Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 14, 2018
'Body on a chip' could improve drug evaluation
MIT engineers have developed new technology that could be used to evaluate new drugs and detect possible side effects before they are approved for human use.

ORNL researchers design novel method for energy-efficient deep neural networks
Researchers at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a novel method for more efficiently training large numbers of networks capable of solving complex science problems.

E-cigarettes may be more harmful than beneficial according to evidence-based research
The popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has grown rapidly in the United States over the past decade.

Digging deep: Harnessing the power of soil microbes for more sustainable farming
How will the farms of the future feed a projected 9.8 billion people by 2050?

'Cold-blooded' pythons make for caring moms
The female Southern African python is the first ever egg-laying snake species shown to care for their babies.

High numbers of elderly Japanese women will soon live in poverty, predicts new model
Roughly one in four elderly Japanese women will live below the poverty level in the near future, predicts a model of the Japanese pension system.

Researchers link defects in a nuclear receptor in the brain to autism spectrum disorders
University of Houston researchers link autism spectrum disorders to defects in a nuclear receptor inside the brain.

Elevated lead in private wells could pose health risks
Since the Flint Water Crisis in Michigan, concern in the US over lead in drinking water has increased.

Hand grip strength may be associated with cardiac function and structure
Better hand grip strength may be associated with cardiac functions and structures that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular incidents, according to a study published March 14, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sebastian Beyer and Steffen Petersen from the Queen Mary University of London, UK, and colleagues.

Health chiefs failing to investigate rising deaths in England and Wales, argue experts
Health chiefs are failing to investigate a clear pattern of rising death rates and worsening health outcomes in England and Wales, argue experts in The BMJ today.

Researchers uncover way to restore movement sensation in upper limb amputation patients
A team of researchers led by Cleveland Clinic has published first-of-its-kind findings in Science Translational Medicine on a new method of restoring natural movement sensation in patients with prosthetic arms.

Muscle vibrations improve control over prosthetic hands
An automated brain-computer interface that vibrates the muscles used for control of prosthetic hands helped three amputees gain better movement control over the prosthetic, according to a new study by Paul Marasco and colleagues.

Study finds smokers at greater risk of hearing loss
Smoking is associated with increased risk of hearing loss, according to a study of over 50,000 participants over eight years in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, published by Oxford University Press.

Decreased oxygen levels could present hidden threat to marine species
In research published in Nature Scientific Reports, scientists from the University of Plymouth have shown that creatures which develop in hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions in the marine environment could experience previously unseen hindered development, and become compromised as adults.

Treatment for male anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis patients
Treatments for the anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis usually include steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange, plasmapheresis, rituximab, cyclophosphamide and tumor resection.

Parasitic worms need their intestinal microflora too
Scientists at The University of Manchester have cast new light on a little understood group of worm infections, which collectively afflicts 1 in 4 people, mainly children -- in the developing the world.

Fussy eating prevents mongoose family feuds
Mongooses living in large groups develop 'specialist' diets so they don't have to fight over food, new research shows.

Researchers create 3-D structure of the nuclear pore complex
For the first time, researchers have produced a nearly complete three-dimensional structure for the yeast Nuclear Pore Complex (NPC).

Are palaeontologists naming too many species?
A comprehensive new study looking at variations in Ichthyosaurus, a common British Jurassic ichthyosaur (sea-going reptile) also known as 'Sea Dragons', has provided important information into recognizing new fossil species.

Preeclampsia screening method found superior to current tests
New research highlights a more accurate way to screen for preeclampsia in pregnant women than currently recommended methods.

Many patients show signs of chronic kidney disease before diabetes diagnosis
Many patients who will later be diagnosed with diabetes show signs of chronic kidney disease even before their diabetes diagnosis, according to a study by Veterans Affairs researchers and colleagues in Tennessee.

Removing heavy metals from water
EPFL chemists have developed a new material that can remove heavy metals from water and make it drinkable in seconds.

Keeping plant-cell motors on track
In a growing plant cell, motor proteins called kinesins work as transporters that haul materials built in one part of the cell to the place where they are needed.

Study reveals vision's role in vowel perception
In a study based at Brown University, researchers found that the motion and configuration of a speaker's lips are key components of the information people gather when distinguishing vowels in speech.

A brewer's tale of proteins and beer
The transformation of barley grains into beer is an old story, typically starring water, yeast and hops.

Little evidence for any direct impact of national cancer policies on short-term survival in England
A study published by The BMJ today finds little evidence for any direct impact of national cancer policy initiatives implemented since 2000 on short term cancer survival in England.

Artificial and biological cells work together as mini chemical factories
Researchers have fused living and non-living cells for the first time in a way that allows them to work together, paving the way for new applications.

Tradeoffs between weaponry and fecundity in snapping shrimp queens vary with eusociality
Amongst species of colonial snapping shrimp, the capacity for defense versus reproduction in queens varies with the level of cooperation, according to a study published March 14, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sally Bornbusch from Duke University, USA, and colleagues.

Novel use for drug reduces post-operative nausea and vomiting
An innovative use for a known drug is showing promise as an effective treatment for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), suggests a study published today in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

New class of menopause drugs reduces number and severity of hot flushes
A new class of experimental drugs reduces hot flushes in menopausal women by almost three-quarters in just three days.

Smoke-damaged airway tissue restored on switching to glo
Studies by British American Tobacco show that airway tissue damaged on exposure to smoke was restored when exposed to vapor from glo rather than smoke.

Scientists remind their peers: Female birds sing, too
When North American ornithologists hear a bird singing, they're likely to assume it's a male.

ADHD drugs increase brain glutamate, predict positive emotion in healthy people
The findings by Brown University scientists offer clues about how misused drugs affect healthy brains and hint at an undiscovered link between glutamate and mood.

Chain reaction of fast-draining lakes poses new risk for Greenland ice sheet
A growing network of lakes on the Greenland ice sheet has been found to drain in a chain reaction that speeds up the flow of the ice sheet, threatening its stability.

Large numbers of students skipping breakfast
Despite widespread availability of morning meal programs, a large number of Canadian students are still skipping breakfast, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Key biological mechanism is disrupted by ocean acidification
A team led by scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the J.

Nanostructures created at UCLA could make gene therapies safer, faster & more affordable
UCLA scientists have developed a new method that utilizes microscopic splinter-like structures called 'nanospears' for the targeted delivery of biomolecules such as genes straight to patient cells.

Educational success curbs effects of child abuse, neglect
The emotional and sexual abuse that some children endure can lead them to commit crimes later in life.

Study examines how hospital payments for heart attack care may affect patient outcomes
A new, large-scale study -- led by researchers at the Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and published online today in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes -- examined the relationship between 30-day episode spending for inpatient and post-discharge care and patient mortality following a hospital admission for heart attack.

Canada remains 7th in World Happiness Report rankings
Canada remains the seventh happiest country in the world, according to a new report co-edited by CIFAR Distinguished Fellow John Helliwell.

Plastic fantastic -- researchers turn plastic pollution into cleaners
Scientists at the University of Bristol have discovered a way to re-use a common plastic to break down harmful dyes in our waste water.

Study: Hispanic Americans across ethnicities want HIV testing in Spanish
New University at Buffalo research that investigated the language preferences of Hispanic Americans seeking HIV testing in New York found that the majority of Hispanic patients preferred to receive care in Spanish, even if they were fluent in English.

One in four Americans suffer when exposed to common chemicals
University of Melbourne research reveals that one in four Americans report chemical sensitivity, with nearly half this group medically diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), suffering health problems from exposure to common chemical product.

Crabs in your computer
A study published in GigaScience provides three-dimensional visual data from hermit crabs using 3-D microCT scanning technology.

ANU scientists helping to improve understanding of plate tectonics
Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) are helping to improve understanding of how rocks in Earth's hot, deep interior enable the motions of tectonic plates, which regulate the water cycle that is critical for a habitable planet.

The element of surprise
In a new study from the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Lille in France, chemists have explored protactinium's multiple resemblances to more completely understand the relationship between the transition metals and the complex chemistry of the early actinide elements.

American Federation for Aging Research experts featured in PBS special: Incredible Aging
Fourteen AFAR experts are among those featured in

Underwater volcano behavior captured by timely scientific expedition
Researchers got a rare opportunity to study an underwater volcano in the Caribbean when it erupted while they were surveying the area.

Research team develops clinically-validated 3-D printed stethoscope
A team of researchers have developed an open-source, clinically validated template for a 3-D printed stethoscope for use in areas of the world with limited access to medical supplies -- places where a stethoscope could mean the difference between life and death.

Making new memories is a balancing act
Salk scientists discover that brain storage capacity is dynamic and varies by region.

Chemists use abundant, low-cost and non-toxic elements to synthesize semiconductors
Javier Vela of Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory has worked with two of his graduate students to synthesize a new material for semiconductors.

Eastern Mediterranean summer will be two months longer by end of 21st century
The eastern Mediterranean is experiencing monumental climate changes poised to significantly affect regional ecosystems and human health.

Researchers identify common biological features of different types of asthma
Research can help to identify people with mild asthma from those with moderate or severe asthma.

Laser-heated nanowires produce micro-scale nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion, the process that powers our sun, happens when nuclear reactions between light elements produce heavier ones.

Daily dose of violent video games has no long-term effect on adult aggression
Playing violent action adventure games for prolonged periods does not make adults more aggressive say researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany.

Saving lives
Last year, 81 million people worldwide experienced severe food insecurity.

A catalyst with self-defense against oxygen
Even traces of oxygen can deactivate molecular catalyst that are incorporated in fuel cells.

Unraveling how mesenchymal stem cells from gum tissue accelerate wound healing
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania set out to determine whether and how gum-derived stem cells play a role in accelerated wound healing.

Is your smile male or female?
The dynamics of how men and women smile differs measurably, according to new research, enabling artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically assign gender purely based on a smile.

While a candidate's voice pitch sways voters, it doesn't result in better leaders
Studies show that people with lower-pitched voices are more likely to win elected office because they are believed to be superior leaders with greater physical prowess and integrity.

An eco-friendly alternative to recycling e-waste
As consumers toss aside old cell phones, tablets and laptops to keep up with the latest technology, landfills are becoming full of the old devices.

Humans flourished through super volcano 74,000 years ago, study finds
Humans not only survived a massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago, they flourished during the resulting climate change that occurred, a new study by UNLV geoscientist Eugene Smith and colleagues found.

Mystery of purple lights in sky solved with help from citizen scientists
When a thin purple ribbon of light appeared and starting glowing in the midnight sky over Regina, Canada, in 2016, Notanee Bourassa knew that what he was seeing was not normal.

Using implementation science to improve cervical cancer prevention in sub-Saharan Africa
While cervical cancer -- one of the most common cancers in women -- has significantly decreased in the United States, it is still the second most common cancer in women who live in less developed countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Coral reef experiment shows: Acidification from carbon dioxide slows growth
Ocean acidification will severely impair coral reef growth before the end of the century if carbon dioxide emissions continue unchecked.

Nanospears deliver genetic material to cells with pinpoint accuracy
In a step toward accelerating the production of new gene therapies, scientists report in ACS Nano that they have developed remote-controlled, needle-like nanospears capable of piercing membrane walls and delivering DNA into selected cells.

Pairing mobile phone reminders with incentives to help prevent diseases
In a study conducted in rural India, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers working in collaboration with Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha (BUDS), a nonprofit Indian organization focused on child health, have found that mobile phone reminders linked with incentives such as free talk time minutes work better than phone alerts alone to improve childhood immunization rates in poor communities.

Leuven researchers uncover ion channel trio that mediates painful heat sensing
Researchers at VIB and KU Leuven have uncovered a trio of complementary ion channels in sensory neurons that mediate detection of acute, harmful heat.

Did Michelangelo include a hidden caricature of himself in one of his famous sketches?
A new Clinical Anatomy article presents evidence that Michelangelo inserted his self-portrait into a sketch of his close friend, Vittoria Colonna, which is currently in the collection of the British Museum in London, England.

Molecular motor mystery solved: Novel protein rounds out plant cells' machinery
A research team led by an Oregon State University biophysicist and a plant biologist from University of California, Davis has discovered a novel motor protein that significantly expands current understanding of the evolution and design principle of motor proteins.

Neglecting child health threatens UK's future prosperity, says expert
The low priority given to children and young people's health threatens the UK's future prosperity, argues an expert writing in The BMJ today.

For nanomedicine, cell sex matters
A research team has demonstrated that cell sex considerably influenced cellular uptake of nanoparticles and found that cells from men and women responded differently to reprogramming techniques used to enhance the ability of the cells to differentiate into a greater variety of cell types.

NIH scientists search for the clocks behind aging brain disorders
To understand the link between aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, NIH scientists compared the genetic clocks that tick during the lives of normal and mutant flies.

Cells stressed out? Make mitochondria longer
TSRI scientists investigate a phenomenon that may guard against disease as we age.

Turbocharging fuel cells with a multifunctional catalyst
Zero-emissions cars zipping into a sustainable energy future are just one dream powered by fuel cells.

Boron can form a purely honeycomb, graphene-like 2-D structure
Borophene is known to have triangular lattice with holes, while honeycomb lattice of boron was predicted to be energetically unstable.

Physically fit women nearly 90 percent less likely to develop dementia
Women with high physical fitness at middle age were nearly 90 percent less likely to develop dementia decades later, compared to women who were moderately fit, according to a study published the March 14, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Droughts in Mongolia -- past, present and future
The extreme wet and dry periods Mongolia has experienced in the late 20th and early 21st centuries are rare but not unprecedented and future droughts may be no worse.

Cash payments prompt tropical forest users to harvest less
An experiment conducted with 1,200 villagers in five developing countries found that when people are given cash to conserve, they cut down fewer trees both while they are being paid and after payments cease.

A lesson from Darwin
When British naturalist Charles Darwin traveled to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, he took notice of the giant kelp forests ringing the islands.

NASA finds towering storms in Tropical Cyclone Linda
Towering thunderstorms were found southeast of Tropical Cyclone Linda's center when the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed overhead and analyzed the storm.

Chromatin usage in individual cells reveals developmental trajectories
Both cell type and developmental stage can be deduced from measurements of chromatin accessibility in thousands of single cells, researchers at EMBL and the University of Washington show.

Brain genes related to innovation revealed in birds
Wild birds that are more clever than others at foraging for food have different levels of a neurotransmitter receptor that has been linked with intelligence in humans, according to a study led by McGill University researchers.

How accurate is your AI?
Kyoto University researcher reports on a new evaluation method for the type of AI that predicts yes/positive/true or no/negative/false answers.

Scenario 2050: Lithium and Cobalt might not suffice
Lithium and cobalt are fundamental components of present lithium-ion batteries.

UCI-led study helps explain Greenland glaciers' varied vulnerability to melting
Using data from NASA missions observing Earth, researchers at the University of California, Irvine have created new maps of the bed topography beneath a score of glaciers in southeast Greenland, thereby gaining a much better understanding of why some are undergoing rapid retreat and others are relatively stable.

Removing heavy metals from water with MOFs
An estimated 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water, a problem expected to worsen with climate change, according to the World Health Organization.

New imaging approach offers unprecedented views of staph infection
Eric Skaar, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at Vanderbilt have combined multiple types of molecular imaging to probe an invasive Staphylococcus aureus infection in the mouse.

Global warming increases the risk of avalanches
The impacts of global warming are felt especially in mountainous regions, where the rise in temperatures is above average.

'Lazy lawn mowers' can help support suburban bee populations and diversity
Homeowners concerned about the decline of bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects need look no further than their own back yards, says ecologist Susannah Lerman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the USDA Forest Service.

Graphene flakes for future transistors
Tiny and very promising for possible applications in the field of nanoelectronics: they are the graphene nanoflakes studied by a SISSA's team and protagonists of a study recently published in the Nano Letters journal.

Are sexual minority students less likely to persist in STEM degrees?
Sexual minority students -- lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer -- were less likely than their heterosexual peers to be retained in STEM degrees after four years of college, suggests a new study based on a national survey of more than 4,000 college students.

Scientists find seismic imaging is blind to water
MIT and Australian scientists have found that seismic imaging is blind to water, a finding that may lead researchers to reinterpret seismic maps of the Earth's interior.

Growing need for urban forests as urban land expands
New research projecting urban land growth and updating urban forest values suggests that urbanization and urban forests are likely to be one the most important forest influences and influential forests of the 21st Century.

EDC4: New gene involved in familial breast cancer
An international research consortium led by Dr Jordi Surrallés, director of the Genetics Service at the Hospital de Sant Pau and professor of Genetics at the UAB, and by Dr Miquel Àngel Pujana, director of the ProCURE Research Programme of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO, IDIBELL), has identified a novel gene involved in this type of cancer, known as EDC4.

A study suggests structural difference in the brain of transgender people
As published in Scientific Reports, research conducted in Brazil using magnetic resonance imaging points to variations in the volume of the insula, a brain region associated with body image According to scientists, this trait -- detected in transgenders either adherent or not to hormone treatment, strengthens an understanding that the matter is not related to gender ideology.

Zika: An accurate estimation of the neurological risks in unborn children
Thanks to a study conducted in pregnant women and their unborn children during the Zika epidemic in the French territories in the Americas, researchers from Inserm, Institut Pasteur and the University Hospital of Guadeloupe have been able to accurately estimate the risk of severe neurological complications in babies.

New research solves the 60-year-old paleontological mystery of a 'phantom' dicynodont
A new study has re-discovered fossil collections from a 19th century hermit that validate 'phantom' fossil footprints collected in the 1950s showing dicynodonts coexisting with dinosaurs.

Placenta defects a factor in prenatal deaths
The role of the placenta in fetal development is being seriously under-appreciated according to scientists in Cambridge and London.

Researchers say 'active protection' needed to help Angola's threatened elephants
A new study of African savannah elephant populations in Angola by wildlife ecologists from Elephants Without Borders (EWB) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst reports today that though the population seemed to be recovering after the war ended there, that trend has now reversed, underlining 'the need to be vigilant against poaching and habitat loss,' says first author Scott Schlossberg of EWB.

Candidate voice pitch influences voters, but does not lead to better leaders
Voters may prefer voting for candidates with lower sounding voices but they are not necessarily better leaders, a paper recently published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior by University of Miami Professor Casey Klofstad and Professor Rindy Anderson from Florida Atlantic University has revealed.

Quantum mechanics runs hot in a cold plasma: UBC research
University of British Columbia researchers have found a new system that could help yield 'warmer' quantum technologies.

Area surrounding a tumor impacts how breast cancer cells grow
A research team from Oregon Health & Science University, led by Joe Gray, Ph.D. and Jim Korkola, Ph.D. discover a tumor's 'microenvironment' plays a critical role in how HER2 positive breast cancer responds to treatment.

Researchers demonstrate existence of new form of electronic matter
Researchers have produced a 'human scale' demonstration of a new phase of matter called quadrupole topological insulators that was recently predicted using theoretical physics.

A new method measures the integration or segregation of immigrants based on their tweets
An international team led by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has developed a method to measure the integration or segregation of immigrants based on the messages they write on the social network, Twitter.

Saving lives with platypus milk
A breakthrough by Australian scientists has brought the introduction of an unlikely hero in the global fight against antibiotic resistance a step closer; the humble platypus.

Nightmares are common but underreported in US military personnel
A new study shows that a high percentage of military personnel with sleep disturbances met criteria for nightmare disorder, but few of them reported nightmares as a reason for sleep evaluation.

Exploration of a new chemical synthesis process -- synergy of two catalysts in one flask
Development of a general and simple reaction by an organocatalyst and a transition-metal catalyst in cooperation is highly desirable for various organic syntheses but remains a challenge.

Research gets closer to producing revolutionary battery to power renewable energy industry
Trung Van Nguyen has headed research that today verges on development of a commercial hydrogen-bromine flow battery, an advanced industrial-scale battery design engineers have strived to develop since the 1960s.

SwRI-led mission finds Jupiter's atmospheric beauty is more than skin deep
In the year and a half NASA's Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter, the science team led by Southwest Research Institute's Dr.

Obesity may promote resistance to antiangiogenic therapy for breast cancer
A research team led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found, for the first time, that obesity and obesity-related molecular factors appear to induce resistance to antiangiogenic therapy in breast cancer patients and in mouse models of the disease.

Researchers tap problematic e-waste surplus to recover high-quality polymers
Mixed-plastic electronics waste could be a valuable source of reusable polymers, a new study led by Illinois Sustainability Technology Center scientists suggests.

CHOP researchers highlight advances in pediatric heart disease at ACC Scientific Session 2018
Physician-researchers from the Cardiac Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) presented new findings on pediatric cardiovascular disease at the American College of Cardiology's 67th Annual Scientific Session & Expo 2018 in Orlando, Fla.

Magnon spin currents can be controlled via spin valve structure
Construction set of magnon logic extended. 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