Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 16, 2008
United States death map revealed
A map of natural hazard mortality in the United States has been produced.

Evolutionary roots of ancient bacteria may open new line of attack on CF
The redox-active pigments responsible for the blue-green stain of the mucus that clogs the lungs of children and adults with cystic fibrosis are primarily signaling molecules that allow large clusters of the opportunistic infection agent, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to organize themselves into structured communities.

Tiny magnetic crystals in bacteria are a compass, say Imperial researchers
Scientists have shown that tiny crystals found inside bacteria provide a magnetic compass to help them navigate through sediment to find the best food, in research out today.

Catch the wave
MIT researchers are working with Portuguese colleagues to design a pilot-scale device that will capture significantly more of the energy in ocean waves than existing systems, and use it to power an electricity-generating turbine.

Researcher refining synthetic molecules to prevent HIV resistance
In a new study, a University of Missouri researcher has identified broad-spectrum aptamers.

Alaska scientists present research at AGU fall meeting
Dozens of researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks will be among presenters at the 2008 American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco this week.

Study examines how breastfeeding impacts cost of care for very low birth weight infants
The National Institutes of Health has awarded nearly $3 million to support Rush University Medical Center's study analyzing how human breast milk impacts the health outcomes and health care cost savings for very low birth weight infants -- babies less than 1,500 grams.

EUREKA welcomes President Sarkozy's endorsement of its 'savoir faire'
At the conclusion of the First European Sessions on Innovation under its EU Presidency , French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that -- especially in these times of major financial uncertainty -- Europe should be giving research and innovation a place

'Don't drink and ride': Improving subway safety
Structural interventions and public safety messages may be the most effective ways to prevent subway fatalities and improve the overall safety of New York City subway systems, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

A sparkling spray of stars
The festive season has arrived for astronomers at the European Southern Observatory in the form of this dramatic new image.

Pigs and dogs can bridge gap between mice and humans in developing new therapies
Human and veterinary medicine could receive a big boost through use of larger animals, especially pigs and dogs, in research, with Europe at the forefront.

Life Sciences Discovery Fund awards health research program grants
Four Washington-based research organizations will receive life sciences program grants.

Multi-faceted strategy improves nutritional support for ICU patients, but not outcomes
A strategy to change practice in intensive care units was effective in implementing earlier nutritional support for critically ill patients, but the change did not result in a reduced risk of death or reduced length of stay in the ICU, according to a study in the Dec.

Smoking associated with increased risk for colorectal cancer and death
An analysis of previous studies indicates that smoking is significantly associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer and death, according to an article in the Dec.

Vitamin D deficiency in infants and nursing mothers carries long-term disease risks
Once believed to be important only for bone health, vitamin D is now seen as having a critical function in maintaining the immune system throughout life.

Life Sciences Discovery awards health research program grants
The Life Sciences Discovery Fund today announced its latest grant recipients.

New satellite data reveal impact of Olympic pollution controls
NASA researchers have since analyzed data from NASA's Aura and Terra satellites that show how key pollutants responded to the Olympic restrictions in China.

Brown economists: Ancestral history explains roots of income inequality
Two Brown University economists have created a new data set that enables them to explain differences in countries' incomes based on their people's ancestral histories.

Unpasteurized milk poses health risks without benefits
With disease outbreaks linked to unpasteurized milk rising in the United States, a review published in the Jan.

SNM's Mid-Winter Educational Symposium for nuclear medicine and molecular imaging professionals
SNM will hold its annual Mid-Winter Educational Symposium Feb. 5-8, 2009 at the Hilton Clearwater in Clearwater, Fla.

Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member tests cell phone videos to reduce HIV risk
Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member, Rachel Jones, has been awarded a four-year, $2 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research at National Institutes of Health to study the effects of a series of soap opera videos designed to reduce HIV sexual risk behavior in young women living in urban areas.

Sandia's microencapsulation project gives local entrepreneur warm glow
Sandia National Laboratories resident microencapsulation expert, Duane Schneider, is working with an Albuquerque company to use microencapsulation technology in a novel self-warming hand and body lotion.

'SMART' quality control system cuts risk of human error on assembly lines
Artificial intelligence has been used in a EUREKA-backed project to develop a quality control system that greatly reduces the risk of human error on assembly lines.

Clemson physicist Apparao Rao named Fellow of the American Physical Society
Clemson University professor of physics and astronomy Apparao Rao has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

M. D. Anderson's Cohen honored for contributions to traditional Chinese medicine
Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas M.

First fuel-handling facility in the Galapagos earns environmental certification
The first fuel-handling facility in the Galapagos Islands -- a region of great biodiversity and evolutionary importance -- was given official environmental certification today, World Wildlife Fund announced.

Dark energy found stifling growth in universe
For the first time, astronomers have clearly seen the effects of

UIC receives $16 million to study impact of environment on kids' health
The University of Illinois at Chicago's ImpacTeen project has been awarded a $16 million grant to study policy and environmental factors that influence youth behaviors related to nutrition, physical activity, obesity and tobacco use.

6th ESOU Meeting
The 6th Meeting of the European Society of Oncological Urology will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from Jan.

Mission operations readiness review for NPOESS preparatory project completed
A comprehensive Mission Operations Readiness (MOR) review of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) was successfully completed last month.

Pitt researchers create nontoxic clean-up method for potentially toxic nano materials
University of Pittsburgh researchers have developed the first natural, nontoxic method for biodegrading carbon nanotubes, a finding that could help diminish the environmental and health concerns that mar the otherwise bright prospects of the super-strong materials commonly used in products, from electronics to plastics.

Big-3 bankruptcy: Job loss less than half oft-cited figure, says UM study
The impact of a Big-3 bankruptcy and restructuring would be severe, but frequently quoted job loss figures are misleading and overstated, according to a new projection by the University of Maryland's Inforum economic research unit.

ASGE urges patients to seek a qualified endoscopist before undergoing a colonoscopy
A study released today in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that colonoscopy is associated with lower death rates from colorectal cancer.

Purdue study suggests warmer temperatures could lead to a boom in corn pests
Climate change could provide the warmer weather pests prefer, leading to an increase in populations that feed on corn and other crops, according to a new study.

Why did the London Millennium Bridge 'wobble'?
A new study finally explains the Millennium Bridge 'wobble' by looking at how humans stay balanced while walking.

K-State engineers helping develop energy-harvesting radios
Kansas State University engineers are helping a semiconductor manufacturer implement its idea of an energy-harvesting radio.

Low-income men more likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer
Low-income men are more likely to present with advanced prostate cancers, most likely because they don't receive screening services shown to reduce the diagnosis of later-stage cancers, a UCLA study found.

Caltech researchers interpret asymmetry in early universe
The Big Bang is widely considered to have obliterated any trace of what came before.

Cookie cutter in the sky
After culling the literature for observed black holes, McKernan and colleagues looked at 245 active galactic nuclei to characterize the shape of material swirling around them.

Pre-existing diabetes for persons diagnosed with cancer associated with increased risk of death
Patients with diabetes at the time of a cancer diagnosis have an increased risk of death compared to patients without diabetes, according to a meta-analysis of studies reported in the Dec..

Biggest breach of Earth's solar storm shield discovered
Earth's magnetic field, which shields our planet from particles streaming outward from the sun, often develops two holes that allow the largest leaks, according to researchers sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Seeing the unseen with 'super-resolution' fluorescence microscopy
Thanks to new

Gut instinct: Salmonella bacteria's molecular tactics to cause illness
Hundreds of trillions of bacteria make their home in the vertebrate gut.

Call Stephen Michnick a gene grammarian
While life on Earth didn't originate from a blueprint, Stephen Michnick is helping the scientific community uncover the basic architecture of living things.

Abused women seek more infant health care, MU study finds
Pregnant women who experience intimate partner violence before, during or after pregnancy often suffer adverse health effects, including depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and chronic mental illness.

Female genital tissue not foolproof barrier to HIV sexual transmission
Contrary to a widely held assumption about heterosexual transmission of HIV, the normal mucosal lining of the female genital tract is not a foolproof barrier to viral penetration.

Some climate impacts happening faster than anticipated
A report released today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union provides new insights on the potential for abrupt climate change and the effects it could have on the United States, identifying key concerns that include faster-than-expected loss of sea ice, rising sea levels and a possibly permanent state of drought in the American West.

Old and young brains rely on different systems to remember emotional content
Neuroscientists from Duke University Medical Center have discovered that older people use their brains differently than younger people when it comes to storing memories, particularly those associated with negative emotions.

A European first as ALICE achieves energy recovery at 11 million volts
UK scientists have successfully demonstrated energy recovery on the ALICE advanced particle accelerator design, potentially paving the way for new accelerators using a fraction of the energy required under conventional methods.

Study links ecosystem changes in temperate lakes to climate warming
Unparalleled warming over the last few decades has triggered widespread ecosystem changes in many temperate North American and Western European lakes, say researchers at Queen's University and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

USC researchers print dense lattice of transparent nanotube transistors on flexible base
It's a clear, colorless disk about 5 inches in diameter that bends and twists like a playing card, with a lattice of more than 20,000 nanotube transistors capable of high-performance electronics printed upon it using a potentially inexpensive low-temperature process.

Springer and the Physiological Society of Japan sign publishing agreement
The Physiological Society of Japan has chosen Springer to publish its official publication the Journal of Physiological Sciences, starting in January 2009 with Vol.

Both theories about human cellular aging supported by new research
Aging yeast cells accumulate damage over time, but they do so by following a pattern laid down earlier in their life by diet as well as the genes that control metabolism and the dynamics of cell structures such as mitochondria, the power plants of cells.

Is holiday giving an obligation?
A University of Montreal researcher has studied exchange rituals and comments on three obligations that structure any society: giving, receiving and reciprocating.

Oregon's Rogue River Basin to face climate-change hurdles
Three major global climate-change projections scaled down to Oregon's Rogue River Basin point to hotter, drier summers with increasing wildfire risk, reduced snowpack and rainier, stormy winters, according to a report coordinated by the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative and the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy.

Genes involved in antibiotic resistance vary within a species
When comparing the genome sequence of three MDR A. baumannii isolates and three drug-susceptible A. baumannii isolates, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that one variation of bacteria would respond to antibiotics while another variation of the same bacteria may not.

$15 million grant awarded to reduce cancer disparities
San Diego State University and the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego are joining forces to help explain and eliminate cancer disparities.

Just a little squeeze lets proteins assess DNA
To find its target, all a protein needs to do is give quick squeezes as it moves along the DNA strand, suggests new research.

World fertilizer prices drop dramatically after soaring to all-time highs
World fertilizer prices suddenly dropped in late 2008 after a one-year price spike.

Voriconazole: A highly potent treatment for fungal infections
The effectiveness of voriconazole in combating fungal infections has been confirmed by a new study to be featured in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents published by Elsevier.

Low-glycemic diet shows greater improvement in glycemic control than high-fiber diet
Persons with type 2 diabetes who had a diet high in low-glycemic foods such as nuts, beans and lentils had greater improvement in glycemic control and risk factors for coronary heart disease than persons on a diet with an emphasis on high-cereal fiber, according to a study in the Dec.

Scientists fool bacteria into killing themselves to survive
Like firemen fighting fire with fire, researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have found a way to fool a bacteria's evolutionary machinery into programming its own death.

Answers to huge wind-farm problems are blowin' in the wind
While harnessing more energy from the wind could help satisfy growing demands for electricity and reduce emissions of global-warming gases, turbulence from proposed wind farms could adversely affect the growth of crops in the surrounding countryside.

Human connection to our nation's fisheries comes alive through oral history project
Voices from the Fisheries, an archive of oral histories of recreational and commercial fishermen and the communities and families that rely on them, documents the human experience with the nation's coastal, marine and Great Lakes environments and living marine resources.

Aging brains allow negative memories to fade
It turns out there's a scientific reason why older people tend to see the past through rose-colored glasses.

How healthy are America's coasts?
The overall condition of the nation's coastal waters has improved slightly, based on a recently released environmental assessment.

Benefits of breastfeeding outweigh risk of infant exposure to environmental chemicals in breastmilk
A study comparing breastfed and formula fed infants across time showed that the known beneficial effects of breastfeeding are greater than the potential risks associated with infant exposure to chemicals such as dioxins that may be present in breastmilk, according to a report published in the December issue of Breastfeeding Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc. and the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

Sorafenib is effective in Asian-Pacific patients with advanced liver cancer
Sorafenib significantly increases overall survival in Asian-Pacific patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma -- a group where surgical treatments can be limited -- according to findings of a phase III trial reported in an article published early online and in the January edition of the Lancet Oncology.

Quiet bison sire more calves than louder rivals
During bison mating season, the quietest bulls score the most mates and sire the most offspring while studs with the loudest bellows see the least action, according to a surprising new study by researchers at University of California, Davis, and Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

The year of the Alaska volcano: Eruptions keep observatory busy
Three Alaska volcanoes erupted in midsummer 2008. Cleveland, Okmok and Kasatochi volcanoes, all located in Alaska's Aleutian Chain, made for a hectic 20th anniversary for the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

MU researcher identifies possible genetic causes of borderline personality disorder
In a new study, a University of Missouri researcher and Dutch team of research collaborators found that genetic material on chromosome nine was linked to BPD features, a disorder characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image and behavior, and can lead to suicidal behavior, substance abuse and failed relationships.

UIC researchers hunting drugs for devastating parasitic disease
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered that compounds derived from a natural product can be used in developing a new drug to treat leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease spread by the bite of infected sand flies.

Researchers discover new way men can transmit HIV to women
Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered a critical new way a man can transmit the HIV virus to a woman.

A low dose of caffeine when pregnant may damage the heart of offspring for a lifetime
A new study published online in the FASEB Journal shows that the equivalent of one dose of caffeine (just two cups of coffee) ingested during pregnancy may be enough to affect fetal heart development and then reduce heart function over the entire lifespan of the child.

Low-income men diagnosed more often with advanced prostate cancer
Coincident with the widespread adoption of PSA screening, the proportion of American men diagnosed with organ-confined, low risk prostate cancer has increased significantly during the last two decades.

Journal of Nuclear Medicine premiers new, full-color design
Beginning with the January 2009 issue, the Journal of Nuclear Medicine -- SNM's flagship publication -- will be printed in full color.

Molecular therapy for spinal muscular atrophy closer to clinical use
While trans-splicing (a form of molecular therapy) has had impressive results as a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy in cell-based models of disease, scientists have been unable to translate the therapy to the human body.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Liver study could aid recovery of overdose patients
Scientists have identified a protein that they believe could hold the key to limiting liver damage following a paracetamol overdose.

Researchers identify new anti-tumor gene
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University have identified a new anti-tumor gene called SARI that can interact with and suppress a key protein that is overexpressed in 90 percent of human cancers.

American Society for Microbiology receives two nonprofit PR awards
The American Society for Microbiology has been honored with non-profit public relations awards from PR News for two of its public outreach initiatives.

Indiana University researchers revisit male bisexuality
While the Kinsey Scale has become a fixture in sexuality textbooks and even popular culture, the rating system and Alfred Kinsey's findings regarding male bisexuality and cultural influences on male sexuality in general have largely been overlooked by today's sex researchers.

GPs 'could do more' to help obese avoid surgery
Surgery to treat obesity could be avoided if GPs and health care trusts put more time and money into early stage weight management programs, a senior clinical researcher will say today, Wednesday, Dec.

Research into the contrast sensitivity of persons with varying levels of visual acuity
The contrast sensitivity of persons with different visual acuity capabilities is experimentally analyzed.

Study of placenta unexpectedly leads to cancer gene
University of Rochester Medical Center scientists discovered a gene mutation that impairs the placenta and also is influential in cancer development, according to a study published online Dec.

Blue ribbon task force: Economic plans needed to preserve digital data
A blue ribbon task force, commissioned late last year to identify sustainable economic models to provide access to the ever-growing amount of digital information in the public interest, has issued its interim report.

Reward-stress link points to new targets for treating addiction
Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators have discovered a functional link between reward and stress.

Girls have superior sense of taste to boys
The findings of the world's largest study so far on the ability of children and young people to taste and what they like have now been published.

New study 'pardons' the misunderstood egg
A study recently published online in the journal Risk Analysis estimates that eating one egg per day is responsible for less than 1 percent of the risk of coronary heart disease in healthy adults.

MRI scans can predict effects of MS flare-ups on optic nerve
One of the most pernicious aspects of multiple sclerosis -- its sheer unpredictability -- may finally be starting to yield to advanced medical imaging techniques.

A catalyst for families: Experts comment on importance of Christmas dinner
A recent survey showed that half of Canadians will travel over 200 km to be with their families this holiday season, which is indicative of the importance of Christmas.

Rice's James Tour wins Feynman Prize
James Tour, the inventor of the nanocar at Rice University, has been awarded the prestigious Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for experimental nanotechnology for 2008 by the California think tank dedicated to the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology.

Dartmouth researchers develop computational tool to untangle complex data
A group of Dartmouth researchers have developed a mathematical tool that can be used to unscramble the underlying structure of time-dependent, interrelated data, like the votes of legislators over their careers, second-by-second activity of the stock market, or levels of oxygenated blood flow in the brain.

Real-time gene monitoring developed
USC and Cambridge biologists measure expression of chosen gene at every point and time of a fly's life. 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