Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 27, 2018
Fewer Americans think smoking a pack a day poses a great health risk
About 3 out of 4 Americans agree that smoking cigarettes causes health problems, but public perception of the risks posed by smoking may be declining, according to a Duke Health study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Only 25 percent of women receive appropriate advice on pregnancy weight gain
A new study of the role of healthcare provider recommendations on weight gain during pregnancy showed that while provider advice did influence gestational weight gain, only about one in four women received appropriate advice and another 25 percent received no advice.

Fitness tracker data can enhance biomedical research and personalized health
In a research article publishing February 27 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, Weng Khong Lim and colleagues from the SingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of Precision Medicine, Singapore, and the National Heart Centre Singapore show that wearable sensors are not only able to identify groups of volunteers with similar patterns of daily activity, but can also predict various markers of risk for cardiovascular diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

Another clue for fast motion of the Hawaiian hotspot
Recent studies have suggested that the Hawaiian hotspot moved relatively quickly southward in the period from 60 to about 50 million years ago.

States with strong tobacco control measures have fewer e-cigarette users
States with robust tobacco control policies and regulations, such as smoke free air laws and taxes on cigarettes, not only have fewer cigarette users but also fewer e-cigarette users, according to research from NYU School of Medicine and the NYU College of Global Public Health.

Saline use on the decline at Vanderbilt following landmark studies
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is encouraging its medical providers to stop using saline as intravenous fluid therapy for most patients, a change provoked by two companion landmark studies released today that are anticipated to improve survival and decrease kidney complications.

Massive data analysis shows what drives the spread of flu in the US
Using several large datasets describing health care visits, geographic movements and demographics of more than 150 million people over nine years, researchers at the University of Chicago have created models that predict the spread of influenza throughout the United States each year.

Squid skin could be the solution to camouflage material
Squids and octopuses are masters of disguise and humans have long envied their camouflage capabilities.

Wind and solar could meet most but not all US electricity needs
Wind and solar power could generate most but not all electricity in the United States, according to an analysis of 36 years of weather data by Carnegie's Ken Caldeira, and three Carnegie-affiliated energy experts.

Scientists seeking rare river crayfish aren't just kicking rocks
As far as anyone can tell, the cold-water crayfish Faxonius eupunctus makes its home in a 30-mile stretch of the Eleven Point River and nowhere else in the world.

Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast
The largest and oldest Chinook salmon -- fish also known as 'kings' and prized for their exceptional size -- have mostly disappeared along the West Coast, according to a new University of Washington-led study.

Novel genome platform reveals new HIV targets
SBP researchers have developed the first ever high-throughput, genome-scale imaging-based approach to investigate protein stability.

Children prefer distribution by equal outcome when they share
A Japanese study of 5- and 6-year-olds found that children prefer to share resources so that everyone ends up with the same amount (equal-outcome) rather than giving everyone the same amount regardless of what they have already (equal-allocation).

Tracking endangered mammals with the leeches that feed on them
A broad survey conducted across southern Asia reinforces the idea that the mammal biodiversity of an area can be determined by looking at the DNA found in leeches' blood meals.

Research improves food bank effectiveness, equity
Researchers have developed computer models to improve the ability of food banks to feed as many people as possible, as equitably as possible, while reducing food waste.

Enabling technology for emerging gene therapies
For years, researchers have attempted to harness the full potential of gene therapy, a technique that inserts genes into a patient's cells to treat cancer and other diseases.

A marriage of light-manipulation technologies
Researchers from Argonne and Harvard University built a metasurface-based lens atop a Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) platform.

Super-resolution microscopy in both space and time
In a breakthrough for biological imaging, EPFL scientists have developed the first microscope platform that can perform super-resolution spatial and temporal imaging, capturing unprecedented views inside living cells.

When do aging brown dwarfs sweep the clouds away?
Brown dwarfs, the larger cousins of giant planets, undergo atmospheric changes from cloudy to cloudless as they age and cool.

When treating athletes for heat stroke, 'cool first, transport second'
Athletes who suffer life-threatening heat stroke should be cooled on site before they are taken to the hospital, according to an expert panel's report published in the journal Prehospital Emergency Care.

Scientists monitor crop photosynthesis, performance using invisible light
Twelve-foot metal poles with long outstretched arms dot a Midwestern soybean field to monitor an invisible array of light emitted by crops.

'Social brain' networks are altered at a young age in autism
As infants develop, they respond to social cues such as voices, faces and gestures.

Quantum optics: Attosecond pulses break into atomic interior
Munich based physicists have been able to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single attosecond pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom for the first time.

International Spina Bifida experts shapes future research, shares insights for practical care
In order to provide a multidisciplinary forum for research in spina bifida, the Spina Bifida Association (SBA) sponsored the Third World Congress on Spina Bifida Research and Care in 2017.

A bacterium that attacks burn victims will soon be unarmed
The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is amongst the main causes of infections and sepsis in people suffering from severe burns.

New insights into treating a rare leukemia
Patients with MPAL initially treated with ALL therapy -- a significantly less-toxic regimen -- were three to five times more likely to achieve a complete remission than AML-treated patients.

Powerful new imaging method reveals in detail how particles move in solution
New research published in Nature Methods will dramatically improve how scientists 'see inside' molecular structures in solution, allowing for much more precise ways to image data in various fields, from astronomy to drug discovery.

American service industry approaching a 'tipping point'
The average rate at which Americans tip for services has been increasing steadily for decades, but the practice has been branded over the years as classist, anti-egalitarian, and downright undemocratic, leading some restaurateurs to abandon it.

Cochrane Review evidence suggests nutritional labelling on menus may reduce calorie intake
New evidence published in the Cochrane Library today shows that adding calorie labels to menus and next to food in restaurants, coffee shops and cafeterias, could reduce the calories that people consume, although the quality of evidence is low.

Scientists use forensic technology to genetically document infanticide in brown bears
Scientists used a technology designed for human forensics, to provide the first genetically documented observation of infanticide in brown bears, following the murder of a female and her cubs in Italy, where a small population has been genetically monitored for already 20 years.

Teaching quantum physics to a computer
An international collaboration led by ETH physicists has used machine learning to teach a computer how to predict the outcomes of quantum experiments.

How do teachers integrate STEM into K-12 classrooms?
Although the call for improving STEM education is widespread, like in the Next Generation Science Standards, there is little guidance for teachers on how to do so.

New online tool gives 3-D view of human metabolic processes
A new computational resource called Recon3D provides a 3D view of genes, proteins and metabolites involved in human metabolism.

Study suggests failed osteoarthritis drug could help treat opioid addiction
A study from Indiana University suggests that a drug proven safe for use in people may prevent opioid tolerance and physical dependence when used with opioid-based pain medications.

WSU researchers extract nicotine from ancient dental plaque for the first time
A team of scientists has shown for the first time that nicotine residue can be extracted from dental plaque on the teeth of ancient tobacco users.

Unpacking asymmetric cell division
Scientists found a new role for a PITP protein called Vibrator, which along with PI4KIIIα, play important roles in asymmetric division, which may play a role in tumor formation or neurodevelopmental disorders.

AMP publishes recommendations for clinical CYP2C19 genotyping allele selection
AMP has published consensus, evidence-based recommendations to aid clinical laboratory professionals when designing and validating clinical CYP2C19 assays, promote standardization of testing across different laboratories and complement existing clinical guidelines.

Scientists map, track breakaway cancerous cells with metal detection
A special imaging system plus metal detection enable scientists to produce highly detailed digital copies of breakaway cancer cells that could lead to more precise treatments.

Man-made earthquake risk reduced if fracking is 895m from faults
The risk of man-made earthquakes due to fracking is greatly reduced if high-pressure fluid injection used to crack underground rocks is 895m away from faults in the Earth's crust, according to new research.

Gene-editing reduces triglycerides, cholesterol by up to 50 percent
Using a variation of CRISPR gene editing may be a potential strategy for mimicking the protective effects of a genetic mutation linked to lower cholesterol levels and heart disease risks.

Antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria still high in humans, animals and food
Bacteria from humans and animals continue to show resistance to antimicrobials, according to a new report published today by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Military personnel seeking mental health care outside of the military
A new article in Military Medicine, published by Oxford University Press, indicates that military personnel are making extensive use of outside mental health services, suggesting that military health and mental health services do not meet the needs of active duty service members.

To build up mussels, you need to know your fish
Times are tough for 31 of Michigan's 45 varieties of freshwater mussels.

Identifying high STI prevalence populations in sub-Saharan Africa
Prevalence of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs)- chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis -- among women aged 15 to 24 exceeds that of older women and similar-aged men in sub-Saharan Africa, according to research published this week in PLOS Medicine.

UGR scientist developed 3-D scans of beetles for Blade Runner 2049
One of the main visual effects companies behind Blade Runner 2049, BUF, sought the collaboration of Javier Alba-Tercedor, a Professor of Zoology at the University of Granada, to obtain scans of different species of beetles used in the film's visual effects.

Wood fuels key to easing food insecurity situation in sub-Saharan Africa
Access to wood fuels for cooking must be considered when formulating policy to deal with food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, according to researchers who advocate expanding the effort to improve wood-fuel systems and make them more sustainable.

Decrease seen in red blood cell, plasma transfusions in US
The frequency of red blood cell and plasma transfusions decreased among hospitalized patients in the United States from 2011 to 2014.

Are varicose veins associated with increased risk of blood clot?
Varicose veins were associated with increased risk of developing a type of blood clot known as a deep venous thrombosis (DVT), although more research is needed to understand the strength of that association.

Researchers learn more about reducing noise in tire systems by altering belt structure
The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of the belt structure on tire vibration and noise and as well as the relevant physical laws.

New survey of recent newspaper subscribers shows why people chose to pay
The decision to subscribe to a local newspaper involves a mix of motives and trigger factors that can be described by nine key 'paths to subscription,' according to a report released today by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

New research reports advances in measuring blood flow velocity in deep tissue
The first photoacoustic measurements of blood flow using a handheld ultrasound unit that edges acoustic resolution-photoacoustic flowmetry (AR-PAF) closer to clinical use, has been reported by researchers from University College London and the University of Twente.

A protein that self-replicates
ETH scientists have been able to prove that a protein structure widespread in nature -- the amyloid -- is theoretically capable of multiplying itself.

Unique pancreatic stem cells have potential to regenerate beta cells, respond to glucose
Scientists from the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have confirmed the existence of progenitor cells within the human pancreas that can be stimulated to develop into glucose-responsive beta cells.

Brain-gut communication in worms demonstrates how organs can work together to regulate lifespan
Our bodies are not just passively growing older.

Army researchers are after cost-effective safer, lighter batteries
Scientists at the US Army Research Laboratory and the Georgia Institute of Technology are focused on the development of batteries that improve the safety and energy density of ones currently found on the battlefield.

Quantum machine shows promise for biological research
Much has been stated about the promise of quantum computing for myriad of applications but there have been few examples of a quantum advantage for real-world problems of practical interest.

Evaluation of tau phosphorylation related targets for Alzheimer's disease treatment
InSysBio continues to investigate the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease (AD) using the quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) modeling approach.

Challenging statistics of weather extremes
More accurate statistical modeling of extreme weather will improve forecasting and disaster mitigation.

20 minute video developed for child daycare providers during disasters
Los Angeles Children in Disasters Working group identified the need for daycare providers to be prepared during disasters, and together with Children's Hospital, Los Angeles, and Save the Children, collaborated to prepare a video.

Study suggests risk of ALS increases with more exposure to diesel exhaust
MINNEAPOLIS - People who are frequently exposed to diesel exhaust while on the job may have a higher risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and that risk may increase with greater exposure, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21 to 27, 2018.

How does water change the Moon's origin story?
The Moon formed when an object collided with the proto-Earth.

Microfluidic device captures, allows analysis of tumor-specific extracellular vesicles
A new microfluidic device developed by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital may help realize the potential of tumor-derived extracellular vesicles -- tiny lipid particles that carry molecules through the bloodstream -- as biomarkers that could monitor a tumor's response to therapy and provide detailed information to guide treatment choice.

Regular monitoring rather than immediate treatment justified for some cervical lesions
Regular monitoring ('active surveillance') rather than immediate treatment is justified for moderate cervical lesions -- abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix, often called cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia grade 2 or CIN2 -- suggests a review of the evidence published by The BMJ today.

Shared decision-making between patients and clinicians can result in better choices
As more and more older patients are offered advanced treatments for chronic diseases, including surgeries and implantable devices, new questions have arisen over how these decision are made.

Ancient DNA reveals genetic replacement despite language continuity in the South Pacific
The study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution and led by a multidisciplinary research team at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, reveals that migrations of people from the Bismarck Archipelago in Oceania to the previously settled islands of the Pacific began as early as 2,500 years ago, much earlier than previously thought.

Scientists link genes to brain anatomy in autism
A team of scientists at the University of Cambridge has discovered that specific genes are linked to individual differences in brain anatomy in autistic children.

Food insecurity screening works, but social stigma stands in its way
Screening for food insecurity is effective, a Drexel study found, but red tape and fears of being declared unfit parents often keep help from coming.

Simulating molecular spectroscopy with circuit quantum electrodynamics
In a normal laboratory, molecular spectra are generated through the absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation shined on the molecules.

Individual quantum dots imaged in 3-D for first time
Researchers have developed an imaging technique that uses a tiny, super sharp needle to nudge a single nanoparticle into different orientations and capture 2-D images to help reconstruct a 3-D picture.

Our reactions to odor reveal our political attitudes
People who are easily disgusted by body odors are also drawn to authoritarian political leaders.

Helpful, hopeful news for bone marrow transplant patients
Research published online by The Lancet Haematology and co-led by Kirsten M.

Survey shows Democrats and Republicans agree on Congress
Democrats and Republicans disapprove of Congress because members are paying attention to the wrong people and groups when casting votes, according to a recently released survey conducted by researchers from Stanford University, in collaboration with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Scientists find single letter of genetic code that makes African Salmonella so dangerous
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have identified a single genetic change in Salmonella that is playing a key role in the devastating epidemic of bloodstream infections currently killing around 400,000 people each year in sub-Saharan Africa.

MSU-based scientists found out how to distinguish beams of entangled photons
A team from the Faculty of Physics, MSU developed a method for creating two beams of entangled photons to measure the delay between them.

Scientists identify specialized brain areas for feeding and egg-laying in hawkmoths
The search for food is linked to other areas in the olfactory center of female tobacco hawkmoths (Manduca sexta) than the search for plants to best lay eggs, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, found.

Identification of brain's painkilling region could lead to opioid alternatives
Researchers from the UK & Japan have identified how the brain's natural painkilling system could be used as a possible alternative to opioids for the effective relief of chronic pain, which affects as many as one in three people at some point in their lives.

Experts call for specialist medical teams to deal with rapidly ageing population
At a time when family doctors are at 'saturation point' and facing a crisis in recruitment, new research has revealed that they carry the burden of healthcare of our rapidly ageing population.

Bonobo and chimpanzee gestures share multiple meanings
Two closely related great ape species, the bonobo and chimpanzee, use gestures that share the same meaning researchers have found.

Optical emission of two-dimensional arsenic sulfide prepared in plasma
Since the discovery of graphene in 2004, there has been a rapidly growing interest among scientists in the study of 2-D materials 'beyond graphene'.

Jekyll and Hyde and seek
Writing in the Feb. 27 online issue of Science Signaling, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center describe how a signaling protein that normally suppresses tumors can be manipulated (or re-programmed) by growth factors, turning it into a driver of malignant growth and metastasis.

Study tracks what moths think when they smell with their antennae
researchers have created a functional map of how the hawkmoth smells, tracing the process from the antennae to specific areas in the hawkmoth brain.

Obesity could be linked to early childhood behavior
Health authorities will need to focus on more than eating habits if they are going to combat the obesity epidemic.

Study reveals Milky Way stars being evicted by invading galaxies
An international team of astronomers has discovered that some stars located in the Galactic halo surrounding the Milky Way -- previously thought to be remnants of invading galaxies from the past -- are instead former residents of the Galactic disk, kicked out by those invading dwarf galaxies.

Switching on survival signalling to drive drug resistance
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have discovered that the loss of a single protein- PHLDA1- is sufficient for the development of drug resistance to a type of targeted therapy in endometrial and HER2-positive breast cancer cells.

Cartoon coyote's fall inspires development of new properties of silicon
An international team of scientists, led by the University of Surrey, has discovered a new type of silicon that could be used to control light beams in a new kind of photonic chip -- a chipset where information is carried by light beams rather than electrical currents.

Landscape genetics branches out to help conserve riverside forests
A team of scientists lead by Dr Ikuyo Saeki of the University of Tsukuba, Japan, examined gene flow in the endangered maple, Acer miyabei, using landscape genetics, a powerful and increasingly popular tool in conservation projects.

Chinese scientists decipher origins of repopulated microglia in brain and retina
A research team led by Bo Peng at Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology successfully deciphered the origin of repopulated microglia in the brain by a series of fate mapping approaches.

Simple urine test could measure how much our body has aged
New research shows that a substance indicating oxidative damage increases in urine as people get older, and describes an easy method to measure the level of this biomarker in human urine samples.

Receptors key to strong memories
When we create a memory, a pattern of connections forms between neurons in the brain.

Experimentally demonstrated a toffoli gate in a semiconductor three-qubit system
A new progress in the scaling of semiconductor quantum dot based qubit has been achieved at Key Laboratory of Quantum Information and Synergetic Innovation Center of Quantum Information & Quantum Physics of USTC.

Running rings around cholera outbreaks
Targeting vaccine and other interventions to those in the vicinity of people with cholera could be an effective way to control cholera outbreaks, which can have devastating effects after disasters and in other emergency settings, according to a research study by Flavio Finger, of the École Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland and Andrew Azman, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA and colleagues, published in PLOS Medicine.

Diabetes drug use during pregnancy linked to child's weight
When women take the common diabetes medication metformin during pregnancy, it may put their children at increased risk of having obesity or overweight.

Axons grip and slip their way around the brain
Brain development depends on axons migrating from one location to another by haptotaxis.

Princeton geologists solve fossil mystery by creating 3-D 'virtual tour' through rock
With an industrial grinder and some creative additions, Princeton geoscientists Adam Maloof and Akshay Mehra can transform rocks into three-dimensional digital landscapes that scientists can examine from any angle. 

More doctors follow the money, more nurse practitioners follow the need
The rural physician shortage is well-established, and there's the notion that doctors don't necessarily establish their practices where need for health care is greatest -- in poor and unhealthy communities.

Bonobo and chimpanzee gestures share many meanings
If a bonobo and a chimpanzee were to meet face to face, they could probably understand each other's gestures.

Levels of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in England estimated to be 20%
Research published by Public Health England (PHE) estimates that at least 20% of all antibiotic prescriptions written in primary care in England are inappropriate.

ASU scientists unveil a hidden secret of the immortality enzyme telomerase
Research from the laboratory of Professor Julian Chen in the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University recently uncovered a crucial step in the telomerase enzyme catalytic cycle.

Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds
The United States could reliably meet about 80 percent of its electricity demand with solar and wind power generation, according to scientists at the University of California, Irvine; the California Institute of Technology; and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Genetics researchers close in on schizophrenia
Researchers at the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics at Cardiff University have discovered 50 new gene regions that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.

Phones off: Smartphone use undermines enjoyment of face-to-face interactions at dinnertime
While 'Take your elbows off the dinner table,' is a common refrain for many families, people may soon add, 'take your phone off the table' to the list, too.

Why are some mushrooms 'magic?'
Psychedelic mushrooms likely developed their

A small pay increase can have big health benefits for lower-wage workers
Lower-wage workers who receive a $1 raise call in sick less and consider themselves healthier than those who do not, new UC Davis research on minimum-wage policies shows.

New insight on the formation of East Asian flora
The East Asian flora (EAF) is a key biodiversity hotspot for understanding the origin and evolution of Northern Hemisphere floras. 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