Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 19, 2008
UCSF faculty receive $13.7M from CIRM for stem cell research
Five UCSF stem cell scientists have received New Faculty grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, support that will allow them to pursue lines of investigation ultimately aimed at developing treatment strategies for such conditions as cancer, heart disease, tooth regeneration, liver disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Low level cadmium exposure linked to lung disease
New research suggests that cadmium is one of the critical ingredients causing emphysema, and even low-level exposure attained through second-hand smoke and other means may also increase the chance of developing lung disease.

Calculators okay in math class, if students know the facts first
Calculators are useful tools in elementary mathematics classes, if students already have some basic skills, new research has found.

University of Pennsylvania scientists move optical computing closer to reality
Scientists at Penn have theorized a way to increase the speed of pulses of light that bound across chains of tiny metal particles to past the speed of light by altering the particle shape.

OU researchers isolate microorganisms that convert hydrocarbons to natural gas
When a group of University of Oklahoma researchers began studying the environmental fate of spilt petroleum, a problem that has plagued the energy industry for decades, they did not expect to eventually isolate a community of microorganisms capable of converting hydrocarbons into natural gas.

New reasons to avoid grapefruit and other juices when taking certain drugs
Scientists and consumers have known for years that grapefruit juice can increase the absorption of some drugs, causing potentially toxic effects.

Springer and CiteULike announce collaboration
SpringerLink, one of the world's largest scientific databases, has partnered with CiteULike, the social bookmarking Web site for researchers.

UC San Diego researchers: New data center architecture from commodity network elements
Computer scientists at the UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering have proposed a new way to build data centers that could save companies money and deliver more computing capability to end-users.

Getting to the root of the matter
A number of current issues related to water availability and climate change are giving impetus to new research aimed at roots and their functioning.

Catalysis takes center stage at chemistry conference
Scientists can learn how advances in catalysis are addressing real-world energy problems and expanding research horizons at an upcoming symposium from Aug.

Tadalafil shows promise for relief of lower urinary tract symptoms associated with BPH
Men with signs of benign prostatic hyperplasia can be helped with a daily dose of erectile dysfunction drug tadalafil to relieve associated lower urinary tract symptoms, according to a new study published in the October 2008 issue of the Journal of Urology.

Greenland ice core reveals history of pollution in the Arctic
New research, reported this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that coal burning, primarily in North America and Europe, contaminated the Arctic and potentially affected human health and ecosystems in and around Earth's polar regions.

Arsenic exposure may be associated with type 2 diabetes
In a study involving a representative sample of US adults, higher levels of arsenic in the urine appear to be associated with increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes, according to a report in the Aug.

Philosopher wins -- and donates -- Eureka ethics prize
University of Adelaide philosopher Professor Garrett Cullity has won the 2008 Eureka Prize for Ethics Research -- and, in keeping with the message behind the book that earned him the award, he says he will donate the $10,000 prize money to aid agencies.

Chemist travels world to study mysterious properties of neutrinos
In the quest to better understand one of nature's most

Shipwrecks on coral reefs harbor unwanted species
Shipwrecks on coral reefs may increase invasion of unwanted species, according to a recent US Geological Survey study published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

NYU scientists identify critical protein complex in formation of cell cilia
An international team led by NYU Cancer Institute have identified a protein complex that regulates the formation of cilia, which are found on virtually all mature human cells and are essential to normal cell function.

Arsenic exposure could increase diabetes risk
Inorganic arsenic, commonly found in ground water in certain areas, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Study examines testing model to predict and diagnose new cases of dementia
A preliminary report published in the Aug. 20 issue of JAMA suggests that within-person variability on neuropsychological testing may be associated with development of dementia in older adults.

UH researchers win top prize for research with humanitarian applications
Understanding how microbes govern human and environmental health, two University of Houston researchers -- Yuriy Fofanov and Lennart Johnsson -- understand that what we don't see often carries big-picture implications.

Study finds foul owls use feces to show they are in fine feather
In a paper published in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, August 20, researchers now provide descriptive and experimental evidence that suggests that owl faeces and prey remains could act as previously unrecognized visual signals for eagle owls.

Chronic lead poisoning from urban soils
Chronic lead poisoning, caused in part by the ingestion of contaminated dirt, affects hundreds of thousands more children in the United States than the acute lead poisoning associated with imported toys or jewelry.

Measuring calcium in serpentine soils
Serpentine soils contain highly variable amounts of calcium, making them marginal lands for farming.

$3.2M for Rutgers to apply biology, engineering, physical sciences toward stem cells
Rutgers has received a $3.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to apply engineering, physical science and mathematical disciplines to stem cell research.

Study examines testing model to predict and diagnose new cases of dementia
Research conducted at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University suggests that measuring how much an individual's performance varies across several neuropsychological tests, compared to one test alone, enhances the accuracy of predicting whether older adults will develop dementia.

Brain cells called astrocytes undergo reorganization and may engulf attacking T cells
When virally infected cells in the brain called astrocytes come in contact with antiviral T cells of the immune system, they undergo a unique series of changes that dramatically reorganize their shape and function, according to researchers at the Board of Governors Gene Therapeutics Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Key advance toward 'micro-spacecraft'
Fleets of inexpensive, pint-sized spacecraft are one giant leap closer to lift off.

Tracking a crop disease could save millions of lives
Scientists have discovered why one of the world's most important agricultural diseases emerged, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of General Virology.

Elsevier announces 10 semi-finalists for the Elsevier Grand Challenge
Elsevier, a leading global healthcare and scientific publisher, has announced ten semi-finalists in the Elsevier Grand Challenge, a competition inviting the scientific community to prototype tools innovating how Life Sciences information is used in online text databases.

Northeast Greenland detailed by specialists
This most recent volume in the Geological Society of America's Memoir series presents an overview of the East Greenland Caledonides within a modern plate-tectonic framework --

Silver is the key to reducing pneumonia associated with breathing tubes
People have long prized silver as a precious metal. Now, silver-coated endotracheal tubes are giving critically ill patients another reason to value the lustrous metal.

Alexander technique offers long-term relief for back pain
Alexander technique lessons in combination with an exercise programme offer long-term effective treatment for chronic back pain, according to a study published on today.

The price of power at work?
Research out of the University of Toronto shows that the more senior an individual is at work, the more likely they are to encounter interpersonal conflict.

Education needed to decrease teens' misconception about emergency contraception
Targeted health education may help urban, minority adolescent women better understand how the emergency contraception pill works and eliminate some misconceptions about side effects, confidentiality and accessibility, according to a study by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Rice computer engineer named to MIT Technology Review's TR35
Rice University's Farinaz Koushanfar, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been selected one of MIT Technology Review magazine's 35 Top Young Innovators of 2008.

Attacking heart failure in the young
The inaugural Riley Heart Center Symposium on Cardiac Development will be held Sept.

Ultrasound used to predict heart attack risk
Repeat exams using widely available and inexpensive ultrasound imaging could help identify patients at high risk for a heart attack or other adverse cardiovascular events, according to a new study.

UC Riverside researcher develops novel method to grow human embryonic stem cells
The majority of researchers working with human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) use animal-based materials for culturing the cells.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

The 160-mile download diet: Local file-sharing drastically cuts network load
New research shows that sharing digital files locally relieves pressure on the Internet service provider by as much as five times, while actually speeding up the transfer.

Rice lab finds molecular clues to Wilson disease
Using computer simulations and lab experiments, physical biochemists at Rice University have discovered how a small genetic mutation that's known to cause Wilson disease subtly changes the structure of a large, complex protein the body uses to keep copper from building up to toxic levels.

National Research Council report on security at federally managed dams
Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates and manages dams that provide water and power to millions of people, has invested significant resources in security and is better able to protect its facilities and personnel, says a new report from the National Research Council.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Aug. 13, 2008
The American Chemical Society News Service Weekly Press Package contains reports from 36 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Case Western Reserve University studies managing psychiatric meds in transition to college
An increasing number of students are packing more than their computers and iPods when leaving for college.

Obese prostate cancer patients may benefit more from brachytherapy
Brachytherapy, also called seed implants, may be a more beneficial treatment than surgery or external beam radiation therapy for overweight or obese prostate cancer patients, according to a study published in the August issue of the International Journal of Radiation, Oncology, Biology, Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Light touch: Controlling the behavior of quantum dots
Researchers from NIST and the Joint Quantum Institute have reported a new way to fine-tune the light coming from quantum dots by manipulating them with pairs of lasers.

Obesity raises risks of serious digestive health concerns
The prevalence of obesity and overweight in the United States coupled by the increased risk of gastrointestinal diseases related to obesity raises serious implications for the health of Americans.

Candy-coating keeps proteins sweet
Researchers at NIST have developed a fast, inexpensive and effective method for evaluating the sugars pharmaceutical companies use to stabilize protein-based drugs for storage at room temperature.

Dartmouth professor named to Technology Review's Annual TR35 List
Tanzeem Choudhury, an assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth, has been named to the 2008 TR35, an annual listing from Technology Review magazine that features the world's top innovators under the age of 35.

New climate record shows century-long droughts in eastern North America
A stalagmite in a West Virginia cave has yielded the most detailed geological record to date on climate cycles in eastern North America over the past 7,000 years.

New research on sexual function
Young researchers presented innovative, early-stage research at the 16th Annual Summer Research Conference, a collaborative project of the AUA Foundation and the Society for Basic Urologic Research, on Aug.

Stem cell indicator for bowel cancer should lead to better survival rates
Stem cell scientists have developed a more accurate way of identifying aggressive forms of bowel cancer, which should eventually lead to better treatment and survival rates.

Infection blocks lung's protective response against tobacco smoke
An infection that often goes undetected can block the lung's natural protective response against tobacco smoke, according to researchers at National Jewish Health.

'Cutting by color': New imaging technique for more precise cancer surgery
Instead of

Face recognition: nurture not nature
Reporting in the open-access journal PLoS ONE on August 20, researchers have discovered that our society can influence the way we recognize other people's faces.

New study shows false memories affect behavior
New research shows that it is possible to change long-term behaviors using a simple suggestive technique.

Drier, warmer springs in US Southwest stem from human-caused changes in winds
Human-driven changes in the westerly winds are bringing hotter and drier springs to the American Southwest, according to new research from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

1 sleepless night increases dopamine in the human brain
Just one night without sleep can increase the amount of the chemical dopamine in the human brain, according to new imaging research in the August 20 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Can biofuels be sustainable?
With oil prices skyrocketing, the search is on for efficient and sustainable biofuels.

Agile approach slashes software development time
A radical change to the way software is developed is already speeding embedded software projects in a range of key European industries from avionics to telecommunications.

Stroke and SIDS in Alaska topics of neuroscience conference
University of Alaska Fairbanks neuroscientists studying stroke and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome will present their research findings at the 7th Conference of the Specialized Neuroscience Research Programs in New York, Aug.

U. of Chicago study: More than 10 percent of older Americans suffer mistreatment
About 13 percent of elderly Americans are mistreated, most commonly by someone who verbally mistreats or financially takes advantage of them, according to a University of Chicago study that is the first comprehensive look at elder mistreatment in the country.

For coronary artery disease patients, B vitamins may not reduce cardiovascular events
In a large clinical trial involving patients with coronary artery disease, use of B vitamins was not effective for preventing death or cardiovascular events, according to a study published in the Aug.

Zoledronic acid improves bone-mineral density in premenopausal women with early stage breast cancer
Concomitant zoledronic acid prevents bone loss in women with breast cancer during treatment with adjuvant endocrine therapy, and improves bone-mineral density after treatment, according to findings from a substudy of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group trial-12 (ABCSG-12), published early online and in the Sept. edition of the Lancet Oncology.

Queen's chemist designs new 'catch-and-tell' molecules
A Queen's University Belfast scientist, whose research is now used worldwide in blood analyzing equipment, has made another important discovery.

New and improved test for West Nile virus in horses
A new test for West Nile virus in horses that could be modified for use with humans and wildlife may help track the spread of the disease, according to an article in the September issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Large Hadron Collider set to unveil a new world of particle physics
The field of particle physics is poised to enter unknown territory with the startup of a massive new accelerator -- the Large Hadron Collider -- in Europe this summer.

Bacterial pneumonia caused most deaths in 1918 influenza pandemic
The majority of deaths during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 were not caused by the influenza virus acting alone, report researchers from NIAID.

Controlling the size of nanoclusters
Melissa Patterson, a W. Burghardt Turner Fellow at Stony Brook University, will give a talk at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in Philadelphia on controlling the size of nanoclusters, research she performed using a new instrument at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Bowel cancer indicator should lead to better treatment
STEM cell scientists have developed a more accurate way of identifying aggressive forms of bowel cancer, which should eventually lead to better treatment and survival rates.

Silver-coated endotracheal tubes appear to reduce risk of pneumonia associated with ventilator use
Among intensive care unit patients who require mechanical ventilation, use of a silver-coated endotracheal tube resulted in reduced incidence of pneumonia associated with ventilators, according to a report in the Aug. 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