Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 05, 2017
Augmented-reality technology could help treat 'lazy eye'
When signals between the brain and one eye go awry, input from the other eye can become predominant, a condition called amblyopia or 'lazy eye.' New research suggests that people may be able to use wearable augmented-reality technology to reduce this visual discrepancy as they go about everyday activities.

Archaeologists revise chronology of the last hunter-gatherers in the Near East
New research by a team of scientists and archaeologists based at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the University of Copenhagen suggests that the 15,000-year-old 'Natufian Culture' could live comfortably in the steppe zone of present-day eastern Jordan -- this was previously thought to be either uninhabitable or only sparsely populated.

Entangling biological systems
Using green fluorescent proteins obtained from Escherichia coli, researchers at Northwestern University demonstrate quantum mechanical effects from a biological system.

Hearing different accents at home impacts language processing in infants
Infants raised in homes where they hear a single language, but spoken with different accents, recognize words dramatically differently at about 12 months of age than their age-matched peers exposed to little variation in accent, according to a University at Buffalo expert in language development.

How can colleges better predict when a person's radical beliefs will turn to violence?
In a new study researchers reviewed numerous cases of extremist violence or terrorism and the published literature to develop a set of tools for colleges to use to assess the risk and reduce the potential for acts of violent extremism.

Women who attempt suicide exhibit different protein levels years after the attempt
Women with a history of suicide attempts exhibit different levels of a specific protein in their bloodstream than those with no history of suicide attempts, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Experimental drug blocks toxic ion flow linked to Alzheimer's disease
A new small-molecule drug can restore brain function and memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Seaweed could hold key to environmentally friendly sunscreen
A compound found in seaweed could protect human skin from the damaging impact of the sun without causing harm to marine ecosystems.

Obesity prevented in mice fed high-fat diet
Washington University researchers activated the Hedgehog protein pathway in the fat cells of mice.

In first, 3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics
UW engineers have developed the first 3-D printed plastic objects that can connect to other devices via WiFi without using any electronics, including a laundry bottle that can detect when soap is running low and automatically order more.

Hearing hybrid and electric vehicles while quieting noise pollution
Low-emission vehicles are considered too quiet for hearing-impaired pedestrians, so the European Union is mandating that they be equipped with acoustic vehicle alerting systems.

New quick, portable test for iron, Vitamin A deficiency could save lives
Cornell University engineers and nutritionists have created a swift solution for a challenging global health problem: a low-cost, rapid test to detect iron and vitamin A deficiencies at the point of care.

Preschool program helps boost skills necessary for academic achievement
Children growing up in poverty face many challenges, but a preschool program that aims to improve social and emotional skills may help increase their focus and improve learning in the classroom, according to researchers.

Working memory positively associated with higher physical endurance and better cognitive function
Mount Sinai researchers have found a positive relationship between the brain network associated with working memory -- the ability to store and process information relevant to the task at hand -- and healthy traits such as higher physical endurance and better cognitive function.

New report: European science academies call for urgent action on food and nutrition security
Scientists from national academies across Europe are calling for urgent action on food and nutrition in a new rigorous and independent report published today by the European Academies' Science Advisory Council.

How Xanax works (video)
Whether or not you have anxiety, you've probably heard of Xanax.

Mitochondrial protein in cardiac muscle cells linked to heart failure, study finds
Reducing a protein found in the mitochondria of cardiac muscle cells initiates cardiac dysfunction and heart failure, a finding that could provide insight for new treatments for cardiovascular diseases, a study led by Georgia State University has shown.

NASA telescope studies quirky comet 45P
When comet 45P zipped past Earth early in 2017, researchers observing from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility, or IRTF, in Hawai'i gave the long-time trekker a thorough astronomical checkup.

Racial disparities persist in the survival of patients with ovarian, colon, and breast cancer
Three new articles present trends in survival for patients with ovarian, colon, and breast cancer in the United States by race and stage.

Beyond wind speed: A new measure for predicting hurricane impacts
What if there was a better way to forecast and communicate hurricanes' damaging economic impacts, before they happen?

Hybrid electrolyte enhances supercapacitance in vertical graphene nanosheets
Supercapacitors can store more energy than and are preferable to batteries because they are able to charge faster, mainly due to the vertical graphene nanosheets that are larger and positioned closer together.

Screening has had 'little impact' on falling breast cancer deaths in the Netherlands
Breast screening in the Netherlands seems to have had a marginal effect on breast cancer mortality over the past 24 years, suggests research in The BMJ today.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids linked to reduced allergy risk
New research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden reveals that high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in children's blood are associated with a reduced risk of asthma or rhinitis at the age of 16 years.

Scientists find potential weapons for the battle against antibiotic resistance
UNC School of Medicine scientists found that the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa can produce specific molecular factors that dramatically increase or decrease an antibiotic's ability to kill Staphylococcus aureus, another bacterium that often co-infects with P. aeruginosa.

Penn researchers link binge eating and weight-loss challenges
Overweight or obese patients who binge eat while trying to lose weight drop half as much as those who don't binge eat or those who do and subsequently stop, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Perelman School of Medicine.

WASP-18b has smothering stratosphere without water
A NASA-led team has found evidence that the oversized planet WASP-18b is wrapped in a smothering stratosphere loaded with carbon monoxide and devoid of water.

Rooftop wiretap aims to learn what crows gossip about at dusk
An interdisciplinary team is using a covert sound-based approach, worthy of an avian CSI, to study the link between crows' calls and their behavior.

Scientists shed light on a tumor-suppressive protein in metastases
?A new study conducted at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology in Belgium has labeled the protein Caveolin-1 as a high-potential pursuit in the fight against cancer.

Safer opioid drugs could treat pain and save lives
Opioid drugs are the most widely prescribed and effective type of pain medication.

Lemur study highlights role of diet in shaping gut microbiome
A study of the bacteria in the guts of three lemur species offers new insights into the role of diet in shaping these microbial ecosystems -- and how these microbes may relate to primate health.

Lobachevsky University scientists create a neurochip for replacing damaged areas of the brain
Lobachevsky University researchers are working to create a neurochip capable of transmitting a signal to healthy brain cells.

Seeing isn't believing: Penn biologists show how to shut off hunger 'alarm system'
According to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania, ingesting calorie-containing food is the primary way to calm the activity of a group of neurons responsible for driving an animal to eat.

Study finds variation within species is a critical aspect of biodiversity
Concerns about biodiversity tend to focus on the loss of species from ecosystems, but a new study suggests that the loss of variation within species can also have important ecological consequences.

US transportation and water infrastructure not broken
Transportation and water infrastructure funding and finance in the United States are not nearly as dire as some believe, but a national consensus on infrastructure priorities, accompanied by targeted spending and selected policy changes, is needed, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Catalyzing carbon dioxide
Scientists at the Rowland Institute at Harvard have developed a system that uses renewable electricity to electrochemically transform carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide -- a key commodity used in any number of industrial processes.

Engineers 3-D print a 'living tattoo'
MIT engineers have devised a 3-D printing technique that uses a new kind of ink made from genetically programmed living cells.

NASA gets a final look at Tropical Cyclone Ockhi's rainfall
Tropical Cyclone Ockhi is quickly weakening in the Arabian Sea and is expected to dissipate on Dec.

New TB drugs possible with understanding of old antibiotic
Tuberculosis, and other life-threatening microbial diseases, could be more effectively tackled with future drugs, thanks to new research into an old antibiotic by the University of Warwick and the Francis Crick Institute.

Storytellers promoted cooperation among hunter-gatherers before advent of religion
Storytelling promoted cooperation in hunter-gatherers prior to the advent of organized religion, a new UCL study reveals.

UTSW researchers identify possible new way to treat parasitic infections
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a chemical that suppresses the lethal form of a parasitic infection caused by roundworms that affects up to 100 million people and usually causes only mild symptoms.

Pregnant women with PTSD have higher levels of stress hormone cortisol
Research has shown that a woman's emotional and physical health during pregnancy impacts a developing fetus.

Early avian evolution: The Archaeopteryx that wasn't
Paleontologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich correct a case of misinterpretation: The first fossil

Superior hydrogen catalyst just grows that way
A printing process uses natural forces to grow an inexpensive catalyst to replace platinum to lower the cost of hydrogen-powered cars.

Researchers connect severity of 'kissing disease' to T-cell population
Acute infectious mononucleosis (AIM), also known as mono or the 'kissing disease,' is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).

Living cell membranes can self-sort their components by 'demixing'
Scientists at the University of Washington show for the first time that the complex distribution of molecules within a membrane of a living yeast cell arises through demixing.

Parenting behaviors linked to suicide among adolescents
A fresh look at a federally sponsored 2012 national study shows a significant link between parent's behaviors and thoughts of suicide among adolescents, according to a presentation given by two University of Cincinnati professors at the 2017 American Public Health Association conference.

Study examines FDA's expedited programs & development time of new drugs to treat serious diseases
Drugs reviewed by the FDA in programs intended to speed drug developmentĀ  were approved nearly a year quicker than drugs reviewed by the FDA through normal processes.

Scientists create successful mass production system for bioengineered livers
Researchers report creating a biologically accurate mass-production platform that overcomes major barriers to bioengineering human liver tissues suitable for therapeutic transplant into people.

Good news from trio of phase one Zika vaccine trials
More than 90 percent of study volunteers in the 3 trials who received the investigational vaccine demonstrated an immune response to Zika virus.

Dahl's toad-headed turtle threatened by fragmented habitat, shrinking populations
A recent study published in Conservation Genetics by researchers from the Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), and the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) shows that the Dahl's Toad-headed Turtle (Mesoclemmys dahli), a rare reptile found only in Colombia, is threatened with extinction due to alarmingly small and fragmented populations and high levels of inbreeding.

L.A. homeless housing program saves more money than it costs
Los Angeles County has the nation's highest rate of unsheltered homelessness and the problem has gotten worse in recent years.

The quantum waltz of electrons hints at the next generation of chips
EPFL researchers have successfully measured some of the quantum properties of electrons in two-dimensional semiconductors.

Most people in favor of screening for spinal muscular atrophy
Research from the University of Warwick indicates that most people are in the UK are in favor of newborn screening for the potentially deadly condition spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Shut-off switch for lymphoma
Safety switches that automatically stop the device for example before it overheats are built into many electrical appliances.

How height happens
A team of researchers discovered hundreds of genetic 'switches' that have an influence on height and performed functional tests that demonstrated precisely how one such switch alters the function of a key gene involved in height differences.

Poll: At least one-fourth of Asian Americans report workplace, housing discrimination
This report is part of a series titled 'Discrimination in America.' The series is based on a survey conducted for National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard T.H.

Colored sunscreen protects skin from damage caused by visible light
In article, a study performed by a group of Brazilian researchers elucidates action mechanism of visible light on skin and questions typical use of sunscreen.

Implementation of newborn screening for congenital heart disease associated with decrease in infant cardiac deaths
Statewide implementation of mandatory policies to screen newborns for the most serious congenital heart defects was associated with an estimated decrease in infant cardiac deaths.

Conflicting views on social media balanced by an algorithm
Researchers from Aalto University and University of Rome Tor Vergata have designed an algorithm that is able to balance the information exposure so that social media users can be exposed to information from both sides of the discussion.

NTU's Sumatran tiger study sounds warning bells over long-term deforestation
A new joint study led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has warned about the extinction of Sumatran tigers in Sumatra, Indonesia, due to destroyed habitats.

New algorithm repairs corrupted digital images in one step
A group led by a University of Maryland computer scientist has designed a new algorithm that incorporates artificial neural networks to simultaneously apply a wide range of fixes to corrupted digital images.

Blood test could help predict skin cancer's return
Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered that testing skin cancer patients' blood for tumor DNA could help predict the chances of an aggressive cancer returning.

Which sequences make DNA unwrap and breathe?
Accessing DNA wrapped into basic units of packaging depends on the underlying sequence of the building blocks.

Men with HPV are 20 times more likely to be reinfected after one year
An analysis of HPV in men shows that infection with one type strongly increased the risk of reinfection of the same type.

First DNA sequence from a single mitochondria
DNA sequences between mitochondria within a single cell are vastly different, found researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
A new Tel Aviv University study reveals that hyperbaric oxygen treatments may alleviate symptoms experienced by patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Working in the cold
When it is cold in winter, cars tend to have starting problems.

Lab-engineered ovaries superior to hormone drugs in animal model
New research in rats suggests the possibility of bioengineering artificial ovaries in the lab to provide a safer, more natural hormone replacement therapy for women.

UTA researchers show that sexual harassment on the job still carries large impact
Two University of Texas at Arlington researchers have revisited workplace sexual harassment issues after the initial study was done nearly 20 years ago.

World's heaviest bony fish identified and correctly named
Japanese fish experts have identified and clarified the biological name of the world's heaviest bony fish ever caught.

Combination strategy could hold promise for ovarian cancer
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers demonstrated that mice with ovarian cancer that received drugs to reactivate dormant genes along with other drugs that activate the immune system had a greater reduction of tumor burden and significantly longer survival than those that received any of the drugs alone.

Goldwater Rule 'gagging' psychiatrists no longer relevant, analysis finds
The rationale for the Goldwater Rule -- which prohibits psychiatrists from publicly commenting on the mental health of public figures they have not examined in person -- does not hold up to current scientific scrutiny, a new analysis finds.

Meteorite analysis shows reduced salt is key in Earth's new recipe
Scientists have found the halogen levels in the meteorites that formed the Earth billions of years ago are much lower than previously thought.

Protein-folding simulations sped up
Proteins are huge molecules whose function depends on how they fold into intricate structures.

Gene experts set to tackle pest control
Experts at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute are to investigate how genetic techniques could be applied to help control pest species.

Dark fiber: Using sensors beneath our feet to tell us about earthquakes, water, and other geophysica
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have shown for the first time that dark fiber -- the vast network of unused fiber-optic cables installed throughout the country and the world -- can be used as sensors for detecting earthquakes, the presence of groundwater, changes in permafrost conditions, and a variety of other subsurface activity.

Researchers examine role of gene variation linked to Major Depressive Disorder
A new study assessed the effects of a SLC6A15 gene variant on resting-state brain function in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), comparing the results with those in healthy individuals.

Pop the bubbly and hear the quality
The classic sparkling wine that has rung in countless new years with a bang may have more to its bubbles.

Study finds link between fragile X syndrome gene and dysregulated tissue growth
A study led by Indiana University researchers found a previously undetected link between the gene that causes fragile X syndrome and increased tissue growth in the intestines of fruit flies modified to model the disease.

Could ancient bones suggest Santa was real?
Was St Nicholas, the fourth century saint who inspired the iconography of Santa Claus, a legend or was he a real person?

In multiple myeloma, high levels of enzyme ADAR1 are associated with reduced survival
Using a database of multiple myeloma patient samples and information, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that high ADAR1 levels correlate with reduced survival rates.

Invasive 'supervillain' crab can eat through its gills
Invasive green shore crabs can 'eat' by absorbing nutrients across its gills -- the first demonstration of this ability in crustaceans -- scientists from the University of Alberta have found.

London air pollution cancels positive health effects of exercise in over-60s
Exposure to air pollution on city streets is enough to counter the beneficial health effects of exercise in older adults, according to new research.

First insight into which patients repeatedly miss GP appointments
The largest ever analysis of NHS patients who fail to attend reveals that the most important indicator of which patients will miss multiple appointments is socio-economic deprivation.

When contact sports cause concussion injuries, who comes out ahead?
Concussions are common injuries among contact sport athletes. While most athletes experience full recovery within a few weeks and can return to their sport, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, female athletes tend to experience a higher concussion injury rate than male athletes.

Researchers create unique bioengineered organoids for modeling colorectal cancer
A new study describes a unique bioengineered tissue construct, or organoid, into which colorectal cancer cells are embedded, creating a model of the tumor and surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM).

New study shows how ant colonies behave differently in different environments
A new paper published in Behavioral Ecology finds that some ant colonies defend more gallantly than others, revealing that colonies themselves may have personalities.

Wing structure vital in producing a range of tones in bush-cricket mating calls
The structure of the sound generators in the wings of male bush-crickets is critical for producing tonality within the long-range mating calls that attract distant females, a major new study has shown.

Traffic pollution putting unborn babies' health at risk, warn experts
Air pollution from road traffic is having a detrimental impact upon babies' health in London, before they are born, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Transgender youth avoid health care due to discomfort with doctors
Close to half of transgender young Canadians aren't accessing health care when they need it, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.

Shorter course of treatment may provide better outcome for intermediate-risk prostate cancer
Researchers found that the one-month duration HRT, was associated with a significant improvement in prostate cancer recurrence compared to the two-month duration CRT and therefore would be reasonable to consider in men with intermediate risk prostate cancer who do not have risk factors that could predispose the patient to bladder side effects several years after the treatment is complete.

Study shows lithium chloride blunts brain damage linked to fetal alcohol syndrom
A single dose of lithium chloride, a drug used to treat bipolar disease and aggression, blocks the sleep disturbances, memory loss, and learning problems tied to fetal alcohol syndrome, new experiments in mice show.

Tigers cling to survival in Sumatra's increasingly fragmented forests
A research expedition tracked endangered tigers through the Sumatran jungles for a year and found tigers are clinging to survival in low density populations.

Lithium in water associated with slower rate of Alzheimer's disease deaths
Trace elements of lithium in drinking water can slow death rates from Alzheimer's disease, Brock University research has found.

Air pollution cancels positive health effects of exercise in older adults
Exposure to vehicle exhaust on city streets is enough to counter the beneficial cardiovascular and pulmonary health effects of two hours of exercise in adults over 60, a study led by scientists at Imperial College London and Duke University shows.

'Jumping genes' solve swamp wallaby ancestry
QUT and Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre researchers studied the 'swamp' wallaby's retrotransposons and found that it is not a separate genus but a Macropus, as are kangaroos, wallaroos and other wallabies.

Gut microbiome influenced heavily by social circles in lemurs, UT study says
Social group membership is the most important factor in structuring gut microbiome composition, even when considering shared diet, environment and kinship, according to research on lemurs at The University of Texas at Austin.

Restless sleep may be an early sign of Parkinson's disease
Researchers from Aarhus University have discovered that patients with the RBD sleep behavior disorder lack dopamine and have a form of inflammation of the brain.

Cold discomfort: Increasing cancer rates and adaptation of living in extreme environments
Researcher Konstantinos Voskarides, Ph.D., of the University of Cyrpus' Medical School, noted that populations living in very low temperatures, like in Denmark and Norway, had among the highest incidences of cancer in the world.

Once they start composting, people find other ways to be 'green'
Composting food scraps can prompt people to make other earth-friendly choices, new research has found.

Army-developed Zika vaccine induces strong immune response in three phase 1 studies
Three Phase 1 human clinical trials evaluating an Army-developed Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine have shown it was safe and well-tolerated in healthy adults and induced a robust immune response.

It's good to be rare, for some species
For many species, rarity is not a guarantee of impending extinction.

Copper will replace toxic palladium and expensive platinum in the synthesis of medications
Chemists of Ural Federal University with colleagues from India proved the effectiveness of copper nanoparticles as a catalyst on the example of analysis of 48 organic synthesis reactions.

New methods of tracking hospital nurses could help make workflow more efficient
Previous studies about nurse workflow have used time-motion study methods, which involve manually observing nurses in person or on video and then clocking how much time they spend on each task.

The bacterial community on the International Space Station resembles homes
Microbiologists at the University of California, Davis analyzed swabs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) and compared them with samples from homes on earth as well as the Human Microbiome Project.

Student-led protests for inclusive campuses are more likely at selective universities
A diverse student body on campus isn't sufficient to deflect student criticism that a campus feels oppressive.

When the doctor's away
Substitute, for-hire physicians commonly care for hospitalized patients when doctors are sick, on vacation or away at conferences.

Link found between estrogens and changes in heart physiology
Working at the UAB Zebrafish Research Facility, Daniel Gorelick, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, has created zebrafish mutants in four different receptors -- found inside or on the surface of cells -- that respond to estrogens, and he has used the mutants to help unravel a novel mechanism of estrogen action on heart physiology.

Surgeons remove cancerous lymph nodes through hidden scar procedure
A team of surgeons at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, led by Hyunsuk Suh, MD, have performed the first robot-assisted radical neck dissection in the United States using the bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA), a surgery that involves removing all of the lymph nodes on one side of the neck.

New weakness found in most common childhood malignant brain tumor
A new weakness found in medulloblastoma, the most common form of childhood brain tumor, could lead to more personalized medicine and improved treatment for some patients, according to an early study by Queen Mary University of London.

Two Super-Earths around red dwarf K2-18
New research using data collected by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has revealed that a little-known exoplanet called K2-18b could well be a scaled-up version of Earth.

MU program to improve nursing home care reduces hospitalizations by nearly 50 percent
In 2016, a federal report found that the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes (MOQI) reduced potentially avoidable hospitalizations by 48 percent and reduced hospitalizations from all causes by 33 percent.

Researchers show how insect food choice can be manipulated
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have found a way to access and manipulate taste neurons in the pharynx (throat) of the common fruit fly that could help control the spread of mosquito-related illnesses, such as dengue, malaria, yellow fever, and Zika virus, and reduce the loss of crops due to agricultural pests.

PolyU reveals high prevalence of bacteria that carry gene mcr-1 in ecosystem
Food Safety and Technology Research Centre of the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, PolyU recently found that bacteria that carry the colistin resistance gene mcr-1 commonly exist in human and various types of food and environmental samples collected from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.

New process could be key to understanding complex rearrangements in genome
A team led by Tufts University biologists has successfully harnessed new technology to develop an approach that could allow for rapid and precise identification of the CGRs involved in disease, cancer and disorder development, which is critical for diagnosis and treatment.

Is continuous electronic fetal monitoring useful for all women in labor?
Electronic fetal monitoring is often used during labor to detect unborn babies at risk of brain damage (neonatal encephalopathy) from a lack of oxygen (hypoxia).

Nursing homes can prevent infections through performance improvement collaboratives
A new assessment, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), reviewed the benefits and challenges of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)'s Safety Program for Long-Term Care, a national preventive program that was implemented from 2013 to 2016 and aimed at reducing CAUTI across U.S. nursing homes.

Stress test: New study finds seals are stressed-out by sharks
While a little added stress may be helpful to flee a dangerous situation, or to meet an approaching deadline, it's no secret that prolonged exposure to the stress hormone cortisol is linked to health problems.

Controlling spin for memory storage
Researchers have learned how to manipulation of a material's magnetism, making room for faster magnetic memory devices. 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