Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 04, 2009
Follow Rosetta's final Earth boost
ESA's comet chaser Rosetta will swing by Earth for the last time on Nov.

Teen girls diagnosed with STI more likely to seek treatment for partners after watching video
A study at Johns Hopkins Children's Center found that girls diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease who watched a short educational video were three times more likely to discuss their condition with their partners and to ensure partner treatment than girls diagnosed and treated without seeing the film.

A vast right arm conspiracy? Study suggests handedness may effect body perception
There are areas in the brain devoted to our arms, legs, and various parts of our bodies.

Tiny injector to speed development of new, safer, cheaper drugs
Engineering researchers at McMaster University have fabricated a palm-sized, automated, micro-injector that can insert proteins, DNA and other biomolecules into individual cells at volumes exponentially higher than current procedures, and at a fraction of the cost.

Chart junk? How pictures may help make graphs better
Those oft-maligned, and highly embellished, graphs and charts in USA Today and other media outlets may actually help people understand data more effectively than traditional graphs, according to new research from North Carolina State University.

Paleoecologists offer new insight into how climate change will affect organisms
An article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science written by a team of ecologists, including Robert Booth, assistant professor of earth and environmental science at Lehigh University, examines some of the potential problems with current prediction methods and calls for the use of a range of approaches when predicting the impact of climate change on organisms.

Queen's research could help protect frontline troops
A team of researchers at Queen's University Belfast's Center for Secure Information Technologies is working to develop futuristic communications systems that could help protect frontline troops.

New evidence supports 19th century idea on formation of oil and gas
Scientists in Washington, D.C., are reporting laboratory evidence supporting the possibility that some of Earth's oil and natural gas may have formed in a way much different than the traditional process described in science textbooks.

Time between treatment and PSA recurrence predicts death from prostate cancer
Men whose prostate specific antigen rise within 18 months of radiotherapy are more likely to develop spread and die of their disease, according to an international study led by Fox Chase Cancer Center radiation oncologist Mark K.

Chemo-radiation before prostate removal may prevent cancer recurrence
Researchers in the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center have found a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy given before prostate removal is safe and may have the potential to reduce cancer recurrence and improve patient survival.

EMBO recognizes talented young group leaders in Europe
The European Molecular Biology Organization announced today this year's selection of 17 of Europe's most talented young researchers as EMBO Young Investigators.

Study uses satellite imagery to identify active magma systems in East Africa's Rift Valley
A team from University of Miami, University of El Paso and University of Rochester used Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) images compiled over a decade to study volcanic activity in the African Rift.

Survival of the healthiest
The ultimate goal in cancer research, a treatment that kills cancer cells whilst leaving healthy cells untouched, is brought nearer by the success of a new therapeutic approach.

University of Utah celebrates telescope's 'first light'
The University of Utah will celebrate the initial observations or

OU achieves $10 million in stimulus grants for 33 projects on the Norman campus
The University of Oklahoma at Norman has received more than $10 million in research grants from three funding agencies as part of the federal stimulus program, bringing the total amount of stimulus funding received by OU researchers to $23 million.

Researchers identify drug candidate for treating spinal muscular atrophy
A chemical cousin of the common antibiotic tetracycline might be useful in treating spinal muscular atrophy, a currently incurable disease that is the leading genetic cause of death in infants.

U of A physicist identifies mysterious core left by exploding star
University of Alberta physics professor Craig Heinke has solved a mystery that lies 11,000 light years beyond Earth.

Minority students earned greater number of academic degrees in fiscal year 2006
A new National Science Foundation report shows an increase in the number of academic degrees awarded to minority students since 2004, the last time such data were published.

UC research on homeless veterans presented in Washington, D.C.
Gary Dick, a University of Cincinnati associate professor of social work, presents at a national summit this week that is aimed at ending homelessness among the nation's veterans.

Elsevier selected as new publisher of the Journal of Dairy Science
Elsevier, world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is pleased to announce that beginning in January 2010 (Volume 93, Issue 1) it will assume co-publication of the Journal of Dairy Science, the official journal of the American Dairy Science Association, with the Federation of Animal Science Societies.

Taking aim at mysterious DNA structures in the battle against cancer
Designers of anti-cancer drugs are aiming their arrows at mysterious chunks of the genetic material DNA that may play a key role in preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

Gastroenterology/hepatology societies release report evaluating fellowship training curriculum
Due to the increasing complexities of treating digestive diseases, allowing gastroenterological trainee physicians the opportunity to develop enhanced abilities and experiences in specific disease areas or procedures will be a great benefit to patients, according to a

USC study finds big air pollution impacts on local communities
Heavy traffic corridors in the cities of Long Beach and Riverside are responsible for a significant proportion of preventable childhood asthma, and the true impact of air pollution and ship emissions on the disease has likely been underestimated, according to researchers at the University of Southern California.

Common plants can eliminate indoor air pollutants
Air quality in homes and offices is becoming a major health concern.

New lung health research presented at CHEST 2009
New research presented at CHEST 2009 highlights lung health abstracts related to the link between osteoporosis and bronchiectasis, calculating the

Hybrid molecules show promise for exploring, treating Alzheimer's
One of the many mysteries of Alzheimer's disease is how protein-like snippets called amyloid-beta peptides, which clump together to form plaques in the brain, may cause cell death, leading to the disease's devastating symptoms of memory loss and other mental difficulties.

Water-conserving irrigation strategies minimize overwatering, runoff
Conserving water and reducing the environmental impact of runoff are two important issues confronting container nursery operations.

Bacteria expect the unexpected
Organisms ensure the survival of their species by genetically adapting to the environment.

Benefit of a mentor: Disadvantaged teens twice as likely to attend college
Adult mentors give teens a 50 percent greater likelihood of attending college.

New smoking cessation research presented at CHEST 2009
New research presented at CHEST 2009 highlights abstracts related to the use of pulmonary rehabilitation to encourage smoking cessation, the use of varenicline as an effective treatment for smoking cessation, lack of smoking cessation training in clinicians and more.

USGS science picks
Did you know that that the United States uses less water today than 35 years ago and that there might be caves on Mars?

Estrogen therapy likely must be given soon after menopause to provide stroke protection
For estrogen replacement to provide stroke protection, it likely must be given soon after levels drop because of menopause or surgical removal of the ovaries, scientists report in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Organic weed control options for highbush blueberry
Weeds are a widespread problem for the blueberry industry, particularly in young plantings when bushes are not fully established and most susceptible to competition.

Health-centered weight control method shows promise
Most weight-control strategies emphasize energy-restricted diets and increased physical activity -- and most are not effective over the long term.

Postmenopausal women with higher testosterone levels
Postmenopausal women who have higher testosterone levels may be at greater risk of heart disease, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome compared to women with lower testosterone levels, according to a new study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Professor: Fear, shame keep homeowners from defaulting
University of Arizona law professor Brent White has just published a working paper making the case that homeowners who are underwater in their mortgage should just walk away from their homes.

An inexpensive 'dipstick' test for pesticides in foods
Scientists in Canada are reporting the development of a fast, inexpensive

Conference explores wide-ranging medicinal uses for American ginseng
With the current outbreak of influenza-like illnesses, many people are trying to boost their immune systems with supplements.

Singapore scientists join international study of 10,000 vertebrates' genomes
The Singapore laboratory that deciphered the DNA codes, or genomes, of the famed fugu (or pufferfish) and elephant shark, has joined the Genome 10K Project, an international effort to build an invaluable repository of DNA sequences on 10,000 species of animals for conducting comparative studies on a scale that currently can not be achieved.

NIAID announces new human immunology research awards to help fight emerging infectious diseases
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded approximately $208 million to two programs that support research to better understand the human immune response to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, including those that may be introduced into a community through acts of bioterrorism.

Religion and medicine: Sometimes a healing prescription
Do pediatric oncologists feel that religion is a bridge or a barrier to their work?

Community education and evacuation planning saved lives in Sept. 29 Samoan tsunami
Community-based education and awareness programs minimized the death toll from the recent Samoan tsunami, according to a team of researchers that traveled to Samoa last month.

Lung tissue generated from human embryonic stem cells
Scientists in Belgium have successfully differentiated human embryonic stem cells into major cell types of lung epithelial tissue using a convenient air-liquid interface.

Breeding better broccoli
Plant carotenoids are the most important source of vitamin A in the human diet and are considered to be valuable antioxidants capable of protecting humans from chronic diseases including macular degeneration, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

New CReAM research on the factors that shape individual attitudes towards migration policy
A new research paper from CReAM (Center for Research and Analysis of Migration at UCL) investigates the factors which determine individual attitudes towards migration policy.

Great wines come from great soils
Experts will discuss terroir with an emphasis on soil science in a symposium on Wednesday, Nov.

Tension on the grapevine
Predictions of grape yields are extremely important to juice processors and wineries but until recently, forecasting yields has relied on expensive and labor-intensive hand-sampling methods.

TV bombards children with commercials for high-fat and high-sugar foods
Childhood obesity in the United States is reaching epidemic proportions.

New COPD and smoking research presented at CHEST 2009
New research presented at CHEST 2009 highlights COPD abstracts related to how air pollution affects patients with COPD, calculating a smoking patient's

Scientists launch effort to sequence the DNA of 10,000 vertebrates
HHMI scientists have an ambitious new strategy for untangling the evolutionary history of humans and their biological relatives: Create a genetic menagerie made of the DNA of more than 10,000 vertebrate species.

Hybrid composite for root canal treatment
A dentist carrying out root canal treatment will need to use a variety of compounds.

History in 3-D
Three-dimensional computer graphics is moving into museums. Works of art are being digitally archived in 3-D, simplifying research into related artifacts and providing the public with fascinating three-dimensional displays.

Frequent flower buyers seek product variety
Florists and other retailers who sell flowers are helped by a recent study designed to evaluate the differences in floral consumption across consumer groups.

Singapore scientists describe novel method for 3-D whole genome mapping research
Technological advance in the study of gene expression and regulation in the genome's 3-D folding and looping state through the development of a novel technology.

Professor receives grant to develop more rapid technology for screening blood samples
Dr. Jennifer Brodbelt, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, has received a $734,068 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new method for rapidly screening blood samples for biomarkers.

Scientists propose a 'genome zoo' of 10,000 vertebrate species
In the most comprehensive study of animal evolution ever attempted, an international consortium of scientists plans to assemble a genomic zoo -- a collection of DNA sequences for 10,000 vertebrate species, approximately one for every vertebrate genus.

Texas A&M prof to predict weather on Mars
Is there such a thing as

Internet search process affects cognition, emotion
University of Missouri researchers found that readers were better able to understand, remember and emotionally respond to material found through

Clean algae biofuel project leads world in productivity
Australian scientists are achieving the world's best production rates of oil from algae grown in open saline ponds, taking them a step closer to creating commercial quantities of clean biofuel for the future.

NIAID awards five-year, $56 million contract to continue study of asthma in inner-city children
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has renewed the contract to continue studying asthma in children living in lower-income, inner-city environments.

New discoveries in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Researchers at UAB in collaboration with the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, have discovered the structure of the PPC descarboxilase enzyme present in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a very important organism in biotechnology and an excellent model for biological research.

Radiation therapy after lumpectomy for breast cancer can be safely reduced to 4 weeks
Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center found that radiation treatment for women who had a lumpectomy for early-stage breast cancer can be safely reduced to four weeks, instead of the usual six to seven weeks, by delivering a higher daily dose -- greatly reducing the length of treatment time.

Emerging infectious diseases call for 'One Health' summit Nov. 17
The growing threat of the H1N1 pandemic and West Nile virus -- as well as other emerging zoonotic, food or waterborne diseases and environmental changes -- has prompted experts to look for solutions to the increasingly integrated problems among animal, human and environmental health.

Earthquakes actually aftershocks of 19th century quakes
When small earthquakes shake the central US, citizens often fear the rumbles are signs a big earthquake is coming.

What part do relapses play in severe disability for people with MS?
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have relapses within the first five years of onset appear to have more severe disability in the short term compared to people who do not have an early relapse, according to a new study published in the Nov.

New cardiology research presented at CHEST 2009
New research presented at CHEST 2009 highlights cardiology abstracts related to coronary risk factors and liver transplantation, health care professionals' inadequacy in ACLS training, and the timing of heart attacks based on race/culture.

Quantum gas microscope offers glimpse of quirky ultracold atoms
Physicists at Harvard University have created a quantum gas microscope that can be used to observe single atoms at temperatures so low the particles follow the rules of quantum mechanics, behaving in bizarre ways.

Mimicking nature, scientists can now extend redox potentials
New insight into how nature handles some fundamental processes is guiding researchers in the design of tailor-made proteins for applications such as artificial photosynthetic centers, long-range electron transfers, and fuel-cell catalysts for energy conversion.

Materials scientists find better model for glass creation
Harvard materials scientists have come up with what they believe is a new way to model the formation of glasses, a type of amorphous solid that includes common window glass.

Powerful pumpkins, super squash
Carotenoids, the family of yellow to red pigments found in pumpkins and tomatoes, plays an important role in human health by acting as sources of provitamin A or as protective antioxidants but identifying and quantifying carotenoids hasn't been simple.

Does race, income predict prostate cancer outcome?
A patient's socioeconomic status (income, martial status and race) has absolutely no impact on his outcome following curative radiation therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer, according to a new study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Penn researchers describe cellular source of most common type of abnormal heart beat
While studying how the heart is formed, scientists serendipitously found a novel cellular source of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of abnormal heart beat.

Calm before the spawn: Climate change and coral spawning
Robert van Woesik, a biologist at the Florida Institute of Technology, explains why corals spawn for just a few nights in some places but elsewhere string out their love life over many months.

Study points to new uses, unexpected side effects of already existing drugs
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco, have developed and experimentally tested a technique to predict new target diseases for existing drugs.

New sleep medicine research presented at CHEST 2009
New research presented at CHEST 2009 highlights abstracts related to CPAP therapy and weight gain, the relation between tonsil size and sleep apnea in children, oral appliances for sleep apnea treatment.

2 Caltech researchers receive DARPA Young Faculty Awards
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has selected two researchers from the California Institute of Technology to participate in its Young Faculty Award program.

Reduction in glycotoxins from heat-processing of foods reduces risk of chronic disease
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine report that cutting back on the consumption of processed and fried foods, which are high in toxins called Advanced Glycation End products, can reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body's natural defenses regardless of age or health status.

NSF awards $20 million to SDSC to develop 'Gordon'
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego has been awarded a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build and operate a powerful supercomputer dedicated to solving critical science and societal problems now overwhelmed by the avalanche of data generated by the digital devices of our era.

New study further disputes notion that amputee runners gain advantage from protheses
A study by six researchers, including a University of Colorado at Boulder associate professor and his former doctoral student, shows that amputees who use running-specific prosthetic legs have no performance advantage over counterparts who use their biological legs.

Orphan army ants join nearby colonies
Colonies of army ants, whose long columns and marauding habits are the stuff of natural-history legend, are usually antagonistic to each other, attacking soldiers from rival colonies in border disputes that keep the colonies separate.

Conserving historic apple trees
Many apple varieties common in the United States a century ago can no longer be found in today's orchards and nurseries.

'Genome 10K' proposal aims to sequence 10,000 vertebrates
An international group of scientists is proposing to generate whole genome sequences for 10,000 vertebrate species using technology so new it hasn't yet been invented.

Hormone that affects finger length key to social behavior
Research at the universities of Liverpool and Oxford into the finger length of primate species has revealed that cooperative behavior is linked to exposure to hormone levels in the womb.

Use of cannabinoids could help post-traumatic stress disorder patients
Use of cannabinoids (marijuana) could assist in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder patients.

Plentiful poinsettias without PGRs
Poinsettia, a holiday favorite, is produced using plant growth regulators (PGRs) to achieve their desired height, but the high cost of PGRs, environmental use restrictions, and increasing pressure from consumers are driving researchers to explore new alternatives.

Discrimination takes its toll on black women
Racial discrimination is a major threat to African-American women's mental health.

The humble beginnings of a king
A long forgotten fossil skull in the collections of the Natural History Museum in London has now provided crucial clues to the early stages of the lengthy evolutionary history of Tyrannosaurus rex and related large carnivorous dinosaurs.

Cancer patients want honesty, compassion from their oncologist
What do patients want from their radiation oncologists? The most significant preference is that more than one-third of female cancer patients (37 percent) prefer to have their hands held by their radiation oncologists during important office visits, compared to 12 percent of men, according to a randomized study presented Nov.

On-demand rather than daily chest radiographs for mechanically ventilated patients could lead to big cost savings and decrease radiation exposure
Present guidelines recommend routine daily chest radiographs for mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care units.

Genomic research will enable greener cleanup of military explosive test sites
Lowly bacteria, it turns out, hold the power to help militaries and munitions manufacturing plants around the world clean up toxic waste on test sites.

Researchers find yoga may be effective for chronic low back pain in minority populations
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center found that yoga may be more effective than standard treatment for reducing chronic low back pain in minority populations.

Midwest region of American Chemical Society recognizes K-State instructor for service to profession
Yasmin Patell, assistant teaching scholar in chemistry at Kansas State University, has received the E.

Report on US-China collaboration on carbon capture and sequestration
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Julio Friedmann, in collaboration with the Center for American Progress, the Asia Society Center and with partner Monitor Group, today released the report,

Energy gap useful tool for successful weight loss maintenance strategy
The term energy gap was coined to estimate the change in energy balance (intake and expenditure) behaviors required to achieve and sustain reduced body weight outcomes in individuals and populations.

Digital divide: Psychologists suggest ways to include the aging population in the tech revolution
Technological advances are being made every day, making many of our lives easier and allowing information to be more accessible and available.

Scientists are first to 'unlock' the mystery of creating cultured pearls from the queen conch
In their natural form, conch pearls are among the rarest pearls in the world.

New critical care research presented at CHEST 2009
New research presented at CHEST 2009 highlights critical care abstracts related to telemedicine in the ICU, the risks of excessive use of propofol for sedation, the problems associated with ICU nurses' sleep habits and more.

K-State creating tools to show how decisions about aquifer affect people, local economies
Kansas State University is pooling experts from multiple disciplines to understand how policy changes affect people in communities that depend on the Ogallala Aquifer in western Kansas.

New insight into predicting cholera epidemics in the Bengal Delta
In Bangladesh cholera epidemics occur twice a year. Scientists have tried, without much success, to determine the causes -- and advance early detection and prevention efforts.

CTRC, AACR and Baylor College of Medicine to host San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
Now in its 32nd year, the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium remains the top venue for research and discovery in breast cancer.

Curry-cure? Spicing up the effectiveness of a potential disease-fighter
Scientists are reporting development of a nano-size capsule that boosts the body's uptake of curcumin, an ingredient in yellow curry now being evaluated in clinical trials for treatment of several diseases.

Carbon atmosphere discovered on neutron star
Evidence for a thin veil of carbon has been found on the neutron star in the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant.

New scientific study indicates that eating quickly is associated with overeating
According to a new study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, eating a meal quickly, as compared to slowly, curtails the release of hormones in the gut that induce feelings of being full.

3-week course of breast radiation may be as effective as conventional 5- to 7-week course for early breast cancers
According to a study presented Nov. 4, 2009, at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, a shortened, more intensive course of radiation given to the whole breast, along with an extra dose of radiation given to the surgical bed of the tumor (concomitant boost), has been shown to result in excellent local control at a median follow up of two years after treatment with no significant sides effects.

When should flu trigger a school shutdown?
As flu season approaches, parents around the country are starting to face school closures.

New thrombosis research presented at CHEST 2009
New research presented at CHEST 2009 highlights abstracts related to the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism, including how sleep apnea may be associated with blood clots, how blood sugar level may predict the occurrence of blood clots, and the benefits of using extended therapy for blood clot prevention after hip/knee surgery.

Farmers' markets harvest new business
Something fresh is growing in Indiana. The number of farmers' markets in the state has increased at double the rate of other US states; between 1994 and 2004 the number of farmers' markets in Indiana increased by an impressive 222 percent.

Hybrid bluegrasses analyzed for use in transition zone
The transition zone can be one of the most challenging places to maintain high-quality turfgrass; changeable growing conditions in these regions often prove too hot or too cold.

Scientists reveal how induced pluripotent stem cells differ from embryonic stem cells
The same genes that are chemically altered during normal cell differentiation, as well as when normal cells become cancer cells, are also changed in stem cells that scientists derive from adult cells, according to new research from Johns Hopkins and Harvard.

Survey finds horticulture grads prepared for green jobs
Iowa State Profesors wanted to find out how their recent Horticulture graduates were faring in the workplace so they distributed a survey to employers who hired recent ISU horticulture graduates. 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