Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 13, 2018
Gene expression patterns may help determine time of death
International team of scientists led by Roderic Guigó at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona shows that changes in gene expression in different tissues can be used to predict the time of death of individuals.

Investigators highlight potential of exercise in addressing substance abuse in teens
Exercise has numerous, well-documented health benefits. Could it also play a role in preventing and reducing substance misuse and abuse in adolescents?

Polar vortex defies climate change in the Southeast
Overwhelming scientific evidence has demonstrated that our planet is getting warmer due to climate change, yet parts of the eastern US are actually getting cooler.

Rock art: Life-sized sculptures of dromedaries found in Saudi Arabia
At a remarkable site in northwest Saudi Arabia, a CNRS archaeologist and colleagues from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage have discovered camelid sculptures unlike any others in the region.

Penn chemists develop motion capture-like technology for tracking protein shape
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrated a motion capture-like technology that tracks how proteins fold and change shape using fluorescent probes.

New study finds sea level rise accelerating
Global sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades, rather than increasing steadily, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data.

Eclipse season starts for NASA's SDO
On Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, saw a total solar eclipse in space when Earth crossed its view of the sun.

PFASs, chemicals commonly found in environment, may interfere with body weight regulation
Boston, MA - A class of chemicals used in many industrial and consumer products was linked with greater weight gain after dieting, particularly among women, according to a study led by Harvard T.H.

To prevent cyberattacks, agency similar to National Transportation Safety Board suggested
After arguably the worst year ever for cyberattacks and data breaches, Indiana University research suggests it may be time to create an independent cybersecurity agency board comparable in approach to the National Transportation Safety Board that investigates airplane crashes and train derailments.

Breaking local symmetry: Why water freezes but silica forms a glass
University of Tokyo researchers simulated water and silica at low temperature.

What is a 'normal' blood pressure response during exercise testing?
New data from the University of Illinois at Chicago suggest that the guidelines used to evaluate an individual's peak blood pressure response during cardiopulmonary exercise testing, which were last updated in 1996 and help doctors screen for hypertension and cardiovascular disease, may need to be revised.

Pride tops guilt as a motivator for environmental decisions
A lot of pro-environmental messages suggest that people will feel guilty if they don't make an effort to live more sustainably or takes steps to ameliorate climate change.

Ocean winds influence seal pup migration
Scientists have confirmed what native Alaskans have observed for centuries -- maritime winds influence the travel patterns of northern fur seal pups.

Digital liver scanning technology could halve the number of liver biopsies needed in the NHS
A study has revealed that a new scanning technology could almost halve the number of liver biopsies carried out on people with fatty liver disease.

Efforts are needed to tap into the potential of nutraceuticals
A growing demand exists for nutraceuticals, which seem to reside in the grey area between pharmaceuticals and food.

Kidney stones on the rise, Mayo Clinic study finds
Kidney stones are a painful health condition, often requiring multiple procedures at great discomfort to the patient.

In effort to treat rare blinding disease, researchers turn stem cells into blood vessels
People with a mutated ATF6 gene have a malformed or missing fovea, the eye region responsible for detailed vision.

ESO's VLT working as 16-meter telescope for first time
The ESPRESSO instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile has used the combined light of all four of the 8.2-meter Unit Telescopes for the first time.

NASA's longest running survey of ice shattered records in 2017
Last year was a record-breaking one for Operation IceBridge, NASA's aerial survey of the state of polar ice.

Genetic limits threaten chickpeas, a globally critical food
Scientists have discovered an extreme lack of genetic diversity and other threats to the future adaptability of domestic chickpeas, the primary source of protein of 20 percent of the world's people.

NASA eyes powerful Tropical Cyclone Gita in the South Pacific
NASA's Terra satellite provided a visible image of Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Gita as it continues to bring heavy rainfall, powerful winds and storm surge to Fiji Islands after pounding the island of Tonga.

High-efficiency and low-cost catalyst for water electrolysis
A research team in DGIST has newly developed metal-rich graphitic nanocarbon layers encapsulated electrocatalysts and introduce as cheapest electrode materials for the cost-effective hydrogen gas generation via water electrolysis.

Light-activated cancer drugs without toxic side effects: Fresh insight
Future cancer drugs that are activated by light and don't cause the toxic side-effects of current chemotherapy treatments are closer to becoming a reality, thanks to new research made possible by the Monash Warwick Alliance, an intercontinental collaboration between the University of Warwick (UK) and Monash University (Australia).

Missing link to novel superconductivity revealed at Ames Laboratory
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered a state of magnetism that may be the missing link to understanding the relationship between magnetism and unconventional superconductivity.

Surgical infections linked to drug-resistant bugs, study suggests
People having surgery in low income countries are more likely to develop an infection than those in wealthier nations, which may be linked to drug-resistant bacteria, research led by the University of Edinburgh suggests.

#EpicDuckChallenge shows we can count on drones
A few thousand rubber ducks, a group of experienced wildlife spotters and a drone have proven the usefulness and accuracy of drones for wildlife monitoring.

New models give insight into the heart of the Rosette Nebula
New research, led by the University of Leeds, offers an explanation for the discrepancy between the size and age of the Rosetta Nebula's central cavity and that of its central stars.

When it comes to extinction, body size matters
Models for extinction risk are necessarily simple. Most reduce complex ecological systems to a linear relationship between resource density and population growth -- something that can be broadly applied to infer how much resource loss a species can survive.

Powerful LED-based train headlight optimized for energy savings
Researchers have designed a new LED-based train headlight that uses a tenth of the energy required for headlights using conventional light sources.

Study finds depression and fatigue increase women's risk of work-related injuries
Women who suffer from depression, anxiety, and fatigue are more likely to be injured at work, according to a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Patients lack information about imaging exams
Patients and their caregivers desire information about upcoming imaging examinations, but many are not getting it, according to a new study.

SNMMI and ASNC issue joint guidelines for quantification of myocardial blood flow using PET
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging's (SNMMI) Cardiovascular Council and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) have issued the joint position paper, Clinical Quantification of Myocardial Blood Flow Using PET, which was jointly published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology and The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
Generating microjets of highly viscous fluids is important to prevent blurring in key modern applications such as inkjet printing, but such technology is being held back because most printers handle only low-viscosity liquids, e.g. water-based ink.

SMU study finds earthquakes continue for years after gas field wastewater injection stops
Shutting down oil and gas wastewater injection wells may not stop human-induced earthquakes quickly, say seismologists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

New turbulent transport modeling shows multiscale fluctuations in heated plasma
Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility used a 'reduced physics' fluid model of plasma turbulence to explain unexpected properties of the density profile inside a tokamak experiment.

By 2100, arid cities will suffer from more severe heat waves than temperate cities
By 2100, arid cities like Phoenix will become hotbeds for heatwaves compared to their rural surroundings, while cities on the eastern seaboard will be less severely affected by heatwaves compared to theirs.

NIH-funded researchers identify risk factors for sleep apnea during pregnancy
Snoring, older age and obesity may increase a pregnant woman's risk for sleep apnea -- or interrupted breathing during sleep -- according to researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Interdisciplinary approach yields new insights into human evolution
The evolution of human biology should be considered part and parcel with the evolution of humanity itself, proposes Nicole Creanza, assistant professor of biological sciences.

Money only buys happiness for a certain amount
There is an optimal point to how much money it takes to make an individual happy, and that amount varies worldwide, according to research from Purdue University.

TV's influence on pregnancy, childbirth more powerful than many women admit
UC sociology research may reveal a surprisingly stronger-than-expected influence from TV reality shows and other media on pregnant women's perception and management of their pregnancy and childbirth -- possibly impacting more highly educated consumers.

Can a cockroach teach a robot how to scurry across rugged terrain?
Researchers build a robot that moves more like a cockroach.

Phase II trial shows activity of durvalumab in recurrent/metastatic head and neck cancer
Analysis of the phase II CONDOR trial indicates that the immune checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab is tolerable among heavily pre-treated patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer and has the potential to slow growth in tumors with low or negative expression of the PD-L1 protein.

Scientists identify immune cascade that fuels complications, tissue damage in chlamydia infections
Research in mice pinpoints immune mechanism behind tissue damage and complications of chlamydia infection, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States.

Cancer-killing virus acts by alerting immune system
A new UC San Francisco study has shown that a cancer-killing ('oncolytic') virus currently in clinical trials may function as a cancer vaccine - in addition to killing some cancer cells directly, the virus alerts the immune system to the presence of a tumor, triggering a powerful, widespread immune response that kills cancer cells far outside the virus-infected region.

Palm oil in your Valentine's chocolate?
A diet high in saturated fat causes, in addition to obesity and metabolic changes associated with a prediabetic state, anxiodepressive and compulsive behaviors.

Cost-reduction roadmap outlines two pathways to meet DOE residential solar cost target for 2030
Leveraging cost-reduction opportunities in the roof replacement or new construction markets for residential photovoltaic installations could help the United States meet the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office residential solar photovoltaic cost target by 2030, according to new research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Sleepless in Japan: How insomnia kills
Laypeople tend to think that insomnia is usually a symptom of something else, like stress, a bad diet or a sedentary lifestyle, but this may not be true at all.

Pregnant women deficient in vitamin D may give birth to obese children
Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women could preprogram babies to grow into obese children and adults, according to a Keck School of Medicine of USC-led study.

Researchers discover new lead-free perovskite material for solar cells
Perovskite solar cells are a promising new low-cost photovoltaic technology, but most contain toxic lead.

Snapping shrimp may act as 'dinner bell' for gray whales off Oregon coast
Scientists have for the first time captured the sounds of snapping shrimp off the Oregon coast and think the loud crackling from the snapping of their claws may serve as a dinner bell for eastern Pacific gray whales, according to new research being presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting here today.

Brain imaging helps redefine intelligence
NYU Langone study offers the first solid evidence that functional MRI scans of brain entropy are a new means to understanding human intelligence.

Study maps molecular mechanisms crucial for new approach to heart disease therapy
In this study, published in Cell Reports, two labs at UNC and a group at Princeton University reprogrammed ordinary cells called fibroblasts into new and healthy heart muscle cells, and recorded changes that appear to be necessary for this reprogramming.

True to type: From human biopsy to complex gut physiology on a chip
Published in Scientific Reports, Donald Ingber's team at the Wyss Institute leverages the organoid approach to isolate intestinal stem cells from human biopsies, but goes on to break up the organoids and culture the patient-specific cells within our Organ Chips where they spontaneously form intestinal villi oriented towards the channel lumen, and the epithelium in close apposition to human intestinal microvascular endothelium

New device measures blink reflex parameters to quickly and objectively identify concussion
The Blink ReflexometerTM offers a valid, reliable tool for identifying concussion head injuries, report investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina and The Citadel in the January issue of Cogent Engineering.

Pimavanserin: Relief from psychosis in dementia, without devastating side-effects
New research led by the University of Exeter Medical School, and published today in Lancet Neurology found that pimavanserin significantly improves psychosis symptoms in people with the condition, without the devastating side-effects of currently used antipsychotics.

Three's company: New alloy sets magnetism benchmark
Spintronics leverages electron spins to enhance solid-state devices by prolonging battery life.

Can't buy me love: Materialism in marriage linked to devaluation of marriage
Researchers in BYU's School of Family Life have provided more insight into what may be one of the roots of the dissatisfaction caused by materialism -- a diminished view of the importance of marriage itself. 

Understanding a fly's body temperature may help people sleep better
In findings that one day may help people sleep better, scientists have uncovered the first molecular evidence that two anciently conserved proteins in the brains of insects and mammals share a common biological ancestry as regulators of body temperature rhythms crucial to metabolism and sleep.

Chemical cluster could transform energy storage for large electrical grids
Researchers at the University of Rochester and University at Buffalo believe they have found a promising compound that could transform the energy storage landscape.

World's biggest city database shines light on our increasingly urbanized planet
The world's largest data platform on cities, launched by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's science and knowledge service, reveals the planet is even more urbanized than we thought.

Quality Toolkit Improves Care in Indian Hospitals
A simple toolkit of checklists, education materials and feedback reporting improved the quality of care, but not outcomes, in a group of 60 hospitals in south India, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in JAMA.

Cabozantinib shows promise as first line treatment for differentiated thyroid cancer
A kinase inhibitor called cabozantinib could be a viable therapy option for patients with metastatic, radioactive iodine-resistant thyroid cancer.

Plants feel the heat
Sainsbury Laboratory scientists have solved a 79-year-old mystery by discovering how plants vary their response to heat stress depending on the time of day.

Presence, persistence of estrogens in vernal pools an emerging concern
Estrogens in treated wastewater that find their way into temporary wetlands known as vernal pools persist for weeks or even months, according to researchers, who suggest that persistence may have implications for these critical aquatic habitats.

Diet or regular? Decoding behavioral variation in ant clones
Clonal ants appear to be diverse in responding to sweetened water, suggesting epigenetic regulation in behavioral variation and colony survival.

Medical cannabis significantly safer for elderly with chronic pain than Opioids
The new study, published in The European Journal of Internal Medicine, found cannabis therapy is safe and efficacious for elderly patients who are seeking to address cancer symptoms, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other medical issues.

Is cupping therapy effective among athletes?
Swimmer Michael Phelps's continued dominance at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics was accompanied by worldwide awareness of cupping.

Why the seafloor starts moving
When the seabed loses its stability and starts to move, it often happens in much larger dimensions than landslides ashore -- and at slopes with very low gradients.

Medical care for wounded ants
Ants dress the wounds their mates have suffered in battle.

Improved prediction of pesticide residues
The use of pesticides can lead to a build-up of toxic and ecologically harmful residues in the soil.

Most children with sickle cell anemia not receiving key medication to stay healthy
One of the greatest health threats to children with sickle cell anemia is getting a dangerous bacterial infection -- but most are not receiving a key medication to reduce the risk, a new study suggests.

Newly discovered gene may protect against heart disease
Scientists have identified a gene that may play a protective role in preventing heart disease.

Clues to aging found in stem cells' genomes
In fruit flies, repeating genetic elements shrink with age, but then expand in future generations, a resurgence that may help explain how some cells stay immortal.

New vaginal mesh material could help thousands of women affected by life changing complications
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have developed a material that could be used as an alternative to the current vaginal mesh material, polypropylene, used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

Problems with herbicide-resistant weeds become crystal clear
Herbicide-resistant weeds are threatening food security, but University of Queensland researchers are one step closer to a solution after a new discovery.

Building a DNA barcode library for the Canadian flora using herbarium collections
Researchers have built a DNA barcode library for the vascular plant flora of Canada based entirely on herbarium collections.

Nivolumab immunotherapy safe, feasible during chemoradiation for adv. head and neck cancer
Analysis of a clinical trial, RTOG Foundation 3504, finds that nivolumab immunotherapy can be administered safely in conjunction with radiation therapy and chemotherapy for patients with newly diagnosed local-regionally advanced head and neck cancers.

Scientists create most sophisticated human liver model yet
Scientists have developed the most sophisticated mini-livers to date. These organoids can potentially help scientists better understand certain congenital liver diseases as well as speed up efforts to create liver tissue in the lab for transplantation into patients.

Ketone drink could help diabetics by lowering blood sugar
For the first time it has been shown that drinking a ketone supplement can lower blood sugar levels, presenting a potential future method to control spikes in blood sugar experienced by diabetics.

APSOS in Tibet: Probing the whole atmosphere
An NSFC-funded research facility named 'Atmospheric Profiling Synthetic Observation System' (APSOS) was built at the Yangbajain International Cosmic Ray Observatory in Tibet, China, in late 2017.

Energy-efficient encryption for the internet of things
A special-purpose chip hardwired to implement elliptic-curve cryptography in general and the datagram transport layer security protocol in particular reduces power consumption by 99.75 percent and increases speed 500-fold, to help enable the internet of things.

Shorter time between first medical contact to PCI in heart patients linked to saving lives
Heart experts are calling for immediate action following new research in the European Heart Journal that shows every minute counts for patients who suffer the most severe type of heart attack.

Scientists identify factors which drive the evolution of herbicide resistance
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have identified factors which are driving the evolution of herbicide resistance in crops -- something which could also have an impact on medicine as well as agriculture.

Shifting shorelines at Lake Tahoe caused by ancient lava dams
Pleistocene basaltic lavas form a small volcanic field that was erupted from seven vents in the northwestern Lake Tahoe basin.

Screening for ovarian cancer not recommended
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against screening for ovarian cancer in women without symptoms and who are not known to be at high risk (such as those who have certain hereditary cancer syndromes that increase the risk for ovarian cancer).

BU: One or more soda a day could decrease chances of getting pregnant
A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers has found that the intake of one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day -- by either partner -- is associated with a decreased chance of getting pregnant.

March Madness mentality: Faced with chance to win, most coaches go for tie
When faced with a choice between a 'fast' option that offers a greater chance of ultimate victory but also a significant chance of immediate defeat, and a 'slow' option with both a lower chance of winning and a lesser chance of immediate defeat, people often opt for the 'slow' option because of their aversion to sudden death.

UCLA scientists develop low-cost way to build gene sequences
A new method pioneered by UCLA researchers enables an average biochemistry laboratory to make its own gene sequences for only about $2 per gene, a process that previously would require its researchers to pay a commercial vendor $50 to $100 per gene.

Brain sciences researcher pinpoints brain circuit that triggers fear relapse
Steve Maren, the Claude H. Everett Jr. '47 Chair of Liberal Arts professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Texas A&M University, and his Emotion and Memory Systems Laboratory (EMSL) have made a breakthrough discovery in the process of fear relapse.

ACA dependent coverage provision associated with increased use of prenatal care
The dependent coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allowed young adults to stay on their parents' insurance until they were 26 was associated with increased use of prenatal care, increased private insurance payment for births, and a modest reduction in preterm births.

Lower-dose radiation effective, safe for HPV+ head & neck cancer after induction chemo
Results of the phase II OPTIMA clinical trial indicate that patients with head and neck cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV), including those with advanced nodal disease, can receive substantially lower radiation doses safely and effectively if they respond to induction chemotherapy initially.

Researchers examine electroreception in early vertebrates
Sharks, as well as a number of other living primitive fishes, have the amazing ability to detect electric fields in their surroundings.

Graphene on toast, anyone?
Rice University scientists who introduced laser-induced graphene have enhanced their technique to produce what may become a new class of edible electronics.

Intensive agriculture influences US regional summer climate, study finds
Scientists agree that changes in land use such as deforestation, not just emissions of greenhouse gases, can play a significant role altering the world's climate systems.

Fighting for love: Dominant male pheasants learn faster
Dominant male pheasants learn faster than their downtrodden rivals, new research shows.

Cabozantinib shows significant first-line activity for differentiated thyroid cancer
Results of a new phase II clinical trial indicate that cabozantinib offers an active therapy option for patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) that has progressed following surgery and treatment with radioactive iodine (RAI).

Understanding brain functions using upconversion nanoparticles
Scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have worked with an international research team to jointly develop a novel approach for deep brain stimulation.

Recreating outer space in the lab
Thermodynamics provides insight into the internal energy of a system and the energy interaction with its surroundings.

The end of yo-yo dieting? Monash researchers uncover brain switch that controls fat burning
Scientists have discovered a molecular switch in the brain that regulates fat burning -- and could provide a way to control weight gain following dieting.

Heroin vaccine blocks lethal overdose
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have achieved a major milestone toward designing a safe and effective vaccine to both treat heroin addiction and block lethal overdose of the drug. 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