Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 21, 2018
Researchers discover key gene in cells associated with age-related hearing loss
An international group of researchers, led by Ronna Hertzano, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Anatomy and Neurobiology, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), and Michael Bowl, Ph.D., Programme Leader Track Scientist, Mammalian Genetics Unit, MRC Harwell Institute, UK, have identified the gene that acts as a key regulator for special cells needed in hearing.

Family dinners improve teens' eating habits no matter how well family functions, study finds
More frequent family dinners were associated with more healthful eating by adolescents and young adults, regardless of the level of family functioning in managing daily routines, communicating and connecting emotionally.

Exposure to police violence reported often, associated with mental health issues
Exposure to police violence is increasingly recognized as a public health issue in the United States.

Study predicts decreasing brown bear habitat due to climate change
A recent analysis of data related to the brown bear (Ursus arctos) estimates that suitable habitat will be reduced by 11 percent across Central Asia and the Asian Highlands by 2050 due to climate change, predominantly due to the changes in temperature and precipitation.

Brain-computer interface enables people with paralysis to control tablet devices
Three clinical trial participants with paralysis chatted with family and friends, shopped online and used other tablet computer applications, all by just thinking about pointing and clicking a mouse.

Capturing the frugal beauty of complex natural tessallations
Surface tessellations are an arrangement of shapes which are tightly fitted, and form repeat patterns on a surface without overlapping.

Study calls for shake-up in mental health provision to improve patient outcomes
New research suggests that practitioners should rethink how psychiatry is presented to patients in order to improve mental health outcomes.

Wild coffee plants, Christmas trees and chocolate's tree are surprisingly poorly protected
An indicator to measure plant conservation shows a wide range of wild plants used for food, medicine, shelter, fuel, livestock forage and other valuable purposes are at risk.

Army scientists revolutionize cybersecurity through quantum research
Army scientists have found a novel way to safeguard quantum information during transmission.

Never-before-seen DNA recombination in the brain linked to Alzheimer's disease
SBP scientists have identified gene recombination in neurons that produces thousands of new gene variants within Alzheimer's disease brains.

'Longevity Protein' rejuvenates muscle healing in old mice
A protein found in healing muscles of younger mice helps older animals bounce back from injury.

Evolution: South Africa's hominin record is a fair-weather friend
The fossil record of early hominins in South Africa is biased towards periods of drier climate, suggests a study of cave deposits published online today in Nature.

Sugar supplement slows tumor growth and can improve cancer treatment
Mannose sugar, a nutritional supplement, can both slow tumor growth and enhance the effects of chemotherapy in mice with multiple types of cancer.

Screening tools can miss sepsis in pregnancy; study urges action
A woman lies in her hospital bed. Her heart rate is elevated, she has a slight fever and an elevated white blood cell count.

Researchers defy 19th Century law of Physics in 21st century boost for energy efficiency
Research led by a University of Sussex scientist has turned a 156-year-old law of physics on its head.

Study uncovers link between air pollution and intellectual disabilities in children
British children with intellectual disabilities are more likely than their peers to live in areas with high outdoor air pollution, according to a new Journal of Intellectual Disability Research study funded by Public Health England.

USAMRIID scientists help identify key hantavirus receptor
A global team of investigators has identified a key protein involved in Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a serious and sometimes fatal respiratory disease, according to research published today in Nature.

Trial examines how mindfulness meditation may improve mood
In a randomized controlled trial of 134 mildly stressed, middle-aged to older adults, participants who were assigned to a six-week mindfulness-meditation training program experienced significantly reduced negative affect variability -- which refers to subjective distress and includes a range of mood states such as worry, anxiety, anger, self-criticism, and life dissatisfaction -- compared with participants assigned to a waitlist control.

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water
Water which has been contaminated with mercury and other toxic heavy metals is a major cause of environmental damage and health problems worldwide.

Study shows skin autofluorescence can predict type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death
New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) shows that non-invasive measurement of skin autofluorescence (SAF) can predict future risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality, independent of other measures such as measuring blood glucose levels.

How Chile accomplished its renewable energy boom
Chile is currently undergoing a renewable energy boom. Today, it's the second largest market for renewable energies in Latin America, and in 2016 Chile was the top-scoring renewable energy producer in the Americas and second in the world, beaten only by China.

Night shifts and unhealthy lifestyle linked to particularly high risk of type 2 diabetes
Women who work intermittent night shifts and do not follow a healthy lifestyle face an especially high risk of type 2 diabetes, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Frequent family dinners associated with healthier youth diets no matter how well family functions
More frequent family dinners were associated with more healthful eating by adolescents and young adults, regardless of the level of family functioning in managing daily routines, communicating and connecting emotionally.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Man-yi approaching typhoon strength Tropical Storm Man-Yi con
Tropical Storm Man-Yi continued to strengthen in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean as NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible image of the storm.

New research suggests your imagination really can set you free from fear
Mount Sinai study discovers that imagining threats can weaken reactions to them by suppressing perceptual and learning neural mechanisms.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the likelihood of your baby becoming obese
Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance that your baby will become obese.

Mobile health has power to transform HIV/AIDS nursing
The abundance of personal smartphones in southern African countries got University of Washington professor Sarah Gimbel thinking: What if these phones were used by front-line health workers -- namely nurses -- to collect and analyze data on patients living with HIV or AIDS to improve their care?

Do local employment conditions affect women's pregnancy intentions?
Economic conditions can shape the decisions that adults make about their families, such as whether and when to have children.

NASA sees tropical depression 33W enter the Sulu Sea
Tropical Depression 33W moved through the central Philippines and entered the Sulu Sea when NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible image of the storm.

Anabolic steroids linked to higher rates of premature death in men
Men who use androgenic anabolic steroids -- such as testosterone -- may face a higher risk of early death and of experiencing more hospital admissions, according to a new Journal of Internal Medicine study.

DNA Origami full of potent anticancer agents
One of the most successful techniques to combat multidrug resistance in cancer cells is the downregulation of those genes responsible for drug resistance.

Helping to transport proteins inside the cell
Researchers from the University of Freiburg have discovered how proteins are transported to the cell's power stations.

New study reveals probiotics do not help children with intestinal infections
Probiotics are a multibillion-dollar industry with marketing claims of being an effective treatment for a multitude of ailments, including diarrhea.

Magic trick makes shadows vanish: Projection mapping technique developed to reduce shadow
By projecting images onto a surface from a wide range of directions, a group of researchers led by Kosuke Sato at Osaka University developed a projection system in which few shadows are cast on the projection surface even when the surface is occluded by an object.

What makes vertebrates special? We can learn from lancelets
OIST researcher helps unravel the origins of vertebrate gene regulation in a large collaborative study.

Advancement in drug therapies may provide new treatment for Cutaneous leishmaniasis
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a parasitic infection caused by Leishmania parasite.

Keep slapping on that sunscreen and ignore toxic claims
It's safe to slap on the sunscreen this summer -- in repeated doses -- despite what you have read about the potential toxicity of sunscreens.

UChicago researchers find simple way to massively improve crop loss simulations
In a new study, researchers with NASA, the University of Chicago and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that including data on when each specific region plants and harvests its crops doubled the accuracy of simulations of crop yields.

Researchers develop quick and precise method for detecting chemical warfare agents
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a stamp-sized sensor that can detect trace amounts of certain chemical warfare agents, such as sarin, within minutes.

Probiotics no help to young kids with stomach virus
A major US study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Canadians' and Americans' Twitter language mirrors national stereotypes, researchers find
A new study examining differences in the language used in nearly 40-million tweets suggests national stereotypes -- Canadians tend to be polite and nice while Americans are negative and assertive -- are reflected on Twitter, even if those stereotypes aren't necessarily accurate.

Alaska Airlines: the healthiest airline in the sky
The Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center at the City University of New York and has released the 2018-19 Airline Food Study rating foods for eleven airlines.

Discovery of a new gene could shed light on chemical exposure effects in humans
The discovery of a new gene in zebrafish could lead to a better understanding of how exposure to chemicals leads to disease in humans, according to a new Oregon State University study.

Probiotic no better than placebo for acute gastroenteritis in children
While probiotics are often used to treat acute gastroenteritis (also known as infectious diarrhea) in children, the latest evidence shows no significant differences in outcomes, compared to a placebo.

Musical training improves visual timing
Drummers and brass players are better able to judge the timing of visual stimuli than members of the color guard, according to a naturalistic study of the world-class drum corps Bluecoats published in eNeuro.

Negative social cues on tobacco packaging may help smokers quit
New research published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs suggests that tobacco packaging that reminds smokers that broad societal 'others' disapprove of the activity can trigger feelings of self-consciousness, which in turn reduces smoking intentions.

Lake Erie algal blooms 'seeded' internally by overwintering cells in lake-bottom sediments
Western Lake Erie's annual summer algal blooms are triggered, at least in part, by cyanobacteria cells that survive the winter in lake-bottom sediments, then emerge in the spring to 'seed' the next year's bloom, according to a research team led by University of Michigan scientists.

Chinese scientists unlock structural secrets of whale baleen
Chinese scientists working with other researchers have for the first time uncovered the underlying mechanisms of the hierarchical structure of baleen, with an eye toward developing advanced engineered materials.

The genomic keys to the origin of the vertebrates
An international team of scientists led by Spanish researchers reports how more complex and specialized gene regulation proved to be pivotal in the origin of the vertebrates.

Study identifies how hantaviruses infect lung cells
Hantaviruses cause severe and sometimes fatal respiratory infections, but how they infect lung cells has been a mystery.

Making decisions over prolonged periods doesn't diminish accuracy, new study finds
Making good decisions typically involves gathering information over at least several seconds, much longer than the time that individual brain cells take to process their inputs.

Modeling the most common form of vision loss in older adults
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people older than 50.

Radical approach for brighter LEDs
Scientists have discovered that semiconducting molecules with unpaired electrons, termed 'radicals' can be used to fabricate very efficient organic-light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), exploiting their quantum mechanical 'spin' property to overcome efficiency limitations for traditional, non-radical materials.

Cardiovascular disease may increase risk of rapid functional decline in older adult
In a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study of adults aged 65 and older who were functionally independent, individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD) were more likely to experience rapid functional decline than those without.

Study brings new climate models of small star TRAPPIST 1's seven intriguing worlds
New research from a University of Washington-led team of astronomers gives updated climate models for the seven planets around the star TRAPPIST-1.

Putting a face on a cell surface
With the help of machine learning, ETH researchers have been able to thoroughly describe the repertoire proteins on the cell surface for the first time.

Researchers create new 'smart' material with potential biomedical, environmental uses
By combining seaweed-derived alginate with the nanomaterial graphene oxide, Brown University researchers have developed a new material that's durable and can respond dynamically to its environment.

Orange juice, leafy greens and berries may be tied to decreased memory loss in men
Eating leafy greens, dark orange and red vegetables and berry fruits, and drinking orange juice may be associated with a lower risk of memory loss over time in men, according to a study published in the Nov.

Consistency in core language skill stable in typically and atypically developing children
In a 15-year study of thousands of children, including those with dyslexia and autism spectrum disorders, researchers discovered that a so-called core language skill, as identified here, was stable from infancy to adolescence.

Obesity strongly associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in never-smokers
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is much more common among never smoking older women who are morbidly obese (having a body mass index of 40 or higher) than among their female peers in the normal weight range (13.4 percent vs 3.5 percent, respectively).

How low can we go? Nanopore detection of single flu viruses to control outbreaks
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that may cause a serious outbreak at any time.

Millimeter waves for the last mile
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a modulator with which data transmitted via millimeter waves can be directly converted into light pulses for optical fibers.

Environmental exposures early in life modify immune responses
The prevalence of allergic diseases has increased significantly over the last decades, creating substantial financial and societal burdens.

New way to ID cognitively aware yet unresponsive people with severe brain injury
Some brain-injured people left with disorders of consciousness -- unable to communicate or respond, such as people in a coma -- nevertheless show normal brain responses to spoken language as measured through the scalp by electroencephalography (EEG).

Making an eye for you
Kyoto University scientists utilize simulations and laboratory experiments to find that cells sense the mechanical forces to form the primordial eye, the optic cup.

Music may improve mood in adults with Dementia
In a Geriatrics & Gerontology International study of 51 individuals living with dementia who attended community-based adult day health centers, behavioral observations of a music intervention showed a positive change in mood and a decrease in agitation.

Imagining sounds is just as good as hearing them for removing negative associations
Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Colorado, Boulder, have found that imagining a sound can be just as effective in breaking an association between that sound and a negative experience as hearing the sound in real life.

Psychotic experiences could be caused by trauma in childhood
Researchers at the University of Bristol have made stronger links between psychotic experiences and different types of trauma in childhood.

Antibodies from human survivors of Andes hantavirus protect rodents against infection
Jose Garrido and colleagues have isolated antibodies from human survivors of Andes hantavirus (ANDV) infection that protected hamsters against the deadly disease.

New insight into molecular processes
Freiburg researchers are applying 2D-spectroscopy to isolated molecular systems for the first time.

Two physicians condemn use of disease and famine as weapons of war in Yemen
Two Massachusetts General Hospital physicians call on medical and public health communities around the world to condemn the attacks on health care facilities and services in Yemen conducted by the Saudi-led coalition in the three-year-old war.

New China and US studies back use of pulse oximeters for assessing blood pressure
Fast and easy blood pressure monitoring could soon be at your fingertips -- literally -- thanks to new University of British Columbia research that showed BP can be assessed by a fingertip oximeter, a tool not generally used for that purpose.

Smoke-free policies associated with lower blood pressure
Non-smokers who had access to smoke-free restaurants, bars and workplaces had lower systolic blood pressure readings than those who lived in areas without smoke-free laws.

Sleep length may affect risk of falls and fractures
Compared with women in a recent study who slept seven to eight hours each night, women who slept for five hours or 10 hours had about a 25 percent increased odds of experiencing recurrent falls (falling at least twice in a year).

The shifting role of cities in addressing global climate change
In recent years, cities have asserted themselves as relevant actors in efforts to address global climate change.

How do flying bees make perfect turns?
Bees adjust their speed to keep turning forces constant, new research from the Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland shows.

Treating spinal pain with replacement discs made of 'engineered living tissue' moves closer to reality
For the first time, bioengineered spinal discs were successfully implanted and provided long-term function in the largest animal model ever evaluated for tissue-engineered disc replacement.

Screening for colorectal cancer spares male patients from intense treatments
While screening for colorectal cancer did not, so far, reduce mortality, it did reduce the need for chemotherapy and emergency surgeries among male patients, shows a recent Finnish study.

Sex in a world of fear: Scared rodents produce more offspring
Rodent mothers produce more offspring after smelling odors produced by frightened males.

Climate change predicted to end truffle production
The lucrative truffle industry is set to disappear within a generation due to climate change, according to new research by a University of Stirling academic.

Scientists shed new light on infection process of gastrointestinal pathogen C. difficile
Scientists from the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research identified the mechanisms by which the bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile kills intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), thus destroying the protective mucosal barrier of the intestinal tract.

The Center for the Study of Itch reviews what causes chronic itching and scratching
Relentless itch is a feature of many skin disorders, such as eczema and psoriasis, but the cause of this itch -- and what drives us to scratch -- is somewhat mysterious.

Scientists developed enzymes with remote control
Scientists developed a method to enhance the activity of enzymes by using radio frequency radiation.

Typically human: Babies recognize nested structures similar to our grammar
At a mere five months of age, babies seemingly have the ability to recognize very complex grammatical structures.

Designing a safer building block for drug discovery by harnessing visible light
When you reach for a bottle of acetaminophen, you may be looking for relief from a headache.

Dramatic change in seabirds' winter food source over past 30 years
The availability of a key prey for seabirds has changed dramatically over the past three decades, particularly in winter, with possible consequences for their population numbers.

New technique improves efficiency and accuracy of single cell RNA sequencing
In the era of personalized medicine, scientists are using new genetic and genomic insights to help them determine the best treatment for a given patient.

MIT engineers fly first-ever plane with no moving parts
MIT engineers have built and flown the first-ever plane with no moving parts.

Professors use whale earwax to reconstruct whale stress levels spanning 150 years
In a follow-up to their groundbreaking study, Baylor University researchers were able to reconstruct baleen whales' lifetime stress response to whaling and other manmade and environmental factors spanning nearly 150 years.

Checking water quality at the tap
When consumers turn on a faucet, they expect the drinking water that gushes out to be safe.

Classroom friendships may offset effects of punitive parents
A study by researchers at UC San Francisco has confirmed the link between Harsh Parenting to Defiance andNoncompliance in Kids and found that kindergarten may provide a unique opportunity for these harshly parented children to retool negative behavior.

Neurons process information differently depending on their location
Researchers at the University of Queensland have discovered that the thickness of the brain's outer layer influences how individual neurons process information.

UMN researchers work to improve dermatologic care for sexual and gender minority patients
University of Minnesota researchers recently published an opinion piece in JAMA Dermatology focused on standardizing collection of sexual orientation and gender identity in dermatology clinical settings.

Electronic glove gives robots a sense of touch
Stanford researchers have developed an electronic glove that bestows robotic hands with some of the manual dexterity humans enjoy.

Sweetened drinks pose greater diabetes risk than other sugary foods
Sweetened drinks pose a greater risk of type 2 diabetes than most other foods containing fructose, a naturally occurring sugar, finds an evidence review published by The BMJ today.

Snails become risk-takers when hungry
Research from the University of Sussex proves that snails take more risks when hungry, risking potentially harmful substances in order to survive.

Hairy nanotechnology provides green anti-scaling solution
A new type of cellulose nanoparticle, invented by McGill University researchers, is at the heart of a more effective and less environmentally damaging solution to one of the biggest challenges facing water-based industries: preventing the buildup of scale.

Clinical study shows Cereset technology reduces symptoms of PTSD in military personnel
A new clinical study conducted by Wake Forest School of Medicine shows that use of a new non-invasive technology from the creators of Cereset not only reduces symptoms of military-related traumatic stress but also improves brain function.

Cardiac surgery and addictions counselling linked to significantly reduced mortality in injection drug users with heart valve infection, study finds
In a new study, researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University showed that both surgery and in-hospital addictions counselling are linked to significantly reduced mortality in injection drug users with first-episode endocarditis.

NIH-funded researchers identify how hantaviruses infect the lungs
A human protein associated with asthma is key to how hantaviruses infect the lungs and sometimes cause the life-threatening pulmonary condition hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), according to researchers supported by NIH.

Is the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis for surgical procedures decreasing?
Antibiotic prophylaxis regimens are becoming less effective at preventing surgical site infections following colorectal surgery, researchers at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy and Princeton University determined through a systematic review of available literature.

New neurology studies a 'wakeup call' for global health
Neurology experts from around the world will convene Nov. 27 in New Zealand for a Global Brain Summit examining what one calls 'the greatest challenge of societies in the 21st century.' Among the neurological disorders to be discussed at the Summit are stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and migraine and other headaches.

Building better batteries by borrowing from biology
Using knowledge of biological ion channels, Osaka University researchers developed a new crystalline material containing potassium that may one day replace the lithium-based technology currently used in rechargeable batteries.

Drug development stakeholders call for improved pharmaceutical testing
Published in Drug Discovery Today, 'Advancing Nonclinical Innovation and Safety in Pharmaceutical Testing' identifies the necessary steps that will lead to safer and more effective medicines, guided by a greater focus on human-based in vitro and in silico methods, which allow scientists to observe human cells, tissues, and biological processes, and their interaction with potential medications.

Home blood pressure assessments are more accurate than office checks
Doctors could improve the care of high blood pressure by relying more on home blood pressure (BP) checks and not so much on the less-accurate office BP assessments, wrote health care quality experts from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in an editorial in the journal JAMA. 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