Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (July 2011)

Science news and science current events archive July, 2011.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from July 2011

Clemson and DriveSafety create new driving simulator for rehabilitation
Clemson University researchers, working with simulation technology company DriveSafety, have developed a new driving simulator designed for patient rehabilitation that now is being used at 11 Army, Navy and Veterans Affairs facilities. The program recently expanded to Europe with the addition of a driving simulator at Charité Hospital in Berlin, Germany.

Short-term hormone therapy plus radiation therapy increases survival for men with early-stage prostate cancer
Short-term hormone therapy (androgen deprivation therapy: ADT) given in combination with radiation therapy for men with early-stage prostate cancer increases their chance of living longer and not dying from the disease, compared with that of those who receive the same radiation therapy alone, according to a Radiation Therapy Oncology Group study published in the July 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Cortisol controls recycling of bile acids
Cortisol is responsible for the recycling of bile acids from the blood, discovered scientists of the German Cancer Research Center. If this recycling is disrupted, the animals develop gallstones and lose weight because they are no longer able to digest dietary fats. They also use more energy for heat production. The researchers assume that regulation of recycling serves the purpose of conserving energy efficiently in times of need.

Ben-Gurion U. part of expert consortium to create Israeli Renewable Energy Center
The group of 27 senior researchers will include nine researchers from Ben-Gurion University who are leaders in production of biomass; photo-catalysis of CO2 and water to fuels; gasification of biomass; and production of liquid fuels from biomass and mixtures of CO2 and water.

How maternal smoking or nicotine use increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in later life
Scientists now understand more about why being exposed to nicotine while you were a fetus will increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease as an adult.

'Wonder material' graphene tapped for electronic memory devices
Hailed as the new

Tropical Depression 11W moving past Yap and Guam
A NASA satellite has observed Tropical Depression 11W become more organized on infrared imagery. Fortunately, it is moving away from land areas for the next couple of days.

Indirubin -- Component Of Chinese herbal remedy might block brain tumor's spread
Indirubin, the active ingredient in a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, might offer a new strategy for treating glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer. A new study shows that indirubin both blocks the migration of glioblastoma cells, preventing their spread to other areas of the brain, and the migration of endothelial cells, preventing them from forming the new blood vessels the tumor needs to grow.

ONR award ceremony recognizes achievements and service of 4 Navy employees
The Office of Naval Research honored four employees -- Dr. Bernard Douda, William Coleman, Dr. Ted Clem and Marguerite Bass -- who have helped shape the future of the Navy and Marine Corps' science and technology efforts with its highest awards during a ceremony at ONR headquarters July 19.

Genetic research confirms that non-Africans are part Neanderthal
Some of the human X chromosome originates from Neanderthals and is found exclusively in people outside Africa.

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.

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.

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.

Reforestation's cooling influence -- a result of farmer's past choices
Decisions by farmers to plant on productive land with little snow enhances the potential for reforestation to counteract global warming, concludes new research. Previous research has led scientists and politicians to believe that regrowing forests on Northern lands that were cleared in order to grow crops would not decrease global warming. But these studies did not consider the importance of the choices made by farmers in the historical past.

Rensselaer Professor Wayne Gray receives Humboldt Research Award
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Wayne Gray has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award from the Germany-based Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The honor includes a fellowship that will allow Gray, a professor in the Department of Cognitive Science and director of the CogWorks Laboratory at Rensselaer, to pursue research at the Max Planck Institute Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) in Berlin.

Response to alcohol, peers, expectancies, and coping all contribute to adolescent drinking
A low level of response (LR) to alcohol is one of several genetically influenced characteristics that may increase an individual's risk for heavy drinking and alcohol problems. A new study has examined the LR model of risk among adolescents in the United Kingdom. Findings indicate that a low LR is related to more adverse alcohol outcomes through partial mediation by peer substance use, positive expectancies of the effects of alcohol, and using alcohol to cope with stress.

Extended Coulomb failure criteria for the Zipingpu reservoir and Longmenshan slip
The extended Coulomb failure stress criteria and anisotropic porosity and permeability tensor at micro/meso/macro scale under ultra-high temperature and pressure conditions were developed employing the flow driven pore-network crack model under multiple temporal-spatial scales and the hybrid hypersingular integral equation-lattice Boltzmann method. The correlation of the Zipingpu reservoir and Longmenshan slip was then analyzed and the fluid-solid coupled 3-D facture mechanism of the reservoir and earthquake fault was explored.

A 'LEAP' in controlling cardiac fibrillation
Researchers have developed a new low-energy defibrillation method.

MUTE prototype displays excellent driving dynamics
Following months of preliminary work on computer simulations, the first completed prototype of the new electric concept car from Technische Universitaet Muenchen showed in its first driving tests that it possesses excellent driving properties -- not only in theory, but also in practice. Technische Universitaet Muenchen will be presenting its new electric vehicle concept

NOAA, Bermuda partner to protect humpback whales in the North Atlantic
NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Government of Bermuda have pledged cooperation on scientific and educational programs to better protect the endangered North Atlantic humpback whale population.

An unexpected clue to thermopower efficiency
Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and their colleagues at the University of California and Nanjing University have discovered a new relation among electric and magnetic fields and differences in temperature, which can result in swirling vortices of electrons and holes in semiconductor devices and emit sideways magnetic fields. Understanding the unusual new effect may lead to more efficient thermoelectric devices, which convert heat into electricity or electricity into heat.

Penn study finds a genetic basis for muscle endurance in animal study
Researchers have identified a gene for endurance, or more precisely, its negative regulator. Not having the gene relates to greater endurance in the knockout mice that were studied. The investigators also showed that the gene is linked to Olympic-level athletes in endurance sports such as swimming compared to athletes in sprint sports such as the 100-meter dash. The work has implications for improving muscle performance in disease states including metabolic disorders, obesity, and aging.

Virtual Institute investigates virus infections
Understanding the tricks and survival strategies of viruses to effectively combat them: that is the goal of the virtual institute VISTRIE that received its funding commitment today. VISTRIE, which stands for

Software helps synthetic biologists customize protein production
A software program developed by a Penn State synthetic biologist could provide biotechnology companies with genetic plans to help them turn bacteria into molecular factories, capable of producing everything from biofuels to medicine.

New ways to measure magnetism around the sun
NASA researchers have made use of old mathematical techniques and new insights on how CMEs travel to devise a fresh way to measure this magnetic environment in the sun's upper atmosphere, the corona.

Surgeons' civility in operating room benefits patients, reduces costs, Cedars-Sinai expert finds
A surgeon's behavior in the operating room affects patient outcomes, health-care costs, medical errors and patient- and staff-satisfaction, says a commentary in the July issue of Archives of Surgery.

Institute of Physics announces appointment of 6 new Honorary Fellows
Nobel Prize winning physicists, a former research council chief executive, a pioneer in stellar physics, a physics education innovator, and the man who ushered thousands of UK physics undergraduates into the Institute of Physics have all been made Honorary Fellows.

Tropical Storm Muifa appears huge on NASA infrared imagery
The width of an image from the AIRS instrument that flies on NASA's Aqua satellite is about 1700 km (1056 miles), and the clouds and thunderstorms associate with Tropical Storm Muifa take up that entire distance on today's imagery.

Is meditation the push-up for the brain?
UCLA researchers have found that long time meditators have stronger connections between brain regions, and show less age-related atrophy when compared to a control group. Having stronger connections influences the ability to rapidly relay electrical signals in the brain. And significantly, these effects are evident throughout the entire brain, not just in specific areas.

NASA sees dramatic temperatures around Tropical Depression 11W
Tropical Depression 11W appears as a huge and very cold area of clouds on infrared imagery from NASA. Infrared imagery basically provides temperature data of factors such as clouds and sea surface and there's quite a contrast between the two around Tropical Depression 11W.

Allina receives NIH grant to study real world usage of integrative therapies
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $2.4 million to Allina Hospitals & Clinics to study the impact of integrative and mind/body therapies on pain management for patients at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Think healthy, eat healthy: Caltech scientists show link between attention and self-control
Choosing what to have for dinner, it turns out, is a complex neurological exercise. But, according to researchers from Caltech, it's one that can be influenced by a simple shifting of attention toward the healthy side of life. And that shift may provide strategies to help us all make healthier choices -- not just in terms of the foods we eat, but in other areas, like whether or not we pick up a cigarette.

Targeting the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors
The Max Cure Foundation and the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation award $100,000 to Erwin G. Van Meir, Ph.D., of Emory University School of Medicine to further his research in Ewing sarcoma.

Media registration opens for Neuroscience 2011, world's largest meeting on brain science and health
SfN's Annual Meeting, Neuroscience 2011, will take place Nov. 12-16 at the Washington Convention Center. The event will include more than 16,000 study abstracts on new discoveries in aging, stress, mental illness, learning, disease and more. In addition to a working press room and press conferences, registered media will have access to special events on the intersection of brain science and society, such as the law, the obesity epidemic and economics.

Protein may help diagnose and treat lymphoma in people and dogs
A protein that appears to play a key role in the formation of lymphoma and other tumors by inhibiting a tumor-suppressing gene has been identified by a team of veterinary and human medicine researchers at UC Davis. The newly identified protein may be a potential target for diagnosing and treating lymphoma in humans and animals.

Arthroscopic treatment of common hip problem improves range of motion
Arthroscopic treatment of a common hip problem that leads to arthritis is successful in terms of restoring range of motion, according to results from a recent Hospital for Special Surgery study. The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, held July 7-11 in San Diego.

New clues to the structural dynamics of BK channels
BK channels (large-conductance, Ca2+-dependent K+ channels) are essential for the regulation of important biological processes such as smooth muscle tone and neuronal excitability. New research shows that BK channel activation involves structural rearrangements formerly not understood. The study appears in the August 2011 issue of the Journal of General Physiology.

Researchers find potential key for unlocking biomass energy
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center have found a potential key for unlocking the energy potential from non-edible biomass materials such as corn leaves and stalks, or switch grass.

Why patients with epidermolysis bullosa suffer extreme pain
For patients suffering from epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a hereditary skin disease, even a gentle touch is extremely painful. Now Dr. Li-Yang Chiang, Dr. Kate Poole and Professor Gary R. Lewin of the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) have discovered the causes underlying this disease. Due to a genetic defect, individuals with EB cannot form laminin-332, a structural molecule of the skin that in healthy individuals inhibits the transduction of tactile stimuli and neuronal branching.

High-resolution imaging technology reveals cellular details of coronary arteries
Researchers at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a one-micrometer-resolution version of the intravascular imaging technology optical coherence tomography that can reveal cellular and subcellular features of coronary artery disease.

Landsat 5 captures Missouri River flooding near Omaha
Landsat 5 captured an image of flooding occurring along the Iowa/Nebraska border on June 30, 2011. Flooding is still occurring on July 6, and Flood Warnings are still in effect from the National Weather Service.

July/August 2011 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
This tip sheet features synopses of original research and commentary from the July/August 2011 issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

Tropical Storm Don analyzed in 3 NASA satellite images
NASA is analyzing Tropical Storm Don from all angles, inside and out, using three different satellites. Don is expected to make landfall in southeastern Texas tonight or early Saturday.

Evolution and domestication of seed structure shown to use same genetic mutation
For the first time, scientists have identified a mutation in plants that was selected twice -- during both natural evolution and domestication. The mutation has been identified as the source of variation in the evolution of fruit morphology in Brassica plants and it was also the source of key changes during the domestication of rice.

From detonation to diapers: Los Alamos computer codes at core of advanced manufacturing tools
Computational tools developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory to help ensure the reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons deterrent in the absence of testing are helping industry giants ensure the reliability of their manufacturing processes.

Brain autopsies of 4 former football players reveal not all get chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Preliminary results from the first four brains donated to the Canadian Sports Concussion Project at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, TorontoWesternHospital, reveal that two of the four former Canadian Football League players suffered from a brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), while two did not show signs of CTE.

Most PCIs (such as balloon angioplasty) performed in US for acute indications appear warranted
In an examination of the appropriateness of the widespread use of percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs), researchers found that of more than 500,000 PCIs included in the study, nearly all for acute indications were classified as appropriate, whereas only about half of PCIs performed for nonacute indications could be classified as appropriate, according to a study in the July 6 issue of JAMA.

NASA sees Tropical Storms Bret and now Cindy frolic in North Atlantic
Two tropical storms are now in the open waters of the North Atlantic: Bret and Cindy. Both were captured on one image from NASA today. Both storms are hundreds of miles to the east-northeast of Bermuda and pose no threat to land areas.

Overlooked peptide reveals clues to causes of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute and their collaborators have shed light on the function of a little-studied amyloid peptide in promoting Alzheimer's disease (AD). Their surprising findings reveal that the peptide is more abundant, more neurotoxic and exhibits a higher propensity to aggregate than amyloidogenic agents studied in earlier research, suggesting a potential role in new approaches for preventing AD-causing amyloidosis.

BUSM/BMC researchers awarded $3.5 million grant from the NIDA
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center were recently awarded a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, to improve upon the

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