Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 11, 2009
Study finds link between atrial fibrillation and an increased risk of death in diabetic patients
Results from a large, international, randomized, controlled trial have shown that there is a strong link between diabetics who have an abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) and an increased risk of other heart-related problems and death.

RWJF launches $19 million public health law research program
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today announced the selection of Temple University's James E.

1 in 7 US teens is vitamin D deficient
One in seven American adolescents is vitamin D deficient, according to a new study by researchers in the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College.

NEIKER-Tecnalia leads pilot experiment to develop system for automatic control of irrigation
The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia has developed a system for the control of irrigation the aim of which is to automatically administer the water needs of crops.

Over half of kids born very early need extra help at mainstream schools
Over half of children born extremely prematurely need extra educational support in mainstream schools, reveals research published ahead of print in the Fetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Climate change means bigger medical, council and property bills
Little attention is paid to the likelihood of increased bills, through tax and insurance charges, that will be incurred as the climate changes.

Research supports toxoplasmosis link to schizophrenia
Scientists have discovered how the toxoplasmosis parasite may trigger the development of schizophrenia and other bipolar disorders.

MIT battery material could lead to rapid recharging of many devices
MIT engineers have created a kind of beltway that allows for the rapid transit of electrical energy through a well-known battery material, an advance that could usher in smaller, lighter batteries -- for cell phones and other devices -- that could recharge in seconds rather than hours.

'Short-sleepers' may develop blood sugar abnormality that can lead to diabetes
People who slept less than six hours a night during the work week were nearly five times more likely to develop abnormal fasting blood sugar levels over a six-year period.

Consuming a little less salt could mean fewer deaths
A moderate decrease in daily salt intake could benefit the US population and reduce the rates of heart disease and deaths.

Journal of Computing in Higher Education to be published by Springer
Springer will publish the Journal of Computing in Higher Education: Research and Integration of Instructional Technology starting April 2009.

Extremely premature children at high risk of learning difficulties by age 11
Children born extremely prematurely are at high risk of developing learning difficulties by the time they reach the age of 11.

Study suggests blood test for Alzheimer's possible
Researchers have revealed a direct relationship between two specific antibodies and the severity of Alzheimer's disease symptoms, raising hopes that a diagnostic blood test for the devastating disorder is within reach.

Texas-sized tract of single-celled clones
A Rice University study of microbes from a Houston-area cow pasture has confirmed once again that everything is bigger in Texas, even the single-celled stuff.

Empire State Stem Cell Board awards $12.7 million to Albert Einstein College of Medicine
For the third time in 14 months, the Empire State Stem Cell Board has awarded Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University funding for stem cell research.

Don't follow us, we're lost too
One positive development of the current global financial crisis could be the recent election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America, in the opinion of economist Professor Panicos Demetriades of the Economic and Social Research Council's World Economy and Finance Program, who is today speaking at the Politics of Macro-Adjustment and Poverty Reduction Conference.

New computer models successfully link donors and kidney transplant patients
New computer models capable of sifting through data for thousands of donors and patients can now link strangers in life-saving chains of kidney transplants, a team of researchers report in the current edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Caltech neuroscientists map intelligence in the brain
Neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have conducted the most comprehensive brain mapping to date of the cognitive abilities measured by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, the most widely used intelligence test in the world.

Precision measurement of W boson mass portends stricter limits for Higgs particle
Scientists of the DZero collaboration at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have achieved the world's most precise measurement of the mass of the W boson by a single experiment.

CDU research finds street gang activity is a predictor of homicide in LA neighborhoods
Neighborhoods saddled with gangs fighting over the same turf suffer higher homicide rates and greater instability than areas where the gangs are scarce.

U of Minnesota professor authors report the state of health care journalism
Huge cutbacks in the news business are creating new challenges for health journalists who are trying to report on those policy issues, according to the survey and report written by Gary Schwitzer, associate professor in the University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication.

University of Miami physicist develops battery using new source of energy
Researchers at the University of Miami and at the Universities of Tokyo and Tohoku, Japan, have been able to prove the existence of a

New renewables to power 40 percent of global electricity demand by 2050
With adequate financial and political support, renewable energy technologies like wind and photovoltaics could supply 40 percent of the world's electricity by 2050, according to findings from the International Scientific Congress

Researchers predict click-through behavior in Web searches
In the world of search engines, clicks mean cash, and in a sluggish economy, companies can benefit by maximizing click-throughs to their Web sites from search engines.

Low vitamin D levels associated with several risk factors in teenagers
Low levels of vitamin D were associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, high blood sugar and metabolic syndrome in teenagers.

Bioinformatics sheds light on evolutionary origin of Rickettsia virulence genes
Scientists from three universities have revealed that genes for a specific type of molecular secretion system in Rickettsia, a structure that is linked in many cases to virulence, have been conserved over many years of evolution.

Right whale sedation enables disentanglement effort
On Friday, March 6, 2009, for the first time ever, rescuers used a new sedation delivery system to help them free a severely entangled North Atlantic right whale.

Explaining trends in heart attack
A report in Circulation from the Framingham Heart Study, which compared acute myocardial infarction incidence in 9,824 men and women over four decades, has proposed an explanation for the apparent paradox of improved prevention, falling mortality rates but stable rates of hospitalization.

Smokers' COPD risk is genetic
It's well known that puffing on cigarettes can eventually leave you out of puff.

NOAA: Atmospheric 'sunshade' could reduce solar power generation
The concept of delaying global warming by adding particles into the upper atmosphere to cool the climate could unintentionally reduce peak electricity generated by large solar power plants by as much as one-fifth, according to a new NOAA study.

Study shows prevalence of anergia in people with failing hearts
A noninvasive method of monitoring human activity is helping doctors and researchers at Columbia University Medical Center shed new light on a syndrome affecting nearly 40 percent of older adults with heart failure: anergia.

Close relationships can perpetuate individual health problems
Human problems rarely occur in a vacuum, but persist as part of ongoing social interaction in which causes and effects are interwoven.

Conference spotlights how successful organizations integrate analytics into decision making
During these difficult times for the economy, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences is hosting a conference focusing on ways that successful organizations use quantitative methods to make critical business and organizational decisions.

Migraine mice exhibit enhanced excitatory transmission at cortical synapses
New research is unraveling the complex brain mechanisms associated with disabling migraine headaches.

Steroid doping tests ignore vital ethnic differences in hormone activity
Current steroid (testosterone) doping tests should be scrapped for international sport, because they ignore vital ethnic differences in hormone activity, suggests research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Anesthesia or hypothermia: Warning for Alzheimer's patients
In a research report published online in the FASEB Journal, scientists show that a protein associated with Alzheimer's (called

Science as a pioneer
In the end the objective was clear: a European Research Area in which the exchange of scientists and scholars, research findings and technology would be as natural as the free movement of goods, people, services and capital.

Iron induces death in tumor cells
Tumor cells and healthy cells differ considerably in metabolism intensity.

Cell pathway on overdrive prevents cancer response to dietary restriction
Whitehead Institute researchers have pinpointed a cellular pathway that determines whether cancerous tumors are susceptible to dietary restriction during their development.

Does humor on the Internet mold political thinking?
Jokes are not merely a source of popular enjoyment and creativity; they also provide insights into how societies work and what people think.

Polarizers may enhance remote chemical detection
Chemists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a way to lower the cost and enhance the sensitivity of a tool used for stand-off detection in harsh environments like hazardous waste spills, blast furnaces and nuclear reactors.

An end to fear
A team of Dutch researchers under the leadership of Vici-winner Merel Kindt has successfully reduced the fear response.

New greenhouse gas identified
A gas used for fumigation has the potential to contribute significantly to future greenhouse warming, but because its production has not yet reached high levels there is still time to nip this potential contributor in the bud, according to an international team of researchers.

Study finds cannabis use, dangerous driving behaviors interrelated
Thrill-seeking young men are more likely to drive under the influence of cannabis and engage in reckless driving, according to a new Universite de Montreal study.

Nanowires may lead to better fuel cells
The creation of long platinum nanowires at the University of Rochester could soon lead to the development of commercially viable fuel cells by providing significant increases in both the longevity and efficiency of fuel cells.

Drought, urbanization were ingredients for Atlanta's perfect storm
On March 14, 2008, a tornado swept through downtown Atlanta, its 130 mile-per-hour winds ripping holes in the roof of the Georgia Dome, blowing out office windows, and trashing parts of Centennial Olympic Park.

Crickets may predict human survivability during global warming
UCF scientist Wade Winterhalter landed an $860,000 grant from the US Department of Energy for an innovative study involving crickets that may provide clues about whether or not humans can survive global warming.

Oxford's Dr. Rosalind Rickaby receives 2009 Rosenstiel Award
The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science announced today that it has selected Rosalind E.M.

Long, sexy tails not a drag on male birds
At least two dozen hummingbirds, not to mention hundreds of other birds, sport long tails to attract females.

Genes identified that are linked to spinal disc degeneration
Lumbar disc degeneration is an uncomfortable condition that affects millions of people, but two University of Alberta researchers have identified some of the genes that are causing problems.

Reward elicits unconscious learning in humans
A new study challenges the prevailing assumption that you must pay attention to something in order to learn it.

EuroPRevent 09: Changing hearts and minds in the drive to prevent cardiovascular disease
EuroPRevent 2009, the congress of the European Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, will this year mark the culmination of a five-year period of heart-healthy political activity in Europe which saw -- in 2007 -- the presentation of the European Heart Health Charter to the European Parliament.

Researchers work to make wood a new energy source
Is wood the new coal? Researchers at North Carolina State University think so, and they are part of a team working to turn woodchips into a substitute for coal by using a process called torrefaction that is greener, cleaner and more efficient than traditional coal burning.

Aspirin improves survival in women with stable heart disease, according to WHI study
New results from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study provide additional evidence that aspirin may reduce the risk of death in postmenopausal women who have heart disease or who have had a stroke.

American adults flunk basic science
Are Americans flunking science? A new national survey commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences and conducted by Harris Interactive reveals that the US public is unable to pass even a basic scientific literacy test.

New test successfully identifies life-threatening heart disease
A study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has demonstrated that a new immunohistochemical test is reliable in diagnosing a dangerous arrhythmic heart disease known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.

BMC researchers find that single question can identify unhealthy alcohol use in patients
Researchers at Boston Medical Center have found that a single-screening question recommended by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism accurately identifies unhealthy alcohol use in primary-care patients.

Soil and sediment contamination assessment more accurate
Prolonged exposure of soil and sediment invertebrates to toxic polycyclic aromatic compounds has large and unpredictable effects on the life cycle of these species, concludes Dutch researcher Miriam Leon Paumen.

Consumers stop buying as number of options increase
It is a common belief that having more options is better, and that people tend to go to stores that provide them with more choices.

Researchers discover a new pathway that regulates inflammation
Researchers at the University of Illinois have identified a novel pathway that controls the activity of a key protein involved in inflammation.

Specialist nurses boost parental willingness to consent to post-mortem research on children
Parents are mostly willing to consent to post mortem research on their children, providing they are approached by specialist nurses, experienced in bereavement and family counseling, suggests a small study published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researchers identify a process that regulates seed germination
Purdue University researchers have determined a process that regulates activity of genes that control seed germination and seedling development.

The ideal measurements of a pre-Roman model
Pre-Roman atrium houses exhibited a striking number of similarities as part of a long Italic building tradition.

Student-designed device provides new way to track calorie burning
A group of Georgia Tech students has crafted a device that allows individuals to constantly compute the amount of calories they burn -- even as they sleep.

UTMB study shows dramatic growth in number of hospitalists
Researchers at UTMB have produced the first quantitative analysis of the increase in the number of hospitalists, using Medicare data to calculate that the percentage of internal medicine physicians practicing as hospitalists jumped from 5.9 percent in 1995 to 19 percent in 2006.

NASA's Fermi telescope reveals best-ever view of the gamma-ray sky
A new map combining nearly three months of data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is giving astronomers an unprecedented look at the high-energy cosmos.

Study finds long-term ozone exposure raises the risk of dying from lung disease
Long-term exposure to elevated levels of ground ozone -- a major constituent of smog -- significantly raises the risk of dying from lung disease, according to a new nationwide study of cities that evaluated the impact of ozone on respiratory health over an 18-year period.

Climate change reduces nutritional value of algae
Micro-algae are growing faster under the influence of climate change.

Long-term ozone exposure linked to higher risk of death, finds nationwide study
A study analyzing two decades of data for 450,000 people across the nation found that long-term exposure to ground-level ozone, a major component of smog, raises the risk of death from respiratory ailments.

Enterprising school management leads to more effective schools
School management teams have only a limited influence on school effectiveness.

Obesity linked to dangerous sleep apnea in truck drivers
Truck crashes are a significant public health hazard causing thousands of deaths and injuries each year, with driver fatigue and sleepiness being major causes.

Under pressure, atoms make unlikely alloys
Ever since the Bronze Age, humans have experimented with combining different metals to create alloys with properties superior to either metal alone.

'American Idol after Iraq: Competing for hearts and minds in the global media age'
Just as the Obama administration begins to implement its new

Astrophotography at its very best
An Anglo-American collaboration, which began through the Internet, has produced some of the most exquisite star photographs ever made.

Stranger than fiction: 3 books take us boldly into another dimension
Science Fiction in literature, television, and movies (such as

Wag the Robot? Brown scientists build robot that responds to human gestures
Brown University researchers have demonstrated how a robot can follow human gestures in a variety of environments -- indoors and outside -- without adjusting for lighting.

Los Alamos researchers create 'map of science'
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have produced the world's first Map of Science -- a high-resolution graphic depiction of the virtual trails scientists leave behind when they retrieve information from online services.

New therapy protects lungs from runaway inflammation
A novel anti-inflammatory therapy designed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators prevents acute lung injury in mice exposed to an inflammation-causing toxin.

Shining light on diabetes-related blindness
A group of scientists in California is trying to develop a cheaper, less invasive way to spot the early stages of retinal damage from diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in American adults, before it leads to blindness.

Wishful betting can contaminate financial markets, study shows
Wishful bettors, those who make overly optimistic investments, will ultimately harm themselves financially, but they can harm entire markets as well, new research shows.

Person-centered care reduces agitation in people with dementia
Both person-centered care and dementia-care mapping reduce agitation in people with dementia in residential care. 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