Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2010)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2010.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2010

'Tsunami' video sheds light on struggling pupfish
For the first time, an earthquake was recorded live in Devils Hole, home to the critically endangered pupfish species. The footage is educating scientists on how struggling species react to disturbance.

Journal of Polymer Science editor, Craig Hawker, elected as Royal Society Fellow
John Wiley & Sons Inc. is pleased to announce that Professor Craig Hawker has been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society.

Caught on tape: Muscle stem cells captured on video by MU researcher
Now, University of Missouri researchers have used time-lapse photography to document satellite cell movements and behaviors when they interact with their

EMBO Gold Medal 2010 recognizes Jason W. Chin
The European Molecular Biology Organization today announced the award of the EMBO Gold Medal 2010 to Jason W. Chin from the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Chin receives the award for his pioneering work on reprogramming the genetic code. Chin's work allows designer amino acids to be encoded at specific, predetermined positions in proteins in vivo, enabling molecular biologists to control and elucidate the functions of proteins in cells with unprecedented precision.

SAGE partners with RTVJ Division of AEJMC to publish Electronic News
The Radio-Television Journalism Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication has partnered with SAGE to publish its official journal, Electronic News.

Redefining electrical current law with the transistor laser
A major current law has been rewritten thanks to the three-port transistor laser, developed by Milton Feng and Nick Holonyak Jr. at the University of Illinois. Data the transistor laser generated did not fit neatly within established circuit laws governing electrical currents, so the pair created a new model to account for the transistor laser having both electrical and optical output.

PMH cancer researchers link ovarian hormone to breast stem cells growth
Cancer researchers at Princess Margaret Hospital have discovered that the ovarian hormone progesterone plays a pivotal role in altering breast stem cells, a finding that has important implications for breast cancer risk.

Carnegie Mellon silicon researchers collaborate with industry
Carnegie Mellon University is launching an initiative, led by two of its Silicon Valley-based researchers, to address the need for industry-wide, globally accepted measures for calculating the benefits and risks of cloud-computing services.

Visually guided laser may be viable treatment for abnormal heartbeat
A new treatment known as a visually guided balloon-laser catheter stopped abnormal electrical pulses in people and pigs with irregular heartbeats. The intervention prevented abnormal impulses for three months. Additional long-term studies are needed to assess ongoing safety and effectiveness.

Genetic makeup of Hispanic/Latino Americans influenced by Native American, European and African-American ancestries
A new study from researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center found that the imprint of European colonialism and imperialism is evident in the genetic makeup of today's Hispanic/Latino American populations. Scientists discovered that Europeans, Native Americans, as well as West Africans brought to the US and Latin America by the trans-Atlantic slave trade, have influenced the genes of the current Hispanic/Latino populations. However, a large variation in genes among individuals within each population were still found to exist.

Certain laboratory technique allows rapid detection of eye pathogens
A laboratory technique using real-time polymerase chain reaction that copies DNA segments may allow clinicians to accurately identify pathogens infecting the cornea more quickly than standard methods, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

What makes music sound so sweet (or not)
Ever since ancient times, scholars have puzzled over the reasons that some musical note combinations sound so sweet while others are just downright dreadful. The Greeks believed that simple ratios in the string lengths of musical instruments were the key, maintaining that the precise mathematical relationships endowed certain chords with a special, even divine, quality.

ATS publishes joint statement on renal failure in the ICU patient
Despite the fact that recent medical advances have allowed health care professionals to stabilize patients who would have otherwise died, many stabilized patients later develop organ system failure. In fact, acute renal failure is one of the biggest threats to critically ill patients: forty percent of patients with this condition die. And yet, there is an acute lack of clinical information -- and even consensus on the definition of renal failure in critical care settings -- that experts cannot even agree upon its name.

Scientists home in on lithium battery safety flaws
Scientists at Cambridge have developed a simple, accurate way of

New technique permits development of enzyme tool kit
An Arizona State University graduate student, Jinglin Fu, in collaboration with Biodesign Institute researchers Neal Woodbury and Stephen Albert Johnston, has pioneered a technique that improves on scientists' ability to harness and modulate enzyme activity.

New insights into the mystery of natural HIV immunity
Researchers have previously showed that a very high percentage of those naturally HIV-immune people, who represent about one in 200 infected individuals, carry a gene called HLA B57. Now a team of researchers from the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard has revealed a new effect that contributes to this gene's ability to confer immunity.

The role of nurses in physician-assisted dying
Nurses in Belgium who administer life-ending drugs in euthanasia and in cases without explicit patient request often act outside of the law, according to a study in CMAJ.

Why is breast milk best? It's all in the genes
The ability to track which genes are operating in an infant's intestine has allowed University of Illinois scientists to compare the early development of breast-fed and formula-fed babies. For the first time, researchers can see that breast milk induces genetic pathways that are quite different from those in formula-fed infants.

Powe Award supports development of nanocomposites to monitor wind turbine blade structure
Wind turbine blades enjoy a steady wind but can be damaged by gust-induced vibrations. The researcher proposes to create tiny sensor patches that can be selectively placed in key locations where it is anticipated that damage will start. The patches are made of the same base material as the blade but sprinkled with carbon nanotubes, resulting in a nanocomposite sensor which adds negligible weight to the structure.

Lessons from 9/11: Psychiatrists are indispensible in first-response teams
Psychiatrists should be included in disaster first-response teams because survivors have immediate need for help in alleviating early trauma symptoms ranging from sleeplessness to constant anxiety, says a new study of 9/11 survivors and victims' family members published today in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

Caution required for Gulf oil spill clean-up
A Berkeley Lab bioremediation expert says extreme caution must be used in cleaning up the fragile Gulf Coast ecosystem in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Oil is a biological product that can be degraded by microbes, whereas detergents used to clean up oil contaminated sites can make a bad situation even worse.

Gymnastic training improves bone health in girls
According to a new study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, long-term elite rhythmic gymnastics exerts positive effects on volumetric bone density and bone geometry in adolescent girls.

When it comes to security, think 'natural'
Security organizations could be more effective if officials learn from occurrences in the environment, University of Arizona researchers suggest in the May 20 issue of the journal Nature.

Semiconductor manufacturing technique holds promise for solar energy
Thanks to a new semiconductor manufacturing method pioneered at the University of Illinois, the future of solar energy just got brighter. The researchers developed a more efficient, lower-cost method of manufacturing compound semiconductors such as gallium arsenide for many electronic device applications, including solar cells. The group deposits multiple layers of the material on a single wafer, creating a layered stack of gallium arsenide thin films, then transfers one layer at a time to another substrate -- glass, plastic or silicon.

CE 3-D US for differentiating focal liver lesions
A research team from Japan and China examined the potential role of contrast-enhanced three-dimensional ultrasonography (CE 3-D US) in characterizing focal liver lesions. Their results showed that CE 3-D US provides a spatial perspective for liver tumor enhancement, and could help in differentiating focal liver lesions.

New laser hall opened -- welding for research
A new hall with a semi-industrial laser system has been built at the GKSS Research Centre, Geesthacht, in collaboration with Airbus Deutschland GmbH. GKSS put in an investment of around a million Euros and the hall was officially opened on April 19 by representatives of GKSS and Airbus. The new system will be used to research laser beam welding of new lightweight construction alloys, among other areas. The material researchers from Geesthacht are taking over the system from the Airbus location in Nordenham.

Medicine's secret archives
In an article published in the journal Trials, researchers at the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care compiled over 60 examples illustrating how the dissemination of medical knowledge has been impeded. For this purpose, they assessed hundreds of citations. A wide range of interventions was affected: from drugs and vaccines to medical devices such as ultrasound or devices for wound care. The collection reads like the script for a crime series.

Model developed for manipulating vitamin D levels in calves
A new model for manipulating vitamin D levels in young calves has been developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists who say it could help establish just how much of this important nutrient the young animals need to promote optimal growth and health.

Educational researcher devotes May issue to 'Report of the National Early Literacy Panel'
The May 2010 issue of Educational Researcher provides a significant scholarly review of Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel (NELP). Educational Researcher is one of six journals published by the American Educational Research Association. In the special issue, NELP Panel members Timothy Shanahan and Christopher J. Lonigan provide a summary of the report followed by nine peer-reviewed commentaries written by literacy scholars who examine the report and offer suggestions.

Hepcidin-25 in human saliva, bile, ascitic and pleural fluid
A research team from United Kingdom described the use of radioimmunoassay to demonstrate and measure hepcidin-25 in various biological fluids. They provided evidence for the first time of the presence of hepcidin in human saliva, bile, ascitic and pleural fluid.

Astronomers plan second look at mega star birthing grounds
Astronomers this summer will take a close look at a rare cosmic cradle for the universe's largest stars, baby bruisers that grow up to have 50 times the sun's mass.

Consumer confidence: When our choices makes the most sense
Why do we feel confident about some choices while we question others? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, it's a combination of how easy the choice seems and whether we're thinking concretely or abstractly.

Not a fish story: Protected corals increase fishing profits
The Wildlife Conservation Society today announced findings from a study showing that closures and gear restrictions implemented in fishing areas can increase fishery revenue and net profits.

Breakthrough in stem cell culturing
For the first time, human embryonic stem cells have been cultured under chemically controlled conditions without the use of animal substances, which is essential for future clinical uses. The method has been developed by researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet and is presented in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Caltech researchers identify genes and brain centers that regulate meal size in flies
Biologists from the California Institute of Technology and Yale University have identified two genes, the leucokinin neuropeptide and the leucokinin receptor, that appear to regulate meal sizes and frequency in fruit flies. Both genes have mammalian counterparts that seem to play a similar role in food intake, indicating that the steps that control meal size and meal frequency are not just behaviorally similar but are controlled by the same genes throughout the animal kingdom.

Mutations that cause Parkinson's disease prevent cells from destroying defective mitochondria
Mutations that cause Parkinson's disease prevent cells from destroying defective mitochondria, according to a study published online May 10 in the Journal of Cell Biology.

Drivers who delay license reinstatement after suspension are often high risk
Driver's license suspension is often used for individuals convicted of driving under the influence. A new study has found that many suspended drivers do not reinstate, continue to drive uninsured, and create danger on the roads for others. Results support license reinstatement with continued controls, such as interlocks as a condition of reinstatement.

NIH awards $2.7-million grant to Kent State to study cognitive impairment in heart failure patients
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $2.7-million grant to Kent State University for a collaborative research project with Case Western Reserve University School of Nursing, Summa Health System in Akron and University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland to study cognitive impairment in heart failure patients. The four-year grant from NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute runs through January 31, 2014.

Oxford University Press supplies research journals to Indian colleges
Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press, has announced a new partnership to supply 206 journals to 6,000 colleges in India.

Pulmonary rehabilitation effective for both obese and slim COPD patients
Obese patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) stand to gain as much from pulmonary rehabilitation as their slimmer counterparts, even though as a group they have a lower exercise capacity, according to new research from the University Hospitals of Leicester in the UK.

Men with bigger wallets have bigger waistlines
In Canada, in stark contrast with the rest of the world, wealthy men increase their likelihood of being overweight with every extra dollar they make. The new study was led by Nathalie Dumas, a graduate student at the University of Montreal Department of Sociology, and presented at the annual conference of the Association francophone pour le savoir.

Running a marathon halts cellular suicide
Apoptosis, the natural

NASA sees strong thunderstorms in potential tropical cyclone near Hong Kong
NASA and other satellite data is helping forecasters get a bead on a tropical low that looks prime for development over the weekend in the Western Pacific Ocean. Infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite showed System 93W has some high, cold thunderstorm cloud tops, indicating strong convection.

Viruses against cancer
Advanced gliomas regressed completely in rats after treatment with parvoviruses and the animals survived significantly longer than untreated animals. This was shown by scientists of the German Cancer Research Center. Parvoviruses do not cause any disease symptoms in humans and the rats treated did not show any undesired side effects, either. A clinical phase I trial on parvovirus treatment of patients with advanced glioblastoma is being prepared in collaboration with the Neurosurgery Department of Heidelberg University Hospitals.

3-D model of blood flow by supercomputer predicts heart attacks
The EPFL Laboratory of Multiscale Modeling of Materials in Switzerland has developed a flowing 3-D model of the cardiovascular system that should allow for predictions of certain heart diseases before they become dangerous.

Lake-bed trails tell ancient fish story
The wavy lines and squiggles etched into a slab of limestone found near Fossil Butte National Monument are prehistoric fish trails, made by Notogoneus osculus as it fed along a lake bottom, says Emory University paleontologist Anthony Martin.

Bugging out: NC State researchers help track wayward pests through mapping
Tracking invasive pests around the world sounds like it would make for an interesting show on the Discovery Channel. However, the work that goes into tracking these species is less

Weird orbits of neighbors can make 'habitable' planets not so habitable
New findings from computer modeling indicate some exoplanets might fluctuate between being habitable and being inhospitable to life because of forces exerted by giant neighbors with eccentric orbits.

University of Utah afib specialist, Marcos Daccarett, M.D., wins Young Investigator Award
Dr. Marcos Daccarett, an assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, won the Young Investigator Award at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual scientific sessions in Denver, May 12-15. He was recognized for his presentation of an abstract entitled,

NASA's Aqua satellite sees second tropical storm form near the Horn of Africa
The Northern Indian Ocean cyclone season is off to a roaring start, as the second tropical storm formed within a day of the first one. NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Tropical Storm 02A today, May 19 and captured infrared, microwave and visible images of the storm. 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