Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 09, 2009
Female birds -- acting just like the guys -- become sexual show-offs in cooperative breeding species
Female birds in species that breed in groups can find themselves under pressure to sexually show off and evolve the same kinds of embellishments -- like fanciful tail feathers or chest-puffing courtship dances -- as males, according to new research in the latest issue of Nature.

University of the Basque Country research on plankton at Urdaibai
The goal of the research was to study the microbian plankton of the Urdaibai estuary.

Cyclone Cleo has reached its maximum wind speed
NASA Satellites noticed that Tropical Cyclone Cleo had reached its maximum strength, and was now moving into areas that will weaken it.

Digital avalanche rescue dog
A novel geolocation system makes use of signals from Galileo, the future European satellite navigation system, to locate avalanche victims carrying an avalanche transceiver or a cell phone, to the precision of a few centimeters.

New silicon-germanium nanowires could lead to smaller, more powerful electronic devices
Currently chip manufacturers are facing great challenges in miniaturizing transistors, a semiconductor device commonly used to amplify or switch electronic signals.

Money changes what we think is fair, Rotman research finds
Thinking of rewarding your sales department for a job well done?

Brain activity exposes those who break promises
Scientists from the University of Zurich have discovered the physiological mechanisms in the brain that underlie broken promises.

A new target for lymphoma therapy
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have discovered how an oncogene gets activated in mature B cells, suggesting a new target for therapy in B cell lymphomas.

Carnegie Mellon researchers receive grant
Carnegie Mellon University's Yoed Rabin and Kenji Shimada have received a four-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop computer training tools.

New DNA test for various pathogenic bacteria is much faster than current gold-standard system
Identification of sepsis-causing bacteria using a new microarray platform is highly accurate, and delivers results an average of 18 hours faster than the current gold-standard system, which uses techniques based on detecting inhibition of growth of bacteria through antibiotics.

Tropical birds waited for land crossing between North and South America: UBC study
Despite their ability to fly, tropical birds waited until the formation of the land bridge between North and South America to move northward, according to a University of British Columbia study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

The pitch of blue whale songs is declining around the world, scientists discover
Researchers' theory: An increase in population size may mean sounds used in mate competition need not travel as far as before; acoustic information extracted from songs could be useful population monitoring tool.

Scientists to set up in the Czech Republic, Poland and Portugal
The European Molecular Biology Organization has identified five young life scientists to receive EMBO Installation Grants, a scheme that aims to strengthen science in selected European states investing in their research infrastructures.

Study confirms association between tobacco smoke and behavioral problems in children
Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke during their early development can develop abnormal behavioral symptoms by the age of 10 years.

Ubiquitous health
A ubiquitous health monitoring system that automatically alerted the patient's family or physician to problematic changes in the person's vital signs could cut hospital visits and save lives, according to Japanese researchers writing in the International Journal of Web and Grid Services.

Coaxing injured nerve fibers to regenerate by disabling 'brakes' in the system
Expanding on prior research, our scientists provide further evidence that regeneration of nerve fibers after brain or spinal cord injury is limited by a lack of response to growth factors induced by the injury.

Difficulties exporting a Western market economy to Russia
A Western market economic model has been difficult to realize in Russia.

Jefferson awarded multi-million dollar NIH grant
The Department of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University has been awarded a multi-million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health for the creation of a center of excellence to study autoimmune diseases from basic science research to its translation into clinical applications.

Why cancer cells just won't die
When cells experience DNA damage, they'll try to repair it.

2 Kent State professors help break record for packing tetrahedra
Two Kent State University professors are part of a team of researchers who recently uncovered a way to pack tetrahedra, considered to be the simplest shaped regular solids with its four triangular sides, more densely than ever before.

Physicians knowledge of childhood food allergies needs room for improvement
A new study shows that pediatricians and family physicians are not confident in diagnosing or treating food allergies.

Fermi sees brightest-ever blazar flare
A galaxy located billions of light-years away is commanding the attention of NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and astronomers around the globe.

Entropy alone creates complex crystals from simple shapes, study shows
In a study that elevates the role of entropy in creating order, research led by the University of Michigan shows that certain pyramid shapes can spontaneously organize into complex quasicrystals.

Studying hair of ancient Peruvians answers questions about stress
The first study of its kind, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, detected the stress hormone cortisol in the hair of ancient Peruvians, who lived between 550 and 1532 A.D.

New clues emerge for understanding morphine addiction
Scientists are adding additional brush strokes to the revolutionary new image now emerging for star-shaped cells called astrocytes in the brain and spinal cord.

NYU researchers develop noninvasive technique to rewrite fear memories
Researchers at New York University have developed a noninvasive technique to block the return of fear memories in humans.

Nerve-cell transplants help brain-damaged rats fully recover lost ability to learn
Nerve cells transplanted into brain-damaged rats helped them to fully recover their ability to learn and remember, probably by promoting nurturing, protective growth factors, according to a new study.

NFL grant to strengthen knee research
NFL Charities, the charitable foundation of the National Football League, has awarded a grant of $125,000 to UC Davis for research on new ways to repair injured knees.

Members of the European Parliament discuss achieving heart health in Europe
Members of the European Parliament Heart Group meet today, in Brussels, with the Cardiology profession and representatives of national Heart Foundations to evaluate the achievements at EU level in combating Cardiovascular Disease, and to reveal the need for further action.

More than fish bait: Worms unlock secrets to new epilepsy treatments
Scientists from the University of Alabama used worms to reel in information they hope will lead to a greater understanding of cellular mechanisms that may be exploited to treat epilepsy.

A new mouse could help understand how some lung cancer cells evade drug treatment
A new study published in Disease Models and Mechanisms describes the development of drug resistance in mice with lung cancer.

Sonic Hedgehog variations linked to recurrence, survival and response to therapy of bladder cancer
Genetic variations in the Sonic Hedgehog pathway increase the likelihood of recurrence, reduce survival time and limit response to therapy for people with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer, scientists from the University of Texas M.

American adults receiving flu vaccine at about the same rate as in 2008, study finds
American adults are not being vaccinated against the seasonal flu any more often than they were last year, despite increased public discussion of the importance of influenza vaccines resulting from the worldwide outbreak of the H1N1 virus, according to a new study.

UBC geneticist reveals molecular view of key epigenetic regulator
In a paper published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr.

Stem cell derived neurons for research relevant to Alzheimer's and Niemann-Pick Type C diseases
Stem cell derived neurons may allow scientists to determine whether breakdowns in the transport of proteins, lipids and other materials within cells trigger the neuronal death and neurodegeneration that characterize Alzheimer's disease and the rarer but always fatal neurological disorder, Niemann-Pick Type C, according to a presentation that Lawrence B.

Difficult to break 1-party domination in Tanzania
Opposition parties in Tanzania have still not managed to convince voters that they are capable of running the country since the introduction of a multiparty system at the beginning of the 1990s.

Study highlights implications of influenza pandemics on blood supplies
A German research team has examined data on supply and demand for blood transfusions against a computer simulation of an influenza pandemic, and discovered that a severe pandemic scenario could quickly lead to a deficit of up to 96,000 red blood cell transfusion units in Germany alone, creating potentially fatal outcomes.

New skin stem cells surprisingly similar to those found in embryos
Scientists have discovered a new type of stem cell in the skin that acts surprisingly like certain stem cells found in embryos: both can generate fat, bone, cartilage and even nerve cells.

Older dental fillings contain form of mercury unlikely to be toxic
A new study on the surface chemistry of silver-colored, mercury-based dental fillings suggests that the surface forms of mercury may be less toxic than previously thought.

Carnegie Mellon scientists discover first evidence of brain rewiring in children
Carnegie Mellon University scientists Timothy Keller and Marcel Just have uncovered the first evidence that intensive instruction to improve reading skills in young children causes the brain to physically rewire itself, creating new white matter that improves communication within the brain.

Newly discovered mechanism allows cells to change state
By looking at yeast cells, Jeffrey Laney, assistant professor of biology, has figured out one way in which cells can transform themselves: a cellular

MSU research may lead to new ways to control honeybee parasite
Ground-breaking discoveries by Michigan State University researchers could help protect honeybees from deadly parasites that have devastated commercial colonies.

International partnerships assist in the creation of the new Abu Dhabi Economics Research Agency
A partnership of outstanding international research organizations will support new economy research agency.

Toward a fast, accurate urine test for pneumonia
Scientists are reporting a discovery of the potential basis for a urine test to diagnose community-acquired pneumonia, a difficult-to-diagnose disease that is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Magnetic power revealed in gamma-ray burst jet
A specialized camera on a telescope operated by UK astronomers from Liverpool has made the first measurement of magnetic fields in the afterglow of a gamma-ray burst.

Debunking fears: Latino growth does not boost crime
Rural industries, such as meat-packing and textile manufacturing, create job opportunities that have brought significant numbers of Latino workers and their families to small- and medium-sized towns.

Germany starts its part in the International Cancer Genome Project
Germany will participate in the largest and most ambitious biomedical research project since the Human Genome Project.

Coaxing injured nerve fibers to regenerate by disabling 'brakes' in the system
Expanding on prior research, Children's Hospital Boston scientists provide further evidence that regeneration of nerve fibers after brain or spinal cord injury is limited by a lack of response to growth factors induced by the injury.

Low-density lipoprotein receptor reduces damage in Alzheimer's brain
The low-density lipoprotein receptor has received a lot of attention because of its connection with coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis, but now it appears as if it may have a beneficial influence in degenerative brain diseases.

People affected by autism believe increase is 'real,' not diagnostic
There has been a major increase in the number of children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders over the last two decades -- the question is why?

Electromagnetic fields as cutting tools
The bodywork on motor vehicles must be sufficiently stable, but processing the high-strength steels involved -- for example punching holes in them -- can prove something of a challenge.

Tropical forests affected by habitat fragmentation store less biomass and carbon dioxide
Deforestation in tropical rain forests could have an even greater impact on climate change than has previously been thought.

Potential cancer drug may offer new hope for asthma patients
A drug being tested to treat cancer could also help patients suffering from asthma, research has suggested.

Study finds gender gap persists in cardiac care
Gender differences persist in the quality of cardiac care across Ontario, according to a health study by researchers at St.

Drug industry embraces new business strategies after tough year
As they pop the champagne corks to celebrate New Year's Eve, drug industry executives will likely be glad to put 2009 behind them.

AAAS president leads delegation to North Korea for talks on science cooperation
A nongovernmental delegation led by Nobel laureate Peter C. Agre, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was to arrive in Pyongyang today (Dec.

Sticks and stones break bones, but this UH study may prevent it
Researchers at the University of Houston department of health and human performance have created a process that grows real human bone in tissue culture, which can be used to investigate how bones form, grow and fracture.

77 percent of European pigs are castrated without anesthetic
The castration of pigs prevents the

Report: Most comprehensive analysis to date of national policy options to reduce deforestation
An agreement at this week's UN Climate Change talks in Copenhagen to cut carbon emissions by paying developing countries to maintain their forests has the potential to reverse the decline in the world's forests, according to a comprehensive analysis of national policy options to reduce deforestation released today by CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Research.

Are holiday and weekend eating patterns affecting obesity rates?
The holidays can be challenging for even the most diligent dieters.

A faint star orbiting the Big Dipper's Alcor discovered
New observations of Alcor, one of the stars that makes the constellation known as the Big Dipper's, have uncovered a smaller companion star named Alcor B.

'Mini' transplant may reverse severe sickle cell disease
Results of a preliminary study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins show that

Behavioral training improves connectivity and function in the brain
Children with poor reading skills who underwent an intensive, six-month training program to improve their reading ability showed increased connectivity in a particular brain region, in addition to making significant gains in reading, according to a study funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Energy efficiency technologies offer major savings
Energy efficiency technologies that exist today or that are likely to be developed in the near future could save considerable money as well as energy, says a new report from the National Research Council.

First known binary star is discovered to be a triplet, quadruplet, quintuplet, sextuplet system
Alcor and Mizar, were the first binary stars -- a pair of stars that orbit each other -- ever known.

NTU, IBM join hands to drive service innovation
Nanyang Technological University and IBM announced today the continued commitment to push the frontiers of service innovation through Service Science education, research, talent development and collaboration with government, academia and industry partners.

Oceans day at International Climate Change Conference
Oceans Day, to be held Dec. 14, will highlight the direct link between climate change, ocean health, and human well-being.

Carnegie Mellon's Kelvin Gregory gets award to study water
Carnegie Mellon University's Kelvin Gregory is leading a research team developing a new treatment for cleaning water.

Noninvasive technique blocks a conditioned fear in humans
Scientists have for the first time selectively blocked a conditioned fear memory in humans with a behavioral manipulation.

Scripps Research team uncovers chemical basis for extra 'quality control' in protein production
Even small errors made by cells during protein production can have profound disease effects, and nature has developed ways to uncover these mistakes and correct them.

High-fat low-carb diets could mean significant heart risk
New scientific research has shown that low-carbohydrate high-fat diets, made popular by the likes of the Atkins diet, do not achieve more weight loss than low-fat high-carbohydrate diets.

Instruction repairs brain connectivity in poor readers
Scientists have demonstrated that intensive remedial instruction can bring about a positive change in the brain connectivity of poor readers.

How calorie-restricted diets fight obesity and extend life span
Scientists searching for the secrets of how calorie-restricted diets increase longevity are reporting discovery of proteins in the fat cells of human volunteers that change as pounds drop off.

5,000 deaths: A catastrophic, regrettable decision in Belgium
Today at the European Parliament, the MEP Heart Group evaluated the achievements at EU level in combating cardiovascular disease and revealed further action.

Safer space vehicles thanks to optic fiber sensors
A research team from the TECNALIA Technological Corporation, through its Aerospace Unit, together with the ITEAM Institute at the Valencia Polytechnic University, the ilicitana Emxys aerospace company and the Institute for Photonic Sciences have developed a new protection system for the European Space Agency through which safety for space vehicles is enhanced.

Consumers overpredict the use of holiday gifts
Consumers overpredict how often they'll use the gifts they want for Christmas.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff named honoree of Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation Honor Ball
Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation announced today that Daniel Von Hoff, M.D., will be honoree at its 2010 Honor Ball.

Astronaut balancing act: Training to help explorers adapt to a return to gravity
Challenges associated with long-duration spaceflight do not end with landing.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory -- December 2009
Titanium dioxide can be converted into a material that absorbs sunlight and greatly increase the efficiency of solar energy cells.

Charles Darwin: More than the origin
Charles Darwin greatly contributed to many specific fields within biology.

Elsevier launches new textbook initiative: Academic Press and Cell Press collaboration
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the launch of a new textbook initiative for the life sciences at this week's annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology.

Creating jobs with university-based research parks and incubators
Changes in federal policy can increase the effectiveness of a key national asset in job creation: university-based research parks and technology incubators, according to US Senate testimony today by Brian Darmody, president of the Association of University Research Parks and a University of Maryland associate vice president.

News brief: Dermatologic infections in cancer patients treated with EGFRI therapy
Patients who experience dermatologic toxic effects from epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors (EGFRIs) have a high prevalence of skin and nail infections, according to a new study published online Dec. 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