Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (August 2012)

Science news and science current events archive August, 2012.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from August 2012

New study finds external stimulation impacts white matter development in the postnatal brain
A team at Children's National Medical Center has found that external stimulation has an impact on the postnatal development of a specific region of the brain. Published in Nature Neuroscience, the study used sensory deprivation to look at the growth and collection of NG2-expressing oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (NG2 cells) in the sensory cortex of the brain.

How do they do it? Predictions are in for Arctic sea ice low point
Each year scientists predict the low point of Arctic Sea ice. The final predictions were released Aug. 13. But how do they do it? University of Washington researchers used some new techniques this year in hopes of improving the accuracy of their prediction.

Weekend hospital stays prove more deadly than other times for older people with head trauma
A Johns Hopkins review of more than 38,000 patient records finds that older adults who sustain substantial head trauma over a weekend are significantly more likely to die from their injuries than those similarly hurt and hospitalized Monday through Friday, even if their injuries are less severe and they have fewer other illnesses than their weekday counterparts.

Study helps pancreatic cancer patients make hard choices
Researchers have examined SEER data on 25,476 pancreatic cancer patients, correlating days spent on medical care with disease stage, type of treatment and survival time. The first of its kind, the study is intended to provide physicians and patients with vital information needed to maximize quality of life for people with pancreatic cancer.

Existing drugs offer new treatment options for high-risk childhood leukemia subtype
Scientists have identified new genetic alterations underlying a high-risk subtype of the most common childhood cancer that could be effectively targeted with existing leukemia therapies.

The American Society for Microbiology honors David Tobin
David M. Tobin, Ph.D., Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University School of Medicine, has been honored as a recipient of the 2012 ICAAC Young Investigator Award.

Increasing federal match funds for states boosts enrollment of kids in health-care programs
Significantly more children get health insurance coverage after increases in federal matching funds to states for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to new research from the University of Michigan.

By studying animal health, researchers find improved ways for developing, testing cancer therapies
A Kansas State University research team has made valuable findings in the search for cancer's cure. While researching ways to improve animal health, the scientists have made two important discoveries that can also improve human health. Not only have they found pigs with severe combined immunodeficiency but they are also the first to discover the connection with human cancer, particularly melanomas and pancreatic cancers.

Therapeutic avenues for Parkinson's investigated at UH
Scientists at the University of Houston have discovered what may possibly be a key ingredient in the fight against Parkinson's disease. In a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the UH Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling demonstrated that the nuclear receptor liver X receptor beta may play a role in the prevention and treatment of this progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Alzheimer's cognitive decline slows in advanced age
The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) is advancing age. By age 85, the likelihood of developing the dreaded neurological disorder is roughly 50 percent. But researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say AD hits hardest among the

Research shows how protein component that enables cell replication gets ferried to chromosome tips
Stem cells are special. Nestled in muscle and skin, organ and bone, they bide their time over years or decades until called to replace damaged or lost tissue. One secret to their longevity is an enzyme called telomerase, which stills the relentless ticking of the molecular clock that limits the life span of other cells.

Middle-class children: Squeaky wheels in training
A study by Indiana University sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco found that working-class and middle-class parents often take very deliberate but different approaches to helping their children with their school experiences. Working-class parents, she found, coached their children on how to avoid problems, often through finding their own solution and by being deferential to authority figures. Middle-class parents were more likely to encourage their kids to ask questions or ask for help.

Pharmacists provide additional line of defense for detecting knee osteoarthritis
Canadian researchers have determined that community-based pharmacists could provide an added resource in identifying knee osteoarthritis (OA). The study, published in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology, represents the first evidence supporting a collaborative approach to managing knee OA. Findings suggest that involving pharmacists, physiotherapists, and primary care physicians in caring for OA patients improves the quality of care, along with patient function, pain, and quality of life.

Southampton physicists join search for hidden magnetic states
Physicists from the University of Southampton were among the first researchers to use the new high magnetic-field beamline at Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron facility, to search for 'hidden magnetic states'.

Diversity keeps grasslands resilient to drought, climate change
Grasslands should come out as the winner with increased periods and intensity of drought predicted in the future.

Sage launches Mobile Media & Communication journal
SAGE today announced the launch of Mobile Media & Communication in January 2013.

Is too much brain activity connected to Alzheimer's disease?
High baseline levels of neuronal activity in the best connected parts of the brain may play an important role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. This is the main conclusion of a new study appearing in PLoS Computational Biology from a group at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Why are elderly duped? UI researchers explain why
Researchers at the University of Iowa have pinpointed for the first time the area in the human brain where doubt arises. The finding helps explain why older people, as well as others with damage to a specific brain region, are more prone to fall victim to deception and scams. Results published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Launching a 'social networking war' against cancer
A Tel Aviv University researcher says that cancer scientists should look to cyber-warfare tactics to fight the body's deadly enemy.

A molecule central to diabetes is uncovered
At its most fundamental level, diabetes is a disease characterized by stress -- microscopic stress that causes inflammation and the loss of insulin production in the pancreas, and system-wide stress due to the loss of that blood-sugar-regulating hormone.

UK hotel industry alive with innovation
Large hotel chains are quick to adopt and adapt innovations developed in other industries, while smaller hotels make almost continual incremental changes in response to customers' needs. The UK hotel industry is alive with innovation and new ways of improving service for customers, research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council has found.

Unraveling intricate interactions, 1 molecule at a time
In a key step towards the design of better organic electronic devices, a Columbia Engineering team has succeeded in performing the first quantitative characterization of van der Waals interactions at metal/organic interfaces at the single-molecule level. In a study published Aug. 12 in Nature Materials, the researchers reveal the existence of two distinct binding regimes in gold-molecule-gold single-molecule junctions, using molecules containing nitrogen atoms at their extremities that are attracted to gold surfaces.

New 3D map of massive galaxies and black holes offers clues to dark matter, dark energy
Astronomers have constructed the largest-ever three-dimensional map of massive galaxies and distant black holes, which will help the investigation of the mysterious

The power to heal at the tips of your fingers
The intricate properties of the fingertips have been mimicked and recreated using semiconductor devices in what researchers hope will lead to the development of advanced surgical gloves.

UF scientists find state record 87 eggs in largest python from Everglades
University of Florida researchers curating a 17-foot-7-inch Burmese python, the largest found in Florida, discovered 87 eggs in the snake, also a state record.

Scripps researchers pinpoint hot spots as earthquake trigger points
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have come a step closer to deciphering some of the basic mysteries and mechanisms behind earthquakes and how average-sized earthquakes may evolve into massive earthquakes. In a paper published in Nature, Scripps scientists describe new information gleaned from laboratory experiments mimicking earthquake processes. The researchers discovered how fault zones weaken in select locations shortly after a fault reaches an earthquake tipping point.

Scripps Florida scientists identify a critical tumor suppressor for cancer
Scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have identified a protein that impairs the development and maintenance of lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), but is repressed during the initial stages of the disease, allowing for rapid tumor growth.

Blood markers reveal severity of common kidney disease
The blood levels of certain abnormal proteins and the antibodies that attack them rise according to the severity of one of the most common diseases of the kidney. The findings may help in the diagnosis and management of the disease, called IgA nephropathy. IgA nephropathy can lead to high blood pressure, swelling and, in some cases, kidney failure.

Aging kidneys may hold key to new high blood pressure therapies
Gaining new insight to managing sodium balance and blood pressure, investigators at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy believe their work may identify future therapeutic targets to control hypertension. Their research is being funded by a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the NIH's National Institute on Aging.

Solar power day and night
Energy storage systems are one of the key technologies for the energy turnaround. With their help, the fluctuating supply of electricity based on photovoltaics and wind power can be stored until the time of consumption. At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, several pilot plants of solar cells, small wind power plants, lithium-ion batteries, and power electronics are under construction to demonstrate how load peaks in the grid can be balanced and what regenerative power supply by an isolated network may look like in the future.

New system could predict solar flares, give advance warning
Researchers may have discovered a new method to predict solar flares more than a day before they occur, providing advance warning to help protect satellites, power grids and astronauts from potentially dangerous radiation.

New oncogene identified for breast cancer
A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, led by Dr. Mark W. Jackson, have developed a novel method to identify genes that, when overexpressed, make normal cells behave like cancer cells. Using this method, the Jackson laboratory has identified a new oncogene, which is a gene that contributes to the development of cancer, named FAM83B.

Penn team and colleagues create a cheaper and cleaner catalyst for burning methane
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, along with collaborators from Italy and Spain, have created a material that catalyzes the burning of methane 30 times better than do currently available catalysts.

Tale of 2 scientific fields -- ecology and phylogenetics -- offers new views of Earth's biodiversity
Scientists are taking a new look at Earth patterns, studying the biodiversity of yard plants in the US and that of desert mammals in Israel, studying where flowers and bees live on the Tibetan plateau and how willow trees in America's Midwest make use of water.

Organisms cope with environmental uncertainty by guessing the future
In uncertain environments, organisms not only react to signals, but also use molecular processes to make guesses about the future, according to a study by Markus Arnoldini et al. from ETH Zurich and Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. The authors report in PLoS Computational Biology that if environmental signals are unreliable, organisms are expected to evolve the ability to take random decisions about adapting to cope with adverse situations.

Looking 1 cell at a time in the brain to better understand pain, learning, memory
Scientists are developing profiles of the contents of individual brain cells in a search for the root causes of chronic pain, memory loss and other maladies that affect millions of people. They described the latest results of a one-by-one exploration of selected cells or

Small molecule may provide direction to quest for male contraceptive
A small molecule that can worm its way past the barrier that separates blood and sperm and snuggle into a crucial pocket needed in the process of making sperm may spell the future for male contraception.

Vojtech Rodl and Mathias Schacht honored by SIAM with George Polya Prize
The 2012 George Pólya Prize has been awarded to Vojtěch Rödl of Emory University, USA, and Mathias Schacht of the University of Hamburg, Germany, for their notable contributions to the application of combinatorial theory.

Darwin discovered to be right: Eastern Pacific barrier is virtually impassable by coral species
Coral from the eastern Pacific rarely crosses a deep-ocean barrier to reach the west coast of the Americas, according to research that will be published in the journal Molecular Ecology. The finding has important implications for climate-change research, species-preservation efforts, and the economic stability of the eastern Pacific region, including the Galapagos, Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador.

Chiriboga to receive GSA's 2012 Minority Mentorship Award
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen David Chiriboga of the University of South Florida as the 2012 recipient of the Task Force on Minority Issues in Gerontology Outstanding Mentorship Award.

UCSB scientists examine effects of manufactured nanoparticles on soybean crops
Sunscreens, lotions, and cosmetics contain tiny metal nanoparticles that wash down the drain at the end of the day, or are discharged after manufacturing. Those nanoparticles eventually end up in agricultural soil, which is a cause for concern, according to a group of environmental scientists that recently carried out the first major study of soybeans grown in soil contaminated by two manufactured nanomaterials.

Are Americans ready to solve the weight of the nation?
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, public health researchers examine how recommendations in a new report from the Institute of Medicine --

Low-dose sedative alleviates autistic-like behavior in mice with Dravet syndrome mutation
A low dose of the sedative clonazepam alleviated autistic-like behavior in mice with a mutation that causes Dravet syndrome in humans. The mutation results in defective sodium ion channels. Affected brain cells cannot relay

New 3-D map of massive galaxies, distant black holes offers clues to dark matter and energy
he Sloan Digital Sky Survey III has released the largest-ever three-dimensional map of massive galaxies and distant black holes.

Constructive conflict in the superconductor
Charge density waves improve our understanding of the zero-resistance transport of electricity and could explain an unusual interplay of superconducting and magnetic materials.

Diagnostic test shows potential to noninvasively identify significant coronary artery disease
Among patients with suspected or known coronary artery disease, use of a method that applies computational fluid dynamics to derive certain data from computed tomographic (CT) angiography demonstrated improved diagnostic accuracy vs. CT angiography alone for the diagnosis of ischemia.

Good news from the bad drought: Gulf 'Dead Zone' smallest in years, says Texas A&M expert
The worst drought to hit the United States in at least 50 years does have one benefit: It has created the smallest

A model designed to balance the bolting load of wind turbines is developed
Mikel Abasolo, a researcher of the University of the Basque Country, has built a simplified simulation model for wind turbines. All one has to do is enter the characteristics that the tower and its parts will have, and in a matter of seconds the model predicts the load that has to be given to each of the bolts, which leads to great advantages in the construction and maintenance process.

'Exergames' not perfect, but can lead to more exercise
Active video games, also known as

NASA's Aqua satellite shows strongest side of Tropical Storm 13W
When NASA's Aqua satellite captured an infrared view of the northwestern Pacific's latest tropical storm, Tropical Storm 13W, the data revealed the bulk of the heavy rainfall on the northern side of the center. 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