Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 10, 2009
Gender-based pay gaps among US faculty
Before the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law by President Kennedy, women earned about fifty percent less than men.

Persistent pain common for many women 2 to 3 years after breast cancer treatment
Nearly 50 percent of women surveyed indicate they experience pain symptoms 2 to 3 years after breast cancer treatment, with women who were younger or who received supplemental radiation therapy more likely to have pain, according to a study in the Nov.

New 'finFETS' promising for smaller transistors, more powerful chips
Purdue University researchers are making progress in developing a new type of transistor that uses a finlike structure instead of the conventional flat design, possibly enabling engineers to create faster and more compact circuits and computer chips.

Caltech scientists develop DNA origami nanoscale breadboards for carbon nanotube circuits
In work that someday may lead to the development of novel types of nanoscale electronic devices, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology has combined DNA's talent for self-assembly with the remarkable electronic properties of carbon nanotubes, thereby suggesting a solution to the long-standing problem of organizing carbon nanotubes into nanoscale electronic circuits.

Foreign subtitles improve speech perception
In a new study, published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, Holger Mitterer (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) and James McQueen (MPI and Radboud University Nijmegen) show how you can improve your second-language listening ability by watching the movie with subtitles -- as long as these subtitles are in the same language as the film.

Healthy babies by the numbers
Prof. Ofer Barnea of TAU's Department of Biomedical Engineering is coupling mathematical models with information about a baby's physiology inside the womb.

Noted entomologist to receive science excellence award
The Academy of Natural Sciences today announced it will give its highest science award to a noted behavioral ecologist who has done more than anyone to document one of the most economically important groups of insects -- grasshoppers.

Grant awarded to improve the security of mobile devices and cellular networks
Georgia Tech computer science faculty members recently received a National Science Foundation grant to develop tools that improve the security of mobile devices and the telecommunications networks on which they operate.

Central Africa's tropical Congo Basin was arid, treeless in Late Jurassic
The lush, tropical Congo Basin was much different 150 million to 200 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed Gondwana, the single continent formed by Africa and South America.

NIH symposium to mark designation of genetic code as National Historic Chemical Landmark
A day-long symposium will be held at the National Institutes of Health, Thursday, Nov.

American Chemical Society, ACS chem education division partner on chem education journal
The publications division of the American Chemical Society and the American Chemical Society's Division of Chemical Education will partner to publish the Journal of Chemical Education beginning with the January 2010 issue of the journal.

Optical techniques more efficient and cost-effective than conventional histopathology at identifying pre-cancerous polyps
Optical diagnosis is a reliable method of correctly diagnosing small colorectal polyps during routine colonoscopy and could be a more efficient and cost effective alternative to conventional histopathology.

Oceanographers develop 'swarms' of robotic ocean explorers
In an effort to plug gaps in knowledge about key ocean processes, the National Science Foundation's division of ocean sciences has awarded nearly $1 million to scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif.

New UAB study sheds light on brain's response to distress, unexpected events
In a new study, psychologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are able to see in detail for the first time how various regions of the human brain respond when people experience an unexpected or traumatic event.

Swarms of ocean robots will drift in synch, monitor oil spills, thanks to advanced controls systems
To develop control systems for

Long-term statin use associated with decreased risk of gallstones requiring surgery
Use of the cholesterol-lowering drugs statins for more than a year is associated with a reduced risk of having gallstones requiring surgery, according to a study in the Nov.

Drugs to treat anemia in cancer patients linked to thromboembolism
Medications frequently given to cancer patients to reduce their risk of anemia are associated with an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, according to new research led by Dawn Hershman, M.D, M.S., co-director of the breast cancer program at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

$1M in stimulus funds awarded to Rice, Texas Heart Institute for MRI tracking of stem cells
The National Institutes of Health has awarded researchers at Rice University and the Texas Heart Institute a $1 million Challenge Grant to refine cell-tracking nanotube technology that could make magnetic resonance imaging up to 40 times more sensitive than existing MRIs, and help guide adult stem cells within the human body to repair damaged hearts.

Ancient penguin DNA raises doubts about accuracy of genetic dating techniques
Penguins that died 44,000 years ago in Antarctica have provided extraordinary frozen DNA samples that challenge the accuracy of traditional genetic aging measurements, and suggest those approaches have been routinely underestimating the age of many specimens by 200 to 600 percent.

University of Colorado butterfly payload to launch Nov. 16 on space shuttle
When NASA's space shuttle Atlantis launches for the International Space Station on Nov.

Warm-blooded dinosaurs worked up a sweat
Were dinosaurs endothermic like present-day mammals and birds or ectothermic like present-day lizards?

Virtual reality games could help bullying victims
Virtual reality games could help children to escape victimization and bullying at school, according to researchers at the University of Warwick.

Neuroimaging provides insights into new treatment options for Alzheimer's disease
With about 35 million people around the world suffering from Alzheimer's disease by the year 2010 and an expectation that these numbers will double every twenty years with approximately 115 million cases by 2050, pressure on health care systems worldwide will be intense.

Ethics guide for rural MDs
With an eye to small-town health professionals as well as to the people training students to practice medicine beyond metropolitan settings, Dartmouth's Department of Community and Family Medicine is unveiling the Handbook for Rural Health Care Ethics.

Some chest pain patients wait longer than 10 minutes to see ER physician
Emory University Rollins School of Public Health researchers will present Nov.

NASA sees high thunderstorms in newly formed Tropical Cyclone 4A near India
Tropical Cyclone 4A formed yesterday, Nov. 10 off the western coast of India in the Arabian Sea, and NASA's infrared imagery captured some high, powerful thunderstorms developing in the storm's center.

Health care accounts for 8 percent of US carbon footprint
The American health-care sector accounts for nearly a tenth of the country's carbon dioxide emissions, according to a first-of-its-kind calculation of health care's carbon footprint.

Controversial new climate change data
New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of CO2 has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of CO2 having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now.

A motley collection of boneworms
It sounds like a classic horror story -- eyeless, mouthless worms lurk in the dark, settling onto dead animals and sending out green

Device enables world's first voluntary gorilla blood pressure reading
Zoo Atlanta recently became the first zoological institution in the world to obtain voluntary blood pressure readings from a gorilla.

'Emotions increase or decrease pain': researchers
Getting a flu shot this fall? Canadians scientists have found that focusing on a pretty image could alleviate the sting of that vaccine.

People with less education could be more susceptible to the flu
People who did not earn a high school diploma could be more likely to get H1N1 and the vaccine might be less effective in them compared to those who earned a diploma, new research shows.

Can a plant be altruistic?
Although plants have the ability to sense and respond to other plants, their ability to recognize kin and act altruistically has been the subject of few studies.

Scientists decipher the formation of lasting memories
Researchers Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have discovered a mechanism that controls the brain's ability to create lasting memories.

CWRU to develop technologies for virtual coaching to help patient-doctor communications
Sometimes patients find it uncomfortable asking a doctor of another age, gender or race for information.

New fossil plant discovery links Patagonia to New Guinea in a warmer past
Fossil plants provide clues as to what our planet looked like millions of years ago.

Ventilation treatment in prone position for ARDS does not provide significant survival benefit
Despite a current suggestion that patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome be positioned lying face down while receiving mechanical ventilation, study results indicate that this positioning does not significantly lower the risk of death compared to similar patients positioned lying face up during ventilation, according to a study in the Nov.

Implications of past forecasting errors often underestimated
When managers issue a forecast of their firm's earnings, they do not always take into account prior forecasting errors, according to research in the current issue of the Journal of Business Finance & Accounting.

Minimally invasive surgery shown safe and effective treatment for rectal cancer
Laparoscopic surgery has been used in the treatment of intestinal disorders for close to 20 years, but its benefits have only recently begun to be extended to people with rectal cancer.

Children with autism show slower pupil responses, MU study finds
Recently, University of Missouri researchers have developed a pupil response test that is 92.5 percent accurate in separating children with autism from those with typical development.

Researchers mobilizing global resources to test new treatments for severe H1N1 infection
An important, ground-breaking initiative is unfolding in the global critical care community in response to the H1N1 pandemic.

APS council overwhelmingly rejects petition to replace society's current climate change statement
The Council of the American Physical Society has overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to replace the society's 2007 Statement on Climate Change with a version that raised doubts about global warming.

EuroEcho 2009
One month to go until EuroEcho 2009, the world's foremost congress on echocardiography and imaging techniques, which this year takes place Dec.r 9-12 in Madrid.

Boston University School of Medicine's vasculitis center receives $6m grant
The Vasculitis Center at Boston University School of Medicine has received a five-year $6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Sculptured materials allow multiple channel plasmonic sensors
Sensors, communications devices and imaging equipment that use a prism and a special form of light -- a surface plasmon-polariton -- may incorporate multiple channels or redundant applications if manufacturers use sculptured thin films.

Winners of the 2009 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards
A radio broadcast on probability told through a tale about a drifting balloon, a newspaper series on the impact of a devastating genetic disease on a family in rural Montana, and a group of gracefully written stories about genetics and evolution are among the winners of the 2009 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Additive copper-zinc interaction affects toxic response in soybean
Agricultural soils accumulate trace metals from waste and fungicide application.

Anisakiasis hazard varies depending on the origin of the fish, according to a study
The work, developed by researchers of the University of Granada, has been published in International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Men leave: Separation and divorce far more common when the wife is the patient
A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is the patient, according to a study that examined the role gender played in so-called

NHLBI publishes new heart healthy cookbook
The health of your heart has a lot to do with the foods you eat.

House Ocean Caucus sponsors briefing on chemicals of concern in coastal waters, Nov. 17
This panel brings together leading NOAA scientists and community leaders to discuss research and monitoring of chemicals of concern that enter our coastal waters through run-off, discharge, and other means.

In the war between the sexes, the one with the closest fungal relationship wins
Researchers found differences in mycorrhizal colonization between males and females.

California's ancient kelp forest
The kelp forests off southern California are considered to be some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, yet a new study indicates that today's kelp beds are less extensive and lush than those in the recent past.

Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents associated with higher risk of venous thromboembolism
Use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents is associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism, according to study published online Nov.

1 in 4 hospitalized heart failure patients with Medicare back in hospital within a month
Roughly a quarter of Medicare patients hospitalized for heart failure are back in the hospital within 30 days.

News brief: Antitumor activity of nutlin-3 in neuroblastoma with wild-type p53
The small-molecule inhibitor nutlin-3 may be a viable treatment option for neuroblastoma patients with wild-type p53 activity, according to a new study published online Nov.

Climate studies to benefit from 12 years of satellite aerosol data
Aerosols, very small particles suspended in the air, play an important role in the global climate balance and in regulating climate change.

'Escaped' proteins add to hearing loss in elderly, UF researchers find
A multi-institutional team of researchers has identified a protein that is central to processes that cause oxidative damage to cells and lead to age-related hearing loss.

Green heating and cooling technology turns carbon from eco-villain to hero
Carbon is usually typecast as a villain in terms of the environment but researchers at the University of Warwick have devised a novel way to miniaturize a technology that will make carbon a key material in some extremely green heating products for our homes and in air conditioning equipment for our cars.

David A. Asch, M.D., M.B.A., receives AAMC Distinguished Teacher Award
David A. Asch, M.D., M.B.A., the Robert D. Eilers Professor of Medicine and Health Care Management and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Wharton School, was presented with the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J.

Cave study links climate change to California droughts
California experienced centuries-long droughts in the past 20,000 years that coincided with the thawing of ice caps in the Arctic, according to analysis of stalagmites from a cave in the Sierra Nevada.

Amphibians as environmental omen disputed
Amphibians, for years considered a leading indicator of environmental degradation, are not uniquely susceptible to pollution, according to a meta-analysis to be published in Ecology Letters.

Routine evaluation of prostate size not as effective in cancer screening, Mayo study finds
New Mayo Clinic research studied the association between prostate-specific antigen levels and prostate size and found that routine annual evaluation of prostate growth is not necessarily a predictor for the development of prostate cancer.

Olympus introduces world's smallest GI scope to offer 4-way angulation and Narrow Band Imaging
Olympus today introduced the world's smallest gastrointestinal videoscope to offer four-way angulation and Narrow Band Imaging to detect upper gastrointestinal abnormalities.

US science policy delegation travels to Cuba
Peter C. Agre, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Nobel laureate in chemistry, is among the members of a nongovernmental US delegation that will visit Cuba for discussions on science policy Nov.

Scripps scientists to develop 'swarms' of miniature robotic ocean explorers
In an effort to plug gaps of knowledge about key ocean processes, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have been awarded nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to develop a new breed of ocean-probing instruments.

Telling an old book by its smell: Aroma hints at ways of preserving treasured documents
Scientists are reporting development of a new test that can measure the degradation of old books and precious historical documents from their smell.

A pain in the neck
College age students text the most, preferring it to calls or e-mail.

Iowa State University researcher discovers key to vital DNA, protein interaction
Adam Bogdanove, associate professor in plant pathology, was researching the molecular basis of bacterial diseases of rice when he discovered how a group of proteins from plant pathogenic bacteria interact with DNA in the plant cell, opening up the possibility for what the scientist calls a

Over 2,200 veterans died in 2008 due to lack of health insurance
A research team at Harvard Medical School estimates 2,266 US military veterans under the age of 65 died last year because they lacked health insurance and thus had reduced access to care.

CSIRO helps redefine large open pit design
New guidelines for open pit slope design have been released for the first time in more than 30 years.

Clemson carbon nanotube research part of $3 million award to enhance energy efficiency
Clemson University is part of a five-year $3 million US Air Force Office of Scientific Research award, along with the University of Texas at Dallas and Yale University, to search for nanoscale materials that superconduct to allow for efficient flow of a current.

Findings suggest lipid assessment in vascular disease can be simplified, without the need to fast
Lipid assessment in vascular disease can be simplified by measuring either total and HDL cholesterol levels or apolipoproteins, without the need to fast and without regard to triglyceride levels, according to a study in the Nov.

Securing military wireless networks
Creating secure, mobile wireless networks for the military is the aim of a $35.5 million, 10-year grant from the U.S.

Geneticists coordinate action to fight against traffic in human beings
One of the keys is to gain agreement on genetic data collection and treatment.

Improving security with face recognition technology
A number of US states now use facial recognition technology when issuing drivers licenses.

Discovery in worms by Queen's researchers points to more targeted cancer treatment
Researchers at Queen's University have found a link between two genes involved in cancer formation in humans, by examining the genes in worms.

Avoiding dangerous climate change: Is geo-engineering the answer?
On Nov. 19, McGill University's Faculty of Science will host the fifth annual Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium:

Swift, XMM-Newton satellites tune into a middleweight black hole
While astronomers have studied lightweight and heavyweight black holes for decades, the evidence for black holes with intermediate masses has been much harder to come by.

GOES satellite sees bulk of Ida's clouds and rain inland while center making landfall
Tropical Storm Ida made landfall around 6:40 a.m. ET this morning on Dauphin Island, along the Alabama coastline.

Study shows brief training in meditation may help manage pain
An experimental study examining the perception of pain and the effects of various mental training techniques has found that a relatively short and simple meditation method can have a significant positive effect on pain management.

Iowa State scientist develops lab machine to study glacial sliding related to rising sea levels
Neal Iverson has created a glacier in a freezer that could help scientists understand how glaciers slide across their beds.

Warm-blooded dinosaurs worked up a sweat
Were dinosaurs

90 percent of Africans are not protected by smoke-free laws
As African nations are poised to undergo the highest increase in the rate of tobacco use among developing countries, nearly 90 percent of people on the continent remain without meaningful protection from secondhand smoke, according to a new report released at a regional cancer conference today.

Drug shrinks lung cancer tumors in mice
A potential new drug for lung cancer has eliminated tumors in 50 percent of mice in a new study published today in the journal Cancer Research.

Carnegie Mellon researchers to develop probes to study cellular GPS
An international group of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Goettingen Medical School in Germany and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom have received a Human Frontiers Science Program grant to develop molecular probes that will help researchers better understand the

Rapid star formation spotted in 'stellar nurseries' of infant galaxies
The universe's infant galaxies enjoyed rapid growth spurts forming stars like our sun at a rate of up to 50 stars a year, according to scientists at Durham University.

Skunk's strategy not just black and white
Predators with experience of skunks avoid them both because of their black-and-white coloration and their distinctive body shape, a new study has found.

U of M Academic Health Center nets nearly $35 million in federal stimulus grants
Academic Health Center scientists, physicians and research centers have attracted 128 grants totaling nearly $35 million in federal stimulus money (as of Nov. 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