Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 17, 2019
Turning light energy into heat to fight disease
An emerging technology involving particles that absorb light and turn it into localized heat sources shows great promise in several fields, including medicine.

First US study shows strong results for procedure to treat knee pain from OA
Ari Isaacson, M.D., director of clinical research in the UNC School of Medicine's department of radiology, led a pilot study to investigate the effectiveness of using genicular artery embolization for long-term treatment of knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Novel genetic signature that can predict some kinds of breast cancer is identified
The research, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, combined a study of the genes involved in retinopathy, as a model of angiogenesis, with analysis of transcriptomic gene expression profiles from public breast cancer databases.

Researchers create functional mini-liver by 3D bioprinting
Technique developed at Human Genome and Stem Cell Research Center, funded by FAPESP and hosted by the University of São Paulo, produced hepatic tissue in the laboratory in only 90 days and could become an alternative to organ transplantation in future.

Trump's protectionism raises unemployment
The protectionist policy of US President Donald Trump is criticized on all sides around the world, but seems to suit the Americans, who see this economic model as protecting their interests.

Genomic insights: How female butterflies alter investment in attractiveness vs. fecundity
Tradeoffs have been a major focus of evolutionary biologists trying to understand phenotypic diversity, yet almost nothing is known about the mechanistic basis of tradeoffs.

In some children with autism, 'social' and 'visual' neural circuits don't quite connect
Researchers combined eye gaze research with brain scans to discover that in a common subtype of autism, in which ASD toddlers prefer images of geometric shapes over those of children playing, brain areas responsible for vision and attention are not controlled by social brain networks, and so social stimuli are ignored.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

Mothers' and babies' brains 'more in tune' when mother is happy
Mothers' and babies' brains can work together as a 'mega-network' by synchronising brain waves when they interact.

First study on human-grade dog food says whole, fresh food is highly digestible
some pet food companies are developing diets that more closely resemble human food, incorporating human-grade meat and vegetable ingredients that pass USDA quality inspections.

Applying physics principle yields grim prediction on hurricane destruction in an era
Global warming could well lead to hurricanes more powerful than meteorologists currently forecast.

Unusual glacier flow could be first-ever look at ice stream formation (video available)
Scientists have captured the birth of a high-speed ice feature for the first time on top of a Russian glacier.

Red-winged blackbird nestlings go silent when predators are near
If you're a predator that eats baby birds -- say, an American crow -- eavesdropping on the begging calls of nestlings can be an easy way to find your next meal.

Researchers uncover genetic mystery of infertility in fruit flies
Researchers have discovered a novel parasitic gene in fruit flies that is responsible for destroying the eggs in the ovaries of their daughters.

Agricultural parasite avoids evolutionary arms race, shuts down genes of host plants
A parasitic plant has found a way to circumvent an evolutionary arms race with its hosts, allowing the parasite to thrive on a variety of agriculturally important plants.

Study finds Chinese plant biodiversity at risk due to human activity: Narrow-ranged losers, widespread
A research team led by Prof. MA Keping from the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with scientists from the Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World (BIOCHANGE) at Aarhus University (Denmark), revealed that narrow-ranged plants in China are more likely to be 'losers', whereas widespread species tend to be 'winners' under the condition of intensive human activity.

Animal-assisted interventions positive for people's health but more research is needed
The impact of animal-assisted interventions for both patients and health services could be substantial, but more rigorous research is needed, says Dr.

Moths and perhaps other animals rely on precise timing of neural spikes
By capturing and analyzing nearly all of the brain signals sent to the wing muscles of hawk moths (Manduca sexta), researchers have shown that precise timing within rapid sequences of neural signal spikes is essential to controlling the flight muscles necessary for the moths to eat.

Distant milky way-like galaxies reveal star formation history of the universe
Thousands of galaxies are visible in this radio image of an area in the Southern Sky, made with the MeerKAT telescope.

Taking an X-ray of an atomic bond
A group of researchers led by Drexel University has demonstrated a method that allows scientists to experimentally measure how the chemical bonds of materials are altered when two different materials are linked together.

Suction cups that don't fall off
The aquatic larvae of the net-winged midge have the unique ability to move around at ease on rocks in torrential rivers using super-strong suction organs.

Study: US takes 'low road' to growth with adverse impact on wellbeing, future prosperity
Some countries -- including the United States -- take the low road to economic growth, where growing numbers of women in the workforce may stimulate the economy, but inadequate child care overburdens them, compromises their economic contribution, and threatens the quality of the future labor force, once poorly socialized children reach adulthood.

A new playbook for interference
The interference between two photons could connect distant quantum processors, enabling an internet-like quantum computer network.

Sinuses bothering you? Use those nasal sprays regularly
Many chronic rhinosinusitis patients worry about overuse of antibiotics. A University of Cincinnati researcher says appropriate use of nasal saline and corticosteroid sprays can curtail their fears.

Shifting the balance of growth vs. defense boosts crop yield
Researchers found that a specific gene in maize balances both growth of the plant and its immunity.

AI improves breast cancer risk prediction
A sophisticated type of artificial intelligence (AI) can outperform existing models at predicting which women are at future risk of breast cancer, according to a new study.

Blood lipid profile predicts risk of type 2 diabetes better than obesity
Using lipidomics, a technique that measures the composition of blood lipids at a molecular level, and machine learning, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have identified a blood lipid profile that improves the possibility to assess, several years in advance, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Large carnivores and zoos -- essential for biodiversity conservation marketing
Large carnivores: bears, big cats, wolves and elephant seals, and zoos should be utilised as powerful catalysts for public engagement with nature and pro-environmental behaviour, suggests a paper published in the scholarly open-access journal Nature Conservation.

Fatty meal interrupts gut's communication with the body, but why?
Gut cells that normally tell the brain and the rest of the body what's going on after a meal shut down completely for a few hours after a high-fat meal, a team of Duke University researchers discovered in zebrafish.

RIT and IAR observe pulsars for the first time from South America
A team from RIT and the Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía (IAR) upgraded two radio telescopes in Argentina that lay dormant for 15 years in order to study pulsars, rapidly rotating neutron stars with intense magnetic fields that emit notably in radio wavelengths.

Here's a bitter pill to swallow: Artificial sweeteners may be doing more harm than good
A $2.2 billion industry to help people lose weight through artificial sweeteners may be contributing to type 2 diabetes, according to researchers from the University of South Australia.

In breakthrough method of creating solar material, NREL scientists prove the impossible really isn't
Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) achieved a technological breakthrough for solar cells previously thought impossible.

Sexual harassment may be reduced at fun work events, study finds
The office holiday party loses its luster in light of new study findings from researchers at Penn State and Ohio State demonstrating that incidences of unwanted sexual attention are increased at these and other ''fun'' work events.

Millions with swallowing problems could be helped through new wearable device
A wearable monitoring device to make treatments easier and more affordable for the millions of people with swallowing disorders is about to be released into the market.

Gastric cancer susceptibility marker discovered
Gastric cancer is often associated with a poor prognosis because it tends to be diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Skin cancer mystery revealed in yin and yang protein
Scientists used supercomputers to find a mechanism that activates cell mutations found in about 50 percent of melanomas.

Stroke drug boosts stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury in rats
In a UC San Diego study, rats with spinal cord injuries experienced a three-fold increase in motor activity when treated with neural progenitor cells that had been pre-conditioned with a modified form of tPA, a drug commonly used to treat non-hemorrhagic stroke.

Air quality tests need simplifying to help reduce dangerous emissions
New methods of testing and simulating air quality should be considered in order to help policy makers have a more accurate understanding of how emissions affect air pollution levels, new research suggests.

Spine surgery is safe in patients of advanced age
Japanese spine surgeons conducted a multicenter prospective study of spine surgeries performed in patients 80 years of age and older.

Large study links sustained weight loss to reduced breast cancer risk
A large new study finds that women who lost weight after age 50 and kept it off had a lower risk of breast cancer than women whose weight remained stable, helping answer a vexing question in cancer prevention.

Suicide plays smaller role in opioid deaths than thought
Opioid-related suicides account for only 4% of opioid-related deaths, far below previous estimates of 20% to 30%, a new study from Columbia University has found.

Differentiating amino acids
Researchers develop the foundation for direct sequencing of individual proteins.

Scientists reveal the neural basis of confirmation bias
An international research team comprising neuroscientists at Virginia Tech and the University of London revealed brain mechanisms and functional regions that underlie confirmation bias -- a phenomenon where people strongly favor information that reinforces their existing opinions over contradictory ones.

Research adds new twist to fight against autoimmune diseases
Scientists describe in Nature Immunology an entirely new molecular process in mice that triggers T cell-driven inflammation and causes different auto-immune diseases.

Zebrafish 'avatars' can help decide who should receive radiotherapy treatment
To date, there is no method for clearly determining whether radiotherapy will be an effective treatment for individual cancer patients.

Seasonal forecasts challenged by Pacific Ocean warming
Research has found global warming will make it more difficult to predict multi-year global climate variations, a consequence of changes to long-term climate variability patterns in the Pacific Ocean.

Moffitt researchers develop more efficient approach to create mouse models
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have developed a new platform for creating genetically engineered mice to study melanoma that is significantly faster than a normal mouse model approach.

Newly discovered protein gives signal for virus infection
Researchers at the University of Zurich have discovered a protein that enables adenoviruses to infect human cells.

Limiting global warming would relieve populations from wet and dry extremes in China
Scientists find that heavy precipitation events would intensify with global warming all over China, affecting all the populations around.

How immune cells switch to attack mode
Macrophages have 2 faces: In healthy tissue, they perform important tasks and support their environment.

Ancient 'chewing gum' yields insights into people and bacteria of the past
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in extracting a complete human genome from a thousands-of-years old 'chewing gum.' According to the researchers, it is a new untapped source of ancient DNA.

New ice river detected at Arctic glacier adds to rising seas
Geologists, examining the desolate Vavilov ice cap on the northern fringe of Siberia in the Arctic Circle, have for the first time observed rapid ice loss from an improbable new river of ice, according to new research in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Astrophysics and AI may offer key to early dementia diagnosis
Crucial early diagnosis of dementia in general practice could improve thanks to a computer model designed in a collaboration between Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and astrophysicists at the University of Sussex.

MIPT researchers close in on new nonvolatile memory
Researchers from MIPT, along with their colleagues from Germany and the U.S., have achieved a breakthrough on the way to new types of nonvolatile memory devices.

Donkeys are natural heat lovers and prefer Bethlehem to Britain
We might associate donkeys with Christmas, but new research from the University of Portsmouth shows the animals are keener on hotter periods of the year.

And then there was light
New research from Washington University in St. Louis provides insight into how proteins called phytochromes sense light and contribute to how plants grow.

Obesity may alter nearly 70% of routine blood tests in children
Weight may affect doctors' ability to correctly interpret routine blood tests in children, according to new research published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

High-def mapping of moisture in the soil
Combining data from satellite-based sensors with data science tools and machine learning methods, researchers have developed a new, higher-resolution way of mapping soil moisture predictions, even in areas where no data have been available.

Majority of children with allergies needlessly avoid common antibiotics
Eight in 10 children who reported being allergic to common classes of antibiotics used to treat respiratory, skin and intestinal infections were not truly allergic to it, a new study shows.

In ancient scottish tree rings, a cautionary tale on climate, politics and survival
Using old tree rings and archival documents, historians and climate scientists have detailed an extreme cold period in Scotland in the 1690s that caused immense suffering.

In mice, a high-fat, high-sugar diet remodels the microbiome and endocannabinoid system
Weight gain and diet have long been known to shuffle the population of gut microbes.

Acute leukemia patients treated with common therapy have increased risk for heart failure
Patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who are treated with anthracyclines are at a heightened risk of heart failure -- most often within one year of exposure to the chemotherapy treatment, according to a new study led by researchers at Penn Medicine.

Changes in opioid-related drug overdose deaths in US
Researchers analyzed changes in the proportion of drug overdose deaths involving opioids that were certified as suicide, unintentional or of undetermined intent in this observational study.

Brain waves in mice change based on memory age
Researchers have discovered signatures in brain activity that allow them to tell old and new memories apart.

Developing a technique to study past Martian climate
Joanna Clark , a University of Houston doctoral student has received a $285,000 grant from NASA to develop a technique that could one day be used to better understand past climate conditions on Mars.

Fine-tuning thermoelectric materials for cheaper renewable energy
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have developed new thermoelectric materials, which could provide a low-cost option for converting heat energy into electricity.

Poor sight causes people to overstep the mark
People with vision impairment are more cautious when stepping over obstacles when walking - but increase their risk of falls, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Nonlinear fureai: How connectedness can nurture complex dynamics across diverse networks
Scientists at Tokyo Tech have uncovered some new aspects of how connections in networks can influence their behavior over time.

Blue mushroom dye used to develop new fluorescent tool for cell biologists
A new fluorescent tool for detecting reactive oxygen species based on a chemical found in mushrooms has been developed by scientists at the University of Bath.

Scientists discover how proteins form crystals that tile a microbe's shell
Many microbes wear beautifully patterned crystalline shells, which protect them from a harsh world and can even help them reel in food.

Old drug offers new hope for children with devastating disorder
A drug that once helped obese adults lose weight, withdrawn from the market due to heart risks, may be safe and effective for children with a seizure disorder called Dravet syndrome, say researchers from UCSF Benioff Children's treatment centers.

Interest in presidential eating habits may affect the public's food choices
A recent study by a Penn State researcher examined how President Donald Trump's reported fondness for fast food may affect the public's perception of fast food and the likelihood, based on their media habits, one might purchase some.

NASA's SDO sees new kind of magnetic explosion on sun
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has observed a new type of magnetic explosion, the likes of which have never seen before.

Stand out from the herd: How cows commoonicate through their lives
Research has for the first time shown that cows maintain individual vocalisation throughout their lives.

Study identifies way for employers to retain casual workers
Job enrichment may be an important tool for retaining seasonal frontline staff, according to a new University of Waterloo study.

Multiple sclerosis: New standards required for planning clinical trials
Multiple sclerosis: New standards required for planning clinical trials. The patient perspective needs more consideration.

Special issue of Educational Researcher examines the nature and consequences of null findings
A new special issue of AERA's peer reviewed journal Educational Researcher, titled 'Randomized Controlled Trials Meet the Real World: The Nature and Consequences of Null Findings,' focuses on important questions raised by the prevalence of null findings -- the absence of expected or measurable results -- particularly in randomized control trials.

Significant safety issues for kids on long term ventilation at home
There are significant safety issues for children who receive long term mechanical assistance with breathing at home (ventilation), finds an analysis of officially reported safety incidents associated with provision, and published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Social determinants of health are linked to gun homicide rates
Gun homicide rates in the US are associated with several social determinants of health, including income inequality, government welfare spending, trust in institutions, and social mobility, according to a new study published Dec.

Cancer research: molecular machinery critical for cell's ability to move identified
Two specific proteins take apart the cell's actin filaments at one end and return the building blocks to the other end for a new round of polymerisation.

The Lancet: Drug could help reduce frequency of seizures for children with Dravet Syndrome, a severe treatment-resistant epilepsy, compared with placebo
Children with Dravet Syndrome given fenfluramine experienced a greater reduction in convulsive seizures, compared to patients given a placebo for a 14-week treatment period, according to a randomised controlled trial published in The Lancet.

Effects of natural gas assessed in study of shale gas boom in Appalachian basin
A new study estimated the cumulative effects of the shale gas boom in the Appalachian basin in the early 2000s on air quality, climate change, and employment.

Caring for a grandchild linked to lower risk of loneliness and social isolation
Caring for a grandchild may be linked to a lower risk of loneliness and social isolation, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Focus on teenage anxiety may aid early identification of those at risk of eating disorders
Teenage girls who experience clinical levels of anxiety could be at greater risk of eating disorders, according to associations identified in a study completed by researchers at the University of Bristol with UCL.

Plant-eating insects disrupt ecosystems and contribute to climate change
A new study from Lund University in Sweden shows that plant-eating insects affect forest ecosystems considerably more than previously thought.

Disruption of glycine receptors to study embryonic development and brain function
Researchers from Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, University of Toyama, Yamagata University, Cairo University, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences and Setsunan University joined forces to further study glycine receptors, particularly glycine receptor alpha-4 (Glra4), during development.

New metrics needed to evaluate and combat HIV epidemics in the US
A new peer-reviewed commentary published in the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health argues for new metrics to evaluate the public health response to HIV in the United States.

Teen overdoses from anxiety drug rising
The number of teens taking and overdosing from benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed anxiety medications, has risen dramatically over the past decade, according to a national study coauthored by Rutgers researchers.

Koalas climb like apes but bound on the ground like marsupials
Many marsupials have made a life in the trees, but koalas have evolved the grasping hand and long limbs reminiscent of primates, so Christofer Clemente from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, wondered whether koalas move like other marsupials or primates.

HIIT timing matters for increasing fitness
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is only effective for improving fitness when performed at 60-second intervals, according to new research from Liverpool John Moores University, presented today (Tuesday Dec.

Screen could offer better safety tests for new chemicals
Using specialized liver cells, MIT researchers have created a new test that can quickly detect potentially cancer-causing DNA damage.

Climate change legislation, media coverage drives oil companies' ad spending, study finds
An analysis led by an Institute at Brown for Environment and Society visiting professor found that oil companies ramp up advertising campaigns when they face negative media coverage or new regulations.

Instagram's virtual features have real relationship benefits
Young adults say that Instagram helps them develop friendships in real life, especially those who are more hesitant to try new experiences, according to a recent study by Washington State University researchers.

Possible strategy for cancer treatment found in nuclear transport proteins
The nuclear import of proteins befalls through nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) and normally requires specific transport proteins.

New discovery about harmful particles: 'A fundamental shortcoming in air pollution models'
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have discovered a surprising phenomenon in a process by which certain gas molecules produce harmful particles.

Even resilient common species are not immune to environmental crisis
A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore has found that the effective population size and genetic diversity of Singapore's Cynopterus brachyotis, believed to remain widely unaffected by urbanisation, has shrunk significantly over the last 90 years - revealing that the current biodiversity crisis may be much broader than widely assumed, affecting even species thought to be common and tolerant of fragmentation and habitat loss.

Malaria under arrest: New drug target prevents deadly transmission
Australian researchers have found a new drug target for stopping the spread of malaria, after successfully blocking the world's deadliest malaria parasite -- Plasmodium falciparum -- from completing the 'transmission stage' of its lifecycle.

Mass General team detects Alzheimer's early using electronic health records
A team of scientists has developed a software-based method of scanning electronic health records to estimate the risk that a person will receive a dementia diagnosis.

Suboptimal diet and cardiometabolic disease healthcare costs in the US
Approximately $50 billion dollars of the annual healthcare cost of cardiometabolic disease in the US population could be associated with poor diet, according to a research article published this week in the open access journal PLOS Medicine.

Genetic test could aid quest to reveal causes of rare diseases
The causes of rare diseases could be uncovered using an approach created to identify genetic mutations that trigger a muscle-wasting condition, a study suggests.

Carbon cocoons surround growing galaxies far beyond previous beliefs
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) in Chile.

Protein injections in medicine
One day, medical compounds could be introduced into cells with the help of bacterial toxins.

'Locally grown' broccoli looks, tastes better to consumers
In tests, consumers in upstate New York were willing to pay more for broccoli grown in New York when they knew where it came from, Cornell University researchers found.

'I will do my very best!' Children who engage in positive self-talk about effort can boost their math achievement
Children who think poorly of themselves often underachieve in school.

NREL, Co-Optima research yields potential bioblendstock for diesel fuel
The NREL scientists, along with colleagues at Yale University, Argonne National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are part of the Department of Energy's Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative.

Compound in green tea plant shows potential for fighting TB, finds NTU-led research team
An antioxidant found in the green tea plant could become key to tackling tuberculosis one day, a team of international scientists led by NTU Singapore has found.

New animal model shows effective treatment for latent tuberculosis
A major goal of tuberculosis (TB) research is to find a way to treat people with the latent (or inactive) form of the disease to keep them from developing symptomatic TB.

Changes in the immune system explain why belly fat is bad for thinking
Iowa State researchers have found for the first time that less muscle and more body fat may affect how flexible our thinking gets as we become older, and changes in parts of the immune system could be responsible.

There is no 'I' in team -- or is there?
There is no 'I' in 'team -- as the saying goes.

Dense breast notifications are having little impact
Dense Breast Notifications (DBNs) are having little impact.

Newly discovered retinal structure may enhance vision for some birds
A newly discovered retinal structure in the eyes of certain kinds of songbirds might help the animals find and track insect prey more easily.

Filtered coffee helps prevent type 2 diabetes, show biomarkers in blood samples
Coffee can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes -- but only filtered coffee, rather than boiled coffee.

Consider marine life when implementing offshore renewable power
With countries adopting green energy practices, renewable energy now accounts for a third of the world's power.

New tool reveals DNA structures that influence disease
Disruption of certain DNA structures -- called topologically associating domains, or TADs -- is linked with the development of disease, including some cancers.

How cells get moving
Researchers identify proteins essential to the motility structure of the archaea.

Archaeologists find Bronze Age tombs lined with gold
Archaeologists with the University of Cincinnati have discovered two Bronze Age tombs containing a trove of engraved jewelry and artifacts that promise to unlock secrets about life in ancient Greece.

Healthy diet could save $50 billion in health care costs
Investigators analyzed the impact of 10 dietary factors -- including consumption of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, processed meats and more -- and estimated the annual CMD costs of suboptimal diet habits.

Women who live near green space are less likely to be overweight or obese
Women who live less than 300 metres from green space may be at lower risk of excess weight or obesity.

Good aerobic fitness doesn't protect children against type 2 diabetes, staying active does
Good aerobic fitness does not protect children against obesity-induced insulin resistance, which is a key risk factor of type 2 diabetes, a new study from Finland shows.

Long-acting contraception has proven highly effective but is restricted by some hospitals
Long-acting reversible contraceptives like intrauterine implants have greatly reduced unintended pregnancies and abortions, but government protections allowing religious hospitals to restrict care are limiting access to health care consumers, according to an expert at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. 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