Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 27, 2017
Army refines recipe for quantum-enhanced technologies
The US Army Research Laboratory and its partners have made a breakthrough in understanding the structure of entanglement in quantum systems with long-range interactions.

Back from the brink
UCSB biologists explore the molecular underpinnings of cells that recover from the verge of programmed death.

Having an older sibling poses risk of serious flu for babies and toddlers
Children under two years are more likely to be admitted to hospital with influenza if they have an older sister or brother, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

Cellular 'message in a bottle' may provide path to new way of treating disease
A newly discovered cellular messaging mechanism could lead to a new way to deliver therapeutics to tissues affected by disease, according to a Harvard T.H.

Editing genes one by one throughout colorectal cancer cell genome uncovers new drug target
Cancers driven by mutations in the KRAS gene are among the most deadly.

Citizen science can predict butterfly population trends
New research by the University of Kent, Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology shows that citizen scientists can play a role in gathering meaningful information to inform long-term monitoring of biodiversity trends such as butterfly population change.

Epigenetics of addiction: Epigenetic study untangles addiction and relapse in the brain
New research uncovers an epigenetic reason why drug users who attempt to quit are prone to relapse despite negative consequences to their health and livelihood.

What happens when nerve cells stop working?
Micro-failures in brain functioning occur in conditions such as depression and dementia.

Plant substance inhibits cancer stem cells
Lab experiments show that the chemical compound damsin found in the plant Ambrosia arborescens inhibits the growth and spread of cancer stem cells.

Move towards 'holy grail' of computing by creation of brain-like photonic microchips
Scientists have made a crucial step towards unlocking the 'holy grail' of computing -- microchips that mimic the way the human brain works to store and process information.

Unexpected discovery leads to new theory of liquid streaming
Researchers at the University of Houston were studying the nonlinear transmission of light through an aqueous suspension of gold nanoparticles when they noticed something unexpected.

Modeling brain connections to understand Parkinson's disease
A study published in open-access journal Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience uses a new approach to model the strength of connections within the brain's basal ganglia.

The benefits & dangers when genetic testing companies partner with orphan drug developers
Pharmaceutical companies developing Orphan Drugs are increasingly partnering with direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing firms to identify individuals with rare diseases, in a trend that is raising concerns related to privacy, drug costs, and rising healthcare-related financial burden for consumers.

Pass the salt: Mapping the neurons that drive salt cravings
A team of scientists in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, have shed new light on the process.

Unlocking the mysteries of memory -- and potentially enhancing it
Memory acts like an anchor, reminding us of past experiences that have made us who we are today.

On a collision course with game theory
How do pedestrians behave in a large crowd? How do they avoid collisions?

New gravitational wave hits Earth -- For the first time, 3 detectors zoom in on location
For the first time, three detectors have tracked the gravitational waves emitted by a merger of two black holes -- a critical new capability that allows scientists to more closely locate a gravitational wave's birthplace in space.

Brain disconnections may contribute to Parkinson's hallucinations
Researchers have found that disconnections of brain areas involved in attention and visual processing may contribute to visual hallucinations in individuals with Parkinson's disease, according to a new study.

Study examines characteristics of mobile mammography patients
Significant differences were found among women receiving mammography at a cancer center versus those visiting a mobile mammography van, according to an ahead-of-print article scheduled to be published in the December 2017 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Gravitational twists help theoretical physicists shed light on quantum complexity
Oxford University scientists address the problem of quantum complexity, identifying Monte-Carlo simulations as a particular physical phenomenon that cannot be captured by any local quantum.

Earliest evidence for a native African cultigen discovered in Eastern Sudan
Archaeologists examining plant impressions within broken pottery have discovered the earliest evidence for domesticated sorghum in Africa.

People think harder and produce better political arguments when their views are challenged
People who are presented with political statements contradictory to their own beliefs tend to think harder and produce better arguments, according to research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Two new crustacean species discovered on Galician seabed
The fauna of deep seabed tends to be relatively unknown due to the difficulty of collecting samples at great depths.

Expectant mother's elevated blood pressure raises child's risk of obesity
When expectant mothers have elevated blood pressure during pregnancy, it may raise their children's risk of developing childhood obesity, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

1 in 3 older adults take something to help them sleep but many don't talk to their doctors
Sleep doesn't come easily for nearly half of older Americans, and more than a third have resorted to some sort of medication to help them doze off at night, a new national poll finds.

Black holes with ravenous appetites define Type I active galaxies
New research published in the journal Nature suggests that Type I and Type II active galaxies do not just appear different -- they are, in fact, very different from each other, both structurally and energetically.

Anxious moms may give clues about how anxiety develops
Moms may be notorious worriers, but babies of anxious mothers may also spend more time focusing on threats in their environment, according to a team of researchers.

Strong family ties improve employment options for people with childhood-onset disabilities
Family and close friends play an integral role in helping people with childhood-onset disabilities attain quality employment as adults, a new study from Oregon State University has found.

Study examines survival of very low birthweight babies
A new study published in Acta Paediatrica indicates that survival of babies born weighing ?500 g is poor despite advances in neonatal care.

LIGO and Virgo observatories jointly detect black hole collision
This discovery is the first observation of gravitational waves by three different detectors, marking a new era of greater insights and improved localization of cosmic events now available through globally networked gravitational-wave observatories.

Tree-dwelling, coconut-cracking giant rat discovered in Solomon Islands
Scientists have discovered a new species of giant rat. It's more than four times the size of the black rats that live in the US, it lives in trees, and it's rumored to crack open coconuts with its teeth.

Iron supplements have long-term benefits for low birth-weight babies
Babies classified as low birth weight (under 2,500 grams) are at risk of iron deficiency, which is linked to impaired neurological development.

High rate of prescriptions for new cholesterol medications never filled
In the first year of availability of the cholesterol lowering medications PCSK9 inhibitors, fewer than 1 in 3 adults initially prescribed one of these inhibitors actually received it, owing to a combination of out-of-pocket costs and lack of insurance approval, according to a study published by JAMA Cardiology.

Interventions for alcohol and hypertension could save hundreds of lives across EU
Routine screening and interventions for hazardous and harmful alcohol use for people with hypertension in primary care could save hundreds of lives across the European Union, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

RUDN chemists propose new beneficial catalyst for initial materials in pharmacy
The collaboration of researchers from RUDN University, Centro de Química Estrutura and Baku State University proposes a new potential way to produce initial compounds for many chemical industries, including pharmacy, cosmetics, dyes and liquid crystals production.

A first look at geographic variation in Gentoo penguin calls
Vocal communication is central to the lives of many birds, which use sound to attract mates and defend territories.

The Cherenkov Telescope Array releases its updated science case
This release of the updated science case for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) details how it will be the major global observatory for very high energy gamma-ray astronomy over the next decade and beyond.

The aftermath of Katrina through the eyes of addiction treatment
Ten years post-Hurricane Katrina, experts have reflected on the aftermath through the eyes of addiction treatment professionals to become better prepared for future tragedies.

Researchers uncover the source of diabetic pain
A new King's College London study reveals the molecular basis of chronic nerve pain in diabetes.

US-Russia-China cooperation could hinder the proliferation of hypersonic missiles
A new RAND report proposes that despite their differences, Russia, China and the United States should act jointly to head off a little-recognized security threat -- the proliferation of hypersonic missiles beyond the three nations.

Isotopic analyses link the lives of Late Neolithic individuals to burial location in Spain
An isotopic analysis of megalithic graves and caves in Spain may suggest the existence of a degree of differentiation in the lifeways of people buried in these different funerary sites, according to a study published Sept.

Mapping black hole collisions gives astronomers (and hitchhikers) a new guide
Rochester Institute of Technology researchers helped pinpoint the precise location of a gravitational wave signal -- and the black hole merger that produced it -- detected by gravitational wave observatories LIGO and the French-Italian Virgo.

New test rapidly diagnoses Zika
MIT researchers have developed a paper-based test that can diagnose Zika infection within 20 minutes.

What is the optimal length of a prescription for an opioid pain medication after surgery?
Findings from an analysis that included more than 200,000 patients who underwent common surgical procedures suggests that the optimal length of opioid pain prescriptions is four to nine days for general surgery procedures, four to 13 days for women's health procedures, and six to15 days for musculoskeletal procedures, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

University of Hawaii awarded nearly $6.3 million to develop trivalent Ebola vaccine
University of Hawaii vaccine researcher Axel Lehrer, Ph.D., has received a $6.35 million grant to test whether the Ebola vaccine formula he has developed will protect against two additional viruses in the same family.

How old does your computer think you are?
Computerised face recognition is an important part of initiatives to develop security systems, in building social networks, in curating photographs, and many other applications.

Monetising time savings makes toll roads financially stack up
Putting a dollar value on the savings from traffic congestion, noise and air pollution as a result of toll roads and tunnels will make large infrastructure projects more cost effective, according to a new study by Queensland University of Technology.

Red blood cells for transfusion like a good red -- a little older, a little better
A landmark Australian research trial has found the transfusion of older stored red blood cells is safe and surprisingly, associated with fewer side effects.

Tree-climbing geckos that use narrower perches have longer limbs than expected
Tree-climbing geckos that use narrow perches have relatively longer limbs than comparisons with other tree-climbing lizards would suggest, according to a study published Sept.

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

Study allows establishing a timeline of obesity
In experiments with mice, a Brazilian research group showed that, well before the profile of intestinal bacteria gets altered, a diet rich in saturated fats damages the hypothalamus -- region of the brain responsible for optimizing the organism's absorption of nutrients -- because its cells react to the excess of fat in the bloodstream as if they were fighting pathogens.

Early babies face lifelong fitness risks
Babies born even a few weeks early are more likely to have poor physical fitness throughout life, University of Queensland researchers have found.

Satellite spots a tiny, mighty Hurricane Lee
Hurricane Lee continues to strengthen in the Central Atlantic Ocean, and the tiny hurricane appeared well-organized with a clear eye in satellite imagery.

Academic performance shapes student social networks
Based on data from the VKontakte social network, researchers at Higher School of Economics and the Vienna Medical University have found a relationship between students' academic performance and their closest social environment.

Scientists discover rogue messengers that hinder body's immune response to cancer
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a discovery around treatment-resistant breast cancer that may turn the phrase, 'don't shoot the messenger', on its head.

Research sheds new light on how Earth and Mars were created
Analysing a mixture of earth samples and meteorites, scientists from the University of Bristol have shed new light on the sequence of events that led to the creation of the planets Earth and Mars.

Olive mill wastewater transformed: From pollutant to bio-fertilizer, biofuel
Olive oil has long been a popular kitchen staple. Yet producing the oil creates a vast stream of wastewater that can foul waterways, reduce soil fertility and trigger extensive damage to nearby ecosystems.

Brain cells that control appetite identified for first time
Dieting could be revolutionized, thanks to the groundbreaking discovery by the University of Warwick of the key brain cells which control our appetite.

Study reveals troubling disparities in prescribing opioids for patients with nonmalignant chronic pain
Published in the journal Pain Medicine, the analysis of 690 million outpatient visits related to nonmalignant chronic pain between 2000 and 2007 suggests prescriptions of opioids are influenced by non-medical factors such as a patient's form of insurance, geographic region and patient's relationship to the provider.

Band gaps, made to order
UCSB engineers create atomically thin superlattice materials with precision.

Examining the lifestyles of microbes
University of Delaware professor Jennifer Biddle and Rosa Leon-Zayas are studying microbes called Parcubacteria that were found by James Cameron (director of 'Terminator') during a recent deep sea expedition.

'Telephone first' approach is no panacea for reducing GP workload
A 'telephone first' approach is not a panacea for reducing workload in UK general practice and there is no evidence that it saves money, finds a study in The BMJ today.

Penn Medicine develops model to predict ER visits in lung cancer patients
A pilot program that uses big data to predict which lung cancer patients will require a trip to an emergency department (ED) successfully anticipated a third of all ED visits over a two week trial period, and was further able to identify which patients were at high risk and low risk of requiring such care.

Study shows high cost of truckers not having enough places to park and rest
A pilot study illustrates the high economic cost of having too few safe places for commercial truck drivers to park and rest.

Health and social care changes 'paving way for fewer services' warn experts
Current reforms to health and social care services, and radical redesign of the local government finance system, may signal the end of the NHS and local government in England as we know them, warn experts in The BMJ today.

Atomistic simulations go the distance on metal strength
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have dived down to the atomic scale to resolve every 'jiggle and wiggle' of atomic motion that underlies metal strength.

Study shows minimally invasive valve replacements hold up well after five years
A minimally invasive procedure used to replace heart valves without open heart surgery appears to provide a durable remedy for people with a life-threatening form of heart disease in which the aortic valve opening narrows, diminishing blood flow.

Researchers from KAIST and NTU Singapore unlock Parkinson's disease
A KAIST research team has identified a new mechanism that causes the hallmark symptoms of Parkinson's disease, namely tremors, rigidity, and loss of voluntary movement.

The strange structures of the Saturn nebula
The spectacular planetary nebula NGC 7009, or the Saturn Nebula, emerges from the darkness like a series of oddly-shaped bubbles, lit up in glorious pinks and blues.

A RAVAN in the sun
While people across the nation gazed at August's total solar eclipse from Earth, a bread loaf-sized NASA satellite had a front row seat for the astronomical event.

Songbird populations may indicate trouble in northwestern forests
Populations of many North American songbirds are declining, and in many cases we don't understand why.

Removing nitrate for healthier ecosystems
In a new study, researchers have identified nitrate removal hotspots in landscapes around agricultural streams.

Study confirms large earthquakes along Olympic Mountain faults
A comprehensive study of faults along the north side of the Olympic Mountains of Washington State emphasizes the substantial seismic hazard to the northern Puget Lowland region.

An 'internal GPS' helps seabirds find home
A newly created animal movement model reveals that seabirds orient themselves when over an ocean and compensate for wind drift even when landmarks are absent, to eventually move toward their desired direction.

Computer scientists address gap in messaging privacy
Researchers have developed a solution to a longstanding problem in the field of end-to-end encryption, a technique that ensures that only sender and recipient can read a message.

The volatile processes that shaped the Earth
In a new study featured on the cover of the latest edition of Nature, researchers from the University of Oxford's Department of Earth Sciences untangle some of the processes involved in shaping the Earth.

Purple plant is on the defensive
While lavender has long been known for its strong scent and soothing oils, a UBC researcher is exploring the plant's ability to create natural pesticides.

Saber-toothed kittens may have been born with thicker bones than other contemporary cats
Saber-toothed kittens may have been born with thicker bones compared to other contemporary cats, but they have a similar pattern of bone development, according to a study published Sept.

NASA satellites peer into a lop-sided Hurricane Maria
NASA's Aqua satellite and Global Precipitation Measurement mission, or GPM, satellites have been peering into what appears to be a somewhat lop-sided Hurricane Maria.

Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
The silting of rivers and streams leads to problems for fish, mussels, and other aquatic organisms because their habitats disappear.

Ancient ink for cancer treatment
For hundreds of years, Chinese calligraphers have used a plant-based ink to create beautiful messages and art.

RUDN chemists obtained new compound for molecular machines
RUDN chemists and their colleagues developed an innovative method of crystallization.

The hormone that could be making your dog aggressive
Thousands of people are hospitalized every year for dog bites, and aggressive behavior is a major reason dogs end up in shelters.

New class of molecules may protect brain from stroke, neurodegenerative diseases
Research led by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans, has discovered a new class of molecules in the brain that synchronize cell-to-cell communication and neuroinflammation/immune activity in response to injury or diseases.

Answer three questions and save half the world's biodiversity
A growing international movement called 'Half Earth' calls for preserving 50 percent of the world's biodiversity.

Should we welcome plans to sell off wasted NHS land?
With the NHS under severe financial pressure, should we welcome plans to raise capital by selling off inefficiently used land and buildings owned by the health service?

Case Western Reserve University researchers design soft, flexible origami-inspired robot
A Case Western Reserve University researcher has turned the origami she enjoyed as a child into a patent-pending soft robot that may one day be used on an assembly line, in surgery or even outer space.

The economic case for climate action in the United States
Economic losses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and 76 wildfires in nine Western states, intensified by human-induced climate change, will be the most costly combined weather events in US history.

Melanoma cells rewire to resist drug treatment, Penn-Wistar team finds
A study out this week in Nature, led by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and The Wistar Institute, reveals why relapses after treatment for metastatic melanoma occur.

Fast and accurate 'dipstick' test for diagnosing Zika
A newly developed, fast, and cost-effective dipstick test sensitively and specifically identified Zika virus and all four dengue virus subtypes without any detectable cross-reactivity.

No evidence to support claims that telephone consultations reduce GP workload or hospital referrals
Telephone consultations to determine whether a patient needs to see their GP face-to-face can deal with many problems, but a study led by researchers at the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research (University of Cambridge and RAND Europe), found no evidence to support claims by companies offering to manage these services or by NHS England that the approach saves money or reduces the number of hospital referrals.

Defining optimal opioid pain medication prescription length following surgery
A new study led by researchers at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital analyzed opioid prescription data from the Department of Defense Military Health System Data Repository, identifying more than 200,000 opioid-naïve individuals who had undergone one of eight common surgical procedures between 2006 and 2014 and were subsequently prescribed opioid pain medication

Increased arterial stiffness linked to restrictive spirometry pattern and reduced forced vital capacity
Increased arterial stiffness is a known predictor of cardiovascular diseases in different populations, including healthy subjects and patients with hypertension, diabetes, or renal disease.

New study released on nontraffic injuries and fatalities in young children
From 1990-2014, researchers found more than 11,750 distinct incidents in a variety of venues and vehicles affecting 14,568 children 14 years and younger, resulting in nearly 3,400 deaths.

Arrowhead data reveal important considerations for future hepatitis B treatment
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc. today announced results from studies of ARC-520, a prior-generation RNAi therapeutic candidate against chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, in a Phase 2 clinical study in HBV patients and a complementary study in chimpanzees chronically infected with HBV.

Printed meds could reinvent pharmacies, drug research
A technology that can print pure, ultra-precise doses of drugs onto a wide variety of surfaces could one day enable on-site printing of custom-dosed medications at pharmacies, hospitals and other locations.

Researchers uncover our brain's filing system for storing experiences
A team of neuroscientists has uncovered how our brains organize, over time, our experiences: that is, according to their similarities.

Battling belly fat: Specialized immune cells impair metabolism in aging
In a new study, Yale researchers have described how nervous systems and immune systems talk to each other to control metabolism and inflammation.

Summer could be one long heatwave if planet hits 2 degrees C
New paper highlighting how heatwaves will change with every degree of global warming up to 5 degrees C.

Mini-protein rapid design method opens way to create a new class of drugs
A high-speed method has been developed to generate many different, small, stable proteins from scratch, custom-designed to bind to specific therapeutic targets.

That cup of coffee may not relieve Parkinson's symptoms
Contrary to previous research, caffeine may not relieve movement symptoms for people with Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the Sept.

Working group urges better access to safe abortion, in developing world
On International Safe Abortion Day, Sept. 28, an international research group reports in a new paper with senior author Leontine Alkema at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that out of the 55.7 million abortions that are estimated to have occurred each year between 2010 and 2014, almost half (45.1 percent) were unsafe.

Early 'full-term' babies may have poorer respiratory fitness through adolescence and young adulthood
Though considered full-term, babies born at 37-38 gestational weeks may be more likely than those born later to have poor cardiorespiratory fitness into young adulthood.

Study suggests an answer to young people's persistent sleep problems
A collaborative research project involving James Cook University and the University of Queensland indicates high rates of sleep problems continuing through teenage years and into early adulthood -- but also suggests a natural remedy.
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