Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 21, 2017
New tool identifies diabetes patients at risk for low blood sugar emergencies
A team led by Kaiser Permanente researchers has developed and validated a practical tool for identifying diabetes patients who are at the highest risk for being admitted to an emergency department or hospital due to severe hypoglycemia, or very low blood sugar.

Zika virus stifles pregnant women's weakened immune system to harm baby, USC study finds
The Zika virus suppresses a pregnant woman's immune system, enabling the virus to spread and increasing the chances an unborn baby will be harmed, study finds.

McLean researchers uncover security issues with health apps for dementia patients
In a recent paper, a team of McLean Hospital researchers reported that many health apps designed to assist dementia patients and their caregivers have inadequate security policies or lack security policies altogether.

Johns Hopkins materials scientists probe a protein's role in speeding Ebola's spread
Scientists have pinpointed how a tiny protein seems to make the deadly Ebola virus particularly contagious.

Mechanism that impairs production of bovine embryos is revealed
A longstanding obstacle to the market for bovine embryos is about to be removed.

NASA sees major Hurricane Kenneth in Eastern Pacific
Former Tropical Depression 13E has strengthened into a Major Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Spaser can detect, kill circulating tumor cells to prevent cancer metastases, study finds
A nanolaser known as the spaser can serve as a super-bright, water-soluble, biocompatible probe capable of finding metastasized cancer cells in the blood stream and then killing these cells, according to a new research study.

Our brains do change from early to mid-adulthood
Scientists in China have been able to accurately estimate an individual's age from their brain structure.

Postnatal identification of Zika virus peptides from saliva
For the first time, researchers are using proteomics to examine proteins and peptides in saliva in order to accurately detect exposure to Zika virus.

In Neptune, it's raining diamonds
Researchers at HZDR have managed to demonstrate 'diamond showers' forming in the ice giants of our solar system.

Searching for the 'signature' causes of BRCAness in breast cancer
Breast cancer cells with defects in the DNA damage repair-genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 have a mutational signature known in cancer genomics as 'Signature 3.' But not all breast tumor cells exhibiting Signature 3 have BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

Have flowers devised the ultimate weapon of distraction?
Nectar, the high-energy 'honey' produced by flowers, might be a brilliant distraction technique to help protect a flower's reproductive parts, according to new research.

Clay-based antimicrobial packaging keeps food fresh
Sometimes it seems as if fresh food goes bad in the blink of an eye.

How a non-coding RNA encourages cancer growth and metastasis
A pro-tumor environment in the cell can encourage a gene to produce an alternative form of RNA that enables cancer to spread, report researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Nature Cell Biology.

Study sheds light on why some breast cancers have limited response to immunotherapy
In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers report on their study that explored a perplexing question: Why were drugs designed to unleash the immune system against cancer ineffective in a type of triple negative breast cancer with a heavy presence of immune cells?

Smart label could one day let you know when to toss food and cosmetics (video)
Detecting food and cosmetic spoilage and contamination. Identifying new medicinal plants in a remote jungle.

Targeted forest regeneration: A blueprint for conserving tropical biological diversity?
A new University of Utah-led study shows that targeted forest regeneration among the largest and closest forest fragments in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and the Atlantic Forest of Brazil can dramatically reduce extinction rates of bird species over time.

Antarctic salt-loving microbes provide insights into evolution of viruses
UNSW Sydney scientists studying microbes from some of the saltiest lakes in Antarctica have discovered a new way the microbes can share DNA that could help them grow and survive.

Overcoming the last line of antibiotic resistance against bacterial infections
A recent study published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology presents a comprehensive overview of S. aureus' remarkable resilience against our body's immune system and how to better protect against deadly infections, with implications for overcoming antibiotic resistance.

Newly developed nomograms provide accurate predictions for patients with oropharyngeal cancer
NRG Oncology researchers recently developed and validated a nomogram that can predict 2-year and 5-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) for patients with local-regionally advanced oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) treated primarily with radiation-based therapy.

New meta-analysis shows peer influence doubles smoking risk for adolescents
Having friends who smoke doubles the risk that youth ages 10 to 19 will pick up the habit, finds new meta-analysis of 75 longitudinal teen smoking studies.

Plants under heat stress must act surprisingly quickly to survive
In The Plant Cell, UMass Amherst molecular biologist Elizabeth Vierling reports that heat-stressed plants not only need to produce new proteins to survive the stress, they need to make them right away.

Satellite watches remnants of Tropical Storm Harvey near Honduras
NOAA's GOES-East satellite has been watching the remnants for former Tropical Storm Harvey as it tracks west across the Caribbean Sea.

Do video game players make the best unmanned pilots?
New research from the University of Liverpool highlights the usefulness of video game players as unmanned aircraft operators.

Researchers identify key compounds to resolve abnormal vascular growth in AMD
A compound of specific bioactive products from a major family of enzymes reduced the severity of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a preclinical model, according to a new study led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers.

Scientists create 'diamond rain' that forms in the interior of icy giant planets
In an experiment designed to mimic the conditions deep inside the icy giant planets of our solar system, scientists were able to observe 'diamond rain' for the first time as it formed in high-pressure conditions.

Researchers find an alternative mode of bacterial quorum sensing
Researchers have revealed the existence of a new quorum-sensing molecule that increases the virulence of the pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Zebrafish larvae could be used as 'avatars' to optimize personalized treatment of cancer
Every cancer is unique; so is every cancer patient. How, then, is it possible to choose the most efficient chemotherapy in each case?

CAMH study shows global estimates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder among children
Globally, nearly eight out of every 1,000 children in the general population is estimated to have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Research could help robots to correct errors on-the-fly and learn from each other
New stochastic separation theorems proved by University of Leicester mathematicians could enhance capabilities of artificial intelligence.

Avocado seed husks could be a gold mine of medicinal and industrial compounds
In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists report that avocado seed husks, which are usually discarded along with the seed, contain a plethora of useful chemical compounds.

'Lost city' used 500 years of soil erosion to benefit crop farming
Researchers at the University of York working on a 700-year-old abandoned agricultural site in Tanzania have shown that soil erosion benefited farming practices for some 500 years.

Before the flood: What drives preparedness?
More targeted efforts are needed from both the public and private insurance sectors in order to encourage people to take action to reduce their risk of flood damage, according to a new study of three European countries.

Afternoon slump in reward response
Activation of a reward-processing brain region peaks in the morning and evening and dips at 2 p.m., finds a study of healthy young men published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Racial stereotypes influence perception of NFL quarterbacks
Racial stereotypes affect the public's perception of NFL quarterbacks and may, in some cases, become a self-fulfilling prophecy for black athletes, new University of Colorado Boulder research shows.

Behavior theory may offer key to ensuring infants are put to sleep safely
It is still common for infants to be placed in unsafe sleeping positions by their caregivers, report researchers from Yale and Boston University (BU).

Comparison of screening recommendations indicates annual mammography
When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates.

Remarkable artistry hidden in ancient Roman painting revealed
Molten lava, volcanic ash, modern grime, salt, humidity. The ancient painting of a Roman woman has been through it all, and it looks like it.

Computer algorithm automatically recognizes soccer formations and defensive strategies
Though soccer players have assigned roles, it's routine for players to swap positions during the course of a game, or even of a single play.

Analysis of a 'rusty' lunar rock suggests the moon's interior is dry
The moon is likely very dry in its interior according to a new study from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the UC San Diego analyzing fragments of the 'Rusty Rock,' a rock collected from the moon's surface during the Apollo 16 mission in 1972.

New report proposes framework to identify vulnerabilities posed by synthetic biology
Given the possible security vulnerabilities related to developments in synthetic biology -- a field that uses technologies to modify or create organisms or biological components -- a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposes a framework to identify and prioritize potential areas of concern associated with the field.

Many young cancer patients do not receive adequate fertility information and support
All cancer patients of reproductive age should be provided with fertility information and referrals for fertility preservation.

Collaborative effort aims to replace rabbit test for personal lubricant products
A first-of-its kind collaborative project is underway to find a non-animal test method to replace the rabbit vaginal irritation test for personal lubricants.

Can 'reading' leaves lead to more drought-tolerant crops?
The study was based on observations that the more successful crops in areas typically affected by drought are usually protected by a thicker layer of leaf wax than other plants.

Heart Safe program boosts CPR and AED use in participating communities
Allina Health researchers say individuals in Heart Safe Communities who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) are four times more likely to receive chest compressions (CPR) and twice as likely to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) placed by bystanders and first responders before EMS personnel arrive, according to a Minnesota study published in the August issue of the journal, Resuscitation.

80 percent of Ebola survivors suffer disabilities one year after discharge
New research, conducted by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, highlights the need for long-term rehabilitation of Ebola survivors after almost 80 percent of those interviewed were found to have major limitations in mobility, cognition and vision.

A good read: AI evaluates quality of short stories
The idea that artificial intelligence will someday be able to understand and even generate narratives has inspired and motivated researchers for years.

Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology
Certain quantities appear as integer multiples of fundamental and indivisible elements.

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
New research has discovered a potential means to trigger damaged heart cells to self-heal.

Both chimpanzees and humans spontaneously imitate each other's actions 
Decades of research has shown that apes, in spite of their proverbial aping abilities, are rather poor imitators, especially when compared to human children.

Rare resistance mutation reduces treatment choices for urinary tract infections
Nearly 20 percent of women aged 15-29 are diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI).

CHEO researchers identify practices leading to safer outcomes in procedural sedation for children
This study represents the largest and most robust prospective emergency department procedural sedation cohort to date.

When fish swim in the holodeck
Standard behavior experiments to investigate behavior in popular lab animals only incompletely mimic natural conditions.

CRC screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy reduces risk for death
A re-analysis of all-cause mortality in the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) evidence review for colorectal cancer screening found that flexible sigmoidoscopy reduces risk for death.

What is the global prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?
An article published by JAMA Pediatrics estimates the global prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among children and youth.

Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden describe a new method to study biochemical changes that occur in the pancreas during the development of diabetes.

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition
Nagoya University researchers probe a mysterious phase transition in an organic molecular conductor using synchrotron X-ray radiation.

Are there racial differences in cognitive outcomes based on BP targets?
A new article published by JAMA Neurology investigates how various blood pressure targets for older patients treated for hypertension were associated with cognitive function and if racial differences existed in long-term cognitive outcomes.

Into the wild for plant genetics
A new paper by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew reveals the opportunities for portable, real-time DNA sequencing in plant identification and naming.

Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics
University at Buffalo researchers have assembled a team of three antibiotics that, together, are capable of eradicating E. coli carrying mcr-1 and ndm-5 -- genes that make the bacterium immune to last-resort antibiotics.

Systematically studying slippery surfaces
Polymer brushes are polymers grown on surfaces, and are attractive for use in lubrication and anti-fouling applications.

Polarization for controversial scientific issues increases with more education
A commonly proposed solution to help diffuse the political and religious polarization surrounding controversial scientific issues like evolution or climate change is education.

Why tiger snakes are on a winner
Australian tiger snakes have 'hit the jackpot' because prey cannot evolve resistance to their venom.

Evolutionary arms 'chase'
The study analyzed multiple species of Inga, a genus of tropical trees that produces defensive chemicals, and their various insect herbivores.

Immune cells contribute to treatment resistance in aggressive breast cancers
Although early detection and targeted therapies have improved patient survival, breast cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related death for women in the United States.

Back-to-school worries for parents? 1 in 3 very concerned bullying, cyberbullying
What parents are most worried about as their children prepare to head back to school.

Warmer waters from climate change will leave fish shrinking, gasping for air
Fish are expected to shrink in size by 20 to 30 per cent if ocean temperatures continue to climb due to climate change.

CRI scientists discover vitamin C regulates stem cell function, curbs leukemia development
Not much is known about stem cell metabolism, but a new study from the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern has found that stem cells take up unusually high levels of vitamin C, which then regulates their function and suppresses the development of leukemia.

Licorice is a hot trend in hot flashes, but could interact with medications
Licorice roots have a flavorful history, having been used in ancient Egyptian teas and in traditional Chinese medicines, all the way to today as a flavoring agent and candy.

Using machine learning to improve patient care
In a new pair of papers, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) explore ways for computers to help doctors make better medical decisions.

FANTOM5 releases first integrated atlas of microRNA expression in human primary cells
FANTOM, an international scientific consortium led by RIKEN, has created the first extensive atlas of microRNA expression in human primary cells.

Gut microbes may talk to the brain through cortisol
Gut microbes have been in the news lately. Recent studies show they can influence human health, behavior, and certain neurological disorders, such as autism.

Dino-killing asteroid could have thrust Earth into 2 years of darkness
Tremendous amounts of soot, lofted into the air from global wildfires following a massive asteroid strike 66 million years ago, would have plunged Earth into darkness for nearly two years, new research finds.

Shocking gaps in basic knowledge of deep sea life
Human interference in the deep sea could already be outpacing our basic understanding of how it functions.

What hours are worked by women, men in dual-physician couples with kids?
In dual-physician couples, women with children worked fewer hours than women without children but similar differences in hours worked were not seen among men, according to a new research letter published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Harvard-Osher integrative medicine's mind-body partnership with JACM
The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital has engaged a partnership with JACM, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine to highlight the best new research in the mushrooming field of mind-body medicine.

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit
New research reveals the mechanisms behind the effects of chronic stress and tiny inflammations in the brain on fatal gut failure.

A holodeck for flies, fish and mice
Inspired by Star Trek, biologists are enabling new experiments in virtual reality.

Personifying places can boost travel intentions
People who see animals as people and assign human traits to non-human objects are more likely to travel to destinations that are presented as being human-like, according to Queensland University of Technology research.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease
Duke scientists found a gene variant that affects cholesterol levels also could increase the risk of contracting typhoid fever.

Claim lines with diagnoses of anaphylactic food reactions climbed 377% from 2007 to 2016
Private insurance claim lines with diagnoses of anaphylactic food reactions rose 377 percent from 2007 to 2016, according to data from FAIR Health, a national, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information.

Sedentary behavior increases risk of death for frail, inactive adults
Sedentary time, for example, time spent sitting, increases the risk of death for middle-aged and older people who are frail and inactive, but does not appear to increase the risk for non-frail people who are inactive, according to a new study published in CMAJ.

Comprehensive genomic analysis offers insights into causes of Wilms tumor development
Mutations involving a large number of genes converge on two pathways during early kidney development that lead to Wilms tumor.

Understanding brittle crack behaviors to design stronger materials
In a paper published in Nature Physics, Northeastern University Department of Physics Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor Alain Karma, in collaboration with his postdoctoral research associate Chih-Hung Chen and Professor Eran Bouchbinder of the Weizmann Institute of Science's Chemical Physics Department, discovered the mechanism that causes cracks to behave strangely when they spread very rapidly in brittle materials.

Virus reprograms ocean plankton
A virus which infects ocean plankton can reprogram cells and change the way they absorb nutrients -- potentially changing how carbon is stored in the ocean, new research shows.

Hidden river once flowed beneath Antarctic ice
Using the most precise seafloor maps ever created of Antarctica's Ross Sea, Rice University researchers have discovered a long-dead river system that once flowed beneath Antarctica's ice and influenced how ice streams melted after Earth's last ice age.

Penn biologists show how plants turn off genes they don't need
New research led by University of Pennsylvania biologists and published this week in the journal Nature Genetics has identified small sequences in plant DNA that act as signposts for shutting off gene activity, directing the placement of proteins that silence gene expression.

New vaccine could someday fight the effects of opioid combinations
Substance abuse is a continuing problem in the US, to the point of being an 'epidemic.' Treatments exist, but far too often patients relapse with devastating impacts on themselves and those around them.

'Electronic skin' takes wearable health monitors to the next level
Korean researchers developed a new, electronic skin which can track heart rate, respiration, muscle movement and other health data.

Research reveals potential target for alcohol liver disease
Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver, but investigators have discovered a protective response in the organ that might be targeted to help treat alcoholic liver disease.

Chemicals from gut bacteria maintain vitality in aging animals
A class of chemicals made by intestinal bacteria, known as indoles, help worms, flies and mice maintain mobility and resilience for more of their lifespans, Emory scientists have discovered.

Sopping up sunblock from oceans to save coral reefs (video)
Coral reefs can't seem to catch a break. Not only are rising temperatures wreaking havoc with their environment, but emerging evidence suggests that a certain sunblock component is a coral killer.

Post-whaling recovery of Southern Hemisphere
By 2100 some Southern Hemisphere whale species will not have reached half their pre-whaling numbers, while other species are expected to recover by 2050.

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible
Growth of single-crystal graphene is the foundation of the high-end applications of graphene.

Link between cells associated with aging and bone loss
Mayo Clinic researchers have reported a causal link between senescent cells -- the cells associated with aging and age-related disease -- and bone loss in mice.

Researchers produce new map of seismic hazards
Builders of hydroelectric dams are required to perform seismic hazard studies before their designs are approved.

People favor highly reviewed products, even when they shouldn't
When we're trying to decide which cell phone case to buy or which hotel room to book, we often rely on the ratings and reviews of others to help us choose.

Research reveals 'exquisite selectivity' of neuronal wiring in the cerebral cortex
In a study appearing today in Nature Neuroscience, a team from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory uses advanced technologies to illuminate the connectivity pattern of chandelier cells, a distinctive kind of inhibitory cell type in the mammalian brain.

A tougher tooth
Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.

A&E attendance for people with dementia is common and increasing
A new paper published today in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association found that accident and emergency (A&E) attendance among people with dementia in their last year of life is common and is increasing.

Our hairy insides
MIT engineers have predicted how tiny hairs lining blood vessels and intestines bend to flowing fluid. 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