Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 16, 2009
Google Inc. acquires Carnegie Mellon spin-off ReCAPTCHA Inc.
ReCAPTCHA Inc., a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Science Department, has been acquired by Google Inc.

Toward the design of greener consumer products
Scientists are reporting development of a new method for screening molecules and predicting how certain materials, ranging from chemicals used in carpeting to electronics, will contribute to global warming.

New project to forecast toxic algal blooms on Pacific Northwest beaches
NOAA and the National Science Foundation have awarded $824,225 in competitive funds for the first year of an anticipated four-year $2.8 million project to develop early warning forecast models for toxic harmful algal blooms, or HABs, on Pacific Northwest beaches.

Intermittent preventive malaria treatment for African infants is safe and effective, but more long-acting drugs desperately needed
Two articles published online first and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet conclude that intermittent malaria treatment for African infants is both safe and effective in a variety of settings, although potential drug resistance (and therefore the choice of drug used) is a key issue in the strategy.

New evidence that green tea may help improve bone health
Researchers in Hong Kong are reporting new evidence that green tea -- one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide and now available as a dietary supplement -- may help improve bone health.

Optics made to measure
Electrons are really fast -- they can migrate from one atom to another within attoseconds (an attosecond is a billionth of a billionth fraction of a second).

Teenage birth rates higher in more religious states
Rates of births to teenage mothers are strongly predicted by conservative religious beliefs, even after controlling for differences in income and rates of abortion.

Swift makes best-ever ultraviolet portrait of Andromeda Galaxy
In a break from its usual task of searching for distant cosmic explosions, NASA's Swift satellite has acquired the highest-resolution view of a neighboring spiral galaxy ever attained in the ultraviolet.

Researchers seek clues to high blood pressure's origins, impacts
How high blood pressure develops and the effects it has on the body are the focus of a two-part study underway at Penn State and Johns Hopkins University that will look at hypertension in the human body and in the laboratory.

New research to unravel how nutrients drive toxic 'brown tides' on East Coast
NOAA has awarded Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution $120,000 as part of an anticipated three-year, nearly $500,000 project, to determine how nitrogen and phosphorus promote brown tides on the East Coast.

Rich people don't need friends
In a paper evaluated by f1000 Medicine, six studies tested relationships between reminders of money, social exclusion and physical pain.

EPFL -- Swiss Institute receives most European ERC grants - 12.5 million Euro ($18.25 million)
The EU has publicly announced the first figures for the prestigious ERC

Chloride found at levels that can harm aquatic life in urban streams of the Northern US
Levels of chloride, a component of salt, are elevated in many urban streams and groundwater across the northern US, according to a new government study.

NIH funds grantees focusing on epigenomics of human health and disease
The National Institutes of Health announced today that it will fund 22 grants on genome-wide studies of how epigenetic changes -- chemical modifications to genes that result from diet, aging, stress, or environmental exposures -- define and contribute to specific human diseases and biological processes.

Health leaders issue recommendations to improve management of atrial fibrillation
A diverse collaboration of healthcare leaders today released the AF Stat Call to Action for Atrial Fibrillation to serve as a roadmap for reducing the burden of atrial fibrillation (AFib) in the United States.

RIT professor wins NSF grant to explore next-generation ion-conductive materials
RIT scientist Tom Smith is experimenting with synthesizing liquid salts into a gel.

Landmark study sheds new light on human chromosomal birth defects
Using yeast genetics and a novel scheme to selectively remove a single protein from the cell division process called meiosis, a cell biologist at the Florida State University found that when a key molecular player known as Pds5 goes missing, chromosomes fail to segregate and pair up properly, and birth defects such as Down syndrome can result.

Researchers to probe whether Lyme disease will follow spread of ticks across US
Potentially debilitating Lyme disease doesn't afflict people everywhere that the ticks harboring it are found.

Graphene and gallium arsenide: 2 perfect partners find each other
Scientists of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt have made graphene visible on gallium arsenide.

Evaluation of standard liver volume formula for Chinese adults
A research team from China evaluated different standard liver volume formula and verified the applicability of the formula for Chinese adults.

Professors receive $2.5 million to better convert water into clean hydrogen fuel using sunlight
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have received about $2.5 million to identify new materials that will efficiently absorb sunlight and split water into clean hydrogen fuel, which could power cars and be used to generate electricity.

Helping the obese fight loss of muscle function
Experts at the University of Nottingham are working on ground-breaking research to determine, for the first time, precisely what damage obesity can inflict on the muscles in our body.

The pen may be mightier than the keyboard
Second, fourth and sixth grade children with and without handwriting disabilities were able to write more and faster when using a pen than a keyboard to compose essays, according to new research.

Roles of S100A2 and p63 in the carcinogenesis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
S100A2 is considered a candidate tumor-suppressor gene. Recently, p63 gene, a new member of the p53 gene family, has been studied in the fields of tumorigenesis, cell apoptosis and tissue growth.

Gene mutation causes severe epilepsy, febrile seizures in thousands of infants worldwide
University of Utah medical researchers have identified a gene with mutations that cause febrile seizures and contribute to a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome in some of the most vulnerable patients -- infants 6 months and younger.

Prison gambling associated with crime, substance abuse when offenders re-enter community: Study
Parolees with a gambling habit may resort to criminal activities and substance abuse when they are released from prison if there are few community supports to help them re-integrate, a University of Alberta study has concluded.

Hydrographic services review panel meeting, Sept. 23-24 in Duluth, Minn.
The NOAA Hydrographic Services Review Panel will meet September 23-24 in Duluth, Minn., to discuss operations, research and development, hydrographic surveying, nautical charting, and geodetic and geospatial measurements.

Imaging features of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas
A research team from China evaluated the imaging features of pancreatic intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms in multidetector row computed tomography.

Grant of $1.1 million to continue K-State's efforts to get students in the biosciences
For the past six years, K-State has partnered with community colleges to build

Cases of liver cancer reduced in a younger population vaccinated for HBV
A 20-year follow-up study revealed a dramatic drop in liver cancer cases among 6- to 19-year-olds who were vaccinated for the hepatitis B virus at birth, according to a study published online Sept.

Researchers explore long-term adolescent vulnerability to drugs
As part of efforts to understand drug abuse, Georgia State University researchers are finding that adolescent rats appear to be less vulnerable to the long-term effects of withdrawal and relapse in certain types of drug use than rats that take the drugs in adulthood.

Clinical trial of antiretroviral-based HIV prevention strategies for women now under way
A new, large-scale clinical trial is examining whether antiretroviral medications normally used to treat HIV infection can also prevent HIV infection in women when applied as a vaginal gel or taken as oral tablets once daily.

UNC study: Color-coded chart improves parents' understanding of body mass index
A new study shows that parents are more likely to understand a body mass index chart if it's color-coded, like a traffic light, than the standard charts currently in use.

Lower lexical recall in bilingual kids no cause for alarm
If your French Immersion student is scratching their tete over not being able to think of the English word for sifflet, or the French word for keyboard, a University of Alberta researcher has a sage piece of advice.

Medical interpreters break language barriers in health care
Language barriers in health care settings can decrease access to quality care and diminish comprehension for limited English proficient patients.

Melting of the Greenland ice sheet mapped
Will all of the ice on Greenland melt and flow out into the sea, bringing about a colossal rise in ocean levels on Earth, as the global temperature rises?

With a flash of light, a neuron's function is revealed
Using light, scientists traced a fish's swimming response to the neurons that control it.

K-State Pollution Prevention Institute's intern program named best
The Kansas State University Pollution Prevention Institute's intern program has received the MVP2 award as the best pollution prevention project/program.

Bitemark evidence and analysis should be approached with caution, according to UB study
Against the backdrop of last week's Congressional hearing into the future of forensic science, researchers from the University at Buffalo's Laboratory for Forensic Odontology Research in the School of Dental Medicine, have published a landmark paper on the controversial topic of bitemark analysis.

ESHRE's first workshop on male infertility in Thessaloniki
The workshop provides a forum for clinicians and scientists to share research results and discuss new developments.

Gene variation that lets people get by on fewer zees transferred to create insomniac mice
A University of Utah sleep expert has joined with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford University to identify a genetic variation in humans, which the scientists also developed in mouse models, that allows a rare number of people to require less sleep than others.

How to spell B-Y-U with DNA
DNA origami just got a new

Shifts in consumer spending and saving will usher in a new economic era
Consumer spending will lag rather than lead the recovery from the current recession, according to University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin.

Theoretical nuclear physics in China
In order to introduce the major achievements by Chinese scientists in the field of theoretical nuclear physics, Science in China Series G: Physics, Mechanics Astronomy editorial board has invited a number of the major players in the research of nuclear theory in China to contribute to this special issue.

Pesky fruit flies learn from experienced females: Study
A common nuisance, the fruit fly, is capable of intricate social learning much like that used by humans, according to new research from McMaster University.

HBV genotype B/B3 and C/C1 are the major genotypes in Indonesia?
A research team from Indonesia identified the distribution of hepatitis B virus subgenotype and basal core promoter mutations among patients with HBV-associated liver disease in Indonesia.

Zero tolerance, zero effect
Darren Grant says zero tolerance laws have zero effect. In a paper forthcoming in the journal Economic Inquiry, he analyzed data from 30,000 fatalities in nighttime accidents involving drivers under 21.

Barrow researcher finds natural hydrogel helps heal spinal cord
Research led by a scientist at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St.

Public Library of Science releases online usage data for its articles
Today, the open-access publisher the Public Library of Science announces the release of an expanded set of article-level metrics on its scientific and medical journal articles.

Inhibitors of important tuberculosis survival mechanism identified
Attempts to eradicate tuberculosis are stymied by the fact that the disease-causing bacteria have a sophisticated mechanism for surviving dormant in infected cells.

In absence of other democratic institutions, freedom of press can lead to cycles of violence
While many have argued that media freedom is integral to a functioning democracy and respect for human rights, a new study is the first to examine the effects of media freedom in countries that lack such democratic institutions as fair elections.

King's College London signs agreement to strengthen Brazilian research links
King's College London has signed a unique agreement with the Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Sao Paulo, the State of Sao Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil.

Guide on lung cancer in 'never-smokers': A different disease and different treatments
A committee of scientists led by Johns Hopkins investigators has published a new guide to the biology, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer in never-smokers, fortifying measures for what physicians have long known is a very different disease than in smokers.

Project aids environmental decisions in the face of complicated trade-offs
Energy shortages, climate change, pollution -- some of the world's most pressing problems weigh on the shoulders of some of the world's most hard-pressed people.

Grant to help K-State with Latino student retention and success
Semillas de Excelencia Learning Communities is a program that expands and extends a current K-State program for recruitment and retention of Latino students to include Latino freshmen experiences and learning communities.

Hand hygiene monitor tested at VCU Medical Center
A wireless, credit-card-sized sensor that can detect whether health-care workers have properly washed their hands upon entering a patient's room is being studied at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center

San Francisco forum aims to open dialogue on incontinence
UCSF and NAFC are holding a public workshop on Oct.

New method can predict 80 percent of cases of postnatal depression
Worldwide, 13 percent of women who give birth suffer from postnatal depression, which causes a significant deterioration in a mother's quality of life and her ability to care for her baby.

Weill Cornell researchers discover new anti-tuberculosis compounds
Attempts to eradicate tuberculosis are stymied by the fact that the disease-causing bacteria have a sophisticated mechanism for surviving dormant in infected cells.

Photoswitches shed light on spontaneous free swimming in zebrafish
A new technique employing photoswitches and gene targeting is proving a boon to biologists because it allows researchers to noninvasively turn on small populations of cells as easily as flipping a light switch.

UCSF scientists illuminate how microRNAs drive tumor progression
UCSF researchers have identified collections of tiny molecules known as microRNAs that affect distinct processes critical for the progression of cancer.

Genetic sex determination let ancient species adapt to ocean life
A new analysis of extinct sea creatures suggests that the transition from egg-laying to live-born young opened up evolutionary pathways that allowed these ancient species to adapt to and thrive in open oceans.

First solid evidence for a rocky exoplanet
The longest set of HARPS measurements ever made has firmly established the nature of the smallest and fastest-orbiting exoplanet known, CoRoT-7b, revealing its mass as five times that of Earth's.

Canadian scientists uncover a new mechanism regulating fetal growth and neonatal survival
Dr. Sylvain Meloche, Principal Investigator at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the Université de Montréal, and his colleagues have uncovered the critical role played by the protein kinase Erk3 in fetal growth potential and lung maturation.

Carnegie's Winslow Briggs receives international prize for biology
Director Emeritus of Carnegie's Department of Plant Biology Winslow Briggs will be awarded the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science at a ceremony in Tokyo Nov.

How HIV cripples immune cells
In order to be able to ward off disease pathogens, immune cells must be mobile and be able to establish contact with each other.

New AFOSR magnetron may help defeat enemy electronics
Researchers funded by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research at the University of Michigan invented a new type of magnetron that may be used to defeat enemy electronics.

What are the risk factors for rebleeding after negative angiography?
A research team form South Korea investigated possible predictive factors for re-bleeding after angiographically negative findings in patients with acute nonvariceal gastrointestinal bleeding.

How to reach proficiency in laparoscopic splenectomy?
A research team from Turkey has investigated the proficiency level reached in laparoscopic splenectomy using the learning curve method.

Yale team finds mechanism that constructs key brain structure
Yale University researchers have found a molecular mechanism that allows the proper mixing of neurons during the formation of columns essential for the operation of the cerebral cortex, they report in the Sept.

ERCP quality outcomes in a community hospital setting compare favorably with academic centers
A new study from researchers in Minnesota found that endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) performed in a community hospital setting results in complication rates that compare favorably with those of academic centers while achieving technical success at or above the performance levels recommended by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy/American College of Gastroenterology Task Force.

ESHRE's workshop on freezing of human sperm, eggs and embryos in Athens
The workshop provides a forum for clinicians and scientists to share research results and discuss problems and new developments.

Depression care improved
With a cluster-randomized controlled intervention trial German researchers have evaluated the effects of practice-based health-care assistants making structured monthly follow-up phone calls to patients with depression.

Biofuel production could undercut efforts to shrink Gulf 'dead zone'
Scientists in Pennsylvania report that boosting production of crops used to make biofuels could make a difficult task to shrink a vast, oxygen-depleted

VOICE study, a major HIV prevention trial for women, is launched in Zimbabwe
Hopeful that some of the same antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV can also prevent it, researchers have enrolled the first participants into a new, large-scale clinical trial testing two approaches of the strategy in women.

16th International Conference of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women
The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies hosts the 16th International Conference of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International.

Persistent pain may accelerate signs of aging by 2-3 decades in middle-aged adults
Younger people with pain look similar in terms of their disability to people who are two to three decades older without pain, according to a study published in this month's issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Genetic hint for ridding the body of hepatitis C
More than seventy percent of people who contract hepatitis C will live with the virus that causes it for the rest of their lives, and some will develop serious liver disease including cancer.

Blocking protein may prevent blinding disease
Blocking a protein that battles infection may help thwart a common cause of vision loss in chronic diseases such as diabetes, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

Via Tiburtina -- an interdisciplinary journey through Rome's urban landscape
Via Tiburtina is the name of the ancient road that is still in use, connecting Rome with the town of Tivoli.

Spelling B-Y-U with DNA
College football fans cheer when marching bands spell out the home team's name in gigantic letters on the field at halftime.

Endothelin-1 inhibitors in chronic pancreatitis
Pancreatic stellate cells are the main source of extracellular matrix proteins in the pancreas.

Yes-associated protein: Early diagnosis of gastric carcinoma
A research team analyzed the differences and relevance of Yes-associated protein and survivin, and explored the correlation and significance of their expression in gastric carcinoma and precancerous lesions.

Engineering is key to curbing the spread of infectious diseases
The spread of swine flu and other infectious diseases could be dramatically reduced by revolutionizing the way that the places we live in are designed and built.

TSC honors Rep. Anna Eshoo for commitment to maintaining America's leadership in research
The Science Coalition today gave Rep. Anna Eshoo its

UTSA engineers win $350,000 in stimulus funds to develop synthetic root structures
Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio have received a $350,000 grant to develop a liquid plastic polymer to inject in roots.

Scientists cure color blindness in monkeys
Writing online in the journal Nature, scientists from the University of Florida and the University of Washington cast a rosy light on the potential for gene therapy to treat adult vision disorders involving cone cells -- the most important cells for vision in people.

Study of isolated snakes could help shed light on venom composition
While developing a more efficient, safer way to extract venom, University of Florida researchers noticed the venom delivered by an isolated population of Florida cottonmouth snakes may be changing in response to their diet. 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