Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 29, 2017
Novel Omics tool begins new era for biology and personalized medicine
Researchers from EPFL have developed a novel series of systems genetics tools to identify new links between genes and phenotypes.

The ultimate defense against hackers may be just a few atoms thick
The next generation of electronic hardware security may be at hand as researchers at NYU Tandon School of Engineering introduce a new class of unclonable cybersecurity security primitives made of a low-cost nanomaterial with the highest possible level of structural randomness.

Researchers develop new technique to model transplantation of the human liver
A novel technology developed by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital enables the model-ing of human liver transplantation in an experimental setting.

Poverty, ethics and discrimination: How culture plays into cognitive research
In a new paper published in Nature Human Behaviour, scientists look at how cognitive research on poverty, ethics and discrimination would be enriched by engaging more with cultural sociology.

HPV vaccine is effective, safe 10 years after it's given
A decade of data on hundreds of boys and girls who received the HPV vaccine indicates the vaccine is safe and effective long term in protecting against the most virulent strains of the virus, researchers report.

Low vitamin D levels at birth linked to higher autism risk
Low vitamin D levels at birth were associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) at the age of 3 years in a recent Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study.

Biologists taught infusoria to fight poisons
A team of scientists from the Faculty of Biology of Lomonosov Moscow State University and Laboratory of Aerobic Metabolism in Microorganisms of Skryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms of the Russian Academy of Sciences found a new substance with anti-oxidant properties able protect living organisms from various toxic compounds.

Eye contact with your baby helps synchronise your brainwaves
Making eye contact with an infant makes adults' and babies' brainwaves 'get in sync' with each other -- which is likely to support communication and learning -- according to researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Scaling deep learning for science
Using the Titan supercomputer, a research team based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed an evolutionary algorithm capable of generating custom neural networks that match or exceed the performance of handcrafted artificial intelligence systems.

Stem cell-derived intestine model mimics innate immune responses
A stem cell-derived in vitro model displays key small intestine characteristics including innate immune responses, according to a study published Nov.

Polar bear blogs reveal dangerous gap between climate-change facts and opinions
Climate-change discussions on social media are very influential. A new study in BioScience shows that when it comes to iconic topics such as polar bears and retreating sea ice, climate blogs fall into two distinct camps.

Parkfield segment of San Andreas fault may host occasional large earthquakes
Although magnitude 6 earthquakes occur about every 25 years along the Parkfield Segment of the San Andreas Fault, geophysical data suggest that the seismic slip induced by those magnitude 6 earthquakes alone does not match the long-term slip rates on this part of the San Andreas fault, researchers report November 28 in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA).

Home-based activity program helps older veterans with Dementia maintain function
There are no effective drug treatments for dementia or its symptoms, so researchers have been exploring treatment options that don't involve using medication.

People born premature have smaller airways causing respiratory problems
People born prematurely may have smaller airways than those born at full term, which can cause respiratory problems.

First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl's story
Who is she, this little mummy girl? Northwestern University scientists and students are working to unravel some of her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, what items she may have been buried with and what material is in her brain cavity.

Urban American-Indian, Alaskan natives may have lower survival following invasive cancer
Compared with the non-Hispanic white population, the urban American-Indian and Alaskan Native community was more likely to have lower survival rates following invasive prostate and breast cancer.

Lack of communication puts older adults at risk of clashes between their medicines
Most older Americans take multiple medicines every day. But a new poll suggests they don't get -- or seek -- enough help to make sure those medicines actually mix safely.

Space-inspired study unravels mysterious constellations of the oceans
Vital scientific information about whale shark behavior, biology and ecology is being uncovered by an unlikely source -- ecotourists and other citizens.

Prehistoric women had stronger arms than today's elite rowing crews
The first study to compare ancient and living female bones shows the routine manual labor of women during early agricultural eras was more grueling than the physical demands of rowing in Cambridge University's famously competitive boat clubs.

Minimally invasive treatment provides relief from back pain
The majority of patients were pain free after receiving a new image-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment for low back pain and sciatica, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Scientists developed a new sensor for future missions to the Moon and Mars
A team of scientists from the Faculty of Physics of Lomonosov Moscow State University and their colleagues developed a compact spectral polarimeter for carrying outmineralogical investigations on the surface of astronomical bodies.

Study finds no evidence that gadolinium causes neurologic harm
There is no evidence that accumulation in the brain of the element gadolinium speeds cognitive decline, according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Broader gun restrictions lead to fewer intimate partner homicides
State laws that restrict gun ownership among domestic abusers and others with violent histories appear to significantly reduce intimate partner homicides, indicates a groundbreaking national study led by a Michigan State University researcher.

How a biophysical simulation method might accelerate drug target discovery
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have developed an approach to overcome a major stumbling block in testing new drug targets.

When brands tempt us to lie, cheat and steal
A new study shows that when consumers believe that a company is harmful in some way, then they feel justified participating in illegal activities, such as shoplifting, piracy or hacking to harm the company.

MUSE probes uncharted depths of Hubble Ultra Deep Field
Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile have conducted the deepest spectroscopic survey ever.

A step forward for quantum computing
Harvard researchers have developed a specialized quantum computer, known as a quantum simulator, which could be used to shed new light on a host of complex quantum processes, from the connection between quantum mechanics and material properties to investigating new phases of matter and solving complex real-world optimization problems.

Eruption clues: UNH researchers create snapshot of volcano plumbing
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire studied the journey of magma, or molten rock, in one of Europe's largest and most active volcanoes, Mount Etna.

Scientists find natural mimetics of anti-cancer & anti-aging drugs metformin and rapamycin
Researchers from the Biogerontology Research Foundation, Insilico Medicine , Life Extension and other institutions announce the publication of a landmark study in the journal Aging on the identification of natural mimetics of metformin and rapamycin.

Debate over doubt
New research shows more varied opinions about climate change among Republicans than political leaders suggest.

Can a rude waiter make your food less tasty?
A new study shows that an individual's social class influences his or her response to poor service.

Antibiotic resistance: An unexpected chronology
Researchers from Institut Pasteur have shed light on the rise of ampicillin resistance back in the 60s.

Watching a quantum material lose its stripes
In quantum materials, periodic stripe patterns can be formed by electrons coupled with lattice distortions.

To improve dipstick diagnostic and environmental tests, just add tape
Simple paper-strip testing has the potential to tell us quickly what's in water, and other liquid samples from food, the environment and bodies -- but current tests don't handle solid samples well.

A model explains effects like the formation of clouds from the sea
All liquids always contain gases in a greater or lesser concentration, depending on the pressure and temperature to which it is subjected.

Scientists make transparent materials absorb light
A group of physicists has demonstrated a highly unusual optical effect: They managed to 'virtually' absorb light using a material that has no light-absorbing capacity.

Jena Experiment: Loss of species destroys ecosystems
How serious is the loss of species globally? Are material cycles in an ecosystem with few species changed?

Sorry, Grumpy Cat -- Study finds dogs are brainier than cats
The first study to actually count the number of cortical neurons in the brains of a number of carnivores, including cats and dogs, has found that dogs possess significantly more of them than cats.

Nature's blueprint
Based on the nanostructure of the sea urchin spines, the research team Physical Chemistry at the University of Konstanz develops cement that is significantly more fracture-resistant.

Is underground transit worse for your health?
When USC researchers from the Viterbi School of Engineering set out to study the environmental benefits of different modes of public transit in LA, they found some unexpected results: certain SoCal public transit routes that were entirely underground exposed passengers to greater concentrations of carcinogens in the air.

Drone photos offer faster, cheaper data on key Antarctic species
Scientists flying drones in Antarctica have demonstrated a cheaper, faster and simpler way to gauge the condition of leopard seals, which can weigh more than a half ton and reflect the health of the Antarctic ecosystem that they and a variety of commercial fisheries rely on.

Range of opioid prescribers play important role in epidemic, study finds
A cross-section of opioid prescribers that typically do not prescribe large volumes of opioids, including primary care physicians, surgeons and non-physician health care providers, frequently prescribe opioids to high-risk patients, according to a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Calif. survey finds physicians, pharmacists comply with prescription drug monitoring law
State law that funded upgrades and mandated registration for California's prescription drug monitoring program significantly increased registration rates, a UC Davis survey has found.

90 percent of senior drivers don't make vehicle adjustments that can improve safety
More than 70 percent of senior drivers experience muscle and bone conditions that impact their driving.

Sea-level rise predicted to threaten >13,000 archaeological sites in southeastern US
Sea-level rise may impact vast numbers of archaeological and historic sites, cemeteries, and landscapes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the southeastern United States, according to a study published Nov.

Male circumcision and antiviral drugs appear to sharply reduce HIV infection rate
A steep drop in the local incidence of new HIV infections accompanied the rollout of a US-funded anti-HIV program in a large East-African population, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

With 'material robotics,' intelligent products won't even look like robots
Robots as inconspicuous as they are ubiquitous represent the vision of researchers in the new and burgeoning field of material robotics.

Feces from entangled North Atlantic right whales reveals 'sky-high' stress levels
In a new study published this week in Endangered Species Research, North Atlantic right whale scientists found that whales who undergo prolonged entanglements in fishing gear endure 'sky-high hormone levels,' indicating severe stress, which researchers discovered using a pioneering technique of examining scat from live, entangled, and dead whales over 15 years.

Soccer success is all about skill
A new study led by UQ School of Biological Sciences Professor Robbie Wilson used analytic techniques developed in evolutionary biology to determine the impact of a player's skill, athletic ability, and balance on their success during a game.

Study: Stereotypes about race and responsibility persist in bankruptcy system
Bankruptcy attorneys have little knowledge of the racial disparities that exist within the bankruptcy system, relying instead on common stereotypes about race, responsibility and debt, according to research co-written by Robert M.

How does chemotherapy among men affect the health of subsequent generations?
How do cancer and cancer treatments affect the reproductive function of men?

Insufficient evidence to guide recommendations on vitamin D in pregnancy
There is currently insufficient evidence to guide recommendations on the use of vitamin D supplements in pregnancy, conclude researchers in The BMJ today.

Combination HIV prevention reduces new infections by 42 percent in Ugandan district
A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine provides real-world evidence that implementing a combination of proven HIV prevention measures across communities can substantially reduce new HIV infections in a population.

'Magnetoelectric' material shows promise as memory for electronics
Smartphones and computers wouldn't be nearly as useful without room for lots of apps, music and videos.

UBC Okanagan researchers discover neurotoxin in Lake Winnipeg
A new study from UBC's Okanagan campus has found that BMAA -- a toxin linked to several neurodegenerative diseases -- is present in high concentrations during cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Winnipeg.

Innovative microscope poised to propel optogenetics studies
A newly developed microscope is providing scientists with a greatly enhanced tool to study how neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease affect neuron communication.

Penn researchers: An injectable gel that helps heart muscle regenerate after heart attack
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have used mouse models to demonstrate a new approach to restart cardiomyocyte replication after a heart attack: an injectable gel that slowly releases short gene sequences known as microRNAs into the heart muscle.

A transistor of graphene nanoribbons
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time.

Bones show prehistoric women's intensive manual labor during advent of agriculture
Comparisons of bone strength between prehistoric women and living female athletes demonstrate that prehistoric women performed rigorous manual labor for thousands of years in central Europe at levels exceeding those of modern women.

The lichen that changes its reproductive strategy according to the climate
Symbiosis between fungi and microalgae gives rise to lichen. Some lichen, however, such as Lobaria scrobiculata, have a unique feature: the fungus establishes a symbiosis with a cyanobacteria, thus requiring water in liquid form to activate photosynthesis.

New interpretation of the Red Queen's Hypothesis: It's about expansion
In a new publication in the journal Nature, Indre Zliobaite and Mikael Fortelius from the University of Helsinki and Nils Christian Stenseth from the University of Oslo present a new interpretation of one of the classic theories of evolutionary theory, the Red Queen's Hypothesis, proposed by Leigh Van Valen in 1973.

Superconducting qubit 3-D integration prospects bolstered by new research
Researchers from Google and the University of California Santa Barbara have taken an important step towards the goal of building a large-scale quantum computer.

Study shows lower lung cancer rates in communities with strong smoke-free laws
Researchers at the University of Kentucky studied the correlation between communities with strong smoke-free workplace laws and the number of new lung cancer diagnoses.

Fast flowing heat in graphene heterostructures
Scientists from the European Graphene Flagship, led by researchers at ICFO- The Institute of Photonic Sciences, have recently succeeded in observing and following, in real-time, the way in which heat transport occurs in van der Waals stacks, which consist of graphene encapsulated by the dielectric two-dimensional material hexagonal BN (hBN).

Nerve cell findings may aid understanding of movement disorders
Fresh insights into the links between nerve and muscle cells could transform our understanding of the human nervous system and conditions relating to impaired movement.

Mu­sic and nat­ive lan­guage in­ter­act in the brain
Finnish speakers showed an advantage in auditory duration processing compared to German speakers in a recent doctoral study on auditory processing of sound in people with different linguistic and musical backgrounds.

SMU seismology research shows North Texas earthquakes occurring on 'dead' faults
Recent earthquakes in Texas' Fort Worth Basin - in the community of Venus and the Dallas suburb of Irving - occurred on faults not active for at least 300 million years, according to research led by Southern Methodist University (SMU).

Fighting the flu, year after year
In a New England Journal of Medicine perspective, experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne discuss how the process of preparing seasonal influenza vaccines in eggs may contribute to their limited effectiveness.

Cranberry growers tart on phosphorus
Water presents a problem to cranberry producers. Phosphorus leaves the cranberry farm when water drains from the flooded fields.

Aerial drone photos can yield accurate measurements of leopard seals
Leopard seal measurements derived from aerial drone photographs are as accurate as those taken manually, according to a study published Nov.

Hip steroid injections associated with bone changes
Osteoarthritis patients who received a steroid injection in the hip had a significantly greater incidence of bone death and collapse compared with control groups, according to new research presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

CT shows enlarged aortas in former pro football players
Former National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, a condition that may put them at higher risk of aneurysms, according to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Largest genetic study of mosquitoes reveals spread of insecticide resistance across Africa
The largest ever genetic study of mosquitoes reveals the movement of insecticide resistance between different regions of Africa and finds several rapidly evolving insecticide resistance genes.

Scientists demonstrate one of largest quantum simulators
Physicists at MIT and Harvard University have demonstrated a new way to manipulate quantum bits of matter.

Simple blood test may predict MRI disease activity in MS
A blood test to monitor a nerve protein in the blood of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) may help predict whether disease activity is flaring up, according to a study published in the Nov.

More than half of US children will have obesity as adults if current trends continue
If current trends in child obesity continue, more than 57 percent of today's children in the US will have obesity at age 35, according to a new study from Harvard T.H.

Paired mutations: a new approach to discovering the shape of proteins
It is a bit like business partners: if one of the two parties changes strategy to keep the business going, the other has to adapt in turn.

Empowering workers can cause uncertainty and resentment
Attempts by managers to empower staff by delegating different work to them or asking for their opinions can be detrimental for employee productivity, research shows.

Robust Bain distortion in the premartensite phase of a platinum-substituted Ni2MnGa
The premartensite phase of shape memory and magnetic shape memory alloys is believed to be a precursor state of the martensite phase with preserved austenite phase symmetry.

Three UNIST researchers named world's most highly cited researchers
Three researchers, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) ranked in the top 1 percent in their fields globally.

Traces of life on nearest exoplanets may be hidden in equatorial trap
New simulations show that the search for life on other planets may well be more difficult than previously assumed, in research published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Relation of key determinants affecting mental health disorders in greater mekong subregion
This article is a literature review of the relationship of the determinants affecting GMS mental disorders conducted using the defined strategies

Penn researchers establish universal signature fundamental to how glassy materials fail
To find a link between seemingly disparate disordered materials and their behavior under stress, an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers in the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Science studied an unprecedented range of disordered solids with constituent particles ranging from individual atoms to river rocks.

Not all Republicans are climate change doubters
The idea that all Republicans think climate change isn't happening is a myth.

Quantum simulators wield control over more than 50 qubits, setting new record
Two independent teams of scientists, including one from the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, have used more than 50 interacting atomic qubits to mimic magnetic quantum matter, blowing past the complexity of previous demonstrations.

Preventing psoriasis with vanillin
Small amounts of artificial vanilla extract, also known as vanillin, are in a wide range of products, from baked goods to perfumes.

New method maps chemicals in the skin
A new method of examining the skin can reduce the number of animal experiments while providing new opportunities to develop pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

UGR researchers put a geophysical database of Antarctica at the disposal of the scientific community
It is the first time that such a large amount of diverse data associated with a research project is freely shared.

Wound healing or regeneration -- the environment decides?
For humans, the loss of limbs is almost always an irreversible catastrophe.

Balancing dual identities: Hormone stabilizes blood volume
Uncovering a surprising new function for a commonly studied hormone, Balázs Mayer and colleagues have determined that vasopressin does more than maintain fluid balance for the kidneys -- it also stimulates red blood cell production.

NIH study of WWII evacuees suggests mental illness may be passed to offspring
Mental illness associated with early childhood adversity may be passed from generation to generation, according to a study of adults whose parents evacuated Finland as children during World War II.

Kansas State University research creates way to protect pigs from PRRS during reproduction
The latest work from Raymond 'Bob' Rowland, Kansas State University professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, is helping to eradicate the devastating PRRS virus.

Science community considers approaches to climate disinformation
Although human-caused global warming is accepted by leading scientific organization around the world, public opinion about humanity's role fails to keep pace with consensus views.

Lifespan prolonged by inhibiting common enzyme
The lifespans of flies and worms are prolonged by limiting the activity of an enzyme common to all animals, finds a UCL-led study.

Theory of the evolution of sexes tested with algae
The varied sex lives of a type of green algae have enabled a University of Adelaide researcher to test a theory of why there are males and females.

Combinations of certain personality traits may guard against depression and anxiety
People showing high levels of extraversion and conscientiousness may have protection against depression and anxiety, according to the results of a new study by a team of University at Buffalo psychologists.

Invasive frogs give invasive birds a boost in Hawaii
Puerto Rican coqui frogs were accidentally introduced to Hawaii in the 1980s, and today there are as many as 91,000 frogs per hectare in some locations.

Trial suggests way to personalize heart health in diabetes
In the ACCORD study, researchers were surprised to find that people with diabetes and high risk of CVD who achieved extremely tight glycemic control showed higher risks of fatal heart attacks.

Time between world-changing volcanic super-eruptions less than previously thought
After analyzing a database of geological records dated within the last 100,000 years, a team of scientists from the University of Bristol has discovered the average time between so-called volcanic super-eruptions is actually much less than previously thought.

Employee-job personality match linked with higher income
An employee whose personality traits closely match the traits that are ideal for her job is likely to earn more than an employee whose traits are less aligned, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Teaching life a new trick: Bacteria make boron-carbon bonds
For the first time, scientists have created bacteria that can make compounds with boron-carbon bonds.

HKUST researchers reveal new insights into the control of cellular scaffold
HKUST researchers made a breakthrough in understanding how the organization of microtubule cytoskeleton is controlled, revealing an aspect of γTuRC's regulation and demonstrated a previously unknown function of PolD1, a conserved protein that is widely recognized for its role in DNA replication and repair.

Getting a better handle on methane emissions from livestock
Cattle, swine and poultry contribute a hefty portion to the average American's diet, but raising all this livestock comes at a cost to the environment: The industry produces a lot of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Why are there no sea snakes in the Atlantic?
There is a glaring gap in sea snakes' near-global distribution: the Atlantic Ocean.

New synthethic protocol to form 3-D porous organic network
A team of Korean researchers, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has presented a new synthetic protocol to produce three-dimensional porous organic materials in the blink of an eye, like firing bullets.

Male-pattern baldness and premature graying associated with risk of early heart disease
Male-pattern baldness and premature greying are associated with a more than fivefold risk of heart disease before the age of 40 years, according to research presented at the 69th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India.

First finding of China's DAMPE may shed light on dark matter research
The Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE, also known as Wukong) mission published its first scientific results on Nov.

Mass of warm rock rising beneath New England, Rutgers study suggests
Slowly but steadily, an enormous mass of warm rock is rising beneath part of New England, although a major volcanic eruption isn't likely for millions of years, a Rutgers University-led study suggests.

Modifying therapeutic DNA aptamers to keep them in the bloodstream longer
Designing new therapeutic DNA aptamers with diverse side chains can improve their ability to interact with targets, and a new study describes characteristics of these side chains that may determine how long the aptamers remain in the bloodstream. 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