Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 31, 2018
Optical fibers that can 'feel' the materials around them
EPFL researchers have developed an optical fiber capable of detecting what sort of material or liquid they have come into contact with.

The tipping point: Service sector employees are more susceptible to mental health issues
Service workers who rely on tips are at greater risk for depression, sleep problems and stress compared with employees who work in non-tipped positions.

Research suggests coffee consumption associated with reduced risk of death
A new roundtable report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) titled 'Coffee, caffeine, mortality and life expectancy' highlights the potential role of coffee consumption on all-cause mortality, examining both published and yet-to-be published research to date.

Acidic pH: The weakness of cancer cells
A new computational model has allowed researchers to identify new therapeutic targets that can attack cancer cells by lowering their intracellular pH.

NASA finds wind shear battering Tropical Depression 16W
Tropical Depression 16W was still being battered by vertical wind shear, and appeared elongated for the second day in a row on satellite imagery from NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite.

Heat therapy boosts mitochondrial function in muscles
A new study finds that long-term heat therapy may increase mitochondrial function in the muscles.

Soccer heading worse for women's brains than for men's
Women's brains are much more vulnerable than men's to injury from repeated soccer heading, according to a new study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore.

Differences in social status and politics encourage paranoid thinking
Differences in social status and political belief increase paranoid interpretations of other people's actions, finds a new UCL experimental study.

CHOP nurse-researcher presents the Spatz 10-Step System as national model for breastfeeding
Mothers of critically ill infants may not receive necessary breastfeeding support, because their babies may be taken directly to a newborn intensive care unit or to surgery.

Next-generation photodetector camera to deploy during demo mission
Testing tools and technologies for refueling and repairing satellites in orbit won't be the only demonstration taking place aboard the International Space Station during NASA's next Robotic Refueling Mission 3, or RRM3.

Eat high-fiber foods to reduce effects of stress on gut and behavior
Eating high-fiber foods may reduce the effects of stress on our gut and behavior, according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology.

Small amounts of pharmaceuticals found in north central Pa. rural well water
Drinking water from wells in rural north central Pennsylvania had low levels of pharmaceuticals, according to a study led by Penn State researchers.

Predatory sea corals team up to feed on stinging jellyfish
Cave-dwelling corals in the Mediterranean can work alongside one another to catch and eat stinging jellyfish, a study reveals.

Engaging with interactive media may be a sequence of actions, assessments
The way people engage with interactive media is usually portrayed as a single act -- users either click on the content, or they do not.

What is causing more extreme precipitation in the northeast?
From Maine to West Virginia, the Northeast has seen a larger increase in extreme precipitation than anywhere else in the US.

Mapping of magnetic particles in the human brain
LMU researchers have for the first time mapped the distribution of magnetic particles in the human brain.

New research challenges common assumptions about people who use food shelves
The first-ever statewide survey of Minnesota food-shelf users uncovered important information about a population whose voices are rarely represented in research.

Real-time foot-and-mouth strategy to better fight disease
Future outbreaks of foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease can be combatted quickly and efficiently from early on -- when authorities have minimal information -- thanks to a new real-time strategy, developed by researchers at the University of Warwick.

Turning off protein could boost immunotherapy effectiveness on cancer tumors
Researchers at the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discovered inhibiting a previously known protein could reduce tumor burdens and enhance the effectiveness

845-Page analytical report on the longevity industry in the UK released
The Biogerontology Research Foundation announces the publication of a new analytical report titled Longevity Industry in UK Landscape Overview 2018.

Clearer vision of the biochemical reaction that allows us to see
What happens when a photon collides with a molecule? A reaction takes place that often changes the shape of the molecule, and therefore its functionality.

Scientists discover potential therapy for human copper metabolism disorders
Individuals with defects in copper metabolism may soon have more targeted treatment options thanks to a discovery by a research team led by Dr.

Implants made by computer-aided design provide good results in patients with rare chest muscle deformity
For patients with Poland syndrome -- a rare congenital condition affecting the chest muscle -- computer-aided design (CAD) techniques can be used to create custom-made silicone implants for reconstructive surgery of the chest, reports a paper in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Research into cell-to-cell signalling mechanism may lead to new cancer treatments
Pioneering new research into the way in which cells communicate with each other could hold the key to unlocking new, improved treatment for life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

Creating a (synthetic) song from a zebra finch's muscle
Birds create songs by moving muscles in their vocal organs to vibrate air passing through their tissues, and new research shows that these muscles act in concert to create sound.

In the tiniest animals, genomic analysis reveals new species and new genus
Apparently identical marine animals called placozoans, once thought to all belong to a single species, are revealed by their genomes to in fact belong to different genera, according to a new study publishing on July 31 in the open access journal PLOS Biology by Michael Eitel and Gert Wörheide of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich, Germany, and colleagues.

Chinese researchers further develop adenine base editing system
Two research teams from East China Normal University and Sun Yat-Sen University in China have developed and improved the ABE system in mouse and rat strains, which has great implications for human genetic disorders and gene therapy.

The competitive edge: Dietary competition played a key role in the evolution of early primates
New research published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B -Biological Sciences confirms the critical role that dietary adaptations played in the survival and diversification of North American euprimates.

China could face deadly heat waves due to climate change
The North China Plain, a region that holds one of the biggest concentrations of people on Earth, could be pushing against the boundaries of habitability by the latter part of this century due to global warming, an MIT study shows.

Just two weeks' inactivity can trigger diabetic symptoms in vulnerable patients: Research
Just two weeks without much activity can have a dramatic impact on health from which it is difficult to recover, according to researchers who studied overweight older adults at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Scientists discover why elusive aye-aye developed such unusual features
A new study has, for the first time, measured the extent to which the endangered aye-aye has evolved similar features to squirrels, despite being more closely related to monkeys, chimps, and humans.

Dental plaque is no match for catalytic nanoparticles
Twice-daily rinses with a solution containing FDA-approved nanoparticles broke up plaque and prevented tooth decay in two models that mimic severe cavities in young children.

Study: UVA heart failure program improves survival, reduces costs
A University of Virginia Health System program that provides follow-up care for heart failure patients after they leave the hospital significantly improves survival and other outcomes while saving money, a new study finds.

Exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields at work not associated with brain tumors
No clear associations were found between occupational exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) and risk of glioma or meningioma, in one of the largest epidemiological studies performed to date and led by ISGlobal, an institution supported by 'la Caixa' Foundation.

Urban geophone array offers new look at northern Los Angeles basin
Using an array of coffee-can sized geophones deployed for about a month in backyards, golf courses and public parks, researchers collected enough data to allow them to map the depth and shape of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino sedimentary basins of Los Angeles, California.

Scientists uncover new facts concerning working memory in children
Researchers from the Higher School of Economics conducted a meta-analysis by compiling data across 17 neuroimaging studies on working memory in children.

Recreational fisheries pose threat to skittish sea turtles
When recreational scallopers flocked to Florida's Crystal River region, native sea turtles turned tail.

Heatwave deaths will rise steadily by 2080 as globe warms up
If people cannot adapt to future climate temperatures, deaths caused by severe heatwaves will increase dramatically in tropical and subtropical regions, followed closely by Australia, Europe and the United States, a global new Monash-led study shows.

Diabetes risk higher among LGBQ teens than heterosexual teens, study finds
In the largest study of its kind to report differences in physical activity and obesity by sex and sexual orientation, obesity was more likely among lesbian, bisexual and questioning female youth than heterosexual female peers.

Juvenile justice practices in Europe can inform practices in the United States
New research examined juvenile justice in Europe, where most countries have special laws or procedures for 18- to 25-year-olds; the findings can inform US policymakers.

Aphids manipulate their food
Aphids - who hasn't been bothered by these little insects at one time or another?

NASA analyzes US east coast persistent rains
A stalled weather pattern led to persistent showers and thunderstorms moving up the eastern seaboard during the week of July 22, resulting in significant rainfall amounts and numerous flood warnings.

Father's genes can impact motherly love
A father's genes are no longer thought to just provide a blueprint for the growth and development of their offspring.

Soccer heading may be riskier for female players
Researchers have found that women who play soccer may be more at risk than their male counterparts.

Hate speech from women is judged harsher than that from men
Women who make hateful remarks on social media are likely to be judged more severely than men who make the same comments.

Energy-intensive Bitcoin transactions pose a growing environmental threat
A study published in Energy Research & Social Science warns that failure to lower the energy use by Bitcoin and similar Blockchain designs may prevent nations from reaching their climate change mitigation obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Predicting heart attack, stroke risk just got easier
A team of researchers led by cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center has developed a new online tool to more accurately predict who among those ages 40-65 is at the highest risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.

Animal taxonomy: Outwardly identical, yet distinct
All placozoans are superficially identical. But comparative genomic data reported by an LMU team reveals the presence of different genera.

Survey of Sexual Medicine Society members reveals only half ask for patients' sexual orientation
Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say their small survey of nearly 100 health care practitioners who are members of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America revealed that only half routinely ask their patients directly about their sexual orientation.

Patients opt for 3D simulation for breast augmentation -- but it doesn't improve outcomes
Three-dimensional image simulation is popular among women planning breast augmentation surgery.

Astronomers assemble 'light-fingerprints' to unveil mysteries of the cosmos
Earthbound detectives rely on fingerprints to solve their cases; now astronomers can do the same, using 'light-fingerprints' instead of skin grooves to uncover the mysteries of exoplanets.

Long-term study of a boy's lobectomy offers rare glimpse of plasticity in action
The boy suffered his first epileptic seizure at four. Doctors tried medication and other treatments to control the seizures -- the result of a low-grade brain tumor -- but nothing worked.

Chinese scientists discover genomic key to plateau adaptation
The hot-spring snake belongs to the genus Thermophis. Chinese scientists studying genomic data of hot-spring snakes have, for the first time, discovered the genetic mechanism for ectothermic animals' adaptation to high-elevation extreme environments.

Case study: Child's lobectomy reveals brain's ability to reorganize its visual system
Published in Cell Reports, the researchers report on three years of behavioral and brain imaging tests on a nearly seven year-old boy -- 'UD' -- who had a third of the right hemisphere of his brain removed in an attempt to control seizures.

Microbes in the Hong Kong subway system mix together by evening rush hour
Every day, the hundred-mile-long Hong Kong subway system serves nearly five million people commuting from as far away as mainland China.

Distracted pedestrians walk slower and are less steady on their feet: UBC study
University of British Columbia engineers have analyzed just how mobile device use affects pedestrians, and their findings could help develop safer roads and autonomous cars in the future.

Researchers predict distribution of rat lungworm, now and into future
A recent study by University of Hawai'i at Mānoa researchers revealed that Angiostrongylus cantonensis, the rat lungworm, is widespread in the Hawaiian Islands and its distribution may expand, especially towards higher elevations, as the climate warms.

Single-cell RNA profiling
An LMU team has improved both the sensitivity and efficiency of a popular method for single-cell RNA sequencing, which yields a molecular fingerprint for individual cells based on their patterns of gene activity.

British Journal of Cancer press notice
These are upcoming paper publications of interest for journalists.

New cell lines produce NIST monoclonal antibody for improved biologic drugs
NISTmAb, the world's first standardized monoclonal antibody has become a valuable tool for biomanufacturers developing new biologic therapies for cancers, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases.

How chronic infections can outsmart the immune system
Second leading cause of death by parasitic infection, visceral leishmaniasis takes advantage of a mechanism to sustain the infection.

Fruit flies farm their own probiotics
A study published in the PLoS Biology offers a new tool to study bacteria-host interaction.

Methadone linked to lower death rates among convicted offenders with opioid dependence
Among convicted offenders, receiving methadone is associated with lower rates of death from external and non-external causes, according to new research published this week in PLOS Medicine by Angela Russolillo of Simon Fraser University, Canada, and colleagues.

River complexity maintains regional population stability
An international group of researchers has demonstrated that branching complexity of rivers affects regional population stability and persistence in nature, contrary to current theories which suggest the importance of an ecosystem's size.

A colossal breakthrough for topological spintronics
Scientists have developed the world's best-performing pure spin current source made of bismuth-antimony (BiSb) alloys, which they report as the best candidate for the first industrial application of topological insulators.

Red-blood-cell 'hitchhikers' offer new way to transport drugs to specific targets
A new drug-delivery technology which uses red blood cells to shuttle nano-scale drug carriers, called RBC-hitchhiking, has been found in animal models to dramatically increase the concentration of drugs ferried precisely to selected organs,

Artificial intelligence system created at UNC-Chapel Hill designs drugs from scratch
An artificial-intelligence approach created at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Eshelman School of Pharmacy can teach itself to design new drug molecules from scratch and has the potential to dramatically accelerate the design of new drug candidates.

NASA finds Tropical Storm Jongdari now comma shaped
Tropical Depression Jongdari re-strengthened into a tropical storm when it was southeast of Kyushu, Japan and NASA's Aqua satellite saw it take on a comma shape.

Do spiders have a favorite color?
Scientists recently discovered the aptly named peacock jumping spiders have the color vision needed to appreciate the male's gaudy display.

Can seagrass help fight ocean acidification?
Seagrass meadows could play a limited, localized role in alleviating ocean acidification in coastal ecosystems, according to new work led by Carnegie's David Koweek and including Carnegie's Ken Caldeira.

Raging fires in California creating havoc for the state
Fires across California are creating havoc statewide with homes being destroyed, people displaced, and huge amounts of noxious smoke being propelled into the atmosphere.

Use of VA services impacted by external economic, policy changes
A new study has found that use of VA services is affected by economic and policy changes outside the VA, such as Medicaid eligibility, private employer insurance coverage, unemployment and (non-VA) physician availability.

Blood samples used to investigate adaptive repair mechanisms of transplanted kidneys
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have shown that gene expression analysis of blood samples taken from the recipients of transplanted kidneys can be used to better understand the mechanisms that promote repair and regeneration of the transplanted organs.

Flies meet gruesome end under influence of puppeteer fungus
Various fungi are known to infect insects and alter their behavior, presumably to assist in spreading fungal spores as widely as possible.

Past experiences shape what we see more than what we are looking at now
A new study argues that humans recognize what they are looking at by combining current sensory stimuli with comparisons to images stored in memory.

Study: Prayer makes families connected, unified and bonded with less relational tension
In a recently-published study in the Journal of Family Psychology, BYU researchers explored how family prayer influences family relationships, finding a connection between prayer and a number of benefits for families.

EV charging in cold temperatures could pose challenges for drivers
New research from Idaho National Laboratory suggests that electric vehicle drivers could face longer charging times when temperatures drop. 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