Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 16, 2018
Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
In a study published today in the scientific journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Kaufman and Curtis Brandt, a fellow professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at UW-Madison, showed an improved tactic for delivering new genes into the eye's fluid drain, called the trabecular meshwork.

Math can predict how cancer cells evolve
Applied mathematics can be a powerful tool in helping predict the genesis and evolution of different types of cancers, a study from the University of Waterloo has found.

Bariatric surgery prolongs lifespan in obese
Obese, middle-age men and women who had bariatric surgery have half the death rate of those who had traditional medical treatment over a 10-year period, reports a study that answers questions about the long-term risk of the surgery.

Shale gas is one of the least sustainable ways to produce electricity, research finds
Shale gas is one of least sustainable options for producing electricity, according to new research from The University of Manchester.

'Heart-on-a-chip' process aims to speed up drug testing
Testing new clinical drugs' effect on heart tissue could become quicker and more straightforward, thanks to new research from Harvard University.

The only video you'll ever need to watch about gluten (video)
Bakers on TV are always talking about whether their goodies have enough gluten.

Clockwork under the microscope
Circadian clocks regulate the behaviour of all living things. Scientists from the University of Würzburg have now taken a closer look at the clock's anatomical structures and molecular processes in the honeybee.

Study shows how Olympic Games affect the stock market
New research reveals how global sports events such as the Olympic Games can affect stock market activity.

Slow 'hot electrons' could improve solar cell efficiency
Photons with energy higher than the 'band gap' of the semiconductor absorbing them give rise to what are known as hot electrons.

Rates of great earthquakes not affected by moon phases, day of year
There is an enduring myth that large earthquakes tend to happen during certain phases of the Moon or at certain times during the year.

Evidence supports 'weekend effect' for mortality after surgery
As for other types of medical care, surgery appears to be prone to a significant 'weekend effect' -- with higher odds of death when surgery is performed during or one or two days before the weekend, suggests a report in the February issue of Medical Care, published by Wolters Kluwer.

'Magic pools' approach can hurry studies of novel bacteria
To characterize the genes of newly identified bacteria, microbiologists often introduce mutations within the bacteria using mobile DNA segments called transposons to study the impact of these mutations.

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining our blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production.

International study identify the process of rock formed by meteors or nuclear blasts
Scientists from Brazil, China and Italy have reached a model to map out the phases in which silica (SiO2) transforms into coesite rock, by analyzing how the inelastic scattering of light among molecules changes according to pressure variation.

A 'touching sight': How babies' brains process touch builds foundations for learning
A new study from the University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences provides one of the first looks inside the infant's brain to show where the sense of touch is processed -- not just when a baby feels a touch to the hand or foot, but when the baby sees an adult's hand or foot being touched, as well.

Cannabis abuse alters activity of brain regions linked to negative emotion
Young people with cannabis dependence have altered brain function that may be the source of emotional disturbances and increased psychosis risk that are associated with cannabis abuse, according to a new study published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

How mantis shrimp pack the meanest punch
In research published today in Advanced Materials, a group of researchers led by UC Riverside's David Kisailus has identified a unique structure that wraps around the mantis shrimp's club to protect it from self-inflicted damage as it crushes hard-shelled prey.

Previous influenza virus exposures enhance susceptibility in another influenza pandemic
New data analysis suggests that people born at the time of the 1957 H2N2 or Asian Flu pandemic were at a higher risk of dying during the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic as well as the resurgent H1N1 outbreak in 2013-2014.

Study finds black children face higher risk of death post surgery
A recent study, Race, Preoperative Risk Factors, and Death After Surgery, has found that black children are more than twice as likely to die following surgery than white children and describes race-specific models to predict surgical outcomes.

Want people to work together? Familiarity, ability to pick partners could be key
The key to getting people to work together effectively could be giving them the flexibility to choose their collaborators and the comfort of working with established contacts, new research suggests.

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation
Micro metal beads and magnets help deliver a biologic where it's needed to improve constipation or rectoanal incontinence in animal models of the disorders.

Insurance company requirements place heavy administrative burden on physicians seeking to prescribe new cholesterol-lowering drugs
A rare glimpse into the prior authorization requirements implemented by public and private insurance providers across the country has found substantial administrative burden for a new class of medications for patients with high cholesterol that places them at high risk for heart attack or stroke, according to new research.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

No-fishing zones help endangered penguins
Small no-fishing zones around colonies of African penguins can help this struggling species, new research shows.

Key player in cell metabolism identified
Published in Nature Cell Biology (NCB), the study shows that the EXD2 protein is critical for the mitochondria, the cell's powerhouses, to produce energy.

Bright light therapy improves sleep in people treated for cancer
Results of a randomized controlled trial suggest that systematic bright light exposure can improve sleep for fatigued people who have been treated for cancer.

Stronger, able older adults have better outcomes when hospitalized with critical illnesses
Until now, the role of strength before hospitalization has not been well-studied.

Obesity and overweight multiply the risk of suffering cancer and heart disease
Obese women are 12 times more like to get cancer than those of a normal weight.

A high-salt diet produces dementia in mice
A high-salt diet reduces resting blood flow to the brain and causes dementia in mice.

Does benefit of weight-loss surgery for patients with diabetes persist over time?
Obese adults with type 2 diabetes who underwent gastric bypass surgery continued to improve after five years at meeting a target for blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure control but that improvement seemed to lessen over time.

Cryo-electron microscopy reveals shape of heterochromatin
Scientists from Waseda University, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and the National Institute for Basic Biology became the first to successfully visualize the structure of heterochromatin, thanks to high-contrast imaging in cryo-electron microscopy.

Biodegradable sensor could help doctors monitor serious health conditions
University of Connecticut engineers have created a biodegradable pressure sensor that could help doctors monitor chronic lung disease, swelling of the brain, and other medical conditions before dissolving harmlessly in a patient's body.

In sweet corn, workhorses win
When deciding which sweet corn hybrids to plant, vegetable processors need to consider whether they want their contract growers using a workhorse or a racehorse.

Quick quick slow is no-go in crab courtship dance
Female fiddler crabs are sensitive to changes in the speed of a male's courtship display, significantly preferring displays that accelerate to those that are performed at a constant speed or slow down.

Making waves for ultrahigh definition displays
Wavy transistors that vertically gain width without increasing their on-chip footprint could drive future flexible displays.

Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants force fish to work much harder to survive
Pharmaceuticals and other man-made contaminants are forcing fish that live downstream from a typical sewage treatment plant to work at least 30 percent harder just to survive, McMaster researchers have found.

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma
A research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers has validated a way to outfox tumors.

Being bilingual may help autistic children
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often have a hard time switching gears from one task to another.

Mount Sinai researchers identify protein involved in cocaine addiction
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a protein produced by the immune system -- granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) -- that could be responsible for the development of cocaine addiction.

Can training improve memory, thinking abilities in older adults with cognitive impairment?
A new, first-of-its-kind study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by scientists from research centers in Montreal and Quebec City, Canada.

Gestational diabetes points toward heightened risk of heart disease
Women who have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy have a higher than usual risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease in the future, according to a retrospective cohort study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar from the University of Birmingham, UK, and colleagues.

Coping with climate stress in Antarctica
Some Antarctic fish living in the planet's coldest waters are able to cope with the stress of rising carbon dioxide levels the ocean.

Snapshot of DNA repair
Osaka University scientists, in collaboration with The University of Tokyo, describe the crystal structure of RNF168 bound to ubiquitin chains, a crucial interaction for DNA repair, to find a unique interaction.

Tiny dinosaur may have dazzled mates with rainbow ruff and a bony crest
Ancient dinosaurs were adorned in some amazing ways, from the horns of the triceratops to the plates and spikes of the stegosaurus.

Hubble weighs in on mass of 3 million billion suns
In 2014, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope found that this enormous galaxy cluster contains the mass of a staggering three million billion suns.

New process could slash energy demands of fertilizer, nitrogen-based chemicals
Nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizer forms the backbone of the world food supply, but its manufacture requires a tremendous amount of energy.

Thirty-year study shows women who breastfeed for 6 months or more reduce their diabetes risk
In a long-term national study, breastfeeding for six months or longer cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes nearly in half for women throughout their childbearing years, according to new Kaiser Permanente research published Jan.

Pediatric physician-scientists struggle for funding
A new, multicenter study that included Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Cleveland Clinic researchers find new gene variant linked to deadly prostate cancer
Cleveland Clinic researchers have confirmed for the first time a mechanistic link between the gene HSD17B4 and deadly, treatment-resistant prostate cancer.

Oral health may have an important role in cancer prevention
The bacteria that cause periodontitis, a disease affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth, seems to play a part also in the onset of pancreatic cancer.

Early results reported on e-health tool to prevent opioid overdose
The new ORION e-health psychoeducational tool, designed to help opioid-dependent individuals prevent an overdose, can impart new knowledge and impact a person's intention to change opioid abuse behavior, but it did not improve overall self-efficacy in overdose prevention.

Memory loss from West Nile virus may be preventable
More than 10,000 people in the United States are living with memory loss and other persistent neurological problems that occur after West Nile virus infects the brain.

Is it time for a new financial services tribunal?
A new article published in Capital Markets Law Journal argues that consumers and banks could benefit from the creation of a quick and inexpensive financial services tribunal, modeled on the Employment Tribunals, to resolve substantial disputes between banks and small and medium sized companies.

Women who have gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at higher risk of future health issues
Women who have gestational diabetes mellitus during pregnancy have a higher than usual risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease in the future.

Insulating with microscopic bubbles
Better thermal insulation means lower heating costs - but this should not be at the expense of exciting architecture.

X-rays reveal 'handedness' in swirling electric vortices
Scientists used spiraling X-rays at Berkeley Lab to observe, for the first time, a property that gives left- or right-handedness to swirling electric patterns -- dubbed polar vortices -- in a layered material called a superlattice.

Scientists synthesize nanoparticle-antioxidants to treat strokes and spinal cord injuries
An international science team has developed an innovative therapeutic complex based on multi-layer polymer nano-structures of superoxide dismutase (SOD).

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
A research team at the Duke Cancer Institute has found a new way to keep the immune system engaged, and is planning to test the approach in a phase 1 clinical trial.

Internet use may prompt religious 'tinkering' instead of belief in only one religion
Internet use may decrease the likelihood of a person affiliating with a religious tradition or believing that only one religion is true, according to a Baylor University study.

Europe's lost forests -- study shows coverage has halved over 6,000 years
Research led by the University of Plymouth shows more than half of the forests across Europe have been lost over the past 6,000 years.

Epigenetics study helps focus search for autism risk factors
Researchers at Washington State University and elsewhere have associated more than 2,000 DNA regions that control gene expression and are strongly associated with autism.

Ancient DNA results end 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy mystery
Using 'next generation' DNA sequencing scientists have found that the famous 'Two Brothers' mummies of the Manchester Museum have different fathers so are, in fact, half-brothers.

The innate immune system can also be trained
Researchers of the Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus of the TU Dresden identified that precursors of immune cells in the bone marrow can be trained to respond better to future challenges.

IDIBELL researchers successfully test a new combination therapy in sarcomas
Researchers of the Sarcoma group of the Oncobell program -- Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) have successfully tested a new combined therapy for the treatment of this rare, aggressive tumor type, which affects children and adults.

Oxysterols guide gut immune cells and are involved in inflammatory bowel disease
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report that cholesterol metabolites cause specific immune cells in the large intestine to move, which lies behind the formation of the immune system's important lymphoid tissue in the intestine.

New hope for critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey
Scientists and conservation teams from Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Dali University and the German Primate Center just published a comprehensive conservation status review of one of the world's most threatened primate species, the critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey (also known affectionately as the 'snubby' by scientists, and as the black snub-nosed monkey in China), Rhinopithecus strykeri.

Spontaneous labor progression for vaginal births is slower than expected in many women
Cervical dilatation during labor for vaginal births can progress more slowly than the widely accepted benchmark of 1 cm/hour in many women, according to a new data published this week in PLOS Medicine.

Drones confirm importance of Costa Rican waters for sea turtles
A new drone-enabled population survey -- the first ever on sea turtles -- shows that larger-than-anticipated numbers of turtles aggregate in waters off Costa Rica's Ostional National Wildlife Refuge.

New study suggests shark declines can lead to changes in reef fish body shapes
Scientists studying nearly identical coral reef systems off Australia discovered something unusual on the reefs subjected to nearly exclusive fishing of sharks--fish with significantly smaller eyes and tails.

No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour
Researchers at the University of York have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent.

Nuclear power plants must be able to withstand fires caused by aircraft impacts
In his dissertation, Topi Sikanen, a Master of Science (Technology) and Research Scientist at VTT, examined the transport, evaporation and combustion of liquids in large-scale fire incidents.

Evening hours may pose higher risk for overeating, especially when under stress, study finds
Experiments with a small group of overweight men and women have added to evidence that 'hunger hormone' levels rise and 'satiety (or fullness) hormone' levels decrease in the evening.

Chronic disease care: Family helpers play key roles, but feel left out by providers
People with chronic diseases often live independent lives, without a traditional 'caregiver.' But many of them have a family member or friend who plays a key supporting role in their health care.

Study: High tolerance for wildlife exists around Indian reserves despite continued losses
A new study from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), Duke University, and the Centre for Wildlife Studies in India finds that communities living near wildlife reserves in Rajasthan, India, show a high tolerance for wildlife.

Weather anomalies accelerate the melting of sea ice
ETH researchers reveal why Arctic sea ice began to melt in the middle of winter two years ago -- and that the increased melting of ice in summer is linked to recurring periods of fair weather.

Penn researchers identify new treatment target for melanoma
Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma.

An eNose is able to sniff out bacteria that cause soft tissue infections
A recent study conducted at the University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology, Pirkanmaa Hospital District and Fimlab in Finland has concluded that an electronic nose (eNose) can be used to identify the most common bacteria causing soft tissue infections.

Research reveals that wealth may drive preference for short-term relationships
According to new research by psychologists at Swansea University, resource-rich environments may cause people to favor short-term relationships.

New catalyst for hydrogen production is a step toward clean fuel
A nanostructured composite material developed at UC Santa Cruz has shown impressive performance as a catalyst for the electrochemical splitting of water to produce hydrogen.

School climate and diversity may affect students' delinquent behaviors
In a Journal of School Health study, race, sex, perceived peer inclusion, and teacher discrimination were predictors of students' delinquent behaviors.

Bile acids fire up fat burning
EPFL scientists have discovered a novel role for bile acids: converting energy-storing white fat depots into energy-expending beige fat.

Study: Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER
A close examination of federal survey data shows that while many settings including ERs cut back on prescribing opioids for more than a decade, physicians' offices continued to prescribe them.

Scientists unleash power of genetic data to identify disease risk
Massive banks of genetic information are being harnessed to shed new light on modifiable health risks that underlie common diseases.

Redshift space distortions measured by quasars in scientific first
The eBOSS team released its latest results on Jan. 10, 2018: a measurement of redshift space distortions (RSD) with high significance has been successfully accomplished using observations of quasars distributed 6.8 to 10.5 billion light years away from Earth (with redshifts 0.8 to 2.2).

Researchers devise decoy molecule to block pain where it starts
For anyone who has accidentally injured themselves, Dr. Zachary Campbell not only sympathizes, he's developing new ways to blunt pain.

Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture
Biofouling costs shipping billions in increased fuel costs and affects aquaculture.

Enzyme from briny deep resurrected in the lab
Genomes of single microbial cells isolated from the Red Sea could yield a goldmine for biotechnology.

UNIST provides new insights into underwater adhesives
An international team of researchers, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has succeeded in developing a new type of underwater adhesives that are tougher than the natural biological counterpart.

Outcomes after deep brain stimulation for uncontrolled tourette syndrome
Deep brain stimulation was associated with some symptom improvement in a small group of patients with uncontrolled Tourette syndrome but also some adverse events.

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy
Osaka University researchers combined two different types of 2-D materials -- black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate -- to form a biologically inspired water-splitting catalyst.

Declining trust in facts, institutions imposes real-world costs on US society, RAND report finds
Americans' reliance on facts to discuss public issues has declined significantly in the past two decades, leading to political paralysis and collapse of civil discourse.

Study warns of enormous impact of evictions on mental health
A study led by the University of Granada reveals that among individuals who have been evicted, 88 percent suffer from anxiety and 91 percent from depression.

Older adults are increasingly identifying -- but still likely underestimating -- cognitive impairment
An increasing number of older adults are reporting cognitive impairment in their families over the past two decades, according to a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Berguitta heading toward Mauritius
NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Southern Indian Ocean and saw Tropical Cyclone Berguitta moving southwest toward the island of Mauritius.

Great scat! Bears -- not birds -- are the chief seed dispersers in Alaska
In southeastern Alaska, brown and black bears are plentiful because of salmon.

More evidence of link between severe gum disease and cancer risk
A new study adds to accumulating research that gum disease is associated with some cancer risk.

Tracking the impact of early abuse and neglect
Maltreatment experienced before age 5 can have negative effects that continue to be seen nearly three decades later, according to a new study led by Lee Raby, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah.

Pregnant women in NC exposed to less secondhand nicotine after 'smoking ban'
A new study from Duke Health has found pregnant women experienced less secondhand smoke exposure since the 2009 passage of the 'smoking ban' in North Carolina, which outlawed smoking inside public places such as bars and restaurants.

Computer-aided facial analysis helps diagnosis
In rare diseases, the computer-aided image analysis of patient portraits can facilitate and significantly improve diagnosis.

Is breastfeeding longer associated with lower risk for later diabetes among mothers?
Longer duration of breastfeeding was associated with lower risk of diabetes among mothers later in life.

Miles Davis is not Mozart: The brains of jazz and classical pianists work differently
A musician's brain is different to that of a non-musician.

New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
A new multi-institution report provides practical agronomic data for five cellulosic feedstocks, which could improve adoption and increase production across the country.

New molecular probes to allow non-destructive analysis of bioengineered cartilage
A new study describes novel probes that enable non-invasive, non-destructive, direct monitoring of the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in real-time during the formation of engineered cartilage to replace damaged or diseased tissue.

Who might benefit from immunotherapy? New study suggests possible marker
New research finds that PDL-1 expressed in antigen presenting cells -- macrophages and dendritic cells found in the tumor microenvironment and in the nearby lymph nodes -- is a better indicator than PDL-1 in the tumor of who will respond to immunotherapy drugs.

Genome architecture's surprising role in cell fate decisions
New study led by researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, shows unexpected and crucial role of genome architecture in determining cell fate.

Memory gene goes viral
Two independent teams of scientists from the University of Utah and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have discovered that a gene crucial for learning, called Arc, can send its genetic material from one neuron to another by employing a strategy commonly used by viruses.

'Rainbow' dinosaur had iridescent feathers like a hummingbird
Scientists discovered a dinosaur fossil with feathers so well-preserved that they were able to see the feathers' microscopic color-bearing structures.

3D-printed underwater vortex sensor mimics whiskers of sea animal
A new study has shown that a fully 3D-printed whisker sensor made of polyurethane, graphene, and copper tape can detect underwater vortexes with very high sensitivity.

Weight-loss surgery associated with lower rate of death
Obese patients who underwent weight-loss surgery had a lower rate of death from any cause compared with obese adults who received nonsurgical care to manage their obesity.

New study offers insights on genetic indicators of COPD risk
Researchers have discovered that genetic variations in the anatomy of the lungs could serve as indicators to help identify people who have low, but stable, lung function early in life, and those who are particularly at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) because of a smoke-induced decline in lung function.

Designing the next generation of hair dyes
A public database of more than 300 substances used to dye hair will help accelerate research and development work on more sustainable hair color.

Are amoebae safe harbors for plague?
Amoebae, single-celled organisms common in soil, water and grade-school science classrooms, may play a key role in the survival and spread of deadly plague bacteria.

LJI researchers discover key driver of atopic dermatitis
Severe eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is driven by an allergic reaction. 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