Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 21, 2009
Study demonstrates how we support our false beliefs
In a study published in the most recent issue of the journal Sociological Inquiry, sociologists from four major research institutions focus on one of the most curious aspects of the 2004 presidential election: the strength and resilience of the belief among many Americans that Saddam Hussein was linked to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

COST goes to South Africa to kick-start collaboration agreement
COST will officially launch its reciprocal agreement with South Africa at a conference at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria on Tuesday, Sept.

Clues to gigantism provided by family in Borneo Mountains
An indigenous family living in a mountainous area of Malaysian Borneo helped Van Andel Research Institute researchers to discover information about genetic mutations associated with acromegaly, a form of gigantism that often results in enlarged hands, feet and facial features.

Daylight could help control our weight
Exciting research into Brown adipose tissue -- brown fat, which is found in abundance in hibernating animals and newborn babies -- could lead to new ways of preventing obesity.

Dartmouth researchers propose new way to reproduce a black hole
Despite their popularity in the science fiction genre, there is much to be learned about black holes.

UCSF researchers identify 2 key pathways in adaptive response
UCSF researchers have identified the two key circuits that control a cell's ability to adapt to changes in its environment, a finding that could have applications ranging from diabetes and autoimmune research to targeted drug development for complex diseases.

Mount Sinai first with new technique to prevent a major cause for heart-related stroke
Physicians at the Mount Sinai Medical Center were the first in the country to perform a nonsurgical procedure using sutures to tie off a left atrial appendage, which is the source of blood clots leading to stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.

NASA watches as Hurricane Bill sweeps over Bermuda
Hurricane Bill was raining on Bermuda on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009, and NASA satellites were providing forecasters with information about Bill's rainfall, clouds and winds.

New treatments offer better survival and fresh challenges in colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the Western world.

Seeing the tree from the forest: Predicting the future of plant communities
A recent paper presents an algorithm that may be used to predict the future dynamics of plant communities, an increasingly interesting area of study as significant environmental changes, such as global climate change and invasive species, are affecting current plant communities.

10th Functional Genomics: Chemical Biology 2009
A cure for cystic fibrosis, HIV-fighting

Research shows why low vitamin D raises heart disease risks in diabetics
Low levels of vitamin D are known to nearly double the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

JNCI news brief: High serum insulin levels and risk of prostate cancer
Elevated insulin levels in the normal range appear to be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to a new study published online Aug.

New Iowa State supercomputer, Cystorm, unleashes 28.16 trillion calculations per second
Cystorm, Iowa State University's second supercomputer, is capable of a peak performance of 28.16 trillion calculations per second.

Off-label use: Oft not evidence based
In a recent national survey, a substantial minority of physicians erroneously believed that certain off-label uses of prescription drugs were FDA approved.

Long-term exercise, healthy eating habits in young adults: U-M study
Despite mounting public health concerns about obesity and persistent social pressures dictating that slim is beautiful, young women in their 20s consistently exercise less than young men.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Impaired transport in neurons triggers prion disease
A new study shows that nervous system integrity and axonal properties may play a key role in prion diseases.

Iowa State faculty attract $4.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants
Iowa State University researchers have won 19 grants worth a total of $7.7 million that are supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

NASA, AFOSR test environmentally friendly rocket propellant
NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, or AFOSR, have successfully launched a small rocket using an environmentally friendly, safe propellant comprised of aluminum powder and water ice, called ALICE.

General tumor marker test now offered by GenWay clinical laboratory
GenWay has validated a general tumor marker test in their laboratory.

Mouse brain rewires its neural circuits to recuperate from damaged neural function after stroke
Japanese research group led by Professor Junichi Nabekura in National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan, found that, after cerebral stroke in one side of the mouse brain, another side of the brain rewires its neural circuits to recuperate from damaged neural function.

Fecal DNA methylation detects gastric and colorectal cancers
A preliminary evaluation of methylation of two gene promoters in fecal DNA showed promise as a noninvasive method to detect colorectal and gastric cancers, according to a new study published online Aug.

Gene discovery reveals a critical protein's function in hearing
Discovery of a deafness-causing gene defect in mice has helped identify a new protein that protects sensory cells in the ear, according to a study by University of Iowa and Kansas State University researchers.

Robot's gentle touch aids delicate cancer surgery
Canadian researchers have created a touchy-feely robot that detects tougher tumor tissue for minimally invasive surgery with 40 percent more accuracy than a human.

Ghostwriting documents now fully available on PLoS Medicine Web site
Today, PLoS Medicine places in the public domain all documents -- around 1,500 -- released after the journal and the New York Times intervention in the Prempro case.

At the fungal farmer's market, only the best cyanobacteria are for sale
Lichens are the classic example of a symbiotic relationship. Both the fungal and photobiont components of the lichen benefit from the relationship and often are unable to survive without each other.

Gene discovery reveals a critical protein's function in hearing
Discovery of a deafness-causing gene defect in mice has helped identify a new protein that protects sensory cells in the ear, according to a study led by University of Iowa researchers. 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