Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (February 2011)

Science news and science current events archive February, 2011.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from February 2011

6,000-year climate record suggests longer droughts, drier climate for Pacific Northwest
Pitt-led researchers extracted a 6,000-year climate record from a Washington state lake showing that the American Pacific Northwest could not only be in for longer dry seasons, but also is unlikely to see a period as wet as the 20th century any time soon and will likely suffer severe water shortages.

Maternal stroke history tied to women's heart attack risk
A mother's stroke history can help predict her daughter's risk of heart attack. Family history of stroke may be as useful as family history of heart attack in gauging heart attack risk.

University of Miami scientists track great hammerhead shark migration
A study led by Neil Hammerschlag at the University of Miami details the first scientific research to successfully track a great hammerhead shark using satellite tag technology.

Yale scientists identify a deadly tool in Salmonella's bag of tricks
The potentially deadly bacterium Salmonella possesses a molecular machine that marshals the proteins it needs to hijack cellular mechanisms and infect millions worldwide. In a paper published Feb. 3 online in Science Express, Yale University researchers describe in detail how Salmonella, a major cause of food poisoning and typhoid fever, is able to make these proteins line in up in just the right sequence to invade host cells.

Large portion of costs at children's hospitals accounted for by patients with frequent readmissions
Among a group of children's hospitals, nearly 20 percent of admissions and one-quarter of inpatient expenditures were accounted for by a small percentage of patients who have frequent recurrent admissions, according to a study in the Feb. 16 issue of JAMA.

New UCLA project streams Twitter updates from Egypt unrest on digital map of Cairo
A new GPS mapping program from UCLA Digital Humanities team is archiving tweets from Egypt's pro-democracy protests.

The Sixth International Symposium on Molecular Insect Science
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announces that the Sixth International Symposium on Molecular Insect Science is the first of the series to be held outside the US. This year the conference will take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on Oct. 2-5, 2011.

The world's first surfboard with integrated technology
Pukas Surf (the leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance surfboards in Europe) and Tecnalia Research & Innovation have presented their research work into the mechanical behavior of surfboards.

Cleveland Clinic researchers honored for contributions to science and technology
Three Cleveland Clinic researchers were recently named as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which seeks

Forsyth team gains new insight on childhood dental disease
Researchers at the Forsyth Institute have made a significant discovery about the nature of childhood dental disease. The scientific studies led by Anne Tanner, BDS, Ph.D., identified a new pathogen connected to severe early childhood caries (cavities). This bacterium, Scardovia wiggsiae, was present in the mouths of children with severe early childhood caries when other known pathogens such as Streptococcus mutans were not detected. This research may offer the potential to intervene and halt the progression of disease.

Elsevier / MEDai and dbMotion partner to deliver powerful health analytics solutions
Elsevier / MEDai, a leading health information company with award-winning solutions for the improvement of care delivery, and dbMotion, an innovative provider of connected healthcare solutions, today announced they have formed a partnership to deliver robust health analytics solutions to both the health care payer and provider markets.

Whole fresh blood for transfusions may have a longer shelf life than now assumed
In a finding that may potentially improve survival from war injuries and disasters, laboratory researchers report that refrigerated whole blood may have a shelf life well beyond the current standard of 24 to 48 hours. The researchers found that whole blood retains its clotting properties at least 11 days under standard refrigeration. If confirmed in clinical studies, the finding could lead to improved survival for patients requiring massive transfusions.

K-State chemist's work brings more national recognition as promising early-career scientist
Christine Aikens, assistant professor of chemistry, has received the Sloan Research Fellowship for her success as a promising young scholar, particularly in the research areas of sustainable energy and gold nanoparticles.

Genetic study uncovers new path to Polynesia
Surprising new evidence which overturns current theories of how humans colonized the Pacific has been discovered by scientists at the University of Leeds, UK.

EARTH: A decade-plus of tracking lunar larceny
In the back alleys of the world's capitals and the ballrooms of presidential palaces exists a black market that preys on the imagination of some and the greed of others. These black-market items are not of this world: they are moon rocks, collected decades ago by six Apollo missions and three unmanned Soviet missions to the moon.

Cell-culture-derived flu vaccine is as effective as current flu vaccines and would provide more robust and flexible vaccine supplies
A flu vaccine derived from cell culture is as effective as currently available flu vaccines, but would be less susceptible to manufacturing problems. It would also be possible to incorporate that year's predicted seasonal strains into the vaccine much later than is currently possible, reducing the chances of error.

Rising seas will affect major US coastal cities by 2100
Rising sea levels could threaten an average of 9 percent of the land within 180 US coastal cities by 2100, according to new research led by University of Arizona scientists. The research is the first analysis of vulnerability to sea-level rise that includes every US coastal city in the lower 48 with a population of 50,000 or more. The Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts will be particularly hard hit.

Children of working moms face more health problems
Children of working mothers are significantly more likely to experience health problems, including asthma and accidents, than children of mothers who don't work, according to new research from North Carolina State University.

Patient education helps earlier detection of skin lesions after kidney transplant
Sharing printed educational materials about the risk of squamous cell carcinoma with kidney transplant recipients appeared to be effective at increasing skin self-examination and encouraging follow-up with a dermatologist to determine risk of cancer, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New 10-year study confirms too many pitches strike out youth athletes early
For years, sports medicine professionals have talked about youth pitching injuries and the stress the motion causes on developing bones and muscles. In a new, 10-year study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers showed that participants who pitched more than 100 innings in a year were 3.5 times more likely to be injured.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Psychological effects of BP oil spill go beyond residents of impacted shorelines
The psychological effects of the BP oil spill, the largest recorded environmental disaster in human history, extend far beyond people living around the areas of the Gulf of Mexico that were directly impacted by the spill, a new study finds.

Bioengineered veins offer new hope on horizon for patients lacking healthy veins for coronary bypass surgery or dialysis
Breakthrough new research in regenerative medicine demonstrates the efficacy of off-the-shelf bioengineered veins developed in large and small diameters for procedures such as hemodialysis for kidney disease and for coronary bypass surgery. These are the first bioengineered veins made from human cells that retain their strength and efficacy during long-term storage so they would be immediately available at the time of patient need. These bioengineered veins also showed improved resistance to obstruction and clotting.

Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., receives AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research
Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., will receive the Eighth AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research. Horwitz conducted pioneering research by discovering the mechanism of action of the chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel (Taxol), which prompted the development of this drug as an important therapy for many common solid tumors, including ovarian, breast, and lung carcinomas. Her work has also contributed to the understanding of how microtubules function in normal and malignant cells and why stabilization of microtubules is a promising target for drug discovery.

Is it time for all skiers to wear helmets?
In a bid to decrease brain injuries from skiing and snowboarding accidents, experts in an editorial published on today are calling for more public awareness to promote ski helmets.

New model by University of Nevada for how Nevada gold deposits formed may help in gold exploration
A team of University of Nevada, Reno, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, researchers have devised a new model for how Nevada's gold deposits formed, which may help in exploration efforts for new gold deposits.

Launching balloons in Antarctica
The Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses project will work hand in hand with NASA's Radiation Belt Space Probes mission to study a mysterious part of Earth's magnetic environs called the Van Allen radiation belts.

Death rate from tuberculosis in homeless alarmingly high: Study
One in five homeless people with tuberculosis die within a year of their diagnosis, according to a study led by St. Michael's Hospital's Dr. Kamran Khan. And that number remains unchanged over the last decade despite recommendations calling for greater improvements in prevention and control of tuberculosis in homeless shelters.

OHSU fixes complex heart problems without open-heart surgery
The pediatric cardiac team at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital is one of a handful in the nation to implant a pulmonary heart valve without open-heart surgery. The valve is placed into the beating heart through a vein in the patient's leg. After the procedure, patients spend a night in the hospital and are discharged home the following morning.

U of Alberta researcher discovers potential cancer therapy target
One of the most important genes in the human genome is called p53 and its function is to suppress tumors, according to Roger Leng, a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Leng has discovered the mechanism by which p53 is inactivated in cancerous cells, allowing tumors to grow.

New test shows promise for accurate diagnosis of Turner syndrome
As a child grows, a short stature is not usually cause for concern, but it is often the only sign of a condition called Turner syndrome. It is not commonly detected until age 10 or older when a youngster's unusually short height raises suspicions. Yale School of Medicine researchers are aiming to close this lag time with a new inexpensive, accurate and practical diagnostic test for Turner syndrome that can be done in a doctor's office.

Cross-border conservation vital to protect birds in a climate-change world
Countries need to increase co-operation over conservation to protect birds and other wildlife in an era of climate change, according to a new continental-scale study.

Missing sugar molecule raises diabetes risk in humans
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego say an evolutionary gene mutation that occurred in human millions of years ago and our subsequent inability to produce a specific kind of sugar molecule appears to make people more vulnerable to developing Type 2 diabetes, especially if they're overweight.

Innovative micro-insurance program expands to protect Kenyan farmers from drought
With Kenyan farmers increasingly fearing massive weather-related losses, UAP Insurance, Syngenta Foundation and mobile operator Safaricom announced today a major expansion of Kilimo Salama, an innovative and affordable crop insurance program that will now cover the expected value of farm harvests, more crops and many more farmers against drought and flooding, while also protecting against livestock losses.

Cell Press wins prestigious PROSE Award for Article of the Future
Elsevier and Cell Press are proud to announce that

Groundbreaking technology will revolutionize blood pressure measurement
Pioneering new technology will lead to better treatment decisions and better outcomes for patients.

Not actually bad at math or auto repair? Women fear being stereotyped by male service providers
Women prefer female service providers in situations where they might fall prey to stereotypes about their math and science abilities, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Preschool beneficial, but should offer more, study finds
As more states consider universal preschool programs, a new study led by a Michigan State University scholar suggests that two years of pre-K is beneficial -- although more time should be spent on teaching certain skills.

Many stroke patients not getting preventive therapy for blood clots
Patients with strokes, brain tumors and spinal cord injuries are at high risk for life-threatening blood clots, but many do not receive preventive therapy, Loyola University Health System researchers report.

LSU biologist, chemical engineer partner with industry to develop best soft lure available
Soft baits, those gummy pieces of brightly colored plastic familiar from your father's tackle box, are good essentially only as visual cues for fish. LSU professor John Caprio and Mystic Tackleworks have changed all that by developing Attraxx with Sci-X, a scientifically designed soft bait that preys on fish sight, smell and taste -- the major sensory systems that a fish depends on to find its dinner.

U-M Medical School researchers set new record in NIH funding: $368.7 million
University of Michigan Medical School physicians and scientists earned more than $368.7 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding in federal fiscal year 2010. In all, the school's faculty brought in $481.8 million in research funding from all sources in U-M fiscal year 2010.

Engineering at Virginia Tech to team with University of Nottingham
Virginia Tech's Center for Power Electronics Systems and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute are partnering with the University of Nottingham's Transportation Engineering Centre and its Power Electronics, Machines and Control Group to offer Ph.D. scholarships, exchanges, and postdoc research appointments. The groups have common research sponsors and both also have interests in aerospace engineering.

New free, hands-on tool supports sustainable living choices
People who want to eat healthy and live sustainably have a new way to measure their impact on the environment: a Web-based tool that calculates an individual's

Cedars-Sinai research team awarded $1.9 million from CIRM to develop new tools and technologies
A team of scientists from the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute has been awarded a $1.9 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to fund development of a new technique to aid pharmaceutical discoveries for specific diseases.

Toronto scientists Till, McCulloch honored as fathers of stem cell research
Fifty years ago today, two young, unknown scientists at the fledgling Ontario Cancer Institute published accidental findings that proved the existence of stem cells -- cells that can self-renew repeatedly for different uses. 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