Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 16, 2019
ESO telescope images stunning central region of Milky Way, finds ancient star burst
ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has observed the central part of the Milky Way with spectacular resolution and uncovered new details about the history of star birth in our galaxy.

Oil-catching sponge could soak up residue from offshore drilling
An oil-catching sponge, developed at the University of Toronto and Imperial, could help thwart water contamination from offshore oil drilling.

Evolutionarily novel genes work in tumors
A team of scientists from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University studied the evolutionary ages of human genes and identified a new class of them expressed in tumors -- tumor specifically expressed, evolutionarily novel (TSEEN) genes.

Evidence suggests previously unrecognized latex allergies may play role in equine asthma
Latex exposure could be detrimental to a horse's respiratory health.

From cancer medication to antibiotic
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are increasingly the source of deadly infections. A team of scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig have now modified an approved cancer drug to develop an active agent against multidrug-resistant pathogens.

How do silt and sand differ when going with the flow?
Sand and silt in rivers dramatically change their means of transport at a sharp boundary between grain sizes, regardless of how fast the river flows.

All roads lead to migraine
Dr. Samaira Younis, from the Danish Headache Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, shares her research results, which suggests there are no differences between migraine attacks clinical characteristics following administration of 2 different compounds in patients, CGRP and sildenafil, meaning they share common cellular signaling pathways.

Mayo Clinic researchers look at post menopause as key factor in endometrial cancer
Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological malignancy in the US and the fourth most common cancer among women.

New review study shows that egg-industry-funded research downplays danger of cholesterol
Controversial headlines claiming that eggs don't raise cholesterol levels could be the product of faulty industry-funded research, according to a new review published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

Consumption of chili pepper cuts down the risk of death from a heart or cerebral attack
Chili pepper is a common guest in Italians kitchens, and over the centuries it has been praised for its supposed therapeutic virtues.

New way to identify and track progression of Huntington's disease
Researchers at the universities of Southampton and Cambridge have developed a new technique to analyse biochemical changes unique to Huntington's disease.

E-cigarettes significantly raise risk of chronic lung disease, first long-term study finds
E-cigarette use significantly increases a person's risk of developing chronic lung diseases, according to new UC San Francisco research, the first longitudinal study linking e-cigarettes to respiratory illness in a sample representative of the entire US adult population.

Would a deep-Earth water cycle change our understanding of planetary evolution?
Every school child learns about the water cycle -- evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection.

How minds make meaning
Meaning is central to language. But how do we combine the building blocks of thought and language to compose meaning?

Limiting the loss of nature
With only about half of Earth's terrestrial surface remaining as natural vegetation, a University of Queensland-led team has proposed an international goal to halt its continued loss.

Smart intersections could cut autonomous car congestion
A new study by Cornell researchers developed a first-of-its-kind model to control traffic and intersections in order to increase autonomous car capacity on urban streets of the future, reduce congestion and minimize accidents.

Heart-healthy diets are naturally low in dietary cholesterol and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating a heart-healthy dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils and nuts, which is also limits salt, red and processed meats, refined-carbohydrates and added sugars, is relatively low in dietary cholesterol and supports healthy levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Penn researchers uncover defective sperm epigenome that leads to male infertility
One out of eight couples has trouble conceiving, with a quarter of those cases caused by unexplained male infertility.

New study sheds light into origins of neurodegenerative disease
New research has shed light on the origins of spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) and demonstrates effective new therapeutic pathways for SCA7 and the more than 40 other types of spinocerebellar ataxia.

Exploring associations between ultraprocessed food consumption, type 2 diabetes
Associations between consumption of ultraprocessed foods and risk of type 2 diabetes were explored among a large group of participants in a web-based study cohort in France.

Neutrons optimize high efficiency catalyst for greener approach to biofuel synthesis
Researchers led by the University of Manchester used neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the development of a catalyst that converts biomass into liquid fuel with remarkably high efficiency and provides new possibilities for manufacturing renewable energy-related materials.

Collective memory shapes the construction of personal memories
For sociologists, our individual memories are shaped by the collective memory of our community.

Fish consumption and mercury exposure in pregnant women in coastal Florida
A study of pregnant women in coastal Florida found that hair mercury concentration was associated with consumption of locally caught seafood and all seafood, a higher level of education, and first pregnancy.

New way to make biomedical devices from silk yields better products with tunable qualities
Researchers have developed a novel, significantly more efficient fabrication method for silk that allows them to heat and mold the material into solid forms for a wide range of applications, including medical devices.

Survey shows link between psychological safety and use of infection prevention practices
Hospitals reporting high levels of psychological safety are more likely to have comprehensive infection prevention and control (IPC) programs, according to the results of a survey appearing in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), published by Elsevier.

Women need professional emotional support during high-risk pregnancies, study finds
Little is known about how women manage emotional distress during high-risk pregnancies, but Rutgers researchers learned that without psychosocial support, women struggle with fears and tears while feeling isolated and worried.

Tiny shells reveal waters off California are acidifying twice as fast as the global ocean
In first-of-its-kind research, NOAA scientists and academic partners used 100 years of microscopic shells to show that the coastal waters off California are acidifying twice as fast as the global ocean average -- with the seafood supply in the crosshairs.

Get ready for a new periodic table
Get ready for a new periodic table! Researchers at Hebrew university combine quantum dot 'atoms' and create new 'molecules.'

Plastic biosensor finds sweet success
Medical diagnostic device extracts energy from sugars naturally present in the body to drive its glucose-sensing circuitry.

Physics of Living Systems: How cells muster and march out
Many of the cell types in our bodies are constantly on the move.

Artificial intelligence may help scientists make spray-on solar cells
Artificial Intelligence may be just the thing to accelerate spray-on solar cell technology, which could revolutionize how consumers use energy.

Big step in producing carbon-neutral fuel: Silver diphosphide
A new chemical process described in the journal Nature Communications does in the lab what trees do in nature -- it converts carbon dioxide into usable chemicals or fuels.

Underwater pile driving noise causes alarm responses in squid
Exposure to underwater pile driving noise, which can be associated with the construction of docks, piers, and offshore wind farms, causes squid to exhibit strong alarm behaviors, according to a study by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers published Dec.

Nightly sleep disturbance linked to daily risk of migraines
The team's findings generally support patients' reports of sleep disturbance as a trigger for migraines.

Leptons help in tracking new physics
Electrons with 'colleagues' -- other leptons - are one of many products of collisions observed in the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.

Uranium chemistry and geological disposal of radioactive waste
A new paper to be published on Dec. 16 provides a significant new insight into our understanding of uranium biogeochemistry and could help with the UK's nuclear legacy.

Heat or eat? How one energy conservation strategy may hurt vulnerable populations
Any economic and conservation benefits associated with time-of-use electricity billing could be achieved at the expense of some of the most vulnerable citizens in our society: people with disabilities and the elderly, new research suggests.

Black teens face racial discrimination multiple times daily, suffer depressive symptoms
Black teenagers experience daily racial discrimination, most frequently online, which can lead to negative mental health effects, according to a Rutgers researcher.

Strength of conviction won't help to persuade when people disagree
If you disagree with someone, it might not make any difference how certain they say they are, as during disagreement your brain's sensitivity to the strength of people's beliefs is reduced, finds a study led by UCL and City, University of London and published in Nature Neuroscience.

Turning to genetics to treat little hearts
Researchers makes a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of a common congenital heart disease.

Three quarters of teens who vape report using nicotine, marijuana, or multiple substances
More teens who vape are using addictive or mind-altering substances than previously believed, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier.

Peer support program can help surgeons deal with adverse events that happen during surgery
Surgeons report on how the first formal surgery-specific peer support program in the U.S. was developed at Massachusetts General Hospital with the goal of helping surgeons and surgical trainees deal with not only adverse events that happen during an operation, but also catastrophic patient outcomes and long-term litigation cases.

Carbon cocoons surround growing galaxies
Researchers have discovered gigantic clouds of gaseous carbon spanning more than a radius of 30,000 light-years around young galaxies using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

NOAA-NASA's Suomi NPP satellite views New South Wales fires raging on
NOAA-NASA's Suomi NPP satellite flew over the New South Wales fires in Australia on December 16, 2019 and found devastation from the ongoing fires.

Blue pigment discoverer makes key design advance for future durable, vivid pigments
A chemistry researcher who made history a decade ago with the accidental discovery of the first new blue inorganic pigment in more than two centuries is again pushing forward the science of color.

Study exposes surprise billing by hospital physicians
Patients with private health insurance face a serious risk of being treated and billed by an out-of-network doctor when they receive care at in-network hospitals, according to a new study by Yale researchers.

Scientists show how tiny, mutated neuron antennae impair brain connectivity
Axons are the long thread-like extensions of neurons that send electrical signals to other brain cells.

Math equation predicts and detects liver cancer
University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center researchers developed a math equation to predict and detect liver cancer and identified when healthy cells become cancerous.

A flaky option boosts organic solar cells
Tungsten disulfide helps to channel charge in flexible photovoltaics.

Nilotinib appears safe in Parkinson's trial; drug thought to allow dopamine replenishment
A clinical trial investigating the repurposed cancer drug nilotinib in people with Parkinson's disease finds that it is reasonably safe and well tolerated.

Hospital patient portals lack specific and informative instructions for patients
Regenstrief Institute research scientists Joy Lee, PhD, and Michael Weiner, M.D., MPH, conducted a study of hospital patient portals, the secure online websites that give patients access to their personal health information.

Study finds African Americans with cancer at higher risk for blood clots
African-Americans are at higher risk for cancer-associated venous thromboembolism (VTE) as compared with patients from other races.

The uncertain role of natural gas in the transition to clean energy
A new MIT study examines the opposing roles of natural gas in the battle against climate change -- as a bridge toward a lower-emissions future, but also a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Asthma severity linked to microbiome of upper airway
A new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St.

More efficient risk assessment for nanomaterials
Nanotechnology is booming, but risk assessment for these tiny particles is a laborious process that presents significant challenges to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

New heat model may help electronic devices last longer
A University of Illinois-based team of engineers has found that the model currently used to predict heat loss in a common semiconductor material does not apply in all situations.

Southern white rhinos are threatened by incest and habitat fragmentation
The fragmentation of natural habitats by fences and human settlements is threatening the survival of the white rhinoceros.

Review of studies on cigarette smoking, multiple sclerosis
Researchers conducted a literature review of studies to summarize outcomes  in patients with multiple sclerosis who smoke cigarettes and who are exposed to smoke.

Cold infections may be less frequent in people with the flu
People were less likely to catch either influenza or a common cold-causing rhinovirus if they were already infected with the other virus, a new study by scientists from the Medical Research Council-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research has found.

Opioid overdose risk factors for teens, college-aged youth same as adults
Older teens may have similar risk factors for prescription opioid overdose as adults, a new study suggests.

How we transport water in our bodies inspires new water filtration method
A multidisciplinary group of engineers and scientists has discovered a new method for water filtration that could have implications for a variety of technologies, such as desalination plants, breathable and protective fabrics, and carbon capture in gas separations.

New health insurance insights
MIT economists analyze how patients and health care providers value Medicaid.

New 'netherworldly' freshwater fish named for Thai conservation visionary
Garra surinbinnani looks like a stout, brown minnow with the face of a boxer who's gone one too many rounds.

Connecting the prehistoric past to the global future
Research on global biodiversity has long assumed that present-day biodiversity patterns reflect present-day factors, namely contemporary climate and human activities.

Study examines causes of death in US breast cancer survivors
Most women who survive beyond 10 years die of non-cancer causes.

Bird migration timing skewed by climate, new research finds
Armed with 24 years of radar data from NOAA, researchers found that birds migrating in the spring were likely to pass certain stops earlier now than they would have 20 years ago.

Women with a low desire to avoid pregnancy still use contraception
A new study challenges assumptions that women with the highest preference against pregnancy use more effective contraceptive methods and that women who might welcome pregnancy do not use contraception.

Having to defend one's sexuality increases fear of childbirth
In order to help people with fear of childbirth, there must be trust between the patient and the healthcare staff.

The effect of taking antidepressants during pregnancy
Exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy and the first weeks of life can alter sensory processing well into adulthood, according to research in mice recently published in eNeuro.

Celebrated ancient Egyptian woman physician likely never existed, says researcher
For decades, an ancient Egyptian known as Merit Ptah has been celebrated as the first female physician and a role model for women entering medicine.

Personalized medicine for atrial fibrillation
The study, published in Europace, uses signals from implantable devices -- pacemakers and defibrillators -- to analyze electrical signals in the heart during episodes of atrial fibrillation.

Study finds flirting among coworkers can reduce stress
Casual flirting with colleagues at work is relatively harmless and can even be beneficial, according to the study led by Washington State University Assistant Professor Leah Sheppard.

Visual neurons don't work the way scientists thought, study finds
A new survey of the activity of nearly 60,000 neurons in the mouse visual system reveals how far we have to go to understand how the brain computes.

Radiation breaks connections in the brain
One of the potentially life-altering side effects that patients experience after cranial radiotherapy for brain cancer is cognitive impairment.

Bristol discovery reveals tractionless motion is possible
In an article published in Physical Review Letters, Bristol scientists have answered the fundamental question: 'Is it possible to move without exerting force on the environment?', by describing the tractionless self-propulsion of active matter.

Fossil shells reveal both global mercury contamination and warming when dinosaurs perished
The impact of an asteroid or comet is acknowledged as the principal cause of the mass extinction that killed off most dinosaurs and about three-quarters of the planet's plant and animal species 66 million years ago.

Climate change could make RSV respiratory infection outbreaks less severe, more common
Princeton University-led researchers studied annual outbreaks of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in one of the first examinations of how climate change could affect diseases transmitted directly from person to person.

Standard of care chemoradiation for Stage III NSCLC is superior to two tested alternatives
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and approximately 75-80% of all cases are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Combination of chemo and diabetes drugs shows potential for treating Ewing sarcoma
Houston Methodist researchers propose a combination of two well-known drugs as a new treatment option for Ewing sarcoma -- one of them typically used to treat diabetes.

Zooming in on brain circuits allows researchers to stop seizure activity
A team of neuroscientists have found, in animal models, that they can 'switch off' epileptic seizures.

Lazy moths taste disgusting
Researchers have noticed that some moths are nonchalant when attacked by predatory bats.

New system transmits high-speed unrepeated signal over 520 kilometers
Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have partnered up with engineers from Corning Inc., US, and T8, Russia, and developed a system for high-throughput data transfer over great distances without the need for signal repeating along the way.

Unveiling a new map that reveals the hidden personalities of jobs
It's been long been believed that different personalities align better with different jobs.

A new gene therapy strategy, courtesy of Mother Nature
Scientists have developed a new gene-therapy technique by transforming human cells into mass producers of tiny nano-sized particles full of genetic material that has the potential to reverse disease processes.

Excerpts from an unfinished manuscript by Gloria Naylor published for the first time
Excerpts from acclaimed author Gloria Naylor's unfinished manuscript 'Sapphira Wade' have been published for the first time.

The function of new microRNAs are identified in Salmonella and Shigella infections
The research, published in Nature Microbiology, could help the search for more effective medicine and delves deeper into understanding the role of microRNAs in gene expression.

Simple test could prevent fluoride-related disease
Northwestern University synthetic biologists developed a simple, inexpensive new test that can detect dangerous levels of fluoride in drinking water.

PET/CT plays role in lung adenocarcinoma management
According to an article published in the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), FDG PET, combined with high-resolution CT, has value for predicting invasive histopathologic subtypes, but there was no significance for predicting invasive growth patterns of early lung adenocarcinoma.

New CRISPR-based system targets amplified antibiotic-resistant genes
A research team at UC San Diego has developed a new CRISPR-based gene-drive system that dramatically increases the efficiency of inactivating a gene rendering bacteria antibiotic-resistant.

Laser-based prototype probes cold atom dynamics
In new work published in EPJ D, a team of physicists in France presents an innovative prototype for a new industrial laser system.

UK insects struggling to find a home make a bee-line for foreign plants
Non-native plants are providing new homes for Britain's insects -- some of which are rare on native plants, a new study has found.

Researchers discover when it's good to get the blues
Contrary to common belief, blue light may not be as disruptive to our sleep patterns as originally thought -- according to University of Manchester scientists.

Planetary boundaries: Interactions in the Earth system amplify human impacts
Transgressing one planetary boundary can amplify human impacts on another one.

Opioid prescribing patterns, overdose risk in teens, young adults
Researchers used a private insurance claims database in the US to examine opioid prescribing patterns and how they were associated with overdose risk among 2.7 million adolescents and young adults without cancer.

Hydrogels control inflammation to help healing
Researchers test a sampling of synthetic, biocompatible hydrogels to see how tuning them influences the body's inflammatory response.

It's always a good hair day for Leptothrix cholodnii
A team led by researchers from the University of Tsukuba found that tiny hair-like structures, called nanofibrils, grown by aquatic bacterium Leptothrix cholodnii are essential for surface attachment and the formation of long bacterial filaments.

Leafcutter ants accelerate the cutting and transport of leaves during stormy weather
A study by researchers at the University of São Paulo's Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP) in Brazil shows that leafcutter ants are capable of predicting adverse weather by sensing changes in atmospheric pressure.

Simple tool shows life expectancy after dementia diagnosis
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and from the Netherlands have developed a simple tool that shows the survival probability of a person with dementia disease over three years.

Young adults experiencing homelessness are not seeking medical care after rape
Nearly three-fourths of young adults experiencing homelessness who are raped do not seek post-sexual assault medical care, missing an opportunity to greatly reduce their risk of contracting HIV, according to a survey led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Scientist breaks down chemistry in iconic cartoons: SpongeBob SquarePants and Popeye
Are bananas actually that slippery? Could spinach give you superhuman strength?

Birds' seasonal migrations shift earlier as climate changes, new research shows
In what the authors believe is one of the first studies to examine climate change impact on the timing of bird migration on a continental scale, researchers report that spring migrants were likely to pass certain stops earlier now than they would have 20 years ago.

Researchers explore factors affecting money management skills in multiple sclerosis
The association of money management difficulties with depressive symptomatology is a new finding, according to Dr.

New estimates of neonatal abstinence syndrome, associated costs
Neonatal abstinence syndrome is withdrawal that happens in infants who were exposed to opioids in utero during pregnancy.

Research brief: New methods promise to speed up development of new plant varieties
University of Minnesota researchers developed new methods that will make it significantly faster to produce gene-edited plants.

SUTD scientists developed a sorting technology that isolates cells with high purity and viability
SUTD researchers developed a sheathless acoustic fluorescence activated cell sorting (aFACS) system by combining elasto-inertial cell focusing and highly focused traveling surface acoustic wave to sort cells with high recovery rate, purity, and cell viability.

Paper: Cultural variables influence consumer demand for private-label brands
Consumer attitudes toward private-label store brands might be driven more by social variables than price, says new research co-written by Carlos Torelli, a professor of business administration and James F.

Chemists glimpse the fleeting 'transition state' of a reaction
Chemists at MIT, Argonne National Laboratory, and several other institutions have devised a technique that allows them to determine the structure of the transition state of a reaction by observing the products that result from the reaction.

BCMA-targeted immunotherapy can lead to durable responses in multiple myeloma
An experimental, off-the-shelf immunotherapy that combines a targeted antibody and chemotherapy can lead to potentially durable responses in multiple myeloma patients whose disease has relapsed or is resistant to other standard therapies.

Having a psychotic disorder may increase decline of some areas of cognition over adulthood
A new study has shown that relative to participants without a psychotic disorder, those diagnosed with a disorder were consistently impaired across all areas of cognitive (memory and thinking) ability measured.

What happens to gold nanoparticles in cells?
Gold nanoparticles, which are supposed to be stable in biological environments, can be degraded inside cells.

Free tool simplifies cancer research
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed a new method for identifying which proteins are affected by specific drugs.

Super-resolution photoacoustic microscopy finds clogged blood vessels
Professor Chulhong Kim and his research team suggested a super-resolution localization photoacoustic microscopy using red blood cells as contrast absorbers.

The sympathetic nervous system can inhibit the defense cells in autoimmune disease
Using an experimental model of multiple sclerosis, the scientists found that the sympathetic nervous system can limit the generation of effector responses by inhibiting the action of the cells that attack an antigen taken as a threat by the immune system.

Creating a nanoscale on-off switch for heat
Researchers create a polymer thermal regulator that can quickly transform from a conductor to an insulator, and back again.

New tool uses AI to flag fake news for media fact-checkers
A new artificial intelligence (AI) tool could help social media networks and news organizations weed out false stories.

Children allergic to cow's milk smaller and lighter
Children allergic to cow's milk are smaller and weigh less, according to the first published study to characterize growth trajectories from early childhood to adolescence in children with persistent food allergies.

Collaboration yields insights into mosquito reproduction
As carriers for diseases like dengue and Zika, mosquitoes kill more than 1 million people each year and sicken hundreds of millions more.

Ancient events are still impacting mammals worldwide
In the first study of its kind, researchers have discovered that events from 20,000 years ago or more are still impacting the diversity and distribution of mammal species worldwide.

Low income and work stress contribute to link between education, heart disease and stroke
Low educational levels predict an increased risk of developing or dying from heart disease and stroke according to the first nationwide study of the link between education and risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network produces supplemental issue of Preventive Medicine
The Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN), a collaborative national network of academic centers engaged in cancer research, has produced a supplemental issue of Preventive Medicine with 12 articles that examine stakeholder-engaged implementation science and population approaches to improve equity in cancer prevention and control.

Developing next-generation biologic pacemakers
University of Houston associate professor of pharmacology Bradley McConnell is helping usher in a new age of cardiac pacemakers by using stem cells found in fat, converting them to heart cells, and reprogramming those to act as biologic pacemaker cells.

How mysterious circular DNA causes cancer in children
Why do children develop cancer? An international team of researchers, led by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, now reveal that mysterious rings of DNA known as extrachromosomal circular DNA can contribute to cancer development in children. 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