Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (2011)

Science news and science current events archive 2011.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from 2011

Strong scientific peer review leads to better science and policy formation
The current Special Issue of Technology & Innovation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, focuses on the history, process and practice of scientific peer review, with several articles aimed at assessing scientific peer review within the federal government and peer review's relationship to federal policy formation.

OLCF, partners release eSiMon Dashboard simulation tool
On Feb. 1, the Electronic Simulation Monitoring (eSiMon) Dashboard version 1.0 was released to the public, allowing scientists to monitor and analyze their simulations in real-time. Developed by the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah, North Carolina State University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, this

Scripps Research scientists find E. coli enzyme must move to function
Slight oscillations lasting just milliseconds have a huge impact on an enzyme's function, according to a new study by Scripps Research Institute scientists. Blocking these movements, without changing the enzyme's overall structure or any of its other properties, renders the enzyme defective in carrying out chemical reactions.

Propranolol associated with improvement in size and color of head and neck hemangiomas in children
The beta-blocker propranolol appears to be associated with reducing the size and color of hemangiomas of the head and neck in a pediatric population, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Researchers engineer the environment for stem cell development to control differentiation
New research shows that systematically controlling the local and global environments during stem cell development helps to effectively direct the process of differentiation. In the future, these findings could be used to develop manufacturing procedures for producing large quantities of stem cells for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Research team achieves first 2-color STED microscopy of living cells
Current applications of STED microscopy have been limited to single color imaging of living cells and multicolor imaging in

Hearing loss and dementia linked in study
Seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing, a study by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging researchers suggests. The findings, the researchers say, could lead to new ways to combat dementia, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and carries heavy societal burdens.

Kidney transplant recipients: Get moving to save your life
Low physical activity increases kidney transplant patients' likelihood of dying early, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology. The results suggest that patients need to exercise to fend off an early death.

South Africa's toxic legacy: Acid mine drainage threatens water supplies
In the Witwatersrand goldfields, not far from bustling Johannesburg, South Africa, more than a century of mining has left the region littered with mounds of waste and underlain by a deep underground network of abandoned mine shafts, which are gradually filling with water. Today, the mines are producing less and less gold -- and more and more sulfuric acid.

Structural mechanism of southern Chinese traditional timber frame buildings
The structural mechanism of some typical mortise-tenon joints of Chinese southern traditional timber frame buildings were researched, which could provide the scientific basis for the repair of these ancient buildings. The research was published in the journal of Science China.

NIH awards WSU researcher $1.7 million to study non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Kezhong Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular medicine and genetics and of immunology and microbiology in the School of Medicine at Wayne State University, was awarded $1.7 million by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health to explore how molecular elements in the body regulate the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Penn and Brown researchers demonstrate earthquake friction effect at the nanoscale
Earthquakes are some of the most daunting natural disasters that scientists try to analyze. Though the earth's major fault lines are well known, there is little scientists can do to predict when an earthquake will occur or how strong it will be. And, though earthquakes involve millions of tons of rock, a team of University of Pennsylvania and Brown University researchers has helped discover an aspect of friction on the nanoscale that may lead to a better understanding of the disasters.

Program helps high school students overcome depression and thoughts of suicide
A suicide prevention program developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has significantly helped teens overcome depression and thoughts of suicide, according to a new study.

Latest guide on child and adolescent psychiatry
The 4th edition of the

Surprise hidden in Titan's smog: Cirrus-like clouds
Now, thin, wispy clouds of ice particles, similar to Earth's cirrus clouds, are being reported by Carrie Anderson and Robert Samuelson at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The findings, published Feb. 1 in Icarus, were made using the Composite Infrared Spectrometer on NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

A new definition for periprosthetic joint infection
The new definition for PJI, published in the November issue of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, was developed by a Musculoskeletal Infection Society working group led by Javad Parvizi, M.D., director of Research at the Rothman Institute at Jefferson. The group analyzed available research, much of which was conducted at Jefferson, to develop the new definition and criteria.

Gelatin-based nanoparticle treatment may be a more effective clot buster
A targeted, nanoparticle gelatin-based clot-busting treatment dissolved significantly more blood clots than a currently used drug in an animal study of acute coronary syndrome presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011.

A galactic crash investigation
A team of scientists has studied the galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora's Cluster. They have pieced together the cluster's complex and violent history using telescopes in space and on the ground, including ESO's Very Large Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope. Abell 2744 seems to be the result of a simultaneous pile-up of at least four separate galaxy clusters and this complex collision has produced strange effects that have never been seen together before.

Research may lead to new treatments for Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders
Scientists at Marshall University are conducting research that may someday lead to new treatments for repair of the central nervous system. The group has identified and analyzed unique adult animal stem cells that can turn into neurons. The neurons they found appear to have many of the qualities desired for cells being used in development of therapies for slowly progressing, degenerative conditions like Parkinson's disease and for damage due to stroke or spinal cord injury.

Fisher decline documented in California
The Hoopa Valley Tribe, in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Massachusetts, reported a 73-percent decline in the density of fishers -- a house-cat sized member of the weasel family and candidate for endangered species listing -- on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in northwestern California between 1998 and 2005.

NASA's Galileo reveals magma 'ocean' beneath surface of Jupiter's moon
A new analysis of data from NASA's Galileo spacecraft reveals a subsurface

UNC HIV prevention research named scientific breakthrough of the year
The HIV Prevention Trials Network 052 study, led by Myron S. Cohen, M.D. of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been named the 2011 Breakthrough of the Year by the journal Science.

In the Himalayan peaks, UC tests designs to improve researchers' lives in the field
University of Cincinnati prototype designs to improve the lives of researchers when they are

Prediction models help determine likelihood of erectile function after treatment for prostate cancer
The development of prediction models that included variables such as pretreatment sexual function, patient characteristics and treatment factors appear to be effective at predicting erectile function two years after prostatectomy, external radiotherapy, or brachytherapy for prostate cancer, according to a study in the Sept. 21 issue of JAMA.

Speedy 3-D X-rays in the operating room
Having an operation always places strain on patients, and this is especially true of complicated operations. Surgeons use 3-D X-rays to check the results before the patient has left the operating room. This does help to avoid possible complications, but it also means interrupting the surgery.

Limits for mountain trail use identified
A new study on human impact to wildlife in some of Canada's most popular national parks has identified limits at which trails can be used before ecological disturbance takes place.

Oil in Gulf of Mexico: Biologists cite need for critical data to determine ecological consequences
Twenty years after biologists attempted to determine the ecological damages to marine life from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, scientists dealing with the BP disaster find themselves with the same problem: the lack of critical data to determine the ecological consequences of human-induced environmental disasters, a University of Florida researcher said.

Research provides new kidney cancer clues
In a collaborative project involving scientists from three continents, researchers have identified a gene that is mutated in one in three patients with the most common form of renal cancer. The gene -- called PBRM1 -- was found to be mutated in 88 cases out of 257 clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCC) analysed, making it the most prevalent to be identified in renal cancer in 20 years.

Stanford/Packard scientists find new uses for existing drugs by mining gene-activity data banks
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have paired up medicines and maladies with help from a molecular

Researchers unlock new secret to how smells are detected
Researchers seeking to unravel the most ancient of our senses have found a previously unknown step in how odors are processed by the brain.

Statins may protect against kidney complications following elective surgery
Taking a statin before having major elective surgery reduces potentially serious kidney complications, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).

The Pacific oyster is in Sweden to stay
The Pacific oyster was discovered in large numbers along the west coast of Sweden in 2007. The mortality rate in some places during the past two winters has been 100 percent, but researchers at the University of Gothenburg who have studied the Pacific oyster can now say that the species copes with cold winters and is here to stay.

Normal air could halve fuel consumption
Every time a car brakes, energy is generated. At present this energy is not used, but new research shows that it is perfectly possible to save it for later use in the form of compressed air. It can then provide extra power to the engine when the car is started and save fuel by avoiding idle operation when the car is at a standstill.

Lymph node dissection is not essential in small screen-detected lung cancers, new research shows
Lymph node dissection, the current standard surgical treatment for localized non-small cell lung cancers, may be unnecessary in certain screen-detected early stage cases.

Johns Hopkins scientists reveal new survival mechanism for neurons
Nerve cells that regulate everything from heart muscle to salivary glands send out projections known as axons to their targets. By way of these axonal processes, neurons control target function and receive molecular signals from targets that return to the cell body to support cell survival. Now, Johns Hopkins researchers have revealed a molecular mechanism that allows a signal from the target to return to the cell body and fulfill its neuron-sustaining mission.

Study debunks stereotype that men think about sex all day long
Men may think about sex more often than women do, but a new study suggests that men also think about other biological needs, such as eating and sleep, more frequently than women do, as well. And the research discredits the persistent stereotype that men think about sex every seven seconds, which would amount to more than 8,000 thoughts about sex in 16 waking hours.

Battle won against Asian tiger mosquito
The combination of three complementary measures to eradicate tiger mosquitoes -- avoid having stagnant water, using insecticides to eliminate larvae and adults, and removing rubbish -- reduces more than half the number of tiger mosquitoes, according to research coordinated by researchers at UAB.

Announcing Cell Reports -- a new open-access journal from Cell Press
Cell Press announced today the launch of its newest journal, Cell Reports, which will publish its first issue in January 2012. Cell Reports, the first open-access online-only journal from Cell Press, will publish high-quality research across the entire life science spectrum. The journal will focus on shorter, single-point articles, entitled Reports, in addition to regular full-length articles. As with all Cell Press journals, the primary criterion for both formats will be new biological insight.

Patient's journey format drives new edition of vital student nurse manual
The eighth student edition of

VLBA observations key to 'complete description' of black hole
A precise distance measurement by the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) allowed astronomers to accurately calculate the mass and spin of a famous black hole, thus providing a complete description of the object.

18th International Academy of Astronautics Humans in Space Symposium
The 18th International Academy of Astronautics Humans in Space Symposium, hosted by the University of Houston and NASA, comes to Houston's Westin Galleria Hotel, April 11-15 to consider

Animal welfare does not damage competitiveness
Farmers and politicians have expressed concern that Swedish and European agricultural producers do not compete on equal terms with the rest of the world because of stricter animal welfare legislation. A new report from the AgriFood Economics Center in Sweden shows that there is no justification for more tariffs based on the argument that stricter legislation would increase imports.

Parkinson's disease may be caused by microtubule, rather than mitochondrial complex I, dysfunction
Patients with Parkinson's disease suffer a specific loss of dopaminergic neurons from the midbrain region that controls motor function. The exact mechanism of this selective neurodegeneration is unclear, though many lines of evidence point to dysfunctional mitochondrial complex I as one root cause of the disease. Yet new research now suggests that defective regulation of microtubules may be responsible for at least some cases of PD.

New type of solar cell retains high efficiency for long periods: ACS podcast
A new genre of a new solar cell with high efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity and the durability to last and last is the topic of the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning

Knee replacement surgeries take more time, are more costly in overweight individuals
Knee replacement surgery takes far more time to conduct in overweight and obese patients than in normal weight patients, according to recent research at Hospital for Special Surgery. The study has implications for hospital staff scheduling surgeries, operating room utilization and personnel staffing.

New hardware boosts communication speed on multi-core chips
Computer engineers at North Carolina State University have developed hardware that allows programs to operate more efficiently by significantly boosting the speed at which the

Symposium honoring UD Nobel Laureate Richard Heck set for May 26
On Thursday, May 26, the University of Delaware will host the scholarly symposium

Researchers use new finding to clear bloodstream malaria infection in mice
University of Iowa researchers and colleagues have discovered how malaria manipulates the immune system to allow the parasite to persist in the bloodstream. By rescuing this immune system pathway, the research team was able to cure mice of bloodstream malaria infections.

Scientists offer way to address 'age-old' questions
Scientists have devised a method to measure the impact of age on the growth rates of cellular populations, a development that offers new ways to understand and model the growth of bacteria, and could provide new insights into how genetic factors affect their life cycle.

Senior citizens as co-researchers to improve urban planning
Heavy carrier bags and a lurching bus are an equation that is difficult to solve for most people, but for an elderly person getting the shopping home on public transport can be an almost insurmountable task. A newly launched research project at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is now enlisting the help of the senior citizens themselves to learn about the challenges in everyday logistics, and it is hoped that the results will lead to better urban planning. 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