Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 27, 2008
Weizmann Institute scientists create new nanotube structures
Scientists from the Weizmann Institute's Materials and Interfaces Department, are developing techniques to coax carbon nanotubes to self-assemble into ordered structures -- essentially making the nanotubes do the hard work for them.

Yale's Scassellati gets Microsoft Human-Robot Interaction Award for Robotics
Brian Scassellati, associate professor of computer science at Yale, has received an A.

Flu pandemic medical help left in the waiting room
GPs are not an integral part of Australian influenza planning, despite the important role they will play in limiting deaths in the event of a pandemic hitting the country, according to research from the Australian National University.

Current vitamin D recommendations fraction of safe, perhaps essential levels for children
The current recommended daily allowance of vitamin D for children is 200 International Units, but new research reveals that children may need and can safely take 10-times that amount.

Childhood lead exposure associated with criminal behavior in adulthood
New research from the University of Cincinnati reports the first evidence of a direct link between prenatal and early-childhood lead exposure an increased risk for criminal behavior later in life.

Leiden scientists sequence first female DNA
Geneticists of Leiden University Medical Center are the first to determine the DNA sequence of a woman.

Disease mongering is now part of the global health debate
Two years ago, Ray Moynihan and David Henry at the University of Newcastle in Australia helped organize the world's first international conference on disease mongering, the process of widening the boundaries of illness in order to grow markets for those who sell and deliver treatments.

Coronary calcium distribution tied to heart attack risk
A new calcium scoring method may better predict a person's risk of heart attack, according to a new multicenter study.

Secondhand smoke increases hospital admissions for all types of infectious diseases
Children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke are more likely to get severe infectious diseases and have to be admitted to hospital, finds research published online ahead of print in Tobacco Control.

Pitt faculty receive awards to explore next-generation technologies
Five University of Pittsburgh faculty members will advance the futures of energy, health and technology as part of Faculty Early Career Development awards they received this year from the National Science Foundation.

Comparison of catheter insertion sites for dialysis finds little difference in risk of infection
For critically ill patients requiring dialysis, insertion of the catheter in a vein in the neck does not appear to reduce the risk of infection compared to vein access in the upper leg, except for patients at higher weight levels, according to a study in the May 28 issue of JAMA.

Olfactory receptor neurons select which odor receptors to express
This week a paper in the open-access journal PLoS Biology looks at the problem of understanding the regulatory mechanisms that create different cells from a single template by using the olfactory system of the fruit fly.

UT Southwestern faculty members named Howard Hughes investigators
Three researchers who originally joined the UT Southwestern Medical Center faculty as part of the institution's acclaimed Endowed Scholars Program in Medical Science are among 56 distinguished biomedical scientists nationwide who today were named Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators.

Jacobs-Wagner named Howard Hughes Investigator
Yale University's Christine Jacobs-Wagner has been designated an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, a nonprofit medical research organization that is one of the nation's largest philanthropies.

1 small step for a lab science, 1 green leap for mankind
A Tel Aviv University chemist unlocks water's potential for the new

High throughput microscopy quantifies regulation of estrogen receptor
High throughput microscopy that uses robots and special microscopes and techniques to generate thousands of images of a cell in a short time enabled researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to describe how the genetic message of estrogen receptor-alpha is regulated, a finding that could have implications for breast cancer.

Research reveals molecular fingerprint of cocaine addiction
The first large-scale analysis of proteins in the brains of monkeys addicted to cocaine reveals new information on how long-term cocaine use changes the amount and activity of various proteins affecting brain function.

Some biofuels might do more harm than good to the environment, study finds
Biofuels based on renewable sources are increasingly popular as a way to reduce fossil fuel dependence and limit greenhouse gas emissions, but new research shows that some of the most popular current biofuel stocks might have exactly the opposite impacts than intended.

Erich Jarvis named Howard Hughes Investigator
Erich Jarvis, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator by HHMI.

What makes life go at the tropics?
The diversity of species increases from the poles to the tropics, but until now bacteria were thought to be an exception.

4 Stanford faculty named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators
Four Stanford researchers have joined the ranks of investigators for the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Stress buildup precedes large Sumatra quakes
The island of Sumatra, Indonesia, has shaken many times with powerful earthquakes since the one that wrought the infamous 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Overweight men at risk of osteoarthritis of both hip and knee
Men who are overweight or obese are much more likely need a hip replacement for osteoarthritis than men who are of normal weight, finds research published online ahead of print in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases.

Skin defects set off alarm with widespread and potentially harmful effects
When patches of red, flaky and itchy skin on newborn mice led rapidly to their deaths, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Battling bird flu by the numbers
A pair of Los Alamos National Laboratory theorists have developed a mathematical tool that could help health experts and crisis managers determine in real time whether an emerging infectious disease such as avian influenza H5N1 is poised to spread globally.

Giant flying reptiles preferred to walk
New research into gigantic flying reptiles has found they weren't all gull-like predators grabbing fish from the water but that some were strongly adapted for life on the ground.

EarthCARE satellite contract signed
The European Space Agency and Astrium GmbH have today signed a contract worth 263 million euros to provide the EarthCARE satellite, the sixth Earth Explorer mission of ESA's Living Planet Program.

Carbon nanoribbons could make smaller, speedier computer chips
Stanford chemists have developed a new way to make transistors out of carbon nanoribbons.

The behemoth has a thick belt
Talk about a diet! By resolving, for the first time, features of an individual star in a neighboring galaxy, ESO's VLT has allowed astronomers to determine that it weighs almost half of what was previously thought, thereby solving the mystery of its existence.

AMITIZA 8 mcg now available to treat irritable bowel syndrome
Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc. today announced that AMITIZA 8 mcg capsules are now available by prescription in pharmacies across the US for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation in women 18 years and older.

UK's organic cows are cream of the crop
Newcastle University research proves that organic farmers who let their cows graze as nature intended are producing better quality milk.

Hormone may hold key to helping elderly men live longer
Elderly men with higher activity of the hormone IGF-1 -- or insulin-growth factor 1 -- appear to have greater life expectancy and reduced cardiovascular risk, according to a new study accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Europe's biobanks need urgent coordination -- scientists say
Leading European scientists say that there is an

New breathing exercises help manage asthma
A presentation that demonstrates breathing exercises designed to help reduce the use of asthma inhalers is today available to the general public for free from the Cooperative Research Centre for Asthma and Airways website.

Ape language pioneer Savage-Rumbaugh receives honorary Ph.D. from alma mater
Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, scientist with special standing at Great Ape Trust of Iowa and a pioneer in the field of ape language and cognition studies, recently received the eighth honorary doctor of science degree conferred in the 103-year history of her alma mater, Missouri State University at Springfield.

The secret behind silkworm's hardy stomachs
Researchers have found that silkworms produce a special digestive enzyme, previously not found in any animals, that is not affected by the toxic chemicals found in mulberry leaves.

Regulatory B cells exist -- and pack a punch
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have uncovered definitive evidence that a small but potent subset of immune system B cells is able to regulate inflammation.

Family feuds -- why close relatives keep their distance in the animal kingdom
Mammals cannot share their habitat with closely related species because the need for the same kind of food and shelter would lead them to compete to the death, according to new research out today (May 28, 2008) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

UH Mânoa researcher finds Laysan albatross employs 'dual mommies'
What's a girl to do if there's a shortage of males and she needs help raising a family?

Most developing countries ill-equipped to ensure global biosafety: UN University
A two-year study of internationally funded training programs in biotechnology and biosafety warns that as many as 100 developing countries are unprepared to effectively manage and monitor the use of modern biotechnologies, leaving the world community open to serious biosafety threats.

Global study reveals differences in standard of care for osteoporosis across the world
In a first-of-its-kind study in osteoporosis, one in four women surveyed from Europe, North America, and Australia reported having one or more bone fractures since the age of 45 years.

The balance shifts
The risk of contracting a Clostridium difficile infection following operations for which a

New insights in diagnosing diabetes may help the millions who are undiagnosed
In light of the 6.2 million Americans who don't realize they have diabetes, a panel of experts examined the current criteria for screening and diagnosing the disease and found a significant need for improvement.

Combining exercise with hormone could prevent weight gain
Pairing leptin with just a minor amount of exercise seems to revive the hormone's ability to fight fat, University of Florida researchers discovered.

Survey suggests medical care spending not related to perceived quality of care
A survey of Medicare beneficiaries suggests that more regional spending on medical care does not improve patients' perceptions of the medical care they receive, according to a study in the May 28 issue of JAMA.

Brain cells help neighboring nerves regenerate
Researchers have uncovered a completely unexpected way that the brain repairs nerve damage, wherein cells known as astrocytes deliver a protective protein to nearby neurons.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute names 3 new Caltech investigators
Every three years, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute appoints the nation's most creative biomedical scientists as investigators, giving them millions of dollars to unfetter their ambitious research plans.

Prevalence of obesity among US children and teens does not increase
There was no significant increase in the prevalence of obese children and teens in the US between 1999 and 2006, in contrast to the increase that had been reported in prior years, according to a study in the May 28 issue of JAMA.

New form of ECT is as effective as older types but without cognitive side effects
In a study appearing in the new issue of Brain Stimulation, scientists report that a new form of electroconvulsive therapy is just as effective as older forms in treating depression but without any of the cognitive side effects found in the older forms.

Engineering researcher seeks answers to asteroid deflection
An Asteroid Deflection Research Center has been established on the Iowa State campus to bring researchers from around the world to develop asteroid deflection technologies.

No association found between vitamin D concentration in blood and risk of prostate cancer
High vitamin D concentration in the blood is not associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, researchers report in an article published online May 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The little man and the cosmic cauldron
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Very Large Telescope's First Light, ESO is releasing two stunning images of different kinds of nebulae, located towards the Carina constellation.

Leemor Joshua-Tor, Ph.D., CSHL biologist and WSBS dean, is named an HHMI Investigator
Leemor Joshua-Tor, Ph.D., a CSHL professor and Dean of the Watson School of Biological Sciences, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Weizmann Institute scientists build a better DNA molecule
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science demonstrate that a mathematical concept called recursion can be applied to constructing flawless synthetic DNA molecules.

Geoengineering could slow down the global water cycle
As fossil fuel emissions continue to climb, reducing the amount of sunlight hitting the Earth would definitely have a cooling effect on surface temperatures.

10,000 scholars to visit UBC in the largest conference of its kind in North America
Final preparations are underway as the University of British Columbia gets ready to welcome 10,000 delegates to the May 31-June 8 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the largest multi-disciplinary gathering of scholars in North America.

SNM hosts 55th Annual Meeting of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Research
SNM's 55th Annual Meeting,

Large-scale community protein annotation -- WikiProteins
Today sees the launch of a new collaborative website initially focusing on proteins and their role in biology and medicine.

Estrogen helps drive distinct, aggressive form of prostate cancer
Using a breakthrough technology, researchers led by a Weill Cornell Medical College scientist have pinpointed the hormone estrogen as a key player in about half of all prostate cancers.

Method uses 'Bluetooth' to track travel time for vehicles, pedestrians
Engineers have created a method that uses pervasive Bluetooth signals from cell phones and other wireless devices to constantly update how long it takes vehicles and pedestrians to travel from one point to another.

£20M health research collaboration announced for the southwest England
The Southwest Peninsula Clinical Research Collaboration, a partnership between Peninsula Medical School, NHS South West and the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, has been awarded a £20 million grant to conduct research and improve care in major conditions including heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, childhood disability and age related conditions.

UT Southwestern's Dr. Kern Wildenthal named to Texas Business Hall of Fame
Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, is one of four prominent Texans who will be inducted into the prestigious Texas Business Hall of Fame in November.

Avoiding spleen removal for Cooley's anemia sufferers
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College may have discovered the precise role of a gene in one of the world's most common blood disorders, beta-thalassemia, commonly known as Cooley's anemia.

Childhood lead exposure is associated with decreased brain volume in adults
Childhood exposure to lead is associated with shrinking of specific parts of the brain in adulthood, finds a related study in this week's PLoS Medicine.

New technique allows targeted inactivation of genes in research model
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School report today on a new technique that improves the ability of scientists to target individual genes for inactivation -- a technique with broad potential implications for both basic science research and human disease.

Einstein-Montefiore Center for AIDS Research receives $8.5M award from NIH
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has been awarded a five-year grant of more than $8.5 million from the National Institutes of Health.

NIDCR strategies for future scientific success
A guest editorial published in the June issue of the Journal of Dental Research celebrates the successes of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in expanding the understanding of, and improving, oral health in the United States.

Structure of salt lake archaeal virus solved in Finland
Researchers at the Finnish Center of Excellence in Virus Research at University of Helsinki's Institute of Biotechnology have solved the structure of archaeal virus SH1 to the resolution of one nanometer.

New unifying theory of lasers advanced by physicists
Researchers at Yale and the Institute of Quantum Electronics at ETH Zurich have formulated a theory that, allows scientists to better understand and predict the properties of both conventional and nonconventional lasers, according to a recent article in Science.

Weill Cornell team identifies new cancer stem cell driving metastatic tumors
The molecular profile of cancer stem cells that initiate metastatic colon tumors is significantly different from those responsible for primary tumors, according to new research from a team at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Antioxidant supplements may lessen benefit of radiation and chemotherapy
Cancer patients should avoid the routine use of antioxidant supplements during radiation and chemotherapy because the supplements may reduce the anticancer benefits of therapy, researchers concluded in a commentary published online May 27 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Yale computer scientists devise a 'P4P' system for efficient Internet usage
A Yale research team has engineered a system with the potential for making the Internet work more efficiently, in which Internet Service Providers and Peer-to-Peer software providers can work cooperatively to deliver data.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the May 28 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience:

When the butterfly bush blossoms
Invasive plant species can flourish better in their new homes than in their place of origin.

Tourists to the Caribbean should pay 1 dollar each to help fight tropical diseases of poverty
In an editorial in this month's PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the journal's editor-in-chief, Professor Peter Hotez (George Washington University and Sabin Vaccine Institute), proposes that a modest $1 airline or cruise ship tax or a tax on tourist entry could provide a funding mechanism for the Caribbean countries to control these NTDs.

Also in the May 27 JNCI
Also in the May 27 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute are reports on tumor suppressor inactivation in melanoma, estrogen signaling in aggressive prostate cancer, and the final results from a phase III trial testing paclitaxel in early breast cancer.

Weizmann Institute scientists produce the first smell map
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science have created a

Healthy parents provide clues to survival of young haddock on Georges Bank
In 2003, haddock on Georges Bank experienced the largest baby boom ever documented for the stock, with an estimated 800 million new young fish entering the population.

When plants 'think' alike
Biologists have discovered that a fundamental building block in the cells of flowering plants evolved independently, yet almost identically, on a separate branch of the evolutionary tree -- in an ancient plant group called lycophytes that originated at least 420 million years ago.

Therapies appear helpful in reducing risk of depression following stroke
In the year following a stroke, patients who received the medication escitalopram or participated in a problem-solving therapy group had a lower risk of depression compared to patients who received placebo, according to a study in the May 28 issue of JAMA.

Yale's Anastas honored for leadership in founding of 'green chemistry'
Paul T. Anastas, professor in the practice of green chemistry at Yale was honored on May 4 by the Council of Scientific Society Presidents with their Leadership in Science award for founding the field of

Brown chemists create cancer-detecting nanoparticles
A team led by a Brown University chemist has created the smallest iron oxide nanoparticles to date for cancer detection by magnetic resonance imaging.

SF State scientists expose new threat to spotted owl
A new study provides a baseline distribution of blood parasites and strains in spotted owls, suggesting a more fragile immune health than previously understood for the already threatened Northern and California spotted owls.

NC State breakthrough results in super-hard nanocrystalline iron that can take the heat
Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a substance far stronger and harder than conventional iron, and which retains these properties under extremely high temperatures -- opening the door to a wide variety of potential applications, such as engine components that are exposed to high stress and high temperatures.

Oregon physicists don't flip spin but find possible electron switch
University of Oregon researchers trying to flip the spin of electrons with laser bursts lasting picoseconds (a trillionth of a second) instead found a way to manipulate and control the spin -- knowledge that may prove useful in a variety of new materials and technologies.

People with ADHD do 1 month's less work per year
Workers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder do 22 days less work per year than people who do not have the disorder, finds research published online ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Satellites illuminate pollution's influence on clouds
Clouds have typically posed a problem to scientists using satellites to observe the lowest part of the atmosphere, where humans live and breathe, because they block the satellite's ability to capture a clear, unobstructed view of Earth's surface.

Childhood lead exposure is associated with increased risk of criminal arrest in adulthood
Childhood exposure to lead is associated with adult criminal behavior, including violent crime, finds a new study in this week's PLoS Medicine.

September launch for ESA's gravity mission GOCE
A new launch date has been set for GOCE. The change of date is due to precautionary measures taken after the malfunction of an upper-stage section of a Russian Proton launcher.

A common denominator of inflammations and fatty liver
Cancer researchers find key molecule for tumor cachexia.

SNM hosts 55th Annual Meeting of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Research
SNM's 55th Annual Meeting,

June 2008 Geology and GSA Today media highlights
Geology topics include Samoa on the hotspot trail; South Carolina's offshore iceberg scours; Yellowstone's climate-induced geyser periodicity; Coralline red algae as a high-resolution climate recorder; The effects of extreme storm events on landscape and carbon dioxide; The iron isotope record and the first emergence of atmospheric and oceanic oxygen; and Eastern California's shear zone earthquakes.

Robots go where scientists fear to tread
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created specially designed robots called SnoMotes to traverse potentially dangerous ice environments.

DHS, business leaders discuss technology to protect US at Homeland Security conference
The commercialization of technologies that help to protect the United States from a wide variety of attacks was featured during a business panel of experts at the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security at the Westin Waltham Boston on May 13.

Cornell receives federal grants to create fabrics to render toxic chemicals harmless
Cornell fiber scientist Juan Hinestroza is working with the US government to create fabrics made of functional nanofibers that would decompose toxic industrial chemicals into harmless byproducts.

Iowa State researchers use fungus to improve corn-to-ethanol process
A team of researchers from Iowa State University and the University of Hawaii are developing a process that cleans up and improves the dry-grind ethanol production process.

NOAA scientists win international award for ozone layer research
The US Environmental Protection Agency named two Boulder scientists among the winners of the agency's international Ozone Layer Protection Award on Monday in Washington, D.C., David Fahey and John Daniel of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder were honored during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

New superlattice structure enables high performance infrared imaging
Scientists at the Center for Quantum Devices in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University have demonstrated for the first time a high-performance infrared imager, based on a Type II superlattice, which looks at wavelengths 20 times longer than visible light.

New method identifies rat poison in humans
Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have developed a method to identify bromadiolone poisoning in humans.

Heart doctors don't follow guidelines for treating patients; pre-operative statins reduce deaths
A Europe-wide survey has revealed significant differences between doctors in the way they treat heart failure patients, with many failing to give the best care despite the existence of recommended guidelines.

ABC, CBS, NBC announce historic collaboration to 'Stand up to Cancer'
Stand Up To Cancer, a new initiative to raise philanthropic dollars for accelerating ground-breaking research, launches today through an unprecedented collaboration uniting the major television networks, entertainment industry executives, celebrities and prominent leaders in cancer research and patient advocacy.

American dream becomes reality for recent UH grad
Arman Jahangiri already has lived an American dream and has more than just graduating from college to celebrate.

US reporters often do a poor job of reporting about new medical treatments
Most medical news stories about health interventions fail to adequately address costs, harms, benefits, the quality of evidence and the existence of other treatment options, finds a new analysis in this week's PLoS Medicine. 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