Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 26, 2018
Did eating dark chocolate improve vision?
A small study found slight improvement in vision after eating dark chocolate.

New study addresses the role of health in climate lawsuits
Researchers at the George Washington University (GW) are at the forefront of analyzing how climate lawsuits shape the nation's response to climate change.

Quality cancer care: Not just a matter of anti-cancer medicines
ESMO, the leading professional organisation for medical oncology, shares concerns expressed in a scientific paper and reflected in the international media about the rising costs of cancer medicines.

'Infinitely' recyclable polymer shows practical properties of plastics
The world fell in love with plastics because they're cheap, convenient, lightweight and long- lasting.

Zika virus eliminates advanced human tumor in central nervous system of rodents
A group of Brazilian researchers confirmed for the 1st time in vivo the efficiency of Zika virus in infecting CNS tumor cells -- tests even showed that the resulting viral particles were less harmful than the ones created from infection of healthy cells.

Who is using guns for suicide?
The average profile of an American using a gun for suicide is a married, white male over the age of 50 who is experiencing deteriorating health.

Respect Indigenous ancestors: Scholars urge community engagement before research
A new article in the journal Science provides guidance for those intending to study ancient human remains in the Americas.

Seniors stick to fitness routines when they work out together
Older adults are more likely to stick with a group exercise program if they can do it with people their own age, a new University of British Columbia study has found.

Noninvasive brain tumor biopsy on the horizon
Taking a biopsy of a brain tumor is a complicated and invasive surgical process, but a team of researchers at Washington University in St.

What's the best way to accelerate: Muscles or springs?
A new study has pinpointed principles that are common in the mechanical systems that animals, plants, fungi and machines use to maximize kinetic energy delivery.

Unprecedented study identifies 44 genetic risk factors for major depression
A global research project has mapped out the genetic basis of major depression, identifying 44 genetic variants which are risk factors for depression, 30 of which are newly discovered.

Taxing sweet snacks may bring greater health benefits than taxing sugar-sweetened drinks
A 10 percent tax on sweet snacks could lead to a similar reduction in consumer demand as taxing sugar-sweetened drinks.

VA delivers higher quality care than other health providers, study finds
Examining a wide array of commonly used measures of health care quality, researchers have found that the VA health care system performs similar to or better than non-VA systems on most measures of inpatient and outpatient care quality.

Want to remember your dreams? Try taking vitamin B6
New research from the University of Adelaide has found that taking vitamin B6 could help people to recall their dreams.

Europe's current approach to food, agriculture, and the environment is not sustainable
The European Academies' Science Advisory Council along with the InterAcademy Partnership are calling for European policy-makers to urgently re-think their approach to food and agriculture.

NUS engineers develop novel method for resolving spin texture of topological surface states using transport measurements
A research breakthrough from the National University of Singapore has revealed a close relation between the spin texture of topological surface states and a new kind of magneto-resistance.

NEw study shows life-saving outcomes using 3-D printing models for heart valve disease
A new study examines the effectiveness of 3D printing technology and computer modeling to predict paravalvular leak (PVL) in patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

New metric defines areas of highest prostate cancer burden
To improve the impact of outreach efforts, researchers develop a better way to identify areas with high risk patients.

Largest-ever study of thyroid cancer genetics finds new mutations, suggests immunotherapy
Data from 583 patient samples of advanced differentiated thyroid cancer and 196 anaplastic thyroid cancers, show new genetic alterations, and 'high mutation burden' that is an FDA-approved marker for treatment with immunotherapy.

Who am I? How cells find their identity
The research group of Alex Schier, Director of the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has investigated more closely how a single embryonic cell develops into a heart, nerve or blood cell.

Get a grip: What your hand strength says about your marriage prospects and mortality
Researchers found men with a stronger grip were more likely to be married than men with weaker grips.

Three-minute version of brain stimulation therapy effective for hard-to-treat depression
In the largest study of its kind, a three-minute version of a brain stimulation treatment was shown to be just as effective as the standard 37-minute version for hard-to-treat depression.

Army researcher uses math to uncover new chemistry
In the future, materials scientists will use advanced software to specify the properties they desire and a program will deliver a choice of optimized chemical compounds.

How landscapes and landforms 'remember' or 'forget' their initial formations
Crescent dunes and meandering rivers can 'forget' their initial shapes as they are carved and reshaped by wind and water while other landforms keep a memory of their past shape, suggests a new laboratory analysis by a team of mathematicians.

Hidden costs of skin cancer caused by workplace sun exposure revealed
Skin cancer cases attributable to work-related sun exposure could be costing millions of dollars, and must be better addressed by policymakers.

Review finds more effective drugs to stop bleeding after childbirth
New evidence from a Cochrane review suggests that alternative drugs may be more effective than the standard drug currently used to stop women bleeding after childbirth.

Be wary of cosmetic surgeons' online reviews
Consumers consider online reviews important for choosing physicians, but they should be wary of using those ratings to choose plastic surgeons.

1st-of-its-kind study associates obesity with poorer stroke outcomes in non-white patients
Research led by LSU Health New Orleans faculty has found that obesity contributed to poorer outcomes in non-white patients who had hemorrhagic strokes.

Rugosity and concentricity: In urban planning, look to edges, not just the core
Planners should view high rugosity (highly non-concentric) urban areas as symptomatic of vigor in urban and agricultural markets.

Researchers assassinate disease-causing bacteria with virus cocktail
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in targeting and killing E. coli without causing harm to the surrounding community of commensal bacteria in a simulated small intestinal microbiome using a cocktail of viruses (bacteriophages).

Discovery of new material is key step toward more powerful computing
Researchers have created a new material that represents a key step toward the next generation of supercomputers.

Loss of brain synchrony may explain working memory limits, says study
A new study from City, University of London and MIT may have revealed the reasons behind our memory limitations.

Evidence for persistent forest reliance by indigenous peoples in historical Sri Lanka
Working closely with Wanniyalaeto (Vedda) elders in Sri Lanka during the repatriation of skeletal remains, a team of researchers have demonstrated that while some indigenous hunter-gatherers in Sri Lanka made use of agricultural resources and trade connections with farmers and colonial power structures, others continued to subsist primarily on tropical forest resources as late as the 19th century.

Treating cardiovascular disorders--and more--with the flips of a switch
You've heard of

Obesity inhibits key cancer defense mechanism
Obesity could enhance cancer development while aspirin might prevent it -- a new insight into potential targets for cancer prevention.

NUS geography researchers determine benefits of Singapore's mangroves
A three-year study conducted by researchers from the National University of Singapore has identified that apart from cultural benefits, mangroves act as nursery habitat for fish and as coastal defence, as well as storing carbon that could help offset some of our climate change emissions.

In test with mice, Zika virus eliminates human brain tumor common in children
Brazilian researchers at the Center for Human Genome and Stem Cell Studies at the University of São Paulo have put the virus to good use showing, for the first time in animals, the deleterious effect of the injection of a low concentration of the purified virus on human embryonic brain tumors induced in mice with low immunity.

Identifying the use of tinder fungi among neolithic communities at la Draga
Inhabitants of the Neolithic community at la Draga already used fungi to light or transport fires 7,300 years ago.

Weighing single molecules with light
Scientists at Oxford University have developed a light-based measuring technique that could transform our ability to characterize biomolecules.

Research helps frail older people in hospitals
Researchers led by the University of Leicester have devised a 'risk score' which will be used to help frail older people have better support in hospital.

Speeding up material discovery
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed an algorithm that can discover and optimize thermoelectic materials for energy conversion in a matter of months, relying on solving quantum mechanical equations, without any experimental input.

New imaging system makes back surgery safer, faster and less expensive
Dartmouth College researchers develop a new way to make back surgery safer, faster and more cost effective.

US Autism rates rise 15 percent; New Jersey rates remain highest
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which uses research by Rutgers University, shows a significant increase in the estimated percentage of 8-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States.

A simple method etches patterns at the atomic scale
A precise, chemical-free method for etching nanoscale features on silicon wafers has been developed by a team from Penn State and Southwest Jiaotong University and Tsinghua University in China.

Study of bat natural immunity to Marburg virus may shed light on human disease
Scientists examining the genome of Egyptian fruit bats, a natural reservoir for the deadly Marburg virus, have identified several immune-related genes that suggest bats deal with viral infections in a substantially different way than primates.

Double trouble for a coral reef
Upolu, one of the nine islands of Samoa, in the Pacific Ocean.

Transplant-damaging virus comes into focus
Researchers from the University of Leeds have revealed the structure of a virus which affects kidney and bone marrow transplant patients in near-atomic levels of detail for the first time.

CRISPR-based diagnostic SHERLOCK optimized for rapid use during viral outbreaks
In Science, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard researchers report a new tool that engineers the CRISPR-based diagnostic SHERLOCK for rapid outbreak response.

Repurposed medications enhance tuberculosis treatment in mice
Drugs known as matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors -- originally developed for other uses, such as cancer treatment -- enhance antibiotic treatment of tuberculosis in mice, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens by Yitian Xu of Cornell University and colleagues.

Mw 5.4 Pohang earthquake tied to geothermal activity?
The Mw 5.4 Pohang earthquake that occurred near a geothermal site in South Korea last year was likely triggered by fluid injection at the geothermal plant, two separate reports conclude.

Too liberal use of oxygen increases risk of death in acutely ill adult patients
Extensive data analyses show that supplemental oxygen, when given liberally to acutely ill adults, increases the risk of death without improving other health outcomes.

How success breeds success in the sciences
A small number of scientists stand at the top of their fields, commanding the lion's share of research funding, awards, citations, and prestigious academic appointments.

Sub-sea rift spills secrets to seismic probe
The first study to spring from a Rice University-led expedition to map the subsurface off the coast of Spain has revealed details about the evolution of the fault that separates the continental and oceanic plates.

Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox observed in many-particle system for the first time
Physicists from the University of Basel have observed the quantum mechanical Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in a system of several hundred interacting atoms for the first time.

Infection of the heart valves and healthcare costs on rise due to impact of IV drug
A new study finds the number of patients hospitalized with endocarditis has increased dramatically over the last decade in a pattern that mirrors the increase in mixed drug use.

Expanded registry data shows continued positive results for the mitraclip device
The post-approval study evaluating the safety and efficacy of MitraClip in a real-world, commercial setting was presented today as late-breaking clinical science at the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 2018 Scientific Sessions.

Searching for a nursing home and don't know where to turn?
A USC study concludes that consumers on the hunt for a nursing home should consider the ratings from Yelp and government sites such as Nursing Home Compare to get a more complete picture of a home's quality and care.

Cancer drug helps treat tuberculosis by restoring leaky blood vessels
Researchers at Duke University have discovered that an FDA-approved drug designed to treat cancer helps fight tuberculosis in mouse models.

Smartphone app keeps an 'eye' on daily tuberculosis therapy
Johns Hopkins researchers report success with a smart phone video-based app that substitutes for a daily in-person visit by a health care worker required for tuberculosis treatment known as directly observed therapy, or DOT.

PARP-1 may be key to effectiveness of PARP inhibitors, and now researchers can image it
Penn Medicine researchers have used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology to isolate a key genetic feature that could cause resistance to PARP inhibitors in patients with ovarian cancer -- and they've also proven they have a way to see that feature using PET imaging.

US autism rate edges up in new CDC report
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health contributed to a new U.S.

Study sheds light on bacterial propeller assembly
The bacterial flagellum is a motor whose assembly occurs in an ordered, stepwise fashion.

New methods for genetics analyses and diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is a common chronic disease of the gut.

When politics affects demography: How erdogan has brought 10% more children to turkey
Politics, and in particular the Islamist AKP party, played a decisive role in the reversal of demographic decline in Turkey since the early 2000s, through the provision of local welfare policies directed to families.

Community efforts to prevent teen problems have lasting benefits
A study by the University of Washington finds that a community-based approach to substance-abuse prevention, which can include after-school activities, can affect young people into adulthood.

New study shows length of hospital stay impacts outcomes after TAVR procedure
A new study finds patients who stay in the hospital for more than 72 hours when undergoing trans-femoral TAVR procedure may be associated with negative short and long-term outcomes.

Studying ancestral remains needs to be done respectfully, ethically
Scientists should consult indigenous populations when studying ancestral remains, Jessica Bardill et al. emphasize in this Policy Forum.

The complicated biology of garlic
Researchers generally agree that garlic, used for thousands of years to treat human disease, can reduce the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Bleaching of coral reefs reduced where daily temperature changes are large
Coral reef bleaching is stark evidence of the damage being inflicted by global climate change on marine ecosystems, but a research team led by scientists at the University of California, Irvine has found some cause for hope.

Whale shark logs longest-recorded trans-Pacific migration
A whale shark named Anne swam all the way across the Pacific from Coiba National Park in Panama to the Marianas Trench, setting a record as the longest-recorded migration.

Researchers simulate conditions inside 'super-Earths'
By aiming intense X-ray beams at iron samples, scientists have discovered what may lie at the core of 'super-Earths,' rocky planets triple the mass of Earth orbiting far-distant stars.

Publication details IDRI's promising leprosy vaccine candidate
A publication in Nature Partner Journals (npj) Vaccines indicates that post-exposure prophylaxis with LepVax, IDRI's leprosy vaccine candidate, not only appears safe but, unlike BCG (a tuberculosis vaccine that provides some protection against leprosy), alleviates and delays the neurologic disruptions caused by Mycobacterium leprae infection in nine-banded armadillos.

A polymer that puts plastic on a better path toward recyclability
Researchers have developed a family of synthetic polymers that can be repeatedly recycled, an important feat because current efforts to recycle plastic are so limited.

Reefs that experience frequent temperature changes most likely to resist coral bleaching
Reefs subjected to high sea temperature fluctuations on daily or tidal timescales leading up to ocean warming event are better able to resist coral bleaching, such that a 1 degree C increase in daily temperature range reduces the odds of more severe bleaching by a factor of 33.

New clinical trial shows second generation drug-eluting stents are safe and effective
Results of the PERSPECTIVE trial were presented today as late-breaking clinical science at the SCAI 2018 Scientific Sessions, and reports on one-year outcomes of patients undergoing CTO PCI treated with Zotarolimus-Eluting Stents (ZES).

Why a robot can't yet outjump a flea
Smashing mantis shrimp. Snapping trap-jaw ants. Stinging jellyfish. Some of the fastest living things -- at least over short distances -- are also the smallest.

Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study finds
Losing an arm doesn't have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback.

Improving mid-infrared imaging and sensing
A new way of taking images in the mid-infrared part of the spectrum, developed by researchers at MIT and elsewhere, could enable a wide variety of applications, including thermal imaging, biomedical sensing, and free-space communications.

Meningococcal meningitis: Stomach pain should be seen as a warning sign
Patients with meningococcal infection generally develop symptoms including a high temperature, vomiting and a stiff neck... but they might also just have a bad stomach ache.

Biomarkers and efficacy of vaccine responses among patients treated with new MS drug
In March 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration approved ocrelizumab as the first treatment for both relapsing (RMS) and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), a genetic disease that afflicts approximately 400,000 Americans with an estimated 10,000 new cases every year.

Tailoring blood cells in the laboratory
Heidelberg, 26 April 2018 ? For some blood transfusion patients, it is particularly difficult to find a compatible blood donor.

Probiotics useful in the fight against infection prevention
Probiotics may be a relatively safe, simple, and low-cost solution for preventing Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) in hospital settings, according to two studies published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

100-million-year-old liverwort mimicry in insects
Researchers from China and USA reported a new lacewing species (green lacewing larvae) based on two larvae from the Cretaceous Burmese amber (approximately 100 million years old).

Scientists identify a potential treatment for hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
The work of researchers Francesc Viñals, Mariona Graupera and Antoni Riera-Mestre has led to a new potential treatment for hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) or Rendu-Osler syndrome, a rare disease that affects blood vessels and had no described treatment.

Dinosaurs' tooth wear sheds light on their predatory lives
Predatory, bird-like theropod dinosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous of Spain and Canada all relied on a puncture-and-pull bite strategy to kill and consume their prey.

Bacteria in the small intestine indispensable for fat absorption
A researcher at Midwestern University led a new study showing that Western diets, high in fat and simple sugar, promote the growth of bacteria in the small intestine that increase fat digestion and absorption.

Kids exposed to general anaesthestic have poorer development, literacy and numeracy scores
Exposure to general anaesthestic up to age four raises the risk of poor child development and reduced literacy and numeracy as measured by school tests, new research led by the University of Sydney reveals.

BU study: Egyptian fruit bat genome yields clues to protection
The study examined the genome of Rousettus aegyptiacus, the Egyptian fruit bat, and found larger-than-expected families of genes related to the mammalian immune system.

New study shows therapy for psoriasis can reduce heart plaque
Late-breaking clinical science shows common therapy options for psoriasis (PSO) can help reduce coronary plaque.

Proof of water wires motivated by a biological water channel
Aquaporins are proteins that serve as water channels to regulate the flow of water across biological cell membranes.

Upgrading the immune system to fight cancer
New research has opened the door to reducing serious side effects of CAR-T therapy while enhancing its effectiveness.

Fluoride varnish in the primary dentition can prevent caries
Regular use of fluoride varnish can prevent caries in primary teeth.

Mid-life chronic inflammation may be linked to frailty later
A study of nearly 6,000 Americans followed for 24 years from middle to late adulthood found that having chronic inflammation in middle age may be linked to an increased risk of frailty and overall poorer health decades later.

CRISPR/Cas9 silences gene associated with high cholesterol
Biomedical engineers at Duke University have used a CRISPR/Cas9 genetic engineering technique to turn off a gene that regulates cholesterol levels in adult mice, leading to reduced blood cholesterol levels and gene repression lasting for six months after a single treatment.

Sylentis presents new results on its ophthalmological compounds at ARVO 2018
Sylentis, Pharmaceutical Company belonging to PharmaMar Group will present new results on three ophthalmological compounds for the treatment of dry eye syndrome, macular degeneration associated to age, administered topically, and also for the treatment of eye allergies.

Curiosity is key to early childhood success in math and reading
Curious children are better able to grasp basic math and reading.

Studies find more patients admitted to hospitals with cardiac conditions in winter months
Two new studies examined seasonal variations in cardiac-related hospitalizations specifically for aortic dissection and ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarctions (STEMI).

From one, many
In three landmark studies, Harvard researchers report how they have systematically profiled every cell in developing zebrafish and frog embryos to establish a roadmap revealing how one cell builds an entire organism.

Stellar thief is the surviving companion to a supernova
Hubble found the most compelling evidence that some supernovas originate in double-star systems.

Two studies, editorial report on cancer risk for firefighters at World Trade Center disaster
Two studies and a related editorial report on cancer risk for firefighters with the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) exposed to the wreckage of the World Trade Center during rescue and recovery work following the attacks on Sept.

Molecule may help tame virulent bacteria and prevent infection
University of Washington researchers show that an immune-system generated molecule called nitric oxide inhibits Staphylococcus aureus' transformation from a relatively benign, quiescent colonizing state to its virulent form.

Cybersecurity teams that don't interact much perform best
Army scientists recently found that the best, high-performing cybersecurity teams have relatively few interactions with their team-members and team captain.

Navigating with the sixth sense
Desert ants use the Earth's magnetic field for orientation, a new study has found which was conducted by scientists of the University of Würzburg.

Neonicotinoids may alter estrogen production in humans
Neonicotinoids are currently the most widely used pesticides in the world and frequently make headlines because of their harmful effects on honeybees and other insect pollinators.

Blood cancer precursor found in 9/11 firefighters
A study in today's issue of JAMA Oncology reports that New York City firefighters exposed to the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster site face an increased risk for developing myeloma precursor disease (MGUS), which can lead to the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

Hearing aid use associated with lower likelihood of hospitalization, emergency department visit
Older adults with hearing loss who used hearing aids were less likely to be hospitalized or have an emergency department visit and they had lower total Medicare costs, although their out-of-pocket health care expenses were higher.

A biochemical process in plants is imitated to curb the reproduction of colon cancer tumor cells
University of Cordoba research team has developed a tool to erase molecular tags that silence genes involved in tumor growth.

Research finds new mechanism that can cause the spread of deadly infection
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a unique mechanism that drives the spread of a deadly infection.

Researchers identify 44 genomic variants associated with depression
A new meta-analysis of more than 135,000 people with major depression and more than 344,000 controls has identified 44 genomic variants, or loci, that have a statistically significant association with depression.

Metastatic cancer gorges on fructose in the liver
Biomedical engineers at Duke University have demonstrated that metastatic cancer cells can reprogram their metabolism to thrive in new organs.

MSU-based scientists explained the survivability of viruses
An employee of Belozersky Research Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology (RI PCB), MSU together with a Russian colleague analyzed the ways of increasing the survivability of RNA-containing viruses as well as the mechanisms that help them get rid of adverse mutations.

RNA editing study shows potential for more effective precision cancer treatment
If there is one thing all cancers have in common, it is they have nothing in common.

Accepted or rejected? Uncovering how fate of B cell is determined
Osaka University-centered researchers identify the plasma cell-prone B cells in the light zone of germinal centers.

Study could spawn better ways to combat crop-killing fungus
About 21 million years ago, a fungus that causes a devastating disease in rice first became harmful to the food that nourishes roughly half the world's population, according to an international study led by Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists.

Key differences in young, older people's immune cells attributed to environment
Discoveries by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators may help explain why older people's immune systems often don't work so well, why different people's immune systems age at different rates, and why the environment matters more than heredity in generating these age-related differences.

Study finds horses remember facial expressions of people they've seen before
Horses can read and then remember people's emotional expressions, enabling them to use this information to identify people who could pose a potential threat.

Hearing aids linked to fewer hospital and ER visits by older adults
They cost thousands of dollars, and insurance almost never covers them.

New estimates of Mercury's thin, dense crust
Michael Sori, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, used careful mathematical calculations to determine the density of Mercury's crust, which is thinner than anyone thought.

I'm (not) afraid to say
The #imnotafraidtosay flashmob on Facebook and other online actions against sexual violence have helped victims to speak out about the problem and get psychological support from the web.

Study sheds light on recently evolved traits among Japanese descendants
Evolution allows advantageous traits to become predominant. Evolutionary adaptions that occur on comparatively short time scales are less well-understood. 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