Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 24, 2009
LLNL signs agreement with Siemens to improve wind energy efficiency
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has signed an agreement with Siemens Energy Inc. to provide high-resolution atmospheric modeling capabilities to improve the efficiency of wind farm sites, turbine design and wind farm operations.

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
The following articles are featured in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience:

Diabetes a risk factor for postpartum depression
Pregnant women and new mothers who have diabetes have nearly double the chances of experiencing postpartum depression compared to those without diabetes.

Gestures lend a hand in learning mathematics
Gesturing helps students develop new ways of understanding mathematics. Scholars have known for a long time that movements help retrieve information about an event or physical activity associated with action.

Biodefense news tips
The following news tips are based on presentations at the 2009 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting, Feb.

Discovering the secret code behind photosynthesis
Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London, have discovered that an ancient system of communication found in primitive bacteria, may also explain how plants and algae control the process of photosynthesis.

Chili peppers continue to help unravel mechanism of pain sensation
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, generally is viewed as an irritant that produces a burning sensation when applied to a sensitive area of the body, such as the cornea.

IEEE-USA president-elect, former NAE President to be honored with IEEE-USA awards
IEEE-USA President-Elect Evelyn Hirt and former NAE President William Wulf will be honored during the IEEE-USA Annual Meeting at the Salt Lake City Marriott City Center on Feb.

Reducing animal experiments through top-class research
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft awards the Ursula M. Handel Animal Welfare Prize to research team from Hanover for an innovative test procedure.

Widespread stress among vets
Veterinarians frequently suffer psychosocial stress and demoralization associated with heavy workloads.

3 NASA Goddard scientists receive special honors
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is the home of many award winning scientists, and this year is no different.

Smoking behavior partially explains socioeconomic inequities in lung cancer incidence
Europeans with the least education have a higher incidence of lung cancer compared with those with the highest education.

UNH researchers studying spiny dogfish, Gulf of Maine's mini shark
For such a small shark species, there seems to be super-sized confusion about its population status.

Update presented on disease in pork plant workers
More than a year after developing a unique neurological disorder, the affected pork processing plant workers have improved, but all have some continuing symptoms and many have ongoing mild pain, 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.

UCR scientists identify stem-cell genes that help form plant organs
A team of UC Riverside researchers has identified all the genes expressed in the stem cells of Arabidopsis, a mustard-like plant that is a model for studying plant biology.

Most prison inmates with HIV do not receive appropriate treatment immediately following release
Approximately 80 percent of HIV-infected Texas prison inmates did not fill an initial prescription for antiretroviral therapy within 30 days of their release from prison, potentially increasing their risk for harmful health consequences because of an interruption of treatment, according to a study in the Feb.

Growing danger from post-birth bleeding
Post-partum haemorrhage immediately after giving birth is the largest threat to new mothers in high-income countries.

Cards on the table: Low-cost tool spots software security flaws during development process
A new risk management tool can help software developers identify security vulnerabilities in their programs early in the planning process, effectively solving problems before they exist, simply by having the developers lay their cards on the table.

Stroke treated significantly faster and just as safely by medical residents
Medical residents with appropriate training can safely administer stroke treatment, a decision typically reserved for attending physicians, a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Study finds major interruptions in antiretroviral therapy after release from prison
The vast majority of HIV-infected Texas prison inmates who receive antiretroviral therapy while incarcerated experience significant interruptions in HIV treatment after their release into the community.

Inexpensive depression screening tool works in resource poor countries
The PHQ-9, a highly reliable depression screening tool used across US and Europe, can be effectively administered in resource poor Africa to HIV/AIDS patients.

Children with hypertension have trouble with thinking, memory
Children with high blood pressure are not as good at complicated, goal-directed tasks, have more working memory problems and are not as adept at planning as their peers without hypertension, according to recent research.

Triple threat to health
African-American women who have suffered abuse throughout their lives have worse physical and mental health than their counterparts.

New models question old assumptions about how many molecules it takes to control cell division
A single cell is exquisitely sensitive to its surroundings. It receives input signals, processes the information, makes decisions, and issues commands for making the proper response.

Bizarre bird behavior predicted by game theory
A team of scientists has used game theory to explain the bizarre behavior of a group of ravens.

British butterfly reveals role of habitat for species responding to climate change
A new study shows it is possible to predict how fast a population will spread and reveals the importance of habitat conservation in helping threatened species survive environmental change.

Spinal repair technique may offer hope to vertebral fracture patients
Giving patients with acute vertebral fractures balloon kyphoplasty treatment (a mini-invasive spine repair procedure), improves quality of life and reduces disability and back pain compared with conventional nonsurgical management, and is a safe and effective technique, finds an article to be published online first and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet.

New direction in teaching computer science emphasizes activity, interaction, critique
Contrary to the words of a popular song, there is such a thing as the real world.

Stevens to host major International Group Theory Conference, March 9-12
One of the largest group theory conferences of the year will take place at Stevens Institute of Technology, March 9-12, 2009, in the Lawrence T.

Diagnosis of 'war-zone disorder' to help stroke victims
The recovery of some stroke victims, those who suffer brain hemorrhage, could be vastly improved if they were tested and treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, a distressing psychological condition more commonly known to affect soldiers who have fought in war zones.

Health insurance essential for health and well-being
The evidence shows more clearly than ever that having health insurance is essential for people's health and well-being.

Also in the Feb. 24 JNCI
Also in the Feb. 24 Journal of the National Cancer Institute is a study showing that gene expression patterns change in prostate tumors after just a few weeks of vitamin E and selenium; a study showing that a model called

Plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 -- a potential link between heart failure and diabetes
Researchers at the University of Vermont Cardiovascular Research Institute, Colchester, Vermont have found that increased expression in the heart of plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 is profibrotic.

New tool improves productivity, quality when translating software
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a software tool that will make it faster and easier to translate video games and other software into different languages for use in various international markets -- addressing a hurdle to internationalization that has traditionally been time-consuming and subject to error.

Mount Sinai first in US to implant FDA-cleared ring for mitral valve repair
David H. Adams, M.D., Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, performed the first two implantations of the Carpentier-Edwards Physio II ring in the United States yesterday.

US-led international research team confirms Alps-like mountain range exists
Flying twin-engine light aircraft the equivalent of several trips around the globe and establishing a network of seismic instruments across an area the size of Texas, a US-led, international team of scientists has not only verified the existence of a mountain range that is suspected to have caused the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet to form, but also has created a detailed picture of the rugged landscape buried under more than four kilometers (2.5 miles) of ice.

PSA levels accurately predict prostate cancer risk in African-American men
PSA levels appear to be more predictive of three year prostate cancer risk in African-American men compared with Caucasian men with a family history of prostate cancer, according to a paper published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Guidelines for treating patients with cardiovascular disease often based on weaker evidence
An examination of clinical practice guidelines for treating cardiovascular disease finds that current recommendations are largely based on lower levels of evidence or expert opinion, according to a study in the Feb.

UT Southwestern researchers identify molecule that helps the sleep-deprived to mentally rebound
Sleep experts know that the mental clarity lost because of a few sleepless nights can often be restored with a good night's rest.

Researchers block immune cell rush behind deadly sepsis
Researchers have found a way to block the ability of white blood cells to sprint toward the sites of infection when such speed worsens the damage done by sepsis, the often fatal, whole-body bacterial infection, according to a study published today in the journal Blood.

Mental fatigue can affect physical endurance
When participants performed a mentally fatiguing task prior to a difficult exercise test, they reached exhaustion more quickly than when they did the same exercise when mentally rested.

Physical fitness improves spatial memory, increases size of brain structure
When it comes to the hippocampus, a brain structure vital to certain types of memory, size matters.

NASA Goddard brings the moon to Earth
This winter the television production team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., shrank the moon down to a six-foot globe and put it on display in their Visitor Center.

Being overweight just as risky to health as being a smoker
Obese adolescents have the same risk of premature death in adulthood as people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, while those who are overweight have the same risk as less heavy smokers, according to research published on today.

Determining risk for pancreatic cancer
In the latest clinical trial for a technique to detect pancreatic cancer, researchers found they could differentiate cells that are cancerous from those that are benign, pre-cancerous, or even early stage indicators called mucinous cystic lesions.

In-store video ads a boon to retailers, a peril for traditional media
Video advertising in stores is a moneymaker for retailers, but a growing threat to already cash-strapped print and broadcast media, according to a new study co-written by a University of Illinois business professor.

Researchers uncover 'obesity gene' involved in weight gain response to high-fat diet
Scientists have determined that a specific gene plays a role in the weight-gain response to a high-fat diet.

'Biological control of tropical weeds using arthropods'
University of Guam research scientist Dr. Gadi V. P. Reddy has spent much of his career finding environmentally safe methods to control invasive plants.

Updated formula measures kidney function more accurately
Children with chronic kidney disorder are often subjected to radioactivity and a large number of blood draws when clinicians measure how well their kidneys are functioning.

Jordan's fossil water source has high radiation levels
Ancient groundwater being tapped by Jordan, one of the 10 most water-deprived nations in the world, has been found to contain 20 times the radiation considered safe for drinking water in a new study by an international team of researchers.

Saving wheat crops worldwide
CSIRO Plant Industry scientists and international collaborators have discovered the key to overcoming three major cereal diseases, which in epidemic years cost wheat growers worldwide in excess of AUS$7.8 billion ($5 billion).

Waiting for biopsy results may adversely affect health
Women who've had a breast biopsy know the anxiety of waiting for the results, but that stress may cause adverse health effects, according to a new study.

Million women study shows even moderate alcohol consumption associated with increased cancer risk
Low to moderate alcohol consumption among women is associated with a statistically significant increase in cancer risk and may account for nearly 13 percent of the cancers of the breast, liver, rectum and upper aero-digestive tract combined, according to a report in the Feb.

Team develops new metamaterial device
Terahertz radiation, a fleeting phase of the electromagnetic spectrum, has proved difficult to manipulate with great precision.

Women with diabetes before or during pregnancy at higher risk of depression
Low-income pregnant women and new mothers with diabetes have nearly twice the risk of experiencing depression during and after pregnancy than women without diabetes, according to a study in the Feb.

LSTM and UoL secure £1.4M ($2M) to develop new 'magic bullet' anti-malarial drug
The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Liverpool have secured a £1.4 million ($2 million) project grant to begin the development of new drugs to combat malaria.

Great Lake's sinkholes host exotic ecosystems
Sinkholes penetrating the bottom one of North America's Great Lakes -- Lake Huron -- unexpectedly harbor exotic ecosystems akin to those in permanently iced-over Antarctic lakes and deep-sea, hydrothermal vents and cold seeps.

Transcendental Meditation buffers students against college stress: Study
This first random assignment study on college students, conducted at American University, looked at the effects of meditation practice on brain and physiological functioning.

Green IT not helping climate change
University of Calgary researcher Richard Hawkins has found that the environmental impact of digital technology is much higher than previously believed.

Yoga provides emotional benefits to women with breast cancer
Women undertaking a ten week program of 75 minute Restorative Yoga classes gained positive differences in aspects of mental health such as depression, positive emotions, and spirituality (feeling calm/peaceful) compared to the control group.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 13 top young investigators
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation named 13 new Damon Runyon Fellows at its November 2008 Fellowship Award Committee review.

Researchers generate functional neurons from somatic cells
In a new study, researchers were able to generate functionally mature motor neurons from induced pluripotent stem cells, which are engineered from adult somatic cells and can differentiate into most other cell types.

Treating drug-addicted doctors is good medicine
Research shows Physician Health Programs that combine treatment, monitoring and rapid responses to noncompliance can help doctors beat drug addiction and return to their practices.

Stunning finding: Compounds protect against cerebral palsy
Two compounds developed by Northwestern University chemists have been shown to be effective in pre-clinical trials in protecting against cerebral palsy, a condition caused by neurodegeneration that affects body movement and muscle coordination.

ESC reaffirms advice on cardiovascular risks associated with long-haul flights
Following a review by the Lancet of the medical issues associated with commercial air travel, the European Society of Cardiology has reaffirmed its advice about the risks of venous thromboembolism, whose risk, according to the Lancet, is increased

Commercial yeasts upgraded with an enzyme for biofuel production
Eckhard Boles, co-founder of the Swiss biofuel company Butalco GmbH and a professor at Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, has discovered a new enzyme which teaches yeast cells to ferment xylose into ethanol.

Money may not buy happiness but neither does poverty
In the past 50 years, individual levels of wealth have increased but so have crime, deprivation, depression and addictions to alcohol and drugs.

Origins of Pompeii-style artifacts examined at ISIS
Roman artifacts which are nearly two thousand years old with similarities to ancient remains found at Pompeii in Italy have been examined at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's ISIS neutron source.

UCLA stem cells scientists make electrically active motor neurons from iPS cells
Stem cells scientists at UCLA showed for the first time that human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be differentiated into electrically active motor neurons, a discovery that may aid in studying and treating neurological disorders.

In battle against teacher turnover, MSU mentoring program proves effective
Beginning teachers in urban school districts quit at an alarming rate -- often from lack of support -- and Michigan State University education experts are targeting the problem with an innovative mentoring program.

Cardiologists initiate STILETTO study to investigate treatment options for women with chest pain
To better determine the cause of difficult to diagnose chest pain among women, physicians at Northwestern Memorial's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute are initiating a research study designed to identify the prevalence of a condition called Syndrome X.

California's single seniors can't make ends meet
Nearly half a million elders living alone in California cannot make ends meet -- lacking sufficient income to pay for a minimum level of housing, food, health care, transportation and other basic expenses, according to a new policy brief released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

Anti-cancer gene discovered: Perspective for therapy
Starting with the tiny fruit fly, and then moving into mouse and human patients, researchers at VIB connected to the Center for Human Genetics (K.U.

American Institute of Physics announces awards for best science writing
The American Institute of Physics announced the winners of its 2008 Science Writing Awards today.

Sexual lyrics in popular songs linked to early sexual experiences
With sexual activity among adolescents in the United States resulting in over 750,000 teenage pregnancies each year, researchers and public health officials are looking for those factors that might increase sexual activity in teens.

Peptides-on-demand: McGill researcher's radical new green chemistry makes the impossible possible
McGill University chemistry professor Chao-Jun Li and his colleagues have discovered an entirely new way of synthesizing peptides using simple reagents, a process that would be impossible in classical chemistry.

Living wills have an impact on pre-hospital lifesaving care
A new study conducted at the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., and published by Elsevier in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Emergency Medicine shows that there is a lack of education and understanding in what sets a living will in motion in a pre-hospital setting.

U of Minnesota study finds confidence in food safety plunges in wake of peanut butter contamination
Fewer than one in four consumers now believe the US food supply is safer than it was a year ago, according to new data from the University of Minnesota's Food Industry Center.

Lovely 'snowfakes' mimic nature, advance science
Exquisitely detailed and beautifully symmetrical, the snowflakes that David Griffeath makes are icy jewels of art.

For psychiatric services, wait for the beep
Two-thirds of patients referred for psychiatric services following an emergency room visit are likely to reach only an answering machine when they call for help, compared to about 20 percent of patients calling medical clinics with physical symptoms, according to a new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

'It takes a genome: How a clash between our genes and modern life is making us sick'
It's not just the climate that is struggling with what humans have done to the modern world, our genes are feeling the pressure as well, according to Professor Greg Gibson's recently published book.

Goserelin improves long-term survival in premenopausal women with early breast cancer
Goserelin, a lutenizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist, reduces the long-term risk of disease recurrence and deaths in premenopausal women with early breast cancer who did not take tamoxifen, according to trial data reported in the Feb.

An angry heart can lead to sudden death, Yale researchers find
Before flying off the handle the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, consider the latest research from Yale School of Medicine researchers that links changes brought on by anger or other strong emotions to future arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrests, which are blamed for 400,000 deaths annually. 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