Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 25, 2018
Music really is a universal language
Songs serve many different purposes: accompanying a dance, soothing an infant, or expressing love.

Integration of AI and robotics with materials sciences will lead to new clean energy technology
The proposed integrated Materials Acceleration Platforms could cut the average time for developing a useful new material from 20 years down to one or two years.

The bacterial 'Game of Thrones'
Much like animals and to a degree humans, bacteria enjoy a good fight.

Lifestyle changes prevent cognitive decline even in genetically susceptible individuals
Enhanced lifestyle counselling prevents cognitive decline even in people who are carriers of the APOE4 gene, a common risk factor of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in JAMA Neurology.

Novel body structure likely tied to mating in new extinct insect species
Based on 2-D and 3-D data of several morphological features, researchers scanned all specimens with different μ-Ct devices at Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility (BSRF) and Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF).

MIND diet slows cognitive decline in stroke survivors
The MIND diet, which zeros in on foods that promote brain health, including vegetables, berries, fish and olive oil, helps to greatly slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors.

Nearly half of California's vegetation at risk from climate stress
Current levels of greenhouse gas emissions are putting nearly half of California's natural vegetation at risk from climate stress.

Method assesses how well dialysis clinics refer patients for transplantation
A new method is useful for assessing how well individual dialysis facilities are referring patients for kidney transplantation.

New research shows diabetes and worse blood sugar control are associated with long-term cognitive decline
A new study in Diabetologia of some 5,000 older people in the UK has shown that rates of long-term cognitive decline are steeper in those who have diabetes compared with people with normal blood sugar control, and that efforts to delay the onset of diabetes and/or control blood sugar levels might prevent subsequent progression of brain function decline.

Learning to make healthy choices can counter the effects of large portions
Penn State researchers have found that after going through a training program designed to help people control portion sizes, participants still ate larger portions but chose healthier foods, lowering their calorie intake.

Microbes may help astronauts transform human waste into food
Human waste may one day be a valuable resource for astronauts on deep-space missions.

Air pollution linked to irregular menstrual cycles
The air your teenage daughter breathes may be causing irregular menstrual cycles.

Specific protein plays key role in the spread of breast cancer
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have found an explanation for how breast cancer spreads to the lungs, which could potentially hold the key to preventing the progression of the disease.

Distinct brain rhythms, regions help us reason about categories
The brain's ability to categorize based on straightforward resemblance or on a more abstract similarity arises from its use of distinct rhythms, at distinct times, in distinct parts of the prefrontal cortex.

Thirty years of innovation pays off as oligonucleotide therapeutics come to market
The recent approval of SpinrazaTM (nusinersen), jointly developed by Ionis Pharmaceuticals and Biogen, marks the arrival of a new class of biological products -- oligonucleotide therapeutics.

Yale cancer researchers propose new ways to select patients for clinical trials
Yale Cancer Center investigators have demonstrated in a new study that more sophisticated models to assess patient risk for cancer can result in better clinical trials with more definitive results.

Mosquitoes remember human smells, but also swats, researchers find
A Virginia Tech study shows that mosquitoes can rapidly learn and remember the smells of hosts and that dopamine is a key mediator of this process.

Think of honeybees as 'livestock,' not wildlife, argue experts
Contrary to public perception, die-offs in honeybee colonies are an agricultural not a conservation issue, argue Cambridge researchers, who say that manged honeybees may contribute to the genuine biodiversity crisis of Europe's declining wild pollinators.

Heart cells sense stiffness by measuring contraction forces and resting tension simultaneously
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have identified a new mechanism in which adhesive structures within the cells of the heart sense stiffness through muscle contractions and resting tension at the same time.

Lack of essential and affordable medicines in India revealed
Research has revealed the shocking lack of access to essential medicines in India, despite thousands being approved in an attempt to generate wider availability.

Remains of earliest modern human outside of Africa unearthed in Israel
A jawbone complete with teeth recently discovered at Israel's Misliya cave by Tel Aviv University and University of Haifa researchers has now been dated to 177,000-194,000 years ago.

Do western societies promote narcissism?
Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have been able to show that people who grew up in the former western states of Germany have higher levels of narcissism than those whose socialization took place in the former eastern states.

Missing in action
A UCSB ecologist unearths the foothill yellow-legged frog's past in order to inform its future.

Do our mitochondria run at 50 degrees C?
A new study publishing Jan. 25 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by INSERM and CNRS researchers at Hôpital Robert Debré in Paris led by Dr.

Brexit is one of the greatest threats to women's rights
Brexit is one the greatest threats to women's rights and social inclusion, a new study in the Journal of Social Policy and Society reports.

Polio labs equipped to study rare tropical diseases
In 1988, the World Health Organization set out to eradicate polio and established a network of 145 labs around the world that are designed to process polio tests.

Phosphorus pollution reaching dangerous levels worldwide, new study finds
Man-made phosphorus pollution is reaching dangerously high levels in freshwater basins around the world, according to new research.

Researchers pose revolutionary theory on horse evolution
While it is largely believed that horses simply evolved with fewer digits, researchers at New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) pose a new theory that suggests remnants of all five toes are still present within the hooves of the horse.

Heparan sulfate biomaterials retain structure and function after gamma irradiation
A new study has shown that heparan sulfate, a desirable natural material for use in bioengineered tissues and orthotic implants, can withstand the stress of gamma irradiation for sterilization and retain its structure, binding ability, and biological function.

A new strategy induces the regression of advanced lung tumors in mice
A study conducted by researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) shows how the elimination of the c-Raf kinase by genetic manipulation causes the regression of Kras oncogene-driven advanced lung tumors in a genetically designed mouse model.

Energy supply channels
Freiburg scientists elucidate the mechanism for inserting protein molecules into the outer compartment of mitochondria.

Historical migrations left genetic footprints on the Irish genome
A genome-wide study of the people of Ireland reveals a previously hidden genetic landscape, shaped through geography and historical migrations.

Using virtual reality to identify brain areas involved in memory
Virtual reality is helping neuroscientists at UC Davis get new insight into how different brain areas assemble memories in context.

'Forgotten' antibiotic offers hope against worst superbugs
An antibiotic overlooked since its discovery 40 years ago could help develop new drugs against life-threatening infections caused by some of the world's most dangerous superbugs.

Humans take up too much space -- and it's affecting how mammals move
A study recently published by Science found that, on average, mammals living in human-modified habitats move two to three times less far than their counterparts in areas untouched by humans.

Two new snout moth genera and three new species discovered in southern China
New members have joined the ranks of the snout moths -- one of the largest groups within the insect order known formally as Lepidoptera, comprising all moths and butterflies.

Where humans set up camp, animals roam much shorter distances
In areas with high levels of human activity, mammal movements can be reduced by as much as three-fold, a new study reports.

Humans get in the way of mammal movement
A new study, co-authored by biologists at the University of Maryland, describes the extent to which highly modified landscapes impede the movement of 57 land-based mammal species from around the world.

Enhanced evolution: Scientists find genetic swap changes physical expression
The difference between webbed toes and distinct digits may be the result of not just genetic information, but of how the genes regulate that information.

Study shows a potential new approach to opioid crisis
In a six-month study recently concluded, a research unit affiliated with two hospital institutions and a university in Ottawa found that a reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked daily also reduced a smoker's dependence on opioids.

Combining drugs that lower blood pressure and cholesterol could do more to prevent stroke
Combining medication that lowers blood pressure with medication that lowers cholesterol reduced first-time strokes by 44 percent.

Thin is in? Think again.
Models used in social media postings, or more than a decade's worth of Miss USA beauty pageant winners tell us that thin female bodies are still rated as attractive.

'Nanobulb' helps see subwavelength-size objects with ordinary microscope
Scientists from ITMO University have proven that a silicon-gold nanoparticle can act as an effective source of white light when agitated by a pulse laser in IR band.

UV laser photolyses to enhance diamond growth
Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, reported on a new laser-enabled synthesis route to explore the advantages of laser photochemistry in practical material synthesis in a recent article in Light: Science & Applications.

Study links low carbohydrate intake to increased risk of birth defects
Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant may want to avoid diets that reduce or eliminate carbohydrates, as they could increase the risk of having babies with neural tube birth defects, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

MIND diet may slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors
A diet created by researchers at Rush University Medical Center may help substantially slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors, according to preliminary research presented on Jan.

Researchers overcome obstacle for future stem cell therapies
Researchers have discovered a new technique that overcomes one of the major challenges of stem cell therapy.

If you swat mosquitoes, they may learn to avoid your scent
Most of us surely don't think of mosquitoes as being especially adept at learning.

Tiny particles have outsize impact on storm clouds, precipitation
Tiny particles fuel powerful storms and influence weather much more than has been appreciated, according to a study in the Jan.

Research reveals swaths of Asia inhabited by surprisingly related 'Lizards of the Lost Arcs'
A varied collection of lizards throughout Asia are unexpectedly close cousins of beach-dwelling mourning geckos, all descended from a common ancestor species that thrived along an ancient archipelago in the West Pacific that served as a 'superhighway' of biodiversity.

The eye is not immune to immunity
Contrary to long-established dogma, the eye can host an active immune response that could both heal injury and contribute to loss of vision.

Study finds genetic link between thinner corneas and increased risk of glaucoma
Genetic studies in mice point to a protein called POU6F2, which can modulate corneal thickness, as a possible risk factor for glaucoma in humans, report Eldon Geisert of Emory University, and colleagues, Jan.

Pa. deer, like mammals worldwide, move less in human-modified landscapes
In the big woods of Pennsylvania's Northern Tier, the home range of the average white-tailed deer is more than twice as large as that of a deer in urban or agricultural areas of the state.

Humans limit animal movements
Humans change entire landscapes -- by building cities and roads, by farming land and by exploiting natural resources.

New study debunks the theory of 'war-like' business competition in financial markets
A new study, 'Toward a Social Practice Theory of Relational Competing' shows that the perception of war-like competitiveness is flawed and misleading.

When the 'guardian' and the 'caretaker' of the genome join forces
Achievement in the field of cancer research: Biologists and chemists at the University of Konstanz decipher a molecular mechanism of the cell with relevance for the development of cancer and the fight against that disease.

Aspiration as good as stent retrievers for removing large-vessel clots in stroke patients
ADAPT, an aspiration technique pioneered at the Medical University of South Carolina, is non-inferior to stent retrievers for mechanical thrombectomy in stroke patients with large-vessel clots, according to the preliminary results of the COMPASS trial reported at the International Stroke Conference on Jan.

Study shows investors lose, insiders win when IPOs involve analysts
When equity analysts are more involved in a firm's initial public offering, investors who purchase stock based on these analysts' reports lose more than 3 percent of their investment, according to a new study from the University at Buffalo School of Management.

Asian-American ethnicity associated with severe stroke, worse outcomes
Asian-American race was more associated with severe ischemic strokes and worse outcomes than being whites.

Research test identifies BRCA2 gene mutations that lead to breast, ovarian cancers
A new test developed by researchers at Mayo Clinic shows which mutations in the BRCA2 gene make women susceptible to developing breast or ovarian cancers.

Shape-shifting organic crystals use memory to improve plastic electronics
Researchers have identified a mechanism that triggers shape-memory phenomena in organic crystals used in plastic electronics.

Recycling and reusing worn cathodes to make new lithium ion batteries
Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have developed an energy-efficient recycling process that restores used cathodes from spent lithium ion batteries and makes them work just as good as new.

The origin of snakes -- new evolutionary scenario presented
The early evolution of snakes happened from surface-terrestrial to burrowing in the lizard-snake transition suggests a research group at the University of Helsinki.

A usually ignored finding in the kidneys may signal stroke risk
Sacs of fluid in the kidneys may indicate there is also blood vessel damage in the brain and a heightened risk of stroke, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.

Discovery offers new genetic pathway for injured nerve regeneration
Researchers on the hunt for genes involved in regenerating critical nerve fibers came away with a surprise: the discovery of a new genetic pathway that carries hope for victims of traumatic injuries -- from stroke to spinal cord damage.

Repurposed drug found to be effective against Zika virus
In both cell cultures and mouse models, a drug used to treat Hepatitis C effectively protected and rescued neural cells infected by the Zika virus -- and blocked transmission of the virus to mouse fetuses.

Scientists discover oldest known modern human fossil outside of Africa
A large international research team, led by Israel Hershkovitz from Tel Aviv University and including Rolf Quam from Binghamton University, State University of New York, has discovered the earliest modern human fossil ever found outside of Africa.

Mechanism of familial Parkinson's disease clarified in fruit fly model
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder, in which 15 percent of cases are linked to genetic mutations.

Billions of plastic items are sickening coral reefs
A new study estimates that 11.1 billion plastic items are lodged along coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific, and that their presence increases the risk of coral disease from 4 to 89 percent, in some cases.

Too few with stroke of the eye are treated to reduce future stroke
Only one-third of 5,600 patients with retinal infarction, or stroke in the eye, underwent basic stroke work-up, and fewer than one in 10 were seen by a neurologist.

Silicon nanoblock arrays create vivid colors with subwavelength resolution
Osaka University researchers demonstrated a range of highly tunable vivid color pixels controlled by the geometry of a monocrystalline silicon metamaterial surface.

Pulling power reveals new insights into membrane dynamics in human cells
Scientists have now discovered how the movement and membrane dynamics of a specific organelle -- called peroxisomes -- are mediated.

Aspiration as good as stent retrievers for large vessel clot removal in stroke patients
Results of COMPASS trial are presented at the International Stroke Conference by J.

Cancer researchers hit a bullseye with new drug target for Ewing sarcoma
Kimberly Stegmaier of Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and collaborators have found that Ewing sarcoma cells die if an enzyme called CDK12 is knocked out genetically or chemically inhibited.

Progress toward an HIV cure in annual special issue of AIDS Research & Human Retroviruses
Researchers have shown that despite effective combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV can hide in the spleen of patients with no detectable HIV in their blood.

Ancient Eurasian DNA sequencing is revealing links with modern humans
Until recently, very little was known about the genetic relationship between modern humans of the Upper Paleolithic age (the period of time between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, also called the Late Stone age) and today's populations.

Mammals move less in human-modified landscapes
On average, mammals move only half to one third of the distance in human-modified landscapes than they do in the wild.

Study of 3,000 drinkers' attempts to cut down produces sobering results
January is a popular month for people trying to reduce their alcohol intake but how successful are they in doing so?

Even the tiniest aerosol particles can kick up a storm
A new study suggests that tiny aerosol particles from pollution plumes have a greater influence on stormy weather over pristine regions of the world, such as oceans and large forests, than previously believed.

Tactic for controlling motor symptoms of advanced Parkinson's disease
Standard drug treatment for Parkinson's disease can over time induce motor complications that reduce the effectiveness of restoring mobility.

Letting silenced genes speak
Stem cell researchers at UConn Health have reversed Prader-Willi syndrome in brain cells growing in the lab.

Plastics linked to disease in coral
An international team led by a JCU scientist has found that contact with plastic waste massively increases the chance of disease in corals.

Study sheds light on alternative, more convenient method of cell preservation
Researchers have taken an important step toward a more convenient, less expensive means of preserving mammalian cells for in vitro fertilization, species conservation, cell therapy and other purposes.

Proteins' fluorescence a little less mysterious
Rice University scientists use simulations to understand the mechanism behind a popular fluorescent protein used to monitor signals between neurons.

Quantum race accelerates development of silicon quantum chip
In a neck-and-neck race with their competitors, a team of TU Delft scientists led by Professor Vandersypen showed that quantum information of an electron spin can be transported to a photon, in a silicon quantum chip.

Developing a roadside test for marijuana intoxication isn't as easy as it sounds
As marijuana legalization gains momentum in the United States, researchers worry about keeping the public safe, particularly on the roads.

Bacterial immune systems take the stage
Researchers now understand that most microorganisms have sophisticated immune systems of which CRISPR is just one element; but there has been no good way to identify these systems.

Researchers from TU Delft combine spintronics and nanophotonics in 2-D material
Researchers from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at TU Delft, working with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research's AMOLF institute, have found a way to convert the spin information into a predictable light signal at room temperature.

A 'marine motorhome for microbes': Oceanic plastic trash conveys disease to coral reefs
For coral reefs, the threat of climate change and bleaching are bad enough.

UCLA study could explain link between high-cholesterol diet and colon cancer
UCLA scientists discovered that boosting mice's cholesterol levels spurred intestinal stem cells to divide more quickly, enabling tumors to form 100 times faster.

Scientists discover stem cells that build a fly's nervous system
Scientists at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute have uncovered new insights into how stem cells transform into brain cells that control leg movements.

Surprising discovery links sour taste to the inner ear's ability to sense balance
Scientists at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences have discovered an entirely new class of ion channels.

Better insurance access hasn't eliminated cost barriers to post-stroke meds
Despite federal programs to improve the availability of medical insurance, drug costs still keep more than one in ten stroke survivors from obtaining their recommended medications, putting them at risk of another stroke, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.

Honeycomb maze offers significant improvement over current spatial navigation tests
A powerful new tool for the study of spatial memory was today described in Nature as a significant improvement over the current gold standard, the Morris Water Maze.

Starving cancer cells of sugar -- does it work?
Researchers from the Duke-NUS Medical School and collaborators from Austria have demonstrated for the first time a novel cell death pathway that describes how depletion of sugar causes cancer cell death.

Working before and after stroke is good for brain health
Working-age adults who suffer stroke are likely to have healthier brains, sharper minds and less risk of depression and death two years after stroke if they worked prior to stroke, versus being unemployed.

Prompt clot-grabbing treatment produces better stroke outcomes
Clot removal may be beneficial up to 24 hours following stroke in carefully selected patients, but every hour delayed after symptoms begin may be associated with more disability, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.

Simple test speeds recognition of posterior stroke
A simple finger-to-nose test by medical professionals almost doubled the recognition of possible stroke involving the circulation at the back of the brain, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.

Modern human brain organization emerged only recently
Homo sapiens fossils demonstrate a gradual evolution of the human brain towards its modern globular shape.

Microbiome research refines HIV risk for women
Drawing from data collected for years by AIDS researchers in six African nations, scientists have pinpointed seven bacterial species whose presence in high concentrations may significantly increase the risk of HIV infection in women.

Oldest human fossil outside of Africa discovered, with tools nearby
A human fossil found in Israel substantially shifts the estimated timeframe for when humans first left Africa, suggesting they did so approximately 40,000 to 50,000 years sooner than previously thought.

Understanding emotional responses to traumatic injury key to planning & treatment efforts
Injuries are a major public health problem in the United States, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all deaths among Americans between the ages of 1 and 44 years. 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