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Brightsurf Science News and Current Events

Science current events and breaking science news on health, climate change, nanotechnology, the environment, stem cells, global warming, cancer research, physics, biology, computer science, astronomy, endangered species and alternative energy.

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Fifteen new genes identified that shape our face

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:07:50 -0800

Researchers from KU Leuven (Belgium) and the universities of Pittsburgh, Stanford, and Penn State (US) have identified fifteen genes that determine our facial features. The findings were published in Nature Genetics.

Global grazing lands increasingly vulnerable to a changing climate

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:08:00 -0800

A new study shows precipitation variability has increased significantly on 49 percent of the world's grazing lands.

Electrical implant reduces 'invisible' symptoms of man's spinal cord injury

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:08:10 -0800

An experimental treatment that sends electrical currents through the spinal cord has improved 'invisible' yet debilitating side effects for a Canadian man with a spinal cord injury.

Farming crops with rocks to reduce CO2 and improve global food security

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:08:20 -0800

Farming crops with crushed rocks could help to improve global food security and reduce the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere, a new study has found.

Association of risk of death and cigar, pipe and cigarette use

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:08:30 -0800

Contemporary population estimates suggest that like cigarette-only smokers, current cigar-only and pipe-only smokers have a higher risk of dying from cancers known to be caused by tobacco, and cigarette and cigar smokers have a higher risk of death from any cause compared with people who never used tobacco.

Duplicate genes help animals resolve sexual conflict

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:08:40 -0800

Duplicate copies of a gene shared by male and female fruit flies have evolved to resolve competing demands between the sexes. New genetic analysis by researchers at the University of Chicago describes how these copies have evolved separate male- and female-specific functions that are crucial to reproduction and fertility.

Pattern formation: The paradoxical role of turbulence

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:08:50 -0800

The formation of self-organizing molecular patterns in cells is a critical component of many biological processes. Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have proposed a new theory to explain how such patterns emerge in complex natural systems.

College roommates underestimate each other's distress, new psychology research shows

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:07:40 -0800

College roommates are sensitive to their roommates' distress but tend to underestimate the level of distress being experienced by others.

An enzyme's evolution from changing electric fields and resisting antibiotics

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:07:20 -0800

Bacteria can produce enzymes that make them resistant to antibiotics; one example is the TEM beta-lactamase enzyme, which enables bacteria to develop a resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, such as penicillin and cephalosporins. Researchers at Stanford University are studying this area -- how an enzyme changes and becomes antibiotic-resistant -- and will present their work during the Biophysical Society's 62nd Meeting, held Feb. 17-21, 2018.

Electric eel-inspired device reaches 110 volts

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:07:30 -0800

In an effort to create a power source for future implantable technologies, a team of researchers developed an electric eel-inspired device that produced 110 volts from gels filled with water, called hydrogels. Their results show potential for a soft power source to draw on a biological system's chemical energy. Anirvan Guha will present the research during the 62nd Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, Feb. 17-21.

TB vaccine trial results offer potential for BCG Revaccination, hope for subunit vaccines

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:07:10 -0800

Aeras, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing vaccines against tuberculosis (TB), today announced results from an innovative clinical trial that provides encouraging new evidence that TB vaccines could prevent sustained infections in high-risk adolescents. In a prevention-of-infection Phase 2 trial conducted in South Africa, revaccination with the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine significantly reduced sustained TB infections in adolescents. An experimental vaccine candidate, H4:IC31, also reduced sustained infections, although not at statistically significant levels.

Calcium may play a role in the development of Parkinson's disease

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:07:00 -0800

Researchers have found that excess levels of calcium in brain cells may lead to the formation of toxic clusters that are the hallmark of Parkinson's disease.

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:06:30 -0800

With their insensitivity to decoherence what are known as Majorana particles could become stable building blocks of a quantum computer. The problem is that they only occur under very special circumstances. Now researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have succeeded in manufacturing a component that is able to host the sought-after particles.

Lack of guidance may delay a child's first trip to the dentist

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:06:40 -0800

Without a doctor or dentist's guidance, some parents don't follow national recommendations for early dental care for their children, a new national poll finds.

How companies can restore trust after CEO misconduct

Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:06:50 -0800

A new study published today in the Journal of Trust Research reveals how boards of directors can proactively address CEO misconduct to increase public trust towards an organization.

Blood and urine tests developed to indicate autism in children

Sun, 18 Feb 18 00:06:20 -0800

New tests which can indicate autism in children have been developed by researchers at the University of Warwick. The academic team who conducted the international research believe that their new blood and urine tests which search for damage to proteins are the first of their kind.

Why bees soared and slime flopped as inspirations for systems engineering

Sun, 18 Feb 18 00:06:10 -0800

Honeybees gathering nectar inspired an algorithm that eased the burden of host servers handling unpredictable traffic by about 25 percent. Nature can inspire some great engineering, but it can also lead to some flops. Take slime mold: Standard algorithms beat it hands down to model connectivity. AAAS annual meeting presentation by systems researcher Craig Tovey.

The new bioenergy research center: building on ten years of success

Sun, 18 Feb 18 00:06:00 -0800

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently embarked on a new mission: to develop sustainable alternatives to transportation fuels and products currently derived from petroleum.

Using mutant bacteria to study how changes in membrane proteins affect cell functions

Sun, 18 Feb 18 00:05:20 -0800

Phospholipids are water insoluble

Ras protein's role in spreading cancer

Sun, 18 Feb 18 00:05:30 -0800

Protein systems make up the complex signaling pathways that control whether a cell divides or, in some cases, metastasizes. Ras proteins have long been the focus of cancer research because of their role as 'on/off switch' signaling pathways that control cell division and failure to die like healthy cells do. Now, a team of researchers has been able to study precisely how Ras proteins interact with cell membrane surfaces.

What makes circadian clocks tick?

Sun, 18 Feb 18 00:05:40 -0800

Circadian clocks arose as an adaptation to dramatic swings in daylight hours and temperature caused by the Earth's rotation, but we still don't fully understand how they work. During the 62nd Biophysical Society Meeting, held Feb. 17-21, Andy LiWang, University of California, Merced, will present his lab's work studying the circadian clock of blue-green colored cyanobacteria. LiWang's group discovered that how the proteins move hour by hour is central to cyanobacteria's circadian clock function.

Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells

Sun, 18 Feb 18 00:05:50 -0800

Cell division is an intricately choreographed ballet of proteins and molecules that divide the cell. During mitosis, microtubule-organizing centers assemble the spindle fibers that separate the copying chromosomes of DNA. While scientists are familiar with MTOCs' existence and the role they play in cell division, their actual physical structure remains poorly understood. Researchers are now trying to decipher their molecular architecture, and they will present their work during the 62nd Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, held Feb. 17-21.

New study sheds light on illegal global trade of pangolins

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:05:10 -0800

Animal traffickers are taking advantage of remote ivory trade routes to smuggle pangolins -- one of the world's most endangered animals -- out of Central Africa, a new study has found.

To sleep, perchance to forget

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:05:00 -0800

People and other animals sicken and die if they are deprived of sleep, but why is sleep so essential? Psychiatrists Chiara Cirelli and Giulio Tononi proposed the 'synaptic homeostasis hypothesis' (SHY) in 2003. This hypothesis holds that sleep is the price we pay for brains that are plastic and able to keep learning new things. A few years ago, they started research that could show direct evidence for their theory. The result offers visual proof of SHY.

Personalized curriculum captures students' imagination, interest

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:04:40 -0800

Focusing on their personal DNA and genealogies, middle school students appear to have learned as much as their peers who used case studies, according to a Penn State researcher.

Understanding roots opens students to science, diversity

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:04:50 -0800

Focusing science education on students through genetic and genealogical studies may be the way to increase minorities in the pipeline and engage students who would otherwise deem science too hard or too uninteresting, according to a Penn State anthropologist.

Asteroid 'time capsules' may help explain how life started on Earth

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:04:30 -0800

In popular culture, asteroids play the role of apocalyptic threat, get blamed for wiping out the dinosaurs -- and offer an extraterrestrial source for mineral mining. But for Georgia Tech researcher Nicholas Hud, asteroids play an entirely different role: that of time capsules showing what molecules originally existed in our solar system. Having that information gives scientists the starting point they need to reconstruct the complex pathway that got life started on Earth.

Newborn babies who suffered stroke regain language function in opposite side of brain

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:04:20 -0800

A stroke in a baby -- even a big one -- does not have the same lasting impact as a stroke in an adult. A study led by Georgetown University Medical Center investigators found that a decade or two after a 'perinatal' stroke damaged the left 'language' side of the brain, affected teenagers and young adults used the right sides of their brain for language.

Japanese researchers develop ultrathin, highly elastic skin display

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:04:00 -0800

A new ultrathin, elastic display that fits snugly on the skin can show the moving waveform of an electrocardiogram recorded by a breathable, on-skin electrode sensor. Combined with a wireless communication module, this integrated biomedical sensor system -- called 'skin electronics' -- can transmit biometric data to the cloud.

Stretchable electronics a 'game changer' for stroke recovery treatment

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:04:10 -0800

A first-of-its-kind sensor that sticks to the throat and measures speech and swallowing patterns could be a game-changer in the field of stroke rehabilitation.

Research team uncovers hidden details in Picasso Blue Period painting

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:03:40 -0800

A partnership of the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Art has used multiple modes of light to uncover details hidden beneath the visible surface of Pablo Picasso's painting 'La Miséreuse accroupie', a major work from the artist's Blue Period. The researchers found images connected to other works by Picasso as well as a landscape -- likely by another Barcelona painter -- underneath Picasso's painting.

Unprecedented study of Picasso's bronzes uncovers new details

Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:03:50 -0800

Musee national Picasso-Paris and the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts have completed the first major material survey and study of the Musee national Picasso-Paris' Pablo Picasso bronzes using portable instruments. The international research team of scientists, art conservators and curators used the instruments and a database of alloy 'fingerprints' to non-invasively analyze a group of 39 bronzes and 11 painted sheet metal sculptures, revealing new details about the modern master's art.

Scientists shed light on biological roots of individuality

Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:03:30 -0800

A new study illuminates the biology that guides behavior across different stages of life in worms, and suggests how variations in specific neuromodulators in the developing nervous system may lead to occasional variations.

At AAAS: Reducing bird-related tragedy through understanding bird behavior
Bird-human actions can end in tragedy -- for bird as well as human. William