Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 29, 2019
Columbia engineers translate brain signals directly into speech
In a scientific first, Columbia neuroengineers have created a system that translates thought into intelligible, recognizable speech.

New quantum system could help design better spintronics
Researchers have created a new testing ground for quantum systems in which they can literally turn certain particle interactions on and off, potentially paving the way for advances in spintronics.

Study examines barriers to exercise experienced by dialysis patients
Patients undergoing dialysis experience various barriers to exercise -- predominately fatigue, shortness of breath, and weakness.

MaNGA data release includes detailed maps of thousands of nearby galaxies
The latest data release from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) includes observations revealing the internal structure and composition of nearly 5,000 nearby galaxies observed during the first three years of a program called Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA).

Study: Faster weight loss no better than slow weight loss for health benefits
Losing weight slowly or quickly won't tip the scale in your favor when it comes to overall health, according to new research.

Study: Collaborative video games could increase office productivity
Move over trust falls and ropes courses, turns out playing video games with coworkers is the real path to better performance at the office.

Exploring the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline
A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital adds to a growing body of evidence that hearing loss is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline.

OCTN: A transporter with relevance to human pathophysiology, drug discovery & diagnostics
A new review by researchers from the University of Calabria (Italy) explores OCTNs, a small but intriguing group of transporters that are opening new frontiers in drug design research for improving drug delivery and predicting drug-drug interactions.

Do women with breast cancer have a higher risk of atrial fibrillation?
Patients with breast cancer may have an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF), say researchers.

Cattle urine's planet-warming power can be curtailed with land restoration
The exceptional climate-altering capabilities of cattle are mainly due to methane, which they blast into the atmosphere during their daily digestive routine.

Many suffering children in Somaliland need surgery, but most of those needs go unmet
Children in Somaliland suffer a significant burden of health conditions -- particularly congenital deformities and wound-related conditions -- that could be eased by surgery, but most of those needs go unmet, according to a study by Baylor University and Duke University published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

New study analyzes cost effectiveness of smoked cannabis to treat chronic neuropathic pain
Smoked cannabis as an adjunctive second-line therapy to treat chronic peripheral neuropathy can be both effective and cost-effective.

OU and Smithsonian address challenges of curating ancient biomolecules
University of Oklahoma researchers, led by Courtney Hofman and Rita Austin, in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, are addressing the challenges of curating ancient biomolecules and working toward the development and dissemination of best practices.

Train harder, for less time
New research, published in Experimental Physiology by researchers from the University of Glasgow, has highlighted several of the positive health effects of a short duration, high-intensity resistance exercise training program in overweight men.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T? LGBT views on police legitimacy and authority
While there is a lot of research on the LGBT community's relationship with police, there is scant research on how they perceive police legitimacy and what predicts their willingness to obey, cooperate, and recognize police authority.

Study identifies biomedical potential of bivalves
Shellfish like oysters and mussels have the potential to revolutionize human health research, according to a new paper in Developmental and Comparative Immunology.

Study finds alcohol, space, and time influence young people's sexual encounters
A study conducted by Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania sheds light on the factors that influence young people's access to and use of alcohol, and subsequent engagement in safe or unsafe sexual behaviors.

Streaming chill vibes? Spotify data says the season is the reason
Our music choices are influenced by season and time of day, and differ by gender, age, and geography, according to a new study from Cornell University.

Could artificial intelligence improve patient care in the NHS?
The adoption of artificial intelligence in the diagnosis and prognosis of disease could help to extend people's lives whilst providing significant savings for the NHS.

Alzheimer's in a dish
Researchers have created a new model-in-a-dish of sporadic Alzheimer's, the most common form of the disease, which arises in people without family history.

Earth's continental nurseries discovered beneath mountains
Earth is the only known planet with continents, and Rice University scientists are offering up new evidence that Earth's continental crust formed deep below mountainous continental arcs like the Andes.

Does the 'buddy system' approach to weight loss work?
One of the more common self-improvement goals, particularly in the winter months before 'beach body' season, is to lose weight.

China's regulations unsuccessful in curbing methane emissions
China, already the world's leading emitter of human-caused greenhouse gases, continues to pump increasing amounts of climate-changing methane into the atmosphere despite tough new regulations on gas releases from its coal mines, a new Johns Hopkins study shows.

Researchers wild about zigzags
Graphene is a promising material for use in nanoelectronics. Its electronic properties depend greatly, however, on how the edges of the carbon layer are formed.

River levels tracked from space
The 4,300 kilometer Mekong River is a lifeline for South-East Asia.

Smart, self-powered knee implants could reduce number of knee replacement surgeries
Smart knee implants may soon be a reality thanks to research conducted by a team including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Movable microstructures from the printer
Laser-based 3D printing can already be used today to produce any structure on a micrometer scale.

Giving high school students the tools to question classic literature
Generations of students have read Shakespeare and Hemingway for high school literature class.

Engineering a cancer-fighting virus
An engineered virus kills cancer cells more effectively than another virus currently used in treatments, according to Hokkaido University researchers.

Vegan diets are best for gut hormones and satiety, according to new study
A study published in the journal Nutrients finds that a vegan diet helps to promote beneficial gut hormones that are responsible for regulating blood sugar, satiety, and weight.

Why large forest fires may not be a big threat to some endangered animals
A new study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that certain endangered owls may continue to persist and even flourish after large forest fires.

Why do beaked whales return to a Navy sonar range despite frequent disturbance?
Using data from underwater robots, scientists have discovered that beaked whales prefer to feed within parts of a Navy sonar test range off Southern California that have dense patches of deep-sea squid.

Plastic pollution causes mussels to lose grip
A new study shows that microplastics are affecting the ability of mussels to attach themselves to their surroundings -- potentially having a devastating impact on ocean ecosystems as well as a worldwide industry worth between 3-4 billion US dollars per year.

Road proximity may boost songbird nest success in tropics
In the world's temperate regions, proximity to roads usually reduces the reproductive success of birds, thanks to predators that gravitate toward habitat edges.

Anemones are friends to fish
Any port in a storm, any anemone for a small fish trying to avoid being a predator's dinner.

Research sheds light on body clock and links to mental health and disease
A large-scale genomic analysis has revealed some of the inner workings of the body clock, shedding new light on how it links to mental health and disease.

Searching for human remains: Study suggests methodology to improve results
In an effort to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement searches for human remains in the wild, searchers should cover the same area twice from two different angles and work no more than 1 to 2 meters apart while exploring the area

New research framework may help better understand, predict infectious disease risks
University of South Florida-led research identifies individual hosts more or less likely to escalate outbreaks.

The GRE fails to identify students that will graduate and hurts diversity, new study finds
A team of researchers led by RIT Professor Casey Miller discovered that traditional admissions metrics for physics Ph.D. programs such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) do not predict completion and hurt the growth of diversity in physics.

Long-necked dinosaurs rotated their forefeet to the side
Long-necked dinosaurs (sauropods) could orient their forefeet both forward and sideways.

Hospital patients are leaving their plates half full and it's putting their lives at risk, study shows
The largest analysis to date of US hospital malnutrition prevalence confirms one in three adults are at risk.

Meet the quantum fridge -- at 3 atoms in size, it's much smaller than a minibar
Researchers in Singapore have built a refrigerator that's just three atoms big.

Set of genes predicts severity of dengue, Stanford study reports
Stanford researchers have identified 20 genes that can predict an individual's likelihood of developing a severe form of dengue fever with about 80 percent accuracy.

Scientists discover an immune 'clock' that controls infections and cardiovascular disease
CNIC researchers have demonstrated the existence of an immune 'clock' that coordinates day/night cycles through the activity of a class of leucocytes called neutrophils.

Cardiff University researchers shed light on development of gastric cancer
Cardiff University researchers have uncovered new information about the underlying mechanisms for gastric cancer, providing hope of potential new therapies in the future.

Huge step forward in decoding genomes of small species
For the first time, scientists have read the whole genetic code of one single mosquito.

Lower obesity rates linked with public transportation use, study shows
Public transportation systems provide numerous economic benefits for a community.

NIH scientists explore tick salivary glands as tool to study virus transmission, infection
The salivary glands of some tick species could become important research tools for studying how viruses are transmitted from ticks to mammals, and for developing preventive medical countermeasures.

Researchers wing it in mimicking evolution to discover best shape for flight
A team of mathematicians has determined the ideal wing shape for fast flapping flight -- a discovery that offers promise for better methods for harvesting energy from water as well as for enhancing air speed.

'Small meets smaller': Dietary nanoparticulates impact gut microbiome
The intestinal microbiome is not only key for food processing but an accepted codeterminant for various diseases.

'More unites us than divides us' say researchers
New research suggests that people are much more united in their beliefs and values than media reporting often suggests.

New findings about anti-malaria drug
Researchers at the Rudolf Virchow Center of the University of Würzburg have unveiled the molecular effectiveness of artemisinins.

Researchers at TU Dresden decipher electrical conductivity in doped organic semiconductors
Researchers from the Dresden Integrated Center for Applied Physics and Photonic Materials (IAPP) and the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed) at TU Dresden, in cooperation with Stanford University (USA) and the Institute for Molecular Science in Okazaki (Japan), have identified the key parameters that influence electrical conductivity in doped organic conductors.

Female graduates who wear 'sexy clothes' seen as less capable than counterparts
Females who dress 'sexily' at their graduation are perceived as being less competent and are believed to have performed worse in their degree than their peers who dress more professionally, new research from the University of Surrey reports.

Emerging evidence of an impending Parkinson's disease pandemic identified
For most of human history Parkinson's disease (PD) has been a rare disorder.

Use of synthetic drug Flakka rare among high school seniors, but most users take numerous drugs
Nearly one percent of high school seniors report using Flakka, a highly potent and potentially dangerous synthetic drug, according to a study by researchers at NYU School of Medicine, the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health, and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Association between economic factors, clinician supply and rate of newborns exposed to opioids during pregnancy
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which are symptoms that primarily occur in newborns exposed to opioids during pregnancy, has increased over the last two decades  but there is limited information on its association with economic conditions or clinician supply.

Superconductors: Resistance is futile
New experimental results change the way we think about high-temperature superconductors.

USPSTF recommendation statement on prevention of gonococcal eye infections in newborns
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reaffirms its recommendation for the use of an antibiotic ointment to prevent gonococcal eye infections in all newborns, a gonorrhea infection that is transmitted from the mother to the newborn during delivery.

Fluid dynamics simulation reveals the underlying physics of liquid jet cleaning
Semiconductor manufacturing involve cleaning processes, and it's become highly desirable to use physical cleaning techniques such as liquid jets or underwater ultrasound instead of toxic chemicals.

Study shows dangerous bee virus might be innocent bystander
Researchers at the University of Sydney have found that the relationship between the Varroa mite and virulence of a virus of honey bees, has been misunderstood.

Investigators study effect of switching insulin medications
In 2015, CareMore Health, an integrated health delivery system and subsidiary of Anthem Inc., piloted an intervention to switch members from analogue to less expensive human insulin.

Large molecules from dietary fiber can change gut environment through physical forces
Large molecules from dietary fiber, called polymers, can physically influence the environment in the small intestine by causing solid particles to group together (or aggregate), according to research published in eLife.

Care following opioid overdoses in West Virginia falls short
Only a small fraction of people who had non-fatal opioid overdoses in West Virginia received treatment in the aftermath, a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests.

Heavy drinking may change DNA -- Leading to increased craving for alcohol
Binge and heavy drinking may trigger a long-lasting genetic change, resulting in an even greater craving for alcohol, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Children looking at screens in darkness before bedtime are at risk of poor sleep
Preteens who use a mobile phone or watch TV in the dark an hour before bed are at risk of not getting enough sleep compared to those who use these devices in a lit room or do not use them at all before bedtime.

Collective nostalgia makes people prefer domestic products
Nostalgia for events experienced by members of your own group can make you prefer domestic products over foreign ones, concludes the first systematic investigation into the effects of collective nostalgia on consumer decisions.

Research Resource Identifiers improve proper use of cell lines in biomedical studies
Using Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) helps reduce the improper use of cell lines in biomedical studies, according to a study published today in eLife.

The inaugural issue of Ethics & Human Research, January -- February 2019
Now published: the first issue of Ethics & Human Research, replacing The Hastings Center's longstanding journal, IRB: Ethics & Human Research, is ''widening the lens'' on new ethical, policy and regulatory challenges raised by rapid developments in science and medicine.

UBC research examines living well while dying
A UBC professor has determined that people diagnosed with terminal cancer -- who have hope, positivity and family support -- are able to live well during the advanced stage of the disease.

Weather at key growth stages predicts Midwest corn yield and grain quality, study says
Corn is planted on approximately 90 million acres across the United States every year.

Research into outdoor and protective clothing seeks to shake off fluorochemicals
Rain-repelling fluorochemicals used in waterproof clothing can and should be phased out as unnecessary and environmentally harmful, textile researchers argue.

How to send a finch extinct
An endangered Queensland bird is at risk of extinction because environmental legislation is failing to protect its habitat, according to a University of Queensland-led study.

Doctors are prescribing opioids for shorter duration, lower doses in children
As the opioid epidemic continues to plague the United States, physician-researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia analyzed prescription patterns in children.

Oversized meals have been shown to be a factor in obesity
A study conducted in Brazil, China, Finland, Ghana, India and the United States found 94 percent of meals served in restaurants contain more than the recommended number of calories according to the UK's National Health Service.

Earthquake in super slo-mo
A big earthquake occurred south of Istanbul in the summer of 2016, but it was so slow that nobody noticed.

How black holes power plasma jets
Cosmic robbery powers the jets streaming from a black hole, new simulations reveal.

Antireflection coating makes plastic invisible
Antireflection (AR) coatings on plastics have a multitude of practical applications, including glare reduction on eyeglasses, computer monitors and the display on your smart-phone when outdoors.

Sleep, mood affect how 'in control' older adults feel
Psychology researchers have found another reason that sleep, mood and stress are important: they affect the extent to which older adults feel they have control over their lives.

China not 'walking the walk' on methane emissions
In China, regulations to reduce methane emissions from coal mining took full effect in 2010 and required methane to be captured or to be converted into carbon dioxide.

Newborn babies have inbuilt ability to pick out words, study finds
Newborn babies are born with the innate skills needed to pick out words from language, a new study published in Developmental Science reveals.

Laser-fabricated crystals in glass are ferroelectric
For the first time, a team of researchers from Lehigh University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lebanon Valley College and Corning Inc. has demonstrated that laser-generated crystals confined in glass retain controllable ferroelectric properties, key to creating faster, more efficient optical communication systems.

NASA's Aqua satellite shows winds shear affecting Tropical Cyclone Riley
Visible from NASA's Aqua satellite revealed the effects of wind shear on Tropical Cyclone Riley in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Listeners get an idea of the personality of the speaker through his voice
A paper published by Cristina Baus and Albert Costa, UPF researchers at the Center for Cognition and Brain (CBC), in collaboration with researchers from the Université Aix-Marseille and the University of Glasgow, has shown that listeners across languages form very rapid personality impressions from the voice and this is not modulated by the language of the listener, native or foreign.

Long-term unemployment linked to increase in neonatal abstinence syndrome
Babies born after being exposed to opioids before birth are more likely to be delivered in regions of the US with high rates of long-term unemployment and lower levels of mental health services, according to a study from researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the RAND Corporation.

Drug shows promise to treat diet-induced osteoarthritis
Scientists from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, have found that a drug derived from omega-3 fatty acids can reduce osteoarthritis inflammation that's been caused by a high-fat diet.

Cells that destroy the intestine
In spite of tremendous advances in treating the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases Morbus Crohn and ulcerative colitis with medication, the chronic inflammation still cannot be kept sufficiently in check for a number of patients.

Newborn babies have inbuilt ability to pick out words, finds study
A research study of newborn babies has revealed that humans are born with the innate skills needed to pick out words from language.

Scientists identify a new 'watchdog' that controls intestinal bacteria
The study, published in Immunity, shows that some intestinal bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, strengthen the intestinal barrier by interacting with an immune cell receptor called Mincle (Clec4e).

Expression of stop bands in forward volume spin waves
A research group led by assistant Professor Taichi Goto at Toyohashi University of Technology have, for the first time in the world, demonstrated stop bands that prevent propagation of specific frequency components of 'forward volume spin waves.' Forward volume spin waves are transmitted through magnetic insulators without the flow of current, and are expected to be applied to the next generation of integrated circuits (ICs). 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