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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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NIH scientists and collaborators find prion protein in skin of CJD patients

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:04:20 -0800

NIAID scientists and collaborators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have detected abnormal prion protein in the skin of several people who died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The scientists also exposed healthy mice to skin extracts from two CJD patients, and all developed prion disease. The study results raise questions about the possible transmissibility of prion diseases via medical procedures involving skin, and whether skin samples might be used to detect prion disease.



Tiny robots step closer to treating hard-to-reach parts of the body

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:04:30 -0800

Tiny robots could be developed to diagnose illness and deliver treatments in hard-to-reach parts of the human body.



A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:04:40 -0800

Oftentimes, kids with congenital heart defects only have heart failure on one side of their heart. That's why Boston Children's Hospital researchers and collaborators have developed a soft robotic system that can provide isolated support to the right or left ventricle. The proof-of-concept device was reported in Science Robotics today.



Bowhead whales come to Cumberland Sound in Nunavut to exfoliate

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:04:50 -0800

Aerial drone footage of bowhead whales in Canada's Arctic has revealed that the large mammals molt and use rocks to rub off dead skin.



Artificial lights increasing 'loss of night,' especially in some nations

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:05:00 -0800

In a long-term, high-resolution global analysis of night light emissions, researchers report that the artificially lit surface of our planet is still growing -- in both size and brightness -- in most countries. In fewer countries has it stayed stable or declined, they say.



Getting under the skin of prion disorders

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:05:10 -0800

Infectious prion proteins -- the causative agents of the fatal neurodegenerative disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease -- can be detected in the skin of afflicted individuals, researchers now report.



Researchers find infectious prions in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patient skin

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:05:20 -0800

In a Science Translational Medicine study published today, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researchers found that CJD patients also harbor infectious prions in their skin, albeit at lower levels.



EU trade ban brings down global trade in wild birds by 90 percent

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:05:30 -0800

Trade of wild birds has dropped 90 percent globally since EU banned bird imports in 2005. A new study in Science Advances demonstrates how it decreased the number of birds traded annually from 1.3 million to 130,000. International trade of wild birds is a root cause of exotic birds spreading worldwide. The study was led by Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen and CIBIO-InBIO Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, University of Porto.



New approach to tracking how deadly 'superbugs' travel could slow their spread

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:05:40 -0800

Using a real-world outbreak as a test case, a team combined patient-transfer data and whole-genome sequencing to identify hotspots for transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.



Research points to diagnostic test for top cause of liver transplant in kids

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:05:50 -0800

Biliary atresia is the most common cause of liver transplants for children in the United States. Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine finding a strong biomarker candidate that could be used for earlier diagnosis and lifesaving treatments that could avoid more invasive procedures like liver transplant. A research team led by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center identified molecular markers of the disease in blood samples that accurately diagnosed the condition with greater than 90 percent sensitivity.



By saving cost and energy, the lighting revolution may increase light pollution

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:06:00 -0800

Municipalities, enterprises, and households are switching to LED lights in order to save energy. But these savings might be lost if their neighbors install new or brighter lamps. Scientists fear that this 'rebound effect' might partially or totally cancel out the savings of individual lighting retrofit projects, and make skies over cities considerably brighter.



Camponotini ant species have their own distinct microbiomes

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:06:10 -0800

Camponotini ant species have their own distinct microbiomes and the bacteria may also vary by developmental stage, according to a study published Nov. 22, 2017, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Manuela Oliveira Ramalho from the Universidade Estadual Paulista 'Júlio de Mesquita Filho,' Brazil, and colleagues.



Molting bowhead whales likely rub on rocks to facilitate sloughing off skin

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:06:20 -0800

Bowhead whales molt and rub on large rocks -- likely facilitating exfoliation -- in coastal waters in the eastern Canadian Arctic during late summer, according to a study published Nov. 22, 2017, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sarah Fortune from University of British Columbia, Canada, and colleagues.



One-size treatment for blood cancer probably doesn't fit all, USC researchers say

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:06:30 -0800

Though African-American men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with a blood cancer called multiple myeloma, most scientific research on the disease has been based on people of European descent. That trend is problematic considering that African-Americans -- the most at-risk population for multiple myeloma -- have different genetics that can affect how this type of cancer progresses and what kind of targeted therapies are most effective.



UVA aims to help patients with cancer make complex care decisions

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:04:10 -0800

UVA is developing a tool to help patients with prostate cancer better understand the potential risks and rewards of their treatment options. The tool could help patients with other forms of cancer as well.



Ribbed mussels could help improve urban water quality

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:02:00 -0800

Ribbed mussels can remove nitrogen and other excess nutrients from an urban estuary and could help improve water quality in other urban and coastal locations, according to a study in New York City's Bronx River. The findings, published in Environmental Science and Technology, are part of long-term efforts to improve water quality in the Bronx River Estuary.



Reducing phosphorus runoff

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:02:10 -0800

Researchers test a variety of incentives to learn how best to motivate farmers to curb phosphorus runoff.



Engineers model the California reservoir network

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:02:20 -0800

An empirical model of 55 of California's major reservoirs reveals how they respond to shifting drought conditions and to one another.



Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:02:30 -0800

Researchers find that lightning strikes causes photonuclear reactions in the atmosphere, creating antimatter.



Surprising roles for muscle in tissue regeneration, study finds

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:02:40 -0800

A team of researchers at Whitehead has illuminated an important role for different subtypes of muscle cells in orchestrating the process of tissue regeneration. Notably, in the absence of these muscles, regeneration fails to proceed.



IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:02:50 -0800

For the first time, a science experiment has measured Earth's ability to absorb neutrinos -- the smaller-than-an-atom particles that zoom throughout space and through us by the trillions every second at nearly the speed of light. The experiment was achieved with the IceCube detector, an array of 5,160 basketball-sized sensors frozen deep within a cubic kilometer of very clear ice near the South Pole.



Encouraging oxygen's assault on iron may offer new way to kill lung cancer cells

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:03:00 -0800

Blocking the action of a key protein frees oxygen to damage iron-dependent proteins in lung and breast cancer cells, making them easier to kill.



How the Earth stops high-energy neutrinos in their tracks

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:03:10 -0800

In an analysis of data from an experiment embedded in Antarctic ice, a research collaboration including scientists from Berkeley Lab has demonstrated that the Earth stops high-energy neutrinos -- particles that only very rarely interact with matter.



Mysterious deep-Earth seismic signature explained

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:03:20 -0800

New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside the Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. Published in Nature, the findings could have far-reaching implications on our understanding of Earth's geologic history, including life-altering events such as the Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred 2.4 billion years ago.



Icebound detector reveals how ghostly neutrinos are stopped cold

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:03:30 -0800

Famously, neutrinos, the nearly massless particles that are a fundamental component of the universe, can zip through a million miles of lead without skipping a beat. Now, in a critical measurement that may one day help predict new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics -- the model that seeks to explain the fundamental forces of the universe -- an international team of researchers with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory has shown how energized neutrinos can be stopped cold as they pass through the Earth.



Quantum internet goes hybrid

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:03:40 -0800

ICFO researchers report the first demonstration of an elementary link of a hybrid quantum information network, using a cold atomic cloud and a doped crystal as quantum nodes as well as single telecom photons as information carriers. The study, published in Nature, demonstrates the communication and transmission of quantum information between two completely different types of quantum nodes placed in different labs.



Nanosponges show promise for potentially blinding eye infections

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:03:50 -0800

In a new study, researchers demonstrate using a mouse model that engineered nanosponges can be used to protect eyes from infections caused by Enterococcus faecalis. Enterococcus faecalis contain a toxin called cytolysin, which is found in roughly 50 percent of isolates that cause post-operative intraocular infections seen in the United States.



Meningococcal vaccine could protect against 91 percent of targeted bacterial strains

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:04:00 -0800

Up to 91 percent of bacterial strains causing a common type of invasive serogroup B meningococcal disease in children and young adults are likely to be covered by a four-component vaccine called MenB-4C (Bexsero), according to laboratory studies conducted by investigators at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and at GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of the vaccine. The work was published this week in mSphere, an open-access journal from the American Society for Microbiology.



The genome of Leishmania reveals how this parasite adapts to environmental changes

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:01:50 -0800

Scientists demonstrate that Leishmania adaptation results from frequent and reversible chromosomal amplifications. This novel insight into Leishmania genomic instability should pave the way for the identification of parasite drug resistance mechanisms and help discover biomarkers.



Metabolites altered in chronic kidney disease
A new study that included researchers from Norway, the University of Washington, the University of California San Diego and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (now called UT Health San Antonio