Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 02, 2018
A new reality for beauty standards: How selfies and filters affect body image
With the spread of photo-editing technology through applications like Snapchat and Facetune, the level of physical 'perfection' previously seen only on celebrity or beauty magazines is now all over social media.

UCLA-developed artificial intelligence device identifies objects at the speed of light
A team of UCLA electrical and computer engineers has created a physical artificial neural network -- a device modeled on how the human brain works -- that can analyze large volumes of data and identify objects at the actual speed of light.

Muscle 'switch' may control the benefits of exercise
Studying lab animals and humans, researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center discovered that a protein called JNK helps to drive response to exercise.

Study challenges evolution of FOXP2 as human-specific language gene
FOXP2, a gene implicated in affecting speech and language, is held up as a textbook example of positive selection on a human-specific trait.

Novel PET imaging method could track and guide therapy for type 1 diabetes
Researchers have discovered a new nuclear medicine test that could improve care of patients with type 1 diabetes.

LSU health research discovers new link between hypoxia and blood clot risk
Research led by Rinku Majumder, PhD, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has found how hypoxia (a low concentration of oxygen) decreases Protein S, a natural anticoagulant, resulting in an increased risk for the development of potentially life-threatening blood clots (thrombosis).

Routine screening of relatives of aortic disease patients could save lives
Research shows over 30 percent of relatives of patients with disease of the aorta could have underlying genetic predisposition to developing life-threatening condition.

Cash transfers :New research finds combining demand and supply-side incentives improves longer-term
Conditional cash transfers are popular programs used to reduce poverty by making social assistance conditional for recipients, often requiring school attendance and participation in health services.

Newly characterized molecule offers possibilities for novel Alzheimer's treatments
A study by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), recently published in Acta Neuropathologica, investigated lesser-known molecules involved in tauopathies like Alzheimer's.

Google Glass helps kids with autism read facial expressions, Stanford study finds
Children with autism were able to improve their social skills by using a smartphone app paired with Google Glass to help them understand the emotions conveyed in people's facial expressions, according to a pilot study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Metabolomics applications for precision nutrition, formula, & neurodegenerative disorders
Metabolomics is the latest omics systems science technology with emerging applications towards psychiatry, personalized medicine, and most recently, precision nutrition research.

Study suggests obesity may also impact flu transmission, not just severity of illness
Obesity increases a person's risk for severe complications from influenza, including hospitalization and even death.

'New physics' charmingly escapes us
In the world of elementary particles, traces of a potential 'new physics' may be concealed in processes related to the decay of baryons.

Scientists develop novel drug that could potentially treat liver cancer more effectively
A research team led by scientists from the Cancer Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore has developed a novel peptide drug called FFW that could potentially stop the development of hepatocellular carcinoma or primary liver cancer.

Why weight loss produces remission of type 2 diabetes in some patients
A clinical trial recently showed that nearly half of individuals with type 2 diabetes achieved remission to a non-diabetic state after a weight-loss intervention delivered within six years of diagnosis.

Wearable devices: Useful medical insights or just more data?
Despite the popularity of wearable devices to track and measure health and sports performance, a new review highlights how surprisingly little we know we know about how well these sensors and machines work -- let alone whether they deliver useful information.

The end-Cretaceous extinction unleashed modern shark diversity
A study that examined the shape of hundreds of fossilized shark teeth suggests that modern shark biodiversity was triggered by the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event, about 66 million years ago.

Blocking digestive hormone may prevent diet-induced pancreatic cancer
A high-fat diet may promote the growth of pancreatic cancer independent of obesity because of the interaction between dietary fat and cholecystokinin (CCK), a digestive hormone.

Clothing, furniture also to blame for ocean and freshwater pollution
Lakes choked with algae and marine 'dead zones' result from too many nutrients in the water.

Stem cell research for cystic fibrosis leaps forward
The fight against cystic fibrosis (CF) has taken a major step forward, with pioneering research by University of Adelaide scientists showing that cells causing the debilitating genetic disorder could be successfully replaced with healthy ones.

Scale-invariant resistivity in cuprates
A new intriguing property of cuprate superconductors has been identified, says a new study, which shows that in very high magnetic fields, the resistivity of a thin-film lanthanum-based cuprate scales linearly with the field.

Key piece identified for slowing a colorectal cancer subtype
Inhibiting the Jagged 1 protein in mice prevents the proliferation and growth of colon and rectal tumours.

NASA sees Tropical Depression Jongdari nearing China landfall
Tropical Depression Jongdari continued it crawl toward a landfall in China and NASA's Terra satellite captured an image of the disorganized depression.

Death toll from Hurricane Maria estimated to be larger than previously thought
The number of people who died as a result of Hurricane Maria -- which hit Puerto Rico on Sept.

New stem cell model can be used to test treatments for a rare nervous system disorder
A City of Hope researcher has developed a stem cell model to assess possible treatments for a rare nervous system disorder that is in the same disease group as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

No evidence of 'hobbit' ancestry in genomes of Flores Island pygmies
Scientists sequenced the genomes of a pygmy population living near the cave in Indonesia where fossils were found of Homo floresiensis, a previously unknown, very small species of human nicknamed the hobbit.

How to make the gene-editing tool CRISPR work even better
Scientists have found conclusive evidence that Cas9, the most popular enzyme currently used in CRISPR gene editing, is less effective and precise than one of the lesser-used CRISPR proteins, Cas12a.

Researchers estimate higher death toll from Hurricane Maria than previously thought
The number of people who died as a result of Hurricane Maria -- which hit Puerto Rico on Sept.

Scientists present concept for the elimination of traffic jams
A team of researchers from Cologne and New York presents proposals for the traffic management of the future.

Field test for dog Leishmania exposure evaluated
Dogs infected with Leishmania infantum, a parasite transmitted by the sand fly Phlebotomus perniciosus, are at risk for spreading leishmaniasis infections to humans.

Plants can tell the time using sugars
A new study by an international team of scientists, including the University of Bristol, has discovered that plants adjust their daily circadian rhythm to the cycle of day and night by measuring the amount of sugars in their cells.

'Strange metals' just got stranger
Scientists at the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory have discovered a behavior in materials called cuprates that suggests they carry current in a way entirely different from conventional metals such as copper.

Simple factors that can avoid harmful side effects in type 2 diabetes
Clinicians can match people with type 2 diabetes to the right drug for them to improve control of blood sugar and help avoid damaging side-effects, simply by factoring in simple characteristics such as sex and BMI into prescribing decisions, new research has shown.

Scientists measure severity of drought during the Maya collapse
The severity of drought conditions during the demise of the Maya civilization about 1,000 years ago has been quantified, representing another piece of evidence that could be used to solve the longstanding mystery of what caused the downfall of one of the ancient world's great civilizations.

Research on pine sawflies sheds light on the evolution of cooperation
Pine sawflies terrify forest owners, but they help researchers understand the evolution of cooperation.

Mysterious DNA modification important for fly brain
Emory scientists have identified a function for a mysterious DNA modification in fruit flies' brain development, which may provide hints to its role in humans.

pH imbalance in brain cells may contribute to Alzheimer's disease
Johns Hopkins Medicine scientists say they have found new evidence in lab-grown mouse brain cells, called astrocytes, that one root of Alzheimer's disease may be a simple imbalance in acid-alkaline -- or pH -- chemistry inside endosomes, the nutrient and chemical cargo shuttles in cells.

New light shed on relationship between calorie-burning fat and muscle function
Endocrinologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have shown for the first time that brown fat can exert control over skeletal muscle function.

Broadband internet causes sleep deprivation, a new study finds
Individuals with DSL access tend to sleep 25 minutes less than their counterparts without DSL Internet.

UK higher education students feel less empowered than their Irish counterparts
Professor Rachel Brooks at the University of Surrey is leading on new research which looks at the differences between the political activity of English and Irish higher education (HE) students.

Need help with your math homework? Ask these worms
Animals often rely on their sense of smell to locate food.

UB researchers discover a disease threatening the most plentiful starfish in Antarctica
A study led by experts from the University of Barcelona's Faculty of Biology and Institute for Research on Biodiversity (IRBio) have identified a disease that is affecting the starfish Odontaster validus, one of the most common species on the Antarctic sea floor.

UMN Medical School researchers study how cues drive our behavior
Recent research published in Nature Neuroscience by University of Minnesota Medical School neuroscientist Benjamin Saunders, PhD, uses a Pavlovian model of conditioning to see if turning on a light -- a simple cue -- just before dopamine neurons were activated could motivate action.

A short genetic history of the Flores Island pygmies
On the Indonesian island of Flores, populations of tiny humans arose twice, independently and separated by tens of thousands of years, according to new research.

Differences in immune responses create a genetic conflict between sexes
A unique study from Lund University in Sweden has discovered for the first time that there is a genetic sexual conflict in the immune system in animals.

Mapping blue carbon in mangroves worldwide
Mangroves are tropical forests that thrive in salt water and found in a variety of coastal settings worldwide.

Fish reproduction: Two times a lady
A DNA probing technique clarifies the mechanism behind clonal reproduction of female dojo loach fish, also providing insight into the ancestral origin of the clonal population.

Aortic atherosclerotic plaque inflammation may contribute to the progression of fatty liver disease to liver fibrosis
A new study sheds light on the long-term effects of highly inflamed plaques on the progression of liver fibrosis.

New research shows Juvenile diversion programs work, also curb reoffending tendencies
Juveniles who complete diversion programs for their crimes are less likely to continue their criminal activity as adults, according to new research from Case Western Reserve University.

New study shows smoking can affect breastfeeding habits
Researchers at UBC Okanagan have determined that new mothers exposed to cigarette smoke in their homes, stop breastfeeding sooner than women not exposed to second-hand smoke.

NASA's Terra Satellite finds powerful storms in Hurricane Hector
NASA's Terra satellite analyzed Hurricane Hector in infrared light to find the strongest parts of the storm.

Ebola outbreak has lasting impact on Liberian agriculture, food security
There is unequivocal evidence that disease epidemics adversely affect the livelihoods of individuals, households and communities in affected areas.

Obamacare relieved financial strain of those closest to the federal poverty line
While data shows that the Affordable Care Act helped people across the spectrum, a study shows that those around or below the federal poverty line benefitted most.

Radar better than weather balloon for measuring boundary layer
Improving forecasting for a host of severe weather events may be possible thanks to a more comprehensive method for measuring the Earth's boundary layer depth, developed by Penn State researchers.

Obesity extends duration of influenza a virus shedding
Obesity, which increases influenza disease severity, also extends by about 1.5 days how long influenza A virus is shed from infected adults compared to non-obese adults, according to a multi-year study of two cohorts of Nicaraguan households.

New study shows some corals might adapt to climate changes
New research shows that not all corals respond the same to changes in climate.

Machine learning links dimensions of mental illness to abnormalities of brain networks
A new study using machine learning has identified brain-based dimensions of mental health disorders, an advance towards much-needed biomarkers to more accurately diagnose and treat patients.

MGH team defines the mechanisms of action of key genetic abnormality in Ewing sarcoma
A Massachusetts General Hospital research team has used epigenome editing tools to investigate how the genetic abnormality that drives Ewing sarcoma -- the second most common bone cancer in children and young adults -- unleashes tumor growth.

Cellular communication system in mice helps control female fertility
In new research published Aug. 2 in the journal PLOS Genetics, UW-Madison researchers discovered that two genes work together to construct a cellular communication system in the ovaries of mice to maintain healthy eggs.

World experts target guidance on managing dementia symptoms
The research, published in International Psychogeriatrics and led by the University of Michigan, the University of Exeter and John Hopkins University, gives the most specific and targeted treatment for psychosis and agitation.

When the seed becomes a plant, it has 48 hours to survive
During germination, the embryo within the seed must develop into a young seedling capable of photosynthesis in less than 48 hours.

Map of a billion brain links reveals clues about how we think
Scientists have created an elaborate map of more than a billion brain cell connections, helping to shed light on how memories are formed and recalled.

Abandoned farmlands enrich bird communities
Abandoned farmlands hold potential for the preservation of wetland and grassland birds as rehabilitation zones.

Maternal dengue immunity protects against fetal damage in mice following Zika infection
A mother's prior dengue immunity protects her unborn baby from devastating brain effects associated with Zika virus infection.

Study confirms lower rate of repeat surgery when hip implants use 'cross-linked' polyethylene
A long-term follow-up study from Australia confirms that hip implants with components made of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) substantially lower the risk of revision surgery after total hip replacement, reports a study in the August 1, 2018 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Psychologists find that acting is the key to remembering tasks
Researchers from the University of Chichester have found that alternative enactment techniques -- such as acting -- can improve patients' perspective memory.

Mushrooms of the far east hold promise for the anti-cancer therapy
Mushrooms from the Far East area contain the natural chemical compounds, which could be used for the design of the novel drugs with highly specific anti-tumor activities and low-toxicity.

A kernel of promise in popcorn-powered robots
Cornell University researchers have discovered how to power simple robots with a novel substance that, when heated, can expand more than 10 times in size, change its viscosity by a factor of 10 and transition from regular to highly irregular granules with surprising force.

Research finds quakes can systematically trigger other ones on opposite side of Earth
New research shows that a big earthquake can not only cause other quakes, but large ones, and on the opposite side of the Earth.

The Lancet: Support from people with lived experience reduces readmission to mental health crisis units
Peer-reviewed / Randomised Controlled Trial / People With expertise rooted in personal experience, people who have had mental health problems could offer support, encouragement and a model for recovery, helping reduce readmission rates.

Study challenges evolution of how humans acquired language
A gene implicated in affecting speech and language, FOXP2, is held up as a 'textbook' example of positive selection on a human-specific trait.

Fecal deposits reveal the fruit fly's pheromone flag
Fruit flies have a rich language of smell messages that they exchange, but now their secret is out.

A new released Chinese soybean genome facilitates soybean elite cultivar improvement
Soybean was domesticated in China and has become one of the most important oilseed crops.

Genomic study ties insect evolution to the ability to detect airborne odors
A new study reveals that all insects use specialized odorant receptors that enable them to detect and pursue mates, identify enemies, find food and -- unfortunately for humans -- spread disease.

Fairy-wrens learn alarm calls of other species just by listening
Birds often eavesdrop on the alarm calls of other species, making it possible for them to take advantage of many eyes looking out for danger.

The drought that collapsed classic Maya society
A period of severe drought near the end of the 1st millennium C.E. likely sealed the fate of Lowland Classic Maya society, and a new study shows just how dry it was as the populations of the Maya Lowlands began to evaporate.

VLA detects possible extrasolar planetary-mass magnetic powerhouse
Astronomers have used the VLA to detect a possible planetary-mass object with a surprisingly powerful magnetic field some 20 light-years from Earth.

Moral decision making is rife with internal conflict, say developmental psychologists
A new in-depth study of moral reasoning challenges the popular notion that people are unable to think through difficult moral problems and rely primarily on automatic 'gut' reactions to make tough decisions.

Thin films can enhance vorticity in the ocean
Scientists from the Higher School of Economics and the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics of Russian Academy of Sciences have investigated how vortex flows penetrate the interior of a liquid.

Big-data study pinpoints more than 150 genes associated with atrial fibrillation
Drawing on genomic data from more than one million individuals, researchers from the University of Michigan have led a large collaborative effort to discover as-yet unknown genetic risk factors for atrial fibrillation: An irregular, often rapid heart rate affecting millions of Americans and more than 30 million people worldwide.

Accepting responsibility for others separate leaders from followers
A willingness to shoulder responsibility on behalf of others is an important and common trait in all who choose to lead, a new study finds.

Astronomers blown away by historic stellar blast
Observations from the Gemini South and other telescopes in Chile played a critical role in understanding light echoes from a stellar eruption which occurred almost 200 years ago.

Study reveals early warning signs of heart problems in patients with newly diagnosed lupus
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in patients with lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease.

The US has experienced a spike in violent and unintentional injuries
The US has experienced a disturbing increase in violent and unintentional injuries over the last few years, reversing positive gains made in the 1980s and 1990s, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Denver Health Medical Center.

Heatwave and climate change having negative impact on our soil say experts
The recent heatwave and drought could be having a deeper, more negative effect on soil than we first realised say scientists.

Safety claims up in smoke
A new study from the UCLA School of Nursing published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that just a half-hour of hookah smoking resulted in the development of cardiovascular risk factors similar to what has been seen with traditional cigarette smoking.

Old mining techniques make a new way to recycle lithium batteries
Using 100-year-old minerals processing methods, chemical engineering students have found a solution to a looming 21st-century problem: how to economically recycle lithium ion batteries.

Measuring climate impact of forests management -- a groundbreaking approach
A group of forestry research experts led by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's science and knowledge service, has developed a rigorous new fact-based carbon accounting system that reflects how forest management practices can help mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Lung cancer screening guidelines inadequate for high-risk minorities
Data from a Chicago-based lung cancer screening program provides evidence that national lung cancer screening guidelines may be insufficient for individuals in underrepresented communities.

How do you assess pain in children who can't express themselves? New research identifies priorities in identifying pain in nonverbal children with medical complexity
Pain is a frequent problem for children with complex medical conditions -- but many of them are unable to communicate their pain verbally.

Modern Flores Island pygmies show no genetic link to extinct 'hobbits'
A modern pygmy population living on an Indonesian island near a cave with Homo floresiensis ('hobbit') fossils appears to have evolved short stature independently, according to an international team of researchers.

Genome regulation of cell type cataloged in mouse at single-cell level
Scientists have completed a major effort to map the regulatory landscape of the mouse genome at a single-cell resolution.

Insulin resistance under-diagnosed in non-diabetics with Parkinson's disease
Almost two-thirds of non-diabetic patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) may be insulin resistant, despite having normal blood sugar, report scientists in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease.

New method refines cell sample analysis
Innovation in the field of biomedicine: Researchers at the University of Zurich have developed a novel method which increases more than tenfold the number of proteins that can be visualized per sample, making it possible to generate a comprehensive map of cellular organization across the various cellular states.

Alcohol increases tuberculosis-related deaths in young mice
Alcohol increases the mortality of young but not old mice infected with the tuberculosis-causing bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), and this effect is mediated by the production of a protein called interferon-alpha (IFN-α).

New light shed on the people who built Stonehenge
Despite over a century of intense study, we still know very little about the people buried at Stonehenge or how they came to be there.

The case for greater focus on mosquitoes, ticks in epidemiology
The textbook approach to managing disease outbreaks focuses on three factors -- pathogen, host, and environment--but it leaves out one critical component in the case of afflictions such as Zika, malaria, and Lyme: the insect or arthropod responsible for transmission to humans.

New tool helps users decide which countries their internet traffic transits
The internet gives people worldwide access to applications and services, but in many cases, internet traffic passes through a few dominant countries, according to new research from Princeton University.

Hearing class
New study finds that the class of neurons responsible for transmitting information from the inner ear to the brain is composed of three molecularly distinct subtypes.

New analysis estimates much higher death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
Due to differences in methods, there have been various estimates of the number of deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island on Sept.

Study elucidates epigenetic mechanisms behind autoimmune diseases
Brazilian researchers use an editing tool to investigate a gene that plays a key role in eliminating autoaggressive cells and controlling the development of diseases such as type 1 diabetes.

Microbes go dark to stay warm in cooler climates
Microorganisms in colder climates darken themselves to capture more heat from the sun and improve their ability to survive, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Tropical forest seeds use three strategies to survive
From tiny banana seeds to giant coconuts, it's tough for seeds to survive in tropical soils where they are under constant attack by fungi, bacteria, insects and animals.

Who owns the aquifer?
Stanford researchers map out groundwater at stake in the wake of a court decision that bolsters Native American rights to the precious resource across an increasingly arid West. 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