Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 13, 2009
Technology Innovation Program to fund new infrastructure research
NIST has announced nine awards for new research projects to develop advanced sensing technologies that would enable timely and detailed monitoring and inspection of the structural health of bridges, roadways and water systems that comprise a significant component of the nation's public infrastructure.

Super-sensitive gas detector goes down the nanotubes
NIST researchers have devised a new method to cast arrays of metal oxide nanotubes to create novel gas sensors that are 100 to 1,000 times more sensitive than current devices based on thin films.

Letting infants watch TV can do more harm than good says wide-ranging international review
Letting children under two watch TV can do more harm than good, says a leading US child expert.

Cenozoic sedimentary records and geochronological constraints of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau uplift
The Northeastern part of the present-day Qinghai-Tibet region had a higher elevation than the Southwestern part until the earliest Miocene, i.e., circa 23 million years ago.

Sustainability, whale music, plus more highlight upcoming free NJIT lectures
There's something for everyone this spring at NJIT's semi-annual Technology and Society Forum Series.

LOHAFEX: An Indo-German iron fertilization experiment
The German research vessel Polarstern is currently on its way to the Southwest Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean.

HPV testing followed by cytology and repeat HPV testing may improve cervical cancer screening
The use of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing as an initial screening step followed by triage with a standard Pap test (cytology) and repeat HPV DNA testing may increase the accuracy of cervical cancer screening, according to a study in the Jan.

Voracious sponges save reef
Tropical oceans are known as the deserts of the sea.

Study shows workplace benefits of influenza vaccination in 50-64 year olds
Workers age 50-64 who received influenza vaccine lost substantially fewer days of work and worked fewer days while ill, according to a new study in the Feb.

Greater quadriceps strength may benefit those with knee osteoarthritis
Studies on the influence of quadriceps strength on knee osteoarthritis, one of the leading causes of disability among the elderly, have shown conflicting results.

New analysis estimates numbers of older US adults who may benefit from statin therapy
Researchers estimate more than 11 million older Americans may be newly eligible for statin therapy if findings from a recently published large clinical trial are adopted into clinical practice guidelines, according to a new analysis of the trial data.

Misuse of Vicks VapoRub may harm infants and toddlers
New research appearing in the January issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, shows that Vicks VapoRub may stimulate mucus production and airway inflammation, which can have severe effects on breathing in an infant or toddler.

Insights into polymer film instability could aid high tech industries
While exploring the properties of polymer formation a team of scientists at NIST made a fundamental discovery about these materials that could improve methods of creating the stable crystalline films that are widely used in electronics applications -- and also offer insight into a range of other phenomena.

US Civil War illustrates costs, benefits of diversity, say UCLA economists
Diversity is a double-edged sword, making individuals less likely to be altruistic than they might be in a more homogeneous setting but also inspiring them to scale new intellectual heights and to explore new horizons, argue two UCLA economists in a new book.

Great Lakes water level sensitive to climate change
The water level in the Great Lakes has varied by only about two meters during the last century, but new evidence indicates that the water level in the lake system is highly sensitive to climate changes.

Fatty liver disease medication may have no effect
A new randomized, prospective trial has shown that orlistat, a commonly prescribed inhibitor of fat absorption, does not help patients with fatty liver disease lose weight, nor does it improve their liver enzymes or insulin resistance.

Newly identified type of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia associated with dire prognosis
The 20 percent of children with T-lymphoblastic leukemia who fail to respond to standard intensive chemotherapy may have a newly identified subtype of the disease, concludes an article published online first and in the February edition of the Lancet Oncology.

Hospital diabetes care standards not met by US academic medical centers
A benchmarking study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine evaluated contemporary hospital glycemic management in United States academic medical centers, determining glucose control practices are suboptimal and do not meet current American Diabetes Association hospital diabetes care standards

High-tech imaging of inner ear sheds light on hearing, behavior of oldest fossil bird
The earliest known bird, the magpie-sized Archaeopteryx, had a similar hearing range to the modern emu, which suggests that the 145 million-year-old creature -- despite its reptilian teeth and long tail -- was more birdlike than reptilian, according to new research published today.

New co-chair of atomic scientists calls on US administration to reduce nuclear threat
Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University, will co-chair the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists with Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory -- January 2009
A project to speed and safeguard the shipping of thousands of radioisotopes in the US and afar hits the highway this year, but researchers expect the benefits to extend well beyond.

Low-cost strategy developed for curbing computer worms
A new, cost-effective strategy to limit the spread of worms through computer networks has been developed by researchers at UC Davis and Intel Corp.

Hepatitis C may increase pancreatic cancer risk
A new study shows that infection with hepatitis C virus increases a person's risk for a highly fatal cancer of the biliary tree, the bile carrying pathway between the liver and pancreas.

Athletes not spared from health risks of metabolic syndrome
College-age football players who gain weight to add power to their blocks and tackles might also be setting themselves up for diabetes and heart disease later in life, a new study suggests.

University of Miami unique archeological preserve receives grant from the Selby Foundation
University of Miami receives $100,000 grant from the William G.

Better MRI scans of cancers made possible by TU Delft
Researcher Kristina Djanashvili has developed a substance that enables doctors to get better MRI scans of tumors.

Free exercise and nutrition program in Brazil could serve as model in United States
What if free exercise classes were offered in public spaces such as parks, beaches and recreation centers?

Chasing thundersnow could lead to more accurate forecasts
The job of one University of Missouri researcher could chill to the bone, but his research could make weather predicting more accurate.

Mobile phone use not associated with melanoma of the eye
Mobile phone use is not associated with the risk of melanoma of the eye, researchers report in the Jan.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the Jan. 14 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

A case of mistaken dino-identity
A Texas legislator is seeking a name change for the official state dinosaur, after master's level research at Southern Methodist University revealed the titleholder was misidentified.

Novel drugs selectively target pathway important in rheumatoid arthritis
Methotrexate, a folate antagonist that blocks folic acid activity, is the most widely used disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug for rheumatoid arthritis.

Annual SNM MI summit introduces the clinical trials network
SNM will devote its annual Molecular Imaging Summit to introducing the new SNM Clinical Trials Network, Feb.

Smart lighting: New LED drops the 'droop'
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed and demonstrated a new type of light emitting diode (LED) with significantly improved lighting performance and energy efficiency.

Use of antidepressants associated with improvement in symptoms of fibromyalgia
The use of antidepressant medications by patients with fibromyalgia syndrome is associated with a reduction in pain, sleep disturbances and depressed mood and improvement of health-related quality of life, according to an analysis of previous studies, which is published in the Jan.

Contraceptive use may be safe, but information gaps remain
Oral contraceptives have been used by about 80 percent of women in the United States at some point in their lives.

Entrepreneurs wanted for NJIT workshops about how to launch a business
Have a great idea or invention but don't know where to turn?

Glitches in DNA repair genes predict prognosis in pancreatic cancer
Variations in mismatch repair genes can help predict treatment response and prognosis in patients with pancreatic cancer, according to research from the University of Texas M.

Transplanted fatty livers associated with worse prognosis for patients with HCV
A new study suggests that patients with hepatitis C who need a liver transplant should not receive an organ with high levels of fatty deposits (hepatic steatosis).

MyFitness Planner really moves you
A study led by Genevieve Fridlund Dunton, Ph.D., M.P.H., a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute, indicated that Dairy Council of California's free MyFitness Planner online tool helped women achieve 37 minutes of increased walking and 48 minutes of increased total moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week compared to a control group.

Race and gender determine how politicians speak
Race and gender influence the way politicians speak, which is not always to their advantage.

'Green' gasoline on the horizon
University of Oklahoma researchers believe newer, more environmentally friendly fuels produced from biomass could create alternative energy solutions and alleviate dependence on foreign oil without requiring changes to current fuel infrastructure systems.

Cell 'anchors' required to prevent muscular dystrophy
A protein that was first identified for playing a key role in regulating normal heart rhythms also appears to be significant in helping muscle cells survive the forces of muscle contraction.

RAND launches unique tool to evaluate health reform proposals
Like our health-care system itself, the subject of health-care reform is complex.

Smoking during pregnancy may impair thyroid function of mom and fetus
Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is associated with potentially harmful changes in both maternal and fetal thyroid function, according to a new study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Simply weird stuff: Making supersolids with ultracold gas atoms
Physicists at the Joint Quantum Institute have proposed a recipe for manipulating ultracold mixtures of atoms into a

Carnegie Mellon researchers develop new research tool
A team of Carnegie Mellon University engineers led by Levent Burak Kara and Kenji Shimada have developed software that will let engineers design new products by simply sketching their ideas on a tablet computer.

Key to future medical breakthroughs is systems biology, say leading European scientists
Crucial breakthroughs in the treatment of many common diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's could be achieved by harnessing a powerful scientific approach called systems biology, according to leading scientists from across Europe.

Genetic variation cues social anxiety in monkeys and humans
A genetic variation involving the brain chemical serotonin has been found to shape the social behavior of rhesus macaque monkeys, which could provide researchers with a new model for studying autism, social anxiety and schizophrenia.

American Journal of Nursing announces 2008 Book of the Year Awards
The American Journal of Nursing recognized the best nursing and healthcare publications of 2008 with an announcement today of its Book of the Year Award recipients.

UNC study supports role of circadian clock in response to chemotherapy
A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has suggested that treatment is most effective at certain times of day because that is when a particular enzyme system -- one that can reverse the actions of chemotherapeutic drugs -- is at its lowest levels in the body.

Study examines burden of diabetes on US hospitals
A new study the extent of hospital admissions for individuals with diabetes and its economic burden in the US.

Scholar's new book examines cultural forces behind Obama's victory
Cultural critic Jabari Asim looks at the convergence of trends in media and market forces, as well as in the electorate and in black leadership, that made the Obama victory possible.

Satellites search out South Pole snowfields
As skiers across the world pay close attention to the state of the snow on the slopes, there are a different group of scientific snow-watchers looking closely at a South Pole snowfield this January.

Treatment may need to be modified for elderly brain cancer patients
Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of brain tumor, accounts for a majority of the brain tumors seen in patients 65 years or older.

Novel technique changes lymph node biopsy, reduces radiation exposure
Information obtained from a new application of photoacoustic tomography (PAT) is worth its weight in gold to breast cancer patients.

New NIST method accelerates stability testing of soy-based biofuel
NIST researchers have developed a method to accelerate stability testing of biodiesel fuel made from soybeans and identified additives that enhance stability at high temperatures, work that could help overcome a key barrier to the practical use of biofuels.

Cognitive rehab helps people with acquired brain injury
Cognitive rehabilitation after a serious brain injury or stroke can help the mind in much the same way that physical therapy helps the body, according to a new meta-analysis.

MIT develops camera for the blind
Elizabeth Goldring smiles as she shows a visitor photos she's taken -- and can see -- with her blind eye.

Popular cold and cough treatment may create respiratory distress in young children
New research out of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggests that Vicks VapoRub, the popular menthol compound used to relieve symptoms of cough and congestion, may instead create respiratory distress in infants and small children.

IBEX collecting science data, building first all-sky map of the edge of the solar system
Following two months of commissioning, during which the spacecraft and sensors were tuned for optimum mission performance, the Interstellar Boundary Explorer spacecraft began gathering data to build the first maps of the edge of the heliosphere, the region of space influenced by the Sun.

Little or no evidence that herbal remedies relieve menopausal symptoms
There is no strong evidence either way for several herbal remedies commonly taken to relieve troublesome menopausal symptoms, concludes the January issue of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.

When it comes to sleep research, fruit flies and people make unlikely bedfellows
You may never hear fruit flies snore, but rest assured that when you're asleep, they are too.

Human beta cells can be easily induced to replicate, according to study in Diabetes
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have successfully induced human insulin-producing cells, known as beta cells, to replicate robustly in a living animal, as well as in the lab.

NIH awards $16.6 million to UC San Diego Researcher for new epigenome center
Bing Ren, Ph.D., associate professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and head of the Laboratory of Gene Regulation at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, was recently selected as one of four grant recipients in the National Institutes of Health Roadmap's Epigenomics Program, an initiative developed to study stable genetic modifications that affect and alter the behavior of genes across the human genome.

Scientists develop new tool to improve oral hygiene
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a new dental product to identify plaque build-up in the mouth before it is visible to the human eye.

Diabetics with previous foot ulcers may be able to participate in walking program
Previously, doctors and scientists have recommended that individuals with diabetic peripheral neuropathy stay off their feet.

LLNL and Chevron sign fuel catalysis agreement
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has signed a research agreement with Chevron to develop the next generation of catalysts for production of clean, more efficient fuels from crude oil.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Worse in women?
Women appear to suffer more from rheumatoid arthritis than men.

Invasive plants challenge scientists in face of environmental change
Managing invasive plant species on the Great Plains has become more challenging in recent years in the face of human-caused environmental change, including the positive responses of invaders to altered atmospheric chemistry and longer growing seasons, says a University of Colorado at Boulder professor.

XMM-Newton measures speedy spin of rare celestial object
XMM-Newton has caught the fading glow of a tiny celestial object, revealing its rotation rate for the first time.

New tool gives researchers a glimpse of biomolecules in motion
Using nanoscale

Intake of certain fatty acid appears to improve neurodevelopment for preterm girls, but not boys
Preterm infant girls who received a high amount of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid) had higher measures of neurodevelopment than preterm girls who received a standard amount of DHA, but this effect was not seen among preterm boys, according to a study in the Jan.

Four University of Texas profs promoted to IEEE Fellow status
Four University of Texas faculty members have been named Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellows for contributions to society.

SwRI-led Center for Lunar Origin and Evolution selected to be part of NASA Lunar Science Institute
A team led by Southwest Research Institute has been selected by NASA to be a founding member of the agency's new Lunar Science Institute.

New Jewish history book provides understanding of capitalism, anti-Semitism
It's impossible to understand the history of anti-Semitism, or of capitalism, without taking a non-ideological look at political theories on Jewish economics.

Wallace S. Broecker wins the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change
The 2008 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change category has found its way, in this inaugural edition, to US researcher Wallace S.

AGnES supports general practitioners
General Practitioners can delegate visits to patients and medical work to qualified employees.

Treadmill exercise improves walking endurance for patients with peripheral arterial disease
Patients with peripheral arterial disease, which can include symptoms such as pain in the legs, who participated in supervised treadmill exercise improved their walking endurance and quality of life, according to a study in the Jan.

'2-faced' bioacids put a new face on carbon nanotube self-assembly
Researchers from NIST and Rice University have demonstrated a simle, inexpensive way to induce carbon nanotubes to

Women may be more likely to experience EMS delays for heart care
Women who called 911 complaining of cardiac symptoms were 52 percent more likely than men to experience delays during emergency medical services' (EMS) care, according to a report in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Children's National scientists uncover key developmental mechanisms of the amygdala
For the first time, scientists at Children's National Medical Center have successfully identified a key developmental program for the amygdala -- the part of the limbic system that impacts how the brain creates emotional memories and responses.

Moves to make more prescription drugs available over the counter won't help patients or doctors
Government plans to make certain prescription-only drugs for common problems available over the counter have overwhelmingly been given the thumbs down by healthcare professionals, reveals a survey of readers of the influential Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.

Researchers identify another potential biomarker
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have demonstrated that a recently discovered class of molecule called microRNA (miRNAs), regulate the gene expression changes in airway cells that occur with smoking and lung cancer.

Can you see me now? Flexible photodetectors could help sharpen photos
Distorted cell-phone photos and big, clunky telephoto lenses could be things of the past.

Sorting diamonds from toothbrushes: New guide to protecting personal information
NIST has issued a draft guide on protecting personally identifiable information such as social-security and credit-card account numbers from unauthorized use and disclosure.

Tequila boom triggers social, environmental hangover in Mexico
New North Carolina State University research shows that tequila's surge in popularity over the past 15 years has been a boon for industry, but is triggering a significant hangover of social and environmental problems in the region of Mexico where the once-notorious liquor is produced.

Study: Most young violent offenders in two NYC neighborhoods have seen someone killed
More than three-quarters of young, violent offenders interviewed in two poverty-stricken New York City neighborhoods had seen someone die in a violent incident, a new study reveals.

Meta-analysis confirms value of risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy for women with BRCA mutations
Prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy -- removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes -- reduces the relative risk of breast cancer by approximately 50 percent and the risk of ovarian and fallopian tube cancer by approximately 80 percent in women who carry a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, researchers report in the Jan.

Delusions associated with consistent pattern of brain injury
A new study provides a novel theory for how delusions arise and why they persist.

Education professor dispels myths about gifted children
Though not often recognized as

Florida Tech announces International Sustainability Forum, March 3-4
Florida Institute of Technology will address smart growth and environmental sustainability in an era of rapid climate change at its sixth international, interdisciplinary forum,

Study looks at how mental health care affects outcomes for foster children
Of the approximately half-million children and adolescents in foster care in the US, experts estimate that 42 to 60 percent of them have emotional and behavioral problems.

The auto change bicycle
Researchers in Taiwan are designing a computer for pedal cyclists that tells them when to change gear to optimize the power they develop while maintaining comfort.

High caffeine intake linked to hallucination proneness
High caffeine consumption could be linked to a greater tendency to hallucinate, a new research study suggests.

Also in the Jan. 13 JNCI
Also in the Jan. 13 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute are a study showing that lapatinib reduces mammary tumors in a mouse model of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, a multi-institutional study demonstrating the predictive value of Ki-67 in patients with advanced urinary bladder cancer, and a meta-analysis indicating that tandem autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation does not improve overall or disease-free survival in patients with multiple myeloma.

Journal Chest: January news briefs
News briefs from the January issue of CHEST highlight studies related to the use of compression devices for restless legs syndrome, COPD and depression, and improved HIV survival rates.

Small changes can lead to big rewards, says ASN president
A joint task force report from the American Society for Nutrition, International Food Information Council and Institute of Food Technologists shows that small changes in diet and physical activity can help prevent weight gain, and are easier to implement.

Rural N.C. county, N.Y. borough kick off largest ever long-term U.S. child health study
In many ways, Duplin County, N.C., and Queens, N.Y., are worlds apart.

New digital map of Africa's depleted soils to offer insights critical for boosting food production
Responding to sub-Saharan Africa's soil health crisis, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture announced today an ambitious new effort to produce the first-ever, detailed digital soil map for all 42 countries of the region.

Study links swings in North Atlantic oscillation variability to climate warming
Using a 218-year-long temperature record from a Bermuda brain coral, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have created the first marine-based reconstruction showing the long-term behavior of one of the most important drivers of climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic. 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