Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 20, 2009
Queen's scientists discover eco-friendly wood dissolution
Scientists at Queen's University have discovered a new eco-friendly way of dissolving wood that may help its transformation into popular products such as biofuels, textiles, clothes and paper.

COMBRI, a research project for designing bridges of the future
The TECNALIA Technological Corporation have taken part, through its Construction Unit, in the European research project,

Seeing invisible resin
When manufacturing chipboards, it is important to correctly distribute the resin on the wood shavings.

Unusually large family of green fluorescent proteins discovered in marine creature
Scripps scientists find unexpected role for proteins: antioxidants.

New 'broadband' cloaking technology simple to manufacture
Researchers have created a new type of invisibility cloak that is simpler than previous designs and works for all colors of the visible spectrum, making it possible to cloak larger objects than before and possibly leading to practical applications in

Bird songs change with the landscape
When the going gets rough, the tough apparently sing slower.

Older volunteers' perceived benefits vary with program traits
The advantages of volunteering reported by adults aged 55 and older are largely dependent upon the characteristics of the activities in which they participate, according to a recent article appearing in the Gerontologist.

Action of ghrelin hormone increases appetite and favors accumulation of abdominal fat
The ghrelin hormone not only stimulates the brain giving rise to an increase in appetite, but also favors the accumulation of lipids in visceral fatty tissue, located in the abdominal zone and considered to be the most harmful.

Scientists create custom 3-dimensional structures with 'DNA origami'
By combining the art of origami with nanotechnology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers have folded sheets of DNA into multilayered objects with dimensions thousands of times smaller than the thickness of a human hair.

Protein from algae shows promise for stopping SARS
A protein from algae may have what it takes to stop severe acute respiratory syndrome infections, according to new research.

Chlamydia that avoids diagnosis
This release outlines new research that lays the foundations for improved diagnosis of chlamydia, the most common cause of sexually transmitted infection globally.

Asteroid attack 3.9 billion years ago may have enhanced early life on Earth, says CU-Boulder study
The bombardment of Earth nearly 4 billion years ago by asteroids as large as Kansas would not have had the firepower to extinguish potential early life on the planet and may even have given it a boost, says a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

USC researchers uncover mechanism that allows influenza virus to evade the body's immune response
Researchers at the University of Southern California have identified a critical molecular mechanism that allows the influenza virus to evade the body's immune response system.

Moffitt Cancer Center signs licensing agreement with Frantz BioMarkers LLC
Moffitt Cancer Center and Frantz BioMarkers LLC have signed a license agreement on phospholipid biomarkers of ovarian cancer.

ASNTR comments on the NIH guidelines for human stem cells research, MSC7997
The membership of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair is supportive of the new NIH guidelines (MSC7997) which allow NIH-funded research for human embryonic stem cells derived from embryos created by in vitro fertilization for reproductive purposes and that are no longer needed for reproductive purposes.

Bacteria with a built-in thermometer
Bacteria are experts at adaptation: as soon as they have infected an organism, they adapt their metabolism to that of their host and produce substances which protect them from the body's immune defenses.

Planning factories the right way
The new factory hall has just been completed when the owner realizes that several things have gone wrong.

Vitamin D found in fish boosts brain power
Eating fish -- long considered

Endangered right whales found where presumed extinct
Using a system of underwater hydrophones that can record sounds from hundreds of miles away, a team of scientists from Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has documented the presence of endangered North Atlantic right whales in an area they were thought to be extinct.

Revealing the long-awaited atomic structure of a well-known enzyme
A Boston University-led research team has identified the structural underpinnings of AADase, a widely known enzyme that was described correctly 43 years ago.

Strong immune response to new siRNA drugs in development may cause toxic side effects
Small synthetic fragments of genetic material called small interfering RNA (siRNA) can block production of abnormal proteins; however, these exciting new drug candidates can also induce a strong immune response, causing toxic side effects.

Bird songs change with environment
Just as a changing radio landscape has made it tough for Foghat to get much airplay these days, so it is for bird songs according to new research published in the American Naturalist.

Physicians can lead health care reform through payment and delivery system reforms
Physicians can and should play a leading role in achieving health care reform by working towards comprehensive reform of the way health care is paid for and delivered, helping achieve a guaranteed 1.5 percent annual savings in health care costs that would pay for covering all Americans, according to a New England Journal of Medicine Perspective piece published online today.

DNA-Prokids: Genetic identification against traffic in human beings
DNA-Prokids will enable police and judicial systems to fight more effectively against traffic in human beings, especially in children and women.

Face protection effective in preventing the spread of influenza
A new article in the journal Risk Analysis assessed various ways in which aerosol transmission of the flu, a central mode of diffusion which involves breathing droplets in the air, can be reduced.

URI receives $18 million grant to strengthen biomedical research capacity in Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island has been awarded a five-year, $18 million grant by a branch of the National Institutes of Health to strengthen biomedical research capacity in Rhode Island.

New book suggests Earth perhaps not such a benevolent mother after all
In a new book, University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward suggests that Earth is ultimately inhospitable to life, and that life itself might be the primary reason.

Big boost for global health called for in IOM report
To fulfill America's humanitarian obligations as a member of the international community and to invest in the nation's long-term health, economic interests and national security, the United States should reaffirm and increase its commitment to improving the health of developing nations, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

Schizophrenia does not increase risk of violent crime
A new study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet and the University of Oxford finds that the severe mental disorder schizophrenia only marginally increases the risk of committing violent crime.

ISU researcher identifies genetic pathway responsible for much of plant growth
Iowa State University researchers have discovered a previously unknown pathway in plant cells that regulates plant growth.

Combination of aspirin and an anti-clotting drug reduces risk of dialysis access failure
For the first time, a combination of aspirin and the anti-platelet drug dipyridamole has been shown to significantly reduce blockages and extend the useful life of new artery-vein access grafts used for hemodialysis, according to a study by the Dialysis Access Consortium.

MS patients more compliant with medications when managed by specialty pharmacy
Multiple sclerosis patients managed by a specialty pharmacy program were more compliant with medication, and had a lower risk of being hospitalized for their disease than those who were not managed by a specialty pharmacy program, according to a study completed by HealthCore Inc.

NIH announces new program to develop therapeutics for rare and neglected diseases
The National Institutes of Health is launching the first integrated, drug development pipeline to produce new treatments for rare and neglected diseases.

Snail venoms reflect reduced competition
A study of venomous snails on remote Pacific islands reveals genetic underpinnings of an ecological phenomenon that has fascinated scientists since Darwin.

Pregnant women with mildly abnormal blood sugar levels at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Gestational diabetes happens in more than three per cent of pregnancies in Ontario.

84 percent of African-American and 88 percent of Latino middle-class households not financially secure
As the economic downturn continues, a new report from Brandeis University and the policy center Demos finds that millions of African-Americans and Latinos lost economic security between 2000 and 2006, and that more than four out of five are either borderline or at high risk of falling out of the middle class altogether.

Understanding the therapeutic process of mother-infant psychotherapy
Given the documented detrimental effects of postpartum depression on infants and the mother-infant relationship, mental health professionals are anxious to understand models of best practices.

Covidien announces milestone placement in remote respiratory monitoring
Covidien, a leading global provider of health care products, today announced a key milestone in the continued growth and use of the OxiNet III remote respiratory monitoring system in US hospitals.

Limiting work hours of medical residents could cost $1.6 billion annually, study finds
New Institute of Medicine recommendations to limit the work hours of medical residents could cost the nation's teaching hospitals about $1.6 billion annually to hire substitute workers, according to a new report.

DFG establishes 14 new research training groups
Doctoral Researchers To Earn Doctorates in Topics such as Globalisation, Nanostructures and Civil Security Applications in Structured Programmes

Vitamin D may halt lung function decline in asthma and COPD
Vitamin D may slow the progressive decline in the ability to breathe that can occur in people with asthma as a result of human airway smooth muscle proliferation, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

Small evolutionary shifts make big impacts -- like developing night vision
Minor differences in the timing of cell proliferation can explain the large differences found in the eyes of two species -- owl monkeys and capuchin monkeys -- that evolved from a common ancestor.

Use science to convince teens a sober prom is better, AAAS says
Middle and high school proms and graduation are big events, and there will be multiple parties to attend and a wide array of opportunities for alcohol to be served.

Beneficial plant 'spillover' effect seen from landscape corridors
Research by a North Carolina State University biologist and colleagues shows that using landscape corridors, the

Protein that suppresses androgen receptors could improve prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment
A protein that helps regulate expression of androgen receptors could prove a new focal point for staging and treating testosterone-fueled prostate cancer, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

Skip this cocktail party
The most extensive study of pollutants in marine mammals' brains reveals that these animals are exposed to a hazardous cocktail of pesticides such as DDTs and PCBs, as well as emerging contaminants such as brominated flame retardants.

Research team finds important role for junk DNA
Researchers from Princeton University and Indiana University who have been studying the genome of a pond organism have found that junk DNA may not be so junky after all.

Scientists link influenza A (H1N1) susceptibility to common levels of arsenic exposure
The ability to mount an immune response to influenza A (H1N1) infection is significantly compromised by a low level of arsenic exposure that commonly occurs through drinking contaminated well water, scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Dartmouth Medical School have found.

Embrapa and PBL forge technology development and commercialization partnership
The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, Embrapa, and PBL, the UK technology management company have signed a cooperation agreement under which they will work together to develop new technologies for Brazilian agricultural markets and to promote and market new innovations emerging from Embrapa's large research network.

Old stain in a new combination
In a study on 160 children with malaria in Burkina Faso, specialists in tropical medicine from the Heidelberg University Hospital have shown that in combination with newer malaria drugs, methylene blue prevents the malaria pathogen in infected persons from being re-ingested by mosquitoes and then transmitted to others and is thus twice as effective as the standard therapy.

Lifestyle program for patients with COPD is health and cost effective
Patients with moderate COPD were randomized to receive

Giant galaxy Messier 87 finally sized up
Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have succeeded in measuring the size of giant galaxy Messier 87 and were surprised to find that its outer parts have been stripped away by still unknown effects.

Early identification of dementia increasingly difficult
If grandma seems to forget things, will she end up demented?

Employers discriminate against applicants with non-English names, UBC study suggests
A new University of British Columbia study finds that job applicants with English names have a greater chance of getting interviews than those with Chinese, Indian or Pakistani names.

Ultrasound more cost efficient than other medical imaging choices
In comparing ultrasound with other medical imaging methods such as MRI and CT scans, a literature review of published studies in the May/June issue of Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography describes the use of ultrasound to provide an accurate diagnosis more cost effectively than the alternatives.

Why do people with Down syndrome have less cancer?
Most cancers are rare in people with Down syndrome. The late cancer researcher Judah Folkman, M.D., proposed that the extra copy of chromosome 21 may contain a gene that blocks angiogenesis, the development of blood vessels essential for cancer's growth.

2 studies: The first finds twins born after fertility treatment have a higher risk of problems
Two studies published in Human Reproduction look at the outcome of twins born after fertility treatment, and the outcome of children born after embryo freezing.

Anti-inflammatory effect of 'rotten eggs' gas
Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter have synthesized a new molecule which releases hydrogen sulfide -- the gas that gives rotten eggs their characteristic smell and which has recently been found to be produced naturally in the body -- and discovered that it could in time lead to a range of new, safer and effective anti-inflammatory drugs for human use.

Accolades for superior program leadership on groundbreaking superconducting degaussing technology
Breakthrough research that yielded the world's first-ever ship degaussing system to use high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials garnered

Novel approach estimates nanoparticles in environment
Without knowing how much of an industrial chemical is being produced, it is almost impossible for scientists to determine if it poses any threat to the environment or human health.

Side discrepancy errors in radiology reports rare but often clinically significant
Side discrepancy errors in radiology reports do occur and it is important that radiologists, referring physicians and patients communicate well to help prevent errors in clinical management, according to a study performed at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.

MIT robotic therapy holds promise for cerebral palsy
Over the past few years, MIT engineers have successfully tested robotic devices to help stroke patients learn to control their arms and legs.

MIT replaces chrome coatings with safer metal alloys
Chrome has been used to add a protective coating and shiny luster to a wide range of metal products.

American College of Physicians endorses preserving patient access to Primary Care Act of 2009
The 128,000-member American College of Physicians today endorsed the Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act of 2009 (H.R.

The Association for Psychological Science chooses SAGE to publish its prestigious journals
SAGE is very pleased to announce it has signed a 10-year agreement to partner with the Association for Psychological Science to publish its four journals beginning in 2010.

Navy grant to fund probe of squid and octopus camouflage
Octopuses and squid are big brained species that use much of their mental powers to adjust their own appearances. 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