Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 12, 2018
New sensors track dopamine in the brain for more than year
MIT neuroscientists devised a way to measure dopamine in the brain for up to a year, which they believe will teach them much more about its role in key brain functions and in disorders such as depression and Parkinson's disease.

NEJM perspective: How state attorneys general can protect public health
To protect the public from harmful products, legal action can be used against industries, one example of which -- a settlement with the tobacco industry -- offers useful lessons for confronting several of today's public health epidemics.

Europe's renewable energy directive poised to harm global forests
Europe's decision to promote the use of wood as a 'renewable fuel' will likely greatly increase Europe's greenhouse gas emissions and cause severe harm to the world's forests, according to a new paper published in Nature Communications.

AACR releases annual Cancer Progress Report
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) releases its annual Cancer Progress Report highlighting how federally funded research discoveries are fueling the development of new and even more effective ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat cancer.

Probing individual edge states with unprecedented precision
A new technique makes it possible to obtain an individual fingerprint of the current-carrying edge states occurring in novel materials such as topological insulators or 2D materials.

Recalled blood pressure drugs not linked to increased short term cancer risk
Products containing the withdrawn blood pressure drug valsartan are not associated with a markedly increased short term risk of cancer, finds an expedited analysis published by The BMJ today.

Elevated blood pressure is linked to increased risk of aortic valve disease
People who have long-term raised blood pressure have an increased risk of aortic valve disease.

Climate change may drive 10 percent of amphibian species in the Atlantic Rainforest to extinction
Climate conditions forecast for 2050 and 2070 will be potentially lethal to species less adapted to climate variation, according to Brazilian researchers.

An old drug finds new purpose against retinal neovascularization
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have found that the anti-malaria drug amodiaquine inhibits the apelin receptor protein, which helps drive the vascularization behind diabetic retinopathy, wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other conditions.

The Lancet Neurology: Daily and weekly cycles of epileptic seizures more common than previously thought
Understanding the pattern of seizures, and how they are linked to circadian rhythms, could be important in improving management of epilepsy.

Researchers explain how viral protein promotes deadly infection by Nipah and Hendra viruses
Researchers have identified how a viral protein, which plays a major role in causing deadly Nipah and Hendra virus infections, targets a critical function in human cells to suppress immune responses and promote fatal disease.

A mere drop of blood makes skin cells line up
A team of researchers from Oslo University Hospital performed experiments on blood-deprived cells that were subsequently exposed to blood serum.

Researchers uncover previously unstudied cancer enzyme
In a new study published in the scientific journal of repute Nature Communications researchers from the University of Copenhagen have discovered how an enzyme that plays a key role in cancer development functions.

Discovery of a cancer promoter offers pathway to overcome drug resistance
Geneticists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered a previously unknown cell growth mechanism that makes a wide range of cancers resistant to rapamycin and related drugs.

The spark that created life
Evolution by natural selection is immensely powerful -- both in nature and within laboratories.

Aging may be as old as life itself
Aging has had a bad rap since it has long been considered a consequence of biology's concentrated effort on enhancing survival through reproductivity.

End of Colombia conflict may bring new threats to ecosystems
The end of a 52-year internal conflict could spell trouble for the second most biodiverse country in the world.

A wearable device for regrowing hair
Although some people embrace the saying 'bald is beautiful,' for others, alopecia, or excessive hair loss, can cause stress and anxiety.

Antioxidant defender protects against osteoarthritis
A protein involved in multiple cellular processes called ANP32A protects cartilage in the joints against degradation by damaging oxidation, preventing the development and progression of osteoarthritis, according to a new study by Frederique Cornelis and colleagues.

NASA looks at Hurricane Helene's water vapor concentration
When NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on Sept.

New tool developed at UBC screens online health ads for deception
Experts at the University of British Columbia have devised a simple screening tool to evaluate if the products popping up on your newsfeed are likely to be scams.

High dose folic acid does not prevent pre-eclampsia in high risk women
Taking high dose folic acid supplements in later pregnancy (beyond the first trimester) does not prevent pre-eclampsia in women at high risk for this condition, finds a randomized controlled trial published by The BMJ today.

Shedding light on 100-year-old cancer mystery
Using genetic and pharmacological means, scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) were surprised to find that blocking LDHA had only a limited impact on melanoma cells, since they were able to redirect energy production.

Astronomers witness birth of new star from stellar explosion
Astronomers have observed a new phenomena in the aftermath of a stellar explosion.

Findings could improve treatment for challenging acute leukemia in children
Researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have made important discoveries that could lead to better treatment for a rare blood cancer in children that has features of both leukemia and lymphoma.

Enabling 'internet of photonic things' with miniature sensors
Swapping electrons for photons, researchers in the School of Engineering & Applied Science have developed wireless sensors which are not subject to electromagnetic interference and are smaller and generally more flexible than the currently electronics-based technology.

Discovery of new neurons in the inner ear can lead to new therapies for hearing disorders
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified four types of neurons in the peripheral auditory system, three of which are new to science.

3D virtual simulation gets to the 'heart' of irregular heartbeats
In a proof of concept study, scientists at Johns Hopkins report they have successfully performed 3D personalized virtual simulations of the heart to accurately identify where cardiac specialists should electrically destroy cardiac tissue to stop potentially fatal irregular and rapid heartbeats in patients with scarring in the heart.

Princeton scientists discover a 'tuneable' novel quantum state of matter
An international team of researchers led by Princeton physicist Zahid Hasan has discovered a novel quantum state of matter whose symmetry can be manipulated at will by an external magnetic field.

New technology transforming vaccine development through faster viral detection
Could we finally have a faster, more objective analytical tool to rapidly measure viral infectivity for vaccine development and production?

Biodiversity loss: Political actions are required, not additional scientific knowledge
Over 15 years, almost 13,000 scientific papers have been published in the leading conservation science journals.

Thousands of breast cancer gene variants engineered and analyzed
A scientific analysis of nearly 4,000 mutations deliberately engineered into the BRCA1 gene will immediately benefit people undergoing genetic testing for breast or ovarian cancer risk.

Keep them guessing, keep them gaming
While conventional wisdom says that people don't like uncertain gains or rewards, a study from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds that uncertainty can play an important role in motivating repeat behaviors.

Physicists revealed spontaneous T-symmetry breaking and exceptional points in cavity QED
Spontaneous symmetry breaking has revolutionized the understanding in numerous fields of modern physics.

Cocaine addiction traced to increase in number of orexin neurons
A study in cocaine-addicted rats reports long-lasting increases in the number of neurons that produce orexin -- a chemical messenger important for sleep and appetite -- that may be at the root of the addiction.

Poorest Americans most likely to have used prescription opioids
Among older Americans, the poorest are the most likely to have used prescription opioids, according to a University at Buffalo study providing new insights into unexplored contours of the opioid crisis.

Voting for the losing side can affect your performance at work
Companies should avoid scheduling important work tasks immediately following an election, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Gut bacteria's shocking secret: They produce electricity
To date, most electricity-generating bacteria have come from weird environments, but UC Berkeley researchers have found more than 100 in the human microbiome, both pathogenic and probiotic.

Fluorescence-activating beta-barrel protein made from scratch for first time
For the first time, scientists have created, entirely from scratch, a protein capable of binding to a small target molecule.

Scientists map interactions between head and neck cancer and HPV virus
A team of scientists led by Nevan J. Krogan, PhD, senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, mapped the interactions between all HPV proteins and human proteins for the first time.

Pilot study identifies strain of bacteria as chief risk factor for stomach cancer
Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have found a specific strain of Helicobacter pylori strongly correlated with stomach cancer.

For women with genetic risk, twice-a-year MRI beats mammograms
Getting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans twice a year instead of one annual mammogram is far more effective at detecting early breast cancers in young women with a high-risk genetic profile than mammograms alone, according to a research team based at the University of Chicago Medicine and the University of Washington, Seattle.

With STDs at an all-time high, why aren't more people getting a proven treatment?
Nearly 2.3 million times last year, Americans learned they had a sexually transmitted disease.

Biophysics: Pile-ups in protein transport
Motor proteins in cells can move along protein filaments in ways that interfere with each other's progress.

Half of European clinical trials have not complied with EU rules on reporting results
Half of clinical trials on the EU register have not reported results, despite rules requiring results to be posted within 12 months of completion, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Serotonin-Noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors may cause dependence and withdrawal when stopped
The difficulties that people have in discontinuing antidepressant medications has been in the news recently.

Heart attack: Substitute muscle thanks to stem cells
Scientists of University of Würzburg have for the first time succeeded in generating beating cardiac muscle cells from special stem cells.

Detecting hydrogen using the extraordinary hall effect in cobalt-palladium thin films
Scientists looking to hydrogen as a next-generation clean energy source are developing hydrogen-sensing technologies, the most common of which uses palladium-based thin films because palladium readily absorbs hydrogen gas.

Global coastal wetlands need to move inland in fight against climate change
Up to 30 per cent of coastal wetlands could be lost globally by the year 2100 with a dramatic effect on global warming and coastal flooding, if action is not taken to protect them, new research warns.

New combination treatment targets pre-leukemia stem cells
Omacetaxine (to block protein synthesis) with venetoclax (to block oxidative phosphorylation), was highly effective against CD123+ leukemia stem cells.

Corruption is hard to hide if you're a politician whose face is wide
A new study shows that people can separate corrupt politicians from clean ones by simply looking at portraits of the politicians.

Ants surrender their venomous secrets
Venoms produced by snails, snakes, scorpions and spiders contain numerous bioactive compounds that could lead to therapeutic drugs or insect-specific pesticides.

Sleep apnea could favour tumor growth at young ages
A scientific study, conducted with animal models, states that sleep apnea can favour lung cancer growth in young individuals.

Brain has natural noise-cancelling circuit
There's a noise-cancelling circuit in your brain that filters out the thump-thump-thump of your footsteps while you walk so that you can hear other things.

Wearable ultrasound patch monitors blood pressure deep inside body
A new wearable ultrasound patch that non-invasively monitors blood pressure in arteries deep beneath the skin could help people detect cardiovascular problems earlier on and with greater precision.

NASA-NOAA satellite stares down Super Typhoon Mangkhut's eye
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed directly over Super Typhoon Mangkhut from space and stared down its almost 30 nautical-mile-wide eye to the waters of the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

A galactic gem
FORS2, an instrument mounted on ESO's Very Large Telescope, has observed the spiral galaxy NGC 3981 in all its glory.

Mitochondria come together to kill cancer cells
Uncovered details of a molecular pathway in cancer cells could lead to improved treatment.

Future impacts of El Niño, La Niña likely to intensify
When an El Niño or its opposite, La Niña, forms in the future, it's likely to cause more intense impacts over many land regions -- amplifying changes to temperature, precipitation and wildfire risk.

Big data is synergized by team and open science
The synergy of data-intensive, open, and team science can help scientists answer broad environmental questions.

Childhood trauma linked to impaired social cognition later in life for patients with major psychiatric disorders
A new report published in European Psychiatry identified a significant association between childhood adversity and impaired social cognitive functioning among adults diagnosed with major psychiatric disorders.

Rural and urban communities need different policies to boost economic mobility
The farther away from a city a person is raised, the more likely they are to climb the economic ladder, according to economists, who also found that community characteristics associated with upward mobility actually have different effects in rural and urban locations.

Wild animals were routinely captured and traded in ancient Mesoamerica
New evidence from the Maya city of Copan, in Honduras, reveals that ancient Mesoamericans routinely captured and traded wild animals for symbolic and ritual purposes, according to a study published Sept.

NASA Sees Tropical Storm Barijat affecting Southern China
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite found that as Tropical Storm Barijat was affecting Southern China, wind shear was affecting the storm.

An effective adjuvanted intradermal flu vaccine for humans
An intradermal vaccine equipped with an immune response-boosting adjuvant protected ferrets and humans against one of the more lethal strains of pandemic flu, researchers report.

Chicago sudden infant death cases never make the news
While news media reporting traffic crashes and fire-related deaths of infants and children is routine and often leads to preventative measures to reduce these deaths, there is little or no news coverage of sleep-related or sudden infants deaths, which contributes to the lack of efforts to prevent these deaths, according to a Rush physician.

Experts reveal 'football vision' as important as ball skills
Learning to read the game is as important to young footballers as kicking a ball.

NASA/JAXA satellite finds heavy rainfall in Tropical Storm Isaac
Tropical Cyclones generate a lot of rainfall and the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM satellite and constellation of satellites gather that data and share it with forecasters.

NASA sees Paul become a remnant low pressure area
Former Tropical Storm Paul lost its strength and appeared as a swirl of clouds on infrared imagery from NASA.

Where have all the turtles gone, and why does it matter?
About 61 percent of the world's 356 turtle species are threatened or already extinct, and the decline could have ecological consequences.

Mini video cameras offer peek at hard-to-observe bird behavior
Fledging behavior -- when and why baby birds leave the nest -- is something scientists know very little about.

Toward an 'ultra-personalized' therapy for melanoma
With new immunotherapy treatments for melanoma, recovery rates have risen dramatically, in some cases to around 50 percent.

Musical sensor shows bad medicine plays false note
A new sensor based on a 3,000 year old African musical instrument can be used to identify substances, including a poisonous chemical sometimes mistakenly added to medicines.

Healthcare cuts 'strongly linked' to the resurgence of measles
Studies show that primary reason for the measles outbreak, affecting several European countries, is the decline in vaccination coverage, for which mainly the 'spread of anti-scientific theories' can be blamed.

New ultrasonic wave phenomenon leads to improved safety for society
A research group led by Assistant Professor Yosuke Ishii at Toyohashi University of Technology has unraveled the phenomenon of a new 'third ultrasonic wave' being generated when two ultrasonic waves intersect within a plate.

We may hear others' footsteps, but how do we ignore our own?
A team of scientists has uncovered the neural processes mice use to ignore their own footsteps, a discovery that offers new insights into how we learn to speak and play music.

First-of-kind study reveals public & physician attitudes toward recording clinical visits
With over three-quarters of Americans now owning a smartphone, healthcare researchers have speculated that the number of patients recording visits with their doctor was increasing.

Rare antibodies show scientists how to neutralize the many types of Ebola
Two new studies by scientists at Scripps Research are bringing Ebola virus's weaknesses into the spotlight, showing for the first time exactly how human and mouse antibodies can bind to the virus and stop infection--not only for Ebola virus, but for other closely related pathogens as well.

Bacteriophages can affect melioidosis disease acquisition
Researchers show bacteriophages can affect dangerous disease acquisition.

Carrier status matters in foot-and-mouth disease
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is believed to be one of the most contagious pathogens of animals in its acute form; however, there is still controversy over whether it is transmissible from asymptomatic, long-term carriers.

In drought and heavy rains, ecosystems function like information communication networks
How is a telecommunications network like an ecosystem? Tree canopies and the running streams below, or coral reefs and the ocean waters that flow around them, are interconnected components of a larger whole: an ecosystem.

New research can identify extremists online, even before they post dangerous content
New research in the INFORMS journal Operations Research has found a way to identify extremists, such as those associated with the terrorist group ISIS, by monitoring their social media accounts, and can identify them even before they post threatening content.

Is cancer fundraising fuelling quackery?
Figures published by The BMJ today show how crowdfunding for alternative therapies for patients with terminal cancer has soared in recent years.

New high-capacity sodium-ion could replace lithium in rechargeable batteries
University of Birmingham scientists are paving the way to swap the lithium in lithium-ion batteries with sodium, according to research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The world needs death and decomposition
Thanks to a new study by Michigan State University, scientists now have a better way to investigate decomposing plants' and animals' contributions to the ecosystem.

Requiring physical activity classes help sedentary college students be more active
Requiring physical activity classes in college encourages sedentary students to become more active, while elective classes tend to draw those who are already motivated, new research from Oregon State University has found.

NASA Sees Hawaii facing Tropical Storm Olivia
While the US East Coast prepares for Hurricane Florence, the US state of Hawaii is feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Olivia.

Breast cancer screening does not reduce mortality
Fewer and fewer women die from breast cancer in recent years but, surprisingly, the decline is just as large in the age groups that are not screened.

Nano-sandwiching improves heat transfer, prevents overheating in nanoelectronics
Sandwiching two-dimensional materials used in nanoelectronic devices between their three-dimensional silicon bases and an ultrathin layer of aluminum oxide can significantly reduce the risk of component failure due to overheating, according to a new study published in the journal of Advanced Materials led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Engineering.

Spring is advancing unevenly across North America
Spring is arriving earlier in many parts of North America, but this advance is not happening uniformly across the migration routes of many birds, according to a study by Eric Waller at the US Geological Survey in California and colleagues, publishing Sept.

New plant species discovered in museum is probably extinct
A single non-photosynthetic plant specimen preserved in a Japanese natural history museum has been identified as a new species.

Sugar pills relieve pain for chronic pain patients
Someday doctors may prescribe sugar pills for certain chronic pain patients based on their brain anatomy and psychology.

Caffeine consumption may extend life expectancy for people with kidney disease
A new study in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation indicates that consuming more caffeine may help reduce the risk of death for people with chronic kidney disease.

Study first to report sexual behavior norms for US adults with dementia living at home
The majority of partnered, home-dwelling people in the U.S. with dementia are sexually active, according to a University of Chicago Medicine study out this week in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Among body shapes, pears are healthier than apples
For women, fat usually accumulates around the hips, resulting in a pear-shaped look.

Researchers show bacteriophages can affect melioidosis disease acquisition
International team develops mathematical model for monitoring and controlling the spread of melioidosis in Southeast Asia.

Genetic testing helps predict disease recurrence in myelodysplastic syndrome
A DNA-based analysis of blood cells soon after a stem cell transplant can predict likelihood of disease recurrence in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a group of cancerous disorders characterized by dysfunctional blood cells, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

ADHD may increase risk of Parkinson's disease and similar disorders
Researchers at University of Utah Health found that ADHD patients had an increased risk of developing Parkinson's and Parkinson-like diseases than individuals with no ADHD history.

To flee or not to flee: how the brain decides what to do in the face of danger
Fight, flee, or freeze; when faced with a threat, everyone, from mice to humans, are certain to choose one of these three strategies.

Scientific institutions continue to lag behind the #TimesUp movement
Scientific and medical institutions must fundamentally reconsider how they address sexual harassment in the workplace, three national leaders in gender equity in medicine argue in a Perspective published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Turtle species decline may impact environments worldwide
About 61 percent of the world's 356 turtle species are threatened or already extinct, and the decline could have ecological consequences, according to a study in the journal BioScience.

Experts devise social security innovations to meet more Americans' needs
Social Security can be enhanced to provide Americans greater protections against financial risk, according to proposals found in a new supplemental issue of the journal Public Policy & Aging Report from The Gerontological Society of America.

NASA-NOAA satellite analyzes rainmaker Hurricane Florence
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed over the eye of powerful Category 4 Hurricane Florence and found the storm over 400 miles in diameter and the capability to generate very heavy rainfall.

Multimedia graphic design -- 73,000 years ago
The earliest evidence of a drawing made by humans has been found in Blombos Cave in the southern Cape in South Africa.

Minding the brain to curb pain hypersensitivity
A study led by Boston Children's Hospital and the National Institute of Mental Health may open new opportunities for treating neuropathic pain, a difficult-to-treat type of chronic pain caused by nerve damage that can make the lightest touch intensely painful.

New reports will enable UK to make the most of its natural assets
Four new reports on Natural Capital published today will enable governments and businesses to take an evidence-based approach to valuing the UK's natural assets.

Timing may be everything when taking meds
Using new bioinformatics tools to analyze thousands of human tissue samples, researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center created a new database of daily rhythms in human gene activity -- including many genes that regulate how drugs work.

Blood and brain fluid change first in Huntington's disease
A simple blood test can detect the earliest changes caused by Huntington's disease, even before scans can pick up any signs in the brain, a new UCL-led study has found.

Otago researchers find answers as to why some people are at risk of gout
University of Otago researchers have helped characterize a genetic variant that enables new understanding of why some people are at risk of gout, a painful and debilitating arthritic disease.

New study questions effectiveness of invasive procedures for chronic pain
An extensive review of 25 randomized clinical trials found 'little evidence' that invasive surgery was more effective than sham or placebo procedures in reducing chronic pain.

Older adults fitted with cochlear implants exhibit poor brain function
Older adults fitted with a cochlear implant to compensate for severe hearing loss have significantly poorer cognitive function than their normal-hearing counterparts.

Mathematicians propose first continuous self-organised criticality model
An international group of researchers (the first author is Nikita Kalinin, Higher School of Economics - Saint-Petersburg, the last author is Ernesto Lupercio, CINVESTAV, Mexico) has presented the first continuous model describing self-organised criticality.

Sensors that are literally 'music to one's ears' (video)
Researchers have found a new use for a 3,000-year-old African musical instrument: detecting toxic substances and counterfeit medications.

What if needle pokes didn't hurt? Hospital implements strategies to eliminate or reduce needle pain in kids
A major US children's hospital introduced a first-of-its-kind project to eliminate or reduce pain from elective needle procedures in all infants and children, reports a study in PAIN Reports®, part of a special issue on research innovations in pediatric pain.

A reliable cryptocurrency needs good governance, say researchers
Participants in cryptocurrency networks like Bitcoin need to be better at preempting beneficial software changes.

NYU Physicists develop new techniques to enhance data analysis for large hadron collider
NYU physicists have created new techniques that deploy machine learning as a means to significantly improve data analysis for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's most powerful particle accelerator.

New Yorkers who use drugs report changing behaviors to avoid overdose
People who use drugs in New York City have adjusted their behaviors to avoid overdose, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at NYU.

Researchers optically trap, move and analyze living cells with laser/microscope combo
A new instrument lets researchers use multiple laser beams and a microscope to trap and move cells and then analyze them in real-time with a sensitive analysis technique known as Raman spectroscopy.

Bismuth shows novel conducting properties
On the cover of volume 14 of Nature Physics, a team of international scientists including Maia G.

Forest Service science improving fire weather prediction
Scientists with the USDA Forest Service and St. Cloud State University have created a new fire-weather prediction tool that works with the same weather models that are used every day in fire weather forecasts, and thus can be applied anywhere in the world, regardless of fuel conditions or topography.

St. Jude researchers solve a central mystery of a baffling high-risk leukemia
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators have unraveled the origins and identified mutations associated with a perplexing form of acute leukemia.

A prehistoric thirst for craft beer
A new study in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports suggests beer brewing practices existed in the Eastern Mediterranean over five millennia before the earliest known evidence.

Ancient bird bones redate human activity in Madagascar by 6,000 years
Analysis of bones, from what was once the world's largest bird, has revealed that humans arrived on the tropical island of Madagascar more than 6,000 years earlier than previously thought -- according to a study published today, Sept.

Climate-induced soil changes may cause more erosion and flash flooding
The Earth beneath our feet isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think about the impacts of climate change. 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