Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 10, 2009
Potential impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
A new report from the National Research Council,

Mechanism discovered by which body's cells encourage tuberculosis infection
Tuberculosis bacteria use a signaling pathway to coerce disease fighting cells to switch allegiance and work on their behalf.

Late-breaking brain and behavior research presented at ACNP annual meeting this week
The 2009 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting will feature innovative research on PTSD, biomarkers for schizophrenia and treatment for gambling addiction.

Kidney disease patients benefit from surgery to prevent stroke
Physicians should be comfortable referring some patients with chronic kidney disease for effective stroke prevention surgery, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Potential new heart attack biomarker uncovered
In a study appearing in this month's Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, researchers have identified cardiac myosin-binding protein C as a potential new diagnostic biomarker for heart attacks, one that may be particularly valuable for mild attacks in which traditional diagnostic proteins may not be abundant enough.

University of Washington professor garners Avanti Young Investigator Award
Sarah L. Keller, a professor of chemistry and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Washington, has been named the winner of the 2010 Avanti Young Investigator Award in Lipid Research for her innovative and cutting-edge studies on membrane lipids.

Synthetic protein mimics structure, function of metalloprotein in nature
Scientists have designed a synthetic protein that is both a structural model and a functional model of a native protein, nitric-oxide reductase.

Breakthrough in monitoring tropical deforestation announced in Copenhagen
New technology, developed by a team of scientists at Carnegie's department of global ecology, is revolutionizing forest monitoring by marrying free satellite imagery and powerful analytical methods in an easy-to-use, desktop software package called CLASlite.

Heart attack patients given more antithrombotic drugs have increased risk of hospital admission for bleeding
In heart attack patients, risk of hospital admission for bleeding increases with the number of antithrombotic drugs used.

Lehigh University professor receives Astellas Award for arsenic groundwater remediation efforts
Arup K. SenGupta, Ph.D., a professor of civil, environmental and chemical engineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., has been chosen to receive a 2009 Astellas USA Foundation Award.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researcher wins Avanti Award in lipids
The 2010 Avanti Award in Lipids, which recognizes outstanding research contributions in the area of lipid research, has been awarded to David W.

Cyclone Cleo back down to tropical storm status
Cleo has run into wind shear and it has weakened it from a cyclone to a tropical storm.

Primitive dinosaur species found in New Mexico
By analyzing nearly complete skeletons of a dinosaur found in northern New Mexico, researchers have obtained new insights into how the creatures lived and evolved more than 213 million years ago.

Reaching the summit of protein dynamics
Understanding the incredibly speedy atomic mechanisms at work when a protein transitions from one shape to another has been an elusive scientific goal for years, but an essential one for elucidating the full panoply of protein function.

First phase of pan-tropical forest mapping debuting at COP15
Tropical forest loss accounts for an estimated 17 percent of global CO2 emissions.

Finding the Achilles' heel of cancer
Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon of Tel Aviv University has found that a stroke drug -- a member of a family of phenanthridine derivatives developed by an American drug company -- worked to kill cancer in mice which had been implanted with human breast cancer cells.

Absorbing hydrogen fluoride gas to enhance crystal growth
Two scientists at the Brookhaven Lab have developed a method to control the buildup of hydrogen fluoride gas during the growth of precision crystals needed for applications such as superconductors, optical devices, and microelectronics.

Hourly employees happier than salaried
People paid by the hour exhibit a stronger relationship between income and happiness, according to a study published in the current issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Early carnivorous dinosaurs crossed continents
Discovery of a new species of 213-million-year-old meat-eating dinosaur in New Mexico suggests the first dinosaurs wandered between parts of the Pangea supercontinent that later became North and South America, according to a team of researchers from the several institutions, including the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.

Scientists observe super-massive black holes using Keck Observatory in Hawaii
An international team of scientists has observed four super-massive black holes at the center of galaxies, which may provide new information on how these central black hole systems operate.

Understanding apples' ancestors
Wild Malus orientalis -- a species of wild apples that could be an ancestor of today's domesticated apples -- are native to the Middle East and Central Asia.

Climate projections underestimate CO2 impact
The climate may be 30-50 percent more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide in the long term than previously thought, according to a recent study published in Nature Geoscience.

DNA sheds new light on horse evolution
Ancient DNA retrieved from extinct horse species from around the world has challenged one of the textbook examples of evolution -- the fossil record of the horse family Equidae over the past 55 million years.

The need for cardio-oncology: Treating cancer and protecting the heart
Cardiologists and oncologists must work together in an attempt to avoid or prevent adverse cardiovascular effects in patients from certain chemotherapies, especially for those who may be at a higher risk for such effects, according to a new review published online Dec.

Formula to detect an author's literary 'fingerprint'
Using literature written by Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence and Herman Melville, physicists in Sweden have developed a formula to detect different authors' literary

New science estimates carbon storage potential of US lands
The first phase of a groundbreaking national assessment estimates that US forests and soils could remove additional quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a means to mitigate climate change.

Hebrew University, American researchers show 'trigger' to stem cell differentiation
A gene which is essential for stem cells' capabilities to become any cell type has been identified by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of California, San Francisco.

ESHRE announces its campus workshop: 'Artificial Insemination: An Update'
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology invites you to attend its workshop

Brainstorming works best in less specialized efforts, says Management Insights study
Applying brainstorming techniques to new product development works best when the collaboration employs participants from varied specialties gathering to develop a less complex product, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Extended youthfulness as a prevention for Alzheimer's disease
Therapies that can keep us younger longer might also push back the clock on Alzheimer's disease, suggests a new study of mice in the Dec.

New management methods extend blackberry season
New varieties of blackberry called

Newly discovered mechanism by which blood clots form
Polyphosphate from blood platelets plays a key role in inflammation and the formation of blood clots, scientists from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have shown.

Argonne scientists to control attractive force for nanoelectromechanical systems
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory are developing a way to control the Casimir force, a quantum mechanical force, which attracts objects when they are only hundred nanometers apart.

Horizontal string trimmer reduces labor costs, increases peach size
Hand thinning, a common practice employed by growers to produce larger, healthier fruit, is among the most labor-intensive of orchard practices.

Abundance of a look-alike species clouds population status of a million dollar fish
The prized white marlin is among the most overexploited open-ocean fish.

Introns: A mystery renewed
The sequences of nonsense DNA that interrupt genes could be far more important to the evolution of genomes than previously thought, according to a recent Science report by Indiana University Bloomington and University of New Hampshire biologists.

NRC rewards Penn State nuclear engineering efforts
Penn State's nuclear engineering program, part of the mechanical engineering department, has received nearly $1 million from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the areas of education, faculty development and curriculum development to boost nuclear education and expand the workforce in nuclear and nuclear-related disciplines.

'Fighting' IED attacks with SCARE technology
University of Maryland researchers have developed and successfully tested new computer software and computational techniques to analyze patterns of improvised explosive device attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan or other locations and predict the locations of weapons caches that are used by insurgents to support those attacks.

Sea level is rising along US Atlantic coast, say Penn environmental scientists
Sea-level rise along the Atlantic Coast of the United States was 2 mm faster in the 20th century than at any time in the past 4,000 years.

Delaying the aging process protects against Alzheimer's disease
Aging is the single greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

Landmark study confirms chemotherapy benefit in breast cancer patients
Chemotherapy generally improves survival in postmenopausal breast cancer patients, according to a landmark study published in Lancet.

Uniform analyses for clean drinking water in Europe
Clean water is a matter of survival for humans, particularly when it is used for drinking, cooking and for food manufacture.

Jefferson neurosurgeon helps draft new treatment guidelines for brain metastases
New treatment guidelines for patients with brain metastases are now available from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Italy's poor go to the hospital more
Despite free public health care, Italy's poor are more likely to end up in the hospital with avoidable conditions, new research shows.

Old hay and Alpine ibex horns reveal how grasslands respond to climate change
To better understand how grassland ecosystems respond to a warming climate and rising levels of carbon dioxide -- particularly with respect to the plants' water use -- resourceful scientists have captured telling time series from the proverbially fleeting grass.

Pathological gambling may be successfully treated with medications for substance addiction
Pathological gambling can be successfully treated with medications that decrease urges and increase inhibitions, according to researchers at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Earth's atmosphere came from outer space, find scientists
The gases which formed the Earth's atmosphere -- and probably its oceans -- did not come from inside the Earth but from outer space, according to a study by University of Manchester and University of Houston scientists.

Genetic ancestry highly correlated with ethnic and linguistic groups in Asia
In paper titled

Understanding ocean climate
High-resolution computer simulations performed by scientists at the National Oceanography Center, Southampton, are helping to understand the inflow of North Atlantic water to the Arctic Ocean and how this influences ocean climate.

Rare fossil forces rethinking of early dinosaur evolution
The discovery of a rare, primitive dinosaur named Tawa hallae is redefining the first theropods.

Successful stem cell therapy for treatment of eye disease
Newly published research reveals the first successful treatment of eight patients with

UCLA researchers engineer bacteria to turn carbon dioxide into liquid fuel
Global climate change has prompted efforts to drastically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels.

AGU fall meeting: Final press conference list, press conference visuals online
The final press conference list and press conference visuals for the AGU 2009 Fall Meeting are now available online.

Drug kills cells through novel mechanism
MIT and Boston University researchers have discovered that the drug hydroxyurea kills bacteria by inducing them to produce molecules toxic to themselves -- a conclusion that raises the possibility of finding new antibiotics that use similar mechanisms.

Vermicompost from pig manure grows healthy hibiscus
Vermicomposting, using earthworms to turn waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer, can be an economical, organic waste management practice.

University of Maryland chemist receives Astellas Award for blindness prevention research
Fredrick Khachik, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park, has been chosen to receive a 2009 Astellas USA Foundation Award.

Penn, Georgia collaboration awarded $14.6 million to expand pathogen database
The five-year contract expands a database of 27 pathogens used by scientists in over 100 countries to identify potential vaccines and find new drug targets.

RXR activation -- hope for new Parkinson's disease treatment
Researchers have investigated the potential of RXR ligands for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Obesity linked with poorer breast cancer outcomes
Obesity leads to late diagnosis of breast cancer. Obese patients have poorer breast cancer survival.

Study highlights lack of patient knowledge regarding hospital medications
In a new study to asses patient awareness of medications prescribed during a hospital visit, 44 percent of patients believed they were receiving a medication they were not, and 96 percent were unable to recall the name of at least one medication that they had been prescribed during hospitalization.

Students learn environmental stewardship, improve science scores
Studies have revealed that bringing environmental education into the curriculum raises not just science scores -- environmental-based lessons can also improve student test scores in other subject areas.

IGC scientist receives prestigious EMBO installation grant
Elena Baena-Gonzalez is to receive one of this year's Installation Grants, awarded by the European Molecular Biology Organization.

A novel, 10,000-year study of strata compaction and sea-level rise on English coast
Glacial rebound -- the rise or fall of land masses that were depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period -- explains differences in relative sea levels along the English coast.

New biological route for swine flu to human infections
Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a new biological pathway by which the H1N1 flu virus can make the jump from swine to humans.

Definitive study confirms chemo benefit in postmenopausal breast cancer
CAF chemotherapy added to tamoxifen can improve outcomes for postmenopausal breast cancer patients, according to a landmark study by the Southwest Oncology Group.

Student self-testing earns high marks as study tool
College students who pore over their notes again and again as they prep for finals could use their studying time more wisely, according to new learning research from Purdue University.

Physical education teaching staff play key role in making you like sport
What factors have an influence in making us like sport in the physical education classes we receive in school?

AIAA president warns Congress that cuts to human spaceflight programs will harm aerospace workforce
AIAA President Dave Thompson today testified before the House Committee on Science and Technology on

Killer catfish? Venomous species surprisingly common, study finds
Name all the venomous animals you can think of and you probably come up with snakes, spiders, bees, wasps and perhaps poisonous frogs.

City Tech physicist thinks small and big with CERN Large Hadron Collider research
Dr. Giovanni Ossola's research focuses on computing the theoretical predictions for scattering of particles, and is expected to make a significant contribution to the CERN Large Hadron Collider experiment in particular and contemporary physics in general.

UT Southwestern receives $700,000 from HHMI to promote medical education of Ph.D. students
A UT Southwestern Medical Center program designed to teach medical basics and clinical research to graduate students has received $700,000 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Nanomedicine: Ending 'hit and miss' design
A dozen laboratories in the Texas Medical Center, including four from Rice University, have won a $3 million Grand Opportunity grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct a systematic survey of how different sizes and types of nanoparticles behave inside living cells.

Chemotherapy plus tamoxifen better than tamoxifen alone for postmenopausal women at high-risk of breast cancer relapse
Addition of chemotherapy to standard tamoxifen treatment for postmenopausal women with node-positive breast cancer significantly improves disease-free survival, and this benefit is maximized when the tamoxifen follows chemotherapy.

Canna can: Ornamental eliminates pollutants from stormwater runoff
Rapid population growth and urbanization have raised concerns over stormwater runoff contamination.

Prize4Life and the Jackson Laboratory team up to fight ALS
Prize4Life, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), is partnering with The Jackson Laboratory to help more researchers identify treatment candidates that increase the lifespan of mice that model ALS.

Texting, tweeting ought to be viewed as GR8 teaching tools, scholar says
Carol L. Tilley, a professor of library and information science at Illinois, says that critics who equate texting with literary degradation are wrong, and that they also overlook the bigger role that texting and its distant cousin,

Keystone Symposia appoints 5 Fellows as part of diversity in life science initiative
Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology is pleased to announce the appointment of five new Keystone Symposia Fellows for 2010.

New analysis: Disagreement over what constitutes a forest is Achilles' heel of REDD plan
Disagreement over what constitutes a forest could undermine an agreement to protect forests, which is expected to be one of the bright spots at the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen, according to an analysis by the Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership for Tropical Forest Margins.

Ovaries must suppress their inner male
For an ovary to remain an ovary, the female organ has to continuously suppress its inner capacity to become male.

Personalities judged by physical appearance alone
Observers were able to accurately judge some aspects of a stranger's personality from looking at photographs, according to a study in the current issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the official monthly journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Berkeley Lab awarded $15.9 million for Net-Zero Energy Buildings User Facility
Berkeley Lab will build and operate a new National User Facility for Net-Zero Energy Buildings using a competitively selected award of $15.9 million in stimulus funds from the US Department of Energy.

Alcohol consumption may increase breast cancer recurrence risk
Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages (3 to 4 drinks per week, no matter alcohol type) is associated with a 30 percent increased risk of breast cancer recurrence, a Kaiser Permanente study found.

MRI detects breast cancer at earlier stage
Fewer advanced cancers detected with MRI plus mammography. Early detection meant smaller breast cancer size, less lymph node spread.

From fruit fly wings to heart failure -- why Not(ch)?
Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy, are the first to prove that the Notch signaling pathway targets heart muscle cells and thus reveal its crucial role in heart development and repair.

The battle of the sexes
Scientists at EMBL and the MRC discovered that if a specific gene located on a non-sex chromosome is turned off, cells in the ovaries of adult female mice turn into cells typically found in testes.

The future of organic ornamental plants
Acreage of organic nurseries and greenhouses in the US increased 83 percent since 2004.

NIH launches program to develop innovative approaches to combat obesity
The National Institutes of Health is launching a $37 million program that will use findings from basic research on human behavior to develop more effective interventions to reduce obesity.

Experts: Disease-resistant plants enhance profits, client satisfaction
New varieties of plants marketed as disease or insect-resistant are being sold through local garden centers and catalogues.

Irregular arm swing may point to Parkinson's disease
Irregular arm swings while walking could be an early sign of Parkinson's disease, according to neurologists who believe early detection may help physicians apply treatments to slow further brain cell damage until strategies to slow disease progression are available.

Cassini closes in on the centuries-old mystery of Saturn's moon Iapetus
Extensive analyses and modeling of Cassini imaging and heat-mapping data have confirmed and extended previous ideas that migrating ice, triggered by infalling reddish dust that darkens and warms the surface, may explain the mysterious two-toned

New model of skin cancer provides insights on second-most common type of cancer
Researchers have developed a new model of skin cancer based on the knowledge that a common cancer-related molecule called Src kinase is activated in human skin-cancer samples.

Research opens door to new thrombosis treatments
The latest findings on how blood clots form could open the door to the development of new and better-targeted drugs for patients at risk of strokes or heart attacks.

Amount of gene surplus determines severity of mental retardation in males
Researchers have discovered a new explanation for differences in the severity of mental illness in males.

Copying mother nature's designs
David Bocian of the University of California, Riverside, will receive more than $1 million over five years as a co-investigator in the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center, to be headquartered at Washington University in St.

Suzaku catches retreat of a black hole's disk
Studies of one of the galaxy's most active black-hole binaries reveal a dramatic change that will help scientists better understand how these systems expel fast-moving particle jets.

More 20 mph zones in London would prevent 100 killed or seriously injured casualties each year
20 mph traffic speed zones reduce casualties by 41.9 percent with the greatest reduction in child casualties, according to research published today in the British Medical Journal.

U-M researchers discover a way to strengthen proteins
Proteins, which perform such vital roles in our bodies as building and maintaining tissues and regulating cellular processes, are a finicky lot.

miRagen announces discovery of key microRNA implicated in Lou Gehrig's disease
miRagen Therapeutics today announced the publication of data demonstrating that microRNA-206 (miR-206) plays a crucial role in the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) and in neuromuscular synaptic regeneration in mice.

Old math reveals new thinking in children's cognitive development
Five-year-olds can reason about the world from multiple perspectives simultaneously, according to a new theory by researchers in Japan and Australia.

New approach to emissions makes climate and air quality models more accurate, major study finds
It's no secret that the emissions leaving a car tailpipe or factory smokestack affect climate and air quality.

Flies like us: They can act like addicts, too
When given the chance to consume alcohol at will, fruit flies behave in ways that look an awful lot like human alcoholism.

Linguists to gather in Baltimore for national conference
The 84th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America is scheduled for Jan., 7-12, 2009, at the Hilton Baltimore.

University of Alberta researchers develop drug interface to save lives
A drug information interface system developed by two University of Alberta researchers has been shown to help in dealing with visual and motor impairments, which can make sorting, holding and identifying pills a challenge as we age.

Study reveals H1N1 unexpected weakness
The H1N1 influenza virus has been keeping a secret that may be the key to defeating it and other flu viruses as well.

New ethical questions are being raised in stem cell research
Research paper summarizes some of the ethical and legal barriers facing new stem cell procedure.

New engineering institute to modify, develop technology for the global poor
Bridging the gap between what technology can accomplish and what the global poor can afford is the mission behind a new institute at SMU's Bobby Lyle School of Engineering.

Alcohol consumption increases risk of breast cancer recurrence
Alcohol may raise the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Obese women who drink alcohol may be at greater risk of recurrence.

New meat-eating dinosaur alters evolutionary tree
Paleontologists have unearthed a previously unknown meat-eating dinosaur in New Mexico, settling a debate about early dinosaur evolution, revealing a period of explosive diversification and hinting at how dinosaurs spread across the supercontinent Pangaea.

Tiny molecule slows progression of Lou Gehrig's disease in mice
A substance released by muscles in response to nerve injury can reduce symptoms and prolong life in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

'One keypad per child' lets schoolchildren share screen to learn math
In most of the world children must share computers. A new device lets up to four children share a computer screen to do interactive math problems, effectively quadrupling the number of computers available for such exercises.

Berkeley Lab researchers participate in Homeland Security study of subway airflow
As part of a Homeland Security study on the spread of airborne contaminants released in subway systems, Berkeley Lab researchers are measuring the flow of gas throughout tunnels and cars.

Princeton scientists find way to catalog all that goes wrong in a cancer cell
A team of Princeton University scientists has produced a systematic listing of the ways a particular cancerous cell has

University of California, San Francisco, researcher receives ASBMB-Merck Award
James A. Wells, professor and chairman of the department pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of UCSF's small molecule discovery center, has been named the winner of the 2010 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology-Merck Award for his pioneering studies in the field of protein engineering.

Surgical quality program is a strong tool for assessing outcomes for high-risk procedures
New research published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons finds that the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program is a powerful tool for assessing outcomes of uncommon, high-risk surgical procedures, including pancreatic necrosectomy.

NASA news highlights at American Geophysical Union Meeting
NASA researchers will present new findings on a wide range of Earth and space science topics during the 2009 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

More care and attention must be paid to every prescription written
Following the release of the EQUIP (Errors -- Questioning Undergraduate Impact on Prescribing) study on the website of the UK's General Medical Council, the lead editorial in this week's Lancet says that prescribing and pharmacology training must improve, so that more care and attention is paid to every prescription written. 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