Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 11, 2009
Higher blood sugar levels linked to lower brain function in diabetics, study shows
Results of a recent study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues show that cognitive functioning abilities drop as average blood sugar levels rise in people with type 2 diabetes.

New happiness research demonstrates when material items are the best option
It matters whether you give your loved one a material gift or an experience for Valentine's Day, say researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business and Washington University in St.

From the works of Shakespeare to the genomes of viruses
What does uncovering the true authorship of plays attributed to Shakespeare have to do with identifying our genetic ancestors or classifying new life forms?

Ustekinumab reduces symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and skin lesions compared with placebo
The drug ustekinumab reduces symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and diminishes skin lesions compared with placebo.

Merck and AAAS announce 2009 winners of outstanding undergraduate research programs
Fourteen colleges and universities have been selected for awards from the Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program.

Springer titles honored by Association of American Publishers
During the Annual Conference of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers on Feb.

Tel Aviv-Yafo: From a Garden Suburb to a World City -- The First One Hundred Years
This new book, unique in its presentation of studies covering a variety of disciplines related to Tel Aviv's first 100 years, presents studies by geographers, historians and city planners, each essay discussing topics such as: the influence of the War of Independence on the city's geographic character, the position and importance of Jaffa and its Arab inhabitants on the fabric of Tel Aviv, the contribution of the city's mayors since 1921, approaches to municipal revival in Tel Aviv and more.

Eileen Fisher grant goes to academy science program for girls
The Women in Natural Sciences program of the Academy of Natural Sciences is about more than teaching science to high school girls.

Did increased gene duplication set the stage for human evolution?
Roughly 10 million years ago, a major genetic change occurred in a common ancestor of gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans.

Decreasing insulin resistance prevents obesity-related cardiovascular damage
Knocking out one gene that contributes to insulin resistance appears to prevent much of the cardiovascular damage typically associated with obesity, researchers say.

AAAS honors Dr. Drummond Rennie
The 2008 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award will honor Drummond Rennie, M.D., journal editor and educator,

True or false? How our brain processes negative statements
Previous research has suggested that including negative words in the middle of a sentence can throw off our brains and make it more difficult to understand.

Seamounts may serve as refuges for deep-sea animals that struggle to survive elsewhere
Over the last two decades, marine biologists have discovered lush forests of deep-sea corals and sponges growing on seamounts (underwater mountains) offshore of the California coast.

Parents 'avoid pregnancy' rather than face testing choices
Parents of children with genetic conditions may avoid the need to choose whether to undergo pre-natal testing or to abort future pregnancies by simply avoiding subsequent pregnancy altogether, a study has found.

For Valentine's Day: A look at romantic love on Life Lines podcast
Love is usually associated with the heart: Valentine's Day chocolates, for example, often come in a (stylized) heart-shaped box.

New imaging center to help make better diagnoses, evaluate drug effectiveness
Researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego are taking advantage of a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and sophisticated imaging technologies at the newly established In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center -- one of only eight in the country -- to develop new ways to detect early cancers that require treatment and monitor the effectiveness of new molecular-based cancer therapies.

Smokers putting their loved ones at risk of heart attacks
New research funded by the British Heart Foundation and published today in Addiction journal, shows that people living with someone who smokes continue to be at risk of the harmful effects of passive smoking.

Deciphering the body's healing secrets
Healthy blood vessels play a key role in the prevention and treatment of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Story tips from DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory -- February 2009
Researchers at ORNL and Vanderbilt University have unveiled a new technique for imaging whole cells in liquid.

Study suggests new treatment approach needed for management of depression with bipolar disorder
In a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, a team of researchers led by Mayo Clinic psychiatrist Mark Frye, M.D., attempted to identify what factors make some people with bipolar depression more likely to experience treatment-emergent mania.

UD signs commercialization agreement on corn disease trait
The University of Delaware announced today that it has reached a commercial agreement with DuPont regarding their multi-year, corn disease resistance research collaboration.

Putting a name to the fluke
In a world first, a UQ researcher has developed a non-invasive screening method for potentially fatal liver and intestinal flukes plaguing the lives of an estimated 9 million people throughout southeast Asia.

WFU researchers develop new platinum-based anti-tumor compound
Researchers in the Department of Chemistry at Wake Forest University in collaboration with colleagues at the Wake Forest University Health Sciences Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed a new class of platinum-based anti-tumor drugs that animal studies have shown to be 10 times more effective than current treatments in destroying certain types of lung cancer cells.

2009 AAAS/Subaru Science Books & Film Prizes help promote science literacy
Children's science books exploring sibling relationships in the animal world, global climate change, and neuroscience earned top honors in the 2008 AAAS/Subaru Science Books & Film competition, sponsored by Subaru of America, Inc.

Toothsome research: Deducing the diet of a prehistoric hominid
In an unusual intersection of materials science and anthropology, researchers from NIST and the George Washington University have applied materials-science-based mathematical models to help shed light on the dietary habits of some of mankind's prehistoric relatives.

Hypertension drug dramatically reduces proteinuria in kidney disease patients
Taking a much higher than recommended dose of the hypertension drug candesartan cilexetil effectively lowered the amount of protein excreted in the urine of patients with kidney disease, according to a study appearing in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Research reveals best paths for success as microfinance sector grows
As the microfinance sector passes the 150 million customer mark, an intense debate continues over the movement toward greater commercialization of an arena once led by nonprofits.

Carnegie Mellon tapped to join new biometrics center
Carnegie Mellon University's Marios Savvides is developing a new forensic tool for using the iris anatomy in the human eye as a means to help track terrorists.

Removing wrinkles with RHAMM
Hollywood stars of a certain age take note: Research at Berkeley Lab suggests that a protein linked to the spread of several major human cancers may also hold great potential for the elimination of wrinkles and the rejuvenation of the skin.

'Green' plastics could help reduce carbon footprint
More than 20 million tons of plastic are placed in US landfills each year.

Reducing CO2 through technology and smart growth
A Georgia Tech City and Regional Planning study on climate change, published Feb.

Girls growing up with heroin-addicted parent more resilient than boys
Growing up with a heroin-addicted parent exposes children to a variety of detrimental experiences before the age of 18 and new research indicates that girls are four times more resilient than boys in overcoming such adverse events.

MU fitness expert creates MyActivity Pyramid to help adults exercise
The MyActivity Pyramid, a new fitness guide developed by a University of Missouri Extension fitness specialist, provides physical activity recommendations for adults in a fun and easy-to-understand format.

Investigational study of ustekinumab in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis published
A group of patients suffering from potentially debilitating psoriatic arthritis showed significant and prolonged improvement after treatment with ustekinumab, according to data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients with moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis.

UNC study hints at new approaches to prevent transplant rejection
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered what seems to trigger the immune system to attack transplanted organs and cells.

Internal choices are weaker than those dictated by the outside world
The underlying sense of being in control of our own actions is challenged by new research from University College London which demonstrates that the choices we make internally are weak and easily overridden compared to when we are told which choice to make.

Taking the stress out of magnetic field detection
NIST researchers have discovered that a carefully built magnetic sandwich has dramatically enhanced sensitivity to magnetic fields and could lead to greatly improved magnetic sensors for a wide range of applications from weapons detection and non-destructive testing to medical devices and high-performance data storage.

Penn study shows why sleep is needed to form memories
In research published this week in Neuron, Marcos Frank, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, postdoctoral researcher Sara Aton, PhD, and colleagues describe for the first time how cellular changes in the sleeping brain promote the formation of memories.

Neural circuitry of near-misses may explain the allure of gambling
A new study demonstrates that when gambling, almost winning promotes significant recruitment of win-related circuitry within the brain and enhances the motivation to gamble.

Nanoscale materials grow with the flow
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have shown that nanoscale, uniform lead islands on silicon are spontaneously and quickly created by unusually mobile atoms.

2008 AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize awarded to Richard A. Meserve
Richard A. Meserve, president of the Carnegie Institution for Science, has been selected to receive the 2008 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in honor of an exemplary career spent advancing and promoting the use of science in the service of the public interest.

Survey of metabolites finds new prostate cancer marker
Researchers have identified a new biological marker present in the urine of patients with prostate cancer that indicates whether the cancer is progressing and spreading.

Career diplomat Thomas Pickering wins 2008 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society, has named a career diplomat and distinguished ambassador as winner of the 2008 AAAS International Scientific Cooperation Award.

Pubic hair provides evolutionary home for gorilla lice
There are two species of lice that infest humans: pubic lice, Pthirus pubis, and human head and body lice, Pediculus humanus.

On the origin of subspecies
Scientists have sequenced over seventy strains of yeast, the greatest number of genomes for any species, bringing into focus the small branches of Darwin's Tree of Life.

March of Dimes provides $2.7 million in new funding for preterm birth research
Seven researchers will be supported for the next three years by new March of Dimes Prematurity Research Initiative grants.

2008 AAAS Mentor Award goes to Sylvia T. Bozeman of Spelman College
Sylvia T. Bozeman, a professor of mathematics at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her commitment toward increasing the number of African-American women with doctoral degrees in mathematics.

Viscosity-enhancing nanomaterials may double service life of concrete
NIST engineers are patenting a method that is expected to double the service life of concrete.

Sleeping brain is still hard at work: Mechanisms for consolidation of cortical plasticity
New research provides strong support for the idea that one of the key functions of sleep is the consolidation of memories.

Students who feel connected to peers, teachers are more inclined to warn of dangerous fellow student
Students who feel connected to their peers and teachers are more inclined to alert a teacher or principal if they hear a fellow student

Researchers discover metabolite linked to aggressive prostate cancer
Researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a panel of small molecules, or metabolites, that appear to indicate aggressive prostate cancer.

The Kavli Foundation endows the AAAS Science Journalism Awards
The Kavli Foundation has provided a $2 million endowment that will ensure the future of the prestigious Science Journalism Awards program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

National Inventors Hall of Fame announces 2009 inductees
Dedicated to recognizing inventors and innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has announced its 2009 class of inductees.

Cropland diversity reduces nitrogen pollution
LSU researchers have identified a link between the diversity of crops grown in farmlands and the pollution they create in lakes and rivers.

Groundbreaking study on complex movements of enzymes
A groundbreaking study has revealed in great detail how enzymes in the cell cooperate to make fat.

Healthy people with high urinary protein levels have elevated kidney disease risk
Measuring the amount of protein lost in the urine can identify individuals at risk of developing kidney disease, according to a study appearing in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Enzyme cocktail converts cellulosic materials, water into hydrogen fuel
Tomorrow's fuel-cell vehicles may be powered by enzymes that consume cellulose from woodchips or grass and exhale hydrogen.

Basic research critical to America's economic recovery
The Science Coalition today urged Congress to move swiftly to pass economic recovery legislation that includes strong funding for key science agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, NASA and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Biodiversity itself begets a species cascade, researchers say
Biodiversity feeds on itself, researchers find, as evolving animals open niches for other new species.

2008 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize recognizes science paper on limb regeneration in newts
A United Kingdom research team's discovery of a new molecular cue that promotes limb regeneration in newts -- a finding that could help guide the field of regenerative medicine -- received the 2008 Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Innovative method to starve tumors
The team of Dr. Janusz Rak, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center at the Montreal Children's Hospital has just discovered a new mechanism that tumors use to stimulate the growth of the blood vessels that feed them.

Born to be wild? Thrill-seeking behavior may be based in the brain
What draws some people to daredevil behavior while others shy away from it?

Y chromosome and surname study challenges infidelity 'myth'
Our surnames and genetic information are often strongly connected, according to a study funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Bone marrow transplant patients may benefit from new immune research
Bone marrow transplant researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center in Milwaukee may have found a mechanism that could preserve the leukemia-killing effects of a transplant graft, while limiting the damage donor immune cells might do to the recipient host's vital organs.

People who exercise lower their risk of colon cancer
An ambitious new study has added considerable weight to the claim that exercise can lower the risk for colon cancer.

New reference material can improve testing of multivitamin tablets
NIST has developed a new certified reference material that can be an important quality assurance tool for measuring the amounts of vitamins, carotenoids and trace elements in dietary supplements.

Fox Chase researchers give mutants another chance
Fox Chase researchers have demonstrated that it might be possible to treat genetic diseases, including some forms of cancer, by

Stimulus debate highlights need for focus on nanotech risks
The nearly $800 billion stimulus package being debated in Congress contains a number of measures intended to improve information technology, infrastructure and the energy economy in the United States -- all areas that will be greatly aided by nanotechnology.

2 genes influence social behavior, visual-spatial performance in people with Williams syndrome
Unraveling the genetics of social behavior and cognitive abilities, researchers at the University of Utah and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have traced the role of two genes, GTF2I and GTF2IRD, in a rare genetic disorder known as Williams Syndrome.

For refrigeration problems, a magnetically attractive solution
An exotic metal alloy discovered by an international collaboration working at NIST's Center for Neutron Research may be the key to a new quieter, more economical class of home and commercial refrigeration systems based on magnetics rather than conventional gas compression and expansion.

AGI offers Association of American State Geologists Centennial History: 1908-2008
The American Geological Institute now carries the book,

Biologist receives the 2008 AAAS Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named Kenneth R.

New method to stimulate immune system may be effective at reducing amyloid burden in Alzheimer's
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered a novel way to stimulate the innate immune system of mice with Alzheimer's disease -- leading to reduced amyloid deposits and the prevention of Alzheimer's disease related pathology -- without causing toxic side effects.

Beneath the surface
Researchers from Copenhagen have developed a new model to explain the forming of rift zones.

Cell injections accelerate fracture healing
Long bone fractures heal faster after injections of bone-building cells.

Preventing rangeland erosion: Developing better management practices in Iran
The rangelands of Iran have one of the world's longest history of agriculture development, but new pressures to feed an increasing population of humans and livestock in the region has taken its toll on the land.

New high frequency amplifier harnesses millimeter waves in silicon for fast wireless
New imaging and high capacity wireless communications systems are one step closer to reality, thanks to a millimeter wave amplifier invented at the University of California, San Diego, and unveiled on Feb 11, 2009 at the prestigious International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, Calif.

Ronald P. Stanton gives $50 million toward cancer care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital announced today that it has received a $50 million commitment from noted business leader, longtime supporter and Hospital Trustee Ronald P.

Study shows males are more tolerant of same-sex peers
Women have traditionally been viewed as being more social and cooperative than men.

Read my lips: Using multiple senses in speech perception
When someone speaks to you, do you see what they are saying?

Cropland diversity reduces nitrogen pollution
Researchers have identified a link between the diversity of crops grown in farmlands and the pollution they create in lakes and rivers.

Winning responses to near-misses
Why do people gamble if they know that the house always wins?

Computer exercises improve memory and attention
Large-scale study is the first to link a commercially available software program to improvement on unaffiliated standard measures of memory and to better performance on everyday tasks.

Noninvasive screening test may detect narrowing in intracranial stents
A new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center has found that quantitative magnetic resonance angiography is a promising screening tool to detect in-stent stenosis with high sensitivity and specificity.

Van Andel Research Institute and TGen undertake alliance to promote science and health
The Van Andel Research Institute and the Translational Genomics Research Institute will forge a strategic alliance that will enable both to maximize their worldwide contributions to science and health.

MIT project uses personal digital assistants to track TB data
In a project launched in Lima, Peru, the researchers found that equipping health care workers with PDAs to record data dropped the average time for patients' test results to reach their doctors from 23 days to eight days.

Ancestral genome of present-day African great apes & humans had burst of DNA sequence duplication
The genome of the evolutionary ancestor of humans and present-day great apes underwent a burst of activity in duplicating segments of DNA.

Molecular machines drive plasmonic nanoswitches
Plasmonics -- a possible replacement for current computing approaches -- may pave the way for the next generation of computers that operate faster and store more information than electronically-based systems and are smaller than optically-based systems, according to a Penn State engineer who has developed a plasmonic switch.

Scientists to sequence DNA of British wheat varieties
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have been awarded £1.7 million to decode the genome of wheat, in order to help farmers increase the yield of British wheat varieties.

Carnegie's Richard Meserve to receive AAAS Abelson Award
The American Association for the Advancement of Science will present Richard A.

Rough waters: Fighting modern-day pirates with technology
In the past year, maritime shipping has suffered a resurgence of piracy, at a level not seen since the early 18th century.

2008 AAAS Lifetime Mentor Award goes to Percy A. Pierre of Michigan State University
Percy A. Pierre, vice president and professor emeritus of electrical & computer engineering at Michigan State University in East Lansing has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his extraordinary dedication to increasing the number of African-American and Hispanic-American Ph.D.s in engineering.

Yale engineers revolutionize nano-device fabrication using amorphous metals
Yale engineers have created a process that may revolutionize the manufacture of nano-devices from computer chips to biomedical sensors by exploiting a novel type of metal. 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