Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 04, 2018
Obesity impacts liver health in kids as young as 8 years old
A new study found that weight gain, obesity can put children as young as age 8 at risk for a serious liver disease.

Cocoa bean roasting can preserve both chocolate health benefits, taste
Manipulating the temperature and the length of time under which cocoa beans are roasted can simultaneously preserve and even boost the potency of some bioactive and antioxidant compounds while protecting desired sensory aspects of chocolate, according to Penn State researchers.

Healthy red blood cells owe their shape to muscle-like structures
The findings could shed light on sickle cell diseases and other disorders where red blood cells are deformed.

Vegetables may help protect elderly women from hardening of neck arteries
Eating more cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli was associated with less carotid artery wall thickness among elderly women.

Frequency of skin cancer screening among indoor tanners
Skin cancer screening is underused by indoor tanners.

Lizards, mice, bats and other vertebrates are important pollinators too
Although less familiar as flower visitors than insect pollinators, vertebrate pollinators are more likely to have coevolved tight relationships of high value to the plants they service, supplying essential reproductive aid for which few or no other species may substitute.

Personal outreach to landowners is vital to conservation program success
Research published in PLOS ONE shows that private landowners trust conservation agencies more and have better views of program outcomes when they accompany conservation biologists who are monitoring habitat management on their land.

Pulling valuable metals from e-waste makes financial sense
Electronic waste -- including discarded televisions, computers and mobile phones -- is one of the fastest-growing waste categories worldwide.

Enhanced therapeutic vaccine platform achieves 2 proof-of-concepts in veterinary medical use
Chronical allergic diseases of dogs and horses can now be treated with an innovative vaccine.

Treating vision loss
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 1.75 million individuals in the United States.

Anemia: When cells fail to produce enough protein factories
Every day, stem cells in our bone marrow produce billions of new red blood cells.

A new way to atomically thin materials
Metallic conductivity and hydrophilicity of MXenes have established them as electrodes in rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors, as well as other applications, including photothermal cancer therapy, electromagnetic shielding, water purification and gas sensing.

From car engines to exoplanets
Chemical models developed to help limit the emission of pollutants by car engines are being used to study the atmospheres of hot exoplanets orbiting close to their stars.

Childhood exposure to flame retardant chemicals declines following phase-out
Exposure to flame retardants once widely used in consumer products has been falling, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.

New study suggests tens of thousands of black holes exist in Milky Way's center
A Columbia University-led team of astrophysicists has discovered a dozen black holes gathered around Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

UTHealth finds unprecedented psychological distress months after Harvey
Four months after Hurricane Harvey soaked the Houston area and displaced more than a third of the population, an alarming 52 percent of Harris County residents said they were still struggling to recover, according to a new report from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health.

Researchers test stem cell-based retinal implant for common cause of vision loss
Physicians and researchers at the USC Roski Eye Institute have collaborated with other California institutions to show that a first-in-kind stem cell-based retinal implant is feasible for use in people with advanced dry age-related macular degeneration.

Climate change and recreational activities at Walden Pond have altered its ecosystem
Climate change and recreational activity at Walden Pond may have altered the ecology of this iconic lake during the past 1,800 years, affecting the water quality and plankton community, according to a study published April 4, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by J.

Hubble makes the first precise distance measurement to an ancient globular star cluster
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have for the first time precisely measured the distance to one of the oldest objects in the universe, a collection of stars born shortly after the big bang.

Mental disorder rates differ by immigration status and ethnicity of American adolescents
Immigrant youth from specific racial-ethnic groups in the USA tend to have lower rates of certain mental disorders compared to their non-immigrant peers, reports a study published in the April 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).

Organic fertilizers are an overlooked source of microplastic pollution
Organic fertilizers from biowaste fermentation act as a vehicle for microplastic particles to enter the terrestrial environment, with the amount of microplastic particles differing based on pre-treatment methods and plant type, a new study shows.

New method allows scientists to watch brain cells interacting in real time
An advance by UCLA neuroscientists could lead to a better understanding of astrocytes, a star-shaped brain cell believed to play a key role in neurological disorders like Lou Gehrig's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease.

Smart ink adds new dimensions to 3-D printing
New smart ink turns 3-D-printed structures into objects that can change shape and color.

Mutation of worm gene, swip-10, triggers age-dependent death of dopamine neurons
Looking at dopamine neurons in a tiny worm's brain, scientists have identified a novel pathway that sustains the health of these cells.

Montana State study: LGBQ students less likely to stay in STEM majors
Montana State University education professor Bryce Hughes' paper, 'Coming Out in STEM: factors affecting retention of sexual minority STEM students,' was published March 14 in Science Advances.

Rare coastal martens under high risk of extinction in coming decades
The coastal marten, a small but fierce forest predator, is at a high risk for extinction in Oregon and northern California in the next 30 years due to threats from human activities.

New coronavirus emerges from bats in China, devastates young swine
A newly identified coronavirus that killed nearly 25,000 piglets in 2016-17 in China emerged from horseshoe bats near the origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which emerged in 2002 in the same bat species.

Sleep deficiency increases risk of a motor vehicle crash
Individuals may be unaware of their degree of impairment from sleep deficiency, which raises the question of whether these individuals are at an increased risk of motor vehicle crash.

The great acceleration reaches new heights
An international team of researchers, including researchers at Edysan laboratorie (CNRS / Université de Picardie Jules Verne) has observed an acceleration in the increase of biodiversity on mountain peaks in Europe.

Ancient origins of viruses discovered
Research published today in Nature has found that many of the viruses infecting us today have ancient evolutionary histories that date back to the first vertebrates and perhaps the first animals in existence.

Researchers advise long-term monitoring of infants infected with Zika after birth
Postnatal Zika infection of infant rhesus macaques results in persistent abnormalities in brain structure and function as well as behavior and emotions.

Diverse metals mix it up in novel nanoparticles
Researchers have learned to combine up to eight different metals in a single tiny, uniformly mixed nanoparticle.

Are people with Parkinson's disease depressed or demoralized?
People with Parkinson's disease who show signs of depression may actually have a condition called demoralization, according to a study published in the April 4, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Breakthrough made in atomically thin magnets
Cornell researchers have become the first to control atomically thin magnets with an electric field, a breakthrough that provides a blueprint for producing exceptionally powerful and efficient data storage in computer chips, among other applications.

Retinal implant halts vision loss from macular degeneration
A bioengineered retinal implant is safe for use in humans and may be effective in treating vision loss caused by a type of macular degeneration, a progressive blinding disease where no therapeutic options currently exist for advanced stages of the condition.

Are high-risk anticholinergic medicines prescribed too often for older adults?
A team of researchers decided to study how frequently healthcare providers prescribe potentially inappropriate medications like anticholinergics in light of recommendations like those from the AGS Beers Criteria.

Tuning in to magnetic ink
A new ink containing iron-oxide nanoparticles can be turned into fully printed and versatile components for cellular networks.

Using lung MRI to see where and why Canadians with asthma have poor disease control
Researchers at Western University and McMaster University are developing an innovative lung imaging method that provides a unique window on asthma that is aimed at guiding and personalizing treatment for Canadians with severe, poorly controlled asthma.

US power sector carbon emissions intensity drops to lowest on record
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) today announced the release of the 2018 Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index, at CMU Energy Week, hosted by the Wilton E.

Regular stretching shown to improve muscles in elderly
Daily muscle stretching could bring health benefits to elderly people with reduced mobility, according to new research published today in the Journal of Physiology.

Increase of plant species on mountain tops is accelerating with global warming
Over the past 10 years, the number of plant species on European mountain tops has increased by five-times more than during the period 1957-66.

Shaping behavior, not changing minds, more effective in boosting vaccination rates
A comprehensive review of scientific literature surrounding the psychology of vaccinations has shown that shaping behavior rather than trying to change minds is far more effective at persuading people to get immunized.

GPM satellite probes Tropical Cyclone Iris weakening near Australian coast
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite analyzed Tropical Cyclone Iris' heavy rainfall as it lingered near the Queensland coast.

Facilitating coral restoration
Global declines of coral reefs -- particularly in the Caribbean -- have spurred efforts to grow corals in underwater nurseries and transplant them to enable recovery.

New findings from NYU Abu Dhabi and JPL about how 'giant' planets impact neighbors' habitability
In a new study published today in The Astrophysical Journal, researchers from New York University Abu Dhabi and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, share new findings about how the presence of 'giant' planets (between 10 and 1000 times as large as the Earth) affects potentially habitable neighbors that would be discovered with the next generation of ground-based and space-borne telescopes.

Relaxation response may reduce blood pressure by altering expression of a set of genes
A new study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at MGH identified genes associated with the body's response to relaxation techniques and sheds light on the molecular mechanisms by which these interventions may work to lower blood pressure.

Avoid south-facing birdhouses -- for the nestlings' sake
Ten-day-old baby birds are able to maintain their regular body temperature despite nest box temperatures of 50C° or above.

Scoliosis surgery in children with cerebral palsy -- quality of life benefits outweigh risks
For children with severe cerebral palsy (CP), surgery for scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine) significantly improves the quality of life (QoL) for them and their caregivers, reports a study in the April 4, 2018, issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Newly discovered hormone helps keep plants from dehydrating
Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) in Japan have discovered a small hormone that helps plants retain water when none is available in the soil.

Diabetes awareness 'major concern' for UK Asians
South Asians living in the UK feel cut off and excluded from education or self-help programmes, preventing them from managing their diabetes properly, according to new research published in the journal Ethnicity and Health.

In promoting vaccination, behavioral strategies more effective than persuasion
Faced with outbreaks of influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases, parents, educators, healthcare providers, and policymakers around the world often want to know how to persuade people to get their vaccinations.

An international study is the first large survey on epilepsy
Research with multicentric approach analyzed with neuroimaging technique more than 3,800 volunteers in search of anatomical alterations specific to each epilepsy subtype.

Captain Scott's Discovery expedition offers climate change insight 100 years on
Samples collected during Captain Scott's famous 1901-1904 Discovery expedition to Antarctica, the oldest of their kind, have recently undergone new analysis using modern techniques providing scientists with exciting new data, over 100 years after the voyage.

Shrimp-inspired camera may enable underwater navigation
The underwater environment may appear to the human eye as a dull-blue, featureless space.

New 'NanoZymes' use light to kill bacteria
Researchers from RMIT University have developed a new artificial enzyme that uses light to kill bacteria.

Nanoparticles may cause DNA damage to brain cells across a cellular barrier
New research by scientists shows that when cellular barriers are exposed to metal nanoparticles, cellular messengers are released that may cause damage to the DNA of developing brain cells.

Robotics takes mass spec to the third dimension for forensics, pharma applications
Within the past decade, many advancements have been made in the 3-D market from printing to movies.

Crash! Scientists explain what happens when nanoparticles collide
Helmets that do a better job of preventing concussions and other brain injuries.

Practicing Tai Chi helps improve respiratory function in patients with COPD
Currently, pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is used where available to improve exercise capacity and quality of life, but the treatment requires access to trained staff and specialized facilities.

Telomerase-expressing liver cells regenerate the organ, Stanford researchers find
Liver stem cells that express high levels of telomerase, a protein often associated with resistance to aging, act in mice to regenerate the organ during normal cellular turnover or tissue damage, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Study shows how moms' brains are hard-wired to gather young
A mother's 'basic instinct' to grab her wandering offspring and return them to the nest depends on a specific set of brain cell signals, a new study in mice finds.

Dance aids healthier aging
A joint research project involving QUT and Queensland Ballet has shown dancing can improve the physical and mental well-being of aging Australians.

Making headway in infant leukemia research
Around 600 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with leukemia each year in Germany.

Post-Ebola cataract surgery can safely restore vision
Cataract surgery can be safely performed on Ebola virus disease survivors with impaired vision, Emory Eye Center ophthalmologists and 40 colleagues around the world report.

Freezing breakthrough offers hope for African wild dogs
James Cook University researchers in Australia have helped develop a new way to save endangered African wild dogs.

Who's smarter in the classroom -- men or women?
A first-of-its-kind study by researchers at Arizona State University shows that in the college biology classroom, men perceive themselves as smarter, even when compared to women whose grades prove they are just as smart.

Street dogs to benefit from app that keeps canine health on track
Improved care for the world's 200 million street dogs is the goal of a new smartphone app devised by an international team of animal welfare experts.

7-year follow-up shows lasting cognitive gains from meditation
Gains in the ability to sustain attention developed through intensive meditation training are maintained up to seven years later, according to a new study based on the Shamatha Project, a major investigation of the cognitive, psychological and biological effects of meditation.

Study: Get moving to get happier
Physical activity has long been known to reduce depression and anxiety, and is commonly prescribed to prevent or cure negative mental health conditions.

How does HIV escape cellular booby traps?
Utilizing the humanized mouse model, researchers find that simian immunodeficiency virus, SIV, evolved to infect humans as HIV via Vpu evolving to inhibiting tetherin.

Photosynthetic protein structure that harvests and traps infrared light
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have solved the structure of a photosynthetic protein to reveal how it converts near-infrared light into an electrical charge.

Adult-like human heart muscle grown from patient-specific stem cells
Researchers have developed a radically new approach to growing in the lab adult-like human heart muscle from human induced pluripotent stem cells in only four weeks.

New study in oxygen-deprived black sea provides insights on future carbon budget
Scientists are studying the oxygen-deprived waters of the Black Sea to help answer questions about the deepest parts of the ocean and Earth's climate.

One in 3 older patients die following emergency department intubation
A new study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital investigated the outcomes for patients aged 65 and older after emergency department intubation across a variety of conditions and disease.

Are children of married first cousins at increased risk of common mood disorders, psychoses?
Being a child of married first cousins was associated with a higher likelihood of receiving medicine for common mood disorders and psychoses.

How live vaccines enhance the body's immune response
Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin's university hospital, have discovered a new mechanism by which live vaccines induce immunity.

Connecting hearing helper molecules to the ear bone
Hearing loss is a common affliction associated with advancing age and exposure to very loud noises, affecting two-thirds of adults over age 70.

Ohio professor identifies hidden clues to ancient supercontinents, confirms Pannotia
An Ohio University geologist who first proposed the now-accepted supercontinent cycle theory in the 1980s has rallied to the cause of one of those supercontinents, Pannotia, that is in danger of being overlooked.

Molecular details of protein crystal nucleation uncovered
A team of researchers led by Dr. Mike Sleutel from the VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology in collaboration with scientists from the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems of the Eindhoven University of Technology, and the CNRS in Grenoble, have for the first time uncovered the molecular details of protein crystal nucleation, a process with great medical and scientific relevance.

Fragile X imaging study reveals differences in infant brains
For the first time, UNC School of Medicine researchers have used MRIs to show that babies with the neurodevelopmental condition fragile X syndrome had less-developed white matter compared to infants that did not develop the condition.

'Frogs' and 'mushrooms' bubble up in quantum fluids
Quantum fluids may mix in very weird ways, according to new computer simulations of exotic states of matter known as Bose-Einstein condensates.

Human-engineered changes on Mississippi River increased extreme floods
A new study has revealed for the first time the last 500-year flood history of the Mississippi River.

Microscopic revelations point to new blood infection therapies
Researchers at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have for the first time been able to observe -- live and in real-time -- how the human body responds to often lethal fungal blood infections in the lung.

Paucity of phosphorus hints at precarious path for extraterrestrial life
Work by Cardiff University astronomers suggests there may be a cosmic lack of a chemical element essential to life.

Acupressure for menstrual pain
Can acupressure achieve a sustained reduction in menstrual pain? Is an app-based self-care program particularly attractive to young women?

Boosting natural defenses to fight antibiotic-resistant pneumonia
Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat in bacterial pneumonia. While immune-stimulating treatments can help the body fight the invaders, they can also cause inflammation that damages and weakens lung tissue.

Self-healing metal oxides could protect against corrosion
Researchers find a solid protective coating material that can flow like a liquid to repair any cracks that develop.

New study shows hope for hearing loss
USC and Harvard scientists found a new way to fix cells deep inside the ear, which could help millions of people who suffer hearing loss.

Updated ASTRO guideline for palliative lung RT recommends concurrent chemo for some stage III pts
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) today issued an update to its clinical guideline for the use of palliative-intent radiation therapy for patients with incurable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Outpatient treatment for cancer condition offers effective new approach for patients
A novel approach to treating fluid build-up around the lungs of cancer patients could deliver a more effective home-based treatment for thousands of people who might be approaching the end of their lives, according to a new study led by the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust.

Terns face challenges when they fly south for winter
The common tern is most widespread tern species in North America, but its breeding colonies in interior North America have been on the decline for decades despite conservation efforts.

Marker for cancer stem cells
Cells with stem-cell characteristics appear to be especially important in the formation and metastasis of tumors.

How did gonorrhea become a drug-resistant superbug?
UNC School of Medicine researchers have identified mutations to the bacterium Neisseria gonnorrhoeae that enable resistance to ceftriaxone that could lead to the global spread of ceftriaxone-resistant 'superbug' strains.

Algae, impurities darken Greenland ice sheet and intensify melting
The Dark Zone of the Greenland ice sheet has major impact on the surface melt of this immense store of ice.

Trap, contain and convert
Injecting carbon dioxide deep underground into basalt flows holds promise as an abatement strategy.

Satellites, supercomputers, and machine learning provide real-time crop type data
Corn and soybean fields look similar from space -- at least they used to.

Tourniquet practice adopted from the military saves lives and limbs in civilians
New study results demonstrate that the use of tourniquets improves survival in civilian trauma victims.

New study examines prescribing antipsychotic medication for children with autism
A new study by Swansea University has suggested that children with intellectual difficulty or autism are more likely to be given antipsychotic medication from a younger age than those without intellectual disability and have higher rates of hospitalisation for depression and for injury and also are at risk of other medical side effects.

Study: Climate change could impact critical food supplies for migratory birds
Climate change could disrupt a critical fueling-up stage for migratory birds just as they're preparing to depart on their autumn journeys to Central America, according to research published in the journal Ecology Letters.

Notre Dame researchers developing renewable energy approach for producing ammonia
Ammonia is an essential component of fertilizers that support the world's food production needs, and currently production relies on non-renewable fossil fuels and has limited applications for only large, centralized chemical plants.

Research shows first land plants were parasitized by microbes
Sainsbury Laboratory researchers have found that the relationship between plants and filamentous microbes not only dates back millions of years, but that modern plants have maintained this ancient mechanism to accommodate and respond to microbial invaders.

Early stimulation improves performance of bioengineered human heart cells
Researchers are now able to use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to form a model of human adult-like cardiac muscle by introducing electric and mechanical stimulation at an early stage.

New underwater geolocation technique takes cues from nature
Marine animals such as mantis shrimp and squid have inspired a new mode of underwater navigation that allows for greater accuracy.

The clinical and experimental research on the treatment of endometriosis with thiostrepton
Forkhead Box M1 (FOXM1) is frequently activated in tumors. The researchers studied the expression and the possible mechanism of FOXM1 and evaluated the effects of thiostrepton in an endometriotic rat model. 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