Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 11, 2018
Road salt pollutes drinking water wells in suburban New York state
Road salt applied during the winter lingers in the environment, where it can pollute drinking water supplies.

Digital addiction increases loneliness, anxiety and depression
A new study by two San Francisco State University professors of health education finds that smartphone use can be similar to other types of substance use.

Nature-based solutions can prevent $50 billion in Gulf Coast flood damages
While coastal development and climate change are increasing the risk of flooding for communities along the US Gulf Coast, restoration of marshes and oyster reefs are among the most cost-effective solutions for reducing those risks, according to a new study.

Study explores new strategy to develop a malaria vaccine
A serum developed by Yale researchers reduces infection from malaria in mice, according to a new study.

There's a better way to screen for cervical cancer
A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicates that high-quality cervical cancer screening can be done effectively using a completely automated approach.

New method prioritizes species for conservation in the face of uncertainty
A new way to prioritize species for conservation efforts outperforms other similar methods, according to research presented in PLOS ONE by Rikki Gumbs of Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues at the Zoological Society of London, UK.

Biodiversity: All the colors of the rainbow
Madagascar is a chameleon paradise. A team of researchers has now discovered three new species, among them a beautifully colored rainbow chameleon.

From property damage to lost production: How natural disasters impact economics
When a natural disaster strikes, major disaster databases tend to compile information about losses such as damages to property or cost of repairs, but other economic impacts after the disaster are often overlooked--such as how a company's lost ability to produce products may affect the entire supply-chain within the affected region and in other regions.

NIH researchers crack mystery behind rare bone disorder
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health worked with 15 patients from around the world to uncover a genetic basis of 'dripping candle wax' bone disease.

New technology could wean the battery world off cobalt
A research team led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, has opened the door to using metals other than cobalt in lithium-based batteries, and have built cathodes with 50 percent more lithium-storage capacity than conventional materials.

Scientists use carbon nanotube technology to develop robust water desalination membranes
A research team of Shinshu University, Japan, has developed robust reverse osmosis membranes that can endure large-scale water desalination.

Energy injustice? Cost, availability of energy-efficient lightbulbs vary with poverty levels
Energy-efficient lightbulbs are more expensive and less available in high-poverty urban areas than in more affluent locations, according to a new University of Michigan study conducted in Wayne County.

Scientists to build the avian tree of life
With the support of the National Science Foundation, scientists have embarked on a large-scale project to build the evolutionary tree of all bird species using cutting-edge technologies to collect DNA from across the genome.

Large disparities in impact of cardiovascular disease persist between states
Large disparities remain in the impact of cardiovascular disease around the United States, mostly due to risk factors that can be changed.

'Everything-repellent' coating could kidproof phones, homes
In an advance that could grime-proof phone screens, countertops, camera lenses and countless other everyday items, a materials science researcher at the University of Michigan has demonstrated a smooth, durable, clear coating that swiftly sheds water, oils, alcohols and, yes, peanut butter.

Student class engagement soars when they use personal data to learn
Brigham Young University life sciences professors have found that giving students access to their personal biological data has a profound impact on their learning experience.

Unusual climate during Roman times plunged Eurasia into hunger and disease
A recent study published in an esteemed academic journal indicates that volcanic eruptions in the mid 500s resulted in an unusually gloomy and cold period.

NASA sees ex-Tropical Cyclone Iris now better organized
Satellite imagery showed that the former tropical cyclone known as Iris appeared better organized and more circular.

Double hit on melanoma unlocks barrier to immunotherapy
Researchers at EPFL and UNIL have discovered a dangerous liaison between immune cells that limits the efficacy of immunotherapy in melanoma.

Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning
The Atlantic overturning circulation is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years.

Sensing interactions between molecules
An experimental approach to visualize structures of organic molecules with exceptional resolution is reported by physicists and chemists from the University of Münster, Germany.

Babies make the link between vocal and facial emotion
The ability of babies to differentiate emotional expressions appears to develop during their first six months.

Novel drug shows promise against acute myeloid leukemia
In a study published online today in Science Translational Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers report that an experimental peptide (small protein) drug shows promise against the often-lethal cancer acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and describe how the drug works at the molecular level.

Wildfire smoke associated with more ER visits for heart, stroke ailments among seniors
Exposure to smoke from wildfires was associated with increased rates of emergency room visits for heart- and stroke-related illness, especially among adults age 65 and older.

Extensive seagrass meadows discovered in Indian Ocean through satellite tracking of green turtles
Research led by Swansea University's Bioscience department has discovered for the first time extensive deep-water seagrass meadows in the middle of the vast Indian Ocean through satellite tracking the movement of green sea turtles.

Medscape's annual physician compensation report finds modest increase in physician pay
This is the 2018 Medscape Annual Physician Compensation Report, which surveys more than 20,000 US physicians across 29 specialties on questions such as quality of life, salary, and more.

Swamp microbe has pollution-munching power
Sewage treatment may be an unglamorous job, but bacteria are happy to do it.

The emotions we feel may shape what we see
Our emotional state in a given moment may influence what we see, according to findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Alcoholic liver disease replaces hepatitis C infection as the leading cause of liver transplantation in patients without hepatocellular carcinoma in the USA
Two independent US studies confirm that, from 2016 onwards, alcoholic liver disease has led to more liver transplants than hepatitis C infection in patients without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Pepper plant sops up personal care product antibiotic
It sometimes can be hard to find toothpastes, soaps and other toiletries without antibiotics.

Simultaneous chemo and immunotherapy may be better for some with metastatic bladder cancer
Researchers from Mount Sinai and Sema4, a health information company and Mount Sinai venture, have discovered that giving metastatic bladder cancer patients simultaneous chemotherapy and immunotherapy is safe and that patients whose tumors have certain genetic mutations may respond particularly well to this combination approach, according to the results of a clinical trial published in European Urology.

Wildlife haven of Sulawesi much younger than first thought, according to new research
An Oxford University collaboration has shed light on the origins of some of South East Asia's most iconic and unique wildlife; the 'deer-pig' (Sulawesi Babirusa), 'warty pig' and the 'miniature buffalo.' In doing so, the research has revealed that Sulawesi, the island paradise where they were discovered, is younger than previously thought.

RB1 gene mutations underlie clinical resistance to CDK 4/6 inhibitor breast cancer therapy
A multi-institutional research team has identified what may be a novel mechanism underlying acquired resistance to CDK 4/6 inhibitor treatment for breast cancer.

Study reveals declining central American frog species are bouncing back
For more than 40 years, frog populations around the world have been declining.

Brain activity can predict success of depression treatment
McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School researchers believe they have uncovered a method that could be useful in predicting a depressed patient's treatment prognosis, prior to starting treatment.

Fossil study sheds light on ancient butterfly wing colors
Pioneering new research has given an illuminating new insight into the metallic, iridescent colors found on the earliest known ancestors of moths and butterflies, which inhabited the Earth almost 200 million years ago.

Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
Researchers have good news for growers. Farmers raising a nitrogen-hungry crop like sweet corn may save up to half of their nitrogen fertilizer cost.

SPHERE reveals fascinating zoo of discs around young stars
New images from the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope are revealing the dusty discs surrounding nearby young stars in greater detail than previously achieved.

Ludwig scientists share new cancer research findings at 2018 AACR Annual Meeting
Ludwig Cancer Research released today the full scope of findings to be presented by Ludwig researchers at this year's American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Ill., April 14-18, 2018.

200-million-year-old insect color revealed by fossil scales
Researchers from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology (NIGP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and their colleagues from Germany and the UK reported scale architectures from Jurassic Lepidoptera from the UK, Germany, Kazakhstan and China and Tarachoptera (a stem group of Amphiesmenoptera) from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber.

Do Democrat and Republican doctors treat patients differently at the end of life?
Despite deep rifts in health care opinions across party lines, a physician's party affiliation appears to have no effect on clinical decisions in end-of-life care.

US public companies have increasingly shorter lifespans, IU research says
At a time when more Americans are living longer, the companies where many people spend their working lives have increasingly shorter lifespans, according to research from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

Hormone imbalance causes treatment-resistant hypertension
British researchers have discovered a hormone imbalance that explains why it is very difficult to control blood pressure in around 10 per cent of hypertension patients.

Smithsonian scientists and collaborators demonstrate new driver of extinction
By analyzing thousands of fossilized ancient crustaceans, a team of scientists led by NMNH paleontologist Gene Hunt found that devoting a lot of energy to the competition for mates may compromise species' resilience to change and increase their risk of extinction.

Ludwig researchers devise and test pioneering personalized ovarian cancer vaccine
A Ludwig Cancer Research study has shown that an entirely new type of personalized cancer vaccine induces novel, potent and clinically effective immune responses in patients receiving a combination of standard therapies for recurrent, stage III and IV ovarian cancer.

New gadgets help reveal the collective behavior of wild animals
An international team of scientists led by Swansea University biologists describe how novel technologies are transforming our understanding of why wild animals form different groups.

New methodology helps study of promising targeted drug delivery scaffold
Researchers studied a self-assembling virus shell to learn how to change its physical properties so it can be designed for use in detecting diseases and targeted drug delivery and vaccinations.

Cactus roots inspire creation of water-retaining material
During rare desert rainfalls, cacti waste no time sopping up and storing a storm's precious precipitation.

Want computers to see better in the real world? Train them in a virtual reality
Datasets play a crucial role in the training and testing of the computer vision systems.

Baby fish led astray by high CO2 in oceans
Baby fish will find it harder to reach secure shelters in future acidified oceans -- putting fish populations at risk, new research from the University of Adelaide has concluded.

Recent land loss in Mississippi Delta vastly exceeds prehistoric land gain
A study of the evolution of the Mississippi Delta reveals that a thousand years ago, even as sea levels rose, new land in the region grew at steady rates.

It's not your fitness tracker -- it's you
An international study reveals that no one defines physical activity the same way when they are asked to report how much they exercise.

The neural circuitry of parental behavior
HHMI scientists have deconstructed the brain circuits that control parenting behavior in mice, and identified discrete sets of cells that control actions, motivations, and hormonal changes involved in nurturing young animals.

The changing chemistry of the Amazonian atmosphere
Researchers have been debating whether nitrogen oxides (NOx) can affect levels of OH radicals in a pristine atmosphere but quantifying that relationship has been difficult.

Synchrotron science could give soybeans a boost
Scientists at the University of Liverpool, together with Japanese colleagues, have gained new insight into how soil bacteria sense and adapt to the levels of oxygen in their environment.

Reconstruction of major North Atlantic circulation system shows weakening
Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have affected one of the global ocean's major circulation systems, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), slowing the redistribution of heat in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Novel mosquito net provides children with greater protection against malaria
A novel class of bed net that neutralizes mosquitoes' ability to resist pyrethroid insecticide is shown to significantly reduce malaria infection in children, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Biologically inspired membrane purges coal-fired smoke of greenhouse gases
A series of nanoscopic membranes made of water saturated by an enzyme naturally developed over millions of years to clear CO2 empties coal smoke of the greenhouse gas more cheaply and efficiently than any known.

Newly discovered salty subglacial lakes could help search for life in solar system
Researchers from the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) have helped discover the first subglacial lakes ever found in the Canadian High Arctic.

Can you really be obese yet healthy?
A new paper has called for an end to the term 'healthy obesity,' due to it being misleading and flawed.

Viagra has the potential to be used as a treatment for rare cancers
The class of drugs currently prescribed to treat male erectile dysfunction has been flagged for its potential to be included in new trials for anti-cancer drugs, in a new clinical study published today in the open-access journal, ecancermedicalscience.

Tree rings provide vital information for improved climate predictions
Using a decade-long sequence of annual growth rings from pine trees, scientists at the NMR Centre at Umeå University's Chemical Biological Centre in Sweden have introduced a highly advanced technique for tracking the carbon metabolism of plants and its environmental controls.

The 100th meridian, where the Great Plains begin, may be shifting
Nearly a century and a half after explorer John Wesley Powell zeroed in on the 100th meridian west as the dividing line between the humid east and arid west of the United States, researchers say he was right -- but that climate change is now moving the line eastward, into the traditionally fertile Midwest.

North-exposed ice cliffs accelerate glacier melt
ETH researchers have confirmed the suspicion that north-facing ice cliffs on debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas accelerate ice melt.

Old proteins tell tales of historical artifacts and the people who touched them
'Dead men tell no tales' is a common saying, but according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the old proteins on historical artifacts, such as manuscripts and clothing, can tell quite a yarn.

Scientists discover first subglacial lakes in Canadian Arctic
An analysis of radar data led scientists to an unexpected discovery of two lakes located beneath 550 to 750 meters of ice underneath the Devon Ice Cap, one of the largest ice caps in the Canadian Arctic.

Enzyme LSD1 found to regulate muscle fiber type differentiation
Japanese researchers have clarified the mechanism by which the LSD1 enzyme regulates genes to determine how myoblasts differentiate into different types of muscle fibers and control their metabolic strategies.

The dinosaur menu, as revealed by calcium
By studying calcium in fossil remains in deposits in Morocco and Niger, researchers have been able to reconstruct the food chains of the past, thus explaining how so many predators could coexist in the dinosaurs' time.

Synthesizing a deadly mushroom toxin
The death-cap mushroom has a long history as a tool of murder and suicide, going back to ancient Roman times.

The thermodynamics of computing
Information processing requires a lot of energy. Energy-saving computer systems could make computing more efficient, but the efficiency of these systems can't be increased indefinitely, as ETH physicists show.

Scientists discover a role for 'junk' DNA
Researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have determined how satellite DNA, considered to be 'junk DNA,' plays a crucial role in holding the genome together.

Swansea scientists discover greener way of making plastics
A new catalyst that allows for the conversion of the green house gas carbon dioxide to an industrial precursor for many plastics has been developed by scientists in the Energy Safety Research Institute at Swansea University as an alternative to using petroleum raw materials.

One-fifth of carbon entering coastal waters of eastern North America is buried
Coastal waters play an important role in the carbon cycle by transferring carbon to the open ocean or burying it in wetland soils and ocean sediments, a new study shows.

Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest point in more than 1,500 years
New research led by University College London (UCL) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) provides evidence that a key cog in the global ocean circulation system hasn't been running at peak strength since the mid-1800s and is currently at its weakest point in the past 1,600 years.

Training the immune system to fight ovarian cancer
A personalized cancer vaccine safely and successfully boosted immune responses and increased survival rates in patients with ovarian cancer, according to results from a pilot clinical trial.

Airway disease in racehorses more prevalent than previously thought, U of G study finds
University of Guelph researchers examined lung tissue from 95 racehorses that had actively raced or trained before their deaths and found a majority had inflammatory airway disease (IAD).

Humans may have occupied Indonesian site Leang Burung 2 earlier than previously thought
Renewed excavations at the Late Pleistocene Leang Burung 2 rock shelter archaeological site on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia have revealed new evidence of early human occupation, according to findings by Adam Brumm of Griffith University's Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, and colleagues from Indonesia's National Research Centre for Archaeology (ARKENAS), published April 11, 2018 in the journal PLOS ONE.

NASA finds wind shear slamming Tropical Cyclone Keni
NASA satellite imagery showed that Tropical Cyclone Keni was being battered by vertical wind shear.

Mississippi River diversions will produce new land, but slowly, Tulane study says
Although river diversions that bring land building sediment to shrinking coastlands are the best solution to sustaining portions of the Mississippi Delta, rate of land building will likely be dwarfed by the rate of wetland loss, a new Tulane University study says.

Research reveals new aspects of superconductivity and correlated phenomena
The exotic behaviors displayed by organic compounds subjected to low temperatures are explored in a study developed in Brazil, whose results were published in Physical Review B.

How to catch a fish genome with big data
Researchers assembled and annotated genome of the Seriola dorsalis fish species, aka California Yellowtail.

Personalized tumor vaccine shows promise in pilot trial
A new type of cancer vaccine has yielded promising results in an initial clinical trial.

EPA's IRIS program has made substantial progress, says new report
The US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program has made 'substantial progress' in implementing recommendations outlined in past reports by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, improving the program's overall scientific and technical performance, says a new Academies report.

Does age at menopause affect memory?
Entering menopause at a later age may be associated with a small benefit to your memory years later, according to a study published in the April 11, 2018, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Most primitive kangaroo ancestor rediscovered after 30 years in obscurity
A handful of tiny teeth have led scientists to identify the most distant ancestor of today's kangaroos.

Research gives new understanding of 17th century Scottish natural history
A new examination of a pre-industrial Scottish natural history book gives a new understanding of post-industrial environmental change in the country.

An immunological memory in the brain
Inflammatory reactions can change the brain's immune cells in the long term -- meaning that these cells have an 'immunological memory.' This memory may influence the progression of neurological disorders that occur later in life, and is therefore a previously unknown factor that could influence the severity of these diseases.

The brain combats dementia by shifting resources
The brain continues to put up a fight even as neurodegenerative diseases like dementia damage certain areas and functions.

The secret life of teeth: Evo-devo models of tooth development
A simple, straightforward developmental rule -- the 'patterning cascade' -- is powerful enough to explain the massive variability in molar crown configuration over the past 15 million years of ape and human evolution.

Thyroid tumors in Alaska natives are larger and more advanced at diagnosis
A new study spanning 45 years has shown that while Alaska Natives have a similar incidence of thyroid cancer as the US white population, their tumors at the time of diagnosis tend to be larger and to have spread beyond a localized area.

Thin, flexible polymers record 'conversations' deeper in the brain with less injury-risk
Researchers at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering have developed thin, flexible polymer-based materials for use in microelectrode arrays that record activity more deeply in the brain and with more specific placement.

Study: Vaccine suppresses peanut allergies in mice
A vaccine may successfully turn off peanut allergy in mice, a new study shows.

Surprising discovery: Sweet tooth gene connected with less body fat
Last year researchers from the University of Copenhagen discovered that a particular craving for sweet things may be determined by a genetic variation.

Research brief: Vaccines to treat opioid abuse and prevent fatal overdoses
A team of scientists from the University of Minnesota Medical School and Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation at Hennepin Healthcare is developing vaccines against heroin and prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and fentanyl.

Repeat spawning comes with tradeoffs for trout
Steelhead trout that spawn multiple times have more than twice the lifetime reproductive success of single spawning trout, suggesting there is a substantial benefit associated with repeat spawning.

Snowfall patterns may provide clues to Greenland Ice Sheet
A new study from a team of researchers led by University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center scientist, Claire Pettersen, describes a unique method involving cloud characteristics for measuring snowfall that could help answer some big questions about the Greenland Ice Sheet.

MIPT delivers world's first biosensor chips based on copper and graphene oxide
Scientists have developed biosensor chips of unprecedented sensitivity, which are based on copper instead of the conventionally used gold.

NIST's new quantum method generates really random numbers
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a method for generating numbers guaranteed to be random by quantum mechanics.

Prototype of most advanced quantum memory presented by two Kazan universities
In this paper we experimentally demonstrated a broadband scheme of the multiresonator quantum memory-interface.

Genetic variant might be a better marker for heart disease
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine have found that a newly identified subset of a known genetic variant found primarily in individuals of South Asian descent may be a better marker for carriers of heart dysfunction in this population and that individuals with this genetic variant are more likely to develop early signs of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

New bioinformatics tool identifies and classifies CRISPR-Cas systems
Designed to improve the utility and availability of increasingly diverse CRISPR-Cas genome editing systems, the new CRISPRdisco automated pipeline helps researchers identify CRISPR repeats and cas genes in genome assemblies.

Higher cigarette prices would save millions of people from extreme poverty and poor health
Higher cigarette prices would save millions of people from extreme poverty and poor health around the world, while also cutting health treatment costs for families across the globe, suggests a comprehensive study published today in The BMJ.

Specific bacteria in the small intestine are crucial for fat absorption
A new study -- one of a few to concentrate on microbes in the upper gastrointestinal tract -- shows how the typical calorie-dense western diet can induce expansion of microbes that promote the digestion and absorption of high-fat foods.

New glaucoma treatment could ease symptoms while you sleep
Eye drops developed by UBC researchers could one day treat glaucoma while you sleep -- helping to heal a condition that is one of the leading causes of blindness around the world.

Having one eye better than the other may explain ants' left bias
Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don't have any difficulty turning left.

Vascular problems associated with symptoms of menopause and quality of life measures
A new study shows that more frequent and severe menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbance, loss of sexual interest, weight gain and other quality of life measures, were associated with markers of vascular aging, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Darker emoji skin tones promote diversity, Twitter study shows
Emoji characters with modified skin tones are used positively and are rarely abused, a study of Twitter posts has shown.

3-D printed active metamaterials for sound and vibration control
Researchers have been pushing the capabilities of materials by carefully designing precise structures that exhibit abnormal properties that can control acoustic or optical waves.

Animated short created to raise public awareness about liver failure
An animated short-film produced by the ALIVER consortium titled 'Life After Liver Failure' premieres tomorrow morning at the BioTech Village in The International Liver Congress™ 2018.

Mutant ferrets offer clues to human brain size
HHMI scientists have engineered ferrets genetically to study abnormally small brain size in humans -- and, in the process, discovered hints as to how our brains evolved.

Study reveals every bowel tumor and bowel cancer cell have unique genetic fingerprints
New research on bowel cancer has shown that every tumor is different, and that every cell within the tumor is genetically unique.

Severity of menopause symptoms could help predict heart disease
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in women.

Why do some children read more?
A new study of more than 11,000 7-year-old twins found that how well children read determines how much they read, not vice versa.

Some can combat dementia by enlisting still-healthy parts of the brain
People with primary progressive aphasia, a rare dementia that initially attacks the language center of the brain, recruit other areas of the brain to decipher sentences.

Nasal mist vaccine suppresses peanut allergy in mice
A new research study publishedin the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and supported by FARE reports that a vaccine delivered as an ultrafine nasal spray was found to limit or prevent peanut allergy symptoms in mice.

Study proposes link between formation of supercontinents, strength of ocean tides
The cyclic strengthening and weakening of ocean tides over tens of millions of years is likely linked to another, longer cycle: the formation of Earth's supercontinents every 400 to 600 million years, according a new study.

Scientists find excess mitochondrial iron, Huntington's Disease link
The research identifying a pathway for Huntington's disease helps lay the foundation for developing drug therapies.

Droughts mean fewer flowers for bees
Bees could be at risk from climate change because more frequent droughts could cause plants to produce fewer flowers, new research shows.

Discovery could let doctors customize brain's immune response to diseases
The University of Virginia neuroscience lab that discovered that the brain connects directly to the immune system now has found evidence that doctors could load up the brain with custom blends of immune cells to battle genetic disorders and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

How life generates new forms
A new study identifies the kind of gene regulation most likely to generate evolutionary change. 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