Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 09, 2018
New research shows how Indo-European languages spread across Asia
A new study has discovered that horses were first domesticated by descendants of hunter-gatherer groups in Kazakhstan who left little direct trace in the ancestry of modern populations.

Getting health data sharing off the ground
To make progress in personalised medicine, researchers and doctors need access to health data.

Depression linked to memory problems and brain aging
Depression in older adults may be linked to memory problems, according to a study published in the May 9, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

New gene therapy sparks healthy heart beats
Michael Kotlikoff, provost of Cornell University and a professor of molecular physiology, is part of an international collaboration that is aiming to prevent heart arrhythmias with a simple gene-therapy approach.

The Big Bell Test: Participatory science puts quantum physics to the test
An international collaboration created by The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, including twelve laboratories on five continents, including Institut de Physique de Nice (CNRS/Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), conducted a unique participatory science experiment.

Is teledermoscopy cost-effective in Australia for skin cancer referrals?
An analysis estimates using teledermoscopy (dermatologic care that uses information and communications technology and digital dermoscopic images) in Australia for skin cancer referrals would cost extra per case but could achieve clinical resolution faster.

'Top-ranked' reviewers aren't the top influencers when it comes to online sales
Top-ranked reviewers on online retail sites such as may influence purchases, but a research study from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business finds that those who post reviews less often and more informally can be seen as more trustworthy and have more of an impact on sales.

Integrative group examines the ethical fit of mindfulness in corporate America
An invited commentary for the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine from leaders of the Osher Collaborative for Integrative Medicine raises challenging questions begged by the rapid uptake of mindfulness practices in corporate America, given the potential conflicts between prioritizing shareholder return and mindfulness' philosophical commitment to 'non-harm and wholesome living.'

New study demonstrates toll of anxiety on bone health
Anxiety has already been shown to take its toll on the human body in many ways, including increased risk for heart disease and gastrointestinal disorders.

Study finds marine protected areas help coral reefs
New research finds the best way to measure the effectiveness of coral reef conservation is by using a suite of metrics, including the number of fish, amount of seaweed and the number of baby corals, rather than just one indicator of reef health.

Fleet of spacecraft spot long-sought-after process in the Earth's magnetic field
A NASA mission has discovered an important process explaining the fate of energy contained in the turbulent magnetic fields surrounding the Earth.

For lemurs, size of forest fragments may be more important than degree of isolation
Occurrence probability of three lemur species in tropical dry forest increases with fragment size but can increase or decrease with fragment isolation depending on the species, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Travis Steffens and Shawn Lehman from University of Toronto, Canada.

X-ray laser opens new view on Alzheimer's proteins
A new experimental method permits the X-ray analysis of amyloids, a class of large, filamentous biomolecules which are an important hallmark of diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

How even one automated, connected vehicle can improve safety and save energy in traffic
Connected cruise control uses vehicle-to-vehicle communication to let automated vehicles respond to multiple cars at a time in an effort to save energy and improve safety.

Mixed forests: Ecologically and economically superior
Mixed forests are more productive than monocultures. This is true on all five continents, and particularly in regions with high precipitation.

People with OCD process emotions differently than their unaffected siblings
A new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging reports that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) feel more distress when viewing images to provoke OCD-related emotions than their unaffected siblings.

Exiled asteroid discovered in outer reaches of solar system
An international team of astronomers has used ESO telescopes to investigate a relic of the primordial solar system.

NASA spacecraft discovers new magnetic process in turbulent space
Explorations in Earth's space environment by NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft have discovered a surprising new magnetic event in turbulent plasma.

More than one day of early-pregnancy bleeding linked to lower birthweight
Women who experience vaginal bleeding for more than one day during the first trimester of pregnancy may be more likely to have a smaller baby, compared to women who do not experience bleeding in the first trimester, suggest researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Battery-free 'smart' toys move closer to commercial reality (video)
Rubber duckies could soon be at the forefront of an electronic revolution.

Breakdown of brain's visual networks linked to mental illness
Brain regions that help process what we see may play a key role in mental health.

Neuroinflammation seen in spinal cord, nerve roots of patients with chronic sciatica
A study by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found, for the first time in humans, that patients with chronic sciatica -- back pain that shoots down the leg -- have evidence of inflammation in key areas of the nervous system.

From the mouths of babes: Infants really enjoy hearing from their peers
Sorry, new parents -- even though your infants appreciate your coos, they prefer to hear sounds from their peers -- other babies.

The weak side of the proton
A new result from the Q-weak experiment at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility provides a precision test of the weak force, one of four fundamental forces in nature.

Gene study spots clues to heart risk for statin patients
A Vanderbilt-led research team has discovered genetic variations that increase the risk of heart attack even when patients are receiving a statin drug like Lipitor or Crestor to lower their blood cholesterol.

For food-aid recipients, information is power
An MIT-led study conducted in Indonesia shows that poor people are more likely to receive the assistance they're entitled to when they're notified about the social programs in question.

Words matter: Stigmatizing language in medical records may affect the care a patient receives
A Johns Hopkins study found that physicians who use stigmatizing language in their patients' medical records may affect the care those patients get for years to come.

Study reveals challenges of menstrual hygiene management in emergencies
Researchers developed a toolkit to address the menstruation-related needs of girls and women fleeing disaster or conflict.

Bridging the gaps in global conservation
The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.

Unlocking cancer's secrets using the 'social networks' of cells
Megha Padi, PhD, of the UA Cancer Center has developed a method for probing the genetic underpinnings of cancer and other diseases, which could lead to better treatments.

Major enhancement to in vitro testing of human liver-stage malaria
Researchers have developed an enhanced method to conducting liver-stage malaria research in vitro, allowing them to more quickly screen preclinical drugs and vaccines than current techniques.

Climate geoengineering research should include developing countries
An appeal on projects that could mask global warming is published in Nature by scientists from 12 countries, including Brazilian Paulo Artaxo.

Progress in posttraumatic stress disorder --Increased understanding points to new approaches for PTSD prevention and treatment
Recent advances in scientific understanding of how posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops and persists may lead to more effective treatment and even prevention of this debilitating disorder, according to the May/June special issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry, published by Wolters Kluwer.

Powerful hurricanes strengthen faster now than 30 years ago
Hurricanes that intensify rapidly -- a characteristic of almost all powerful hurricanes -- do so more strongly and quickly now than they did 30 years ago, according to a study published recently in Geophysical Research Letters.

UTSA researcher identifies barriers impacting PrEP use among Latino gay and bisexual men
A new study led by a UTSA researcher examines the social perceptions of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication to prevent HIV, among gay and bisexual men in Texas.

Diverse Parkinson's-related disorders may stem from different strains of same protein
Different Parkinson's-related brain disorders are characterized by misfolded proteins embedded in cells.

Computer-designed customized regenerative heart valves
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate.

Ultrasonic attack is unlikely, but incidental exposure presents plenty of problems
New technologies for mobile devices may use ultrasonic sound waves, and these devices have varying effects on different subsets of the population.

The Baltic Sea as a time machine
Warming, acidification, eutrophication, the loss of oxygen -- examples of major changes being observed or expected for the future in coastal zones around the world.

Idle talk or fierce competition? Research finds women use gossip as a weapon in rivalries
A researcher finds women use gossip as a technique to enhance their standing in romantic rivalries.

Religious left mobilized in solidarity for Women's March on Chicago, study finds
Kriag Beyerlein's study, co-authored with Notre Dame graduate student Peter Ryan, compares the 2017 Women's March Chicago with historical examples of religiously motivated progressive social activism and is now published in Sociology of Religion.

The big bell test
Simultaneous experiments on five continents challenge Einstein's principle of local realism.

Breeding benefits when love bites wombats on the butt
Monitoring wombats for behaviors such as pacing and rump biting could help conservation efforts by increasing the success of captive breeding.

Drexel study: 'Non-smoking' doesn't mean smoke-free
Despite decades of indoor smoking bans and restrictions, new research from Drexel University suggests the toxins we've been trying to keep out are still finding their way into the air inside.

Microwaved plastic increases lithium-sulfur battery lifespan
Purdue engineers have figured out a way to tackle plastic landfills while also improving batteries -- by putting ink-free plastic soaked in sulfur-containing solvent into a microwave, and then into batteries as a carbon scaffold.

Tiny fossils unlock clues to Earth's climate half a billion years ago
Scientists from the UK and France have quantified the temperature of Earth's oceans over half a billion years ago by combining fossil data and climate models.

500-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa mystery unveiled by engineers
Why has the Leaning Tower of Pisa survived the strong earthquakes that have hit the region since the middle ages?

Study may help explain racial disparities in prostate cancer
New research published in Molecular Oncology may help explain why African American men are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer and a higher risk of dying from the disease compared with European American men.

Stanford scientists use dietary seaweed to manipulate gut bacteria in mice
Stanford University School of Medicine working with laboratory mice have shown that it's possible to favor the engraftment of one gut bacterial strain over others by manipulating the mice's diet.

Research reveals key factors to support quality of life in dementia
The study, led by the University of Exeter and published in the journal Psychological Medicine, found that good relationships, social engagement, better everyday functioning, good physical and mental health, and high-quality care were all linked to better quality of life for people with dementia.

NASA spacecraft finds new type of magnetic explosion
Four NASA spacecraft have observed magnetic reconnection in a turbulent region of the Earth's outer atmosphere known as the magnetosheath, the planet's first line of defense against the intensity of the solar wind.

Probiotics and breastfeeding reduces potential antibiotic resistance in children
Targeted probiotic supplementation in breastfed infants can significantly reduce the potential for antibiotic resistance, new research presented today at the 51st ESPGHAN Annual Meeting shows.

Beavers do dam good work cleaning water, research reveals
Beavers could help clean up polluted rivers and stem the loss of valuable soils from farms, new research shows.

Should the number of GP's patient consultations be capped?
The British Medical Association recently proposed guidance to cap the number of patients a GP sees each day to prevent unsafe working levels, but should this be recommended?

Adversity early in life linked with more physical pain in adulthood
Experiencing trauma as a child may influence how much pain an individual feels in adulthood, according to Penn State researchers.

For how long will the USA remain the Nobel Prize leader?
Since first being awarded in 1901, most Nobel Prizes for science have gone to the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

The slipperiness of ice explained
Everybody knows that sliding on ice or snow, is much easier than sliding on most other surfaces.

New CAR T case study shows promise in acute myeloid leukemia
According to a case study from trial published online ahead of print in the journal Haematologica, a patient has remained cancer free for nine months after being treated with CYAD-01, followed by a bone marrow transplant.

Climate change may even threaten one of the world's most resilient lizards
Bahamian anole lizards are popular exotic pets and are found throughout the Western Hemisphere, suggesting that they are extremely adaptable creatures.

Vaginal estradiol tablets outperform moisturizers when treating vulvovaginal problems
Sex shouldn't hurt at any age, yet 75 percent of postmenopausal women report vaginal dryness, and up to 40 percent report pain with intercourse.

Stress helps unlearn fear
Stress can have a positive effect on extinction learning, which causes previously learned associations to dissolve.

Reprogrammed stem cell-derived neurons survive long-term in pigs with spinal cord injuries
In a new paper, publishing May 9 in Science Translational Medicine, an international team led by scientists at University of California San Diego School of Medicine describe successfully grafting induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural precursor cells back into the spinal cords of genetically identical adult pigs with no immunosuppression efforts.

White shark researchers tap data from electronic tags to gain insights into survival rates
Researchers in the United States and Mexico have tagged juvenile white sharks for nearly two decades, tracking their movements in coastal waters of the Northeastern Pacific.

How to use limited bandwidth more efficiently? Think like a cave-dwelling fish
researchers have demonstrated a light-based device that mimics a fish's incredible jamming avoidance response (JAR) by moving the frequency of an emitted signal away from other signals that could potentially cause interference.

Genetic counseling and testing proposed for patients with the brain tumor medulloblastoma
Researchers have created the first genetic screening guidelines for medulloblastoma patients after identifying gene variations that make carriers susceptible to develop the brain tumor and possibly other cancers.

Step aside Superman, steel is no competition for this new material
When it comes to materials, there is no question as to who wins the strongman competition.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Lesbian, bisexual women may be more likely to develop diabetes due to stress
The team theorizes that behavioral factors alone do not fully explain lesbian and bisexual women's greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, saying it may also be necessary to address the detrimental health impacts of minority stress.

Penn experts call for safeguards if Medicaid work requirement policies prevail
When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced controversial policies inviting states to establish work requirements as a condition to receive Medicaid, many in the medical community opposed it.

'Peace has only recently become the prime objective of politics'
Historian Hans-Ulrich Thamer on the history of peace politics and the peace movement to present day: potential for mobilisation in the face of growing feelings of threat -- Church and Katholikentag provided for mobilisation and continuity in the history of the movement -- Symbols of peace such as the dove and the peace sign linked the diverse peace groups, whether communist, ecological or Christian - Münster conference

New polymer manufacturing process saves 10 orders of magnitude of energy
Makers of cars, planes, buses -- anything that needs strong, lightweight and heat resistant parts -- are poised to benefit from a new manufacturing process that requires only a quick touch from a small heat source to send a cascading hardening wave through a polymer.

Growing life-like heart valves, thanks to help from computational modeling
Scientists have harnessed the power of computational modeling to design a bioengineered heart valve that emulates the properties of native heart valves.

New research reveals how energy dissipates outside Earth's magnetic field
A new research paper in Nature provides the first evidence that magnetic reconnection--a process that dissipates magnetic energy and accelerates charged particles in Earth's magnetic field--also occurs at very small spatial scales in the turbulent magnetosheath.

Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Revealing the mysteries of superconductors: Ames Lab's new scope takes a closer look
The US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory has successfully demonstrated that a new type of optical magnetometer, the NV magnetoscope, can map a unique feature of superconductive materials that along with zero resistance defines the superconductivity itself.

Rapid evolution fails to save butterflies from extinction in face of human-induced change
The evolution of wild species, adapting them to human management practices, can cause localized extinctions when those practices rapidly change.

Facebook app offers opportunity to help unpaid Alzheimer's caregivers via friendsourcing
Researchers at IUPUI have developed a Facebook app that, a study shows, offers a way to provide much-needed support to unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease.

Operating on brain gliomas by detecting the 'glow'
Research by Barrow Neurological Institute physicians and University of Washington scientists on novel imaging technology for malignant brain tumors was published in the April issue of World Neurosurgery.

Penn engineer make drug microparticles a thousand times faster than ever before
Extended-release drugs rely on microparticles of consistent size and shape so they dissolve at a predictable rate.

Kenyan cave sheds new light on dawn of modern man
Forty-eight thousand year-old crayons and shell beads were among a treasure trove of items unearthed by archaeologists at a cave in Kenya.

Mass vaccinations will not prevent Ebolavirus outbreaks, new research shows
Prophylactic mass vaccination programmes are not a realistic option in the battle to prevent new Ebolavirus outbreaks, a University of Kent-led research team has shown.

Hostility towards minorities can be contagious
If people act hostile towards other ethnic groups, they easily find imitators.

Reconnection tames the turbulent magnetic fields around Earth
Wherever magnetic fields occur in the cosmos, their field lines tend to cross and reconnect, spitting out charged particles.

Spinal surgery for osteoporosis no better for pain relief than injections
Vertebroplasty (surgery to repair spinal fractures) is no more effective for pain relief than a sham (placebo) procedure in older patients with osteoporosis, finds a trial published by The BMJ today.

Chinese scientists generate a high-quality wheat A genome sequence
A joint research team from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, BGI Shenzhen and Keygene in the Netherlands generated a high-quality genome sequence of T. urartu by combining BAC-by-BAC sequencing, single molecule real-time whole-genome shotgun sequencing and next-generation mapping technologies.

Fish in schools can take it easy
Using a new computer model, researchers at the Ecole Centrale de Marseille and CNRS have shown that a fish expends less energy when it swims in a school, because neighbouring fish produce a 'suction' effect.

Identified in a nonsmoking classroom: A new avenue for exposure to thirdhand smoke
Researchers measuring air in an unoccupied, nonsmoking classroom found that almost 30 percent of the tiny particles in it were associated with residue of so-called thirdhand smoke, a finding that reveals a whole new route by which people can be exposed to smoke from tobacco products.

The joy of neurons: A simplified 'cookbook' for engineering brain cells to study disease
The new research opens the door to studying common brain conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, addiction and Alzheimer's disease under reproducible conditions in a dish.

University of Michigan professor, graduate work together to empower Sudanese women
South Sudanese women have among the highest fertility rates and maternal death rates in the world, yet cultural norms still frown upon contraceptives -- even to make pregnancy and birth safer for women.

A detective story of wildfires and wine
In this story of wine and smoke taint, everyone knows 'whodunit' -- it's the smoke from wildfires.

Spinal fluid could be used to predict the progression of multiple sclerosis, study finds
A study led by the University of Birmingham has found that analysis of fluid in the spine could be used to predict the future progression of multiple sclerosis.

Study about 'shock therapy' for depression suggests more patients should try it sooner
Very few depression patients receive the treatment once known as 'shock therapy'.

Virtual reality technology opens new doors of (spatial) perception
Locating and discriminating sound sources is extremely complex because the brain must process spatial information from many, sometimes conflicting, cues.

Visualization of molecular soccer balls
Researchers led by the University of Tsukuba imaged lithium ion-doped fullerene, which resembles a molecular soccer ball, by scanning tunneling microscopy.

New tool predicts deadly form of rare cancer
A tool to accurately determine which early-stage patients are at risk of dying from mycosis fungoides and which patients are likely to only require conventional therapy is desperately needed.

78,000 year cave record from East Africa shows early cultural innovations
A project led by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History has excavated the Panga ya Saidi cave site, in the coastal hinterland of Kenya.

Microbes are savvy investors when contributing to the common good
UK scientists investigating the fundamental question in biology as to why individuals have evolved to cooperate rather than simply exploiting the contributions of their rivals, have found that microbes vary their contribution to maximize the return of investment.

Nutmeg's hidden power: Helping the liver
Smelling nutmeg evokes images of fall, pumpkin pie and hot apple cider.

Many newborn screening recommendations do not assess key evidence on benefits and harms
Many national recommendations on whether to screen newborn babies for rare conditions do not assess the evidence on the key benefits and harms of screening, warn researchers in a study published by The BMJ today.

Darwin's finches -- where did they actually come from?
In 1835, Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands and discovered a group of birds that would shape his groundbreaking theory of natural selection.

Gene disruption signals cerebral palsy and autism link
University of Adelaide researchers have uncovered a genetic signal common to both cerebral palsy and autism.

TGen develops quality-control test for detecting cancer in blood
There is vast potential in precision-medicine methods of both detecting and monitoring disease by looking for indications of cancer mutations in cell-free DNA (cfDNA), found floating in the blood.

An AI oncologist to help cancer patients worldwide
Before performing radiation therapy, oncologists review medical images to identify tumors and surrounding tissue, a process known as contouring.

In-person training proves most effective method to educate laypeople in bleeding control
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital devised the PATTS Trial (Public Access and Tourniquet Training Study) to measure how effective different training methods are in preparing laypeople, the non-medical public, to control bleeding with a tourniquet and whether they could retain that skill.

Basing everyday decisions on risk of pain or loss linked to increased anxiety
Scientists have shone new light on how the human brain uses past experiences and generalizes them to future events, helping us safely navigate the world around us.

Atmospheric seasons could signal alien life
To complement traditional biosignatures, and thanks to funding from the NASA Astrobiology Institute, scientists at the University of California, Riverside's Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center are developing the first quantitative framework for dynamic biosignatures based on seasonal changes in the Earth's atmosphere.

Brood parasitism in fish
Biologists from Brno (Czech Republic) and the University of Konstanz prove that 'evolutionary experience' as well as learning protects cichlid fish from the brood parasitism practiced by the African cuckoo catfish.

Human MAIT cells sense the metabolic state of enteric bacteria
A little-explored group of immune cells plays an important role in the regulation of intestinal bacteria.

Lab-on-a-chip device mimics eye damage due to intense light
Houston Methodist researchers developed a new lab-on-a-chip technology that could quickly screen possible drugs to repair damaged neuron and retinal connections, like what is seen in people with macular degeneration or who've had too much exposure to the glare of electronic screens.

Leafcutter ants' success due to more than crop selection
A complex genetic analysis has biologists re-evaluating some long-held beliefs about the way societies evolved following the invention of agriculture -- by six-legged farmers.

UTA study finds art therapy helps veterans cope with trauma
Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington have found that 98 percent of veterans participating in the University's Artopia program consider that art therapy helped them cope with service-related trauma or disability.

Axial reports findings of elevated 4-EPS in children with ASD
Axial Biotherapeutics today announced that Srinivas Rao, M.D., Ph.D., Axial's Chief Medical Officer, will present new data from Axial's research of the link between the human gut microbiome and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) conference.

For stroke victims, brain magnetic stimulation leads to improved walking speed
A technique of magnetic stimulation of the brain can increase walking speed in patients who are undergoing rehabilitation after a stroke, reports a research update in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, the official journal of the Association of Academic Physiatrists.

Red Sea fungus yields leads for new epilepsy drugs
New treatments for epilepsy are sorely needed because current medications don't work for many people with the disease.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in food
Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a germ that occurs naturally in the gut of mammals and birds, as well as in the human intestinal flora. 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