Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 10, 2008
OU Norman campus to purchase 100 percent of its electricity from wind-power
Marking one of the largest renewable energy commitments ever by a public university in the United States, the University of Oklahoma Norman campus will purchase 100 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2013 with the signing today of a wind power agreement with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.

New 'chemical radar' among national security innovations in ACS podcast
As the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, the American Chemical Society has issued a new podcast describing an array of technologies to help assure personal safety and national security.

Male-specific neurons directly linked to gender-specific behaviors
New research identifies a few critical neurons that initiate sex-specific behaviors in fruit flies and, when masculinized, can elicit male-typical courtship behaviors from females.

New marker for raised intracranial pressure
Magnetic resonance imaging measurements of the thickness of the optic nerve sheath are a good marker for raised intracranial pressure.

Infectious heart disease death rates rising again say scientists
Infectious heart disease is still a major killer in spite of improvements in health care, but the way the disease develops has changed so much since its discovery that nineteenth century doctors would not recognize it, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Torke receives prestigious award to study surrogate decision making for older adults
Alexia M. Torke, M.D., M.S., of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute, has been named a 2008 Hartford Geriatrics Health Outcomes Research Scholar.

UC Davis researcher begins study of Osama bin Laden audio tapes
More than 1,500 audio cassette tapes taken in 2001 from Osama bin Laden's former residential compound in Qandahar, Afghanistan, are yielding new insights into the radical Islamic militant leader's intellectual development in the years leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Heads up: Stanford DNA study reveals evolution of beer yeasts
Lager lovers convinced that their beer of choice stands alone should prepare to drink their words this Oktoberfest.

Remote technology sees through ice, snow and hot air to monitor power plants
The US Department of Energy is funding the development of technology that will aid in the remote observation of power plants to gauge the actual amount of energy produced.

'Change we can believe in'
The GAIN Annual Meeting in Boston encourages young researchers to return to Germany.

UT Medical School receives $6 million NIH grant to study scleroderma
Within five years, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston expect to have identified the genetic clues to scleroderma, a chronic, often progressive, autoimmune disease.

Gap junction protein vital to successful pregnancy, researchers find
Researchers studying a critical stage of pregnancy -- implantation of the embryo in the uterus -- have found a protein that is vital to the growth of new blood vessels that sustain the embryo.

Brightest stellar explosion heralds new type of long-distance astronomy
Some 7.5 billion years ago, a supernova heralding the birth of a black hole went off halfway across the universe, sending a pencil-beam flash of light toward Earth that was briefly visible to the naked eye on March 19.

How do race, genetics and health-care disparities affect spread of HIV?
This half-day symposium, featuring speakers and panelists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, the UCLA AIDS Institute and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, will address the ways in which genetics, race and health-care disparities prevent or promote the acquisition of HIV.

In spiders, size matters: Small males are more often meals
A number of hypotheses have been proposed for why females eat males before or after mating.

Herpes drug acyclovir also suppresses HIV in herpes-infected tissue
The drug acyclovir, used successfully for decades to suppress outbreaks of oral and genital herpes, also can directly suppress HIV-1 in tissues already infected with a herpes virus, researchers have discovered.

Retail medical clinics attract patients who do not have regular health care providers
Retail medical clinics located in pharmacies and other stores typically attract insured and uninsured patients who are seeking help for a small group of easy-to-treat illnesses or preventive care and do not otherwise have a regular health care provider, according to a new RAND Corp. study.

Brains rely on old and new mechanisms for diminishing fear
A new study suggests that although humans may have developed complex thought processes that can help to regulate their emotions, these processes are linked with evolutionarily older mechanisms that are common across species.

DNA 'tattoos' link adult, daughter stem cells in planarians
Using the molecular equivalent of a tattoo on DNA that adult stem cells pass to their

A new breakthrough in timing of urgent endoscopy for gastrointestinal bleeding patients
Endoscopy plays a major role in the diagnosis and therapy of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

Brewing better beer: Scientists determine the genomic origins of lager yeasts
Yeast, the essential microorganism for fermentation in the brewing of beer, converts carbohydrates into alcohol and other products that influence appearance, aroma, and taste.

A potential approach to treatment of hepatitis B virus infection
Researchers at Beijing Institute of Biotechnology found that hepatitis B virus infection can be treated with therapeutic approaches targeting host cell proteins by inhibiting a cellular gene required for HBV replication or by restoring a response abrogated by HBV.

UT Southwestern: Killing bacteria isn't enough to restore immune function after infection
A bacterial molecule that initially signals to animals that they have been invaded must be wiped out by a special enzyme before an infected animal can regain full health, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Immaturity of the brain may cause schizophrenia
The underdevelopment of a specific region in the brain may lead to schizophrenia in individuals.

NIH awards $4.6M to expand global health network
The Fogarty International Center, part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced it will award $4.6 million over three years to expand its network of global health education programs to include 12 additional campuses in the United States, China and Mexico.

AGI publishes transition document for next US administration
The American Geological Institute, in conjunction with its member societies, is announcing the release of

Aberrations in region of chromosome 1q21.1 associated with broad range of disorders in children
A submicroscopic variation in a region of human chromosome 1q21.1 is associated with a broad range of disorders and levels of impairment, including mental retardation, autism, heart defects, hand deformities and other conditions.

Book by Brian Michael Jenkins explores nuclear terrorism
Almost since the dawn of the nuclear age, experts have tried to assess the chance terrorists could acquire the raw materials and technological skill needed to assemble a nuclear bomb.

Tsunami survivors experienced complex trauma and grieving process says new study
The 2004 tsunami killed hundreds of thousands of people and Swedish researchers have been looking at the complex trauma and grief processes experienced by survivors and bereaved relatives.

Clinicians debate use of arthroscopy in patients with osteoarthritis
In a study published in the NEJM issue of Sept.

Aerobic exercise for wheelchair users
Simple exercise machine makes it fun for wheelchair users to fight high obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates.

First beam for Large Hadron Collider
An international collaboration of scientists today sent the first beam of protons zooming at nearly the speed of light around the world's most powerful particle accelerator -- the Large Hadron Collider.

Cryopreservation techniques bring hopes for women cancer victims and endangered species
Emerging cryopreservation techniques are increasing hope of restoring fertility for women after diseases such as ovarian cancer that lead to destruction of reproductive tissue.

'Dodgy dossier' partly to blame for failure of war against malaria in the tropics
The war against malaria in tropical countries was fought and lost in the 20th century on the basis of faulty intelligence, a

Maths aids mayonnaise production
How bubbles behave in liquids is important to many production processes, but also extremely difficult to calculate.

Private equity companies purchase nursing homes, but care does not suffer
Over the last decade, private equity investors have increasingly purchased publicly traded nursing home chains.

Scientific all-rounders
Over the years, Jeremy Bernstein has been in contact with many of the world's most renowned physicists and other scientists, many of whom were involved in politics, literature, and language.

New gecko-like adhesive shakes off dirt
UC Berkeley researchers have created the first gecko-like adhesive that cleans itself after each use without the need for water or chemicals.

Mass. General's Warren Triennial Prize honors discoverers of microRNAs
Two investigators who helped to uncover a previously unsuspected world of tiny RNA molecules will be recognized next month by Massachusetts General Hospital with its highest award for research.

How do Lactobacilli treat Helicobacter pylori-related diseases?
Helicobacter pylori lipopolysaccharide, the major virulent factor of H. pylori, triggers interleukin-8 production in gastric epithelia through activating Toll-like receptor 4 pathways, leading to gastric mucosal inflammation.

New cytogenetics tests can help clarify pediatric diagnosis of complex developmental abnormalities
Breakthroughs in cytogenetic technologies, which focus on subtle alterations in genes and chromosomes, are enabling a new level of detail and accuracy in the diagnosis of complex and unexplained developmental problems in children.

The double firing burst
Astronomers from around the world combined data from ground- and space-based telescopes to paint a detailed portrait of the brightest explosion ever seen.

Johnson & Johnson honors 2008 recipients of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
The 2008 recipients of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, professor Marc Feldmann, and emeritus professor Sir Ravinder Maini of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Imperial College London, are being honored during a scientific symposium today and at a formal award ceremony at the Dr.

Survival instincts propel 'difficult patient' to insist on quality care
Michelle Mayer had to become a

Army still using physicians in interrogation, bioethicist says
US Army psychiatrists may be participating in the interrogation of detainees, while ignoring recommendations to the contrary from professional medical associations, according to a Penn State bioethicist.

Which is more accurate, serology test or C14-urea breath test?
Serology and C14-urea breath test are the most commonly used non-invasive tests of Helicobacter pylor infection.

Maths model helps to unravel relationship between nutrients and biodiversity
The level of nutrients in soil determines how many different kinds of plants and trees can thrive in an ecosystem, according to new research published by biologists and mathematicians today in Nature.

Individuals vary their immune response according to age, sex and the costs
Individual zebra finches vary their immune response to balance the costs, depending on sex, age and the environment.

Help from herpes? Coinfection induces acyclovir to inhibit HIV
A surprising interaction may enable development of new HIV treatment strategies by exploiting infection with multiple pathogens.

Terrorism: What the next president will face
On the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, what is the nature of the terrorist threat against the United States and other nations of the world, and how should the next president address that threat upon taking office in January 2009?

TSC honors Sen. Charles Schumer
The Science Coalition today gave Senator Charles Schumer its

Searching in space and minds: IU research suggests underlying link
New research from Indiana University has found evidence that how we look for things, such as our car keys or umbrella, could be related to how we search for more abstract needs, such as words in memory or solutions to problems.

UC Santa Barbara has key role in Large Hadron Collider project
A contingent of more than 40 faculty members, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, engineers, technicians and undergraduates from UC Santa Barbara have worked for eight years to help construct the massive Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

Computational biochemist uncovers a molecular clue to evolution
A Florida State University researcher who uses high-powered computers to map the workings of proteins has uncovered a mechanism that gives scientists a better understanding of how evolution occurs at the molecular level.

Rutgers College of Nursing professor Bob Atkins named RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar
Robert Atkins, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, was one of 15 junior faculty nationwide to receive an inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar Award.

Photo reveals rare okapi survived poaching onslaught
A set of stripy legs in a camera trap photo snapped in an African forest indicates something to cheer about, say researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Evolution in plain language
The latest evidence on the theory of evolution, and the importance of teaching it in science classrooms, are the subjects of two public programs being presented as part of the Joint Annual Meeting of GSA, SSSA, ASA, CSSA and GCAGS in early October.

Boston physicists celebrate first beam for Large Hadron Collider
Scientists today sent the first beam of protons zooming at nearly the speed of light around the 17-mile Large Hadron Collider.

New method for creating inducible stem cells is remarkably efficient
Some of the most challenging obstacles limiting the reprogramming of mature human cells into stem cells may not seem quite as daunting in the near future.

Color-coded bacteria can spot oil spills or leaky pipes and storage tanks
Oil spills and other environmental pollution, including low level leaks from underground pipes and storage tanks, could be quickly and easily spotted in the future using color-coded bacteria, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

New field guide provides a practical primer on soils
The Soil Science Society of America has released a new field guide created to provide a clear guidance on how to conduct specific activities related to improved soil management.

Old growth forests are valuable carbon sinks
Contrary to 40 years of conventional wisdom, a new analysis to be published Friday in the journal Nature suggests that old growth forests are usually

First beam for Large Hadron Collider, world's mightiest particle accelerator
Scientists today sent the first beam of protons zooming at nearly the speed of light around the 17-mile-long underground circular path of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.

Is yakult helpful in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is a common feature in irritable bowel syndrome and may be directly related to symptoms.

Better health through your cell phone
UCLA researchers have advanced a novel lens-free imaging technique on the path to use in medical diagnostic applications that promise to improve global health related disease monitoring, such as malaria and HIV.

University of Miami scientist uncovers miscalculation in geological undersea record
A paper by University of Miami professor Peter Swart in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines changes over the past 10 million years in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

U-M physicists' analysis leads to discovery of new particle
University of Michigan physicists played a leading role in the discovery of a new particle, the Omega b baryon, which is an exotic relative of the proton.

Bleeding gums linked to heart disease
Bad teeth, bleeding gums and poor dental hygiene can end up causing heart disease, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

May 2008 earthquake in China could be followed by another significant rupture
Researchers analyzing the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China's Sichuan province have found that geological stress has significantly increased on three major fault systems in the region.

Abuse of painkillers can predispose adolescents to lifelong addiction
Rockefeller University researchers reveal that adolescent mice exposed to the painkiller Oxycontin can sustain lifelong and permanent changes in their reward system -- changes that increase the drug's euphoric properties and make such adolescents more vulnerable to the drug's effects later in adulthood.

Protein opens hope of treatment for cystic fibrosis patients
Scientists have finally identified a direct role for the missing protein that leaves cystic fibrosis patients open to attack from lung-damaging bacteria, the main reason most of them die before their 35th birthday, scientists heard today at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Sexual harassment 10 times more likely in casual and contract jobs
Women employed in casual and contract jobs are up to 10 times more likely to experience unwanted sexual advances than those in permanent full time positions, a University of Melbourne study has found.

As head and neck cancer risks evolve, more treatment options emerge
Recent advances in the treatment of head and neck cancer are bringing patients more treatment options, improved quality of life and opportunities for prevention.

NIH funds new Wellstone Center for MD at BBRI
The NIH has awarded $9 million to launch a unique collaboration of researchers, clinicians, patients, government research agencies and pharmaceutical/biomedical companies to study the causes and potential treatments for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, a muscle weakening and disabling disease that affects, at the least, one in 20,000 individuals worldwide.

Brains rely on old and new mechanisms to diminish fear, NYU and Rutgers researchers find
Humans have developed complex thought processes that can help to regulate their emotions, but these processes are also linked with evolutionarily older mechanisms that are common across species, according to a study by neuroscientists at New York and Rutgers universities.

1843 stellar eruption may be new type of star explosion
Eta Carinae, a bright, variable star in the southern sky that is the most luminous known star in the Milky Way Galaxy, underwent a major eruption 145 years ago that may be the first example of a new type of stellar explosion that is much fainter than a supernova and doesn't destroy the star.

Popular surgery provides no relief for osteoarthritis of the knee
A landmark study conducted in London, Canada at the University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute shows that a routinely practiced knee surgery is ineffective at reducing joint pain or improving joint function for sufferers of osteoarthritis.

NASA study illustrates how global peak oil could impact climate
The burning of fossil fuels -- notably coal, oil and gas -- has accounted for about 80 percent of the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial era.
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