Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 05, 2008
UCLA researchers find blood stem cells originate and are nurtured in the placenta
Solving a long-standing biological mystery, UCLA stem cell researchers have discovered that blood stem cells, the cells that later differentiate into all the cells in the blood supply, originate and are nurtured in the placenta.

When it comes to emotions, Eastern and Western cultures see things very differently: Study
A team of researchers from Canada and Japan have uncovered some remarkable results on how eastern and western cultures assess situations very differently.

New method to estimate sea ice thickness
Scientists recently developed a new modeling approach to estimate sea ice thickness.

Cell Press announces new partnership with the Biophysical Society
Cell Press has been chosen by The Biophysical Society to publish its premier semi-monthly journal from January 2009.

Cellular construction methods emulated
Researchers in the Netherlands, led by Jan van Esch at the Universities of Delft and Groningen as well as the BioMaDe Technology Foundation, are now pursuing a new angle to produce functional nanostructured systems.

Authorities fail to recognize emotionally scarred brothers and sisters of child abuse victims
Authorities often fail to recognize or treat the physic damage suffered by siblings in families where only one child is abused.

Rusty worms in the brain
A team led by Peter J. Sadler at the University of Warwick and Sandeep Verma of the Indian Institute of Technology has been able to show that transferrin can clump together to form wormlike fibrils, a process which may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Huntington's or Alzheimer's.

Go with your gut -- intuition is more than just a hunch, says Leeds research
Most of us experience

Metabolic Engineering VII
The aims of this metabolic engineering conference are to provide a forum for academic and industrial researchers in the field; to bring together the different scientific disciplines that contribute to the design, analysis and optimization of metabolic pathways; and to explore the role of metabolic engineering in the areas of health and sustainability.

Leukemia therapy with imatinib during pregnancy may cause infant abnormalities
While doctors already face many challenges in treating patients with cancer, treating pregnant women with the disease, in particular, can be quite difficult as studies suggest that certain therapies can harm developing fetuses.

University of Colorado at Boulder awarded $1 million for biofuels research
The University of Colorado at Boulder has been awarded $1 million from the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy to develop rapid solar-thermal chemical reactor systems for the conversion of biomass material like switchgrass and algae to synthesis gas.

Secrets of cooperation between trees and fungi revealed
Trees and fungi have constructed a close relationship with the passing of the ages.

Mars and Venus are surprisingly similar
Using two ESA spacecraft, planetary scientists are watching the atmospheres of Mars and Venus being stripped away into space.

Unique locks on microchips could reduce hardware piracy
Hardware piracy, or making knock-off microchips based on stolen blueprints, is a burgeoning problem in the electronics industry.

Study finds bacteria may reduce risk for kidney stones
Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center have found that the bacteria Oxalobacter formigenes (O. formigenes), a naturally occurring bacterium that has no known side effects, is associated with a 70 percent reduction in the risk of recurrent kidney stones.

New revelations in epigenetic control shed light on breast cancer
Epigenetic regulation -- modifications to the structure of chromatin that influence which genes are expressed in a cell -- is a key player in embryonic development and cancer formation.

Type 2 diabetes may be caused by intestinal dysfunction
Growing evidence shows that surgery may effectively cure type 2 diabetes -- an approach that not only may change the way the disease is treated, but that introduces a new way of thinking about diabetes.

Physics breakthrough much ado about 'nothing'
How do scientists store nothing? It may sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but the answer is causing a stir in the realm of quantum physics after a University of Calgary research team has proven it's possible to store a special form of vacuum in a puff of gas and then retrieve it a split second later.

Slow slip and slide dynamics
Kim Psencik, a PhD student at UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, was recently awarded the MARGINS Student Prize for best paper/presentation.

Stanford biologist awarded 2008 Sophie Prize in Norway
The Sophie Foundation in Oslo, Norway, has awarded Stanford University biologist Gretchen Daily the 2008 Sophie Prize.

Gladstone scientists identify role of tiny RNAs in controlling stem cell fate
Gladstone scientists have shown that microRNAs play an important role in stem cell differentiation.

Mechanisms of plant-fungi symbiosis characterized by DOE Joint Genome Institute
Plants gained their ancestral toehold on dry land with considerable help from their fungal friends.

Subconscious mental connection between blacks, apes may reinforce subtle discrimination
Many US citizens may not hold openly racist beliefs today, but they still may subconsciously link African Americans with apes because people still use words and metaphors that subtly reinforce a less-than-human bias and endorse violence against Blacks, according to a new study.

Pacemaker tune-up works chemical wonders on damaged hearts in dogs
Using pacemakers to electrically re-tune a heart damaged by long bouts of a wobbling heartbeat, where one heart muscle wall is beating sooner than the other, leads to fast improvements in the tissue levels of more than a dozen proteins key to the organ's health, scientists at Johns Hopkins report in experiments in dogs.

Carnegie Mellon study shows just listening to cell phones significantly impairs drivers
Carnegie Mellon University scientists have shown that just listening to a cell phone while driving is a significant distraction, and it causes drivers to commit some of the same types of driving errors that can occur under the influence of alcohol.

Warmer springs mean less snow, fewer flowers in the Rockies
Spring in the Rockies begins when the snowpack melts. But with the advent of global climate change, the snow is gone sooner.

Lowly Icelandic midges reveal ecosystem's tipping points
The midges that periodically swarm by the billions from Iceland's Lake Myvatn are a force of nature.

Hospitals still not smoke-free
Although smoke-free policies have been introduced at all NHS Hospital Trusts a study by researchers at the University of Nottingham has found that smoking is still prevalent, even by staff in uniform.

Refining the science of public opinion polling
The results of public opinion polls measure nearly every aspect of our lives today, from who we favor for public office to what kinds of cookies we prefer.

Scientists identify origin of hiss in upper atmosphere
Scientists have solved a 40-year-old puzzle, identifying the origin of an intense wave in the Earth's upper atmosphere that controls the Van Allen radiation belts.

Secondhand smoke a risk for children worldwide
Parents worldwide are doing little to protect their children from exposure to secondhand smoke, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Key component of Earth's crust formed from moving molten rock
By studying what were once pockets of hot, melted rock 13 kilometers deep in the Earth's crust 55 million years ago, Cornell University scientists are able to explain how granulite, a major component of continental crust, is formed.

Health groups issue updated colorectal cancer screening guidelines
The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology, and the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer (a group that comprises representatives from the American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy) have released the first-ever joint consensus guidelines for colorectal cancer screening.

Sensor necklace aims to increase elderly and clinical trial participant drug compliance
Georgia Tech researchers have designed a sensor necklace that records the date and time a pill is swallowed, which they hope will increase drug compliance and decrease unnecessary health care costs.

Leicester scientists seek to disarm TB's 'molecular weapon'
Researchers seek to gain edge in war against ancient foe.

UF researchers warn parents about dangers of childhood foot burns
University of Florida burn experts found that 69 percent of the 155 pediatric foot and ankle burns they reviewed were caused by children walking on hot ashes, coals and embers -- with some injuries occurring as long as a day or more after the fires were thought to be extinguished.

Awkward! New study examines our gazes during potentially offensive behavior
It's happened to all of us: While sitting at the conference table or at dinner party, a friend or colleague unleashes a questionable remark that could offend at least one person amongst the group.

Brown-led study rearranges some branches on animal tree of life
An international research project led by Brown University evolutionary biologist Casey Dunn traces new roots and shoots in the animal tree of life.

Killer freeze of '07 illustrates paradoxes of warming climate
A destructive spring freeze that chilled the eastern United States almost a year ago illustrates the threat a warming climate poses to plants and crops, according to a paper just published in the journal BioScience.

Hibernation-like behavior in Antarctic fish -- on ice for winter
Scientists have discovered an Antarctic fish species that adopts a winter survival strategy similar to hibernation.

AGA supports new guidelines favoring tests that prevent colorectal cancer
New consensus colorectal cancer guidelines released today state for the first time that the primary goal of colorectal cancer screening is cancer prevention.

Arthritis medications reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes
Patients prescribed drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis could be at a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to a study published today in the open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

New technique takes a big step in examination of small structures
A research team used the emerging technique of single-particle electron cryomicroscopy to capture a three-dimensional image of a virus at a resolution of 4.5 angstroms.

Study suggests new way to screen infants for fetal alcohol syndrome
Children who have been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are more likely to have serious psychiatric and behavioral problems later in life.

Future 'quantum computers' will offer increased efficiency ... and risks
A first of its kind discovery observed in a University of Central Florida physics lab may help scientists get closer to creating quantum computers.

A new more effective tuberculosis screening test for HIV victims
Sensitivity to the standard test for TB infection is weakened in HIV-positive patients.

PET's targeted imaging may lead to earlier diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer's disease
Researchers involved in a large, multi-institutional study using positron emission tomography imaging with the radiotracer fluorodeoxyglucose were able to classify different types of dementia with very high rates of success, raising hopes that dementia diagnoses may one day be made at earlier stages.

New steroid test uses oil exploration technique
It's a technique that has previously been used for oil exploration -- now researchers at The University of Nottingham have developed a new, highly sensitive, anti-doping steroid test using hydropyrolysis.

Report advises against new national database of ballistic images
A national database containing images of ballistic markings from all new and imported guns sold in the US should not be created at this time, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Epigenetic regulation by the MMB/dREAM complex
In the March 1 issue of G&D, Dr. Joseph Lipsick and colleagues demonstrate that proteins encoded by the Myb oncogene and the RB tumor suppressor gene function together in the Drosophila MMB/dREAM complex to epigenetically regulate mitotic cell cycle progression.

Dallas engineer recognized as the IEEE/IEEE-USA's 'New Face of Engineering'
Dr. Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, a mixed-signal design engineer with Texas Instruments in Dallas, is the IEEE/IEEE-USA's 2008

Michael Famulok and his team from the University of Bonn, Germany, have created nanoscopic rings made of double-stranded DNA with a little gap in the form of a short single-stranded fragment.

Nanoswitches toggled by light
Researchers led by Ahmed H. Zewail successfully used ultrafast electron microscopy to observe switchable nanochannels, which could be useful for future nanoelectronics and nanoscopic

Researchers identify genetic variation to predict initial response to warfarin
Scientists have identified which variations of a specific gene determine a patient's initial response to treatment with the blood-thinning (anti-coagulant) drug warfarin.

International team announces discovery of massive Jurassic marine reptile
After months of preparing and conserving a pliosaur specimen excavated last summer in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, researchers confirmed their earlier suspicions: the 150-million-year-old Jurassic marine reptile is perhaps the largest ever found.

Mother-daughter conflict, low serotonin level may be deadly combination
The combination of negative mother-daughter relationships and low blood levels of serotonin, an important brain chemical for mood stability, may be lethal for adolescent girls, leaving them vulnerable to engage in self-harming behaviors such as cutting themselves.

New study sheds light on excessive drinking among the elderly
One out of 10 elderly adults on Medicare reports drinking more alcohol than is recommended, according to a new study from Brandeis University. 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