Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 13, 2009
Non-wovens as scaffolds for artificial tissue
In the future, cartilage, tendon and blood vessel tissue will be produced in the laboratory, with cells being grown on a porous frame, such as non-wovens.

UCLA study shows traumatic brain injury haunts children for years
Traumatic brain injury is the single most common cause of death and disability in children and adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

How learning shapes successful decision making in the human brain
New research significantly advances our understanding of the brain mechanisms that link learning with flexible decision making.

Engaged employees are good, but don't count on commitment
The notion that highly engaged workers will continue to work tirelessly for organizations despite diminishing resources often isn't true, according to Clemson University psychology professor Thomas Britt.

Optimal trip and load planning
How can companies maximize truck capacity utilization and at the same time plan trips so that the burden on the environment and transport costs are reduced?

Acoustics world wide press room now open
The 157th Acoustical Society of America meeting convenes next week at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower in Portland, Oregon.

Students secure funding to develop solar-powered pasteurization system in Peru
A team of students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will be spending part of the summer designing and starting to build solar-powered pasteurization systems for communities in rural Peru.

2009 Greendex survey of 17 countries finds increase in green consumer behavior worldwide
National Geographic and the international polling firm GlobeScan have found an increase in environmentally friendly consumer behavior this year in all but one of the countries polled for the Greendex in 2008 and 2009.

New testing facility helps researchers improve land mine detection equipment
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have built a test facility to evaluate and enhance sensors designed to detect buried land mines.

With-profits insurers resilient but surplus down by $15 billion
UK with-profits life insurers have weathered the economic crisis -- but their surplus assets fell by over £10 ($15) billion in 2008.

UCSB scientists document fate of huge oil slicks from seeps at coal oil point
Twenty years ago, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez was exiting Alaska's Prince William Sound when it struck a reef in the middle of the night.

Would NHS staff go to work during a flu pandemic?
A survey of health care workers has revealed that as many as 85 percent may stay off work if an influenza pandemic did take hold of the country.

Natural petroleum seeps release equivalent of eight to 80 Exxon Valdez oil spills
A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of California, Santa Barbara is the first to quantify the amount of oil residue in seafloor sediments that result from natural petroleum seeps off Santa Barbara, Calif.

Mum's the word: The secret to building children's social skills
The way that mothers talk to their children when they are young has a lasting effect on children's social skills, according to a research study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

APS issues new guideline for low-back pain interventions, surgery
The American Pain Society has issued a new clinical practice guideline for low-back pain that emphasizes noninvasive treatments over interventional procedures, and shared decision making between provider and patient.

Breakthrough in the treatment of bacterial meningitis
It can take just hours after the symptoms appear for someone to die from bacterial meningitis.

MIT's implantable device offers continuous cancer monitoring
Surgical removal of a tissue sample is now the standard for diagnosing cancer.

Brain research shows past experience is invaluable for complex decision making
Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have shown that past experience really does help when we have to make complex decisions based on uncertain or confusing information.

A Penn physics study: Of traffic jams, beach sands and the zero-temperature jamming transition
Researchers in condensed matter physics at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago have created an experimental and computer model to study how jamming, the physical process in which collections of particles are crammed together to behave as solids, might affect the behavior of systems in which thermal motion is important, such as molecules in a glass.

WWF study says climate change could displace millions in Asia's Coral Triangle
Coral reefs could disappear entirely from the Coral Triangle region of the Pacific Ocean by the end of the century, threatening the food supply and livelihoods for about 100 million people, according to a new study from World Wildlife Fund.

Novel therapy may prove effective in treatment of 30 percent of cancers
A ground-breaking Canada-wide clinical trial led by Dr. Katherine Borden, at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the Universite de Montreal, has shown that a common anti-viral drug, ribavirin, can be beneficial in the treatment of cancer patients.

University of Arizona research on scorpion antivenom published in NEJM
Youngsters suffering severe nerve poisoning following a scorpion sting recover completely and quickly if a scorpion-specific antivenom is administered, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona and reported in the May 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

New research confirms milestone study on blood pressure meds
New research supports the findings of a landmark drug comparison study published in 2002 in which a diuretic drug or

San Diego Supercomputer Center selects first vendors for 'Triton Resource'
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, has selected the first round of vendors for its new Triton Resource, an integrated, data-intensive computing system primarily designed to support UC San Diego and UC researchers.

University of Liverpool awarded $3.3 million for genomics hub
The University of Liverpool has been awarded £2.2 ($3.3) million to establish a high-throughput genomic analysis hub for the North of England.

MIT reels in RNA surprise with microbial ocean catch
An ingenious new method of obtaining marine microbe samples while preserving the microbes' natural gene expression has yielded an unexpected boon: the presence of many varieties of small RNAs -- snippets of RNA that act as switches to regulate gene expression in these single-celled creatures, MIT researchers report in the May 14 issue of Nature.

What do blood stem cells need to grow? Blood flow
Blood stem cells literally go with the flow, according to a new report published as an immediate early publication in the journal Cell, a Cell Press journal, on May 13.

UCLA researchers develop new method for producing transparent conductors
UCLA researchers have outlined a new method for producing a graphene -- carbon nanotube (G-CNT) hybrid, which is a high performance transparent conductor.

New study urges new thinking over government widening participation policy
Researchers warn of the risk of overstating the value of higher education at the expense of other ambitions young people might have.

Development of an artificial simulator of the nervous system to do research into diseases
Scientists of the University of Granada have generated a computer which permits to reproduce any part of the body's nervous system, such as the retina, the cerebellum, the hearing centers or the nervous centers.

WPI professor receives Fulbright Scholarship to work on tissue engineering in Ireland
Kristen L. Billiar, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has received a Fulbright Scholarship to study the mechanics of nanoscale scaffolds for tissue engineering at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Scripps research scientists discover molecular defect involved in hearing loss
Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have elucidated the action of a protein, harmonin, which is involved in the mechanics of hearing.

Study finds surprising new pathway for North Atlantic circulation
Oceanographers have long known that the 20-year-old paradigm for describing the global ocean circulation -- called the Great Ocean Conveyor -- was an oversimplification.

Golden rice an effective source of vitamin A
The beta-carotene in so-called

Vaccine slows progression of skeletal muscle disorder
A potential vaccine for Alzheimer's disease also has been shown in mice to slow the weakening of muscles associated with inclusion body myositis, a disorder that affects the elderly.

Cognition already seriously impaired in first episode of schizophrenia
Significant and widespread cognitive problems appear to exist in schizophrenia in its earliest phase, making it very hard for people with the disorder to work, study or be social, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

Civil engineers name NJIT's John Schuring Educator of Year
The New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers has presented the Educator of the Year Award to John Schuring, Stabile Professor for Innovation and Technology at NJIT.

Cereal and milk is the new sports supplement
A bowl of whole-grain cereal is as good as a sports drink for recovery after exercise.

Neiker-Tecnalia to study combination of technologies in obtaining a quality substrate for ecological agriculture
Neiker-Tecnalia, the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, in collaboration with Sergal, Uaga and the Basque Board of ecological agriculture and food, has launched a research program the aim of which is to combine technologies and processes in order to transform animal husbandry excretions into a substrate that is guaranteed and reliable for use in ecological agriculture.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope unfolds by animation
Although engineers, scientists and manufacturers are still in the process of building all of the instruments that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, they had to figure out long ago, how it was going to

Giving early physical and occupational therapy to critically ill patients
Long-term complications of critical illness include intensive-care-unit-acquired weakness and neuropsychiatric disease -- both of which could be related to the immobilization caused by sedation.

UH optometrists make custom contact lenses for long-underserved patients
While most patients with common vision problems can find glasses or contact lenses fairly easily, others with eye disease have fewer options and often simply learn to live with poor vision.

A Canada-wide sustainability framework is vital to securing the future of our groundwater
A 15-member expert panel, appointed by the Council of Canadian Academies, has concluded that a Canada-wide sustainability framework is required to improve the management and understanding of Canada's groundwater.

Telesso Technologies wins Popular Science Invention Award for its novel peripheral IV catheter
Telesso Technologies Limited, a global health care company, announced the FDA-approved guide wire-assisted peripheral IV catheter it is developing with Vascular Pathways Inc., has been honored with the Popular Science Invention Award.

No longer afraid to be a bridesmaid or travel with the boss
Ulcerative colitis is a nasty gastrointestinal disease that flares without warning and makes it vital to find a bathroom fast.

UC design innovation: New hope for the hated hospital gown
UC is employing its design research capabilities to heal the many ills of the hated hospital gown.

Eye association inducts inaugural class of Fellows
UTSA eye researcher Andrew Tsin is inducted into the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's inaugural class of fellows.

Study shows chemotherapy improves survival among older breast cancer patients
A new study, published in the May 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that chemotherapy in addition to surgery or surgery and radiation improves survival among older women with breast cancer.

Embryo's heartbeat drives blood stem cell formation
Biologists have long wondered why the embryonic heart begins beating so early, before the tissues actually need to be infused with blood.

An amnesic patient with an extraordinary distorted memory
If somebody asks you

How an enzyme tells stem cells which way to divide
Driving Miranda, a protein in fruit flies crucial to switch a stem cell's fate, is not as complex as biologists thought, according to University of Oregon biochemists.

Association for Molecular Pathology joins ACLU to challenge gene patents
The Association for Molecular Pathology announced today that it is working with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation to bring a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and should be invalidated.

Cold water ocean circulation doesn't work as expected
The familiar model of Atlantic ocean currents that shows a discrete

Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century
A major report on managing the health effects of climate change, launched jointly by the Lancet and UCL (University College London) today, says that climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.

Influenza pandemic planning needed to assure adequate care for pregnant women and newborns
Pregnant women and newborns are at greatest risk in a flu epidemic, but more planning must be done to ensure that they receive priority treatment should an outbreak occur, according to a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and University of Pittsburgh study.

Scientists develop mathematical model to predict the immune response to influenza
Researchers at the University of Rochester have developed a mathematical model to predict immune responses to infection with influenza A viruses, including novel viruses such as the emergent 2009 influenza A (H1N1).

Political blogs more accurate than newspapers, say those who read both
People who closely follow political blogs and regular news media put more faith in the accuracy of blogs.

Key protein regulating inflammation may prove relevant to controlling sepsis
Singapore scientists identify the protein, WIP1, as the molecular

Obituary photos suggest growing bias against aging faces
A new study that looked at obituary photographs published in one metropolitan newspaper suggests that Americans may have become more biased toward youthful appearance, particularly for women.

Ginseng -- nature's anti-inflammatory?
Laboratory experiments have demonstrated the immunological effects of ginseng. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open-access Journal of Translational Medicine have shown that the herb, much used in traditional Chinese and other Asian medicine, does have anti-inflammatory effects.

Scientists document fate of oil slicks from natural seeps
Twenty years ago, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez was exiting Alaska's Prince William Sound when it struck a reef in the middle of the night.

Immune exhaustion driven by antigen in chronic viral infection
During a chronic viral infection, exhaustion depletes the ability of immune cells to respond to the infecting virus.

New tool can help predict risk of Alzheimer's in elderly
A new tool can help predict whether people age 65 and older have a high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

SRI International to screen drugs that fight 2009 H1N1 influenza A
SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research and development organization, announced today that that it will screen a library of well-characterized drugs against the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus, previously known as

Cocaine-linked genes enhance behavioral effects of addiction
New research sheds light on how cocaine regulates gene expression in a crucial reward region of the brain to elicit long-lasting changes in behavior. 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