Brightsurf Science News & Current Events Archive (May 2012)

Science news and science current events archive May, 2012.

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Top Science News & Current Event Articles from May 2012

Blanch your weeds
You don't need to spray weedkiller to remove the weeds between your paving stones. Six treatments throughout the summer with either boiling water, steam or flaming will dispatch even the hardiest of unwanted plants. This is the conclusion of a new Ph.D. project from the University of Copenhagen.

NASA's TRMM satellite sees some heavy rainfall in Typhoon Sanvu
Tropical Storm Sanvu strengthened overnight as forecast and is now a Typhoon in the western North Pacific Ocean. NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite observed that most of the rainfall is falling in the eastern half of the storm.

Clusters of cooperating tumor-suppressor genes are found in large regions deleted in common cancers
Scientists have amassed evidence implying that commonly occurring large chromosomal deletions seen in many cancer types contain areas harboring multiple functionally linked genes whose loss, they posit, confers a survival advantage on growing tumors.

High-speed method to aid search for solar energy storage catalysts
Writing this week in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the Wisconsin group describes a new high-throughput method to identify electrocatalysts for water oxidation.

Too much vitamin D can be as unhealthy as too little
Scientists know that vitamin D deficiency is not healthy. However, new research from the University of Copenhagen now indicates that too high a level of the essential vitamin is not good either. The study is based on blood samples from 247,574 Copenhageners. The results have just been published in the reputed scientific Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Liver fat gets a wake-up call that maintains blood sugar levels
A Penn research team reports in Nature Medicine that mice in which an enzyme called histone deacetylase 3 was deleted had massively fatty livers, but lower blood sugar, and were thus protected from glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, the hallmark of diabetes.

At smallest scale, liquid crystal behavior portends new materials
Liquid crystals, the state of matter that makes possible the flat screen technology now commonly used in televisions and computers, may have some new technological tricks in store.

Protein pathways provide clues in leukemia research
Scientists at Rice University and MD Anderson Cancer Center analyzed proteins identified in leukemia patients. Tracking their signaling pathways may help fine-tune treatment in the future.

New treatment could tackle preventable causes of death for newborns in sub-Saharan Africa
Researchers have found an alarming prevalence of malaria and sexually transmitted infections among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. Urgent clinical trials are now being conducted to test a new dual-treatment that could save the lives of many new born babies.

Defending the Statue of Liberty: Understanding militant responses to terrorism
The traditional Southern belief that men must defend their honor is alive and well but not just among men. A new study finds that both men and women in the Southern United States believe in responding aggressively -- and sometimes in the extreme -- to attacks on the nation.

Long-lived rodents have high levels of brain-protecting factor
The naked mole rat, which lives 25 to 30 years, maintains large amounts of a neuroprotective protein called NRG-1 throughout life. This finding is from the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

Customer satisfaction lies somewhere between pleasure and pain
A new paper by Kyle Murray, a marketing researcher with the Alberta School of Business, puts a spin on the expression

Phthalates in PVC floors taken up by the body in infants
A new study at Karlstad University in Sweden shows that phthalates from PVC flooring materials is taken up by our bodies. Phthalates are substances suspected to cause asthma and allergies, as well as other chronic diseases in children. The study shows that children can ingest these softening agents with food but also by breathing and through the skin.

Chemotherapy and radiation given together could help elderly patients with lung cancer live longer
New research published online first in the Lancet Oncology shows that giving a daily low-dose of the chemotherapy drug carboplatin at the same time as radiotherapy significantly prolongs survival in elderly patients compared with radiotherapy alone.

The gut could reveal effect of climate change on fish
As sea temperatures rise, stocks of some fish species can decline while others may grow, reveals new research from the University of Gothenburg looking at gastrointestinal function in fish.

Inequality dates back to the Stone Age
Hereditary inequality began over 7,000 years ago in the early Neolithic era, with new evidence showing that farmers buried with tools had access to better land than those buried without.

Sex: It's a good thing
In a study on evening primroses, biologist Erika Hersch-Green has found that sexual reproduction strengthens an organism's ability to adapt; specifically, it may lead to stronger disease resistance.

Richer parasite diversity leads to healthier frogs, says University of Colorado study
Increases in the diversity of parasites that attack amphibians cause a decrease in the infection success rate of virulent parasites, including one that causes malformed limbs and premature death, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

New study reports rise in community land rights in tropical forests; most laws unenforced
New research released today by the Rights and Resources Initiative shows that hundreds of millions of forest peoples in tropical nations have, in the last 20 years, quietly gained unprecedented legal rights to the land and resources owned under customary law. The research also finds that over one-third of the rules governing land rights in most of the forests of Africa, Asia and Latin America significantly limit a community's ability to exercise those rights.

Food, water safety provide new challenges for today's sensors
Sensors that work flawlessly in laboratory settings may stumble when it comes to performing in real-world conditions, according to researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The music of the (hemi)spheres sheds new light on schizophrenia
In 1619, the pioneering astronomer Johannes Kepler published Harmonices Mundi in which he analyzed data on the movement of planets and asserted that the laws of nature governing the movements of planets show features of harmonic relationships in music. In so doing, Kepler provided important support for the, then controversial, model of the universe proposed by Copernicus.

Biosignatures distinguish between tuberculosis and sarcoidosis
Various combinations of biomarkers are required to unequivocally diagnose a specific disease.

Aggregating instead of stabilizing: New insights into the mechanisms of heart disease
Malformed desmin proteins aggregate with intact proteins of the same kind, thereby triggering skeletal and cardiac muscle diseases, the desminopathies. This was discovered by researchers from the RUB Heart and Diabetes Center NRW in Bad Oeynhausen led by PD Dr. Hendrik Milting in an interdisciplinary research project with colleagues from the universities in Karlsruhe, W├╝rzburg and Bielefeld. They report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Insect scientists to meet in Lincoln, Neb., in June
More than 300 entomologists from the United States and Canada will attend the 67th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America's North Central Branch in downtown Lincoln, Neb., June 3-6, 2012, at the Embassy Suites Hotel.

New drug for advanced melanoma offers potential breakthrough in treatment of brain metastases
Results of a Phase I trial published in this week's Lancet show substantial shrinking of metastatic tumors in patients treated with a new drug, dabrafenib, that blocks the activity of the cancer-causing mutated form of the BRAF gene, which occurs in about half of melanomas. Dabrafenib also showed the most activity of any systemic treatment to date against secondary melanoma tumors in the brain.

G protein-coupled receptor mediates the action of castor oil
Action mechanism of one of the oldest drugs known to man elucidated.

LiDAR technology reveals faults near Lake Tahoe
Results of a new US Geological Survey study conclude that faults west of Lake Tahoe, Calif., referred to as the Tahoe-Sierra frontal fault zone, pose a substantial increase in the seismic hazard assessment for the Lake Tahoe region of California and Nevada, and could potentially generate earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 6.3 to 6.9.

Wearing 2 different hats: Moral decisions may depend on the situation
An individual's sense of right or wrong may change depending on their activities at the time -- and they may not be aware of their own shifting moral integrity -- according to a new study looking at why people make ethical or unethical decisions.

New under the sun: Recurrent genetic mutations in melanoma
Melanoma -- the deadliest and most aggressive form of skin cancer -- has long been linked to time spent in the sun. Now a team led by scientists from the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has sequenced the whole genomes of 25 metastatic melanoma tumors, confirming the role of chronic sun exposure and revealing new genetic changes important in tumor formation.

Belief in God associated with ability to 'mentalize'
Individuals on the autism spectrum show deficits in understanding others' mental states, and in turn report decreased belief in God.

Spot a bot to stop a botnet
Computer scientists in India have developed a two-pronged algorithm that can detect the presence of a botnet on a computer network and block its malicious activities before it causes too much harm. The team describes details of the system in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Wireless and Mobile Computing.

Inflammation a possible cause of higher mortality rates in older asthma patients
Higher mortality rates among older adult asthma patients compared to their younger counterparts may be due, at least in part, to an increase in airway inflammation, according to a study conducted by researchers in Canada.

Financial tool considered climate change uncertainty to select land for conservation
A tool commonly used by financial strategists to determine what shares to purchase to create a diversified stock portfolio was used to develop a diversified portfolio of another kind -- land to be set aside for conservation purposes given the uncertainty about climate change.

Physical activity linked to reduced mortality in breast and colon cancer patients
Physical activity is associated with reduced breast and colon cancer mortality, but there is insufficient evidence on the association for other cancer types, according to a study published May 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Childhood obesity increases likelihood of a cranial disorder that may cause blindness
Children who are overweight or obese -- particularly older, non-Hispanic white girls -- are more likely to have a neurological disorder known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a rare condition that can result in blindness, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Researchers analyzed electronic health records in this cross-sectional, population-based study of 900,000 children ages 11-19 years old, and found 78 cases of pediatric idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

Manufacturing, innovation, and workforce training
Watch live and join the conversation on Twitter @AspenInstitute and @gcri_ny (#mfgUSGermany) this Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 9 a.m. EST, when leading representatives from government, industry, and academia discuss manufacturing as an engine of growth and job creation in the US and Germany.

Direct digital: Novel casting process could transform how complex metal parts are made
Researchers have developed a novel technology that could change how industry designs and casts complex, costly metal parts. This new casting method makes possible faster prototype development times, as well as more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing procedures.

Research team awarded prestigious National Institutes of Health grant
Queen's University professor Daren Heyland and his research team at the Kingston General Hospital Clinical Evaluation Research Unit received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to advance research into meeting the nutrition needs of high risk, critically ill patients.

The Mediterranean diet is definitively linked to quality of life
For years the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a lesser chance of illness and increased well-being. A new study has now linked it to mental and physical health, too.

Skp2 activates cancer-promoting, glucose-processing Akt
HER2 and its epidermal growth factor receptor cousins mobilize a specialized protein to activate a major player in cancer development and sugar metabolism, scientists report in the May 25 issue of Cell.

Discovery in cell signaling could help fight against melanoma
At the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School, scientists have made a key discovery in cell signaling that is relevant to the fight against melanoma skin cancer and certain other fast-spreading tumors.

New biomarker test predicts arthritis at much earlier stage, MU researchers say
A research team from the University of Missouri's Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory has found a way to detect and predict arthritis before patients begin suffering from symptoms.

Hazelnuts improve infant formula
Human breast milk is the best source of food for infants. University of Georgia researchers have found what may be a new second best -- formula made from hazelnut oil.

Berkeley Lab scientists generate electricity from viruses
Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a way to generate power using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity. The scientists tested their approach by creating a generator that produces enough current to operate a small liquid-crystal display. Their generator is the first to produce electricity by harnessing the piezoelectric properties of a biological material.

Study examines retinal vessel diameter and CVD risk in African Americans with type 1 diabetes
Among African Americans with type 1 diabetes mellitus, narrower central retinal arteriolar equivalent (average diameter of the small arteries in the retina) is associated with an increased risk of six-year incidence of any cardiovascular disease and lower extremity arterial disease.

'Faster-ticking clock' indicates early solar system may have evolved faster than we think
Our solar system is four and a half billion years old, but its formation may have occurred over a shorter period of time than we previously thought, says an international team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and universities and laboratories in the US and Japan.

Female fat prejudice persists even after weight loss, study finds
Overweight women may never escape the painful stigma of obesity -- even after they have shed the pounds, new research suggests.

Why do Scots die younger?
Life expectancy in Scotland is markedly lower compared to other European nations and the UK as a whole. But what are the reasons for this higher mortality? An explanatory framework, synthesizing the evidence is published this month in Public Health.

Array of light for early disease detection?
A special feature in this week's issue of the journal Science highlights protein array technology, touching on research conducted by Joshua LaBaer, director of the Biodesign Institute's Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics.

Economics study homes in on factors influencing value of great art
Arzu Aysin Tekindor has never seen 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