Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2010)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2010.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2010

Rutgers nuclear physicists study 'magic' nature of tin
The metal tin lacks the value and prestige of gold, silver and platinum, but to nuclear physicists, tin is magic. Rutgers physicists recently reported studies on the metal tin that add knowledge to a concept known as magic numbers while perhaps helping scientists to explain how heavy elements are made in exploding stars.

LISA gravitational-wave mission strongly endorsed by National Research Council
The National Research Council has strongly recommended the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna as one of NASA's next two major space missions, to start in 2016 in collaboration with the European Space Agency. LISA will study the universe in a manner different from any other space observatory, by observing gravitational waves. The recommendation was announced Aug. 13 in a press conference at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C.

1 great force leaves its mark across the solar system: large meteorite impacts
Some 50 years after the emergence of impact cratering studies as a distinct discipline within the geosciences, impact cratering is now recognized as a fundamental process contributing to the formation and evolution of all bodies in the Solar System. In the tradition of previous Geological Society of America Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution Special Papers, this updated volume relates new discoveries of possible impact structures and confirmation of others.

Neuralstem files FDA application for first chronic spinal cord injury stem cell trial
Neuralstem submits IND application to the FDA to treat chronic spinal cord injury with its human spinal cord stem cells.

Math from the heart: Simulating stent design and coating
Using computer models to study the strengths and weaknesses of different stent structures could help manufacturers optimize stent design and help doctors choose the right stents for their patients.

Berkeley study shows ozone and nicotine a bad combination for asthma
Using the unique capabilities of the Chemical Dynamics Beamline at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source, researchers have demonstrated that ozone can react with the nicotine in secondhand tobacco smoke to form ultrafine particles that may become a bigger threat to asthma sufferers than nicotine itself.

The salp: Nature's near-perfect little engine just got better
What if trains, planes, and automobiles all were powered simply by the air through which they move? Moreover, what if their exhaust and byproducts helped the environment? Well, such an energy-efficient, self-propelling mechanism already exists in nature. The salp, a smallish, barrel-shaped organism that resembles a kind of streamlined jellyfish, gets everything it needs from the ocean waters to feed and propel itself.

Benefits outweigh challenges of implementing electronic health records in ART clinics in Malawi
In this week's PLoS Medicine magazine, Gerry Douglas and colleagues describe their experience scaling up electronic medical records in six antiretroviral treatment sites in Malawi.

Drugs encased in nanoparticles travel to tumors on the surface of immune-system cells
Now a team of MIT engineers has devised a way to deliver the necessary drugs by smuggling them on the backs of the cells sent in to fight the tumor. That way, the drugs reach only their intended targets, greatly reducing the risk to the patient.

New insights could mean better fish feeds
A better understanding of what happens in a fish's body when it eats could lead to the production of better fish feeds. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, are hoping to contribute to more energy-efficient aquaculture. In the long term, this could increase the supply of farmed fish and so provide more food for the Earth's burgeoning population.

Students need help to save money, but don't always know it: Waterloo study
Students could use help saving more money, but they don't always know it. If they were offered a simple way to do so, would they take it? A new University of Waterloo study suggests the answer is no. And the reason is that their very good intentions can give rise to a sense of optimism that leads them to undervalue opportunities that could make it easier to actually achieve a long-term savings goal.

A decade of studying the Earth's magnetic shield in 3-D
Today, space scientists around the world are celebrating 10 years of ground-breaking discoveries by

2 UH chemists receive national recognition
Two University of Houston chemistry professors received one of their field's highest honors for career achievements, joining an elite group that includes some of the nation's leading chemists. Rigoberto Advincula and Mamie Moy are among the 2010 class of American Chemical Society fellows and were honored with 190 other inductees at a ceremony during the annual ACS meeting in Boston. Advincula and Moy are among 13 from Texas who received the honor this year.

Electronic tracking system can improve follow-up after an abnormal Pap test
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine report that physicians who use an automated, electronic medical record tracking system to follow up on patients with an abnormal Pap test could increase the number of women who achieved diagnostic resolution and have women achieve resolution in less time than using traditional methods.

New 'Heroes of Chemistry' invented medicines that help millions of people
It's a tale of two pills: One that helps millions of people with diabetes maintain normal blood sugar levels and another that helps millions in their effort to quit smoking. The two teams that invented these potentially life-saving drugs -- Januvia and Chantix -- are being inducted into the American Chemical Society's

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.

Discovery opens door to therapeutic development for FSH muscular dystrophy
Scientists are closer to understanding what triggers muscle damage in one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy, called facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. The new research presents a model of the disease that ties together many complex findings, and will allow researchers to test new theories and potential new treatments.

Drug trial results refine treatment during angioplasty operations
A landmark international study, coordinated by McMaster University, has found that lower doses of a blood thinner called unfractionated heparin (UFH) during angioplasty did not reduce bleeding or vascular complications compared to standard dose UFH in patients initially treated with a blood thinner, fondaparinux.

Gondwana supercontinent underwent massive shift during Cambrian explosion
The Gondwana supercontinent underwent a 60-degree rotation across Earth's surface during the Early Cambrian period, according to new evidence uncovered by a team of Yale University geologists. The study has implications for the environmental conditions that existed at a crucial period in Earth's evolutionary history called the Cambrian explosion, when most of the major groups of complex animals rapidly appeared.

Metcalf Institute wins NSF grant to help journalism and communication of oil spill research
The Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography received a $199,909 National Science Foundation RAPID Response grant to improve communication of oil spill research. The funding will bring science journalists, communications professionals and informal science educators together with scientists who are currently studying the Deepwater Horizon oil rig failure and its impacts on the Gulf of Mexico.

Sign language speakers' hands, mouths operate separately
When people are communicating in sign languages, they also move their mouths. But scientists have debated whether mouth movements resembling spoken language are part of the sign itself or are connected directly to English. In a new study on British Sign Language, signers made different mistakes in the sign and in the mouthing -- which means the hand and lip movements are separate in the signer's brain, not part of the same sign.

New 'dentist' test to detect oral cancer will save lives
A new test for oral cancer, which a dentist could perform by simply using a brush to collect cells from a patient's mouth, is set to be developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Pathological internet use among teens may lead to depression
Teens who use the Internet pathologically appear more likely to develop depression than those who do not, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the October print issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Gaming for a cure: Computer gamers tackle protein folding
Computer scientists and biochemists at the University of Washington two years ago launched an ambitious project harnessing the brainpower of computer gamers to solve medical problems. Results published this week in the journal Nature show more than 55,000 players have played protein-folding Tetris, and beat the world's most powerful computers on problems that required radical moves, risks and long-term vision.

Mount Sinai researchers discover new mechanism behind cellular energy conversion
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have enhanced our understanding of the mechanism by which cells achieve energy conversion, the process in which food is converted into the energy required by cells.

Eye movements reveal readers' wandering minds
It's not just you -- everybody zones out when they're reading. For a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, scientists recorded eye movements during reading and found that the eyes keep moving when the mind wanders -- but they don't move in the same way as they do when you're paying attention.

Pay-for-performance programs improve radiology report turnaround times, study suggests
A pay-for-performance program implemented at one of the nation's largest general hospitals appeared to have a marked effect on expediting final radiology report turnaround times, improving patient care, according to a study in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

MIT physicists use offshoot of string theory to describe puzzling behavior of superconductors
MIT physicists have now used the connection between quantum and gravitational mechanics, known as gauge/gravity duality to describe a specific physical phenomenon -- the behavior of a type of high-temperature superconductor, or a material that conducts electricity with no resistance.

Women more attracted to men in red
It's a symbol of courage and sacrifice, of sin and sexuality, of power and passion -- and now new research demonstrates that the color red makes men more alluring to women.

Montana State University offers 6 new biomedical technologies for licensing
Montana State University researchers have developed six new biomedical technologies that could have applications for treating antibiotic resistant infections, fungal infections and viral infections; boosting humans' innate immunity and improving scientists' ability to study such compounds.

Advocacy intervention does not produce meaningful results in depression among abused Chinese women
Among Chinese women who are survivors of intimate partner violence, an advocacy intervention that included empowerment sessions and telephone support from social workers did not result in a clinically meaningful improvement in depressive symptoms, according to a study in the Aug. 4 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

Archaeological study shows human activity may have boosted shellfish size
In a counter-intuitive finding, new research from North Carolina State University shows that a species of shellfish widely consumed in the Pacific over the past 3,000 years has actually increased in size, despite -- and possibly because of -- increased human activity in the area.

'New' human adenovirus may not make for good vaccines, after all
In a new study of four adenovirus vectors, Wistar researchers show that a reportedly rare human adenovirus, AdHu26, is not so rare, after all, and would not be optimal as a vaccine carrier. As previous research has shown, a viral vector may be ineffective if the virus it is based on is common. The Wistar study supports the use of chimpanzee adenoviruses as vaccine vectors, since humans have little exposure to these viruses.

Georgia Tech awarded a $20M Center for Chemical Innovation from NSF and NASA
A Georgia Tech-led team was awarded $20 million from NSF and NASA to pursue research that could lead to a better understanding of how life started on Earth. Researchers will explore chemical processes that enable the spontaneous formation of polymers from much smaller, simpler starting materials.

Entomological Society of America names 2010 Fellows
ESA has selected 10 new Fellows of the Society for 2010. The election as a Fellow acknowledges outstanding contributions in one or more of the following: research, teaching, extension or administration. The following Fellows will be recognized during Entomology 2010 -- ESA's Annual Meeting -- which will be held Dec. 12-15 in San Diego, Calif.

Preschoolers use statistics to understand others
Children are natural psychologists. By the time they're in preschool, they understand that other people have desires, preferences, beliefs and emotions. But how they learn this isn't clear. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that children figure out another person's preferences by using a topic you'd think they don't encounter until college: statistics.

Selected cells from blood or bone marrow may provide a route to healing blood vessels
When envisioning cell therapy for cardiovascular disease, a team of scientists is focusing on cells that nourish blood vessels, rather than on rare stem cells. In experiments with mice, CD31 positive cells from the blood or bone marrow can effectively treat hindlimb ischemia -- a model of peripheral artery disease. This approach has the potential to be safer and less arduous than experimental therapies involving the isolation of stem cells from bone marrow.

2010 Julian Cole Lectureship awarded to John King, University of Nottingham
SIAM awards the Julian Cole Lectureship every four years for an outstanding contribution toward the mathematical characterization and solution of a challenging problem in the physical or biological sciences, or in engineering. Contributions in the development of mathematical methods for the solution of such problems are also recognized. This year's Julian Cole Lectureship was awarded to professor John King in recognition of his influential contributions to the formulation and analysis of mathematical models of tumor growth.

School-based intervention successfully lowers drinking rates in at-risk children
In an effort to combat these startling findings, researchers at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry describe a successful personality-based intervention for substance abuse delivered by teachers in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Sociological study links state tax credit programs to higher birth weight
Relieving poverty during pregnancy can reduce the incidence of low-birth-weight babies and may help break the succession of childhood poor health, a study published in the August 2010 issue of the American Sociological Review has found.

Scientists concerned about environmental impact of recycling of e-waste
Much of the world's electronic waste is being shipped to China for recycling and the cottage industry that has sprung up there to recover usable materials from computers, cell phones, televisions and other goods may be creating significant health and environmental hazards.

George Mason University awarded $28.5 million grant to improve science education in Virginia
George Mason University has been selected to receive a $28.5 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the US Department of Education.

Will cardiovascular disease prevention widen health inequalities?
In a Policy Forum published this week in PLoS Medicine, Simon Capewell and Hilary Graham review different population strategies for preventing cardiovascular disease and conclude that screening and treating high-risk individuals may be ineffective and widen social inequalities.

Study of electron orbits in multilayer graphene finds unexpected energy gaps
Researchers have taken one more step toward understanding the unique and often unexpected properties of graphene, a two-dimensional carbon material that has attracted interest because of its potential applications in future generations of electronic devices.

UT Southwestern's cancer center earns National Cancer Institute designation
The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center has attained National Cancer Institute designation, an elite distinction held by only 65 other cancer centers nationwide.

WHOI scientists map and confirm origin of large, underwater hydrocarbon plume in Gulf
Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Tofu ingredient yields formaldehyde-free glue for plywood and other wood products
In a real-life

Vitamin D may treat and prevent allergic reaction to mold in cystic fibrosis patients
Vitamin D may be an effective therapy to treat and even prevent allergy to a common mold that can cause severe complications for patients with cystic fibrosis and asthma, according to researchers from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

MU researcher says Chinese credit market remains underdeveloped
Rui Yao, a researcher in the Department of Personal Financial Planning in the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri, says a recent survey of urban Chinese households shows that the Chinese credit market remains underdeveloped.

Blood transfusions should not go ahead without informed consent
Two legal experts argue on bmj.com today that informed consent should be obtained from competent patients before blood transfusions takes place.

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