Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 13, 2008
Animal and biological science highlights San Antonio Fluid Dynamics Conference, Nov. 23-25
From dolphins to clams to flying creatures like hummingbirds and bats, many of nature's most fascinating creatures exhibit forms of fluid flow.

UK study shows kids are active but not eating their '5-a-day'
Most children are still failing to eat five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, though their levels of physical activity do meet current government recommendations, according to the SPEEDY study.

MIT analysis shows how cap-and-trade plans can cut greenhouse emissions
Researchers at MIT's Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research have produced a report concerning key design issues of proposed

Gemini releases historic discovery image of planetary 'first family'
Astronomers using the Gemini and Keck observatories obtain first direct images of a planetary family around a normal star.

Patients with anxiety think they have more physiological problems than they really have
Palpitations, sweating, irregular breathing, shaking of the hands and muscular tension are some of the symptoms that patients with anxiety disorders think they suffer, although the implementation of physiological tests has proved they are less intense than what they subjectively feel.

Novel IBS treatment developed at UB garners $8.5 million for seven-year clinical trial
Based on a successful pilot study of a primarily at-home, self-administered cognitive behavior therapy program, a University at Buffalo behavioral scientist has received $8.5 million from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases to conduct a seven-year, multisite clinical trial of an at-home program developed at UB to treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Fish choose their leaders by consensus
Just after Americans have headed to the polls to elect their next president, a new report in the Nov.

NIST, NCI bring Web 2.0 tools to nanotechnology standards effort
Federal government and US industry scientists say they are forging ahead with plans for an international, online collaboration to speed up creation of critically needed nanotechnology standards, including the underpinning reference materials and tests that support development of nanotech products while minimizing potential risks.

New European guidelines on heart attack management put emphasis on speed of action
New European guidelines issued today on the management of heart attack emphasize speed of action and the importance of

Extreme makeover: Computer science edition
Stanford artificial intelligence researchers have developed software that makes it easy to reach inside an existing video and place a photo on the wall so realistically that it looks like it was there from the beginning.

Plastic surgeons warn of malnutrition in body contouring patients
A new ASPS study reveals that optimizing nutrition with the addition of supplements, such as powder drinks and multivitamin tablets formulated for massive weight loss patients, is vital to successful body contouring surgery.

Cancer researcher receives $3.8 million award from US Department of Defense
A $3.8 million Innovator Award, from the US Department of Defense, is being granted over five years to an internationally renowned cancer researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

UNC, Yale partner to study effects of cocaine use on mother-infant relationships
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Yale University have been awarded almost $10 million to study the many ways cocaine use during pregnancy can negatively affect interactions between mothers and their infants.

SAFEDRIVE delivers safety and efficiency on airport runways
French and Portuguese partners, working together in the EUREKA-funded SAFEDRIVE project, have developed an important new satellite navigation-based system for managing airport ground traffic.

Acrylic glass made of sugar
In the future, polymethyl methacrylate, better known as acrylic glass, could be made from natural raw materials such as sugars, alcohols or fatty acids.

ECG tests no better than routine clinical assessment at predicting future heart disease
ECG tests commonly given to people with suspected angina to predict the likelihood future of heart disease have limited accuracy, according to a study published today on

Possible link between diabetes and pelvic girdle syndrome
Diabetes appears to be linked with an increased risk of pelvic girdle syndrome.

High-normal phosphate levels linked to early atherosclerosis
Healthy adults with higher levels of phosphate in the blood are more likely to have increased levels of calcium in the coronary arteries, a key indicator of atherosclerosis and future cardiovascular disease risk, reports a study in the Feb.

Tissue analyses indicate survival benefits for some lung cancer patients
Taking small tissue samples from patients with lung cancer and examining them under a microscope, a procedure called histology, is now being utilized to better tailor the chemotherapy treatments to improve survival in some patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer, according to a study presented at the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, co-sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago.

Research demonstrates differing genetic makeup of lung cancer in African-American patients
The tumors of African-American nonsmall cell lung cancer patients are more likely to carry a higher number of copies of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene and fewer mutations of EGFR itself than Caucasians according to a study presented at the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, co-sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago.

Cancer treatment may result in bone loss
A new cross-Canada study has found that breast and prostate cancer treatment can foster bone loss.

How household bleach works to kill bacteria
Despite the fact that household bleach is commonly used as a disinfectant, exactly how it works to fight bacteria remained an open question.

Corralling the carbon cycle
Scientists may have overcome a major hurdle to calculating how much carbon dioxide is absorbed and released by plants, vital information for determining the amount of carbon that can be safely emitted by human activities.

Clean results: University of Michigan researchers learn how bleach kills bacteria
Developed more than 200 years ago and found in households around the world, chlorine bleach is among the most widely used disinfectants, yet scientists never have understood exactly how the familiar product kills bacteria.

New survey: More than half of US chronically ill adults skip needed care due to costs
Compared to patients in seven other countries, chronically ill adults in the United States are far more likely to forgo care because of costs; they also experience the highest rates of medical errors, coordination problems, and high out-of-pocket costs, according to a new study from the Commonwealth Fund.

Key funding to answer troubling diabetes questions
Alleviating the emotional anguish of type 1 diabetes is the focus of two fresh research projects to be awarded funding at a World Diabetes Day celebration today, shining a spotlight on the often forgotten link between type 1 diabetes and mental health and well-being.

A single gene leads yeast cells to cooperate against threats
An ingenious social behavior that mobilizes yeast cells to cooperate in protecting each other from stress, antibiotics and other dangers is driven by the activity of a single gene, scientists report this week in the journal Cell.

Proton therapy and concurrent chemotherapy may reduce bone marrow toxicity in advanced lung cancer
Patients treated for locally advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer who receive chemotherapy and proton beam therapy have fewer instances of bone marrow toxicity than patients who receive the standard treatment of intensity-modulated radiation and concurrent chemotherapy, according to researchers from the University of Texas M.

Space researchers developing tool to help disoriented pilots
Confusion of the senses can lead to serious consequences for airplane pilots.

Survey highlights support for nanotech in health fields but disapproval elsewhere
A landmark national survey on the use of nanotechnology for

First at-home test for vasectomized men proves to be safe, accurate
In a report now available online and scheduled to be the cover story of the December 2008 issue of the Journal of Urology, University of Virginia Health System researcher John C.

Prehistoric pelvis offers clues to human development
Discovery of the most intact female pelvis of Homo erectus may cause scientists to reevaluate how early humans evolved to successfully birth larger-brained babies.

Soluble fiber, antispasmodics and peppermint oil should be used to treat IBS
Fiber, antispasmodics and peppermint oil are all effective therapies for irritable bowel syndrome and should become first-line treatments, according to a study on today.

How eating red meat can spur cancer progression
Researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine, led by Ajit Varki, M.D., have shown a new mechanism for how human consumption of red meat and milk products could contribute to the increased risk of cancerous tumors.

'2-headed' antibody poses a double threat to breast cancer cells, say Fox Chase researchers
A small, antibody-like molecule created by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center can successfully attack two separate molecules on the surface of cancer cells at the same time, halting the growth of breast cancer cells in laboratory tests, the researchers say.

Medical Informatics group honors Hersh
The American Medical Informatics Association has honored William Hersh, M.D., professor and chairman, Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, with its 2008 Donald A.B.

Astronomers capture first images of newly discovered solar system
Astronomers for the first time have taken snapshots of a multi-planet solar system, much like ours, orbiting another star.

Helping children and teens deal with stress in an uncertain time
An Indiana University and Riley Hospital for Children psychologist whose research focuses on the relationship between psychological thriving and coping processes during major life transitions says that in these uncertain times, children of any age, including teens, need to be reassured that they are safe and will be cared for no matter how the family is faring.

How the APOE gene can modify your risk for Alzheimer's disease
One of the hallmarks of the brain of an individual with Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of amyloid-beta peptide, something that is believed to be toxic to many brain cells (specifically neurons) and to therefore contribute to the underlying cause of disease.

Obama and health: Change can happen
Health, currently one of the most divisive of political issues in the US, could become a symbolic uniting force for President-elect Barack Obama's new administration, says the lead editorial in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Compact research freezers to debut in space
A pair of Endeavour-carried cryogenic freezers will boost the biological research capacity of the shuttle program and the International Space Station.

Astronomers capture first ever images of another solar system
In an unprecedented discovery, a team of Canadian, US and British astronomers have used telescopes atop the summit of a dormant Hawaiian volcano to capture images of three giant planets orbiting a star known as HR 8799.

Hubble directly observes planet orbiting Fomalhaut
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first visible light snapshot of a planet circling another star.

Mysterious microbe may play important role in ocean ecology
An unusual microorganism discovered in the open ocean may force scientists to rethink their understanding of how carbon and nitrogen cycle through ocean ecosystems.

First live rhinoceros birth from frozen-thawed semen
There may be less than 20,000 rhinoceros in the world and the populations of these animals age and become infirm, successful breeding becomes increasingly difficult.

Mineral kingdom has co-evolved with life
Evolution isn't just for living organisms. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution have found that the mineral kingdom co-evolved with life, and that up to two thirds of the more than 4,000 known types of minerals on Earth can be directly or indirectly linked to biological activity.

By combining technologies, researchers rapidly hunt down and find new genes that lead to cancer
Using a new approach that combines scientific technologies to hunt down genetic changes involved in cancer, researchers have discovered 13 tumor suppressor genes that, when mutated, can lead to liver cancers.

New research expected to improve laser devices and make photovoltaics more efficient
University of Chicago scientists have induced electrons in the nanocrystals of semiconductors to cool more slowly by forcing them into a smaller volume.

Proton therapy may reduce serious side effect of lung cancer treatment
Patients with locally advanced lung cancer who receive chemotherapy and proton therapy, a specialized form a radiation therapy only available in a few centers in the United States, have fewer instances of a serious side effect called bone marrow toxicity than patients who receive chemotherapy and another type of radiation therapy called intensity modulated radiation therapy, according to a study presented at the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago.

Traffic pollution worsens symptoms in asthmatic children
Traffic pollution, especially in cities, adversely affects respiratory health in children with asthma.

Novel 4-drug combination proves safe for lung cancer treatment
The four-drug combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel, with the targeted therapies bevacizumab and cetuximab, is safe and may improve survival for patients with advanced lung cancer, according to a cooperative group study led by the University of Texas M.

Nanoparticles trigger cell death?
The findings of a recent Finnish-American study give rise to concern that nanoparticles carry potential health hazards.

To widen path to outer space, UF engineers build small satellite
It's not much bigger than a softball and weighs just 2 pounds.

Gender is key factor in determining overall survival of lung cancer patients
Even though some combinations of gender, race and/or marital status can factor into the overall survival of nonoperative non-small cell lung cancer patients, gender is the most significant factor impacting overall survival, according to a study presented at the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago.

Advanced lung cancer patients see improved, progression-free survival
Patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer whose disease has progressed following chemotherapy have a higher rate of tumor shrinkage and a longer interval before cancer progression when bevacizumab is added to standard second-line erlotinib therapy, according to a study presented at the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago.

Relationship between prostate information and lower urinary-tract symptoms evident
In the Dec. issue of European Urology, Dr. Curtis Nickel and associates report on the evidence of a relationship between prostate inflammation and lower urinary tract symptoms in men enrolled in the REDUCE trial.

The first pictures of not 1, not 2, but 3 planets orbiting a star
An international team of astronomers used the Keck and Gemini North telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii to discover three planets in orbit around the young star HR 8799.

Hubble directly observes a planet orbiting another star
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first visible-light snapshot of a planet circling another star.

New evidence for homeopathy
Two new studies published in peer-reviewed, Medline-listed journals conclude that a review which claimed that homeopathy is just a placebo, published in the Lancet, was seriously flawed.

Engineer to present leak-proof method for carbon dioxide storage at international conference
Steven Bryant, engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, will present new research at the ninth annual International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies that examines a unique storage method in carbon sequestration that eliminates the risk of CO2 escaping via buoyancy.

Alzheimer's gene slows brain's ability to export toxic protein
The only known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease slows down the brain's ability to export a toxic protein known as amyloid-beta that is central to the damage the disease causes, scientists have found.

TECNALIA leads a composite materials project to increase aircraft safety
The TECNALIA Technological Corporation is leading the Laysa European research project, focused on multifunctional layers in composite materials with the aim of attaining greater safety in aircrafts.

Hope for treating relapse to methamphetamine abuse
A new study at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory suggests that vigabatrin blocks drug-seeking behavior in animals previously trained to associate methamphetamine with a particular environment.

What the social lives of brewer's yeast say about evolution
As any good beer brewer knows, the yeast used in fermentation stick together in large clumps consisting of thousands of cells that settle out where they are easily removed.

NYU biologist Bonneau named among 20 'visionary' scientists under 40 by Discover magazine
New York University Biologist Richard Bonneau has been named one of 20

Cardiff scientists study acute infection in end-stage kidney disease patients
A new research study underway at Cardiff University could see a decrease in the rates of treatment failure among patients with end-stage kidney disease.

Breakthrough in cell-type analysis offers new ways to study development and disease
Many diseases are very particular about the types of cells they attack, laying waste to one population while sparing its nearly identical neighbors for no apparent reason.

Traditional knowledge under threat: Faulty laws, lack of trust stymie promising advances
Despite global moves to improve traditional rights, the wisdom and knowledge accumulated by indigenous communities over thousands of years is still being lost or plundered for corporate profit, according to a report released in Paris today by an international coalition of experts.

Innovative new Web site empowers young girls to live smoke-free
A new Web site designed to emphasize smoking prevention for young girls has been launched through Children's Hospital at Dartmouth and Dartmouth Medical School.

NRL's SHIMMER successfully observes Earth's highest clouds
The Naval Research Laboratory's Spatial Heterodyne Imager for Mesospheric Radicals has successfully observed a second northern season of polar mesospheric clouds, which are the Earth's highest clouds.

Story tips -- Oak Ridge National Laboratory November 2008
The following are story tips Oak Ridge National Laboratory for November 2008.

Antibodies to cockroach and mouse proteins associated with asthma and allergies risk
A study released by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health shows that developing antibodies to cockroach and mouse proteins is associated with a greater risk for wheeze, hay fever, and eczema in preschool urban children as young as three years of age.

'Femtomolar optical tweezers' may enable sensitive blood tests
NIST has licensed a patented

Iron-based materials may unlock superconductivity's secrets
Researchers at NIST are decoding the mysterious mechanisms behind the high-temperature superconductors that industry hopes will find wide use in next-generation systems for storing, distributing and using electricity.

Heart disease patients may not benefit from depression screening
Results of a new study call into question recent clinical guidelines issued by leading cardiovascular groups, including the American Heart Association, which recommend patients with cardiovascular disease be screened for signs of depression and treated accordingly.

The protein TRPA1 feels the pain of alkaline pH
Many biological conditions cause a rise in the pH of the environment in which cells in our body exist (i.e., the environment becomes alkaline).

How cockroaches keep their predators 'guessing'
When cockroaches flee their predators, they choose, seemingly at random, amongst one of a handful of preferred escape routes, according to a report published on Nov.

Sicilian word enters British genetic language
A scientific team from the John Innes Center and University of St.

UM researchers ID molecule linked to aggressive cancer growth, spread
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found a genetic marker that controls an enzyme present in aggressive and metastatic cancer.

Networks of small habitat patches can preserve urban biodiversity
Sets of small and seemingly insignificant habitat patches that are within reach for mobile species may under certain circumstances, as a group, provide an acceptable alternative to larger and contiguous habitats.

Female embryonic sexual development driven by universal factor
A gene essential to the growth and development of most organ systems in the body also is vital to female, but not male, embryonic sexual development, scientists report this month.

Raising alcohol taxes reduces deaths
Raising taxes on beer, wine and liquor immediately reduces the number of deaths from alcohol-related diseases such as liver disease, oral or breast cancers, and alcohol poisoning, according to a new study published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

Cold atoms could replace hot gallium in focused ion beams
Scientists at NIST have developed a radical new method of focusing a stream of ions into a point as small as one nanometer, a versatile ion source that is expected to have broad application in nanotechnology both for carving smaller features on semiconductors than now are possible and for nondestructive imaging of nanoscale structures with finer resolution than currently possible with electron microscopes.

Dinosaur whodunit: Solving a 77-million-year-old mystery
Researchers report on the discovery of one of the few theropod dinosaur egg nests in North America in the journal Palaeontology.

UC Berkeley astronomers lead Hubble team in capturing first optical photos of exoplanet
Hundreds of exoplanets have been inferred from the wobble of a star, and infrared images of purported planets have been published, but a Hubble Space Telescope team led by UC Berkeley's Paul Kalas has now obtained the first optical image of a planet.

Improved measurements could mean safer, more reliable electroshock weapons
Electroshock weapons, such as stun guns and other similar devices that temporarily incapacitate a person by delivering a high-voltage, low-current electric shock, have helped law enforcement officers safely subdue dangerous or violent persons for years.

Wasabi receptor can sense ammonia that causes pain
A Japanese research group, led by Professor Makoto Tominaga of National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, found that the receptor for hot taste of wasabi, Japanese horseradish usually eaten with sushi, can sense alkaline pH caused by a base such as ammonia.

Let the games begin! Nanosoccer at 2009 RoboCup in Austria
The World Cup may be two years away but soccer aficionados can get an early start at satisfying their yen for global competition when NIST and the RoboCup Federation host the second-ever international nanosoccer contest next summer.

Doctors' questions about end-of-life legalities may result in patient pain
When treatment options dwindle or are exhausted, terminally ill patients often opt for pain management and comfort over life-extending therapies.

Montana State researchers receive grant to study algae as a source of biofuel
Researchers at Montana State University have received a three-year, $900,000 grant from the US Department of Energy to study the oil produced by algae, which could be used as a renewable source of biodiesel.

K-State theoretical physicist, colleagues steer electrons with laser pulses
Three theoretical physicists explained how attosecond laser pulses can be used to direct the motion of an electron inside a hydrogen molecule, and what the measurable consequences of this control over the electron would be.

Expanded save the date: ASTMH Annual Meeting
The ASTMH annual meeting is Dec. 7-11 in New Orleans.

Novel regulatory step during HIV replication
A previously unknown regulatory step during human immunodeficiency replication provides a potentially valuable new target for HIV/AIDS therapy, report researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

NCAR installs massive digital storage library from sun microsystems for climate and weather records
The National Center for Atmospheric Research and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Arsenic linked to cardiovascular disease at EPA-regulated drinking water standards
When mice are exposed to arsenic at federally approved levels for drinking water, pores in liver blood vessels close, potentially leading to cardiovascular disease, say University of Pittsburgh researchers in the Dec.

Measuring water from space
Observations from satellites now allow scientists to monitor changes to water levels in the sea, in rivers and lakes, in ice sheets and even under the ground.

Iowa State physicists part of research team testing Nobel-winning theory
Iowa State's Soeren Prell is analyzing data from an experiment that tests a theory that won a share of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics.

Findings suggest nanowires ideal for electronics manufacturing
Researchers have discovered that tiny structures called silicon nanowires might be ideal for manufacturing in future computers and consumer electronics because they form the same way every time.

Nanoparticles in the home: More and smaller than previously detected
Extremely small nanoscale particles are released by common kitchen appliances in abundant amounts, greatly outnumbering the previously detected, larger-size nanoparticles emitted by these appliances, according to new findings by NIST researchers.

Protecting neurons could halt Alzheimer's, Parkinson's diseases
Scientists from two Texas universities have identified promising lead chemical compounds for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, major and growing health problems as the human life span increases.

UCLA study reveals smoking's effect on nurses' health, death rates
A new UCLA School of Nursing study is the first to reveal the devastating consequences of smoking on the nursing profession.

Chemotherapy plus targeted therapies shows improved survival in advance-stage lung cancer patients
The combination of traditional chemotherapy agents with targeted therapies called monoclonal antibodies showed no safety concerns and improved survival in patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer according to a study presented at the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago.

JCI online early table of contents: Nov. 13, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Nov.

Cigarette smoke could alter shape of heart
Prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke can increase levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine and enzymes in the heart that have the potential to reshape the left ventricle, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 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