Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (2010)

Science news and science current events archive 2010.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 2010

Teenagers are more sedentary on weekends
The new school year has started and the school routine is back. A European study led by Spanish researchers has shown how the proportion of young people who watch television and play on the computer for more than two hours per day doubles on the weekend. And while boys opt for video games, teenage girls prefer to surf the net.

Manchester team wins $1.9 million grant for 'cell control' study
A team investigating how genes respond to hormonal changes and inflammation has been awarded a Wellcome Trust grant of $1.9 million for a five-year study.

10 years of Soufriere Hills Volcano research published
The Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat erupted in 1995, and an international team of researchers has studied this volcano from land and sea since then to understand the workings of andesite volcanos more completely.

Fighter pilots' brains are 'more sensitive'
Cognitive tests and MRI scans have shown significant differences in the brains of fighter pilots when compared to a control group, according to a new study led by scientists from UCL.

Gene network reveals link between fats and heart disease signs
A gene network behind hardening of the arteries and coronary heart disease has been identified by a team of scientists from Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom. Their findings expose potential targets for the treatment of heart disease.

Lessons from 9/11: Psychiatrists are indispensible in first-response teams
Psychiatrists should be included in disaster first-response teams because survivors have immediate need for help in alleviating early trauma symptoms ranging from sleeplessness to constant anxiety, says a new study of 9/11 survivors and victims' family members published today in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

Women fight the effects of chemotherapy long after treatment ends
For some women, the effects of breast cancer, the most common cancer affecting women, do not end when they leave the hospital. Now, researchers in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions have studied the lives of breast cancer patients following chemotherapy and found that their environments and available support systems help determine the quality of their lives.

University of Arizona Superfund Research Program receives $14 million
Metal-laden dust and contaminated water, and their health effects, will be the focus of multiple projects for the University of Arizona's Superfund Research Program during the next five years. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences recently notified UA that the Superfund Research Program, funded since 1989, will receive an additional $14 million in grant funding through 2015 to conduct the research.

Stealthy leads to healthy in effort to improve diet, Stanford study shows
How do you get college students to eat better? A new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine suggests that a

Despite the guidelines, lower blood pressure might be unhealthy for kidney patients
Recent guidelines by the National Kidney Foundation Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (NKF KDOQI) call for lower target blood pressure levels in patients with chronic kidney disease. But in the absence of high-quality scientific evidence, there's a chance this recommendation could do more harm than good, according to a special article appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Breast cancer cells regulate multiple genes in response to estrogen-like compounds
Cancer researchers have discovered a previously unknown type of gene regulation and DNA behavior in breast cancer cells that may lead to better insight about environmental exposure to estrogen-like compounds. The study provides the first evidence that cells can regulate many genes at once by looping their DNA, and that this can contribute to cancer when it goes awry.

Even highly qualified women in academic medicine paid less than equally qualified men
Women conducting research in the life sciences continue to receive lower levels of compensation than their male counterparts, even at the upper levels of academic and professional accomplishment.

December 2010 Lithosphere highlights
The December 2010 Lithosphere analyzes tectonic histories across the Llano Uplift, Texas; activity along the ~85-mile-long Kern Canyon fault, southern Sierra Nevada; deformed mantle materials in the Twin Sisters ultramafic body of Washington State; a giant granitic intrusion called the Sahwave Intrusive Suite near Reno, Nevada; the Socorro Magma Body, New Mexico; gravity anomalies on and offshore of the Antarctic continent; and the shallow upper mantle stratification of the

University of Illinois receives $1.2 million grant to accelerate feedstocks research
A $1.2 million US Department of Energy grant will help University of Illinois researchers accelerate genetic breeding programs to create plants better suited for bioenergy production.

Researchers cut years from drug development with nanoscopic bead technology
New research accepted by the Journal of Molecular Recognition confirms that a revolutionary technology developed at Wake Forest University will slash years off the time it takes to develop drugs -- bringing vital new treatments to patients much more quickly.

Molecular study could push back angiosperm origins
Flowering plants may be considerably older than previously thought, says a new analysis of the plant family tree. Previous studies suggest that flowering plants, or angiosperms, first arose 140 to 190 million years ago. Now, a paper to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences pushes back the age of angiosperms to 215 million years ago, some 25 to 75 million years earlier than either the fossil record or previous molecular studies suggest.

MIT researchers build first germanium laser
MIT researchers have demonstrated the first laser built from germanium that can emit wavelengths of light useful for optical communications. It's also the first germanium laser to operate at room temperature. Unlike the materials typically used in lasers, germanium is easy to incorporate into existing processes for manufacturing silicon chips. So the result could prove an important step toward computers that move data -- and maybe even perform calculations -- using light instead of electricity.

Belief in a caring god improves response to medical treatment for depression
In patients diagnosed with clinical depression, belief in a concerned god can improve response to medical treatment, according to a paper in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Powe Award supports development of nanocomposites to monitor wind turbine blade structure
Wind turbine blades enjoy a steady wind but can be damaged by gust-induced vibrations. The researcher proposes to create tiny sensor patches that can be selectively placed in key locations where it is anticipated that damage will start. The patches are made of the same base material as the blade but sprinkled with carbon nanotubes, resulting in a nanocomposite sensor which adds negligible weight to the structure.

Traumatized trees: Bug them enough, they get fired up
Whether forests are dying back, or just drying out, projections for warming show the Pacific Northwest is primed for more wildfires. Fuels built up after a century of rushing to suppress fires have long been pointed to as the reason, but starting in the early 1990s climate appears to have become a contributing factor.

Conference seeks sweeping changes to global agriculture
Up to 1,000 World Food Prize Laureates, ministers, farmers, community development organizations, leading scientists and innovators will gather in Montpellier, France, from March 28-31, 2010 for the first ever Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

Making the invisible visible
The Large Binocular Telescope partners in Germany, the US and Italy are pleased to announce that the first of two new innovative near-infrared cameras/spectrographs for the LBT is now available to astronomers for scientific observations at the telescope on Mt. Graham in southeastern Arizona. After more than a decade of design, manufacturing and testing, the new instrument, dubbed LUCIFER 1, provides a powerful tool to gain spectacular insights into the universe.

Hopkins faculty lead development of report to FDA on ethical, scientific issues related to 'post-market' clinical trials
Amid growing concerns about clinical trials for drugs that have been approved by the FDA but are later linked to serious health risks, an independent committee at the Institute of Medicine led by two professors from Johns Hopkins University has developed a conceptual framework to guide the agency through the tough decision of ordering such controversial

Government of Canada invests in research to help prevent violence
Three new regional research centers that will study violence and ways to prevent it will receive almost $6 million over five years from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, made the announcement today at a national roundtable that brought together leading Canadian researchers on violence, gender and health research.

Geometry affects drift and diffusion across entropic barriers
Understanding particle diffusion in the presence of constrictions is essential in fields as diverse as drug delivery, cellular biology, nanotechnology, materials engineering, and spread of pollutants in the soil. When a driving force is applied, displacement of particles occurs as well as diffusion. A paper in the Journal of Chemical Physics, published by the American Institute of Physics, quantifies the effects of periodic constrictions on drift and diffusion in systems experiencing a driving force.

Country economy is a stronger predictor of therapy initiation
There is significant disparity between

Muscle filaments make mechanical strain visible
Plastics manufacturers face a serious hurdle in their quest for new developments: Substantial influences of the microscopic material structure on mechanical material properties cannot be observed directly. Synthetic polymer molecules are too small for microscopic observation in mechanical experiments. A team of physicists led by professor Andreas Bausch of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen has now developed a method that allows just these kinds of measurements. They present their results in Nature Communications.

ACR statement on airport full-body scanners and radiation
Amid concerns regarding terrorists targeting airliners using weapons less detectable by traditional means, the Transportation Security Administration is ramping up deployment of whole body scanners at security checkpoints in US airports. These systems produce anatomically accurate images of the body and can detect objects and substances concealed by clothing.

Population report: More Jews live in the US than in Israel
A new report called Jewish Population in the United States-2010 published by researchers from the University of Miami and the University of Connecticut shows a greater number of Jews in the US than in Israel. The report includes new Internet-based estimates of small Jewish communities that had not been included in previous reports.

George to receive GSA's 2010 Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award
The Gerontological Society of America -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen Linda George, Ph.D., of Duke University as the 2010 recipient of the Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award.

Mount Sinai researchers find potential therapeutic target across a range of cancer types
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in collaboration with investigators of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research of France led by Nicolae Ghinea, Ph.D., have found a common link among several malignant tumor types in all grades of cancer. This breakthrough may ultimately provide a new diagnostic or therapeutic target to detect cancer early or stop tumor growth. The study is published in the Oct. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Poor breast cancer prognosis associated with presence of circulating tumor, cancer stem cells
Metastatic breast cancer patients whose blood contains circulating tumor cells before or after treatment with high-dose chemotherapy and blood stem cell transplant have shorter survival periods, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

High risk of acute mountain sickness on Mount Kilimanjaro
Climbers of high peaks such as Mount Kilimanjaro are at high risk for acute mountain sickness, or AMS. Trekkers should not ignore AMS warning signs, which can progress to more serious medical outcomes. Mountain climbers can best minimize their risk for altitude sickness by becoming acclimatized to increased altitudes before an ascent, according to a study in the current issue of High Altitude Medicine & Biology.

Why is breast milk best? It's all in the genes
The ability to track which genes are operating in an infant's intestine has allowed University of Illinois scientists to compare the early development of breast-fed and formula-fed babies. For the first time, researchers can see that breast milk induces genetic pathways that are quite different from those in formula-fed infants.

UofL public health research could impact environmental policy decisions
University of Louisville Public Health doctoral student Caroline Chan is working to create scientific tools to help environmental policy decision makers evaluate and modify mercury emission regulations. This could ultimately help minimize mercury contamination in the food web.

Professional sports persons should drink more water
Top sports persons must always perform to their maximum capacity, making them the most vulnerable to the effects of dehydration. Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the Universidad de Castilla la Mancha reveals that 91 percent of professional basketball, volleyball, handball and football players are dehydrated when they begin their training sessions.

Interviews bring genetics to life in new book
A new book,

University of Minnesota scientist finds that big plant seeds don't always beat out small seeds
University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences researcher Helene Muller-Landau has developed a new theory explaining why some plant species produce a small number of large seeds while others produce a large number of small seeds.

Diabetes patients admitted for acute exacerbations of COPD have longer hospital stay
A new study in the journal Respirology reveals that patients with diabetes who are hospitalized with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease experience longer time in the hospital and are also at an increased risk of death, compared to those without diabetes.

Scientists find gene linked to alcoholism
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have discovered a gene variant that may protect against alcoholism.

Study: New risk score tool more accurately predicts patients' risk for cardiac disease and death
By combining patients' Framingham Risk Score with new Intermountain Risk Score, researchers found that they were 30 percent more likely to correctly determine a woman's risk, and 57 percent more likely to determine a man's risk for a cardiovascular problem or death within 30 days of an angiography.

Giving birth many times linked to increased risk of heart disease
Palestinian women frequently give birth many times. This has given researchers in the oPt a unique opportunity to study the effects of numbers of births per woman (parity) on risk of coronary heart disease, since previous studies have lacked high numbers of women giving birth more than six times.

What can country of birth tell us about childhood asthma?
Researchers from Tufts pooled data from five epidemiological studies to investigate the prevalence of asthma in children in two Boston neighborhoods. Among children born in the United States, low socioeconomic status and exposure to mice and cockroaches were both associated with increased risk of asthma. Neither association was present in children born outside of the US.

Researchers use X-ray diffraction microscope to reveal 3-D internal structure of whole cell
3-D imaging is dramatically expanding our ability to examine biological specimens enabling a peek into internal structures. Recent advance in X-ray diffraction method has greatly extended the limit of this approach. Method can be applied to organelles, viruses and cells and could impact treatment of human diseases.

Scripps Research scientist uncovers switch controlling protein production
A scientist from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute has discovered a molecular switch that controls the synthesis of ribosomes. Ribosomes are the large machineries inside all living cells that produce proteins, the basic working units of any cell. These new findings offer a novel target for potential treatments for a range of diseases, including cancer.

Regional hyperthermia combined with chemotherapy could improve survival in sarcoma patients
Treating high-risk sarcoma with hyperthermia, by applying regional heat, alongside chemotherapy could improve the chances of survival, concludes an article published online first in the Lancet Oncology.

Pilot study supports adolescent diabetes patients through personalized text messages
Jennifer Dyer, M.D., M.P.H., an endocrinologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital, has developed and completed a pilot study that uses weekly, customized text messages to remind adolescent diabetes patients about their personal treatment activities. At the conclusion of the study, Dr. Dyer found an increase in overall treatment adherence and improved blood glucose levels.

Older adults watch more TV than younger people, enjoy it less
We usually scold our children and teenagers for watching too much TV. It turns out that their grandmas and grandpas spend even more of their time watching TV, and it is not good for them either, according to researchers at the Stein Institute for Research on Aging and Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

URI professor warns: TV viewing likely to make you fear sickness
Watching television and its heavy dose of medical content in news and drama can lead to more concern about personal health and reduce a person's satisfaction with life according to a new study out of the University of Rhode Island.

New research findings may help stop age-related macular degeneration at the molecular level
Researchers at University College London say they have gleaned a key insight into the molecular beginnings of age-related macular degeneration, the No. 1 cause of vision loss in the elderly, by determining how two key proteins interact to naturally prevent the onset of the condition. 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