Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 21, 2010
Stain repellent chemical linked to thyroid disease in adults
A study by the University of Exeter and the Peninsula Medical School for the first time links thyroid disease with human exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid.

Popular handheld devices show promise in the field of emergency radiology
Handheld devices such as personal digital assistants and the iPod Touch are prevalent among doctors.

Proportion of non-battle-related disorders causing medical evaucation from front line is increasing and must be addressed
US military medical data from Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom have revealed in detail the causes for medical evacuation of military personnel from the front line.

Managing Pacific Northwest dams for a changing climate
Civil engineers at the University of Washington and the US Army Corps of Engineers' Seattle office have taken a first look at how dams in the Columbia River basin, the nation's largest hydropower system, could be managed for a different climate.

Potential of dairy-based package wraps outlined
Food-packaging products made from dairy ingredients could provide a viable alternative to petroleum-based packaging products, according to Agricultural Research Service scientist Peggy Tomasula.

Lung cancer patients who quit smoking double their survival chances
People diagnosed with early stage lung cancer can double their chances of survival over five years if they stop smoking compared with those who continue to smoke, finds a study published on today.

Moving through time
Thinking of the past or future causes us to sway backward or forward.

Simple steps prevent life-threatening bloodstream infections in children
Pediatric hospitals can significantly decrease the number of bloodstream infections from central venous catheters by following some low-tech rules: insert the catheter correctly and, above all, keep everything squeaky clean after that.

Disease severity in H1N1 patients
A new study published in CMAJ concerning the severity of H1N1 influenza has found that admissions to an intensive care unit were associated with a longer interval between symptom onset and treatment with antivirals and with presence of an underlying medical condition.

Obesity ups cancer risk, and here's how
Obesity comes with plenty of health risks, but there's one that's perhaps not so well known: an increased risk of developing cancer, and especially certain types of cancer like liver cancer.

Water hits and sticks: Findings challenge a century of assumptions about soil hydrology
Researchers have discovered that some of the most fundamental assumptions about how water moves through soil in a seasonally dry climate such as the Pacific Northwest are incorrect -- and that a century of research based on those assumptions will have to be reconsidered.

Discovery of algae's toxic hunting habits could help curb fish kills
A microbe commonly found in the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways emits a poison not just to protect itself but to stun and immobilize the prey it plans to eat.

Tropical Storm Magda puts North Western Australian on alert
An area of low pressure in the Southern Indian Ocean, located close to Australia's northwestern coast was being watched for development yesterday.

Stroke's 'death signal' discovered; may aid drug development
Biomedical scientists from the University of Central Florida and Louisiana State University have identified a way to block a

Digital mammography delivers significantly less radiation than conventional mammography
Data from one of the largest mammography trials in history demonstrates that overall the radiation dose associated with digital mammography is significantly lower (averaging 22 percent lower) than that of conventional film mammography and that the reduction could be greater in women with larger and denser breasts, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Video of virus in action shows viruses can spread faster than thought possible
New video footage of a virus infecting cells is challenging what researchers have long believed about how viruses spread, suggesting that scientists may be able to create new drugs to tackle some viruses.

Notre Dame study focuses on protein dynamics
A discovery by associate professor of chemistry Brian Baker and his research group at the University of Notre Dame reveals the importance of dynamic motion by proteins involved in the body's immune response.

SRI International researcher named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development institute, announced today that Thomas S.

Team finds childhood clues to adult schizophrenia
Years before adults develop schizophrenia, there is a pattern of cognitive difficulties they experience as children, including problems with verbal reasoning, working memory, attention and processing speed.

Go easy on the environment -- and our wallets, says Generation Y
When it comes to saving the environment, Generation Y is all for it -- as long as it comes with an economic benefit, according to new research by Michigan State University in collaboration with Deloitte LLP.

Watching crystals grow may lead to faster electronic devices
The quest for faster electronic devices recently got something more than a little bump up in technological knowhow.

Language structure is partly determined by social structure, says Penn psychology study
Psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Memphis argue that human languages may adapt more like biological organisms than previously thought and that the more common and popular the language, the simpler its construction to facilitate its survival.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 11 top young scientists
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting exceptional early career researchers and innovative cancer research, named 11 new Damon Runyon Fellows at its November 2009 Fellowship Award Committee review.

Slime design mimics Tokyo's rail system
What could human engineers possibly learn from the lowly slime mold?

CWRU research finds first oral bacteria linking a mother and her stillborn baby
Yiping Han, a researcher from department of periodontics at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, reports the first documented link between a mother with pregnancy-associated gum disease to the death of her fetus.

Lack of cellular enzyme triggers switch in glucose processing
A study investigating how a cellular enzyme affects blood glucose levels in mice provides clues to pathways that may be involved in processes including the regulation of longevity and the proliferation of tumor cells.

Genomic surveillance of pandemic H1N1
The BC Centre for Disease Control has launched an influenza genome sequencing project to better understand how the pandemic H1N1 flu virus has evolved in British Columbia, and may continue to evolve in the coming months.

'Cooling' forests can heat too
Forests can trap heat as well as carbon. Recent research at the Weizmann Institute shows that in one type of semi-arid forest, it may take years for the effects of carbon capture to override those of heat retention.

Link between obesity and enhanced cancer risk elucidated
Epidemiological studies indicate that being overweight or obese is associated with increased cancer risk.

Large medical center reduces CT scans and patient radiation exposure through a simple, educational intervention
A large New York medical center reduced the number of CT scans and radiation dose delivered to emergency department patients with suspected pulmonary emboli by holding collaborative educational seminars for staff and routing patients to CT pulmonary angiography or ventilation perfusion scanning based solely on their chest X-ray results, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Common heart medications may also protect against Parkinson's disease, study finds
In the first large-scale population-based study of its kind, UCLA researchers have found that a specific type of medication used to treat such cardiovascular conditions as hypertension, angina and abnormal heart rhythms, may also decrease the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

Tobacco plant thwarts caterpillar onslaught by opening flowers in the morning
We normally think of pollinators as providing a valuable service to plants, and they certainly do.

Mountain plants unable to withstand invasion
An international research team has studied the distribution of plant species in mountainous environments.

Changing flowering times protect tobacco plants against insect herbivory
Plants attract insect pollinators to ensure reproduction. However, female moths are also threatening to the plant: attracted by the flower's scent, they lay eggs on the leaves, and voracious caterpillars hatch.

Political violence associated with intimate-partner violence in occupied Palestinian territory
Married women whose husbands have directly experienced political violence in the occupied Palestinian territory are more than twice as likely to experience intimate partner violence than those women whose husbands have not.

Adverse reactions from gadolinium-based contrast agents used during MRI rarely occur, study suggests
Acute adverse reactions from gadolinium-based contrast agents used during magnetic resonance imaging to help improve the information seen on the images rarely occur, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Stress peptide and receptor may have role in diabetes
The neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) makes cameo appearances throughout the body, but its leading role is as the opening act in the stress response, jump-starting the process along the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.

New evidence links humans to megafauna demise
A new scientific paper co-authored by a University of Adelaide researcher reports strong evidence that humans, not climate change, caused the demise of Australia's megafauna -- giant marsupials, huge reptiles and flightless birds -- at least 40,000 years ago.

Identification of the gene responsible for a new form of adult muscular dystrophy
A study published in today's online edition the American Journal of Human Genetics allowed the first identification of a new form of adult onset muscular dystrophy.

Tracking MRSA evolution and transmission
Researchers have developed a remarkable new method to precisely track transmission of MRSA from one person to another in a hospital setting.

Media registration now open for TCT 2010
Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics is the annual scientific symposium of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

Teaching computer games
Computer games have a broad appeal that transcends gender, culture, age and socioeconomic status.

NASA research finds last decade was warmest on record, 2009 one of warmest years
A new analysis of global surface temperatures by NASA scientists finds the past year was tied for the second warmest since 1880.

New study shows TGen spin-off boosts Scottsdale economy
TGen Drug Development is poised to play a significant role in the expansion of Scottsdale's biomedical industry, fostering new jobs and city revenues, and prompting the creation of more related businesses.

San Andreas Fault study unearths new quake information
Recent collaborative studies of stream channel offsets along the San Andreas Fault by researchers at Arizona State University and UC Irvine reveal new information about fault behavior -- affecting how we understand the potential for damaging earthquakes.

How to live your life twice
Prof. Carlo Strenger of Tel Aviv University says the myth of the mid-life crisis has been disproved by recent empirical studies and field research.

Nearly 80 percent of the 300,000 conflict-related deaths in Darfur were due to diseases
Recent research on the Darfur conflict identifies diseases as being the main cause of death since 2005 with displaced populations being the most susceptible.

Inflammation 'on switch' also serves as 'off switch'
In a surprising finding, researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered the critical importance of a protein previously believed to be a redundant

Ask the non-experts
In a research project about early autism detection in infants, Dr.

Bubble physicist counts bubbles in the ocean to answer questions about climate, sound, light
A URI bubble scientist is studying how to detect and count ocean bubbles of different sizes to help scientists in other disciplines create more accurate models.

Malnutrition higher in children born to child brides
Infants born to child brides in India (married before the age of 18) have a higher risk of malnutrition than children born to older mothers, according to research published on today.

Study projects increased conflict and speculation in tropical forests despite Copenhagen Accord
As environmental and political leaders struggle to determine how to move forward from the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, a new report by an international coalition of top forest organizations warns that the failure to set legal standards and safeguards for a mechanism to transfer funds to forest-rich nations may trigger a sharp rise in speculation and corruption, placing unprecedented pressures on tropical forest lands and the communities that inhabit them.

Genetics helps to crack down on chimpanzee smuggling
The population of chimpanzees across western Africa has decreased by 75 percent in the past 30 years, due in part to widespread chimp hunting.

AGU journal highlights -- Jan. 21, 2010
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics:

Humanitarianism is no longer the ethos for many organizations in the aid industry
The lead editorial in this week's Conflict Special Issue of the Lancet says that many aid agencies sometimes act according to their own best interests rather than in the interests of individuals whom they claim to help.

Watching crystals grow provides clues to making smoother, defect-free thin films
To make thin films for semiconductors in electronic devices, layers of atoms must be grown in neat, crystalline sheets.

Study shows value of sexual reproduction versus asexual reproduction
Living organisms have good reason for engaging in sexual, rather than asexual, reproduction according to Maurine Neiman, assistant professor of biology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and researcher in the Roy J.

Saying goodbye at airports the green way
Groundbreaking work is under way to establish just how big a carbon footprint is created by travel to and from airports.

SIAM Journal on Financial Mathematics launches
Continuing to advance its mission to publish journals of high quality, relevance, and originality, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics is pleased to announce the launch of SIAM Journal on Financial Mathematics.

Researchers identify a new gene involved in autophagy, the cellular recycling program
Researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine led by Antonio Zorzano, head of the Molecular Medicine Program and senior professor of the University of Barcelona, have identified a new gene that favors cell autophagy.

Mussel-inspired 'glue' for fetal membrane repair
A sealant inspired by mussels' ability to stick to surfaces under wet conditions has shown promise in the repair of defects in human fetal membranes, according to a Northwestern University study.

Leading cause of medical evacuation out of war zones: It's not combat injury
The most common reasons for medical evacuation of military personnel from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years have been fractures, tendinitis and other musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders, not combat injuries, according to results of a Johns Hopkins study published Jan.

New study: Human running speeds of 35 to 40 mph may be biologically possible
A new study in the Journal of Applied Physiology offers intriguing insights into the biology of human running speed.

Zebrafish swim into drug development
By combining the tools of medicinal chemistry and zebrafish biology, a team of Vanderbilt investigators has identified compounds that may offer therapeutic leads for bone-related diseases and cancer.

UVa engineers find significant environmental impacts with algae-based biofuel
With many companies investing heavily in algae-based biofuels, researchers from the University of Virginia's department of civil and environmental engineering have found there are significant environmental hurdles to overcome before fuel production ramps up.

Ultrasound plus proteomic blood analyses may help physicians diagnose early stage ovarian cancer
Noninvasive contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging, combined with proteomic analyses of blood samples may help physicians identify early stage ovarian cancer and save the lives of many women, according to an article published in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

High vitamin D levels linked to lower risk of colon cancer
High blood levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of colon cancer, finds a large European study published on today.

Lighter sedation for elderly during surgery may reduce risk of confusion, disorientation after
A common complication following surgery in elderly patients is postoperative delirium, a state of confusion that can lead to long-term health problems and cause some elderly patients to complain that they

Scientists discover cells critical to childhood leukemia
Scientists at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne in Australia have discovered the cells that cause a common type of childhood leukemia -- T cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

NYSCF Fellow lead author on study that creates blood vessel cells from stem cells
New York Stem Cell Foundation-Druckenmiller Fellow, Daylon James, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell Medial College, is lead author on a study defining conditions for generating a plentiful supply of endothelial (vessel lining) cells that are suitable for therapeutic use.

Insect wranglers invade the garden at Southwestern science EXPO
Raymond Mendez, the

UCLB announces new partnership with Kurma Biofund
UCLB is delighted to announce a partnership with Kurma Biofund, a recently formed venture capital fund based in Paris and dedicated to innovations in life sciences and health care.

New research will examine link between childhood asthma, sleep and school performance
Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and Hasbro Children's Hospital researchers have received more than $2.5 million in direct costs from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study the impact of asthma on the sleep quality and academic performance of young children.

Economist invited to be review editor of one of world's leading science journals
A leading economist has been asked to join the Board of Reviewing Editors at Science, one of the world's most respected science journals.

A computer per student leads to higher performance than traditional classroom settings
Providing every student and teacher with a laptop computer can produce improved student performance in some subjects, when compared to traditional classroom settings, according to findings in a special edition of the Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment.

New earthquake information unearthed by San Andreas Fault studies
Recent studies of stream channel offsets along the San Andreas Fault reveal new information about fault behavior -- changing our understanding of the potential for damaging earthquakes.

Supercomputer flexibility increased by virtualized operating system
New work on Sandia National Laboratories' Red Storm supercomputer -- the 17th fastest in the world -- is helping to make supercomputers more accessible, in effect removing them from the solitary confinement of their specialized operating systems.

US Air Force Test and Evaluation Days conference set for Feb. 2-4
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will hold the US Air Force T&E Days Conference 2010, Feb.

LSUHSC research yields promising stroke treatment
For the first time, research led by Youming Lu, Ph.D., M.D., professor of neurology and neuroscience at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, has identified a novel mechanism that may trigger brain damage during stroke and identified a therapeutic approach to block it.

Study finds face masks and hand hygiene can help limit influenza's spread
Ordinary face masks and hand hygiene can effectively reduce the transmission of influenza-like illness during flu season.

Experts advise caution over new incentive scheme for NHS hospitals
The English NHS should

Providing good customer service is key to surviving down economy
The recession and the recent holiday shopping crunch have brought further into focus the true importance of receiving good customer service.

RFID tags to boost transit worker safety
Bombardier Transportation, McMaster RFID Applications Lab and Ontario Centres of Excellence are undertaking a $1.4 million research collaboration to develop location awareness technology that can be used to notify subway vehicles of the exact location of track inspectors and other trackside workers.

Degree of obesity raises risk of stroke, regardless of gender, race
The higher a person's degree of obesity, the higher their risk of stroke -- regardless of sex or race.

Engineers: New sensor could help treat, combat diabetes, other diseases
A tiny new sensor could provide fresh, inexpensive diagnosis and treatment methods for people suffering from a variety of diseases.

Sales of green energy to help halt decay of Philippines' legendary rice terraces
Philippines officials on Friday receive the symbolic keys to a donated 200 kw mini-hydro project that, in addition to green energy, will start generating money to halt deterioration of the country's fabled ancient rice terraces.

Heart attack victims who have ECGs in the field experience shorter time-to-treatment
A recent study found that individuals experiencing chest pain who had electrocardiogram assessments prior to arriving at the hospital experienced a significantly reduced time-to-treatment or door-to-balloon (D2B) time.

Scientists using X-ray vision to produce more nutritious flour
Pioneering research combining plant breeding and high-intensity X-rays is being used by scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to explore the possibility of developing wheat which could be used to make potentially life-saving mineral enriched flour.

US birth weights on the decline
A study that analyzed data from 36,827,828 US babies born at full-term between 1990 and 2005 has found that birth weights decreased by up to 79 grams (2.78 ounces) during that time frame.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

HIV infection prematurely ages the brain
HIV infection or the treatments used to control it are prematurely aging the brain, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

EU must increase surveillance to prevent money laundering, study warns
The EU enlargement has meant a greater risk for banks operating in this territory, as many countries

Conference to discuss future of nanotechnology enabled sensors
The Micro and Nano Sensors Interest Group of the Sensors & Instrumentation KTN is organizing a conference and exhibition titled

New concoction reprograms differentiated cells into pluripotent stem cells
In Cell Stem Cell, Singapore scientists report surprising discovery that novel transcription factor Nr5a2 can replace classical reprogramming factor Oct.

Pitt research explores how categories and environment create satisfied and well-informed consumers
Expert consumers like to be surprised by unusual product presentation, while novices crave familiarity, so claims a new Pitt/USC study titled

How does an outfielder know where to run for a fly ball?
To test three theories that might explain an outfielder's ability to catch a fly ball, researcher Philip Fink, Ph.D., from Massey University in New Zealand and Patrick Foo, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Ashville programmed Brown University's virtual reality lab, the VENLab, to produce realistic balls and simulate catches.

Do children need both a mother and a father?
A recent study focused on the importance of gender-specific parents for child rearing. 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