Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 17, 2017
Signaling pathway may be key to why autism is more common in boys
Researchers led by Ted Abel, director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute at the University of Iowa, have discovered sex differences in a brain signaling pathway involved in reward learning and motivation that make male mice more vulnerable to an autism-causing genetic glitch.

Johns Hopkins finds training exercise that boosts brain power
One of the two brain-training methods most scientists use in research is significantly better in improving memory and attention.

'Mystery clients' reveal weaknesses of tuberculosis care in rural China
Many health care providers in China -- especially those at village clinics and township health centers -- fail to correctly manage tuberculosis (TB) cases, according to a study involving standardized patients published this week in PLOS Medicine by Sean Sylvia of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, Chengchao Zhou of Shangdong University, China, and colleagues at the World Bank, McGill University, Stanford University and other institutions in China.

Machine learning identifies breast lesions likely to become cancer
A machine learning tool can help identify which high-risk breast lesions are likely to become cancerous, according to a new study.

To keep Saturn's A ring contained, its moons stand united
For three decades, astronomers thought that only Saturn's moon Janus confined the planet's A ring -- the largest and farthest of the visible rings.

A new compound targets energy generation, thereby killing metastatic cells
Prof. Uri Nir, of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, and his team have identified an enzyme that supports the survival and dissemination of metastatic cells, and developed a synthetic compound that targets the enzyme and kills the metastatic cells in mice with cancer.

Study reshapes understanding of climate change's impact on early societies
A new study linking paleoclimatology -- the reconstruction of past global climates --with historical analysis by researchers at Yale and other institutions shows a link between environmental stress and its impact on the economy, political stability, and war-fighting capacity of ancient Egypt.

Three of the most deadly cancers get critical funding for research
Three of the most deadly cancers -- glioblastoma, sarcoma and ovarian -- get critical funding for clinical trials from Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy.

Many pelvic tumors in women may have common origin -- fallopian tubes
Most -- and possibly all -- ovarian cancers start, not in ovaries, but instead in the fallopian tubes attached to them.

Fighting fires before they spark
With warm, dry summers comes a deadly caveat for the western United States: wildfires.

Gene transcription in virus-specific CD8 T cells differentiates chronic from resolving HCV
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have identified differences in gene transcription within key immune cells that may distinguish those individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus who develop chronic infection from those whose immune systems successfully clear the virus.

RUDN University chemists developed a promising drug synthesis method
Scientists from RUDN University jointly with their colleagues from Yaroslavl have developed a new way to synthesize 1,2,4-oxadiazole derivatives present in many drugs.

New techniques boost performance of non-volatile memory systems
Computer engineering researchers have developed new software and hardware designs that should limit programming errors and improve system performance in devices that use non-volatile memory technologies.

Loops of liquid metal can improve future fusion power plants, scientists say
This article describes innovative liquid lithium loop to address needs of future fusion power plants.

High blood pressure boosts risk of common heart valve disorder
Elevated blood pressure is a risk factor for mitral regurgitation, a leakage of one of the heart valves, according to a paper published this week in PLOS Medicine by Kazem Rahimi of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford, UK and colleagues.

When teeth grow on the body
Certain species of catfish are covered with bony plates bristling with thin teeth.

Pair of discoveries illuminate new paths to flu and anthrax treatments
Two recent studies led by biologists at the University of California San Diego have set the research groundwork for new avenues to treat influenza and anthrax poisoning.

Microbes leave 'fingerprints' on Martian rocks
Scientists around Tetyana Milojevic from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna are in search of unique biosignatures, which are left on synthetic extraterrestrial minerals by microbial activity.

Fighting opioid addiction in primary care: new study shows it's possible
General physicians can deliver medication-assisted therapy for opioid addiction with help from the team members they likely already have in their practices, a new analysis concludes.

Electroplating: The birth of a single nucleus caught in camera
Electroplating, or electrodeposition, is one of the most important processes in chemistry, in which a metal cation in solution can be reduced to its elemental form by applying an electrical potential to an electrode.

World first for reading digitally encoded synthetic molecules
For the first time ever, using mass spectrometry, French researchers have successfully read several bytes of data recorded on a molecular scale using synthetic polymers.

Saving hearts after heart attacks: Overexpression of a gene enhances repair of dead muscle
University of Alabama at Birmingham biomedical engineers report a significant advance in efforts to repair a damaged heart after a heart attack, using grafted heart-muscle cells to create a repair patch.

Schizophrenia disrupts the brain's entire communication system, researchers say
Some 40 years since CT scans first revealed abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients, international scientists say the disorder is a systemic disruption to the brain's entire communication system.

Reservoir explorers find extra HIV/SIV pond
Yerkes scientists have identified an additional part of the HIV/SIV reservoir, immune cells that survive and harbor the virus despite long-term treatment with antiviral drugs.

Youth football: How young athletes are exposed to high-magnitude head impacts
Researchers examined exposure to high-magnitude head impacts (accelerations greater than 40g) in young athletes, 9 to 12 years of age, during football games and practice drills to determine under what circumstances these impacts occur and how representative practice activities are of game activities with respect to the impacts.

Community engagement interventions may reduce disparities in lung cancer outcomes among minorities
Community-based interventions implemented in minority community sites resulted in changes in participants' knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about cancer, as well as perceived benefits and self-efficacy measures regarding lung cancer screening.

'Hiding in plain sight' -- Discovery raises questions over scale of overlooked biodiversity
Scientists from the University of Plymouth and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona have used cutting edge DNA technology to demonstrate that one of Europe's top freshwater predators is actually two species rather than one.

New study: nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Colliding neutron stars seen by gravity waves and optical telescopes
For the first time, astronomers have observed a celestial event through both conventional telescopes and gravitational waves.

MIPT scientists revisit optical constants of ultrathin gold films
The authors of the paper provide reference data on the optical constants of gold for a wide range of wavelengths for films that are 20 to 200 nanometers thick.

Scientists create most powerful micro-scale bio-solar cell yet
Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have created a micro-scale biological solar cell that generates a higher power density for longer than any existing cell of its kind.

New imaging approach maps whole-brain changes from Alzheimer's disease in mice
A new imaging system that offers a better way to monitor the brain changes indicative of Alzheimer's in mouse models of the disease could help speed new drug development.

Pill for glycemic control for type 2 diabetes shows promise
Among patients with type 2 diabetes, the drug semaglutide taken by pill resulted in better glycemic control than placebo over 26 weeks, findings that support phase 3 studies to assess longer-term and clinical outcomes, as well as safety, according to a study published by JAMA.

New research opens the door to 'functional cure' for HIV
Scientists have for the first time shown that a novel compound effectively suppresses production of the virus in chronically infected cells.

'Busybody' protein may get on your nerves, but that's a good thing
Salk researchers find that p75 protein is vital for signaling pain in nervous system.

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings
Astrophysicist Chris Fryer was enjoying an evening with friends on Aug.

You would not ask a firefighter to perform open-heart surgery
The concept of 'collective intelligence' is simple -- it asserts that if a team performs well on one task, it will repeat that success on other projects, regardless of the scope or focus of the work.

Experts devise plan to slash unnecessary medical testing
Researchers at top hospitals in the US and Canada have developed an ambitious plan to eliminate unnecessary medical testing, with the goal of reducing medical bills while improving patient outcomes, safety and satisfaction.

Worms learn to smell danger
University of Iowa researchers report that a roundworm can learn to put on alert a defense system important for protecting cells from damage.

New anti-clotting drugs not associated with higher risk of major bleeding
A new group of drugs used to treat patients with serious blood clots are not associated with a higher risk of major bleeding compared with the older anti-clotting drug, warfarin, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

NSQIP geriatric surgery pilot study may help improve outcomes for older surgical patients
Adding geriatric-specific risk factors to the blend of traditional risk factors could significantly improve the ability of surgeons to predict poor outcomes in older surgical patients, according to new study findings published online as an 'article in press' on the Journal of the American College of Surgeons website.

Wits team involved in international breakthrough in astronomical observation
For the first time in history, Wits researchers have witnessed electromagnetic signals that are associated with the gravitational wave emission from the coalescence of two massive neutron stars.

Origami lattice paves the way for new noise-dampening barriers on the road
Researchers at the University of Michigan have brought a new method into the sound-dampening fold, demonstrating an origami lattice prototype that can potentially reduce acoustic noise on roadways.

New teleneurology curriculum provides guidelines for care
Health professionals can deliver quality neurological care remotely to patients through the emerging field of teleneurology.

Amazonian hunters deplete wildlife but don't empty forests
Conservationists can be 'cautiously optimistic' about the prospect of sustainable subsistence hunting by Amazonian communities -- according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UK).

How bees find their way home
How can a bee fly straight home in the middle of the night after a complicated route through thick vegetation in search of food?

Force field analysis provides clues to protein-ion interaction
The importance of proteins and metal ion interactions is well understood, but the mechanistic interactions between the two are still far from a complete picture.

A new way to test body armor
In response to several high profile body armor failures, NIST researchers have developed a new and extremely reliable way to test the ballistic fibers used in body armor.

Flexible 'skin' can help robots, prosthetics perform everyday tasks by sensing shear force
UW and UCLA engineers have developed a flexible sensor 'skin' that can be stretched over any part of a robot's body or prosthetic to accurately convey information about shear forces and vibration, which are critical to tasks ranging from cooking an egg to dismantling a bomb.

Live fast die young: Updating signal detection theory
Signal Detection Theory holds that in a predator-prey relationship, prey animals will show more wariness and be more prone to flee as predators become more common.

On-and-off fasting helps fight obesity
Up to sixteen weeks of intermittent fasting without otherwise having to count calories helps fight obesity and other metabolic disorders.

Findings add to evidence of association between Zika virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome
An examination of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in Puerto Rico identified Zika virus infection as a risk factor, according to a study published by JAMA.

Researchers show the potential of precision medicine for treating rare cancers
For the first time, researchers have been able to identify effective treatments for patients with rare cancers by analyzing genes and proteins in their blood and tumors.

Tropical beetles face extinction threat
Climate change is putting many tropical high altitude beetles at risk of extinction, warn an international team of scientists.

MSU Geographer studied changes of weather in Moscow over the last century and a quarter
A researcher from Lomonosov Moscow State University's Faculty of Geography Mikhail Lokoshchenko has discovered the complex nature of changes in temperature and relative humidity in Moscow over the period of many years, from the end of the 19th century to the present day.

Rivers carry plastic debris into the sea
Every year, millions of tonnes of plastic debris ends up in the sea.

Study links chocolate production to increased deforestation in poor nations
In newly published research, Mark Noble, visiting assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Lehigh, focuses on the link between cocoa exports and deforestation in developing nations.

Corticosteroids aid healing -- if the timing is right
A corticosteroid can improve the healing of damaged tendons, but it must be given at the right time, according to a new study from Linköping University in Sweden.

North American first: University of Guelph researchers publish scientific study on cannabis production
University of Guelph researchers have published what is believed to be the first scientific paper in North America on improving medicinal cannabis plant production, helping move the industry into the realm of high-tech laboratories and evidence-based practices.

High blood pressure linked to common heart valve disorder
For the first time, a strong link has been established between high blood pressure and the most common heart valve disorder in high-income countries, by new research from The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford.

Crashing neutron stars observed for the first time
An international research team, including physicists from the Weizmann Institute of Science, has for the first time succeeded in observing a merger of two colliding neutron stars.

Need for speed makes genome editing efficient, if not better
Rice University researchers have developed a computational model to quantify the mechanism by which CRISPR-Cas9 proteins find their genome-editing targets.

The drop that's good to the very end
Two researchers in the UK, using laser-flash photography of microscopic droplet-particle collisions, have discovered that water droplets still have liquid tricks to reveal.

Many women do not follow contraception guidelines after weight-loss surgery, Pitt study finds
Many women do not follow the recommended guidelines to avoid contraception for 18-months after bariatric surgery.

Study shows how water could have flowed on 'cold and icy' ancient Mars
Research by planetary scientists at Brown University finds that periodic melting of ice sheets on a cold early Mars would have created enough water to carve the ancient valleys and lakebeds seen on the planet today.

Exercise interventions in advanced lung cancer patients led to increased functionality
Physical exercise and psycho-social interventions in patients with advanced stage lung cancer improved functional capacity, which may be linked to quality of life benefits.

Nanofiber sutures promote production of infection-thwarting peptide
Loading nanofiber sutures with vitamin D induces the production of an infection-fighting peptide, new research shows.

Preservation for the (digital) ages
Researchers from the Texas Advanced Computing Center, working with classicists and computer scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, developed a method to preserve digital humanities databases.

'You still end up with nothing': Reality of living in work poverty revealed
As the number of working families who live in poverty continues to rise in the UK, a new 'On the front line' article reveals the severe challenges that low pay, limited working hours and constrained employment opportunities bring.

Keratin, proteins from 54 million-year-old sea turtle show survival trait evolution
Researchers Japan have retrieved original pigment, beta-keratin and muscle proteins from a 54 million-year-old sea turtle hatchling.

'Find the Lady' in the quantum world
An international team of researchers has proposed a new way to make atoms or ions indistinguishable by swapping their positions.

Active sieving could improve dialysis and water purification filters
Physicists have proven theoretically that active sieving, as opposed to its passive counterpart, can improve the separation abilities of filtration systems.

Bridging the terahertz gap
Harvard researchers are exploring the possibility of using an infrared frequency comb to generate elusive terahertz frequencies.

How bright is the moon, really?
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is planning to take new measurements of the Moon's brightness, a highly useful property that satellites rely upon every day.

Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
Many tumors possess mechanisms to avoid destruction by the immune system.

Resolving traffic jams in human ALS motor neurons
A team of researchers at VIB and KU Leuven used stem cell technology to generate motor neurons from ALS patients carrying mutations in FUS.

Canadian study of gender-affirming surgery highlights patients' long, frustrating journey
Access to gender-affirming surgery has improved in British Columbia over the past couple of years, but transgender people needing to access surgery still face complex and often unclear pathways, says a new study from the University of British Columbia.

New assay may boost targeted treatment of non-hodgkin lymphoma
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is an aggressive cancer and the most frequently diagnosed non-Hodgkin lymphoma worldwide (nearly 40 percent of cases).

'Revising the image of Islamic law'
Scholar of Islamic studies Norbert Oberauer explores the unknown legal genre of the 'maxims' - Study sheds new light on the legal history of Islam: far more alterations from the Middle Ages to the modern age than expected -- Formulas of the maxims systematized the law, an innovative step in history that had long been overlooked.

NASA finds Tropical Storm Lan strengthening
Infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite revealed that Tropical Storm Lan was getting stronger as it moved through the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

New bowel cancer drug target discovered
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have discovered a new drug target for bowel cancer that is specific to tumour cells and therefore less toxic than conventional therapies.

Keeping active can help older people reduce the need for costly social care
A concerted effort to encourage older people to keep active can help them live more independently and reduce the need for social care, argue experts in The BMJ today.

New approach helps rodents with spinal cord injury breathe on their own
One of the most severe consequences of spinal cord injury in the neck is losing the ability to control the diaphragm and breathe on one's own.

Domestication has not made dogs cooperate more with each other compared to wolves
Following domestication, dogs should be more tolerant and cooperative with conspecifics and humans compared to wolves.

New examination of occupational licensing contradicts decades of research
From doctors to engineers to carpet layers to massage therapists, more than one in three Americans is required to hold a license to work in their occupation. Broad consensus among researchers holds that licensure creates wage premiums by establishing economic monopolies, but according to Northwestern University research, licensure does not limit competition nor does it increase wages.

'Wasabi receptor' for pain discovered in flatworms
A Northwestern University research team has discovered how scalding heat and tissue injury activate an ancient 'pain' receptor in simple animals.

Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption
More than 11 years after the Lusi mud volcano first erupted on the Indonesian island of Java, researchers may have figured out why the mudflows haven't stopped: deep underground, Lusi is connected to a nearby volcanic system.

Bringing the atomic world into full color
A French and Japanese research group has developed a new way of visualizing the atomic world by turning data scanned by an atomic force microscope into clear color images.

Genomics researchers showcase their applications of Droplet Digital PCR at ASHG 2017 Annual Meeting
During the conference, researchers will discuss how Droplet Digital PCR helps them screen stem cells for harmful mutations as well as how Droplet Digital PCR provides early detection of transplant rejection and delivers absolute quantification of gene expression to investigate cancer.

Therapeutic form of arsenic is a potential treatment for deadly type of brain cancer
In a study led by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), this anti-cancer agent is being considered for use against glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and aggressive type of deadly brain tumors.

Receipt of blood transfusion from previously pregnant donor associated with increased risk of death
Among patients who received red blood cell transfusions, receiving a transfusion from a donor who was ever pregnant, compared with a male donor, was associated with an increased risk of death among male recipients of transfusions but not among female recipients, according to a study published by JAMA.

Volcanic eruptions linked to social unrest in Ancient Egypt
Did volcanic eruptions in the planet's high northern latitudes play a role in causing violent rebellions in Ancient Egypt?

How we determine who's to blame
Using eye-tracking technology, MIT cognitive scientists have obtained the first direct evidence that people use a process called counterfactual simulation to imagine how a situation could have played out differently to assign responsibility for an outcome.

Yeast spotlights genetic variation's link to drug resistance
Researchers have shown that genetic diversity plays a key role in enabling drug resistance to evolve.

Matchmaking with consequences
Myc proteins play an important role when cells become cancerous.

A new way to harness wasted methane
An MIT team has identified a process that could be used to harness methane that is now wasted by being burned off at wellheads.

Wearables to boost security of voice-based log-in
A security-token necklace, ear buds or eyeglasses developed at the University of Michigan could eliminate vulnerabilities in voice authentication -- the practice of logging in to a device or service with your voice alone.

Risks associated with receipt of blood transfusion from previously pregnant donor
Among patients who received red blood cell transfusions, receiving a transfusion from a donor who was ever pregnant, compared with a male donor, was associated with an increased risk of death among male recipients of transfusions but not among female recipients, according to a study published by JAMA

HIV infection, even with antiretroviral therapy, appears to damage a growing child's brain
One of the largest and best-documented trials of children receiving early antiretroviral therapy -- the CHER clinical trial in South Africa -- finds ongoing white matter damage in HIV-positive children at the age of 7 years.

Second Issue of Structural Heart: The Journal of the Heart Team is now available
The Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) is pleased to announce that the second issue of Structural Heart: The Journal of the Heart Team is now available online.

Breast cancer treatments today -- and tomorrow (video)
Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.

Cleveland clinic study: Timing of melanoma diagnosis, treatment critical to survival
A new Cleveland Clinic study underscores the importance of early detection and treatment of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Assessment shows metagenomics software has much room for improvement
A recent critical assessment of software tools represents a key step toward taming the 'Wild West' nature of the burgeoning field of metagenomics.

Culturally tailored obesity intervention a success for hispanic students
An obesity intervention for Hispanic middle school students led by researchers at the University of Houston found that with consistent guidance from high school health mentors, called compañeros, students not only lost significantly more weight but also kept it off longer.

Missing link between new topological phases of matter discovered
HZB-Physicists at BESSY II have investigated a class of materials that exhibit characteristics of topological insulators.

Navigational view of the brain thanks to powerful X-rays
Imagine Google Earth with only the street view and a far-away satellite view but not much of a map view. 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