Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 16, 2009
Innovation boost to tackle climate change
While Heads of State are negotiating to reach a substantial climate agreement in Copenhagen, the EU is stepping forward to take the lead in developing innovations to tackle climate change.

Leprosy susceptibility genes reported in New England Journal of Medicine paper
In the first genome-wide association study of leprosy and the largest GWAS on an infectious disease, scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore and 26 institutes in China identified seven genes that increase an individual's susceptibility to leprosy.

ESA and World Bank move toward closer collaboration
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world.

Informal social networks better at encouraging Hispanics to prepare for disasters
Informal social networks are more effective than mailers and

Argonne scientists use bacteria to power simple machines
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have discovered that common bacteria can turn microgears when suspended in a solution, providing insights for design of bio-inspired dynamically adaptive materials for energy.

Learning styles challenged
Are you a verbal learner or a visual learner? Chances are, you've pegged yourself or your children as either one or the other and rely on study techniques that suit your individual learning needs.

Heart drugs show promise for fighting colon cancer
Scientists in Sweden are reporting for the first time that a group of drugs used to treat heart failure shows promise for fighting colon cancer.

World's rarest gorilla ready for its close-up
The world's rarest -- and most camera shy -- great ape has finally been captured on professional video on a forested mountain in Cameroon, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and Germany's NDR Naturfilm.

Lost water of the Napa Valley vineyards
Deep cracks in the soil of some Napa Valley vineyards are swallowing up precious irrigation water.

Researchers discover novel method for detecting MIRCERA
Austrian researchers have successfully developed a new electrophoretic method for detecting MIRCERA and other erythropoietins (EPO) in the blood.

UB professor studies the flight of hummingbirds to develop self-propelled surveillance devices
The secret to the flight of the hummingbird and other tiny birds and insects lies in the looping, swirling flow of air, called a vortex, that their flapping wings create.

Toward reading your own personal 'Book of Life'
What secrets about your risk for diseases are written in your own personal

Scientists use DNA sequencing to attack lung cancer
Aided by next-generation DNA sequencing technology, an international team of researchers has gained insights into how more than 60 carcinogens associated with cigarette smoke bind to and chemically modify human DNA, ultimately leading to cancer-causing genetic mutations.

Enzyme may create new approach to hypertension therapy
New research from Northwestern University has found that an alternative therapy may be possible for treating some types of hypertension using an enzyme called ACE2.

Researchers find cells move in mysterious ways
Scientists at Brown University and the California Institute of Technology have for the first time tracked how cells move in three dimensions by measuring the force exerted by them on their surroundings.

U-M study reveals lack of diversity in embryonic stem cell lines
The most widely used human embryonic stem cell lines lack genetic diversity, a finding that raises social justice questions that must be addressed to ensure that all sectors of society benefit from stem cell advances, according to a University of Michigan research team.

Fault weaknesses, the center cannot hold for some geologic faults
Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults.

Behavior modification could ease concerns about nanoparticles
In an advance that could help ease health and environmental concerns about the emerging nanotechnology industry, scientists are reporting development of technology for changing the behavior of nanoparticles in municipal sewage treatment plants -- their main gateway into the environment.

Bacteria wouldn't opt for a swine flu shot
New research from Tel Aviv University bacteria expert Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy, grounded in the study of bacteria, presents compelling evidence to suggest there may be good reasons why most people should not automatically opt for the swine flu H1N1 shot.

Berkeley Lab's Wim Leemans wins 2009 E. O. Lawrence Award
Wim Leemans of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is one of six 2009 recipients of the US Department of Energy's highest honor, the E.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2010 Student Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its student travel award to attend the Biophysical Society's 54th Annual Meeting at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., Feb.

The European Society of Cardiology Textbook of Cardiovascular Imaging puts patient at center
Imaging is at the heart of diagnostic procedures in cardiology.

Astronomers find world with thick, inhospitable atmosphere and an icy heart
Astronomers have discovered the second super-Earth exoplanet for which they have determined the mass and radius, giving vital clues about its structure.

Among apes, teeth are made for the toughest times
The teeth of some apes are formed primarily to handle the most stressful times when food is scarce, according to new research performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2010 Minority Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winner of its Minority Travel Awards to attend the Biophysical Society's 54th Annual Meeting at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., Feb.

Boston University School of Medicine's pulmonary center receives $1.4 million grant
Boston University School of Medicine's Pulmonary Center has received a two-year $1.4 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to derive stem cells and lung progenitors from patients with lung disease.

Bowman creates graphic translation of climate change data
Bowman has created a more effective translation of key IPCC figures in a new graphic format that help nonscientists appreciate our situation and opportunities.

Should flowers be banned in hospitals?
Does flower water harbor potentially deadly bacteria? Do bedside blooms compete with patients for oxygen?

How do we understand written language?
How do we know that certain combinations of letters have certain meanings?

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2010 International Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its international travel grants to attend the Biophysical Society's 54th Annual Meeting at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., Feb.

Breakthrough on causes of inflammatory bowel disease
New research by the University of Adelaide could help explain why some people are more prone to Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and other autoimmune diseases.

New Web tool may help predict risk of second stroke
Scientists have developed a new Web-based tool that may better predict whether a person will suffer a second stroke within 90 days of a first stroke, according to research published in the Dec.

Study: Earth's polar ice sheets vulnerable to even moderate global warming
A new analysis of the geological record of the Earth's sea level, carried out by scientists at Princeton and Harvard universities and published in the Dec.

Critical communication for caregivers
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researcher Marie Savundranayagam is identifying communication patterns between those with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and their family caregivers.

University of Oklahoma meteorology professor selected for distinguished research award
University of Oklahoma Meteorology Professor Evgeni Fedorovich was one of less than 100 internationally renowned scientists and researchers to be selected by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany to receive a prestigious Humboldt Research Award.

Lung cancer and melanoma laid bare
Researchers have generated the first comprehensive analyses a malignant melanoma and a lung cancer genome.

New England Journal of Medicine publishes CWRU review of the 'molecular basis of colorectal cancer'
Dr. Sanford Markowitz, professor and researcher of cancer and genetics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and oncologist at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, today published his forward-looking view of the

Does Glutathione-S-transferase associate with gastrointestinal cancer in Korean population?
Glutathione-S-transferase is involved in detoxification of carcinogenic compounds. The GSTM1 and GSTT1 null genotypes have been linked to increased risk of developing cancer.

New study links DHA type of omega-3 to better nervous-system function
The omega-3 essential fatty acids commonly found in fatty fish and algae help animals avoid sensory overload, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Nanoemulsion treatment advances with GSK agreement
GlaxoSmithKline and NanoBio Corporation have signed an exclusive over-the-counter licensing agreement for NanoBio's nanoemulsion treatment for cold sores.

Michelangelos make smart lovers
Think of Sara like Michelangelo chipping away at a block of marble to release the ideal figure slumbering within.

More effort needed to crack down on 'secret remedies'
The medical establishment and politicians must do more to crack down on alternative medicine, argues a senior scientist on today.

Aggressive infection control protects cancer patients from acquiring H1N1 influenza
Despite a 100-fold increase in H1N1 influenza cases in the Seattle area during spring 2009, an aggressive infection control program to protect immuno-compromised cancer patients and thorough screening measures resulted in no corresponding increase in H1N1 cases among the total patient population at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, according to a new study by researchers and physicians at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the SCCA.

Shift working aggravates metabolic syndrome development among middle-aged males
Metabolic syndrome management is an important health issue in modern workplaces.

Caltech scientists film photons with electrons
Techniques recently invented by researchers at the California Institute of Technology -- which allow the real-time, real-space visualization of fleeting changes in the structure of nanoscale matter -- have been used to image the evanescent electrical fields produced by the interaction of electrons and photons, and to track changes in atomic-scale structures.

Thermochemical nanolithography now allows multiple chemicals on a chip
Scientists at Georgia Tech have developed a nanolithographic technique that can produce high-resolution patterns of at least three different chemicals on a single chip at writing speeds of up to one millimeter per second.

Zoning the ocean may help endangered whales to recover
Marine Scientists have proposed a new method to identify priority areas for whale conservation, based on feeding behavior and human activity.

Prayer on the hospital floor
What happens when the families of sick and dying hospitalized children ask their physicians to pray with them, or for them?

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2010 CPOW Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its first annual CPOW travel award to attend the Biophysical Society's 54th Annual Meeting at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif., Feb.

Santa should get off his sleigh and walk, says public health doctor
Santa should share Rudolf's snack of carrots and celery sticks rather than brandy and mince pies and swap his reindeer for a bike or walk, says a public health expert in the Christmas issue published on today.

New Singapore-French nanotech lab opens at NTU
Just two months after the Nanyang Technological University signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Paris with the National Center for Scientific Research and the Thales Group of Companies to set up a joint research laboratory, the three parties are meeting again in Singapore to inaugurate the CNRS-International-NTU-Thales Research Alliance Laboratory at NTU.

Inside the dark heart of the Eagle
Herschel has peered inside an unseen stellar nursery and revealed surprising amounts of activity.

Toward home-brewed electricity with 'personalized solar energy'
New scientific discoveries are moving society toward the era of

University of Maryland School of Medicine receives $30 million to coordinate stem cell consortium
A University of Maryland School of Medicine researcher will lead the coordinating center for a consortium of prominent stem cell scientists.

Tropical Cyclone Laurence menaces Northern Australia
Laurence is still a tropical cyclone even though the storm has made landfall in northern West Australia and is moving over land.

Caltech, UCLA launch Joint Center for Translational Medicine
Caltech and UCLA have announced the establishment of the Joint Center for Translational Medicine, which will advance experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and therapy of diseases such as cancer.

Astronomers find super-Earth using amateur, off-the-shelf technology
Astronomers announced today that they have discovered a

DNA of Jesus-era shrouded man in Jerusalem reveals earliest case of leprosy
The DNA of a 1st century shrouded man found in a tomb on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem has revealed the earliest proven case of leprosy.

Better education associated with improved asthma
Individuals with more education suffer less from asthma. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Respiratory Research have found that having less than 12 years of formal schooling is associated with worse asthma symptoms.

Researchers take the inside route to halt bleeding
Researchers led by Case Western Reserve University's Erin Lavik developed synthetic platelets from biodegradable polymers.

Ancient algae provide insights into Earth's response to global warming
Using algae records from the early Pliocene, when earth's climate was warmer, scientists are finding evidence which suggests that coastal upwelling off the California coast was sustained in this period even though sea surface temperatures were several degrees higher than today.

Sandia's Battery Abuse Testing Laboratory awarded $4.2 million in stimulus funds
Sandia National Laboratories will use $4.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to modify and enhance its existing Battery Abuse Testing Laboratory, with the goal of developing low-cost batteries for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Scientists use cell phone records to predict spread of malaria
University of Florida researchers at work on a malaria elimination study in Africa have become the first to predict the spread of the disease using cell phone records.

Launch of first operating system for smart grid home automation
Fraunhofer IWES presents the OGEMA Alliance, which will offer an open software platform for energy management.

Soap opera in the marsh: Coots foil nest invaders, reject impostors
The American coot is a drab, seemingly unremarkable marsh bird common throughout North America.

Secretary Chu announces 2009 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award winners
US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today the winners of the 2009 E.O.

Warming climate chills Sonoran Desert's spring flowers
Global warming is giving a boost to Sonoran Desert plants that have an edge during cold weather, according to new research.

Food aromas could become new weapon in battle of the bulge
A real possibility does exist for developing a new generation of foods that make people feel full by releasing anti-hunger aromas during chewing, scientists in the Netherlands are reporting after a review of research on that topic.

Researchers discover new 'golden ratios' for female facial beauty
Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder but also in the relationship of the eyes and mouth of the beholden.

Even at sublethal levels, pesticides may slow the recovery of wild salmon populations
Biologists determined that short-term, seasonal exposure to pesticides in rivers and basins may limit the growth and size of wild salmon populations.

Arizona State and Mayo Clinic partner to combat metabolic syndrome
Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic are joining forces to investigate metabolic syndrome.

TGen analysis identifies biomarkers for diabetic kidney failure
Researchers using a DNA analysis tool developed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute and UCLA have identified genetic markers that could help treat chronic kidney disease among diabetics.

Pre-eruption earthquakes offer clues to volcano forecasters
Like an angry dog, a volcano growls before it bites, shaking the ground and getting

New law for organ donation in Israel: If prepared to donate, then you get increased priority when you need an organ yourself
A unique new law comes into effect in Israel in January 2010, stating that people who are prepared to sign donor cards themselves receive priority when they are in need of an organ transplant.

Looking for the heartbeat of cellular networks
Life in biological cells appears as an intricate network of molecular interactions.

Stem-cell activators switch function, repress mature cells
New research shows how a crucial step in stem-cell growth and differentiation happens and how a reversal of that step contributes to cancer.

Diet high in methionine could increase risk of Alzheimer's
Temple study suggests that a diet rich in methionine, an amino acid typically found in red meats, fish, beans, eggs, garlic, lentils, onions, yogurt and seeds, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

NSAIDs: Take 'em early and often when competing? Think again
Athletes' superstitions and rituals can help them get psyched up for contests, but when these rituals involve NSAIDs, which many athletes gobble down before and during events, they could be causing more harm than good. 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