Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 02, 2008
When seeing IS believing
New research published in the journal Science explains why individuals seek to find and impose order on an unruly world through superstition, rituals and conspiratorial explanations by linking a loss of control to individual perceptions.

Researchers reveal Epstein-Barr virus protein contributes to cancer
Researchers at the University of Toronto have shown that the EBNA1 protein of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) disrupts structures in the nucleus of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells, thereby interfering with cellular processes that normally prevent cancer development.

Models of eel cells suggest electrifying possibilities
Researchers at Yale University and NIST have applied modern engineering design tools to one of the basic units of life.

Presidential candidates' health plans offer divergent approaches to health system reform
A new report from the Commonwealth Fund examines key differences and areas of agreement in the health system reform proposals of presidential candidates Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama.

Musicians use both sides of their brains more frequently than average people
Supporting what many of us who are not musically talented have often felt, new research reveals that trained musicians really do think differently than the rest of us.

UC Riverside biochemists devise method for bypassing aluminum toxicity effects in plants
Aluminum toxicity, a global agricultural problem, halts root growth in plants, severely limiting agricultural productivity for more than half of the world's arable land.

Reproducing early and often is the key to rapid evolution in plants
Yale researchers have harnessed the power of 21st century computing to confirm an idea first proposed in 1916 -- that plants with rapid reproductive cycles evolve faster.

Coastlines could be protected by invisibility cloak
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have tested an

Scientists explore putting electric cars on a two-way power street
Think of it as the end of cars' slacker days: No more sitting idle for hours in parking lots or garages racking up payments, but instead earning their keep by providing power to the electricity grid.

Where you live matters when you're seriously ill
America does a mediocre job caring for its sickest people.

NIDDK publishes fact sheets about thyroid disorders
Thyroid problems affect as many as 27 million Americans. Among the most common problems are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC one of Top Hospitals in national patient safety survey
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is one of only seven children's hospitals in the nation to have been selected as a 2008 Top Hospital by a national organization that evaluates patient safety at more than 1,220 participating hospitals.

'Little bang' triggered solar system formation
For several decades, scientists have debated whether the Solar System formed as a result of a shock wave from an exploding star -- a supernova -- that triggered the collapse of a dense, dusty gas cloud that contracted to form the Sun and the planets.

Do polar bears get lonely?
New Scientist's

Consumer benefits differ for changing product sizes in a specialty coffee market
Screening incentives may lead a firm to make a small version of its product

Too many calories send the brain off kilter
An overload of calories throws critical portions of the brain out of whack, reveals a study in the Oct.

Under pressure at the nanoscale, polymers play by different rules
Scientists putting the squeeze on thin films of polystyrene have discovered that at very short length scales the polymer doesn't play by the rules.

Elsevier announces the winner of the Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences
The editors of the leading international journal Chemical Physics Letters are pleased to announce that the second Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences has been awarded to Professor Mostafa El-Sayed.

Cross kingdom conflicts on a beetle's back
There's far more to a pine beetle's back than a hard black shell.

GOCE team gearing up for new launch date
ESA and European industries have updated the planning of the preparatory activities for a new tentative launch date of Oct.

Topsoil's limited turnover: A crisis in time
Topsoil does not last forever. Records show that topsoil erosion, accelerated by human civilization and conventional agricultural practices, has outpaced long-term soil production.

The structure of the Mre11 protein bound to DNA
DNA repair is critical for avoiding cancer and other diseases.

'From the Web to human diseases,' UH talk uncovers network similarities
Comparing such diverse networks as the Internet and the human cell, renowned physicist Albert-László Barabási explains the mathematical foundation behind what he calls

Elite opinion leaders greatly vary in their foreign policy beliefs
A new study in the journal Politics & Policy shows how there is greater diversity of foreign policy beliefs held by elite opinion leaders than previously thought and identifies nine foreign policy orientations.

DNA of good bacteria drives intestinal response to infection
A new study shows that the DNA of so-called

Advergames: Theme of game is secret to success
In a new study, University of Missouri researchers examined the impact of advergame themes on consumers' attitudes toward advergames and brands.

Making metabolism more inefficient can reduce obesity
In a discovery that counters prevailing thought, a study in mice has found that inactivating a pair of key genes involved in

Culture's role on alcohol and violence
Countries with strict social rules and behavioral etiquette such as the United Kingdom may foster drinking cultures characterized by unruly or bad behavior.

Study confirms colonoscopy associated with reduced colorectal cancer incidence
Patients who undergo a complete negative colonoscopy have a reduced incidence of colorectal cancer.

Liver transplant recipients almost 3 times more likely to develop cancer
Cancer incidence is higher among liver transplant recipients in Finland compared to the general population, according to a new study in the October issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal by John Wiley & Sons.

Breast cancer cells recycle to escape death by hormonal therapy
Many breast cancer cells facing potentially lethal antiestrogen therapy recycle to survive, researchers say.

Reason for sickness absence can predict employee deaths
Employees who take long spells of sick leave more than once in three years are at a higher risk of death than their colleagues who take no such absence, particularly if their absence is due to circulatory or psychiatric problems or for surgery, concludes a study on today.

Bullying of teenagers online is common, UCLA psychologists report
Seventy-two percent of 12-17-year-olds reported receiving at least one online incident of bullying in the last year, and 90 percent report not telling their parents or any other adult about being cyberbullied, UCLA psychologist report.

Study shows how civil war refugees cope with the unknown
A new study in the journal Family Relations focuses on the experiences of the Sudanese refugees who were separated from their parents during the Sudanese civil war.

Sharpening up Jupiter
A record two-hour observation of Jupiter using a superior technique to remove atmospheric blur has produced the sharpest whole-planet picture ever taken from the ground.

Blocking humanitarian assistance: A crime against humanity?
The difficulties nations face when political leaders deliberately block humanitarian aid to their people are discussed in a comment in this week's edition of the Lancet, written by Professor Lawrence O.

Study looks at psychological impact of gene test for breast cancer
Personal beliefs about inconclusive DNA testing for hereditary breast cancer are associated with cancer-related worry, and such beliefs are an especially strong predictor of whether women had been able to leave the period of DNA-testing behind, reports a study in the October issue of Genetics in Medicine, official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics.

Asthma research receives million dollar donation
The Center for Allergy Research at Karolinska Institutet has received a donation of $1 million for research into severe asthma.

Specialty hospitals not more cost-efficient than full-service hospitals
A new study in Health Services Research compared the costs of physician-owned specialty hospitals with those of full-service hospitals.

Moths with a nose for learning
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and NIST have discovered that when training insects, the process of building associations is not a simple matter of strengthening connections through reinforcement.

Tip sheet for October issue of BSSA
Authors explore how ground motion measures scale with magnitude and explore the question: How many earthquakes are there?

NIST/CSM sensor could help avert pipeline failures
Researchers at NIST and the Colorado School of Mines have developed a prototype sensor that quickly detects very small amounts of hydrogen accumulation in coated pipeline steel.

Changes needed in way the United States Conducts military interventions
In preparing for possible future military interventions, the United States needs to shift substantial resources to the Department of State and US Agency for International Development, and military-civilian efforts must be integrated from top to bottom, according to a new report issued today by a group of veteran government and private-sector leaders.

Dunn Foundation gives Rice $3M for collaborative research grants
The John S. Dunn Research Foundation has awarded a $3 million grant to Rice University to

Rolling back malaria: Full steam ahead
The lead editorial in this week's Lancet captures the optimism felt over the plans announced by the partnership 'Rolling Back Malaria' to control and eradicate the condition with a comprehensive plan consisting of short, medium, and long-term targets.

New robotic repair system will fix ailing satellites
Researchers at Queen's University are developing a new robotic system to service more than 8,000 satellites now orbiting the Earth, beyond the flight range of ground-based repair operations.

New book details economic impact of ETH Zurich spin-offs
ETH Zurich spin-offs create more jobs, have higher survival rates, attract more funding and provide higher returns on equity than the average of all Swiss start-ups, a recent study reveals.

Mandate for biofuels production requires science-based policy and global perspective
In his State of the Union Address on Jan. 23, 2007, President Bush stated that, in order to substantially lower foreign oil imports,

What is wild? Odor attraction among different wildtype Drosophila
Vinegar flies (Drosophila melanogaster) show a highly selective behavior towards odor stimuli.

Religion makes people helpful and generous -- under certain conditions: UBC researchers
Belief in God encourages people to be helpful, honest and generous, but only under certain psychological conditions, according to University of British Columbia researchers who analyzed the past three decades of social science research.

Arctic sea ice hits second-lowest extent, likely lowest volume, say CU-Boulder researchers
Arctic sea ice extent during the 2008 melt season dropped to the second-lowest level Sep.

Nanodiamond drug device could transform cancer treatment
Northwestern University researchers have developed a promising nanomaterial-based biomedical device that could be used to deliver chemotherapy drugs locally to sites where cancerous tumors have been surgically removed.

World leaders in infectious diseases convene to discuss emerging global viruses
Nearly 2,700 leading researchers and scientists in the area of infectious and emerging disease are expected to attend the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene to discuss the prevention and treatment of global health threats in New Orleans, Dec.

Millisecond brain signals predict response to fast-acting antidepressant
Images of the brain's fastest signals reveal an electromagnetic marker that predicts a patient's response to a fast-acting antidepressant.

4 in 10 voters don't see either Obama or McCain health-care plan as better for them
As part of the ongoing poll series, Debating Health: Election 2008, Harvard School of Public Health and Harris Interactive conducted a new survey focused on how voters think the presidential candidates' health-care reform plans would affect them personally -- rather than how they think the plans would affect the nation as a whole.

Atlantic tuna return thousands of miles to birthplace to spawn
The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest and most sought-after of all tunas, weighing as much as 1,400 pounds and capable of fetching as much as $50,000 or more in Asian markets where its meat is a prized commodity, one big reason why its numbers have declined precipitously since the 1970s.

Scientists Find new migratory patterns for Mediterranean and Western Atlantic bluefin tuna
New research into the life cycle of Atlantic bluefin tuna shows, for the first time, that Mediterranean and North American bluefin mix substantially as juveniles, but return to their place of birth to spawn.

Hospital delays under scrutiny by researchers at the MUHC
Graduate student Tam Dang-Tan, under the supervision of Dr. Eduardo Franco of the research institute of the McGill University Health Center, developed a pioneering study to categorize and analyze the timeframes involved in getting pediatric oncology patients to initial therapy.

Experts agree: Environmental standards needed for biofuels
The United States lacks the standards to ensure that producing biofuels from cellulose won't cause environmental harm, says a distinguished group of international scientists.

A new dinosaur species, Pachyrhinosaur lakustai, unveiled from Pipestone Creek, Alberta, Canada
The fossils revealed a herd of dinosaurs that perished in a catastrophic event 72.5 million years ago.

Presence of safety measures affects people's trust in the safety of tourist destinations
According to the asymmetry principle of trust, information on negative events decreases trust to a much higher extent than information on positive events increases trust.

The role of stem cells in renewing the cornea
A group of researchers in Switzerland has published a study appearing in the Oct.

Penn State's Center for Nanoscale Science receives $13.2 million NSF grant for materials research
Penn State's Center for Nanoscale Science receives a six-year $13.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to continue research and educational activities in its Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Should companies with unhealthy products be regulated to protect health?
Should businesses that sell products which are responsible for a huge numbers of deaths, illness and injury, such as tobacco and junk food, be held accountable and made to improve public health?

Wielding microbe against microbe, beetle defends its food source
As the southern pine beetle moves through the forest boring tunnels inside the bark of trees, it brings with it both a helper and a competitor.

APA letter to Bush: New policy limits psychologist involvement in interrogations
The American Psychological Association sent a letter today to President Bush, informing him of a significant change in the association's policy that limits the roles of psychologists in certain unlawful detention settings where the human rights of detainees are violated, such as has occurred at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at so-called CIA black sites around the world.

Beetles get by with a little help from their friends
Humans living in communities often rely on friends to help get what they need and, according to researchers in the lab of Cameron Currie at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, many microbes, plants and animals benefit from 'friendly' associations too.

Pterodactyl-inspired robot to master air, ground and sea
Paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, aeronautical engineer Rick Lind of the University of Florida, and their students Andy Gedeon and Brian Roberts have reached back in time 115 million years to one of the most successful flying creatures in Earth's history, the pterodactyl, to conjure a robotic spy plane with next-generation capabilities.

Scientists identify a molecule that coordinates the movement of cells
A molecule bridging two proteins that gives cells their shape and ability to migrate in a directed fashion may also shed light on how to keep cancer from spreading.

Don't stress! Bacterial crisis command center revealed
A bacteria cell's 'crisis command center' has been observed for the first time swinging into action to protect the cell from external stress and danger, according to new research out today in Science.

Car or pedestrian -- How we can follow objects with our eyes
Our brain makes extremely precise calculations while watching moving objects.

Paleozoic 'sediment curve' provides new tool for tracking sea-floor sediment movements
As the world looks for more energy, the oil industry will need more refined tools for discoveries in places where searches have never before taken place, geologists say.

Bays on US Gulf Coast vulnerable to flooding
The most comprehensive geological review ever undertaken of the upper US Gulf Coast suggests that a combination of rising seas and dammed rivers could flood large swaths of wetlands this century in one or more bays from Alabama to Texas.

This is your brain on politics
The founders of the United States didn't have the advantages of fMRI imaging and had no concept of the amygdala, but were hesitant about political parties and political campaigning nonetheless.

How to build crops that can beat aluminum's toxic effects
Researchers may have found the key to engineering plants capable of thriving in environments laden with toxic aluminum, according to a report published online on Oct.

Research team discovers brain pathway responsible for obesity
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, for the first time, have found a messaging system in the brain that directly affects food intake and body weight.

African-American blogs offer key health communications tool
Blogs allow African Americans to discuss HIV and AIDS in an unfiltered way that is both public and private, according to a Penn State researcher, and this exploration may lead to another way to distribute health messages to the African-American community.

National Science Foundation grant expands UMCES oyster research
To help improve the success of oyster restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science researcher Dr.

Second lumpectomy for breast cancer reduces survival rates
A majority of women with breast cancer today are candidates for lumpectomy, allowing for conservation of most of their breast tissue.

Next-generation adaptive optics produces sharper Jupiter images
Adaptive optics systems that remove the blur caused by atmospheric turbulence have revolutionized ground-based astronomy, providing images as sharp or better than those from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Flexi display technology is now
Screen display technology is taking a significant step forward as researchers from Sony and the Max Planck Institute demonstrate the possibility of bendable optically assessed organic light emitting displays for the first time, based on red or IR-A light upconversion.

6 environmental research studies reveal critical health risks from plastic
Exposure to Bisphenol A, phthalates and flame retardants are strongly associated with adverse health effects on humans and laboratory animals.

Critical mass in rare diseases -- an innovative Internet approach
The internet is emerging as a valuable tool for scientists to gather data for critical research into rare diseases.

When a light goes on during thought processes
Fluorescent proteins in the brain light up during individual action potentials making it possible to track nerve cell communication.

Thinking it through: Scientists call for policy to guide biofuels industry toward sustainability
As the United States and other nations commit to the path of biofuels production, 23 scientists call for sustainable practices in an industry that will, as MBL scientist Jerry Mellilo says,

NSF award $12M to UCSD 'science of learning center' for 3 more years of innovation
The Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, founded at UC San Diego in 2006 as one of six National Science Foundation Science of Learning Centers, has just been awarded an additional $12 million for the next three years to expand its important work studying the role of time and timing in learning.

New catheter-less technique may ease the pain and discomfort of prostate cancer recovery
To ease the pain of recovery following prostate cancer surgery, physician-scientists have developed an innovative and patient-friendly approach that eliminates the use of a penile urinary catheter.

Many receptor models used in drug design may not be useful after all
It may very well be that models used for the design of new drugs have to be regarded as impractical.

Baked slug: New method to test fireproofing material
NIST researchers and their colleagues have developed a technique for measuring a key thermal property of fire-resistive materials at high temperatures.

Study examines how doctors discuss medical errors
Most general practice doctors in teaching hospitals are willing to discuss their own patient care errors with colleagues, but about one in four do not.

Rethinking who should be considered 'essential' during a pandemic flu outbreak
Not only are doctors, nurses, and firefighters essential during a severe pandemic influenza outbreak.

Palliative care access varies widely in the US according to new study in J Palliative Medicine
There has been rapid growth of new, innovative palliative care consultation services in the nation's hospitals.

Children's National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
A novel anti-tumor vaccine for neuroblastoma and melanoma developed by scientists and clinicians at Children's National Medical Center in collaboration with investigators from the University of Iowa is showing significant impact on tumor growth in mice, according to new research published in the October edition of the research journal Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy.

Researchers identify genes associated with increased gout risk
A team of researchers from the United States and the Netherlands has identified mutations in three genes that are associated with high levels of uric acid in the blood, which is a risk factor for gout.

Celebration of planet Earth gets underway in Houston next week
Houston, well known for its role in space launches, will soon be the site of another kind of launch: the official U.S. kick-off of International Year of Planet Earth.

National Science Foundation grants Clemson professors award to develop nanoprobes
The National Science Foundation has granted two Clemson University professors $250,000 to research and develop nanofiber-based probes -- needles that are 10 times smaller in diameter than a human hair -- for medical diagnostics.

UNC study on properties of carbon nanotubes, water could have wide-ranging implications
A fresh discovery about the way water behaves inside carbon nanotubes could have implications in fields ranging from the function of ultra-tiny high-tech devices to scientists' understanding of biological processes, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

What HIV needs
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Burnham Institute for Medical Research today announced 295 host cell factors that are involved in human immunodeficiency virus infection.

Staying Sharp in Concord, NC
Brain health will be the focus of the Staying Sharp session on Oct.

Bullying common in cyberspace
A new study in the Journal of School Health reveals that cyberbullying is common among teens who are frequent internet users, with 72 percent of respondents reporting at least one incident during the past year.

From cloudy to clear: FSU professor's new book explores the modern history of meteorology
For much of the first half of the 20th century, meteorology was more art than science, relying heavily on an individual forecaster's lifetime of local experience.

National Science Foundation awards grant to build 'CubeSats'
A new series of CubeSats, small satellites in the shapes of cubes, will soon take to the skies. 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