Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 04, 2018
X chromosome reactivation could treat Rett syndrome, other X-linked disorders
A study from a team of Massachusetts General Hospital investigators points toward a potential strategy for treating X-linked disorders -- those caused by mutations in the X chromosome -- in females.

Poor dental health increases risks of frailty in older men
Over a three-year period, researchers from the United Kingdom examined the relationship between poor oral health and older adults' risks for becoming frail.

NASA looks at rainfall intensity in Tropical Depression Bolaven
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite gathered data on rainfall rates occurring in Tropical Depression Bolaven as it moved toward Vietnam.

Science for a resilient EU power grid
The Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's science and knowledge service, have analysed 16 earthquakes, 15 space weather events and 20 floods, presenting recommendations on how to improve the resilience of the power grid against these natural hazards.

Children with chronic illness often show signs of mental health problems
Researchers from the University of Waterloo surveyed children between the ages of six and 16, and all within a month of their diagnosis with asthma, food allergy, epilepsy, diabetes or juvenile arthritis.

Exploring the realistic nature of the wave function in quantum mechanics
The wave function is central in quantum mechanics and describes the quantum state of microscopic objects.

A look into the fourth dimension
In our daily experience space has three dimensions. Recently, however, a physical phenomenon that only occurs in four spatial dimensions could be observed in two experiments.

Building stronger health systems could help prevent the next epidemic in Madagascar
The peak epidemic season for plague in Madagascar is fast approaching and the severity of these outbreaks could be significantly reduced with improvements to their public health system, argues Matthew Bonds from Harvard Medical School and the nongovernmental health care organization, PIVOT, in a new Viewpoint publishing Jan.

Eating more foods with choline during pregnancy could boost baby's brain
When expectant mothers consume sufficient amounts of the nutrient choline during pregnancy, their offspring gain enduring cognitive benefits, a new Cornell University study suggests.

Multiple sclerosis: Cholesterol crystals prevent regeneration in central nervous system
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, in which the immune cells attack myelin sheaths.

NASA study: First direct proof of ozone hole recovery due to chemicals ban
For the first time, scientists have shown through direct satellite observations of the ozone hole that levels of ozone-destroying chlorine are declining, resulting in less ozone depletion.

Girls' social camouflage skills may delay or prevent autism diagnosis
On parent-reporting measures, girls with autism seem to struggle more than boys with performing routine tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk, even when the study group is normalized to meet similar basic clinical diagnostic criteria across sexes.

Impact of inactivity on muscles more severe for older people
According to a recent study published in The Journal of Physiology, researchers have been able to document for the first time how the same period of inactivity has a greater and more severe impact on the muscle power of the lower limbs of the elderly than young people, which is essential for movements like climbing the stairs.

Did ancient irrigation technology travel Silk Road?
Using satellite imaging and drone reconnaissance, archaeologists from Washington University in St.

Precision editing of gut bacteria: Potential way to treat colitis
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have used precision editing of the bacterial populations in the gut to prevent or reduce the severity of inflammation in a mouse model of colitis.

UTMB develops promising anti-obesity drug that shrinks fat without suppressing appetite
Given the ever-increasing obesity epidemic, researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered a promising developing drug that has been shown to selectively shrink excess fat by increasing fat cell metabolism.

Experts call for World Health Organization to rethink 'unacceptable' plans
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been accused of 'washing its hands of older people' in its proposed priorities for future work.

A new therapeutic target to fight metastasis in ovarian cancer
Researchers of IDIBELL - ICO have described a key cellular receptor in the processes of metastasis in ovarian cancer.

Sedentary desk jockeys, stand up for your health: Western University study
A few simple, strategic changes can move people from sedentary behaviour to better health, a study by researchers at Western University says.

Soft, self-healing devices mimic biological muscles
A new class of soft, electrically activated devices is capable of mimicking the expansion and contraction of natural muscles.

New principles to guide corporate investment towards climate goals
A new set of principles are needed to address the moral challenge of climate change.

Common birth control shot linked to risk of HIV infection
Transitioning away from a popular contraceptive shot known as DMPA could help protect women in Sub-Saharan Africa and other high-risk regions from becoming infected with HIV, according to a research review published in the Endocrine Society's journal Endocrine Reviews.

New Atopic Dermatitis Yardstick provides practical guidance and management insights
A newly published Atopic Dermatitis (AD) Yardstick from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has practical recommendations for physicians about the treatment of AD.

When is the right time to start infants on solid foods?
The first study of a nationally representative group of US infants reports that more than half of babies are currently introduced to complementary foods, that is, foods or drinks other than breast milk or formula, sooner than they should be.

Breast size dissatisfaction affects self-examination
New research shows that women who are dissatisfied with the size of their breasts are less likely to carry out regular self-examinations to screen for breast cancer.

Researchers create novel compound targeting melanoma cells
An international team of researchers has developed a novel compound that successfully inhibits growth of melanoma cells by targeting specific epigenetic modifying proteins in these cells.

Study links asthma and allergic rhinitis with cataracts
In a study that investigated the association between allergic diseases and ophthalmologic diseases in 14,776 adults, asthma and allergic rhinitis were each associated with a 50 percent increased likelihood of having cataracts.

Don't give up now -- keeping your New Year's resolutions could reduce cancer risk
Research published this week in ecancermedicalscience may provide the motivation needed to stick with your New Year's resolutions for healthy living.

Bright and stable: New acid-tolerant green fluorescent protein for bioimaging
Fluorescent proteins (FPs) are powerful tools for visualization of molecular and cellular processes; however, most FPs lose fluorescence at a pH lower than their neutral pKa (~6).

Shakedown in Oklahoma: To cut the number of bigger earthquakes, inject less saltwater
In Oklahoma, reducing the amount of saltwater (highly brackish water produced during oil and gas recovery) pumped into the ground seems to be decreasing the number of small fluid-triggered earthquakes.

Worm species lost 7,000 genes after evolving to fertilize itself
Reproduction in most animal species requires breeding between two individuals.

Study: Sleeping sickness not just a sleeping disorder
An international study from the Instituto de Medicina Molecular shows one of Africa's most lethal diseases is actually a circadian rhythm disorder caused by the acceleration of biological clocks controlling a range of vital functions besides sleep.

Researchers detect a loophole in chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment
A team of researchers in Italy and Austria has determined that a drug approved to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) may be less effective in a particular subset of patients.

NASA's Webb Telescope to investigate mysterious brown dwarfs
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.

Maternal mortality rates are on the rise, but more accurate estimates are needed
A new Birth analysis has uncovered dramatic increases in the rates of maternal mortality -- the death of a mother during pregnancy, childbirth, or post-partum -- in Texas in recent years.

Big stars are more abundant than thought
Observations of a nearby star-forming region reveal that large stars are more prevalent than models have predicted.

Cancer mortality in the US continues decades-long drop
The cancer death rate dropped 1.7 percent from 2014 to 2015, continuing a drop that began in 1991 and has reached 26 percent, resulting in nearly 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths during that time.

Aversion to holes driven by disgust, not fear, study finds
Clusters of holes may be evolutionarily indicative of contamination and disease -- visual cues for rotten or moldy food or skin marred by an infection.

How genes will save or fail birds in the face of climate change
A new study analyzing the genomes of yellow warblers in North America reveals how some subpopulations are more 'genetically vulnerable' to changes associated with climate change; furthermore, it finds that genes linked to exploratory and migratory behavior may be important for successful climate adaptation.

Weighing massive stars in nearby galaxy reveals excess of heavyweights
An international team of astronomers has revealed an 'astonishing' overabundance of massive stars in a neighboring galaxy.

SNMMI publishes appropriate use criteria for somatostatin receptor PET imaging
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) has published appropriate use criteria (AUC) for somatostatin receptor PET imaging in neuroendocrine tumors.

Small-cell lung cancer patients face barriers to receiving standard-of-care treatment
Despite decades of clinical research establishing chemotherapy with thoracic radiation as the standard-of-care for the initial management of non-metastatic small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), a large percentage of US patients do not receive these treatments and in turn have lower overall survival, according to research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Specific microbes in digestive tract can boost success for cancer immunotherapy
Specific strains of intestinal bacteria can improve the response rate to immunotherapy for patients being treated for advanced melanoma.

We need one global network of 1000 stations to build an Earth observatory
Professor Markku Kulmala calls for a continuous, comprehensive monitoring of interactions between the planet's surface and atmosphere in his article 'Build a global Earth observatory' published in Nature, Jan.

Is Arctic warming influencing the UK's extreme weather?
Severe snowy weather in winter or extreme rains in summer in the UK might be influenced by warming trends in the Arctic, according to climate scientists in the US and the UK.

Stressed out? Try smelling your partner's shirt
The scent of a romantic partner can help lower stress levels, new psychology research from the University of British Columbia has found.

Newly published report outlines roadmap for modernizing inhalation toxicity testing
A report outlining the findings from an international expert workshop have been published in the journal Toxicology in Vitro.

Scientists take a big step toward building a better opioid
For the first time, UNC School of Medicine scientists and collaborators solved the crystal structure of the activated kappa opioid receptor bound to a morphine derivative.

Overweight children more likely to underestimate their body size
Overweight children are less accurate in estimating their own body size than normal weight children.

A thermometer for the oceans
The average sea temperature is an essential parameter of the global climate - but it is very difficult to measure.

New brainstem changes identified in Parkinson's disease
A pioneering study has found that patients with Parkinson's disease have more errors in the mitochondrial DNA within the brainstem, leading to increased cell death in that area.

Tick exosomes may aid transmission of viruses to vertebrates
Scientists have shown for the first time that exosomes from tick cells can aid transmission of viral proteins and genetic material from arthropod to vertebrate host cells, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Danforth center uncovers a genetic mechanism that could enhance yield in cereal crops
The Eveland laboratory's research findings, 'Brassinosteroids modulate meristem fate and differentiation of unique inflorescence morphology in Setaria viridis', were recently published in the journal The Plant Cell.

Lymphedema after cancer treatment -- special issue of Rehabilitation Oncology presents research update
Individuals who have been treated for cancer are at risk for a complication called lymphedema: swelling in the body region where lymph nodes were removed, causing pain and limited function.

Accessing your own genomic data is a civil right but requires strategies to manage safety
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 expanded individuals' access to genetic information by forcing changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

Hong Kong Baptist University scholars develop world-first array of compounds for det
Hong Kong Baptist University scholars have invented a new class of multifunctional cyanine compounds that can be used for detection, imaging and thus treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Advances in brain imaging settle debate over spread of key protein in Alzheimer's
Recent advances in brain imaging have enabled scientists to show for the first time that a key protein which causes nerve cell death spreads throughout the brain in Alzheimer's disease -- and hence that blocking its spread may prevent the disease from taking hold.

The window for saving the world's coral reefs is rapidly closing
For the first time, an international team of researchers has measured the escalating rate of coral bleaching at locations throughout the tropics over the past four decades.

Macrophage nanosponges could keep sepsis in check
Researchers at UC San Diego have developed macrophage 'nanosponges' -- nanoparticles cloaked in the cell membranes of macrophages -- that can safely remove sepsis-causing molecules from the bloodstream.

Deep learning methods used to identify novel genes implicated in tissue regeneration and cancer
The latest publication by Insilico Medicine and BioTime in Oncotarget demonstrated the first application of deep neural networks (DNNs) to the gene expression data collected during many stages of differentiation starting from several embryonic stem cell lines.

Tumor suppressor gene variants identified as cancer 'double whammy' for leukemia patients
A study led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital found germline variations in a key tumor suppressor gene that may prompt changes in treatment and follow-up care for certain high-risk leukemia patients

Scientists reveal the 'Lego pieces' that form complex zebrafish movements
Motor behavior could be formed from a range of continuous possible movements.

Hijacker parasite blocked from infiltrating blood
A major international collaboration led by Melbourne researchers has discovered that the world's most widespread malaria parasite infects humans by hijacking a protein the body cannot live without.

Unlike people, bonobos don't 'look for the helpers'
By the age of three months, human babies can already follow Mr.

Dirt-dwelling microbe produces potential anti-melanoma weapon
A type of soil-dwelling bacterium produces molecules that induce death in melanoma cells, research at Oregon State University shows.

NRL improves optical efficiency in nanophotonic devices
Nanophotonic devices have direct applications for use in ultra-high resolution microscopes, solar energy harvesting, optical computing and targeted medical therapies.

NASA finds a stronger Ava now tracking along Madagascar's coast
NASA satellites provided data that showed a more well-formed storm and strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall potential over central Madagascar and off-shore.

Gene therapy restores normal blood glucose levels in mice with type 1 diabetes
A study in Cell Stem Cell demonstrates that a gene therapy approach can lead to the long-term survival of functional beta cells as well as normal blood glucose levels for an extended period of time in mice with type 1 diabetes.

DNA analysis of ancient mummy, thought to have smallpox, points to Hepatitis B instead
A team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of an ancient strain of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), shedding new light on a pervasive, complex and deadly pathogen that today kills nearly one million people every year.

Rice U.'s one-step catalyst turns nitrates into water and air
Engineers at Rice University's Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center have found a catalyst the cleans toxic nitrates from drinking water by converting them into air and water.

Touchy nanotubes work better when clean
Heating carbon nanotubes at high temperatures and slowly cooling them eliminates contaminants that make nanotubes difficult to test for conductivity.

New cancer model shows genomic link between early-stage and invasive breast cancer types
A new genetic-based model may explain how a common form of early-stage breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) progresses to a more invasive form of cancer say researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The ocean is losing its breath. Here's the global scope
In the past 50 years, the amount of water in the open ocean with zero oxygen has risen more than fourfold.

The ocean is losing its breath -- here's the global scope
In the past 50 years, the amount of water in the open ocean with zero oxygen has gone up more than fourfold.

Discovering the structure of RNA
A research team at SISSA, led by Professor Giovanni Bussi, has developed a computerised simulation model which can effectively predict the three-dimensional conformation of the RNA filament starting from a sequence of nucleotides.

How cholesterol contributes to age-related neuron impairment
A new study in mice sheds light on why neurons of older individuals are less able to repair their fatty, protective sheaths; excess cholesterol may be overburdening certain immune cells, resulting in lingering inflammation that interferes with the natural repair process.

Pretty in pink and boisterous in blue?
Two researchers from the University of Hong Kong suggest that toymakers and parents avoid gender-labelling toys, remove colour divides, and manufacture toys for both boys and girls in a wide range of colours.

Autoimmune reaction successfully halted in early stage islet autoimmunity
Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum M√ľnchen have discovered a mechanism that amplifies the autoimmune reaction in an early stage of pancreatic islet autoimmunity prior to the progression to clinical type 1 diabetes.

Real world native biocrusts: Microbial metabolism
Specific compounds are transformed by and strongly associated with specific bacteria in native biological soil crust (biocrust) using a suite of tools called 'exometabolomics.' Understanding how microbial communities in biocrusts adapt to harsh environments could shed light on the roles of soil microbes in the global carbon cycle.

Three new species of zoantharians described from coral reefs across the Indo-Pacific
Three new species of zoantharians -- relatives of the better-known hard corals and sea anemones - were discovered by researchers based in southern Japan.

Frequency of coral bleaching has increased nearly fivefold since the 1980s
Globally, the frequency of severe coral bleaching events has increased nearly fivefold in the past four decades, from once every 25 to 30 years in the early 1980s to once every 5.9 years in 2016, a new study reports.

ASK the enzyme: New potential targets for cancer
New understandings of how molecules affect the activity of an enzyme could lead to potential targets for the treatment of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

'Will I look dumb?' When virtual assistants deter help-seeking
Virtual assistants have become increasingly sophisticated -- and more humanlike -- since the days when Clippy asked if you needed help with your document.

Advanced MRI can detect placental perfusion abnormalities in pregnancies complicated by fetal CHD
In pregnancies complicated by fetal congenital heart disease, global placental perfusion was significantly decreased and regional variation of placental perfusion significantly increased as pregnancies progressed, findings that point to non-invasive imaging providing an early warning of placental dysfunction.

People who sleep less than 8 hours a night more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety
Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Mechanism for resistance to immunotherapy treatment discovered
Two research groups from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have independently discovered a genetic mechanism in cancer cells that influences whether they resist or respond to immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors.

Bonobos prefer jerks
Never trust anyone who is rude to a waiter, advice columnists say.

Supercharged antibiotics could turn tide against superbugs
An old drug supercharged by University of Queensland researchers has emerged as a new antibiotic that could destroy some of the world's most dangerous superbugs.

MSU studies investigate effectiveness of booster seats
MSU economist Mark Anderson published two car booster seat studies -- one on booster effectiveness among children ages 8-12 involved in traffic accidents in Washington and a national study focused on children ages 2-9 involved in fatal traffic accidents. 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