Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 04, 2017
Why musical training benefits us in processing speech
A brain imaging study by Dr. DU Yi from the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and her collaborator Dr.

US provides most development assistance for health, but lags behind others in per person spending
A new study finds that while the United States consistently has provided more funding for development assistance for health (DAH) than any other country, some high-income European nations have far surpassed the US's assistance in per capita and other expenditure measurements.

Popular blood pressure medicine linked with increased risk of skin cancer
Recently published research from the University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Cancer Society shows a connection between one of the most common medications for hypertension and skin cancer.

Medication errors for admitted patients drop when pharmacy staff take drug histories in ER
When pharmacy professionals -- rather than doctors or nurses -- take medication histories of patients in emergency departments, mistakes in drug orders can be reduced by more than 80 percent, according to a study led by Cedars-Sinai.

Kidney disease diagnosis may benefit from DNA sequencing
In a new study, DNA sequencing was used to uncover the genetic cause of kidney disease, influencing diagnosis and treatment.

Predatory journals: Researchers propose solutions to stop the 'corruption of science'
The team of researchers behind a recent landmark study on predatory journals has now outlined the first concrete steps that stakeholders can take to combat the growing influence of these journals.

Exercise changes gut microbial composition independent of diet, team reports
Two studies -- one in mice and the other in human subjects -- offer the first definitive evidence that exercise alone can change the composition of microbes in the gut.

Traumatic stress and genetic risk of bipolar disorder found to increase suicide attempts
Genetic susceptibility to bipolar disorder can increase the risk for suicide attempt, but only among those who also have experienced traumatic stress, reports a study published in the December 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).

Researchers quantify factors for reducing power semiconductor resistance by two-thirds
Researchers in Japan announced that they have quantified for the first time the impacts of three electron-scattering mechanisms for determining the resistance of silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor devices in power semiconductor modules.

Advances to brain-interface technology provide clearer insight into visual system
Carnegie Mellon University engineers and cognitive neuroscientists have demonstrated that a new high-density EEG can capture the brain's neural activity at a higher spatial resolution than ever before.

Virginia Tech entomologist discovers invertebrate that comes in more color combinations than any oth
The thumb-sized millipede that crawls around the forest floor of Southwest Virginia's Cumberland Mountains has more color combinations than any other millipede discovered.

NEST360º's low-cost jaundice detector passes first test in Africa
The first clinical study of a low-cost, hand-held jaundice detector invented by Rice University students couldn't have come at a better time for NEST360°, an international team of scientists, doctors and global health experts preparing for a Dec.

High-stress childhoods blind adults to potential loss
Adults who lived high-stress childhoods have trouble reading the signs that a loss or punishment is looming, leaving themselves in situations that risk avoidable health and financial problems and legal trouble.

Blood flow altered in brains of preterm newborns vs. full-term infants
Cerebral blood flow of key regions of newborns' brains is altered in very premature infants and may provide an early warning sign of disturbed brain maturation well before such injury is visible on conventional imaging, according to a prospective, observational study published Dec.

Online risks are routine for teens, most bounce back
Teens routinely encounter online risks, such as sexual solicitations, cyberbullying and explicit material, but research shows that the negative effects of such exposure appear to be temporary, vanishing for most teens in less than a week.

Red-bellied lemurs maintain gut health through touching and 'huddling' each other
Scientists have found a direct link between physical contact and gut bacteria in red-bellied lemurs.

Bronze Age artifacts used meteoric iron
Though meteorites had already been recognized as one source of iron objects, the scientific community couldn't determine whether they accounted for most or simply a few Bronze Age iron artifacts.

New approach to predict respiratory allergy in early childhood
A new study in EBioMedicine by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, suggests that immune response in early childhood to a handful of allergen molecules can predict the onset of allergic rhinitis and asthma in adolescence.

Researchers use nanoparticles to target, kill endometrial cancer
For the first time, researchers combined traditional chemotherapy with a relatively new cancer drug that attacks chemo-resistant tumor cells, loaded both into tiny nanoparticles, and created an extremely selective and lethal cancer treatment.

Physicians' experiences with family and friends impact breast cancer screening
Results of a national survey of more than 800 physicians suggest that their experiences with patients, family members and friends with breast cancer are linked with their recommendations for routine mammograms.

Intestinal worms may solve allergy puzzle
Young people with parasite worms currently have a four times higher risk for developing allergies and asthma than others.

Study: Patients only use about half of Opioids prescribed after hysterectomy
Doctors may be prescribing nearly twice the number of opioids than what the average patient needs after a hysterectomy, a new study suggests.

Right-handed or left-handed?
Are you born or do you become right-handed or left-handed?

Does overlapping surgery increase complication risk after hip surgery?
The practice of a single surgeon supervising two surgeries in different operating rooms at the same time was associated with increased risk for complications after hip surgery, although the practice of overlapping surgery was uncommon.

Study helps explain how the brain keeps time
A new study from MIT researchers provides evidence for an alternative timekeeping system that relies on the neurons responsible for producing a specific action.

Researchers generate electricity from low-cost biomaterial
Mobile phone speakers and motion detectors in cars and video games may soon be powered by electricity generated from low cost and sustainable biomaterials, according to research carried out at University of Limerick (UL), Ireland.

Successful implantation of heart pump with power cable behind the ear, a Japan first!
In March 2017, the Cardiovascular Surgery Group at Osaka University successfully implanted a left ventricular assist device with an internal power cable tunneled through the neck to the head in a patient who was ineligible for a cardiac transplantation, destination therapy (DT) trial, a Japan first.

Subtle cues can dictate the fate of stem cells
If you've seen one GSK3 molecule, do not assume that you have seen them all.

Computerized biology, or how to control a population of cells with a computer
Researchers have published articles about computer control of cellular processes.

Autism-linked gene stunts developing dendrites
Increased expression of a gene linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) leads to a remodeling of dendrites during brain development, according to a new study conducted in cultured neurons and an ASD mouse model published in JNeurosci.

Marijuana use may not aid patients in opioid addiction treatment
New research finds that frequent marijuana use seems to strengthen the relationship between pain and depression and anxiety, not ease it.

Discovery of a mechanism for determining the direction of collective cell migration
The phenomenon of collective cell migration has been observed in the process of animal development, the healing of wounds, and cancer cell invasion.

Tanners who use sprays and lotions less prone to get tattoos and piercings than sunbathers
People who often sunbathe or use tanning beds are more likely to try risky weight-loss methods and have cosmetic surgery, as well as get tattoos and piercings.

Next generation solvent contributes to next generation biofuel production from biomass
Compared to first-generation biofuels produced from foodstuffs, production of second-generation biofuels for daily use is an urgent issue.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Medium-sized carnivores most at risk from environmental change
In a surprise ecological finding, researchers discover medium-sized carnivores spend the most time looking for food, making them vulnerable to change.

Higher risk of dying due to heart cell damage without any symptoms occurs during or after non-heart surgery
One in seven patients 65 or older undergoing non-heart surgery experienced heart cell damage during or after surgery, known as perioperative myocardial injury (PMI).

NASA sees a mix of Tropical Cyclone Ockhi and dust storms
NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Arabian Sea on Dec.

When the nose doesn't know: Can loss of smell be repaired?
Researchers at Tufts are examining the behavior of stem cells within the context of aging and loss of smell.

New estimates of modern contraceptive use in the world's poorest countries
Statisticians Leontine Alkema, Niamh Cahill and Chuchu Wei at UMass Amherst, with others, release new estimates and projections of modern contraceptive prevalence (mCPR) and other family planning outcomes for the 69 poorest countries of the world.

Researchers 'dismantle' mindfulness intervention to see how each component works
Because mindfulness-based interventions blend multiple practices, researchers can't always figure out how each one works, so they created a rigorously controlled study to isolate each of them and confirm that they do what is claimed.

Chance record of an annual mass emergence of enigmatic mantis-flies
Being neither mantids nor flies, the peculiar mantis-flies are in fact predatory lacewings which use their mantis-like forelegs to catch prey.

Microscope using UV instead of visible light emerging as diagnostic tool
New MUSE technology obtains high-resolution images of fresh biopsies for analysis within minutes, eliminating need for conventional slides and preserving original tissue sample.

The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation: 50 years of heart transplantation progress
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the world's first human heart transplant performed at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town by South African surgeon, Christiaan Barnard.

Kent scientists find new cultivation system to battle parasite causing diarrhoea
Kent scientists find new cultivation system to battle parasite causing diarrhoea A research team at the University of Kent has established the first long-term cultivation system at a laboratory scale for the parasite Cryptosporidium, one of the world's worst and most common causes of diarrhoea and death from diarrhoea.

NASA finds Tropical Depression Dahlia's center devoid of rainfall
Tropical Depression Dahlia was weakening into a remnant low pressure area when the Global Precipitation Measurement mission core satellite or GPM analyzed the storm's precipitation.

Helping hands guide robots as they learn
Rice researchers help humans and robots collaborate by enabling real-time interactions that modify a robot's path to its goal.

Programmable drug delivery platform combats diseased cells at genetic level
A research team from the University of Connecticut developed a unique linker technology to connect a synthetic drug delivery vehicle referred to as a nucleic acid nanocapsule (NAN) with a new peptide cross-linker approach.

Despite city tree benefits, Calif. urban canopy cover per capita lowest in US
Trees in California communities are working overtime. From removing carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air, intercepting rainfall and increasing property values, California's 173.2 million city trees provide ecosystem services valued at $8.3 billion a year.

New dental material resists plaque and kills microbes, Penn dental team finds
In a new study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania evaluated a new dental material tethered with an antimicrobial compound that can not only kill bacteria but can also resist biofilm growth.

Gene-based Zika vaccine is safe and immunogenic in healthy adults
Results from two Phase 1 clinical trials show an experimental Zika vaccine developed by government scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is safe and induces an immune response in healthy adults.

IU, Regenstrief study finds surrogate decision makers experience psychological distress
A new study from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and the Regenstrief Institute explores predictors and frequency of surrogate decision-maker distress and has found high levels of both anxiety and depression.

Trials show inactivated Zika virus vaccine is safe and immunogenic
The investigational Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine was well-tolerated and induced an immune response in participants, according to initial results from three Phase 1 clinical trials.

Thyroid hormone therapy heals lung fibrosis in animal study
Thyroid hormone therapy significantly resolves fibrosis, or scarring, in the lungs of mice, increasing their survival from disease, a Yale-led study shows.

New nanowires are just a few atoms thick
Subnanometer-scale channels in 2-D materials could point toward future electronics, solar cells.

Serious risk of mental health crisis in Yemen, say experts
Yemenis face serious mental health risks, but the issue is being neglected.

Women are naturally more fit than men
Women can process oxygen more quickly than men when they start to exercise, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.

Nature's toughest substances decoded
Rice University researchers develop computer simulations to decode nature's toughest materials, like seashells and tooth enamel, to guide making synthetic multifunctional composites.

Four-fold jump in deaths in opioid-driven hospitalizations
Death rates in people hospitalized for opioid-related conditions in the United States have quadrupled since 2000.

Invasive plants have unprecedented ability to pioneer new continents and climates
'This could be a game-changer for invasive species risk assessment and conservation,' one researcher says.

Replicating peregrine falcon attack strategies could help down rogue drones
Researchers at Oxford University have discovered that peregrine falcons steer their attacks using the same control strategies as guided missiles.

Research shows a technique to offset the worry of waiting
Research has shown all the techniques we employe to reduce the stress of worry don't work.

Research team quantifies blind spots on the protein maps
While researchers already know what the DNA-blueprints look like for most proteins, they do not know what many of these proteins actually do in the body.

Brain researchers gain greater understanding of how we generate internal experiences
Our mental life is rich with an enormous number of internal experiences.

Computer simulations reveal roots of drug resistance
New supercomputer simulations have revealed the role of transport proteins called efflux pumps in creating drug-resistance in bacteria, research that could lead to improving the drugs' effectiveness against life-threatening diseases and restoring the efficacy of defunct antibiotics.

A new role for an old protein in breast cancer
A new role for an old protein in breast cancer Potential new treatments may result from research carried out by the University of Kent that has found a new interaction between one of the proteins in our bodies and hormones in breast cancer cells.

Trickle-down is the solution (to the planetary core formation problem)
Scientists have long pondered how rocky bodies in the solar system--including our own Earth--got their metal cores.

Virtual reality users must learn to use what they see
A UW-Madison study found that when most people put on a virtual reality headset, they still treat what they see like it's happening on any run-of-the-mill TV screen.

Swarm-based simulation strategy proves significantly shorter
How long do computer simulations need to run to be accurate?

Understanding the climate impact of natural atmospheric particles
An international team of scientists has quantified the relationship between natural sources of particles in the atmosphere and climate change.

New study finds artwork is worth 35 percent less when created by 'tortured' artists
The term 'tortured artists' describes some of history's greatest painters, who are credited with creating some of the world's most recognized works of art despite lives that were often characterized as unhappy.

Shining a light on plant growth and development
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have identified the portion of a plant photoreceptor responsible for light-dependent changes in gene expression, as illustrated in a paper published today in Nature Communications.

PET identifies which prostate cancer patients can benefit from salvage radiation treatment
For prostate cancer patients who have rising levels of PSA (a cancer indicator) even after radical prostatectomy, early treatment makes a difference.

How to keep students in science
Thousands of undergraduates engage in real scientific discovery through HHMI's Science Education Alliance.

Parental attention can reduce risk of drug abuse in adolescence
Survey of more than 6,000 teenagers performed by Brazilian researchers reinforces protective function of rule-keeping, which relies on open dialogue about the importance of rules as much as on children's monitoring.

Neutron stars on the brink of collapse
The exact characteristics of Neutron stars, the densest objects in the Universe, are still un-known.

Genes identified that distinguish mammals from other animals
What distinguishes Homo sapiens from other living beings? And the group of mammals?

Pigeons can discriminate both space and time
Pigeons aren't so bird-brained after all. New research from the University of Iowa shows that pigeons can discriminate the abstract concepts of space and time, likely using a different region of the brain than humans and primates to do so.

MACHOs are dead, WIMPs are a no-show -- say hello to SIMPs
The nature of dark matter remains elusive, with numerous experimental searches for WIMPs coming up empty-handed and MACHOs all but abandoned.

In mongoose society, immigrants are a bonus -- when given time to settle in
Researchers studying wild dwarf mongooses have provided insight into what happens when immigrants join a new group.

Worm genomes reveal a link between ourselves and our distant relatives
Researchers from the Marine Genomics Unit at OIST, in collaboration with Okayama University, have decoded two worm genomes and found that they have several genetic similarities with the vertebrates.

Zika vaccine induces robust immune responses in three phase 1 trials
Healthy adults mounted strong immune responses after receiving an investigational whole inactivated Zika virus vaccine, according to interim analyses of three Phase 1, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), and Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

New immunotherapy targets misshapen protein in rare childhood brain cancer
Children with an extremely deadly form of brain cancer might benefit from a new treatment that aims to direct an immune response against an abnormally shaped protein found exclusively on cancer cells, according to a new study led by UC San Francisco researchers.

A monkey and a virus: One million years together
An international research team including Vasily Ramensky, a bioinformatics scientist at MIPT's Genome Engineering Laboratory, has classified the six species of African green monkeys based on their genomes, studied their genetic adaptations to the simian (monkey-hosted) immunodeficiency virus (SIV), and produced a gene expression atlas for one of the species.

Important foraging hotspots for loggerhead turtle rookery identified
Simona Ceriani, tenured research scientist with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, today published a new study that finds sea turtles are what they eat - but where they eat may be even more important.

Report from NIA-sponsored conference asks: What don't we know about bladder control?
The lack of truly effective and safe therapies for these challenges stems from insufficient knowledge of the biological mechanisms for urinary control, the impact of aging and disease on urinary control, and the relationships of symptoms to urinary health and overall well-being, so say researchers reporting on a prestigious conference hosted by the American Geriatrics Society and funded by a grant from the National Institute of Aging to George A.

Submarine volcanoes add to ocean soundscape
Most volcanoes erupt beneath the ocean, but scientists know little about them compared to what they know about volcanoes that eject their lava on dry land.

Neurons have the right shape for deep learning
Researchers unveiled an algorithm that simulates how deep learning could work in our brains.

Preemies' dads more stressed than moms after NICU
For the first time, scientists have measured the stress levels of fathers of premature babies during the tense transition between the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and home and discovered fathers are more stressed than moms, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Research reveals how cells rebuild after mitosis
University of Bristol research has revealed how cells rebuild their nucleus and organise their genome when they divide -- a discovery which could have major implications for understanding cancer and degeneration.

Researcher closes in on pathways involved in ALS disease
Symptoms of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, may be subtle at first but develop into more obvious muscle weakness and paralysis.

A new spin to solving mystery of stellar companions
Scientists are investigating the nature of planetary-mass bodies that orbit stars, finding new clues to their origins.

Research suggests gorillas can develop food cleaning behavior spontaneously
Researchers have suggested that gorillas are capable of learning food cleaning behaviors without having to witness it in others first.

First step toward practical application of holographic memory with magnetic assist
Yuichi Nakamura, Associate professor at Toyohashi University of Technology, and his group, are the first in the world to have successfully applied magnetic assist recording to magnetic-holographic memory to reduce recording energy consumption and achieve non-error data reconstruction.

New test provides accurate measure of DNA damage from chemical compounds
A new biomarker test developed by researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and their colleagues can help predict, with up to 90 percent certainty, which chemical compounds can cause DNA damage that could lead to cancer.

Durotomy: A common complication of spinal surgery -- and an important factor in some malpractice cases
Incidental durotomy -- small tears of the outer membrane of the spinal cord -- are a common occurrence in spinal surgery, and may lead to litigation.

Blood pressure declines 14 to 18 years before death
Blood pressure in the elderly begins to decrease about 14 or so years before death, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.

One in six patients with PAD who undergo revascularization readmitted within 30 days
Study finds that more than one in six patients with PAD (a painful condition preventing blood flow to the extremities and vessels outside the heart) who undergo revascularization procedures to restore blood flow to blocked leg arteries and other arteries outside of the heart are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.

Opioid crisis: Criminal justice referrals miss treatment opportunities, study suggests
A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that under 5 percent of those referred for opioid treatment from the criminal justice system were directed to medication-assisted programs to treat their disorder

Beetles' bright colors used for camouflage instead of warning off predators
Yale-NUS College Postdoctoral Fellow Eunice Tan discovered that the bright colour patterns of beetles are not a warning signal to predators as previously believed, but actually a form of camouflage, turning an old assumption on its head.

Research bolsters possibility of plate tectonics on Europa
Jupiter's moon Europa could have subduction zones, a new study shows, which could supply chemical food for life to a subsurface ocean.

Smaller branches pack the fastest, biggest fire-spreading punch
Preliminary findings indicate the diameter of the branches that are burning is the biggest single factor behind which ones will form embers the most quickly and how much fire-starting energy they'll pack.

Better mastery of heat flow leads to next-generation thermal cloaks
The idea of a thermal cloak, which is designed to hide heated objects without distorting the temperature outside, has long since fascinated scientists.

Earthquakes in the Himalaya bigger than in the Alps because tectonic plates collide faster
Earthquakes that happen in densely populated mountainous regions, such as the Himalaya, spell bigger earthquakes because of a fast tectonic-plate collision, according to a new study in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

New robots can see into their future
University of California, Berkeley, researchers have developed a robotic learning technology that enables robots to imagine the future of their actions so they can figure out how to manipulate objects they have never encountered before.

Higher than global average of European companies investment into research and development
2017 Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard shows that the total investment of the top 2500 industrial players worldwide amounted to €741.6 billion in 2016.

How do doctors make decisions when managing care for critically & terminally ill patients?
Researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the University of Pittsburgh used a simulated patient encounter describing a man in his late 70's with metastatic cancer to study the decision-making process of 73 hospital-based physicians at three major academic mental centers.

How can humans keep the upper hand on artificial intelligence?
EPFL researchers have shown how human operators can maintain control over a system comprising several agents that are guided by artificial intelligence.

Clear leads to fully transparent devices
Large-area, two-dimensional semiconductors wired through transparent oxide conductors produce high-performance see-through electronics.

Medicare shift to quality over quantity presents challenges
A new study hints that even large physician practices may have trouble moving to a payment system that rewards quality of health care over quantity of services delivered.

Discovery of key molecules involved in severe malaria
A research group led by Osaka University found that proteins called RIFIN expressed on erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum help the parasite to suppress the host immune response, causing severe malaria.

Removing cancer cell debris improves conventional cancer treatments
Cancer therapies are designed to kill tumor cells, but produce tumor cell debris in the process.

Refrigeration technology to maintain cold-stored mouse sperm viability for 10 days
A Japanese research team has succeeded in developing a refrigeration preservation technology that maintains the fertilization functionality of mouse sperm for 10 days.

New Alzheimer's animal model more closely mimics human disease
Making an AD mouse model that incorporates both Aβ and tau pathologies in a more AD-relevant context has been greatly sought after but difficult to accomplish.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dec. 2017
Story tips from ORNL, Dec. 2017: US cities could save billions with Oak Ridge National Laboratory's precise approach to de-icing wintry roads; discovery of overlooked function of certain microbes could boost environmental clean-up strategies; novel tools can 'see' atomic structures of aluminum-cerium alloys for automotive and aerospace applications.

Flying laboratory reveals crucial tropical forest conservation targets in Borneo
About 40 percent of northern Malaysian Borneo's carbon stocks exist in forests that are not designated for maximum protections, according to new research from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory team.

New easy-to-use tool can help determine Alzheimer's risk, similar to pediatric growth curves
A simple new tool that tracks cognitive performance in adults aims to help physicians identify people who may be on the path to Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia.

Simplifying assembly-based design for 3-D modeling
Researchers from Stanford University, University of California at San Diego, Adobe Research and IIT Bombay have collaborated on a novel computational framework for assembly-based 3-D modeling that automatically suggests to users (of any skill level) which parts to use and where to place the part in the actual design

Girls will be boys: Sex reversal in dragon lizards
One of Australia's iconic lizard species is hiding a secret-- female central bearded dragon embryos temporarily grow the lizard equivalent of a penis during development.

UMMS scientists identify gene associated with metastatic melanoma
A study by Craig J. Ceol, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has revealed a protein active during early embryo development called GDF6 plays a primary role in metastatic melanoma.

Community Health Center funding cliff could cause more than 100,000 jobs to be lost
If the Community Health Center Fund is not restored, millions of patients served by community health centers may lose access to crucial health care and up to 161,000 jobs could be lost in communities across the nation.

Trees on fire
A new computational approach simulates each step of a tree exposed to fire, capturing in detail the geometry behind the wood burning process, along with the effects combustion has on tree branches and leaves.

Compact hyperspectral imaging at low cost
A team of computer scientists from KAIST, South Korea, and Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, has devised a way for low-cost accurate hyperspectral imaging, ridding of expensive equipment and complex coding. 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