Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 23, 2009
One of the most important problems in materials science solved
Together with three colleagues Professor Peter Oppeneer of Uppsala University has explained the hitherto unsolved mystery in materials science known as

Mail and electronic reminders may increase colon cancer screening
Mailed reminders to patients appear to promote colon cancer screening, according to a report in the Feb.

Babies born during high pollen and mold seasons have greater odds of wheezing by age 2
A new UC Berkeley study suggests that newborns whose first few months of life coincide with high pollen and mold seasons are at increased risk of developing early symptoms of asthma.

Ikerlan designs silicon-free photoelectric module of easy incorporation
A team of researchers at the Ikerlan-IK4 technological center have made a laboratory-scale photoelectric panel which, apart from fulfilling the function of converting solar light into electricity, solves the problems of integratability and availability that current technology presents.

Metastasis-promoting protein identified; could provide a prognostic test or target for breast cancer
A small protein detectable in urine can predict a breast cancer's aggressiveness, and possibly provide a new avenue for treating the disease.

UAB researchers report breakthrough in HPV research
UAB researchers have developed a new, inexpensive and efficient method for producing and studying a type of human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer.

New technique for cancer screening
Current research suggests that a new technique to determine tumor methylation status can be used in archived tissue samples.

Lowering your cholesterol may decrease your risk of cancer
Current research suggests that lowering cholesterol may block the growth of prostate tumors.

Mechanisms that prevent Alzheimer's Disease: Enzymatic activity plays key role
In a project involving the collaboration of several institutes, research scientists of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have succeeded in gaining further insight in the functioning of endogenous mechanisms that protect against the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Shredding corn silage could produce more ethanol at less cost
A Purdue University researcher has found a way to get more bang for fewer bucks when it comes to processing cellulosic material to make ethanol.

Springer and Senckenberg society to collaborate on life sciences and geosciences journals
Springer and the Senckenberg Gesellschaft fuer Naturforschung will collaborate on the publication of two scientific journals starting in March 2009.

Technique tricks bacteria into generating their own vaccine
Scientists have developed a way to manipulate bacteria so they will grow mutant sugar molecules on their cell surfaces that could be used against them as the key component in potent vaccines.

Study finds brain hub that links music, memory and emotion
By using fMRI to map brain activity of college students as they listened to a variety of tunes from their younger years, then comparing the activity to the students' responses to questions about each tune, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, has found that the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex is a hub that responds to music, memory and emotion.

Caltech and UCSD researchers shed light on how proteins find their shapes
Researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California at San Diego have brought together UCSD theoretical modeling and Caltech experimental data to show just how amino-acid chains might fold up into unique, 3-D functional proteins.

Press registration is now open for EULAR 2009, June 10-13, Copenhagen
Journalist registrations are now being accepted for EULAR, the European League Against Rheumatism's 10th annual meeting, taking place June 10-13, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Chili peppers help to unravel the mechanism of pain
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, is most often experienced as an irritant, but it may also be used to reduce pain.

SYNTAX defines borders between CABG and PCI with TAXUS drug-eluting stents
Coronary artery bypass grafting should remain the

Don't flatter yourself: Why survey research can be flawed
We all do things to impress others -- exaggerate our accomplishments, downplay our faults, even fib on surveys.

Case Western Reserve University faculty named 2009 NorTech Innovation Award winner
NorTech, in partnership with Crain's Cleveland Business, today presented a 2009 NorTech Innovation Award to Eric J.

Clemson structural engineering students score a slam dunk
When a 240-pound forward slam dunks a basketball, some fans probably wonder how much force is being generated into the goal.

How can bias be prevented in the medical literature?
Contrary to popular belief, the scientific literature is distorted and biased, says a new editorial in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Cedars-Sinai's stroke program receives American Stroke Association's gold performance recognition
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Stroke Program received the

Take 2: What protein and where it is located are important for drug design
Drugs that target a single signaling pathway that drives tumor development and/or progression have been developed successfully to treat a few forms of cancer.

Camera trap survey snaps cheetahs in Algeria
A Wildlife Conservation Society-supported survey of the Sahara has captured the first camera-trap photographs of the critically endangered Saharan cheetah in Algeria.

Overdoing it? Simple techniques can help avoid overindulgence
Some people overindulge on junk foods or needless shopping sprees when they feel depressed.

For Iraq veterans, headaches continue after traumatic brain injury
Many soldiers who experienced mild head trauma or a blast exposure while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are returning to the United States with 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 - May 2, 2009.

A sprightly explanation for UFO sightings?
In legend, sprites are trolls, elves and other spirits that dance high above our ozone layer.

UCSF Gallo team reports hormone disorder drug could help drinkers stay sober
A drug prescribed for male and female infertility and menstrual disorders could hold the key to a more effective treatment for alcoholism, according to a study by researchers at the UCSF-affiliated Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center.

Seismological Society of America Annual Meeting, April 8-10
The world's top seismologists will meet to consider the latest research at the Seismological Society of America's annual meeting on April 8-10 in Monterey, Calif.

MIT rocket aims for cheaper nudges in space
Satellites orbiting the Earth must occasionally be nudged to stay on the correct path.

Suppressing cancer with a master control gene
Starting with the tiny fruit fly and then moving into mice and humans, researchers at VIB and K.

Arizona State University research team to receive new US Department of Defense Minerva award
Arizona State University is one of seven US universities selected to receive a Minerva award for a research project titled

Does sex sell? New study shows how to make women respond to sexy ads
A new study suggests that women's attitudes toward sexually oriented advertising would improve if ads depicted sex in a manner consistent with women's intrinsic values -- for example if the sexual behavior appeared to reflect devotion and commitment.

2009 DeLee Humanitarian Award goes to Marshall Lindheimer, M.D., of the University of Chicago
An authority on kidney disease and hypertension during pregnancy, Marshal D.

What the heck is it? Consumers can be primed to understand hybrid products
Hybrid products are ubiquitous in today's marketplace: phones with cameras, watch/cameras, MP3 players with GPS systems.

Cholesterol-reducing drugs may lessen brain function, says ISU researcher
An Iowa State University study shows that drugs that inhibit the liver from making cholesterol may also keep the brain from making cholesterol, which is vital to efficient brain function.

PNAS announces 2008 Cozzarelli Prize recipients
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Editorial Board has selected six PNAS papers for the 2008 Cozzarelli Prize, an award that recognizes the most outstanding contributions in each of the scientific disciplines represented by the National Academy of Sciences.

Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
The following highlights summarize research articles that are published in the March issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Portable kit may 1 day detect plant disease before disastrous outbreak
A briefcase-sized kit may one day be used for quick, accurate field tests for microorganisms that could infect and kill plants.

Male infertility associated with testicular cancer
Men who are infertile appear to have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer, according to a report in the Feb.

Researchers solve mystery of deep-sea fish with tubular eyes and transparent head
Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute recently solved the half-century-old mystery of a fish with tubular eyes and a transparent head.

Do experiences or material goods make us happier?
Should I spend money on a vacation or a new computer?

Climate scientist Ken Caldeira speaks at Frontiers in Global Change seminar series
Stanford University's Ken Caldeira will speak on global climate change and options for stabilizing it during the inaugural talk in the Frontiers in Global Change seminar series, March 17, 2009, at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

Father/daughter relationships lead to more girls following dad's career path
A new study co-authored by a researcher from North Carolina State University says the relationship between fathers and daughters is leading to an increase in the number of daughters who are pursuing careers in the same field as their dads.

The honeymoon's over: Consumers overestimate enjoyment of products
That fancy iPod or car with a sunroof might seem appealing when you're about to buy it, but chances are the enjoyment will be short-lived.

No longer a gray area: Our hair bleaches itself as we grow older
Wash away your gray? Maybe. A team of European scientists have solved a mystery that has perplexed humans throughout the ages: why we turn gray.

Learning from our mistakes: Consumers won't be deceived twice
Sometimes a high price tag, a label, or an ingredient can lead us to believe that we're purchasing a high-quality item.

New center for environmental health and human ecology in Cleveland
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and its Department of Environmental Health Sciences have partnered to establish a Center for Environmental Health and Human Ecology.

Case Western Reserve researchers develop 'wireless' activation of brain circuits
Traditionally, stimulating nerves or brain tissue involves cumbersome wiring and a sharp metal electrode.

Relationships in rank and file
Often, the sequences of genes and proteins can suggest to us what their function is -- especially if we compare them with known sequences.

Vitamin B and folic acid may reduce risk of age-related vision loss
Taking a combination of vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid appears to decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration in women, according to a report in the Feb.

Origin of galactic comic rays focus of NASA grant
Astrophysicists at Washington University in St. Louis have received a five-year, $3,225,740 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to design and build Super-TIGER -- a Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder -- and then fly it aboard a high-altitude balloon over Antarctica to collect rare atomic particles called galactic cosmic rays.

Social patents
Experts in intellectual property and patents explain in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation how tools such as online social networking could be used to eradicate the enormous backlog of patent applications in the US.

2008 was Earth's coolest year since 2000
Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City have found that 2008 was the coolest year since 2000.

Beware the left-digit effect: Price gimmicks may affect choice
When shopping, we often find ourselves choosing between lower- and higher-cost items.

Enhanced skin cancer risk linked to defects in cellular aging controls
Dysfunction of genetic

JCI table of contents: Feb. 23, 2009
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published Feb.

Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk of colds, flu
Vitamin D may be an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like the common cold.

Are women more generous? New study sheds light on donation behavior
Why would women give more to the victims of Hurricane Katrina than to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami?

Prestigious European research council advanced grant award in chemistry
A major new grant of €2.5 million ($3.2 million) will support ground-breaking research in energy and sustainability at the University of Nottingham.

Lower increases in global temps could lead to greater impacts than previously thought, study finds
A new study by scientists updating the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001 Third Assessment Report finds that even a lower level of increase in average global temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions could cause significant problems in five key areas of global concern.

Appalachian history gives new perspective of how workers view jobs
A preacher addresses a group of men in a town church in eastern Kentucky, but this gathering is not to hear a sermon.

New light shed on marine luminescence
The mystery of how some marine animals produce light has come one step closer to being solved.

Children in single-parent households and stepfamilies benefit from time with grandparents
Spending time with a grandparent is linked with better social skills and fewer behavior problems among adolescents, especially those living in single-parent or stepfamily households, according to a new study.

Anger management: The key to staying heart healthy?
New research published in the March 3, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that anger-induced electrical changes in the heart can predict future arrhythmias in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.

Building a better protein
Scientists are searching for ways to increase the stability of proteins.

Shape-shifting coral evade identification
The evolutionary tendency of corals to alter their skeletal structure makes it difficult to assign them to different species.

Using wireless sensors to monitor bridge safety
University of Texas professor, Dean Neikirk, will be field-testing a new bridge monitoring system within the year.

Fate and 'face': Cultural differences lead to different consumer approaches
If an airline flight is delayed, Asian consumers might take it in stride.

It's about time: Consumers may be more likely to enjoy purchase when ads mention time
Do consumers respond more positively to advertisements that mention time (

AACE/AIUM develop physician certification and accreditation in thyroid/parathyroid ultrasound
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine have been working together to improve the quality of diagnostic ultrasound and ultrasound-guided invasive procedures of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

AGI reports on the state of geoscience employment
The American Geological Institute Workforce Program has released the third chapter, titled

Canadian scientist mines drugs database for new diabetes treatment
A Canadian scientist, now based in the UK and funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, has harnessed a new drug discovery tool to identify a new player in the body's insulin secretion process.

Patient knowledge of health information influences cancer treatment
A new analysis finds that when colorectal cancer patients seek out health information from the Internet and news media, they are more likely to be aware of and receive the latest treatments for their disease.

Women less likely to have a stroke after mini-stroke
A new study shows 30 days after a transient ischemic attack, women are 30 percent less likely to have a stroke than men.

Reduction in parasite infections ahead for India
Experts from Queen's University are in India today to advise the country on how it can reduce parasitic infections which destroy plants and animals.

Don't touch that dial! Watching commercials leads to greater enjoyment of TV programs
We all complain about commercials, and many people invest in technology to eliminate them.

Kids who watch R-rated movies are more likely to smoke
A new study finds that kids who are allowed to watch R-rated movies are much more likely to believe it's easy to get a cigarette than those who aren't allowed to watch such films.

Calcium associated with lower risk of cancer in women
Women with higher intake of calcium appear to have a lower risk of cancer overall, and both men and women with high calcium intakes have lower risks of colorectal cancer and other cancers of the digestive system, according to a report in the Feb.

Live webcasting of global engineering summit
A national summit on engineering solutions to major challenges facing the world today will be webcast March 2-3 from Duke University.

Genetic discovery could lead to advances in dental treatment
Researchers have identified the gene that ultimately controls the production of tooth enamel, a significant advance that could some day lead to the repair of damaged enamel, a new concept in cavity prevention, and restoration or even the production of replacement teeth.

American Chemical Society's Weekly PessPac -- Feb. 18, 2009
The American Chemical Society Weekly Press Package with reports from 34 major peer-reviewed journals on chemistry, health, medicine, energy, environment, food, nanotechnology and other hot topics.

Don't write off seniors: Retirees are pursuing their life dreams
Contrary to the stereotype of grandparents sitting on the porch in rocking chairs, retirement can be a time of personal growth and activity, according to new research in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Patience pays off with methanol for uranium bioremediation
Uranium contamination is a devastating legacy of nuclear weapon and energy development, but new testing has shown that adding organic molecules can positively affect the bioremediation of this uranium, converting it to a solid mineral and sequestering it within the sediment.

Human stem cells provide a new model for Lou Gehrig's disease
Human stem cells are used to create motor neurons that carry familial ALS mutations.

Revolutionary method generates new template for microelectronics
Researchers say a newly tested method for producing super dense, defect-free, thin polymer films is the fastest, most efficient method ever achieved and it may dramatically improve microelectronic storage capabilities such as those in computer memory sticks.

Re-shaping the family: What happens when parents seek siblings of their donor-conceived children
Parents who have conceived children with the help of sperm or egg donors and then try to find the donors and also other children conceived with the donors' help, often end up creating new forms of extended families, according to research published in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, on Tuesday, Feb.

New book expands field data available on orangutans
Great Ape Trust of Iowa scientist Dr. Serge Wich and three other internationally respected orangutan experts have edited a book set for release in the United States next month that, for the first time, compares data collected at every known orangutan research site and examines the information to discern differences and similarities among orangutan species, subspecies and populations.

Ultra-fine coatings on sediment grains influence nitrate and sulfate storage in soil
The US Geological Survey conducted new research studying the microscopic layer of minerals on tiny sediment grains, finding that the mineral composition of these coatings on sediment grains in the unsaturated zone can have a substantial effect on the retention of nitrate and sulfate, an important discovery for evaluating the long-term effects of agriculture on water quality.

In U of I study, kids learn to handle emotional responses to siblings
A University of Illinois researcher has demonstrated successful strategies that children can use to handle the emotional ups and downs that go with being a brother or a sister and reported them in a new study published in Family Relations.

Trust your heart: Emotions may be more reliable when making choices
When choosing a flavor of ice cream, an item of clothing, or even a home, you might be better off letting your emotions guide you, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Can different languages be analyzed using the same model?
Spanish and Russian are relatively different languages. The differences extend to the verbal system.

New twist on 40-year-old discovery
In 1968, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Brandon Carter showed that a particle's wild gyrations while orbiting a rotating black hole nevertheless hold another variable fixed, which was named the

3 UH faculty members honored by Texas Optometric Association
Faculty members at the University of Houston's College of Optometry walked away with the lion's share of the Texas Optometric Association's annual awards at the group's convention in Austin.

Houseplant pest gives clue to potential new anthrax treatment
Researchers at the University of Warwick have found how a citric acid-based Achilles heel used by a pathogen that attacks the popular African Violet house plant could be exploited not just to save African Violets but also to provide a potentially effective treatment for anthrax.

Steroids ineffective in young children with wheeze
New research involving medical experts at the University of Nottingham has found that steroid tablets do not reduce the symptoms of virus-induced wheezing in pre-school children.

Electricity systems can cope with large-scale wind power
Research by TU Delft in the Netherlands proves that Dutch power stations are able to cope at any time in the future with variations in demand for electricity and supply of wind power, as long as use is made of up-to-date wind forecasts.

Marine scientists to investigate role of equatorial Pacific ocean in global climate system
In early March, an international team of scientists will set sail aboard the drill ship JOIDES Resolution on the first of two Integrated Ocean Drilling Program expeditions to the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Immune system 'atlas' will speed detection of kidney transplant
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital have devised a new way to decode the immune signals that cause slow, chronic rejection of all transplanted kidneys.

Patients are untapped resource for improving care, study finds
A study looking at over 21,000 patients from 11 health centers finds that patients who receive mailed reminders for scheduling colorectal cancer screenings are more likely to comply than those who don't.

Previous work experience not always a positive for a new job
Employees with previous work experience bring valuable knowledge and skills to their new jobs -- but some of what they learned may actually hurt their work performance.

Aneurysms don't occur earlier in second generation
People whose parents or aunts and uncles have had a brain aneurysm are more likely to have one themselves, indicating that genetic risk factors passed down by generation are responsible.

Get personal to improve heart health
Scare tactics may not be necessary when trying to get patients at risk of heart disease to change their diet or behavior, a new study has found.

Turbulence may promote the birth of massive stars
When it comes to the theory of how massive stars form, the devil is in the details. 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