Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 21, 2009
Internet fuels virtual subculture for sex trade, study finds
The Internet has spawned a virtual subculture of

Childhood risk factors for developing substance dependence
There is ample evidence for the genetic influence of alcohol dependence, and ongoing studies are actively looking for specific genes that may confer this increased susceptibility.

Museums increasingly turn to scientists to preserve treasures
Museums are increasingly seeking help from chemists in an effort to understand and preserve the artistic and cultural heritage of the treasures in their collections.

Assuring quality in lightweight construction
Aerospace, automotive and airplane construction count on lightweight construction. But to make sure that lightening the load does not come at the cost of safety, Fraunhofer researchers are working on new quality assurance systems for material testing.

Can we 'learn to see?': Study shows perception of invisible stimuli improves with training
Although we assume we can see everything in our field of vision, the brain actually picks and chooses the stimuli that come into our consciousness.

Damaging inflammatory response could hinder spinal cord repair
The inflammatory response following a spinal cord injury appears to be set up to cause extra tissue damage instead of promoting healing, new research suggests.

4 NJIT researchers to be honored by NJ Inventor's Hall of Fame
Two NJIT faculty members will receive Innovators' Awards, and two recent alumni will be honored at the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame dinner on Oct.

HIV care providers applaud Congress' extension of Ryan White program
Medical providers on the front lines of HIV care applaud the US Congress for extending the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, helping to ensure that more than half a million low-income, uninsured, or underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS have access to lifesaving care.

$3.7 million NIH grant will fund study on stem cells derived from ALS patients
Johns Hopkins scientists have been awarded a $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to learn more about the nerve and muscle-wasting disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using stem cells developed from ALS patients' skin.

Pavlopetri -- the world's oldest known submerged town
The world's oldest known submerged town has been revealed through the discovery of late Neolithic pottery.

Research partnership will study how electronic medical records can address genetics of drug safety
The International Serious Adverse Events Consortium announced today it will collaborate with the HMO Research Network to improve the safe use of drugs by exploring why the genetic makeup of some individuals makes them more likely to experience serious drug-related adverse events.

Carnegie Mellon expands mobile learning project in India
Carnegie Mellon University today announced the expansion of its Mobile & Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies project, which will gauge the effectiveness of mobile phone-based games for teaching English lessons to students in rural India.

Case Western Reserve University launches prevention research center for healthy neighborhoods
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine proudly announces the establishment of the CWRU Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, a collaborative research center to address common health issues faced in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods in and around Greater Cleveland.

Winners announced in 2009 Collegiate Inventors Competition
Winners of 2009 Collegiate Awards Competition announced, including two grand prizes: graduate and undergraduate.

2 brain structures key to emotional balance especially in threatening situations
Researchers have discovered that a primitive region of the brain responsible for sensorimotor control also has an important role in regulating emotional responses to threatening situations.

Important new rheumatology resource unveiled
A comprehensive account of the most important advances in rheumatology research from the past decade has been published in BioMed Central's open-access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.

Lower-dose dexamethasone can be used to treat newly diagnosed myeloma
High-dose dexamethasone is a mainstay of therapy for multiple myeloma.

Global health experts report childhood vaccines at all-time high, but access not yet equitable
The State of the World's Vaccines and Immunization reports that more infants are being immunized today than ever before -- a record 106 million in 2008 -- according to new data.

Glacial melting may release pollutants in the environment
Those pristine-looking Alpine glaciers now melting as global warming sets in may explain the mysterious increase in persistent organic pollutants in sediment from certain lakes since the 1990s, despite decreased use of those compounds in pesticides, electric equipment, paints and other products.

Older workers are the healthy 'survivors' of the workplace
Experts at the University of Nottingham say our stress levels at work peak when we reach about 50 to 55 years of age and decrease as we head towards retirement.

Designer molecule detects tiny amounts of cyanide, then glows
A small molecule designed to detect cyanide in water samples works quickly, is easy to use, and glows under ultraviolet or

Elsevier selected as new publisher of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Elsevier is pleased to announce that beginning with Vol. 49, No.

New research shows how mobile DNA survives -- and thrives -- in plants, animals
Bits of movable DNA called transposable elements or TEs fill up the genomes of plants and animals, but it has remained unclear how a genome can survive a rapid burst of hundreds, even thousands of new TE insertions.

Extremists more willing to share their opinions, study finds
People with relatively extreme opinions may be more willing to publicly share their views than those with more moderate views, according to a new study.

The bowels of infection
Current research suggests that latent cytomegalovirus infection may exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease.

Alcohol tolerance 'switch' found
Researchers at North Carolina State University have found a genetic

Eating right, not supplements, is best at keeping your good bacteria healthy, dietitian says
Healthy eating, not supplements, is the best way to keep the good bacteria in your gut healthy, says a dietitian and researcher.

Why sex with a partner is better
OK, it takes two for human reproduction, and now it seems that plants and animals that can rely on either a partner or go alone by self-fertilization give their offspring a better chance for longer lives when they opt for a mate.

SAGE launches Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease
SAGE has announced the launch of Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease, the latest in SAGE's highly regarded Therapeutic Advances series.

Free AAPS webinar: Transgenic mouse models in drug metabolism and transport
AAPS is pleased to present the complimentary eLearning webinar on Transgenic Mouse Models in Drug Metabolism and Transport (Session II).

Gates Foundation funds development of coffee ring stain diagnostic test for malaria
A pair of Vanderbilt scientists have come up with a novel way to detect malaria infections based on the phenomenon that causes coffee ring stains on the kitchen table and the Gates Foundation has awarded it one of their Grand Challenges Explorations grant.

The Per Brinck Oikos Award 2010
The Per Brinck Oikos Award 2010 has been awarded to Professor Hanna Kokko, University of Helsinki, Finland.

Trigger of deadly food toxin discovered
A toxin produced by mold on nuts and grains can cause liver cancer if consumed in large quantities.

Classifying molar pregnancy
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions have used short tandem repeat (STR) genotyping and p57 immunohistochemistry to distinguish hydatidiform moles.

Study reveals possible link between autism and oxytocin gene via non-DNA sequence mutation
A new study indicates a link between autism and alterations to the oxytocin receptor, OXTR, caused by inherited alterations that do not involve DNA sequence mutation.

Infant sucking habits may affect how baby talks
Pacifier, bottle and finger sucking may be detrimental to a baby's speech development if the habit goes on too long.

Researchers exploit genetic 'co-dependence' to kill treatment-resistant tumor cells
Cancer cells fueled by the mutant KRAS oncogene, which makes them notoriously difficult to treat, can be killed by blocking a more vulnerable genetic partner of KRAS, report scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

Stimulus projects designed to heal, prevent and restore
The National Institutes of Health has awarded more than $3.5 million in stimulus money to faculty of the Case Western Reserve University Biomedical Engineering Department.

Tailoring physical therapy can restore more functions after neurological injury
New research suggests a tailored approach to physical therapy after a neurological injury such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury could help restore a wider variety of functions.

Obese women gain too much weight in pregnancy, then retain weight a year later
Obese women gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy then retain added weight one year postpartum.

Harvard scientists bend nanowires into 2-D and 3-D structures
Taking nanomaterials to a new level of structural complexity, scientists have determined how to introduce kinks into arrow-straight nanowires, transforming them into zigzagging two- and three-dimensional structures with correspondingly advanced functions.

Women outperform men when identifying emotions
Women are better than men at distinguishing between emotions, especially fear and disgust, according to a new study published in the online version of the journal Neuropsychologia.

Phytochemicals in plant-based foods could help battle obesity, disease
In a small study of 54 young adults, UF researchers found eating more plant-based foods, which are rich in substances called phytochemicals, seems to prevent oxidative stress in the body, a process associated with obesity and the onset of disease.

US and Europe different in aldosterone antagonists use in heart failure
A study published tomorrow in JAMA by Nancy M. Albert and colleagues, exploring aldosterone antagonist usage among US patients hospitalized with heart failure, found that only one-third of patients meeting current US Clinical Practice Guidelines criteria were actually being treated.

Free AAPS webinar to explore use of PKPD modeling
AAPS is pleased to present the complimentary eLearning webinar on Use of PKPD Modeling for Starting Dose Selection in First-in-Human Trials of Biologics.

Study surprise yields new target for assessing genes linked to autism
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have uncovered a new genetic signature that correlates strongly with autism and which doesn't involve changes to DNA sequence.

A technique speeds up the identification of 2,000 missing in Kosovo during Yugoslavia war
Researchers of the Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology of the University of Granada have created a system based on the study of ribs and pubis, which will be very useful for the identification of persons in armed conflicts.

Optimized inhaler mouthpiece design allows for more effective drug delivery
Redesign of mouthpieces for aerosol inhaler devices allows for drugs to be more effectively delivered to the lungs and may allow for a new class of aerosol administered medications.

Feelings of stigmatization may discourage HIV patients from proper care
New research suggests that a large number of HIV-positive individuals who reported feeling stigmatized also reported poor access to care or suboptimal adherence to antiretroviral therapy.

Installed cost of solar photovoltaic systems in the US fell in 2008
Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) released a new study on the installed costs of solar photovoltaic power systems in the US, showing that the average cost of these systems declined by more than 30 percent from 1998 to 2008.

Nobel-prize winning science from Boulder to serve as springboard for planet hunting
The University of Colorado at Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have been awarded a $495,000 grant to look for Earth-like planets around other stars using technology based on 2005 Nobel Prize-winning research conducted at JILA, a joint institute of the two Boulder institutions.

VIVOweb: Scientists will find research partners more easily, thanks to $12.2 million NIH grant
The National Institutes of Health have awarded the University of Florida -- with Cornell University Library and Indiana University as major partners -- a two-year, $12.2 million grant to bolster a national, Facebook-like, professional social network that enables scientists to find new biomedical research and partnerships.

Irrational exuberance behind recent stock gains, says UAB finance expert
A second straight week of stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings from a broad cross section of US industries has held the nation's Dow Jones Industrial Average above the psychological benchmark of 10,000 points for the week of Oct.

Single-stranded DNA-binding protein is dynamic, critical to DNA repair
Researchers report that a single-stranded DNA-binding protein, once thought to be a static player among the many molecules that interact with DNA, actually moves back and forth along single-stranded DNA, gradually allowing other proteins to repair, recombine or replicate the strands.

El Paso County serves as a model for obesity prevention, according to UT School of Public Health study
Researchers at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living at the University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus found the obesity prevention efforts in the El Paso region were the most effective in Texas in decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Geologist analyzes earliest shell-covered fossil animals
The fossil remains of some of the first animals with shells, ocean-dwelling creatures that measure a few centimeters in length and date to about 520 million years ago, provide a window on evolution at this time, according to scientists.

Hearing on the wing: New structure discovered in butterfly ears
A clever structure in the ear of a tropical butterfly that potentially makes it able to distinguish between high and low pitch sounds has been discovered by scientists from the University of Bristol, UK.

Costs of plug-in cars key to broad consumer acceptance
A University of Michigan survey released today shows widespread consumer interest in buying plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

First in New York: Bionic technology aims to give sight to woman blinded beginning at age 13
A 50-year-old New York woman who was diagnosed with a progressive blinding disease at age 13 was implanted with an experimental electronic eye implant that has partially restored her vision.

Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
These tips highlight articles published in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

Pushing through brain barriers
A Case Western Reserve University researcher is continuing his work building smaller, more capable microelectronics.

Researchers to study hidden lakes beneath west Antarctic ice sheet
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are among the leaders of a major Antarctic research project in which scientists will drill through a half-mile of ice to penetrate subglacial Lake Whillans and study hidden processes that govern the dynamics of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

AAAS and partners debut new online networks for clinical and minority scientists
To help scientists and science trainees who hope to translate laboratory research into clinical medicine and to help minority scientists navigate their career paths, AAAS, Science Careers, and Science are launching a pair of online social-networking sites.

American Dietetic Association supports IOM recommendations on school meal programs
The American Dietetic Association welcomes a report issued Wednesday, Oct.

Time-keeping brain neurons discovered
Groups of neurons that keep time precisely in the primate brain have been discovered.

Sandia, SRC win LES award for NINE program outreach
Sandia National Laboratories' National Institute for Nano-Engineering (NINE) program, operated in conjunction with the Semiconductor Research Corp., has won a

Identifying the metabolism of a healthy embryo could improve infertility treatment
Embryos that are most likely to result in a pregnancy are crucial to the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF) but are difficult to identify.

New research by UM law professor analyzes the marriage of science and law
Distinguished Professor on the Humanities, Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law Susan Haack has recently published a research paper titled,

$2.1 million grant awarded for genetic study of schizophrenia to US and Hebrew University researchers
The US National Institutes of Health has awarded a $2.1 million

Differential geometer Alexander Lytchak receives von Kaven Award
Mathematician Alexander Lytchak is to receive this year's von Kaven Award for Mathematics from the von Kaven Foundation, a fund administered by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, for his outstanding work in the field of differential geometry.

Study shows how normal cells influence tumor growth
A new study led by Ohio State University cancer researchers shows for the first time that the loss of a gene called PTEN from a type of normal cell in breast tumors can dramatically change the environment within the tumor in ways that foster the tumor's growth.

Lifestyle changes remain important in fighting peripheral arterial disease
Modifying the risk of peripheral arterial disease (or PAD) -- with healthy lifestyle changes -- remains vital to one's health, note researchers in a recent issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

Standards for a new genomic era
A team of geneticists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, together with a consortium of international researchers, has recently proposed a set of standards designed to elucidate the quality of publicly available genetic sequencing information.

Fetal study highlights impact of stress on male fertility
Exposure to a combination of excess stress hormones and chemicals while in the womb could affect a man's fertility in later life, a study suggests.

Study conclusively ties rare disease gene to Parkinson's
An international team led by a National Institutes of Health researcher has found that carriers of a rare, genetic condition called Gaucher disease face a risk of developing Parkinson's disease more than five times greater than the general public.

Widely used virus assay shown unreliable when compared to other methods
In the course of doing research on the mosquito-borne pathogens chikungunya virus and o' nyong-nyong virus, Virginia Tech researchers have discovered an inconvenient truth about an assay, strand-specific quantitative real-time PCR (ssqPCR), increasingly being used to detect and measure replicating viral RNA in infected cells and tissues.

$8 million NIH grant for heart cell development and study
The Medical College of Wisconsin has been awarded a five-year, $8 million, multi-investigator Program Project Grant from the National Institutes of Health to understand how human pluripotent stem cells, defined as cells which if left to their own designs can develop into any of the more than 200 cell types in the human body, can be channeled to exclusively become heart muscle cells.

Alzheimer's lesions found in the retina
The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but new research indicates they also may mirror a brain ravaged by Alzheimer's disease.

Women veterans less likely to report pain than male counterparts
In the first study to look at sex-specific pain prevalence in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, researchers from the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and the Yale University School of Medicine found women veterans had a lower prevalence of pain than male counterparts returning from the conflicts.

Learning from insects: The race is on for new 'bio-resources' project group
Unseen and unheard, insects are all around us. And with more than a million different species, each one perfectly adapted to its environment, no other form of animal life comes close to matching insects for diversity.

Advance in 'nano-agriculture': Tiny stuff has huge effect on plant growth
With potential adverse health and environmental effects often in the news about nanotechnology, scientists in Arkansas are reporting that carbon nanotubes could have beneficial effects in agriculture.

Amphetamine use in adolescence may impair adult working memory
Rats exposed to high doses of amphetamines at an age that corresponds to the later years of human adolescence display significant memory deficits as adults -- long after the exposure ends, researchers report.

Physicians have less respect for obese patients, study suggests
Doctors have less respect for their obese patients than they do for patients of normal weight, a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests.

Light at night linked to symptoms of depression in mice
Too much light at night can lead to symptoms of depression, according to a new study in mice.

Maternal smoking may increase newborns' discomfort
A new research study being published in the Oct. 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry suggests that maternal smoking may increase the level of distress of newborns.

Pitt/NIH team find way to protect healthy cells from radiation damage
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute, may be hot on the heels of a Holy Grail of cancer therapy: they have found a way to not only protect healthy tissue from the toxic effects of radiation treatment, but also increase tumor death.

Sexual problems rarely addressed by internists caring for cancer survivors
Few internists who care for cancer survivors address issues of sexual dysfunction with their patients, according to a study led by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers.

A scientific basis the 'golden rule' of pairing wines and foods
Scientists in Japan are reporting the first scientific explanation for one of the most widely known rules of thumb for pairing wine with food:

High tech for bicycles
Carbon fiber composite materials (CFRPs) not only make cars and airplanes lightweight but also benefit the light weight constructions for valuable bicycle concepts.

Final look at ESA's SMOS and Proba-2 satellites
As preparations for the launch of SMOS and Proba-2 continue on schedule, the engineers and technicians at the Russian launch site say goodbye as both satellites are encapsulated within the half-shells of the Rockot fairing.

CT scans better than X-rays when detecting abnormalities in patients with H1N1 virus
Computed tomography scans are better than standard radiography (X-rays) in showing the extent of disease in patients with the H1N1 virus, according to a study to be published online Oct.

The first men and women from the Canary Islands were Berbers
A team of Spanish and Portuguese researchers has carried out molecular genetic analysis of the Y chromosome (transmitted only by males) of the aboriginal population of the Canary Islands to determine their origin and the extent to which they have survived in the current population.

School children could lead the way on sustainability
Britain's children and young people are potential agents of change for the development of more sustainable communities in the UK, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Georgia Tech wins NSF award for next-gen supercomputing
The Georgia Institute of Technology today announced its receipt of a five-year, $12 million Track 2 award from the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastructure to lead a partnership of academic, industry and government experts in the development and deployment of an innovative and experimental high-performance computing system.

Spider web glue spins society toward new biobased adhesives
With would-be goblins and ghosts set to drape those huge fake spider webs over doorways and trees for Halloween, scientists in Wyoming are reporting on a long-standing mystery about real spider webs: it is the secret of spider web glue.

ACP statement on Senate vote, S. 1776
The American College of Physicians, representing 129,000 internal medicine physicians and medical student members, is gravely disappointed by the failure of the

Your brain on music
Everyone listens to music at least now and then. For many of us, music is a casual experience, a moment's entertainment.

InHealth awards $1.4 million to investigate socioeconomic impact of medical technologies
The Institute for Health Technology Studies (InHealth) has awarded three new research grants totaling more than $1.4 million to investigators at the University of Southern California, Northwestern University and Stanford University.

Bolton School of Nursing at CWRU receives $3.7 million in federal stimulus funding
The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University was recently awarded $3.7 million in six stimulus grants from various federal offices to fund innovative research and academic programs. 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