Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 13, 2017
How well will the flu vaccine work this winter?
Scientists from UTMB and Biomed Protection predicted which H3N2 variants would become 'vaccine resistant', and this prediction has been confirmed during the 2017 Australian flu season.

New MRI tech could help doctors detect heart disease with better accuracy
Doctors might be able to better detect any disease or disorder that involves inflammation thanks to a new MRI imaging technology co-developed by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Hydraulic fracturing negatively impacts infant health
Health risks increase for infants born to mothers living within 2 miles of a hydraulic fracturing site, according to a study published Dec.

Your smartphone's next trick? Fighting cybercrime.
A University at Buffalo-led team of researchers has discovered how to identify smartphones by examining just one photo taken by the device.

Malignant mitochondria as a target
Killing malignant mitochondria is one of the most promising approaches in the development of new anticancer drugs.

New model makes us wiser on cocktail effects
Danish researchers have addressed an international environmental problem by developing a model that can predict how certain chemicals amplify the effects of pesticides and other chemical compounds.

Coffee physics
For anyone who has marveled at the richly colored layers in a cafe latte, you're not alone.

New mechanism of action for DISC1, psychiatric disorder agent, revealed by scientists
scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in a close collaboration with a team from the Perelman School for Medicine, University of Pennsylvania solved the high-resolution structure of DISC1 in complex with Ndel1, uncovering a new mechanism of action for DISC1 based on its structure, which can lead to implications for how genetic insults may contribute to psychiatric disorders

Research letter examines firefighters and skin cancer risk
This is a report of survey data collected from firefighters about skin cancer.

Laser-boron fusion now 'leading contender' for energy
In a paper in the scientific journal Laser and Particle Beams today, lead author Heinrich Hora from the University of New South Wales in Sydney and international colleagues argue that the path to hydrogen-boron fusion is now viable, and may be closer to realization than other approaches, such as the deuterium-tritium fusion approach being pursued by US National Ignition Facility and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor under construction in France.

Racial minorities less likely to see a doctor for psoriasis
Despite the fact that their disease may be more severe, a new study shows minorities are less likely than white Americans to see a doctor for psoriasis treatment.

Racial, political identities influence how people view cause of deadly police encounters
People's racial and political identities strongly shaped how they viewed the causes of several recent widely publicized police encounters that resulted in the deaths of African American men, according to a new study by two University of Kansas researchers.

Alcohol taxes are too low, have not kept up with inflation
State alcohol excise taxes are typically only a few cents per drink and have not kept pace with inflation, according to a new study in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Chimpanzee deaths in Uganda pinned on human cold virus
In the wild, chimpanzees face any number of dire threats, ranging from poachers to predators to deforestation.

Video game improves doctors' recognition and triage of severe trauma patients
Playing an adventure video game featuring a fictitious, young emergency physician treating severe trauma patients was better than text-based learning at priming real doctors to quickly recognize the patients who needed higher levels of care, according to a new trial.

Memory T cells responsible for long-term immunity have been cross-trained
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Emory University research offers insight into origins of the T cells that provide enduring immune protection; findings should aid vaccine development and cancer immunotherapies.

Impacts of local exposure to fracking sites on Pennsylvania infants
Based on a decade of data from Pennsylvania, researchers report that babies born to mothers living within 1 kilometer of active 'fracking' wells are 25 percent more likely to exhibit low birth weight -- a risk factor for infant mortality, ADHD, asthma, and other negative outcomes.

Virginia Tech researchers trace the potato's origins, learn about its untapped potential
Thanks to Veilleux and Laimbeer, it will soon be easier to breed the perfect potato chip or to access desirable traits such as enhanced disease resistance in wild or primitive species.

What keeps stem cells in their undifferentiated state?
UNC-Chapel Hill scientists found that a special cluster of proteins helps unwind DNA during cell division and plays a key role in keeping stem cells in their immature state.

Researcher pioneers solar sintering for crucial steel component
Mintek pyrometallurgy engineer Lina Hockaday is trying a highly focused solar reactor to replace the fossil energy used as part of the steelmaking process.

Mars mission sheds light on habitability of distant planets
Insights from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission about the loss of the Red Planet's atmosphere can help scientists understand the habitability of rocky planets orbiting other stars.

2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrins and blood-brain barrier in Niemann-Pick Disease type C1
The rare, chronic, autosomal-recessive lysosomal storage disease Niemann-Pick disease type C1 (NPC1) is characterized by progressively debilitating and ultimately fatal neurological manifestations.

Three papers help to crack the code of coenzyme Q biosynthesis
Coenzyme Q (CoQ) is a vital cog in the body's energy-producing machinery, a kind of chemical gateway in the conversion of food into cellular fuel.

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective
Researchers have demonstrated prototype windows that switch from reflective to clear with the simple addition of a liquid.

Habitat counts when predators lurk
Something in the way it moves -- or not -- can save a creature's life in the wild, depending on whether it's exposed in the open or hiding in a complex habitat.

UVB radiation influences behavior of sticklebacks
Fish cannot see ultraviolet B rays but still change their behavior when they grow up under increased UVB intensity.

Researchers use WWII code-breaking techniques to interpret brain data
A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Northwestern University have used cryptographic techniques to decode the activity of motor neurons.

Genomic blood test predicts survival rates after surgery for advanced heart failure
An experimental blood test developed at UCLA that uses gene activity data from immune cells was 93 percent accurate in predicting survival rates for people with advanced heart failure who had surgery to implant mechanical circulatory support devices.

How the kidneys produce concentrated urine
When we drink little, we produce less urine. But how is this process regulated?

Specially designed protein fights several species of bacteria
As resistance to existing antibiotics increases, new approaches to serious bacterial infections are needed.

Father's rejection may increase child's social anxiety, loneliness
Healthy relationships with their parents are vital for adolescents' development and well-being, according to Penn State researchers who say rejection from fathers may lead to increases in social anxiety and loneliness.

Even smokers may benefit from targeted lung cancer treatments
No matter a patient's smoking history, when a targetable genetic alteration is present, matching the alteration with the appropriate targeted therapy is associated with a survival benefit of 1.5 years.

Climate conditions affect solar cell performance more than expected
MIT researchers can now predict how much energy solar cells will produce at any location worldwide.

Creating surfaces that repel water and control its flow (video)
To prevent water and ice from making our shoes soggy, frosting our car windows and weighing down power lines with icicles, scientists have been exploring new coatings that can repel water.

The flight speed of birds is more complex than previously thought
The flight speed of birds is more complex than research has previously managed to show.

New ultra-thin diamond membrane is a radiobiologist's best friend
Measuring dosage of radiation can be challenging, especially when working with low-energy protons, but researchers have now developed an ultra-thin diamond membrane that can measure the number of protons in a radiation dose with almost perfect accuracy.

The fear of losing control and its role in anxiety disorders
Did you lock the front door? Did you double-check? Are you sure?

1 in 5 young colon cancer patients have genetic link
Results of the study indicate a benefit for all young colon cancer patients to undergo genetic testing.

Does eclipse equal night in plant life?
As the Aug. 21 eclipse approached, researchers prepared to understand plants' response to light and temperature.

Pictures in your head -- the secret of beautiful poems
The more a poem evokes vivid sensory imagery, the more we like it.

175 years on, study finds where you live still determines your life expectancy
Researchers at the University of Liverpool revisited a study carried out 175 years ago which compared life expectancy in different areas of the UK.

Stellar nursery blooms into view
The OmegaCAM camera on ESO's VLT Survey Telescope has captured this glittering view of the stellar nursery called Sharpless 29.

New active ingredients from the toolbox
Microorganisms often produce natural products in a step-by-step manner similar to an assembly line.

Giant storms cause palpitations in Saturn's atmospheric heartbeat
A University of Leicester scientist leads a Cassini mission study into immense northern storms on Saturn.

AGU Fall Meeting: Human-caused warming likely intensified Hurricane Harvey's rains
New research shows human-induced climate change increased the amount and intensity of Hurricane Harvey's unprecedented rainfall.

World e-waste rises 8 percent by weight in 2 years as incomes rise, prices fall: UN-backed report
The world's e-waste -- discarded products with a battery or plug -- reached a staggering 44.7 million metric tonnes in 2016 -- up 3.3 Mt or 8 percent from 2014.

NASA sees developing system 96W affecting central Philippines
A developing area of tropical low pressure designated System 96W was affecting the central Philippines when NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed overhead.

Sea-level rise projections made hazy by antarctic instability
It may take until the 2060s to know how much the sea level will rise by the end of this century, according to a new Rutgers University-New Brunswick-led analysis.

Defence at almost any price
The efforts of bacteria in their defence against predators is so great that they can barely invest resources in offspring.

Mistletoe and (a large) wine: Seven-fold increase in wine glass size over 300 years
Our Georgian and Victorian ancestors probably celebrated Christmas with more modest wine consumption than we do today -- if the size of their wine glasses are anything to go by.

Crowding in the skin
Stem cells sense neighborhood density to make decisions on their behavior.

Urban Cooper's hawks outcompete their rural neighbors
Depending on whether a species flourishes in a city environment, urban wildlife populations can be 'sources' or 'sinks,' either reproducing so quickly that individuals leave to colonize the surrounding area or needing constant immigration from outside to stay viable.

Chemical tipping point of magma determines explosive potential of volcanoes
In a new study led by Dr. Danilo Di Genova, from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, an international team of scientists provide evidence, for the first time, that a subtle tipping point of the chemistry of magmas clearly separates effusive from explosive eruptions worldwide.

At long last, a urine test for accurate tuberculosis detection
Scientists have finally developed a noninvasive tuberculosis test for a pool of people for whom such assessments have previously been difficult: people who don't have HIV.

Bringing 'Avatar'-like glowing plants to the real world
The 2009 film 'Avatar' created a lush imaginary world, illuminated by magical, glowing plants.

The toxic sugar tree: Mapping the evolutionary history of a cancerous sugar gene
The gene CMAH, that allows for the synthesis of a sugar called Neu5Gc, is missing from humans.

Cellular self-digestion process triggers autoimmune disease
Autophagy allows cells to degrade and recycle their cellular components.

House mice may modulate their vocalizations depending on the sex of the receiver
Wild-derived house mice call at higher rates and frequencies during interactions with the opposite sex than with the same sex, according to a study published Dec.

Alleviating complications of babies born smaller: Is a growth factor injection the answer?
Researchers have found a new potential treatment that may alleviate complications of babies born smaller than they should be, also called fetal growth restriction, which refers to poor growth of the fetus in the mother's womb during pregnancy.

Modulating immune responses
The protein Roquin plays a key role in the regulation of immune reactions.

Anti-stress compound reduces obesity and diabetes
FKBP51-protein inhibitors could be used for treating diabetes.

PrEP could make US easily hit its 2020 HIV prevention goal, Drexel U. study finds
If just a quarter of high-risk men who have sex with men were to use daily preventive medicine, the United States could surpass its goal of reducing new HIV infections by 25 percent.

Catching radical molecules before they disappear
IBS researchers managed to stabilize short-lived radical ions which could be used for rechargeable batteries.

Autism therapy: Social behavior restored via brain stimulation
Scientists are examining the feasibility of treating autistic children with neuromodulation after a new study showed social impairments can be corrected by brain stimulation.

Does Chagas disease present a health risk to Canadians?
Believe it or not, a tropical blood parasite native to Latin America could be harmful to Canadians.

NHS could save £200m a year and improve patient satisfaction, new research reveals
New research by academics at the University of East Anglia (UEA) suggests that NHS Trusts in England could save more than £200 million a year by managing staff well.

Researchers discover mechanism that allows rapid signal transmission between nerve cells
Researchers at Charité's NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence have successfully identified the mechanism behind rapid signal transmission.

Spanning disciplines in the search for life beyond Earth
Following a gold rush of exoplanet discovery, the next step in the search for life is determining which of the known exoplanets are proper candidates for life -- and for this, a cross-disciplinary approach is essential.

Melting of east Antarctic ice sheet could cripple major US cities
Instability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet signals increased risk of rising sea levels.

Researchers induced a form of synesthesia with hypnosis
Hypnosis can alter the way certain individuals information process information in their brain.

Advance in light filtering technology has implications for LCD screens, lasers and beyond
Vector polarizers are a light filtering technology hidden behind the operation of many optical systems.

Monkeys infected by mosquito bites further Zika virus research
Monkeys who catch Zika virus through bites from infected mosquitoes develop infections that look like human Zika cases, and may help researchers understand the many ways Zika can be transmitted.

Lactic acid bacteria can protect against Influenza A virus, study finds
Lactic acid bacteria, commonly used as probiotics to improve digestive health, can offer protection against different subtypes of influenza A virus, resulting in reduced weight loss after virus infection and lower amounts of virus replication in the lungs, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

Medication helps decrease opioid use following surgery
Patients who received the nonopioid pain medication gabapentin before and after surgery were somewhat more likely to stop using opioids after surgery.

How do bacteria adapt?
A fundamental prerequisite for life on earth is the ability of living organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Lizards of Oz take toll on turtle eggs
Goannas have overtaken foxes as the number one predator of the endangered loggerhead turtle at its second largest Queensland nesting beach.

Insilico to present the recent advances in AI for aging research at the 25th annual A4M Conference
The founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, will give a lecture at 25th Annual World Congress, 14-16 Dec 2017, organized by American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).The lecture will focus on the latest advances in artificial intelligence for development and tracking of anti-aging interventions.

'Human chronobiome' study informs timing of drug delivery, precision medicine approaches
A pilot study collected physiological information from six healthy young male volunteers as they went about their normal daily lives.

Protein structure could unlock new treatments for cystic fibrosis
Biochemists at the University of Zurich have used cryo-electron microscopy to determine the detailed architecture of the chloride channel TMEM16A.

Residual strain despite mega earthquake
On Christmas Day 2016, the earth trembled in southern Chile.

East Antarctic Ice Sheet has history of instability
The East Antarctic Ice Sheet locks away enough water to raise sea level an estimated 53 meters (174 feet).

A lithium-ion battery inspired by safety glass
Researchers in the United States have modified the design of lithium-ion batteries to include slits along the electrodes, a feature which may mitigate the risk of battery failure during automobile accidents.

Steroid study sheds light on long term side effects of medicines
Fresh insights into key hormones found in commonly prescribed medicines have been discovered, providing further understanding of the medicines' side effects.

Micro-grippers may be able to navigate unstructured environments
Micro-grippers may be able to navigate unstructured environments and could help reduce risk during surgeries, according to a study published Dec.

Immune cells turn back time to achieve memory
What distinguishes memory CD8 T cells from untrained naive cells is that they can respond rapidly, within minutes or hours.

North Sea water and recycled metal combined to help reduce global warming
Scientists at the University of York have used sea water collected from Whitby in North Yorkshire, and scrap metal to develop a technology that could help capture more than 850 million tonnes of unwanted carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Doctor re-examines evidence on UTIs in patients with spinal cord injury
People with spinal cord injuries rely on catheters to empty their bladder.

Every grain of sand is a metropolis for bacteria
A single sand grain harbors up to 100,000 microorganisms from thousands of species.

High-resolution climate models present alarming new projections for US
Approaching the second half of the century, the United States is likely to experience increases in the number of days with extreme heat, the frequency and duration of heat waves, and the length of the growing season.

Major space mystery solved using data from student satellite
A 60-year-old mystery regarding the source of some energetic and potentially damaging particles in Earth's radiation belts is now solved using data from a shoebox-sized satellite built and operated by University of Colorado Boulder students.

Humans can feel molecular differences between nearly identical surfaces
How sensitive is the human sense of touch? Sensitive enough to feel the difference between surfaces that differ by just a single layer of molecules, a team of researchers at the University of California San Diego has shown.

Voices and emotions: The forehead is the key
How does intonation allow us to decode emotions? By observing neuronal activity in the brain, researchers at UNIGE have been able to map the cerebral regions we use to interpret vocal emotional representations.

Study shows default choices matter, especially for poorer, less educated individuals
Researchers took advantage of a resulting federal lawsuit against a fraudulent company to test default choice architecture when the optimal choice was clear: end the subscriptions.

Researchers capture oldest ice core ever drilled outside the polar regions
The oldest ice core ever drilled outside the polar regions may contain ice that formed during the Stone Age -- more than 600,000 years ago, long before modern humans appeared.

Study finds links between deforestation and fisheries yields in the Amazon
The conversion of tropical forests to crop and pastureland has long been a concern for scientists, a new study points to another unexpected consequence: changes in fish production.

Study explores use of ADHD medications during pregnancy and risk of birth defects
A new study conducted by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in collaboration with investigators in the five Nordic countries leverages data from multiple large cohorts to define and quantify what, if any, increased risk may be posed by taking the most commonly used ADHD medications.

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
Researchers at IRB Barcelona unravel the role of the histone BigH1 in the development of male sex cells from stem cells.

Monkey study shows a path to monitoring endangered species
A Brazilian-American research group has just published an unusual study outlining data needs for monitoring the survival of monkeys called muriquis that live in patches of forest in Brazil.

Synchrony of waves
Researchers from Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore, report that endocytosis, which was previously thought to be a random process, actually occurs in a coordinated manner through collective dynamics.

The oldest plesiosaur was a strong swimmer
Plesiosaurs were especially effective swimmer. These long extinct 'paddle saurians' propelled themselves through the World's oceans by employing 'underwater flight' -- similar to sea turtles and penguins.

'The mountains can drive us to madness'
Scientists from Eurac Research and the Medical University of Innsbruck have been researching psychoses at high altitudes and have discovered a new medical entity.

Increased air pollution linked to bad teenage behavior
A new study linking higher levels of air pollution to increased teenage delinquency is a reminder of the importance of clean air and the need for more foliage in urban spaces.

Sepsis kills most in ICUs, with 55.7 percent mortality rate
A global problem according to the WHO, sepsis serves as an indication of a health system's low bed availability in ICUs and lack of preventive measures regarding hospital infection.

Eruptions explosive and effusive
Some rhyolitic volcanos erupt abruptly and violently, while others are far more sedate in their eruptive behavior.

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
Researchers at Aalto University have developed a biosensor that enables creating a range of new easy-to-use health tests similar to home pregnancy tests.

Scientists develop new artificial ovary prototype
Belgian researchers have taken important steps towards creating transplantable artificial ovaries.

UTHealth study finds that male virgins can still acquire HPV
Men who have never engaged in sexual intercourse are still at risk for acquiring HPV, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Infectious Diseases by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health.

Electricity, eel-style: Soft power cells could run tomorrow's implantables
Inspired by the electric eel, a flexible, transparent electrical device could lead to body-friendly power sources for implanted health monitors and medication dispensers, augmented-reality contact lenses and countless other applications.

Breathing exercises help asthma patients with quality of life
A study led by the University of Southampton has found that people who continue to get problems from their asthma, despite receiving standard treatment, experience an improved quality of life when they are taught breathing exercises.

Noise sens­it­iv­ity vis­ible in brain struc­tures
A new study suggests that noise sensitivity can be seen in the grey matter volume of brain structures linked to emotional and interoceptive processing.

Study: Lyme bacteria survive 28-day course of antibiotics months after infection
Lyme bacteria can survive a 28-day course of antibiotic treatment four months following infection by tick bite, according to a new study using a primate model for the disease.

Improving cyber security in harsh environments
Many people don't worry about the security of their personal information until it's too late.

Instability of antarctic ice makes projecting future sea-level rise difficult
Authors of a new study that combine a well-established sea-level rise projection framework plus a model of Antarctic ice-sheet instability suggest in a paper released today that scientists won't be able to determine until the 2060s which of two different sea-level rise scenarios is most likely to occur.

Novel fMRI applications in childhood epilepsy increase understanding of seizure impacts
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has allowed researchers to map the memory functions that are often impaired within the brains of children with epilepsy.

Scientists call for improved technologies to save imperiled California salmon
Scientists working to protect California's most endangered salmon say in a new report that key improvements in tracking Sacramento River winter-run Chinook through California's complex water delivery system would help recover the species while the water continues to flow.

Structure of channelrhodopsin determined
Researchers discover structure and mechanism of action of molecular light switch, paving the way for new applications.

Unique sensory responses to the pediatric HIV medication Kaletra
Research from the Monell Center documented wide individual differences to the taste of the life-saving HIV medication Kaletra and identified genetic sources of the taste variation.

Gene mutation causes low sensitivity to pain
A UCL-led research team has identified a rare mutation that causes one family to have unusually low sensitivity to pain.

Engineers create plants that glow
By embedding nanoparticles into the leaves of watercress, MIT engineers have induced the plant to give off dim light for nearly four hours.

Microbes help turn Greek yogurt waste into fuel
Consumers across the world enjoy Greek yogurt for its taste, texture, and protein-packed punch.

Small increases in complications when knee replacement done as outpatient procedure
Some complications are more common when total knee replacement surgery is done as an outpatient or same-day procedure, reports a study in the December 6, 2017 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Study reveals high relationship quality in same-sex couples
A new Family Relations study provides robust evidence against deep-rooted social perceptions of same-sex relationships being conflictual, unhappy, and dysfunctional.

Kaiser Permanente study links health risks to electromagnetic field exposure
A study of real-world exposure to non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields in pregnant women found a significantly higher rate of miscarriage, providing new evidence regarding their potential health risks.

Doing without dark energy
Three mathematicians have a different explanation for the accelerating expansion of the universe that does without theories of 'dark energy.' Einstein's original equations for General Relativity actually predict cosmic acceleration due to an 'instability,' they argue in paper published recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society A. 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