Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2009)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2009.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2009

Teaching resilience, sense of purpose in schools can prevent depression and improve grades
Teaching children how to be more resilient along with regular classroom instruction can improve children's outlook on life, curb depression and boost grades, according to a researcher who spoke at the American Psychological Association's convention Saturday.

Preschool depression may continue into childhood
Depression among preschoolers appears to be a continuous, chronic condition rather than a transient developmental stage, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

NASA's satellite imagery sees Hilda hit a wall
Two days ago, Hilda was in prime shape to strengthen further as she tracked westward, far south of the Hawaiian Islands. Today, as a result of winds and cooler waters, she's weakened to a tropical depression, and NASA satellites helped confirm that looking at her waning winds and thunderstorms.

Are kids today truly more autonomous?
Children have certainly mastered the art of selecting, negotiating and even refusing the chores their parents assign to them. This growth in personal autonomy at home over the last few decades could be the result of shrinking opportunities to participate in activities outside the home, without mom and dad looking over their shoulder, according to Dr. Markella Rutherford from Wellesley College in the US.

We are all mutants
Researchers have calculated a general rate of one mutation in each 15 to 30 million DNA letters in humans. Using next-generation sequencing, researchers sequenced part of the Y chromosome from two distant male-line relatives. Despite 13 generations of separation -- with a common male ancestor 200 years ago -- they found only four letters that differed. Mutation is the ultimate source of human genetic variation and has implications for both evolutionary and disease genetics.

Round Goby invade Great Lakes
A team of scientists from the University of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the University of Guelph has identified a drastic invasion of round goby into many Great Lakes tributaries, including several areas of the Thames, Sydenham, Ausable and Grand Rivers. A number of the affected areas are known as

Obama administration announces more than $327 million in Recovery Act funding for science research
US Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that more than $327 million in new funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will go toward scientific research, instrumentation and laboratory infrastructure projects. Ten of DOE's national laboratories in six states will be receiving funds, along with researchers at institutions of higher learning across the nation.

Nadroparin almost halves the risk of developing blood clots in ambulatory cancer patients receiving chemotherapy
Nadroparin, a blood-thinning drug, halves the risk of developing blood clots in ambulatory cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, and as such could become an important preventive treatment in these patients, according to an article published online first and in the October edition of the Lancet Oncology.

Scripps Research scientists find early evolution maximized the 'spellchecking' of protein sequences
As letters of the alphabet spell out words, when amino acids are linked to one another in a particular order they

Synthetic biology -- opportunities and risks
The new research field of synthetic biology will, in the medium term, open up a great deal of potential for combining novel genetic methods with engineering principles. This will facilitate the development, not only of new vaccines and medicines, but also of fuels and new materials. Early stage dialogue with the public on the natural science, legal, economic and ethical issues is crucial for the success and acceptance of this new technology. With a joint position paper on the opportunities and risks posed by synthetic biology, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, acatech and the German Academy of Scientists Leopoldina, the National Academy of Sciences, now want to initiate this dialogue.

Underwater expedition delivers key findings in search for evidence of early Americans
In NOAA's signature expedition for submerged evidence of early Americans off Florida's Gulf Coast, Mercyhurst College archaeologists Jim Adovasio and Andrew Hemmings traced two ancient river systems in what they believe is the most extensive delineation of submerged prehistoric river systems ever done. They also identified chert, a stone used by prehistoric peoples in toolmaking, at three sites. Scientists believe they are on the threshold of delivering evidence of human habitation along those inundated rivers.

New temperature reconstruction from Indo-Pacific warm pool
A new 2,000-year-long reconstruction of sea surface temperatures from the Indo-Pacific warm pool suggests that temperatures in the region may have been as warm during the Medieval Warm Period as they are today.

Bridging the political divide across the Gulf of Aqaba
Scientists from Stanford University have teamed up with Israeli and Jordanian researchers to protect the Gulf of Aqaba, a strategic waterway whose fragile marine ecosystem is vital to both Israel and Jordan. Participants in the NATO-funded project say they are bridging the Arab-Israeli political divide for the sake of science, peace and environmental conservation.

Computer game taps creativity of scientists to solve energy problems
The American Chemical Society's 238th National Meeting here will be the site of a rare

Obesity is a poor gauge for detecting high cholesterol levels in children
With the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States, there is concern that overweight and obese children need to be screened for chronic medical conditions, including high cholesterol levels. However, body fat is not an effective indicator of high cholesterol in children, according to new University of Michigan research.

VJ Day marked with launch of POW project on Merseyside
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has been awarded £48,200 ($79.500) from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of its ongoing work with ex-Far Eastern Prisoners of War to create an archive of oral histories from surviving prisoners. The grant will expand this work through a Web site and interaction project that will allow many more of their stories to be told and preserved for future generations.

Tunnels concentrate air pollution by up to 1,000 times
A toxic cocktail of ultrafine particles is lurking inside road tunnels in concentration levels so high they have the potential to harm drivers and passengers, a new study has found.

American Society for Microbiology honors Tobias M. Hohl for work on Aspergillus fumigatus
The 2009 American Society for Microbiology ICAAC Young Investigator Award will be presented to Tobias M. Hohl, assistant professor, Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and assistant professor, division of allergy and infectious diseases, University of Washington, Seattle. Sponsored by Merck US Human Health, this award recognizes early career scientists for research excellence in microbiology and infectious diseases.

Science magazine and JoVE announce scientific-video partnership
Science, the journal of scientific research, news, and commentary published by The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and JoVE, the scientific video journal, announced that they have entered into a partnership for joint production and publication of scientific videos online. The purpose of the partnership is to enhance scientific articles published in Science through video demonstrations of experimental techniques.

Formal education lessens the impact of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at the Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universitat Munchen, investigated the effects of formal education on the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. They were able to show that education diminishes the impact of Alzheimer's disease on cognition even if a manifest brain volume loss has already occurred. The results are published in the current issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Newly discovered mechanism in cell division has implications for chromosome's role in cancer
Errors in cell division can cause mutations that lead to cancer, and a new study could shed light on the role of chromosome abnormalities in uncontrolled cell replication. They uncovered the molecular players and mechanism underlying a little-studied stage of cellular division called Anaphase B.

ASN committed to managing conflicts of interest
Twenty-six million Americans suffer from kidney disease, and for decades nephrologists in academia, practice, and industry have enhanced their quality of care. To ensure that partnerships between the American Society of Nephrology and industry continue to improve kidney health, ASN leaders convened the Committee on Corporate Relations in 2008. Publications resulting from this committee's efforts set will help guide medical societies and industry in their efforts to advance patient care, research, and education.

Researchers identify itch-specific neurons in mice, hope for better treatments
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that itch-specific neurons exist in mice, and their studies suggest that itch and pain signals are transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord. The researchers say they can knock out an animal's itch response without affecting its ability to sense pain.

1-year follow-up data shows bivalirudin reduces clinical events in heart attack patients undergoing angioplasty (HORIZONS-AMI study)
Use of the anti-clotting drug bivalirudin results in less complications/clinical events in heart attack patients undergoing angioplasty than does use of the conventional treatment of heparin plus a glycoprotein inhibitor. The findings of the HORIZON-AMI study are reported in an article online first and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet, by Dr. Roxana Mehran, Columbia University Medical Center, New York. Data from the trial will be presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting, Barcelona.

Predicting cancer prognosis
Researchers led by Dr. Soheil Dadras at the Stanford University Medical Center have developed a novel methodology to extract microRNAs from cancer tissues. The related report by Ma et al.,

New insights into health and environmental effects of carbon nanoparticles
A new study raises the possibility that flies and other insects that encounter nanomaterial

New LED lights have a bright future for communication
The University of California, Riverside will lead a multicampus effort that could reshape the way we communicate and navigate in homes, offices, airports and especially in hospitals, airports and other places where radio frequency communication is prohibited. The Center for Ubiquitous Communication by Light (UC-Light) will be funded with $3.5 million from the Multicampus Research Program and Initiatives competition within the University of California system. The project is anticipated to begin in January 2010.

Link uncovered between viral RNA and human immune response
In its fight against an intruding virus, an enzyme in our immune system may sense certain types of viral RNA pairs, according to scientists.

Lower-cost solar cells to be printed like newspaper, painted on rooftops
Solar cells could soon be produced more cheaply using nanoparticle

Disparities in cancer care reflect hospital resources, U-M study finds
Hospitals that treat more black cancer patients have worse survival rates on average for patients with breast and colon cancer, regardless of race, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Sleep patterns in children and teenagers could indicate risk for depression, researcher finds
Sleep patterns can help predict which adolescents might be at greatest risk for developing depression, a researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center has found in a five-year study.

Study finds women slightly more likely to die than men in the 30 days following a heart attack
A new study from NYU School of Medicine found that women may have a slightly higher risk of death than men in the thirty days following an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), but that these differences appear to be attributable to factors such as severity and type of ACS. The study, published in the Aug. 26, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found however that overall there was no significant difference in mortality observed between the sexes after a heart attack.

Study demonstrates how we support our false beliefs
In a study published in the most recent issue of the journal Sociological Inquiry, sociologists from four major research institutions focus on one of the most curious aspects of the 2004 presidential election: the strength and resilience of the belief among many Americans that Saddam Hussein was linked to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

8 named Beeson Scholars, receive more than $6M for aging research and clinical care
The American Federation for Aging Research, the National Institute on Aging, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Starr Foundation and other program partners are pleased to announce the 2009 recipients of the Paul B. Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging Research Program.

Results from a GRACE registry study
Launched in 1999, the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events is the world's largest international database tracking outcomes of patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes, including myocardial infarction or unstable angina.

Non-coding RNA called Evf2 is important for gene regulation
Can mental disorders result from altered non-coding RNA-dependent gene regulation during embryonic development? This is a question posed by Jhumku Kohtz, Ph.D., of Children's Memorial Research Center. Kohtz, along with her laboratory and colleagues at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, has published research in the August issue of Nature Neuroscience that finds for the first time that a non-coding RNA called Evf2 is important for gene regulation and the development of interneurons that produce GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.

Hopelessness linked to thickening of neck arteries, stroke in healthy women
Feelings of hopelessness may be associated with thickening of neck arteries in healthy, middle-aged women. Thickening of neck arteries is an early marker of atherosclerosis and stroke risk. A separate study found that half of survivors of a first stroke suffer some degree of apathy in their first year, and even minor amounts of it can significantly slow recovery.

How meningitis bacteria attack the brain
A specific protein on the surface of a common bacterial pathogen allows the bacteria to leave the bloodstream and enter the brain, initiating the deadly infection known as meningitis. The new finding, which may guide development of improved vaccines to protect those most vulnerable, including young infants and the elderly, is now available online in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Benefits from upper airway surgery for sleep apnea found to equal CPAP
Adults who struggle with CPAP treatment for obstructive sleep apnea should be considered candidates for reconstructive surgery on the upper airway, because it holds the same quality-of-life benefits but with more permanence. This thesis is in new research published in the August 2009 edition of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Patients who have material causing narrowing in neck artery removed rather than angioplasty have lower chance of narrowing recurring and subsequent stroke (CAVATAS study)
Two articles published online first and in the October edition of the Lancet Neurology provide long-term data that show that, for patients with a narrowing of the carotid artery supplying blood to brain (carotid stenosis), removal of the material causing the narrowing could be a better option than balloon angioplasty with or without stenting. Surgery reduces the risk of both short-term and long-term stroke, and reduces the risk of repeat stenosis and subsequent stroke.

Potato blight plight looks promising for food security
Over 160 years since potato blight wreaked havoc in Ireland and other northern European countries, scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council finally have the blight-causing pathogen in their sights and are working to accelerate breeding of more durable, disease resistant potato varieties.

American Political Science Association announces 2009 awards
The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce its 2009 awards for excellence in the study, teaching, and practice of politics. The awards will be presented at the 105th APSA Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, on Thursday, Sept. 3, at 12:45 p.m. in room 205B of the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

Ultrathin leds create new classes of lighting and display systems
A new process for creating ultrathin, ultrasmall inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and assembling them into large arrays offers new classes of lighting and display systems with interesting properties, such as see-through construction and mechanical flexibility, that would be impossible to achieve with existing technologies.

New research findings pave the way to more accurate interpretation of brain imaging data
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a technique widely used in studying the human brain. However, it has long been unclear exactly how fMRI signals are generated at brain cell level. This information is crucially important to interpreting these imaging signals. Scientists from the Academy of Finland's Neuroscience Research Program have discovered that astrocytes, support cells in brain tissue, play a key role in the generation of fMRI signals.

U-Iowa improves delivery of cancer-fighting molecules
University of Iowa researchers have modified siRNA, a type of genetic material that can block potentially harmful activity in cells, so that it can be injected into the bloodstream and impact targeted cells while producing fewer side effects. The findings could make it easier to create large amounts of targeted therapeutic siRNAs for treating cancer and other diseases.

Hundreds of new species discovered in eastern Himalayas
Over 350 new species including the world's smallest deer, a

Mysterious charge transport in self-assembled monolayer transistors unraveled
An international team of researchers from the Netherlands, Russia and Austria discovered that monolayer coverage and channel length set the mobility in self-assembled monolayer field-effect transistors. This opens the door to extremely sensitive chemical sensors that can be produced in a cost-effective way. The research was done at Philips Research Eindhoven and Eindhoven University of Technology. The findings were published as an advanced online publication in Nature Nanotechnology.

Wistar scientists find key to strengthening immune response to chronic infection
A team of researchers from the Wistar Institute has identified a protein that could serve as a target for reprogramming immune system cells exhausted by exposure to chronic viral infection into more effective

ORNL scientists hone technique to safeguard water supplies
A method to detect contaminants in municipal water supplies has undergone further refinements. The new work demonstrates that the technology that uses algae as sentinels has broader applications than previously reported.

Symposium to discuss geoengineering to fight climate change at the ESA Annual Meeting
Geoengineering techniques aim to slow global warming through the use of human-made changes to the Earth's land, seas or atmosphere. But new research shows that the use of geoengineering to do environmental good may cause other environmental harm. In a symposium at the Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting, ecologists discuss the viability of geoengineering, concluding that it is potentially dangerous at the global scale, where the risks outweigh the benefits.

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