Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 08, 2008
New tool probes function of rice genes
A new tool for investigating the rice genome has been developed by researchers at UC Davis led by Pamela Ronald, professor of plant pathology.

Circadian clock may be critical for remembering what you learn, Stanford researchers say
The circadian rhythm that quietly pulses inside us all, guiding our daily cycle from sleep to wakefulness and back to sleep again, may be doing much more than just that simple metronomic task, according to Stanford researchers.

Tracking down the cause of mad cow disease
A team headed by Christian F. W. Becker at the TU Munich and Peter H.

Learning how not to be afraid
New studies by Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers are showing how the brain changes when mice learn to feel safe and secure in situations that would normally make them anxious.

Environmental migrants: UN meeting aims to build consensus on definitions, support, protection
A growing international consensus to formally recognize and protect people uprooted by environmental problems is expected to accelerate at a major conference in Bonn, Germany, Oct.

Incorporating education in exercise programs increases benefits for arthritis patients
The number of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis is projected to increase to 67 million by 2030, and a large proportion of US adults will limit their activity as a result, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Future risk of hurricanes: The role of climate change
Researchers are homing in on the hurricane-prone Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea to assess the likely changes, between now and the middle of the century, in the frequency, intensity, and tracks of these powerful storms.

RAND study: Alternative fossil fuels have economic potential
Alternative sources of fossil fuels such as oil sands and coal-to-liquids have significant economic promise, but the environmental consequences must also be considered, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Apollo heat shield uncrated after 35 years, helps new crew vehicle design
NASA scientists developing the next generation of exploration vehicles and heat shields for NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle experienced

Cell protein suppresses pain 8 times more effectively than morphine
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the University of Helsinki have discovered a new therapeutic target for pain control, one that appears to be eight times more effective at suppressing pain than morphine.

Diversity of plant-eating fishes may be key to recovery of coral reefs
A report scheduled to be published this week in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that maintaining the proper balance of herbivorous fishes may be critical to restoring coral reefs, which are declining dramatically worldwide.

Study: Tropical wetlands hold more carbon than temperate marshes
Researchers have shown that tropical wetlands are able to absorb and hold onto about 80 percent more carbon than can wetlands in temperate zones.

Pickleweed tolerates irrigation with seawater and high levels of boron
Researchers have discovered that reusing saline drainage water and applying it to salt-tolerant crops in California's San Joaquin Valley can help reduce the environmental impact of excess drainage volumes.

The James Webb Space Telescope model is flying to Germany
The model of the James Webb Space Telescope has been making a lot of

Beavers: Dam good for songbirds
The songbird has a friend in the beaver. According to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the busy beaver's signature dams provide critical habitat for a variety of migratory songbirds, particularly in the semi-arid interior of the West.

Genome sequences of 2 malaria parasites defined
Professor Alan Cowman, professor Brendan Crabb, Dr. Paul Gilson and Dr.

Urban earthquakes, nuclear bombs and 9/11
Won-Young Kim, a senior scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has won the Jesuit Seismological Association Award from the Seismological Society of America for his work on wide-ranging questions both local and global.

Hodgkin lymphoma -- new characteristics discovered
Researchers are still discovering new characteristics of Hodgkin lymphoma, a common form of cancer of the lymphatic system.

Annual report targets chronic kidney disease in the United States
A 30 percent increase in chronic kidney disease over the past decade has prompted the US Renal Data System to issue for the first time a separate report documenting the magnitude of the disease, which affects an estimated 27 million Americans and accounts for more than 24 percent of Medicare costs.

ASU Mars scientist wins distinguished award from Geological Society of America
Philip R. Christensen, Regents' professor of geological sciences in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, has been given the G.K.

Biological alternatives to chemical pesticides
With increasing consumer pressure on both farmers and supermarkets to minimize the use of chemical pesticides in fruit and vegetables, a new study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, looks at why there is currently little use of biological alternatives in the UK.

Keck Telescope and 'cosmic lens' resolve nature and fate of early star-forming galaxy
Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology and their colleagues have provided unique insight into the nature of a young star-forming galaxy as it appeared only two billion years after the Big Bang and determined how the galaxy may eventually evolve to become a system like our own Milky Way.

Heroes help others after lives restored through plastic surgery
The Patients of Courage: Triumph Over Adversity awards program is supported by Ethicon Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company.

Rice research gets high marks
Rice University has leapt to the forefront of American research universities for the impact on industry of its accumulated patents, according to a company that analyzes intellectual property.

Charting a course for Aboriginal self-government
A total of 39 researchers from 21 Canadian universities will cooperate with several aboriginal associations to develop models for aboriginal self-government and new relationships between indigenous peoples and the state.

Rutgers researcher examines connections between vision and movement
In research designed to assist US Department of Homeland Security and provide insight into how autistic individuals perceive others, Dr.

Research led by NYU Langone decodes genome for species of malaria
In research aimed at addressing a global epidemic, a team of scientists from around the world has cracked the genetic code for the parasite that is responsible for up to 40 percent of the 515 million annual malaria infections worldwide, Nature reveals in its Oct.

The Plasmodium vivax genome provides new routes and challenges in the global fight against malaria
Although the malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax is rarely fatal, this disease is a tremendous burden on the health care and economies of the countries that suffer from it.

Learned safety cheers depressed mice: An animal model of behavioral intervention for depression
A new animal model has provided insight into the cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with behavioral therapy for depression.

Ecological restoration as a tool for reversing ecosystem fragmentation
The widespread and unprecedented human impact upon nature has adversely affected ecosystem health and resilience, biodiversity, and the provision of ecological goods and services that all species depend on (e.g. clean air, fresh water and healthy soils).

Stanford scientists pinpoint key proteins in blood stem cell replication
A discovery from Stanford researchers is the first to directly link the notorious members of the retinoblastoma family of proteins to the cellular production factories responsible for churning out all the blood and immune cells in the body.

Waterborne disease risk upped in Great Lakes
An anticipated increased incidence of climate-related extreme rainfall events in the Great Lakes region may raise the public health risk for the 40 million people who depend on the lakes for their drinking water, according to a new study.

1 dose of EPO may halt cell suicide following a heart attack
Two things happen following a heart attack--necrosis (normal cell death) and apoptosis (programmed cell death) -- and both are bad.

MBL scientist Osamu Shimomura wins Nobel Prize for discovery of green fluorescent protein
Osamu Shimomura, a senior scientist emeritus and Corporation member at the Marine Biological Laboratory, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of green fluorescent protein, one of the most important tools in contemporary science and medicine for illuminating life at the microscopic level.

A new material could act as a nanofridge for microchips
A joint research carried out by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the ICMAB-CSIC, have developed a material which could act as a nanofridge for computers, thus eliminating the barrier posed by overheating in ever smaller chips.

'Smile doctors' create, restore and enhance patients' smiles
At the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons Plastic Surgery 2008 conference, plastic surgeons or

Alternative energy, virtual reality, innovative approaches to medicine
Following are a few of the many technical highlights to be discussed at Frontiers in Optics: OSA's Annual Meeting.

Time of day influences yield for pharmacologically stimulated stem cell mobilization
A new study uncovers a previously unrecognized, species-specific impact of circadian rhythms on the production of mobilized stem cells.

American College of Medical Genetics receives $13.5M NIH contract
The American College of Medical Genetics, a national nonprofit medical and scientific professional association, announced that it has received a $13.5 million, 5-year contract from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health for the development of a National Newborn Screening Translational Research Network)

'Fantastic 4' of breast procedures leave women extremely satisfied
Breast augmentation, lift, combination lift/augmentation and reduction achieve high satisfaction rates; enhance self-esteem and quality of life; and 99 percent of women would have their surgery again, according to a first-of-its-kind study to be presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Plastic Surgery 2008 conference.

Researchers study prevention of blood clots in cancer patients
As more individuals with cancer are being treated as outpatients, the University of Rochester Medical Center is working on an emerging problem: how to prevent the life-threatening blood clots that can accompany some newer cancer drugs.

University success at national engineering awards
Research projects led by academics in the faculty of engineering at the University of Nottingham picked up two accolades at the Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards 2008.

Using living cells as nanotechnology factories
In the tiny realm of nanotechnology, scientists have used a wide variety of materials to build atomic scale structures.

Fat injections can improve breast reconstruction -- jury's out on augmentation
Injecting fat after breast reconstruction to correct implant wrinkling or dimpling may be safe and effective to improve breast shape, according to a study to be presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Plastic Surgery 2008 conference.

A fine balance
Once a toddler has mastered the art of walking, it seems to come naturally for the rest of her life.

Scientists engineer superconducting thin films
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory report that they have successfully produced two-layer thin films where neither layer is superconducting on its own, but which exhibit a nanometer-thick region of superconductivity at their interface.

Scripps research team solves structure of 'beneficial' virus
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have, for the first time, solved the structure of a virus that can infect specific cancer cells.

Cosmic eye sheds light on early galaxy formation
A cosmic eye has given scientists a unique insight into galaxy formation in the very early Universe.

Genome of a monkey-human malaria parasite
Researchers have decoded the genome of a malaria parasite that infects humans and monkeys.

A key mechanism regulating neural stem cell development is uncovered
A research team at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal, funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness - Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, discovered a novel mechanism that regulates how neural stem cells of the retina generate the appropriate cell type at the right time during normal development.

Proteins in sperm unlock understanding of male infertility says new study
Proteins found in sperm are central to understanding male infertility and could be used to determine new diagnostic methods and fertility treatments according to a paper published by the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

Born from the wind -- unique multi-wavelength portrait of star birth
Telescopes on the ground and in space have teamed up to compose a colorful image that offers a fresh look at the history of the star-studded region NGC 346.

Guidelines urge physical activity during pregnancy
Moderate physical activity during pregnancy does not contribute to low birth weight, premature birth or miscarriage and may actually reduce the risk of complications, according to a Michigan State University professor who contributed to the US government's first-ever guidelines on physical activity.

Satellite data reveals extreme summer snowmelt in northern Greenland, CCNY professor says
The northern part of the Greenland ice sheet experienced extreme snowmelt during the summer of 2008, with large portions of the area subject to record melting days, according to Dr.

Florida study finds barriers to angioplasty for life-threatening heart attacks
Women, the elderly and patients admitted to emergency rooms on weekends are all less likely to receive same-day coronary angioplasty for a life-threatening heart attack in Florida, University of South Florida researchers found.

Preventing colds: Washing your hands is more effective than taking vitamins
Many people have started taking vitamin C tablets as a precautionary measure.

Bisphenol A linked to chemotherapy resistance
Exposure to bisphenol A may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments, say University of Cincinnati scientists.

Northwestern Memorial trials implantable device to manage congestive heart failure symptoms
Northwestern Memorial's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is one of seven programs in the country participating in new study aimed at improving the heart's pumping action and helping to manage congestive heart failure symptoms.

'Fingerprinting' method tracks mercury emissions from coal
University of Michigan researchers have developed a new tool that uses natural

Allcock publishes new materials chemistry textbook
This new 432-page book is a qualitative overview of the fundamental areas of materials science.

Scientists find new insight into genome of neglected malaria parasite
As international health authorities step up efforts to fight malaria, leading scientists say the stealthy and increasingly debilitating Plasmodium vivax parasite deserves more attention.

Deathways open doors to unexpected cultural practices

deCODE BreastCancer launches, genetic test screens for risk of most common breast cancer forms
deCODE genetics has launched deCODE BreastCancer, a new tool for assessing risk of the common forms of breast cancer.

Deflated 'pancake' breasts restored after pregnancy, weight loss, aging
Women who desire a mommy-makeover, have had major weight loss, or are unhappy with the toll age has taken on their breasts can breathe easier.

NCAR launches intensive study into future hurricane risk
NCAR has launched an intensive study, with federal agencies and the insurance and energy industries, to examine how global warming will influence hurricanes in the next few decades.

Research center to free chemistry from Earth's bonds
A new research center brings together chemists and astronomers to dramatically improve our understanding of how chemical reactions in the extreme environment of space produce molecules that are the precursors to life.

Preserved by ice: Glacial dams helped prevent erosion of Tibetan plateau
New research suggests that the edge of the Tibetan plateau might have been preserved for thousands of years by ice and glacial debris at the mouth of many tributaries to the Tsangpo River.

Plastic surgeons face war injuries from Iraq to inner-city violence
Born out of war, plastic surgery remains at the forefront of surgical innovation, and advances from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan benefit victims of inner city wars being fought on our streets.

Many children attribute white male monopoly on White House to discrimination
Many children attribute the lack of female, African American, and Latino presidents to gender and racial discrimination.

Major research project highlights the changing face of nurses in films over the last 100 years
Public perceptions are influenced by the media and today's film nurse is portrayed in a much more positive light than her silent movie counterpart.

Scientists decode genome of parasite that causes relapsing malaria
Scientists have deciphered the complete genetic sequence of the parasite Plasmodium vivax, the leading cause of relapsing malaria, and compared it with the genomes of other species of malaria parasites.

Breast stem cell fate is regulated by 'notch'
A normal developmental protein that sometimes goes awry has been implicated in breast cancer.

Study finds abnormalities in cerebral cortex of cocaine addicts
A brain imaging study reveals abnormalities in the cerebral cortex of cocaine addicts that appear to correlate with dysfunction in areas responsible for attention and for reward-based decision-making, a potential neural signature that could underlie behaviors typically seen in addiction.

Protection for stressed-out bacteria identified
An international team of researchers is a step closer to understanding the spread of deadly diseases such as listeriosis, after observing for the first time how bacteria respond to stress.

New study determines double flu jab needed against bird flu pandemic
Scientists recommend stockpiling influenza vaccine.

Turf wars: Sand and corals don't mix
When reef fish get a mouthful of sand, coral reefs can drown.

The pepperoni pizza hypothesis
What's the worst that could happen after eating a slice of pepperoni pizza?

Scientists design bomb-proof thermometer to measure the heat of explosions
Scientists at the UK's National Physical Laboratory in Teddington have designed a high-speed thermometer that can measure the temperature inside explosions without being damaged in the impact.

New study re-emphasizes natural cocoa powder has high antioxidant content
A new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry measured the antioxidant content of cocoa powders and chocolate products.

Pollution from livestock farming affects infant health
A new study finds that pollution from livestock facilities is associated with an increase in infant mortality.

RNA molecules, delivery system improve vaccine responses, effectiveness
A novel delivery system that could lead to more efficient and more disease-specific vaccines against infectious diseases has been developed by biomedical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin.

Thinner cortex in cocaine addicts may reflect drug use and a pre-existing disposition to drug abuse
New research findings suggest that structural abnormalities in the brains of cocaine addicts are related in part to drug use and in part to a predisposition toward addiction.

Selecting appropriate massive weight loss patients for body contouring critical
The importance of pre-operative screening for patients seeking body contouring after massive weight loss will be assessed in three studies presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Plastic Surgery 2008 conference. 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