Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 26, 2009
Burn rehabilitation experts at UT Southwestern outline best treatments for post-burn itching
Jim Mashburn felt his legs cook. Mr. Mashburn, a worker at a paper-recycling plant, fell through a loose grate and into a sump pit in September 2008 as he was preparing to inspect a steam valve.

Study identifies new gene associated with ALS
A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers has identified a novel genetic cause of inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the fourth gene associated with familial forms of the devastating neurological disorder.

Youths are most influenced by negative family members and by positive adults outside the family
While children look up to and aspire to be like a positive family member or peer, they are more likely to imitate traits of other role models -- including negative role models, which can lead to behavioral problems, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Commercial ships spew half as much particulate pollution as world's cars
Globally, commercial ships emit almost half as much particulate pollution into the air as the total amount released by cars, according to a new study published on Feb.

Daytime sleepiness provides red flag for cardiovascular disease
Clinicians should be alert to patients reporting

Muscular dystrophy mystery solved; Mizzou scientist moves closer to MD solution
While scientists have identified one protein, dystrophin, as an important piece to curing muscular dystrophy, another part of the mystery has eluded scientists for the past 14 years.

Investors who 'gamble' in the stock market have same characteristics as lottery players
The socioeconomic characteristics of people who play state lotteries are similar to investors who pick stocks with a lottery quality -- high risk with a small potential for high return, and just like the lottery, returns on average are lower for those who invest this way in the stock market, research from the University of Texas at Austin shows.

Houseplants increase quality of life for retirement community residents
A recent study examined the impact of indoor gardening in regards to quality of life in assisted-living facilities.

From stem cells to new organs: Stanford and NYU scientists cross threshold in regenerative medicine
By now, most people have read stories about how to

Is HIV testing during labor feasible?
Cameroon is a sub-Saharan African country with high HIV rates yet many pregnant women do not know their HIV status.

'Dark cells' of living retina imaged for the first time
A layer of

Einstein scientists receive $10 million NIH grant
Four Albert Einstein College of Medicine faculty members were awarded a five-year, $10-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study autophagy -- a fundamental cell process that may hold the key to aging.

New Zealand breeding program creates new red raspberry variety
A horticultural research team from New Zealand and Canada has introduced a new red raspberry cultivar.

Science internships attract students to research careers
Hispanic Americans and other minority groups are an untapped resource of scientific talent that can be utilized to fill vacancies in the workplace.

Federal climate change research program should realign focus to both understandstand climate change and inform response strategies
The federal government's climate change research program should broaden its focus to include research that would support actions needed to cope with climate change-related problems

Organizational Change Management for Sustainability: The Harvard Case Study
It takes much more than the appropriate technology to create a sustainable green environment and organizational culture.

Antioxidants in Midwestern black raspberries influenced by production site
Black raspberries have been studied for decades by scientists and medical researchers interested in the fruits' apparent ability to limit the onset or severity of degenerative diseases, including cancer.

Maryland takes national lead to preserve foreign language assets
To address the nation's growing foreign language needs, a new task force report recommends steps to preserve and use the pool of well-educated, bilingual

USA Learns helps immigrants learn English
A new Web site that teaches English to Spanish-speaking immigrants has attracted more than 500,000 visitors in its first three months of operation.

Alley to share Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement
Richard B. Alley, Evan Pugh professor of geosciences, Penn State, will share the 2009 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement with Veerabhadran Ramanathan, distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

Cell microenvironments hold key to future stem cell therapies
Researchers led by Berkeley Lab's Mark LaBarge and Mina Bissell have shown that the ultimate fate of a stem or progenitor cell in a woman's breast -- whether the cell develops normally or whether it turns cancerous -- may depend upon signals from multiple microenvironments.

Biodegradable mulch films on the horizon
With more than 30 million acres of agricultural land worldwide covered with over one million tons of plastic mulch, the recent trend toward

Autism Speaks funds $5 million to studies on genetic and environmental risk factors for autism
Autism Speaks funds $5 million investigating genetic and environmental risk factors for autism, expanding and linking large-scale, multisite studies at Drexel University (Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation EARLI) and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Infant Brain Imaging Study IBIS) studying more than 2000 infant siblings of children with autism at higher genetic risk.

Desert ants smell their way home
Humans lost in the desert are well known for going around in circles, prompting scientists to ask how desert creatures find their way around without landmarks for guidance.

Sausalito team wins Häagen-Dazs-UC Davis 'Bee Friendly' garden competition
A Sausalito, California team has won the Häagen-Dazs-UC Davis Honey Bee Haven Design Competition, which drew entries throughout the world.

1.5 million-year-old fossil humans walked on modern feet
Ancient footprints found at Rutgers' Koobi Fora Field School show that some of the earliest humans walked like us and did so on anatomically modern feet 1.5 million years ago.

Busy Bs: Lymphocyte uses multiple mechanisms to shape immune response
New research expands our understanding of how a type of immune cell called a B lymphocyte enables the immune system to mount a successful defense against an intestinal parasite.

Diverse skills, personalities aid top management teams -- up to a point
Organizations that diversify the skill levels of their top leadership benefit more than those that try too hard for similar diversity in personality, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Study shows maritime shipping makes hefty contribution to air pollution
Commercial ships emit almost half as much particulate pollutants into the air globally as the total amount released by the world's cars, according to a new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Tigers get a stimulus plan
The Wildlife Conservation Society, together with the World Bank and Global Environment Facility, announced today a commitment of $2.8 million toward tiger conservation across its range.

New discovery gives tuberculosis vaccine a shot in the arm
A new article appearing in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology may lead to improvements in the efficacy of the current tuberculosis vaccine.

Evolutionary biologist will study HIV with grant from AIDS research foundation
Dr. Sara Sawyer will use a $120,000 grant from the Foundation for AIDS Research to study how the HIV virus and the cells it attacks have evolved together over time.

An underwater drugstore?
No matter how sophisticated modern medicine becomes, common ailments like fungal infections can outrun the best of the world's antibiotics.

Springer to publish Neurotoxicity Research
As of 2009, Springer will publish Neurotoxicity Research, the official journal of the Neurotoxicity Society.

Team-based diabetes care fetches more value for dollar
Diabetes patients undergoing team-based care do not save more in treatment costs under Medicare and Medicaid than other patients, but they are healthier, according to a recent study.

Scripps research team finds immune molecule that attacks wide range of flu viruses
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute report the characterization of an immune system molecule that targets what appears to be an

Arthritis hinders physical activity for adults with heart disease
Arthritis affects more than half of adults with heart disease and appears to be a substantial barrier to utilizing physical activity to help manage their condition, according to a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Team of orthopedic surgeons and kinesiologists win hippest of awards
A team of orthopedic surgeons and kinesiologists from the University of Montreal and its affiliated Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Center will be honored with the Hip Society's John Charnley Award -- the most prestigious award in the field of hip surgery.

Analysis of fresh strawberries reveals consumer preferences
Researchers interested in learning more about consumer preferences for strawberries determined that

Society of Interventional Radiology hosts 34th annual scientific meeting
The Society of Interventional Radiology will present the latest research on treatments for individuals with kidney, prostate and bone cancer, herniated disks, peripheral arterial disease and related complications, childbirth difficulties and more at its 34th Annual Scientific Meeting March 7-12 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.

Flu virus foiled again
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, supported in part by NIH, have identified a common Achilles' heel in a wide range of seasonal and pandemic influenza A viruses.

Antibiotic combination defeats extensively drug-resistant TB
A combination of two FDA-approved drugs, already approved for fighting other bacterial infections, shows potential for treating extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, the most deadly form of the infection.

Fampridine improves walking ability in some patients with multiple sclerosis
The drug fampridine improves walking ability in some patients with multiple sclerosis and seems to be well-tolerated in patients with all disease course types of MS.

Do doodle: Research shows doodling can help memory recall
Doodling while listening can help with remembering details, rather than implying that the mind is wandering as is the common perception.

US shiitake market mushrooming
Shiitake mushrooms are the third most popular mushroom species in the US.

Spun-sugar fibers spawn sweet technique for nerve repair
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a technique using spun-sugar filaments to create a scaffold of tiny synthetic tubes that might serve as conduits to regenerate nerves severed in accidents or blood vessels damaged by disease.

New predictive tool could be used to identify people at risk of atrial fibrillation
Scientists have developed a risk score that could help to identify people at risk of atrial fibrillation (the most common abnormality of heart rhythm that puts people at increased risk of stroke and heart failure) in the primary care setting, and may also aid the targeting of prevention measures at high-risk individuals.

Modern lifestyle prevents tooth decay
New research has found that modern lifestyle habits may play a bigger role than food alone, when it comes to tooth decay.

Long-term study of orchard ground cover management systems
The most widely used orchard groundcover management system (GMS) in North America and Europe consists of Herbicide-treated tree rows with mowed grass

U of T psychologists shed light on origins of morality
People sometimes say that immoral behavior leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Georgia goes bananas
Bananas, known most often as a healthy, convenient food, are also popular ornamental plants in the southern United States.

Supports Intensity Scale is effective for identifying needs in people with intellectual disability
The Supports Intensity Scale assessment tool can effectively predict funding for people with intellectual disability based on individual needs, and it is truly a needs-based assessment tool, unlike adaptive behavior instruments or other measures of personal competence commonly used to determine services for people with intellectual disabilities, reveals a new study with 274 adults currently receiving funding from a state developmental disability agency.

New tool guides doctors to save cancer patients' fertility
The powerful chemotherapy and radiation used to save cancer patients' lives can also destroy their fertility.

Statins lower stroke severity, improve recovery
Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that patients who were taking statins before a stroke experienced better outcomes and recovery than patients who weren't on the drug -- even when their cholesterol levels were ideal.

A worm-and-mouse tale: B cells deserve more respect
By studying how mice fight off infection by intestinal worms -- a condition that affects more than 1 billion people worldwide -- scientists have discovered that the immune system is more versatile than has long been thought.

'Freaks' help scientist unravel nature and nurture
In his latest book,

How cold is too cold for newborn calves?
University of Miami scientist, Larry Kalkstein and NOAA researchers reviewed 10 years of climatological information from Glasgow, Montana.

No differences in survival or neonatal outcomes in pregnancy-associated colorectal cancer
In one of the first studies to examine maternal and newborn health risks and colorectal cancer, UC Davis researchers have found that women diagnosed with the disease during or shortly after their pregnancies have the same survival as women who have the disease and are not pregnant.

EPA to study Puerto Rico waters and marine habitat
The US Environmental Protection Agency will be studying water, reefs and marine habitats in the Caribbean Sea around Puerto Rico.

New research offers guidance for improving primary grade writing instruction
New research from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers guidance for teachers to help them improve writing instruction in the primary grades and develop stronger student writers.

Positive behavior support training curriculum
Authors Dennis H. Reid and Marsha Parsons bring you a best-selling competency-based training curriculum that is helping providers nationwide enhance the quality of care provided to people with intellectual disabilities.

CO2 drop and global cooling caused Antarctic glacier to form
Global climate rapidly shifted from a relatively ice-free world to one with massive ice sheets on Antarctica about 34 million years ago.

New supercomputer dedicated for open scientific research
The president and chief executive officer of worldwide supercomputer manufacturer Cray Inc. will join officials at the University of Alaska Fairbanks March 5 at 10:30 a.m. to dedicate the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center's newest supercomputer, a Cray XT5 named Pingo.

Alzheimer's-associated plaques may have impact throughout the brain
The impact of the amyloid plaques that appear in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease may extend beyond the deposits' effects on neurons -- the cells that transmit electrochemical signals throughout the nervous system.

UMMS researchers isolate gene mutations in patients with inherited amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have discovered a new gene whose mutations cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurological disorder.

Study: Soybean oil reduces carbon footprint in swine barns
One of agriculture's most versatile crops could one day play a role in combating climate change, Purdue University research shows.

Color test enhances tomato analyzer software
Along with texture, size and flavor, color plays an important role in the business of horticultural crop production and marketing.

Differences in how male, female police officers manage stress may accentuate stress on the job
Research by a Kansas State University professor has found that the different ways in which men and women in the police force deal with stress may actually cause them more stress.

World's top minds to celebrate 'the birth and life of beginnings'
For two weeks in March, some of the greatest names in science and the humanities will come to Tallahassee to take part in public discussions on how fundamental discoveries in science, religion, philosophy, history and the arts have shaped our understanding of life and civilization -- and our grasp of what lies ahead.

A second MND gene mutation in one year signifies rapid research progress
A collaborative research project involving Professor Christopher Shaw of the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and Professor Robert H.

Prehistoric global cooling caused by CO2, research finds
A paper published this week in the journal Science, a team of researchers found evidence of widespread cooling that triggered glaciers to form at the South Pole.

New gene-searching method uncovers possible new targets for Crohn's disease drugs
Discovering the different genes that contribute to a complex disease is like searching in the proverbial haystack for an unknown number of needles.

Why California should consider Australia's 'prepare, stay and defend' wildfire policy
As debate rages over the safety of the Australian policy of encouraging willing and able residents to stay and defend their property from wildfires, fire researchers at UC Berkeley and in Australia say that the strategy is worth consideration in California and other regions in the United States.

Economic research receives further funding boost
Following the latest call for proposals, the Economic and Social Research Council is pleased to announce overall funding of £16.5 million ($23.5 million) over 5 years from 2009/2010 to 2015/2016 for three new centers focusing on the economic well being of the UK.

Drug improves mobility for some MS patients
The experimental drug fampridine (4-aminopyridine) improves walking ability in some individuals with multiple sclerosis.

Global seed vault marks 1-year anniversary with 4-ton shipment of critical food crops
Four tons of seeds -- almost 90,000 samples of hundreds of crop species -- from food crop collections maintained by Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, USA and three international agricultural research centers in Syria, Mexico and Colombia, were delivered today to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault as it celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Scientists discover why teeth form in a single row
A system of opposing genetic forces determines why mammals develop a single row of teeth, while sharks sport several, according to a study published today in the journal Science.

New tool for genome-wide association studies
Modern genotyping technologies offer new opportunities to explore how genes influence health and disease, but also present the challenge of analyzing huge amounts of genetic and clinical data.

Second, more realistic estimate can reduce planning and purchasing errors
The next time a contractor tells you the kitchen remodeling will be done in six weeks, you might ask him to get real and reconsider his estimate.

Public Policy Center hosts flood symposium March 10-12
The University of Iowa Public Policy Center is hosting a lecture and symposium Tuesday, March 10, through Thursday, March 12, offering opportunities to better understand the disastrous floods of summer 2008.

U of I study shows benefits of hormone found in fat tissue
It's called the obesity paradox. Although obese people are more apt to suffer from inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, they are also more likely to survive a major attack caused by one of those conditions.

Researchers identify ALS gene mutation
Research that has discovered a new gene whose mutations cause five percent of inherited cases of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is part of a national study led by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Study finds hemlock trees dying rapidly, affecting forest carbon cycle
New research by US Forest Service Southern Research Station scientists and partners suggests the hemlock woolly adelgid is killing hemlock trees faster than expected in the southern Appalachians and rapidly altering the carbon cycle of these forests.

A little bit of spit reveals a lot about what lives in your mouth
Your mouth is home to a thriving community of microbial life.

Lab tests show two-drug combination effective against drug-resistant TB bacteria
In a finding that could soon help people infected with untreatable, highly drug-resistant tuberculosis, scientists have shown that two FDA-approved drugs work in tandem to kill laboratory-grown strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB.

Geriatric pulsar still kicking
The oldest isolated pulsar ever detected in X-rays has been found with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Clemson scientists launch rockets to test atmospheric conditions
Clemson University space physicists have traveled around the world to launch rockets to test atmospheric conditions.

Liver transplant recipients with hepatitis B may need lifelong antiviral treatment
Patients who undergo liver transplantation for hepatitis B-related liver damage should receive lifelong antiviral treatment to keep the disease from coming back.

Victims of traffic accidents are not correctly indemnified for lost profit
A study carried out in the department of Commercial Law of the University of Granada poses the need of reforming the legal system to clearly regulate the assessment of damages for the victims of traffic accidents.

This grass is still greener
In areas of the US where golfers can enjoy the game year-round, winter temperatures, foot and equipment traffic, and frost can wreak havoc on healthy greens and present challenges for course managers and owners.

Muscling in on type 2 diabetes
Research by kinesiology investigator Dustin Hittel, Ph.D., has proven that muscle in extremely obese individuals produces large amounts of a protein called myostatin, which normally inhibits muscle growth -- suggesting that for type 2 diabetics, and the very obese, the task of getting healthy may be more difficult than initially thought.

Older women find health benefits through volunteer program
A new article in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences reveals that African-American women aged 60 and older who volunteer in elementary schools are not only more physically active than their nonvolunteering counterparts, but seem to sustain this physical activity over time.

The colors of quasars reveal a dusty universe
The vast expanses of intergalactic space appear to be filled with a haze of tiny, smoke-like

An impossible alloy now possible
What has been impossible has now been shown to be possible -- an alloy between two incompatible elements.

Proepithelin encourages cell growth and migration in prostate cancer
Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University have identified a protein that appears to play a significant role in the growth and migration of prostate cancer cells, especially androgen-independent prostate cancer cells. 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