Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 12, 2009
Second-hand smoke could cause dementia
Exposure to second-hand smoke could increase the risk of developing dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment, according to research published today on

Can monkeys choose optimally when faced with noisy stimuli and unequal rewards?
Even when faced with distractions, monkeys are able to consistently choose the path of greatest reward, according to a study conducted by researchers from Princeton and Stanford Universities.

Chewing gum helps treat hyperphosphatemia in kidney disease patients
Chewing gum made with a phosphate-binding ingredient can help treat high phosphate levels in dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease, according to a study appearing in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Roles of DNA packaging protein revealed by Einstein scientists
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that a class of chromatin proteins is crucial for maintaining the structure and function of chromosomes and the normal development of eukaryotic organisms.

NJIT professor named associate Fellow in technical communication society
Nancy W. Coppola, Ph.D., a professor in the department of humanities at NJIT, will be named one of 25 associate Fellows for the Society for Technical Communication.

ESA's water mission on track for launch
Following word from Eurockot that launch of the Earth Explorer SMOS satellite can take place between July and October this year, ESA, CNES and the prime contractor Thales Alenia Space are now making detailed preparations for the last crucial steps before ESA's water mission is placed in orbit.

Improved sensor technology could someday keep tabs on terrorists by remote control
Scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology are designing a new kind of optical sensor to fly in unmanned air vehicles tracking terrorists.

Leading experts to share vision for untangling global food + greenhouse gas conundrum at AAAS
Several of the world's top food researchers and scientists are gathering at AAAS on Sunday, Feb.

AAAS plenary: Intrepid explorers and the search for the origin of species
Evolution, we know, is the guiding thread of biology and explains life as we know it.

New silver-based ink has applications in electronics, researchers say
A new ink, composed of silver nanoparticles, can be used in electronic and optoelectronic applications to create flexible, stretchable and spanning microelectrodes that carry signals from one circuit element to another.

Strong winds over the keel
The latest ESO image reveals amazing detail in the intricate structures of one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the sky, the Carina Nebula, where strong winds and powerful radiation from an armada of massive stars are creating havoc in the large cloud of dust and gas from which the stars were born.

WPI professor and institute head elected to National Academy of Engineering
Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and director of the university's Metal Processing Institute, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

New strategy to combat cancer: Streamlining blood vessel walls
Our blood vessels have a built-in rescue-mechanism that springs into action when there is insufficient oxygen in our tissues.

MIT shock absorber increases fuel economy
A team of MIT undergraduate students has invented a shock absorber that harnesses energy from small bumps in the road, generating electricity while it smooths the ride more effectively than conventional shocks.

Researchers determine how mosquitoes survive dengue virus infection
Colorado State University researchers have discovered that mosquitoes that transmit deadly viruses such as dengue avoid becoming ill by mounting an immediate, potent immune response.

AAAS Annual Meeting news: Dining habits of early humans
With obesity on the rise and popular diet gurus claiming to understand the dining preferences of prehistoric people, speakers at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will attempt to help sort fact from fiction -- or at least identify areas of scientific uncertainty.

New Fulbright Scholars focus on rural development in Nepal, risk communication in Thailand
Two faculty members from Worcester Polytechnic Institute are at work in Asia as Fulbright Senior Scholars.

Fructose-sweetened drinks increase nonfasting triglycerides in obese adults
Obese people who drink fructose-sweetened beverages with their meals have an increased rise of triglycerides following the meal, according to new research from the Monell Center.

Researchers at UGA discover protein is crucial to reproduction of parasites involved in disease
A team of researchers at the University of Georgia led by postdoctoral associate Giel van Dooren has discovered a protein in T. gondii that is essential for the parasite's growth.

Plugging in molecular wires
Japanese researchers have developed a new process to capture light energy -- they

Surprising interactions of diabetes mellitus and sepsis
Diabetic patients are less likely to suffer from acute respiratory failure during severe sepsis.

Second-hand smoke linked to cognitive impairment
Exposure to second-hand smoke could increase the risk of developing dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment, according to research published by Dr.

How do you mend a broken heart?
A little more than a year after University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists showed they could turn skin cells back into stem cells, they have pulsating proof that these

£82m ($116.2m) award to train scientists and engineers for Britain's future
£82 million ($116.2 million) in grants to train Britain's future scientists and engineers was announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

A pocketful of uranium
Researchers led by Chuan He at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have developed a protein that binds to uranium selectively and tightly -- a simple, effective methods for the sensitive detection and effective treatment of uranium poisoning.

Children's early gesture have important link to school preparedness
Children who convey more meanings with gestures at age 14 months have much larger vocabularies at 54 months than children who convey fewer meanings and are accordingly better prepared for school, according to research to be published in the journal Science on Friday, Feb.

Pediatric Hodgkin's disease survivors face increased breast cancer risk
Women who as children received radiation treatment for Hodgkin's disease are almost 40 times more likely than others to develop breast cancer, according to findings from five institutions, including the University of Florida.

UCSF symposium considers biomedical approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention
Use of antiretrovirals for HIV prevention in uninfected individuals at high risk for infection, herpes suppression, male circumcision and the successful treatment of HIV-infected individuals with antiretrovirals are some of the approaches that will be under discussion at the symposium.

Gang researchers at UH examine health, consequences of long-term gang
The University of Houston Center for Drug and Social Policy Research has been awarded a $2.4 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to study the long-term consequences of adolescent gang membership among Mexican Americans.

Montana State University tracks warming trend in northwestern North America
A new Montana State University study says that weather, especially in late winter and early spring, is getting warmer in northwestern North America.

High-tech tests allow anthropologists to track ancient hominids across the landscape
Dazzling new scientific techniques are allowing archaeologists to track the movements and menus of extinct hominids through the seasons and years as they ate their way across the African landscape, helping to illuminate the evolution of human diets.

US climate change summit, March 30-31
At the request of Congress, a two-day summit on

Next gen sequencing technology pinpoint 'on-off switches' in genomes
Scientists from the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and Berkeley Lab have developed a set of molecular tools that provide important insight into the complex genomes of multicellular organisms.

Gaza strip families give first clue to condition causing blindness and tooth decay
Scientists studying an inherited condition resulting in blindness and crumbling teeth have found a single defective gene can affect both eye function and normal tooth development.

Below-knee cast or aircast best for faster recovery from severe ankle sprain
A short period of immobilization in a below-knee cast or aircast results in faster recovery from severe ankle sprain than use of either tubular compression bandage or Bledsoe boot.

Smoking prevention campaign saving billions in smoking-related care
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the American Legacy Foundation have estimated that truth, the nations' largest youth smoking prevention campaign, saved $1.9 billion or more in health care costs associated with tobacco use.

New lab evidence suggests preventive effect of herbal supplement in prostate cancer
DHEA is a natural circulating hormone and the body's production of it decreases with age.

All work and no play makes for troubling trend in early education
Anne Haas Dyson, a professor of curriculum and instruction at Illinois, says playtime for children is a

150 years of Darwin's landmark book spawns international conference
An international conference that will explore Darwin's contribution to biology will be convened at McMaster University, May 25-29.

Have migraine? Bigger waistline may be linked
Overweight people who are between the ages of 20 and 55 may have a higher risk of experiencing migraine headaches, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25 to May 2, 2009.

Publication of flu vaccines studies in prestigious journals are determined by the sponsor
Industry-sponsored studies on influenza vaccines are published in journals with higher rankings (impact factors) and are cited more than studies with other sponsors, but this is not because they are bigger or better, finds a study published on today.

Early switch from IV to oral meds is effective for children with acute bone infection
When treating hospitalized children with acute osteomyelitis -- a bacterial bone infection -- an early changeover from intravenous antibiotic delivery to oral antibiotics is just as effective as continuing the IV therapy, according to pediatric researchers.

US Atlantic cod population to drop by half by 2050
A University of British Columbia researcher put a number to the impact of climate change on world fisheries at today's Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

Brupbacher prize to Nubia Munoz and Sir Richard Peto
The epidemiologists Nubia Munoz and Sir Richard Peto are receiving the 2009 Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research.

Fruit flies soar as lab model, drug screen for the deadliest of human brain cancers
Fruit flies and humans share most of their genes, including 70 percent of all known human disease genes.

New findings on climate change and fisheries
Scientists have for the first time calculated the likely impact of climate change on the distribution of more than 1,000 species of fish around the globe.

It's no fish tale: Omega-3 fatty acids prevent medical complications of obesity
According to a recent study published online in the FASEB Journal, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids protect the liver from damage caused by obesity and the insulin resistance it provokes.

Major step for drug discovery and diagnostics
Researchers from Nano-Science Center, University of Copenhagen and National Center for Scientific Research, France, have developed a general method to study membrane proteins.

Evidence of ancient hot springs on Mars detailed in Astrobiology journal
Data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggest the discovery of ancient springs in the Vernal Crater, sites where life forms may have evolved on Mars, according to a report in Astrobiology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Evolutionary link to modern-day obesity, other problems
That irresistible urge for a cheeseburger has its roots in dramatic environmental changes that occurred some 2 million years ago.

Treating asthma with NIOX MINO offers cost savings for the UK health care system
Aerocrine AB has reported the recent publication of a UK study evaluating the effect of routine inflammation measurement in asthma.

Warfarin does not reduce catheter-related or other thromboses in cancer patients
Prophylactic warfarin is not associated with a reduction in catheter-related or other thromboses in cancer patients, and thus new treatments are needed.

Report reveals devastating impact on families of Britain's control orders and detention regime
The Institute of Race Relations has published a new report on the devastating impact on family life of Britain's anti-terrorist control order and detention policy.

A research work on molluscs nacre opens new doors for its possible use in biomedicine
Scientists from the University of Granada, Spanish National Research Council and the University of Aveiro have studied nacre's growing mechanism of gastropods, a previous step for the artificial reproduction of this material in laboratories which could make possible its use in biomedicine.

Durability of dental fillings improves if the enzyme activity of teeth is inhibited
A dental filling is more durable if the enzyme activity of the tooth can be inhibited.

NSERC at 2009 AAAS Annual Meeting
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is pleased to feature Canadian science and engineering research excellence during the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting from Feb.

Penguins marching into trouble
A combination of changing weather patterns, overfishing, pollution, and other factors have conspired to drive penguin populations into a precipitous decline, according to long-term research funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Stem cells: Deathly awakening by interferon
Interferon-alpha, a messenger substance of the immune system, awakens dormant hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow to become active, thus making them vulnerable for the effect of many drugs.

Mayo Clinic researchers discover drug can prevent colon cancer development in mice
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida have found that a drug now being tested to treat a range of human cancers significantly inhibited colon cancer development in mice.

American Chemical Society publications win prestigious awards
The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, has won two prestigious PROSE awards for excellence in scholarly publishing.

U of Minnesota study shows racial disparities in Twin Cities mortgage lending
A new report,

Psychoactive compound activates mysterious receptor
A hallucinogenic compound found in a plant indigenous to South America and used in shamanic rituals regulates a mysterious protein that is abundant throughout the body, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have discovered.

Few women follow healthy lifestyle guidelines before pregnancy
Very few women follow the nutritional and lifestyle recommendations before they become pregnant, even when pregnancy is in some sense planned, finds a study published on today.

Sexual health promotion is low among people with serious mental illnesses, despite higher risk
A survey of mental health workers found that although 80 percent felt sexual health promotion was an important part of their role, only 30 percent routinely discussed sexual health issues with service users.

New target for medicine to combat Alzheimer's: VIB scientists confirm protein's key role
VIB scientists connected to the Center for Human Heredity have demonstrated that a particular protein is extremely well suited to be a target for a new medicine against Alzheimer's disease.

Vital climate change warnings are being ignored, says expert
Canada's inland waters, the countless lakes and reservoirs across the country, are important

Involuntary maybe, but certainly not random
Our eyes are in constant motion. Even when we attempt to stare straight at a stationary target, our eyes jump and jiggle imperceptibly.

New test may help to ensure that dengue vaccines do no harm
As vaccines against a virus that infects 100 million people annually reach late-stage clinical trials this year, researchers have developed a test to better predict whether a given vaccine candidate should protect patients from the infection, or in some cases, make it more dangerous, according to an article just published in the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

Passive smoking link to dementia
Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan have published the results of the first large-scale study to indicate that second-hand smoke exposure could lead to dementia and other neurological problems.

Nanoparticle 'smart bomb' targets drug delivery to cancer cells
Researchers at North Carolina State University have successfully modified a common plant virus to deliver drugs only to specific cells inside the human body, without affecting surrounding tissue.

New high-res map suggests little water inside moon
The most detailed map of the Moon ever created has revealed never-before-seen craters at the lunar poles.

Emergency treatment strategies, better communication reduce heart attack patient deaths
Four western New York hospitals using emergency treatment strategies emphasizing evidence-based therapy and better communication among health care providers reduced heart attack patient deaths by 19 percent for up to one year after patient discharge.

Potential atherosclerosis drug exhibits no harmful side-effects in liver
Researchers have developed and tested a synthetic atherosclerosis drug that can reduce the build-up of dangerous blood vessel plaques without producing the side-effect of fatty liver disease.

Behavioral studies show baboons and pigeons are capable of higher-level cognition
It's safe to say that humans are smarter than animals, but a University of Iowa researcher is investigating the extent of that disparity in intelligence.

Women's cancer outcomes improved by surgical evaluation
Too many hysterectomy patients should've had a more comprehensive cancer surgery, something a specialist is trained to do, according to a new data.

The Obama effect: Researchers cite President's role in reducing racism
President Obama spurred a dramatic change in the way whites think about African-Americans before he had even set foot in the Oval Office, according to a new study.

ASU genetics research sheds light on evolution of the human diet
Diet -- and how it has shaped our genome -- occupies much of an evolutionary scientist's time.

Astronomers unveiling life's cosmic origins
The foundations for life on Earth were laid by the processes of star and planet formation, and the production of complex, prebiotic molecules in interstellar space.

Biobanks will provide 'electronic specimens' for medical research
Future medical research will focus increasingly on electronic data, with less need both for laboratory animals and tissue samples.

Next generation digital maps are laser sharp
New airborne laser elevation, or lidar, surveys of the earth provide a 10-fold improvement in the precision of digital topographical maps, Boston College Geologist Noah P.

'Normalizing' tumor vessels leaves cancer more benign
A report publishing online on Feb. 12 in the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, suggests a counterintuitive new method to make cancer less likely to spread: by normalizing the shape of tumors' blood vessels to improve their oxygen supply.

'Science:' Novel quantum effect directly observed and explained
An international research team has succeeded in gaining an in-depth insight into an unusual phenomenon, as reported in the current edition of the high-impact journal

Caregivers not receiving the help they need, study shows
Caregivers of children with special health care needs often do not get the respite care they need, according to the findings of a recent study by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Stem cell research uncovers mechanism for type 2 diabetes
Taking clues from their stem cell research, investigators at the University of California San Diego and Burnham Institute for Medical Research have discovered that a signaling pathway involved in normal pancreatic development is also associated with type 2 diabetes.

Darwin anniversary heralds new conservation research era for Northern Ireland
On the bicentenary of the birth of eminent biologist today (Thursday) Charles Darwin a new £2 million ($2.82 million) research contract has been launched to conserve and protect Northern Ireland's natural heritage.

Aerosols -- their part in our rainfall
Aerosols may have a greater impact on patterns of Australian rainfall and future climate change than previously thought, according to leading atmospheric scientist, CSIRO's Dr.

Human Sixth Sense Program: First Singapore-Illinois collaboration
Advanced Digital Sciences Center, located at Singapore's Fusionopolis, is a landmark collaboration between Asian nation's Agency for Science, Technology and Research and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Five rockets ready to launch at Poker Flat Research Range
Scientists are now at Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks waiting for acceptable conditions for the launch of five NASA sounding rockets that will gather information for two scientific experiments.

Herpes virus: To vaccinate or not to vaccinate
Dr. Marcia Blackman and her research team at the Trudeau Institute have followed up on an intriguing report published in the journal Nature in May 2007 by Dr.

Draft version of the Neanderthal genome completed
The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, Germany, and the 454 Life Sciences Corp., in Branford, Conn., will announce on Feb.

Sequences capture the code of the common cold
In an effort to confront our most familiar malady, scientists have deciphered the instruction manual for the common cold.

Songbirds fly 3 times faster than expected
A York University researcher has tracked the migration of songbirds by outfitting them with tiny geolocator backpacks -- a world first -- revealing that scientists have underestimated their flight performance dramatically.

'Quantum data buffering' scheme demonstrated by NIST/Maryland researchers
Pushing the envelope of Albert Einstein's

Chronic infection may add to developing-world deaths
Worldwide, nearly 2 million people per year die from diarrhea, the vast majority of them in poor countries.

Researchers crack the code of the common cold
Scientists have begun to solve some of the mysteries of the common cold by putting together the pieces of the genetic codes for all the known strains of the human rhinovirus.

U and CDC find startling numbers of active-military personnel engaging in frequent binge drinking
Binge drinking is common among active-duty military personnel and is strongly associated with many health and social problems, including problems with job performance and alcohol-impaired driving, according to a new study released by the University of Minnesota and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Changing ocean conditions turning penguins into long-distance commuters
Magellanic penguins, like most other species of the flightless birds, are having their survival challenged by wide variability in conditions and food availability, a University of Washington biologist has found.

UCLA Art/Sci Center to host symposium on sound and science
Leading figures from a variety of disciplines will discuss scientific research and technological breakthroughs concerned with sound and their applications and potential impact on culture, politics, history, environment, art and music during the Sound + Science Symposium.

UW-Madison computer scientist named to national engineering academy
A University of Wisconsin-Madison professor is among 65 engineers and nine foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009.

Rote memorization of historical facts adds to collective cluelessness
Education professor Brenda M. Trofanenko says Americans' historical apathy is an indictment of the way history is taught in grades K-12. 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