Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 20, 2008
Where there's wildfire smoke, there's toxicity
Detailed particulate analysis of the smoke produced by previous California wild fires indicates that the composition posed more serious potential threats to health than is generally realized, according to a new paper analyzing particulate matter from wildfires in Southern California.

Stopping germs from ganging up on humans
Evolutionary theory points to a new approach to combat drug resistance in disease-causing organisms and in cancer, according to new research.

Racialized communication met with silence in the classroom
White privilege enables racially laden communication that regenerates, albeit unintentionally, the social exclusion of American Indian students.

ThruVision wins Grand Security Product Award 2008
An innovative security screening system from ThruVision that can detect hidden explosives, liquids, narcotics, weapons, plastics and ceramics from a distance, has received the grand security product award in the

Stanford: Quantum computing spins closer
The steps needed to achieve speedy optical control of electron spin in a quantum dot are revealed in Nature.

Type of breast reconstruction impacts radiation therapy outcomes
For breast cancer patients who underwent a mastectomy and who undergo radiation therapy after immediate breast reconstruction, autologous tissue reconstruction provides fewer long-term complications and better cosmetic results than tissue expander and implant reconstruction, according to a study in the Nov. issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

A simple blood test for colon cancer
A new early warning test from Tel Aviv University detects polyps before cancer sets in.

Uncertainty can be more stressful than clear negative feedback
We are faced with uncertainty every day. Will our investments pay off?

Supercontinuum generation and soliton dynamics milestone achieved
A research team led by Fetah Benabid, University of Bath, has observed for the first time the simultaneous emission of two resonant dispersive waves by optical solitons, waves that maintain their shape while traveling at constant speeds, according to a new report in Optics Letters.

Lactic acid found to fuel tumors
A team of researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the Universite catholique de Louvain has found that lactic acid is an important energy source for tumor cells.

Texas invests record $3.5 million in startup cofounded by UT's Mauro Ferrari
NanoMedical Systems Inc., an Austin-based startup cofounded by Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, to improve the effectiveness of anti-cancer agents and other medications, has received a record $3.5 million Commercialization Award through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

Discovery of giant roaming deep sea protist provides new perspective on animal evolution
Groove-like tracks on the ocean floor made by giant deep-sea single-celled organisms could lead to new insights into the evolutionary origin of animals, says a biologist from the University of Texas at Austin.

Deep-sea protists may explain trace fossil evidence attributed to ancient animals
A new discovery challenges one of the strongest arguments in favor of the idea that animals with bilateral symmetry -- those that, like us, have two halves that are roughly mirror images of each other -- existed before their obvious appearance in the fossil record during the early Cambrian, some 542 million years ago.

Despite national guidelines, private insurers, ER, federal and state agencies fail to routinely test for HIV
The Forum for Collaborative HIV Research convened a national summit on Nov.

New research will seal the future of green packaging
Researchers at the University of Bath and the food and drinks research center at Campden BRI are leading a project to create a new high speed environmentally-friendly packaging process that will use recycled materials and reduce the amount of plastic used, cutting the waste that goes into landfill.

Certain skills are predictors of reading ability in young children
A new study in the journal Learning Disabilities Research & Practice reveals that differences found between pre-kindergarten reading-disabled children and their typically reading peers diminish in various measures by pre-first grade, with the exception of phonological awareness abilities.

Preventing tumor cells from refueling: A new anti-cancer approach?
Not all cells in a tumor are equal. New data, generated in mice, now suggests that targeting one set of tumor cells (specifically those in regions of the tumor rich in oxygen) can limit the growth of other tumor cells (specifically those in regions of the tumor deprived of oxygen).

Gene required for radiation-induced protective pigmentation also promotes survival of melanoma cells
Scientists have new insight into the response of human skin to radiation and what drives the most aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer.

Employees who are sexually harassed experience less job satisfaction and lower job performance
Employees who were harassed report lower levels of job satisfaction, organizational commitment and job performance

Coming soon: Improved lithium ion batteries?
A team led by Jaephil Cho at Hanyang University in Korea has developed a new material for anodes, which could clear a path for a new generation of rechargeable batteries.

Common cold virus came from birds
A virus that causes cold-like symptoms in humans originated in birds and may have crossed the species barrier around 200 years ago, according to an article published in the December issue of the Journal of General Virology.

Space science missions possible through Constellation
A new report from the National Research Council,

2-part gift expands clinical nurse leader program and creates endowment
The Medical College of Georgia has received a $1.27 million two-part gift from the Helene Fuld Health Trust to expand nursing education in Georgia.

Employee engagement dependent upon conditions created by employer
Employees will feel -- and act -- engaged when their employer creates conditions that permit them to do so.

Iowa State researchers to develop national energy/transportation model and plan
James McCalley, an Iowa State University professor in electrical and computer engineering, is leading a research team that's developing new and better infrastructure designs for the country's energy and transportation systems.

Hospitals could be fined millions of pounds even if they reduce infection risk
NHS Hospital Trusts that are successful in reducing Clostridium difficile risks in line with government targets still have a 50 percent chance of paying a financial penalty every year, and around a 95 percent chance of being fined over three years, warn researchers on bmj.com today.

Research finds way to double rice crops in drought-stricken areas
University of Alberta research has yielded a way to double the output of rice crops in some of the world's poorest, most distressed areas

NRL scientists study cracks in brittle materials
The Naval Research Laboratory is part of an international team of scientists that is learning more about how cracks form in brittle materials.

Researcher tricks immune system in diabetic mice
Islet cell transplantation is a promising therapy for people with type 1 diabetes, but it requires a regime of powerful immunosuppressive drugs so the immune system won't reject the insulin-producing islets.

Oral gefitinib as effective as injected docetaxel for survival of lung cancer patients
Gefitnib is as effective a second-line treatment as docetaxel for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

'The Physics of Impossible Things' at Perimeter Institute -- public lecture, Dec. 3
Professor Ben Schumacher of Kenyon College will speak on

When it comes to what's for dinner, baboon society is no democracy
In decisions about where to eat, baboons don't all have an equal say, according to a report in the Nov.

Pregnant women who do aquarobics have easier deliveries
A course of water aerobics classes has been shown to reduce the amount of pain-killing medication women request during labor.

Caltech 4-D microscope revolutionizes the way we look at the nano world
More than a century ago, the development of the earliest motion picture technology made what had been previously thought

Sea level rise alters bay's salinity
While global-warming-induced coastal flooding moves populations inland, the changes in sea level will affect the salinity of estuaries, which influences aquatic life, fishing and recreation.

Memory mission explores new territory in neuroscience
Astrophysicists peer into the far corners of deep space for dark matter, but for neuroscientists at the Queensland Brain Institute exploring the unknown is much closer to home.

Oh, what a feeling!
People who have lost the ability to interpret emotion after a severe brain injury can regain this vital social skill by being re-educated to read body language, facial expressions and voice tone in others, according to a new study.

Appalling failures of UK government in health care of children in detention centers
The appalling failures in the health care of children in detention centers, which are the ultimate responsibility of the UK Home Office, are discussed in the lead Editorial in this week's Lancet.

Soybean grant gives researchers tools to unravel better bean
For millennia, people have grown soybeans and turned them into many useful products.

LSUHSC's Fontham makes history
Elizabeth T. H. Fontham, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., dean of the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, will become the first nonphysician elected national president of the American Cancer Society when she is inducted at a special ceremony during the society's National Assembly Meeting on Nov.

Red, red wine: How it fights Alzheimer's
UCLA scientists have discovered the mechanism behind how compounds in red wine called polyphenols slow the cognitive declines of Alzheimer's.

Iressa proves just as effective as chemotherapy for lung cancer
Gefitinib, also known as Iressa, the once-promising targeted therapy for the treatment of nonsmall cell lung cancer, has proven as effective as chemotherapy as a second-line therapy for the disease with far fewer side effects, according to an international Phase III clinical trial, led by researchers at the University of Texas M.

December 2008 highlights from Biology of Reproduction
The following are articles featured in December's Biology of Reproduction.

The deadly truth about ... truth
Despite access to the best technologies, human beings have severe problems using information and deciphering the truth.

MU study reveals effective anti-tobacco ads should either scare or disgust viewers
Now's the perfect time to increase anti-smoking campaigns -- Nov.

Uncertainty can be more stressful than clear negative feedback
Some individuals would rather receive clear negative information than deal with ambiguity or uncertainty, according to new research out of the University of Toronto.

New material could make gases more transportable
Chemists at the University of Liverpool have developed a way of converting methane gas into a powder form in order to make it more transportable.

Summit on HIV testing and 'the neglected US epidemic'; audiobriefing 12 p.m. EST, Thurs., Nov. 20
The Forum for Collaborative HIV Research, an independent public-private partnership, will convene some 300 leading HIV researchers, health care providers and policymakers to examine the state of the US epidemic, and the critical role of routine testing in HIV prevention, treatment and care.

UC San Diego announces collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences leaders have announced that they have executed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development L.L.C., with the objective of developing future collaborations in biomedical research and education to advance human health.

NISS-USDA Cross-Sector Initiative creates Research in Residence Program
The National Institute of Statistical Sciences, a private, nonprofit organization focusing on statistical research, has established a Cross-Sector Research in Residence Program in partnership with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the survey and estimation arm of the US Department of Agriculture.

Scientists discover new species of Ebola virus
Scientists report the discovery of a new species of Ebola virus, provisionally named Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Nov.

£20 million to fight virtual crime and treat our aging population
Fighting virtual crime, treating an aging population, and turning research into commercial enterprises, will be the focus of a £20 million ($30.4 million) investment announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Technology Strategy Board and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Hazardous drinking among New Zealand university students has its roots in high school
College students are known to engage in hazardous drinking, more so than young adults not attending college.

Children of centenarians live longer, have lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes
A recent study appearing in the November issue of Journal of American Geriatrics Society revealed that centenarian offspring (children of parents who lived to be at least 97 years old) retain important cardiovascular advantages from their parents compared to a similarly aged cohort.

JCI table of contents: Nov. 20, 2008
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Nov.

Two from one: Pitt research maps out evolution of genders from hermaphroditic ancestors
Research from the University of Pittsburgh published in the Nov.

New method for tracing metal pollution back to its sources
A new way of pinpointing where zinc pollution in the atmosphere comes from could improve pollution monitoring and regulation, says research out this week in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Underwater stock options drive top executives turnover
A new study in Personnel Psychology reveals that voluntary top executive turnover was more likely to occur as executives' stock option portfolios fell further out of the money.

Barrow scientists solve 200-year-old scientific debate involving visual illusions
Neuroscientists at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center have discovered a direct link between eye motions and the perception of illusory motion that solves a 200-year-old debate.

Specific DNA variations of the serotonin transporter gene can influence drinking intensity
The brain's serotonergic system plays an important role in alcohol preference and consumption.

American Society of Civil Engineers names NJIT structural engineer fellow
A structural engineer and world-renowned expert on how structures respond to natural disasters, M.

Screening for colorectal cancer detects unrecognized disease
Screening for colorectal cancer detects four out of ten cancers and should be carefully designed to be more effective, according to a study published today on bmj.com.

Pure insulin-producing cells produced in mouse
Singapore researchers have developed an unlimited number of pure insulin-producing cells from mouse embryonic stem cells.

11,000 alien species invade Europe
For the first time it is now possible to get a comprehensive overview of which alien species are present in Europe, their impacts and consequences for the environment and society.

Wesch selected as Carnegie/CASE national professor for resesarch/doctoral universities
Wired Magazine calls him

Exploring the health and protective benefits of light to moderate alcohol consumption
While the physiological damage and social havoc created by alcohol abuse and dependency are well-known, it is also true that light-to-moderate drinking has certain health benefits.

Queen's secures £25M for UK's cyber safety
Queen's University Belfast is to become the United Kingdom's lead center for the developing technology to counter malicious

ORNL supercomputer simulation wins prize for fastest-running science application
A team led by Thomas Schulthess of the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory received the prestigious 2008 Association for Computing Machinery Gordon Bell Prize Thursday after attaining the fastest performance ever in a scientific supercomputing application.

Public health and human rights: The work ahead of us
On Dec. 5, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the New York Academy of Sciences will host a half-day symposium to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To contract or not: A key question for the uterine muscles in pregnancy
During pregnancy, the muscles of the uterus are relatively inactive.

ACS Thanksgiving podcasts feature advances toward safer, healthier food
With millions of Americans planning to gather around dinner tables for the annual Thanksgiving feast, researchers are reporting key research advances in providing safer and more nutritious food in the 10th and 11th episodes of the American Chemical Society's Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series.

Bad cholesterol inhibits the breakdown of peripheral fat
The so called bad cholesterol inhibits the breakdown of fat in cells of peripheral deposits, according to a study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet.

The flash before the flood
Tel Aviv University research uses lightning strikes to predict flash floods.

Quantum computers could excel in modeling chemical reactions
Quantum computers would likely outperform conventional computers in simulating chemical reactions involving more than four atoms, according to scientists at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Haverford College.

Fountain of Youth to be found in the anthill?
Aging -- we are all doing it. It is relentless and terminal.

Misreading of damaged DNA may spur tumor formation
Cells can turn on tumor-promoting growth circuits by falsely reporting critical genetic information during the process of transcription: making RNA from DNA.

NIST releases final WTC 7 investigation report
The National Institute of Standards and Technology today released its final report on the Sept.

Brain reorganizes to adjust for loss of vision
A new study from Georgia Tech shows that when patients with macular degeneration focus on using another part of their retina to compensate for their loss of central vision, their brain seems to compensate by reorganizing its neural connections.

Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility wins the High Performance Computing Challenge
The US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has been named a winner of the annual High Performance Computing Challenge Award at the SuperComputing 08 Conference in Austin, Texas.

Research sheds light on benefits of multiple mates
New research could explain why females of many species have multiple partners.

Scientists discover concealed glaciers on Mars at mid-latitudes
Vast Martian glaciers of water ice under protective blankets of rocky debris persist today at much lower latitudes than any ice previously identified on Mars, says new research using ground-penetrating radar on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Race guides neighborhood evaluation, study says
Race is a powerful determinant of how whites regard a neighborhood, according to a recent study at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Michigan.

U of Minnesota's independent study of the I-35W bridge collapse results parallel NTSB report
Preliminary results of the University of Minnesota's independent academic study of the I-35W bridge collapse suggest that lack of robustness in the bridge's original design, additional load from bridge improvements over the years, weight from construction materials and stresses induced by temperature changes contributed to the collapse of the I-35W bridge on Aug.
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