Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 21, 2018
New study suggests hormone therapy helps reduce curvature of the spine
The Women's Health Initiative found that hormone therapy (HT) use was associated with a reduction in vertebral fracture risk.

International team publishes roadmap to enhance radioresistance for space colonization
An international team of researchers from NASA Ames Research Center, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate at Health Canada, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, Oxford University, Insilico Medicine, Insilico Medicine Taiwan, the Biogerontology Research Foundation, Boston University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Liverpool, University of Lethbridge, Ghent University, Center for Healthy Aging and many others have published a roadmap toward enhancing human radioresistance for space exploration and colonization.

Laser technology takes Maya archeologists where they've never gone before
With the help of airborne laser mapping technology, a team of archeologists, led by UA professor Takeshi Inomata, is exploring on a larger scale than ever before the history and spread of settlement at the ancient Maya site of Ceibal in Guatemala.

Researchers bring high res magnetic resonance imaging to nanometer scale
A new technique that brings magnetic resonance imaging to the nanometer scale with unprecedented resolution will open the door for major advances in understanding new materials, virus particles and proteins that cause diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Precision cancer therapy effective in both children and adults
Three quarters of patients, both adults and children, with a variety of advanced cancers occurring in different sites of the body responded to larotrectinib, a novel therapy that targets a specific genetic mutation.

Perceptions of God make Democrats more conservative, Republicans more liberal in some ways
Republicans who believe that God is highly engaged with humanity are like Democrats -- more liberal -- when it comes to social and economic justice issues, according to a Baylor University study analyzing data from the Baylor Religion Survey.

Depression linked to reduced arginine levels
People suffering from major depressive disorder, MDD, have reduced arginine levels, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows.

How bacteria manipulate plants
Attack at the protein front: Xanthomonas bacteria cause diseases in tomato and pepper plants and inject harmful proteins into plant cells.

Fur real: Scientists improve computer rendering of animal fur
The next computer-generated animals in King Kong or The Lion King could look a lot more realistic thanks to a breakthrough by computer scientists at the University of California.

Scientists discover new nanoparticle, dubbed exomeres
A new cellular messenger discovered by Weill Cornell Medicine scientists may help reveal how cancer cells co-opt the body's intercellular delivery service to spread to new locations in the body.

World's first solar fuels reactor for night passes test
International solar thermal energy researchers have successfully tested CONTISOL, a solar reactor that runs on air, able to make any solar fuel like hydrogen and to run day or night - because it uses concentrated solar power (CSP) which can include thermal energy storage.

UMass Amherst physicists contribute to dark matter detector success
This week, scientists from around the world who gathered at UCLA at its Dark Matter 2018 Symposium learned of new results in the search for evidence of the elusive material in Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) by the DarkSide-50 detector.

Computer scientists and materials researchers collaborate to optimize steel classification
Steel is used to build cars, wind turbines and bridges and there are currently about 5000 different types of steel available on the market.

Listening to data could be the best way to track salmon migration
Sound could be the key to understanding ecological data: in a new study in Heliyon, researchers have turned chemical data that shows salmon migration patterns into sound, helping people hear when they move towards the ocean from one river to another.

'Chameleon' ocean bacteria can shift their colors
Cyanobacteria -- which propel the ocean engine and help sustain marine life -- can shift their color like chameleons to match different colored light across the world's seas, according to research by an international collaboration including the University of Warwick.

Under projected rates of sea level rise, a bleak future for Pacific coast tidal wetlands
Pacific coast marshes, particularly those in California and Oregon, are highly vulnerable to climate change, according to a new modeling analysis.

Long incubation times may defend birds against parasites
Some tropical birds have longer egg incubation times than their temperate cousins, even though their habitat is teeming with egg-eating predators.

Phishing success linked to incentives and sticking to an effective strategy
A new study focusing on the attacker -- a largely ignored but crucial aspect of phishing -- identifies successful and less successful strategies.

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals
A new analysis of the natural temperature archives stored in coral reefs shows the ocean around the Galápagos Islands has been warming since the 1970s.

There may be a better way to reduce hospital readmission rates
A recent study published in Health Education Research suggests that lay-health workers may be able to significantly reduce readmissions rates to hospitals for high risk patients following surgery.

Scientists create 'Evolutionwatch' for plants
Using a hitchhiking weed, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology reveal for the first time the mutation rate of a plant growing in the wild.

Early results from clinical trials not all they're cracked up to be, shows new research
When people are suffering from a chronic medical condition, they may place their hope on treatments in clinical trials that show early positive results.

Enhanced education could help turn the tide on marine litter
Research led by the University of Plymouth has revealed that designing systematic and innovative education tools to teachers and students can make a significant and positive contribution to their understanding of the problem of marine litter -- and their willingness to do something about it.

Rediscovered Andy Warhol interview explores pop art and queerness
A new paper in the Oxford Art Journal examines the significance of a newly discovered recoding of Andy Warhol's famous 1963 interview with Gene Swenson, published in ARTnews under the heading 'What is Pop Art?' The printed interview omitted a large part of the recording, which actually starts with the question 'What do you say about homosexuals?' Warhol's early and explicit on-the-record statements about Pop's relationship to homosexuality were suppressed from publication.

Zika virus could help combat brain cancer
Study by Brazilian researchers shows infection by Zika caused death of cells from glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive kind of malignant brain tumor in adults.

Neuroimaging reveals lasting brain deficits in iron-deficient piglets
Iron deficiency in the first four weeks of a piglet's life - equivalent to roughly four months in a human infant - impairs the development of key brain structures, scientists report.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all
In a commentary published today in Nature's special issue on the science of adolescence, Candice Odgers argues that smartphones should not be seen as universally bad.

Fragile X syndrome neurons restored using CRISPR/Cas9-guided activation strategy
Fragile X syndrome is the most frequent cause of intellectual disability in males, affecting 1 out of 3600 boys born.

Researchers uncover novel mechanism behind schizophrenia
An international team of researchers led by a Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine scientist has uncovered a novel mechanism in which a protein--neuregulin 3--controls how key neurotransmitters are released in the brain during schizophrenia.

Tomatoes of the same quality as normal, but using only half the water
When reducing the water used to water cherry tomato crops by more than 50%, the product not only maintains its quality, both commercially and nutritionally, but it also even increases the level of carotenoids, compounds of great interest in the food-processing industry.

Animal study shows how to retrain the immune system to ease food allergies
Treating food allergies might be a simple matter of teaching the immune system a new trick, researchers at Duke Health have found.

New interaction mechanism of proteins discovered
UZH researchers have discovered a previously unknown way in which proteins interact with one another and cells organize themselves.

Kinase inhibitor larotrectinib shows durable anti-tumor abilities in patients of all ages with 17 un
Three simultaneous safety and efficacy studies of the drug larotrectinib reported an overall response rate of 75 percent for patients ages four months to 76 years with 17 different cancer diagnoses.

Bacteria produce more substances than hitherto assumed
The bacterium Streptomyces chartreusis is an antibiotic-producing bacterium that releases more metabolites into the surrounding medium than scientists assumed based on the analysis of the genome.

New analytical method provides an insight into additional chromosomes
A new technique promises to identify additional chromosomes involved in carcinogenesis.

Scientists discover critical molecular biomarkers of preeclampsia
A new Tel Aviv University study identifies novel molecular biomarkers of preeclampsia, a sudden pregnancy complication, signaling the potential for an early diagnostic blood test.

Five novel genetic changes linked to pancreatic cancer risk
In what is believed to be the largest pancreatic cancer genome-wide association study to date, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, and collaborators from over 80 other institutions worldwide discovered changes to five new regions in the human genome that may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Minimising risks of transplants
A bone marrow transplant is often the only therapy available to save leukaemia patients, but the risk of complications is high.

Breakthrough for peptide medication
Peptides, short amino acid chains that control many functions in the human body, represent a billion-dollar market, also in the pharmaceutical industry.

UNIST researchers reveal how one bacterium inhibits predators with poison
A team of scientists, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has unveiled that the bacterium Chromobacterium piscinae produces cyanide, an inhibitory molecule, to defend themselves in the battle against Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus HD100.

Ancient DNA tells tales of humans' migrant history
Fueled by advances in analyzing DNA from the bones of ancient humans, scientists have dramatically expanded the number of samples studied -- revealing vast and surprising migrations and genetic mixing of populations in our prehistoric past.

Social media and internet not cause of political polarization, (new research suggests)
New Oxford University research suggests that social media and the internet are not the root of today's fragmented society, and echo chambers may not be the threat they are perceived to be.

Theory suggests root efficiency, independence drove global spread of flora
Researchers from Princeton University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences suggest that plants spread worldwide thanks to root adaptations that allowed them to become more efficient and independent.

How do neural support cells affect nerve function?
Glial cells may modulate the release of neurotransmitters -- chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells -- by increasing the acidity of the extracellular environment.

Research challenges use of off-label drug to treat osteoarthritis
An off-label drug prescribed to treat osteoarthritis of the hand when conventional medication has failed is ineffective, according to new research.

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole
Astronomers reveal a new high resolution map of the magnetic field lines in gas and dust swirling around the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy, published in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study.

'Memtransistor' brings world closer to brain-like computing
Combined memristor and transistor operates like a neuron by performing both information processing and memory storage functions.

Sea urchins erode rock reefs, excavate pits for themselves
Through their grazing activity, sea urchins excavate rock and form the pits they occupy.

Carbon monoxide improves effectiveness of antibiotic that fights stomach infection, study finds
Carbon monoxide can improve the effectiveness of antibiotics, making bacteria more sensitive to antibiotic medication, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

From compost to composites: An eco-friendly way to improve rubber (video)
The concept of

Microscale thermophoresis to characterize hits from high-throughput screening
A perspective article in the March 2018 issue of SLAS Discovery from the biology group at the European Screening Centre Newhouse details how the European Lead Factory (ELF), a large publicly accessible drug discovery platform, uses microscale thermophoresis (MST) to aid in the prioritization of small molecule hits from high-throughput screening.

Self-compassion may protect people from the harmful effects of perfectionism
Relating to oneself in a healthy way can help weaken the association between perfectionism and depression, according to a study published Feb.

New glaucoma drugs yield large, lasting reductions in intraocular pressure
Two novel ocular hypotensive agents that have just been approved for use in humans -- netarsudil and latanoprostene bunod (LBN) -- greatly reduce intraocular pressure, with lasting results in various animal models of glaucoma and in humans.

Asian elephants have different personality traits just like humans
Researchers of the University of Turku, Finland, have studied a timber elephant population in Myanmar and discovered that Asian elephant personality manifests through three different factors.

Simple walking test may help make difficult diagnosis
There's a cause of dementia that can sometimes be reversed, but it's often not diagnosed because the symptoms are so similar to those of other disorders.

New research fails to support efficacy of desvenlafaxine for treating MDD in adolescents
New studies in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) reported negative outcomes, failing to support the effectiveness of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq, Pfizer) compared to placebo.

New therapeutic gel shows promise against cancerous tumors
Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and NC State have created an injectable gel-like scaffold that can hold combination chemo-immunotherapeutic drugs and deliver them locally to tumors in a sequential manner.

Study shows age doesn't affect survival in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after HCT
Results from a retrospective study presented at the 2018 BMT Tandem Meetings dispute age as a limiting factor to transplant eligibility, showing no differences in 4-year outcomes for patients older or younger than age 65.

Astronomers discover S0-2 star is single and ready for big Einstein test
A team of astronomers led by Devin Chu, a UCLA scientist from Hawaii, has found that S0-2 does not have a significant other after all, or at least one that is massive enough to get in the way of critical measurements that astronomers need to test Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.

Amateur astronomer captures rare first light of massive exploding star
An amateur astronomer in Argentina captured images of a distant galaxy before and after the supernova's 'shock breakout' - when a supersonic pressure wave from the exploding core of the star hits and heats gas at the star's surface to a very high temperature, causing it to emit light and rapidly brighten.

Learning about coronary heart disease from women
While many risk factors of CHD, such as smoking, high blood pressure and age, are common among men and women, some metabolic risk factors, such as being diabetic, are more strongly associated with increased risk of CHD in women than in men.

Drug successfully targets cancers with tumor-specific gene mutations
Pediatric and adult cancers with one of three fusion genes responds well to a new drug, larotrectinib, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Fertility study finds hormone that could support early pregnancy
Scientists have identified a hormone that could help prepare the womb lining for pregnancy, research shows.

A winning personality might play a major role in China's apparel industry
In China, business relationships rely on the long-lasting culture of guanxi, a mixture of personal and public relationships that affect all individuals and organizations.

Study: Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors'
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Meteorological silk road pattern may take a toll on Eurasian climate in north-jet years
The meteorological teleconnection pattern that covers most domains along the ancient Silk Road exerts significant influences on climatic anomalies over Eurasia.

Lizard love
Anolis lizards have a thing or two to teach humans about love -- or in scientific speak, sexual selection -- at least when it comes to territoriality.

In a first, tiny diamond anvils trigger chemical reactions by squeezing
Scientists have turned the smallest possible bits of diamond and other super-hard specks into 'molecular anvils' that squeeze and twist molecules until chemical bonds break and atoms exchange electrons.

Unexpected discovery about essential enzyme
The enzyme that produces DNA building blocks plays an important role when cells divide.

New tool tells bioengineers when to build microbial teams
Researchers at Duke University have created a framework for helping bioengineers determine when to use multiple lines of cells to manufacture a product.

Ancient-DNA researchers surpass the 1,000-genome milestone
In the last eight years, the field of ancient DNA research has expanded from just one ancient human genome to more than 1,300.

Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
Brown University researchers have shown that reinforcement learning and working memory -- two distinct brain systems -- work hand-in-hand as people learn new tasks.

UNIST introduces new smart contact lens for diabetics
A team of researchers, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has succeeded in developing a new biosensing contact lens capable of detecting glucose levels in patients with diabetes.

Laws banning hand-held cellphone calls more effective than texting bans for teen drivers
This study looked at state-level cellphone laws and differences in both texting and hand-held cellphone conversations among teen drivers across four years.

Evolution plays many tricks against large-scale bioproduction
Ultra-deep DNA sequencing of thousands of cells uncovers many competing mechanisms of evolution as a threat to efficient scale-up of biobased chemicals production.

Copper Age Iberians 'exported' their culture -- but not their genes -- all over Europe
Prehistoric Iberians 'exported' their culture throughout Europe, reaching Great Britain, Sicily, Poland and all over central Europe in general.

Infant skull binding shaped identity, inequality in ancient Andes
The idea of binding and reshaping a baby's head may make today's parents cringe, but for families in the Andes between 1100-1450, cranial modification was all the rage.

Study offers more food for thought on kids' eating habits, emotions
A University of Texas at Dallas psychologist has examined the preconceptions about the effects of emotions on children's eating habits, creating the framework for future studies of how dietary patterns evolve in early childhood.

Haloperidol does not prevent delirium or improve survival rates in ICU patients
Prophylactic use of the drug haloperidol does not help to prevent delirium in intensive care patients or improve their chances of survival.

Genetic study paves way for new neuropathic pain treatments
The project may pave the way for the development of more effective painkillers for the treatment of this debilitating chronic condition, which afflicts approximately 500 million people throughout the world.

Midwifery linked to better birth outcomes in state-by-state report cards
Midwife-friendly laws and regulations tend to coincide with lower rates of premature births, cesarean deliveries and newborn deaths, according to a new US-wide 'report card' that ranks all 50 states on the quality of their maternity care.

The writing on the wall
When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests an MIT professor.

Locomotion of bipedal dinosaurs might be predicted from that of ground-running birds
A new model based on ground-running birds could predict locomotion of bipedal dinosaurs based on their speed and body size, according to a study published Feb.

Researchers develop process producing cell-sized lipid vesicles for cell-cell synaptic therapies
Novel and robust process to produce functionalized giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) on-demand from double emulsions templates results in artificial cells with surface ligand neuroligin-2 (NL-2) to promote insulin secretion in pancreatic β cells, demonstrating a versatile cell-cell synaptic therapeutic paradigm.

'Division of labor' between hemispheres of multicellular spheroidal alga controls light-sensitive movement
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) developed a motility-reactivation method to help determine how light-responsive changes in flagellar waveform in Volvox rousseletii, a multicellular spheroidal alga, are regulated.

Cross-bred flies reveal new clues about how proteins are regulated
The investigators used a technique called bottom-up proteomics (sometimes called shotgun proteomics) to reveal which proteins of each species were present in the hybrid flies.

Similarities found in cancer initiation in kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that when mature cells transition to begin dividing again, they all seem to do it the same way, regardless of what organ those cells come from.

UT Dallas team's microscopic solution may save researchers big time
A University of Texas at Dallas graduate student, his advisor and industry collaborators believe they have addressed a long-standing problem troubling scientists and engineers for more than 35 years: How to prevent the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope from crashing into the surface of a material during imaging or lithography

How blood cancers outsmart the immune system
Researchers have discovered how some of the blood cancers known as myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) evade the immune system.

First 3-D digital models reveal the development of the extinct Tasmanian tiger
Researchers from Museums Victoria and the University of Melbourne have CT scanned all 13 known Tasmanian tiger joey specimens to create 3-D digital models which have allowed them to study their skeletons and internal organs, and reconstruct their growth and development.

Are flamingos returning to Florida?
Flamingos are a Florida cultural icon, and sightings in the state have been on the rise in recent decades.

The conflict between males and females could replace the evolution of new species
New research shows that males and females of the same species can evolve to be so different that they prevent other species from evolving or colonising habitats, challenging long-held theories on the way natural selection drives the evolution of biodiversity.

Snake-inspired robot uses kirigami to move
Harvard researchers developed a soft robot inspired by snakeskin that crawls without any rigid components.

Iron triggers dangerous infection in lung transplant patients, Stanford-led study finds
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified elevated tissue iron as a risk factor for life-threatening fungal infections in lung transplant recipients.

Tropical trees use unique method to resist drought
Tropical trees in the Amazon Rainforest may be more drought resistant than previously thought, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside.

Creative couples' intervention significantly helps people with Alzheimer's communicate
For couples with decades of shared memories, a partner's decline in the ability to communicate because of dementia is frightening and frustrating.

Touchstone Center provides insight into glucagon's role in diabetic heart disease
A UT Southwestern study reveals the hormone glucagon's importance to the development of insulin resistance and cardiac dysfunction during Type 2 diabetes, presenting opportunities to develop new therapies for diabetic diseases of the heart muscle.

Turn off the telly and get moving
Spending too much time in front of the television could increase your chance of developing potentially fatal blood clots known as venous thrombosis.

How the brain tells our limbs apart
Salk researchers use cutting-edge technologies to uncover differences in neural control for arms and legs.

Treating sleep-disordered breathing may have cardiovascular benefits for heart failure patients
Severe sleep-disordered breathing is linked with stiffening of the arteries' walls and may be related to the development of heart failure, according to a recent study in ESC Heart Failure, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.

Securing a child's future needs to start during parents' teen years
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy -- even going back to adolescence -- according to a new paper.

PHAT Life: Effective HIV intervention for youth in the criminal justice system
A group risk-reduction intervention that uses role-playing, videos, games, and skill-building exercises to promote knowledge about HIV/AIDS, positive coping, and problem-solving skills for high-risk teens in the juvenile justice system, showed great potential for reducing sexual risk-taking.

'Local environment' plays key role in breast cancer progression
Many of the drugs and therapies available today for treating breast cancer target the cancer cells but tend to neglect the surrounding 'local environment,' which includes surrounding tissues.

Film Memento helped uncover how the brain remembers and interprets events from clues
In an Aalto University film study combining art and neuroscience, viewers were shown Christopher Nolan's early classic Memento (2000).

Wine polyphenols could fend off bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease
Sipping wine is good for your colon and heart, possibly because of the beverage's abundant and structurally diverse polyphenols.

Study points to risk of future sleep breathing problems in college football players
Previous studies with older NFL football players have found a high incidence of sleep apnea, a serious health issue, among the group, particularly among older linemen.

First global estimate finds 1.8 million young people develop TB every year
A total of 1.8 million young people between ten and 24 years of age are estimated to develop tuberculosis (TB) every year, with young adults aged 20 to 24 years at the greatest risk of developing infectious TB, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

Amateur astronomer captures rare first light from massive exploding star
First light from a supernova is hard to capture; no one can predict where and when a star will explode.

End-of-life hospital and healthcare use among older adults with Alzheimer's disease
A team of researchers from Belgium recently studied how people with Alzheimer's disease use medical services during their final months.

Berkeley Lab 'minimalist machine learning' algorithms analyze images from very little data
Berkeley Lab mathematicians have developed a new approach to machine learning aimed at experimental imaging data.

Climate warming causes local extinction of Rocky Mountain wildflower species
New University of Colorado Boulder-led research has established a causal link between climate warming and the localized extinction of a common Rocky Mountain flowering plant, a result that could serve as a herald of future population declines.

New research sheds light on prehistoric human migration in europe
The first farmers of northern and western Europe passed through southeastern Europe with limited hunter-gatherer genetic admixture, which occurs when two or more previously isolated populations begin interbreeding.

The Estée Lauder companies R&D showcases skin aging, active ingredients research at AAD
The Estée Lauder Companies (NYSE: EL) Research & Development (R&D) will present research focused on new findings in anti-aging skin research at the 2018 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in San Diego from February 16th- 20th.

What a handsome schnoz!
Researchers find evidence supporting both male-male competition and female choice as factors in the evolution of the enlarged male nose in proboscis monkeys.

One thing leads to another: Causal chains link health, development, and conservation
The linkages between environmental health and human well-being are complex, and recent scholarship has developed a number of models for describing them.

Reinventing the inductor
A basic building block of modern technology, inductors are everywhere: cellphones, laptops, radios, televisions, cars.

Getting sleepy? Fruit flies constantly tune into environmental temperature to time sleep
Humans and fruit flies may have not shared a common ancestor for hundreds of millions of years, but the neurons that govern our circadian clocks are strikingly similar.

An improved anti-addiction medication
Drug addiction continues to plague vast numbers of people across the world, destroying and ending lives, while attempts to develop more effective pharmaceutical addiction treatments continue.

Midwifery linked to better birth outcomes in state-by-state 'report card'
Midwife-friendly laws and regulations tend to coincide with lower rates of premature births, cesarean deliveries and newborn deaths, according to a US-wide 'report card' that ranks each of the 50 states on the quality of their maternity care. 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