Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 10, 2017
CNIC scientists develop new methods for analyzing gene function
Scientists at the CNIC have developed new methods to produce and analyze genetic mosaics.

Gene-editing-induced changes in ant social communication
This week, in a pair of papers published in Cell, researchers turned to an ant species -- the Indian jumping ant -- that does not behave like most ants.

Academic biomedical research community should take action to build resilience to disasters
The academic biomedical research community should improve its ability to mitigate and recover from the impacts of disasters, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Aging is exacerbated by alterations of stem cell circadian rhythm
Two studies published in Cell and headed by Salvador Aznar Benitah at IRB Barcelona reject the scientific dogma associating aging with the loss of stem cell circadian rhythm.

What algae can tell us about political strategy
Cells compete for nutrients. Political campaigns compete for voters. According to new research published in Nature Scientific Reports, general principles may begin to explain how differing strategies play out where groups compete for resources.

Rotavirus vaccines continue to reduce diarrhea hospitalizations, medical costs in US kids
Following the introduction of routine childhood vaccination against rotavirus, a common cause of diarrheal illness, more than 380,000 children avoided hospitalization for diarrhea from 2008 to 2013 in the US, thus saving an estimated $1.2 billion in direct medical costs.

How urban seasnakes lost their stripes
Researchers studying turtle-headed seasnakes living on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific noticed something unusual about the snakes' color patterns: seasnakes living in more pristine parts of the reef were decorated with black-and-white bands or blotches.

Does widespread pain stem from the brain? MRI study investigates
Patients with different chronic pain diagnoses recorded similar brain changes, a new study finds, suggesting a need for new treatment approaches.

Consistent backswing crucial in helping sportspeople produce optimum results
Research by the University of Plymouth and the Technical University of Munich, published in Scientific Reports, has shown that golfers and tennis players who perfect a consistent backswing when learning the sport can achieve results quicker than those who don't.

Scientists unlock planthoppers' role in rice stripe virus reproduction
Recently, researchers from the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered how a severe rice virus reproduces inside the small brown planthopper, a major carrier of the virus, and have published this work in eLife.

Cellular transport routes
Konstanz biologists discovered a previously unknown function of the SH3P2 protein, which plays an important role in the protein transport process of plants.

Healthy diet could decrease gestational diabetes risk for South Asian women
Research was based on data from the START Birth Cohort study, which includes more than 1,000 women in their second trimester of pregnancy.

From hot to cold: How to move objects at the nanoscale
Applying a temperature difference at the ends of a graphene membrane, nanocluster laying on it will drift from the hot region to the cold one.

How the brain recognizes familiar faces
Scientists have located two areas in the brain that help us recognize familiar faces.

Drug trial shows promise for deadly neurological disorder
Results of a small clinical trial show promise for treating a rare neurodegenerative condition that typically kills those afflicted before they reach age 20.

Ultrasound-triggered liposomes for on-demand, local anesthesia
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found a new way to non-invasively relieve pain at local sites in the body; such systems could one day improve pain management by replacing addictive opioids and short-lasting local anesthetics.

Chimpanzees learn rock-paper-scissors
Chimpanzees of all ages and all sexes can learn the simple circular relationship between the three different hand signals used in the well-known game rock-paper-scissors.

Financial distress in cancer care
More than one-third of insured cancer patients receiving treatment faced out-of-pocket costs that were greater than they expected and those patients with the most financial distress were underinsured, paying almost one-third of their income in health care-related costs, a research letter published by JAMA Oncology reports.

New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
University of British Columbia investigators have found that measuring changes in red blood cell deformability is a robust, sensitive method for inferring heme-induced oxidative stress.

DNA sequencing tools lack robust protections against cybersecurity risks
A new study analyzing the security hygiene of common, open-source DNA processing programs finds evidence of poor computer security practices used throughout the field.

Taboo words' impact mediated by context, listeners' likelihood of being offended
A new paper by University of Illinois educational psychology professor Kiel Christianson suggests that the physiological and psychological effects of profanity and other taboo words on people who read or hear them may be due largely -- but not entirely -- to the context and individual audience members' likelihood of being offended.

Researchers identify prognostic indicators of survival following pancreatic tumor removal
A new study of patients who underwent curative surgical removal of a pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma showed that two of the nine preoperative factors analyzed were strongly predictive of poor prognosis regardless of the tumor stage.

Opioid users 50 percent more likely to get treatment under Obamacare
People with opioid use disorder are 50 percent more likely to get treatment and their insurance is twice as likely to pay for it since the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented, a Drexel University researcher found.

How perception, association and belief drive hallucinations
A new study suggests that people prone to auditory hallucinations are overly influenced by expectations and prior associations.

Day to night and back again: Earth's ionosphere during the total solar eclipse
Three NASA-funded studies will use the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse as a ready-made experiment, courtesy of nature, to improve our understanding of the ionosphere and its relationship to the Sun.

Lung cancer clinical trial elig criteria & requirements increased in number and complexity
Eligibility criteria continue to increase in number and complexity for lung cancer clinical trials.

Political party influences lawmakers' tweets more than gender
Politicians are often expected to have expertise in certain areas, based on their gender.

NASA analyzed intensifying Franklin's rains before landfall
Before Tropical Storm Franklin made landfall in east-central Mexico, the storm was intensifying.

Nemours, UD technology pushes cancer research forward
Nemours Biomedical Research and the University of Delaware (UD) Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a patent-pending process to make 3-D models work in high throughput screening labs, allowing drug discovery to move into more meaningful screening systems.

Yoda bat gets happy: New species officially recognized
An unusual breed of fruit bat -- previously nicknamed 'Yoda' due to its resemblance to the Star Wars Jedi Master -- has now officially been registered as a new species and renamed the happy (Hamamas) tube-nosed fruit bat.

Immune cells promote or prevent cytomegalovirus activity in mice depending on location
Immune system cells called regulatory T cells appear to promote cytomegalovirus (CMV) latency in the spleen of mice, but suppress it in the salivary gland.

Researchers link genes and motor skills development
Genes for many may be widely associated with determining certain traits and characteristics.

In terms of health, having any job is not necessarily better than not having a job
A new paper published in the International Journal of Epidemiology finds that people employed in low paying or highly stressful jobs may not actually enjoy better health than those who remain unemployed.

New measure of insulin-making cells could gauge diabetes progression, treatment
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new measurement for the volume and activity of beta cells, the source of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin.

Using alternative medicine only for cancer linked to lower survival rate
Patients who choose to receive alternative therapy as treatment for curable cancers instead of conventional cancer treatment have a higher risk of death, according to researchers from the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center.

Galactic winds push researchers to probe galaxies at unprecedented scale
After using the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to rule out a potential mechanism for galactic wind, UC Santa Cruz astrophysicist Brant Robertson and University of Arizona graduate student Evan Schneider, now a Hubble Fellow at Princeton University, are aiming to generate nearly a trillion-cell simulation of an entire galaxy, which would be the largest simulation of a galaxy ever.

Human-caused warming likely led to recent streak of record-breaking temperatures
It is 'extremely unlikely' 2014, 2015 and 2016 would have been the warmest consecutive years on record without the influence of human-caused climate change, according to the authors of a new study.

First mutant ants shed light on evolution of social behavior
Scientists disrupted a gene essential for sensing pheromones, resulting in severe deficiencies in the ants' social behaviors and their ability to survive within a colony.

How dietary fiber helps the intestines maintain health
UC Davis Health researchers have discovered how by-products of the digestion of dietary fiber by gut microbes act as the right fuel to help intestinal cells maintain gut health.

Mutant ants provide insights into social interaction
Ants engineered to lack their 'sense of smell' became unable to communicate, navigate or forage.

Origins of DNA folding suggested in archaea
Proteins in archaea bend strands of DNA in a way that's similar in eukaryotes, new research from HHMI investigator and colleagues reveals.

Plants love microbes -- and so do farmers
The Australian Sunshine Coast's plant diversity has helped University of Queensland researchers confirm that nurture has the upper hand -- at least when it comes to plant microbes.

Aedes aegypti mosquitos introduced to California multiple times
Aedes aegypti mosquitos can carry the pathogens that cause dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever, and yellow fever, among other diseases.

Spain is one of the countries where more heatwaves are recorded annually
Spain has been hit by several record-breaking heatwaves this summer.

Innovations enhance genetic analysis of individual cells
Single cell genomics technology has given scientists the ability to individually read the genetic blueprints of cells, the most fundamental units of life.

Attitudes on human genome editing vary, but all agree conversation is necessary
In a study published Aug. 11 in the journal Science, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Temple University assessed what people in the United States think about the uses of human genome editing and how their attitudes may drive public discussion.

Secondhand opinions
Tracking the Twitter updates of a random sample of 300,000 active users over the course of a month reveals that this particular corner of social media and social networking is not quite as equitable and democratic as popular perception might have us believe.

Test results after stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma can confuse patients and doctors about
It's a cancer of the plasma cells, which normally make an array of antibodies that protect us from infection.

NASA airborne mission returns to Africa to study smoke, clouds
NASA's P-3 research plane begins flights this month through both clouds and smoke over the South Atlantic Ocean to understand how tiny airborne particles called aerosols change the properties of clouds and how they influence the amount of incoming sunlight the clouds reflect or absorb.

Scientists use gene editing to eliminate viruses in live pigs
Scientists have edited the pig genome to deactivate a family of retroviruses.

New handheld spectral analyzer uses power of smartphone to detect disease
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed technology that enables a smartphone to perform lab-grade medical diagnostic tests that typically require large, expensive instruments.

Novel stem cell-derived model created of inflammatory neurological disorder
An international team of scientists, led by University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers, has created a human stem cell-based model of a rare, but devastating, inherited neurological autoimmune condition called Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome (AGS).

Mapping the brain, neuron by neuron
A mathematician and computer scientist joined an international team of neuroscientists to create a complete map of the learning and memory center of the fruit fly larva brain, an early step toward mapping how all animal brains work.

Checkpoint inhibitors fire up different types of T cells to attack tumors
Cancer immunotherapies that block two different checkpoints on T cells launch immune attacks on cancer by expanding distinct types of T cell that infiltrate tumors, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report in the journal Cell.

Scientists find new way to map differences in the brain
A team from the Salk Institute and UC San Diego has, for the first time, profiled chemical modifications in the DNA of individual neurons, giving the most detailed information yet on what makes one brain cell different from its neighbor.

Ah yes, I remember you
In monkeys, researchers have identified two new areas of the brain that facilitate the recognition of familiar faces.

For bacteria that cheat, food is at the forefront
Microbes that produce important secretions for use in a community suffer a blow to their own fitness for supplying the non-producing 'cheater' bacteria -- but only when production requires the same nutrients that would otherwise go into growth and biomass.

Out-of-pocket costs exceed what many insured cancer patients expect to pay
A third of insured people with cancer end up paying more out-of-pocket than they expected, despite having health coverage, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute have found.

Climate change shifts timing of European floods
A linkage between climate change and floods has been identified using a river flow dataset of unparalleled scale and diversity.

ERs can improve population health in rural areas
Emergency physicians in Michigan propose a new health care delivery model for rural populations that depends on a partnership between emergency medicine and primary care and seeks to reverse the trend of failing health in underserved parts of the country.

A metabolic pathway that feeds liver cancer
A little-studied gene may explain how some liver cancer cells obtain the nutrition they need to proliferate, according to new research from the University of Maryland.

New kinds of brain cells revealed
Salk and UC San Diego scientists analyzed methylation patterns of neurons to find new subtypes.

Crank the AC, cut in-car pollution
After conducting a new research approach using actual commutes, a group of engineers at Washington University in St.

Archaeologists uncover 3,000-year-old female statue at citadel gate complex in Turkey
The remains of a majestic female statue uncovered at an archaeological site in southeast Turkey may challenge our understanding of the public role of women in the ancient world.

Researchers use CRISPR to manipulate social behavior in ants
The gene-editing technology called CRISPR has revolutionized the way that the function of genes is studied.

Climate change means earlier spring flooding for parts of Europe
An analysis of five decades' worth of data finds that climate change is altering the timing of river flooding across Europe.

Hibernating control cells or why inflammations become chronic
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease of the joints.

The only way is up: Trees help reptiles thrive
James Cook University researchers in Queensland say if graziers leave trees in place on their land all types of reptiles will benefit.

Feeling bad about feeling bad can make you feel worse
Pressure to feel upbeat can make you feel downbeat, while embracing your darker moods can actually make you feel better in the long run, according to new UC Berkeley research.

Breakthrough method yields trove of neuron subtypes, gene regulators
With funding from the NIH BRAIN Initiative, researchers have discovered a trove of neuronal subtypes and gene regulators, using a new method they developed.

AI, crowdsourcing combine to close 'analogy gap'
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem devised a method enabling computers to mine databases of patents, inventions and research papers, identifying ideas that can be repurposed to solve new problems or create new products.

Researchers call for new consistent, robust standards for the development of meta-analyses
The American Heart Association (AHA) published a scientific statement to provide recommendations for physicians and researchers who wish to do meta-analyses, journal editors who publish them, and health care professionals who wish to use them to make decisions about patient care.

New insight into how immune cells are formed
In contrast to what has been previously believed, development of blood stem cells to mast cells, a type of specialised immune cell, does not depend on a growth factor called stem cell factor.

Researchers explore what happens when people hear voices that others don't
People who hear voices -- both with and without a diagnosed psychotic illness -- are more sensitive than other subjects to a 125-year-old experiment designed to induce hallucinations.

Being bullied may dramatically affect sleep
New McLean Hospital research, using a mouse model simulating human bullying, suggests that being bullied produces long-lasting, depression-like sleep dysfunction and other effects on daily biological rhythms

Parents of premature babies as happy as other parents by adulthood
Parents of very premature or very low birth weight babies have the same life satisfaction as parents of full-term babies, when their children reach adulthood- according to new research by the University of Warwick.

eGenesis study addresses cross-species viral transmission concern in xenotransplantation published in Science
First pigs without active porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) produced using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology -- a landmark advance for xenotransplantation.

Certain occupations linked to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis
New research indicates that certain occupations may put workers at an elevated risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Belief in neuromyths is extremely common
Neuromyths are common misconceptions about brain research, many of which relate to learning and education.

Scientists report first data transmission through terahertz multiplexer
Researchers have demonstrated the transmission of two separate video signals through a terahertz multiplexer at a data rate more than 100 times faster than today's fastest cellular data networks.

How secure are your messages?
Researchers have learned that most users of popular messaging apps are leaving themselves exposed to hacking and fraud because they aren't using important security options.

New technique searches 'dark genome' for disease mutations
Researchers have developed a new methodology for identifying disease-causing genetic mutations in the non-coding region of the genome.

The cost of malnutrition: Study shows nutrition program could save hospitals up to $3,800 per patient
New research shows significant cost savings for hospitals when they implement a nutrition program.

Routine hospital tool found to predict poor outcomes after liver transplantation
A routinely used hospital tool can predict which liver transplant recipients are more likely to do poorly after surgery, according to a study led by Cedars-Sinai.

Efforts to reduce pollution from agriculture paying off slowly
Efforts by farmers to reduce the amount of fertilizer that reaches drinking water sources can take years to have a positive impact, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.

Researchers find the genes responsible for motor and vocal tics in children
Tourette's syndrome is a problem with the nervous system -- such people make sudden movements or blurt out words they don't intend to say.

Chickenpox virus fatal in newly discovered immunodeficiency
A new study has identified an immunodeficiency which leads to some people becoming seriously ill from the chickenpox virus.

Pennsylvania hospital neurosurgeon performs first endoscopic minimally invasive spinal surgery in PA
Neil R. Malhotra, MD, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery and the vice chairman of operations in the department of Neurosurgery, performed the first endoscopic percutaneous lumbar spinal nerve decompression and discectomy in Pennsylvania.

Toward a better definition for acute kidney injury in newborns
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases convened a meeting of expert neonatologists and pediatric nephrologists, including Dr.

Mental health programs in schools -- Growing body of evidence supports effectiveness
School-based mental health programs can reach large numbers of children, with increasing evidence of effectiveness in improving mental health and related outcomes, according to a research review in the September/October issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

New guidelines aim treat brain tumors more effectively
A University of Portsmouth academic has helped to develop European guidelines to treat brain tumors more effectively.

Airbnb's impact on Canadian housing markets
Airbnb has removed as many as 14,000 units of housing from rental markets in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, according to a report released this week by the Urban Politics and Governance Lab in McGill's School of Urban Planning.

IV and cellular fluids power flexible batteries
Researchers in China have engineered bendable batteries that can run on body-inspired liquids such as normal IV saline solution and cell-culture medium.

Chemists use electrochemistry to amp up drug manufacturing
Give your medicine a jolt. By using -- electrochemistry -- a technique that combines electricity and chemistry, future pharmaceuticals -- including many of the top prescribed medications in the United States -- soon may be easily scaled up to be manufactured in a more sustainable way.

Unstable housing to cost health care system estimated $111 billion over 10 years, study finds
Unstable housing among families with children will cost the United States an estimated $111 billion in health and education expenditures over the next ten years, according to new research published by Children's HealthWatch based at Boston Medical Center.

Obese heart surgery patients require significantly more ICU resources
After heart surgery, obese patients tend to require additional intensive care unit (ICU) services and longer recovery times when compared to non-obese patients.

Sleep biology discovery could lead to new insomnia treatments that don't target the brain
Scientists report the first evidence that a gene outside the brain controls the ability to rebound from sleep deprivation -- a very surprising discovery that could eventually lead to greatly improved treatments of insomnia and other sleep disorders that do not require getting a drug into the brain.

Small molecule inhibitor prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have created a small molecule that prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model.

Test uses nanotechnology to quickly diagnose Zika virus
Currently, testing for Zika requires that a blood sample be refrigerated and shipped to a medical center or laboratory, delaying diagnosis and possible treatment.

Dendritic Golgi as key cause of degenerative brain disease
Korean researchers have identified the early neuropathic mechanism of degenerative brain diseases and suggested ways to restore early neuropathy.

Ohio Supercomputer Center helps researchers map invisible universe
The Ohio Supercomputer Center played a critical role in helping researchers reach a milestone mapping the growth of the universe from its infancy to present day.

Microbe may explain evolutionary origins of DNA folding
In the cells of palm trees, humans, and some single-celled microorganisms, DNA gets bent the same way.

Circular RNA linked to brain function
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function.

CU study: Ancient DNA used to track Mesa Verde exodus in 13th century
Ancient DNA used to track the mass exodus of Ancestral Pueblo people from Colorado's Mesa Verde region in the late 13th century indicates many wound up in the Northern Rio Grande area north of Santa Fe, N.M., inhabited today by the Tewa Pueblo people.

Innovative way to understand nature of an entire tiny particle
New research from the University of New Hampshire has led to the development of a novel technique to determine the surface area and volume of small particles, the size of a grain of sand or smaller.

Link between biological clock and aging revealed
UCI scientists studying how aging affects the biological clock's control of metabolism have discovered that a low-calorie diet helps keep these energy-regulating processes humming and the body younger.

New version of DNA editing system corrects underlying defects in RNA-based diseases
Until recently, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing could only be used to manipulate DNA.

Material-independent nanocoating antimicrobial spray extends the shelf life of produce
The research team led by Professor Insung Choi of the Department of Chemistry developed a sprayable nanocoating technique using plant-derived polyphenol that can be applied to any surface.

USB connections make snooping easy
USB connections, the most common interface used globally to connect external devices to computers, are vulnerable to information 'leakage,' making them even less secure than has been thought, Australian research has shown.

Marine noise pollution stresses and confuses fish
Increased noise pollution in the oceans is confusing fish and compromising their ability to recognise and avoid predators.

Surprise discovery in the search for energy efficient information storage
Today almost all information stored on hard disc drives or cloud servers is recorded in magnetic media, because it is non-volatile (i.e. it retains the information when power is switched off) and cheap.

San Salvador pupfish acquired genetic variation from island fish to eat new foods
Pupfish living in salty lakes on San Salvador Island were able to diversify into multiple species with different eating habits, in part, by interbreeding with pupfish from other islands in the Caribbean, report Emilie Richards and Christopher Martin, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Aug. 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