Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 13, 2018
California mental health tax providing services to needy in L.A. County, study finds
In 2004 California voters created a special tax on people with high incomes to help pay for expanded mental health services.

Double or nothing: Astronomers rethink quasar environment
Using Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) mounted on the Subaru Telescope, astronomers have identified nearly 200 'protoclusters,' the progenitors of galaxy clusters, in the early Universe, about 12 billion years ago, about ten times more than previously known.

Study IDs 'white graphene' architecture with unprecedented hydrogen storage capacity
Rice University engineers have zeroed in on the optimal architecture for storing hydrogen in 'white graphene' nanomaterials -- a design like a Lilliputian skyscraper with 'floors' of boron nitride sitting one atop another and held by boron nitride pillars.

Lack of water is key stressor for urban trees
A recent study finds that urban trees can survive increased heat and insect pests fairly well -- unless they are thirsty.

March/April 2018 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
Annals of Family Medicine is a peer-reviewed, indexed research journal that provides a cross-disciplinary forum for new, evidence-based information affecting the primary care disciplines.

Molecule that gives energy-burning brown fat its identity could lead to drugs for obesity
A protein found in brown fat, but not typical white fat, is key to how the energy-burning brown fat cells function

New guidelines on preventing and treating 'equine strep throat'
Ashley Boyle, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, took the lead in writing a new consensus statement, issued by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, on treating, controlling, and preventing strangles in horses.

Off-the-shelf smart devices found easy to hack
'It only took 30 minutes to find passwords for most of the devices and some of them were found only through a Google search of the brand,' says Omer Shwartz, a Ph.D. student and member of Dr.

Toilet-to-tap: Gross to think about, but how does it taste?
Researchers at University of California, Riverside, asked 143 people to express a preference among recycled water, bottled water, and tap water.

Algorithm could streamline harvesting of hand-picked crops
Richard Sowers, a professor of industrial and enterprise systems engineering and mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a team of students have developed an algorithm that promises to give valuable information to farmers of crops picked by hand.

Mitochondria may metabolize ADP differently in aging muscle, despite exercise resistance
Most adults reach their peak levels of muscle mass in their late 30s or early 40s.

Mindfulness meditation reduces incidence of major depression
Among primary care patients with subthreshold depression, mindfulness meditation training reduces the incidence of major depression and improves depression symptoms.

Climate change risk for half of plant and animal species in biodiversity hotspots
Up to half of plant and animal species in the world's most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked.

HKUST-PKU physicists quantum simulate topological materials with ultracold atoms
A team of physicists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Peking University reported the observation of an SPT phase for ultracold atoms using atomic quantum simulation.

Where language pionieer Paul Broca and alien music meet
What might alien music sound like? Would it be structured hierarchically as our music is with verses and a chorus?

The early bird got to fly: Archaeopteryx was an active flyer
The question of whether the Late Jurassic dino-bird Archaeopteryx was an elaborately feathered ground dweller, a glider, or an active flyer has fascinated palaeontologists for decades.

Smartphone-assisted neuroendoscopy
A variety of neurosurgical procedures are performed with the aid of smartphone-endoscope integration.

Die-off of fur seal pups attributed to mites, pneumonia and changing sea temperatures
Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers uncovered several key factors contributing to a die-off of South American fur seal pups, including mites, pneumonia and sea surface temperature.

Screening mammography for women 40-49 detects more cancers compared with older age groups
When compared to the screening population ages 50 and over, screening mammography in women ages 40-49 detects 19.3 percent additional cancers at the expense of an overall 1.5 percent increase in callbacks and 0.1 percent in increased biopsies, according to a study to be presented at the ARRS 2018 Annual Meeting, set for April 22-27 in Washington, DC.

New analysis recommends against using digital rectal exam in primary care
Although the digital rectal exam is widely used in primary care to screen for prostate cancer, a new study finds limited data to support its effectiveness.

Larger families linked to heightened tooth loss risk for moms
Having a larger family is linked to a heightened tooth loss risk for moms, suggest the results of a large European study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Men and women have opposite genetic alterations in depression
Men and women with major depressive disorder (MDD) have opposite changes in the expression of the same genes, according to a new postmortem brain study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada.

Team discovers that wind moves microinvertebrates across desert
The work of faculty and students from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has yielded the first evidence of how waterborne microinvertebrates move across vast expanses of arid desert.

Feeding wildlife can influence migration, spread of disease
Animal migration patterns are changing as humans alter the landscape, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

Team training can reduce patient mortality by 13 percent
When implemented correctly, health care team training can reduce patient mortality by 13 percent, according to a new review paper by a psychologist at Rice University.

Machines see the future for patients diagnosed with brain tumors
Researchers at Emory and Northwestern Universities have developed artificial intelligence (AI) software that can predict the survival of patients diagnosed with glioma by examining data from tissue biopsies.

No increase in shared decision-making for PSA testing but discussions have broadened
Although health care organizations differ in their recommendations for use of prostate-specific antigen testing for prostate cancer screening, they agree that the decision to undergo PSA testing should be shared by patients and clinicians.

Core outcomes established for multimorbidity research
According to a panel of international experts, clinical trials of multimorbidity should measure and report, at minimum, quality of life, mortality, and mental health outcomes.

Oseltamivir does not increase risk of suicide in children
A new study finds that use of oseltamivir, an antiviral drug used to treat influenza A and B, does not increase risk of suicide in children.

Using whole genome analysis to home in on racing pigeon performance
A scientific team led by Malgorzata Anna Gazda and Miguel Carneiro, performed the first whole genome sequencing of 10 racing pigeons as well as data from 35 different breeds, and has now identified new clues in racing pigeons that may help enhance their performance.

Engineers create most efficient red light-activated optogenetic switch for mammalian cells
A team of researchers has developed a light-activated switch that can turn genes on and off in mammalian cells.

Hunger guides mountain lions' actions to enter residential areas
In a new study, researchers found that while big cats like mountain lions are generally fearful of and avoid humans, hunger can dampen that fear.

Rice U. lab surprised to find its drug-delivery system can help even without drugs
A synthetic, injectable hydrogel developed at Rice University to deliver drugs and encourage tissue growth turns out to have therapeutic properties all its own.

Patients do as well on generic antiplatelet drugs as more expensive brand-name product
Patients who took the generic version of the anti-platelet drug clopidogrel after hospitalization for a heart attack or heart-related chest pain had roughly the same odds of death or recurrent heart attack than those who took the brand-name product Plavix®.

A starfish cold case reopens, climate change remains suspect
As ocean temperatures rise and oceanic diseases proliferate, species like sea stars struggle to survive, and scientists are looking for underlying causes.

Pioneering research on mechanistic basis of disease in new journal Systems Medicine
The new peer-reviewed journal, Systems Medicine, has launched with a powerful mission to capture the leading research in the emerging field of medical systems biology.

Health care reform and EHR design should be built around patients' goals
Meaningful reform of primary care should not only address the provision, documentation and payment of care; it should be based on patients' goals for their lives and health, with corresponding redesign of electronic health records.

Breeding trouble: Meta-analysis identifies fishy issues with captive stocks
A meta-analysis has found patterns that may be jeopardising the long-term success of worldwide animal breeding programs, which increasingly act as an insurance against extinction in conservation, and for food security.

Researchers bring the bling to improve implants
In a world first, Australian researchers have harnessed the power of diamonds in a breakthrough that could lead to radical improvements in the way human bodies accept biomedical implants.

do spacecraft, newborns and endangered shellfish have in common?
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have developed a microbial detection technique so sensitive that it allows them to detect as few as 50-100 bacterial cells present on a surface.

A new twist to an old story of cellular signaling in the eye of a fly
Recent work from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, has shown that the regeneration of a signaling molecule, phosphatidylinositol 4,5 bisphosphate (PIP2), is not as simple as it was thought to be.

US continues to spend much more on health care than other countries, driven by prices of physician and hospital services, pharmaceuticals
The United States spent nearly twice as much as other high-income countries on medical care but did less well on many population health outcomes despite similar utilization.  Spending differences were driven primarily by prices for labor and goods, including pharmaceuticals, devices and administrative costs.

Predicting an insect community structure based on genomic variation in a tree species
Researchers have discovered a rule to predict an arthropod community structure based on the genomic variation in a foundation tree species.

Concerns rise over transgender violence since the 2016 US presidential election
A national sample of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals reported high levels of concern about violence and discrimination related to the 2016 US Presidential election in a new study.

Sleep apnea study finds male-female differences in cerebral cortex thickness, symptoms
Researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing examined clinical records and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of patients who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and discovered several apparent connections between thinning of the brain's cerebral cortex and apnea symptoms.

'Heat not burn' smokeless tobacco product may not be as harm free as claimed
iQOS, one of the first 'heat not burn' smokeless tobacco products marketed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, may not be as harm free as its manufacturer claims, suggests research published online in the journal Tobacco Control.

Patients with multiple conditions receive higher level of care in affluent areas
Patients with multimorbidity -- two or more long-term medical conditions -- have complex health care needs, often requiring higher levels of care than other patients.

Toothpaste alone does not prevent dental erosion or hypersensitivity
An analysis of nine toothpastes found that none of them protects enamel or prevents erosive wear.

Biophysicists discover how small populations of bacteria survive treatment
Small populations of pathogenic bacteria may be harder to kill off than larger populations because they respond differently to antibiotics.

Field-data study finds no evidence of racial bias in predictive policing
While predictive policing aims to improve the effectiveness of police patrols, there is concern that these algorithms may lead police to target minority communities and result in discriminatory arrests.

Astronomers discover galaxies spin like clockwork
Astronomers have discovered that all galaxies rotate once every billion years, no matter how big they are.

Multifunctional metalens unlocks with light
Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a flat optical component that is simultaneously a metalens, a microscope objective that can resolve details smaller than a wavelength of light, and an optical vortex and hologram generator.

Individual education programs not being used as intended in special education
Gone are the days when students with disabilities were placed in a separate classroom, or even in a completely different part of the school.

Surprising discovery provides insights into aggressive endometrial cancers
New research from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) indicates steroid and hormone receptors are simultaneously active in many endometrial cancer tissues.

Bone marrow edema in lower spine is common in young athletes
New research indicates that young recreational and elite athletes commonly accumulate excess fluid in the bone marrow around the joint that connects the spine with the pelvis.

World's largest cities depend on evaporated water from surrounding lands
A study found that 19 of the 29 largest cities in the world depend on evaporation from surrounding lands for more than one-third of their water supplies.

Helpful B cells lend a hand to developing neurons
Neuron myelination is critical to early mental development, and defects in myelination have been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders.

Prevent antibiotic resistances from spreading: Rapid test helps administering the 'correct' drug
Multi-resistant microbes are a growing danger. The often unnecessary and mass use of antibiotics causes the impassivity of pathogens against drugs.

Shaken, and stirred: Scaling up bioreactors' fluid dynamics
Bioreactors are used to produce different therapeutics in the biopharmaceutical and regenerative medicine industries.

NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
Researchers are developing a promising alternative to antibiotic treatment for infections caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria resistant to carbapenem antibiotics.

New insights into the origin of elongated heads in early medieval Germany
A palaeogenomic study investigates early medieval migration in southern Germany and the peculiar phenomenon of artificial skull deformation.

Warm summers could weaken ocean circulation
Deep convection in the North Atlantic is one of the key components of the large-scale ocean circulation.

Russian physicists make toy asteroids and blast them with a laser
Researchers created small copies of asteroids in the laboratory, and then destroyed them with lasers.

Compassion helped Neanderthals to survive, new study reveals
They have an unwarranted image as brutish and uncaring, but new research has revealed just how knowledgeable and effective Neanderthal healthcare was.

Ultra-white coating modelled on beetle scales
Researchers have developed a super-thin, non-toxic, lightweight, edible ultra-white coating that could be used to make brighter paints and coatings, for use in the cosmetic, food or pharmaceutical industries.

Why economic growth does not necessarily contribute to human happiness
Economic growth in developed countries has a dual effect. On one hand, people's living standards and consumer spending are on the rise, but on the other hand, this does not necessarily make people happy and may in fact erode subjective well-being and lead to economic crises.

It's not only size, but scales that matter in some male moth antennae
Male moths have evolved intricate scale arrangements on their antennae to enhance detection of female sex pheromones, which allows them to keep their antennae small enough to maximize flying, new research suggests.

Background radiation in UAE's agricultural topsoil found to be lower than global average
The first civilian nuclear power plant in the Eastern Region of Arabian Desert, and specifically in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be operating four reactors between (2018- 2020).

IUPUI field-data study finds no evidence of racial bias in predictive policing
While predictive policing aims to improve the effectiveness of police patrols, there is concern that these algorithms may lead police to target minority communities and result in discriminatory arrests.

Physicians' work should focus on personalized care, not transactional tasks
Shifting physicians' roles from transactional tasks to personalized care would best serve patients, physicians and society.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Linda lose an 'arm'
Tropical Cyclone 13P has been renamed Tropical Cyclone Linda in the Southern Pacific Ocean.

The thousand-year-old egg (video)
Century eggs, or pidan, are a preserved food made by fermenting duck eggs in alkali.

UH optometrist investigates changes in eye structure in astronauts
A University of Houston optometrist studies the vision of returning International Space Station astronauts and proves a structural change to their eyes.

Pterosaurs went out with a bang, not a whimper
Fossils of six new species of pterosaurs -- giant flying reptiles that flew over the heads of the dinosaurs -- have been discovered by a research team led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, revealing that this lineage was killed off in its prime.

Study debunks fears of increased teen suicide risk from popular flu drug
A new study published by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that the drug oseltamivir -- commonly known as Tamiflu -- does not cause an increased risk of suicide in pediatric patients.

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy: Holding promise for feline inflammatory diseases
Stem cell therapy is acknowledged as having great potential for the treatment of a variety of diseases in both people and animals.

Technique developed to improve appendicitis care for pediatric patients
Researchers from Children's Minnesota and HealthPartners Institute have developed a new pediatric appendicitis risk calculator (pARC) to aid in the diagnosis of appendicitis.

Warm arctic means colder, snowier winters in northeastern US, study says
Scientists from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) have linked the frequency of extreme winter weather in the United States to Arctic temperatures.

Electronic consultation system improves access to specialty care
An electronic consultation system designed to reduce excessive wait times for appointments with specialists experienced exponential growth during a recent five-year period.

Mowing the lawn less often improves bee habitat
New research suggests that homeowners can improve habitat for bees by mowing the lawn less often.

Long-term proton pump inhibitor use does not increase hip fracture risk among Alzheimer's patients
Long-term proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use does not increase the risk of hip fracture among persons with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.

Researchers computationally find the needle in a haystack to treat rare diseases
One in 10 people in America is fighting a rare disease, or a disorder that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans.

Researchers develop spectroscopic thermometer for nanomaterials
A scientific team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has found a new way to take the local temperature of a material from an area about a billionth of a meter wide, or approximately 100,000 times thinner than a human hair.

Areas where homes, forests mix increased rapidly over two decades
From 1990 to 2010, the nation's wildland-urban interface grew rapidly, increasing from 30.8 to 43.4 million homes (41 percent growth) and expanding in area from 143,568,227 acres to 190,271,144 acres in area, or 33 percent.

Ash from dinosaur-era volcanoes linked with shale oil, gas
Nutrient-rich ash from an enormous flare-up of volcanic eruptions toward the end of the dinosaurs' reign kicked off a chain of events that led to the formation of shale gas and oil fields from Texas to Montana.

Moffitt researchers use single-cell imaging & math models to find effect drug properties
Drug therapies that target a specific molecule have changed the way patients are treated for cancer and greatly improved survival rates.

Infected 'zombie ants' face no discrimination from nest mates
Carpenter ants infected with a specialized parasitic fungus are not subjected to aggression or isolation from their nest mates, and they continue to share in the colony's food resources until they leave the nest for the last time to die, according to a study led by Penn State researchers.

'Digistain' technology offers revolution in detailed cancer diagnosis
New cutting edge technology can be used to grade cancer tumours, eradicating human subjectivity and ensuring patients get the right treatment.

Exploring the role of cognitive factors in a new instrument for elders' financial capacity
Although the general public and mental health professionals seem to disregard incapacity regarding financial issues and relevant decision making in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and focus only on severe dementia cases, a PhD study in Greece reveals that noticeable deficits do exist in the handling of financial issues in elders suffering from MCI.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Mending broken hearts with cardiomyocyte molds
Whether caused by an undetected birth defect or by a heart attack (myocardial infarction), when a heart sustains damage, it can be difficult to repair.

Key drivers of high US healthcare spending identified
The major drivers of high healthcare costs in the US appear to be higher prices for nearly everything -- from physician and hospital services to diagnostic tests to pharmaceuticals -- and administrative complexity.

Thyroid gene variation may increase risk for Alzheimer's disease in African Americans
African Americans with a common genetic variation are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, while European Americans with the same variation are not, according to a study led by researchers at Rush University Medical Center.

High prices are just one reason Americans spend more on healthcare than Europeans
High drug prices as well as the excessive use of imaging and surgical procedures, and excessive administrative burdens contribute the majority to America's health care overspending compared to Europe, argues policy expert Ezekiel J.

Emotional suppression reduces memory of negative events
By peering at the brains of study subjects prompted to suppress negative emotions, scientists have gained new insights into how emotional regulation influences negative feelings and memories.

Study shows bias in use of alcohol screening after traumatic brain injury
'Has this patient been drinking?' It's a critical question for neurosurgical nurses and other professionals when evaluating patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Wide variation found among US counties for death from alcohol and drug use, suicide and interpersonal violence
Deaths from alcohol and drug use disorders, self-harm and interpersonal violence varied widely among U.S counties.

Flood, drought and disease tolerant -- one gene to rule them all
A newly discovered gene in rice confers flood tolerance, drought tolerance and disease resistance, and the discovery of the gene is a major step forward on the quest to produce climate smart crops.

How much snow accumulates in North America each year? More than scientists thought
Scientists have revised an estimate of snow volume for the entire continent, and they've discovered that snow accumulation in a typical year is 50 percent higher than previously thought.

Google's AI program: Building better algorithms for detecting eye disease
The ability of artificial intelligence to help screen patients for a common diabetic eye disease gains momentum with a new study published online today in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Lopsided ear function can lead to lopsided brain development
Left-right differences in ear function have been found to lead to asymmetric brain development that affects the preferred direction of turning movement in mice. 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