Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 16, 2009
Jacob Ziv wins BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in information technologies
The presentation ceremony will take place on June 18. Their monetary amount and the breadth of disciplines addressed place the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards second only to the Nobel Prize.

Study finds autistics better at problem-solving
Autistics are up to 40 percent faster at problem-solving than non-autistics, according to a new University of Montreal and Harvard University study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

Trans fats hinder multiple steps in blood flow regulation pathways
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in processed foods contain trans fatty acids that interfere with the regulation of blood flow.

Powe Award supports research on how enzymes enable the pathogenicity of 2 human disease organisms
Oak Ridge Associated Universities presents the Powe award to faculty members who are in the first two years of their tenure track as an investment in promising achievements in an important area.

European satellites probe a new magnetar
On Aug. 22, 2008, NASA's Swift satellite reported multiple blasts of radiation from a rare object known as a soft gamma repeater, or SGR.

Powerful nutrient cocktail can put kids with Crohn's into remission
A Tel Aviv University researcher promotes liquid nutrition to combat inflammatory bowel disease.

X-rays for early Alzheimer's disease detection
Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated a new, highly detailed X-ray imaging technique that could be developed into a method for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

Research proves tai chi benefits for arthritis
A new study by the George Institute for International Health has found tai chi to have positive health benefits for musculoskeletal pain.

AMP urges inclusion of molecular diagnostic tests in comparative effectiveness research
The Association for Molecular Pathology today released the text of a comment letter it has provided to the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research in which AMP sets forth its recommendations for priority areas on which to focus CER activities.

Analysis of drug-eluting stents data demonstrates safety, efficacy in on-and-off-label use
The Cardiovascular Research Foundation announced that results of the largest meta-analysis to date comparing mortality rates for drug-eluting stents vs. bare metal stents were published online June 15 in the journal Circulation.

Opioid-induced hibernation protects against stroke
Using an opioid drug to induce a hibernatory state in rats reduces the damage caused by an artificial stroke.

Study gives clues to increasing X-rays' power
Three-dimensional, real-time X-ray images may be closer to reality because of research by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a pair of Russian institutes.

NASA and NOAA's GOES-O satellite ready for launch
NASA is preparing for the launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-O (GOES-O) from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

Providing health insurance for US children would be cheaper than expected, study says
Extending health insurance coverage to all children in the US would be relatively inexpensive and would yield economic benefits that are greater than the costs, according to new research conducted at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Global sunscreen won't save corals
Emergency plans to counteract global warming by artificially shading the Earth from incoming sunlight might lower the planet's temperature a few degrees, but such

Good news for some hard-to-treat hepatitis C patients
Researchers find a new option for hepatitis C patients who have not responded to previous treatment that may be effective even for those patients with factors that make their condition difficult to treat.

University of Nevada, Reno, surveys earthquake faults through downtown
The Seismological Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno, is finishing the first phase of seismic surveying through downtown as part of a $1 million US Geological Survey study to create an earthquake hazard map in the Reno-Carson City urban corridor.

Climate change is already having an impact in the Midwest and across the US
Extreme weather, drought, heavy rainfall and increasing temperatures are a fact of life in many parts of the US as a result of human-induced climate change, researchers report today in a new assessment.

Novel light-sensitive compounds show promise for cancer therapy
Chemists at UC Santa Cruz have developed novel compounds that show promise for photodynamic cancer therapy, which uses light-activated drugs to kill tumor cells.

Extreme makeover chemistry style
In revisiting a chemical reaction that's been in the literature for several decades and adding a new wrinkle of their own, researchers with Berkeley Lab and the University of California Berkeley have discovered a mild and relatively inexpensive procedure for removing oxygen from biomass.

'Cannabis alters human DNA' -- new study
Research at University of Leicester highlights cancer risk from cannabis smoke.

Nanocrystals reveal activity within cells
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created bright, stable and bio-friendly nanocrystals that act as individual investigators of activity within a cell.

Dad's overworked and tired while mom's potentially fired
If dad looks exhausted this Father's Day it could be due to his job, suggests new research that found many male employees are now pressured to work up to 40 hours of overtime -- often unpaid -- per week to stay competitive.

Mercury in Mackenzie River delta dramatically higher than previously believed
University of Alberta researchers conducting a water study in the Mackenzie River Delta have found a dramatically higher delivery of mercury from the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean than determined in previous studies.

Geological Society of America's 2009 Annual Meeting -- media advisory 1
More than 6000 geoscientists will gather at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland on October 18-21 to participate in

Potential for noninvasive brain tumor treatment
Duke University engineers have taken a first step toward a minimally invasive treatment of brain tumors by combining chemotherapy with heat administered from the end of a catheter.

Your questions answered: NPL opens materials hotline
Materials companies now have somewhere to turn for instant measurement advice.

Giant eruption reveals 'dead' star
An enormous eruption has found its way to Earth after traveling for many thousands of years across space.

UCF researcher's nanoparticles could someday lead to end of chemotherapy
Nanoparticles specially engineered by University of Central Florida Assistant Professor J.

Technology guide: Principles -- applications -- trends
Our everyday lives are dictated by technical developments, and we will be increasingly molded and changed by them.

Common fish species has 'human' ability to learn
Although worlds apart, the way fish learn could be closer to humans' way of thinking than previously believed, suggests a new research study.

Springer to publish Journal of Medicine and the Person
Springer and the Association of Medicine and the Person are collaborating to publish the Journal of Medicine and the Person.

New piece found in the puzzle of epigenetics
A team of scientists led by Professor Dirk Eick of Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen has identified the enzyme TFIIH kinase as an important factor in the epigenetic regulation of the cell nucleus enzyme RNA polymerase II.

TGen and USC researchers find genetic markers to help fight diabetes
Translational Genomics Research Institute and University of Southern California scientists have identified five genetic biomarkers that could help lead to improved treatments, with fewer side effects, for patients with diabetes.

17 of America's most promising scientists selected as 2009 Pew Scholars in the biomedical sciences
The Pew Charitable Trusts today named 17 early career scientists as Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences.

Hartford grants increase support for geriatric social work training
The prestigious Hartford Doctoral Fellows and Hartford Faculty Scholars programs today awarded over $1.25 million in combined new grants to eleven researchers in the field of geriatric social work.

Much touted 'depression risk gene' may not add to risk after all
Stressful life events are strongly associated with a person's risk for major depression, but a certain gene variation long thought to increase risk in conjunction with stressful life events actually may have no effect, according to researchers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Another McGill/JGH breakthrough opens door to early Alzheimer's diagnosis
A new diagnostic technique which may greatly simplify the detection of Alzheimer's disease has been discovered by researchers at McGill University and the affiliated Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital.

Study separates russian flat tax myth and fact
A study of the 2001 Russian flat tax reform finds that the new tax system significantly reduced tax evasion, but did little to increase real income for taxpayers.

'The Vision Revolution': Eyes are the source of human 'superpowers'
Reaching beyond

New communication technologies help cardiac patients improve their prognosis
Phone and Internet make rehabilitation programs more accessible.

Contemplating excess wind
How much usable energy do wind turbines produce? It is a question that perplexes engineers and frustrates potential users, especially on windless days.

IUPUI study finds living near fast food outlet not a weighty problem for kids
A new study by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers contradicts the conventional wisdom that living near a fast food outlet increases weight in children and that living near supermarkets, which sell fresh fruit and vegetables as well as so called junk food, lowers weight.

New fabricated material changes color instantly in response to external magnetic field
A research team led by a chemist at the University of California -- Riverside has fabricated microscopic polymer beads that change color instantly and reversibly when external magnetic fields acting upon the microspheres change orientation.

Preventing spread of infectious diseases is everyone's responsibility
According to a report published today, we must all share responsibility for preventing the spread of diseases such as swine flu, SARS, avian influenza, diarrheal and skin diseases, and even the common cold.

New mechanism fundamental to the spread of invasive yeast infections identified
A group of researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University Biological Sciences Professor Aaron Mitchell has identified a novel regulatory gene network that plays an important role in the spread of common, and sometimes deadly, yeast infections.

Cells are like robust computational systems, Carnegie Mellon-led team reports
Gene regulatory networks in cell nuclei are similar to cloud computing networks, such as Google or Yahoo!, researchers report today in the online journal Molecular Systems Biology.

Measuring brain atrophy in patients with mild cognitive impairment
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have shown that a fully automated procedure called Volumetric MRI -- which measures the

Report provides assessment of national, regional impacts of climate change
Researchers representing 13 US government science agencies, major universities and research institutes, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, produced the study entitled

Stanford expert lists 5 steps to boost impact of comparative effectiveness research
Comparative effectiveness research is generating buzz these days, with the recent economic stimulus package allocating $1.1 billion for these types of studies.

Therapy helps improve outcomes for patients with severe sepsis
A preliminary study suggests that a therapy for severe sepsis or septic shock that included the use of an antibiotic-based

Peripheral nerve repair with fat precursor cells led to wider nerves and less muscle atrophy
Multipotent, abundant, easily isolated fat (adipose) precursor cells (APCs) demonstrate an ability to differentiate in vitro into cartilage chondrogenic, boneosteogenic, fatadipogenic and muscle tissue myogenic cell types.

Powe Award supports development of more robust thermoelectric materials
Jeremiah T. Abiade, assistant professor in materials science and engineering and in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, has received a Ralph E.

Jackson, Rockefeller obesity researchers share Shaw Prize
Jackson Laboratory Professor Emeritus Douglas Coleman, Ph.D., a pioneer in obesity and diabetes research, will share the prestigious Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine with Dr.

Exploring the evolutionary consequences of same-sex sex: Lessons from the animal kingdom
Scientists have documented thousands of examples of same-sex sexual behavior in nonhuman animals and have put forth many intriguing theories to explain why such behaviors are so prevalent.

Putting a name to a face may be key to brain's facial expertise
Our tendency to see people and faces as individuals may explain why we are such experts at recognizing them, new research indicates.

CU-Boulder study shows Maya intensively cultivated manioc 1,400 years ago
A University of Colorado at Boulder team has uncovered an ancient and previously unknown Maya agricultural system -- a large manioc field intensively cultivated as a staple crop that was buried and exquisitely preserved under a blanket of ash by a volcanic eruption in present-day El Salvador 1,400 years ago.

Berkeley Lab scientists contribute to major new report describing climate change impacts on the US
Two researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Evan Mills and Michael Wehner, contributed to the analysis of the effects of climate change on all regions of the United States, described in a major report released today by the multiagency US Global Change Research Program.

Study: Ads attacking Supreme Court nominees damage public support of high court
Nasty, politicized Supreme Court nomination battles may erode public support of the high Court, according to a study of public reactions to the Samuel Alito nomination process.

New report outlines current, future impacts of climate change
The University of Arizona's Jonathan Overpeck is among the lead authors of the national report that details risks from warming, as well as ways to adapt to future conditions.

Study shows transfer of heavy metals from water to fish in Huelva estuary
A team of researchers from the University of Cadiz has confirmed that zinc, copper and lead are present at high levels in the water and sediments of the Huelva estuary, and have studied how some of these heavy metals are transferred to fish.

University of Leicester geologists demonstrate extent of ancient ice age
Geologists at the University of Leicester have shown that an ancient ice age, once regarded as a brief

New data demonstrate potential for early detection of Alzheimer's disease
Data published in the June issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease demonstrated that minimally invasive biospectroscopy was able to identify changes in oxidative stress levels in blood plasma, which may prove to be a useful biomarker in the early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

Oral rivaroxaban reduces death, stroke, further heart attack for patients after heart attack or unstable angina
Administration of the oral anti-clotting drug rivaroxaban to patients after an acute coronary syndrome (i.e., heart attack or unstable angina) reduces the incidence of stroke, further heart attack, and death in those patients.

Online obituaries are changing the way we publicly remember the dead and how newspapers cover deaths
Researchers found that although online obituaries allowing comments have positive implications for a community of mourners, it poses a conundrum for newspapers.

10 top Latin American scientists named 2009 Pew Fellows in the biomedical sciences
The Pew Charitable Trusts today named 10 promising young scientists as Pew Latin American Fellows in the Biomedical Sciences.

Test detects molecular marker of aging in humans
A team of UNC researchers has proven that a key protein called p16INK4a is present in human blood, and is strongly correlated both with chronological age and with certain behaviors such as tobacco use and physical inactivity, which are known to accelerate the aging process.

Same-sex behavior seen in nearly all animal groups, review finds
Same-sex behavior is a nearly universal phenomenon in the animal kingdom, common across species, from worms to frogs to birds, concludes a new review of existing research authored by UC Riverside evolutionary biologists.

Statins don't lower risk of pneumonia in elderly
Popular cholesterol-lowering statin drugs like Lipitor (atorvastatin) don't lower the risk of pneumonia, according to a British Medical Journal study of over 3,000 Group Health patients.

Government of Canada supports research to help address medical isotope shortage
The Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, minister of health, announced today that the Government of Canada is supporting research to find alternatives to nuclear-produced Technetium-99m, the principal medical isotope affected by the current shutdown at the Chalk River nuclear reactor.

Income, education, important factors in heart disease risk
Doctors who ignore the socioeconomic status of patients when evaluating their risk for heart disease are missing a crucial element that might result in inadequate treatment, according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study published in the June 2009 American Heart Journal.

Alaska researchers contribute to national climate change report
Two University of the Alaska Fairbanks researchers are among key contributors to a new national report that details visible effects of climate change in the United States and how today's choices stand to affect the future.

'Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics,' the Excel edition
Countless nervous introductory statistics students -- and the professors who teach them -- have relied on the books in Neil Salkind's bestselling

Individual primates display variation in general intelligence
General intelligence varies among primates within a single species, according to new research from Harvard University.

News briefs from the American Sociological Review
Research published in the June issue of the American Sociological Review examines issues surrounding families, communities, youth and delinquency.

Rare disorder gives modelers first glimpse at immune system development
Children born without thymus glands have given Duke University Medical Center researchers a rare opportunity to watch as a new immune system develops its population of infection-fighting T cells.

Analysis does not support association between genetic marker, stress and risk of depression
Contrary to a previous report, an analysis of 14 previous studies does not find an association between a serotonin transporter gene variation, stressful life events, and an increased risk of major depression, according to an article in the June 17 issue of JAMA.

Crustacean shell with polyester creates mixed-fiber material for nerve repair
Weaving chitosan, found in the shells of crabs and shrimp, with an industrial polyester creates a promising new material for biomedical applications, including the tiny tubes that support repair of a severed nerve.

Greater Boston unites to transform health care
A coalition of organizations representing health care stakeholders throughout Greater Boston has been selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to participate in a planning grant to become part of the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative.

Plant microbe shares features with drug-resistant pathogen
An international team of scientists has discovered extensive similarities between a strain of bacteria commonly associated with plants and one increasingly linked to opportunistic infections in hospital patients.

Association for Molecular Pathology comments to the SACGHS
In public comments given today before the Secretary of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society, the Association for Molecular Pathology addressed three areas: Comparative Effectiveness Research, evidence for coverage of genetic and genomic tests, and gene patents.

Less invasive CT-scan based colorectal cancer screening method shows good accuracy
Computed tomographic colonography may offer patients at increased risk of colorectal cancer an alternative to colonoscopy that is less-invasive, is better-tolerated and has good diagnostic accuracy, according to a study in the June 17 issue of JAMA.

CARTA to digitize extensive primate collection this summer
To help trace the origins of the human species, and potential links to other primates, researchers with the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny -- a joint organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies -- will begin digitizing and examining skeletal specimens and related medical records this summer from more than two dozen chimpanzees. 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