Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 27, 2009
NASA's satellite imagery sees Hilda hit a wall
Two days ago, Hilda was in prime shape to strengthen further as she tracked westward, far south of the Hawaiian Islands.

We are all mutants
Researchers have calculated a general rate of one mutation in each 15 to 30 million DNA letters in humans.

New temperature reconstruction from Indo-Pacific warm pool
A new 2,000-year-long reconstruction of sea surface temperatures from the Indo-Pacific warm pool suggests that temperatures in the region may have been as warm during the Medieval Warm Period as they are today.

ASN committed to managing conflicts of interest
Twenty-six million Americans suffer from kidney disease, and for decades nephrologists in academia, practice, and industry have enhanced their quality of care.

Predicting cancer prognosis
Researchers led by Dr. Soheil Dadras at the Stanford University Medical Center have developed a novel methodology to extract microRNAs from cancer tissues.

Hopelessness linked to thickening of neck arteries, stroke in healthy women
Feelings of hopelessness may be associated with thickening of neck arteries in healthy, middle-aged women.

U-Iowa improves delivery of cancer-fighting molecules
University of Iowa researchers have modified siRNA, a type of genetic material that can block potentially harmful activity in cells, so that it can be injected into the bloodstream and impact targeted cells while producing fewer side effects.

Galaxy formation research earns astronomer NSF CAREER award for young scientists
An astronomer who came to Indiana University Bloomington two years ago to study the formation and evolution of galaxies has received the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for early career, tenure-track teachers and scholars.

NTU and Temasek Foundation transfer technology knowhow to China's quake-prone regions
Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and Temasek Foundation are working together to bring earthquake resistance technology to regions in the People's Republic of China which are prone to earthquakes.

Mice living in sandy hills quickly evolved lighter coloration
In a vivid illustration of natural selection at work, scientists at Harvard University have found that deer mice living in Nebraska's Sand Hills quickly evolved lighter coloration after glaciers deposited sand dunes atop what had been much darker soil.

105th APSA Meeting, world's largest for the study of politics, will be in Toronto, Sept. 3-6
The 105th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association will convene Sept.

Variants in 3 genes account for most dog coat differences
Variants in just three genes acting in different combinations account for the wide range of coat textures seen in dogs -- from the poodle's tight curls to the beagle's stick-straight fur.

NIH grant advances Tay-Sachs disease gene therapy
Families devastated by the fatal Tay-Sachs disease and their supporters raised nearly $600,000 to assemble an international consortium of experts and help maintain its gene therapy research while scientists worked to secure $3.5 million in NIH funding.

The path to new antibiotics
Researchers at Burnham Institute for Medical Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and University of Maryland have demonstrated that an enzyme that is essential to many bacteria can be targeted to kill dangerous pathogens.

The mysterious glaciers that grew when Asia heated up
Long ago a group of Himalayan glaciers grew by several kilometers even while Central Asia's climate warmed up to six degrees Celsius.

Simple test may identify stroke survivors at risk of another cardiovascular event
Measuring blood flow in the ankle may identify stroke survivors at risk of subsequent events.

Unique study isolates DNA from Linnaeus' botanical collections
Researchers at Uppsala University has succeeded in extracting long DNA fragments from dried, pressed plant material collected in the 1700s by Linnaeus' apprentice Adam Afzelius.

Clemson professor named American Chemistry Society Fellow
Clemson University Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Melanie Cooper has been named to the inaugural class of American Chemical Society Fellows.

COPD patients should begin treatment at an earlier stage (UPLIFT study)
While the effectiveness of drug therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients at advanced stages of disease has been proven, little evidence exists regarding starting treatment at earlier stages.

Beta-blockers and stroke -- new insights into their use for older people
Research conducted at Leicester reveals effects of blood pressure drugs on cardiovascular disease.

Stimulus funding helps K-State bring undergrads to prairie for ecology, molecular biology research
Federal stimulus research funding means Kansas State University ecologists will get more help studying the tallgrass prairie.

Small fluctuations in solar activity, large influence on the climate
Sun spot frequency has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation.

Small rodents encourage the formation of scrubland in Spain
After two years of research over five degraded landscapes in the National Park of Sierra Nevada, scientists have established for the first time that field mice base their diet on holm oak and pine seeds, causing a deterioration of the habitats and an extension of scrubland in the forests.

Roflumilast treatment shows promise for some patients with COPD
Roflumilast, an oral, once a day anti-inflammatory agent, improves lung function and reduces exacerbations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who have chronic respiratory symptoms and are at greater risk of exacerbations.

Researchers pinpoint neural nanoblockers in carbon nanotubes
A team of Brown University scientists has pinpointed why carbon nanotubes tend to block a critical signaling pathway in neurons.

The anti-diabetic effects of sodium tungstate revealed
The molecular mechanisms of tungstate activity in diabetes have been uncovered.

Women with strong thigh muscles protected from symptomatic knee osteoarthritis
A new study by researchers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics found that thigh muscle strength does not predict the occurrence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) uncovered in X-rays, but does predict incidence of painful or stiff knee OA.

Collagen-deficient mice show signs of osteoarthritis
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center, under a grant from the National Institutes of Health, conducted a study of mice to determine the effect of Type IX collagen (Col9a1) deficiency on functional ability.

New Mexico groups prepare for policy forum on improving the health of Latino communities
Registration is now open for the Ninth Annual Binational Policy Forum on Migration and Health to be held on Oct.

The invasive green mussel may inspire new forms of wet adhesion
The green mussel is known for being a notoriously invasive fouling species, but scientists have just discovered that it also has a very powerful form of adhesion in its foot, according to a recent article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

AGU journal highlights -- Aug. 27, 2009
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics:

Radiologists, medical physicists work to make imaging procedures safer
The Radiological Society of North America reaffirmed its commitment to patient safety today in responding to a study and accompanying perspective on radiation dose from medical imaging procedures in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Cognitive scientists use eye-tracking technology to learn what makes a great geologist
Cognitive scientists, geologists and vision scientists are teaming up to learn how expert geologists unconsciously view landscapes for clues that point the way to important discoveries.

NOAA study shows nitrous oxide now top ozone-depleting emission
Nitrous oxide has now become the largest ozone-depleting substance emitted through human activities, and is expected to remain the largest throughout the 21st century, NOAA scientists report in a new study.

Scientists uncover solar cycle, stratosphere and ocean connections
Subtle connections between the 11-year solar cycle, the stratosphere, and the tropical Pacific Ocean work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe, according to research appearing this week in the journal Science.

ESA helps make summer in the city more bearable
As temperatures soar, scientists have been collecting data amid the ancient ruins that symbolize the birthplace of western culture.

Louisiana Tech professor receives international honors for work in Trenchless Technology
Dr. Ray Sterling, professor emeritus of civil engineering and former director of Louisiana Tech's Trenchless Technology Center, has been awarded the International Society for Trenchless Technology's Gold Medal and the North American Society for Trenchless Technology Chairman's Award for Outstanding Lifetime Service.

'Curtain twitching' skylarks keep track of strangers through their songs
Skylarks can hear the difference between friendly neighbors and dangerous strangers, and deal with any threatening intruders, says new research by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

'Fatostatin' is a turnoff for fat genes
A small molecule earlier found to have both anti-fat and anti-cancer abilities works as a literal turnoff for fat-making genes, according to a new report in the Aug.

Turning back the clock: Fasting prolongs reproductive life span
Scientific dogma has long asserted that females are born with their entire lifetime's supply of eggs, and once they're gone, they're gone.

Making global science networking more user-friendly
Computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Electronic Visualization Laboratory have received a $1.9 million National Science Foundation grant to develop ways to make NSF's

Online news garners more attention from readers if it's negative and localized, MU study finds
University of Missouri researchers examined the physiological effects of reading threatening health news online.

Fisk/Vanderbilt program receives $3.7 million to increase minority Ph.D.s in the physical sciences
A unique collaboration between Fisk and Vanderbilt universities that is poised to become the nation's top source of Ph.D.s awarded to underrepresented minorities in physics and astronomy has received a major boost from three federal grants totaling $3.7 million.

Why Obama's dog has curly hair
University of Utah researchers used data from Portuguese water dogs -- the breed of President Barack Obama's dog Bo -- to help find a gene that gives some dogs curly hair and others long, wavy hair.

Alcohol, pregnancy and brain cell death
Rutgers' Dipak Sarkar has received a $3.5 million MERIT Award from the NIH to continue research on the damaging effects of alcohol on the nervous systems of the unborn.

Tropical Storm Danny stars in a GOES Satellite movie
NASA's GOES Project has been busy with animating satellite imagery of Tropical Storm Danny, and has created a movie of him from Aug.

Mayo Clinic awarded major grant for ovarian cancer research
Investigators at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have received a five-year, $11.5 million grant to translate research into treatments for women with ovarian cancer.

Springer signs publishing agreement with the Endocrine Society
Springer, one of the leading publishers in the fields of science, technology and medicine, has signed an agreement with the Endocrine Society to co-publish a new journal, Hormones & Cancer, starting in January 2010.

Immune defect is key to skin aging
Scientists have discovered why older people may be so vulnerable to cancer and infections in the skin.

Scientists find 'great Pacific Ocean garbage patch'
Scientists have just completed an unprecedented journey into the vast and little-explored

Scientists detect 'fingerprint' of high-temp superconductivity above transition temperature
A team of US and Japanese scientists has shown for the first time that the spectroscopic

Researchers report gene associated with language, speech and reading disorders
A new candidate gene for Specific Language Impairment has been identified by a research team directed by Mabel Rice at the University of Kansas, in collaboration with Shelley Smith, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Javier Gayán of Neocodex, Seville, Spain.

Urine LAM-ELISA poor at diagnosing TB
Urine LAM-ELISA does not appear to be useful as an independent diagnostic test for pulmonary tuberculosis.

Connections among solar cycle, stratosphere and ocean discovered
Subtle connections between the 11-year solar cycle, the stratosphere and the tropical Pacific Ocean work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe, according to research results appearing this week in the journal Science.

Prostate cancer: Racial disparity gap narrows, men diagnosed at younger age
The racial disparity in prostate cancer stage at diagnosis has decreased statistically significantly over time, according to a brief communication published online Aug.

Cardiac arrest casualties form a valuable source of donor kidneys
A pilot study of a system for harvesting kidneys from non-heart-beating donors where attempts of resuscitation after a witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have failed (uncontrolled NHBDs) resulted in 21 successful kidney transplants -- a 10 percent increase in the transplantation rate -- over 17 months.

Scientists identify gene for resistance to parasitic 'witchweed'
Scientists at the University of Virginia have identified a gene in cowpea (black-eyed pea) that confers resistance to attack from witchweed, a parasitic plant.

An intelligent system avoids forgetting things
A team of researchers from the University of Granada has created a system with Artificial Intelligence techniques which notifies elderly people or people with special needs of the forgetting of certain everyday tasks.

Chemotherapy resistance: Checkpoint protein provides armor against cancer drugs
Cell cycle checkpoints act like molecular tripwires for damaged cells, forcing them to pause and take stock.

Job insecurity leads to health problems in US workers
Persistent job insecurity poses a major threat to worker health, according to a new study published in the September issue of the peer-reviewed journal Social Science and Medicine.

Press conference schedule announced for TCT 2009
Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics is the annual scientific symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

Skin-disease patients show brain immunity to faces of disgust
People with psoriasis -- an often distressing dermatological condition that causes lesions and red scaly patches on the skin -- are less likely to react to looks of disgust by others than people without the condition, new research has found.

Predictive tool may help determine treatment of COPD patients
A new score, the ADO index, for predicting a patient's risk of dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) performs better than the current test and is much more applicable in clinical practice.

Study: Oil speculators dominate open interest in oil futures
A new policy paper by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy shows a clear increase in the size and influence of noncommercial traders, or

The American Society of Human Genetics hosts 59th Annual Meeting in Honolulu
Learn about the latest advances in human genetics research by registering to attend the ASHG 2009 Annual Meeting.

NASA satellite and aircraft data see Danny's center reform farther north
NASA satellite imagery and aircraft data revealed Tropical Storm Danny's center reformed a little farther north than it was yesterday.

Slowly slip-sliding faults don't cause earthquakes
Some slow-moving faults may help protect against destructive earthquakes, suggests new research.

Regular electrocardiograms may help physicians identify patients at risk of sudden cardiac death
QRS duration (QRSd) is one of several measures of heart function recorded during a routine electrocardiogram.

Feelings of hopelessness linked to stroke risk in healthy women
Healthy middle-aged women with feelings of hopelessness appear to experience thickening of the neck arteries, which can be a precursor to stroke, according to new research out of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Researchers identify new, cancer-causing role for protein
The mainstay immune system protein TRAF6 plays an unexpected, key role activating a cell signaling molecule that in mutant form is associated with cancer growth, researchers at the University of Texas M.

Oct. 8-10, UAB to host conference on diversity, gender equity in education
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education will host the Research on Women and Education 35th annual fall conference Oct.

Studies show dramatic decline in rheumatoid vasculitis in US veterans
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health examined records of rheumatoid arthritis patients from the national Veterans Health Administration system to determine the prevalence of rheumatoid vasculitis in this population.

Blood thinner causes stroke in some dialysis patients
The blood thinner warfarin can prevent strokes in most individuals with abnormal heart rhythms, but the drug may have the opposite effect in kidney disease patients on dialysis, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Texas A&M-Galveston professor discovers new species of marine life
Two tiny worms much smaller than a rice grain and a strange crustacean that has no eyes and poisonous fangs are among several new species of marine life discovered in an underwater cave by a Texas A&M University at Galveston researcher, who has had one of the new species named after him.

Outcome matters more than intention when punishing or rewarding accidents
New research from Harvard University finds that when choosing to punish or reward accidental behavior, individuals tend to focus on outcome, rather than a person's intent.

Milk drinking started around 7,500 years ago in central Europe
The ability to digest the milk sugar lactose first evolved in dairy farming communities in central Europe, not in more northern groups as was previously thought, finds a new study led by UCL scientists published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology.

Gene variation is 'major genetic determinant of psoriasis'
A specific genetic region that has been increasingly identified as the strongest genetic link to psoriasis has an even more significant role in the chronic skin disease than has been suspected, University of Utah medical researchers show in a new study.

NIH awards Einstein researcher $11.2 million to study genome instability as a cause of aging
The National Institutes of Health has awarded Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University a five-year, $11.2 million grant to study the impact of damage to DNA on aging and disease.

Tiny ancient shells point to earliest fashion trend
Shell beads unearthed from four sites in Morocco confirm early humans were consistently wearing and even trading symbolic jewelery as early as 80,000 years ago.

Use of inhaled corticosteroid budesonide does not increase risk of pneumonia in lung disease patients
Contrary to other research findings, patients using the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are not at increased risk of pneumonia, and the drug is safe to use in these patients, concludes an article in this week's COPD special issue of the Lancet.
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