Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 20, 2017
Individuals in the US diagnosed with cancer are 2.7 times more likely to declare bankruptcy than individuals without cancer, study finds
As advancements in cancer therapies have been making headlines in recent years, cancer drug prices have significantly increased.

Study warns that snake fungal disease could be a global threat
New research suggests that a potentially fatal snake fungus found in several species in the United States and three in Europe could be global in scale.

Running away from addiction: How exercise aids smoking cessation
New research in mice sheds light on the mechanism underlining exercise's protective effect against nicotine dependence and withdrawal.

FDA-approved high blood pressure drug extends life span in roundworms
An FDA-approved drug to treat high blood pressure seems to extend life span in worms via a cell signaling pathway that may mimic caloric restriction.

Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers find
People who consume 18 grams of protein from whole eggs or from egg whites after engaging in resistance exercise differ dramatically in how their muscles build protein, a process called protein synthesis, during the post-workout period, researchers report in a new study.

Fake social media accounts can be hazardous to your health
Fake social media accounts already have a reputation of swaying political discourse, but a Keck School of Medicine of USC researcher says these automated accounts are even more dangerous -- they can be bad for your health.

Device may save seabirds from the dangers of fishing gear
A new Animal Conservation article summarizing 4 years of study found that a device called the Hookpod can help prevent birds from being inadvertently caught by fishermen.

World War I-era maps help track history of kelp forests in Pacific Northwest
A UChicago ecologist compared maps produced before World War I to recent surveys of kelp forest in the Pacific Northwest, and finds they have been relatively stable over the past century.

Study: Struggling to get your kids to eat healthy? 'Don't give up!' UB researchers say
Varied diets and persistence in exposing infants and children to healthy foods, even when they don't like them at first, are key to promoting healthy eating behaviors, a new review paper has concluded.

After obesity surgery, general practice should do more follow-up with patients on key areas such as nutrition and pregnancy advice
The European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), in its journal Obesity Facts, says in a new paper that the only way for countries to cope with this increased demand is for general practices and primary care to assist with giving advice to and following-up patients following their surgery.

Genetic modification and genome editing rely on active roles for researchers and industry
In a review published in the Journal of Dairy Science® authors from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences discuss potential applications of genetic modification and genome editing of cattle for food production, considering both the breeding program and its ethical aspects.

Many brain tumor patients do not receive adequate end-of-life care
While more than 60 percent of patients with the brain tumors called malignant gliomas enroll in hospice services, almost a quarter of them do so within a week of death, probably too late for patients and family members to benefit from hospice care.

New study suggests health benefits of swapping animal proteins for plant proteins
Substituting one to two servings of animal proteins with plant proteins every day could lead to a small reduction in the three main cholesterol markers for cardiovascular disease prevention, a new study suggests.

Most dog treats exceed recommended daily energy allowance
Most commercially available dog treats contain a range of undefined ingredients, including sugars, and often exceed the recommended daily energy allowance for treats ('complementary feed'), warn researchers in the Vet Record today.

A 508-million-year-old sea predator with a 'jackknife' head
Paleontologists at the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have revisited a tiny yet fierce ancient sea creature called Habelia optata that has confounded scientists since it was discovered more than a century ago.

Unexpected agricultural production allowed pre-Hispanic society to flourish in arid Andes
Archaeological remains found in southern Bolivia reveal a flourishing agrarian society from the 13th to the 15th centuries, despite marked drying and cooling of the climate throughout the period.

Community factors and social connection may determine whether sexual minority parents view their community as tolerant versus supportive
A new Family Relations study has found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) parents feel more positive about where they live when that place is more legally, politically, and religiously supportive of LGB people; when there are more LGB-friendly employers; and when there are other LBG-headed households.

Emphasizing the auto in automobile: A unified approach for automated vehicles
The idea of driverless cars continues to make headlines across the world, including the recent revelation that researchers don car seat costumes to observe how the public interacts with cars that appear driverless.

Forget calorie counting: Diet low in specific amino acids may be the key to weight loss
A worldwide epidemic of diabetes and obesity has led many individuals to try to lose weight by dieting - but reduced-calorie diets are notoriously difficult to maintain.

Smoking cessation drug may increase risk of adverse cardiovascular event
Varenicline, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for helping people quit smoking, may put them at higher risk for a cardiovascular event, according to new research published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Political instability and weak governance lead to loss of species, study finds
Big data study of global biodiversity shows ineffective national governance is a better indicator of species decline than any other measure of 'anthropogenic impact.' Even protected conservation areas make little difference in countries that struggle with socio-political stability.

Lower class wiser about interpersonal conflict than middle class
New research from the University of Waterloo finds that lower class populations are wiser than their middle-class counterparts in their ability to reason about interpersonal matters.

UTA researchers focus on pain management in older adults
Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington are focusing their attention on pain management in older adults, a segment of the population which presents a specific series of challenges to health providers.

Polluted woods: Leaves contaminate soil with hydrocarbon
Researchers have identified natural hydrocarbons in woods and farmlands that had been fertilized with artificial fertilizer, compost or digestate in the past ten years.

CRISPR therapy preserves hearing in progressive deafness model
Researchers have developed a CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing therapy to prevent hearing loss in a mouse model of human genetic progressive deafness.

Decriminalizing prostitution could reduce sexual violence and STD transmission
A new study published in the Review of Economic Studies finds that Rhode Island's 6-year prostitution decriminalization policy increased the size of the sex market, but it also appears that during this period both rape offenses and female gonorrhea incidence declined dramatically.

Stem cell research: (Re)-acquiring the potential to become everything
A new study in 'Nature Genetics' identifies a specific population of pluripotent embryonic stem cells that can reprogram to totipotent-like cells in culture.

Two surgical approaches equal in treating infection-caused hydrocephalus
Implanting a shunt or endoscopically reducing intracranial pressure and reducing fluid production are equally effective in treating infants with hydrocephalus caused by brain infections, according to an international team of researchers, but endoscopy may have fewer down-the-line complications.

Powerful new tool for looking for life beyond Earth
NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life.

How a virus becomes chronic
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is an important model system for chronic viral infections; two Nobel prizes were awarded for its exploration.

CRISPR treatment prevents hearing loss in mice
A single treatment of a genome editing agent partially preserved hearing in mice with genetic deafness.

Algae growth reduces reflectivity, enhances Greenland ice sheet melting
Algae growth reduces reflectivity, enhances Greenland ice sheet melting.

Review sheds light on prostate orgasms
A new Clinical Anatomy review notes that stimulating the prostate via the rectal wall can create ecstatic feelings in men that are exceptionally pleasurable, often surpassing those obtained by stimulation of the penis.

'Tis the season to be vigilant: Risk of chocolate poisoning in dogs peaks at Christmas
University of Liverpool researchers are warning of a 'significant peak' in the risk of chocolate poisoning in dogs over the Christmas period as households stock up on festive treats.

Commonalities in late stages of inherited blinding diseases suggest targets for therapy
In studying the late stages of disease in two different canine models of retinitis pigmentosa, a group of progressive and inherited blinding diseases, University of Pennsylvania researchers found commonalities, specifically involving the innate immune system.

UGR studies effects of tramadol on cognitive and sports performance
Researchers from the University of Granada have published the first randomised controlled trial of the effects of tramadol on cognitive and sports performance.

Panning for silver in laundry wastewater
Silver nanoparticles are being used in clothing for their anti-odor abilities but some of this silver comes off when the clothes are laundered.

Mobile genetic elements that alter the function of nearby genes are detected
Raúl Castanera-Andrés, an engineer in the Agri-Food Engineering and Rural Environment Department of the NUP/UPNA-Public University of Navarre, has worked on detecting mobile genetic elements (transposons) in basidiomycete fungi, a type of well-known fungi because they produce edible mushrooms and are active degraders of lignocellulosic waste.

Unmarried heart patients face higher risk of death
Compared to married heart disease patients, being unmarried was associated with a higher risk of dying.

Study connects stocks, democracy, and the Arab Spring
Day after day in early 2011, massive crowds gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Study examines conflict between farmers and livestock predators
A new Journal of Wildlife Management study conducted in South Africa has found that black-backed jackals, a similar species to coyotes and dingoes, prefer to eat livestock rather than similar-sized wild prey, which has important consequences for livestock husbandry and the management of predators.

Risk of chocolate poisoning in dogs peaks at Christmas, warn experts
Experts are warning of a 'significant peak' in the risk of chocolate poisoning in dogs over the Christmas period as households stock up on festive treats.

Diabetes, but not diabetes drug, linked to poor pregnancy outcomes
New research indicates that pregnant women with pre-gestational diabetes who take metformin are at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes -- such as major birth defects and pregnancy loss -- than the general population, but their increased risk is not due to metformin but diabetes.

Tics are common in famous boys choir
'Tis the season for choirs to raise their voices in holiday song.

NASA's look at the difference of a few days in the Thomas Fire
What a difference a few days can make in the life cycle of a fire.

New technique allows rapid screening for new types of solar cells
A new method developed by researchers at MIT and elsewhere could greatly speed up the development of novel new materials for future photovoltaic cells.

Aggression in childhood: Rooted in genetics, influenced by the environment
According to a new psychosocial study, reactive and proactive types of aggressive behaviour in 6-year-old children share most of the same genetic factors.

Micro-spectrometer opens door to a wealth of new smartphone functions
Use your smartphone to check how clean the air is, whether food is fresh or a lump is malignant.

After the diagnosis: How cancer affects sexual functioning
A cancer diagnosis disrupts a person's life in many ways, including sexually.

Plant defense following the iron-maiden principle
Calcium phosphate is a typical component of teeth. It has recently been shown that plants of the rock nettle family also use this very hard mineral in their „teeth

Neurosexuality needs to be better addressed in patients with neurodisabilities
For people with brain disorders, whether from injury or disease, rehabilitation is a complex process.

No rest for weary canola plants
Plants don't sleep like humans do--but just like some people don't rest well in the heat, some plants don't either.

WSU researchers see gene influencing performance of sleep-deprived people
Washington State University researchers have discovered a genetic variation that predicts how well people perform certain mental tasks when they are sleep deprived.

Defending against environmental stressors may shorten lifespan
A shorter life may be the price an organism pays for coping with the natural assaults of daily living, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues in Japan.

Inflammation drives progression of Alzheimer's
According to a study by scientists of the DZNE and the University of Bonn now published in the journal

Discounting humanity: Bargain hunters see customer service workers as less human
Everyone loves a bargain, but new research suggests some employees may be getting short-changed when it comes to how consumers perceive them when they are price-conscious.

Low-dose X-ray exposure does not harm human stem cells
Mesenchymal stem cells are being explored for a wide range of diseases, such as cardiovascular, autoimmune and cancer diseases.

The muscle of machinery: How to better control robotic movements
Researchers have improved the control of a key robotic component to better ensure the safety of humans.

Researchers examine social functioning in middle-aged adults with autism spectrum disorders
A new Autism Research report describes the social functioning of 169 adults with autism spectrum disorders in mid-life who were first identified with autism in childhood in the 1980s.

Sardines take us to the sources of biodiversity in the Amazon River
What is the origin of this abundance of species in the Amazon River?

More tumor mutations equals higher success rate with cancer immunotherapy drugs
The mutational burden, or the number of mutations present in a tumors DNA, is a good predictor of whether that cancer type will respond to a class of cancer immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors, a new study led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers shows.

Radio observations point to likely explanation for neutron-star merger phenomena
Data from the Very Large Array and other radio telescopes have allowed astronomers to identify the most likely scenario for the aftermath of the merger of two neutron stars.

Unifying the theories of neural information encoding
Our eyes are flooded with visual information, but the neurons in our eyes have certain constraints.

Early disease diagnosis could be dramatically improved with new detection system
By attaching specialised molecules to the backbone of DNA, researchers have made it easier to detect rare molecules associated with early disease.

Molecular super enhancers: A new key for targeted therapy of brain cancer in children
Ependymoma refers to a heterogeneous group of cancers that can occur at any age and is one of the most common types of brain cancer in children.

UofL, Harvard, USF provide model for medical schools to teach signs of human trafficking
A new curriculum for third-year medical students teaches them to recognize patients who are being exploited in human trafficking.

Two studies find stress reprograms cells
In a pair of publications, researchers have shown how cells adapt to stressors -- like water loss -- by reprogramming their internal signaling networks.

When one reference genome is not enough
Having plant pan-genomes for crops that are important for fuel and food applications would enable breeders to harness natural diversity to improve traits such as yield, disease resistance, and tolerance of marginal growing conditions.

Proof-of-concept study reveals feasibility of eliminating rabies in Africa
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, together with European and African collaborators, carried out a mass dog vaccination in Chad and determined its effect on human rabies exposure.

Researchers find key to making transplant rejection a thing of the past
Houston Methodist researchers have cracked a code in T-cells that could make autoimmune diseases and organ transplant rejection a thing of the past.

Studies provide new insights on mosquito-borne chikungunya virus infection
The frequency of chronic joint pain after infection with chikungunya in a large Latin-American cohort was 25 percent at a median of 20-months post-infection.

How plants form their seeds
Vegetable, fruit, or grain -- the majority of our food results from plant reproduction.

Entitled people don't follow instructions because they see them as 'unfair'
Recent research found people with a greater sense of entitlement are less likely to follow instructions than less entitled people are, because they view the instructions as an unfair imposition on them.

The coldest chip in the world
Physicists at the University of Basel have succeeded in cooling a nanoelectronic chip to a temperature lower than 3 millikelvin.

New ancient dolphin species Urkudelphis chawpipacha discovered in Ecuador
A new dolphin species likely from the Oligocene was discovered and described in Ecuador, according to a study published Dec.

Are phages our best bet against antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
Bacteriophages, or simply phages, are viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria, and they hold considerable potential for combatting antibiotic-resistance and other threats to human health.

Antibiotic resistance: 'Sleeping' bacteria that can survive drug treatment identified
'Sleeper cells', which can survive doses of antibiotics and lie resting in a dormant state, may hold a key to understanding antibiotic resistance, research has found.

Harnessing sperm to treat gynecological diseases
Delivering drugs specifically to cancer cells is one approach researchers are taking to minimize treatment side effects.

Giant bubbles on red giant star's surface
Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have for the first time directly observed granulation patterns on the surface of a star outside the solar system -- the aging red giant π1 Gruis.

Study identifies California cliffs at risk of collapse
A California Sea Grant-funded study provides the largest analysis of cliff erosion throughout the state and provides a new hazard index for determining which areas are at most risk.

Experts advise using benchmarking to identify farms with high antibiotic use
A number of British dairy farms are using extremely high levels of antibiotics in their cattle, finds a study published by Vet Record today.

Mars: Not as dry as it seems
Two new Oxford University papers have shed light on why there is no life on Mars.

A repurposed drug could open door to more stem cell transplants
Etanercept, a drug used to treat arthritis and psoriasis, boosted the survival of blood stem cells in a mouse model.

Attitudes of American public on service denial to same-sex and interracial couples
The first national survey of public attitudes on allowing businesses to deny service to same-sex couples reveals that Americans who support service refusal do so regardless of whether the denial is for religious or nonreligious reasons.

Blueberry vinegar improves memory in mice with amnesia
Dementia affects millions of people worldwide, robbing them of their ability to think, remember and live as they once did.

Metal printing offers low-cost way to make flexible, stretchable electronics
Researchers have developed a new technique for directly printing metal circuits, creating flexible, stretchable electronics.

NASA sees a re-strengthened Tropical Storm Kai-Tak
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the South China Sea and infrared imagery showed that Kai-Tak re-strengthened into a tropical storm.

Treating refugees from Western perspective leaves providers, patients lost in translation
University at Buffalo nursing research revealed that Somali Bantu women are open to family planning when methods help to space births of future children, rather than preventing new additions to their families.

Neutron-star merger creates new mysteries
Observations of the collision of two neutron stars are more consistent with a 'cocoon' of radio-emitting material than a jet of particles at ultrarelativistic speeds.

Antidepressant may help combat the course of multiple sclerosis
The antidepressant clomipramine may also alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis, specifically in its progressive form, i.e. when it occurs without relapses or remissions.

The importance of the robot iCub as a standard robotic research platform for embodied AI
The iCub humanoid robot represents a standardized common open-source platform for research on embodied artificial intelligence (AI).

Shining a light on bacterial cell division
OIST researchers have revealed new insights into the process of E. coli cell division, aiding the search for new ways to target bacteria with antibiotics.

Electron microscope images reveal how cells absorb a vital mineral
Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have obtained the first detailed snapshots of the structure of a membrane pore that enables epithelial cells to absorb calcium.

Poor oral health may put older individuals at increased risk of frailty
The presence of oral health problems was linked with greater risks of being frail and developing frailty in older age in a recent Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study.

High out-of-pocket costs may place oral cancer medications out of reach
Sticker shock may be leading many insured Americans with cancer to forego treatment with a wide range of oral cancer drugs, suggests a study published online this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

One-time hydrocephalus operation brings good outcomes for babies
Hydrocephalus, an abnormal build-up of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain, is typically treated by surgically placing a shunt to continually drain cerebrospinal fluid into the abdomen, protecting the brain from excess pressure.

Life on the ice
For the first time scientists have directly observed living bacteria in polar ice and snow -- an environment once considered sterile.

Smartphone app monitors cancer patients recovery
Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy can be remotely monitored using their smartphone that detects worsening symptoms.

Healthier air due to the low emission zone
Even though the total mass of particulate matter was only slightly reduced by the modernization of the vehicles, the scientists were able to prove that the Low Emission Zone Leipzig significantly contributes to the health protection of the population.

Fluorescent nanomedicine can guide tumor removal, kill remaining cancer cells
Scientists have developed a nanomedicine platform for cancer that can help doctors know which tissue to cut out as well as kill any malignant cells that can't be surgically removed.

East meets West: The Science Bridge
Under the leadership of neuroscientists from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, more than 200 researchers from across the globe have joined forces to strengthen intercultural collaboration and exchange.

Using MRI to understand why some women go into early labor
Scientists are using the latest imaging techniques usually used to map the brain to try and understand why some pregnant women miscarry or go into early labor.

Hearing is believing in gene therapy's promise
In a new Nature paper, a Rice University professor outlines a strategy that uses gene editing to slow the progression of a genetic hearing disease.

First step toward CRISPR cure of Lou Gehrig's disease
About 20 percent of all cases of inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or 2 percent of all ALS cases, are due to a mutation in the SOD1 gene.

Researchers discover key link between mitochondria and cocaine addiction
Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine identified significant mitochondrial changes that take place in cocaine addiction, and they have been able to block them.

New class of anti-cancer drug effective against kidney cancer
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports initial findings with a novel drug belonging to a new class of medicines called HIF-2a inhibitors that show promise in treating metastatic kidney cancer.

A mass dog vaccination campaign stops rabies transmission in its tracks
Mass dog vaccination campaigns in an African city successfully interrupted rabies transmission for nine months during 2014, researchers report.

Support for right to deny service to same-sex couples is fueled not only by religion
Americans are evenly divided on whether a business should be able to deny service to same-sex couples, according to a study by Indiana University Bloomington sociologists.

Using the dark side of excitons for quantum computing
A dark exciton can store information in its spin state, analogous to how a regular, classical bit stores information in its off or on state, but dark excitons do not emit light, making it hard to determine their spins and use them for quantum information processing.

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder
Men under the influence of alcohol are more likely to see women as sexual objects.

Research finds North Atlantic Oscillation synchronizes tree reproduction across Europe
Research by the University of Liverpool has found a strong correlation between the North Atlantic Oscillation and synchronised tree reproduction across Europe, supporting the idea that this phenomenon plays a greater role in large scale masting, the process whereby forest trees produce large numbers of seeds in the same year.

Life in marine driftwood: The case of driftwood specialist talitrids
The rare and difficult-to-sample driftwood talitrids, also called driftwood hoppers, are reviewed by David Wildish in the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

New AI method keeps data private
New machine learning method developed by researchers at the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Waseda University of Tokyo can use for example data on cell phones while guaranteeing data subject privacy.

New guidelines aim to prevent medics from failing to diagnose patients with liver disease
New recommendations, led by experts at the University of Birmingham, have been published to improve the use of liver blood tests.

Modeling the effects of wastewater injection
Combining computer modeling, fracture mechanics theory, and real-world observations, scientists create a model for the maximum magnitude of an earthquake that can be caused through wastewater injection.

Robot drummer posts pictures of jamming sessions on Facebook
Scientists have developed a drumming robot that plays along with human keyboard players and posts pictures of the sessions on Facebook.

Study: Medications alone don't help smokers quit
Pharmaceutical interventions are routinely prescribed to help people quit smoking.

Killing it softly
UCSB mechanical engineer Daniel Gianola and colleagues predict how seemingly disparate disordered materials fail, using 'softness' as a criterion.

Putting a fork in cognitive decline
DementiaWhile cognitive abilities naturally decline with age, eating one serving of leafy green vegetables a day may aid in preserving memory and thinking skills as a person grows older, according to a study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Researchers get first complete look at protein behind sense of touch
The findings point the way to targeting diseases where this protein is mutated.

Origins of photosynthesis in plants dated to 1.25 billion years ago
The world's oldest algae fossils are a billion years old, according to a new analysis by earth scientists at McGill University.

Easter Island had a cooperative community, analysis of giant hats reveals
Analysis of giant stone hats found on Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island) provides evidence contrary to the widely held belief that the ancient civilization had a warrior culture.

Mixing state of black carbon from biomass burning differs in different combustion phase
Black carbon aerosols in the atmosphere provide 'seed' for haze formation in urban/regional scale.In northern China, open biomass burning, such as straw burning after harvesting, is one of important sources of refractory black carbon (rBC).

Better treatment, not more spending, saves heart attack patients, study finds
A long-term look at heart attack care and spending in America in the 21st Century shows more survival, more spending, and more variation between hospitals on both scores.

Rosie's robustness: Bringing the Jetsons to reality
Rosie has been the archetypal representative of helper robots since she wheeled onto televisions screens in the early 1960s.
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