Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 22, 2017
Wealth disparity and family income impact the brain development of female youth
Female teenagers living in neighbourhoods with wide salary gaps and a low-income household show changes to their brain maturation that could indicate a higher risk of developing mental illness in adulthood, suggests a recently published study by Canadian researchers.

Yoga and meditation improve mind-body health and stress resilience
A new research article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience investigates the effects of yoga and meditation on people by looking at physiological and immunological markers of stress and inflammation.

Satellite photos reveal gigantic outburst floods
Researchers from Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, studied satellite photographs of Lake Catalina, an ice-dammed lake in East Greenland -- and were truly amazed: Unnoticed by science as well as people living in the area, the lake has been the source of four major outburst floods over the last 50 years -- each representing an astounding mass of energy, equaling up to 240 Hiroshima-bombs!

Russian scientists have analyzed the process of rock destruction
Members of the Faculty of Geology of the Lomonosov Moscow State University together with their colleagues have studied the stages of rock deformation.

NIST study suggests frailty makes elderly more likely to die in home fires
A new study by NIST shows scientifically for the first time that an individual's ability to respond quickly to a residential fire determines who dies and who gets injured.

Large study reveals women have superior response to esophageal cancer treatment
Female patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer that is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery are more likely to have a favorable response to the treatment than male patients are, and women are less likely to experience cancer recurrence, according to a study published online today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Frontline supervisors use micro-power strategies to cope with middle-manager status
Probation and parole officers and their frontline supervisors widely differ on their views of the power of the frontline supervisor, according to a new study that includes a University of Kansas researcher.

Methane hydrate is not a smoking gun in the Arctic Ocean
Methane hydrate under the ocean floor was assumed to be very sensitive to increasing ocean temperatures.

'Coffee-ring effect' harnessed to provide rapid, low-cost analysis of tap water (video)
'What's in your water?' has become an increasingly fraught question for many people, and getting the answer isn't always easy or cheap.

Can 'large stars' anti-aging research' help future memory devices?
Nothing is forever, but is it possible to slow down inescapable decay?

Bond dissociation energies for transition metal silicides accurately determined
Transition metal silicides are promising for future developments in electronic devices, but fundamental aspects of the chemical bonding between their transition metal atoms and silicon remain poorly understood.

Is childhood obesity a psychological disorder?
A team of researchers, including senior investigator, Bradley Peterson, MD, director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, used fMRI to investigate neural responses to food cues in overweight compared with lean adolescents.

Oropouche virus could emerge and cause a public health problem
Brazil runs a serious risk of being afflicted by Oropouche, another virus that is widely distributed throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Artificial intelligence predicts dementia before onset of symptoms
Imagine if doctors could determine, many years in advance, who is likely to develop dementia.

Getting fat to 'talk' again could lower blood glucose and weight
Researchers are exploring a novel approach to treating diabetes: implanting a polymer sponge into fat tissue.

New recommendations for managing menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors
A large proportion of the world's estimated 9.3 million breast cancer survivors experience menopausal symptoms or clinical manifestations of estrogen deficiency.

Getting hold of quantum dot biosensors
Harnessing the nano-tractor-beam like abilities of optical tweezers, researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China, developed an all-silicon nanoantenna to trap individual quantum dots suspended in a microfluidic chamber.

Brain's self-regulation in teens at risk for obesity
In a small study that scanned the brains of teenagers while exposing them to tempting 'food cues,' researchers report that reduced activity in the brain's 'self-regulation' system may be an important early predictor of adult obesity.

How a bacterium can live on methanol
ETH Zurich researchers have identified all the genes required by a bacterium to use methanol as a food source.

Self-powered paper-based 'SPEDs' may lead to new medical-diagnostic tools
A new medical-diagnostic device made out of paper detects biomarkers and identifies diseases by performing electrochemical analyses -- powered only by the user's touch -- and reads out the color-coded test results, making it easy for non-experts to understand.

The environment can become a noninvasive therapeutic approach to bolster white matter health
Those parents you overhear transforming trips to the grocery store into sensory adventures -- telling babies too young to babble that broccoli is GREEN, radishes are RED and tangerines are ORANGE -- are onto something.

Ancient Earth's hot interior created 'graveyard' of continental slabs
MIT geologists have found that ancient Earth's hotter interior created a

Mothers' responses to their babies' distress help predict infant attachment
A new study sought to identify factors that predict infants' avoidance and resistance, looking specifically at how mothers respond physiologically and emotionally to their infants' distress.

Technique speeds chemical screening to prioritize toxicity testing
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a high-throughput technique that can determine if a chemical has the potential to activate key genes in seconds rather than the typical 24 hours or more.

Dogma overturned: New studies into inflammation in the infarcted heart could lead to changes in therapy
Scientists at the CNIC and FJD and Salamanca University Hospitals have demonstrated that the response of the human heart to an infarction is very different to what was previously thought.

What's the annual value of trees? $500 million per megacity, study Says
In the megacities that are home to nearly 10 percent of the world's 7.5 billion people, trees provide each city with more than $500 million each year in services that make urban environments cleaner, more affordable and more pleasant places to live.

How humans and their gut microbes may respond to plant hormones
A bowl of salad contains more than vitamins and minerals.

ShAPEing the future of magnesium car parts
A new process developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, should make it more feasible for the auto industry to incorporate very lightweight magnesium alloys into structural components.

Close friendships in high school predict improvements in mental health in young adulthood
A new longitudinal study suggests that the types of peer relationships youth make in high school matter for mental health through young adulthood.

Firing of neurons changes the cells that insulate them
Through their pattern of firing, neurons influence the behavior of the cells that upon maturation will provide insulation of neuronal axons, according to a new study publishing Aug.

Common antiseptic ingredients de-energize cells and impair hormone response
A new in vitro study by University of California, Davis, researchers indicates that quaternary ammonium compounds, or 'quats,' used as antimicrobial agents in common household products inhibit mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell, as well as estrogenic functions in cells.

High moral reasoning associated with increased activity in the human brain's reward system
Individuals who have a high level of moral reasoning show increased activity in the brain's frontostriatal reward system, both during periods of rest and while performing a sequential risk taking and decision making task according to a new study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Shanghai International Studies University in Shanghai, China, and Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, Germany.

Thoracic kyphosis in those over 50 may not be a predictor of physical decline
A recently published study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found that using CT scans to evaluate early signs of hyperkyphosis (extreme forward curvature of the upper spine) in people over age 50 does not help to identify those at risk of subsequent physical function decline.

Scientists find RNA with special role in nerve healing process
The discovery in lab mice that an 'anti-sense' RNA is expressed after nerve injury to regulate the repair of damage to the nerve's myelin coating could lead to a treatment that improves healing in people.

Medicaid patients continue high prescription opioid use after overdose
Despite receiving medical attention for an overdose, patients in Pennsylvania Medicaid continued to have persistently high prescription opioid use, with only slight increases in use of medication-assisted treatment, according to a study published by JAMA.

Retaining one normal BRCA gene in breast, ovarian cancers influences patient survival
Researchers found a relationship between the genetics of tumors with germline BRCA1/2 mutations and whether the tumor retains the normal copy of the BRCA1/2 gene, and risk for primary resistance to a common chemotherapy that works by destroying cancer cells' DNA.

Princeton professor calls for federal guarantee of quality education for kids
American children, no matter where they live or what school they attend, deserve to be guaranteed a quality education, much as we guarantee a safety net for seniors, argued Professor Marta Tienda of Princeton University.

A potential breeding site of a Miocene era baleen whale
Baleen whales are amongst the largest animals to have ever lived and yet very little is known about their breeding habits.

Sales newbies, don't fret -- just go above and beyond
Good news for novice salespeople worried about becoming successful: expressing your gratitude to customers by going above and beyond your job description may be as effective as developing long-term relationships with them, indicates a first-of-its-kind study.

Study: Contact in sports may lead to differences in the brains of young, healthy athletes
People who play contact sports show changes to their brain structure and function, with sports that have greater risk of body contact showing greater effects on the brain, a new study has found.

When given the chance to pay less, patients choose cheaper prescription drugs
As prescription drug spending continues to rise in the United States, along with prices for new and well-established drugs, insurers, employers and patients are searching for ways to cut costs.

New report finds growing number of people in Ontario treated for opioid addiction
The rate at which people are being prescribed opioids to treat pain in Ontario has stabilized while the amount of drugs they receive has declined considerably, a new report has found.

Social media culture can encourage risky and inappropriate posting behavior
Young adults who adapt their behavior to match a social situation are just as likely to post offensive content online as those who act impulsively, according to a new study by the University of Plymouth -- suggesting there's a wider social media culture that encourages risky behavior.

Does a mother's pre-pregnancy weight determine her child's metabolism?
The link between a mother's body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy and the metabolic traits of her children is likely mediated by shared genetics and familial lifestyle rather than effects on the fetus during gestation, according to study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Debbie Lawlor of the University of Bristol, UK, and colleagues.

NASA infrared image shows Harvey's remnants affecting Yucatan
NASA's Aqua satellite provided an infrared look at the remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey as it was affecting Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Clinical study shows that retinal imaging may detect signs of Alzheimer's disease
A study led by researchers at Cedars-Sinai and NeuroVision Imaging LLC provides the scientific basis for using noninvasive eye imaging to detect the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's.

No microbes? No problem for caterpillars
Caterpillars have far less bacteria and fungi inhabiting their gut than other animals and the microbes that inside them seem to lack any identifiable role, aside from occasionally causing disease.

Where do heart cells come from?
Researchers from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the Cardiovascular Institute at Stanford University and other institutions were surprised to discover that the four genes in the Id family play a crucial role in heart development, telling undifferentiated stem cells to form heart tubes and eventually muscle.

Study: Clear link between heavy vitamin B intake and lung cancer
B vitamins are among the most popular supplements on the market in the United States.

Schools need to encourage broader participation in science learning outside of the classroom
Schools are failing to offer sufficient opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to engage in science-based learning outside of the classroom, and should be doing more to open up participation, according to new research.

Study links fish stress hormones to whether they take the bait
Take a fish out of water and its stress hormones will go up.

Researchers create magnetic RAM
A team of researchers has now developed a magnetoelectric random access memory (MELRAM) cell, which consists of two components: piezoelectric material and a layered structure characterized by a high magnetoelasticity.

Study finds that gravity, 'mechanical loading' are key to cartilage development
Mechanical loading is required for creating cartilage that is then turned to bone; however, little is known about cartilage development in the absence of gravity.

Steroids not effective for chest infections in non-asthmatic adults
Oral steroids should not be used for treating acute lower respiratory tract infection (or 'chest infections') in adults who don't have asthma or other chronic lung disease, as they do not reduce the duration or severity of symptoms, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA.

New meta-analysis finds a plant-based vegetarian diet is associated with lower cholesterol
A new dietary review of 49 observational and controlled studies finds plant-based vegetarian diets, especially vegan diets, are associated with lower levels of total cholesterol, including lower levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol, compared to omnivorous diets.

How do international development projects affect property values?
Home buyers in the US, location typically value properties with access to amenities like schools, parks, and an easy commute.

Tricking the eye to defeat shoulder surfing attacks
Researchers have developed the first application to combat 'shoulder-surfing' of PINS and passwords: a hybrid-image keyboard that appears one way to the close-up user and differently at a distance.

Nanoparticle ink produces glowing holograms with simple inkjet printer
Researchers at ITMO University unveiled a new approach for printing luminescent structures based on nanoparticle ink.

How continents were recycled
Researchers from Germany and Switzerland have used computer simulations to analyse how plate tectonics have evolved on Earth over the last three billion years.

Hormonal tug-of-war helps plant roots navigate their journey through the soil
A sophisticated mechanism that allows plant roots to quickly respond to changes in soil conditions has been identified by an international research team.

Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and policies are a failure, research shows
Two scientific review papers show that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and policies in the United States are ineffective as they do not delay sexual initiation or reduce sexual risk behaviors.

Stretchable biofuel cells extract energy from sweat to power wearable devices
A team of engineers has developed stretchable fuel cells that extract energy from sweat and are capable of powering electronics, such as LEDs and Bluetooth radios.

Opioid misuse can be tracked using Twitter
Social media can be a useful tool to find out how widespread the misuse of prescribed opioid drugs is, or to track the dynamics of opioid misuse in a given locality over time.

Scientists develop infection model for tickborne flaviviruses
NIH scientists have filled a research gap by developing a laboratory model to study ticks that transmit flaviviruses, such as Powassan virus.

Study documents continued decline in use of hormone therapy by Canadian women
Ever since menopause was first discussed publicly, the debate over the use of hormone therapy (HT) has monopolized headlines.

Orange is the new green: How orange peels revived a Costa Rican forest
In the mid-1990s, 1,000 truckloads of orange peels and orange pulp were purposefully unloaded onto a barren pasture in a Costa Rican national park.

Oral steroid does not reduce lower respiratory tract infection symptoms in nonasthmatic adults
Among adults without asthma who developed an acute lower respiratory tract infection, use of the oral steroid prednisolone for five days did not reduce symptom duration or severity, according to a study published by JAMA.

Like adults, children show bias in attributing mental states to others
Young children are more likely to attribute mental states to characters that belong to the same group as them relative to characters that belong to an outside group, according to findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

An echo from the past to the future on abrupt seasonal changes of the general circulation
Professor Duzheng YE was decades ahead of his time in proposing a model experiment to investigate whether abrupt seasonal changes of the general circulation can arise through circulation feedbacks alone, unrelated to underlying inhomogeneities at the lower boundary.

Why do young adults post harmful personal content on social media?
A new study looked at self-presentation of potentially damaging content on social media and examined whether this risky behavior is more likely associated with impulsivity and spontaneity or deliberate self-monitoring.

Sub-tropical corals vulnerable, new study shows
The vulnerability and conservation value of sub-tropical reefs south of the Great Barrier Reef -- regarded as climate change refuges -- has been highlighted in a new study.

Researchers discover how fish recognize toxic prey
Predator animals have long been known to avoid devouring brightly coloured and patterned prey, and now an international study has revealed more about how they recognise toxic species.

Turning human waste into plastic, nutrients could aid long-distance space travel (video)
Imagine you're on your way to Mars, and you lose a crucial tool during a spacewalk.

Study identifies miR-122 target sites in liver cancer, links 3 genes to patient survival
A new study shows that a molecule that regulates liver-cell metabolism and suppresses liver-cancer development interacts with thousands of genes in liver cells, and that when levels of the molecule go down, such as during liver-cancer development, the activity of certain cancer-promoting genes goes up.

Quantum ruler for biomolecules
Quantum physics teaches us that unobserved particles may propagate through space like waves.

Scientists uncover a deadly 'addiction' in esophageal cancer
Scientists have discovered a new way of attacking esophageal cancer cells that could make use of an existing drug in a new approach to treatment.

Molecular volume control
About two years ago, scientists from the University of Würzburg discovered that a certain class of receptors is capable of perceiving mechanical stimuli.

Out-of-pocket health costs can cause financial problems for survivors of childhood cancer
Adult survivors of childhood cancer face an increased likelihood of financial difficulties related to out-of-pocket costs for their health care, compared with adults not affected by childhood cancer.

How cytoplasm 'feels' to a cell's components
In a study that may guide drug design, MIT researchers find organelles encounter varying levels of resistance, depending on their size and speed, as they move through a cell's cytoplasm.

NASA infrared image shows Typhoon Hato in South China Sea
NASA's Aqua satellite provided an infrared look at the Typhoon Hato as it continued to move toward China.

Hoping to be seen as powerful, consumers prefer wider faces on watches, cars, study finds
People are typically averse to wider human faces because they elicit fears of being dominated.

Designing custom robots in a matter of minutes
Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) created a system called 'Interactive Robogami' that lets you design a robot in minutes, and then 3-D-print and assemble it in as little as four hours.

Updated analysis finds newer type of LDL-C reducing drugs still not cost-effective
An updated analysis of the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering drugs, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors, finds they are not cost-effective at current prices and that even greater price reductions than previously estimated may be needed to meet cost-effectiveness thresholds, according to a study published by JAMA.

Opioid crisis in Staten Island affects all races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds
Contrary to media reports, the opioid epidemic on New York's Staten Island is not confined to affluent young white residents, and affects all neighborhoods, races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Study suggests serotonin may worsen tinnitus
Millions of people suffer from the constant sensation of ringing or buzzing in the ears known as tinnitus, creating constant irritation for some and severe anxiety for others.

Researchers devise microreactor to study formation of methane hydrate
Researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering are using a novel means of studying how methane and water form methane hydrate that allows them to examine discrete steps in the process faster and more efficiently.

More than 99 percent of the microbes inside us are unknown to science
A survey of DNA fragments circulating in the blood suggests the microbes living within us are vastly more diverse than previously known.

New test for rare immunodeficiency
Researchers at the University of Basel have developed a test to quickly and reliably diagnose a rare and severe immune defect, hepatic veno-occlusive disease with immunodeficiency.

An AADR perspective on the 'Advancing dental education: Gies in the 21st century' project
In 1926, William Gies published the seminal report 'Dental Education in the United States and Canada,' however dental education is now challenged by a new set of issues.

Low-income patients more likely to take blood pressure medication when doctor involves them in conversation
Low-income patients with high blood pressure whose healthcare providers did not use collaborative communication styles or ask about social issues, such as employment and housing, were less likely to take their blood pressure medications as directed.

Religious affiliation impacts language use on Facebook
A study of 12,815 US and UK Facebook users finds use of positive emotion and social words is associated with religious affiliation whereas use of negative emotion and cognitive processes is more common for those who are not religious than those who are religious.

Crystal structure reveals new details of nonstandard RNA transcription
By capturing the crystal structure of RNA polymerase during a nontraditional form of transcription -- reiterative transcription -- researchers have identified a new pathway used by RNA to exit an enzyme.

Wild sheep grazed in the Black Desert 14,500 years ago
Excavations of architecture and associated deposits left by hunter-gatherers in the Black Desert in eastern Jordan have revealed bones from wild sheep -- a species previously not identified in this area in the Late Pleistocene.

Mouse model of human immune system inadequate for stem cell studies
A type of mouse widely used to assess how the human immune system responds to transplanted stem cells does not reflect what is likely to occur in patients, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Cyborg bacteria outperform plants when turning sunlight into useful compounds (video)
Photosynthesis provides energy for the vast majority of life on Earth.

Solidifying advanced alloy design
Using a combination of theory and experiment, a multi-institutional team based at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are creating simulations to speed up advanced material design.

Blood test predicts prostate tumor resistance
When bacteria develop antibiotic resistance, treatment with these medications becomes ineffective.

National Maglab achieves new world record with strongest resistive magnet
New 41.4-Tesla instrument paves way for breakthroughs in physics and materials research.

A silent search for dark matter
Results from its first run indicate that XENON1T is the most sensitive dark matter detector on Earth.

Supermarkets could trick you into buying fewer calories
Supermarkets could help their customers consume fewer calories by making small changes to the recipes of own-brand food products to reduce the calories contained in the product, without notifying consumers explicitly, according to a study published in the open-access International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

NASA finds wind shear weakening Hurricane Kenneth
Hurricane Kenneth was quickly weakening early on Aug. 22 as a result of vertical wind shear. 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