Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 28, 2010
Virtual USA
Natural disasters -- like toddlers with crayons -- leave a mess all over the map, spilling across federal, state, and local lines.

Smokers at risk from their own 'second-hand' smoke
It is well known that smokers damage their health by directly inhaling cigarette smoke.

Government of Canada invests in research to help prevent violence
Three new regional research centers that will study violence and ways to prevent it will receive almost $6 million over five years from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Virus-like particle vaccine protects monkeys from chikungunya virus
An experimental vaccine developed using noninfectious virus-like particles (VLP) has protected macaques and mice against chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen that has infected millions of people in Africa and Asia and causes debilitating pain, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found.

Stem cell breakthrough: Bone marrow cells are the answer
Using cells from mice, scientists discovered a new strategy for making embryonic stem cell transplants less likely to be rejected by a recipient's immune system.

NASA's TRMM sees Depression 10P strengthen into Tropical Storm Nisha
The tenth tropical depression in the Southern Pacific Ocean has strengthened overnight and has been dubbed

Scientists show how molecular switch helps pancreatic cancer beat drugs
Researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have found one reason that pancreatic cancer tumors are so difficult to treat with drugs.

No role for mental health professionals in the practice of torture
Psychologists and psychiatrists should not be expected to participate in torture as they do not have the expertise to assess individual pain or the long-term effects of interrogation, says an expert on bmj.com today.

Developmental delay may explain behavior of easygoing ape species
New research suggests that evolutionary changes in cognitive development underlie the extensive social and behavioral differences that exist between two closely related species of great apes.

Tropical Depression 11S forms in the southern Indian Ocean
The eleventh tropical depression formed today in the Southern Indian Ocean south of Port Louis.

New 'suicide' molecule halts rheumatoid arthritis
A Northwestern University scientist has invented a novel way to halt and even reverse rheumatoid arthritis.

Study offers evidence that spongiform brain diseases are caused by aberrant protein
Scientists have determined how a normal protein can be converted into a prion, an infectious agent that causes fatal brain diseases in humans and mammals.

Blood test can predict rheumatoid arthritis before symptoms arise
Researchers from University Hospital in Umea, Sweden, have identified several cytokines, cytokine-related factors, and chemokines that increase significantly prior to rheumatoid arthritis disease onset.

Advances in cancer detection research by Virginia Tech engineer featured in British magazine
An assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech helped engineer microsystems for the detection of water-borne pathogens using a technique called dielectrophoresis, which separates and identifies cells and microparticles suspended in a medium based on their size and electrical properties.

Autism Speaks co-sponsors international autism conference in Manila, Philippines Feb. 3-5
Autism Speaks co-sponsors the first International Autism Conference in Manila organized by the Autism Hearts Foundation and Autism Hearts Philippines, with UC Davis MIND Institute, Philippine Society for Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics and the Autism Society of the Philippines to address diagnosis, assessment and treatments of ASDs, and create supports for individuals and families.

Mortality rates for pediatric rheumatology patients significantly lower than previously reported
A recent study by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found that the overall mortality rate in the US for all pediatric patients with rheumatic diseases was not worse than the age and sex-adjusted population.

Uncorrelated activity in the brain
Interconnected networks of neurons process information and give rise to perception by communicating with one another via small electrical impulses known as action potentials.

Symptoms have little value for early detection of ovarian cancer
Use of symptoms to trigger a medical evaluation for ovarian cancer does not appear to detect early stage ovarian cancer earlier and would likely result in diagnosis in only 1 out of 100 women in the general population with such symptoms, according to an article published online Jan.

Potential new target for drugs to treat iron deficiency and overload discovered
The discovery of a major player in the body's regulation of iron levels should provide a new target for drugs that prevent common iron deficiency as well as rare, potentially deadly iron overload, researchers said.

Like escape artists, rotifers elude enemies by drying up and -- poof! -- they are gone with the wind
They haven't had sex in some 30 million years, but some very small invertebrates named bdelloid rotifers are still shocking biologists -- they should have gone extinct long ago.

Satellite images of remote African lands to be used to insure herders from devastating droughts
Thousands of herders in arid areas of northern Kenya will be able to purchase insurance policies for their livestock, based on a first-of-its-kind program in Africa that uses satellite images of grass and other vegetation that indicate whether drought will put their camels, cows, goats, and sheep at risk of starvation.

USDA grant to create healthy urban food enterprise development center in Arkansas
USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture is awarding $900,000 to the Wallace Center at Winrock International, Little Rock, Ark., to run the Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center.

Research reveals how blood flow force protects blood vessels
It is second nature for most of us that exercise protects against heart attack and stroke, but researchers have spent 30 years unraveling the biochemistry behind the idea.

Wound treatment wins commercialization funds
A new treatment that could one day benefit burns victims, diabetes sufferers and the elderly -- by fast tracking the healing of chronic wounds -- has taken another step towards commercialization.

New simulation tool could shorten manufacturing design process
Researchers have demonstrated they were able to speed up SystemC based simulation by factors of 30 to 100 times that of previous performances.

With climate change, birds are taking off for migration sooner; not reaching destinations earlier
Migrating birds can and do keep their travel dates flexible, a new study published online on Jan.

2010 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index reveals ways to enhance teens' interest in STEM
The nation is hoping for a bright future. Many believe the key to strengthening the US economy and competing globally lies in fostering an innovative culture and educating America's youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Change in mammography guidelines questioned
The methodology and evidence behind a widely publicized change in national mammography guidelines is questionable, according to a review in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, published by SAGE.

Improved air quality linked to fewer pediatric ear infections
A new study by researchers at UCLA and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston suggests that improvements in air quality over the past decade have resulted in fewer cases of ear infections in children.

Carnegie Mellon's John Kitchin receives early career award
Carnegie Mellon University's john Kitchin was awarded $750,000 over the next five years from the US Department of Energy for develping new materials for producing hydrogen and oxygen from water using electrochemistry.

Self-healing polymer 'starfish' prolong lifetime of automotive oils
Researchers have created self-healing polymers that could extend the lifetime of automotive oils.

Scientists and cast of thousands swarm stage in Europe
Typically science doesn't bed down with theatre, much less mate with artistic vigor, but the accord between the two is explored in the recent production

Mental illnesses are second leading cause of time off work in Spain
An interdisciplinary team coordinated by researchers from the University of Castilla La Mancha and the Canary Islands Health Service has evaluated the economic impact of mental illness in Spain, and estimated their social cost.

Not sedating critically ill patients means they need fewer days on mechanical ventilation, and less time in intensive care
Not sedating critically ill patients in intensive care means they need fewer days on mechanical ventilation and spend less time in intensive care.

Seabirds' movement patterns tied to what fishermen toss away
Humans and human activities have clearly altered the Earth's landscape and oceans in countless ways, often to the detriment of other plants and animals.

Couples who say 'we' do better at resolving conflicts
People often complain about those seemingly smug married couples who constantly refer to themselves as

Mount Sinai finds prenatal exposure to certain chemicals affects childhood neurodevelopment
A new study led by Mount Sinai researchers in collaboration with scientists from Cornell University and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has found higher prenatal exposure to phthalates -- manmade chemicals that interfere with hormonal messaging -- to be connected with disruptive and problem behaviors in children between the ages of 4 and 9 years.

Curing more cervical cancer cases may be in the math
A third of cervical cancer cases respond poorly to standard therapy or experience recurrence, making cure difficult.

Doctors cut back hours when risk of malpractice suit rises, study shows
A new study shows doctors work 1.7 hours less per week when medical liability risk increases by 10 percent.

Is iron from soil a factor in algal blooms?
A team of researchers from Queensland University of Technology is investigating the part that iron from Australia's iron-rich soil plays in the algal blooms that plague parts of the eastern coast line during summer.

Research breakthrough could lead to new treatment for malaria
Malaria causes more than two million deaths each year, but an expert multinational team battling the global spread of drug-resistant parasites has made a breakthrough in the search for better treatment.

Don't privatize banks too soon
Initial findings carried out under the ESRC's World Economy and Finance research program, which comes to a conclusion with a conference in London on Jan.

'Overweight' adults age 70 or older are less likely to die over a 10-year period
Adults aged over 70 years who are classified as overweight are less likely to die over a 10-year period than adults who are in the

Novel surgery may help young trauma patients avoid total hip replacements
A novel surgery using transplanted bone and cartilage may help young patients avoid a hip replacement after a specific traumatic injury to the hip joint, according to a case study by orthopedic trauma specialists at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Secrets of immunologic memory
Investigators at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have discovered a new way the cell surface protein, CD44, helps specific T helper cells develop immunologic memory.

Are new genes always better?
Revegetation seems like a beneficial strategy for conserving and restoring damaged ecosystems, and using a variety of species can help increase biodiversity in these systems.

Breakthrough heart scanner will allow earlier diagnosis
An innovative cardiac scanner will dramatically improve the process of diagnosing heart conditions.

Researchers find new way to study how enzymes repair DNA damage
Researchers at Ohio State University have found a new way to study how enzymes move as they repair DNA sun damage -- and that discovery could one day lead to new therapies for healing sunburned skin.

DOE awards over a billion supercomputing hours to address scientific challenges
The Department of Energy has awarded 1.6 billion supercomputing processor hours to 69 cutting-edge research projects through the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment program.

2010 Encyclopedia of Life Rubenstein Fellows announced
Encyclopedia of Life announced today that its first annual EOL Rubenstein Fellows competition is providing awards to an exceptional group of early career scientists.

What you eat after exercise matters
Many of the health benefits of aerobic exercise are due to the most recent exercise session (rather than weeks, months and even years of exercise training), and the nature of these benefits can be greatly affected by the food we eat afterward.

UT-Battelle licenses tissue regeneration technologies to NellOne Therapeutics Inc.
In a major step toward commercialization of a promising therapeutic treatment, Oak Ridge National Laboratory contractor UT-Battelle has exclusively licensed patents on inventions based on the Nell-1 gene to NellOne Therapeutics Inc.

Genetics education Web sites awarded prestigious prize by Science
In an age when genetics and genomics research is progressing so fast that not even new teachers are up to date, two Web sites created at the University of Utah's Genetic Science Learning Center are providing an excellent source of new material while educating a hugely diverse audience of users.

The almond tree's secret weapon
Has the almond tree developed a unique way of drawing potential pollinators?

Right-handed and left-handed people do not see the same bright side of things
Despite the almost universal association of the right with life, right, positive and good things, and the left with death, inadequacy, negative and bad things, recent researches show that left-handed people hold the opposite association.

NTU wins 4 out of 5 competitive research awards in sustainable development worth S$40 million ($28 million)
Four proposals from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore have won up to S$40 million ($28 million) in research funds from the National Research Foundation, Singapore.

Better food makes high-latitude animals bigger
New research suggests that animals living at high latitudes grow better than their counterparts closer to the equator because higher-latitude vegetation is more nutritious.

How many argon atoms can fit on the surface of a carbon nanotube?
Scientists have devised a way to explore how phase transitions -- changes of matter from one state to another without altering chemical makeup -- function in less than three dimensions and at the level of just a few atoms.

Congressional leaders urged to reach agreement on health reform
The American College of Physicians today urged Congressional leaders to

Using magnetic toys as inspiration, researchers tease out structures of self-assembled clusters
In the Jan. 29 issue of Science, a team from Harvard led by Vinothan Manoharan and Michael Brenner, presents additional clues to how and why groups of atoms and molecules may favor less symmetrical and more complex, flexible geometric patterns.

Ulipristal acetate is alternative choice to levonorgestrel for emergency contraception
New research shows that the emergency contraception drug ulipristal acetate (UA) prevents more pregnancies than a widely used alternative, levonorgestrel.

UCLA cancer researchers perform complete genomic sequencing of brain cancer cell line
Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have performed the first complete genomic sequencing of a brain cancer cell line, a discovery that may lead to personalized treatments based on the unique biological signature of an individual's cancer and a finding that may unveil new molecular targets for which more effective and less toxic drugs can be developed.

GW research team's dinosaur discovery helps solve piece of evolutionary puzzle
A George Washington University expedition to the Gobi Desert has enabled researchers to solve the puzzle of how one group of dinosaurs came to look like birds independent of birds.

Financial crisis in news: Government financial support of news media continues steep decline
Government financial support that has bolstered this country's commercial news business since its colonial days is in sharp decline and is likely to fall further, according to a report released today by the University of Southern California's Center on Communication Leadership & Policy.

MSU researcher advocates new way to treat autism
Children with autism would likely receive better treatment if supporters of the two major teaching methods stopped bickering over theory and focused on a combined approach, a Michigan State University psychologist argues in a new paper.

NASS releases new geospatial data products
The US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service today announced the release of new satellite images depicting agricultural land cover across most of the nation for the 2009 crop year.

'Silent strokes' linked to kidney failure in diabetics
In patients with type 2 diabetes, silent cerebral infarction -- small areas of brain damage caused by injury to small blood vessels -- signals an increased risk of progressive kidney disease and kidney failure, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Olga's track is a puzzle forecasters are putting together
One of the most complicated things about tropical cyclones is forecasting their tracks, and Olga is a prime example of that problem.

Rheumatoid arthritis doesn't hinder computing skills
A recent study by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that workers with rheumatoid arthritis were comparable to nonimpaired individuals in keyboarding speed.

R.I.P., 3-1-1
Remember 2005, when you could still board a plane with shampoo in your bag, toothpaste in your purse, a can of soda in your hand?

Seabed biodiversity of the Straits of Magellan and Drake Passage
A study of animals visible to the naked eye and living in and on the seabed -- the

New method improves eating skills of dementia patients
A pioneering international study involving academics from the University of Sheffield has shown for the first time that it is possible to improve the eating skills and nutritional status of older people with dementia.

K-State expert, co-author argue that Kansas is on forefront of new GOP coalitions
Hierarchy and individualism may seem like strange bedfellows, but a Kansas State University political scientist and his colleague argue in a new book that such unlikely pairings have been a recurring theme in Kansas politics since the state's beginning.

World Congress on Osteoporosis 2010 -- IOF WCO -- ECCEO10
The abstract submission deadline of Feb. 4 is only one week away.

Genetics Web sites win Science's inaugural SPORE award for online education materials
The University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center Web sites that have brought millions of viewers fascinating animations of the size and scale of cells, drug-addicted mice, and other captivating lessons in genetics, have been honored by the journal Science with the first Science Prize for Online Resources in Education Award.

UCLA researchers image earliest signs of Alzheimer's, before symptoms appear
Researchers at UCLA were able to predict a brain's progression to Alzheimer's by measuring subtle changes in brain structure over time, changes that occur long before the symptoms of AD can be seen.

Study says lead may be the culprit in ADHD
ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is among the costliest of behavioral disorders.

The Genetics Society of America announces its 2010 award recipients
The Genetics Society of America announces the recipients of its five awards for distinguished service to the field of genetics.

New guidance on data sharing will minimize risks to patient privacy
New guidance published on bmj.com this week sets out how personal information from clinical trials should be shared to help minimize risks to patient privacy.

Herceptin improves event-free survival in women with HER2-positive locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer (NOAH trial)
Herceptin (trastuzumab) should be offered to patients with HER2-positive locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer alongside chemotherapy.

Stopping schizophrenia before it starts?
In a recent study, Tel Aviv University's Prof. Ina Weiner found that schizophrenia can be

'Squeaker' catfish communicate across generations
It has been thought that young fish, lacking well-developed hearing organs, could not perceive the sounds made by their larger, older relatives.

Fewer honey bee colonies and beekeepers throughout Europe
The number of bee colonies in Central Europe has decreased over recent decades.

Noninvasive testing, earlier surgery can stop seizures in tuberous sclerosis complex
A study by researchers with UCLA's Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program has found that an alternative, noninvasive approach to presurgical testing, along with earlier consideration for surgery, is associated with the best seizure-free surgical outcome in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex.

Most parents don't realize their 4- or 5-year-olds are overweight or obese
Half of the mothers who took part in a study thought that their obese four or five year-old was normal weight, as did 39 percent of the fathers.

Immune cell levels predict skin cancer risk in kidney transplant patients
Measuring certain types of immune cells may predict the high risk of skin cancer after kidney transplantation, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Immune memory formation seen in early stages of viral infection
In an acute viral infection, most T cells differentiate into cells that fight the virus and die off in the process.

Attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings may reduce depression symptoms
One of many reasons that attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings helps people with alcohol use disorders stay sober appears to be alleviation of depression.

Peter Reich, BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology category goes in this second edition to plant ecologist Peter B.

Mandatory policy boosts influenza vaccination rate among health care workers
A mandatory influenza vaccination policy improves immunization rates among health care workers, according to a recent study of a large health care organization.

AMP releases statement on oversight of laboratory tests
Today, at a meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration, the Association for Molecular Pathology released its new position statement on the oversight of laboratory developed tests (LDTs), a recent focus of debate among policy makers, the laboratory community and other stakeholders.

Optical refrigeration expected to enhance airborne and spaceborne applications
Under an Air Force Office of Scientific Research, multi-university grant, a team led by University of New Mexico professor, Dr.
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