Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 17, 2009
STEM gets greener: Promoting critical thinking using renewable energy technology
Can building model cars really help create the next generation of electric vehicle designers and engineers?

Within a cell, actin keeps things moving
Using new technology developed in his University of Oregon lab, chemist Andrew H.

UCF leads Florida universities with 4 professors named AAAS fellows
The four professors -- UCF's total leads all Florida universities -- are among 531 people nationwide selected by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

8 elected as AAAS Fellows
Eight UC Davis faculty members are among 531 new fellows elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science this year for their efforts to advance science or its applications.

UGA study: Headwater stream nutrient enrichment disrupts food web
Human activity is increasing the supply of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, to stream systems all over the world.The conventional wisdom -- bolstered by earlier research -- has held that these additional nutrients cause an increase in production all along the food chain, from the tiniest organisms up to the largest predators.A long-term, ecosystem-scale study by a team of University of Georgia researchers, however, has thrown this assumption into question.

Negative emotions outweigh intent to exercise at health clubs
With only 30 percent of Americans trying to lose weight meeting the National Institutes of Health exercise guidelines of 300 minutes/week, a study in the January/February 2010 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior explores the paradox that exists -- an antidote for obesity and its comorbidities is exercise, but the majority of obese Americans do not exercise.

Forests take center stage at Copenhagen
As the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen approaches its conclusion, negotiations are focusing on the role of forests in mitigating climate change.

Are patients losing sleep over blood pressure monitors?
A widely used test for measuring nighttime blood pressure may interfere with patients' sleep, thus affecting the results of the test, reports a study in an upcoming issue of Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

NIH awards La Jolla Institute $18.8 million for major infectious disease study
Researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology will take aim at several of the world's most dangerous infectious diseases -- tuberculosis, malaria and dengue virus -- in a five-year, $18.8 million federally funded set of projects seeking to make new inroads toward vaccines against the disorders.

Special excerpt of Environmental Policy and Law about human rights and the environment
IOS Press announces the publication of a special excerpt of Environmental Policy and Law.

Colliding auroras produce an explosion of light, UCLA scientists report
A network of cameras deployed around the Arctic in support of NASA's THEMIS mission has made a startling discovery: Sometimes vast curtains of aurora borealis (also known as the northern lights) collide, producing spectacular outbursts of light.

Almost two-thirds of pregnant women believe they are regularly exposed to physical risk at work
A new study shows the employment and sociodemographic characteristics involved in the exposure of pregnant women to workplace hazards.

Studies generate hundreds of leads in the fight against the H1N1 pandemic
Scientists have generated hundreds of new leads in the fight against the H1N1 flu pandemic, according to two new studies published online Dec.

Heme channel found
Heme, a crucial component of the biomachinery that squeezes energy out of food and stores it for later use, must be transported across membranes but without exposing its central iron atom to oxidation.

Sex in university may be better for mature audiences: study
New university students might be thinking about exploring another rite of passage when they get to campus: the joy of sex.

Cannabis and adolescence
The damaging effects of the illicit drug Cannabis on young brains are worse than originally thought, according to new research by Dr.

Researchers create new 'smart' nanocapsule delivery system for use in protein therapy
Today protein therapy is considered the most direct and safe approach for treating diseases.

Marine Ecoregions of North America: a tool for ocean conservation
A new book identifies 24 marine ecoregions defined and mapped through a system of classification intended to create consistent, standardized and understandable units out of the vastness of the North America's ocean and coastal waters.

Racing, shooting and zapping your way to better visual skills
Do your kids want a Wii, a PlayStation or an Xbox 360 this year?

3 UAB researchers elected AAAS fellows
Joining the ranks of fellows are UAB's David Allison, Ph.D., of the department of biostatistics; Etty

Iowa State, Ames Laboratory researchers named AAAS Fellows for distinguished work
Four Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their distinguished work in materials science, chemistry and agronomy.

Jefferson researchers identify possible imaging method to stratify breast cancer without biopsy
Scientists from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have discovered a possible way for malignant breast tumors to be identified, without the need for a biopsy.

UAB researchers link calorie intake to cell lifespan, cancer development
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have discovered that restricting consumption of glucose, the most common dietary sugar, can extend the life of healthy human-lung cells and speed the death of precancerous human-lung cells, reducing cancer's spread and growth rate.

Study identifies those elderly most at risk for major depression
University of Rochester Medical Center researchers have pinpointed the prime factors identifying which elderly persons are at the highest risk for developing major depression.

About 25 percent of Arabs in Greater Detroit reported abuse post Sept. 11
One quarter of Detroit-area Arab Americans reported personal or familial abuse because of race, ethnicity or religion since Sept.

Marine scientists discover deepest undersea erupting volcano
Scientists funded by the National Science Foundation and NOAA have recorded the deepest erupting volcano yet discovered -- West Mata Volcano -- describing high-definition video of the undersea eruption as

Breathlessness eased in patients with rare, often fatal disease
Patients with a rare, deadly disease that mostly affects young women felt a dramatic reduction in breathlessness using an approved drug, according to study results published online today in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Research finds happiest US states match a million Americans' own happiness states
New research by the UK's University of Warwick and Hamilton College in the US into the happiness levels of a million individual US citizens have revealed their personal happiness levels closely correlate with earlier research that ranked the quality of life available in the US' 50 states.

JDRF announces diabetes research program with Johnson & Johnson
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, said today that it will begin working with the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology, and its affiliates, to speed the development of drug targets and pathways to promote the survival and function of insulin-producing cells in people who have diabetes.

NJIT announces 2009 AAAS Fellow: Philip R. Goode
Philip R. Goode, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of physics at NJIT and director of Big Bear Solar Observatory, has been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow.

Dyslexia defined: New Yale study 'uncouples' reading and IQ over time
Contrary to popular belief, some very smart, accomplished people cannot read well.

Carnegie Mellon engineers develop machine that visually inspects and sorts strawberry plants
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center have developed a plant-sorting machine that uses computer vision and machine learning to inspect and grade harvested strawberry plants and then mechanically sort them by quality -- tasks that until now could only be done manually.

Media availability: Genetic variant may control lung function and risk of COPD
Researchers have discovered evidence that suggests a genetic variant may be associated with better preserved lung function among children with asthma and adults who smoke, according to a new study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Vision researchers Jay and Maureen Neitz to receive first Pepose Award from Brandeis
Brandeis University selected Jay and Maureen Neitz, the husband-and-wife team whose pioneering research may lead to the use of gene therapy to treat vision disorders, as the inaugural recipients of the Jay Pepose '75 Award in Vision Sciences.

Carnegie Mellon researcher says privacy concerns could limit benefits from real-time data analysis
Society will be unable to take full advantage of real-time data analysis technologies that might improve health, reduce traffic congestion and give scientists new insights into human behavior until it resolves questions about how much of a person's life can be observed and by whom, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist contends in a commentary published Friday in the journal Science.

Pores finding reveals targets for cancer and degenerative disease
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have identified a key step in the biological process of programmed cell death, also called apoptosis.

MO-SCI Corporation to manufacture, market SRNL's unique glass microspheres
A licensing agreement between the US Department of Energy's Savannah River National Laboratory and specialty glass provider Mo-Sci Corporation will make SRNL's unique Porous Walled Hollow Glass Microspheres available for use in targeted drug delivery, hydrogen storage and other uses, including applications still being developed.

Kidney injury in hospital increases long-term risk of death
Patients with sudden loss of kidney function, called acute kidney injury, are more likely to die prematurely after leaving the hospital -- even if their kidney function has apparently recovered, according to an upcoming study in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

New report underlines multiple benefits but also new challenges to biodiversity-rich sites
An agreement in Copenhagen to fund reduced emissions from deforestation may generate multiple environmental and economic benefits if investments simultaneously target sites that are both carbon and biodiversity rich.

Water droplets shape graphene nanostructures
A team of University of Illinois at Chicago chemists, lead by assistant professor Petr Král report the ability to bend and reshape graphene, opening up the possibility of forming new and novel devices in the nanoscale.

New research explains orchids' sexual trickery
A new study reveals the reason why orchids use sexual trickery to lure insect pollinators.

Tufts University Professor Daniel Dennett selected as 2009 Fellow by AAAS
Daniel Dennett of Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences has been selected as an AAAS Fellow for transformational contributions to philosophy of the cognitive sciences and philosophy of biology, which have become the most rapidly advancing fields in philosophy of science.

Hebrew U. receives $5 million for research on leishmaniasis in Ethiopia
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases has received a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for research into visceral leishmaniasis in Ethiopia.

NIST team demystifies utility of power factor correction devices
If you've seen an Internet ad for capacitor-type power factor correction devices, you might be led to believe that using one can save you money on your residential electricity bill.

M. Elizabeth Halloran named AAAS Fellow
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientist M. Elizabeth

Umbilical cord could be new source of plentiful stem cells, say Pitt researchers
Stem cells that could one day provide therapeutic options for muscle and bone disorders can be easily harvested from the tissue of the umbilical cord, just as the blood that goes through it provides precursor cells to treat some blood disorders, say University of Pittsburgh researchers in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology.

Researchers design a tool to induce controlled suicide in human cells
Researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine have designed a new tool to study rescue signaling pathways and cell suicide in depth.

Researchers find human protein that prevents H1N1 influenza infection
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have identified a naturally occurring human protein that helps prevent infection by H1N1 influenza and other viruses, including West Nile and dengue virus.

Avatar's moon Pandora could be real
In the new blockbuster Avatar, humans visit the habitable -- and inhabited -- alien moon called Pandora.

Fertilizer use not always helpful in revegetation efforts
Revegetation efforts in a subarctic Quebec community show that not all plants respond favorably to the use of fertilizers.

New UAB study finds gender divide in children's use of cell phone features
A recent study by University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Shelia Cotten, Ph.D., finds that the way the kids will use their new phones depends on their gender.

Major breakthrough may pave the way for therapeutic vaccines
It should be possible to use therapeutic vaccines to create both cheap and effective drugs for diseases like cancer and allergies.

WHOI-operated ROV Jason images the discovery of the deepest explosive eruption on the sea floor
Oceanographers using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason discovered and recorded the first video and still images of a deep-sea volcano actively erupting molten lava on the seafloor.

Colliding auroras produce an explosion of light
A network of cameras deployed around the Arctic in support of NASA's THEMIS mission has made a startling discovery about the Northern Lights.

Astronomer receives NSF award to study black hole evolution
Vanderbilt University Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Kelly Holley-Bockelmann has been awarded the National Science Foundation's largest ever Faculty Early Career Development grant.

Everlasting quantum wave
Solitary waves that run a long distance without losing shape or dying out are called solitons.

Caltech researchers revise long-held theory of fruit-fly development
For decades, science texts have told a simple and straightforward story about a transcription factor that helps the embryo of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, pattern tissues in a manner that depends on the levels of this factor within individual cells.

Nonverbal communication of race bias on TV influences viewers' own bias
Subtle patterns of nonverbal behavior that appear on popular television programs influence racial bias among viewers.

'Ardi' research by Kent State's Lovejoy and colleagues named Science's 'Breakthrough of the Year'
Ardipithecus ramidus, or

UCLA Engineering awarded national pothole-repair project with total funding of $3 million
A research team led by UCLA Engineering has been awarded a project with a total funding of $3.05 million by the US Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop an innovative pothole repair technology for asphalt pavement.

NJIT announces top honor: Sunil Saigal elected AAAS Fellow
Sunil Saigal, Ph.D., dean of NJIT's Newark College of Engineering, has been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Energy research for Europe
As one out of three

Announcing IOF Regionals 1st Asia-Pacific osteoporosis meeting
Mark December 10-13, 2010, on your calendar and don't miss this important scientific event, organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

Antidepressants cut risk of hospital readmission for suicidal youth
Suicidal adolescents who were prescribed an antidepressant medication during inpatient psychiatric hospital treatment were 85 percent less likely than others to be readmitted within a month after discharge, a new study found.

Gene linked to a rare form of progressive hearing loss in males is identified
A gene associated with a rare form of progressive deafness in males has been identified by an international team of researchers funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

SLAC/Stanford's Zhi-Xun Shen receives 2009 E.O. Lawrence Award
Zhi-Xun Shen, director of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science, or SIMES, a joint institute of the US Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, has been awarded the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award by the Department of Energy.

China rapidly catching up in research impact
An analysis of papers selected by Faculty of 1000 reveals a rapid expansion in the quality of research coming from China.

Handheld touch screen device may lead to mobile fingerprint ID
When the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team needed someone to design a small, portable tool to identify fingerprints and faces, they gave the challenge to NIST.

INRS researchers among Discover Magazine's 'Top 100 Stories for 2009'
Much cheaper fuel cell catalysts using iron instead of platinum -- this major scientific breakthrough achieved by INRS researchers has earned a spot in Discover Magazine's

Scientists discover natural flu-fighting protein in human cells
Researchers have identified a small family of flu-fighting proteins that somehow increases natural resistance to viral infection.

Supernova explosions stay in shape
A new study of images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory on supernova remnants -- the debris from exploded stars -- shows that the symmetry of the remnants, or lack thereof, reveals how the star exploded.

Proximity to convenience stores fosters child obesity
Childhood obesity is directly related to how close kids live to convenience stores, according to the preliminary findings of a major Canadian study presented at the Entretiens Jacques-Cartier in Lyon, France.

AAAS and Boston University School of Medicine announce 2009 Fellows
Gail Entner Sonenshein, Ph.D., a professor in the department of biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine, and director of the School's Program in Research on Women's Health, has been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow.

Invasion without a stir
Bacteria of the genus Salmonella cause most food-borne illnesses. The bacteria attach to cells of the intestinal wall and induce their own ingestion by cells of the intestinal epithelium.

UCSF/SFGH project for diabetes patients wins award for innovation, quality
A UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital project that used a novel communication tool to improve health outcomes among diabetes patients was honored recently with a quality leadership award from the California Health Care Safety Net Institute.

Scripps Research awarded $1.2 million for treatments for breast cancer, cardiovascular disease
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a three-year grant of more than $1.2 million to the Scripps Research Institute to develop a series of high-throughput screening tests that will help speed the discovery of potential small molecule therapies for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.

UR study reveals chemo's toxicity to brain, possible treatment
Researchers have developed a novel animal model showing that four commonly used chemotherapy drugs disrupt the birth of new brain cells, and that the condition could be partially reversed with the growth factor IGF-1.

Cancer survival disparities for most minority populations increase as cancers become more treatable
Racial and ethnic disparities in cancer survival are greatest for cancers that can be detected early and treated successfully, including breast and prostate cancer.

Large-scale sequencing: The future of genomic sciences?
Scientists can gain insights into new ways to use microorganisms in medicine and manufacturing through a coordinated large-scale effort to sequence the genomes of not just individual microorganisms but entire ecosystems, according to a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology that outlines recommendations for this massive effort.

Exposure to young triggers new neuron creation in females exhibiting maternal behavior
Maternal behavior itself can trigger the development of new neurons in the maternal brain independent of whether the female was pregnant or has nursed, according to a study released by researchers at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Color my numbers
For as many as 1 in 20 people, everyday experiences can elicit extra-ordinary associated sensations.

6 PNNL scientists elected AAAS fellows
Six researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Case Western Reserve Alzheimer's disease researcher named 2009 AAAS Fellow
Mark A. Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has been awarded the distinction American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow.

Study finds orphanages are viable options for some children
A Duke University study of more than 3,000 orphaned and abandoned children in five Asian and African countries has found that children in institutional orphanages fare as well or better than those who live in the community.

Discovery of 4.4 million-year-old 'Ardi' named 'Breakthrough of the Year'
The journal Science has named the discovery of

Exploring the Stone Age pantry
The consumption of wild cereals among prehistoric hunters and gatherers appears to be far more ancient than previously thought, according to a University of Calgary archaeologist who has found the oldest example of extensive reliance on cereal and root staples in the diet of early Homo sapiens more than 100,000 years ago.

Laurence still causing warnings and watches in northern west Australia
Although the center of Tropical Cyclone Laurence has been over land for two days, it's still holding together and bringing heavy rains and gusty winds to the northern coastal areas of West Australia and will do so into the weekend.

8 UCR faculty members recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Eight researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Study shows loss of 15-42 percent of mammals in North America
Many biologists warn that the planet's plants and animals are headed toward a mass extinction as a result of human-caused environmental damage, including global warming.

Predicting insurgent attacks with a mathematical model
Scientists at the University of Miami and their collaborators have found a unified model of human insurgency that can estimate the timing and strength of insurgent attacks in present and future wars.

Scientists use light to map neurons' effects on one another
Scientists at Harvard University have used light and genetic trickery to trace out neurons' ability to excite or inhibit one another, literally shedding new light on the question of how neurons interact with one another in live animals.

An unusual case of variant CJD
The particular genetic make-up of a 30-year old man who has died of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease means there could be other people with the condition who at the moment have no symptoms.

Science's breakthrough of the year: Uncovering 'Ardi'
The research that brought to light the fossils of Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid species that lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia, has topped Science's list of this year's most significant scientific breakthroughs. 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