Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 19, 2009
Shifting blame is socially contagious
Merely observing someone publicly blame an individual in an organization for a problem -- even when the target is innocent -- greatly increases the odds that the practice of blaming others will spread with the tenacity of the H1N1 flu.

Bone implant offers hope for skull deformities
A synthetic bone matrix offers hope for babies born with craniosynostosis, a condition that causes the plates in the skull to fuse too soon.

Immunology expert at Children's Hospital receives APS prize for patient-oriented research
A pediatric immunologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has received a prestigious annual award from the American Philosophical Society, an organization founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin.

WHOI'S Bruce A. Warren is awarded Sverdrup Gold Medal
Bruce A. Warren -- one of the world's pre-eminent researchers of deep ocean currents and scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution -- is the 2010 winner of the prestigious Sverdrup Gold Medal, awarded by the American Meteorological Society.

Full recovery now possible for an 'untreatable' mental illness
Patients coping with the chaos and misery of borderline personality disorder now have reason for strong confidence in making major life changes through a new treatment, schema therapy.

Poverty measurement in the US: Income transfers alone won't eradicate poverty
Government-based poverty intervention through income transfers may skew poverty level measurement in US.

Unknowlingly consuming endangered tuna
New DNA barcoding from the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History shows that nearly a third of the tuna plated in sushi restaurants was bluefin -- even if it was not labeled bluefin on the menu.

Weill Cornell science briefs: November 2009
The following articles are contained in this issue: Designing speedier lab tests; Reducing neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease; Body's own cholesterol processing may lead to innovative therapies; Making a better vaccine; and New way to get a boost in energy disorder.

A mobile phone or an MP3 player tells if you're sleeping soundly
Researchers from Tampere University of Technology and the University of Helsinki have created a service that enables at-home screening of sleep disorders.

Dana Foundation and Johns Hopkins release neuroeducation book
Today, the Dana Foundation released Neuroeducation: Learning, Arts, and the Brain, its newest free education resource.

Therapy 32 times more cost effective at increasing happiness than money
Research by the University of Warwick and the University of Manchester finds that psychological therapy could be 32 times more cost effective at making you happy than simply obtaining more money.

Specific genetic makeup does not modify lung function in response to treatment in asthma patients
Studies have suggested that asthma patients with a specific genetic makeup, or genotype, might respond less well to certain treatments than those with a different genotype.

Patient's weight not linked to success of fibroid surgery
Obese patients are no more likely to have post-operative complications than those of average weight when undergoing robotic surgery to remove uterine fibroids, according to a study at Henry Ford Hospital.

New map of variation in maize genetics holds promise for developing new varieties
A new study of maize has identified thousands of diverse genes in genetically inaccessible portions of the genome.

Amaizing: Corn genome decoded
In recent years, scientists have decoded the DNA of humans and a menagerie of creatures but none with genes as complex as a stalk of corn, the latest genome to be unraveled.

Milestone biodefense publication by Elsevier journal Vaccine
Last week during the Vaccines for Biothreats and Emerging and Neglected Diseases Symposium in Galveston Texas, the Elsevier journal Vaccine released a supplement dedicated to vaccines for biodefense.

Causative gene of a rare disorder discovered by sequencing only protein-coding regions of genome
More that 7,000 rare disorders in aggregate affect millions of people.

Multinational Toshiba has chosen Granada to host the 1st Spanish-Japanese Meeting on ICTs
This major scientific meeting will be held at the Higher Technical School of Computer Science and Telecommunications Engineering from Nov.

Examining mathematical abilities in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) have a number of cognitive deficits.

Pivotal study for PSD502 -- the first potential treatment for premature ejaculation
Results of the double-blind treatment phase of this study, which enrolled patients from the US, Canada and Poland, are consistent with previously reported results of the pivotal trial conducted in Europe and showed that men who were treated with PSD502 five minutes before intercourse were able to delay ejaculation up to five times longer than those who used placebo.

Sleep apnea may cause heart disease in kidney transplant patients
Sleep apnea is common in individuals who receive a kidney transplant and is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Nanotube defects equal better energy and storage systems
Most people would like to be able to charge their cell phones and other personal electronics quickly and not too often.

PLoS Genetics 2009 maize genome collection
Maize is an important crop in many countries of the world.

Finding more in 'most'
Prof. Mira Ariel of Tel Aviv University has scientifically quanitifed the common interpretation of the word

Laser therapy can aggravate skin cancer
High irradiances of low-level laser therapy should not be used over melanomas.

Like humans, ants use bacteria to make their gardens grow
Leaf-cutter ants, which cultivate fungus for food, have many remarkable qualities.

Human embryonic stem cells could be used to produce temporary skin while burn patients await skin grafts
A study in this week's edition of the Lancet shows that it is possible to use human embryonic stem cells to produce temporary skin substitutes for patients awaiting skin grafts after, for example, serious burn injuries.

An atomic-level look at an HIV accomplice
Since the discovery in 2007 that a component of human semen called SEVI boosts infectivity of the virus that causes AIDS, researchers have been trying to learn more about SEVI and how it works, in hopes of thwarting its infection-promoting activity.

'Hobbits' are a new human species -- according to the statistical analysis of fossils
Researchers from Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York have confirmed that Homo floresiensis is a genuine ancient human species and not a descendant of healthy humans dwarfed by disease.

Building the smart home wirelessly
Like the paperless office, the smart home has been a long time coming, but a report published in the International Journal of Internet Protocol Technology, suggests that radio tags coupled with mobile communications devices could soon provide seamless multimedia services to the home.

Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Scripps research scientists find new link between insulin and core body temperature
A team led by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have discovered a direct link between insulin -- a hormone long associated with metabolism and metabolic disorders such as diabetes -- and core body temperature.

Spanish biotechnology should focus on food and plant sectors to be more competitive
Spain and Latin American countries have an opportunity to take the lead in two small biotechnology sectors.

ORNL, Los Alamos pioneer new approach to assist scientists, farmers
Sustainable farming, initially adopted to preserve soil quality for future generations, may also play a role in maintaining a healthy climate, according to researchers at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge and Los Alamos national laboratories.

UCSB physicists move 1 step closer to quantum computing
Physicists at UC Santa Barbara have made an important advance in electrically controlling quantum states of electrons, a step that could help in the development of quantum computing.

Reference genome of maize, most important US crop, is published by team co-led by CSHL scientists
A four-year, multi-institutional effort co-led by three Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists culminated today in publication of a landmark series of papers in the journal Science revealing in unprecedented detail the DNA sequence of maize.

U of M plant scientist uncovers clues to yield-boosting quirks of corn genome
The offspring of two inbred strains tend to be superior to both of their parents.

NESCent helps to build a global digital data network for biology and the earth sciences
The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center is now part of a major new digital data initiative that will improve the ability of scientists, policymakers and the public to monitor the status of Earth's biota and the environment.

Rich ore deposits linked to ancient atmosphere
Much of our planet's mineral wealth was deposited billions of years ago when Earth's chemical cycles were different from today's.

Preventing H1N1 spread to health care workers: Dilemma, debate and confusion
A commentary in the December issue of the Lancet Infectious Diseases brings to light the gaps in knowledge on the transmission of the influenza virus and its impact on decisions about how best to protect health care workers.

Surgery not linked to memory problems in older patients
For years, it has been widely assumed that older adults may experience memory loss and other cognitive problems following surgery.

Case Western School of Medicine receives RWJF grant to establish a public health research network
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received a Robert Wood Johnson grant to fund a Public Health Practice Based Research Network called the Ohio Research Association for Public Health Improvement.

Search engines are source of learning
Search engine use is not just part of our daily routines; it is also becoming part of our learning process, according to Penn State researchers.

Asthma a significant risk factor for complications in children with H1N1
A new study on pediatric H1N1 influenza admissions has found that asthma is a significant risk factor for severe disease in children with pandemic H1N1 compared with the seasonal flu.

Sweet -- sugared polymer a new weapon against allergies and asthma
Scientists at Johns Hopkins and their colleagues have developed sugar-coated polymer strands that selectively kill off cells involved in triggering aggressive allergy and asthma attacks.

After mastodons and mammoths, a transformed landscape
Roughly 15,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, North America's vast assemblage of large animals -- including such iconic creatures as mammoths, mastodons, camels, horses, ground sloths and giant beavers -- began their precipitous slide to extinction.

Maize cell wall genes identified, giving boost to biofuel research
Purdue University scientists have helped identify and group the genes thought to be responsible for cell wall development in maize, an effort that expands their ability to discover ways to produce the biomass best suited for biofuels production.

Cigarettes harbor many pathogenic bacteria: Study
Cigarettes are widely contaminated with bacteria, including some known to cause disease in people, concludes a new study conducted by a University of Maryland environmental health researcher and microbial ecologists at the Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France.

Promising pharmaceutical agents emerge as sports doping products
Researchers from the German Sport University Cologne in Germany found that nonsteroidal and tissue-selective anabolic agents such as selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are being sold on the black market for their performance enhancing qualities.

The developing child: Rating aggressive and delinquent behavior in pre-adolescence
A study published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry show that heavy criticism from a parent can increase aggressive behavior in some children.

Engineer designs micro-endoscope to seek out early signs of cancer
Traditional endoscopes provide a peek inside patients' bodies. Now, a University of Florida engineering researcher is designing ones capable of a full inspection.

Common plastics chemicals linked to ADHD symptoms
Phthalates are important components of many consumer products, including toys, cleaning materials, plastics, and personal care items.

Mysteriously warm times in Antarctica
A new study of Antarctica's past climate reveals that temperatures during the warm periods between ice ages (interglacials) may have been higher than previously thought.

USC study to evaluate robots as exercise trainers
The University of Southern California Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems is comparing virtual versus physical robots as exercise coaches for adults of all ages, with a particular focus on the elderly.

Scientists at UA, collaborating institutions decode maize genome
Scientists from the University of Arizona led by Arizona Genomics Institute director Rod A.

Elsevier celebrates the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the publication of a freely available special issue of Child Abuse and Neglect The International Journal 1989-2009 on the 20th anniversary of the U.N.

Braking news
Real-life particles released by car brake pads can harm lung cells in vitro.

An intervention that can reduce hostile perceptions in children with prenatal alcohol exposure
Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) has been linked to significant impairments in social skills.

Paleontologists find extinction rates higher in open-ocean settings during mass extinctions
Arnie Miller, University of Cincinnati professor of paleontology in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, and co-author Michael Foote of the University of Chicago publish their research in the Nov.

Highlighting racial disparities increases coverage and effectiveness of health news
As media researchers search for better methods to reach audiences, a new University of Missouri study published in Public Relations Review has found that highlighting racial disparities in news releases increases coverage of health stories in black newspapers, which can improve health outcomes in populations at risk for disparities.

Technique finds gene regulatory sites without knowledge of regulators
A new statistical technique developed by researchers at the University of Illinois allows scientists to scan a genome for specific gene-regulatory regions without requiring prior knowledge of the relevant transcription factors.

University of Miami receives grant towards research of hypersonic materials and structures
The University of Miami College of Engineering has been awarded a grant from the newly established National Hypersonic Science Center for Hypersonic Materials through Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, to work collaboratively with other research institutions to develop hypersonic materials and structures, such as those used for thermal protection of space vehicles during re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere.

Bioreactor for bone tissue engineering wins professor venture fair
John Fisher, associate professor in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, won the Best Inventor Pitch at the 2009 Bioscience Research and Technology Review Day with a tissue engineering bioreactor system that grows bone and other types of tissue for implantation.

Drug studied as possible treatment for spinal injuries
Researchers have shown how an experimental drug might restore the function of nerves damaged in spinal cord injuries by preventing short circuits caused when tiny

New maize map to aid plant breeding efforts
A massive survey of genetic diversity in maize has produced a gene map that should pave the way to significant improvements in a plant that is a major source of food, fuel, animal feed and fiber around the world.

Active hearing process in mosquitoes
A mathematical model has explained some of the remarkable features of mosquito hearing.

Scientists unlock clues for tailoring corn plant for food, energy needs
Scientists have long known that the offspring of two inbred strains tend to be superior to both their parents.

Reflux esophagitis due to immune reaction, not acute acid burn
Contrary to current thinking, a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease might not develop as a direct result of acidic digestive juices burning the esophagus, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found in an animal study.

Why Israeli rodents are more cautious than Jordanian ones
A series of studies carried out at the University of Haifa have found that rodent, reptile and ant lion species behave differently on either side of the Israel-Jordan border.

ICT fails to accelerate drug approvals
Drug approvals are taking just as long as they ever did despite increased expenditure on new information technology at the Food and drug Administration.

Women can quit smoking and control weight gain
Many women don't quit smoking because they are afraid of gaining weight.

First reconstitution of an epidermis from human embryonic stem cells
Stem cell research is making great strides. This is yet again illustrated by a study carried out by the I-STEM Institute, published in the Lancet on Nov.

New findings suggest strategy to help generate HIV-neutralizing antibodies
New discoveries about anti-HIV antibodies may bring researchers a step closer to creating an effective HIV vaccine, according to a new paper co-authored by scientists at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Waking up memories while you sleep
They were in a deep sleep, yet sounds, such as a teakettle whistle, somehow penetrated their slumber.

Why can't some people give up cocaine?
Drug dependency is a recurrent but treatable kind of addiction.

Mother's depression a risk factor in childhood asthma symptoms, study suggests
Maternal depression can worsen asthma symptoms in their children, according to research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center published online in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Sweet corn story begins in UW-Madison lab
This week, scientists are revealing the genetic instructions inside corn, one of the big three cereal crops.

Should Ann Veneman serve a second term as head of UNICEF?
Opinion is divided on whether UNICEF's current leader, Ann Veneman, should be given a second term-- -- or be replaced with a new candidate, likely, by convention, to be hand-picked by US president Barack Obama.

BoarCroc, RatCroc, DogCroc, DuckCroc and PancakeCroc
Fossils of five ancient crocs, including one with teeth like boar tusks and another with a snout like a duck's bill, have been discovered in the Sahara by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Paul Sereno.

Microorganism may provide key to combating giant salvinia throughout Louisiana
A team of researchers at Louisiana Tech University has found that a naturally occurring microorganism acts as a natural herbicide against giant salvinia.

Researchers find new piece of BSE puzzle
A new treatment route for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and its human form Creutzfeldt Jakob disease could be a step closer based on new results from scientists at the University of Leeds.

New research into the mechanisms of gene regulation
A team of scientists led by Penn State's Ross Hardison has taken a large step toward unraveling how regulatory proteins control the production of gene products during development and growth.

ISU's Plant Sciences Institute researchers provide understanding to maize genome sequence
Iowa State University Plant Sciences Institute researchers contributed to the raw data assembly and much of the ongoing functional analysis work for this multi-institutional, $32 million, National Science Foundation-funded effort to sequence the maize genome.

Treating alcohol-use disorders and tuberculosis together
Treatment for alcohol use disorders and tuberculosis (TB) is rarely integrated, even though the two diseases have a high co-occurrence.

Schizophrenia gene's role may be broader, more potent, than thought
UCSF scientists studying nerve cells in fruit flies have uncovered a new function for a gene whose human equivalent may play a critical role in schizophrenia.

New antioxidant compounds have been identified in foods such as olive oil, honey and nuts
Scientists from the University of Granada have used two new techniques, capillary electrophoresis and high resolution liquid chromatography, to enable them to identify and quantify a great part of the phenolic compounds in such foods.

World's first album of Twitter music available now
For the first time, you can now download an album of digital music written exclusively for Twitter.

Ancestry attracts, but love is blind
People preferentially marry those with similar ancestry, but their decisions are not necessarily based on hair, eye or skin color.

On the crest of wave energy
The ocean is a potentially vast source of electric power, yet as engineers test new technologies for capturing it, the devices are plagued by battering storms, limited efficiency and the need to be tethered to the seafloor.

SMOS satellite instrument comes alive
The MIRAS instrument on ESA's SMOS satellite, launched earlier this month, has been switched on and is operating normally.

On the trail of a vaccine for Lyme disease: Yale researchers target tick saliva
A protein found in the saliva of ticks helps protect mice from developing Lyme disease, Yale researchers have discovered.

Smithsonian scientists find the frog legs trade may facilitate spread of pathogens
Most countries throughout the world participate in the $40-million-per-year culinary trade of frog legs in some way, with 75 percent of frog legs consumed in France, Belgium and the United States.

WPI researchers take aim at hard-to-treat fungal infections
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed a new model system to study fungal infections.

UAB researchers discover antibody receptor identity, propose renaming immune-system gene
In what has eluded discovery for 30 years, scientists have identified a cellular receptor for the immune system's first-response antibody immunoglobulin M (IgM).

Workshop on economics, neuroscience and hormones
A workshop on

A brief intervention that works for drivers who persist in driving while intoxicated
Researchers comparing the effectiveness of two interventions on driving-while-impaired re-offenders with alcohol problems found that one -- Brief Motivational Interviewing -- was more effective.

NIEHS awards Recovery Act funds to focus more research on health and safety of nanomaterials
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, is increasing its investment in understanding the potential health, safety and environmental issues related to tiny particles that are used in many everyday products such as sunscreens, cosmetics and electronics.

Public University of Navarre draws up first map of chromosome terminals of higher fungi
A doctor in biology from the UPNA, Gúmer Pérez Garrido studied and described for the first time how the telomeres and adjacent sequences of the oyster fungus are organized.

Let them eat snail
A nutritionist in Nigeria says that malnutrition and iron deficiency in schoolchildren could be reduced in her country by baking up snail pie.

Multidisciplinary meeting on urological cancers aims to benefit cancer patients
Urological cancer patients will benefit greatly if the delivered treatment is the result of a combined effort. 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