Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 23, 2007
Watson to receive ARVO special recognition award
Andrew B. Watson, PhD, has been selected to receive ARVO's Special Recognition Award, which is presented periodically to honor outstanding service to ARVO or the vision research community.

New light-sensing ability discovered in disease-causing bacteria
The bacteria that cause brucellosis can sense light and use the information to regulate their virulence.

Human rights for the elderly in care: just lip service?
Seven years after the implementation of the UK Human Rights Act, little more than lip service is being paid to human rights of elderly people in the UK and worldwide.

CU-Boulder signs $92 million contract for space weather instrument package
The University of Colorado at Boulder signed a contract today worth an estimated $92 million with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA to build a satellite instrument package to help forecast solar disturbances that affect communication and navigation operations in the United States.

Condition of bluefin tuna in gulf of maine is declining
The quality of giant bluefin tuna caught in the Gulf of Maine has declined significantly since the early 1990s, researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found by analyzing detailed logbooks from a commercial tuna grader at the Yankee Fisherman's Co-op.

Calcium supplementation reduces risk of bone fracture and bone loss in older people
Calcium supplementation alone, or in combination with vitamin D supplementation, reduces the risk of fractures in people aged over 50 by 12 percent, conclude authors of an article published in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Study: Immigration can lower prices of consumer products
A forthcoming study challenges the predictions of the perfectly competitive model -- that an increase in demand leads to higher prices.

AKARI's observations of asteroid Itokawa
The space-borne infrared observatory AKARI, observed asteroid Itokawa last month with its Infrared Camera.

Social habits of cells may hold key to fighting diseases
Scientists in Manchester are working to change the social habits of living cells -- an innovation that could bring about cleaner and greener fuel and help fight diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

WHOI, partners awarded ocean observing contract
The Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) has awarded a $97.7 million contract to an academic partnership led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), to support the development, installation and initial operation of the coastal and global components of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI).

The embodied self: Using virtual reality to study the foundations of bodily self-consciousness
A group of neuroscientists and a philosopher have devised a series of novel experiments using virtual reality that could shed light on decades of clinical data pointing to cognitive and perceptual mechanisms involved in humans' concept of self.

Onset of diabetes higher in patients who have had heart attacks
People who have had heart attacks are at higher risk of developing both new-onset diabetes and the prediabetes condition impaired fasting glucose, conclude authors of an article published in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Carnegie Mellon scientist uses mass spectrometer to weigh virus particle, von Willebrand factor
With unprecedented sensitivity, Carnegie Mellon University's Mark Bier has characterized large viral particles and bulky von Willebrand factors using a novel mass spectrometer.

Nasty bacteria need sunlight to do their worst
Scientists find that certain types of bacteria have sunlight-sensing molecules similar to those found in plants and at least one species -- responsible for causing the flu-like disorder Brucellosis -- needs light to maximize its virulence.

HAWK-I takes off
Europe's flagship ground-based astronomical facility, the ESO VLT, has been equipped with a new

OSU joins ocean observatories initiative
Oregon State University will receive $20.6 million over the next six years to lead a component of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative that will be located in the Pacific Northwest's coastal ocean.

UK has worst outcome for stroke patients in western Europe
The UK urgently needs to reorganise stroke services to improve outcomes for patients, argues a senior doctor in this week's BMJ.

Ground-breaking antilandmine radar
Researchers in the Netherlands are developing a radar system that might one day see through solid earth and could be used to clear conflict zones of landmines, safely and at low cost.

Sharks' 'bite force' researched by University of Tampa biologist
Dan Huber, University of Tampa assistant professor of biology, is analyzing the

Nanotube formation: researchers learn to control the dimensions of metal oxide nanotubes
Moving beyond carbon nanotubes, researchers are developing insights into a remarkable class of tubular nanomaterials that can be produced in water with a high degree of control over their diameter and length.

MSU engineering team designs innovative medical device
A Michigan State University engineering design team has developed a medical diagnosis system that would allow people to be inexpensively screened for a variety of medical problems.

Food scientists, material scientists seek common language to preserve flavor, aroma of food
Food scientists and material scientists agree that the primary purpose of food packaging is to protect the food.

First out-of-body experience induced in laboratory setting
A neuroscientist working at University College London has devised the first experimental method to induce an out-of-body experience in healthy participants.

Restoring sight, advances in fertility treatments and better visibility for pilots at FIO
Frontiers in Optics 2007, the 91st Annual Meeting of the Optical Society of America, will be held Sept.

University of Minnesota astronomers find gaping hole in the Universe
University of Minnesota astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies and gas, as well as the mysterious, unseen

Surgery for severe obesity saves lives
An extensive Swedish study from the Sahlgrenska Academy has established that surgery reduces premature death in patients with severe obesity.

Waring to receive ARVO's Weisenfeld award
George O. Waring III, MD, FACS, FRCOphth, has been selected to receive the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's 2008 Weisenfeld Award, which is presented annually for excellence in ophthalmology.

JCI table of contents: Aug. 23, 2007
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Aug.

Salk neurobiologist receives Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award
Dr. Samuel L. Pfaff, a professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has been awarded the prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences for his pioneering work on the molecular pathways that shape the embryonic central nervous system.

Emphasis on conifer forests places multiple species at risk
The traditional emphasis on dense, fast-growing, conifer-dominated forests in the Pacific Northwest raises questions about the health of dozens of animal species that depend on shrubs, herbs and broad-leaf trees.

Field Museum gives Parker/Gentry Award to environmental activist, attorney, author Judith Kimerling
In recognition of her courageous and unrelenting efforts on behalf of indigenous peoples of Amazonia and Alaska, and their natural resources, Judith Kimerling has won the Field Museum's prestigious Parker/Gentry Award.

American College of Medical Genetics responds to new FDA labeling decision for warfarin
Available online, this 74-page report is the most thorough review of the scientific and clinical evidence surrounding the use of genetic testing to guide dosing of warfarin and was undertaken by a multidisciplinary group convened by the American College of Medical Genetics in 2006 of clinical pharmacologists, doctors of pharmacy, clinical geneticists, physicians with expertise in the use of warfarin, pharmacoeconomists and experts in evidence-based medicine.

Is NICE's cost effectiveness threshold too high?
Is NICE's cost effectiveness threshold too generous, ask experts in this week's BMJ?

UF scientists reveal how dietary restriction cleans cells
Cutting calories helps rodents live longer by boosting cells' ability to recycle damaged parts so they can maintain efficient energy production, according to a University of Florida Institute on Aging study.

UAF awarded first phase of Alaska Region Research Vessel
After 30 years of planning and development, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has been awarded the first phase of funding for the construction of the Alaska Region Research Vessel, a 236-foot, $123-million ice-capable vessel to support research in high latitudes.

Nottingham scientist investigates breast cancer cell survival
University of Nottingham scientist Dr Stewart Martin has received a project grant from Breast Cancer Campaign, the only charity that specialises in funding independent breast cancer research throughout the UK.

Money illusion and the market
People often pay more attention to price tags than to real value.

UC's Fry informs fantasy football fans
It's fantasy football season! And just in time for the frenzy, Assistant Professor Michael Fry and student Andrew Lundberg have published their results.

Better life support for artificial liver cells
Researchers at Ohio State University are developing technology for keeping liver cells alive and functioning normally inside bioartificial liver-assist devices.

Bits of 'junk' RNA aid master tumor-suppressor gene
A University of Michigan study reveals that the p53 gene, a key protector mutated in half of all cancers, gets help in its vital job of stifling tumors from a trio of little-known micro RNA genes.

'Thin-layer' solar cells may bring cheaper 'green' power
Scientists are researching new ways of harnessing the sun's rays which could eventually make it cheaper for people to use solar energy to power their homes.

New weapon to fight leukemia
A new study indicates that the drug FTY720 prevents disease in a mouse model of two leukemias -- blast crisis chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia -- caused by the cancer protein BCR-ABL.

Pioneering tests on odors from plastic water pipe
Plastic pipes, which are increasingly being used in place of copper water pipes, can significantly affect the odor and taste of drinking water, according to a pioneering study on the subject.

Mouse vision has a rhythm all its own
In the eyes of mammals, visual information is processed on a daily schedule set within the eyes themselve -- not one dictated by the brain, according to a new report in the Aug.

Life-cycle management conference
ETH Zurich will host the 3rd International Conference on Life-Cycle Management, LCM2007, on Aug.

Food packaging that provides visibility can reduce shelf life
Packaging that lets you see a food product may make you feel better as a consumer, but it is not good for the food.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: 1 in 15 women affected worldwide and burden likely to increase
The diverse and complex female endocrine disorder polycystic ovary syndrome, which affects one in 15 women worldwide, is a major economic health burden that is likely to expand together with obesity, conclude authors of a seminar in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Study finds Viagra increases release of key reproductive hormone
The little blue pill may do more than get the blood pumping.

Free will takes flight: how our brains respond to an approaching menace
Wellcome Trust scientists have identified for the first time how our brain's response changes the closer a threat gets.

Struggling male readers respond better to female teachers
Boys with difficulty reading actually respond better to female teachers, according to a new Canadian study.

Study takes first look at toxic air pollution in urban parking garages, finds SUVs bigger polluters
The pollution produced by light trucks, SUVs and minivans is only half a percent higher than that produced by conventional cars, based on a recent study.

Toxic shock: immune system's anthrax link
Human immune proteins crucial for fighting cancer, viruses and bacterial infections belong to an ancient and lethal toxin family previously only found in bacteria, Australian researchers have found.

Astronomers get first look at Uranus's rings as they swing edge-on to Earth
An edge-on view of Uranus' rings, possible only once every 42 years, shows that the dust distribution has changed significantly since Voyager 2 took photos in 1986.

UCLA pediatric pain expert wins Mayday Pain and Society fellowship
Jennie Ching-I Tsao, associate professor of pediatrics in the Pediatric Pain Program at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, has been selected as one of six winners of the 2007-08 Mayday Pain & Society Fellowship.

Soda warning? New study supports link between diabetes, high-fructose corn syrup
Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children.

Scientists propose explanation for out-of-body experiences
Using virtual reality goggles to mix up the sensory signals reaching the brain, scientists have induced out-of-body-like experiences in healthy people, suggesting a scientific explanation for a phenomenon often thought to be a figment of the imagination.

Study finds blocking angiogenesis signaling from inside cell may lead to serious health problems
Angiogenesis inhibitors that block a tumor's development of an independent blood supply have been touted as effective cancer fighters that result in fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy.

Are civil unions a 600-year-old tradition?
A compelling new study from the September issue of the Journal of Modern History reviews historical evidence, including documents and gravesites, suggesting that homosexual civil unions may have existed six centuries ago in France.

Institute addresses computational challenges posed by economic models
Computer scientists from the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory joined with economists from the University of Chicago earlier this month, for a conference designed to bridge the existing gulf between these two fields and teach young economists how to use state-of-the-art software and computational methods.

Dyer to receive ARVO's Cogan Award
Michael A. Dyer, PhD, will receive ARVO's 2008 Cogan Award, which recognizes a researcher 40 years of age or younger who has made important contributions to research in ophthalmology or visual science directly related to disorders of the human eye or visual system, and who also shows substantial promise for future research.

Bipolar disorder relapses halved by Melbourne researchers
Melbourne mental health researchers have succeeded in halving the number of relapses experienced by people with bipolar disorder which strikes two in 100 Australians, accounts for 12 percent of suicides each year and costs the country at least $1.5 billion annually.

New assessment tool in gambling addiction applies equally for different races
A researcher at Washington University in St. Louis has lead the development and testing of a new assessment tool that will determine the reliability of current pathological gambling disorder criteria equally well for Caucasian and African-American gamblers.

Inhaling helps heal liver transplant recipients
A new study indicates that one of the main complications of liver transplantation can be treated very simply.

Separating the brain's 'bad' from 'good' iron
Duke University chemists are developing ways to bind up iron in the brain to combat the neurological devastation of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

OSU 3-for-3 in NSF competition
The National Science Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $1.5 million to Oklahoma State University scientists for the acquisition and/or development of highly-specialized instruments used in research activities on campus and at Venture I in the Oklahoma Technology and Research Park.

New cancer weapon: nuclear nanocapsules
Rice University chemists have found a way to package some of nature's most powerful radioactive particles inside carbon nanotubes.

Researchers pinpoint techniques for better learning
In an article published in the August issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Kent State researchers John Dunlosky and Amanda Lipko examined techniques that can improve people's comprehension of texts.

As Uranus coasts through a brief window of time when its rings are edge-on to Earth -- a view of the planet we get only once every 42 years -- astronomers peering at the rings with ESO's Very Large Telescope and other space or ground-based telescopes are getting an unprecedented view of the fine dust in the system, free from the glare of the bright rocky rings.

Out beyond the horizon
The world is a different place out beyond the horizon, where thousands of cargo ships ply the world's oceans, pulling into ports, loading, unloading, changing crews and cargos.

Single-incision belly-button surgery to remove kidney performed first at UT Southwestern
Surgeons specializing in laparoscopic procedures at UT Southwestern Medical Center have successfully removed a patient's kidney by performing a unique nephrectomy entirely through the belly button.

Novel 3-D cell culture model shows selective tumor uptake of nanoparticles
A novel cell culture model consisting of an aggregate of brain tumor cells growing on normal thin slices of brain tissue has been developed to investigate tumor properties and therapy. 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