Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 03, 2017
Twilight observations reveal huge storm on Neptune
Striking images of a storm system nearly the size of Earth have astronomers doing a double-take after pinpointing its location near Neptune's equator, a region where no bright cloud has been seen before.

Skin-ditching gecko inexplicably leaves body armor behind when threatened
When trouble looms, the fish-scale geckos of Madagascar resort to what might seem like an extreme form of self-defense -- tearing out of their own skin.

Research into childhood obstructive sleep-disordered breathing examined
Through a comprehensive review of published research, investigators have identified important gaps in how and where children with obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (oSDB) are best managed.

First observation of the hyperfine splitting in antihydrogen
Swansea University scientists are one step closer to answering the question of why matter exists and illuminating the mysteries of the Big Bang and the birth of the universe.

Dark Energy Survey reveals most accurate measurement of universe's dark matter
Dark Energy Survey scientists have unveiled the most accurate measurement ever made of the present large-scale structure of the universe.

Dramatic changes needed in farming practices to keep pace with climate change
Researchers investigating nutrients in runoff from agricultural land warn that phosphorus losses will increase, due to climate change, unless this is mitigated by making major changes to agricultural practices.

What role does the gut play in type 2 diabetes?
In the destructive cycle that leads to and perpetuates type 2 diabetes, driven by overeating, excessive blood glucose, defective pancreatic beta cell function, and imbalances in insulin-regulating hormone levels, the gut appears to play a key role.

Arts engagement can help counter divisions in society
Engagement with the arts can help societies counter economic, cultural and political divisions, new research coordinated by psychologists at the University of Kent shows.

Spousal age gap affects marriage satisfaction over time
Men and women both report greater marital satisfaction with younger spouses, but that satisfaction fades over time in marriages with a significant age gap between the partners, new University of Colorado Boulder research finds.

Study finds climate plays role in decline of one of Asia's most critical water resources
Climate variability -- rather than the presence of a major dam -- is most likely the primary cause for a water supply decline in East Asia's largest floodplain lake system, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Fast, noninvasive technique for probing cells may reveal disease
MIT engineers have devised a way to assess a cell's mechanical properties simply by observation.

Steps toward a promising therapy for a rare bone disease
Study examines the therapeutic potential of a small molecule to treat hereditary bony tumors.

NRL brightens perspective of mysterious mini-halos
The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), working in conjunction with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), employs the upgraded Karl G.

Bioprinted veins reveal new drug diffusion details
A new advance, published this week in the journal Biomicrofluidics, now offers the ability to construct vascularized tissue and mimic in vivo drug administration in 3-D bioprinted liver tissue.

Study: Muscle, not brain, may hold answers to some sleep disorders
Scientists exploring the brain for answers to certain sleep disorders may have been looking in the wrong place.

Cretaceous snails conceal themselves in monuments in Madrid
The fountains standing next to the Museo del Prado are built using a sedimentary rock full of gastropod shells from the time of the dinosaurs.

Isotope fingerprints in feathers reveal songbirds' secret breeding grounds
Using isotope fingerprints in feathers, researchers have pinpointed the northern breeding grounds of a small, colorful songbird.

Animals have it all over us when it comes to color
University of Queensland researchers have developed new knowledge on how animals see and use color, and how their color vision has evolved.

Study examines tolerance of political lies for shared views
A new study, from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science, suggests people have more leniency for politicians' lies when they bolster a shared belief that a specific political stance is morally right.

Electrical grounding technique may improve health outcomes of NICU babies
A technique called 'electrical grounding' may moderate preterm infants' electromagnetic exposure in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and improve their health outcomes, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

New statistical models key yield powerful insight from health care databases
Recognizing that administrative health care databases can be a valuable, yet challenging, tool in the nation's ongoing pursuit of personalized medicine, statisticians Liangyuan Hu and Madhu Mazumdar of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have developed advanced statistical modeling and analytic tools that can make health care and medical data more meaningful.

DNA provides new insights on the control of invasive Russian knapweed
A recent study featured in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management sheds new light on the control of Russian knapweed, an invasive plant found in the western US.

Gene therapy via skin could treat many diseases, even obesity
A research team has overcome challenges that have limited gene therapy.

Improving students' academic performance -- there's an app for that
A mobile learning app that uses game elements such as leaderboards and digital badges may have positive effects on student academic performance, engagement, and retention, according to a study published in the open access International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education.

New method for organ transplant monitoring promises better care for patients
Using a combination of DNA sequencing and computer science techniques, a team of researchers has developed a new method for monitoring the health of organ transplant patients -- one that promises to provide life-saving clues to diagnose organ rejection at an early stage.

New report gives methods for developing dietary reference intakes based on chronic disease
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine outlines how to examine whether specific levels of nutrients or other food substances (NOFSs) can ameliorate the risk of chronic disease and recommends ways to develop dietary reference intakes (DRI) based on chronic disease outcomes.

Forensic entomologist unearths Chinese migrant fly in Europe
Dr Stefano Vanin first detected the insect on corpses in Italy, but the insect has now also been found in Spain and Portugal.

Natural compound coupled with specific gut microbes may prevent severe flu
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a particular gut microbe can prevent severe flu infections in mice, likely by breaking down naturally occurring compounds -- called flavonoids -- commonly found in foods such as black tea, red wine and blueberries.

New clue to solving the mystery of the sun's hot atmosphere
The elemental composition of the Sun's hot atmosphere known as the 'corona' is strongly linked to the 11-year solar magnetic activity cycle, a team of scientists from UCL, George Mason University and Naval Research Laboratory has revealed for the first time.

Clever experiment documents multiscale fluid dynamics
University of Chicago physicists working in the nascent field of experimental vortex dynamics have, with unexpected help from a Sharpie marker, measured an elusive but fundamental property of fluid flow.

Man versus (synthesis) machine
Who is the better experimentalist, a human or a robot?

Farmers selected maize for agricultural use at high elevations
By analyzing ancient genomes of maize, scientists have found evidence suggesting that eventual agricultural use of the crop throughout the temperate highlands of the US likely occurred due to propagation of varieties with earlier flowering times.

Animal coloration research: On the threshold of a new era
In the last 20 years, the field of animal coloration research has experienced explosive growth thanks to numerous technological advances, and it now stands on the threshold of a new era.

The biology of color
Scientists are on a threshold of a new era of color science with regard to animals, according to a comprehensive review of the field by a multidisciplinary team of researchers led by professor Tim Caro at UC Davis.

Vertical axis wind turbines can offer cheaper electricity for urban and suburban areas
Small vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) possess the ability to effectively operate in the presence of high turbulent flow, which makes them ideal energy harvesting devices in urban and suburban environments.

Lizards demonstrate rapid evolution in the face of extreme cold
By studying a population of lizards before and after a sudden cold snap that struck the US, scientists have observed how the surviving population underwent rapid adaptation in response to the event.

Smell loss may contribute to malnutrition in individuals with kidney disease
Deficits in the ability to smell are common among individuals with chronic kidney disease, and the severity of these deficits increases with the severity of their disease.

Modularity metric summarizes network fragmentation to explain aphasia recovery differences
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) investigators report in the August, 2017, Scientific Reports - Nature, that white matter network fragmentation in relatively spared brain areas explains variations in aphasia recovery after strokes.

Air travel responsible for spread of dengue through Asia
While the incidences of many other infectious diseases have declined over the past decade, the number of cases and outbreaks of dengue virus have continued to increase.

World's smallest neutrino detector finds big physics fingerprint
After more than a year of operation at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the COHERENT experiment, using the world's smallest neutrino detector, has found a big fingerprint of the elusive, electrically neutral particles that interact only weakly with matter.

New research shows the power of radiomics to improve precision medicine
Precision medicine has become the leading innovation of cancer treatment.

Cognitive hearing aid filters out the noise
Brain activity to determine whether a subject is conversing with a specific speaker would be very useful for the hearing impaired.

Structural view suggests RNAi multiplies its effect in repressing gene expression
RNAi is a mainstay of contemporary biological research. But how exactly this crucial mechanism functions in humans remains a partial mystery that we are now one step closer to solving.

11 organizations urge cautious but proactive approach to gene editing
An international group of 11 organizations with genetics expertise has issued a policy statement on germline genome editing in humans, which recommends against genome editing that culminates in human pregnancy; supports publicly funded, in vitro research into its potential clinical applications; and outlines scientific and societal steps necessary before implementation of such clinical applications is considered.

Coming face-to-face with disability could end supernatural myth-making in Africa
Many in rural Africa believe disability is caused by supernatural forces, curses and as 'punishment'.

Researchers: Too much information can be a good thing
When does a person receive too much health information? What's the best way for health providers to convey information without consumers skipping over or forgetting key information?

Fat shaming in the doctor's office can be mentally and physically harmful
Medical discrimination based on people's size and negative stereotypes of overweight people can take a toll on people's physical health and well-being, according to a review of recent research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Gaining weight between pregnancies boosts diabetes risk
The risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) drastically increases with weight gain between pregnancies, according to a Norwegian study.

Payments to rural communities offer a new opportunity to restore China's native forests
Despite massive efforts at reforestation, China's native forests continue to be displaced by plantations.

Humans have been altering tropical forests for at least 45,000 years
A new study, published in Nature Plants, counters the view that tropical forests were pristine natural environments prior to modern agriculture and industrialization.

HRL develop a low-power cold-atom source for atomic clocks and physics experiments
HRL Laboratories, LLC, researchers have developed a reversible alkali atom source that runs at low power and low voltage, which is beneficial in applications such as smaller, more efficient, and ultimately portable atomic clocks that use cold atoms.

Scientists create stem cell therapy for lung fibrosis conditions
A team of scientists from the UNC School of Medicine and North Carolina State University (NCSU) has developed promising research towards a possible stem cell treatment for several lung conditions, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis -- often-fatal conditions that affect tens of millions of Americans.

Mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's diagnoses trigger lower self-ratings of quality of life
Researchers at Penn Medicine have discovered that a patient's awareness of a diagnosis of cognitive impairment may diminish their self-assessment of quality of life.

New genetic mutation that causes male infertility discovered by Ben-Gurion university researchers
Profs. Ruti Parvari and Mahmoud Huleihel of the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics discovered the mutation in the gene, which normally protects the full DNA sequence in sperm.

How long do batters 'keep their eye on the ball'? Eye and head movements differ when swinging or taking a pitch
Where are baseball batters looking during the fraction of a second when a pitched ball is in their air?

Countering atopic dermatitis immune reactions
A protein which protects the fetus during pregnancy, HLA-G1, shows high potential for treating atopic dermatitis and other related diseases.

New research offers hope for faster acting antidepressants
For people suffering from depression, a day without treatment can seem like a lifetime.

Two sides to this energy story
Rice University scientists turn laser-induced graphene into a two-sided electrocatalyst that efficiently splits water into oxygen and hydrogen.

Current threats to our oceans are revealed
A survey of tens of thousands of marine studies from the last decade reveals current threats to our marine environment.

NOAA's GOES-S and GOES-T satellites coming together
Progress continues on the development of NOAA's GOES-S and GOES-T spacecraft that will follow the successful launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite or GOES-R, renamed GOES-16 upon reaching geostationary orbit.

The first observation of a coherent neutrino-nucleus collision
The possibility that neutrinos interact coherently with the nucleus of an atom was first theoretically described in 1974 -- and now physicists report the first observation of such an event.

NIH scientists track Zika virus transmission in mice
National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have developed a mouse model to study Zika virus transmitted sexually from males to females, as well as vertically from a pregnant female to her fetus.

Different sensory pathways engaged in feeling and responding to external temperature
Researchers at Nagoya University investigated different sensory neural pathways involved in thermoregulation by injecting toxins into parts of the brain involved in 'feeling' and responding to temperature changes in the environment.

From battle to business: UC researchers help veterans return to work
After a survey revealed that many veterans struggle when returning to the civilian workforce, a team of University of Cincinnati researchers are helping them to better make the switch from the battleground to the business world.

SwRI part of international team identifying primordial asteroids
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) was part of an international team that recently discovered a relatively unpopulated region of the main asteroid belt, where the few asteroids present are likely pristine relics from early in solar system history.

Standard model of the universe withstands most precise test by Dark Energy Survey
Astrophysicists have a fairly accurate understanding of how the universe ages: that's the conclusion of new results from the Dark Energy Survey (DES), a large international science collaboration, including researchers from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, that put models of cosmic structure formation and evolution to the most precise test yet.

World's smallest neutrino detector observes elusive interactions of particles
In 1974, a Fermilab physicist predicted a new way for ghostly particles called neutrinos to interact with matter.

The future of search engines
Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Northeastern University presented two papers at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics that describe efforts to combine artificial intelligence with crowdsourced annotators and information encoded in domain-specific resources.

In the test tube instead of under the knife
Freiburg neuroscientists develop new forms of diagnosis and therapy for temporal lobe epilepsy.

Diabetes drug shows potential as disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson's disease
A drug commonly used to treat diabetes may have disease-modifying potential to treat Parkinson's disease, a new UCL-led study in The Lancet suggests, paving the way for further research to define its efficacy and safety.

Could mutations and inherited genes play a role in cerebral palsy?
Hemiplegic cerebral palsy hampers movement in one side of a person's body.

Sense of smell deficits are common, linked to malnutrition in patients with kidney disease
A Massachusetts General Hospital study has found that deficits in the sense of smell are important contributors to the frequently observed lack of appetite in patients with serious kidney disease.

Swearing is a sign of the times
George Carlin's 1972 routine 'the seven words you can never say on television' underlined his generation's rejection of the niceties of post-war American society.

Mysterious children's neurological disease is traced to a single error in one gene
A multinational research effort led by researchers in Israel has discovered the biological basis of a rare but severe neurological disorder in children.

Temperatures rising
The Paris Climate Agreement of 2016, which saw 195 nations come together in the shared goal of ameliorating climate change, set forth an ambitious goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Prediciting TB's behavior
Research led by scientists at Harvard Medical School reveals that when it comes to predicting response to treatment and risk of dying, molecular tests that detect resistance to a class of TB drugs known as fluoroquinolones may be as good and even superior to traditional drug-sensitivity tests conducted in lab cultures.

Breakthrough by scientists finds arthritis drug could treat blood cancer patients
University of Sheffield scientists discover drug used for arthritis could be used to treat blood cancer.

NCI study shows feasibility of cancer screening protocol for Li-Fraumeni syndrome patients
In a new study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, researchers found a higher than expected prevalence of cancer at baseline screening in individuals with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), a rare inherited disorder that leads to a higher risk of developing certain cancers.

Lizard blizzard survivors tell story of natural selection
An unusually cold winter in the US in 2014 took a toll on the green anole lizard, a tree-dwelling creature common to the southeastern United States.

Of mice and cheeseburgers: Experimental drug reverses obesity-related liver disease
An experimental drug protected mice from one of the many ills of our cheeseburger and milkshake-laden Western diet -- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Our Solar System's 'shocking' origin story
According to one longstanding theory, our Solar System's formation was triggered by a shock wave from an exploding supernova.

Scientists link biodiversity genomics with museum wisdom through new public database
A new publicly available database will catalog metadata associated with biologic samples, making it easier for researchers to share and reuse genetic data for environmental and ecological analyses.

Why Facebook is so hard to resist
Why is social media such a hard habit to break?

SNMMI publishes appropriate use criteria for hepatobiliary scintigraphy in abdominal pain
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) has published appropriate use criteria (AUC) for hepatobiliary scintigraphy in abdominal pain.

NASA sees high clouds fill Typhoon Noru's eye
NASA's Terra satellite passed over Typhoon Noru early on Aug.

The Oriental eye fly that transmits conjunctivitis newly recorded in China
Some grass fly species are known as 'eye flies' as they transmit conjunctivitis, as well as other eye diseases, to both humans and domestic animals.

New injectable antiretroviral treatment proved to be as effective as standard oral therapy
A new clinical trial concludes that intramuscular administration of antiretrovirals every 4 or 8 weeks gets results similar to daily pill intake Spacing drug intake would lead to greater adherence to treatment and an improved quality of life for HIV patients

Believing the future will be favorable may prevent action
People tend to believe that others will come around to their point of view over time, according to findings from a series of studies published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

New botulinum neurotoxin discovered -- potential to treat a number of medical conditions
The first new botulinum neurotoxin in almost half a century has been discovered by researchers at Stockholm University and Harvard Medical School.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

UVA researchers identify neurons that control brain's body clock
Researchers have found that dopamine-producing neurons are connected with the brain's circadian center.

Yoga effective at reducing symptoms of depression
People who suffer from depression may want to look to yoga as a complement to traditional therapies as the practice appears to lessen symptoms of the disorder, according to studies presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Discovery points to drugs that would 'short-circuit' deadly leukemia
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have found that cells of a deadly acute myeloid leukemia can be killed by blocking production of a molecular 'battery.'

Why are doctors underusing a drug to treat opioid addiction?
A drug approved for private physicians to treat opioid addiction is being underprescribed, and a survey of addiction specialists suggests that many of them are not willing to increase their use of it, despite an expanding opioid addiction epidemic in the United States, according to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Study reveals exactly how low-cost fuel cell catalysts work
New work at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories is resolving difficult fuel-cell performance questions, both in determining efficient new materials and understanding how they work at an atomic level.

Despite heavy armor, new dinosaur used camouflage to hide from predators
Researchers reporting in Current Biology have named a new genus and species of armored dinosaur.

August GIE studies show promising results for patients with endoscopic treatments
The August issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), features a study reporting that a simpler procedure for collecting biopsy specimens during various procedures can improve patient care, and a study showing how a relatively new procedure, POEM, has been adapted to help an additional set of patients with gastroparesis, a troubling stomach problem.

Carbon conversion
New CO2 experiments may lead to artificial, renewable fuels.

Aggressive breast cancers may contribute to racial survival disparities
In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, UNC Lineberger researchers led an analysis of approximately 1,000 invasive breast tumors.

Researchers want to know how early life affects the adult brain
The study found the visual environment that zebrafish grew up in affected their spontaneous brain activity and, in turn, affected their behavior and ability to catch prey.

New dust sources from a shrinking Salton Sea have negative ecological and health impacts
Scientists at the University of California, Riverside investigating the composition of particulate matter and its sources at the Salton Sea have found that this shrinking lake in Southern California is exposing large areas of dry lakebed, called playa, that are acting as new dust sources with the potential to impact human health.

Ancient asteroid family unveils the early solar system
Astronomers have identified an ancient family of asteroids residing in the Main Belt (the area between Mars and Jupiter) that is nearly as old as the solar system itself, yielding important insights into how the planets and asteroids formed.

Alaska's North Slope snow-free season is lengthening
On the North Slope of Alaska, snow is melting earlier in the spring and the snow-in date is happening later in the fall, according to a new study by CIRES and NOAA researchers.

Study: Most newborns with epilepsy benefit from genetic testing
Genetic testing benefits the youngest epilepsy patients and their families, study finds.

Study identifies molecules that could help to prevent the development of brain tumors
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth's Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence have identified molecules which are responsible for metastatic lung cancer cells binding to blood vessels in the brain.

NASA eyes Tropical Storm Nalgae negotiating wind shear
Infrared imagery from NASA looked at cloud top temperatures in Tropical Storm Nalgae and revealed that wind shear was still affecting the storm.

Hereditary cancer syndromes focus of JAMA Oncology collection
JAMA Oncology published a collection of articles on hereditary cancer syndromes, including Li-Fraumeni and Lynch syndromes.

Age of first exposure to pornography shapes men's attitudes toward women
The age at which a boy is first exposed to pornography is significantly associated with certain sexist attitudes later in life, but not necessarily in the way people might think, according to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Protein-rich diet may help soothe inflamed gut
The combination of a bacterium that normally lives in the gut and a protein-rich diet promotes a more tolerant, less inflammatory gut immune system, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Researchers engineer therapeutic skin grafts for diabetic mice
Researchers have used CRISPR gene editing to engineer stem cell-grown mouse skin grafts to secrete a blood glucose-regulating hormone.
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