Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 12, 2018
Huntington's disease provides new cancer weapon
Patients with Huntington's disease, a fatal genetic illness that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, have up to 80 percent less cancer than the general population.

Obesity, other risks play large role in sudden cardiac arrest among the young
Obesity and other common cardiovascular risk factors may play a greater role in sudden cardiac arrest among younger people than previously recognized, underscoring the importance of earlier screening, a Cedars-Sinai study has found.

New technology enables identification of biomarkers for a wide range of diseases
Scientists have developed a way to identify biomarkers for a wide range of diseases by assessing the antibodies we are making to the complex sugars coating our cells.

Novel classification can lead to new ways to diagnose and treat cancer
A novel approach to studying cancer has enabled researchers to group about 10,000 human cancers of 32 different types into 10 classes based on the molecular pathways that drive tumor growth.

Star architecture and its impact on the city
The Guggenheim Museum by star architect Frank Gehry led to an economic boom in the Spanish city of Bilbao.

International team sequences first Amazon molly fish genome
No species is immune from the suffering of unrequited love, but scientists expect to learn volumes about the biological basis of sex from the newly sequenced genome of an all-female, asexual Texas native -- the Amazon molly -- that has thrived as a master of male manipulation over millennia.

Brain scans show why people get aggressive after a drink or two
Researchers have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans that measure blood flow in the brain to better understand why people often become aggressive and violent after drinking alcohol.

Before-school physical activity program helps improve body weight and overall wellness
A MassGeneral Hospital for Children study finds that children participating in a 12-week, before-school physical activity program experienced improvement in body weight and social/emotional wellness, compared with their classmates who did not participate.

Weeds out of control
Herbicides can no longer control the weeds that threaten crop productivity and food security in the UK because the plants have evolved resistance, and future control must depend on management strategies that reduce reliance on chemicals.

Captured electrons excite nuclei to higher energy states
For the first time, scientists demonstrated a long-theorized nuclear effect called nuclear excitation by electron capture.

Despite odds, fish species that bypasses sexual reproduction is thriving
An international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of the Amazon molly, a fish that reproduces asexually.

Sea level rise accelerating
Global sea level rise is not cruising along at a steady rate per year, but rather accelerating a little every year like a driver merging onto a highway.

New method for waking up devices
A device that's turned off doesn't suck battery life, but it also doesn't work.

Ideology is not main factor that pushes children to join terrorist groups
Counter-terror efforts based on the assumption that children recruited into extremist groups are motivated by ideology are unlikely to be effective, and could even backfire, concludes a two-year research project led by the United Nations University.

Measles vaccine increases child survival beyond protecting against measles
Analysis of more than 38,000 children in Ghana shows that all-cause mortality is significantly lower in children who received the measles vaccine after the third diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccination.

Tropical Cyclone Gita packs heavy rain, warnings now for Tonga and Fiji
Hurricane Gita strengthened into a powerful Category 4 hurricane on Feb.

The Scanpy software processes huge amounts of single-cell data
Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a program that is able to help manage enormous datasets.

Cancer-fighting nanorobots programmed to seek and destroy tumors
In a major advancement in nanomedicine, Arizona State University (ASU) scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have successfully programmed nanorobots to shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

Evidence that medical marijuana outlets sell to other users
A study of four medical marijuana outlets in California suggests that many of their customers don't fit the profile expected for businesses focused on sick patients.

Fastest spin on Earth? For animals that rely on legs, scientists say one spider takes gold
New research from the University of California Merced and the California Academy of Sciences shows that individuals from the spider family Selenopidae -- commonly known as flattie spiders -- can sense prey approaching from any direction and whip around in one-eighth of a second to strike.

Bed bug histamines are substantial, persistent in infested homes
Nuisance pest to medically important threat? New research findings from North Carolina State University shows that bed bugs emit substantial amounts of histamine that persist even after bed bugs are eliminated.

NIR light may identify breast cancer patients who will benefit most from chemotherapy
A new optical imaging system developed at Columbia University uses red and near-infrared light to identify breast cancer patients who will respond to chemotherapy.

Web-based teaching can improve science understanding for struggling pupils
Web-based learning tools can help deepen science knowledge among all middle school students, and ease the science literacy gap for underachieving students, according to a three-year study published today in the International Journal of Science Education.

Tiny fossils, huge slides: Are diatoms the key to Earth's biggest slides?
The biggest landslides on Earth aren't on land, but on the seafloor.

A new tool for improving uterine transplant surgery
Future Science Group (FSG) today announced the publication of an article in Future Science OA demonstrating the first use of multispectral imaging in gynecology, in a uterine transplant setting.

Slow eating speed may be linked to weight loss
Slowing down the speed at which you eat, along with cutting out after dinner snacks and not eating within two hours of going to sleep may all help to shed the pounds, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

New guide for finding genes linked with behavior
Scientists interested in finding specific genes that influence the behavior of humans and animals have a new tool, thanks to a two-year research effort aimed at describing how to apply the latest techniques of molecular genomics to the study of complex behavior.

Study sheds new light on mechanism of breast cancer treatment resistance
A study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has illuminated a specific mechanism by which estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers can become resistant to standard therapies and metastasize.

How do children's cancer diagnoses affect parents' income?
A new study from Sweden found that social benefits often ease the financial burdens experienced by the parents of children recently diagnosed with cancer, but mothers experienced persistently lower income after benefits diminished.

Cold open water plunge provides instant pain relief
A short, sharp, cold water swim may offer an alternative to strong painkillers and physiotherapy to relieve severe persistent pain after surgery, suggest doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Programming drones to fly in the face of uncertainty
MIT CSAIL system enables drones to fly through forests and avoid obstacles by harnessing uncertainty.

No sex for all-female fish species
They reproduce through gynogenesis. Their offspring are clones of the mother.

Lithuanian researchers: Wastewater treatment plants could generate electricity
Researchers of Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania are working on improving the efficiency of microbial fuel cells (MFC) by using modified graphite felt.

Twenty-five years of satellite data confirm rising sea levels
Satellite data predicts current acceleration rate will cause a dramatic rise in sea level by 2100.

New study shows vegan diet improves diabetes markers in overweight adults
A plant-based diet improves beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity in overweight adults with no history of diabetes, according to a new study published in Nutrients by researchers from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

No llamas required
Antibodies made by camels, llamas and alpacas allow scientists to study the structure and function of proteins in disease and health.

Ancient trail of Columbian mammoths uncovered in south-central Oregon
A fossilized trackway on public lands in Lake County, Oregon, may reveal clues about the ancient family dynamics of Columbian mammoths.

Implanted continuous glucose sensor proven safe and accurate in types 1 and 2 diabetes
Results of the PRECISE II study showed the implanted continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system from Eversense to be safe and highly accurate over the 90-day sensor life in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

New cannabis products highly potent, pose mental health risks
With states rapidly legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, physicians will be increasingly pressed to counsel patients on their frequency of use and dosage, as well as associated risks.

New machine learning algorithm uncovers time-delayed interactions in cells
A new algorithm uses time-series data to show the cause-and-effect interactions that take place inside of living cells.

Survivors of childhood heart defects may have higher risk of premature dementia
Children born with heart defects are more likely to survive into old age because of improved early treatments, but they may be more likely to develop early-onset dementia than people born without heart defects.

Progress, but far from perfection, on avoiding risky sedatives in older adults
They help many people sleep, or feel calmer or less anxious.

Research offers new insight into workings of building blocks of life
Pioneering new research could offer a fascinating new insight into how genomic information is read.

Study suggests way to attack deadly, untreatable nerve tumors
Genomic profiling of mostly untreatable and deadly nerve sheath tumors led scientists to test a possible therapeutic strategy that inhibited tumor growth in lab tests on human tumor cells and mouse models, according to research in the journal Cancer Cell.

Which commonly prescribed drug is more effective for infants with epilepsy?
Levetiracetam was found to be superior to phenobarbital as initial monotherapy for infants with nonsyndromic epilepsy.

New research shows shorter fitness test still accurately predicts risk of mortality
Queen's University researcher Louise de Lannoy has determined a short, five minute treadmill test can predict the risk of mortality.

Study examines methane emissions reduction from oil and gas in North America
Atmospheric methane concentrations continue to increase globally, despite a pledge in 2016 from the leaders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to reduce methane emissions from each country's oil and gas sector.

Family history increases breast cancer risk in older women: Weighing screening options
Family history of breast cancer continues to significantly increase chances of developing invasive breast tumors in aging women -- those ages 65 and older.

Tricking photons leads to first-of-its-kind laser breakthrough
A team of optics researchers from the University of Central Florida has demonstrated the first-ever nonmagnetic topological insulator laser, a finding that has the potential to substantially improve the efficiency, beam quality, and resilience of semiconductor laser arrays.

Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus
In a paper published Feb. 9 in Science Advances, scientists at the University of Washington announced that they have successfully combined two different imaging methods -- a type of lens designed for nanoscale interaction with lightwaves, along with robust computational processing -- to create full-color images.

Middle Earth preserved in giant bird dung
While the giant birds that once dominated New Zealand are all extinct, a study of their preserved dung (coprolites) has revealed many aspects of their ancient ecosystem, with important insights for ongoing conservation efforts.

Study finds gender and skin-type bias in commercial artificial-intelligence systems
A new paper from the MIT Media Lab's Joy Buolamwini shows that three commercial facial-analysis programs demonstrate gender and skin-type biases, and suggests a new, more accurate method for evaluating the performance of such machine-learning systems.

Predictors for infidelity and divorce highlighted in new research
New research from Florida State University highlights ways to keep love and also identifies clear predictors for failed relationships.

Brain thickness provides insight into teenage decision-making
Young adults with thinner cortex in particular brain regions are more impulsive during a decision-making task than teens with thicker cortex, according to a large correlational study of adolescents from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort.

Today's highest quality composite-piezoelectric developed at NUST MISIS
NUST MISIS scientists jointly with an international group of scientists have managed to develop a composite material that has the best piezoelectric properties today.

Study examines shift work and genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes
A new study takes a deep look at the connection between shift work and type 2 diabetes.

Is risk of fatal crashes increased on 4/20 counterculture holiday celebrating marijuana?
Bottom Line: The popular counterculture holiday '4/20' that celebrates marijuana was associated with an increased risk of fatal traffic crashes.

Beewolves have been successfully using the same antibiotics for 68 million years
A team of scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena have now found that beewolves, unlike humans, do not face the problem of antibiotic resistant pathogens.

Engaging family in care of hospitalized loved ones enhances healing, reduces readmission rates
A voluntary program being spearheaded by Intermountain Healthcare that allows family members of hospitalized patients to participate in their care enhanced healing and reduced readmission rates.

Rubber blanket at an atomic level
Two-dimensional materials such as graphene, which consist of only one or a few atomic layers, have been a very promising aspect of materials science over recent years.

Risk of fatal traffic crash higher during annual 4/20 cannabis celebration
US drivers are more likely to be in a fatal traffic crash during the annual April 20 cannabis celebration.

Acoustic imaging reveals hidden features of megathrust fault off Costa Rica
Geophysicists have obtained detailed three-dimensional images of a dangerous megathrust fault west of Costa Rica where two plates of the Earth's crust collide.

Smart bomb virus shows promise as brain tumor immunotherapy
A common cold virus engineered to attack the most common and deadly of brain tumors allowed 20 percent of patients with recurrent glioblastoma to live for three years or longer, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report on a phase I clinical trial in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Mouse study adds to evidence linking gut bacteria and obesity
A new Johns Hopkins study of mice with the rodent equivalent of metabolic syndrome has added to evidence that the intestinal microbiome -- a 'garden' of bacterial, viral and fungal genes -- plays a substantial role in the development of obesity and insulin resistance in mammals, including humans.

Building and breaking connections: How neuronal networks influence alcoholism
Although it has been known that alterations in the connections between neurons in the brain likely play a role in alcohol dependence and other addictions, the cause-and-effect between these brain alterations and behavior has been less clear.

Hip-hop music influencing more African-Americans to try 'Molly'
'Molly' is growing in popularity within the African-American community. New research shows much of that has to do with rap lyrics.

IU-led study finds neurotransmitter may play a role in alcohol relapse, addiction
Indiana University researchers scanned the brains of individuals with alcohol abuse disorder and found that the neurotransmitter glutamate may play a role in some addition cravings.

Cancer killing clue could lead to safer and more powerful immunotherapies
The study, led by Dr Misty Jenkins from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, explains the crucial mechanisms by which CAR-T cell therapy is able to rapidly target and kill cancer cells, and why it may cause serious side effects.

Limited scope of corporate sustainability revealed
The first large-scale analysis of corporate practices for sourcing sustainable materials shows that many companies address sustainability at some level, but most deal with only one or a subset of materials within a small portion of their supply chain.

Obesity associated with longer survival for men with metastatic melanoma
Obese patients with metastatic melanoma who are treated with targeted or immune therapies live significantly longer than those with a normal body mass index (BMI), investigators report in a study published in Lancet Oncology of 1,918 patients in six independent clinical cohorts.

Dyslexia does not reduce pass rates for UK GP licensing exam
A study led by academics at the University of Lincoln has found that UK GPs who declare dyslexia prior to taking the AKT are just as likely to pass the knowledge component of the licensing exam as their counterparts.

Medicaid expansion in Kentucky improves breast cancer care for women 20 to 64 years old
In Kentucky, one of the Medicaid expansion states, a University of Louisville study of breast cancer care has found a connection between Medicaid expansion and improved quality of breast cancer care, including an increase in diagnosis of early stage disease and greater utilization of breast-conserving surgery instead of more invasive operations such as mastectomy.

Mutation in single rice gene cancels interspecific hybrid sterility
Scientists successfully employed mutagenesis to identify the gene that causes hybrid sterility in rice, which is a major reproductive barrier between species.

Why did gas hydrates melt at the end of the last ice age?
Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are locked up as solid gas hydrates in the continental slopes of ocean margins.

Temperature resilient crops now an 'achievable dream' say authors of new study
Breeding temperature-resilient crops is an 'achievable dream' in one of the most important species of commercially cultivated plants, according to a new study.

Bentley University study shows NIH spent >$100 billion on basic science for new medicines
Federally funded research contributed to the science underlying all new medicines approved by the FDA from 2010-2016, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NASA tracks Tropical Storm Sanba as it triggers Philippines warnings
Tropical Storm Sanba, formerly known as 02W has triggered many warnings in the Philippines as it approaches from the east.

Salmon face double whammy from toxic stormwater
WSU researchers have determined that coho salmon that survive polluted stormwater are still at risk.

Researchers raise a 170-million-year question over mysterious moss gene
A surprise discovery provides insight into how cells build their external walls and raises questions about a one-of-a-kind, fused gene.

Science self-corrects: Cancer gene does not pass reproducibility test
About 10 years ago, several labs discovered that a gene called MELK is overexpressed, or turned on to a high degree, in many cancer cell types.

Full integration of digital breast tomosynthesis reduces false positive rates, study shows
Rates of false positive breast cancer screening exams fell significantly after complete integration of diagnostic digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), potentially leading to higher quality, lower costs, and fewer unnecessary biopsies, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2018 Annual Meeting, set for April 22-27 in Washington, DC.

Another blow to fungal infection
The first successful unpicking of a wheat gene that confers resistance to a devastating fungal disease promises to speed the unraveling of other resistance genes that, together, could provide wheat with a natural barrier to infection at a time when the fungus has already developed tolerance to most types of fungicides.

A prototype is developed to monitor environmental variables in buildings
The heating should only switch on when necessary, or the house should only be ventilated during the time that it takes to do this, but no longer.

Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs
An international team of researchers have discovered egg cases of deep-sea fish near hydrothermal vents.

Tiny drug-delivering capsules could sustain transplanted insulin-producing cells
A drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes.

Study shows benefits of exercise can outweigh health effects of severe obesity
New study that shows physical activity may be equally and perhaps even more important than weight for people living with severe obesity.

UCI-led study identifies 'hot spots' of water quality violations
While serious violations like those in the Flint, Michigan, crisis are rare, ensuring reliable access to safe drinking water poses challenges for communities across the country, according to a recent study led by the University of California, Irvine.

Several Berkeley Lab scientists to present talks at 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting
Several scientists from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will present talks at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to be held Feb.

Transportable optical clock used to measure gravitation for the first time
A European collaboration involving clock experts from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM) has used one of the world's transportable optical atomic clocks to measure gravitation for the first time.

Alternatives to whole liver transplants for children have become safer, study finds
In a new Johns Hopkins study of patient and graft survival trends for pediatric liver transplant recipients between 2002 and 2015, researchers found that outcomes for alternatives to whole liver transplantation (WLT), such as splitting a liver for two recipients or using a part of a liver from a living donor, have improved significantly.

Canadian stroke victims at higher risk of dying in rural hospitals
Canadians who suffer a stroke have a higher risk of dying if they are treated in a rural hospital rather than an urban one.

Researchers discover brain pathway that dissociates opioid addiction from analgesia
Study results may provide mechanism to make opioids safer and more efficient.

Who should be held responsible for the Aliso Canyon gas leak?
A USC-led analysis of the Aliso Canyon gas leak determined corporate dysfunction by the SoCalGas Co. and lax regulatory oversight led to the largest greenhouse gas leak in US history.

Most commonly prescribed drug for infantile epilepsy may also be most effective
Levetiracetam, the most commonly prescribed drug for US infants with epilepsy, may be significantly more effective than the second-choice drug phenobarbital, according to a new study by scientists from Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian and 16 other research institutions.

Researchers inhibit cancer metastases via novel steps
In one of the first successes of its kind, researchers have inhibited the spreading of cancer cells from one part of the body to another.

Tasmanian devil populations continue to decline
Ongoing monitoring of wild Tasmanian devils shows that overall population numbers are continuing to decline, due to the presence of devil facial tumour disease.

Bats as barometer of change
Bats spend every night hard at work for local farmers, consuming over half of their own weight in insects, many of which are harmful agricultural pests, such as the noctuid moths, corn earworm and fall armyworm.

OHSU, CDC unravel mysterious eye infection
A 26-year-old Oregon woman was the first known case of a human being infected with the cattle eyeworm Thelazia gulosa, which normally affects large animals.

New fuel cell demonstrates exceptional power density and stability
By combining a high-activity cathode with a new composition of matter, fuel cell operates at 500-degrees Celsius -- a commercialization sweet spot.

Some black and Latino Christians rely on religion for healing
Christians who are comparatively well-represented in the medical field, like Korean-Americans, understand the relationship between faith and health differently than those who are not, like African-Americans and Latinos.

Sibling bullying makes psychotic disorders three times more likely
People who were bullied by siblings during childhood are up to three times more likely to develop psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia in early adulthood, according to new research by the University of Warwick.

Altered pain processing after opioid discontinuation
An imaging study of the brain and spinal cord published in JNeurosci reveals pain processing changes in healthy men after receiving a short-term application of a strong opioid.

NUS researchers turn fashion waste into multifunctional material
A research team led by Associate Professor Hai Minh Duong and Professor Nhan Phan-Thien from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at National University of Singapore's Faculty of Engineering has devised a fast, cheap and green method to convert fashion waste into highly compressible and ultralight cotton aerogels.

Using injectable self-assembled nanomaterials for sustained delivery of drugs
New injectable delivery system forms a non-inflammatory depot that can continuously release drug carriers for months at a time after a single administration.

Some racial/ethnic groups have greater chance of developing high blood pressure
People who are African-American, American Indian/native Alaskan, Asian, or native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders have a significantly greater chance of developing hypertension than people who are white or Hispanic who are in the same weight category or live in neighborhoods with similar education levels.

New sustainable production method could advance plastics and pharmaceuticals
A team of chemical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin has developed a new, cost-effective method for synthetically producing a biorenewable platform chemical called triacetic acid lactone (TAL) that can be used to produce innovative new drugs and sustainable plastics at an industrial scale.

Lightning storms less likely in a warming planet, study suggests
Lightning storms may become less frequent in future as the world warms.

Biomarker predicts success of Afib treatment
Johns Hopkins researchers report successful use of heart imaging to predict the benefit or futility of catheter ablation, an increasingly popular way to treat atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder.

Recordings spout secrets behind blue whale behavior
Researchers are using underwater microphones to interpret and characterize the calls of blue whales swimming through Southern California's oceans, revealing new insights into the behavior of these endangered marine mammals, according to new research being presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting here on Tuesday.

Partner selection in lemurs
Red-fronted lemurs recognize conspecifics in photos.

When the body attacks the brain: Immune system often to blame for encephalitis, study finds
Encephalitis caused by the immune system attacking the brain is similar in frequency to encephalitis from infections, Mayo Clinic researchers report in Annals of Neurology.

Opioid use increases risk of serious infections
Opioid users have a significantly increased risk of infections severe enough to require treatment at the hospital, such as pneumonia and meningitis, as compared to people who don't use opioids.

Lung cancer drug resistance explained by computer simulations
Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Parma, Italy, have used molecular simulations to understand resistance to osimertinib -- an anticancer drug used to treat types of lung cancer.

Too much TV at age 2 makes for less healthy adolescents
Skipping breakfast, eating junk food and doing less well in school might all result from watching TV too young, a Canadian study finds.

Rapid decompression key to making low-density liquid water
Water is so common that we take it for granted.

Neutron study of glaucoma drugs offers clues about enzyme targets for aggressive cancers
A team of researchers from ORNL's Energy and Transportation Science Division is using neutron imaging to study particulate filters that collect harmful emissions in vehicles.

Avoided increases of extreme heat events over East Asia by 0.5 degrees C less warming
Most populous subregions, including eastern China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan, will see more intense, more frequent and longer lasting extreme temperature events under 1.5 degrees C and 2 degrees C warming.

Global warming could cause key culinary crops to release seeds prematurely
Climate change is threatening crop yields worldwide, yet little is known about how global warming will confuse normal plant physiology.

New model for evaluating rangeland systems launches
A new global rangeland model allows people to understand how changes in climate will potentially impact rangelands.

Experimental therapy restores nerve insulation damaged by disease
When the body attacks its own healthy tissues in an autoimmune disease, peripheral nerve damage handicaps people and causes persistent neuropathic pain when insulation on healing nerves doesn't fully regenerate. 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