Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 02, 2017
Millions may face protein deficiency as a result of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions
If CO2 levels keep rising as projected, the populations of 47 countries may lose more than 5 percent of their dietary protein by 2050 due to a decline in the nutritional value of rice, wheat, and other staple crops, according to Harvard T.H.

Riding the wave: Pioneering research tames nanoquakes
Researchers from the University of Exeter have pioneered a new technique to control high frequency sound waves, commonly found within everyday devices such as mobile phones.

Vascular risk factors and Alzheimer's disease: A new therapeutic opportunity?
Currently, no possibility exists to reliably quantify the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) onset in the general population and in subjects with mild cognitive impairment.

Engineers harness the power of 3-D printing to help train surgeons, shorten surgery times
A team of engineers and pediatric orthopedic surgeons are using 3-D printing to help train surgeons and shorten surgeries for the most common hip disorder found in children ages 9 to 16.

Update on the Larsen-C iceberg breakaway
Since an iceberg four times the size of London broke free earlier this month, scientists have continued to track its progress using satellites.

Risk of a fatty heart linked to race, type of weight gain in middle-aged women
A woman's race and where on her body she packs on pounds at midlife could give her doctor valuable clues to her likelihood of having greater volumes of heart fat, a potential risk factor for heart disease, according to new research led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

New tool increases adaptability, autonomy of 'Skyrim' nonplayer characters
Computer science researchers at North Carolina State University and Universidade de Lisboa have developed a tool for use with the game Skyrim that can be used to create nonplayer characters that allow for more variability and flexibility in game play.

Comprehensive sequencing program shows promise of precision medicine for advanced cancer
A new study shows just how complex metastatic cancer is and offers some clues to attacking it.

Researchers detect exoplanet with glowing water atmosphere
Scientists have found compelling evidence for a stratosphere on an enormous planet outside our solar system.

Neurobiology: Use it or lose it
An Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich study reveals that sound-evoked activity of neurons in the auditory system of the mouse increases the thickness of their myelin sheaths -- and enhances the speed of signal transmission -- both during development and in the adult brain.

UC Nephrology director addresses acute kidney injury as journal guest editor
Charuhas Thakar, MD, professor and director of the Division of Nephrology, Kidney CARE Program in the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine addresses acute kidney injury (AKI) as guest editor of the July 2017 issue of the ACKD Journal.

A dolphin diet
The health of dolphin populations worldwide depends on sustained access to robust food sources.

'Perfect liquid' quark-gluon plasma is the most vortical fluid
Particle collisions recreating the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) that filled the early universe reveal that droplets of this primordial soup swirl far faster than any other fluid.

Deadly heat waves could hit South Asia this century
In South Asia, new MIT research suggests that by the end of this century climate change could lead to summer heat waves with levels of heat and humidity that exceed what humans can survive without protection

Smaller, smarter, softer robotic arm for endoscopic surgery
Researchers from Harvard University have developed a hybrid rigid-soft robotic arm for endoscopes with integrated sensing, flexibility, and multiple degrees of freedom.

New simulations could help in hunt for massive mergers of neutron stars, black holes
Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed new computer models to explore what happens when a black hole joins with a neutron star - the superdense remnant of an exploded star.

In South Asia, humid heat expected to surpass fatal levels by the late 21st century
Hot and humid temperatures in South Asia, which contains one-fifth of the global population, will exceed the upper limit of human survivability by the late 21st century, scientists project, underscoring an urgent need to adopt alternative strategies on top of those currently proposed.

How can we achieve greater balance in future cases like Charlie Gard's, asks expert?
Much of the public discussion about the Charlie Gard case has been distinctly unbalanced, argues an expert in The BMJ today.

Exposure to toxins in e-cig vapor varies depending on scenario
E-cigarettes are often perceived to be less harmful than their traditional counterparts, but they could still expose the people who 'vape' and those around them to harmful compounds.

Cicada wings may inspire new surface technologies
Researchers are looking to insects -- specifically cicadas -- for insight into the design of artificial surfaces with de-icing, self-cleaning and anti-fogging abilities.

Academy collections aid researchers in revising a mammal branch on tree of life
One small mammal is experiencing a triumphant return to its long-ago spot on the tree of life.

Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
Producers sometimes face challenges that go deep into the soil.

What flowers looked like 100 million years ago
Flowering plants with are by far the most diverse group of plants on Earth.

Scientists deliver knockout blow to multiple cancers
Targeting healthy cells that have been hijacked by cancer cells could help treat many different types of the disease, according to research funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute today.

ASU geoscientists find explanation for puzzling pockets of rock deep in Earth's mantle
The boundary between Earth's core and mantle is home to isolated pockets of rock which scientists have been unable to explain up until now.

Ebola detected in semen of survivors two years after infection
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found Ebola RNA in the semen of survivors two years after infection.

Species richness -- a false friend?
Assessing the state of an ecosystem solely on the basis of short-term changes in the number of different species it contains can lead to false conclusions.

Ancient DNA reveals origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans
The question of the origins of the Minoans and their relationship to the Mycenaeans, Europe's first literate societies, has long puzzled researchers.

Quitting statins after stroke may raise risk of another stroke
Stopping statin drug therapy between three and six months after a first ischemic stroke is associated with a higher risk of another stroke within a year.

Food fight: Children's temperaments help predict dinnertime struggles
Most toddlers go through bouts of picky eating, but infants with more inhibited personalities are more likely to turn up their nose at new foods, according to researchers.

NASA looks at Tropical Cyclones Irwin and Hilary rainfall and Fujiwara Effect
NASA used satellite data to tally the rainfall generated by Hurricanes Hilary and Irwin as they interacted in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Financial incentives could conserve tropical forest diversity
The past few decades have seen the rise of global incentive programs offering payments to landowners to help reduce tropical deforestation.

Trapdoor spider may have dispersed across the ocean from Africa to Australia
An Australian trapdoor spider may have crossed the ocean from Africa rather than being the product of geographical separation, according to a study published Aug.

Scholars shed light on 'moving target' of drone regulation in the US
To help sort out the current 'adolescence' of drone laws, William Johnson, professor of geography and atmospheric science, and KU graduate student Dakota Burt recently published new research detailing myriad legal underpinnings of operating drones in the US.

A Braf kinase-inactive mutant induces lung adenocarcinoma
The initiating oncogenic event in half of human lung adenocarcinomas is still unknown, a fact that complicates the development of selective targeted therapies.

Early gene-editing success holds promise for preventing inherited diseases
Scientists achieve first safe repair of single-gene mutation in human embryos.

'Sherlock' and the case of narrative perception
'Chunking' is the means by which individual items or words are grouped together into larger units so that they can be processed or stored as single ideas.

CAREFOR calls on EU to safeguard independent academic research
Three leading European organisations in the fight against cancer have called the EU to urgently increase its support for independent academic research for the benefit of cancer patients, in an article published today in ESMO Open.

Remnant clouds of former Tropical Storm Emily over Atlantic
Former Tropical Storm Emily appeared as swirl of clouds on imagery from NOAA's GOES-East satellite on August 2.

Autism may reflect excitation-inhibition imbalance in brain, Stanford study finds
A study by Stanford University investigators suggests that key features of autism reflect an imbalance in signaling from excitatory and inhibitory neurons in a portion of the forebrain, and that reversing the imbalance could alleviate some of its hallmark symptoms.

Good cellular neighbors combat incipient cancers
Scientists have spent decades studying the nature of tumor cells, but few have looked to see what was happening in the surrounding tissue.

Acid attack bystanders can make a real difference if they act fast, say experts
Educating the public to act quickly after an acid attack can minimise injury and substantially improve outcomes for victims, say experts in The BMJ today.

ONC201 may inhibit cancer stem cell self-renewals by altering their gene expression
ONC201 may inhibit cancer stem cell self-renewals by altering their gene expression, according to a study published Aug.

The first civilizations of Greece are revealing their stories to science
A new analysis of genome sequences from the ancient Minoans and Mycenaeans by HHMI investigator and colleagues offers insight into the origins of these Bronze Age cultures.

Prescription opioids often go unused after surgery
More than two-thirds of patients reported unused prescription opioids following surgery, and safe storage and disposal rarely occurred, suggesting an important source for nonmedical use, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Tree-of-heaven's prolific seed production adds to its invasive potential
Tree-of-heaven -- or Ailanthus -- is an invasive triple threat, according to a team of plant pathologists.

Microscopic body snatchers infest our oceans
Swansea University research has found that predatory microbes which enslave prey to acquire photosynthetic capability are abundant in our oceans.

NASA look at Tropical Storm Nalgae in infrared light
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Nalgae and gathered temperature data to determine the location of the most powerful storms.

Deciphering potent DNA toxin's secrets
A team of Vanderbilt University researchers have worked out the molecular details that explain how one of the most potent bacterial toxins known -- yatakemycin (YTM) -- kills cells by preventing their DNA from replicating.

Targeted radiotherapy limits side effects of breast cancer treatment
Breast cancer patients who have radiotherapy targeted at the original tumor site experience fewer side effects five years after treatment than those who have whole breast radiotherapy, and their cancer is just as unlikely to return, according to trial results published in The Lancet today.

Pneumonia or sepsis in adults associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease
Pneumonia or sepsis in adults that results in hospital admission is associated with a six-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the first year, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Singapore scientists uncover the role of spindle matrix proteins in NSC reactivation
Singapore scientists led by Duke-NUS Medical School's Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders Programme have uncovered that spindle matrix proteins can play an intrinsic role in regulating neural stem cell (NSC) reactivation and proliferation.

Solar glasses generate solar power
Organic solar cells are flexible, transparent, and light-weight -- and can be manufactured in arbitrary shapes or colors.

Stanford researchers find similar characteristics in human-induced and natural earthquakes
New research shows manmade and naturally occurring earthquakes in the central US share the same characteristics, information that will help scientists predict and mitigate damage from future earthquakes.

Lighting the way: Sensors show drug uptake
When designing and characterizing new drugs, a key aspect is making sure the drug actually goes where it is intended to.

A protein involved in Alzheimer's disease may also be implicated in cognitive abilities
Rare mutations in the amyloid precursor protein (APP) have previously been shown to be strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD).

New cancer therapy eliminates toxic delivery vehicles for microRNA
Researchers at Purdue University have discovered a mechanism for delivering tumor-suppressing microRNAs that eliminates the need for toxic delivery vehicles.

Lesser spotted eagle conservation success depends on youngsters following migrating adults
In a bid to save the endangered lesser spotted eagle population in Germany, Bernd-Ulrich Meyburg and colleagues have relocated chicks from Latvia to Brandenburg, but it was unclear whether the translocated chicks would successfully complete their first migration to southern Africa.

Gamblers more likely to have suffered childhood traumas, research shows
Men with problem and pathological gambling addictions are more likely to have suffered childhood traumas including physical abuse or witnessing violence in the home, according to new research.

Weighing the benefits of incidental habitat protection
University of Washington researchers compared land that had come under incidental protection through regulations, to land acquired for conservation during the same 25-year span (1990-2015), in Washington State. Lawler's talk, on Wednesday, Aug.

NASA keeps an eye on Typhoon Noru
NASA's Aqua satellite is keeping track of Typhoon Noru as it continues its slow trek through the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Increasing productivity by one day each month
Corporate wellness programs have been shown to save companies money by reducing absenteeism and health insurance costs.

Where there's fire, there's smoke -- and social media
The fact that people reliably flock to social media to discuss smoke and fire was the inspiration for a new study by Colorado State University atmospheric scientists.

Catalysts developed at Carnegie Mellon efficiently and rapidly remove BPA from water
Carnegie Mellon University chemist Terrence J. Collins has developed an approach that quickly and cheaply removes more than 99 percent of bisphenol A (BPA) from water.

Cockroach gardeners: Spreading plant seeds across the forest floor
Researchers in Japan have discovered that cockroaches can disperse seeds like birds and mammals.

Correction of a faulty gene in human embryos
Published in Nature, CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors open up new pathways to treat and prevent genetic diseases.

Three Klebsiella species cause life-threatening infections and share drug resistance genes
A team of US researchers has discovered that three different species of Klebsiella bacteria can cause life-threatening infections in hospital patients and that all three share genes that confer resistance to the most commonly used antibiotics.

Bone loss after denosumab, only partial protection with zoledronate
To counter the decline in BMD after denosumab treatment is discontinued, osteoporosis patients may be transitioned from denosumab to other anti-resorptives.

Running out of gas: Gas loss puts breaks on stellar baby boom
Astronomers observed a galaxy cluster 9.4 billion light-years away using the ALMA radio telescope array and found evidence that hot gas strips away the cold gas in the member galaxies.

Study in Nature demonstrates method for repairing genes in human embryos that prevents inherited dis
Scientists have demonstrated an effective way of using a gene-editing tool to correct a disease-causing gene mutation in human embryos and stop it from passing to future generations.

Historical wildlife trends reliable for predicting species at risk
Scientists at the University of York have shown that using historical wildlife data provides a more accurate measure of how vulnerable certain species might be to extinction from climate change.

Students at 2-year colleges and vocational schools more likely to be hungry
For the majority of college students, having enough food is not on the list of challenges they face in their education.

An app for the perfect selfie
Computer scientists at the University of Waterloo have developed a smartphone app that helps people learn the art of taking great selfies.

Study adds to evidence that most prescribed opioid pills go unused
In a review of half a dozen published studies in which patients self-reported use of opioids prescribed to them after surgery, researchers at Johns Hopkins report that a substantial majority of patients used only some or none of the pills, and more than 90 percent failed to dispose of the leftovers in recommended ways.

Targeting 'Achilles' heel' could supercharge breast cancer treatment
A new class of anti-cancer agents targeting cancer cells' 'Achilles' heel' could help to supercharge breast cancer treatment, improving outcomes for the most aggressive types of breast cancer.

Shake it up: Human-induced and natural earthquakes in central US are 'inherently similar'
The stresses released by human-induced and naturally occurring earthquakes in the central United States are in many cases indistinguishable, meaning that existing tools to predict shaking damage can be applied to both types.

Risk to Europe's most dangerous pathogens revealed
The impact of climate change on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases could be greater than previously thought, according to new research by the University of Liverpool.

New method may help predict risk of bleeding after stroke
A new scoring method may help predict who is at high risk of serious bleeding after a stroke, according to a study published in the Aug.

An end to cavities for people with sensitive teeth?
An ice cold drink is refreshing in the summer, but for people with sensitive teeth, it can cause a painful jolt in the mouth.

Ancient DNA analysis reveals Minoan and Mycenaean origins
DNA analysis of archaeological remains has revealed that Ancient Minoans and Mycenaens were genetically similar with both peoples descending from early Neolithic farmers.

The truth about cats' and dogs' environmental impact
UCLA research found that US cats and dogs cause 25-30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in this country.

Study reveals how to reprogram cells in our immune system
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes revealed, for the first time, a method to reprogram specific T cells.

Hypertensive women may benefit most from drugs that directly block the action of the hormone aldoste
When women are hypertensive their physicians should consider measuring their level of aldosterone, a hormone that at high levels damages the cardiovascular system, scientists say.

Pros and cons: Free dental care in exchange for community service
The majority of low-income Michigan residents and dentists who participated in a program that provided free dental care in exchange for volunteer work said they liked it, and most patients felt their oral health had improved.

Clarifiying complex chemical processes with quantum computers
Science and the IT industry have high hopes for quantum computing, but descriptions of possible applications tend to be vague.

Trapdoor spiders crossed Indian Ocean to get to Australia
An Australian trapdoor spider, which usually moves no further than a couple of meters from where it was hatched, must have traveled to Australia over the Indian Ocean from South Africa, University of Adelaide research has shown.

Increasing risk of drug withdrawal in newborns as US opioid epidemic accelerates
Taking a combination of opioids (strong prescription painkillers) and psychotropic medications (widely used to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression) during pregnancy is associated with a greater risk of drug withdrawal in newborns, finds a study in The BMJ today.

Heat-conducting plastic could lead to lighter electronics, cars
Advanced plastics could usher in lighter, cheaper, more energy-efficient product components, including those used in vehicles, LEDs and computers -- if only they were better at dissipating heat.

Condemned prisoners prefer formalwear at executions, UC study finds
University of Cincinnati professors Annulla Linders and Erynn Masi de Casanova used historical news accounts to examine the cultural norms of executions through prisoner attire.

It's not just what you eat, it's what's eating you
Restricting how much you eat without starving has been shown to robustly extend lifespan in more than 20 species of animals including primates.

Cracking the code of megapests
For the first time researchers have mapped the complete genome of two closely related megapests potentially saving the international agricultural community billions of dollars a year.

Collaboration between pet owners and researchers helps children and dogs with rare epilepsy
New hope is being given to children who suffer from a rare and severe form of epilepsy, thanks to unique research carried out by the University of Surrey's School of Veterinary Medicine and Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey.

Getting therapeutic sound waves through thick skulls
Ultrasound brain surgery has enormous potential for the treatment of neurological diseases and cancers, but getting sound waves through the skull and into the brain is no easy task.

From a memory too strong to a memory too weak
There is increasing evidence that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increases the risk of developing dementia later in life.

System automatically retouches cellphone images in real-time
This week at Siggraph, the premier digital graphics conference, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Google are presenting a new system that can automatically retouch images in the style of a professional photographer.

Tracking down allergy-causing T helper cells
Scientists have finally homed in on a specific subset of immune cells that are central to allergies, clearing up the longstanding mystery behind why some individuals develop allergic diseases, and potentially identifying new therapeutic targets.

Marriage of microscopy techniques reveals 3-D structure of critical protein complex
Researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have solved the three-dimensional structure of a complex that is essential for the correct sorting of chromosomes into eggs and sperm during reproductive cell division or meiosis.

The nitty-gritty behind how onions make you cry
Adding onions to a recipe can make a meal taste rich and savory, but cutting up the onion can be brutal.  Onions release a compound called lachrymatory factor (LF), which makes the eyes sting and water.

Hubble detects exoplanet with glowing water atmosphere
Scientists have found the strongest evidence to date for a stratosphere on an enormous planet outside our solar system, with an atmosphere hot enough to boil iron.

Less than half of stroke patients nationwide are prescribed recommended cholesterol-lowering medication
Many people leaving the hospital after a stroke are not getting prescriptions for statins, even though research shows the medication can reduce the recurrence of stroke.

Loss of 350 miles of Great Plains streams causing changes in aquatic food web
A decrease in Great Plains streams, fed by decreasing ground water, is changing fish assembles according to research published Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Babies of kidnapped brides suffer, too
Bride kidnapping remains a common practice in a handful of countries.

Physicians evaluate new device to test for cervical cancer
When a woman has an abnormal pap smear she usually undergoes colposcopy.

Anthrax: A hidden threat to wildlife in the tropics
Researchers illuminate the epidemiology of a cryptic pathogen.

Secrets of ancient Irish funeral practices revealed
New insights into the lifeways -- and death rites -- of the ancient people of Ireland are being provided through funerary studies led by a researcher at the Department of Anatomy at New Zealand's University of Otago. 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