Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 02, 2009
Magnetic tornadoes could liberate Mercury's tenuous atmosphere
Mercury is scorching hot, with daytime temperatures of more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

More stringent evaluation on the use of generic medications in thoracic transplantation
The current approval process for generic medication should be examined, suggests an educational advisory in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Scientists create metal that pumps liquid uphill
In nature, trees pull vast amounts of water from their roots up to their leaves hundreds of feet above the ground through capillary action, but now scientists at the University of Rochester have created a simple slab of metal that lifts liquid using the same principle -- but does so at a speed that would make nature envious.

Ethanol production could jeopardize soil productivity
Crop residues possess a critical role in sustaining soil organic matter, and as it is increasingly being used for the production of cellulosic-based ethanol, this removal may impact the long-term productivity of soils.

Equity concerns raised by congestion pricing can be addressed to make approach viable
Policymakers need to address equity concerns early when implementing congestion pricing to improve traffic flow, as each situation is unique and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to a study issued today by the RAND Corporation.

Scientists use bed bugs' own chemistry against them
Scientists here have determined that combining bed bugs' own chemical signals with a common insect control agent makes that treatment more effective at killing the bugs.

European League against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2009)
It's now just over a week until EULAR, the European League Against Rheumatism annual meeting, taking place from June 10-13 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Revolutionizing the diagnosis of serious disease
Revolutionary ultrasonic nanotechnology that could allow scientists to see inside a patient's individual cells to help diagnose serious illnesses is being developed by researchers at the University of Nottingham.

Women may not be so picky after all about choosing a mate
Men and women may not be from two different planets after all when it comes to choosiness in mate selection, according to new research from Northwestern University.

Be your best friend if you'll be mine: Penn's Alliance Hypothesis for Human Friendship
University of Pennsylvania psychologists have determined that how you rank your best friends is closely related to how you think your friends rank you.

Genetically corrected blood cells obtained from skin cells from Fanconi anemia patients
A collaboration research carried out by Spanish researchers has resulted in the generation of blood cells from skin cells of patients with a genetic disease known as Fanconi anemia.

Scientists map penguins from space
Penguin poo (guano) stains, visible from space, have helped British scientists locate emperor penguin breeding colonies in Antarctica.

Researchers engineer metabolic pathway in mice to prevent diet-induced obesity
Though obesity has defied much of the research and treatments developed thus far, researchers at UCLA Engineering and UCLA's School of Medicine may have discovered a completely new way to approach the problem.

Computer modeling shows strategies to rein in epidemics need to be retooled for rural populations
Strategies to mitigate disease epidemics in cities will not be so effective in rural areas, according to researchers using computer models to study the spread of disease.

Ground-breaking study to cap the growing trend of type 2 diabetes in overweight adolescents
Researchers at the Children's Hospital at Westmead are embarking on a ground-breaking new study to investigate whether a different dietary approach to insulin resistance in overweight adolescents can put the brakes on its progression to type 2 diabetes.

Improved techniques will help control heat in large data centers
Approximately a third of the electricity consumed by large data centers doesn't power the computer servers that conduct online transactions, serve Web pages or store information.

Advances being made in the treatment of hepatitis
Researchers are making great strides in the development of new treatments for hepatitis and in confirming the effectiveness of current treatments, according to several studies being presented at Digestive Disease Week 2009.

NEJM study finds radiofrequency ablation can reverse Barrett's esophagus, reduce cancer risk
Patients who have gastroesophageal reflux disease for a prolonged period have an increased risk of developing Barrett's esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition where the tissue lining the esophagus becomes damaged by stomach acid and transformed into something like the inside of the stomach.

Swedish study highlights hospital disaster potential
Factors that lead to emergency department overcrowdings, ambulance diversions and other incidents that endanger patient safety have been revealed.

New study shows people with mental health problems receive inadequate medical care
A review led by Leicester psychiatrist raises concern over treatment of patients with past mental health issues.

Advances being made with monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of GI disorders
Monoclonal antibodies can be safely and successfully used for the treatment of several gastroenterological disorders according to data being presented at Digestive Disease Week 2009.

EarthTrek: Citizen scientists seek solutions
Challenges facing planet Earth can seem overwhelming at times, causing many to wonder what one person can contribute to solving the global climate crises or controlling the spread of invasive plant species.

U of Minnesota study says confusion reigns over whole-grain claims in school lunches
While most nutrition experts agree that school lunches should include more whole grain products, a new study from the University of Minnesota finds that food-service workers lack understanding and the resources to meet that goal.

Aluminum-oxide nanopore beats other materials for DNA analysis
Fast and affordable genome sequencing has moved a step closer with a new solid-state nanopore sensor being developed by researchers at the University of Illinois.

First heart patients implanted with next-generation mechanical heart pump
Three patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center were among the first in the United States to be implanted with a next-generation artificial heart pump called the DuraHeart Left-Ventricular Assist System.

Cruel and inhuman treatment causes more mental damage than physical torture
New research findings published today by Dr. Metin Başoğlu, head of section of trauma studies at King's College London and the Istanbul Center for Behavior Research and Therapy, examines the psychological impact of war captivity,

What's in a name? For analysts with a CFA charter it's timelier and more objective forecasting
A new study shows analysts with the CFA designation issue timelier financial forecasts than those without the credential.

Cognitive behavioral intervention helps prevent depression among at-risk teens
Adolescents at an increased risk of depression who participated in a group cognitive behavioral intervention significantly reduced their symptoms and episodes of depression compared to teens who received usual care, although this effect was not seen for adolescents with a parent with current depression, according to a study in the June 3 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child and adolescent health.

Memory with a twist: NIST develops a flexible memristor
Electronic memory chips may soon gain the ability to bend and twist as a result of work by engineers at NIST, who have found a way to build a flexible memory component out of inexpensive, readily available materials.

Semen quality depends upon antioxidants
A possible relationship between men's diets and the quality of their semen has long been a discussion point.

Researchers identify potential risks of therapies taken by the elderly
Researchers unveiled data during Digestive Disease Week 2009 examining the potential risks associated with two commonly used treatments, particularly among the elderly: acid suppressors and antithrombotics.

Exercise more, not less, to ease aching back
People with lower back pain are better off exercising more, not less.

The first goal is the deepest
Sports commentators on soccer and hockey games will often make their winning predictions as soon as the first goal is scored.

Weill Cornell receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant
Weill Cornell Medical College announced today that it has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Cell phone ringtones can pose major distraction, impair recall
A flurry of recent research has documented that talking on a cell phone poses a dangerous distraction for drivers and others whose attention should be focused elsewhere.

Bleeding disorders going undiagnosed; new guidelines to help
Nearly one percent of the population suffers from bleeding disorders, yet many women don't know they have one because doctors aren't looking for the condition, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Researchers call for new space headache category following astronauts' survey
Researchers are calling for space headache to be established as a new secondary disorder after a study of 17 astronauts jettisoned the theory that astronauts' headaches are normally caused by space motion sickness.

Rutgers research: Discoveries shed new light on how the brain processes what the eye sees
Researchers at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University in Newark have identified the need to develop a new framework for understanding

External beam partial breast irradiation most cost-effective treatment
External beam partial breast irradiation is the most cost-effective method for treating postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer based on utilities, recurrence risks and costs when compared to whole breast radiotherapy and brachytherapy partial breast irradiation, according to a study in the June 1 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

UF study finds ancient mammals shifted diets as climate changed
A new University of Florida study shows mammals change their dietary niches based on climate-driven environmental changes, contradicting a common assumption that species maintain their niches despite global warming.

CSHL researchers unravel how a protein helps nerve cells recycle synaptic vesicles
Neurons transmit electrical signals efficiently only when they recycle neurotransmitter-carrying vesicles that have been expelled into the synapse.

Study: Lack of capital not a 'death sentence' for start-ups
A new study from North Carolina State University is turning the conventional wisdom about technology start-up companies on its head, showing that ventures with moderate levels of undercapitalization can still be successful and that a great management team is not more important than a top-notch technology product when it comes to securing sufficient amounts of capital.

Experts reach consensus on diagnosis and treatment of bleeding disorders in women
Because bleeding from the reproductive tract is a naturally occurring event during menstruation and childbirth, women who exhibit menorrhagia, or excessive bleeding after their menstrual cycle, may have underlying diseases that are underdiagnosed.

How to get obese mice moving -- and cure their diabetes
Mice lacking the fat hormone leptin or the ability to respond to it become morbidly obese and severely diabetic -- not to mention downright sluggish.

NASA Earth System Science at 20 -- Symposium June 22-24
Twenty years ago NASA started a program to study our planet from space as a whole rather than its individual parts.

Secret of sandcastle construction could help revive ancient building technique, researchers say
The secret of a successful sandcastle could aid the revival of an ancient eco-friendly building technique, according to research led by Durham University.

Springer Series editor John Smol receives 2 prestigious biology awards
John Smol of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, has just received the 2009 Killam Prize as well as one of the five prestigious Premier's Discovery Awards for 2009.

The Aerospace Corp. nanosatellite tests the latest generation of solar cells
Scientists at the Aerospace Corp. are analyzing data received from a satellite the size of a loaf of bread that tested a new generation of solar cells in space.

Surgery in patients with RA is often 'too little, too late'
A new study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveals that one of the most common conditions caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis is best treated surgically, sooner rather than later.

Alcohol and smoking are key causes for bowel cancer
A new global study has found that lifestyle risk factors such as alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking are important risk factors for bowel cancer.

Calculating preventative medicine's return on investment
Researchers have developed a prototype

'Shunt' makes mice super fat burners
By inserting a molecular shunt into the livers of mice, researchers have shown they can make the animals burn more fat.

When evolution is not so slow and gradual
What's the secret to surviving during times of environmental change?

American Society for Microbiology honors Carl R. Woese
The 2009 American Society for Microbiology Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award is being presented to Carl R.

Vision impairment costs billions lost in productivity
Corrected vision impairment could prevent billions of dollars in lost productivity annually, according to a study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of School of Public Health, the International Center for Eyecare Education, the University of New South Wales and the African Vision Research Institute.

Texas A&M researchers examine 'invading' bacteria in DNA
Call it advanced warfare on the most elemental of levels.

Improved DNA stool test could detect digestive cancers in multiple organs
Mayo Clinic researchers have demonstrated that a noninvasive screening test can detect not only colorectal cancer but also the common cancers above the colon -- including pancreas, stomach, biliary and esophageal cancers.

Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology develop joint clinical recommendations
The Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology recently released clinical recommendations for the treatment of patients living with, or at risk for, gum disease and/or heart disease.

American Society for Microbiology honors Jo Handelsman
The 2009 American Society for Microbiology Carski Foundation Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award will be presented to Jo Handelsman, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

American Society for Microbiology honors Steven M. Holland
The 2009 American Society for Microbiology Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology is presented to Steven M.

Elsevier's PharmaPendium introduces the FDA Classic Collection
PharmaPendium, Elsevier's online resource for authoritative preclinical, clinical and post-marketing drug information, has significantly expanded its coverage of US Food and Drug Administration approval documents with the launch of the FDA Classic Collection.

SRI International announces findings from new upper atmospheric radar system for scientific research
SRI International, an independent nonprofit research institute, announced early scientific results from the Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar, a modular, transportable radar system funded by the National Science Foundation that has recently completed the first two years of operation.

New arenavirus discovered as cause of hemorrhagic fever outbreak in South Africa and Zambia
Scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases of National Health Laboratory Service, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Roche's 454 Life Sciences Corporation have discovered the new virus responsible for a highly fatal hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Zambia and South Africa in late 2008.

Natura Therapeutics and USF receive NIH grant to study green tea compound for Alzheimer's
A Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Institutes of Health has been awarded to scientists affiliated with Natura Therapeutics Inc., and the University of South Florida to study TeaMem, a compound derived from green tea.

Likelihood of survival may be improving for extremely preterm infants
Infants born extremely preterm are surviving at a high rate, with about 70 percent of infants born alive between 22 and 26 weeks of gestation in Sweden surviving at least one year, with high rates of interventions being used to improve survival, according to a study in the June 3 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child and adolescent health.

Study: Indirect transmission can trigger influenza outbreaks in birds
New data on the persistence of avian influenza viruses in the environment has allowed a team of University of Georgia researchers to create the first model that takes into account both direct and indirect transmission of the viruses among birds.

Enzyme involved in inflammatory bowel disease discovered at Penn State College of Medicine
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, working with biochemists, geneticists and clinicians at the University of Bern, Switzerland and in the United Kingdom, have discovered that the enzyme meprin has a key role in inflammatory bowel disease.

Artificial liver may extend lives
The first artificial organ for liver patients that uses immortalized human liver cells, the Extracorporeal Liver Assist Device, or ELAD, is a bedside system that treats blood plasma, metabolizing toxins and synthesizing proteins just like a real liver does.

Report identifies early childhood conditions that lead to adult health disparities
The origins of many adult diseases can be traced to early negative experiences associated with social class and other markers of disadvantage.

73 scientists elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
Seventy-three microbiologists have been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology.

World first: Chinese scientists create pig stem cells
Scientists have managed to induce cells from pigs to transform into pluripotent stem cells -- cells that, like embryonic stem cells, are capable of developing into any type of cell in the body.

More costly private model of foster care could save $6.3 billion in long term
In these times of trillion-dollar budgets and deficits, $6.3 billion may not seem like much money, but that's what the United States potentially could save on each group of adolescents who enter foster care every year.

GEN reports on efforts to quickly develop swine flu vaccine
Scientists around the world are accelerating their efforts to develop a vaccine against the H1N1 influenza virusas rapidly as possible, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

Design input accelerates new technologies' route to market
Thermo-chromic window films which regulate room temperature; a heart and breathing rate monitor which could revolutionize the monitoring of babies during childbirth; and improved tests for food sensitivities and allergies are among innovations developed at the University of Nottingham highlighted by the Design Council's Innovate for Universities initiative.

While you were sleeping
It has been linked to learning impairment, stroke and premature death.

Study shows new approach to prevent antibody-mediated damage in kidney transplants
Early results from a Mayo Clinic research study demonstrate the effectiveness of a new approach to blocking an important part of the immune system that causes severe damage to some kidney transplants.

Why dishing does you good: U-M study
Why does dishing with a girlfriend do wonders for a woman's mood?

Easier access to media by children increases risk for influence on numerous health issues
With children having easier access to media and a wider variety of content, the possible negative influence on health issues such as sex, drugs, obesity and eating disorders is increased, and warrants monitoring usage and limiting access if necessary, according to a commentary in the June 3 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child and adolescent health.

Women faring well in hiring process for science faculty jobs at research universities
Although women are still underrepresented in the applicant pool for faculty positions in math, science, and engineering at major research universities, those who do apply are interviewed and hired at rates equal to or higher than those for men, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Climate change models find staple crops face ruin on up to 1 million square km of African farmland
A new study by researchers from the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute and the United Kingdom's Waen Associates has found that by 2050, hotter conditions, coupled with shifting rainfall patterns, could make anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million square kilometers of marginal African farmland no longer able to support even a subsistence level of food crops.

Tulane receives grant to study limb regeneration
Could the salamander's natural ability to grow back severed appendages lead to a scientific breakthrough for humans who have lost limbs?

American Society for Microbiology honors Edward F. DeLong
The 2009 American Society for Microbiology D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award is being presented to Edward F.

NOTES advances suggest promising future for scarless surgery
Researchers will present the latest advances in a technology that continues to change the face of gastroenterology and surgery, known as NOTES, today at Digestive Disease Week 2009.

American Society for Microbiology honors Joseph L. DeRisi
The 2009 American Society for Microbiology Eli Lilly and Company Research Award is being presented to Joseph L.

Skin lesion leads to more cancer types than once believed
Dermatologist Martin Weinstock has found that sun-damaged rough patches on the skin known as actinic keratoses lead to more forms of skin cancer than previously thought.

International Rett Syndrome Foundation recognizes Dr. Huda Zoghbi, Dr. Alan Percy
The International Rett Syndrome Foundation presented its most prestigious awards to Dr.

Insomniac flies resemble sleep-deprived humans
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have created a line of fruit flies that may someday help shed light on the mechanisms that cause insomnia in humans.

Trading energy for safety, bees extend legs to stay stable in wind
New research shows some bees brace themselves against wind and turbulence by extending their sturdy hind legs while flying.

UF study finds that ancient mammals shifted diets as climate changed
A new University of Florida study shows mammals change their dietary niches based on climate-driven environmental changes, contradicting a common assumption that species maintain their niches despite global warming.

Weight management techniques reflect advances in the field
Research presented today at Digestive Disease Week 2009 demonstrates the tremendous progress being made in the field of weight management, including alternatives to gastric bypass surgery that are successful in terms of both weight loss and resolution of common co-morbidities including hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and other disabling conditions.

Could standard treatment for traumatic brain injury be wrong?
The UCLA Brain Injury Research Center in the Department of Neurosurgery has been awarded a $4.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support research into new ways to heal the brain after a traumatic brain injury.

Study further expands understanding of leptin's role in brain neurocircuitry
New findings from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center demonstrate that leptin's influence on tiny group of POMC neurons restores blood sugar control -- and spontaneously increases physical activity levels -- in an animal model of severe, insulin-resistant diabetes.

NTU launches initiative to propel multidisciplinary energy-related research
Nanyang Technological University has established a broad based multidisciplinary energy research center that seeks to explore complex energy-related issues.

Hybrid remotely operated vehicle 'Nereus' reaches deepest part of the ocean
A new type of deep-sea robotic vehicle called Nereus has successfully reached the deepest part of the world's ocean, reports a team of US engineers and scientists aboard the research vessel Kilo Moana.

Childhood health disparities can have life-long health effects
Research indicates that physical and mental stress in childhood may have life-long adverse health effects and policy initiatives are needed to emphasize the importance of starting health promotion and disease prevention early in life, according to an article in the June 3 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on child and adolescent health.

American Society for Microbiology honors Mohamed A. Karmali
American Society for Microbiology BD Award for Research in Clinical Microbiology is being presented to Mohamed A.

Study: Benefit to women not enough to sway men to get HPV vaccine
Informing men that a new vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) would also help protect their female partners against developing cervical cancer from the sexually transmitted infection did not increase their interest in getting the vaccine, according to a new Florida State University study.

Researchers from the Institut Catala de Paleontologia describe a new hominid
Researchers from the Institut Catala de Paleontologia, from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, publish this week in the prestigious scientific journal PNAS the results of their research regarding the find of a new genus of hominoid primate at els Hostalets de Pierola, l'Anoia.

Out-of-pocket health-care costs rise for workers with employer coverage
The 161 million Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance are facing substantial increases in out-of-pocket costs, according to a study published today on the Health Affairs Web site.

UCF researcher developing computer program to detect, measure brain tumors
The same techniques used to detect suspicious activity in airports, stadiums and other public places are now being used by the UCF researcher who invented them to find and measure potentially life-threatening brain tumors. 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