Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 12, 2009
VJ Day marked with launch of POW project on Merseyside
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has been awarded £48,200 ($79.500) from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of its ongoing work with ex-Far Eastern Prisoners of War to create an archive of oral histories from surviving prisoners.

New LED lights have a bright future for communication
The University of California, Riverside will lead a multicampus effort that could reshape the way we communicate and navigate in homes, offices, airports and especially in hospitals, airports and other places where radio frequency communication is prohibited.

8 named Beeson Scholars, receive more than $6M for aging research and clinical care
The American Federation for Aging Research, the National Institute on Aging, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the John A.

Children with newly diagnosed epilepsy at risk for cognitive problems
Children who have normal IQs before they experience a first seizure may also have problems with language, memory, learning and other cognitive skills, according to a study published in the Aug.

The mind's eye scans like a spotlight
Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory say you are more likely to scan the room, jumping from face to face as you search for your friend.

Early noninvasive ventilation after extubation reduces mortality and lowers risk of respiratory failure in patients with chronic respiratory disorders
Patients with chronic respiratory disorders are at increased risk of respiratory failure (and subsequent death) when they have the internal tubing used to assist their breathing removed (extubation).

New insights into limb formation
Investigators at Burnham Institute for Medical Research and the University of Connecticut Health Center have gained new understanding of the role hyaluronic acid plays in skeletal growth, chondrocyte maturation and joint formation in developing limbs.

Gene therapy 1 year later: Patients healthy and maintain early visual improvement
Three young adults who received gene therapy for a blinding eye condition remained healthy and maintained previous visual gains one year later, according to an August online report in Human Gene Therapy.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in the mid-Atlantic
NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System has awarded more than $2.7 million in competitive grant funding to the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, coordinated through the University of Delaware, in support of continued development of a comprehensive ocean observing system for the Mid-Atlantic region.

UK study finds meal replacements aid weight loss
A new study by Dr. James Anderson at the University of Kentucky finds meal replacements are effective for weight loss.

Vision improvement after gene therapy maintained at 1 year for inherited retinal blindness
One year after a trio of young adults received gene therapy for an inherited form of blindness, researchers have documented that the patients are still experiencing the same level of remarkable vision improvements previously measured within weeks.

Harbingers of increased Atlantic hurricane activity identified
Reconstructions of past hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean indicate that the most active hurricane period in the past was during the

CRF announces late breaking trials to be presented at TCT 2009 in San Francisco
Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics is the annual Scientific Symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

Worth the effort? Not if you're depressed
New research indicates that decreased cravings for pleasure may be at the root of a core symptom of major depressive disorder.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in the Pacific Islands
NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System has awarded more than $2.09 million in competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.

National Cancer Institute names Emory to nationwide NCI chemical biology consortium
Emory University's Chemical Biology Discovery Center has been selected by SAIC-Frederick Inc. to be part of an 11-member national consortium aimed at accelerating the discovery and development of new and innovative, targeted cancer therapies.

Stanford researchers call for drug labels to disclose lack of comparison with existing medications
The labeling information that comes with prescription drugs tells you what's known about the medication, but researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine think it's high time that the labeling tell you what isn't known.

Researchers identify potential new avenue to attack cancer
New insight into how human cells reproduce could help scientists move closer to finding an

Uncovering the secrets of ulcer-causing bacteria
A team of researchers from Boston University, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently made a discovery that changes a long held paradigm about how bacteria move through soft gels.

EPA awards UH lead role to study toxin effects on embryonic development
Most would agree that arsenic, lead, mercury, benzene and carbon monoxide pose dangers to humans.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in the Caribbean
The NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System is awarding $899,826 in 2009 competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in the Caribbean.

No experience required: Category-specific brain organization in sighted and blind humans
A new study finds a surprising similarity in the way neural circuits linked to vision process information in both sighted individuals and those who have been blind since birth.

Satellites unlock secret to Northern India's vanishing water
Using satellite data, UC Irvine and NASA hydrologists have found that groundwater beneath northern India has been receding by as much as 1 foot per year over the past decade -- and they believe human consumption is almost entirely to blame.

Mighty mice: Treatment targeted to muscle improves motor neuron disease
New research with transgenic mice reveals that a therapy directed at the muscle significantly improves disease symptoms of a genetic disorder characterized by destruction of the neurons that control movement.

Science communication to take the stage at annual AAAS meeting in San Francisco
As science has become a larger part of the cultural landscape, researchers have frequently found themselves navigating the difficult waters of policies and politics, making it increasingly necessary for scientists to work with the media to insure accurate portrayals of science.

Trigger-happy star formation
A new study from two of NASA's Great Observatories provides fresh insight into how some stars are born, along with a beautiful new image of a stellar nursery in our Galaxy.

Study finds migratory birds not picky about their rest stops
If a lush, protected forest with a winding stream is considered luxury accommodation for a migratory bird, a Purdue University study shows that those birds would be just as happy with the equivalent of a cheap roadside motel.

'Hydropalooza' provides deeper understanding of Alaska's Kachemak Bay
NOAA ships and scientists have returned to Alaska's Kachemak Bay to kick off year two of Hydropalooza -- a NOAA-led project to develop the most detailed seafloor and coastline maps ever generated of the area.

PR pros are good ethical thinkers, study finds
For years journalists and others have questioned the ethics of public relations practitioners and firms.

NOAA and Oregon State University map Oregon's seafloor
Surveyors and scientists from NOAA's Office of Coast Survey and Oregon State University over the next two years will create the most detailed maps ever generated of the seafloor along Oregon's coast.

Essential nutrient found in eggs may help lower risk of neural tube defects
Research published online in the journal Epidemiology found that higher levels of total blood choline are associated with a 2.5-fold reduction in risk for neural tube birth defects (NTDs).

Vision researchers see unexpected gain a year into blindness trial
Scientists have discovered that even in adults born with extremely impaired sight, the brain can rewire itself to recognize sections of the retina that have been restored by gene therapy.

Harvard research team receives $10M NSF grant to develop small-scale mobile robotic devices
A multidisciplinary team of computer scientists, engineers, and biologists at Harvard received a $10M NSF Expeditions in Computing grant to fund the development of small-scale mobile robotic devices.

A window into the brain
Dr. Yaniv Assaf of Tel Aviv University has pioneered a new way to track the effect of memory on brain structure with a methodology called

Hurricane seasons are more active
For many Americans who live on the Atlantic coast, Andrew, Ivan and Katrina are more than just names -- they are reminders of the devastating impact of cyclonic activity in the region during hurricane season.

Breakthrough in Alzheimer's research
A combination of proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid can reliably identify which patients with early symptoms of dementia will subsequently develop full-blown Alzheimer's disease, a research team at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has found in a major international study.

Biological clocks of insects could lead to more effective pest control
Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered that the circadian rhythms or biological

See no weevil: researcher tracks rice bugs to help farmers, consumers
When something's bugging rice farmers, a large segment of the world's population will know.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in central and northern California
The NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System is awarding over $1.6 million in 2009 competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in Central and Northern California.

Do high-fat diets make us stupid and lazy?
Short-term memory getting worse? Exercise getting harder? Examine your diet.

Human mind: Sound and vision wired through same 'black box'
Sounds and images share a similar neural code in the human brain, according to a new Canadian study.

LSU professor develops integrated storm surge and hurricane wave modeling capabilities
Q. Jim Chen, LSU associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and recipient of one of the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards, the NSF Career Grant, leads a research group tasked with helping our coastal communities better prepare for hurricanes and other inevitable events that come with living near the coast.

New study reveals unexpected relationship between climate warming and advancing treelines
A new study reveals that treelines are not responding to climate warming as expected.

Variability of type 1a supernovae has implications for dark energy studies
The stellar explosions known as type 1a supernovae have long been used as

The tourist trap
Mosquitoes with the potential to carry diseases lethal to many unique species of Galapagos wildlife are being regularly introduced to the islands via aircraft, according to new research published today.

Keeping our sights on big breakers with radar
Scientists of the Geesthacht GKSS Research Centre have developed a radar system with which it is possible to study the behaviour of sea waves.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in the Pacific Northwest
The NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System is awarding $1.9 million in 2009 competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in the Pacific Northwest.

Early human hunters had fewer meat-sharing rituals
University of Arizona anthropologist Mary Stiner has discovered that early stone-age hunters at Qesem Cave were skilled big game predators but shared their meat informally.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing along the Gulf Coast
The NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System is awarding $973,083 in 2009 competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hebrew U. researchers shed light on the brain mechanism responsible for processing of speech
Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have succeeded for the first time in devising a model that describes and identifies a basic cellular mechanism that enables networks of neurons to efficiently decode speech in changing conditions.

2009 CMA Medal of Service
On Aug. 19, Dr. Michel G. Bergeron, director of the Centre de recherche en infectiologie of Laval University, will receive the 2009 Canadian Medical Association's Medal of Service.

Satellites unlock secret to northern India's vanishing water
Using NASA satellite data, scientists have found that groundwater levels in northern India have been declining by as much as one foot per year over the past decade.

Hiking, horses and helicopter: Scientists deploy seismic network for study of Sierra Negra, Galapagos
An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the University of Miami, University of Rochester, University of Idaho-Moscow and the Instituto Geofisico, Escuela Politecnica Nacional (Quito, Ecuador) have joined to study one the world's most active volcanoes, Sierra Negra in the Galapagos.

Fungus found in humans shown to be nimble in mating game
Brown University researchers have determined that Candida albicans, a human fungal pathogen, pursues both same-sex and the more conventional opposite-sex mating.

Lifting weights reduces lymphedema symptoms following breast cancer surgery, Penn research shows
Breast cancer survivors who lift weights are less likely to experience worsening symptoms of lymphedema, the arm- and hand-swelling condition that plagues many women following surgery for their disease, according to new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine research published in the August 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Clemson facial recognition research advances
It often takes a pristine look at the iris to pass through some security systems.

Scientists demonstrate importance of niche differences in biodiversity
Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have found strong evidence that niche differences are critical to biodiversity.

ADA publishes practice guidelines for nutrition care for patients with spinal cord injury
The American Dietetic Association has published new evidence-based nutrition practice guidelines for registered dietitians on nutrition care for patients with spinal cord injury.

Parental influences differ in determing child's later academic success
Mothers and fathers play different roles and make different contributions to a child's upbringing, but a father's influence upon a child's academic success later in life is felt the most when he's involved from the very beginning, says Brent McBride, a University of Illinois expert in early childhood education.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in Alaska
NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System is awarding over $1.39 million in competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in Alaska.

Football injuries in US high school athletes more severe during kickoff, punting
Injuries can occur during a sporting competition at any time.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in the Great Lakes
The NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System has awarded $750,000 in 2009 competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in the Great Lakes.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in the Southeast
The NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System has awarded $2.8 million in 2009 competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in the southeastern United States.

Camera flash turns an insulating material into a conductor
An insulator can now be transformed to conduct electricity by an ordinary camera flash.

International robotic surgery forum launches in Chicago
On October 9-10, 2009, CRSA will hold its first international conference at the Swissotel Chicago to officially launch the organization.

Carnitine supplements reverse glucose intolerance in animals
Supplementing obese rats with the nutrient carnitine helps the animals to clear the extra sugar in their blood, something they had trouble doing on their own, researchers at Duke University Medical Center report.

NOAA announces funding to support ocean observing in the Northeast
NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System has awarded $2.46 million in competitive grant funding to support ocean observing efforts in the Northeast.

Bob Woodruff, SGM (ret.) Colin Rich and Senator John Kerry honored at IBMISPS Annual Awards
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announces the recipients of this year's International Brain Mapping and Intraoperative Surgical Planning Society awards.

NOAA announces funding to support the Alliance for Coastal Technologies
NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System has awarded more than $1.2 million in competitive grant funding to the Alliance for Coastal Technologies, a NOAA-funded partnership of research institutions, resource managers, and private sector companies.

American Chemical Society issues its first paperless annual report
The 2008 American Chemical Society Annual Report debuted today online, the first time that this yearly document has been published exclusively on the Web.

London's earliest timber structure found during Belmarsh prison dig
London's oldest timber structure has been unearthed by archaeologists from Archaeology South-East (part of the Institute of Archaeology at UCL).

FalconView goes open source for corporate, environmental, government and other users
The Georgia Tech Research Institute has released an open-source version of its popular FalconView software.

Storm clouds over Titan
Taking advantage of advanced techniques to correct distortions caused by Earth's atmosphere, astronomers used the NSF-supported Gemini Observatory to capture the first images of clouds over the tropics of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

Caltech scientists discover storms in the tropics of Titan
Saturn's moon Titan is dull, weatherwise. Nothing happens for years, making it hard to understand the carved channels that seem to line the surface.

Genome duplication responsible for more plant species than previously thought
Extra genomes appear, on average, to offer no benefit or disadvantage to plants, but still play a key role in the origin of new species, say scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and three other institutions in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NOAA report finds flower garden banks sanctuary reefs among healthiest in Gulf
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is among the healthiest coral reef ecosystems in the tropical Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, according to a new NOAA report.

Princeton pair sets world record in packing puzzle
Two Princeton University researchers have made a major advance in addressing a twist in the packing problem, jamming more tetrahedra -- solid figures with four triangular faces -- and other polyhedral solid objects than ever before into a space. 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