Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2011)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2011.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2011

US and European informatics leaders advance transatlantic cooperation on health IT policy
The final meeting in a series held by the ARGOS eHealth Consortium, a project funded by the European Commission to develop and promote common methods for responding to global eHealth challenges, recently concluded in Budapest amidst greater mutual understanding and stronger agreement among a broad set of leaders in Europe and the US, all of whom are responsible for expanding the use of health information technology.

Green and lean: Secreting bacteria eliminate cost barriers for renewable biofuel production
A Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University research team has developed a process that removes a key obstacle to producing low-cost, renewable biofuels from bacteria. The team has reprogrammed photosynthetic microbes to secrete high-energy fats, making byproduct recovery and conversion to biofuels easier and potentially more commercially viable.

Clemson University institute to study 'vertical farming' feasibility in Charleston, S.C.
Clemson University's Institute of Applied Ecology received EPA funding to develop a design-feasibility study to build a

Nanoscale waveguide for future photonics
Berkeley Lab researchers have demonstrated the first true nanoscale waveguides for next generation on-chip optical communication systems. The waveguides are based on a quasi-particle the researchers conceptualized and created called the

'I can hear a building over there'
Researchers at the University of Western Ontario's Centre for Brain and Mind have recently shown that blind echolocation experts use what is normally the

Cognitive decline incidence higher in Southern stroke belt
New research shows that residents of the Stroke Belt -- a southern portion of the US with significantly elevated stroke morality rate -- also have a greater incidence of cognitive decline than other regions of the country. Researchers believe shared risk factors among members of this population are to blame. Results of this study, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, are published in Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association.

UT Southwestern researchers find protein breakdown contributes to pelvic organ prolapse
A gynecologist and a molecular biologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center have collaborated to show for the first time that pelvic organ prolapse -- a condition in which the uterus, bladder or vagina protrude from the body -- is caused by a combination of a loss of elasticity and a breakdown of proteins in the vaginal wall.

Seed mixtures and insurance pest management: Future norm in the Corn Belt?
As the use of biotechnology increases and more companies move forward with the US Environmental Protection Agency's approval to begin full-scale commercialization of seed mixtures in transgenic insecticidal corn, many researchers believe pest monitoring will become even more difficult.

Blood test confirmed to be 'powerful predictor' following largest analysis to date
Researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center say the number of circulating tumor cells in the blood is a

Breaking rules makes you seem powerful
When people have power, they act the part. Powerful people smile less, interrupt others and speak in a louder voice. When people do not respect the basic rules of social behavior, they lead others to believe that they have power, according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE).

Robert H. Dott, Jr., awarded Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal
The American Geological Institute is pleased to announce Dr. Robert H. Dott, Jr., professor emeritus, Department of Geoscience of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as the recipient of the 2011 Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal. Established in 1999, the award is presented to a geoscientist who has demonstrated a long history of scientific achievement and exceptional service to the geoscience profession.

Early cART for HIV-infected people with TB; 5 psychotropic medicines in emergencies
Early antiretroviral therapy reduces mortality among HIV-infected adults with tuberculosis and improves retention in care, regardless of CD4 count; the addition of psychotropic medicines to the Interagency Emergency Health Kit.

Inside the infant mind
New study shows that babies can perform sophisticated analyses of how the physical world should behave.

Mind/body program increases pregnancy rates in IVF treatment
A new study published June 1 in Fertility and Sterility, a publication of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, shows that women who participate in a mind/body program for stress reduction while undergoing IVF treatment have a significantly higher pregnancy rate than those who do not (52 percent versus 20 percent).

Major European project taking steps to protect pollinators
The value of pollination services in Europe is worth about €22 ($31) billion each year and Europe's pollinators are in serious decline. The STEP project is comprised of a leading team of more than 50 researchers who are working together to conserve Europe's pollinators.

Next generation gamers: Computer games aid recovery from stroke
Computer games are not just for kids. New research published in Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, a BioMed Central open access journal, shows that computer games can speed up and improve a patient's recovery from paralysis after a stroke.

Reverse NanoJapan: Rice to host 25-30 Japanese students
In the wake of the March 11 earthquake and rolling blackouts that are severely affecting university research laboratories across Japan, the award-winning undergraduate internship program NanoJapan will be held at Rice University in Houston.

Sniff sniff: Smelling led to smarter mammals, researchers say
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet; the saying is perhaps a testament to the acute sense of smell that is unique to mammals. Paleontologists have now discovered that an improved sense of smell jumpstarted brain evolution in the ancestral cousins of present-day mammals. The research will appear in the May 20, 2011, issue of the journal Science, which is published by AAAS, the international, nonprofit science society.

The '$1,000 genome' may cost $100,000 to understand
Advances in technology have almost lifted the curtain on the long-awaited era of the

New algorithm significantly improves imaging for full-body MRIs
A new study reveals an improved algorithm that can dramatically improve how radiologists capture and interpret full-body MRIs, particularly in the abdominal region.

NASA's Galileo reveals magma 'ocean' beneath surface of Jupiter's moon
A new analysis of data from NASA's Galileo spacecraft reveals a subsurface

Propranolol associated with improvement in size and color of head and neck hemangiomas in children
The beta-blocker propranolol appears to be associated with reducing the size and color of hemangiomas of the head and neck in a pediatric population, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Key goals for building on 30 years of HIV/AIDS research
In the 30 years since the first reported cases of a mysterious illness now known as AIDS, researchers have made extraordinary advances in understanding, treating and preventing the disease. Now the challenge, according to experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, is to build on those successes to control and, ultimately, end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Surgical procedure appears to enhance smiles in children with facial paralysis
Transferring a segment of muscle from the thigh appears to help restore the ability to smile in children with facial paralysis just as it does in adults, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The article is part of a theme issue focusing on facial plastic surgery in the pediatric population.

West coast's log, lumber exports increase in first quarter of 2011
A total of 413.1 million board feet of softwood logs and 224.9 million board feet of softwood lumber were exported from Washington, Oregon, northern California and Alaska in January, February, and March of this year, according to the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Study finds nighttime organ transplant surgery not associated with poorer survival after 1 year
An analysis of data on heart and lung transplant recipients indicates that patients who had transplant surgery performed at nighttime did not have a significantly different rate of survival up to one year after organ transplantation, according to a study in the June 1 issue of JAMA.

Splitting water to create renewable energy simpler than first thought?
An international team, of scientists, led by a team at Monash University, Australia has found the key to the hydrogen economy could come from a very simple mineral, commonly seen as a black stain on rocks.

Targeted adalimumab treatment can optimize long-term outcomes for patients with early RA
Data presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress demonstrated that initial treatment with adalimumab (Humira, ADA) plus methotrexate in early RA patients can provide high levels of disease control in many patients, and may also offer the opportunity to change future treatment options for some.

Marriage problems related to infants' sleep difficulties
Couples having marital difficulties may have infants who are losing sleep, according to a new study -- and that may have a continuing impact on the children.

Scott & White Healthcare receives $3.5 million grant for cancer treatment and research
Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Texas, has received an anonymous gift of $3.5 million. One and a half million dollars of the generous gift will go to doubling the size of the cancer treatment facility in the new Scott & White Children's Hospital opening later this year.

Long-term study data supports association between childhood ADHD and substance abuse risk
Analysis of data from two long-term studies of the impact of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder on the development of psychiatric disorders in young adults confirms that ADHD alone significantly increases the risk of cigarette smoking and substance abuse in both boys and girls.

CAS REGISTRYSM keeps pace with rapid growth of chemical research, registers 60 millionth substance
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), the world's leader in chemical information and a division of the American Chemical Society, announced today that a patent application claiming compounds with potential therapeutic activity, submitted to the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China, included the 60 millionth substance recorded in the CAS REGISTRY.

July 2011 Geology highlights -- articles posted ahead of print May 24
Locations studied include Alligator Point, Cat Island, Bahamas; Rice Lake, Ontario, Canada; Liverpool Land, east Greenland; Mount Rainier, Washington, USA; the Yangtze Gorges area, South China; the Moresby Seamount detachment, Woodlark Basin (east of Papua New Guinea); Hilo Ridge, Hawaii, USA; the Isua supracrustal belt, southern West Greenland; the northern Bohemian Massif; the Lonar crater, Deccan traps, India; the Rhone Glacier; and the Mersa/Wadi Gawasis along the Egyptian Red Sea coast.

Portable tech might provide drinking water, power to villages
Researchers have developed an aluminum alloy that could be used in a new type of mobile technology to convert non-potable water into drinking water while also extracting hydrogen to generate electricity.

From a bucket of seawater, new understanding of the ocean
From a bucket of seawater, scientists have unlocked information that may lead to deeper understanding of organisms as different as coral reefs and human disease. By analyzing genomes of a tiny, single-celled marine animal, they have demonstrated a possible way to address diverse questions such as how diseased cells differ from neighboring healthy cells and what it is about some Antarctic algae that allows them to live in warming waters while other algae die out.

New technique promises to 'lift the hood' on autism
A gene-sequencing study of children with autism, described in an advance online publication in Nature Genetics on May 15, offers a technique which, combined with other approaches, may explain 40 to 50 percent of the genetic causes of the disorder within just a few years, proposes the study's lead investigator.

COST to receive additional $45 million from European Commission
COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) and the European Science Foundation have been informed by the European Commission Directorate-General for Research & Innovation of their decision to allocate an additional 30 million euro ($45 million) to COST.

Study reveals origins of a cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow
A new study by the NYU Cancer Institutesheds light on the origins of a type of myeloid leukemia, a blood cancer that affects children and adults. The researchers discovered that novel mutations in an intracellular communication pathway called Notch led to the cancer, pointing to a potential new target for treating this disease. Notch has already been implicated in another type of blood cancer called T‑cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but the new research found an unexpected role for it in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML).

New research aims to shed light on abnormal brain development
Canadian researchers are finally on the road to developing targeted treatments for serious, life-long disabilities such as autism and schizophrenia, thanks to new genomics research focusing on abnormal brain development.

Latinas victimized by domestic violence much likelier to experience postpartum depression
Latinas who endure violence at the hands of a partner during or within a year of pregnancy are five times more likely to suffer postpartum depression than women who have not experienced such violence.

Study gives clue as to how notes are played on the genetic piano
Japanese and US scientists report an epigenetic rationale as to how some genes are silenced and others aren't. By reversing this effect, it may be possible to devise therapies for cancer and other diseases.

UC Riverside licenses leading South African company to market 'GEM' avocados
The University of California, Riverside has signed an exclusive license agreement with Westfalia Fruit Estates, a South African company, to market 'GEM,' an avocado variety developed by university researchers. Produced on a semi-compact, vase shaped tree, the tear-drop shaped fruit are borne typically interior in the tree, in clusters, thus protecting the fruit from the elements. The fruit's skin color turns from green (when on the tree) to a dark burgundy/black when ready to eat.

Heart scientists discover protein that may be 1 cause of heart failure
Researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre discovered a protein switch which can trigger a cascade of events leading to heart failure, pointing to a new direction for drug development.

Robots learn to share, validating Hamilton's rule
Using simple robots to simulate genetic evolution over hundreds of generations, Swiss scientists provide quantitative proof of kin selection and shed light on one of the most enduring puzzles in biology: Why do most social animals, including humans, go out of their way to help each other?

Listening with 1 atom
Weizmann Institute scientists set a new record for measuring magnetic vibrations using the spin of a single atom: 100 times more accurate than the previous record.

NASA's Hubble finds rare 'blue straggler' stars in Milky Way's hub
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found a rare class of oddball stars called blue stragglers in the hub of our Milky Way, the first detected within our galaxy's bulge. Blue stragglers are so named because they seemingly lag behind in the aging process, appearing younger than the population from which they formed. While they have been detected in many distant star clusters, and among nearby stars, they never have been seen inside the core of our galaxy.

RNA spurs melanoma development
Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the University of Queensland show that long, non-coding RNA (lncRNA) levels are altered in human melanoma. Their study, published online May 10 by the journal Cancer Research, shows that one lncRNA called SPRY4-IT1 is elevated in melanoma cells, where it promotes cellular survival and invasion.

Mars Express sees deep fractures on Mars
Newly released images from ESA's Mars Express show Nili Fossae, a system of deep fractures around the giant Isidis impact basin. Some of these incisions into the martian crust are up to 500 meters deep and probably formed at the same time as the basin.

Tel Aviv University's Sackler Prizes awarded to 2 North American chemists
Two North American chemical researchers, professor Martin T. Zanni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and professor Gregory D. Scholes of Toronto University, have been awarded the 2011 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences at Tel Aviv University.

Peripheral venous catheters pose infection risk
A new study from Rhode Island Hospital has found that more than one in 10 catheter-related bloodstream infections due to S. aureus in hospitalized adults are caused by infected peripheral venous catheters. The study points out the substantial medical burden that arises from complications from these infections due to the large number of such catheters used in hospitalized patients. 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