Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 10, 2018
Research outlines the interconnected benefits of urban agriculture
A team of researchers led by Arizona State University and Google has assessed the value of urban agriculture and quantified its benefits at global scale.

NASA's newly renamed Swift Mission spies a comet slowdown
NASA's Swift spacecraft, now renamed the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory after the mission's late principal investigator, has detected the most dramatic change in a comet's rotation ever seen.

Large-scale study to pinpoint genes linked to obesity
Findings provide genetic basis underlying body weight and obesity risk.

Certain factors may predict lung cancer patients' response to chemotherapy
In a retrospective analysis of 73 lung squamous cell carcinoma patients treated with the chemotherapy regimen of gemcitabine plus cisplatin, higher body mass index and younger age were linked with longer progression-free survival, the length of time that a patient lives with cancer but it does not get worse.

A close-up look at an uncommon underwater eruption
A new paper published Jan. 10, 2018, in the journal Science Advances describes the first up-close investigation of the largest underwater volcanic eruption of the past century.

Sex education doesn't reflect real-life realities of lesbian and bisexual girls
Most lesbian and bisexual girls don't know they can get sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from other girls, because sex education is mostly designed for their straight peers.

Young adults report differing sexual effects from alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy
Alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy each have very different sexual effects, from attraction and desire to sensitivity to sexual dysfunction, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU Meyers College of Nursing.

Higher-ranked colleges don't necessarily provide a better educational experience
College rankings dominate the conversation regarding quality in postsecondary education, but new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York reveals that rankings have little to no relationship to student engagement, an important indicator of collegiate quality.

ASU astronomers to build space telescope to explore nearby stars
A new ASU-led mission will launch a small satellite telescope into space to study the environment in other solar systems around the Galaxy's most common type of star.

Cancer patients given fluids live longer
Dying cancer patients given fluids will generally live longer, a new study led by researchers from Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Surrey has found.

The ecological costs of war: Conflict a consistent killer of African megafauna
Princeton researchers report in the journal Nature that war has been a consistent factor in the decades-long decline of Africa's large mammals.

Dark energy survey publicly releases first three years of data
At a special session held during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., scientists on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) announced today the public release of their first three years of data.

Research may improve artificial joints used in hip replacement surgery
A new Journal of Orthopaedic Research study that examined artificial joints used for total hip replacement found that ceramic components may experience less corrosion than cobalt-chromium components.

The atomic dynamics of rare everlasting electric fields
Researchers have discovered the atomic mechanisms that give the unusual material yttrium manganite its rare magnetic and electric properties.

A simple cell holds 42 million protein molecules, scientists reveal
Toronto scientists have finally put their finger on how many protein molecules there are in a cell, ending decades of guesswork and clearing the way for further research on how protein abundance affects health of an organism.

New options for more animal welfare
In Germany, non-technical summaries of all authorized projects involving animals are published in the database AnimalTestInfo, which is operated by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and is at present unique worldwide.

Harnessing the power of algae: New, greener fuel cells move step closer to reality
A new design of algae-powered fuel cells that is five times more efficient than existing plant and algal models, as well as being potentially more cost-effective to produce and practical to use, has been developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model.

The future of grocery shopping: Faster, cheaper, smaller
Walmart was once considered the future of grocery shopping, offering consumers a slew of discounted choices, compared to the competition.

NASA's IMERG measures Tropical Cyclone Ava's disastrous rainfall
Tropical cyclone Ava dropped extremely heavy rainfall over Madagascar as it passed over the eastern side of the island country on Jan.

Health Department IDs 10 outbreaks of foodborne illness using Yelp reviews since 2012
The NYC Health Department announced that since 2012, 10 outbreaks of foodborne illness were identified through a computer system jointly created with Columbia University's Department of Computer Science.

Robotic weeders: to a farm near you?
The future of weeding is here, and it comes in the form of a robot.

Study examines urinary tract infections and antibiotic use in nursing homes
In a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study of nursing homes in the tropics, one in five residents had received antibiotics within the last 30 days.

New depth limit for deep-sea marine burrows
Scientists have found fossil evidence of deep-sea marine life burrowing up to eight metres below the seabed -- four times the previously observed depth for modern deep-sea life.

Individuals' perceptions on immigration and political trust may have shaped the Brexit vote
A few weeks prior to the EU Referendum in the UK, researchers surveyed 1,000 residents of Kent in the south east of England (where a majority intended to vote to leave), and 1,000 across Scotland (where a majority intended to vote to remain).

More dentists to discuss risks of HPV-related cancers with their patients
The dental community is working to strengthen HPV prevention efforts, helping reduce the prevalence of oropharyngeal cancers.

Analysis examines link between bone turnover markers and fracture risk in osteoporosis trials
Pooled data from 14 osteoporosis clinical trials of anti-resorptive drugs indicate that patients who have reduced levels of two bone turnover markers during treatment have lower risks of later experiencing vertebral fractures.

New app motivates type 2 diabetes patients to be more active
A research team led by scientists at University of Utah Health have developed an online interactive app to help motivate patients to be more physically activity to manage their disease.

Transitional care nurses in the geriatric emergency department reduce risk of inpatient admissions
Geriatric patients seen by transitional care nurses in the emergency department (ED) are less likely to be admitted to the hospital.

Rare melanoma type highly responsive to immunotherapy
Desmoplastic melanoma is a rare subtype of melanoma that is commonly found on sun-exposed areas.

Further reducing injections of oilfield wastewater can prevent larger earthquakes
The study indicates that tracking annual data on the injection well locations can help predict how corresponding earthquake activity will change.

Making the internet of things possible with a new breed of 'memristors'
Easily printable, organic thin films can retain data for more than 10 years without power, work with low voltages -- and become the building block of future computers that mimic the human brain.

With these special bacteria, a broccoli a day can keep the cancer doctor away
NUS Medicine researchers have engineered bacteria that specifically targets colorectal cancer cells and converts a substance in some vegetables into an anticancer agent.

New discovery may explain winter weight gain
We may have a new reason, in addition to vitamin D generation, to bask in a little sunshine.

3-D printing creates super soft structures that replicate brain and lungs
A new 3-D printing technique allows researchers to replicate biological structures, which could be used for tissue regeneration and replica organs.

Study provides insights on links between childhood abuse and later depression
Results from an International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry study suggest that smaller social networks and feelings of loneliness might be important risk factors for late-life depression in older adults with a history of childhood abuse as well as with an earlier onset of depression.

Multiresponsive nanosurfactant constructs tiny chemical factory
IBS scientists have made a surfactant based on nanoparticle dimers, which is responsive to multiple stimuli.

Intoxicatingly light-sensitive
ETH chemists have synthesised several variants of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

Biofilm buster treats drug-resistant infections
Scientists have created a potent antibacterial agent that killed drug-resistant microbes and even eradicated stubborn pathogens growing in biofilms, which can be 10 to 1,000 times more tolerant to antibiotics than free-living bacteria.

Malaria parasite packs genetic material for trip from mosquitoes to humans
The parasite that causes malaria has not one, but two, specialized proteins that protect its genetic material until the parasite takes up residence in a new host.

Personal growth often coexists with post-traumatic stress following natural disasters
The 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, was one of the most destructive in US history -- killing 161 people, injuring 1,150 and destroying approximately one-third of the city's homes.

Study finds strong support for ocean protection
People around the world strongly support ocean conservation measures, according to a new study of public perceptions of marine threats and protection.

Light activity measured with fitness tracker linked to lower mortality in older women
Researchers created a study to learn more about how much exercise older adults are able to perform, and how that exercise affects their health.

Biomarkers may help predict outcomes in gastric cancer patients who abuse alcohol
Alcohol consumption has been identified as a modifiable risk factor for cancers such as gastric cancer.

Adaptation now: River flood risks increase around the globe under future warming
Rainfall changes caused by global warming will increase river flood risks across the globe.

Changing how we view chlorine in soil
Researchers at Linköping University have studied how combinations of different environmental factors affect the chlorination of organic matter in soils.

Seven new spider species from Brazil named after 7 famous fictional spider characters
Characters from 'A Song of Ice and Fire,' 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,' 'The Lord of the Rings,' 'The Silmarillion,' H.

JOT releases orthopaedic residency program rankings by research output
What's the best way to rate the quality and quantity of research produced by orthopaedic surgery residency programs?

Frogs reveal mechanism that determines viability of hybrids
Why are some hybrids viable and others not? It is known that this depends on the father species and the mother species.

Ingredients for life revealed in meteorites that fell to Earth
A detailed study of blue salt crystals found in two meteorites that crashed to Earth -- which included X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab found that they contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds including hydrocarbons and amino acids.

TSRI scientists discover workings of first promising Marburg virus treatment
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have discovered the workings of the first promising treatment for Marburg virus, a pathogen with the same pandemic potential as Ebola virus.

Both fresh and frozen embryos offer similar chances of baby after IVF
Researchers have found that in women who have infertility but ovulate normally, using fresh or frozen embryos for in vitro fertilization result in similar rates of live births.

Company-sponsored CRISPR clinical trials set to start in 2018
This year could be a defining one for CRISPR, the gene editing technique, which has been hailed as an important breakthrough in laboratory research.

Older adults with metabolic syndrome may be more resistant to depression treatments
Researchers suspect that having Metabolic Syndrome makes it harder for older adults to respond to therapies for depression.

For a banded mongoose in northern Botswana, communicating with family can be deadly
A novel tuberculosis pathogen, Mycobacterium mungi, closely related to human TB, infects and kills banded mongooses through a surprising route -- olfactory communication.

Scaling to new heights with gecko-inspired adhesive
Some animals, such as geckos, can easily climb up walls and across ceilings.

Salk scientists curb growth of cancer cells by blocking access to key nutrients
Salk researchers have discovered how to curb the growth of cancer cells by blocking the cells' access to certain nutrients.

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Epileptic seizures and depression may share a common genetic cause, study suggests
From the time of Hippocrates, physicians have suspected a link between epilepsy and depression.

Could melatonin be the key to healthy aging?
A new British Journal of Pharmacology review highlights the role of melatonin -- a hormone that is produced at night -- in regulating sleep and the body's biological, or circadian, clock.

Incorporating social media reviews can improve surveillance of restaurant health problems
A recent paper published in JAMIA, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, illustrates the success of an improved system that tracks foodborne illness via online Yelp restaurant reviews developed by the Columbia University Department of Computer Science.

Unexpected undulations in biological membranes
How biological membranes -- e.g. the plasma membrane of animal cells or the inner membrane of bacteria -- fluctuate over time is not easy to understand.

Fast radio burst source linked to 'extreme' environment
A new study shows that the only known repeating fast radio burst source is in an 'extreme' environment which is among the most highly magnetized regions of space ever observed.

Ethical issues are important in 'standard-of-care' clinical trials
A learning healthcare system (LHS) aligns science, informatics, incentives, and culture for continuous improvement and innovation, with a delivery process that is based on best practices while also capturing new knowledge.

SETI project homes in on strange 'fast radio bursts'
Brief and powerful fast radio bursts could be signals from advanced civilizations, which is why Breakthrough Listen at UC Berkeley is monitoring many of the 30-some known FRBs, including FRB 121102, the only repeater.

Fast radio bursts 'twists and shouts' help scientists determine source of cosmic blasts
An international group of astronomers has found that the Cornell University-discovered fast radio burst FRB 121102 -- a brief, gigantic pulse of radio waves from 3 billion light years away -- passes through a veil of magnetized plasma.

Earliest fossil evidence of butterflies and moths
Researchers working in Germany have unearthed the earliest known fossil evidence of insects from the order Lepidoptera, which includes butterflies and moths.

What treatment for appendicitis would most patients choose, surgery or antibiotics?
Most people picked surgery over antibiotics if they or their child had appendicitis.

Job ads should be worded wisely to encourage women to apply
Using the wrong type of words in a job advertisement can discourage women from applying.

Humanitarian Intervention reduces 'stress hormone' in war-affected youth
A new study shows that a humanitarian program to improve the mental health of adolescents affected by the Syrian war has a biological benefit: For participants in the program, it decreased levels of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) by a third.

Pancreatic cancer accelerated by stress, finds study
A new study shows how stress accelerates pancreatic cancer development.

Review reveals potential predictors of long-term distress after cancer diagnosis
A new review of published studies indicates that distress and neuroticism at or within three months of cancer diagnosis may predict emotional distress at least 12 months later.

New oxide and semiconductor combination builds new device potential
Researchers at Yale University have now grown a 2DEG system on gallium arsenide, a semiconductor that's efficient in absorbing and emitting light.

Stigma continues to hamper response to opioid epidemic
Efforts to reverse the nation's opioid epidemic remain beset by the stigma associated with drug use, a group of OHSU researchers write in a year-end review.

Extremely bright and fast light emission
A type of quantum dot that has been intensively studied in recent years can reproduce light in every color and is very bright.

New stellar streams confirm 'melting pot' history of the galaxy
Public release of Dark Energy Survey data continues trend toward 'Big Data' in astronomy.

Here's how stress may be making you sick
A Michigan State University researcher is providing new insight into how certain types of stress interact with immune cells and can regulate how these cells respond to allergens, ultimately causing physical symptoms and disease.

Patients react better when doctors imply uncertainty, rather than state it directly
Choice of words might matter when doctors communicate uncertainty of diagnosis to their patients.

The origin of flower making genes
A research team led by Professor Mitsuyasu Hasebe of the National Institute for Basic Biology revealed that the MADS-box genes control sperm motility and cell division and elongation of the stem of gametophores, using the moss Physcomitrella patens.

New research improves our understanding of cancer cell regulation
New research measures how changes in kinase activity can influence the growth, development and regulation of cancer cells.

Robotic implants spur tissue regeneration inside the body
An implanted, programmable medical robot can gradually lengthen tubular organs by applying traction forces -- stimulating tissue growth in stunted organs without interfering with organ function or causing apparent discomfort, report researchers at Boston Children's Hospital.

Factors affecting the success of grizzly bear translocations
The number of grizzly bear translocations has increased in recent years to protect the bears and reduce conflicts with humans.

Worldwide importance of honey bees for natural habitats captured in new report
An unprecedented study integrating data from around the globe has shown that honey bees are the world's most important single species of pollinator in natural ecosystems and a key contributor to natural ecosystem functions.

Family study emphasizes distinct origins for bipolar disorder subtypes
The most common subtypes of bipolar disorder, bipolar I and bipolar II, stem -- at least in part -- from different biological causes, according to a new study published in Biological Psychiatry.

A more complete Mediterranean diet may protect against aggressive prostate cancer
In a new study published in The Journal of Urology®, researchers determined that men who followed a Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, boiled potatoes, whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, and olive oil, and low consumption of juices had lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer (PC) than those who followed other dietary patterns like Prudent or Western diets.

Altered voice processing in young children with autism and delayed language development
Three- to five-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and delayed language development appear to process voices differently than typically developing children, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair
'Decorating' cardiac stem cells with platelet nanovesicles can increase the stem cells' ability to find and remain at the site of heart attack injury and enhance their effectiveness in treatment.

Researchers chart dramatic decline in genetic diversity of Northwest salmon
Columbia River Chinook salmon have lost as much as two-thirds of their genetic diversity, Washington State University researchers have found.

New prostate cancer risk score could help guide screening decisions
A new score for predicting a man's genetic risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer could help guide decisions about who to screen and when, say researchers in The BMJ today.

Engineered sandbars don't measure up for nesting plovers
Dams reduce the creation of natural sandbars, which is bad news for birds that depend on them for nesting habitat.

Can hormone therapy prevent the onset of depressive symptoms in some women around menopause?
A year of hormone therapy was more effective than placebo at preventing the onset of depressive symptoms among women without depression in the menopause transition and early postmenopause.

Acetaminophen use during pregnancy associated with elevated rate of language delay in girls
In the first study of its kind, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found an elevated rate of language delay in girls at 30 months old born to mothers who used acetaminophen during pregnancy, but not in boys.

Can vitamins and dietary supplements benefit patients with mitochondrial disease?
Defects in mitochondria, the tiny structures that power cells by functioning as biological batteries, cause an array of complex disorders that can affect any and all organs and systems.

Giant extinct burrowing bat discovered in New Zealand
The fossilized remains of a giant burrowing bat that lived in New Zealand millions of years ago have been found by a UNSW Sydney-led international team of scientists.

NASA's Aqua satellite finds wind shear hitting Tropical Storm Irving
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Southern Indian Ocean and obtained a visible light image of Tropical Storm Irving that showed vertical wind shear was pushing storms away from its center.

'Sniffing' out counterfeit liquors
Watered-down or fake liquors can reap financial rewards for nefarious individuals, but the adulteration of liquor cheats consumers and can even lead to health hazards from added contaminants.

Mexican migrant health access much lower after US border crossing
Immigrants and migrants from Mexico had worse access to health care and insurance after they crossed the border into the US -- and it remained bad when they returned to Mexico again.

The LEC -- now an efficient and bright device
Researchers from Umeå University and Linköping University in Sweden have developed light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) that emit strong light at high efficiency.

Experts provide insights on the body's stress response during critical illness
Critical illness causes the body to initiate a stress response, which activates the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis to increase the availability of the stress hormone cortisol.

Ancient Phoenician DNA from Sardinia, Lebanon reflects settlement, integration, mobility
Ancient DNA from the Phoenician remains found in Sardinia and Lebanon could provide insight into the extent of integration with settled communities and human movement during this time period, according to a study published Jan.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone 5 form near northwestern Australia's coast
Tropical Depression 5S was consolidating just offshore Cape Leveque, Western Australia when NASA's Aqua satellite gathered temperature data that showed the strongest part of the depression remained over water.

Texas A&M research shows biological clocks could improve brain cancer treatment
Biological clocks throughout the body play a major role in human health and performance, from sleep and energy use to how food is metabolized and even stroke severity.

Chemoradiation in elderly patients with stage III NSCLC improves overall survival
Elderly patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) showed improved overall survival when treated with chemoradiation compared to definitive radiation alone.

Frozen embryos result in just as many live births in IVF
Freezing and subsequent transfer of embryos gives infertile couples just as much of a chance of having a child as using fresh embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF), research from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Adelaide, Australia has found.

Study finds body size of marine plankton, currents keys to dispersal in ocean
A new international study found that the size of plankton, and the strength and direction of currents, are key to how they are dispersed in the ocean -- much more so than physical conditions including differences in temperature, salinity and nutrient availability.

New HSS study finds hope in understanding and better treating scleroderma
Researchers at HSS find a potential cause and treatment lead for scleroderma.

Black hole breakthrough: New insight into mysterious jets
Advanced simulations created with one of the world's most powerful supercomputers show the jets' streams gradually change direction in the sky, or precess, as a result of space-time being dragged into the rotation of the black hole.

Benefits of a healthy diet greater in people at high genetic risk for obesity
The benefits of sticking to a healthy diet to prevent long term weight gain are greater in people at high genetic risk for obesity than in those with low genetic risk, finds a study in The BMJ today.

Astronomers detect 'whirlpool' movement in earliest galaxies
Astronomers have looked back to a time soon after the Big Bang, and have discovered swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies to have formed in the universe.

Once revolutionary, now dominant: OCT still shows rich potential for new applications
The revolutionizing technology of optical coherence tomography (OCT) is celebrated in a special section of the Journal of Biomedical Optics, published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Investigation raises concerns over poor quality, lack of regulation, and misrepresentation of animal research
An investigation published by The BMJ today has unearthed concerns about how researchers misrepresented the results of animal studies to gain funding and approval for human trials to test a new tuberculosis vaccine.

In India, subtle corruption robs villagers of roads
Examining a major road-building program in India, researchers at Princeton University and the Paris School of Economics used an innovative technique to show that political corruption increased the chances that roads meant to connect isolated areas to the rest of the country would never be built, even though the government had paid for them.

Bridging tumor moats with potent drug delivery particles
Despite herculean efforts, cancer remains a formidable disease, with each malignant subtype responding differently to therapeutics.

In 'pond scum,' scientists find answers to one evolution's which-came-first cases
A team of scientists report on new evidence that primitive moths and butterflies existed during the Jurassic period, approximately 50 million years earlier than the first flowering plants, shedding new light on one of the most confounding cases of co-evolution.

The size of marine plankton is key to its global dispersal and distribution
In a paper published in the latest issue of Nature Communications a group of international researchers, led by AZTI scientists, shows that the size of marine plankton is key to its global dispersal and distribution.

Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue
New research in mice and humans suggests that an enzyme called SNRK suppresses inflammation in obesity-related 'white fat' while increasing metabolism in heat-producing 'brown fat,' making SNRK an intriguing target in the battle against obesity.

Earthquakes as a driver for the deep-ocean carbon cycle
An international team led by geologist Michael Strasser has used novel methods to analyze sediment deposits in the Japan Trench in order to gain new insights into the carbon cycle.

What happens when your brain's support cells aren't so supportive?
Salk scientists use gene expression to understand how astrocytes change with age.

Endometriosis may increase the risk of bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis
A new Neurology & Urodynamics study has demonstrated a link between endometriosis and a subsequent diagnosis of bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis (BPS/IC).

Retaliatory violence between police and citizens is primed by social media
The research explores relationships between law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, fatal use of force incidents and social media activity related to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The complexities of clouds and the seeds that make them
In an effort to understand exactly how the micro and macro cloud properties interact with atmospheric particles, a collaborative research team conducted a modeling study analyzing three well-documented weather systems that occurred in March of 2000 over the southern Great Plains in the United States. 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