Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 23, 2018
Watching neurons in action
OIST scientists have devised a way of observing the working of single neurons in unsurpassed detail in a live animal.

Advanced microscope technology reveals novel side to cell signaling complex
In a study published today in Science, UT Southwestern and Rockefeller University researchers used advanced microscopes to determine at atomic resolution the structure of a molecular complex implicated in birth defects and several cancers.

How not saying 'cancer' for low-risk thyroid cancer may affect treatment preferences, patient anxiety
Could removing 'cancer' from the terminology for low-risk small papillary thyroid cancers (PTCs) reduce patients' anxiety so they consider less invasive treatment than surgery and avoid possible overtreatment for what can be indolent tumors?

Report confirms wind technology advancements continue to drive down wind energy prices
Wind energy pricing remains attractive, according to an annual report released by the U.S.

'One weird trick' to cut belly fat? Follow a heart-healthy diet!
Do you wish you could decrease your waistline? Reducing abdominal obesity can lower health risks - but despite claims you may have seen on the Internet, no trending diet can help you specifically eliminate belly fat, according to an article in ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal®, an official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Children take longer to learn two languages at once compared to just one -- don't fret
Bilingual children from immigrant families are not two monolinguals in one.

Radical transformations likely needed to achieve universal health care
Technological innovation, expansion of the use of frontline personnel such as community health workers, and rapid increases in health care financing are likely to be instrumental to achieving universal health care (UHC) in countries around the world, according to a wide-ranging review of the scientific evidence on UHC.

Fresh and raw diets for dogs may have health benefits, study says
Many dog owners think of their furry companions as part of the family, and now products are available to feed them that way, too.

Early-life alcohol intake may increase the odds of high-grade prostate cancer
Compared with non-drinkers, men who consumed at least seven drinks per week during adolescence (ages 15-19) had three times the odds of being diagnosed with clinically significant prostate cancer.

A novel graphene quantum dot structure takes the cake
In a marriage of quantum science and solid-state physics, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used magnetic fields to confine groups of electrons to a series of concentric rings within graphene.

Integrated analysis finds vulnerabilities to target in a high-risk pediatric tumor
Research from the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital--Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project has revealed new vulnerabilities and leads for treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma

Caution needed when prescribing antibiotics to hypertension patients, study finds
Individual variations in genetic makeup and gut bacteria may explain the different effects of antibiotics on blood pressure, a new rat study suggests.

New scientific study: no safe level of alcohol
A new scientific study concludes there is no safe level of drinking alcohol.

Tracking Sargassum's ocean path could help predict coastal inundation events
In recent years, large amounts of Sargassum have been washing up on beaches from the Caribbean to west Africa.

Fish lice could be early indicators of metal pollution in freshwater
Water quality in rivers and dams is decaying all over the world, and metal pollution is a major factor.

Landslides triggered by human activity on the rise
More than 50,000 people were killed by landslides around the world between 2004 and 2016, according to a new study by researchers at UK's Sheffield University.

Japanese encephalitis also affects urban areas
Several research results have recently disproved the theory that Japanese encephalitis is limited to rural areas.

Increased phosphate intake elevates blood pressure in healthy adults
If more phosphate is consumed with food, blood pressure and pulse rate increase in healthy young adults.

How sleep loss may contribute to adverse weight gain
In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University now demonstrate that one night of sleep loss has a tissue-specific impact on the regulation of gene expression and metabolism in humans.

New study highlights shark protections, vulnerability to fishing
A new analysis shows that the habitats of three shark species (great hammerhead, tiger, and bull sharks) are relatively well protected from longline fishing in federal waters off the southeastern United States, but that that some prime locations are still vulnerable to fishing.

Friends who are former smokers is key to helping people with serious mental illness quit
An estimated 53 percent of adults with serious mental illness (SMI) smoke, whereas, only 18 percent of adults in the general population smoke.

Texas A&M team's pic of crack in the act could prevent engineering failures
In work that could help prevent the failure of everything from bridges to dental implants, a team led by a researcher at Texas A&M University has taken the first 3D image of a microscopic crack propagating through a metal damaged by hydrogen.

Lithium-oxygen battery technology charges ahead
A new report overcomes hurdles related to the electrochemistry underlying the lithium-oxygen battery, making it a little more likely this high-powered battery could be broadly adopted in years ahead.

Fires overwhelming British Columbia; smoke choking the skies
British Columbia is on fire. In this Canadian province 56 wildfires 'of note' are active and continuing to blow smoke into the skies overhead.

Discovery of two new Chinese dinosaurs by international research team
An international research team today announces the discovery of two new Chinese dinosaurs: Bannykus and Xiyunykus.

A human enzyme can biodegrade graphene
Graphene Flagship partners discovered that a natural human enzyme can biodegrade graphene.

New biomarkers of inflammation identified as risk of polyneuropathy
Polyneuropathy is one of the most common complications in people with diabetes.

More than a label: shelter dog genotyping reveals inaccuracy of breed assignments
Arizona State University scientists used genetic testing in over 900 shelter dogs to identify breed heritage in the largest study of its kind.

Researchers develop cryopreservation method of ladybird beetle ovaries
A new study has found an effective way to cryopreserve -- preservation by cooling to very low temperature -- and subsequently transplant ovaries of the multicolored Asian ladybird beetle, Harmonia axyridis.

Zeroing in: What triggered the recent yellow fever outbreak in Brazil
In a 'tour de force genetic investigation of the outbreak' according to a related Perspective, scientists have shown how the recent yellow fever outbreak in Brazil originated in nonhuman primates in the forest and spilled over into human populations.

Traumatic brain injury recovery via petri dish
Researchers in the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center have succeeded in reproducing the effects of traumatic brain injury and stimulating recovery in neuron cells grown in a petri dish.

Algal blooms a threat to small lakes and ponds, too
Harmful algae isn't just a problem for high-profile bodies of water -- it poses serious, toxic threats in small ponds and lakes as well, new research has found.

Baby poop may be source of beneficial probiotics
Probiotics seem to be everywhere these days -- in yogurt, pickles, bread, even dog food.

Research finds bots and Russian trolls influenced vaccine discussion on Twitter
Social media bots and Russian trolls promoted discord and spread false information about vaccines on Twitter using tactics similar to those at work during the 2016 United States presidential election, according to new research led by the George Washington University.

Improving cell replacement therapy for Parkinson's disease
Researchers describe a new set of cell surface markers on dopaminergic progenitor cells, which allow isolation of a more beneficial population of induced neurons for cell replacement therapy.

UBC researchers unlock secrets of plant development
University of British Columbia researchers have discovered an internal messaging system that plants use to manage the growth and division of their cells.

The Lancet: Alcohol is associated with 2.8 million deaths each year worldwide
Globally, one in three people drink alcohol (equivalent to 2.4 billion people), and 2.2 percent of women and 6.8 percent of men die from alcohol-related health problems each year.

Study explores use of eye imaging for identification of preclinical Alzheimer's disease
It is important to identify people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD) who could potentially benefit from treatment but current testing to do this is invasive and expensive.

The molecular link between aging and neurodegeneration
Harvard Medical School researchers have discovered a molecular link between aging and a major genetic cause of both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia, two related neurodegenerative diseases with shared genetic risk factors.

When irrigation efficiency increases, so does water use
Increased irrigation efficiency does not necessarily lead to reduced agricultural water consumption -- a paradox largely ignored by the public policies that seek to reconcile high water demands amid finite water supply.

New research uncovers 'one of the tobacco industry's greatest scams'
Parallel studies published in Tobacco Control, highlight fresh evidence on smuggled tobacco and industry-funded studies that routinely overestimate its scale.

Biomimetic chemistry: Carbohydrate capture
LMU chemists have designed and synthesized a helical molecule that specifically recognizes and binds to a disaccharide consisting of two five-carbon sugar units.

Rice U. lab finds evidence of matter-matter coupling
Rice University physicists and their international colleagues find the first instance of Dicke cooperativity in a matter-matter system.

Stanford researchers' model could help stem opioid crisis
Stanford University researchers have developed a mathematical model that could help public health officials and policymakers curb an opioid epidemic that took the lives of an estimated 49,000 Americans last year.

Martens recolonized Isle Royale in the '90s, showing island's dynamism
In a new study, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers collaborating with the National Park Service, traced the recolonization by martens of Isle Royale in Lake Superior to martens likely arriving in the 1990s, solving a mystery and showing the island's dynamism.

Keeping cancer out of breath blocks drug resistance
Chemists have demonstrated a new approach to blocking cancer-drug resistance that they believe could be applied to any type of cancer.

Antibiotic side effects in kids lead to nearly 70,000 ER visits in the US each year
The use of antibiotics drives the development of antibiotic resistance, a major threat to public health worldwide.

Majority of current and former cancer patients age 50+ are happy with their life
Two-thirds of current cancer patients, and more than three-quarters of former cancer patients aged 50 and over, are mentally flourishing despite their illness, according to a large, new, nationally representative study from researchers at the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.

Treatment for severe heartburn prevents cancer
Medical or surgical treatment of severe heartburn prevents cancer of the oesophagus, a study from Karolinska Institutet with almost one million Nordic patients reveals.

NASA water vapor data shows cimaron making landfall in Japan
NASA's Terra satellite provided a look at water vapor Typhoon Cimaron and found the strongest storms displaced from the center as it began a landfall in southeastern Japan.

Prospect of a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
An international research group led by Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin has completed testing a new drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Microbes hitch a ride inland on coastal fog
Fog can act as a vector for microbes, transferring them long distances and introducing them into new environments.

Physicians with personal cancer experience report adherence to screening guidelines less
A new study has found that physicians with nonprofessional experience of cancer were less likely to report adhering to recommendations against screening for ovarian cancer compared with physicians without this experience.

Smartphones may be used to better predict the weather
A recent Tel Aviv University study suggests that weather patterns that lead to flash floods may one day be tracked and anticipated by our smartphones.

Polymer antibodies efficiently target and eliminate cancer cells
For the first time, researchers have produced polyfunctional nanoMIPs capable of selective target protein recognition and suitable for specific drug delivery.

3D cell environment key for divvying up chromosomes -- find could explain cancer hallmark
Epithelial cells grown on a plastic dish are worse at segregating their chromosomes than epithelial cells growing in mice, a new study shows.

The unexpected upside of E. coli
The often maligned bacterium E. coli plays an instrumental role in helping its host absorb iron, according to new research that could lead to novel therapies for iron-deficiency anemia.

A mechanism underlying activity of cancer and autism associated proteins was discovered
The team studied a family of proteins that includes MCT-1, which is a product of an oncogene (a gene that can trigger tumour formation); its partner DENR, which is associated with autism; and the translation factor elF2D.

JE is transmitted to pigs as rapidly in Cambodian peri-urban areas as rural areas
Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus, which causes acute encephalitis in Eastern and Southern Asia, is traditionally considered a rural disease.

Natural sugar defends against metabolic syndrome, in mice
New research, in mice, indicates that a natural sugar called trehalose blocks glucose from the liver and activates a gene that boosts insulin sensitivity, reducing the chance of developing diabetes.

A world on fire
The world is on fire. Or so it appears in this image from NASA's Worldview.

New research proposes using local data in resolving malnutrition
Kwashiorkor, one of the most extreme forms of malnutrition, is estimated to affect more than a hundred thousand children annually.

For the first time, biologists track cownose rays to Florida and back
Every summer, cownose rays stream into Chesapeake Bay to mate and give birth to their pups.

Modifying the major model of a modern major mouse model
Study describes progress toward 'humanized' mouse: Adding second stem-cell type improves model, allows better testing of cancer immunotherapies.

Handheld probe images photoreceptors in children
Duke researchers have developed a handheld probe that can image individual photoreceptors in the eyes of infants.

Watching the clock: faster countdowns may make people more patient
In a series of experiments, the speed of a countdown clock affected the patience and decision-making of video game players, both during and after the game, according to David Reitter, associate professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State.

Movement control: how our brain responds to unexpected situations
Scientists have demonstrated that the motor cortex is necessary for the execution of corrective movements in response to unexpected changes of sensory input but not when the same movements are executed spontaneously.

Safe' UV light may prevent infections in catheters, cardiac drivelines
Columbia researchers developed an optical fiber system that diffuses a type of UV light that can sterilize skin-penetrating medical devices.

The birth and death of proteins in a single cell
A new method developed by EPFL bioengineers has disentangled the 'see-saw' balance of protein synthesis and degradation in single cells.

Fighting lung infection trumps wound healing
The innate immune response to lung infection takes priority at the expense of wound healing, according to a study published Aug.

Viral outbreaks could be predicted two years in advance by mathematical model
Scientists have identified the cause of outbreaks of enterovirus, one of the most prevalent types of virus in the world.

Study: Heart abnormalities may trigger sudden unexplained death in epilepsy
Patients with a rare disease called Dravet syndrome are at heightened risk for sudden unexplained death in epilepsy.

Scientists discover how RNA regulates genes in embryo that affect seizure susceptibility
Scientists at the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute at Ann & Robert H.

Predicting when virus outbreaks will peak
Using long-term data on enteroviruses, researchers have developed a model that can accurately predict the transmission dynamics of various strains and types of viruses.

Research into deadly 2016 Italian earthquakes could improve future seismic forecasts
The timing and size of three deadly earthquakes that struck Italy in 2016 may have been pre-determined, according to new research that could improve future earthquake forecasts.

Two new truffle species discovered in Florida pecan orchards
Two new species of truffles were recently discovered on the roots of pecan trees in Florida orchards.

Two methods for measuring children's exposure to radio frequencies are compared
A study has quantified emissions coming from radio frequency sources, and by means of personal and spot measurements has analysed which levels of exposure children find themselves in.

Research reveals gene regulation can be digital and stochastic
A team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health Roadmap Epigenomics Project has discovered that DNA methylation involved in gene regulation is largely digital and stochastic, with maternal and paternal copies of genes in each cell being on or off a certain fraction of time.

Dramatic development of immune system after birth
As soon as a baby is born, its immune system starts to change dramatically in response to the bacteria, viruses and so forth in its new environment, a phenomenon that is common to all babies, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden write in a paper published in Cell.

Scientists find link between water pollution and morbidity in Murmansk region
Researchers at the Institute of Ecology at the Higher School of Economics, together with other Russian researchers, have discovered that drinking water in lakes in the Murmansk region is contaminated.

On-again, off-again relationships might be toxic for mental health
A researcher from the University of Missouri says that the pattern of breaking up and getting back together can impact an individual's mental health and not for the better.

UNC builds better particle tracking software using artificial intelligence
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have created a new method of particle tracking based on machine learning that is far more accurate and provides better automation than techniques currently in use.

Alzheimer's one day may be predicted during eye exam
Using technology similar to what is found in many eye doctors' offices, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Blood vessels instruct brain development
The group of Amparo Acker-Palmer (Buchmann Institute of Molecular Life Sciences and the Institute of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Goethe University) reported in a Research Article in the last issue of the journal Science a novel function of blood vessels in orchestrating the proper development of neuronal cellular networks in the brain.

Garlic ingredient from the lab bench
Fresh garlic extracts contain a variety of healthy organosulfur compounds, among which ajoene forms a major oil-extractable ingredient.

Signaling cascade that repairs damaged nerve cells characterized
Through a study of roundworm nerve cells with severed axons, researchers at Nagoya University showed that a signaling cascade that normally functions in promoting the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells also acts in inducing axon regeneration.

Computing catalysts
A collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering and Lubrizol Corporation has unlocked the secrets of polyisobutylene's reaction mechanism.

Researchers outline risk factors for facial gangrene
Noma, a rare disease found predominantly in underserved areas, causes progressive destruction, or gangrene, of the tissues of the face and jaw within just the span of one week.

Care access not main driver of racial disparities in kidney disease
Although black and Hispanic veterans with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are more likely than white patients to see a kidney specialist--a nephrologist--they are more likely to suffer disease progression from early stage to advanced kidney disease, reports a study published this month in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Research reveals dangerous midlife switch of ditching activity to sit still
People are falling into a trap of greater inactivity during middle age, according to new research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), which calls for its findings to be considered in future national physical activity guidelines.

Inbreeding and disease are factors in decline of yellow-banded bumblebee, York U study
By sequencing the genome of the yellow-banded bumblebee, York University researchers have found that inbreeding and disease are likely culprits in their rapid decline in North America.

Handheld imager poised to provide new insights into eye and brain diseases
A new portable instrument will allow for improved diagnosis of eye diseases and could enable early detection of brain-related diseases and trauma.

Researchers develop novel process to 3D print one of the strongest materials on Earth
Previously, researchers could only print this material, known as graphene, in 2D sheets or basic structures.

Kelp forests function differently in warming ocean
Kelp forests in the UK and the wider North-East Atlantic will experience a marked change in ecosystem functioning in response to continued ocean warming and the increase of warm-water kelp species, according to a new study led by a team from the Marine Biological Association and the University of Plymouth.

Experts voice safety concerns about new pebble-bed nuclear reactors
Researchers advise caution as a commercial-scale nuclear reactor known as HTR-PM prepares to become operational in China.

New online tool for clinicians could predict long-term risk of breast cancer returning
A new, simple web-based calculator that could better predict the long term risk of breast cancer returning in other areas of the body has today been published online by researchers at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Queen Mary University of London.

Bird feared extinct rediscovered in the Bahamas
One of the rarest birds in the western hemisphere, the Bahama Nuthatch, has been rediscovered by research teams searching the island of Grand Bahama.

Large scale preparation method of high quality SWNT sponges
In a NANO paper published in NANO, a group of researchers have developed a simple flame burning method to prepare single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) sponges on a large scale.

Why are tropical forests so diverse? New study examines role of 'natural enemies'
A new Yale study affirms a long-held hypothesis that the presence of specialized 'natural enemies' promotes tropical biodiversity.

Oxford University: Tracking the evolution and transmission of yellow fever
A pioneering Oxford University research collaboration into yellow fever virus (YFV) has shed new light on the exceptional recent outbreak in Brazil and how the virus spreads.

Rare intermediate fossils give researchers insight into evolution of bird-like dinosaur
An international team of researchers discovered a new species of dinosaur, Xiyunykus pengi, during an expedition to Xinjiang, China.

Researchers test autobiographical memory for early Alzheimer's detection
UA psychologist Matthew Grilli found that carriers of a gene variant that increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease have greater difficulty describing detailed memories of past events.

How healthy is the American diet? The Healthy Eating Index helps determine the answer
In the latest issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, leading nutrition experts describe and evaluate the latest version of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), which has been issued to correspond to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

How can parents help children navigate an increasingly diverse world?
A special edition of the Journal of Research on Adolescence recently published is devoted to engineering conversations that better equip parents to help their children navigate through the dynamics of an ever-changing world -- identifying how parenting may or may not be shaped by increasing population diversity.

Parents' behavior during playtime may affect toddler's weight later on
Researchers have found that toddlers who had poor self-regulation skills -- the ability to control their behaviors and emotions -- went on to have lower BMIs as preschoolers if their mothers engaged with them during playtime and then helped direct them during clean up.

Genetically engineered virus spins gold into beads
Engineers at the University of California, Riverside, have altered a virus to arrange gold atoms into spheroids measuring a few nanometers in diameter.

Scientists close in on mystery surrounding dangerous blood syndromes
Scientists may be on the road to solving the mystery of a group of mostly incurable blood diseases called myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), which cause people to have immature, malfunctioning bone marrow cells that fuel a diverse set of health problems and can lead to leukemia.

How the human immune system protects against Ebola
'The current approach for treatment of filovirus infections with antibody cocktails tested in animal models utilizes the principle of targeting of non-overlapping epitopes.

Pay attention to the 'noise' in your brain
Researchers find that the 'noise' in the brain can be attributed to fluctuations in internally generated signals such as attention.

New research presents alternative methods, like robo-advisors, to manage retirement income
The need to help retirees make prudent spending decisions has led to the growth of a large industry of financial advisors, but a new article suggests that improved policy approaches may be more effective.

How did alvarezsaurian dinosaurs evolve monodactyl hand?
An international research team led by XU Xing from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology announced the discovery of two new Chinese dinosaurs: Bannykus and Xiyunykus, in the journal Current Biology, which shed light on how alvarezsaurian dinosaurs reduced and lost their fingers.

Mucosal environment of older pigs helps newborn piglets with intestinal injury recover
Researchers have found that the intestinal mucosal environment of juvenile pigs can stimulate repair of intestinal injuries in newborn piglets.

The world's cleanest water droplet
The 'molecular dirt' found on any surface can change the properties of the material.

On the genesis of shape: There is no magic in remote synchronization
In some physical systems, even elements quite distant from one another are able to synchronize their actions.

How rabies virus moves through nerve cells, and how it might be stopped
Researchers found that the rabies virus travels through neurons differently than other neuron-invading viruses, and that its journey can be stopped by a drug commonly used to treat amoebic dysentery.

Chemists make breakthrough on road to creating a rechargeable lithium-oxygen battery
Chemists from the University of Waterloo have successfully resolved two of the most challenging issues surrounding lithium-oxygen batteries, and in the process created a working battery with near 100 per cent coulombic efficiency.

Researchers identify link between gut bacteria and eating for pleasure, as opposed to hunger
A study of 63 healthy people showed that those with elevated microbiome levels of the metabolite indole -- produced when gut bacteria break down the amino acid tryptophan -- had stronger function and connectivity in specific areas of the brain's reward network. 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