Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (March 2012)

Science news and science current events archive March, 2012.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from March 2012

How to best help your child lose weight: Lose weight yourself
A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the University of Minnesota indicates that a parent's weight change is a key contributor to the success of a child's weight loss in family-based treatment of childhood obesity.

Research reveals carbon footprint caused by China's irrigation system
China's groundwater irrigation system is responsible for polluting the atmosphere with more than 30 million tons of CO2 per year -- according to research from the University of East Anglia. Groundwater used for crop irrigation in China has grown from 10 billion cubic meters in 1950 to more than 100 billion today. A research paper, published today in Environmental Research Letters, estimates that the pumping systems which support this immense irrigation network annually produce 33.1 MtCO2e.

NASA sees more severe weather over eastern Texas, Oklahoma
A low pressure area is centered over eastern Oklahoma, and its associated cold front drapes south into eastern Texas. The front is stalled over eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma and is generating severe weather today. NASA's Aqua satellite and NOAA's GOES-13 satellite have been providing imagery of the developing weather.

Pesticide additives cause drifting droplets, but can be controlled
Chemical additives that help agricultural pesticides adhere to their targets during spraying can lead to formation of smaller

Antibodies are not required for immunity against some viruses
A new study turns the well established theory that antibodies are required for antiviral immunity upside down and reveals that an unexpected partnership between the specific and non-specific divisions of the immune system is critical for fighting some types of viral infections. The research, published online on March 1 in the journal Immunity by Cell Press, may lead to a new understanding of the best way to help protect those exposed to potentially lethal viruses, such as the rabies virus.

Avoiding the tragedy of overfishing
Management of fisheries at the community level can help curb overfishing and the

Health monitoring? There's an app for that
A personal Bluetooth-enabled vital signs monitoring device that interfaces with a smart phone app is on the way thanks to New Zealand researchers.

Crabs, insects and spiders vulnerable to oil spill, but also resilient
Crabs, insects and spiders in coastal salt marshes affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010 were both quite vulnerable to oil exposure, but also resilient enough to recover within a year if their host plants remained healthy

Scientists search for source of creativity
USC researchers are working to pin down the exact source of creativity in the brain -- and have found that the left hemisphere of your brain, thought to be the logic and math portion, actually plays a critical role in creative thinking.

No evidence that higher regional health care costs indicate inappropriate care, study shows
There is no solid evidence to support the widely held belief that regions of the United States that spend more on health care and have higher rates of health care use deliver more unnecessary care to patients, or that low-cost areas deliver higher quality and more efficient care.

Scientists study human diseases in flies
At the ongoing Genetics Society of America's 53rd Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Chicago, several scientific investigators shared their knowledge of some of the genetic diseases that have counterparts in the well-studied model organism, fruit fly, including ataxia-telangiectasia, a neurodegenerative disorder; Rett Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder; and kidney stones, a common health ailment.

Over 20 million individuals infected with hepatitis E in Asia and Africa
New research funded by the World Health Organization estimates that 20.1 million individuals were infected with hepatitis E virus genotypes one and two across nine world regions in 2005. According to findings available in the April issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, there were 3.4 million symptomatic cases, 70,000 deaths, and 3,000 stillbirths from HEV that year in countries throughout Asia and Africa.

A new approach to treating type I diabetes? Gut cells transformed into insulin factories
A study by Columbia researchers suggests that cells in the patient's intestine could be coaxed into making insulin, circumventing the need for a stem cell transplant. Until now, stem cell transplants have been seen by many researchers as the ideal way to replace cells lost in type I diabetes and to free patients from insulin injections.

Special interest groups have become powerful public advocate
Many special interest groups aren't so specialized at all, but have become powerful advocates in advancing public interests and ideas, a Michigan State University political scientist argues in a new book.

New test could help track down and prosecute terrorists
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning

Roadway with recycled toilets is world's first official 'Greenroad'
Greenroads, a rating system developed at the University of Washington, has made the first official certification for sustainable road construction. The foundation presented its award to a Bellingham, Wash., project that reuses porcelain from discarded toilets.

NJIT architect's New Orleans design efforts featured in book on roles in disaster recovery
The post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans planning and design work of James Dart, AIA, university lecturer and director of the Siena Urban Design Studio at NJIT's College of Architecture and Design (COAD) is featured in a new book that examines the roles and responsibilities of architects in disaster recovery.

Renewable battery cathode formed from waste
Researchers have designed a battery cathode made of lignin byproducts from the pulp and paper industry, which may lead to cheaper and safer electrodes.

The Viking journey of mice and men
House mice happily live wherever there are humans. When populations of humans migrate the mice often travel with them. New research published in BioMed Central's open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology has used evolutionary techniques on modern day and ancestral mouse mitochondrial DNA to show that the timeline of mouse colonization matches that of Viking invasion.

Dinosaur fossil: Even specialized predators didn't turn down free meals
Scientists have discovered a bone from a Pterosaur in the guts of the skeletal remains of a Velociraptor that lived in the Gobi Desert about 75 million years ago. The findings published online in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology, support the idea that Velociraptor, a carnivore with a specialized sickle-shaped slashing talon on the second toe of each foot and large grasping hands, would also scavenge on any available carcasses.

Scientific, regulatory issues surrounding probiotics the focus of USP-IFT workshop
Regulators, manufacturers and academic researchers from around the world will convene for a two-day workshop on the scientific and regulatory challenges posed by the use of probiotic ingredients in food products. Discussions will focus on how public standards can assist in supporting transparency, consistency and competitiveness of ethical industry players as health claims surrounding probiotic products undergo increased scrutiny. Co-sponsored by USP and IFT, the workshop will be held May 9-10, 2012.

Declines in Caribbean coral reefs pre-date damage resulting from climate change
The decline of Caribbean coral reefs has been linked to the recent effects of human-induced climate change. However, new research led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego suggests an even earlier cause. The bad news - humans are still to blame. The good news - relatively simple policy changes regarding land use and fishing activity can hinder further coral reef decline.

U-M Health and Retirement Study adds genetic data to NIH database
In an important expansion of social science research to include biologic and genetic data in addition to traditional survey and experimental data, the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study, a 20-year nationwide survey of the health, economic and social status of older Americans conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research, has added genetic information from 12,500 consenting participants to the online genetics database of the National Institutes of Health.

UN emission market needs urgent reform
The United Nations global carbon market requires substantial reform because it too often fails to support the projects and people it is meant to help, according to new research from the Economic and Social Research Council.

The MIRI has 2 faces
A short new video takes viewers behind the scenes with the MIRI or the Mid-Infrared Instrument that will fly on-board NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. MIRI is a state-of-the-art infrared instrument that will allow scientists to study distant objects in greater detail than ever before.

Finding reason in delusion
A new study from Prof. Jiska Cohen-Mansfield of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine suggests that many delusions experienced by older patients may have a basis in reality and could be more effectively treated through behavioral therapy than by medications. A better understanding of these delusions, she says, has direct implications for the care of those who suffer from dementia.

NSA Science of Security 'Lablet' established at NC State
North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carnegie Mellon University are each receiving an initial $2.5 million in grant funds from the US National Security Agency to stimulate the creation of a more scientific basis for the design and analysis of trusted systems.

Biomarkers: New tools of modern medicine
Over the last few decades there has been an explosion in the discovery of biomarkers for diagnosis, disease monitoring, and prognostic evaluation. In the April issue of Translational Research, entitled

BRG1 mutations confer resistance to hormones in lung cancer
A study led by the research group on Genes and Cancer of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute has shown that the loss of BRG1 gene implies a lack of response of cells to these hormones, and therefore the tumor may continue growing. Study results have been published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Listen to neurons in your own backyard with the SpikerBox
Amateurs have a new tool for conducting simple neuroscience experiments in their own garage: the SpikerBox.

HCPs in pharmacotherapeutic treatment for opioid addiction should not return to clinical practice
Many health-care professionals (HCPs) have easy access to controlled medications and the diversion and abuse of drugs among this group may be as high as 10 percent. Controversy surrounds the safety of allowing addicted HCPs to return to clinical practice while undergoing medical treatment with opioid substitution therapy such as buprenorphine. In the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers review the evidence and call for abstinence-based recovery instead.

Ibuprofen decreases likelihood of altitude sickness, Stanford researchers find
A new study led by Grant Lipman, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at Stanford Hospital & Clinics and a clinical assistant professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has found that ibuprofen, a widely available, over-the-counter drug, may help relieve acute mountain sickness, or altitude illness. The study will be published online March 20 in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Santorini: The ground is moving again in paradise
Santorini, a tourist magnet famous for its breathtaking cliffs and sunsets, sits atop an active volcano. That caldera is awake after more than 60 years of activity and deforming at levels never seen before. Georgia Tech's Andrew Newman has more than 20 GPS stations on the island and is keeping a close eye on a potential eruption.

Scientists map genetic evolution of leukemia
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have mapped the genetic evolution of a fatal leukemia in patients initially diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes, a family of blood cancers. Their research suggests that targeted cancer drugs should be aimed at mutations that develop early in the disease.

University of Warwick research suggests suicide rates higher in Protestant areas than Catholic
Research from the University of Warwick suggests suicide rates are much higher in Protestant areas than Catholic areas.

Embryonic stem cells shift metabolism in cancer-like way upon implanting in uterus
When an embryo implants in the uterus, the low-oxygen environment provokes some of its cells to shift to a sugar-busting metabolism. In cancer cells, the same shift releases fuel and materials for rapid tumor growth and division. In the embryo, the shift prepares for dramatic growth and formation of layers that later become organs. The researchers also saw a mitochondrial downshift linked to aging and disease controlling normal embryonic development. It may protect cells that later become eggs or sperm from oxidant damage.

Walking may lessen the influence of genes on obesity by half
Watching too much TV can worsen your genetic tendency towards obesity, but you can cut the effect in half by walking briskly for an hour a day, researchers report at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions.

Advice to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months may be 'unhelpful' and too idealistic
Advising women to breastfeed exclusively for six months may be

Barrier to faster graphene devices identified and suppressed
Vanderbilt physicists report that they have nailed down the source of the interference inhibiting the rapid flow of electrons through graphene-based devices and found a way to suppress it.

UCLA scientists uncover mechanism for melanoma drug resistance
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have uncovered how an advanced form of melanoma gets around an inhibitor, Zelboraf, which targets the mutated BRAF gene.

Researchers find sarcoma tumor immune response with combination therapy
A team of 18 researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have found that treating high-risk, soft tissue sarcoma patients with a combination of implanted dendritic cells and fractionated external beam radiation provided more than 50 percent of their trial patients with tumor-specific immune responses lasting from 11 to 42 weeks.

Composite PVC materials with enhanced thermal stability on the basis of nanofillings
Researchers at the Public University of Navarre are working on a project to design and manufacture composite PVC materials based on nanofillings and intended for multi-sectoral applications. The ultimate aim of the Vinilclay project is to control and optimize the properties of the plastic material; specifically, its photostability, thermal resistance and gas permeation.

NASA satellite sees thunderstorms banding around developing system 96W
A low pressure system that has been lingering in the western North Pacific Ocean for several days appears to be coming together today in infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite.

HJF Center announces Heroes of Military Medicine award recipients
The Center for Public-Private Partnerships at The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Inc. is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 Heroes of Military Medicine awards. The recipients will be honored at the Heroes of Military Medicine dinner and award ceremony on May 2, 2012. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

SDSC's 'big data' expertise aiding genomics research
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, has in the last three years undergone a major reboot, remaking itself into a center of expertise on all aspects of

Microbiologists can now measure extremely slow life
Microbiologists at Aarhus University have developed a new method for measuring the very slow metabolism of bacteria deep down in the seabed. The results can provide knowledge about the global carbon cycle and its long-term impact on the climate.

Retigabine for epilepsy: No proof of added benefit
In an early benefit assessment IQWiG examined whether the drug retigabine offers an added benefit compared with the present standard therapy in adults with epileptic seizures. However, no such added benefit can be inferred from the dossier, as the drug manufacturer deviated from the G-BA's specifications and chose a different comparator therapy.

IOF Medal of Achievement awarded to Professor Cyrus Cooper
Today, at the European Congress on Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis, Professor Cyrus Cooper was awarded the International Osteoporosis Foundation Medal of Achievement.

Community-based prevention programs improve psychological, heart health
Intensive community-based lifestyle interventions tailored to individuals and focused on psychological health can significantly reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease in low-income and minority women, according to research presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session. The Scientific Session, the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, brings cardiovascular professionals together to further advances in the field.

International Polar Year conference: From knowledge to action
The IPY 2012 From Knowledge to Action Conference will be one of the largest and most important scientific conferences for polar science and climate change, impacts and adaptation. Keynote presentations, thought-provoking panel discussions and workshops will provide the focal points for translating polar knowledge into actions that will enable people to live in, adapt to, or benefit from, our changing world. 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