Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 23, 2019
Your smartphone now knows if you smoke and may help you quit
A study from Gero longevity company shows that smoking cessation leads to rejuvenation that can be monitored by a mobile phone app

Association of childhood lead exposure with adult personality traits, mental health
Millions of adults now entering middle age were exposed to high levels of lead as children, with childhood lead exposure linked to lower IQ, greater rates of child behavior problems, hyperactivity and antisocial behavior.

Cortexyme announces publication of foundational data for groundbreaking approach to treating Alzheimer's disease in Science Advances
An international team of researchers led by Cortexyme co-founders Stephen Dominy, M.D. and Casey Lynch detail the role of a common bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), in driving Alzheimer's disease pathology and demonstrate the potential for small molecule inhibitors to block the pathogen.

Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health
Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood, according to a study of people who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline.

Scientists of the Samara Polytech have developed a new method for wells designing
The methodical approach of wells design, developed at the Oil and Gas Wells Drilling Department, will allow to obtain more accurate information about the field and predict problems that may arise during the operation on the well.

A muscle protein promotes nerve healing
Damaged fibres in the brain or spinal cord usually don't heal at all.

High-tech tools, teamwork were key to separating infant girls joined at the head
Over a year and a half after the successful separation of two infant twins joined at the top of their heads, surgical team leaders report on this dramatic case in the Jan.

New science details discovery of bacterial pathogen in brains of Alzheimer's patients
New science uncovers how an unlikely culprit, Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg) -- the bacterium commonly associated with chronic gum disease -- appears to drive Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology.

Completing physics Ph.D. does not stem from scoring high on GRE
Scores on graduate school admissions exams like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) do not predict successful completion of Ph.D.'s in physics, a new study shows.

Emergency caesareans put new mothers at higher risk of developing postnatal depression
A major study, from the University of York, provides new evidence that emergency C-sections put new mothers at greater risk of experiencing mental health problems after giving birth.

High-protein rice brings value, nutrition
A new advanced line of rice, with higher yield, is ready for final field testing prior to release.

Dermatologists find inconsistencies in Medicare off-label prescription list
If a patient has private insurance, doctors can get prior approval to prescribe a drug 'off-label' to make sure the medication will be covered, but when it comes to Medicare part D, coverage decisions are dictated by two compendia -- lists of medications and what they're indicated for.

Protein engineering extends the language of immune cells
Small infections can be fatal: Millions of people die each year from sepsis, an overreaction of the immune system.

Final verdict on finasteride: Safe, effective prevention for prostate cancer
Finasteride, a generic hormone-blocking drug, was found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 25 percent in the landmark Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT).

Smoking linked to higher risk of peripheral artery disease in African-Americans
African-Americans who smoke appear to be at greater risk for peripheral artery disease, or PAD, new research has found.

Study finds unique form of chronic sinusitis in older patients
Older patients with a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis -- a disease of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses that often persists over many years -- have a unique inflammatory signature that may render them less responsive to steroid treatment, according to a new study published by Vanderbilt researchers.

Tasmanian devil cancer unlikely to cause extinction, say experts
Transmissible cancer which has devastated Tasmanian devil populations is unlikely to cause extinction, according to latest research.

New technology uses lasers to transmit audible messages to specific people
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory report using two different laser-based methods to transmit various tones, music and recorded speech at a conversational volume

Study supports physical activity as a preventive strategy against depression
A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has used a novel research method to strongly support physical activity as a preventive measure for depression.

Copy cats: When is a bobcat not a bobcat?
Two UBC Okanagan biologists, who have publicly solicited images of wild cats for their research, have answered that question.

Study examines racial differences in time to breast cancer surgery in military health system
Less access to care and lower insurance coverage are among the reasons for racial disparities in breast cancer survival in the United States.

Greater access to information reduces unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions
A new study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy suggests that providing more information about how doctors prescribe drugs could reduce problems associated with overprescription.

Cannabis use disorder: The policy climate matters
Adolescents and young adults living in states with more liberal policies reported higher average rates of past-year cannabis use than those in states with more conservative policies.

Report: Funding for neglected disease research hits record high
Policy Cures Research's annual G-FINDER report is the world's most comprehensive survey of R&D funding for neglected infectious diseases that disproportionately affect people in developing countries.

New 3D nanoprinting strategy opens door to revolution in medicine, robotics
Engineers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have created the first 3D-printed fluid circuit element so tiny that 10 could rest on the width of a human hair.

How male dragonflies adapt wing color to temperature
New research from Case Western Reserve University in how dragonflies may adapt their wing color to temperature differences might explain color variation in other animals, from lions to birds.

Fidget spinner as centrifuge separates blood plasma (video)
Some people use fidget spinners -- flat, multi-lobed toys with a ball bearing at the center -- to diffuse nervous energy or whirl away stress.

Humpback whales' songs at subarctic feeding areas are complex, progressive
Humpback whales overwintering in feeding areas may sing complex, progressive songs which closely resemble those associated with breeding grounds, according to a study published Jan.

Targeted treatment shrinks deadly pediatric brain tumors
For children--whose tiny bodies are still growing--chemotherapy and radiation treatments can cause lifelong damage.

An icy forecast for ringed seal populations
Scientists have already observed and predicted that high ringed seal pup mortality rates are linked to poor environmental conditions like early ice breakup and low snow.

When coral species vanish, their absence can imperil surviving corals
As coral species die off, they may be leaving a death spiral in their wake: Their absence could be sapping life from the corals that survive.

Advances in 3D and organoid cell culture
A new collection of reviews and original research articles illustrate how new technologies and advanced cell culture are accelerating basic research, drug discovery and drug development.

Overlapping genomic regions underlie canine fearfulness and human mental disorders
Researchers in the University of Helsinki have identified two novel anxiety-related genomic regions in German Shepherd dogs.

Stars shrouded in iron dust
The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has participated in a study which has discovered a group of stars very poor in metals and shrouded in a high fraction of iron dust, situated in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Short-term hospital readmissions for gun injuries cost $86 million a year
Hospital readmissions of patients within six months of suffering a firearm injury cost taxpayers, private insurers and uninsured families an average of $86 million a year from 2010 through 2015, according to new estimates from Stanford University School of Medicine researchers.

New detector fails to confirm would-be evidence of dark matter
Brazilian researchers are participating in the COSINE-100 experiment, installed 700 meters underground in South Korea.

St. Jude collaboration offers research road map to improve pediatric patient care
In the first study to comprehensively evaluate research priorities for patient safety in pediatrics, St.

New tumor test could guide personalized treatment for children with cancer
Scientists at the University of British Columbia and BC Children's Hospital are the first in Canada to use a new test for pediatric tumor analysis that may one day guide personalized treatments for children with cancer.

Cigarette smoking associated with increased risk of peripheral artery disease in African-Americans
African-Americans who smoke cigarettes are more likely than those who don't to have peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Conservation efforts help some rare birds more than others, study finds
Land conservation programs that have converted tens of thousands of acres of agricultural land in Illinois back to a more natural state appear to have helped some rare birds increase their populations to historic levels, a new study finds.

SwRI scientist sheds light on Titan's mysterious atmosphere
A new Southwest Research Institute study tackles one of the greatest mysteries about Titan, one of Saturn's moons: the origin of its thick, nitrogen-rich atmosphere.

Needle and syringe programs cost-effectively prevent hepatitis C transmission
Providing clean injecting equipment through needle and syringe programs is a highly cost-effective way of preventing hepatitis C (HCV) transmission among people who inject drugs and could save millions of pounds in infection treatment costs in the UK, according to research led by the University of Bristol and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Laser physics: A new home for optical solitons
Physicists based at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics have generated dissipative solitons in passive, free-space resonators.

Study finds correlation between eviction rates in the US and high number of STIs
A study by researchers from Yale University and American University outlines a correlation between America's eviction crisis and the high rate of sexually transmitted infections in the United States.

New study establishes causal link between climate, conflict, and migration
IIASA-led research has established a causal link between climate, conflict, and migration for the first time, something which has been widely suggested in the media but for which scientific evidence is scarce.

Should we rename low-risk cancers?
Should we rename low-risk ('indolent') cancers in a bid to reduce anxiety and harm from unnecessary investigation and treatment?

Even in young adults, blood pressure above normal may be linked to brain shrinkage
For people in their 20s and 30s, having blood pressure above normal but below the level considered to be high blood pressure, may be linked to loss of brain volume, according to a study published in the January 23, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Cancer has a biological clock and this drug may keep it from ticking
Scientists at USC Michelson Center and Japan's Nagoya University find and test a promising drug that stops cancer by interfering with the cancer cells' metabolism and other circadian-related functions.

Dual control: Plant peptide hormone generates distinct cell structures for water flow
An international collaboration including Osaka University researchers has found that a peptide hormone regulates two different cell division processes that generate centrally important structures for the flow of water through plants.

Small metabolites have big effects on the intestinal immune response
Normal gut bacteria are instrumental in inducing an immune response in the presence of invading pathogens.

Patients who identify as transgender have lower odds of being screened for cancer: Study
Patients who identify as transgender have lower odds of being screened for cancer, suggests a new study from St.

Three weeks in a cast may be just as good as six for healing ankle fractures
Wearing a cast or ankle support for three weeks may be no worse than the usual six weeks for healing ankle fractures, suggest the findings of a randomized controlled trial published in The BMJ today.

Can you pick an MMA winner by studying fighters' faces?
'When it comes to predicting the performance of Czech MMA fighters, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover,' says Dr Vit Trebicky, lead author of a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Taking magnetism for a spin: Exploring the mysteries of skyrmions
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered the relaxation dynamics of a zero-field state in skyrmions, a spinning magnetic phenomenon that has potential applications in data storage and spintronic devices.

New CDC study examines effects of smoking status on ART clinical outcomes
A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that smoking in the three months prior to assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment was associated with higher adjusted odds of cycle cancellation resulting in no embryo transfer and cancellations before fresh oocyte retrieval or frozen embryo transfer.

Normal variations in thyroid function may be linked to atrial fibrillation risk
A study by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has strengthened the link between thyroid function and atrial fibrillation (AF), an irregular heart rhythm that increases the risk of stroke and other heart-related complications.

White mortgage agents may charge minority borrowers higher mortgage fees
Mortgage seekers from minority groups may pay more in fees than similarly qualified white borrowers, according to a team of researchers.

When species compete, physical structures and ecological relationships matter
When competing for limited resources, structures in an environment can be the difference between species coexisting or one species eliminating another.

Identifying factors that influence mercury levels in tuna
Most consumers' exposure to toxic methylmercury occurs when they eat fish.

How gender inequality is reproduced on social media
Researchers from Higher School of Economics analyzed 62 million public posts on the most popular Russian social networking site VK and found that both men and women mention sons more often than daughters.

Scientists reconstruct ancient lost plates under Andes mountains
In a paper published in the journal Nature, geologists from the University of Houston demonstrate the reconstruction of the subduction of the Nazca Ocean plate, the remnants of which are currently found down to 1,500 kilometers, or about 900 miles, below the Earth's surface.

Climate change tipping point could be coming sooner than we think
A Columbia Engineering study confirms the urgency to tackle climate change.

Plants can smell, now researchers know how
Plants don't need noses to smell. The ability is in their genes.

Can artificial intelligence help doctors and patients have better conversations?
In a recent article in the BMJ, researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Trinity College Dublin, and the University of Edinburgh explore the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve patient/provider communication, including providing information about patients' physical and mental health, detecting high-risk situations when providers are under stress, and preventing unnecessary testing

New study establishes link between climate change, conflict, and migration
Research involving a University of East Anglia (UEA) academic has established a link between climate change, conflict, and migration for the first time.

Researchers create road map of care for children with severe head trauma
PEGASUS is the first comprehensive care model for children with head trauma, said lead researcher Monica Vavilala, director of Harborview's Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle.

Astronomers find star material could be building block of life
An organic molecule detected in the material from which a star forms could shed light on how life emerged on Earth, according to new research led by Queen Mary University of London.

Study sheds light on brain cell changes in people with MS
Fresh insights into the types of cells found in the brains of people with multiple sclerosis could help develop improved therapies, research has found.

Breakthrough in understanding male infertility
Newcastle University experts have identified the importance of gene, RBMXL2, which is similar to an infertility gene found on the Y chromosome, in regulating the production of fully-functioning sperm.

UTSA researchers: Those with inadequate access to food likely to suffer from obesity
A recent study UTSA public policy professors Alexander Testa and Dylan Jackson assesses the link between food-related hardships and obesity.

Gene-edited disease monkeys cloned in China
National Science Review, a leading journal from China that reports on significant advances in natural sciences, publishes on-line two research articles in tandem on the generation of macaque monkeys with phenotypes of circadian disorders by gene-editing of monkey embryos, and the generation a group of cloned monkeys using somatic cells from one of the gene-edited monkeys, showing that macaque monkey disease models with uniform genetic background could now be produced for biomedical research.

New vaccine offers fresh take on malaria fight
Early research on a new approach to protecting against malaria is offering promising, potentially long-lasting results against the persistent parasite that sickens hundreds of millions people each year.

New water splitting catalyst could make it easier to generate solar fuel
Water splitting, the process of harvesting solar energy to generate energy-dense fuels, could be simplified thanks to new research including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Birth of massive black holes in the early universe revealed
The light released from around the first massive black holes in the universe is so intense that it is able to reach telescopes across the entire expanse of the universe.

Prolonged spaceflight could weaken astronauts' immune systems
University of Arizona researchers led the first study to report impaired NK-cell function during long-duration space travel.

More people in recovery from substance use problems are quitting smoking than ever before
A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital Recovery Research Institute finds that people who entered recovery from drug or alcohol use problems in the past 10 years have quit smoking in greater numbers than their cohorts in the 1980s and 90s.

In surprising reversal, scientists find a cellular process that stops cancer before it starts
Salk Institute scientists studying the relationship of telomeres to cancer made a surprising discovery: a cellular recycling process called autophagy -- generally thought of as a survival mechanism -- actually promotes the death of cells, thereby preventing cancer initiation.

Mice transmit acquired adaptability to their offspring
If mice grow up in a stimulating environment, their brain remains adaptable for longer.

Virus-based therapy targets a pediatric eye cancer
A cancer-killing, virus-based therapy showed promising effects against retinoblastoma -- a tumor of the retina that affects mainly children -- in mouse models and a pilot clinical trial.

Old cells repair damage in the brains of MS patients
A new study shows that there is a very limited regeneration of cells in the brain of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

UBC researchers develop high-level gas detection system
A new gas detector, developed by researchers at UBC's Okanagan campus, enables highly accurate odour analysis for so many different applications it has been nicknamed the 'artificial nose.' Researchers in the School of Engineering have developed a state-of-the-art microfluidic gas detector that can detect small traces of gases quickly and efficiently.

Where is Earth's submoon?
Juna Kollmeier and Sean Raymond kicked off an internet firestorm late last year when they posted a draft of their article about submoons on a preprint server.

Flu vaccination keeps COPD patients out of the hospital
A new study published in the January issue of CHEST® establishes that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) face heightened risks of death, critical illness, and hospitalization if they develop the flu and demonstrates the beneficial effects of influenza vaccination.

Suicide deaths among incarcerated youth
According to a US Department of Justice survey, from 2000 to 2014, suicide rates were two to three times higher for youth in custody than those in the general population.

More than ruffled feathers: Mockingbirds show heightened aggression after lead exposure
Mockingbirds exposed to sub-lethal levels of lead in urban areas display significantly heightened aggression, said Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at Tulane University.

What makes the deadly pufferfish so delectable
Some people consider pufferfish, also known as fugu, a delicacy because of its unique and exquisite flavor, which is perhaps seasoned by knowledge that consumption of the fish could be deadly.

NC state researchers create 3D-printed soft mesh robots
Researchers at North Carolina State University have created 3D-printed flexible mesh structures that can be controlled with applied magnetic fields while floating on water.

Fried food linked to heightened risk of death among older US women
Regularly eating fried food is linked with a heightened risk of death from any cause and heart-related death, among postmenopausal women, finds a US study in The BMJ today.

UC San Diego researchers first to use CRISPR/Cas9 to control genetic inheritance in mice
Using active genetics technology, biologists at UC San Diego have developed the world's first CRISPR/Cas9-based approach to control genetic inheritance in a mammal.

Planetary collision that formed the moon made life possible on Earth
Most of Earth's life-essential elements probably arrived with the planetary collision that produced the moon.

How friendly mice can affect their lonely cagemates
Japanese scientists developed a novel-video based behavioral analysis system for long-term behavioral tracking of multiple mice.

Neurotoxic cyanotoxins prevalent in eastern Australian freshwater systems study shows
The presence of an amino acid, BMAA, produced by blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and thought to be associated with a higher incidence of neurodegenerative disease, has been confirmed in eastern Australian freshwater systems. 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