Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 22, 2010
University of Toronto scholars receive prestigious New Directions Fellowships
Toronto medieval historian Nicholas Everett and Walid Saleh, a religion and Middle East scholar, have each received New Directions Fellowships from the Mellon Foundation to pursue cross-disciplinary research.

Helium rain on Jupiter explains lack of neon in atmosphere
When the Galileo probe descended through Jupiter's atmosphere in 1995, it found neon to be one-tenth as abundant as predicted.

Helium rain on Jupiter
There's less neon in Jupiter's upper atmosphere than scientists expected.

Children with autistic traits remain undiagnosed
here has been a major increase in the incidence of autism over the last twenty years.

At UC Davis, South Americans learn to help health, environment and industry back home
University of California, Davis, scientists are helping rice farmers in Uruguay stop polluting their waterways -- including drinking-water sources and a globally valuable nature reserve.

Cognition declines 4 times faster in people with Alzheimer's disease than those with no dementia
People with Alzheimer's disease experience a rate of cognitive decline four times greater than those with no cognitive impairment according to a new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Our eye position betrays the numbers we have in mind, new study
It will be harder to lie about your age or your poker hand after new research by the University of Melbourne, Australia has revealed that our eye position betrays the numbers we are thinking about.

UC center chosen to study auditory brain stem implants
If a siren sounded but you were deaf, might you still be able to hear the sound?

Infertility increases a man's risk of prostate cancer
Infertile men have an increased risk of developing high grade prostate cancer, which is more likely to grow and spread quickly.

Syngenta Crop Protection Canada announces seed treatment project with Innovotech
Syngenta Crop Protection Canada Inc. today announced its intent to work with Innovotech, a Canadian biotechnology product development company, clearing the way for continued research trials in North America on the new plant bacterial blight research product, oxysilver nitrate.

Women caught up in 'rug rat race'
College-educated mothers in the United States are going to extremes to secure elite college admission for their kids, say University of California, San Diego economists Garey and Valerie Ramey.

4 preventable risk factors reduce US life expectancy and lead to health disparities
A study published this week in PLoS Medicine finds that four risk factors -- smoking, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity -- explain a substantial amount of the disparity in life expectancy amongst the

4 preventable risk factors reduce life expectancy in US and lead to health disparities
A new study led by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in collaboration with researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimates that smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and overweight and obesity currently reduce life expectancy in the US by 4.9 years in men and 4.1 years in women.

Healthy food makes consumers feel hungrier when choices are limited
If we don't have a choice in the matter, eating something that's considered healthy might simply lead us to feel hungry and eat something else, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Practice patterns in the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism vary, study suggests
The imaging tests used in the diagnosis of possible pulmonary embolism vary by physician specialty and geographic region, which suggests that some of this imaging may be inappropriate, according to a study in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Can the morphology of fossil leaves tell us how early flowering plants grew?
Fossils of angiosperms first appear in the fossil record about 140 million years ago.

Apples for me, Doritos for you: Consumers buy healthier foods for themselves
Feel like Mom is pushing dessert? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers choose foods that are less healthy when they are purchasing for others.

Study explores link between sunlight, multiple sclerosis
For more than 30 years, scientists have known that multiple sclerosis is much more common in higher latitudes than in the tropics.

Overcoming tumor resistance to anti-cancer agent TRAIL
The TRAIL ligand is a promising anti-cancer agent that preferentially kills tumor cells without apparent damage to healthy cells.

More water for life
Water is the life-blood of agriculture; it is the liquid elixir that nurtures the growth of billions of hectares of crops needed to feed the world.

Seeing a bionic eye on medicine's horizon
Professor Yael Hanein of Tel Aviv University's School of Electrical Engineering has foundational research that may give sight to blind eyes, merging retinal nerves with electrodes to stimulate cell growth.

Combining weight-focused counseling, medication helps women quit smoking
For women smokers worried about their weight, combining cognitive behavioral therapy addressing weight concerns with the medication bupropion appears more effective than counseling alone to help them quit smoking, according to a report in the March 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Virtual colonoscopy allows detection of unsuspected cancers beyond colon
A new, large-scale study of more than 10,000 adults found that more than one in every 200 asymptomatic people screened with CT colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, had clinically unsuspected malignant cancer and more than half of the cancers were located outside the colon.

2010 volume on what counts as evidence in educational settings?
The American Educational Research Association announces publication of the 2010 edition of Review of Research in Education.

Tropical Depression 02W forms in northwestern Pacific
The second tropical depression of the northwestern Pacific tropical cyclone season has formed and is currently located about 235 miles east-southeast of Yap, Micronesia.

TWEAK triggers atrophy of disused muscle
A new study in the Journal of Cell Biology identifies a cytokine signaling pathway that induces the breakdown of disused skeletal muscle.

Incorporating biofunctionality into nanomaterials for medical, health devices
A team led by researchers from North Carolina State University has published a paper explaining how to use atomic layer deposition to incorporate

EPA R&D Chief: Green chemistry will guide US into a sustainable future
Scientific advances in a rapidly emerging field termed

Household pesticide labels lack details on safe use
Label directions for using some household pesticides are written in a way that may leave consumers with the impression that

Memory may decline rapidly even in stage before Alzheimer's disease
Memory and thinking skills may decline rapidly for people who have mild cognitive impairment, which is the stage before Alzheimer's disease when people have mild memory problems but no dementia symptoms, and even more rapidly when dementia begins, which is when Alzheimer's disease is usually diagnosed.

E-waste trade ban won't end environmental threat
In the March 22 edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, researchers from Arizona State University and Nankai University,China, explain why a proposed US ban on the export of electronics waste won't accomplish its goal of stopping crude methods of recycling

Racial disparities diminish in specialized cancer centers
A new study has found that when African-American and white cancer patients are treated at similar, specialized cancer care institutions, mortality rates are roughly equal.

State tax incentives for filmmakers has opposite desired effect
Providing tax credit incentives to the movie industry to attract filming to non-traditional locations actually has a negative impact on state revenues, according to a study in the latest issue of the Journal of Planning Education and Research.

How does context affect consumer judgment?
Research into why people look favorably on a product shows that -- as in real life -- everything is relative.

Walnuts slow prostate tumors in mice
Walnut consumption slows the growth of prostate cancer in mice and has beneficial effects on multiple genes related to the control of tumor growth and metabolism, UC Davis and the US Department of Agriculture Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., have found.

Height loss in postmenopausal women may indicate spinal fracture
Loss of height in postmenopausal women may indicate a vertebral fracture, states an article in CMAJ.

Dangerous custodians
Progressive dementia of Alzheimer's patients is due to an inexorable loss of nerve cells from the brain.

Researchers find Clostridium difficile is more common than MRSA in southeast community hospitals
Researchers studying epidemiology of health-care-associated infections (HAIs) found that rates of CDI surpassed infection rates for MRSA.

University of Kansas researcher investigates mysterious stone spheres in Costa Rica
KU researcher John Hoopes is working for UNESCO to evaluate giant stone balls in Costa Rica that inspired the opening scenes of

Giant 'microscope' trained on glass transition
A team led by physicist Ken Kelton is building an electrostatic levitation chamber that will be installed at the Spallation Neutron Source in Oakridge National Laboratory.

Illinois citizens a key to political change, author says
Illinois residents share the blame for a state government dogged by a legacy of corruption and paralyzed by a deep, festering budget hole, according to a co-author of a new book on state politics.

Feeling left out? Why consumers prefer nostalgic products
When people acutely feel the need to belong, they may reach for a nostalgic treat, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Genes may exert opposite effects in diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease
Pediatric researchers analyzing DNA variations in type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease have found a complex interplay of genes.

ESA's TIGER II to support 20 water projects in Africa
ESA's TIGER II initiative has selected 20 project proposals across Africa to receive support from Earth-observation technology to learn more about the water cycle and to improve water-monitoring resources.

Institute for Web Science partnership announced
The University of Southampton and the University of Oxford have agreed to partner in the establishment of a joint Institute for Web Science.

A thesis characterizes marine conditions of Aralar mountain range of 120 million years ago
The Early Aptian (120 million years ago) was an age of intense volcanic activity on Earth, eruptions that emitted large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, thus causing a revolution in the carbon cycle.

Comprehensive approach associated with reduced MRSA in French hospitals
An intensive program of surveillance, precautions, training and feedback in a large multihospital institution appears to be associated with reductions in rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus over a 15-year period, according to a report in the March 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Learning about riparian areas from photographs
Scientists developed two experiential learning exercises using existing repeat photographs of riparian areas in the state of Arizona that were presented in two different workshops.

Secret to healing chronic wounds might lie in tiny pieces of silent RNA
Scientists have determined that chronic wounds might have trouble healing because of the actions of a tiny piece of a molecular structure in cells known as RNA.

CIESE conference: 'Encouraging Students Toward STEM & IT Careers,' March 23
Stevens Institute of Technology's Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, along with the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, the New Jersey School Counselor Association, and the New Jersey Department of Education will present a one-day conference titled

Modern medicine conquers witchcraft
The authors examined data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey from 2003, involving 10,000 respondents.

Digging for data with Chemlist and ChemSpider
Just like the rest of us, scientists today are swamped with information.

Process in big-screen plasma TVs can produce ultra-clean fuel
The process that lights up big-screen plasma TV displays is getting a new life in producing ultra-clean fuels, according to a report here today at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Top microbiology experts meet in Edinburgh at SGM Spring Conference 2010
Microbiology of the oceans, gut microbes and STIs are just some of the topics reflecting modern microbial science that will be covered next week at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting 2010.

Growing by Biblical portions: Last Supper paintings over Millennium depict growing appetites
The sizes of the portions and plates in more than four dozen depictions of the Last Supper -- painted over the past 1,000 years -- have gradually grown bigger and bigger, according to a Cornell University study published in the International Journal of Obesity (April 2010).

JDRF, Pfizer, Hadassah Medical and the Hebrew University announce collaboration
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, said today that it will begin a diabetes research collaboration with Pfizer, Hadassah Medical Organization, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on drugs to replicate and regenerate insulin-producing cells in people with type 1 diabetes.

Terrorism's 'virtual sisters'
Many terrorist organizations, including Hamas, are using their children's websites in order to recruit girls for terrorist activities.

Public lecture at UC Riverside to focus on what awaits us in the greenhouse world
Geologist Martin Kennedy will give a free public lecture at the University of California, Riverside on climate change, in which he will lay out some of the reasons and evidence for climate change, explain some of the basic controls, and give some examples of how fast and how much climate typically changes in Earth history.

Fearless fish forget their phobias
Imagine if your fear of spiders, heights or flying could be cured with a simple injection.

A more sensitive sensor
Tel Aviv University's Prof. Yael Hanein, Dr. Slava Krylov and Assaf Ya'akobovitz have set out to make sensors for microelectromechanical systems significantly more sensitive and reliable than they are today, shrinking their work to nano size to do it.

Cracking the plant-cell membrane code
To engineer better crops and develop new drugs to combat disease, scientists look at how the sensor-laden membranes surrounding cells interact with their environment.

New superbug surpasses MRSA infection rates in community hospitals
While prevention methods appear to be helping to lower hospital infection rates from MRSA, a deadly antibiotic-resistant bacterium, a new superbug is on the rise, according to research from the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network.

Prenatal health-care providers inconsistent in weight-gain counseling
A new study from UCSF shows that prenatal health care professionals are concerned about patients' excessive weight gain during pregnancy but have difficulty providing effective counseling.

Real-world health nuts: First evidence that walnuts may help fight prostate cancer
Scientists in California are reporting for the first time that walnuts -- already renowned as a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that fight heart disease -- reduce the size and growth rate of prostate cancer in test animals.

Chicken house attics can be tapped to warm broilers
Reducing the cost of keeping broiler chickens warm could result from research by Agricultural Research Service scientists and university cooperators.

Rare body parts find provides vital clues to identity of ancient fossil
A geologist from the University of Leicester is part of a team that has uncovered an ancient water flea-like creature from 425 million years ago -- only the third of its kind ever to be discovered in ancient rocks.

Brown University-led team explains how dinosaurs rose to prominence
A scientific team led by Brown University has learned how dinosaurs became rulers of Earth more than 200 million years ago.

Scans of brain networks may help predict injury's effects
Clinicians may be able to better predict the effects of strokes and other brain injuries by adapting a scanning approach originally developed for study of brain organization, neurologists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Virtual driving leads Penn psychologists to the cells that sense direction in the brain: Path cells
Psychologists led by the University of Pennsylvania have used implantable electrodes and a first-person driving game to identify the cells of the brain that indicate travel in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion, called

Study finds genes that keep watch on blood clotting time
Scientists have discovered three genes that could shed light on the genetic causes of blood-clotting disorders such as thrombosis and some types of stroke.

Motherhood appears to protect against suicide
Motherhood appears to protect against suicide, with increasing numbers of children associated with decreasing rates of death from suicide, found an article in CMAJ.

DOE JGI vying for 2010 Ergo Cup
Having won the Ergo Cup in 2007, the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute goes for a second win with two entries for the Ergo Cup at the 13th Annual Applied Ergonomics Conference held March 22-25, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas.

NASA's TRMM Satellite measures Cyclone Ului's Australian rainfall from space
NASA and the Japanese Space Agency's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite can estimate rainfall from space.

Chest X-rays can help predict which H1N1 patients are at greatest risk
A new study suggests that chest X-rays may play an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of H1N1 influenza by predicting which patients are likely to become sicker.

Dormant microbes promote diversity, serve environment
In a paper published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, Michigan State University's Jay Lennon and Stuart Jones described how they used a mathematical model and molecular tools to study how dormancy affects the biodiversity of natural microbial communities, especially in lakes.

How did gambling become legitimate?
Why do some consumption practices become legitimate while others remain stigmatized?

Numerous factors weighed when patients cannot make their own decisions
A study led by Alexia Torke, M.D., of Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute found that when asked to identify the single most important factor in making decisions for their patients lacking the capability to make their own decisions, physicians most commonly reported

Sea creatures' sex protein provides new insight into diabetes
A genetic accident in the sea more than 500 million years ago has provided new insight into diabetes.

New guidelines for diagnosing, managing and treating Clostridium difficile
A joint panel of experts from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America today released online new clinical practice guidelines for Clostridium difficile infection in adults.

X-rays often inaccurate in the diagnosis of hip and pelvic fractures
Radiographs (standard X-rays) are often inconclusive in the detection of hip and pelvic fractures in the emergency department, according to a study in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Alcohol in moderation is good for sick hearts too
The study shows that moderate consumption, one or two glasses of wine a day or the equivalent amounts of beer or other alcoholic beverages, significantly reduces the risk of death from any cause in those who already suffered from ischemic vascular disease.

How strong is your booze?
Both legitimate brewers and distillers -- and authorities on the track of illicit alcohol from home stills -- will soon have a helping hand.

'AFib Educator' app and widget offers patient dialogue tool for complex cardiovascular disease
AF Stat -- a collaboration of healthcare leaders and organizations working to improve the health and well-being of people affected by atrial fibrillation (AFib) -- today unveiled the

Lombardi receives $7.5 million grant for Breast Cancer Center for Cancer Systems Biology
Scientists at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center were awarded a five-year $7.5 million grant to tease apart -- in the most comprehensive way ever devised -- the role of a single protein receptor in breast cells in cancer development and treatment.

How will tree diseases react to climate change?
Scientists synthesize information about interactions of climate change, plant pathogens and forests in a new report for managers titled

US women and minority scientists discouraged from pursuing STEM careers, national survey shows
Significant numbers of today's women and underrepresented minority chemists and chemical engineers (40 percent) say they were discouraged from pursuing a STEM career (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) at some point in their lives, according to a new Bayer Corporation survey.

Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may cut heart disease risk
A new study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health provides the first conclusive evidence from randomized clinical trials that people who replace saturated fat in their diet with polyunsaturated fat reduce their risk of coronary heart disease by 19 percent, compared with control groups of people who do not.

Bloom's syndrome protein is critical for meiotic recombination
Researchers from Cornell University provide the first analysis of the function of Bloom's syndrome protein (BLM) in mammalian meiosis.

Poorly understood cell plays role in immunity against the flu
A new understanding of a certain cell in the immune system may help guide scientists in creating better flu vaccines, report researchers from the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Immune Disease Institute at Children's Hospital Boston.

Study shows phyical therapy exercise program can reduce risk of postnatal depression in new mothers
A physical therapy exercise and health education program is effective in improving postnatal well-being and reducing the risk for postnatal depression, according to a randomized controlled trial published in the March issue of Physical Therapy, the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Women with radial scars should undergo a surgical excision to rule out an underlying malignancy
Any patient with a breast lesion classified as a radial scar classified at percutaneous biopsy should undergo a surgical excision to rule out an underlying malignancy, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Bone-hard biomaterial
Screws used in surgical operations are often made of titanium.

Sandia to break ground for new computational laboratories building
A groundbreaking ceremony for a new facility -- the Combustion Research Computation and Visualization building, part of the Combustion Research Facility -- will take place at 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 24, on the grounds of Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore.

Consuming street art: Reclaiming public places
Some people love it, and others hate it, but street art provokes meaningful discussion about our urban landscape, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Dual-energy CT accurately diagnoses gout in acute, emergency settings
A medical imaging technique called dual-energy computed tomography is an effective and reliable way to diagnose gout in the acute, emergency setting, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Noninvasive diagnostic imaging utilization rates for the Medicare population vary geographically
The utilization rates of noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedures such as computed tomography scans, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography for the Medicare population vary substantially from region to region, with Atlanta, Ga., having the highest utilization rate and Seattle, Wash., having the lowest, according to a study in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Modified technique significantly reduces radiation dose delivered during ECG-triggered coronary CTA exams
Reduced or no

Eating less meat and dairy products won't have major impact on global warming
Consuming less meat and dairy products will fail to reverse global warming -- despite continual claims that link greenhouse-gas production to eating meat-rich diets.

Success rates for organ transplants are increasing, but organ donations are decreasing, study shows
The number of living donor organs available for transplant has progressively declined over the past five years, according to a new study.

New research cuts into origins of iron and steel in India
The team, led by Dr. Gill Juleff of the University of Exeter's Department of Archaeology, formed one half of a project to study the origins of high carbon steel-making in the southern Indian sub-continent.

Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fatty acids is good for the heart
A study in this week's PLoS Medicine shows that the replacement of dietary saturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces coronary heart disease events, bringing much needed scientific evidence to an issue debated by experts and clinical guidelines.

New alloys key to efficient energy and lighting
Researchers at Arizona State University are making improvements to semiconductor alloys that will help overcome some of the technical roadblocks to producing more effective photovoltaic cells for generating solar energy and will enable light-emitting diodes to provide more versatile and efficient lighting.

April issue of National Geographic magazine takes in-depth look at fresh water
National Geographic's April 2010 issue is devoted to a single topic -- freshwater.

Following protocols can reduce medication errors for heart, stroke patients
Medication errors among hospitalized heart and stroke patients remain a problem.

Fishing discard ban could damage sea bird success, scientists warn
A proposed EU ban on throwing unwanted fish overboard from commercial boats could put one of the North Sea's most successful sea birds at risk, say researchers at the University of Leeds.

Blacks less likely than whites, Hispanics to get evidence-based stroke care
Despite systematic implementation of evidence-based stroke care practices at US hospitals, differences in care remain between black patients and Hispanic or white patients.

Radiotherapy can cause lasting vascular disease
For an as yet unknown reason, cancer radiotherapy can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life, a problem that is growing as more and more people survive their cancer diagnosis.

Risky drinkers less likely to take good care of themselves and seek medical care
A Kaiser Permanente study of 7,884 men and women that found people who engage in frequent heavy drinking report significantly worse health-related practices, such as not wearing seat belts, unhealthy eating, and failing to visit their doctor regularly.

Changes seen in rainfall trends in March, June and October since 1945 in Spain
An international team led by the University of Zaragoza has produced MOPREDAS, the most complete database to date on monthly precipitations in the Iberian Peninsula.

Tectonics: Precision is hallmark of 20-year study
When it comes to 3-D puzzles, Rubik's Cube pales in comparison with the latest creation from geophysicists Richard Gordon, Chuck DeMets and Donald Argus.

Printable sensors
In the future every home will have one: electronic devices that you can control just by pointing a finger.

Tackling cardiovascular disease surge worldwide requires collaboration
Tackling the increasing rates of cardiovascular disease in developing nations will require input from multiple partners, including the business community and international companies as well as global health and development agencies and the governments of these countries, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

NYU School of Medicine presents biomedical researchers Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Awards
The Biotechnology Study Center of NYU School of Medicine will hold its annual awards symposium on April 5, 2010, to honor three outstanding leaders in biomedical research.

Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain
A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same. 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