Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 20, 2010
3 key factors to help children avoid social rejection identified
Neurobehavioral researchers at Rush University Medical Center have found three key factors in a child's behavior that can lead to social rejection.

First evidence that blueberry juice improves memory in older adults
Scientists are reporting the first evidence from human research that blueberries -- one of the richest sources of healthful antioxidants and other so-called phytochemicals -- improve memory.

Hungry immune guardians are snappier
Bonn researchers have discovered an elementary mechanism which regulates vital immune functions in healthy people.

OSA to launch new journal: Biomedical Optics Express
The Optical Society today announced it is launching a new peer-reviewed journal focusing on biomedical optics and photonics.

Duke awarded up to $43 million to develop test for dirty bomb/radiation exposure
Duke University has received a $3.7 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop a rapid and accurate genomic-based diagnostic test that can determine if a person has been exposed to radiation from a dirty bomb or nuclear attack.

An electrifying advance toward tomorrow's power suits
Could powering an iPod or cell phone become as easy as plugging it into your tee shirt or jeans, and then recharging the clothing overnight?

Low vitamin D levels associated with greater risk of relapse in childhood-onset multiple sclerosis
Low vitamin D blood levels are associated with a significantly higher risk of relapse attacks in patients with multiple sclerosis who develop the disease during childhood, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

Useless online student quizzes
Online quizzes are not helping students learn their subject, according to a study just published in the International Journal of Information and Operations Management Education.

Barrow researcher reports that slow breathing reduces pain
Research performed by a scientist at Barrow Neurological Institute at St.

Unwanted guests: How herpes simplex virus gets rid of the cell's security guards
A viral infection is like an uninvited, tenacious houseguest in the cell, using a range of tricks to prevent its eviction.

NSF grant to launch world's first open-source genetic parts production facility
Bioengineers from UC Berkeley and Stanford are ramping up efforts to characterize the thousands of control elements critical to the engineering of microbes so that eventually, researchers can mix and match these

Researchers develop new bushfire warning device
A new, low-cost bushfire detection and monitoring system is being developed by University of Adelaide researchers using mobile communications technology.

Fertility drugs contribute heavily to multiple births
Drugs that stimulate a woman's ovaries to speed the maturity and multiply the production of eggs accounts for four times more live births than assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization.

Some mouse sperm can identify, and even cooperate with, its brethren
Some mouse sperm can discriminate between its brethren and competing sperm from other males, clustering with its closest relatives to swim faster in the race to the egg.

Can modern-day plants trace their New Zealand ancestry?
Is the current flora of New Zealand derived from plants that grew on the supercontinent Gondwana before its breakup, or derived from plants that more recently dispersed to New Zealand?

Communication problems in the brain
For brain cells to communicate, the contacts to each other must function.

Going to the gym shouldn't be a workout for your eardrums
A U of A researcher has a simple solution on how to protect your hearing while working out at the gym.

New treatment shown to reduce recurrence of debilitating diarrhea
A combination of two fully human monoclonal antibodies developed by MassBiologics of UMass Medical School and Medarex, when given with standard antibiotics, was shown to reduce recurrence of a debilitating form of diarrhea by 72 percent in patients enrolled in a Phase 2 clinical trial.

Studies advise on fluoridated toothpaste use in children
Parents should use toothpastes that contain fluoride with a minimum concentration of 1,000 parts per million to prevent tooth decay in their children, says a new report.

Research team 'virtualizes' supercomputer
A collaboration between researchers at Northwestern University, Sandia National Labs and the University of New Mexico has resulted in the largest-scale study ever done on what many consider an important part of the future of computing -- the virtualization of parallel supercomputing systems.

Little pill means big news in the treatment of MS
A new drug for multiple sclerosis promises to change the lives of the 100,000 people in the UK who have the condition, say researchers at Queen Mary, University of London.

Proportion of children in England infected with H1N1 in high-risk areas during first wave was 10 times higher than estimated from clinical surveillance
Blood samples taken as part of the UK Health Protection Agency's regular annual monitoring program show that the proportion of children in high risk areas in England infected with H1N1 influenza during the first pandemic wave was 10 times higher than estimated from clinical surveillance.

Identified: Switch that turns on allergic disease in people
A new study in human cells has singled out a molecule that specifically directs immune cells to develop the capability to produce an allergic response.

Counterfeit Internet drugs pose significant risks and discourage vital health checks
Research review shows that up to 90 percent of counterfeit drugs are sold on the Internet, 44 percent of Internet Viagra is fake, the global sale of counterfeit drugs will reach $75 billion this year and EU seizures have risen dramatically.

Older brains make good use of 'useless' information
A new study has found promising evidence that the older brain's weakened ability to filter out irrelevant information may actually give aging adults a memory advantage over their younger counterparts.

New gene discovered for recessive form of brittle bone disease
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions have discovered the third in a sequence of genes that accounts for previously unexplained forms of osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a genetic condition that weakens bones, results in frequent fractures and is sometimes fatal.

Membrane-coat proteins: Bacteria have them too
EMBL scientists have discovered that a group of bacteria possess proteins thought to exist only in eukaryotes.

Mind reading, brain fingerprinting and the law
What if a jury could decide a man's guilt through mind reading?

Estrogen in the fight against schizophrenia
Prof. Ina Weiner of Tel Aviv University's department of psychology has reported findings suggesting that restoring normal levels of estrogen may work as a protective agent in menopausal women vulnerable to schizophrenia.

School classroom air may be more polluted with ultrafine particles than outdoor air
The air in some school classrooms may contain higher levels of extremely small particles of pollutants -- easily inhaled deep into the lungs -- than polluted outdoor air, scientists in Australia and Germany are reporting in an article in ACS' semimonthly journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Study links springtime ozone increases above western North America to emissions from abroad
Springtime ozone levels above western North America are rising primarily due to air flowing eastward from the Pacific Ocean, a trend that is largest when the air originates in Asia, says a new study spearheaded by NOAA and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Research scientists congregrate to discuss future of lunar geophysical exploration
Approximately 50 planetary and terrestrial geophysicists will meet at Arizona State University Jan.

Chemical analyses uncover secrets of an ancient amphora
A team of chemists from the University of Valencia has confirmed that the substance used to hermetically seal an amphora found among remains at Lixus, in Morocco, was pine resin.

Blood test for schizophrenia could be ready this year
A blood test for diagnosing schizophrenia -- the most serious form of mental illness -- could be available this year, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly news magazine.

Llama proteins could play a vital role in the war on terror
Scientists at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research have for the first time developed a highly sensitive means of detecting the seven types of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) simultaneously.

Oral COTI-2 is effective in a second animal model of human pancreatic cancer
Oral COTI-2 is effective in a second animal model of human pancreatic cancer as a single agent and in combination with Abraxane.

MIT: New research suggests that near-Earth encounters can 'shake' asteroids
New research by MIT Professor of Planetary Science Richard Binzel examines the opposite scenario: that Earth has considerable influence on asteroids -- and from a distance much larger than previously thought.

COPD, even when mild, limits heart function
A common lung condition, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) diminishes the heart's ability to pump effectively even when the disease has no or mild symptoms, according to research published in the Jan.

Primary product
Measuring the color of foods during their production is extremely useful to many manufacturers but it used to be prohibitively expensive for most.

Brain abnormalities in Parkinson's patients develop before symptoms occur
Scientists who have identified brain networks damaged in Parkinson's disease have new evidence that these systems become abnormal a few years before symptoms appear.

Springtime ozone increases over western North America linked to emissions abroad
Springtime ozone levels above western North America are rising primarily due to air flowing eastward from the Pacific Ocean, a trend that is largest when the air originates in Asia.

Pregnant women who are overweight put their infants at risk
A new article published in the journal Nursing for Women's Health finds that obesity in pregnant women is associated with pregnancy complications, birth defects, as well as a greater risk of childhood and adult obesity in infants born to obese mothers.

Penn biologists explain how organisms can tolerate mutations, yet adapt to environmental change
Biologists at the University of Pennsylvania studying the processes of evolution appear to have resolved a longstanding conundrum: how can organisms be robust against the effects of mutations yet simultaneously adaptable when the environment changes?

Potential new class of drugs to combat hepatitis C identified by Stanford scientists
Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have discovered a novel class of compounds that, in experiments in vitro, inhibit replication of the virus responsible for hepatitis C.

NAS honors 17 for major contributions to science
The National Academy of Sciences will honor 17 individuals with awards in recognition of extraordinary scientific achievements in the areas of biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy and psychology.

Chaperonins prompt proper protein folding -- but how?
In a new study in archaea (single-celled organisms without nuclei to enclose their genetic information), a consortium of researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Stanford University in California discovered how the Group II chaperonins close and open folding chambers to initiate the folding event and to release the functional protein to the cell.

On the trail of a cosmic cat
ESO has just released a stunning new image of the vast cloud known as the Cat's Paw Nebula or NGC 6334.

Video gamers: Size of brain structures predicts success
Researchers can predict your performance on a video game simply by measuring the volume of specific structures in your brain, a multi-institutional team reports this week.

Cave reveals Southwest's abrupt climate swings during Ice Age
Ice Age climate records from an Arizona stalagmite link the Southwest's winter precipitation to temperatures in the North Atlantic, according to new research.

Investigators identify cleat/natural grass combination may be less likely to result in ACL injury
Athletes put less strain on their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while making a cut on a natural grass surface while wearing a cleat.

Global business teams need time to talk, not just e-mail
Globally distributed teams cannot rely entirely on technology to overcome time and space barriers; they still need to talk.

Detecting near-Earth objects
Congress has tasked NASA with detecting more near-Earth objects (NEOs) -- asteroids and comets that orbit the sun and could pose a potential hazard to Earth because they approach or cross the planet's orbit.

WIREs: Shaping the future of cognitive science
Cognitive science represents the exploration of the human mind in the hope of answering some of humanity's oldest questions, from the origin of thought to the nature of knowledge.

A novel computational model -- how Parkinson's medications affect learning and attention
A new brain-based computational model is helping to understand how Parkinson's disease and dopamine medications -- used to treat motor symptoms caused by the disease -- can affect learning and attention.

Shorebirds shape up and ship out
Some Canadian shorebirds have had to get fit or die trying.

Researchers discover method to objectively identify PTSD
Researchers at the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis VA Medical Center have identified a biological marker in the brains of those exhibiting post-traumatic stress disorder.

UC San Diego researchers synchronize blinking 'genetic clocks'
Researchers at UC San Diego who last year genetically engineered bacteria to keep track of time by turning on and off fluorescent proteins within their cells have taken another step toward the construction of a programmable genetic sensor.

New way to generate abundant functional blood vessel cells from human stem cells discovered
In a significant step toward restoring healthy blood circulation to treat a variety of diseases, a team of scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College has developed a new technique and described a novel mechanism for turning human embryonic and pluripotent stem cells into plentiful, functional endothelial cells, which are critical to the formation of blood vessels.

Study: Animals populated Madagascar by rafting there
How did the lemurs, flying foxes and narrow-striped mongooses get to the large, isolated island of Madagascar sometime after 65 million years ago?

Tropical depression 01W fading over Vietnam and Cambodia
Tropical Depression 01W wasn't very well organized when it made landfall earlier today, and is dissipating as it now moves from Vietnam westward into Cambodia.

Herpes medication does not reduce risk of HIV transmission, UW-led international study finds
A five-year international multicenter clinical trial has found that acyclovir, a drug widely used as a safe and effective treatment to suppress herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), the most common cause of genital herpes, does not reduce the risk of HIV transmission when taken by people infected with both HIV and HSV-2.

American Brain Tumor Association names Alexander Ksendzovsky outstanding 2009 medical student
The American Brain Tumor Association has announced that Alexander Ksendzovsky, a third-year medical student at the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago, is the 2009 Lucien Rubenstein Award recipient.

Columbia researchers show link between lung disease and heart function
A new study from Columbia University Medical Center researchers, has found that the heart's ability to pump effectively is diminished among people with a common lung disease, even in people with no or mild symptoms.

'Survival of the cutest' proves Darwin right
Domestic dogs have followed their own evolutionary path, twisting Darwin's directive

Maverick green economist gets lifetime achievement award
Pioneering University of Maryland ecological economist Herman Daly will receive a lifetime achievement award from the National Council for Science and the Environment.

Retail meat linked to urinary tract infections: Strong new evidence
Chicken sold in supermarkets, restaurants and other outlets may place young women at risk of urinary tract infections, McGill researcher Amee Manges has discovered.

PrEP treatment prevented HIV transmission in humanized mice
Systemic pre-exposure administration of antiretroviral drugs provides protection against intravenous and rectal transmission of HIV in mice with human immune systems, according to a new study published Jan.

Med students say conventional medicine would benefit by integrating alternative therapies
The largest national survey of its kind that measured medical students' attitudes and beliefs about complementary and alternative medicine found that three-quarters of them felt conventional Western medicine would benefit by integrating more CAM therapies and ideas.

Post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosed with magnetism
A group of 74 US veterans has been involved in clinical trials which appear to have objectively diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, something conventional brain scans, be it X-ray, CT or MRI, have thus far failed to do.

Gardeners must unite to save Britain's wildlife
Householders in the UK should be looking beyond their own garden fence to protect vulnerable British wildlife, according to scientists at the University of Leeds.

Even small dietary reductions in salt could mean fewer heart attacks, strokes and deaths
Reducing salt in the American diet by as little as one-half teaspoon per day could prevent nearly 100,000 heart attacks and 92,000 deaths each year, according to a team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, Stanford University Medical Center and Columbia University Medical Center.

Study: Companies better off hiring CEO from within in the long term
When a company wants to appoint a new CEO for strategic changes, they would be better off in the long term by promoting someone from inside the company rather than hiring someone from the outside, according to a new study from Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business. 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