Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 19, 2017
Images of the brain refute a theory of the 60s on the domain of language
A region of the brain that extends through both hemispheres, the planum temporale, is larger in the left than in the right hemisphere.

Obesity can add five weeks of asthma symptoms per year in preschoolers
Asthma affects almost 1 in 10 children in the US and is a leading cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations in preschoolers.

Bees use invisible heat patterns to choose flowers
A new study, led by scientists from the University of Bristol, has found that a wide range of flowers produce not just signals that we can see and smell, but also ones that are invisible such as heat.

Genitourinary health problems worse for sexually abused girls
A study in The Journal of Pediatrics by researchers at Université de Montréal reveals that sexual assaults on children leads to an increase in genitourinary health problems in girls but not in boys.

Co-nonsolvency explained: Researchers publish ground-breaking findings
Researchers from the Higher School of Economics and the University of Leipzig have created a model which enables the timely and effective prediction of polymer behavior in mixed solvents.

People with rare diseases are at more risk for poor quality of life, study finds
People with rare diseases are at high risk for experiencing poor quality of life, including increased levels of anxiety, depression, pain, fatigue and limited ability to participate in society, a new study from an Oregon State University shows.

Pesticides and poor nutrition damage animal health
The combined effects of pesticides and a lack of nutrition form a deadly one-two punch for animals, new research shows for the first time.

A functional genomics database for plant microbiome studies
Most of the interaction between microbes and plants occurs at the interface between the roots and soil.

Gaining insight into the molecular mechanisms behind squamous cell cancer
Researchers at Kanazawa University report in EMBO Reports a new molecular mechanisms regulating cellular fate of squamous cell carcinomas.

Neurological assessment in the blink of an eye?
A novel technology developed by the Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina was able to measure the blink response comparably to electromyography in a validation study of ten healthy college students, according to an article published online on Dec.

Quality of contact with grandparents is key to youths' views of ageism
A new study from Belgium sought to identify the factors underlying this form of discrimination.

Guidelines say no special precautions needed for flu shots for people allergic to eggs
An updated practice parameter from the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters stresses that people with egg allergy should receive their yearly flu shot, and that no special precautions are required.

Exercising at own pace boosts a child's ability to learn
A child's attention and memory improves after exercise according to new research conducted by primary school pupils and supported by the Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh.

Researchers find possible markers for earlier diagnosis of aggressive tongue cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue, also known as oral tongue cancer, is an aggressive form of cancer that generally affects older people. in a new study published in Oncotarget, a team of researchers has found that bacterial diversity and richness, and fungal richness, are significantly reduced in tumor tissue compared to their matched non-tumor tissues.

New approaches in medical genomics: A step forward in Parkinson's disease
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have discovered a mechanism regulating an important protein that is linked to Parkinson´s disease and multiple system atrophy (MSA).

Paving the way for a non-electric battery to store solar energy
Materials chemists have been trying for years to make a battery that can store solar energy in chemical bonds rather than electrons, releasing the energy later as heat.

Songbirds may hold the secret to how babies learn to speak
A new study of songbirds by scientists at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences may reveal how people learn complex behaviors, including speech.

Underactive thyroid within normal range may affect woman's ability to conceive
New research suggests that a slightly underactive thyroid may affect a women's ability to become pregnant--even when the gland is functioning at the low end of the normal range, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Climate change may favor large plant eaters over small competitors
In the drive to survive changing climates, larger herbivores may fare slightly better than their smaller competitors, according to new research from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

UC researchers identify nontraditional sites for future solar farms
In a study published today in Environmental Science and Technology, researchers at the University of California, Riverside and the University of California, Davis, explored the possibility of developing solar installations on a variety of unconventional sites in California's Central Valley.

Warming seas double snowfall around North America's tallest peaks
Research finds dramatic increases in snowfall since the beginning of the Industrial Age and explains global climate connections linking northern mountains with tropical oceans.

Nearly zero-energy buildings: A difficult challenge for Southern Europe
A study by the UPV/EHU's ENEDI (Energy in Building) research group has concluded that most of the countries in Southern Europe are ill-prepared when it comes to implementing nearly zero-energy buildings, and in particular, when addressing the challenge to modernise existing buildings, and has proposed improvements for the development of future buildings.

Special issue: Natura 2000 appropriate assessment and derogation procedure
All projects and plans within a Natura 2000 site must have their implications for the site's conservation objectives assessed in advance, in compliance with the Habitats Directive.

Conservation study uses tiny treadmills to test sea turtle hatchling stamina
A newly hatched sea turtle should be able to crawl from its nest to the ocean in a couple of minutes.

The not so sweet side of Christmas
A new video by the University of Warwick highlights a bitter side to our sugar consumption at Christmas.

Couple up for long-term happiness
Being married has a lifelong effect on how content people are.

Chinese scientists reveal a novel signaling pathway for chilling tolerance in rice
The research team guided by Prof. CHONG Kang from Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reveals new mechanism of chilling tolerance mediated by OsMAPK3-OsbHLH002-OsTPP1 in rice.

Cooperative learning aids in preventing alcohol use in rural middle schools
A new study looked at the role played by peer groups in preventing alcohol use among students in rural middle schools.

Consumer choices for the climate
The gift-giving season is upon us, and perhaps you're wondering how to give gifts that won't wreck the climate.

University of Tokyo International Research Center for Neurointelligence holds first annual symposium
Despite centuries of inquiry, we still don't know how our intelligence came about.

Discovery of unsuspected flexibility offers new pathway to cancer drug development
Blood vessels are the supply lines of the human body, bringing nutrients and oxygen to cells and carrying away waste.

Using DNA strands to design new polymer materials
McGill University researchers have chemically imprinted polymer particles with DNA strands -- a technique that could lead to new materials for applications ranging from biomedicine to the promising field of 'soft robotics.'

Immune cells in the uterus help nourish fetus during early pregnancy
Natural killer cells are among the most abundant immune cells in the uterus during the first trimester of pregnancy, but their numbers decline substantially after the placenta forms.

Siting solar, sparing prime agricultural lands
Unconventional spaces could be put to use generating renewable energy while sparing lands that could be better used to grow food, sequester carbon and protect wildlife and watersheds, says a study led by the University of California, Davis.

Robotic device improves balance and gait in Parkinson's disease patients
Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia Engineering, working with Movement Disorders faculty from the department of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, find that a single session of perturbation-based training, using their Tethered Pelvic Assist Device, increased stability of patients during walking while exposed to unexpected perturbations.

Electric fields therapy improves survival for patients with brain tumor
Patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor who received a type of electric fields therapy that interferes with cell division had better overall survival and survival without progression of the tumor compared to standard chemotherapy.

Molecular printing technology could recreate chemical environments resembling human body
New patterning technology which could open opportunities to recreate complex biological environments has been developed by researchers at Queen Mary University of London.

Arthritis drug could help treat advanced skin cancer
Treatment for the most deadly form of skin cancer could be more effective if combined with a well-known drug for rheumatoid arthritis, new research has shown.

DNA annotations predict patient outcomes in childhood leukemia
UC San Francisco physician-scientists have developed a test that can predict how patients with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) will respond to treatment, and may also be able to identify patients who are likely to recover spontaneously with little to no treatment.

Vengeance is sweet and expensive
Living together in communities requires mutual cooperation. To achieve this, we punish others when they are uncooperative.

How great is the influence and risk of social and political 'bots?'
The role and risks of bots, such as automated Twitter accounts, in influencing public opinion and political elections continues to provoke intense international debate and controversy.

Biofilms as construction workers
Biofilms are generally seen as a problem to be eradicated due to the hazards they pose for humans and materials.

LGBQ adolescents at much greater risk of suicide than heterosexual counterparts
Adolescents who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or questioning are much more likely to consider, plan or attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, according to research from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, San Diego, and San Diego State University.

Dysfunctional gene may be culprit in some Crohn's disease cases
The scientists hope understanding how immune cells adapt as they enter different tissues will spur the design of better, more specific, medicines.

Timing of regulatory stick and supportive carrot may keep businesses focused
Coordinating the stick of regulation with the carrot of technical assistance may help small companies perform better environmentally and economically, according to a team of researchers.

Friend or foe? How the unconscious mind picks out faces in a crowd
Imagine you're walking down a busy street like Times Square in New York.

Santa's workshop could be on snowy moon
Santa's winter workshop might be in space, as University of Warwick researchers are exploring whether snowy moons over a billion kilometres away from Earth are potentially habitable.

Cigarette smoking is increasing among Americans with drug problems
While cigarette smoking has declined in the US for the past several decades, since 2002 the prevalence of smoking has increased significantly among people with an illicit substance use disorder, according to a new study.

Hibernating squirrels and hamsters evolved to feel less cold
The ground squirrel and the Syrian hamster, two rodents that hibernate in the winter, do not feel cold in the same way as non-hibernators, such as rats or mice.

Scientists simulate the climate of Game of Thrones
Winter is anyone who watches the hit TV series, Game of Thrones, knows.

New findings clarify thyroid's role in mammalian seasonal changes
Researchers now have a better understanding of the role that thyroid hormones, the tissues that produce them, and the biochemical pathways on which they act have in driving seasonal reproduction in some mammals, and how this new information may help explain seasonal changes in metabolism and mood that affect humans.

Major measurement issues found in emergency department patient experience data
There are major measurement issues in patient experience data collected from US emergency departments, including high variability and limited construct validity, according to an analysis published by researchers at the George Washington University and US Acute Care Solutions.

In delaying aging, caloric restriction becomes powerful research tool in human studies
'Caloric Restriction and Restrictive Diets: Interventions that Target the Biology of Aging,' as the latest special issue of The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences is titled, contains a collection of articles with new research on a proven method for increasing longevity in many organisms -- including the results of the first-ever clinical trial of caloric restriction (CR) in humans.

The cyanide defense: How one bacterium inhibits predators with poison
Microbiologists in South Korea report this week in mBio that the bacterium produces cyanide when under attack from Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus HD100, a microbial predator found in rivers and soils that ingests its prey from the inside out.

Monocytes have many faces
When the immune system mobilizes its troops, antigen-presenting cells play an important role.

Expanding solar energy without encroaching on potential farmland and conservation areas
As the world tries to combat climate change, sustainable forms of energy are on the rise.

Lobachevsky University researchers study the effects of bee venom on living organisms
Researchers of the Lobachevsky University, Institute of Biology and Biomedicine (IBBM) have established as a result of laboratory tests that bee venom and bee products inhibit the growth of malignant tumors, enhance biological activity of the body, and can also be used to treat diabetes mellitus.

Cervical device reduces rate of preterm birth
Pregnant women with a short cervix who used a small silicone ring called a cervical pessary to keep their cervix closed had a lower rate of preterm birth at less than 34 weeks.

Are bones discovered under an Exeter street from the first turkey dinner in England?
Bones dug up from under an Exeter street may be the remains of the first ever turkey dinner in England, archaeologists believe.

The missing link between exploding stars, clouds, and climate on Earth
The study reveals how atmospheric ions, produced by the energetic cosmic rays raining down through the atmosphere, helps the growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei -- the seeds necessary for forming clouds in the atmosphere.

Novel combination therapy shown to be effective in ovarian cancer
Wistar researchers have found combining PARP inhibitors, recently approved for the treatment of BRCA-mutant ovarian cancer, with another small molecule inhibitor was effective to treat ovarian cancers without BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.

NASA calculated Philippines rainfall from Tropical Storm Kai-Tak
Tropical Storm Kai-Tak moved through the central and southern Philippines over several days and weakened to a remnant low pressure area in the South China Sea.

Researchers isolate biting, non-biting genes in pitcher plant mosquitoes
Understanding that divergence, University of Notre Dame researchers say, is a starting point to determining whether there are non-biting genes in other species that could be manipulated in order to reduce transmission of vector-borne diseases.

More complex biological systems evolve more freely
Evolution acts on changes in the phenotype, which occur when mutations change the underlying genotype.

NIH study uncovers clues about why common cancer drug causes hearing loss
Cisplatin is retained in the cochlea indefinitely following chemotherapy.

Acoustic device makes piezoelectrics sing to a different tune
In today's 'internet of things,' devices connect primarily over short ranges at high speeds, an environment in which surface acoustic wave devices have shown promise for years.

Life on the edge prepares plants for climate change
Genetic variability supports plant survival during droughts.

AI insights could help reduce injuries in construction industry
Artificial intelligence (AI) is giving researchers at the University of Waterloo new insights to help reduce wear-and-tear injuries and boost the productivity of skilled construction workers.

Halogens can increase solar cell performance by 25 per cent
New research from the University of British Columbia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that using halogens--a class of elements that include fluoride, bromine, chlorine and iodine--in a dye-sensitized solar cell can increase conversion efficiency by 25 per cent.

Screening could prevent a quarter of hip fractures in older women
Community screening for osteoporosis could prevent more than a quarter of hip fractures in older women, according to new research.

Silky secrets to make bones
A study activated genes in human stem cells that initiate biomineralization, a key step in bone formation, according to a science team from Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nottingham Trent University.

New evidence supports HIV screening in young adulthood
A new study suggests that the most beneficial age for a one-time screening HIV test of the general population would be age 25.

Experimental drug interferes with different mechanisms associated to Alzheimer's disease
The chemical compound 'anle138b' eases cognitive deficits and normalizes gene expression in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

New study reveals reversibility of genetic nervous system disease
UCLA researchers, after developing a mouse model of Friedrich's ataxia that shows symptoms similar to patients, have found that many early symptoms of the disease are completely reversible when the genetic defect linked to the ataxia is reversed.

Enzymes and bacteria move directionally, but bacteria towards food, enzymes away
Contrary to what previously thought, enzymes move towards areas with less substrate.

Key to immune system's memory revealed
Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute scientists have defined a novel molecular 'blueprint' that plays a pivotal part in the immune system's ability to fight disease by 'remembering' infections.

UNH research finds increase in number of babies born drug exposed in NH
From 2005 to 2015 the number of infants diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in the Granite State increased fivefold, from 52 to 269, according to new research by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

Tiny red animals dart in the dark under the ice of a frozen Quebec lake
In a frozen lake in Quebec, tiny red creatures zip about under the ice.

Farmers in Kenya willing, able to ramp up croton nut output for biofuel
Small-holder farmers in Kenya have the capacity and desire to play a major role in the scale-up of biofuel production from agroforestry, according to a Penn State forest economist, who led a study in the East African country.

Some monkeys prone to isolation
Some individual animals are prone to social isolation, new research suggests.

Quantum trick blocks background 'chatter' in sensing devices
A new protocol developed by University of Sydney physicists has solved a common problem in quantum sensing devices, which should enable a new generation of ultra-sensitive sensors with application in medical imaging and defence.

What is the best policy for reducing the impact of alcohol on the road accident rate?
This study, published in the review Transportation Research F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, one of the most important scientific reviews in the area of road safety, maintains that just a reduction in blood-alcohol levels would not be enough to lessen the number of traffic accident fatalities.

New measurements to guide radiation therapy
When ionizing radiation passes through living tissue, it interacts with molecules present in the cells, stripping away electrons and producing charged species known as ions.

New supermarket in food desert may trigger economic and health gains, study finds
Opening new full-service supermarkets in communities considered food deserts is one common response to concerns about improving diets in low-income communities.

Study examines insecticide's effects on honey bees
Neonicotinoid insecticides, including Syngenta's insecticide thiamethoxam, have been used globally on a wide range of crops through seed, soil, and foliage treatments.

Salvaging blood during cesarean section may have potential in emergency procedures
Using cell salvage, the reinfusion of red blood cells lost during surgery, did not lead on average to a statistically significant reduction in the rates of blood transfusion needed by all women undergoing caesarean section, according to a study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Khalid Khan from Queen Mary University of London, UK, and colleagues.

Knockout mice help find gene for bad breath
An international team of researchers has identified a cause for chronic bad breath (halitosis), with the help of gene knockout mice from the UC Davis Mouse Biology Program.

Storming the castle: New discovery in the fight against bacteria
Exciting new research reveals a previously unappreciated aspect of bacterial exterior membranes, which could be exploited to render antibiotic-resistant bacteria beatable.

Ludwig researchers uncover mechanism behind metabolic vulnerability of some breast cancers
Many cancer cells are relatively sensitive to the deprivation of an essential amino acid known as methionine.

A non-invasive method to detect Alzheimer's disease
New research has drawn a link between changes in the brain's anatomy and biomarkers that are known to appear at the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD), findings that could one day provide a sensitive but non-invasive test for AD before cognitive symptoms appear.

Treasure trove of highly detailed fossils uncovered by Uppsala researchers
A team of researchers from Uppsala University have uncovered a hidden diversity of microscopic animal fossils from over half a billion years ago lurking in rocks from the northern tip of Greenland.

New methods reveal the biomechanics of blood clotting
The ability to map both the magnitude and orientation of forces on a cell provides a powerful tool for investigating not just blood clotting but a range of biomechanical processes, from immune cell activation and embryo development to the replication and spread of cancer cells.

Technique makes NMR more useful for nanomaterials, exotic matter research
Brown University researchers show how nuclear magnetic resonance probes can be optimized for studying the properties of nanomaterials and strange states of matter.

Should uninfected patients accept hepatitis C-infected livers to reduce waiting time?
A modeling study by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators finds that the availability of directly-acting antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis C virus infection could allow the transplantation of livers from HCV-positive donors into HCV-negative recipients without posing undue risk.

Some newborns with chronic illness show signs of serious sleep problems at birth
New parents often hear about how important sleep is for their babies' development -- but some newborns may have more serious sleep challenges than others.

Sexual minority young people are at a higher risk for suicide
Researchers looked at survey data from 15,624 high school students and found that, in the past year, 40 percent of LGBQ youth seriously considered suicide, 35 percent planned suicide, and 25 percent attempted suicide, compared to 15 percent, 12 percent and 6 percent (respectively) of non-LGBQ youth.

Scientists make research 'jelly' grow more like biological tissues
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have found a way to direct the growth of hydrogel, a jelly-like substance, to mimic plant or animal tissue structure and shapes.

Mild obsessive-compulsive symptoms in healthy children are linked with cerebral changes
new study carried out by IDIBELL and ISGlobal associates for the first time mild obsessive-compulsive symptoms to characteristics and specific alterations of the cerebral anatomy.

Electromagnetic emissions from smartphones analyzed for security vulnerability
Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) are developing a tool that enables cell phones to be analyzed in order to determine if they could undergo a cyber-attack to obtain encryption keys through their electromagnetic emanations.

Rice U. physicists discover new type of quantum material
US and European physicists searching for an explanation for high-temperature superconductivity were surprised when their theoretical model pointed to the existence of a never-before-seen material in a different realm of physics -- that of topological quantum materials.

Clinical decision support app helps improve quality of life and longevity for heart failure patients
A clinical decision support application developed by Intermountain Healthcare researchers that more quickly identifies when heart failure becomes advanced and a heart patient's care needs have changed is successful in helping to improve patient's quality of live and longevity, according to a new study.

Study resolves controversy about electron structure of defects in graphene
Researchers in Brazil calculated the overall electron structure of the vacancy region of a crystal lattice through the unprecedented use of a hybrid functional method, which yielded results compatible which experimental data.

Can't switch your focus? You brain might not be wired for it
A new study suggests that the extent to which brain signals 'stick' to white matter networks is associated with cognitive flexibility, or our ability to switch our focus from one concept to another.

Overlooked immune cells hold breakthrough for treating aggressive cancers
Medical University of South Carolina investigators report in the December 2017 issue of Nature Communications that adoptive T cell transfer (ACT) therapy, using CD4 T cells expressing elevated levels of the protein CD26, effectively regresses solid tumors. 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