Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 05, 2010
Health stories by experts more credible than blogs
Health information written by a doctor is rated as more credible when it appears on a Web site than in a blog or a homepage, according to a study of college students.

Renewable oil companies
The entry of oil companies into the realm of renewable energy could present major obstacles for the development of a sustainable economy that is not based on carbon resources, according to a report in the International Journal of Green Economics.

Prof. Stephen Hawking to visit Perimeter Institute and provide TV lecture across Canada
Dr. Neil Turok, director of Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, is pleased to announce that Prof.

Mescal worm test shows DNA leaks into preservative liquids
Research team uses mescal (and the famous worm) to prove their theory that DNA from a preserved specimen leaks into the preservative medium, allowing the medium itself to be directly PCR amplified.

Study finds screening for spinal muscular atrophy not cost effective
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, the Pregnancy Meeting, in Chicago, researchers will unveil findings that show that it is not cost effective to screen for spinal muscular atrophy.

Barley protein concentrate could replace fishmeal in aquaculture feeds
Agricultural Research Service scientists and Montana Microbial Products of Butte, Mont., have developed a barley protein concentrate that could be fed to trout and other commercially produced fish.

Moms influence how children develop advanced cognitive functions
Executive functioning is a set of advanced cognitive functions -- such as the ability to control impulses, remember things, and show mental flexibility -- that help us plan and monitor what we do to reach goals.

Built-in amps: How subtle head motions, quiet sounds are reported to the brain
Subtle head motions are amplified by inner-ear hair cells before the signal is reported to the brain, report Marine Biological Laboratory scientists and colleagues.

Distinct demographic profiles between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
A research team from United Kingdom conducted a large study on more than 2900 people who were hospitalized with severe Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) in Wales.

NTU researchers complete the world's first in-depth study of the malaria parasite genome
Groundbreaking research done at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University's School of Biological Sciences could lead to the development of more potent drugs or a vaccine for malaria.

Bioethics memory aid can help assess patient decision-making capacity in medical emergencies
Physicians in training and bioethicists at Johns Hopkins have created an easy-to-remember checklist to help medical students and clinicians quickly assess a patient's decision-making capacity in an emergency.

Moms' depression in pregnancy tied to antisocial behavior in teens
Researchers studying 120 British youth from inner-city areas found that mothers who became depressed when pregnant were four times as likely to have children who were violent at 16.

Using nitroglycerin to treat prostate cancer shows potential to halt disease, Queen's research
Treatment of prostate cancer using a very low dose of nitroglycerin may slow and even halt the progression of the disease without the severe side effects of current treatments, Queen's University researchers have discovered.

Seismology highlights from BSSA February issue
A new study identifies earthquakes through July 2007 that have produced 100 of the strongest peak accelerations and 100 of the strongest peak velocities ever recorded.

How the butterflies got their spots
How two butterfly species have evolved exactly the same striking wing color and pattern has intrigued biologists since Darwin's day.

News brief: HPV vaccines may reduce a wide range of genital diseases
High-coverage human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations among adolescents and young women may result in a rapid reduction of genital warts, cervical cell abnormalities, and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, researchers report in a new study published online Feb.

Carbonate veins reveal chemistry of ancient seawater
The chemical composition of our oceans is not constant but has varied significantly over geological time.

Cars of the future could be powered by their bodywork thanks to new battery technology
Parts of a car's bodywork could one day double up as its battery, according to the scientists behind a new €3.4 ($4.6) million project announced today.

Informatics experts contribute to special Health Affairs edition on e-health in the developing world
Five articles, whose lead or senior authors are nationally known informatics leaders and members of the American Medical Informatics Association, appear in the February 2010 issue of Health Affairs and provide a glimpse into the future of health care delivery in an increasingly information-driven era of health care in the developing world.

Road mapping could be key to curing TB
The complex chain of metabolic events in bacteria that lead to fatal diseases such as tuberculosis may be better understood using mathematical models, according to an article published in the February issue of Microbiology Today.

Youth who self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual at higher suicide risk, say Montreal researchers
Mental health professionals have long-known that gay, lesbian and bisexual teens face significantly elevated risks of mental health problems, including suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts.

Infection-fighting antibodies made in plants as effective as costlier conventional version
The first head-to-head comparison of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies produced from plants versus the same antibodies produced from mammalian cells has shown that plant-produced antibodies can fight infection equally well.

MWC 2010: FlashFind -- lightning-fast search on mobile devices
Fraunhofer researchers will be presenting fast and easy-to-use search technologies for mobile devices at the 2010 Mobile World Congress.

Link between birth defect gastroschisis and the agricultural chemical atrazine found
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, the Pregnancy Meeting, in Chicago, researchers will unveil findings that demonstrate a link between the birth defect gastroschisis and the agricultural chemical atrazine.

High sensitivity to stress isn't always bad for children
Researchers looked at 338 kindergarteners, as well as their teachers and families, to determine how family adversity and biological reactivity contribute to healthy development.

Sweet! -- sugar plays key role in cell division
Using an elaborate sleuthing system they developed to probe how cells manage their own division, Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered that common but hard-to-see sugar switches are partly in control.

Shape of Barrett's epithelium effects prevalence of erosive esophagitis
A research team from Japan conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine the correlation of the shape and length of Barrett's epithelium with erosive esophagitis.

For HIV-infected children, quality of caregiver relationship is crucial
Researchers examined the effects of HIV infection and being raised in institutions on the development of 58 infected and uninfected Ukrainian 4-year-olds.

TGen finalizes alliance with Van Andel Research Institute
The Translational Genomics Research Institute today announced the completion of a strategic alliance and affiliation agreement with the Van Andel Research Institute that will maximize the research capabilities of both nonprofit institutes.

Nearly half of Americans believe H1N1 outbreak is over, poll finds
Poll shows almost half of Americans believe H1N1 flu outbreak is over and levels of concern about getting sick continue to decline.

Clinical course of subepithelial lesions
A research team from South Korea determined the natural history and provided a basis of surveillance of incidentally detected, asymptomatic subepithelial lesions.

New approach to treating breast and prostate cancers
In a new approach to developing treatments for breast cancer, prostate cancer and enlarged hearts, Loyola researchers are zeroing in on a workhorse protein called RSK.

Electrons on the brink: Fractal patterns may be key to semiconductor magnetism
A Princeton-led team of scientists has observed electrons in a semiconductor on the brink of the metal-insulator transition for the first time.

Early abuse tied to more depression in children
A study of 500 low-income children ages 7 to 13, about half of whom had been abused and/or neglected, aimed to find out whether abuse early in life and feelings of depression affected cortisol (

Yale researchers may have uncovered the mechanism by which progesterone prevents preterm birth
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine believe they may have discovered how the hormone progesterone acts to prevent preterm birth.

Screening for short cervix could improve pregnancy outcomes and reduce preterm birth
Using ultrasound to screen all pregnant women for signs of a shortening cervix improves pregnancy outcomes and is a cost-effective way to reduce preterm birth, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new study.

Early foster care boosts quality of institutionalized children's ties to caregivers
A new study of young children in orphanages in Bucharest, Romania, has found that children placed in foster care before age 2 were more apt to develop secure attachments to their foster parents than those who entered foster care after age 2.

Blacks with MS have more severe symptoms, decline faster than whites, new study shows
Fewer African-Americans than Caucasians develop multiple sclerosis, statistics show, but their disease progresses more rapidly, and they don't respond as well to therapies, a new study by neurology researchers at the University at Buffalo has found.

New facility expected to clarify ecosystem responses to climate change
Scientists hope to get a glimpse of the future with a proposed experiment facility in northern Minnesota that would allow them to adjust temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide across a broad range of possibilities projected by climate models.

February Geology and GSA Today Highlights
GEOLOGY presents studies of mineralized microfossils in the Yukon; what the Great Barrier Reef tells us about sea level; a new find in Japan of fossilized iridescent leaf-beetle wings; the puzzle of Ediacara biota; mammalian fossils in Mongolia; a dust bowl long before the Dust Bowl in the North American Great Plains; fish-eating semi-aquatic spinosaurs; evidence against the Lilliput Effect; and geochemical mapping of Mars.

Early artificial pancreas trials show benefits for kids, teenagers with diabetes overnight
In a landmark study in children and teenagers with type 1 diabetes, JDRF-funded researchers at the University of Cambridge showed that using a first-generation artificial pancreas system overnight can lower the risk of low blood sugar emergencies while sleeping, and at the same time improve diabetes control.

Carnegie Mellon first to measure energy released from a virus during infection
For the first time, Carnegie Mellon University physicist Alex Evilevitch has directly measured the energy associated with the expulsion of viral DNA, a pivotal discovery toward fully understanding the physical mechanisms that control viral infection and designing drugs to interfere with the process.

Frank Semcer is first to be honored with Stevens' Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
In recognition of his pioneering vision and business savvy, Micro Stamping chairman Frank Semcer will be the first recipient of Stevens Institute of Technology's newly created Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Princeton scientist makes a leap in quantum computing
Princeton University's Jason Petta has demonstrated a method that alters the properties of a lone electron without disturbing the trillions of electrons in its immediate surroundings.

Understanding past and future climate
The notion that scientists understand how changes in Earth's orbit affect climate well enough for estimating long-term natural climate trends that underlie any anthropogenic climate change is challenged by findings published this week.

Penn State partners with Volvo as academic partner
The Volvo Group has chosen Penn State as its first academic preferred partnership in North America to explore and resolve some of the serious issues in commercial transportation markets around the world.

WIREs win 3 prizes at the PROSE awards
The Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs), the pioneering new publications launched by Wiley-Blackwell in 2009, have picked up three of the most prestigious awards in scholarly publishing at the annual PROSE awards.

Length of time in institutional care may influence children's learning
A new study shows that children adopted early from foster care didn't differ from children who were raised in their birth families but that children adopted from institutional care performed worse than those raised in families on tests measuring visual memory and attention, learning visual information, and impulse control.
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