Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 15, 2008
Salk scientist Fred H. Gage to receive the Keio Medical Science Prize
Salk researcher Dr. Fred H. Gage, professor in the Laboratory of Genetics, has been awarded the Keio Medical Science Prize for his discovery of the physiological role of adult neurogenesis in mammalian brains.

'Fishapod' reveals origins of head and neck structures of first land animals
Newly exposed parts of Tiktaalik roseae, the intermediate fossil between fish and the first animals to walk out of water onto land, are revealing how this evolutionary event happened.

Link possible between pet food contamination and baby formula contamination
A study published in the November issue of Toxicological Sciences describes the kidney toxicity of melamine and cyanuric acid based on research that was done to characterize the toxicity of the compounds that contaminated pet food in North America in 2007.

Scientists restore movement to paralyzed limbs through artificial brain-muscle connections
Researchers in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health have demonstrated for the first time that a direct artificial connection from the brain to muscles can restore voluntary movement in monkeys whose arms have been temporarily anesthetized.

TWAS to hold 25th anniversary celebration Nov. 10-13, 2008
TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, will hold its 25th anniversary celebration in Mexico City on Nov.

New study reveals details of evolutionary transition from fish to land animals
New research by scientists at the Academy of Natural Sciences provides the first detailed look at the internal head skeleton of Tiktaalik roseae, the 375-million-year-old fossil animal that represents an important intermediate step in the evolutionary transition from fish to animals that walked on land.

First tunable, 'noiseless' amplifier may boost quantum computing, communications
Researchers at NIST and JILA have made the first tunable

Stem-cell sentry sounds the alarm to maintain balance between cancer and aging, U-M researchers find
Like a sentry guarding the castle walls, a molecular messenger inside adult stem cells sounds the alarm when it senses hazards that could allow the invasion of an insidious enemy: cancer.

Global warming threatens Australia's iconic kangaroos
A new study published in the December issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology finds that an increase in average temperature of only two degrees Celsius could have a devastating effect on populations of Australia's iconic kangaroos.

SRNL's microbes useful for for environmental cleanup and oil recovery
A unique, patent-pending microbial consortium can be used both for cleaning up the environment and addressing our energy needs.

Brain-nourishing molecule may predict schizophrenia relapse
A factor that helps optimize brain formation and function may also provide clues about whether patients suffering with schizophrenia are headed toward relapse, researchers say.

Scientists propose the creation of a new type of seed bank
While an international seed bank in a Norwegian island has been gathering news about its agricultural collection, a group of US scientists has just published an article outlining a different kind of seed bank, one that proposes the gathering of wild species -- at intervals in the future -- effectively capturing evolution in action.

HORIZONS AMI will help set guidelines for drug and stent therapy
The HORIZONS AMI clinical trial measuring the safety and efficacy of the use of the medication bivalirudin compared to standard drug therapy -- heparin and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors -- in heart attack patients who receive angioplasty, found that after 1 year, use of bivalirudin resulted in significantly lower rates of all-cause death, death from cardiac causes, and major bleeding.

Gold nanostars outshine the competition
NIST scientists used surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to demonstrate that gold nanostars exhibit optical qualities that make them superior for chemical and biological sensing and imaging.

Model against unnecessary use of antibiotics
Patients in intensive care units are often administered antibiotics against ventilator-associated pneumonia,

Kidney donation Web sites raise ethical concerns
Some patients do not have access living donors who are both willing and medically eligible to give them a kidney.

VLT and Rossi XTE satellite probe violently variable black holes
Unique observations of the flickering light from the surroundings of two black holes provide new insights into the colossal energy that flows at their hearts.

2 ears struck off: 12 marks
A study of old Frisian compensation tariffs, a sort of bodily injury list, reveals just how strongly honor and body were linked to each other in the ideology of medieval Frisians.

New recipe for self-healing plastic includes dash of food additive
Adding a food additive to damaged polymers can help restore them to full strength, say scientists at the University of Illinois who cooked up the novel, self-healing system.

Einstein's relativity survives neutrino test
Physicists working to disprove

Insomnia in women with breast cancer linked to heart rate dysregulation
A study in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that respiratory sinus arrhythmia is a significant predictor of insomnia in women with breast cancer and confirmed that longer nocturnal wake episodes were associated with a flatter diurnal cortisol slope

$2 egg-beater could save lives in developing countries
Plastic tubing taped to a handheld egg-beater could save lives in developing countries, the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal Lab on a Chip reports.

CSIRO to help provide 'live' video of Mars mission
When the Americans eventually send a manned mission to Mars, the whole world will be able to watch

Paperwork: Buckypapers clarify electrical, optical behavior of nanotubes
Using highly uniform samples of carbon nanotubes, materials scientists at NIST have made some of the most precise measurements yet of the concentrations at which delicate mats of nanotubes become transparent, conducting sheets.

The Gerontological Society of America congratulates new Hartford Doctoral Fellows
Five outstanding doctoral students have been chosen as the newest recipients of the prestigious Hartford Doctoral Fellowship in geriatric social work.

Disease leads to vision loss more often in men
A new study shows that men are more likely to lose vision as a result of a particular cause of intracranial hypertension, or increased pressure in the brain, than women with the condition.

Rochester companies, researchers highlighted during OSA Frontiers in Optics Annual Meeting
Innovations from dozens of local companies will be highlighted during the Optical Society's Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics 2008, scheduled for Oct.

Star count goes global
Schoolchildren, families and citizen scientists around the world will gaze skyward after dark from Oct.

The frontiers of nanotechnology
The future of how the world communicates, and how we power our lives, will likely come from the same source: nanotechnology.

EMBO honors 59 leading life scientists
Fifty-nine leading life scientists from Europe and around the world were today recognised by the European Molecular Biology Organization for their proven excellence in research.

Using math model, NJIT professor names MVP and Cy Young award contenders
NJIT's Bruce Bukiet, a mathematician who has applied mathematical modeling techniques to elucidate the dynamics of run scoring in baseball, is now applying his methods to ascertain the players most deserving of major league baseball's prestigious 2008 Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards.

Trieste Science Prize Winners 2008
Beatriz Barbuy, a Brazilian astrophysicist who has made a major contribution to the study of the evolution of the chemical composition of stars, and Roddam Narasimha, an Indian engineer and physicist whose work in fluid dynamics has increased our understanding of turbulence, have been awarded the 2008 Trieste Science Prize.

Details of evolutionary transition from fish to land animals revealed
New research has provided the first detailed look at the internal head skeleton of Tiktaalik roseae, the 375-million-year-old fossil animal that represents an important intermediate step in the evolutionary transition from fish to animals that walked on land.

Origin of Alps-size Antarctic mountain range unknown
A US-led, multinational team of scientists this month will investigate one of the Earth's last major unexplored places, using sophisticated airborne radar and ground-based seismologic tools to virtually peel away more than 2.5 miles of ice covering an Antarctic mountain range that rivals the Alps in elevation.

Estimate soil texture-by-feel
A new article in the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education details methods of determining a soil's texture by feel, an important skill for students of soil science.

School voucher adoption affected by political decision-making
Success in introducing vouchers is highly correlated with these governments' political institutions and traditions.

Warwick first UK university to acquire von Hagens plastinations for anatomy teaching
More than 200 body parts from Gunther von Hagens' laboratory in Germany will be used to teach anatomy to medical students at the University of Warwick.

Call for choice between Medicare or private health cover
Australians should be able to choose either private health cover or Medicare to ensure a more efficient and fair system and help reduce public waiting lists, a health-care economist from the Australian National University has proposed.

EPA's stormwater program needs a significant overhaul
Radical changes to the US Environmental Protection Agency's stormwater program are necessary to reverse degradation of fresh water resources and ensure progress toward the Clean Water Act's goal of

Nation's only citywide electronic health information exchange: Improving health and lowering costs
Across the nation concerns about health-care quality and costs are growing.

21st century detective work reveals how ancient rock got off to a hot start
A new technique using X-rays has enabled scientists to play

Revealing the evolutionary history of threatened sea turtles
New genetic research carried out at the American Museum of Natural History clarifies our understanding of the evolutionary relationships among all seven sea turtle species and shows that specialized diets arose independently.

NIH funds 2 new biotech centers to develop neuroimaging technology and protein analysis software
The National Center for Research Resources, a part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today it will provide up to an estimated $11 million over the next five years to create two new Biomedical Technology Research Centers that will provide researchers nationwide with access to specialized research tools, training and state-of-the-art equipment.

Traumatic aortic injury -- New England Journal of Medicine review
A blunt traumatic injury to the aorta is one of the leading causes of death following a vehicle crash.

Top biophysics award to Professor Ray Norton
The Australian Society for Biophysics has honored Professor Ray Norton from WEHI's Structural Biology Division with the prestigious Bob Robertson Award.

Tibotec begins enrollment for Phase III study of telaprevir
Tibotec BVBA announced today that it has begun enrolling patients in its phase III clinical trial evaluating telaprevir, an investigational hepatitis C virus protease inhibitor, in patients who failed prior therapy with peginterferon plus ribavarin.

Entrepreneurial activity affected by degree of states' economic freedom
A new study in the journal Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice examines how entrepreneurial activity and level of employment in US service industries respond to changes in the degree of economic freedom among states.

Top researchers to explore stress and anxiety, trauma, poverty and addiction
Promising scientific investigations that might someday yield new strategies related to anxiety, addiction, trauma caused by war or natural disasters, and brain development among children growing up in poverty will be the focus of a seminar on

Another bailout? Government pension insurer could be next, expert says
Another multi-billion dollar taxpayer bailout could lie ahead, this time to rescue a cash-strapped government program that insures pensions of 44 million American workers and retirees, a University of Illinois finance professor warns.

Research shows a walk in the park improves attention in children with ADHD
For children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tasks that require concentration such as doing homework or taking a test can be very difficult.

2 Alexander von Humboldt professorships go to LMU Munich
Two of the first Alexander von Humboldt professorships to be awarded go to Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

NASA to Web cast IBEX spacecraft launch on Pegasus rocket Oct. 19
The first NASA spacecraft to image and map the dynamic interactions taking place where the hot solar wind slams into the cold expanse of space will be launched on Sun., Oct.

Governments urged to fight global child killer
Pneumococcal disease, one of the world's leading causes of death and serious illness, must be recognised as an urgent global health issue together with HIV, malaria and TB, say the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pneumococcal Disease Prevention in the Developing World in a report launching at the House of Lords today.

Obtaining kidney transplants abroad carries certain medical risks
People traveling to other countries to receive kidney transplants experience more severe post-transplant complications with a higher incidence of acute rejection and severe infections, according to a study appearing in the November 2008 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Study links nicotine with breast cancer growth and spread
A study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests a possible role for nicotine in breast tumor development and metastases.

Missing person
Dutch-sponsored researcher Krisztian Balog has developed a computer program that speeds up the process of finding the right person in an organization's network.

Scientists discover quantum mechanical 'hurricanes' form spontaneously
University of Arizona scientists have discovered experimentally that when super-cold gas becomes a Bose-Einstein condensate, it can spontaneously spin up what might be described as quantum mechanical twisters or hurricanes.

USC report examines candidates' technology policies
As the 2008 presidential election enters its final month, researchers at the Annenberg Research Network on International Communication have found some sharp differences -- and surprising similarities -- in the two major candidates' positions on technology policy.

Bugs in the gut trigger production of important immune cells, NYU study finds
A new study reveals that specific types of bacteria in the intestine trigger the generation of pro-inflammatory immune cells, a finding that could eventually lead to novel treatments for inflammatory bowel disease and other diseases.

InHealth awards grants to study impact of medical diagnostics and devices on patients, health care
The Institute for Health Technology Studies has awarded $1.7 million in grants over the next two years to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Medical College of Georgia, Tufts University and the University of Houston.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

U of M researcher finds that retail display fixtures can affect consumer perceptions of products
In virtually all stores, consumers view products on display fixtures that are presumed to be of little consequence.

New therapy for heart failure
During heart failure the body reacts to the production of the hormone aldosterone.

Researchers identify promising gene target for neuroblastoma therapy
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified a set of previously unknown mutations in a single gene in 8 percent of neuroblastomas, tumors of the nervous system that occur in young children and account for approximately 15 percent of all childhood cancer deaths.

Ghostly glow reveals galaxy clusters in collision
A team of scientists, including astronomers from the Naval Research Laboratory, have detected long wavelength radio emission from a colliding, massive galaxy cluster which, surprisingly, is not detected at the shorter wavelengths typically seen in these objects.

Scientists close in on method to fight deadly childhood cancer
Focusing on a gene known as ALK in human cell lines and tissue samples, scientists used a small-molecule inhibitor to block abnormalities that apparently cause neuroblastomas, a type of cancer responsible for 15 percent of all cancer deaths in children.

Genetic 'fingerprint' shown to predict liver cancer's return
Scientists have reached a critical milestone in the study of liver cancer that lays the groundwork for predicting the illness's path, whether toward cure or recurrence.

Providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants increases college enrollment
Providing tuition subsidy increased the college enrollment and educational attainment of young noncitizen Mexicans.

Genetic analysis predicts whether liver cancer likely to recur
Researchers are poised to unlock the genetic secrets stored in hundreds of thousands of cancer biopsy samples locked in long-term storage and previously thought to be useless for modern genetic research.

Protecting the future: International cryptography conference anticipates quantum computers
Experts in computer security from around the world will gather Oct.

Gene screen to identify causes of autism
A new screening method can be used to detect the chromosomal abnormalities most commonly associated with autism spectrum disorders.

Polio could be wiped out in Nigeria thanks to improved vaccine, says study
A recently introduced polio vaccine is four times more effective at protecting children than previous vaccines and has the potential to eradicate type 1 polio in Nigeria if it reaches enough children, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Introducing a new generation of inventors
Nearly 94 percent of adults and 80 percent of teens in the United States believe the country needs to be more proficient in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to the 2008 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index.

Alzheimer's disease research attracts first partner
The Australian Alzheimer's disease cluster study -- the Australian Imaging, Biomarker and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing -- has secured its first collaborative research agreement with a major strategic alliance partner, Pfizer Australia.

Europe's first virtual brain imaging lab offers hope for stroke sufferers
Research into conditions like strokes, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and cancer will be significantly advanced by a unique collaboration between six Scottish universities.

Association found among severe obstructive apnea, high fat diets, less physical activity in women
A study in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that unrelated to obesity, people with severe SDBs consume a more unhealthy diet, which may be a factor contributing to greater cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Deal or no deal? The role of emotions in negotiating offers
Do skilled negotiators simply go with their gut instinct every time or are they just extremely calculating, figuring out all possible outcomes before making a choice?

Forest peoples' rights key to reducing emissions from deforestation
Unless based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and forest communities, efforts by rich countries to combat climate change by funding reductions in deforestation in developing countries will fail, and could even unleash a devastating wave of forest loss, cultural destruction and civil conflict, warned a leading group of forestry and development experts meeting in Oslo this week.

MIT finds young planets stay hotter longer
Hot, young planets may be easier to spot because they stay that way longer than astronomers have thought, according to new work by MIT planetary scientist Linda Elkins-Tanton.

Turtle doves commit adultery
Dutch biologist Paula den Hartog has shown that bastard doves can fend for themselves.

$2.9 million Australian study AMAZES asthma researchers
Researchers in the Hunter region are poised to begin the biggest asthma study of its type in the world.

Drug-eluting stents more effective, equally as safe as bare metal stents in clinical trial
Late-breaking data from the HORIZONS AMI (Harmonizing Outcomes with RevascularIZatiON and Stents in Acute Myocardial Infarction) trial reveal that after one year, use of a drug-eluting (paclitaxel) stent demonstrated significantly reduced rates of target lesion revascularization and binary angiographic restenosis when compared to the use of a bare metal stent in heart attack patients.

Repair in the developing heart
If the heart becomes diseased during its embryonic/fetal development, it can regenerate itself to such an extent that it is fully functional by birth, provided some of the heart cells remain healthy.

10 years on, high-school social skills predict better earnings than test scores
Ten years after graduation, high-school students who had been rated as conscientious and cooperative by their teachers were earning more than classmates who had similar test scores but fewer social skills, said a new University of Illinois study.

Diatom genome helps explain success in trapping excess carbon in oceans
Diatoms have profound influence on climate, producing 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe by capturing atmospheric carbon and countering the greenhouse effect.

Facial expressions say more than 1,000 words
People talk to exchange information. Yet understanding another person involves far more than just the content of the message.

People with autism make more rational decisions, study shows
People with autism-related disorders are less likely to make irrational decisions, and are less influenced by gut instincts, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust.

University of Miami students receive prize in NASA futuristic airplane design competition
A group of students from the University of Miami College of Engineering, received a second place award in the 2008 NASA Aeronautics Contest, for their futuristic plane design.

Sensitive laser instrument could aid search for life on Mars
Minuscule traces of cells can be detected in a mineral likely present on Mars, researchers report in the current online issue of the peer-reviewed Geomicrobiology Journal.

More effective treatment identified for common childhood vision disorder
Scientists have found a more effective treatment for a common childhood eye muscle coordination problem called convergence insufficiency.

Patient roused from coma by a magnetic field
A patient in a coma-like state in the US can now speak very simple words after being given transcranial magnetic stimulation. 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