Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 16, 2009
Worms control lifespan at high temperatures, UCSF study finds
The common research worm, C. elegans, is able to use heat-sensing nerve cells to not only regulate its response to hotter environments, but also to control the pace of its aging as a result of that heat, according to new research at the University of California, San Francisco.

MSU nursing researcher targets physical activity among girls with grant
With more than 1.5 million middle school-age girls in America overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, a Michigan State University nursing researcher has been awarded $400,000 to help girls increase their physical activity and improve other health-related behaviors.

Putting the squeeze on an old material could lead to 'instant on' electronic memory
Putting the squeeze on an old material could lead to

Singapore scientists synthesize gold to shed light on cells' inner workings
Highly fluorescent gold nanoclusters for sub-cellular imaging have been synthesized.

EAU position statement on screening for prostate cancer
The European Association of Urology has taken into consideration the recent scientific information on randomized screening studies on prostate cancer (Schröder et al, NEJM 2009).

Microbes thrive in harsh, isolated water under Antarctic glacier
A reservoir of briny liquid buried deep beneath an Antarctic glacier supports hardy microbes that have lived in isolation for millions of years, researchers report this week in the journal Science.

Cold and brown fat raise the prospect of a new method of treating obesity
Sven Enerbäck, Professor at the Institute of Biomedicine at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is one of the scientists who published their results in the New England Journal of Medicine this week.

A secret to night vision found in DNA's unconventional 'architecture'
Researchers have discovered an important element for making night vision possible in nocturnal mammals: the DNA within the photoreceptor rod cells responsible for low light vision is packaged in a very unconventional way, according to a report in the April 17 issue of Cell, a Cell Press publication.

Illegal trade devastates Sumatran orangutan population, TRAFFIC report says
Lack of law enforcement against illegal trade in Indonesia threatens the survival of orangutans and gibbons on Sumatra, a new study by the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC shows.

'Ocean glider' home after 2-month voyage
Scientists are celebrating the first successful deployment and retrieval in Australia of a remotely controlled, deep ocean-going robotic submarine destined to play a central role in measuring changes in two of Australia's most influential ocean currents.

NSF and China extend China's participation in East Asian Pacific Summer Institute Program
During a visit to the National Science Foundation, Liu Yandong, state councilor for science, technology, education, sport and culture for the People's Republic of China met with US National Science Foundation Director Arden L.

Origins of sulfur in rocks tells early oxygen story
Sedimentary rocks created more than 2.4 billion years ago sometimes have an unusual sulfur isotope composition thought to be caused by the action of ultra violet light on volcanically produced sulfur dioxide in an oxygen poor atmosphere.

Singapore researchers first to transform carbon dioxide into methanol
Scientists have succeeded in unlocking the potential of carbon dioxide -- a common greenhouse gas -- by converting it into a more useful product.

Emory study yields clue to how stem cells form
A study on the nematode C. elegans shows some of the first direct evidence of a process required for epigenetic reprogramming between generations -- a finding that could shed more light on the mechanisms of fertilization, stem-cell formation and cloning.

K-State using Second Life island to help high school students learn earth science
TerraWorld, an island in Second Life, is helping students learn geology in an interactive way.

Mystery shoppers cut underage smoking
Enforcement of laws against the sale of cigarettes to minors does result in a reduction in underage smoking.

JILA/NIST scientists get a grip on colliding fermions to enhance atomic clock accuracy
Physicists have measured and controlled seemingly forbidden collisions between neutral strontium atoms -- a class of antisocial atoms known as fermions that are not supposed to collide when in identical energy states.

A potential therapeutic target for gastric cancer
A research group from China investigated functional significance of aryl hydrocarbon receptor in gastric carcinogenesis.

Study shows simple writing assignment improves minority student grades
In a follow-up to a 2006 study, a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher and his colleagues found that an in-class writing assignment designed to reinforce students' sense of identity and personal integrity increased the grade-point averages of African-American middle school students over a two-year period, and reduced the rate at which these students were held back or placed in remediation.

Jet lag disturbs sleep by upsetting internal clocks in 2 neural centers
New research shows the sleep disruption associated with jet lag and shift work occurs in two separate but linked groups of neurons below the hypothalamus at the base of the brain.

Suicide: The risk factors
There are many factors which can increase the risk of suicide -- including being male, previous self-harm, psychiatric and/or drug/alcohol disorders, upbringing, exposure to suicide in the media, and smoking.

Enforcing bans on cigarette sales to kids reduces youth smoking
A new study finds that enforcing federal and state laws against tobacco sales to minors dramatically decreases underage smoking rates.

New nucleotide could revolutionize epigenetics
In experiments to be published in Science, researchers reveal an additional character in the mammalian DNA code, opening an entirely new front in epigenetic research.

Yale researchers uncover secrets of salmonella's stealth attack
A single crafty protein allows the deadly bacterium Salmonella enterica to both invade cells lining the intestine and hijack cellular functions to avoid destruction, Yale researchers report in the April 17 issue of the journal Cell.

Researchers find lack of key molecule leads to deafness
Researchers have identified tiny molecules that may lead to big breakthroughs in the treatment of hearing loss and deafness.

Severity, length of past megadroughts dwarf recent drought in West Africa
Droughts far worse than the infamous Sahel drought of the 1970s and 1980s are within normal climate variation for sub-Saharan West Africa, according to new research.

Penn scientists use RNA to reprogram 1 cell type into another
For the past decade, researchers have tried to tweak cells at the gene and nucleus level to reprogram their identity.

Scorpion venom with nanoparticles slows spread of brain cancer
By combining nanoparticles with a scorpion venom compound already being investigated for treating brain cancer, University of Washington researchers found they could cut the spread of cancerous cells by 98 percent, compared to 45 percent for the scorpion venom alone.

How life-threatening blood clots take hold
When plaques coating blood vessel walls rupture and expose collagen, platelets spring into action to form a blood clot at the damaged site.

1 class increases odds of college graduation for struggling students
A researcher at Ohio State University has developed a course on learning and motivation strategies that actually increases the odds that struggling first-year students will graduate.

Earth Day 2009: Green technologies and buildings bloom on the National Mall
On April 18-20, 2009, the US Environmental Protection Agency will hold the 5th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo, which will display new sustainable or green technologies.

Gambling ban would reverse recession, new book says
Legalized gambling is weighing down a global economy already mired in its deepest downturn since the Great Depression, according to a new collection of research that renews decades-old calls to outlaw betting.

Study explores roots of ethnic violence
A new UCLA-led study challenges the popular perception that ethnic diversity is to blame for sectarian conflicts in Iraq and Northern Ireland, recent tensions in Tibet, and ethnic violence in post-election Kenya.

Leading cancer organizations team up on tumor-promoting protein
An inflammatory protein implicated in a variety of cancers is the target of the first joint symposium between the nation's two premier cancer research organizations.

Unusual Antarctic microbes live life on a previously unsuspected edge
An unmapped reservoir of briny liquid chemically similar to sea water, but buried under an inland Antarctic glacier, appears to support unusual microbial life in a place where cold, darkness and lack of oxygen would previously have led scientists to believe nothing could survive, according to newly published research.

In ocean's depths, heat-loving 'extremophile' evolves a strange molecular trick
Making its home near extreme temperatures of thermal vents on the ocean floor, the organism Methanopyrus kandleri harbors a molecular secret that intrigues evolutionary biologists and even HIV researchers.

US releases updated clinical guidelines for HIV-associated opportunistic infections
The first complete update in five years of the US guidelines for preventing and treating HIV-associated opportunistic infections has been released by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in cooperation with the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Implementing sustainable technology to monitor the integrity of the nation's bridges
A team of University of Miami College of Engineering researchers are implementing a self-powered monitor system for bridges that can continuously check their condition using wireless sensors that

Colorectal cancer risks quantified
Although the presenting features of colorectal cancer are well known, the risks they confer are less well defined.

New therapeutic target for melanoma identified
A protein called Mcl-1 plays a critical role in melanoma cell resistance to a form of apoptosis called anoikis, according to research published this week in Molecular Cancer Research.

Pelvic pain as prevalent in teens as older males, Queen's researchers discover
A Queen's University research team has found that a painful pelvic affliction associated with adult men occurs as frequently in adolescent boys.

West African droughts are the norm, not an anomaly
A new study of lake sediments in Ghana suggests that severe droughts lasting several decades, even centuries, were the norm in West Africa over the past 3,000 years.

Researchers tie crest size to seabirds' suitability as a mate
A newly released study by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers evidence that in one breed of northern seabird, the size of males' feather crests may be more than simple ornamentation.

'First aid' for brain cells comes from blood
In acute ischemic stroke, the blood supply to the brain is restricted.

Linked angina relates with gastroesophageal reflux diseases?
A research group from Japan evaluated the association between gastroesophageal reflux diseases and coronary heart diseases.

Huntington disease begins to take hold early on
A global analysis of brain proteins over a 10-week period in a mouse model of Huntington disease has revealed some new insights into this complex neurodegenerative disorder.

Features of early Martian environment and presence of water drive search for life forms
Solar energy and winds, collisions with asteroids and comets, and changing magnetic fields have all altered the environment of Mars, a planet that may have been able to support life during its history, as documented in a special collection of papers published in the current issue of Astrobiology.

A step closer to an ultra precise atomic clock
A clock that is so precise that it loses only a second every 300 million years -- this is the result of new research in ultra cold atoms.

Novel CU-Boulder technique shrinks size of nanotechnology circuitry
A University of Colorado at Boulder team has developed a new method of shrinking the size of circuitry used in nanotechnology devices like computer chips and solar cells by using two separate colors of light -- one to inscribe patterns, the other to erase their edges to create smaller structures.

New study warns damage to forests from climate change could cost the planet its major keeper of greenhouse gases
The critical role of forests as massive

UCLA center to focus on heart, stroke care for disadvantaged minorities
UCLA was awarded a four-year, $3.89 million grant from the American Heart Association to establish a new research center focused on improving the health of disadvantaged minority patients at risk for stroke and heart attack.

Calicum dobesilate does not prevent development of blindness-causing macular edema in diabetes patients
Calcium dobesilate does not prevent diabetes patients with mild-to-moderate diabetic retinopathy from progressing to clinically significant macular edema, which may lead to blindness.

Cosmic heavyweights in free-for-all
The most crowded collision of galaxy clusters has been identified by combining information from three different telescopes.

Safe exercise for migraine sufferers
Many patients who suffer from migraines avoid taking aerobic exercise because they are afraid that the physical activity may bring on a serious migraine attack.

The story of X -- evolution of a sex chromosome
The sex chromosomes -- XX in women and XY in men -- date from the earliest mammals, but how did they evolve to look as they do today?

Ancient ecosystem thrives millions of years below Antarctic glacier
Scientists have found an ancient ecosystem below an Antarctic glacier and learned the secret of its survival.

Who should policy makers listen to?
On April 23-24, leading social research experts and civil servants will gather to discuss this challenge at an international conference,

Alpha-fetoprotein can affect the development of rat colons?
A research group from China investigated the expression pattern of Alpha-fetoprotein, and its involvement during rat colon development.

Could senna improve the quality of colonoscopy preparation with magnesium citrate?
A research group in the United Kingdom investigated whether the addition of a stimulant laxative, senna, improves the efficacy of a widely used bowel cleansing regimen based on an osmotic laxative, magnesium citrate.

Pioneering medical nanotechnology offers new cancer breakthrough hope
A multidisciplinary team of scientists from the University of Leicester could be potentially paving the way for the development of a powerful new strategy for both the early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

When every photon counts: unusual cell nuclei help nocturnal animals see better
The eyes of nocturnal mammals are extraordinarily light-sensitive. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München researchers have now succeeded in demonstrating that the genetic material in the nuclei of the light-sensing cells in these animals has an unusual arrangement.

UH research team helps NASA improve navigation systems for lunar exploration
If NASA is going to successfully establish a permanent human presence on the moon, it must be able to accurately track and direct its crew members and exploration vehicles, and the space agency has charged a University of Houston research team with helping it do just that.

Shedding some light on Parkinson's treatment
A research team lead by Karl Deisseroth in the bioengineering department at Stanford University has developed a technique to systematically characterize disease circuits in the brain.

Survival mode that protects cells when oxygen is low also slows aging
A biochemical pathway that keeps cells alive when oxygen is low has now been showed to play a role in longevity and resistance against some diseases of old age.

Immigrant women may be at higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect
Immigrant women are less likely to use folic acid supplements before pregnancy to prevent spina bifida, particularly those who recently immigrated to the country, according to a new study led by a St.

Study points to disruption of copper regulation as key to prion diseases
An investigation of a rare, inherited form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease suggests that disrupted regulation of copper ions in the brain may be a key factor in this and other prion diseases.

World premiere in stem cell research in Montreal
A team from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer at Universite de Montreal has succeeded in producing a large quantity of laboratory stem cells from a small number of blood stem cells obtained from bone marrow.

AAI honors Chen Dong for breakthrough T lymphocyte research
Back when scientists viewed immune response as an either-or process strictly divided between two pathways, each driven by a separate T helper cell, Chen Dong, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Texas M.

Megadroughts in sub-Saharan Africa normal for the region
Devastating droughts worse than the infamous Sahel drought are part of the normal climate regime for sub-Saharan West Africa, according to new research.

Scientists discover new chemical reaction for DNA production in bacteria and viruses
A team of researchers has discovered a new chemical reaction for producing one of the four nucleotides, or building blocks, needed to build DNA.

UI chemists' DNA biosynthesis discovery could lead to better antibiotics
Combating several human pathogens, including some biological warfare agents, may one day become a bit easier thanks to research reported by a University of Iowa chemist and his colleagues in the April 16 issue of the journal Nature.

Museum specimens aid conservation effort in Madagascar
Richard Pearson and Christopher Raxworthy of the American Museum of Natural History dusted off a number of specimens from Madagascar and used the location information associated with each species to test different ideas regarding the evolution of locally distributed endemism.

What do neurologists do for entertainment?
One of the highlights of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology is

How to deflect asteroids and save the Earth
You may want to thank David French in advance. Because, in the event that a comet or asteroid comes hurtling toward Earth, he may be the guy responsible for saving the planet.

A novel method of isolating high quality RNA from Kupffer cells
A research group from United States developed a method of labeling and microdissecting mouse Kupffer cells within an extraordinarily short period of time using laser capture microdissection. 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