Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 04, 2009
NCAR forecasts will help Xcel Energy harness wind
NCAR has reached an agreement with Xcel Energy to provide highly detailed, localized weather forecasts to enable the utility to use more wind energy.

Possible drug target for obesity treatment a no-brainer: UNC study
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have discovered a gene that when mutated causes obesity by dampening the body's ability to burn energy while leaving appetite unaffected.

What's killing the coral reefs?
A DNA microarray developed at Berkeley Lab may help scientists learn how to preserve coral, one of the ocean's most important denizens.

More children need medical help for RSV than previously known
More than 2 million children with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are seen in hospitals, emergency rooms and doctors' offices in the United States every year -- many more than doctors know.

Global warming threatens Antarctic sea life
Fast-moving, shell-crushing predators, dominant in most places, cannot operate in the icy waters of Antarctica.

African-Americans aware and accepting, but often do not receive, the HPV vaccine
Although only 25 percent of eligible African-American adolescents have received the HPV vaccine, a new survey presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, suggests they have a positive view of the treatment and might respond to more education.

World's largest snake shows tropics were hotter in the past
The largest snake the world has ever known -- as long as a school bus and as heavy as a small car -- ruled tropical ecosystems only 6 million years after the demise of the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex, according to a new discovery published in the journal Nature.

Vitamin D, a key milk nutrient, linked to better muscle power
Young female athletes could have yet another reason to grab a glass of vitamin D-rich milk.

USP announces new standards to protect patients from counterfeit and adulterated medicines
With counterfeit and adulterated medicines posing an increasing risk to patients in the United States and worldwide, the US Pharmacopeial Convention today announces new standards for two widely used drug products that have been involved in episodes of adulteration resulting in patient deaths.

Rich man, poor man: study shows body language can indicate socioeconomic status
A new study in Psychological Science reveals that nonverbal cues can give away a person's socioeconomic status (SES).

USGS Science Picks
Find out how you can watch Redoubt Volcano in real-time!

Caltech scientists lead deep-sea discovery voyage
Scientists from the California Institute of Technology and an international team of collaborators have returned from a month-long deep-sea voyage to a marine reserve near Tasmania, Australia, that not only netted coral-reef samples likely to provide insight into the impact of climate change on the world's oceans, but also brought to light at least three never-before-seen species of sea life.

Medical Royal Colleges join forces to call on UK government to bolster clinical research base in UK
In Correspondence in this week's edition of the Lancet, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in the UK issue a consensus statement calling for the UK government to work with the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry to bolster the UK's clinical research base.

How much is the world spending on neglected disease research and development?
The first comprehensive survey of global spending on neglected disease R&D, published in this week's PLoS Medicine, finds that just over $US 2.5 billion was invested into R&D of new products in 2007, with three diseases -- HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria -- receiving nearly 80 percent of the total.

New findings reveal how influenza virus hijacks human cells
Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the joint Unit of Virus Host-Cell Interaction of EMBL, the University Joseph Fourier and the National Center for Scientific Research, in Grenoble, France, have now precisely defined an important drug target in influenza.

Babies & Robots: Infant power mobility on display
Children with mobility issues, like cerebral palsy and spina bifida, can't explore the world like other infants, so University of Delaware researchers built them robot-enhanced mini wheelchairs.

Plan offers guidance for evaluating menopause-like condition in girls and young women
A comprehensive plan to help health care professionals diagnose and treat primary ovarian insufficiency -- a menopause-like condition affecting girls and young women that may occur years before normal menopause is expected -- has been developed by a scientist at the National Institutes of Health.

Early whales gave birth on land
Two newly described fossil whales -- a pregnant female and a male of the same species -- reveal how primitive whales gave birth and provide new insights into how whales made the transition from land to sea.

Mass. General, MIT and Harvard launch innovative effort to search for AIDS vaccine
The presidents of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University announced today the creation of the Phillip T. and Susan M.

Capturing China's CO2 to lower emissions
China's potential for carbon capture and storage, an essential technology to achieve low global emissions, will be examined next week at a conference of senior scientific experts from China and the EU.

Breast cancer risk rapidly declines after women stop taking postmenopausal combined hormone therapy
Women who stopped taking the postmenopausal hormone combination of estrogen plus progestin experienced a marked decline in breast cancer risk.

Understanding phosphorus in soils is vital to proper management
Phosphorus can have a significant effect on water quality, entering these water sources in a variety of ways, particularly due to runoff from phosphorus enriched soil.

Height, style of 'McMansions' are what turn off neighbors
A new study provides a first glimpse of exactly what people find offensive about super-sized houses which have sprouted up in neighborhoods around the country.

U of Minnesota researchers find master gene behind blood vessel development
In a first of its kind discovery, University of Minnesota researchers have identified the

Urgent assessment and treatment of stroke patients reduces disability, hospital bed-days, and costs
Urgent assessment and treatment of patients who have had a minor stroke or transient ischemic attack in a specialist emergency outpatient clinic reduces disability, hospital bed-days and costs.

Powerful new technique to measure asteroids' sizes and shapes
A team of French and Italian astronomers have devised a new method for measuring the size and shape of asteroids that are too small or too far away for traditional techniques, increasing the number of asteroids that can be measured by a factor of several hundred.

Research helps electric utilities and manufacturers protect against lightning
Firing bolts of lightning at expensive electrical equipment is all in a day's work at NEETRAC -- the National Electric Energy Testing Research and Applications Center.

Deficiencies common in radiation therapy trial reports for Hodgkin's, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Reporting of radiation therapy details in randomized controlled trials for Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is deficient due to a lack of reporting of key radiation therapy descriptors and quality assurance processes designed to ensure the accuracy and reproducibility of treatment regimens, according to a Feb.

Researchers find earliest evidence for animal life
An international team of scientists has found the oldest evidence for animals in the fossil record.

From seed to nuts: human ancestor's face evolved to eat survival foods
The facial structure of an ancient relative of modern humans may have evolved to allow them to eat large, hard nuts and seeds as part of a survival strategy, according to a new study by an international team of researchers that includes Florida State University's Dennis E.

Asperger's syndrome in adults
Asperger's syndrome does not only occur in children and adolescents, but is also diagnosed in adults.

Good liquid, bad liquid
For airline passengers everywhere, good news. Scientists have successfully tested a liquid explosive detection system that may eventually keep dangerous substances off airplanes.

Building of new US South Pole Station focus of UD Lecture
The new US South Pole Station sits on hydraulic jack columns that can raise the facility to keep it out of drifting snow.

Statement by the Egg Nutrition Center and American Egg Board on Diabetes Care study on egg consumption
An article published in the November 2008 issue of Diabetes Care that examined data collected in the Physicians' Health Study I and the Women's Health Study found an association between egg intake and increased incidence of type 2 diabetes.

At 2,500 pounds and 43 feet, prehistoric snake is the largest on record
Scientists have recovered fossils from a 60-million-year-old South American snake whose length and weight might make today's anacondas and reticulated pythons seem a bit cuter and more cuddly.

Ethereal images of the Milky Way showcased in new book
Astronomers throughout history have always marveled at the Milky Way and its dusky gaping voids.

Keeping an eye on the Inauguration
One of the toughest technological challenges for law enforcement is to simultaneously monitor live feeds from the wireless cameras scattered across their jurisdictions.

United States, East Africa allies must overcome radical Islam
While al Qaeda is the primary terrorist/extremist threat in East Africa, the region suffers more broadly from a danger of radical Islamist groups and organizations that the United States and its allies must address to reshape the region's security environment, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

ADA releases updated position statement on weight management
The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position statement on weight management calling for people to make a

Genetic marker for insecticide resistance in mosquitoes identified
Research led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has identified the genetic basis for resistance to commonly-used insecticides in Anopheles funestus, one of the major malaria-carrying mosquitoes in Africa.

Arginine discovery could help fight human obesity
A Texas AgriLife Research scientist and fellow researchers have discovered that arginine, an amino acid, reduces fat mass in diet-induced obese rats and could help fight human obesity.

New evidence of hormone therapy causing breast cancer, Stanford professor says
Post-menopausal women who take combined estrogen plus progestin menopausal hormone therapy for at least five years double their risk of breast cancer every year, according to new analyses from a major study that clearly establishes a link between hormone use and breast cancer, Stanford researchers say.

More than a million cancer survivors declining care due to cost concerns
More than a million cancer survivors living in the United States are foregoing what they believe is necessary medical care due to the cost, and Hispanics and African-Americans are twice as likely to go without services, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference on the Science of Health Care Disparities.

Inuit are on the right track
Inuit trails are more than merely means to get from A to B.

Discovery by Brown researchers could lead to new autism treatment
A Brown research team led by neuroscience professor Justin Fallon has discovered a structure in the brain called the Fragile X granule, which offers a potential target for treating autism and mental retardation.

Ancient geologic escape hatches mistaken for tube worms
New study finds Colorado fossils previously identified as tube worms are actually ancient methane venting structures.

EMBL GeneCore purchases Genomatix's next generation sequencing data analysis solution
The GeneCore of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory installed a Genomatix Mining Station and a Genomatix Genome Analyzer in Heidelberg, Germany.

Source of cancer stem cells' resistance to radiation discovered at Stanford
Much to the dismay of patients and physicians, cancer stem cells -- tiny powerhouses that generate and maintain tumor growth in many types of cancers -- are relatively resistant to the ionizing radiation often used as therapy for these conditions.

Global warming may delay recovery of stratospheric ozone
Increasing greenhouse gases could delay, or even postpone indefinitely the recovery of stratospheric ozone in some regions of the Earth, a new study suggests.

World's largest snake discovered in fossilized rainforest
New snake species described in the journal Nature based on vertebra from excavations in Colombia.

Engineering graduate student narrows gap between high-resolution video and virtual reality
University of California at San Diego grad student Han Suk Kim has found a way to optimize virtual reality environments for high resolution video.

End-of-life care at hospitals varies for children with cancer
Though treatment of pain and attention to end-of-life care for pediatric cancer patients has improved over the last few decades, there is still work to be done.

New method monitors critical bacteria in wastewater treatment
Researchers have developed a new technique using sensors to constantly monitor the health of bacteria critical to wastewater treatment facilities and have verified a theory that copper is vital to the proper functioning of a key enzyme in the bacteria.

Prehistoric fossil snake is largest on record
Scientists have recovered fossils from a 60-million-year-old South American snake whose length and weight might make today's anacondas seem like garter snakes.

Could carbon dioxide replace antibiotics in surgery?
A prize-winning paper suggests that filling a surgical wound with carbon dioxide gas could reduce infection and improve healing.

Space engineers from India work with University of Leicester for first national astronomy satellite
A team of engineers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, has arrived at the University of Leiceste's Space Research Center to progress work on the satellite which is due for launch in 2009.

Decoding funny faces to detect disease
Tel Aviv University researcher discovers brain imaging can identify mental illness before it starts.

Molecule that suppresses immune response under study in type 1 diabetes
The idea is to teach the immune system of children at high risk for type 1 diabetes not to attack the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.

NASA's SkyView delivers the multiwavelength cosmos
Some three million times a year, researchers, educators, and amateur astronomers all over the world ask NASA's SkyView virtual observatory to serve up images of some interesting corner of the cosmos.

Beaming new light on life
University of Utah physicists and chemists developed a new method that uses a mirror of tiny silver

Hispanic women and breast cancer: An understudied group
Data from the ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study will be released for the first time at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Carefree, Arizona.

'The brave new world of non-coding RNA's' Webinar set for 11 a.m. EST, Feb. 10
In cells from all organisms studied to date two different types of RNAs have been found: messenger RNAs (mRNAs), which are translated into proteins, and so-called non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), which are not translated into proteins but function at the level of the RNA itself.

Holy guacamole: invasive beetle threatens Florida's avocados
A researcher at North Carolina State University is tracking the movement of the Redbay Ambrosia beetle, an invasive insect that, if it spreads to southeast Florida, may severely affect the production of avocados, a $15 million to $30 million industry in the state.

Weizmann Institute scientists show extra copies of a gene carry extra risk
A missing LIS1 gene causes severe mental retardation. New research at the Weizmann Institute shows that extra copies of LIS1 can cause developmental problems, as well.

New plasma transistor could create sharper displays
By integrating a solid-state electron emitter and a microcavity plasma device, researchers at the University of Illinois have created a plasma transistor that could be used to make lighter, less expensive and higher resolution flat-panel displays.

March launch planned for ESA's gravity mission
ESA is now gearing up to return to Russia to oversee preparations for the launch of its GOCE satellite -- now envisaged for launch on March 16, 2009.

LSU Engineers model forecasts chemical contaminants based on Katrina-flooded homes
A recent study by LSU engineers suggests that Katrina-flooded homes may contain harmful levels of contaminants, particularly aerosols and gases, which could expose first-responders, residents and any others entering such homes to serious and lasting health risks.

Behind closed eyes
Weizmann Institute research shows our brain's sense centers are continuously active. In the absence of a stimulus, however, their electrical activity remains in

Mosquito genes linked to insecticide resistance may be new target in fight against malaria
Malaria remains one of the most serious diseases worldwide, claiming more than one million lives per year, the majority of whom are children under five years of age.

Bone marrow cells can heal nerves in diabetes model
Many people with diabetes have damage to the nerves. Cells derived from the bone marrow can both promote the regrowth of blood vessels and prevent the ongoing loss (or death) of the protective lining of nerves in the limbs of diabetic animals.

Largest prehistoric snake on record discovered in Colombia
Scientists have recovered fossils of a 60-million-year-old South American snake whose length and weight might make today's anacondas and reticulated pythons seem a bit cuter and more cuddly.

Dry beans inhibit development of mammary cancer
With increasing interest in the ways certain food can reduce people's risks for contracting chronic diseases, a new study demonstrates the benefits of dry beans in reducing the risk of contracting mammary cancer, due to their levels of antioxidants and other cancer reducing contents.

Research model may one day 'inoculate' elderly against slip-related falls
Training people to avoid falls by repeatedly exposing them to unstable situations in the laboratory helped them to later maintain their balance on a slippery floor.

UVA researchers uncover gene's role in severity of drinking
New research from the University of Virginia Health System could help explain why some alcoholics are more severe drinkers than others.

New study raises concerns about screen time among urban children with asthma
Urban children with asthma engage in an average of an hour more of screen time daily than the maximum amount American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

Research to provide information of long-term effects of childhood cancer treatment to parents
Researchers from Rhode Island Hospital and its Hasbro Children's Hospital have published the results of their findings on parents' needs for information about the neurocognitive late effects of treatment for childhood cancer.

Fuel cells: Making clean energy a reality
Driving a car that emits nothing but pure water. Running a laptop for 30 hours straight on a single charge.

Xenophobia, for men only
We have an evolved mental readiness to be fearful of certain things in our world.

Methamphetamine use cost the US about $23 billion in 2005, RAND study estimates
The first-ever comprehensive national assessment of the economic burden of methamphetamine use in the United States finds the drug cost the United States $23.4 billion in 2005, including the burden of addiction, premature death, drug treatment and many other aspects of the drug.

Nanoemulsion potent against superbugs that kill cystic fibrosis patients
University of Michigan scientists report early evidence that a super-fine oil-and-water emulsion, already shown to kill many other microbes, may be able to quell the ravaging, often drug-resistant infections that cause nearly all cystic fibrosis deaths.

HIPAA privacy rule fails to adequately protect patient privacy and hampers health research
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule does not adequately protect the privacy of people's personal health information and hinders important health research discoveries.

Center for Science Writings presents: Reservoir of Genius: How Engineers can Save our Water, Feb. 18
The Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology presents the talk,

Simplicity is crucial to design optimization at nanoscale
MIT researchers who study the structure of protein-based materials to learn the key to their lightweight and robust strength have discovered that the particular arrangement of proteins that produces the sturdiest product is not the arrangement with the most built-in redundancy or the most complicated pattern.

World's biggest snake gives climate clues
Skeletal remains from an enormous snake that would dwarf Hollywood's anacondas have been discovered near the equator, shedding new light on the climate and environment that housed the monstrous reptile 60 million years ago.

AUA Annual Scientific Meeting features more new research than ever before
The American Urological Association (AUA) will hold its Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago, Ill., on April 25-30, 2009.

Mental deficiency: Researchers identify gene mutations that affect learning, memory in children
Jacques L. Michaud, a geneticist at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and the Universite de Montreal, has led a multidisciplinary team which has identified mutations in a novel gene in children with NSMD.

Bacteria are models of efficiency
A mathematical model developed at the Weizmann Institute has revealed how single celled organisms regulate their activities for maximum efficiency.

Eliminating the threat of nuclear arms
President Barack Obama has made his intention of eliminating all nuclear weapons a tenet of his administration's foreign policy.

Queen's University Belfast study highlights need for licensed medicines for children
A new study has shown there is an urgent need for more children to take part in clinical trials to make sure medicines can be licensed for their safe and effective use.

New open-source software permits faster desktop computer simulations of molecular motion
A new open-source software package developed at Stanford University is making it possible to do complex simulations of molecular motion on desktop computers at much faster speeds than has been previously possible.

Fossil steroids record the advent of earliest known animals
Using compounds preserved in sedimentary rocks more than 635 million years old, researchers have found some of the earliest evidence for the existence of animals. 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