Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 15, 2009
$60 million grant from Lilly Endowment boosts physician research at Indiana University
The Lilly Endowment grants $60 million to Indiana University School of Medicine to support recruitment and training of physician scientists.

Advancing STEM education
Seven institutions received funding in fiscal year 2009 through Innovation through Institutional Integration, or I3 -- an effort intended to link institutions' existing National Science Foundation-funded projects in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and to leverage their collective strengths.

Further spread of Rhodesian sleeping sickness in Uganda likely due to livestock movements
The northwards spread of human Rhodesian sleeping sickness in Uganda is likely due to the movement of infected livestock, according to new findings from an interdisciplinary research group including members from the Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Edinburgh; the Ministry of Health, Uganda; and the Universities of Oxford and Southampton.

More interpersonal trust can have a significant impact on growth in developing countries
It has been claimed that interpersonal trust can play more of a role in how an economy develops than capital.

CEO charisma biases financial analysts, can hurt investors, says study in INFORMS journal
Projecting the charisma of a newly hired Chief Executive Officer often leads financial analysts to make crucial errors in forecasting the company's future performance, according to a new study in the current issue of Organization Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Irrigation decreases, urbanization increases monsoon rains
A Purdue University scientist has shown man-made changes to the landscape have affected Indian monsoon rains, suggesting that land-use decisions play an important role in climate change.

NTU and EDB launch S$50 million ($36 million) integrated circuit design research center
Singapore's new Integrated Circuit Design Centre of Excellence was launched today at the International Symposium on Integrated Circuits 2009, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

For older adults, participating in social service activities can improve brain functions
The study, led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is the first of its kind to demonstrate that valuable social service programs can have the added benefits of improving the cognitive abilities of older adults.

Mastery of physical goals lessens disease-related depression and fatigue
Physical activity is known to reduce depression and fatigue in people struggling with chronic illness.

Smaller is better for finger sensitivity
People who have smaller fingers have a finer sense of touch, according to new research in the Dec.

Late-surviving megafauna exposed by ancient DNA in frozen soil
Woolly mammoths and ancient horses may have survived longer than scientists currently think, according to new research on ancient DNA fragments found in Alaskan soil samples.

How erosion formed the Earth-like landscape on Titan, Saturn's moon
Titan's ice is stronger than most bedrock found on Earth, yet it is more brittle, causing it to erode more easily, according to new research by San Francisco State University Assistant Professor Leonard Sklar.

UB researcher develops formula that can ID music industry payola
A University at Buffalo researcher has invented a statistical method that can detect payola-like corruption in the music industry, a system that gives law enforcement an inexpensive statistical guide to identify potential music corruption and to better target more traditional and much more costly hands-on evidence-gathering.

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Two research articles in the upcoming issue of JAMIA cite pervasive concern among US physicians about privacy issues related to electronic health records, despite recognized benefits of using them.

Antagonistic genes control rice growth
Scientists at the Carnegie Institution, with colleagues, have found that a plant steroid prompts two genes to battle each other -- one suppresses the other to ensure that leaves grow normally in rice and the experimental plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of mustard.

Engineers help secure California highways and roads
Engineers investigated the seismic response of a semi-gravity reinforced concrete cantilever wall recently at the UC San Diego Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, which has the largest outdoor shake table in the United States.

H1N1 vaccine effectiveness and safety: 1 dose needed for adults, 2 for children
Three studies -- from the US, China and Hungary -- show that one dose of H1N1 influenza vaccine should give adults sufficient protection from infection.

From greenhouse to icehouse -- reconstructing the environment of the Voring Plateau
The analysis of microfossils found in ocean sediment cores is illuminating the environmental conditions that prevailed at high latitudes during a critical period of Earth history.

Low cholesterol transfer protein activity associated with heart disease risk
Although seen as a potential heart disease therapy, raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by inhibiting activity of a transfer protein may not be effective, a new study suggests.

NSF awards SDSC, Arizona State University $1.7 million for National OpenTopography LiDAR Facility
The San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego and Arizona State University have been awarded a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to operate an internet-based national data facility for high-resolution topographic data acquired with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology.

Immune cell activity linked to worsening COPD
A new study links chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with increased activity of cells that act as sentinels to activate the body's immune system.

Septic shock: Nitric oxide beneficial after all
Scientists at VIB and Ghent University in Flanders, Belgium, have found an unexpected ally for the treatment of septic shock, the major cause of death in intensive care units.

Adding technology to geometry class improves opportunities to learn
A new study co-written by Gloriana Gonzalez, an expert in math education at Illinois, suggests the students who used dynamic geometry software were more successful in discovering new mathematical ideas than when they used static, paper-based diagrams.

New bacterial behavior observed
A PNAS study by USC geobiologists documents new behavior of metal-metabolizing bacteria, with implications for design of microbial fuel cells.

Carrier screening associated with decrease in incidence of cystic fibrosis
An increase in the number of screened carriers for cystic fibrosis (CF) was associated with a decrease in the number of children born with CF in northeast Italy, according to a study in the Dec.

First immunological clue to why some H1N1 patients get very ill or die
An international team of Canadian and Spanish scientists have found the first potential immunological clue of why some people develop severe pneumonia when infected by the pandemic H1N1 virus.

NASA unveils latest results from lunar mission, helps prepare for next stage of scientific discovery
NASA's current mission in orbit around the moon, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has been providing crucial insights about our nearest celestial neighbor since its launch in June.

Texas A&M researcher plays key role in NASA's greenhouse gas project
Researchers studying climate now have a new tool at their disposal: daily global measurements of carbon dioxide and water vapor in a key part of Earth's atmosphere.

Gene identified as cause of some forms of intellectual disability
A gene involved in some forms of intellectual disability has been identified by scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, as published this month in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Rare earth metal enhances phosphate glass
Adding cerium oxide to phosphate glass rather than the commonly used silicate glass may make glasses that block ultraviolet light and have increased radiation damage resistance while remaining colorless, according to Penn State researchers.

Insomnia symptoms linked with medical complaints in young school-aged children
A study in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine indicates that significant associations exist between parent-reported insomnia symptoms and medical complaints of gastrointestinal regurgitation and headaches in young school-aged children.

Higher levels of protein hormone associated with lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease
Persons with higher levels of leptin, a protein hormone produced by fat cells and involved in the regulation of appetite, may have an associated reduced incidence of Alzheimer disease and dementia, according to a study in the Dec.16 issue of JAMA.

Springer signs agreement with British Society of Research on Ageing
Springer has just signed an agreement with the British Society for Research on Ageing to enter into an affiliation with the journal Biogerontology for an initial period of three years.

Medical team's support of terminal cancer patients' spiritual needs improves quality of life
In a new study of terminally ill cancer patients, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found support of patients' spiritual needs by the medical team is associated with greater use of hospice, less aggressive care, and greater quality of life near death.

Researchers find high leptin levels may protect against Alzheimer's disease and dementia
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found that higher leptin (a protein that controls weight and appetite) levels were associated with a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Story of 4.5 million-year-old whale unveiled in Huelva
In 2006, a team of Spanish and American researchers found the fossil remains of a whale, 4.5 million years old, in Bonares, Huelva.

Marking of tissue-specific crucial in embryonic stem cells to ensure proper function
Tissue-specific genes, thought to be dormant or not marked for activation in embryonic stem cells, are indeed marked by transcription factors, with proper marking potentially crucial for the function of tissues derived from stem cells.

Environment-friendly design gains green rating for new research building at Children's Hospital
Building materials that better retain heat in the winter, and reflect it in the summer; plumbing fixtures that save water; and facilities that encourage employees to bicycle to work.

New approaches to geologic fieldwork for campus curricula
Field experience is integral to the professional development of future geoscientists and is particularly important as it applies to student understanding of complex earth systems.

Planetary scientist Francis Nimmo to discuss habitability of icy moons at AGU
Planetary scientist Francis Nimmo will outline the impact of ice dynamics on the habitability of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter on Tuesday, Dec.

MRSA leads to worse outcomes, staggering expenses for surgical patients
Post-surgical infections significantly increase the chance of hospital readmission and death and cost as much as $60,000 per patient, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers who conducted the largest study of its kind to date.

LHC produces first physics results
The first paper on proton collisions in the CERN Large Hadron Collider -- designed to provide the highest energy ever explored with particle accelerators -- is published online this week in Springer's European Physical Journal C.

New findings show how human movement may have brought Chagas disease to urban Peru
New research shows how the migration and settlement patterns associated with the rapid urbanization of Peru may link to Chagas disease transmission.

UF researcher helps reveal ancient origins of modern opossum
A University of Florida researcher has co-authored a study tracing the evolution of the modern opossum back to the extinction of the dinosaurs and finding evidence to support North America as the center of origin for all living marsupials.

Valuable, rare, raw earth materials extracted from industrial waste stream
Fierce competition over raw materials for new green technologies could become a thing of the past, thanks to a discovery by scientists from the University of Leeds.

Couples who do the dishes together stay happier
A new study published by the University of Western Ontario reveals that couples who share the responsibility for paid and unpaid work report higher average measures of happiness and life satisfaction than those in other family models.

Queen Mary scientists shed light on a mysterious particle
Physicists at Queen Mary, University of London, have begun looking deep into the Earth to study some of nature's weirdest particles -- neutrinos.

Close-up photos of dying star show our sun's fate
About 550 light-years from Earth, a star like our sun is writhing in its death throes.

MCG scientists decode memory-forming brain cell conversations
The conversations neurons have as they form and recall memories have been decoded by Medical College of Georgia scientists.

Pollution alters isolated thunderstorms
New research reveals how wind shear -- the same atmospheric conditions that cause bumpy airplane rides -- affects how pollution contributes to isolated thunderstorm clouds.

Climate Wizard makes large databases of climate information visual, accessible
A Web tool that generates color maps of projected temperature and precipitation changes using 16 of the world's most prominent climate-change models is being demonstrated in Copenhagen, Denmark, in conjunction with the climate summit underway there.

NASA tech zooms in on water and land
A pilot project could help better manage the planet's strained natural resources by using space-age technologies to help manage natural resources like land and water.

Tremors between slip events: More evidence of great quake danger to Seattle
Scientists have discovered more small seismic tremor events lasting one to 70 hours that occur in somewhat regular patterns in a megathrust earthquake zone in Washington state and British Columbia.

Biological catch-22 prevents induction of antibodies that block HIV
Scientists seeking to understand how to make an AIDS vaccine have found the cause of a major roadblock.

More blood vessels in hormone-resistant prostate tumors
Patients with advanced prostate cancer are often treated with hormones, but when the tumours start growing again they have more and different blood vessels, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

William T. Carpenter to receive AIAA missile systems management award
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is pleased to announce that the AIAA Missile Systems Management Award has been won by William T.

Ecosystem, vegetation affect intensity of urban heat island effect
NASA researchers studying urban landscapes have found that the intensity of the

Greenland glaciers: What lies beneath
Scientists who study the melting of Greenland's glaciers are discovering that water flowing beneath the ice plays a much more complex role than they previously imagined.

Researchers ID traits of people with rare accelerated aging syndrome
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have provided the most extensive account to date of the unique observable characteristics seen in patients with an extremely rare premature aging syndrome.

Species distribution models are of only limited value for predicting future mammal distributions
Species distribution models are of only limited use in predicting the future distribution of mammals.

The importance of attractiveness depends on where you live
Do good-looking people really benefit from their looks, and in what ways?

Drug for Alzheimer's disease does not appear to slow cognitive decline
Although there were promising results in a phase 2 trial, patients with mild Alzheimer disease who received the drug tarenflurbil as part of a phase 3 trial did not have better outcomes on measures of cognitive decline or loss of activities of daily living compared to patients who received placebo, according to a study in the Dec.

Home-based child care meeting nutritional standards; widespread use of TV a concern
A large study of family child care providers shows that while nutrition standards are often met, most children ages 2 to 5 are not getting enough physical activity and are exposed to the television for most of the day.

GenWay Clinical Laboratory receives accreditation from College of American Pathologists
GenWay Clinical Laboratory, San Diego, Calif., has been awarded an accreditation by the College of American Pathologists, based on results of a recent on-site inspection.

Researchers work on vaccine to improve immune system in newborns
As soon as babies are born, they are susceptible to diseases and infections, such as jaundice and E. coli.

Virtual reality demonstrations at AGU
If you are among the 16,000 people attending the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco this week, scientists from the UC Davis KeckCAVES facility will be running several demonstrations of their interactive virtual reality technology.

Heart cells on lab chip display 'nanosense' that guides behavior
Biomedical engineers have produced a laboratory chip with nanoscopic grooves and ridges capable of growing cardiac tissue that more closely resembles natural heart muscle.

American Academy of Ophthalmology on NEI report on sharp rise in myopia in Americans
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the 66.4 percent increase in myopia in Americans since the 1970s, as reported in the recent NIH/National Eye Institute study, is significant, and will impact health-care costs as well as vision quality.

Experiential learning teaches change and adaptation
This study analyzed the impact of experiential learning on students through a study of an agroecology course.

Psychotherapy offers obesity prevention for 'at risk' teenage girls
A team of scientists have piloted psychotherapy treatment to prevent excessive weight gain in teenager girls deemed

Psychologist to examine childhood depression
Research by Binghamton University psychologist Brandon Gibb could provide new weapons for the fight against childhood depression.

More about sex and relationships needed at gynecological visits
Visits to a gynecologist or midwife are generally associated with different tests and/or prescriptions for contraceptives, but could offer so much more.

UF to lead national effort to help patients with rare brain disease
Ten institutions are joining together to establish a nationwide network of physician-scientists with expertise in clinical ataxia research.

Obesity increases the risk for obstructive sleep apnea in adolescents, but not in younger children
A study in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine shows that being overweight or obese increases the risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea in adolescents but not in younger children.

More than a jump to the left
If your dancing instructor asked you to step left, you would swiftly comply.

NASA's AIM satellite and models are unlocking the secrets of mysterious 'night-shining' clouds
NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere satellite has captured five complete polar seasons of noctilucent or

Time for a new view of late-life dementia
Two new studies published in the Dec. 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association point to the need for a broader scientific perspective on late-life dementia, according to an editorial in the same issue by Thomas J.

Marketing a 'spoonful of sugar'
Research by Dr. Danit Ein-Gar of Tel Aviv University proves that providing consumers with a very small or even trivial immediate benefit encourages people to use products that may have more significant long-term health advantages.

Pension fund switch to decentralized management right way to go, landmark study finds
As pension funds have grown and become increasingly complex many have turned to using multiple, often pricier specialist managers to steer their investment decisions.

New insight into selective binding properties of infectious HIV
Free infectious HIV-1 is widely thought to be the major form of the virus in the blood of infected persons.

1st International Rip Current Symposium
Florida International University, in partnership with Florida Sea Grant, is pleased to announce that the 1st International Rip Current Symposium will be held on Feb.

Laurence made landfall in Western Australia
Tropical Cyclone Laurence made landfall in northwestern Australia this morning (Eastern Time) Dec.
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