Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 02, 2018
Fern-tastic! Crowdfunded fern genomes published in Nature Plants
With crowdfunded support, researchers have sequenced the first two fern genomes ever.

World's first animals caused global warming
The evolution of Earth's first animals more than 500 million years ago caused global warming, new research shows.

Artificial intelligence accurately predicts distribution of radioactive fallout
Researchers at the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science created a machine-learning-based tool that can predict where radioactive emissions from nuclear power plants will disperse.

Experimental drug stops Parkinson's disease progression in mice
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have developed an experimental drug, similar to compounds used to treat diabetes, that slows the progression of Parkinson's disease itself -- as well as its symptoms -- in mice.

New sensor technology enables super-sensitive live monitoring of human biomolecules
The human body is an extremely complex molecular machine, the details of which can be followed through certain substances; so-called biomarkers.

When mentors do this one thing, it can help reduce teen delinquency
When educators and coaches make kids feel like they matter, it reduces delinquency and destructive behavior, according to a study led by a University of Kansas professor.

Is the Bitcoin network an oligarchy?
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can be analysed because every transaction is traceable.

NASA's GPM satellite sees Fabio strengthening into a hurricane
NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite flew above Tropical Storm Fabio in the eastern Pacific Ocean as the storm was quickly strengthening into a hurricane.

Hope for new catalysts with high activity
Osaka University scientists elucidated the activation mechanism of NPG catalysts that made poisonous CO gas harmless.

Climate change is making night-shining clouds more visible
Increased water vapor in Earth's atmosphere due to human activities is making shimmering high-altitude clouds more visible, a new study finds.

Electrical disorder acts like a traffic light for a biological gate
Nature's way of allowing proteins across its gates, through porous biological membranes, depends, among others, on their electrical charge.

Mixed halide chemistry can be used to control magnetism in ultrathin magnetic devices
Magnetization in an ultrathin magnetic device can be re-directed beyond the previously known confines of in-plane or out-of-plane spaces, researchers from Boston College report in Advanced Materials.

First confirmed image of newborn planet caught with ESO's VLT
SPHERE, a planet-hunting instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope, has captured the first confirmed image of a planet caught in the act of forming in the dusty disc surrounding a young star.

PETA, Dow Chemical, Department of Defense, others co-author inhalation testing paper
In another heavy-hitting collaboration, PETA scientists co-authored an article with leading universities, corporations, and government agencies -- including the Department of Defense, Dow Chemical, and Cardiff University -- to show how to study the toxic effects of inhaled substances using animal-free approaches, instead of causing animals to suffer.

Computer graphics research team to present new tool for sketching faces
A research team, led by computer scientists from the University of Bern-Switzerland and University of Maryland-College Park, have devised a sketch-based editing framework that enables a user to edit their photos by sketching a few strokes on top of them.

Eat 'em up: Next-generation therapeutic helps immune cells detect, destroy cancer
Researchers have found that cancer cells evade destruction by macrophages in two ways -- by converting cells to become docile, M2 macrophages, and by sending out an 'eat me not' signal that tricks M1 macrophages into letting them be.

Novel pretargeted radionuclide therapy for HER2-expressing cancers shows promise
In a mouse model, researchers have demonstrated that a novel, affibody-based pretargeted radionuclide therapy for HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2)-expressing cancers is non-toxic to the kidneys and improves survival.

New cancer immunotherapy shows promise in early tests
Much cancer immunotherapy research has focused on harnessing the immune system's T cells to fight tumors, 'but we knew that other types of immune cells could be important in fighting cancer too,' says Ashish Kulkarni at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Putting a quantum gas through its phases
Physicists at ETH Zurich have developed an experimental platform for studying the complex phases of a quantum gas characterized by two order parameters.

Feinstein Institute researcher uncovers new understanding of certain psychiatric diseases
Research scientists from The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Hempstead, NY, in conjunction with their colleagues at Rockefeller University in New York City, have developed a new understanding of how certain psychiatric diseases manifest and potentially can be treated.

The spliceosome: The tailor that coordinates the 'snip and stitch' of genetic information
For the first time, research by SISSA and CNR sheds light on the functioning of a complex cellular system, composed by proteins and RNA, whose defects are involved in more than 200 diseases.

Mayo researchers find off/on switch for DNA repair protein
Damage to DNA is a daily occurrence but one that human cells have evolved to manage.

Australian scientists crack the genetic code of koalas
The koala genome has been sequenced in a world first, by an international consortium led by Australian conservation scientists and geneticists.

Better social support and access to exercise classes could help people with lung conditions
Research has found that contact with healthcare professionals, support from peers and access to regular organized exercise sessions help people with chronic lung conditions to be physically active.

Study reveals how polymers relax after stressful processing
The polymers that make up synthetic materials need time to de-stress after processing, researchers said.

Alzheimer's in mini format: A novel tool to study disease mechanisms and possible remedies
DZNE scientists have been successful in mimicking mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease in a novel, stem cell-based model system that reproduces features of human brain tissue.

CRISPR genome editing technology can correct alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
Groundbreaking research demonstrates proof-of-concept for using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to correct the gene mutation responsible for alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, successfully making a targeted gene correction in the livers of affected mice that restored at least low levels of normal AAT.

Partnership problems and not career planning mainly explain why women are freezing their eggs
Contrary to common suggestion, women are opting to freeze their eggs not to pursue education or careers but for reasons 'mostly revolving around women's lack of stable partnerships with men committed to marriage and parenting'.

Supplemental antioxidants may reduce exacerbations in cystic fibrosis
An antioxidant-enriched vitamin may decrease respiratory exacerbations in people with cystic fibrosis (CF), according to new research published online in April in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

A ruthenium-based catalyst with highly active, flat surfaces outperforms metal-based competitors
Scientists in Japan and India have developed a reusable, high-performance catalyst based on flat-shaped ruthenium nanoparticles (Ru-NP) for the production of valuable chemicals.

High prevalence of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in a VA healthcare system
Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing is rampant at primary care clinics within the Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare system in Pittsburgh, despite the rise of antibiotic resistance.

Metformin reverses established lung fibrosis
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have shown -- for the first time -- that established lung fibrosis can be reversed using a drug treatment that targets cell metabolism.

Treating Alzheimer's with aspirin
A low-dose aspirin regimen may represent a new avenue for reducing Alzheimer's disease pathology, according to new research in a mouse model of the disease published in JNeurosci.

Loss of lemurs might endanger many of Madagascar's largest tree species
Widespread logging and hunting have endangered virtually all of Madagascar's 100-plus species of iconic lemurs, and a new study by Rice University ecologists illustrates how saving the animals may also be key to saving the island's largest trees.

Neandertals practiced close-range hunting 120,000 years ago
An international team of scientists reports the oldest unambiguous hunting lesions documented in the history of humankind.

Foleys aren't fun: Patient study shows catheter risks
A new study puts large-scale evidence behind what many hospital patients already know: Having a urinary catheter may help empty the bladder, but it can hurt, lead to urinary tract infections, or cause other issues in the hospital and beyond.

Researchers determine the rate of return to sport after shoulder surgery
Athletes with shoulder instability injuries often undergo shoulder stabilization surgery to return to sport (RTS) and perform at their preinjury activity level.

Prospective teachers more likely to view black faces than white faces as angry
A preliminary study of prospective teachers finds that they are more likely to view the face of black adults as angry compared to the faces of white adults.

Owls see as humans do
A study of barn owls published in JNeurosci suggests the visual systems of humans and birds may be more similar than previously thought.

More young people active in public affairs despite negative perceptions
Fears that democratic society could be undermined because young people are not participating enough in public affairs have been dispelled by researchers at the University of Huddersfield.

Infrared NASA imagery shows Post-Tropical Cyclone Emilia coming to an end
NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Eastern Pacific Ocean and looked at cloud top temperatures in Post-Tropical Cyclone Emilia as it continued weakening toward dissipation.

Teamwork between cells fuels aggressive childhood brain tumor
Scientists have discovered that cancerous cells in an aggressive type of childhood brain tumour work together to infiltrate the brain, and this finding could ultimately lead to much needed new treatments.

Mid- to late-life increases in marker of chronic inflammation tied to dementia
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have added to evidence that rising and chronic inflammation as measured by a biomarker in the blood in middle and late age are linked to visible structural changes in the brains of people with poor cognition and dementia.

This virus actually may boost -- not weaken -- our immune system
Lifelong cytomegalovirus infection may be beneficial, boosting the immune system in old age, when we need it most, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Computer algorithm maps cancer resistance to drugs, therapy
New methods of studying the evolution of treatment resistance in head and neck cancer are being developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

What people want from a trip to the ER
Understanding and addressing what patients need from an emergency room encounter could help improve patient care.

Timely interventions help spot signs of teen dating violence
Therapist- and computer-led alcohol interventions held in the emergency department also can reduce teenage dating violence perpetration and depression symptoms, a new study finds.

Loss of cilia leads to melanoma
Most cells in the human body have a cilium, a slender cell protuberance that picks up signals from the cell's external environment.

Algorithm identifies hypertensive patients who will benefit from intensive treatment
Using data from large clinical trials, UT Southwestern researchers developed a way to predict which patients will benefit most from aggressive high blood pressure treatment.

Discovery of new biomarker could provide personalized treatment options for bladder cancer
A research team at Mount Sinai has identified two microRNA activity-based biomarkers that can provide insights regarding which patients with p53-like bladder cancer may have a better versus worse prognosis.

Undetected Zika infections may be triggering miscarriages and stillbirths
A collaborative study between six of the National Primate Research Centers shows pregnancy loss due to Zika A infections that don't cause women any symptoms may be a common but unrecognized cause of miscarriages and stillbirths.

Study shows machine learning can improve catalytic design
Chemical engineers at Rice University and Pennsylvania State University have shown that combining machine learning and quantum chemistry can save time and expense in designing new catalysts.

The vanishing nuclear industry
Could nuclear power make a significant contribution to decarbonizing the US energy system over the next three or four decades?

New drug and material discoveries to be untangled in VR
Scientists at the University of Bristol have developed new virtual reality (VR) cloud-based tools to help academics and industry progress new drugs, materials and boost the teaching of chemistry.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2018
ORNL story tips: Oak Ridge National Laboratory assists FEMA with structural damage data from Hawaii lava flows; self-healing super-stretchy material could lead to longer-lasting consumer products; ORNL 3D prints plant-based plastic polymers; mini-grid safely tests components to the max; neutrons uncover pathway to new algae strains for sustainable biofuels.

Did public education campaign improve patient response to TIA, minor stroke?
A study of more than 2,200 patients in the United Kingdom examined the association of a public education campaign with delays and failure to seek medical attention after a minor stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Brain stimulation decreases intent to commit physical, sexual assault
Research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that using minimally invasive electrical currents on the brain's prefrontal cortex can reduce the intention to carry out physical and sexual assault.

Are hopes, plans for future associated with lower odds of perpetrating weapon-related violence?
Hopes and plans for the future were associated with lower odds of perpetrating weapon-related violence in a new study based on survey data from predominantly black/African-American male youths in low-resource neighborhoods in Pittsburgh who were enrolled in a violence prevention trial.

Study: Zika could cause more miscarriages than we realize
More women could be losing their pregnancies to the Zika virus without knowing they're infected, suggests a collaborative study published in Nature Medicine.The study found 26 percent of nonhuman primates infected with Zika during early stages of pregnancy experienced miscarriage or stillbirth even though the animals showed few signs of infection.

The increasingly efficient teenage brain
Some brain networks become more densely connected during adolescence while others become less so, according to a new analysis published in eNeuro of neuroimaging data collected from more than 700 children and adolescents from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort.

Researchers see beam of light from first confirmed neutron star merger emerge from behind sun
A research team led by astronomers at the University of Warwick had to wait over 100 days for the sight of the first of confirmed neutron star merger to reemerge from behind the glare of the sun.

Research shows plants in Africa 'green up' ahead of rainy season
A study led by the University of Southampton has shown the greening up of vegetation prior to the rainy season in Africa is more widespread than previously understood.

A refined magnetic sense
An international team of physicists at ETH Zurich, Aalto University, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in Moscow has demonstrated that algorithms and hardware developed originally in the context of quantum computation can be harnessed for quantum-enhanced sensing of magnetic fields.

How mangroves help keep the planet cool
In a new global framework, scientists have developed a more accurate assessment of how mangroves store carbon in their soil.

Versatile ultrasound system could transform how doctors use medical imaging
A new ultrasound system that uses optical, instead of electronic components, could improve performance while giving doctors significantly more flexibility in how they use ultrasound to diagnose and treat medical problems.

Unraveling genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease
The strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease may impair the brain's ability to convert its primary fuel source into usable energy, finds a study of female mice published in JNeurosci.

Athletic 'pull' increases campus diversity
The next time you see your favorite collegiate athlete on the field or court, think again about their road to getting there.

Greenhouse gases were the main driver of climate change in the deep past
Greenhouse gases were the main driver of climate throughout the warmest period of the past 66 million years, providing insight into the drivers behind long-term climate change.

Stem cells restore function in primate heart-failure study
Human stem cells have been successfully used to restore heart function in monkeys with heart failure.

Compounds found in green tea and wine may block formation of toxic metabolites
A new Tel Aviv University study suggests there is hope of treating certain inborn congenital metabolic diseases -- a hope found in green tea and in red wine.

Can doctors identify older patients at risk of medication harm?
Medication-related harm (MRH) is common in older adults following hospital discharge.

Is drinking more coffee associated with lower risk of death?
Coffee is popular around the globe and studies have generally reported inverse associations (moving in opposite directions) between its consumption and the risk of chronic diseases and death.

Three research-based ways to maximize the fun of leisure activities
Everyone's so busy these days that it is easy to think you need to schedule time to have fun.

Host plants tell insects when to grow longer wings and migrate
Scientists have discovered that the quality of the host rice plant determines whether the brown planthopper, a major pest on rice in Asia, grows short wings or long wings.

Koala genome cracked Down Under to help save species
Scientists at the Earlham Institute in Norwich, UK, have played a major role as part of a consortium led by the Australian Museum Research Institute and the University of Sydney to sequence the koala genome for the first time, with the findings published in Nature Genetics.

Blood test enables reading out the internal clock
With a new blood test, researchers at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin can determine the state of the internal clock of a person.

What articulation-relevant brain regions do when we listen
With an exceptional research design, Freiburg scientists have solved a research question that has been debated for decades.

Study reveals secret origins of asteroids and meteorites
A study appearing online Monday, July 2 in Nature Astronomy found at least 85 percent of 200,000 asteroids in the inner asteroid belt -- the main source of Earth's meteorites -- originate from five or six ancient minor planets.

Scientists propose solution to 'Gaia puzzle'
Scientists may have solved a long-standing puzzle over why conditions on Earth have remained stable enough for life to evolve over billions of years.

Human behavior in operating rooms parallels primate patterns of hierarchy and gender
A team led by a researcher who customarily studies nonhuman primate behavior has found that humans working in operating rooms follow the same general primate patterns of hierarchy and gender.

Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
Researchers of the Mainz University Medical Center discovered that on the way to becoming neurons pericytes need to go through a neural stem cell-like state.

Can aspirin treat Alzheimer's?
regimen of low-dose aspirin potentially may reduce plaques in the brain, which will reduce Alzheimer's disease pathology and protect memory, according to neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center, who published the results of their study today in the July issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Pregnancy loss occurs in 26 percent of Zika-infected monkeys
Fetal death in utero occurred in more than one-fourth of monkeys infected in the laboratory with Zika virus in early pregnancy, according to new research published in Nature Medicine.

Back to the future: Low-tech food-safety trainings still best for some audiences
While current training for food safety and sanitation usually incorporates high-technology presentations, such as videos and slide shows, there is still a need for low-tech approaches, according to Penn State researchers.

Next-generation robotic cockroach can explore under water environments
In nature, cockroaches can survive underwater for up to 30 minutes.

Prefrontal cortex stimulation reduces aggressive intentions
Increasing prefrontal cortex activity with brain stimulation reduces aggressive intent in human adults, according to new research published in JNeurosci.

Chronic pain remains the same or gets better after stopping opioid treatment
Stopping long-term opioid treatment does not make chronic, non-cancer-related pain worse and, in some cases, makes it better, Washington State University researchers have found.

UA forecast: Below-average hurricane activity
The UA hurricane forecasting model, which has proved to be extremely accurate over the years, is calling for fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic this year on the heels of a devastating 2017.

Zika virus infection may multiply risk of miscarriage, stillbirth
Researchers at six National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs) combined results from individual studies to find that 26 percent of pregnancies in 50 monkeys infected with Zika virus during the first trimester of pregnancy ended in miscarriage or stillbirth, dwarfing the nearly 8 percent rate found earlier this year by a study of women infected with Zika early in pregnancy.

The gender bias of names: Surnames standing solo gives men advantage
In new research, Cornell University psychologists find that study participants, on average, were more than twice as likely to call male professionals -- even fictional ones -- by their last name only, compared to equivalent female professionals.

What the satellites in your body do
Salk scientists studying satellite RNAs discovered that a specific type called hSATa induces breast cancer by directly interfering with DNA copying and damage repair.

New drugs to treat top infectious disease killer a possibility with Otago discovery
University of Otago researchers have discovered a novel property of a new anti-tuberculosis drug which may help develop more drugs to treat the top infectious disease killer in the world.

China's emissions reversal cause for 'cautious optimism' says study
The decline in China's carbon emissions is likely to be sustained if changes to the country's industrial structure and energy efficiency continue, according to new research led by the University of East Anglia.

Utah soil's slippery grip on nutrients
Lawns in the Salt Lake Valley up to 100 years old are not yet saturated in the nutrient nitrogen, which is added by fertilizer, according to a new study from University of Utah researchers.

Zika virus may pose greater threat of miscarriages than previously thought
Research from several institutions, including the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis, suggests that more women could be losing their pregnancies to the Zika virus without knowing they are infected.

Mutation and 3D modeling reveal new structure to cell division process
Structure of cohesin, a cell division protein, could be much different than expected, study shows.

UGR makes a step towards earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
A multidisciplinary team from the University of Granada has developed software that can make it easier to identify potential pancreatic cancer biomarkers and thereby achieve earlier diagnosis.

ESHG welcomes the Council of Europe's new protocol on genetic testing
The European Society of Human Genetics welcomes the Council of Europe's protocol on genetic testing for health purposes, which came into force yesterday.

Water compresses under a high gradient electric field
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have predicted new physics governing compression of water under a high-gradient electric field.

A new twist on how parasites invade host cells
Researchers from CNRS, INSERM and the Université Grenoble Alpes have decoded the mechanisms used by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii to enter the cells of a host.

Joslin researchers report excessive fetal growth despite well-controlled type 1 diabetes
A new study has shown that despite excellent glycemic control and low glycemic variability throughout their pregnancies, women with type 1 diabetes tended to give birth to infants who were large for gestational age.

Shedding light on the energy-efficiency of photosynthesis
A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, suggests that photorespiration wastes little energy and instead enhances nitrate assimilation, the process that converts nitrate absorbed from the soil into protein.

A pretty plant of summer produces a promising anti-diabetes compound
Montbretin A (MbA), a natural compound with great potential for the treatment of type-2 diabetes, was discovered in the ornamental plant montbretia ten years ago, but it can't be produced on a large scale until its biosynthesis is understood.

Scientists visualize the connections between eye and brain
In a study published in the journal Cell, BIDMC researchers developed a means of tracking the activity of the far-reaching ends of retinal neurons (called boutons) as they deliver visual information to the thalamus, a brain region involved in image processing.

A well-known animal health drug could stop outbreaks of malaria and Zika virus
Medicines given to household pets to kill fleas and ticks might be effective for preventing outbreaks of malaria, Zika fever and other dangerous insect-borne diseases.

NASA finds Prapiroon strengthen into a typhoon
Tropical Cyclone Prapiroon strengthened into a Typhoon as NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the East China Sea in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

'Cataclysmic' collision shaped Uranus' evolution
Uranus was hit by a massive object roughly twice the size of Earth that caused the planet to tilt and could explain its freezing temperatures, according to new research.

Mechanism leading to cortical malformation from brain-only mutations identified
A Korean research team led by Professor Jeong Ho Lee at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has recently investigated the molecular mechanism of defective neuronal migration in FMCDs.

Study identifies which marine mammals are most at risk from increased Arctic ship traffic
The first comprehensive survey of Arctic marine mammal populations' vulnerability to shipping along two main routes finds which face the most risks from heavier traffic in the region.

Scale is a key ingredient when tracking biodiversity, researchers say
To fully understand biodiversity and how it is changing, you need to look near, far, and in-between, according to a new study.

Designer enzyme uses unnatural amino acid for catalysis
University of Groningen chemists have created a new enzyme with an unnatural amino acid as its active center.

Reward and unease are closely linked in the brain
Mice that lack a certain receptor in the brain are attracted to situations associated with discomfort, such as inflammation and nausea, according to a new study from Linköping University, Sweden.

Making opaque materials totally transparent
EPFL researchers have found a way to make materials that are normally opaque to sound waves completely transparent.

More evidence supports link between orthostatic hypotension and CVD
Orthostatic hypotension (OH) -- a rapid drop in blood pressure upon standing up from a sitting or lying down position -- is a frequently encountered clinical sign among patients.

Oldest evidence of horse veterinary care discovered in Mongolia
A team of scholars, led by William Taylor of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, analyzed horse remains from an ancient Mongolian pastoral culture.

Illinois' crop-counting robot earns top recognition at leading robotics conference
A robot developed by the University of Illinois to locate genes for high-yielding, hardy traits in crop plants' DNA was recognized by the best systems paper award at Robotics: Science and Systems, the preeminent robotics conference held last week in Pittsburgh.

Antioxidant supplements fail to improve sperm quality in infertile men
Despite many study results suggesting that antioxidants have a positive effect on abnormal sperm parameters associated with male infertility, a large US clinical trial of 174 couples has found that an antioxidant formulation taken daily by the male partner for a minimum of three months made no difference to sperm concentration, motility or morphology, nor to the rate of DNA fragmentation.

Assessing antidepressant exposure during pregnancy and Autism-like behavior in mouse pups
Maternal use of the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) can alter the brain circuits in her offspring that control behaviors reminiscent of autism spectrum disorder, suggests a study in mice published in eNeuro.

Bacteria can 'divide and conquer' to vanquish their enemies
Some bacteria can release toxins that provoke their neighbours into attacking each other, a tactic that could be exploited to fight infections. 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