Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 29, 2018
NASA visualizes the dance of a melting snowflake
NASA has produced the first three-dimensional numerical model of melting snowflakes in the atmosphere.

Scientists use AI to predict biological age based on smartphone and wearables data
Researches at longevity biotech company GERO and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have developed a computer algorithm that uses Artificial Intelligence to predict biological age and the risk of mortality based on physical activity.

Chemical synthesis with artificial intelligence: Researchers develop new computer method
The board game Go was long considered to be a bastion reserved for human players due to its complexity.

The link between urban design and childhood obesity
Children who live in more walkable neighborhoods have a smaller waist measurement and a lower BMI (body mass index).

Access, affordability of health care in years after ACA for cancer survivors
Cancer survivors were more likely to be insured but they still reported greater difficulties accessing and affording health care than adults without cancer, although the proportion of cancer survivors reporting those issues decreased in years that coincided with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

NUS scientists develop novel chip for fast and accurate disease detection at low cost
A novel invention by a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore holds promise for a faster and cheaper way to diagnose diseases with high accuracy.

New work from Ron Crystal's lab on treating hereditary adrenal disorders
A new study has definitively shown that a single treatment with gene therapy using adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector gene delivery to replace the defective gene responsible for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) will only temporarily alleviate the hereditary disorder.

Anthropogenic lead still present in European shelf seas
Over many decades lead (Pb) has been released into the atmosphere due to human activities, such as combustion of leaded fuel.

Topical solution may be less toxic option for patients with noncancerous skin growth
A team of researchers at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences compared the toxicological impact of cryosurgery with an FDA-approved topical 40 percent hydrogen peroxide solution (A-101) for the treatment of seborrheic keratosis, in human skin equivalents derived from darker skin types.

Medical group offers steps to address physician burnout
Framework and Principles on Well-Being Aim to Benefit Patients and Strengthen Health Care Systems

Plastic surgery abroad can lead to severe complications after returning to the US
Patients traveling to developing countries for plastic surgery procedures may experience severe complications--requiring extensive and costly treatment after they return to the United States, reports a study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Human-centered design is key to forming partnerships for large-scale conservation success
The findings, published in PLOS ONE on March 9, question previous assumptions in the field that the payments themselves are the most effective motivator of participation.

Kesterite solar cells: Germanium promises better opto-electronic properties than tin
Specific changes in the composition of kesterite-type semiconductors make it possible to improve their suitability as absorber layers in solar cells.

Estimating the effect of genetic mutations on neurodevelopmental disorders more accurately
A recent study, co-edited by Canadian researchers (CHU Sainte-Justine, the Université de Montréal) and French researchers (the Institut Pasteur and the university Paris-Diderot), presents a model that can predict the effect of a genetic variant on a person's cognitive traits and estimate the impact of genetic mutations on IQ.

Unprecedented contrast agent to measure the age of skin and blood vessels
IBS scientists have synthesized the first contrast agent to observe and measure elastin, the protein that gives strength to blood vessel walls, and flexibility to skin.

Researchers develop a novel RNA-based therapy to target West Nile virus
A Yale-led research team developed a new RNA therapy, delivered through the nose, to treat mice infected with West Nile Virus.

Researchers increase understanding of coarse-to-fine human visual perception
In a recent study published in Neuron, Dr. WANG Wei's lab at the Institute of Neuroscience of the Chinese Academy of Sciences revealed an unexpected neural clustering preserving visual acuity from V1 into V4, enabling the spatiotemporal separation of processing local and global features along the hierarchy.

Software automatically generates knitting instructions for 3-D shapes
Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists have developed a system that can translate a wide variety of 3-D shapes into stitch-by-stitch instructions that enable a computer-controlled knitting machine to automatically produce those shapes.

A chameleon-inspired material that stiffens and changes color
Researchers have developed a new material that mimics the dynamic properties of skin as it tenses -- and that changes colors in the process.

Limiting tumors' ability to hide from the immune system
Scientists have discovered a way to stop tumors from shedding certain proteins that the immune system uses to identify and attack tumors.

What stops mass extinctions?
What slows or stops a disease epidemic if the pathogen is still present?

Pig model of Huntington's offers advantages for testing treatments
A team of scientists has established a 'knock in' pig model of Huntington's disease (HD), an inherited neurodegenerative disease, anticipated to be useful for testing treatments.

Virus found to adapt through newly discovered path of evolution
Biologists have discovered evidence for a new path of evolution, and with it a deeper understanding of how quickly organisms such as viruses can adapt to their environment.

Scientists penalized by motherhood
Despite gender balance at lower levels of academia, challenges still exist for women progressing to more senior roles.

Researchers develop model to show how bacteria grow in plumbing systems
Bacteria in tap water can multiply when a faucet isn't used for a few days, such as when a house is vacant over a week's vacation, a new study from University of Illinois engineers found.

Lesson learned? Massive study finds lectures still dominate STEM ed
An analysis of more than 2,000 college classes in science, technology, engineering and math has found that 55 percent of STEM classroom interactions consisted mostly of conventional lecturing -- a style that prior research has identified as among the least effective at teaching and engaging students.

The Sahara Desert is expanding
The Sahara Desert has expanded by about 10 percent since 1920, according to a new study by University of Maryland scientists.

Pitt physicians devise emergency and trauma care referral map for US
In response to repeated calls for an integrated emergency care system in the US, University of Pittsburgh physicians rose to the challenge and divided the nation into hundreds of referral regions that describe how patients access advanced care, in a way that respects geopolitical borders.

Just one high-fat meal sets the perfect stage for heart disease
A single high-fat milkshake, with a fat and calorie content similar to some enticing restaurant fare, can quickly transform our healthy red blood cells into small, spiky cells that wreak havoc inside our blood vessels and help set the perfect stage for cardiovascular disease, scientists report.

Scientists found a new genus and species of frogs
A team of scientists from MSU and their foreign colleagues discovered a previously unknown species and genus of batrachians Siamophryne troglodytes.

Herring larvae could benefit from an acidifying ocean
Excess CO2 in the atmosphere is making the oceans more acidic.

Nanoscale alloys from elements thought to be incapable of mixing
A multi-institutional team of scientists describes a new technique that can meld ions from up to eight different elements to form what are known as high entropy alloyed nanoparticles.

Kidney dysfunction contributes to severe malaria
Understanding the most severe presentations of malaria is key to lowering the mortality associated with the infectious disease, which currently stands around 500,000 deaths a year.

One species described multiple times: How taxonomists contribute to biodiversity discovery
While working on a rare little known group of Oriental wasps that likely parasitize the eggs of grasshoppers, locusts or crickets, not only did a team of four entomologists discover four previously unknown species, but they also found that another four species were in fact one and the same.

Fat-sensing hormone helps control tadpole metamorphosis
When tadpoles are but tadpoles, they're voracious eaters, chomping down all of the plant matter in their paths.

Molecular basis of neural memory -- reviewing 'neuro-mimetic' technologies
From the perspective of neuroscientists, the authors review the IBM Brain Chip and the Blue Brain Project, and find them flawed by key oversights.

Flipping lipids for cell transport-tubules
An enzyme that flips lipids from the outer to the inner layer of the cell membrane launches the process that permits cells to engulf external substances.

Scientists mix the unmixable to create 'shocking' nanoparticles
Making a giant leap in the 'tiny' field of nanoscience, a multi-institutional team of researchers is the first to create nanoscale particles composed of up to eight distinct elements generally known to be immiscible, or incapable of being mixed or blended together.

New math bridges holography and twistor theory
A new perspective bridges two approaches to understanding quantum gravity.

More accurate estimates of methane emissions from dairy cattle developed
Leading the worldwide effort to get a better handle on methane emissions from animals, an international consortium of researchers devised more accurate models to estimate the amount of the potent greenhouse gas produced by dairy cattle.

NIH study may help explain why iron can worsen malaria infection
Researchers at NIH have a possible explanation for why iron can sometimes worsen malaria infection.

The limits of friction
In collaboration with their Italian colleagues, researchers from the University of Konstanz have demonstrated how to entirely suppress static friction between two surfaces.

Poor grades tied to class times that don't match our biological clocks
It may be time to tailor students' class schedules to their natural biological rhythms.

Neurocognitive risk may begin before treatment for young leukemia patients
Chemotherapy agents have been associated with neurocognitive side effects in young leukemia survivors.

Slow, steady waves keep brain humming
Very slow brain waves, long considered an artifact of brain scanning techniques, may be more important than anyone had realized.

Hockey victories may increase heart attack risk in Canadian men
The thrill of a hockey victory may put younger men at an increased risk for heart attack.

Evading detection by an infrared camera, octopus style
Inspired by organisms that can change the nature of their skin, such as octopuses, researchers have developed a device with tunable infrared reflectivity.

Biophysics: Bacterial adhesion in vitro and in silico
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich researchers have characterized the physical mechanism that enables a widespread bacterial pathogen to adhere to the tissues of its human host.

Anti-aging protein alpha Klotho's molecular structure revealed
Researchers from UT Southwestern's Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research and Internal Medicine's Division of Nephrology recently published work in Nature that reveals the molecular structure of the so-called 'anti-aging' protein alpha Klotho (a-Klotho) and how it transmits a hormonal signal that controls a variety of biologic processes.

Breast cancers detected at smaller size in women with implants
Breast augmentation with implants does not interfere with the ability to detect later breast cancers--in fact, cancers may be detected at a smaller size in breasts with implants, according to a study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Child sexual abuse in US costs up to $1.5 million per child death, study finds
Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly, with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study.

Study reveals epilepsy drug exposure in womb is linked to poorer school test
Researchers from the Neurology Research Group in the Swansea University Medical School found that exposure to epilepsy drugs in the womb is linked to significantly poorer school test results among 7 year olds.

Patients who travel abroad for plastic surgery can bring home serious complications
With the promise of inexpensive procedures luring patients to travel abroad for plastic surgery, medical tourism has become an expanding, multi-billion-dollar industry.

Tumor suppressor protein targets liver cancer
Salk Institute scientists, together with researchers from Switzerland's University of Basel and University Hospital Basel, discovered a protein called LHPP that acts as a molecular switch to turn off the uncontrolled growth of cells in liver cancer.

Colon signaling pathway key to inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) develops because of an uncontrolled immune response in the colon.

Monkeys' brains synchronize as they collaborate to perform a motor task
Scientists have previously shown that when one animal watches another performing a motor task, such as reaching for food, mirror neurons in the motor cortex of the observer's brain start firing as though the observer were also reaching for food.

Walleye fish populations are in decline
Walleye, an iconic native fish species in Wisconsin, the upper Midwest and Canada, are in decline in northern Wisconsin lakes, according to a study published this week.

Detecting volcanic eruptions
Geophysicist Robin Matoza leads a case study of an eruption of Calbuco in Chile to evaluate data delivered by infrasound sensors

A decade after housing bust, mortgage industry on shaky ground, experts warn
New regulations on banks fueled a boom in nonbank mortgage companies, a category of independent lenders that are more lightly regulated and more financially fragile than banks.

Dietary supplement shows promise for reversing cardiovascular aging
A novel nutraceutical called nicotinomide riboside has been found to kick-start the same biological pathways as calorie restriction does, and boost arterial health in people with mild hypertension.

Making a leap from high-ability high school to college of lesser academic status can be a real downer
Making the transition from high school to college may be stressful -- but it can be downright depressing for students who graduate from a school with peers of high academic ability and wind up at a college with students of lesser ability, according to a new study.

Twisting graphene into spirals
Researcher for the first time synthesize helical nanographene.

Study on frogs helps scientists understand disease outbreak and progression
The search for answers to protect Central American frogs from extinction is also giving scientists clues on how to predict and respond to emerging diseases and epidemics in humans, plants and other wildlife.

New cancer drug shows promise in pediatric patients with tumor-specific gene mutations
A new cancer drug has proven safe and effective for pediatric patients with a rare tumor gene mutation.

Inherent feminizing effect of germ cells: New insights into sex determination
Germ cells have long been recognized as the only cells that can transfer genetic materials to the next generation via the sperm or egg.

A medical charter: Commitments to limit physician burnout, promote well-being
More than half of U.S. physicians say they experience burnout in their work.

UMD Researchers explore how personality affects gamified diabetes self-management
Researchers at the University of Maryland designed and tested an app for self-managing diabetes for insight into how personality differences might explain why mobile health apps help some patients more than others.

Now you see it: Invisibility material created by UCI engineers
Materials inspired by disappearing Hollywood dinosaurs and real-life shy squid have been invented by UCI engineers, according to new findings in Science this Friday.

Pediatric cancer drug shows 93 percent response rate
A first-of-its-kind drug targeting a fused gene found in many types of cancer was effective in 93 percent of pediatric patients tested, researchers at UT Southwestern's Simmons Cancer Center announced.

Researchers describe the dynamics of P. falciparum infections in adults without fever
In adults with asymptomatic infections by Plasmodium falciparum, the number of parasites in blood falls to very low levels within the first four days after detection, which suggests that these individuals contribute to malaria transmission for a limited time period.

Scientists develop sugar-coated nanosheets to selectively target pathogens
A team led by Berkeley Lab scientists has developed a process for creating ultrathin, self-assembling sheets of synthetic materials that can function like designer flypaper in selectively binding with viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

Intensifying Tropical Storm Jelawat evaluated by NASA's GPM satellite
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew almost directly above large intensifying tropical storm Jelawat and found strong storms generating very heavy rainfall.

Once we can capture CO2 emissions, here's what we could do with it
The carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from power plants each year doesn't have to go into the atmosphere.

Dolphins tear up nets as fish numbers fall
Fishing nets suffer six times more damage when dolphins are around - and overfishing is forcing dolphins and fishermen ever closer together, new research shows.

Opioid use prevalent among electronic dance music partygoers
One in 10 electronic dance music (EDM) party attendees have misused opioids in the past year, exceeding the national average, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU Meyers College of Nursing.

Hungarian agency powerless in holding healthcare funding decisions to account
New research from the University of Bath raises issues about transparency and decision-making for healthcare policies in Hungary.

Detailed structure illuminates brain-enhancing drug's action
A drug that reverses the effects of a cellular stress response restores learning and memory in mice with concussions.

What a mesh
A team of scientists from across the US has found a new way to create molecular interconnections that can give a certain class of materials exciting new properties, including improving their ability to catalyze chemical reactions or harvest energy from light.

Mice 'eavesdrop' on rats' tear signal
Tears might not seem to have an odor. But studies have shown that proteins in tears act as pheromonal cues.

Accurately diagnosing genetic disease prevents cancer, saves lives
New research testing a method of genetic screening in colon cancer patients could be the key to preventing cancer for thousands of people.

Self-managed health care technology should consider chronic disease patients' values
Helping patients better manage their own health is a crucial goal -- both medically and economically -- but achieving that goal will require health care technologies that are sensitive to patients' values, researchers at Washington State University are finding.

Effective rehabilitation in COPD
By 2020, COPD will be the third most common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.

Polymers that mimic chameleon skin
Biological tissues have complex mechanical properties -- soft-yet-strong, tough-yet-flexible -- that are difficult to reproduce using synthetic materials.

Researchers define target and mechanism of antibacterial drug fidaxomicin (dificid)
A team of Rutgers University and international scientists has determined the molecular target and mechanism of the antibacterial drug fidaxomicin (trade name Dificid).

Anti-viral components in soybean meal may promote growth and health in pigs
Swine diets are carefully formulated to provide the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fats.

Resampling of hard-hit region suggests amphibians may be developing resistance to deadly fungus
As amphibian populations globally continue to be ravaged by chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by a deadly fungal pathogen, a new study suggests that some populations in Panama may have started becoming more resistant to the fungus about a decade after it began significantly impacting them.

The microenvironment of diabetic retinopathy supports lymphatic neovascularization
'We asked whether proliferative diabetic retinopathy involves the growth of new lymphatic vessels in addition to blood vessels -- and, indeed, we found expression of lymphatic markers in the PDR tissues.' The new study, conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland, was published in the Journal of Pathology.

Expert panel reliable and accurate in identifying injuries in young children
The reliability and accuracy of a nine -- member expert panel was measured in determining the likelihood of abuse in more than 2,000 cases.

Is your Easter egg bad for the environment?
A recent study by researchers at The University of Manchester and published in the journal Food Research International has looked at the carbon footprint of chocolate and its other environmental impacts. 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