Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 18, 2017
A mosquito's secret weapon: a light touch and strong wings
How do mosquitoes land and take off without our noticing?

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Need for targeted interventions for breastfeeding difficulties due to obesity
A study led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, the Helen M.

Three-quarters of the total insect population lost in protected nature reserves
Since 1989, in 63 nature reserves in Germany the total biomass of flying insects has decreased by more than 75 percent.

How many golden eagles are there?
For conservation to be effective, wildlife managers need to know how many individuals of a species are out there.

Research sheds new light on early turquoise mining in Southwest
Researchers are blending archaeology and geochemistry to get a more complete picture of turquoise's mining and distribution in the pre-Hispanic Southwest.

New obesity treatment lowers body weight in mice, rats and primates
Researchers have created engineered proteins that lowered body weight, bloodstream insulin, and cholesterol levels in obese mice, rats, and primates.

Newborns with trisomy 13 or 18 benefit from heart surgery, study finds
Heart surgery significantly decreases in-hospital mortality among infants with either of two genetic disorders that cause severe physical and intellectual disabilities, according to a new study by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine and his colleagues at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

German research advances in cancer and blood disorders reported in human gene therapy
Virotherapy capable of destroying tumor cells and activating anti-tumor immune reactions, and the use of engineered hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to deliver replacement genes that have the potential to cure blood diseases are among the key areas of gene therapy being advanced by German researchers.

NASA's ICON explores the boundary between earth and space
On Dec. 8, 2017, NASA launches the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, a low-Earth orbiting satellite that will give us new information about how Earth's atmosphere interacts with near-Earth space.

Ancient, lost, mountains in the Karoo reveals the secrets of massive extinction event
For her PhD, Viglietti studied the fossil-rich sediments present in the Karoo, deposited during the tectonic events that created the Gondwanides, and found that the vertebrate animals in the area started to either go extinct or become less common much earlier than what was previously thought.

Reducing power plants' freshwater consumption with Sandia's new silica filter
Power plants draw more freshwater than any other consumer in the United States, accounting for more than 50 percent of the nation's freshwater use at about 500 billion gallons daily.

Gentle touch soothes the pain of social rejection
The gentle touch of another individual soothes the effects of social exclusion, one of the most emotionally painful human experiences, according to new UCL research.

Certain older adults don't get to the hospital soon enough when experiencing a heart attack
For individuals experiencing a heart attack, delays in getting to the hospital can have life-threatening consequences.

DNA tests on albatross poo reveal secret diet of top predator
A study that used DNA tests to analyse the scats of one of the world's most numerous albatrosses has revealed surprising results about the top predator's diet.

Riddle of matter remains unsolved: Proton and antiproton share fundamental properties
Physicists in the BASE collaboration at the CERN research center have been able to measure the magnetic force of antiprotons with almost unbelievable precision.

Art advancing science at the nanoscale
Could studying molecular biology ever be as fun as watching a Star Wars movie?

Illinois sportfish recovery a result of 1972 Clean Water Act, scientists report
Populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and other sportfish are at the highest levels recorded in more than a century in the Illinois River, according to a new report.

Police satisfaction in developing countries dependent on less corruption
Improving police satisfaction in developing nations will require a reduction in corruption and greater public security and safety, a new study by researchers at the universities of Kent and Utrecht has shown.

Dutch courage -- Alcohol improves foreign language skills
A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University and King's College London, shows that bilingual speakers' ability to speak a second language is improved after they have consumed a low dose of alcohol.

Dolphin diets suggest extreme changes in the ocean may shorten food chains
Extreme marine conditions like El Niño are associated with shorter food chain length in the California Current ecosystem, a new analysis reports.

SwRI scientists dig into the origin of organics on Ceres
Since NASA's Dawn spacecraft detected localized organic-rich material on Ceres, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been digging into the data to explore different scenarios for its origin.

Teenage girls more likely to self-harm than boys
There has been a sharp rise in self-harm reported in general practices for girls aged between 13-16 years from 2011 to 2014, compared with boys of the same age.

Anxiety and depression linked to migraines
In a study of 588 patients who attended an outpatient headache clinic, more frequent migraines were experienced by participants with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

New material for digital memories of the future
Professor Martijn Kemerink of Linköping University has worked with colleagues in Spain and the Netherlands to develop the first material with conductivity properties that can be switched on and off using ferroelectric polarisation.

Is HPV vaccination safe for adult women?
In a Journal of Internal Medicine study of more than 3 million Danish and Swedish adult women, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination was not linked with 44 serious chronic diseases.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia
A new systematic review of global daily calcium consumption suggests substantial regional differences -- it's lowest in East Asia and highest in Northern Europe.

Timing of gallbladder and weight loss surgery may help prevent complications
There is a strong association between obesity and gallstones; however, there is no clear evidence regarding the optimal order of gastric bypass surgery and gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) when both procedures are clinically indicated.

Competing forces: How molecules maintain their structure
A double helix twisted around itself: this is the distinctive structure of DNA, which is made up of large molecules.

MRI may predict neurological outcomes for cardiac arrest survivors
MRI-based measurements of the functional connections in the brain can help predict long-term recovery in patients who suffer neurological disability after cardiac arrest, according to new research.

Nice ice, maybe: Study finds water-repelling surfaces ease ice removal
A new study has discovered that ice grows differently on water-absorbent vs. water-repellent surfaces.

Rare tree species safeguard biodiversity in a changing climate
New research suggests that rare species of trees in rainforests may help safeguard biodiversity levels as the environment undergoes change.

Research demonstrates method to alter coherence of light
In a finding that could have broad applications in optical devices, Brown University researchers have shown that they can transform incoherent light to almost fully coherent and vice versa.

Migraine drug commonly used in ER may not be best option
A drug commonly used in hospital emergency rooms for people with migraine is substantially less effective than an alternate drug and should not be used as a first choice treatment, according to a study published in the Oct.

Rare cancer linked with textured breast implants may be underreported, misunderstood
A rare cancer in patients with breast implants may be on the rise, but not all patients and physicians may be aware of the risks associated with the procedure, according to a group of Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

First time mothers with an epidural who lie down in labor are more likely to have a normal birth
Adopting a lying down position rather than being upright in the later stages of labour for women with a low dose epidural leads to a higher chance of having a spontaneous vaginal birth (without the need for forceps or suction), finds a study published by The BMJ today.

New findings explain how UV rays trigger skin cancer
Melanoma, a cancer of skin pigment cells called melanocytes, will strike an estimated 87,110 people in the US in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New clues to treat Alagille Syndrome from zebrafish
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) identifies potential new therapeutic avenues for patients with Alagille syndrome, a rare genetic disorder caused by mutations primarily in the JAGGED1 gene.

Arsenic in domestic well water could affect 2 million people in the US
Clean drinking water can be easy to take for granted if your home taps into treated water sources.

Turning brain cells into skin cells
A new Tel Aviv University study reveals that it is possible to repurpose the function of different mature cells across the body and harvest new tissue and organs from these cells.

Subjective complaints may cause patients to stop treatment after switching to a biosimilar
A biosimilar is a biological medicine that shows no clinically meaningful differences with another already approved biological medicine (the 'reference medicine').

Death by a thousand cuts? Not for small populations
In a paper published in Nature Communications, Christoph Adami, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and graduate student Thomas LaBar have provided a look at how certain species survive by evolving a greater ability to weed out harmful mutations -- a new concept called 'drift robustness'.

Scientists reveal herbal remedies containing aristolochic acid may cause liver cancer
Mutational signatures reveal high burdens of AA-related mutations in Asian liver cancers, with Taiwan most intensely affected.

Terry Fox research team's model for detecting lung cancer saves lives, is a world leader
A pan-Canadian team of cancer researchers has developed a predictive model for detecting early-stage lung cancer in high-risk individuals with significantly greater accuracy than other leading models.

New study predicts worldwide change in shallow reef ecosystems as waters warm
A new study based on the first global survey of marine life by scuba divers has provided fresh insights into how climate change is affecting the distribution of marine life.

Researchers define burden of Hepatitis in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Using laboratory equipment readily available in developing countries, researchers from UNC and Abbott Diagnostics were able to define and map the burden of hepatitis C virus for the first time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

One step closer toward a treatment for Alzheimer's disease?
Scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital, in collaboration with colleagues at the University California, San Diego, have characterized a new class of drugs as potential therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease and discovered a piece in the puzzle of how they would work.

Inflamed support cells appear to contribute to some kinds of autism
Modeling the interplay between neurons and astrocytes derived from children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, say innate inflammation in the latter appears to contribute to neuronal dysfunction in at least some forms of the disease.

Multiple Sclerosis: Oligodendrocytes from stemmcells
A scientific collaboration between stem cell researchers of the Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Germany, led by Prof.

Mating induces sexual inhibition in female jumping spiders
After mating for the first time, most females of an Australian jumping spider are unreceptive to courtship by other males, and this sexual inhibition is immediate and often lasts for the rest of their lives, according to a study published Oct.

Researchers watch in real time as fat-encased drug nanoparticles invade skin cells
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published today in the journal ACS Nano describes the use of cutting-edge microscopy technology to visualize how liposomes escape from blood vessels into surrounding cells in a living mouse, offering clues that may help researchers design better drug delivery systems.

NASA team finds noxious ice cloud on saturn's moon titan
Researchers with NASA's Cassini mission found evidence of a toxic hybrid ice in a wispy cloud high above the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Electrode materials from the microwave oven
Power on the go is in demand: The higher the battery capacity, the larger the range of electric cars and the longer the operating time of cell phones and laptops.

Superior vena cava(SVC)-derived atrial fibrillation attributes clinical and genetic factor
The genetic factors associated with atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition characterized by irregular heartbeat that can lead to heart failure, have never been identified -- until now.

Gravitational waves from merging neutron stars
This cosmic event was also observed in visible light and provides an explanation for gamma-ray bursts.

Maintaining fish biomass the key to conserving reef fish biodiversity
A new study appearing in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series has found that conserving fish diversity in Madagascar's coral reef systems may depend on maintaining fish biomass above critical levels, according to scientists from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and ES Caribbean.

Declining baby songbirds need forests to survive drought
A team of Smithsonian biologists led by Brandt Ryder worked closely with Ben Vernasco, a doctoral candidate in biology at Virginia Tech, on a study that aimed to identify characteristics that promote healthy wood thrush populations on US Department of Defense land.

Newly described process in Parkinson's protein as a potential new therapy route
An international group of researchers led by Professor Wim Versées (VIB-VUB) has unraveled the workings of an essential mechanism in 'Parkinson's protein' LRRK2.

Online resource enables open data sharing for rare Mendelian diseases
MyGene2, a new open data resource, helps patients with rare genetic conditions, clinicians, and researchers share information, connect with one another, and enable faster gene discovery, according to results presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Oncotarget: Researchers identify novel therapeutic strategy for drug-resistant thyroid cancers
New findings by a Harvard Medical School team suggest that palbociclib, a drug that is FDA-approved to treat advanced breast cancer, may be able to overcome vemurafenib resistance in PTC.

Even small amounts of oil made birds near Deepwater Horizon sick, researchers say
Blood samples taken by first responders showed that individuals exposed to small amounts of oil from the spill suffered from hemolytic anemia--a condition that occurs when toxins enter the blood stream and damage red blood cells that carry oxygen to tissues.

New Amazon threat? Deforestation from mining
Sprawling mining operations in Brazil have caused roughly 10 percent of all Amazon rainforest deforestation between 2005 and 2015 -- much higher than previous estimates -- says the first comprehensive study of mining deforestation in the iconic tropical rainforest.

Gene therapy can cure lameness in horses, research finds
Injecting DNA into injured horse tendons and ligaments can cure lameness, new research involving scientists at Kazan Federal University, Moscow State Academy and The University of Nottingham has found.

How a 'Star Wars' parody turned into a tool for scientific discovery (video)
Science has long inspired the arts, but examples of the reverse scenario are sparse.

Penn study shows how female immune cells keep their second x chromosome shut off
In a new study, a team from the University of Pennsylvania describes how X chromosome inactivation is regulated in the immune system's B cells as they develop in bone marrow and when they encounter antigens.

New analysis suggests that preserving rare species is vital to tropical forests
The world's tropical forests are in 'a critical state' in which the extinction of rare tree species could be a tipping point, according to an international team of scientists who have developed an analytical method to map their biodiversity.

Duplications of noncoding DNA may have affected evolution of human-specific traits
Duplications of large segments of noncoding DNA in the human genome may have contributed to the emergence of differences between humans and nonhuman primates, according to results presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2017 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Nature or nurture? Innate social behaviors in the mouse brain
The brain circuitry that controls innate, or instinctive, behaviors such as mating and fighting was thought to be genetically hardwired.

Study finds epilepsy drug to be safe during pregnancy
New research indicates that use of the epilepsy drug lamotrigine during pregnancy does not increase the risk of birth malformations or neurodevelopmental disorders.

A mission to Mars could make its own oxygen thanks to plasma technology
Plasma technology could hold the key to creating a sustainable oxygen supply on Mars, a new study has found.

UChicago Medicine first site in Illinois offering pioneering CAR T-cell therapy for cancer
The FDA today approved the use of a breakthrough cancer treatment for adult patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Healthy coral populations produce a surprising number of offspring
Healthy coral populations can produce up to 200 times more juvenile corals than degraded coral populations nearby, according to a new study in Conservation Letters.

Cocaine use during adolescence is even more harmful than during adulthood
Brazilian scientists found that addicts who began using cocaine before and after the age of 18 showed differences in sustained attention and working memory, among other brain functions.

For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use
New University of Washington research finds that for a budget of roughly $1000, it is possible for someone to track your location and app use by purchasing and targeting mobile ads.

New study reveals breast cancer cells recycle their own ammonia waste as fuel
Breast cancer cells recycle ammonia, a waste byproduct of cell metabolism, and use it as a source of nitrogen to fuel tumor growth, report scientists from Harvard Medical School.

Obesity may exacerbate asthma in children
In a Pediatric Allergy & Immunology study of children hospitalized for asthma, obesity was a risk factor for repeated hospital admissions.

Making big data a little smaller
Harvard computer scientist found that the Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma, a 30-year-old therum, is the best approach to pre-process large data into a manageably low dimension for algorithmic processing.

Battling flames increases firefighters' exposure to carcinogens
The threat of getting burned by roaring flames is an obvious danger of firefighting, but other health risks are more subtle.

Diabetes foot care services may help avoid lower limb amputations
In a Diabetic Medicine study that compared different regions in England, areas that provided 10 key services for diabetes foot care had lower rates of major diabetes-related lower limb amputations.

Solar eruptions could electrify martian moons
Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic explorers, according to a new NASA study.

Poll: Despite mobile options and cord-cutting, sports fans still turn on the TV
Despite the growth of mobile technology and viewing options, when sports fans want to watch a game, they turn to traditional live TV, according to results of a UMass Lowell-Washington Post poll released today.

Individual receptors caught at work
Using a revolutionary live-cell microscopy technique, an international team of scientist has observed for the first time individual receptors for hormones and widely used drugs at work in intact cells.

Research examines benefits of palliative care in heart failure treatment
University of Pittsburgh and UPMC researchers reviewed existing evidence and found that heart failure patients receive significantly less palliative care than patients with other illnesses, despite evidence that such care improves symptom management and quality of life.

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster
Scientists have found that stem cells in the skin remember an injury, helping them close recurring wounds faster.

Living mulch builds profits, soil
Living mulch functions like mulch on any farm or garden except -- it's alive.

Hardy corals make their moves to build new reefs from scratch
Resilient species of coral can move to inhospitable areas and lay the foundations for new reefs, a study shows.

Petals produce a 'blue halo' that helps bees find flowers
New study finds 'messy' microscopic structures on petals of some flowers manipulate light to produce a blue colour effect that is easily seen by bee pollinators.

Disney/Pixar films present opportunities for parents to discuss end-of-life with children
Many adults put off discussing end-of-life issues with children, but a UB researcher says the otherwise difficult conversation can begin with the help of Disney/Pixar films.

How well-fed mosquitoes outwit victims at take-off
Well fed mosquitoes need to make a stealthy get away to avoid attracting the attention of the victim upon which they have just gorged, and now an international team of scientists have shown that mosquitoes take advantage of their long legs and a wing assisted launch to evade detection.

From Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde of cancer immunotherapy
Novel immunotherapies can strengthen the body's own defenses against cancer cells.

More than 75 percent decrease in total flying insect biomass over 27 years
The total flying insect biomass decreased by more than 75 percent over 27 years in protected areas, according to a study published Oct.

Study: New simple method determines rate at which we burn calories walking up, down, flat
A new way to predict the energy a person expends walking will help predict and monitor the physiological status of walkers, including foot soldiers.

Separating methane and CO2 will become more efficient
To make natural gas and biogas suitable for use, the methane has to be separated from the CO2.

Researchers customize catalysts to boost product yields, decrease separation costs
For some crystalline catalysts, what you see on the surface is not always what you get in the bulk, according to two studies led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Understanding the coevolving web of life as a network
Coevolution, which occurs when species interact and adapt to each other, is often studied in the context of pair-wise interactions between mutually beneficial symbiotic partners.

Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
Interactions between species play a key role in shaping biodiversity.

Genetic testing recommended for children considered at risk for most common eye cancer
Children who are considered to be at risk of developing eye cancer should receive genetic counseling and testing as soon as possible to clarify risk for the disease.

Life in the city: Living near a forest keeps your amygdala healthier
MRI study analyzes stress-processing brain regions in older city dwellers.

Stiff fibers spun from slime
Nanoparticles from the secretion of velvet worms form recyclable polymer fibers.

'Pay for performance' incentives are hurting hospital finances in mississippi delta
Two Medicare 'pay for performance' programs have contributed to declining financial performance by hospitals in the Mississippi Delta region, suggests a study in the November issue of Medical Care, published by Wolters Kluwer.

Mouse studies shed light on how protein controls heart failure
A new study on two specially bred strains of mice has illuminated how abnormal addition of the chemical phosphate to a specific heart muscle protein may sabotage the way the protein behaves in a cell, and may damage the way the heart pumps blood around the body.

This nanoelectronics breakthrough could lead to more efficient quantum devices
Researchers from Concordia have made a breakthrough that could help your electronic devices get even smarter.

Supervisor support critical to employee well-being and workforce readiness
Nearly half of American workers are concerned about the changing nature of work, and although most report that they have the skills they need to perform their current job well, those without supervisor support for career development are more likely to distrust their employer and plan on leaving within the next year, according to a new survey released by the American Psychological Association.

Upfront charging of overseas visitors using the NHS is a threat to everyone, argue experts
New rules for charging overseas visitors using the NHS are a threat to everyone, argue experts in The BMJ today.

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods
Researchers from Caltech and the University of Southern California (USC) report the first application of quantum computing to a physics problem.

Are the policies of promoting bicycle use socially profitable?
A study by the University of Seville states that the socio-economic profitability of the construction of the network of cycle paths in Seville, for the period 2006-2032, will be about 130 percent, with a net profit for the city of 550 million euros.

UCI scientists see order in complex patterns of river deltas
River deltas, with their intricate networks of waterways, coastal barrier islands, wetlands and estuaries, often appear to have been formed by random processes, but scientists at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions see order in the apparent chaos.

Mass killings happen randomly, yet rate has remained steady, study finds
Mass killings may have increasing news coverage, but the events themselves have happened at a steady rate for more than a decade, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

At tremendous precision, the proton and antiproton still seem identical
Using a novel two-particle measurement method, a group of researchers measured the magnetic moment of the antiproton at a precision 350 times higher than any previous measurement.

First time mums with an epidural who lie down more likely to have a normal birth
Adopting a lying down position rather than being upright in the later stages of labor for first-time mothers who have had a low dose epidural leads to a higher chance of normal delivery. 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