Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 31, 2009
Magnetic nano-'shepherds' organize cells
A multidisciplinary team of investigators from Case Western Reserve University, Duke University and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, created an environment where magnetic particles suspended within a specialized liquid solution acted like molecular sheep dogs by nudging free-floating human cells to form chains in response to external magnetic fields.

Blood test for brain injuries gains momentum
A blood test that can help predict the seriousness of a head injury and detect the status of the blood-brain barrier is a step closer to reality, according to two recently published studies involving University of Rochester Medical Center researchers.

Control, treatment of bed bugs challenging
A review of previously published articles indicates there is little evidence supporting an effective treatment of bites from bed bugs, that these insects do not appear to transmit disease, and control and eradication of bed bugs is challenging, according to an article in the April 1 issue of JAMA.

Three prize winners awarded in Elsevier's Article 2.0 contest
Elsevier, a leading global healthcare and scientific publisher, has announced the winners in the Elsevier Article 2.0 contest, a competition challenging individuals to develop creative and useful solutions for rendering journal articles on the Web.

Ants can learn to forage on one-way trails
Ant trails fascinate children and scientists alike. With so many ants traveling in both directions, meeting and contacting one another, carrying their loads and giving the impression that they have a sense of urgency and duty, they pose the following question: how do they organize themselves?

Potential magic bullet for MRSA treatment
Attaching an antimicrobial drug, which is activated by light, to a peptide that binds to bacteria and stops them making toxins, produced a

New tests provide new insight into why patients are in heart failure
A failing heart makes a lot of a hormone needed to eliminate the excess salt and water bloating the body but not enough of the enzyme needed to activate it, researchers say.

Canadian radio team and veteran astronomy writer win 2009 AGU science journalism awards
The producers and host of a radio feature portraying Canada transformed by climate change in 2050 -- Jim Lebans, Jim Handman, Zerah Lurie and Bob McDonald -- have won the 2009 Walter Sullivan award.

NIST-Cornell team builds world's first nanofluidic device with complex 3-D surfaces
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Cornell University have capitalized on a process for manufacturing integrated circuits at the nanometer level and used it to develop a method for engineering the first-ever nanofluidic device with complex 3-D surfaces.

AIUM presents 2009 Distinguished Sonographer award
AIUM president Joshua Copel, M.D., will present the 2009 Distinguished Sonographer Award to Jean Spitz, M.P.H., R.D.M.S., on April 3 at the AIUM Annual Convention in New York, N.Y.

CSHL neuroscientists propose project to comprehensively map mammalian brain circuits
In a paper that appears in the March issue of PLoS Computational Biology, 37 scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and other major research institutions in the US and Europe argue strongly in favor of committing resources to prepare a comprehensive map of neural circuits in the mammalian brain.

NERSC's Deep Sky project provides a portal into data universe
Every night approximately 3,000 astronomical files flow to the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center from automated sky scanning systems all over the world for archiving.

Engineers develop method to disperse chemically modified graphene in organic solvents
A method for creating dispersed and chemically modified graphene sheets in a wide variety of organic solvents has been developed by a University of Texas at Austin engineering team led by Professor Rod Ruoff, opening the door to use graphene in a host of important materials and applications such as conductive films, polymer composites, ultracapacitors, batteries, paints, inks and plastic electronics.

Potential new HIV drug may help patients not responding to treatment
A potential treatment for HIV may one day help people who are not responding to anti-retroviral therapy, suggests new research published tomorrow in the Journal of Immunology.

Learning curve: Tricks to resist temptation
Here's good news for dieters who face food challenges in the break room every day: A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that our resistance gets a boost after we've just been exposed to similar temptations.

$5.5 million from Gates Foundation funds major study of childhood malnutrition
Scientists who first established a link between obesity and the trillions of friendly microbes that live in the intestine now are investigating whether the organisms can contribute to the converse: severe malnutrition.

Antarctic marine biodiversity data now online
The International Polar Year concluded in March 2009 with a tangible legacy in the form of a network of databases on marine biodiversity that will serve as clearinghouse for all biodiversity-related data gathered since the very first Antarctic research expeditions.

Spring 'blockbuster' movie now showing
Researchers with the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), working with TEAM 0.5, the world's most powerful transmission electron microscope, have made a movie that shows in real-time carbon atoms repositioning themselves around the edge of a hole that was punched into a graphene sheet.

ICU follow-up services: What patients really think
Former patients believe that intensive care unit follow-up services are important for their physical, emotional and psychological recovery.

Applied Geomatics launched by Springer
Springer is launching a new journal, Applied Geomatics, which will be the official publication of the Italian Society of Photogrammetry and Topography.

Rocket launches may need regulation to prevent ozone depletion, says study
The global market for rocket launches may require more stringent regulation in order to prevent significant damage to Earth's stratospheric ozone layer in the decades to come, according to a new study by researchers in California and Colorado.

Bad mix of bacterial remnants and genetics leads to arthritis
Here's another reason to hate leftovers. A research study appearing in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology sheds light on one cause of arthritis: bacteria.

Housing for homeless alcoholics can reduce costs to taxpayers
Providing housing and support services for homeless alcoholics costs taxpayers less than leaving them on the street, where taxpayer money goes towards police and emergency health care.

Good intentions not enough to protect older women who live alone, MU researcher finds
Older women who live alone are vulnerable to unwanted intrusions in their homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eye exercises help patients work out vision problems, UH optometrist says
You've probably been there. In a doctor's office, being advised to do what you dread -- exercise.

Research links diversity with increased sales revenue and profits, more customers
Workplace diversity is among the most important predictors of a business' sales revenue, customer numbers and profitability, according to research to be published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review.

IMPAKT Breast Cancer Conference
A coalition of leading European breast cancer organizations has come together to launch an important new type of scientific conference, which aims to ensure breast cancer patients benefit as quickly as possible from cutting-edge research.

Surgeons slow to learn keyhole surgery for prostate cancer
New research in an article published online first and in the May edition of the Lancet Oncology shows that surgeons who operate on patients with prostate cancer find it harder to learn the skills needed to do the surgery with a laparoscope compared with traditional techniques.

Researchers use CT to examine hidden face in Nefertiti bust
Using CT imaging to study a priceless bust of Nefertiti, researchers have uncovered a delicately carved face in the limestone inner core and gained new insights into methods used to create the ancient masterpiece and information pertinent to its conservation, according to a new study.

Sihoun Hahn, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.M.G., is the 2009-2010 Luminex/ACMGF Award recipient
The American College of Medical Genetics Foundation recently awarded Dr.

Buyer beware: Touching something increases perceived ownership
To avoid unwanted or unnecessary purchases, keep your hands off the goods.

By shutting down inflammation, agent reverses damage from spinal cord injury in preclinical studies
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have been able to speed recovery and substantially reduce damage resulting from spinal cord injury in preclinical studies.

Green marketers should take cue from ten commandments
Companies offering

Concerns about food safety to be spotlighted at U of Minnesota symposium
Recent nationwide outbreaks of food-borne illnesses have triggered calls for more regulation along with plunging consumer confidence.

Red in the face
People use the color of your skin to judge how healthy you are, according to researchers at the University of St Andrews.

Providing housing for homeless persons with alcoholism linked with reduced health care costs
An intervention that provides housing for homeless persons with severe alcohol problems without requiring abstinence from drinking was associated with reduced health care use and costs and a decrease in the use of alcohol, according to a study in the April 1 issue of JAMA.

Computer simulations explain the limitations of working memory
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have constructed a mathematical activity model of the brain's frontal and parietal parts, to increase the understanding of the capacity of the working memory and of how the billions of neurons in the brain interact.

Team identifies a molecular switch linking infectious disease and depression
Researchers report that IDO, an enzyme found throughout the body and long suspected of playing a role in depression, is in fact essential to the onset of depressive symptoms sparked by chronic inflammation.

Physical activity may strengthen children's ability to pay attention
Research led by a University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor suggests that physical activity may increase students' cognitive control -- or ability to pay attention -- and also result in better performance on academic achievement tests.

Optical illusions: Variety makes us perceive smaller quantities
Here's another reason why dieters should avoid all-you-can-eat buffets: When faced with a large variety of items, consumers tend to underestimate how much of each item is present, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

New flat flexible speakers might even help you catch planes and trains
A groundbreaking new loudspeaker, less than 0.25mm thick, has been developed by University of Warwick engineers.

Fei-Chang or Pepsi Cola? What makes consumers choose local brands over global ones?
A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research examines why some people might choose a local brand instead of a recognizable global brand like Coke or Pepsi.

International prize for Nottingham spine research
A study aimed at overcoming problems with treatments for a common cause of back pain has picked up one of the most prestigious prizes in spinal research.

IADR awards Anthony Fauci honorary membership
The International Association for Dental Research announces Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., as 2009 IADR Honorary Membership recipient.

As good as it gets: Octogenarian muscles don't get stronger with exercise
Octogenarian women were unable to increase muscle mass after a three-month weight lifting program targeted at strengthening the thigh muscle.

Men are the weaker sex
Nurses in the maternity ward often say that a difficult labor is a sign of a baby boy.

April 2009 Geology and GSA Today media highlights
Geology covers multiple aspects of life on Earth, including extinctions and diversifications,

Taking cues: Sometimes environmental cues can activate thrifty behavior
Consumers are constantly bombarded with subtle and even subconscious cues from their environment.

Genetic link uncovered in disparate colon cancer death
A new study shows that African-Americans with a Pro72 protein variant had more than double the risk of dying from an advanced form of colon cancer compared to whites.

Wheat curl mite might require non-chemical control
The wheat curl mite is a minute menace that wreaks havoc on the region's wheat crop, but it has no enemies currently that can take it out.

Multi-colored uniforms improve perceptions of hospital nurses among children and parents
Putting hospital nurses in brightly colored, unconventional uniforms makes children more comfortable and parents more confident.

Higher hospital safety rating not associated with lower risk of in-hospital death
Hospitals that reported higher scores on measures of safe practices did not have a significantly lower rate of in-hospital deaths compared to hospitals that reported lower scores on these measures, according to a study in the April 1 issue of JAMA.

Rigorous visual training teaches the brain to see again after stroke
By doing a set of vigorous visual exercises on a computer every day for several months, patients who had gone partially blind as a result of suffering a stroke were able to regain some vision.

Study links increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults to sleep problems
Adults who suffer chronic sleep problems may face an increased risk of suicidal behavior, new research indicates.

Magnetic nano-'shepherds' organize cells
The power of magnetism may address a major problem facing bioengineers as they try to create new tissue -- getting human cells to not only form structures, but to stimulate the growth of blood vessels to nourish that growth.

Taste, odor intervention improves cancer therapy, according to Virginia Tech, Wake Forest study
Cancer therapies, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, may alter and damage taste and odor perception, possibly leading to patient malnutrition, and in severe cases, significant morbidity.

Third sector gears up to meet
The issues raised for third sector organizations by policies to expand personal budgets are outlined in

Sex workers prefer remote screening for sexually transmitted diseases
University of Westminster researchers used a simple and convenient method for screening female commercial sex workers for sexually transmitted infections without the need for them to attend clinics.

Disease Models & Mechanisms -- selected for indexing in Medline
The Company of Biologists is pleased to announce that its latest journal, Disease Models & Mechanisms has been selected for inclusion in MEDLINE.

CSHL team develops mouse models of leukemia that predict response to chemotherapy
Researchers led by Professor Scott Lowe, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have designed new mouse models of human acute myeloid leukemia that accurately predict chemotherapy response in patients.

Medical leaders to propose curbs on conflict of interest
Calling professional medical associations' (PMAs) dependence on funding from pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers a threat to quality patient care and professional integrity, a group of influential medical leaders today urged these organizations to reduce and eventually eliminate industry contributions.

International Liver Congress 2009
Journalist registrations are being accepted for International Liver Congress 2009, taking place from 22nd-26th April in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Study details strategy for boosting ranks of black HIV/AIDS researchers
African Americans comprise 13 percent of the US population, but 49 percent of the newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases.

Childhood abuse associated with onset of psychosis in women
Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, have published new research which indicates that women with severe mental illness are more likely to have been abused in childhood that the general population.

AIAA conferences focus on latest information technology
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will present the Infotech@Aerospace Conference and the Unmanned ...

More than 500 seismologists to meet April 8-10 in Monterey, Calif.
Seismologists from around the world will gather at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Seismological Society of America.

Permian extinction not a global event
Understanding the cause of the extinction that wiped out some 95 percent of the living species at the end of the Palaeozoic Era has been one of the greatest problems in the earth and life sciences.

TV news on organ donation says little about need, how to become a donor
More than 100,000 people in the US are waiting for an organ transplant, and an average of 17 die waiting each day, but TV network news stories say little about that need or how to become a donor, says University of Illinois communication professor Brian Quick.

Amniotic fluid may provide new source of stem cells for future therapies
For the first time, scientists have shown that amniotic fluid (the protective liquid surrounding an embryo) may be a potential new source of stem cells for therapeutic applications.

Researchers find better way to manufacture fast computer chips
Engineers at Ohio State University are developing a technique for mass producing computer chips made from the same material found in pencils.

New insights into how brain responds to viral infection
Scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health have discovered that astrocytes, supportive cells in the brain that are not derived from an immune cell lineage, respond to a molecule that mimics a viral infection using cellular machinery similar to that used by classical immune cells in the blood.

Obtaining biogas from food industry waste
The AZTI-Tecnalia technological center, experts in food research, has put a biogas plant into operation in order to investigate novel systems of sustainable energy production based on the use of waste and sub-products from the food industry.

Margarita Saenz, M.D., is recipient of Genzyme/ACMGF Fellowship in Biochemical Genetics
Margarita Sifuentes Saenz, M.D., a Medical Genetics Fellow at the Children's Hospital in Denver, Colo., was honored as the 2009-2010 recipient of the Genzyme/American College of Medical Genetics Foundation Clinical Genetics Fellowship in Biochemical Genetics at the ACMG 2009 Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting in Tampa, Fla.

Coronary angiography may improve outcomes for cardiac arrest patients
Cardiac arrest victims who receive coronary angiography are twice as likely to survive without significant brain damage compared with those who don't have the imaging procedure, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers.

What's in your water?: Disinfectants create toxic by-products
Although perhaps the greatest public health achievement of the 20th century was the disinfection of water, a recent study now shows that the chemicals used to purify the water we drink and use in swimming pools react with organic material in the water yielding toxic consequences.

Novocell awarded seminal stem cell patent
Novocell Inc., a stem cell engineering company, today announced that it has received US Patent 7,510,876 with claims covering human definitive endoderm cells, an essential cell for generating not only pancreatic type cells, which Novocell is developing for use as a cell therapy for diabetes, but also other endoderm lineage-derived tissues and organs such as lungs, intestine, liver, thymus and thyroid.

West Nile virus studies show how star-shaped brain cells cope with infection
A new study published as the cover article for the April 2009 issue of the FASEB Journal promises to give physicians new ways to reduce deadly responses to viral infections of the brain and spinal cord.

Guided by expectations: Different approaches lead to different conclusions
Consumers often make decisions by predicting how they'll feel after an event or purchase.

A mother's criticism causes distinctive neural activity among formerly depressed
A new study has found that when criticized by their mothers, formerly depressed women showed different patterns of brain activity compared to those who have never been depressed.

New brain analytical tool developed by Hebrew University scientists
An interdisciplinary team of scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed a new analytical tool to answer the question of how our brain cells record outside stimuli and react to them.

AIUM Presents 2009 Joseph H. Holmes Pioneer Awards
The 2009 Joseph H. Holmes Pioneer Awards will be presented on April 3 at the AIUM Annual Convention in New York, N.Y.

A new X-ray spectroscopic tool for probing the interstellar medium
Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing the first clear detection of signatures long sought in the spectra of X-ray astronomical sources, the so-called EXAFS signatures, standing for

DNA from old insects -- no need to destroy the specimen
In a new study published April 1 in the online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, ancient DNA is retrieved from various insect remains without destruction of the specimens.

Virus evolution topic of Darwin talk at UH April 2
A biologist who researches viruses to determine how and why they evolve to cause disease will speak at the University of Houston April 2.

Full disclosure: People will make healthier choices if restaurants provide nutritional data
As more and more Americans eat meals outside the home, the country also faces an epidemic of obesity.

3-D printing hits rock-bottom prices with homemade ceramics mix
A new, not-so-secret recipe uses artist-grade ceramics powder for 3-D printing.

AIUM presents 2009 Memorial Hall of Fame awards
The 2009 AIUM Memorial Hall of Fame awards will be presented on April 3 at the AIUM Annual Convention New York, NY.

CT scans: Too much of a good thing can be risky
Patients who undergo numerous CT scans over their lifetime may be at increased risk for cancer, according to a new study.

AIUM presents 2009 William J. Fry Memorial Lecture award
AIUM president-elect Harvey Nisenbaum, M.D., will present the William J.

Focus on the future: Long-term goals help us resist unhealthy urges
According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers who focus on long-term goals are more likely to resist unhealthy urges.

Researchers question effectiveness of warning labels on over-the-counter drugs
Medicine packages barrage consumers with information, some required to be

How does microglia examine damaged synapses?
Microglia, immune cells in the brain, is suggested to be involved in the repair of damaged brain.

Teens cool off from sports with each succeeding winter
Although winter's grasp has subsided to spring, its effects could have a long term impact on the exercise patterns of teenagers. 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