Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 09, 2017
Genetically boosting the nutritional value of corn could benefit millions
Rutgers scientists have found an efficient way to enhance the nutritional value of corn -- the world's largest commodity crop -- by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce a key nutrient called methionine, according to a new study.

Risk factors for heart health linked to marital ups and downs -- at least for men
Risk factors for heart health seem to be linked to changes over time in the quality of marital relationships -- at least for men--finds a study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Making fat mice lean: Novel immune cells control neurons responsible for fat breakdown
The biological causes underlying obesity have been under intense scrutiny with studies suggesting a link between the nervous and the immune systems.

Genome architecture caught in motion
Researchers at The Wistar Institute have uncovered new aspects of the three-dimensional organization of the genome, specifically how the genetic material is compacted and de-compacted in a timely fashion during the different phases of the cell cycle.

The female brain reacts more strongly to prosocial behavior than the male brain
Behavioral Experiments show that women are more generous than men.

How global warming is drying up the North American monsoon
Previous researchers had concluded that global warming was simply delaying the North American monsoon, which brings summer rains to the southwestern US and northwestern Mexico.

Women who undergo aggressive surgery for breast cancer may miss more work
A new study reveals that patients with breast cancer who received more aggressive treatments were more likely to experience disruptions in employment.

The human brain recalls visual features in reverse order than it detects them
New research has contributed to solving a paradox of perception, literally upending models of how the brain constructs interpretations of the outside world.

Huge energy potential in open ocean wind farms in the North Atlantic
Because wind speeds are higher on average over ocean than over land, wind turbines in the open ocean could in theory intercept more than five times as much energy as wind turbines over land.

Dads are often having fun while moms work around the house
For the first time, researchers have evidence of exactly what dads are doing while moms are taking care of housework or tending to their child.

Amazon farmers discovered the secret of domesticating wild rice 4,000 years ago
Amazonian farmers discovered how to manipulate wild rice so the plants could provide more food 4,000 years ago, long before Europeans colonized America, archaeologists have discovered.

Global kids study: More trees, less disease
A study of 300,000 children in 35 nations says children whose watersheds have greater tree cover are less likely to experience diarrheal disease, the second leading cause of death for kids under the age of five.

Addressing the double standard
editorial highlights the need for physicians and pharmacists to educate women about the important distinctions between these hormone therapies.

Alzheimer's gene poses both risk -- and benefits
Scientists studying the molecular roots of Alzheimer's disease have encountered a good news/bad news scenario.

Scientists complete conservation puzzle, shaping understanding of life on earth
An international team of scientists have completed the 'atlas of life' -- the first global review and map of every vertebrate on Earth.

Stanford-led study uncovers mutation that supercharges tumor-suppressor
Stanford scientists have found an answer to one of cancer biology's toughest and most important questions: how does the body suppress tumors?

Liquid biopsy may be new way to detect liver cancer earlier, easier
An international team of researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, with colleagues at Sun Yet-sun University Cancer Center and other collaborating institutions, have developed a new diagnostic and prognosis method for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), based on a simple blood sample containing circulating tumor DNA.

A zero-index waveguide
In 2015, Harvard researchers developed the first on-chip metamaterial with a refractive index of zero, meaning that the phase of light could be stretched infinitely long.

More nurses are earning bachelor's degrees, but likely will not reach 2020 goal
The proportion of front-line nurses with bachelor's degrees in US hospitals increased from 44 percent in 2004 to 57 percent in 2013, but will fall short of a national goal to reach 80 percent by 2020, finds a new study by NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

What soot-covered, hundred-year-old birds can tell us about saving the environment
Birds in museum collections from Rust Belt cities around the turn of the century are covered with black soot from air pollution at the time.

New insight into how brain cells die in Alzheimer's and FTD
Removal of a regulatory gene called LSD1 in adult mice induces changes in gene activity that that look unexpectedly like Alzheimer's.

Fruit fly muscles with a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy mutation don't relax properly
Using fruit flies, Johns Hopkins researchers have figured out why a particular inherited human heart condition that is almost always due to genetic mutations causes the heart to enlarge, thicken and fail.

A 'turbo charge' for your brain?
Two brain regions -- the medial frontal and lateral prefrontal cortices -- control most executive function.

New congenital heart disease genes uncovered
A new study from the NHLBI Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium (PGCG), part of the Bench to Bassinet Program, has helped shed new light on some of the underlying genetic causes of cases of CHD as well as the long-term outlook for patients who carry these mutations.

Study finds double mastectomy tied to more missed work
As more breast cancer patients are choosing to remove both breasts, researchers examine the impact this aggressive surgery has on their employment.

Human minibrains reveal effects of psychedelic substance
A Brazilian study, published in Scientific Reports on Oct. 9, 2017, has identified changes in signaling pathways associated with neural plasticity, inflammation and neurodegeneration triggered by a compound from the family of dimethyltryptamine known as 5-MeO-DMT.

NASA sees post Tropical Cyclone Nate's wide rainfall reach
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite analyzed the temperatures in Post-tropical cyclone Nate's cloud tops as the storm moved over the Ohio Valley.

Durable end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic likely will require an HIV vaccine
Despite remarkable gains in the treatment and prevention of HIV infection, development of an effective HIV vaccine likely will be necessary to achieve a durable end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, according to a new commentary from Anthony S.

Study warns of pumpkin-colored zombies
Salt marsh research shows that growing abundance of tiny shrimp infected by a microscopic parasite may portend future threats to humankind through disease.

Safe to treat dementia patients with clot-busting drugs
Stroke patients with dementia treated with intravenous thrombolysis using powerful clot-busting drugs are at no higher risk of brain haemorrhage or death than other patients receiving the same treatment, a study from Karolinska Institutet published in the journal Neurology reports.

UBC researchers take the 'stink' out of wastewater treatment
A foul smell and safety concerns can leave many residents turning their nose at the idea of a wastewater treatment plant in their neighbourhood.

Calorie postings on menus cause more health mentions in online restaurant reviews
A study in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science investigated whether the calorie posting on menus impacts consumer evaluations of the restaurant.

When a porous solid retains its properties in liquid form
Known for their exceptional porosity that enables the trapping or transport of molecules, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) take the form of a powder, which makes them difficult to format.

Callier Center study puts different tone on hidden hearing loss theory
A recent study from researchers at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UT Dallas does not support the belief that 'hidden hearing loss' is likely to affect young adults who use headphones and attend concerts.

New methods tackle a perplexing engineering concept
Researchers at the University of Illinois are working to turn a complex materials design problem into an intuitive concept, understandable to engineers from novice to advanced experience levels.

The risk of type 1 diabetes not increased by swine flu vaccine Pandemrix
There has been a fear that the swine flu vaccine, Pandemrix, would increase the risk of autoimmune diseases other than narcolepsy.

Mixed organization of gut bacteria is revealed by microbiome imaging technology
Disruptions in the microbiome of the human gut are correlated with several diseases, including obesity and cancer.

Cells that die with a bang contribute to high death rate in bloodstream infections
Cells lining blood vessels in the lungs that are exposed to bacterial toxins don't die easy, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

Insight into our 50-plus lifespan still evolving, genetic study shows
The scientific reasons why people live beyond the age of 50 are more complex than thought, according to a new genetic study.

Scientists discover more about the ingredients for star formation
In the local universe close to us about 70 percent of the hydrogen gas is found in individual atoms, while the rest is in molecules.

UA snakebite treatment makes major advance
Giving hope that his treatment may work in humans, Vance G.

Clear lakes disguise impaired water quality
Look at a hundred lakes in the United States' agricultural heartland and you'll likely see green lakes surrounded by green fields.

Watch out! Brain network calculates impact of approaching object
A neuroimaging study of two monkeys published in JNeurosci identifies a brain network that tracks the location of an object approaching the face and anticipates its potential consequences upon making contact with the body.

Diversity of large animals plays an important role in carbon cycle
With abundant data on plants, large animals and their activity, and carbon soil levels in the Amazon, Stanford research suggests that large animal diversity influences carbon stocks and contributes to climate change mitigation.

Sustainable irrigation may harm other development goals, study shows
Pursuing sustainable irrigation without significant irrigation efficiency gains could negatively impact environmental and development goals in many areas of the world, a new study has found.

Study finds few restrictions on Rx opioids through Medicare
Medicare plans place few restrictions on the coverage of prescription opioids, despite federal guidelines recommending such restrictions, a new Yale study finds.

New tool helps GPs assess frailty in the elderly
Researchers have designed a new tool designed to help GPs assess which older people are the most frail and vulnerable.

Molecular basis for memory and learning
Learning and memory are two important functions of the brain that are based on the brain's plasticity.

Areas of glioblastoma tumors correlate with separate subtypes of glioma stem cells
Study demonstrates, for the first time, that glioblastoma (GBM) is driven by two distinct subsets of cancer stem cells.

Gene drives have the potential to suppress mosquito populations, but resistant mosquitoes crop up
Researchers successfully built a gene drive to reduce female fertility in the mosquito that spreads malaria, but mutations gradually arose that blocked the spread of the new genes.

UW researchers discover an evolutionary stepping stone to beet-red beets
Writing this week (Oct. 9, 2017) in the journal New Phytologist, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Botany Hiroshi Maeda and his colleagues describe an ancient loosening up of a key biochemical pathway that set the stage for the ancestors of beets to develop their characteristic red pigment.

Novel treatment causes cancer to self-destruct without affecting healthy cells
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have discovered the first compound that directly makes cancer cells commit suicide while sparing healthy cells.

HIV: The benefits of prophylaxis of tuberculosis are confirmed
Long-term follow-up in the ANRS TEMPRANO trial confirms that tuberculosis chemoprophylaxis in HIV-infected people is more than ever relevant in resource-limited countries.

School year 'relative age' causing bias in ADHD diagnosis, says research
Younger primary school children are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than their older peers within the same school year, new research has shown.

How dance can help students in STEM disciplines
A proof-of-concept study finds participation in dance programs helps students -- including those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines -- develop skills such as creativity and persistence that benefited them in the classroom and beyond.

How honeybees read the waggle dance
Neurons that enable honeybees to sense the waggle dance -- a form of symbolic communication used by female bees to inform the hivemates about the location of a food source -- are investigated in new research published in JNeurosci.

Reported penicillin allergy appears to increase the risk of surgical site infections
A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators found that surgical patients believed to be allergic to penicillin were significantly more likely to develop surgical site infections than were patients with no documented allergy, a difference totally attributable to the alternative antibiotics used to prevent such infections.

University of Chicago Prof. Richard H. Thaler awarded the 2017 Economics Nobel Prize
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences honored Thaler, the Charles R.

Cancer scientists crack the durian genome
Scientists from Singapore have mapped the complete genetic blueprint of durian, known in Asia as the 'king of fruits.' Infamous for its pungent and polarizing aroma, durian is well-known to ignite opposing passions of devotion or revulsion in different individuals.

Dinosaur blood? New research urges caution regarding fossilised soft tissue
Scientists from the University of Bristol have conducted experiments to accelerate degradation in keratinous tissues such as feathers, scales and hair in order to simulate the processes that occur over deep time as something becomes a fossil.

Nerve cells' gatekeepers take many forms
Rice and UTHealth scientists track the conformations of proteins that stand guard at transmembrane channels in the walls of nerve cells.

Bacteria self-organize to build working sensors
By programming bacteria with a synthetic gene circuit that can recruit gold nanoparticles to the surface of their colony, Duke researchers can build functional devices.

Prototype shows how tiny photodetectors can double their efficiency
UC Riverside physicists have developed a photodetector -- a device that converts light into electrons -- by combining two distinct inorganic materials and producing quantum mechanical processes that could revolutionize the way solar energy is collected.

Study finds no evidence linking reflux medicines to bone fractures
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) -- medications commonly used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers -- have been linked with potentially serious side effects including a possible increased risk of bone fractures.

Study examines racial differences in quality of end-of-life care
An analysis of survey data found no significant racial differences in various aspects of the quality of end-of-life care, although survey respondents reported deficiencies in the quality of end-of-life care for both black and white patients who died, including unmet symptom needs, problems with communication and less than optimal decision-making, according to an article published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

P53 'master switch' remains top target in gene signaling network controlling cancer
Despite silencing over 300 genes regulated by p53 across cancer types, University of Colorado Cancer Center study finds no essential 'second in command.'

Formation of coal almost turned our planet into a snowball
While burning coal today causes Earth to overheat, about 300 million years ago the formation of that same coal brought our planet close to global glaciation.

Trench Foot discovery paves way for new treatment
The physical cause of trench foot has been uncovered more than 100 years after the painful and debilitating condition was first identified in the First World War.

Computer program detects differences between human cells
'How many different cell types are there in a human body?

Cannabidiol benefits and mechanisms shown in mouse study of Dravet syndrome
Cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating derivative from cannabis, has been shown to reduce seizures and autism-like behaviors in a mouse model of a genetic disorder, Dravet syndrome.

TGen sequencing test enables precise identification of drug-resistant TB
Two studies led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) document how a new advanced genetic sequencing approach can help thwart the growing worldwide threat posed by drug-resistant mutations of tuberculosis (TB).

Unexpected degree of order found in interior grain boundaries of polycrystalline materials
Scientists in the United States and China have announced a discovery that they believe could enable the engineering of alloyed materials that are stronger and more ductile and possess superior electrical, magnetic and physical properties.

Many opioid-dosage combinations have no prescribing restrictions under Medicare formulary
Medicare Part D formularies allowed unrestrictive coverage for many opioids over the past decade, especially at high doses, including drugs commonly associated with overdose.

Mathematicians from RUDN University have modeled 5G mobile communication of the future
Scientists from RUDN University have created a mathematical model of reliable microwave communication for mobile phones and other devices.

Noncompliance thwarts comprehensive background check policy for private-party sales, study finds
Only one state with expanded background check policies for all gun transfers is compliant.

Farsighted children struggle with attention, study finds
Farsighted preschoolers and kindergartners have a harder time paying attention and that could put them at risk of slipping behind in school, a new study suggests.

Fatty diet may boost risk of relapse in kids with multiple sclerosis
A fatty diet may boost the risk of a relapse in kids with multiple sclerosis (MS) by as much as 56 per cent, with saturated fat associated with a tripling in risk, suggests research published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Research IDs key factors that help women ex-convicts avoid recidivism
New research identifies four factors that help women ex-convicts avoid committing crimes, offering insights that can be used to help former inmates integrate more successfully into their communities after time in prison.

No 'narcissism epidemic' among college students, study finds
Today's college students are slightly less narcissistic than their counterparts were in the 1990s, researchers report in a new study - not significantly more, as some have proposed.

Indian government needs to do more to tackle rising sale of unapproved antibiotics
In India, the sale of antibiotics requiring the tightest control and regulation is rising the fastest, according to an analysis by researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Newcastle University.

Birds reveal the importance of good neighbors for health and aging
Birds who live next door to family members or to other birds they know well are physically healthier and age more slowly, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Head Start may protect against foster care placement
Participating in Head Start may help prevent young children from being placed in foster care, finds a national study led by a Michigan State University researcher.

Green gentrification can limit the favourable effects of green areas on health
A scientific research conducted by ICTA-UAB and IMIM suggests that more socially disadvantaged neighbours do not benefit equally from the effects newly created green areas have on health.

Heads up, CEOs -- corporate social responsibility may get you fired, study finds
Investing in product safety, employee diversity and carbon footprint reduction are all examples of corporate social responsibility that can result in high praise for a chief executive -- or get them fired -- according to new research from the University of Notre Dame.

Type 1 diabetes and the microbiota: MAIT cells as biomarkers and new therapeutic targets
Together with colleagues from AP-HP, scientists from the CNRS, INSERM and Paris Descartes University have discovered that the onset of type 1 diabetes is preceded by modification of MAIT lymphocytes.

Gene identified that may provide potential therapy for cerebral cavernous malformations
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with national collaborators, have identified a series of molecular clues to understanding the formation of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs). 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