakers of their native tongue, but do not necessarily view speakers of an unfamiliar language negatively, according to new UBC research.

Decision-making rules least susceptible to manipulation, according to science
HSE researchers have used computer modelling to demonstrate the varying manipulability of decision-making procedures and to identify those least susceptible to manipulation.

Research makes robots better at following spoken instructions
A new software system helps robots to more effectively act on instructions from people, who by nature give commands that range from simple and straightforward to those that are more complex and imply a myriad of subtasks.

Is 'ovarian tissue freezing' superior to egg freezing?
Many women are turning to egg freezing to promote fertility, but what happens when it isn't an option because of special medical conditions?

How to cryopreserve fish embryos and bring them back to life (video)
Scientists report for the first time the ability to both deep freeze and reanimate zebrafish embryos.

Why a single nuke's impact shouldn't only be measured in megatons
New calculations by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers show that even a limited nuclear strike could cause devastating climate change, resulting in widespread drought and famine that could cost a billion lives.

Time to rise and shine
The copepod species Calanus finmarchicus schedules its day using a genetic clock that works independently of external stimuli.

Nickel is crucial for the Earth's magnetic field
The earth's hot core, consisting mainly of iron, is responsible for the 'dynamo effect,' which creates a magnetic field.

Poor thyroid function may affect dialysis patients' quality of life and daily living
In hemodialysis patients, hypothyroidism was linked with impairments across multiple areas of health-related quality of life, including lower energy and greater fatigue, poorer physical function, and greater pain.

Scientists develop imaging method for measuring glutathione in real time
Scientists have developed a fluorescent probe -- they call it RealThiol -- that can measure real-time changes of glutathione concentration in living cells.

NASA infrared image shows Eugene now a remnant
Former Hurricane Eugene has now weakened to a remnant low pressure area.

After 'freezing' in fear, what part of the brain helps make fish swim again?
The brain is the body's mission control center, sending messages to the other organs about how to respond to various external and internal stimuli.

Testing a soft artificial heart
ETH researchers from the Functional Materials Laboratory have developed a silicone heart that beats almost like a human heart.

Climate change could mean more weight restrictions and higher costs for airlines
As air temperatures rise at constant pressure, the density of air declines and this makes it harder for an airplane to take off.

Children conceived using donor sperm have similar health to general population
Children conceived using donor sperm have similar health and well-being to the general population, according to a study published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online.

Researchers overcome suppression of immune response against bacterial pathogens
Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin were able to positively influence the immune response in severe viral and bacterial co-infection.

Fungi can be used as biomonitors for assessing radioactivity in our environment
The Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory of the UEx has carried out a study to quantify radioactive presence in fungi.

Researchers develop dynamic templates critical to printable electronics technology
When it comes to efficiency, sometimes it helps to look to Mother Nature for advice -- even in technology as advanced as printable, flexible electronics.

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans.

Nagoya medical researchers propose new disease category of skin disorders
Nagoya University dermatologists define new category of skin diseases based on autoinflammation with a genetic root.

New material resembling a metal nanosponge could reduce computer energy consumption
Researchers from the UAB, in collaboration with the ICN2, have developed a nanoporous material based on a copper and nickel alloy, with a structure similar to that of a sponge with pores measuring the size of a millionth of a millimeter, which allows handling and storing information using very little energy.

Researchers revolutionize vital conservation tool with use of gold nanotechnology and lasers
In a new study, researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) provide the first-ever reproducible evidence for the successful cryopreservation of zebrafish embryos.

New research uses satellites to predict end of volcanic eruptions
Researchers from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa recently discovered that infrared satellite data could be used to predict when lava flow-forming eruptions will end.

How neurons sense our everyday life
Researchers from King's College London have discovered a molecular mechanism that enables neuronal connections to change through experience, thus fueling learning and memory formation.

MIT Bitcoin study shows value of exclusive access for early adopters
Delaying access for the tech-savvy can stifle spread of new products, experiment with MIT students shows.

Study tracks leishmaniasis in dogs, wild animals and sand flies in Brazil
Researchers have surveyed the environmentally protected area in Campinas, Southeastern Brazil, which has undergone several changes by human action, especially the implementation of condominiums, and revealed that more than one percent of dogs, as well as some opossums and insect species in the area carry the parasite responsible for the most dangerous form of leishmaniasis.

Mountaintop coal mining causes appalachian rivers to run 'consistently saltier'
Over time, alkaline salts and other contaminants from the coal residue and crushed rocks in valley fills leach into nearby streams and rivers, degrading water quality and causing dramatic increases in salinity that are harmful to downstream ecosystems.

Omics technologies for analysis of precious rare biosamples
Omics technologies such as proteomics have far-reaching applications in diagnostics and clinical medicine, ecology, integrative biology research and beyond.

Long working hours increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation
People who work long hours have an increased risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation, according to a study of nearly 85,500 men and women published in the European Heart Journal.

Could calcium hold the key to fighting a dangerous hospital infection?
It lurks in hospitals and nursing homes, preying upon patients already weak from disease or advanced age.

Study by UTA professor shows many parents in the dark about concussions
Despite the large volume of information about sports related concussions on the Internet, many parents and guardians of young athletes have a limited understanding of concussions, according to a study co-authored by a faculty member of UTA's College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

New data network for Huntington's disease research
An international team has created the first data network for research into Huntington's disease, freely available to all scientists in this field.

Water makes the proton shake
Basic processes in chemistry and biology involve protons in a water environment.

Using a microRNA to shift the makeup of glioblastoma subtypes
In a new study published in Cell Reports, BWH researchers examined a specific microRNA, miR-128, to help identify glioblastoma subtypes and to determine if altering the microRNA's presence in glioblastoma cells could change the tumor's subtype.

Yes, the sun is an ordinary, solar-type star after all
The Sun is a solar-type star, a new study claims -- resolving an ongoing controversy about whether the star at the center of our Solar System exhibits the same cyclic behavior as other nearby, solar-type stars.

Mapping behavior in the fruit fly brain
One of the primary missions of neuroscience is to make connections between particular neurons in the brain and specific behaviors.

Newly discovered elovanoids called a 'transformative new concept of biology'
Research led by Nicolas Bazan, M.D., Ph.D., Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans, has discovered a new class of mediators, or biochemical triggers that he named elovanoids (ELVs).

Zika vaccine protects fetus against infection and birth defects
Immunizing female mice with a Zika vaccine can protect their developing fetus from infection and birth defects during pregnancy, according to new research from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction
Scientists from the QUEST Institute at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have presented a model system which allows the investigation of atomic-scale friction effects and friction dynamics that are similar to those taking place, e.g., in proteins, DNA strands and other deformable nanocontacts.

Study suggests route to improving rechargeable lithium batteries
In a study that suggests a route to improving rechargeable lithium batteries, MIT researchers report that smooth surfaces may prevent harmful deposits from working their way into a solid electrolyte.

Ravens can plan ahead, similar to humans and great apes
Despite previous research that indicates such behaviors are unique to humans and great apes, a new study shows that ravens, too, can plan ahead for different types of events , and further, that they are willing to forgo an immediate reward in order to gain a better one in the future.

Getting to the roots of Sahara mustard invasion in the American Southwest
Old World Sahara mustard is spreading rapidly through southwestern US deserts, smothering the native wildflowers that draw tourists to the region and disrupting the desert ecosystem.

Shedding light on Galaxies' rotation secrets
Spiral galaxies are found to be strongly rotating, with an angular momentum higher by a factor of about 5 than ellipticals.

Babies with hearing loss form better vocabulary with early intervention
A new study published in Pediatrics found that babies with hearing loss who are diagnosed by three months and receive interventions by six months have broader vocabularies than those treated later.

Experimental Zika virus vaccines restrict in utero virus transmission in mice
Two experimental vaccines can restrict Zika virus transmission from pregnant mice to their fetuses and can prevent Zika virus-induced placental damage and fetal demise, according to new findings published in Cell.

Cancer may metastasize without lymph node involvement
Research by several leading scientists including Rakesh Jain, Ph.D., Director of the Edwin L.

Can sexual risk and behaviors among women help explain HIV disparities by race/ethnicity?
Researchers examined the sexual behaviors of a nationally representative group of US women that can prevent against or increase risk for HIV infection and reported the differences in behaviors such as condom use and concurrent sex partners and the changes in these behaviors over 7 years for white, black, and Latina women ages 18-44 in a study published in Journal of Women's Health.

Vaccines protect fetuses from Zika infection, mouse study shows
Zika virus can cause severe brain damage in people infected before birth.

How social rank can trigger vulnerability to stress
EPFL scientists have identified rank in social hierarchies as a major determining factor for vulnerability to chronic stress.

On the way to a biological alternative
A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes.

Feedback from thousands of designs could transform protein engineering
A large-scale study to test the actual stability of computationally designed proteins shows a way to take some of the guesswork out of protein engineering.

Cancer cells force normal cells to mimic viruses to help tumors spread, resist treatment
In a study that could explain why some breast cancers are more aggressive than others, researchers say they now understand how cancer cells force normal cells to act like viruses - allowing tumors to grow, resist treatment, and spread.

Satellite sees Tropical Storm Fernanda heading west
Tropical Storm Fernanda continues to strengthen as it moves west through the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Surging heat may limit aircraft takeoffs globally
Rising temperatures due to global warming will make it harder for many aircraft around the world to take off in coming decades, says a new study.

How selenium compounds might become catalysts
Chemists at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum have tested a new approach for activating chemical reactions based on the element selenium.

New study sheds light on disease-busting 'recycling bins' in our cells
Scientists have made an important step in understanding how cells keep themselves clean and healthy -- a finding that may have implications for combating neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

Study reveals interplay of an African bat, a parasite and a virus
A lack of evidence that bats are key reservoirs of human disease has not prevented their vilification or efforts to exterminate bat colonies where threats are presumed to lurk.

Researchers develop technique to control and measure electron spin voltage
Information technologies of the future will likely use electron spin -- rather than electron charge -- to carry information.

Artificial intelligence helps build brain atlas of fly behavior
Scientists at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus created comprehensive brain maps linking different groups of neurons to specific behaviors, using a machine-learning program that annotated more than 225 days of videos of flies -- a feat that would have taken humans some 3,800 years.

MMA fighters, boxers may have signs of long-term brain injury in blood
Boxers and mixed martial arts fighters may have markers of long-term brain injury in their blood, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's Sports Concussion Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., July 14 to 16, 2017.

Singapore scientists pave way for better juvenile arthritis diagnosis & treatment outcome prediction
They discovered a previously unknown group of regulatory T cells linked to the disease and DNA features that affect patients' response to treatment.

Bakaletz Lab biofilm work published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The laboratory of Lauren Bakaletz, PhD, director, Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and vice president of basic sciences, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's, studied the biofilm construction capabilities of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI), a bacterium responsible for sinusitis, pneumonia, exacerbations of cystic fibrosis and COPD, bronchitis and ear infections.

Ancient plankton-like microfossils span 2 continents
Large, robust, lens-shaped microfossils from the approximately 3.4 billion-year-old Kromberg Formation of the Kaapvaal Craton in eastern South Africa are not only among the oldest elaborate microorganisms known, but are also related to other intricate microfossils of the same age found in the Pilbara Craton of Australia, according to an international team of scientists.

Study links maternal obesity during pregnancy to behavioral problems in boys
Maternal obesity and child neurodevelopmental problems have both increased in the US and scientists have suggested a possible link.

Diet rich in tomatoes cuts skin cancer in half in mice
Daily tomato consumption appeared to cut the development of skin cancer tumors by half in a mouse study at The Ohio State University.

Mapping invasive alien species of Union concern
The first ever Baseline Distribution of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern has been published by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Diet of the ancient people of Rapa Nui shows adaptation and resilience not 'ecocide'
Research by an international team, led by the University of Bristol, has shed new light on the fate of the ancient people of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Side effects not a major problem for new class of breast cancer drugs
A ground-breaking new class of oral drugs for treating breast cancer, known as cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors, are generally well-tolerated, with a manageable toxicity profile for most patients.

Elderly yoginis have greater cortical thickness
Scientists in Brazil have imaged elderly female yoga practitioners' brains and found they have greater cortical thickness in the left prefrontal cortex, in brain areas associated with cognitive functions like attention and memory.

Largest study of malaria gene function reveals many potential drug targets
The malaria parasite's success is owed to stripping down its genome to the bare essential genes, scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators have found.

A hit love song for toads
James Cook University researchers in Australia say they now know exactly what makes horny cane toads boogie.

Early adopters prefer earliest access
Widespread adoption of a new technology often relies on a small subpopulation of people who take the lead, but what happens if those natural early adopters can't adopt early, or, choose not to?

Stand Up To Cancer, St. Baldrick's Foundation hail green light for CAR T cell therapy
SU2C and St. Baldrick's welcomed ODAC's recommendation for FDA approval of the new CAR T therapy for a deadly form of leukemia, an approach whose development has also been supported by their Pediatric Dream Team investigating why some patients with B-cell ALL relapse after receiving the CD19 CAR T cell therapy, and developing standardized management of cytokine release syndrome (CRS), a potentially fatal side effect of the treatment.

The earliest stages of life might be simpler than we thought
In the very earliest stages of life, mammalian cells multiply and form the embryo.

Machine learning technique offers insight into plasma behavior
A paper by graduate student Matthew Parsons describes the application of machine learning to avoiding plasma disruptions, which will be crucial to ensuring the longevity of future large tokamaks.

New imaging technique able to watch molecular dynamics of neurodegenerative diseases
Researchers have developed a fast and practical molecular-scale imaging technique that could let scientists view never-before-seen dynamics of biological processes involved in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Why Japan's coastal zones might be disappearing due to climate change
Climate change can cause a range of effects on coastal environments, such as a decrease in sediment supply, changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme events, and changes in sea levels and wave climate.

Tiny cellular antennae key to fat formation in muscle
Like it or not, as we age, our muscle cells are slowly exchanged, one by one, for fat cells.

New report presents national strategy to reduce opioid epidemic
Years of sustained and coordinated efforts will be required to contain and reverse the harmful societal effects of the prescription and illicit opioid epidemics, which are intertwined and getting worse, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 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