Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 31, 2017
Fathers of American newborns keep getting older, Stanford study finds
While data on the moms of newborn American children has been abundant, equivalent data on dads hasn't -- a gap that Stanford scientists have now filled.

Scientists propose method to improve microgrid stability and reliability
The power grid has a large reserve of energy to continue in an active state, while a microgrid quickly spends its reserve.

Study identifies new genetic risk factor for developing autism spectrum disorder
An international team led by researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon has applied a new systematic analysis to a cohort of 2,300 families who have a single child affected with autism.

NASA sees powerful thunderstorms in Tropical Storm Lidia's center
The Eastern Pacific Ocean's potential tropical cyclone has developed into Tropical Storm Lidia.

New possibility of studying how Alzheimer's disease affects the brain at different ages
Alzheimer's disease can lead to several widely divergent symptoms and, so far, its various expressions have mainly been observed through the behavior and actions of patients.

Apes' abilities misunderstood by decades of poor science
Hundreds of scientific studies over two decades have told us that apes are clever -- just not as clever as us.

NASA scientists seek to improve sea ice predictions
Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is in a downward spiral, with summer minimum extents about 40 percent smaller than in the 1980s.

Aerospace test at Sandia goes green with alternative to explosives
Sandia National Laboratories has successfully demonstrated a new, more environmentally friendly method to test a rocket part to ensure its avionics can withstand the shock from stage separation during flight.

X-ray footprinting solves mystery of metal-breathing protein
Berkeley Lab scientists have discovered the details of an unconventional coupling between a bacterial protein and a mineral that allows the bacterium to breathe when oxygen is not available.

Coming soon to Montreal: The infrastructure cost of climate change
The climate of the city is changing and will continue to do so at a rapidly increasing rate and with much more spatial variability in the future.

Study recommends 3 policies to improve children's language development
Bilingual children from low-income homes are at greater risk of falling behind their peers in developing the appropriate language skills for their age group, leading to poorer academic achievement over time.

E-cigarettes can help smokers quit, but there's a catch
Frequent e-cigarette use does help smokers quit -- a finding that Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers say supports the use of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid for those trying to quit cigarette smoking.

Scents and social preference: Neuroscientists ID the roots of attraction
Culminating a series of studies stretching back eight years, UC San Diego biologists have identified the cellular and molecular basis for social preference, known in the animal kingdom as 'imprinting.' Through in vivo experiments, the researchers found the neurological roots of kinship attraction and aversion.

More research needed on effects of maternal stress in wild animals
If a human mother is stressed while pregnant, research shows her child is much more likely to have emotional, cognitive or even physiological problems, such as attention deficit, hyperactivity, anxiety, language delay, obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

Satellite eyes Tropical Storm Irma swirling in eastern Atlantic
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over Tropical Storm Irma in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and captured a visible image of the storm on the move.

BCG jab may protect against TB for nearly twice as long as previously thought
The world's only licensed tuberculosis (TB) vaccine could offer protection against the disease for nearly twice as long as previously thought, according to new research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Risk of preeclampsia can sometimes be linked to fetal genes
A mother's risk of getting preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening illness associated with pregnancy, can be linked in some cases to genes from her fetus.

Low health literacy is associated with preventable emergency department visits
Low health literacy is a risk factor for potentially preventable emergency department (ED) visits, particularly those that result in hospital admission.

Caching system could make data centers more energy efficient
This week, at the International Conference on Very Large Databases, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are presenting a new system for data center caching that uses flash memory, the kind of memory used in most smartphones.

Nature gem within the city: What grows in the biodiversity-rich Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve
Being the oldest of its kind in Malaysia, Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve is a nature enclave, lying in the center of the busy capital city Kuala Lumpur.

Bacterial protein acts as aphrodisiac for choanoflagellates
United States researchers investigating how single-celled organisms evolved to become multicellular stumbled across a strange phenomenon during their experiments: Single-celled eukaryotes called choanoflagellates, which are the closest living relatives to animals, begin to sexually reproduce in response to a protein produced by bacteria.

For older adults with chronic conditions, non-drug behavioral treatments may help
In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers note that little is known about treating symptoms of multiple illnesses because people with two or more conditions are usually excluded from studies for specific diseases.

Honeybees become workers or queens depending on the plant microRNAs in their diet
Bee larvae develop into workers, in part, because their diet of pollen and honey, called beebread, is rich in plant regulatory molecules called microRNAs, which delay development and keep their ovaries inactive.

LSUHealthNO discovery may be key to obesity, Diabetes Rx
Research led by Suresh Alahari, PhD, Fred Brazda Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has demonstrated the potential of a protein to treat or prevent metabolic diseases including obesity and diabetes.

Alcohol abuse, dental conditions & mental health found to be causes of avoidable US emergency visits
Alcohol abuse, dental conditions, and mental health were found to be the main causes of avoidable emergency room visits in the US.

Little known theory could hold key to sporting success
An established but little known psychological theory is likely to improve performances across a range of activities, including sport, according to new research published today.

Pinpointing the sources of trans-pacific dust
Airborne dust from Asia travels across the Pacific passport-free, carrying pollution, building soil, and coloring sunsets thousands of miles from its source.

Measuring the cost of quality measurement
Less than 2 decades after publication of the National Academy of Medicine's (formerly the Institute of Medicine) Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, quality measurement has become routine and widespread throughout the US health care system.

Insect eyes inspire new solar cell design from Stanford
Packing tiny solar cells together, like micro-lenses in the compound eye of an insect, could help scientists overcome a major roadblock to the development of perovskite photovoltaics.

Arizona State University team shines new light on photosynthesis
A team of scientists from ASU's School of Molecular Sciences and Pennsylvania State University has taken us a step closer to unlocking the secrets of photosynthesis, and possibly to cleaner fuels.

Asthma medicine halves risk of Parkinson's
Using data gathered from 100 million Norwegian prescriptions, researchers at the University of Bergen have found that asthma medicine can halve a patient's risk of developing Parkinson´s disease.

Why are coyote populations difficult to control?
Conventional wisdom suggests that coyote control efforts actually result in an increase in the number of coyotes due to increasing litter sizes and pregnancy rates among individuals that survive.

Chemo-boosting drug discovered for leukemia
Drugs developed to treat heart and blood vessel problems could be used in combination with chemotherapy to treat an aggressive form of adult leukemia, new research led by the Francis Crick Institute reveals.

New findings may help protect the kidney health of individuals with obesity
A particular receptor in kidney cells plays an important role in obesity-induced fat accumulation, dysfunction, injury, inflammation, and scarring in the kidney.

PolyU discovers a newly emerged superbug
The Partner State Key Laboratory of Chirosciences at the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University discovered a newly emerged superbug, hyper-resistant and hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae, which may cause untreatable and fatal infections in relatively healthy individuals and will pose enormous threat to human health.

Climate change may be linked to spike in US road deaths in 2015
Climate change may be linked to the spike in US road deaths in 2015, which abruptly reversed the trend of the previous 35 years, concludes a study published online in the journal Injury Prevention.

Day and night temperature differences influence global patterns in leaf size
A comprehensive analysis of global patterns in leaf size offers an answer to one of the longest-standing questions in plant ecology -- why plant leaf size increases at lower latitudes -- scientists now report.

NASA sees Typhoon Sanvu's large eye
Typhoon Sanvu developed an eye that was about 28 nautical-miles wide when NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed overhead and captured an image.

Yawning -- why is it so contagious and why should it matter?
Feeling tired? Even if we aren't tired, why do we yawn if someone else does?

Fossil footprints challenge established theories of human evolution
Newly discovered human-like footprints from Crete may put the established narrative of early human evolution to the test.

Hubble delivers first hints of possible water content of TRAPPIST-1 planets
An international team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate whether there might be water on the seven earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby dwarf star TRAPPIST-1.

Addressing domestic violence should be part of recovery plan during natural disasters
Researchers at the University of Missouri have now identified a framework that can help victims of domestic violence before, during and after disaster events.

Children's sleep quality linked to mothers' insomnia
Children sleep more poorly if their mothers suffer from insomnia symptoms -- potentially affecting their mental wellbeing and development -- according to new research by the University of Warwick and the University of Basel.

Children's sleep quality is related to mothers' insomnia symptoms
Children more often sleep poorly if their mothers suffer from insomnia symptoms.

Method speeds up time to analyze complex microscopic images
Researchers who typically required a week of effort to dissect cryo-electron tomography images of the 3-D structure of a single cell will now be able to do it in about an hour thanks to a new automated method developed by a team of scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and the National University of Singapore.

Drugs found to be more effective against depression than electric current
Researchers concluded that medicinal therapy was more than twice as effective as low-intensity brain stimulation, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Protecting unauthorized immigrant deportation improves their children's mental health
Protecting unauthorized immigrant mothers from deportation considerably improved the mental health of their US citizen children -- decreasing rates of adjustment and anxiety disorder diagnoses by over 50 percent, according to a new study.

Record-low 2016 Antarctic sea ice due to 'perfect storm' of tropical, polar conditions
The sudden, unexpected nosedive in Antarctic sea ice last year was due to a unique one-two punch from atmospheric conditions both in the tropical Pacific Ocean and around the South Pole.

New findings on brain functional connectivity may lend insights into mental disorders
Ongoing advances in understanding the functional connections within the brain are producing exciting insights into how the brain circuits function together to support human behavior -- and may lead to new discoveries in the development and treatment of psychiatric disorders, according to a review and update in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Family of proteins involved in brain's connectivity are controlled by multiple checkpoints
University of Bristol scientists have found that the delivery of a group of proteins involved in the information flow between the brain's nerve cells to the synapse is much more sophisticated than previously suspected.

Volcanic carbon dioxide drove ancient global warming event
An extreme global warming event 56 million years ago was driven by massive carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes, suggests a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Does indoor spraying help prevent dengue?
The prevention of dengue, the most prevalent mosquito-borne virus in the world, relies heavily on controlling mosquito populations, as the currently available dengue vaccine is only partially effective.

Drugs targeting the beta2-adrenoreceptor linked to Parkinson's disease
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital want to prevent alpha-synuclein from accumulating in the brain.

Antidepressants found in fish brains in Great Lakes region
Researchers have detected high concentrations of these drugs and their metabolized remnants in the brain tissue of 10 fish species found in the Niagara River.

More evidence: Untreated sleep apnea shown to raise metabolic and cardiovascular stress
Sleep apnea, left untreated for even a few days, can increase blood sugar and fat levels, stress hormones and blood pressure, according to a new study of sleeping subjects.

Inflammation may precede sleep apnea, could be treatment target
Inflammation is traditionally thought of as a symptom of sleep apnea, but it might actually precede the disorder, potentially opening the door for new ways to treat and predict sleep apnea, according to researchers.

New Zealand researchers makes 'natural born killer' cell discovery
An unexpected role for a white blood cell called the Natural Killer (NK) cell -- a critical cell for ridding the body of infection and cancer, has been discovered by researchers t New Zealand's University of Otago.

Racism on college campuses is rooted in the small things people say and do
While overt and blatant expressions of prejudice seem to have declined on American university campuses over the last few decades, racism is still evident in the small things that white students say and do.

Mind wandering is common during driving
American scientists have investigated mind wandering in volunteers during a driving simulation.

What changes when you warm the Antarctic Ocean just 1 degree? Lots
After warming a natural seabed in the Antarctic Ocean by just 1° or 2° Celsius, researchers observed massive impacts on a marine assemblage, as growth rates nearly doubled.

Panama's native tree species excel in infertile tropical soils
Smithsonian scientists and collaborators including the Panama Canal Authority confirm that native tree species performed very well in field trials and would be preferable to teak in the poor soils of the Panama Canal watershed.

Reconstructing life at its beginning, cell by cell
In a technological tour de force, Berlin scientists have created a virtual model of an early fly embryo.

A new method used to generate ensemble initial perturbations
In the past two decades, ensemble forecasting has been developed substantially to become a powerful approach that improves numerical weather prediction.

Nature Conservation special: Guidelines for the monitoring of beetles protected in Europe
In a set of eight research publications, scientists tested various methods for the monitoring of five European saproxylic beetle species protected by the Habitats Directive.

Compound regulates genetic risk factor in Parkinson's disease
Suchi Mittal and colleagues have identified beta-2 adrenergic receptor (β2AR) agonists as compounds that can reduce levels of the alpha-synuclein gene, which has been implicated in increased risk for Parkinson's disease.

Center for Biorenewable Chemicals introduces idea for new molecules, innovation, value
Leaders of the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals based at Iowa State University are proposing a new model for creating, applying and commercializing chemicals made from corn stalks, wood chips and other sources of biomass.

New study shows that Americans are not eating much bread
A new study published this month in the journal, Nutrients, shows that -- contrary to popular belief -- Americans' consumption of grain foods such as bread, rolls, tortillas and ready-to-eat cereals is very low, less than 15 percent of all calories in our total diets.

Noise reduction: Scientists clear the chatter of buck converters
Buck converters, also known as step down converters, are chatty Cathys.

People become more economically conservative when angered
People tend to lean more economically conservative when they're angry, according to an article recently published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

New assessment predicts fracture risk for patients in long-term care
Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife's Institute for Aging Research have developed and validated a new assessment to predict the risk of falls in long-term care patients.

Mayo Clinic researchers identify genes fueling neuroblastoma spread
For the first time, Mayo Clinic researchers and colleagues present data on how nervous system tumors, called neuroblastomas, spread.

Technique could aid mass production of biodegradable plastic
Introducing a simple step to the production of plant-derived, biodegradable plastic could improve its properties while overcoming obstacles to manufacturing it commercially, says new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jiangnan University.

Discrimination leads older Chinese-Americans to consider suicide at high rates
Elderly Chinese-Americans feel helpless when faced with racial biases and become twice as likely to consider suicide than those who don't encounter similar discrimination, according to a new University of Michigan study.

Study reveals ways collegiate sports venues can achieve 'zero waste'
Researchers at the University of Missouri recently published a study analyzing waste and recyclables during Mizzou's 2014 home football season.

How DACA affects the health of America's children
When unauthorized immigrants are offered protection from deportation, mental illnesses in their children drop by more than 50 percent.

New research delivers hope for reef fish living in a high CO2 world
New research examining the possible impacts of ocean acidification provides fresh hope for the survival of reef fish.

Protein transport channel offers new target for thwarting pathogen
A bacterium that attacks people suffering from chronic lung disease and compromised immune systems could be halted by disrupting the distribution channels the organism uses to access the nutrient-rich cytoplasm of its host cell.

Songbird study shows how estrogen may stop infection-induced brain inflammation
New research by American University neuroscience Professor Colin Saldanha shows that estrogen synthesis, a process naturally occurring in the brains of zebra finches, may also fight off neuroinflammation caused by infection that occurs elsewhere in the body.

How a bunch of bird brains led to the development of touch screens
During WWII, B.F. Skinner and scientists at NIST worked on a project that trained pigeons to be bomber pilots.

Researchers find beta blockers have positive effect in pulmonary arterial hypertension
A team of Cleveland Clinic researchers found that a common heart disease medication, beta blockers, may help treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a debilitating lung disease.

New boarding procedures, smaller cabin size may limit infection on planes
During major epidemics, cramped airplane cabins are fertile ground for the spread of infection, but new research suggests changing routine boarding protocols could be a key to reducing rampant transmission of disease.

Mouth clicks used in human echolocation captured in unprecedented detail
Like some bats and marine mammals, people can develop expert echolocation skills, in which they produce a clicking sound with their mouths and listen to the reflected sound waves to 'see' their surroundings.

What links light, fat and microbes in the gut?
A protein called NFIL3 is at the center of a key metabolic transaction in the gut, in which gut bacteria harvest energy from food and transfer it into fat storage.

Stressed lemurs have worse chances of survival
High levels of hair cortisol -- a sign of long-term stress -- are associated with reduced survival in wild grey mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus), according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Ecology.

Biologists find new source for brain's development
A team of biologists has found an unexpected source for the brain's development, a finding that offers new insights into the building of the nervous system.

Cross-kingdom regulation of honeybee caste development by dietary plant miRNAs
Honeybee larvae develop into workers but not queens, in part, because their diet of beebread/pollen is enriched in plant miRNAs.

Exploring periodontitis in patients with Chédiak-Higashi syndrome
IADR and AADR have published an article titled 'Periodontitis in Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome: An Altered Immunoinflammatory Response' in the JDR Clinical & Translational Research.

Women in India nearly 40 times more likely to die after assault as their US peers
Women in India are nearly 40 times more likely to die after being assaulted than are their female peers in the US, finds a comparative analysis of trauma data from both countries, published in the online journal BMJ Global Health.

Staying in education linked to lower risk of heart disease
Staying in education is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease, finds a study published by The BMJ today.
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