Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 06, 2009
Large-scale cousin of elusive 'magnetic monopoles' found at NIST
Researchers working at the NIST Center for Neutron Research have created a molecular magnetic

New NIST method reveals all you need to know about 'waveforms'
NIST has unveiled a method for calibrating entire waveforms -- graphical shapes showing how electrical signals vary over time -- rather than just parts of waveforms as is current practice.

IOM Annual Meeting Oct. 12 features election of members, awards and public symposium
The Institute of Medicine's 39th annual meeting will include the announcement of new members and a public symposium that explores the role of the environment.

Come on in: Nuclear barrier less restrictive than expected in new cells
When it comes to the two basic types of cells, prokaryotes and eukaryotes, compartmentalization is everything.

New NIST database on gas hydrates to aid energy and climate research
NIST has developed a free, online collection of data on the properties of gas hydrates, naturally occurring crystalline materials that are a potential energy resource and also may affect the Earth's climate.

Potential leap forward in electron microscopy
MIT electrical engineers have proposed a new scheme that can overcome a critical limitation of high-resolution electron microscopes: they cannot be used to image living cells because the electrons destroy the samples.

Early treatment with glatiramer acetate reduces risk of progressing to 'full-blown' multiple sclerois by almost half (PreCISe study)
Glatiramer acetate is an approved drug for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Genetic variation of enzyme linked with outcomes for women receiving tamoxifen
Among women with early stage breast cancer, genetic variation of a certain enzyme appears to be associated with clinical outcomes for women treated with tamoxifen, according to a study in the Oct.

MicroRNA drives cells' adaptation to low-oxygen living
Researchers have fresh insight into an evolutionarily ancient way that cells cope when oxygen levels decline, according to a new study in the Oct.

Novel polymer delivers genetic medicine, allows tracking
Researchers at Virginia Tech and at the University of Cincinnati have developed a new molecule that can travel into cells, deliver genetic cargo, and packs a beacon so scientists can follow its movements in living systems.

Sand dunes reveal unexpected dryness during heavy monsoon
The windswept deserts of northern China might seem an odd destination for studying the heavy monsoon rains that routinely drench the more tropical regions of Southeast Asia.

Study: Perceptions might often kick a player when they are down
Just like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown, kicking a football through goal posts can be an elusive task, according to Purdue University research.

Los Angeles fast-food restaurant ban unlikely to cut obesity, study finds
A widely publicized set of restrictions on fast-food chain restaurants in South Los Angeles are not addressing the main differences between neighborhood food environments and are unlikely to improve the diet of residents or reduce obesity, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Communicating person to person through the power of thought alone
New research from the University of Southampton has demonstrated that it is possible for communication from person to person through the power of thought alone.

Ancient China's sand dunes reveal unexpected dryness during heavy monsoon rains
The windswept deserts of northern China might seem an odd destination for studying the heavy monsoon rains that routinely drench the more tropical regions of Southeast Asia.

News briefs from the October issue of Chest
New research in the October issue of Chest highlights the potential for the spread of contagious disease via ventilator masks; the high rate of uncontrolled asthma among minority children; and how the LABA/ICS combo for COPD may actually do more harm than good.

Continuing racial differences in HIV prevalence in US
HIV prevalence among African-Americans is 10 times greater than the prevalence among whites.

Do dust particles curb climate change?
Meteorologists urge new research on the influence of aerosols.

Promising results for rapid viral diagnosis tests in emergency rooms
Rapid viral diagnosis tests for respiratory diseases in children who arrive in emergency departments have the potential to reduce pressures on health systems by enabling doctors to reach a quicker diagnosis, according to Cochrane Researchers.

Major discovery opens door to leishmania treatment
Leishmania is a deadly parasitic disease that affects over 12 million people worldwide, with 2 million new cases reported every year.

U of A researcher has rare evidence of dinosaur cannibalism
University of Alberta researcher Phil Bell has found 70 million year old evidence of dinosaur cannibalism.

Dirty stars make good solar system hosts
New research based on 3-D simulations explains why dirty stars -- those with a high abundance of heavy elements, or high metallicity -- tend to have accompanying solar systems.

Trackway analysis shows how dinosaurs coped with slippery slopes
A new investigation of a fossilized tracksite in southern Africa shows how early dinosaurs made on-the-fly adjustments to their movements to cope with slippery and sloping terrain.

Louisiana Tech receives DOE grant for cyberspace education programs
The US Department of Education has awarded Louisiana Tech University a $951,000 grant to support interdisciplinary cyberspace and science education programs throughout northern Louisiana.

Chinese herbal medicines for preventing diabetes in high risk people
More research is required to establish whether Chinese herbal medicines can reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes, according to Cochrane Researchers.

Study examines use of clinical and cost-effectiveness data for drug coverage decisions
A comparison of national agencies that play a role in determining drug coverage decisions in Britain, Canada and Australia finds that uncertainty regarding clinical effectiveness is a key issue in coverage decisions, with other factors including the ability to negotiate price and societal values, according to a study in the Oct.

Expeditions in computing continue to break new ground
Energy-efficient computers optimally designed for custom applications. New tools to make air travel safer and health-care interventions more effective.

Study shows how to lower costs, waiting times for colonoscopies
Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, leading to over 50,000 fatalities every year.

ACPM recommends primary care have systems in place for screening and treating depression
The American College of Preventive Medicine supports the recommendations of the US Preventive Services Task Force that primary care providers should screen all adults for depression, and further recommends that all primary care providers should have systems in place to ensure the accurate diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

Michigan hospital launches gene therapy study for Parkinson's disease
A Michigan hospital is embarking on a research study for advanced Parkinson's disease using a state-of-the-art treatment called gene transfer.

Research ensures 50 million vaccinated against deadly brain infection
Research at the University of Liverpool has supported the vaccination of more than 50 million people against a zoonotic brain infection that affects thousands of children across Asia every year.

Eating liquorice in pregnancy may affect a child's IQ and behavior
Expectant mothers who eat excessive quantities of liquorice during pregnancy could adversely affect their child's intelligence and behavior, a study has shown.

Attacking emerging health risks through innovative health information technology
Researchers from Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute, with its world-renowned medical informatics research group and regional health information exchange, have been awarded a $4.8 million grant by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create the Indiana Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics, one of only four such centers in the nation.

Could antioxidants make us more, not less, prone to diabetes? Study says yes
We've all heard about the damage that reactive oxygen species -- aka free radicals -- can do to our bodies and the sales pitches for antioxidant vitamins, skin creams or

New publication offers security tips for WiMAX networks
Government agencies and other organizations planning to use WiMAX -- Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access -- networks can get technical advice on improving the security of their systems from a draft computer security guide prepared by NIST.

Genetic mutation a strong indicator of age-related hearing loss risk
Patients who exhibited a certain genetic mutation of antioxidant enzymes are three times more likely to develop age-related hearing loss, according to new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, Calif.

If only the weeds would keep their genes to themselves
The ecological and economic impacts of gene flow between crops and their weedy relatives are significant.

ASU's Biodesign Institute, Singapore's National University Health System team up for heart disease
In a new international partnership, Dr. Randy Nelson, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, and Dr.

New coastland map could help strengthen sea defenses
A new map plots the most accurate predictions yet for land uplift and subsidence and shows that southern Ireland and Wales, and southern and eastern England are continuing to sink, whilst Scotland is rising, at rates less than previously predicted.

Milk protein supplement may help prevent sepsis in very low birth-weight infants
Very low birth-weight newborns who received the milk protein lactoferrin alone or in combination with a probiotic had a reduced incidence of late-onset sepsis, according to a study in the Oct.

Albatross camera reveals fascinating feeding interaction with killer whale
Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey, National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, and Hokkaido University, Japan, have recorded the first observations of how albatrosses feed alongside marine mammals at sea.

McGill congratulates its second Nobel-winning alumnus of 2009
McGill University has offered congratulations to Willard Boyle, an award-winning 1950 Ph.D. graduate in physics, who has won a share of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physics.

Preventing allergies
Vaccination can lower children's risk of allergy. Cathleen Muche-Borowski and her co-authors present a clinical practice guideline for allergy prevention in the current issue of Deutsches Aerzteblatt International.

Ethnic background may be associated with diabetes risk
Fat and muscle mass, as potentially determined by a person's ethnic background, may contribute to diabetes risk, according to a new study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Prion study reveals first direct information about the protein's molecular structure
A collaboration between scientists at Vanderbilt University and the University of California, San Francisco, has led to the first direct information about the molecular structure of prions.

BUSM researchers identify better laser for treating facial spider veins
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have concluded that the 940 nm wavelength laser is superior for treating facial spider veins as compared to the 532 nm wavelength laser.

New computer security guide can help safeguard your small business
Just in time for October's Cyber Security Awareness Month, NIST has published a guide to help small businesses and organizations understand how to provide basic security for their information, systems and networks.

MDC scientists show how hematopoietic stem cell development is regulated
During cell division, whether hematopoietic stem cells will develop into new stem cells or differentiate into other blood cells depends on a chemical process called DNA methylation.

Arctic Sea ice extent is third lowest on record
US satellite measurements show Arctic sea ice extent in 2009 -- the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by floating ice -- was the third lowest since satellite measurements were first made in 1979.

Drivers of convertibles may be at risk for noise-induced hearing loss
Drivers who frequently take to the road with the top down may be risking serious damage to their hearing, according to research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, Calif.

Climate change triggered dwarfism in soil-dwelling creatures of the past
Ancient soil-inhabiting creatures decreased in body size by nearly half in response to a period of boosted carbon dioxide levels and higher temperatures, scientists have discovered.

Draft NIST report on Cowboys facility collapse released for comment
A fabric-covered, steel frame practice facility owned by the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys collapsed under wind loads significantly less than those required under applicable design standards, according to a report released on Oct.

Keeping DNA 'all in the family'
In a recent article for Science, Dr. David Gurwitz of Tel Aviv University calls for a frank discussion of the privacy and security issues inherent in the use of genetic material from children.

MSU program aims to boost interest in technical careers
A Michigan State University scholar will use a $1 million federal grant to create a program designed to better prepare high-schoolers for technical careers by spurring interest in science, technology, engineering and math courses, or STEM.

New findings about brain proteins suggest possible way to fight Alzheimer's
The action of a small protein that is a major villain in Alzheimer's disease can be counterbalanced with another brain protein, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in an animal study.

Models begin to unravel how single DNA strands combine
Using computer simulations, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has identified some of the pathways through which single complementary strands of DNA interact and combine to form the double helix.

Heart disease: B vitamin pills have no effect
B vitamin supplements should not be recommended for prevention of heart disease, say scientists.

Exercise programs recommended as standard for rheumatoid arthritis
Exercise programs designed to improve strength and stamina are safe and effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

Area-wide traffic calming improves safety -- but will it work in low- and middle-income countries?
Area-wide traffic calming schemes that discourage through-traffic from using residential roads are effective at reducing traffic-related injuries in high-income countries and may even reduce deaths.

Wildlife as a source for livestock infections
A bacterium possibly linked to Crohn's disease could be lurking in wild animals.

A woman in space
In the early years of the

A tree's response to environmental changes: What can we expect over the next 100 years?
The many environmental issues facing our society are prevalent in the media lately.

New chemo cocktail blocks breast cancer like a strong fence
A Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researcher has developed a new chemotherapy cocktail that cuts the spread of breast cancer by half and is the first drug to attack metastasizing breast cancer.

GTRI is developing protocols for testing effects of RFID systems on medical devices
The Georgia Tech Research Institute recently began developing testing protocols for RFID technology in the health care setting.

Genome sequence published for important biofuels yeast
A strain of yeast that thrives on turning sugar cane into ethanol for biofuel has had its genome completely sequenced by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Physical activity in adolescence associated with decreased risk of brain cancer in adulthood
While little is known about the causes of glioma, researchers at the National Cancer Institute have found that this rare but often deadly form of brain cancer may be linked to early life physical activity and height.

Water scarcity will create global security concerns
Water scarcity as a result of climate change will create far-reaching global security concerns, says Dr.

Georgia Tech broadens, diversifies computing education
Georgia Computes!, a statewide program aimed at expanding the pipeline of computer science students and teachers at all education levels in Georgia, received a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to extend the program for two more years.

Fewer hikers means less support for conservation, study says
Hikers and backpackers tend to become supporters of environmental and conservation groups while casual woodland tourists do not, a new study says -- and a recent fall-off in strenuous outdoor endeavors portends a coming decline in the ranks of conservation backers.

A simple way for older adults to assess arterial stiffness: reach for the toes
How far you can reach beyond your toes from a sitting position -- normally used to define the flexibility of the body -- may be an indicator of how stiff your arteries are.

New guidelines for incorporating spirituality in end-of-life care
Guidelines derived from a recent Consensus Conference, including recommendations on the role of health care providers in the assurance of quality spiritual care to patients in a palliative care setting, are published in a comprehensive report in Journal of Palliative Medicine, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Bell's palsy: Study calls for rethink of cause and treatment
Drugs widely prescribed to treat facial paralysis in Bell's palsy are ineffective and are based on false notions of the cause of the condition, according to Cochrane Researchers.

High-sensitivity bone marrow aspiration technology enhances leukemia cell detection
Scientists have created a viable technology to improve the detection of leukemia cells in bone marrow.

Stress urinary incontinence: Minimally invasive operations as effective as open surgery
New, less invasive surgical treatments for stress urinary incontinence in women are just as effective as traditional open surgical approaches, according to Cochrane Researchers.

Arctic sea ice recovers slightly in 2009, remains on downward trend, says U. of Colorado report
Despite a slight recovery in summer Arctic sea ice in 2009 from record-setting low years in 2007 and 2008, the sea ice extent remains significantly below previous years and remains on a trend leading toward ice-free Arctic summers, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center.

UW's newly named 'Lamborghini Lab' brings composite parts to sports-car arena
The UW's newly named

SNM member wins distinguished national science award
Joanna Fowler, Ph.D., a major contributor to brain research and a pioneer in molecular imaging, is being recognized by the White House with the National Medal of Science -- the highest award for lifetime achievement in science.

TENS for osteoarthritis: Not enough evidence to recommend
Despite twenty years of research on the use of electrostimulation techniques (TENS) for treatment of osteoarthritis in the knee, researchers still cannot say whether it reduces pain or physical disability.

New biologic drug is effective against rheumatoid arthritis
Abatacept, a member of a new class of drug that targets immune cells to treat rheumatoid arthritis, is effective against RA, according to a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

For safer emergencies, give your power generator some space
Gasoline-powered, portable generators can be a lifeline during weather emergencies, but they emit poisonous carbon monoxide.

Researchers fine-tune diffuse optical tomography for breast cancer screening
Clemson University researchers in collaboration with researchers at the University of Bremen, Germany, are working to make the physical pain and discomfort of mammograms a thing of the past, while allowing for diagnostic imaging eventually to be done in a home setting.

Health in low-income countries: Outsourcing and cash incentives may help
Contracting private providers of health care services and giving cash incentives to patients are two strategies that have been proposed to increase access to health care in low income countries.

Electrosurgical devices, lasers cited as most common igniters of operating room fires
While operating room fires can occur in a variety of clinical settings, it is the use of lasers and electrosurgical devices that are most likely to cause them.

NIDCR launches the FaceBase Consortium
Although about half of all birth defects involve the face and skull, scientists remain unclear about why most occur.

Biologics for rheumatoid arthritis work, but which is best?
More studies that directly compare the effectiveness of different biologic drugs for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are needed, say Cochrane Researchers.

Oropharyngeal cancer patients experience post-surgery sleep apnea
Nearly all patients who underwent surgery to treat oropharyngeal cancer experienced some degree of obstructive sleep apnea, according to new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, Calif.

New treatment more than doubles survival for high risk childhood leukemia
Phase 2 study results show high-dose imatinib plus chemo more than doubled survival for high risk type of childhood leukemia.

A new method predicts dropping out of university
Researchers from the University of Granada and the University of JaƩn are creating a statistical model to calculate the probability of university students dropping out and to help in the drawing up of strategic plans to reduce the number of students who give up their studies.

Future diabetes treatment may use resveratrol to target the brain
A new study accepted for publication in Endocrinology, a journal of the Endocrine Society, shows that the brain plays a key role in mediating resveratrol's anti-diabetic actions, potentially paving the way for future orally delivered diabetes medications that target the brain.

$10.5 million in funding creates center to study OCD
A new research center exploring the science underlying a potential new treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder has been established at the University of Rochester Medical Center, thanks to a $10.5 million award from the National Institute of Mental Health. 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