Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 03, 2010
Old star is 'missing link' in galactic evolution
A newly discovered star outside the Milky Way has yielded important clues about the evolution of our galaxy.

March 2010 Geology and GSA Today Highlights
In Geology, examination of Chicxulub impact crater sediments supports existing K-T mass extinction theories; Cretaceous nannofossils help clarify climate change; a debris flows study breaks up the sieve-lobe paradigm; Walter Alvarez and coauthor take a look back at the Copernican Revolution; microbial mats display evolutionary creativity through wax esters; and study of thermophilic microbes in the Canadian High Arctic impacts the search for life on Mars.

Pharmacists can play key role in fight against osteoporosis: U of A study
University of Alberta researcher Nese Yuksel shows how pharmacists can help in the fight against osteoporosis, a disease that often goes undiagnosed.

American Society for Microbiology honors Thomas M. Schmidt
The 2010 American Society for Microbiology ASM Graduate Microbiology Teaching Award will be presented to Thomas M.

Beauty may be much more than skin deep
Scientists at L'Oreal, in hot pursuit of the hidden elements of beauty, seem well on their way to disputing the old adage,

European project will enable identifying optimum moment to consume energy
ESI-Tecnalia is leading the European ENERsip project, which will enable the users to consume less energy and save on consumption costs.

Antifreeze proteins can stop ice melting, Queen's professors find
The same antifreeze proteins that keep organisms from freezing in cold environments can also prevent ice from melting at warmer temperatures, according to a new Queen's University study.

Carnegie Mellon will test ability of embedded sensors to detect onset of dementia, infirmity
Carnegie Mellon University researchers in the Quality of Life Technology Center will embed wireless sensors in the residences of about 50 older adults who live alone to see if they can detect subtle changes in everyday activities that indicate the onset of dementia or physical infirmities.

New biomarkers for predicting the spread of colon cancer
Scientists in China are reporting discovery of two proteins present in the blood of people with colon cancer that may serve as the potential biomarkers for accurately predicting whether the disease will spread.

Vitamin D lifts mood during cold weather months
A daily dose of vitamin D may just be what Chicagoans need to get through the long winter, according to researchers at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

Dementia study launched within the deaf community
Researchers have launched a unique project to improve early diagnosis and management of dementia among deaf people who use British Sign Language.

How the demons of dementia possess and damage brain cells
A study from EPFL's Laboratory of Neuroenergetics and Cellular Dynamics in Lausanne Switzerland, published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, may lead to new forms of treatment following a better understanding of how amyloid-beta found in cerebral plaques, typically present in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, may lead to neurodegeneration.

Earth-shaking research to predict devastation from earthquakes
The computational science expertise at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Daresbury Laboratory is playing a key role in enabling researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, to develop a tool that will make it possible to estimate the likely impact of large magnitude earthquakes at specific locations, before they happen.

Supermarket lighting enhances nutrient level of fresh spinach
Far from being a food spoiler, the fluorescent lighting in supermarkets actually can boost the nutritional value of fresh spinach, scientists are reporting.

Safety data favor norepinephrine over dopamine for shock
Physicians treating patients with shock should consider norepinephrine instead of dopamine as a tool for stabilizing blood pressure, according to an editorial in the March 4, 2010, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers find weakness in common digital security system
The most common digital security technique used to protect both media copyright and Internet communications has a major weakness, University of Michigan computer scientists have discovered.

SEBM Young Investigator Awards for 2010
SEBM is pleased to announce the 2010 winners of the Young Investigator Award.

Community involvement important in fight against childhood obesity, according to UTHealth researchers
Community support of school obesity prevention programs is critical to achieving a significant decrease in obesity among children, according to researchers at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living, which is part of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Adverse events rate is low when propofol is administered by trained professional
Propofol is safe for advanced endoscopic procedures with a low rate of sedation-related adverse events when administered by a trained professional.

Endangered Species Research publishes theme section on biologging science
Biologging -- the use of miniaturized electronic tags to track animals in the wild -- has revealed previously unknown information about a wide variety of ocean animals.

Early test for a killer of the sickest
An early test for fungal infections that measures how a patient's genes are responding could save the lives of some very sick patients.

Transplant drug preserves kidneys, avoids toxicity
The experimental drug belatacept can prevent graft rejection in kidney transplant recipients while better preserving kidney function when compared with standard immunosuppressive drugs, data from two international phase III clinical trials show.

Leading entomologist to give talk at UCR on communication and cooperation in ant societies
Bert Hoelldobler, one of the world's great ant experts and foundation professor of life sciences at Arizona State University, will give a free public lecture at the University of California, Riverside, on Monday, March 8.

Foodborne illness costs US $152 billion annually, landmark report estimates
A new study by a former US Food and Drug Administration economist estimates the total economic impact of foodborne illness across the nation to be a combined $152 billion annually.

Costly tests may not help detect bladder cancer recurrence, M. D. Anderson study finds
In a new study from the University of Texas M.

Kids lose pounds, gain fitness in Houston study
Innovative, kid-friendly strategies for losing weight and gaining nutrition savvy -- plus physical fitness skills -- are emerging from scientific studies funded by the Agricultural Research Service.

Michigan surgeon Jennifer Hirsch, M.D., earns national award for women in cardiac surgery
University of Michigan's Jennifer C. Hirsch, M.D., M.S., was selected for the Nina Starr Braunwald award, a top award for women in cardiac surgery.

Vigilance needed in nanotechnology
University of Calgary researchers have developed a methodology to measure various aspects of nanoparticles in the blood stream of chicken embryos.

Battling a biceps injury
People who suffer from injuries to the distal biceps tendon may benefit from earlier surgical intervention and new surgical techniques, according to a review article published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Soccer reduces risk of falls and bone fractures
An extensive research project has studied the effects of soccer on muscle strength, postural balance, bone mineral density and reflex response among adult women and men.

Strategic research program needed to determine whether, how past climate influenced human evolution
Understanding how past climate may have influenced human evolution could be dramatically enhanced by an international cross-disciplinary research program.

American Society for Microbiology honors Samuel L. Katz
The 2010 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award is presented to Samuel L.

Study shows pine bark reduces blood pressure, counteracts kidney damage caused by hypertension
A new study shows pine bark naturally reduces blood pressure and counteracts kidney damage caused by hypertension.

Targeting leukemia cell's gene 'addiction' presents new strategy for treatment
An international team of scientists studying acute forms of leukemia have identified a new drug target to inhibit the genes which are vital for the growth of diseased cells.

American pika are thriving in the Sierra Nevada and southwestern Great Basin
The American pika tolerates cold climate environments through physiological and behavioral adaptations which may make them sensitive to even mildly warm climates.

Hormone replacement therapy linked to increased lung cancer risk
Peri- and postmenopausal women aged 50 to 76 who take estrogen plus progestin may have an increased risk of lung cancer, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

MIT student inventor honored for transformative work in genomics and linguistics
A scientific

Pew announces 2010 recipients of distinguished marine conservation fellowship
The Pew Environment Group announced today that five individuals, representing Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom and Uruguay, received the 2010 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.

Comparative effectiveness trial leads to evidence-based care for childhood epilepsy
The first comprehensive comparative effectiveness clinical trial of three widely used anti-seizure drugs for childhood absence epilepsy -- the most common form of epilepsy in kids -- has established an evidence-based approach for initial drug therapy.

New technique to probe hidden dynamics of molecular biology
Funded by a $1 million grant from the W. M.

Delaying post-surgical radiation increases risk of breast cancer recurrence in older women
Older women who have had breast cancer surgery have a greater risk of the cancer returning if they delay their post-surgical radiation treatment, report Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists.

Patient age not a factor in use of second-line therapy for lung cancer
Research published in the March issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology sought to determine whether differences existed in tolerance and efficacy between patients age 70 and over and younger patients with non-small cell lung cancer receiving salvage targeted therapy with epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors or chemotherapy.

Study: Climate change one factor in malaria spread
Climate change is one reason malaria is on the rise in some parts of the world, new research finds, but other factors such as migration and land-use changes are likely also at play.

Magnetic stimulation offers potential nondrug treatment option for migraine patients
A new hand-held device that delivers a magnetic pulse to the back of the head could be a promising noninvasive, nondrug treatment option for patients with migraine.

First of missing primitive stars discovered
Astronomers have discovered a relic from the early universe -- a star that may have been among the second generation of stars to form after the Big Bang.

Scientists locate apparent hydrothermal vents off Antarctica
Scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have found evidence of hydrothermal vents on the seafloor near Antarctica, formerly a blank spot on the map for researchers wanting to learn more about seafloor formation and the bizarre life forms drawn to these extreme environments.

Parkinson's disease makes it harder to figure out how other people feel
Scientists are beginning to find out why people with Parkinson's disease often feel socially awkward.

Air Force eyes mini-thrusters for use in satellite propulsion
Mini-thrusters or miniature, electric propulsion systems are being developed, which could make it easier for the US Air Force's small satellites, including the latest CubeSats, to perform space maneuvers and undertake formidable tasks like searching for planets beyond our solar system.

New way to control disease-spreading mosquitoes: Make them hold their urine
Cornell researchers have found a protein that may lead to a new way to control mosquitoes that spread dengue fever, yellow fever and other diseases when they feed on humans: Prevent them from urinating as they feed on blood.

Gladstone scientists identify key protein in energy regulation
Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology report on a new mechanism that governs this pathway and in the process identified a novel potential therapeutic target for controlling fat metabolism.

Helping hydrogen: Student inventor tackles challenge of hydrogen storage
Determined to play a key role in solving global dependency on fossil fuels, Javad Rafiee, a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has developed a new method for storing hydrogen at room temperature.

'Microrings' could nix wires for communications in homes, offices
Purdue University researchers have developed a miniature device capable of converting ultrafast laser pulses into bursts of radio-frequency signals, a step toward making wires obsolete for communications in the homes and offices of the future.

Scientific community to set research agenda for infection prevention and control for next decade
The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Inc., and the Infectious Diseases Society of America are convening the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections 2010, the scientific event to set the health-care-associated infection prevention for the next decade March 18-22, 2010, in Atlanta, Ga.

Experts support new federal center for Medicare and Medicaid innovation
Despite the loss of the Democrats' supermajority necessary to pass comprehensive national health-care reform, new legislation is needed to promote greater efficiency in the medical delivery system.

The cosmic bat
The delicate nebula NGC 1788, located in a dark and often neglected corner of the Orion constellation, is revealed in a new and finely nuanced image that ESO is releasing today.

Hemoglobin A1c outperforms fasting glucose for risk prediction
Measurements of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) more accurately identify persons at risk for clinical outcomes than the commonly used measurement of fasting glucose, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dinosaurs might be older than previously thought
Paleontologists announced the discovery of a dinosaur-like animal living 10 million years earlier than the oldest known dinosaurs.

Queen's University Belfast nets €3.5M for water quality research
A Queen's University Belfast research center has netted a €3.5M ($4.8M) grant from the European Union to fund research into improving water quality and quantity for future generations.

Students find 'lost' office gear with tiny sensors
Miniature sensors being developed by CSIRO promise to provide the answers to questions which seem to arise regularly in modern office workplaces like:

Pneumococcal vaccine offers protection to HIV-infected African adults in clinical trial
A clinical trial of a vaccine against a major cause of pneumonia and meningitis has shown that it can prevent three out of four cases of re-infection in HIV-infected adults in Africa.

Lung cancer research explores the effects of patient attitudes on patient outcomes
Research published in the March edition of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology explored the importance of a patient's outlook as it relates to health behavior and health status.

HIV vaccine strategy expands immune responses
Two teams of researchers -- including Los Alamos National Laboratory theoretical biologists Bette Korber, Will Fischer, Sydeaka Watson, and James Szinger -- have announced an HIV vaccination strategy that has been shown to expand the breadth and depth of immune responses in rhesus monkeys.

Dr. Hunter Handsfield wins prestigious Thomas Parran Award
University of Washington's Dr. H. Hunter Handsfield, a long-time trailblazer in sexually transmitted diseases (STD) research, will receive the nation's highest honor in the STD field during the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 National STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta, March 8-11.

Beta blocker therapy underused in heart failure patients
New Saint Louis University research has found that beta blockers, a class of drugs used to prevent the progression of heart failure and manage arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) and hypertension (high blood pressure), are underused in heart failure patients who receive implantable cardiac devices.

Ocular shingles linked to increased risk of stroke
Having a shingles infection that affects the eyes may increase the risk of stroke, according to new research published in the March 3, 2010, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Utah paleontologist part of international team to discover oldest known dinosaur relative
Until now, paleontologists have generally believed that the closest relatives of dinosaurs possibly looked a little smaller in size, walked on two legs and were carnivorous.

Flexing your marathon muscles at work
Dr. Danit Ein-Gar of Tel Aviv University's Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration has found that high-in-self-control people tend to use all of their resources at once -- concentrating intently on the task immediately at hand -- but are stymied when unexpected challenges are thrown their way.

Choosing a university degree is not linked to personality
Researchers from the University of Cadiz have studied the connection between professional preferences and personality, based on interviews and questionnaires carried out on 735 secondary school students from the province of Cadiz.

A rocking good lecture
A University academic who left school early with dreams of being a rock star has been recognized for his internationally outstanding work in microbiology and his studies into the social lifestyle of the opportunistic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa -- the leading cause of death in cystic fibrosis patients and an important cause of hospital acquired infections.

American Society for Microbiology honors J. Michael Miller
The 2010 American Society for Microbiology Gen-Probe Joseph Public Health Award is being presented to J.

Immune responses to mitochondria help explain body's inflammatory response to injury
A new study suggests that mitochondria can be released into the bloodstream following physical injury, resulting in a sepsis-like immune response, and leading to the onset of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome.

IWMI signs MOU with government of Lao PDR for better management of water and land resources
IWMI and the government of Lao PDR have signed an MOU towards the sustainable management of water and land resources in Laos and will enable IWMI and the government to work closely together on the sustainable development of land and water resources in Laos through the introduction of best practices, and recommendations for better policies and good governance.

25th anniversary of anti-AIDS drugs
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, released a special issue of the journal Antiviral Research, marking the 25th anniversary of antiretroviral drug development.

Improved near-real-time tracking of 2010 El Niño reveals marine life reductions
The ongoing El Niño of 2010 is affecting north Pacific Ocean ecosystems in ways that could affect the West Coast fishing industry, according to scientists at NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

City tours by mouse click
Cities have to come up with creative ideas to attract investors.

In the battle against childhood obesity, review effectiveness before implementing policies
Before developing specific anti-obesity strategies, lawmakers and advocates should review the evidence on program effectiveness and costs in order to avoid policies that either won't work or will waste money, says Cornell economist John Cawley, in

Scientists discover cause of destructive inflammations
The signaling molecule CD95L, known as

Cows like leaves their tongues can wrap around easily
Lots of leaves growing in easy reach of a cow's tongue means less time and less land needed to raise beef cattle.

Road salt and cars produce extreme water contamination in Frenchman's Bay, UTSC research reveals
The levels of contamination to water and sediment in Frenchman's Bay in Pickering, Ontario, greatly exceed provincial water quality standards, in some cases by as much as 250 percent, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Toronto, Scarborough.

Online daters behave similarly to those who meet face-to-face, University of Kansas researcher says
Jeffrey Hall surveyed more than 5,000 participants in a national Internet matchmaking service to determine what kinds of people are most likely to lie during the online dating process.

American Society for Microbiology honors Patrick R. Murray
The 2010 American Society for Microbiology Founders Distinguished Service Award is being presented to Patrick R.

Mineral studies advance antibacterial alternatives
Alternative approaches to medicine are stock-in-trade in the Arizona State University laboratory of microbiologist Shelley Haydel.

Charles Drew University, UC Irvine awarded $480,000 grant for research low birth weight infants
Researchers at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science and UC Irvine will monitor the day-to-day health of low-birth-weight babies and their parents as part of a comprehensive initiative designed to combat chronic illnesses associated with low-weight births.

Researchers examine plant's ability to identify, block invading bacteria
Understanding how plants defend themselves from bacterial infections may help researchers understand how people and other animals could be better protected from such pathogens.

Second dose of gene therapy for inherited blindness proves safe in animal studies
A research team that conducted the gene therapy trial for an inherited blindness reports that a study in animals has shown that a second injection of genes into the opposite, previously untreated eye is safe and effective, with no signs of interference from unwanted immune reactions following the earlier injection.

A convincing mimic: Scientists report octopus imitating flounder in the Atlantic
MBL Senior Scientist and cephalopod expert Roger Hanlon and his colleagues report the exceptional camouflage capabilities of the Atlantic longarm octopus, Macrotritopus defilippi, whose strategy for avoiding predators includes expertly disguising itself as a flounder.

American Society for Microbiology honors Hans Wolf-Watz
The 2010 American Society for Microbiology GlaxoSmithKline International ASM Member of the Year Award is presented to Hans Wolf-Watz, Ph.D., professor, Umeå University, Sweden, for his seminal work in the elucidation of the host-pathogen interaction of Yersinia, as well as his international collaborations, which have resulted in fundamental progress in the field.

'World's most useful tree' provides low-cost water purification method for developing world
A low-cost water purification technique published in Current Protocols in Microbiology could help drastically reduce the incidence of waterborne disease in the developing world.

Tough new spuds take on double trouble
Five new potato breeding lines being tested by Agricultural Research Service scientists and collaborators could open the door to new varieties of the crop that resist powdery scab and black dot diseases.

American Society for Microbiology honors Renato J. Aguilera
The 2010 American Society for Microbiology William A. Hinton Research Training Award will be presented to Renato J.

Nuclear physics promises earlier detection of brain tumors with just 1 scan
Time taken to detect brain tumors could soon be significantly reduced thanks to an ongoing pioneering project led by the University of Liverpool with the nuclear physics group and technology departments at the Science and Technology Facilities Council at Daresbury Laboratory. 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