Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (November 2015)

Science news and science current events archive November, 2015.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from November 2015

Half the world's natural history specimens may have the wrong name
As many as 50 percent of all natural history specimens held in the world's museums could be wrongly named, according to a new study by researchers from Oxford University and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The 'Speck'-ter haunting New York tomato fields
BTI Professor Greg Martin has discovered a gene region in a wild tomato species that protects against an increasingly problematic type of tomato disease called bacterial speck. He will test out this gene region in cultivated tomatoes in the BTI tomato field, which was recently overrun with speck.

Photons on a chip set new paths for secure communications
Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne have helped crack the code to ultra-secure telecommunications of the future in an international research project that could also expedite the advent of quantum computing.

Computer assisted CBT provides little or no benefits for depression
Computer assisted cognitive behavioral therapy is likely to be ineffective in the treatment of depression because of low patient adherence and engagement, suggests the largest study of its kind published in The BMJ this week.

Ranibizumab found effective against diabetic retinopathy
In a randomized clinical trial of more than 300 participants, researchers from Johns Hopkins and elsewhere have found that ranibizumab -- a drug most commonly used to treat retinal swelling in people with diabetes -- is an effective alternative to laser therapy for treating the most severe, potentially blinding form of diabetic retinal disease.

Managed bees spread and intensify diseases in wild bees
Wild pollinators are in decline across many parts of the world. To combat this, managed honey bees and bumblebees are frequently shipped in to provide valuable pollination services to crops. But does this practice pose any risk to the wild bees? A UC Riverside entomologist has examined the evidence by analyzing the large body of research done in this area to come to the conclusion that managed bees are spreading diseases to wild bees.

UH professor wins bronze for research of rare neurological disorder
Michihisa Umetani, assistant professor of biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston's Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling, won a Bronze Prize in the BeHEARD 2015 Science Challenge held by the Rare Genomics Institute. Umetani will receive technical services valued at $5,000 from the Neuron-Genetics Institute to further his research into hereditary spastic paraplegia type 5A, a human neurological disorder that results in lower extremity spasticity and weakness.

Columbia to lead Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub
Columbia University will lead a $1.25 million NSF-funded project to share data, tools and ideas for tackling some of the big challenges facing the northeastern United States.

Dark matter dominates in nearby dwarf galaxy
A Caltech researcher has measured what could be the highest concentration of dark matter in any known galaxy.

Journal Maturitas Publishes position statement on testosterone replacement therapy in the aging male
Journal Maturitas today announced the publication of a position statement by the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) covering testosterone replacement therapy in the aging male.

'Sorry' doesn't heal children's hurt, but it mends relations
A new study, published this week in the journal Social Development, shows that apologies are important to children who are 6 or 7 years old, an age when they are undergoing dramatic and important changes in cognitive development.

Adapting to -70 degrees in Siberia: A tale of Yakutian horses
From an evolutionary perspective it happened almost overnight. In less than 800 years Yakutian horses adapted to the extremely cold temperatures found in the environments of eastern Siberia. The adaptive process involved changes in the expression of a plethora of genes, including some also selected in human Siberian groups and the extinct woolly mammoth.

'No evidence' that bone-growth agent for spinal fusion increases cancer risk
A new study may alleviate concerns regarding increased cancer risk for patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein. The study appears in Nov. 15 issue of Spine, published by Wolters Kluwer.

Gut microbiota regulates antioxidant metabolism
A recently published study shows that gut microbiota regulates the glutathione and amino acid metabolism of the host. Glutathione is a key antioxidant, found in every cell in our body. Deficiency of glutathione contributes to oxidative stress, which plays a major role in several lifestyle diseases.

Innovative planet-finding technology passes another hurdle
A potentially revolutionary instrument now being developed to first find Earth-like planets in other solar systems and then study their atmospheres to identify chemical signatures of life has just passed another technological hurdle that makes it an even stronger contender for a future astrophysics mission.

Low sugar diet makes foods taste sweeter but does not change preferred level of sweetness
New research from the Monell Center reveals that while foods such as vanilla pudding taste sweeter following three months on a low-sugar diet, the level of sweetness most preferred in foods and beverages does not change. People on the low-sugar diet quickly returned to their previous levels of sugar intake when allowed a diet of their choice. Together, the findings may inform public health efforts to reduce the amount of added sugars that people consume in their diets.

Envy key motivator behind many Facebook posts, but site hurts mental well-being
A new study by Sauder School of Business Professor Izak Benbasat and his collaborators shows that envy is a key motivator behind Facebook posts and that contributes to a decrease in mental well-being among users.

Evaluating science
What works in science and what doesn't and how do we know? As the academic community faces greater scrutiny from external funders as to how and why research or education programs work, the need for external evaluation has never been more apparent.

Taste bud biomarker forecasts better post-surgery results for some sinusitis patients
A simple taste test can identify patients who will have highly successful sinus surgery, researchers from Penn Medicine and the Monell Chemical Senses Center report in this week's International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology.

Personally tailored diabetes care reduces mortality in women but not men
A follow-up study to assess the effects of personally tailored diabetes care in general practice has revealed that such care reduces mortality (both all-cause and diabetes-related), in women, but not men. The study is by Dr. Marlene Krag, The Research Unit for General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues, and is published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Fulbright partners with RMIT for new scholarships
A partnership between the Australian-American Fulbright Commission and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, has created two new scholarships. The Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation is for a US citizen to work at RMIT for 6 months. The new Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship is for an Australian citizen from any academic background to conduct study or research in the US for 10 months.

Study shows white matter damage caused by 'skunk-like' cannabis
Smoking high potency 'skunk-like' cannabis can damage a crucial part of the brain responsible for communication between the two brain hemispheres, according to a new study by scientists from King's College London and Sapienza University of Rome.

Largest ensemble simulation of global weather using real-world data
Using the powerful K computer, scientists have run an enormous global weather simulation. They ran 10,240 simulations of a model of the global atmosphere divided into 112-km sectors, and then used data assimilation and statistical methods to come up with a model closely fitting the real data for a historical time period, between November 1 and November 8, 2011.

Forged in the hearts of stars
Arizona State University professors are studying thermonuclear reaction rates to determine how much of certain elements exploding stars can produce.

Dead-easy test to tackle parasites
Science has a new weapon in the global war against parasitic worms that kill hundreds of thousands or people annually: xWORM. While testing various drugs, parasitologists spend interminable hours staring down microscopes, checking whether the worms are dead or alive after being exposed to the drug. xWORM uses existing lab equipment in a new way to provide fast and accurate wiggle counts.

TSRI team wins $1.8 million to study early events in cancer metastasis
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have been awarded a grant of more than $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute to investigate the molecular machinery involved in metastasis. This basic research could one day point to new approaches to help patients.

Nanotech-based sensor developed to measure microRNAs in blood, speed cancer detection
A simple, ultrasensitive microRNA sensor developed and tested by researchers from the schools of science and medicine at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center holds promise for the design of new diagnostic strategies and, potentially, for the prognosis and treatment of pancreatic and other cancers.

Energy drink increases blood pressure, norepinephrine levels
Anna Svatikova, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues randomly assigned 25 healthy volunteers to consume a can of a commercially available energy drink and placebo drink to determine the effect of energy drink consumption on hemodynamic changes.

Penn scientists reveal 90 percent of skin-based viruses represent viral 'dark matter'
Researchers have used state-of-the-art techniques to survey the skin's virus population, or 'virome.' The study, published in the online journal mBio, reveals that most DNA viruses on healthy human skin are viral 'dark matter' that have never been described before. The research also includes the development of a set of virome analysis tools that are now available to researchers for further investigations.

New study describes how glucose regulation enables malignant tumor growth
A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute identifies a key pathway used by cancer cells to make the lipids by integrating oncogenic signaling, fuel availability and lipid synthesis to support cell division and rapid tumor growth.

Making green fuels, no fossils required
Converting solar or wind into carbon-based 'fossil' fuels might seem anything but green, but when you start with carbon dioxide -- which can be dragged out of the air -- it's as green as it gets. The technology that makes it economically feasible isn't available yet, but a recently published paper presents nice step forward in the effort to not just sequester CO2, but turn it into a useful fuel that is part of a carbon-neutral future.

Injection instead of laser may be viable treatment option for diabetic retinopathy
Among patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy, treatment with an injection in the eye of the drug ranibizumab resulted in visual acuity that was not worse than panretinal photocoagulation at two years, according to a study appearing in JAMA. This study is being released to coincide with its presentation at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.

Brushing up peptides boosts their potential as drugs
Peptides promise to be useful drugs, but they're too easily digested and can't get into cells without help. Chemists at UC San Diego now show that peptides can be protected from digestion and delivered into cells without changing their biological function by rearranging them into dense brushes.

Researchers find link between specific vitamin D levels and heart problems
A new study shows what level of deficiency puts someone at risk of developing these heart problems. Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City have found that patients are fine from a heart standpoint, and may need no further treatment, if their vitamin D level is anywhere above 15 nanograms per milliliter.

Normalizing the levels of MeCP2 in a mouse model of MECP2 duplication syndrome restores neurological
Gene duplications are a common cause of intellectual disabilities and autism as well as various other neurological disorders. In a new study that appears online in the journal Nature, Dr. Huda Zoghbi, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, and director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital, and her team showed that there is a new potential way to treat such disorders.

A new way to look at MOFs
An international collaboration led by Berkeley Lab's Omar Yaghi has developed a technique called 'gas adsorption crystallography' that provides a new way to study the process by which metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are able to store immense volumes of gases such a carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane.

NYU Abu Dhabi's genome sequencing project sheds light on origin of the date palm
NYU Abu Dhabi researchers have developed a map of genetic changes across the genome of date palms. They have also established genetic differences between Middle Eastern and North African date palms, an important discovery that sheds light on that long elusive question.

Cancer cells use secret tunnels to communicate and smuggle cancer signals to their neighbors
A new discovery published in the Nov. 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal shows that cancer cells use previously unknown channels to communicate with one another and with adjacent non-cancerous cells.

Increasing awareness of the deaf experience: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
Since its start in the 1960s, deaf studies has been impacted by the political activism of deaf communities, significant advancements in technologies and medicine, and broadened knowledge in interdisciplinary disciplines such as deaf culture, signed languages and deaf bilingual education. Dedicated to the scholarship of deaf people and deaf communities worldwide, SAGE today announces the launch of the SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia.

New study reveals why and when straight women form close friendships with gay men
Psychology researchers in the University of Texas at Arlington College of Science examine dynamics behind gay-straight friendships in one of the first empirical studies of its kind.

Minority patients less likely to receive analgesic medications for abdominal pain
A new study led by researchers at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at BWH found that minority patients with acute abdominal pain are less likely to receive analgesic medications, compared to their white counterparts. The findings appear in the December issue of Medical Care.

CK5 marks cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer shows that protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), known to be a marker of poor prognosis in breast cancer, also marks ovarian cancers likely to be resistant to the common chemotherapy cisplatin.

FDA-approved drug protects mice from Ebola
A new study suggests that gamma interferon, which is an FDA-approved drug, may have potential as an antiviral therapy to prevent Ebola infection when given either before or after exposure to the virus. The University of Iowa study, published Nov. 12 in the journal PLOS Pathogens, found that gamma interferon, given up to 24 hours after exposure, can inhibit Ebola infection in mice and completely protect the animals from death.

NASA measures India's deadly flooding rains
During the past week extreme rainfall from two slow moving tropical low pressure areas caused severe flooding in southeastern India. One of the lows, designated System 97B continued to linger along the southeastern Indian coast on Nov. 17. As System 97B and another low pressure area dropped heavy rainfall, NASA and partners around the world gathered data using an array of satellites.

Sea urchin spurs new ideas for lightweight materials
Materials researchers love sea creatures. Mother-of-pearl provokes ideas for smooth surfaces, clams inspire gluey substances, shark's skin is used to develop materials that reduce drag in water, and so on. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Chemistry have now found a model for strong, lightweight materials by diving below the sea surface to investigate a sea urchin cousin known as the heart urchin.

UW team refrigerates liquids with a laser for the first time
Since the first laser was invented in 1960, they've always given off heat, either as a useful tool, a byproduct or a fictional way to vanquish intergalactic enemies. University of Washington researchers are the first to solve a decades-old puzzle -- figuring out how to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids.

Feeding at-risk infants gluten increases risk of developing celiac disease
Intake of gluten up until two years of age increases risk of celiac disease at least two-fold in children with genetic risk factors for this disease, according a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

Visual stress could be a symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, research suggests
University of Leicester research team discovers vision-related abnormalities that could help in diagnosis of illness.

Edoxaban: Considerable added benefit for certain patients
Stroke, bleeding and side effects are less common in adults with atrial fibrillation who take edoxaban for prevention. There are no data analyses for other patient groups.

UA researchers capture first photo of planet in making
Capturing sharp images of distant objects is difficult, largely due to atmospheric turbulence, the mixing of hot and cold air. But University of Arizona researchers captured the first photo of a planet in the making, a planet residing in a gap in LkCa15's disk. Of the roughly 2,000 known exoplanets, only about 10 have been imaged -- and long after they had formed, not when they were in the making. Results were published in Nature. 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