Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 25, 2009
Rice fine-tunes attack on cancer
Two lasers may be better than one when attacking cancer cells, according to a paper by Rice University scientists, who are using computer simulations to quantify the effect of heating nanoparticles with near-infrared lasers to kill cancer tumors without damaging healthy tissue.

Intensive summer program helps physicians build clinical research careers
Graduates of the Program in Clinical Effectiveness, which has trained almost 1,900 physicians to be clinical investigators since 1986, have achieved significant success in receiving grant support from the National Institutes of Health and other funders, along with other accomplishments considered key to establishing a research career.

Personality influences reproductive success
A new study published in the Journal of Personality reveals that personality at adolescence predicts reproductive success later in life.

Conference on safeguarding health information, May 18-19
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was enacted by Congress to promote the use of electronic health records while protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information.

The matchmaker that maintains neuronal balance
A protein identified by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine helps maintain a critical balance between two types of neurons, preventing motor dysfunction in mammals.

Neuroscientists identify physiological link between trial and error and learning
Learning through trial and error often requires subjects to establish new physiological links by using information about trial outcome to strengthen correct responses or modify incorrect responses.

AADR testifies before the NAS' Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research Priorities
On March 20, on behalf of the American Association for Dental Research, AADR Executive Director Christopher H.

The Prestige oil spill caused changes in the cell structure of mussels
The oil spill from the Prestige petroleum oil tanker in 2002 caused serious damage to the ecosystems in the Bay of Biscay.

Finding trapped miners
University of Utah scientists devised a new way to find miners trapped by cave-ins.

Before starting dialysis, patients need nephrologist care
For patients with end-stage renal disease, receiving care from a nephrologist in the months before starting dialysis reduces the risk of death during the first year on dialysis, reports a study in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

NIST research collaboration spies Galfenol's inner beauty mark
Scientists from Virginia Tech and NIST have figured out why an alloy developed by the military over a decade ago behaves the way it does -- it's because of sprinkling of useful imperfections within an otherwise regular crystal.

Asteroid impact helps trace meteorite origins
The car-sized asteroid that exploded above the Nubian Desert last October was the first instance of an asteroid spotted in space before falling to Earth.

Stopping autoimmunity before it strikes
Current research describes a new method to track the development of autoimmune diseases before the onset of symptoms.

Therapeutic cloning gets a boost with new research findings
A paper by San Antonio and Honolulu researchers offers the first direct demonstration that cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer does not lead to an increase in the frequency of point mutations.

Study: Morbidly obese sedentary for more than 99 percent of day
A new study appearing in Clinical Cardiology examines the average fitness level of the morbidly obese (body mass indexes between 40.0 and 49.9).

Gender, geography influence floral purchases
Researchers in Taiwan seek to identify the consumption value that consumers seek from floral products, while clarifying the context of these values.

TV shows convey mixed messages about alcohol
Efforts to dissuade youth consumption through negative alcohol consumption depictions can be thwarted by portrayals of positive consumption in prime-time television programming.

New wheat disease could spread faster than expected
Both plant and human diseases that can travel with the wind have the potential to spread far more rapidly than has been understood, according to a new study, in findings that pose serious concerns not only for some human diseases but also a new fungus that threatens global wheat production.

Missing or mutated 'clock' gene linked to vascular disease
The circadian clocks that set the rhythmic motion of our bodies for wakeful days and sleepy nights can also set us up for vascular disease when broken, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

Structure more effective in high school science classes, study reveals
Self-led, self-structured inquiry may be the best method to train scientists at the college level and beyond, but it's not the ideal way for all high school students to prepare for college science.

Study finds US hospitals extremely slow to adopt electronic health records, citing cost
In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital and George Washington University found that less than two percent of surveyed hospitals had implemented comprehensive EHR; further, less than eight percent had basic EHR in place.

EPA new strategic plan for evaluating the toxicity of chemicals
EPA is releasing a new approach to advance the science upon which the agency bases its regulatory decisions and policies, resulting in better protection for human health and the environment.

A fast magnetic fix for sepsis?
An innovative new device created by researcher's at Children's Hospital Boston uses magnetism to quickly pull disease pathogens out of an infected bloodstream.

Energy drinks may be harmful to people with hypertension, heart disease
People who have high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid consuming energy drinks, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study to be published online Wednesday in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

Study explores effects of herbicide drift on white oak
Herbicide drift, when pesticides

Researchers decipher blood stem cell attachment, communication
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have deciphered a key sequence of events governing whether the stem cells that produce red and white blood cells remain anchored to the bone marrow, or migrate into the circulatory system.

More compelling evidence on why circumcision should be routine
New data from Ugandan scientists and investigators at Johns Hopkins University find that adult male circumcision decreased rates of the two most common sexually transmitted infections, according to a new report issued in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A venomous tale: Vipers shape lizards' tail-shedding abilities
University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues have answered a question that has puzzled biologists for more than a century: What is the main factor that determines a lizard's ability to shed its tail when predators attack?

Billions spent on health IT stimulus could lead to major boom... or bust
The more than $19 billion dollars of funding provided for health-care information technology (IT) in President Obama's economic stimulus package offers a unique opportunity to deliver on the promise of computerized health care, say researchers from Children's Hospital Boston in a Perspective article published in the March 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Visual learning study challenges common belief on attention
A visual learning study by scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston indicates that viewers can learn a great deal about objects in their field of vision even without paying attention.

Rotation is key to understanding volcanic plumes, scientists say
A 200-year-old report by a sea captain and a stunning photograph of the 2008 eruption of Mount Chaiten are helping scientists at the University of Illinois better understand strong volcanic plumes.

Values predict attitudes toward nuclear power
Concerns about climate change and energy independence have led to renewed calls for the resurgence of nuclear power.

AGU journal highlights -- March 25, 2009
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics: Coral reefs may start dissolving when atmospheric carbon dioxide doubles; Ocean proximity aggravates Houston's ozone pollution; Underground subatomic-particle measurements yield meteorological clues; Airborne acid may help soot turn into cloud seeds; Understanding sea temperature-atmospheric pressure links in North Atlantic; and New tool differentiates man-made from natural nitrogen-oxide pollution.

Social skills, extracurricular activities in high school pay off later in life
Christy Lleras, a professor of human and community development, says that

Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
The following contains news tips from the American Journal of Pathology.

Asteroid monitored from outer space to ground impact
An international research team has been able to identify an asteroid in space before it entered Earth's atmosphere, enabling computers to determine its area of origin in the solar system as well as predict the arrival time and location on Earth of its shattered surviving parts.

NIST stairwell evacuation study finds 'what we know we don't know'
Most of the time, we use the stairs in buildings -- especially in high-rise structures -- only as a back-up for faster elevators and escalators, but during a fire or other emergency, stairs become our primary passage to survival.

E-waste reduced by fees at time of purchase, says new INFORMS Management Insights
The large amount of waste that follows the sale of computers and electronics is reduced when states charge consumers a fee at the time of sale, 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.

Male circumcision reduces risk of genital herpes and HPV infection, but not syphilis
Heterosexual men who undergo medical circumcision can significantly reduce their risk of acquiring two common sexually transmitted infections -- herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the cause of genital herpes, and human papillomavirus, which can cause cancer and genital warts, according to a report in the March 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Making a point: Picoscale stability in a room-temperature AFM
A research team from NIST and the University of Colorado has shown how to detect and monitor the tiny amount of light reflected directly off the needle point of an atomic force microscope probe, and in so doing has demonstrated a 100-fold improvement in the stability of the instrument's measurements under ambient conditions, work that potentially affects a broad range of research from nanomanufacturing to biology.

Visual attention: How the brain makes the most of the visible world
The visual system has limited capacity, and cannot process everything that falls onto the retina.

RIT scientist fine-tunes Hubble Space Telescope
A scientist at Rochester Institute of Technology has expanded the Hubble Space Telescope's capability without the need for new instruments or billions of dollars.

USC researchers uncover mechanism that regulates movement of blood-forming stem cells in the body
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California have identified a signaling pathway that helps regulate the movement of blood-forming stem cells in the body -- a finding that provides important new insight into how stem cells move around the body and which may lead to improvements in the efficiency of bone marrow transplants.

Who influences purchases of native plants?
Native plants are a growing niche market in the southeastern United States.

Journal of General Physiology explores mysteries of TRP channels in latest Perspectives series
Despite the large body of literature on transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, very little is known about their biophysics and protein structure, or the mechanisms that control their gating processes.

Distinct hippocampal neurons monitor success or failure during learning task
Scientists have discovered that individual neurons in the monkey hippocampus can signal information about the outcome of experimental trials during an associative learning task.

2007 BPS book award winner Andy Field to launch new edition at annual conference
A new edition of the widely acclaimed

Daily consumption of cannabis predisposes to the appearance of psychosis and schizophrenia
A study carried out at the Institute of Neurosciences of the UGR has analyzed the characteristics of the psychosis provoked by the continuous consumption of this substance.

Policies regarding IRB members' industry relationships often lacking
At a time of heightened concern about conflicts of interest posed by relationships between academic medical researchers and commercial firms, a new study finds that a significant number of academic institutions do not have clear policies covering the industrial relationships of members of Institutional Review Boards, committees charged with ensuring that clinical studies uphold patient rights and follow ethical guidelines.

VAI study rules out transcriptional coactivators as useful herpes antiviral drug targets
Researchers at Van Andel Research Institute have determined that the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) does not require transcriptional coactivators for viral gene expression early in the infection process.

Queen's scientists find new way to battle MRSA
Experts from Queen's University Belfast have developed new agents to fight MRSA and other hospital-acquired infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

Material Handling Society gives NJIT $3,000 scholarship
The New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Material Handling gave NJIT last night $3,000 to fund students studying material handling or management.

Activity of individual brain cells predicts cognitive flexibility
A new study provides intriguing insights into mechanisms of cognitive flexibility at the single cell level.

New drug agent knocks out multiple enzymes in cancer pathway
A team of 24 researchers from the US, Europe, Taiwan and Japan and led by University of Illinois scientists has engineered a new anti-cancer agent that is about 200 times more active in killing tumor cells than similar drugs used in recent clinical trials.

Study shows brain activity associated with phantom limbs
Phantom limbs, often described after amputation, are also experienced as an extra limb in patients who are paralyzed on one side following a stroke.

Therapists still offering treatments for homosexuality despite lack of evidence
A significant minority of psychiatrists and therapists are still attempting to help lesbian, gay and bisexual clients become heterosexual despite lack of evidence that such treatment is beneficial or even safe, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Is consensus in anti-aging medical intervention an elusive expectation
In the May-June 2009 issue of the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, an international journal published by Elsevier, Professor Dr.

Call for abstracts and registration for the EMBO Meeting 2009
More than 120 researchers will speak at the EMBO Meeting 2009 -- the first annual life sciences conference to be organized by the European Molecular Biology Organization and held in Amsterdam from Aug.

A new approach to prostate cancer detection
US researcher Dr. Chris Beecher from the University of Michigan gave a well attended lecture about sarcosine at the 24th Annual EAU Congress in Stockholm, Sweden.

Synthetic biology: The next biotech revolution is brewing
The safety of early applications of synthetic biology may be adequately addressed by the existing regulatory framework for biotechnology, especially in contained laboratories and manufacturing facilities.

New species of spiders discovered by UBC scientist in Papua New Guinea
A University of British Columbia researcher has discovered dozens of species of jumping spiders that are new to science, giving scientists a peek into a section of the evolutionary tree previously thought to be sparse.

4,000-year-old coral beds among world's oldest living things, prof says
Researchers led by a Texas A&M University professor have discovered coral beds off the coast of Hawaii that are more than 4,200 years old, making them among the oldest living creatures on Earth.

New discovery raises doubts about current bladder treatment
Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System have found that one of the genes commonly thought to promote the growth and spread of some types of cancers is in fact beneficial in bladder cancer -- a major discovery that could significantly alter the way bladder cancers are treated in the future.

New measurement standard for vitamin D may lead to better bone health
In a development that could help improve the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, rickets, and other bone-related diseases, government chemists are reporting major progress toward developing an accurate, reliable set of standards for measuring vitamin D levels in the blood.

Magnetism governs properties of iron-based superconductors
Though a year has passed since the discovery of a new family of high-temperature superconductors, a viable explanation for the iron-based materials' unusual properties remains elusive.

New program evaluates labs for emergency communications tests
To help ensure that first responders, public safety officers and military personnel can always talk with each other no matter what communications equipment they are using, NIST and the Department of Homeland Security have teamed up to create the Project 25 Conformity Assessment Program to help ensure the interoperabiolity of communications equipment.

HIV-1 protease inhibitor induced oxidative stress in pancreatic B-cells: thymoquinone protection
Researchers at the Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana have discovered that the HIV-1 protease inhibitors, such as nelfinavir included in highly active antiretroviral therapy regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 patients, induce deleterious effects on insulin secretion mediated through the oxidative stress pathway.

Fructose metabolism by the brain increases food intake and obesity
The journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, published by Elsevier, will publish an important review this week online, by M.

'First economical process' for making biodiesel fuel from algae
Chemists are reporting development of what they termed the first economical, eco-friendly process to convert algae oil into biodiesel fuel -- a discovery they predict could one day lead to US independence from petroleum as a fuel.

Tornado-like rotation is key to understanding volcanic plumes
A 200-year-old report by a sea captain and photographs of the 2008 eruption of Mount Chaiten are helping scientists better understand strong volcanic plumes.

Faster, better diagnosis for patients with heart rhythm disorders
Patients with heart rhythm disorders can look forward to better and faster diagnosis and treatment thanks to the latest generation of electrophysiology equipment used this week for the first time in North America at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center.

Alternatives to pine bark and peatmoss identified for commercial, home gardens
Pine bark and peatmoss are commonly used in horticultural crop production but supplies of these inputs are being reduced due to pressures for using pine bark as fuel and growing environmental concerns over the mining of peat bogs in Canada and Europe.

Pilgrims' progress: Genetic data from 1630s backs health benefits of cancer screening
Scientists who traced a genetic mutation for colon cancer back almost 370 years are now confirming that routine screening and education can prevent people with the mutated gene from developing cancer.

Erratic black hole regulates itself
New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have made a major advance in explaining how a special class of black holes may shut off the high-speed jets they produce.

Scientists patent corrosion-resistant nano-coating for metals
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a method for coating metal surfaces with an ultrathin film containing nanoparticles -- particles measuring billionths of a meter -- which renders the metal resistant to corrosion and eliminates the use of toxic chromium for this purpose.

North West tidal barrages could provide 5 percent of UK's electricity
Engineers at the University of Liverpool claim that building estuary barrages in the North West could provide more than five percent of the UK's electricity.

Questioning why health care IT manufacturers aren't liable for product-related medical errors
Even when their products are implicated in harm to patients, manufacturers of health care information technology currently enjoy wide contractual and legal protection that renders them virtually

Gladstone Institutes establishes Taube-Koret Center for Huntington's disease research
The J. David Gladstone Institutes has joined forces with Taube Philanthropies and the Koret Foundation to initiate a groundbreaking research program aimed at preventing, treating, or curing Huntington's disease by the year 2020.

Recession cuts many, not all plastic surgery procedures
According to the newest national procedural statistics report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2008, doctors performed over 12 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures -- encompassing both surgical and minimally invasive procedures.

When it comes to intelligence, size matters
A collaborative study led by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University has demonstrated a positive link between cognitive ability and cortical thickness in the brains of healthy 6- to 18-year-olds.

Alternative teacher certification programs do not meet expectations
What began in the 1980s as a possible way to relieve teacher shortages and improve instructional quality in areas such as mathematics and science, alternative teacher certification programs have become a widespread strategy used in almost every state.

The egg makes sure that sperm don't get too old
In contrast to women, men are fertile throughout life, but research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has now shown that a fertilizing sperm can get help from the egg to rejuvenate.

Flatland physics probes mysteries of superfluidity
New experimental results on the behavior of ultracold, two-dimensional gases reported by physicists at the Joint Quantum Institute may help clarify the mysterious phenomenon called

Bioengineered proteins: Trial confirms new way to tackle cancer
Re-engineering a protein that helps prevent tumors spreading and growing has created a potentially powerful therapy for people with many different types of cancer.

US hospital use of electronic health records abysmally low, says new study
Contrary to conventional wisdom, only a tiny fraction of US hospitals have full health information technology systems in place to improve how they deliver care, says a new study published in the March 26 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Turtles no longer turned into souvenirs
Critically endangered hawksbill turtles are no longer being sold as tourist souvenirs in the Dominican Republic after a powerful government campaign cracked down on shops illegally trading such items.

Spiders, frogs and gecko among exciting discoveries found in Papua New Guinea
Jumping spiders, a tiny chirping frog and an elegant striped gecko are among 56 species believed new to science discovered during a Conservation International Rapid Assessment Program expedition to Papua New Guinea's highlands wilderness.

SUPER3C project, superconducting coated conductor cable
The SUPER3C project aims at establishing the feasibility of a low-loss HTS energy cable using CC tapes.

Bad news for insomniacs: 'hunger hormones' affected by poor sleep
UCLA researchers have found that chronic insomnia disrupts one of two hormones that are primarily responsible for regulating the body's energy balance telling you when you are hungry, and when you are full.

Study shows summer jobs may help prevent suicidal tendencies in at-risk teens
A University of Iowa study found that when a friend of a friend attempts suicide, at-risk teens are more likely to seriously consider doing so.

Brain surgery on Monday, home on Tuesday
Norma Wooley checked into Loyola University Hospital on a recent Monday morning for brain surgery to repair a life-threatening aneurysm.

You don't call, you don't write: Connectivity in marine fish populations
Children of baby boomers aren't the only ones who have taken to setting up home far from where their parents live.

Gene exchange common among sex-manipulating bacteria
Certain bacteria have learned to manipulate the proportion of females and males in insect populations.

New metasearch engine leaves Google, Yahoo crawling
One day in the not-too-distant future, you'll be able to type a query into an online search engine and have it deliver not Web pages that may contain an answer, but just the answer itself, says Weiyi Meng, a professor of computer science at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

A new family of molecules for self-assembly: The carboranes
Researchers have found a way to control the geometry and stability of a new family of self-assembled-monolayer materials, the carboranes.

Stanford scientists find new solutions for the arsenic-poisoning crisis in Asia
Every day, more than 140 million people in southern Asia drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic.

Knobbly kneed ID
Forget LED thumb-pad identification devices, complex retinal laser scanning, or even computerized iris recognition, the way forward for biometric validation is a quick X-ray snapshot of a person's knees, according to a report published in the International Journal of Biometrics. 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