Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 25, 2010
SpaceOps 2010 conference to be held in Huntsville, Ala.
The SpaceOps 2010 Conference will be held April 25-30 at the Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Breathe easy: A natural fruit compound may help asthma
A preliminary study by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research shows that natural chemicals from blackcurrants may help breathing in some types of asthma.

Novel Parkinson's treatment strategy involves cell transplantation
UCSF scientists have used a novel cell-based strategy to treat motor symptoms in rats with a disease designed to mimic Parkinson's disease.

Talk to your babies
Northwestern University researchers have found that even before infants begin to speak, words play an important role in their cognition.

11 questions for the next decade of geographical sciences identified
Eleven questions that should shape the next decade of geographical sciences research were identified today in a new report by the National Research Council.

A prescription for excellence
With overdoses and deaths involving the use of prescription drugs skyrocketing in the United States, the US Department of Justice has selected the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University to host a new initiative to reduce diversion and abuse of these drugs: the PMP Center of Excellence.

April 2010 Geology and GSA Today highlights
Geology articles include several related to volcanism, with one proposing a new name (

The Medicare donut hole: Now you're covered, now you're not
If you're older, a woman, and suffering from either dementia or diabetes, you are the most likely to be exposed to unsubsidized medication costs in the US.

Most kidney transplant candidates will accept risk of infection
Most kidney transplant candidates are willing to receive a kidney from a donor at increased risk of viral infection, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

When will children disobey parents? It depends on the rule
A study of 60 4- to 7-year-olds that considers the connections between control over issues within children's personal domain, identity, and emotional well-being has found that children make important distinctions between different kinds of rules.

Study IDs medical conditions that put seniors at risk of falling into Medicare 'donut hole'
Among seniors, women and patients with diabetes and dementia are the most likely to fall into the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan

McMaster researchers discover how cells recognize viral toxin
New research from McMaster University has identified how specific proteins on the surface of cells, known as class A scavenger receptors, bind to double-stranded RNA and bring it into the cell, jumpstarting the immune response to a virus.

Mexican Americans less likely than whites to call 9-1-1 for stroke
Mexican Americans are 40 percent less likely than non-Hispanic whites to call 9-1-1 and be taken to the hospital via ambulance for stroke -- resulting in medical treatment delays -- according to a new study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Tumors hide out from the immune system by mimicking lymph nodes
A new mechanism explaining how tumors escape the body's natural immune surveillance has recently been discovered at EPFL in Switzerland.

Study pinpoints causes of child death in China
Pneumonia is the leading cause of death amongst Chinese children, accounting for 17 percent of deaths in children under age five, according to a new study.

Iowa State study finds flaxseed lowers high cholesterol in men
A new study from Iowa State University's Nutrition and Wellness Research Center may give men a way to combat high cholesterol without drugs -- if they don't mind sprinkling some flaxseed into their daily diet.

Child sexual abuse: A risk factor for pregnancy
Sexual abuse in childhood increases the chances of high-risk pregnancy, shows a new study.

Astronomers confirm Einstein's theory of relativity and accelerating cosmic expansion
University of British Columbia astronomer Ludovic Van Waerbeke with an international team has confirmed that the expansion of the universe is accelerating after looking at data from the largest-ever survey conducted by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Carnegie Mellon scientists create rainbow of fluorescent probes
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University's department of chemistry and Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center are advancing the state-of-the-art in live cell fluorescent imaging by developing a new class of fluorescent probes that span the spectrum -- from violet to the near-infrared.

Charles Drew University researcher will be honored for discoveries
Dr. Mamdooh Ghoneum will be honored today for his discoveries in cancer research and treatment.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
A novel research project spearheaded by the University of Leicester and part-funded by the Leverhulme Trust aims to shed new light on the way people perceive art.

New period of brain 'plasticity' created with transplanted embryonic cells
UCSF scientists report that they were able to prompt a new period of

Medical schools partner to tackle barriers to minority participation in cancer clinical trials
The University of Minnesota Medical School today announced the details of a $3.8 million grant by the National Institutes of Health's National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities for research focused on minority recruitment and retention in cancer clinical trials.

Kidney disease hides in people with undiagnosed diabetes
Millions of Americans may have chronic kidney disease and not know it, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

New Scientist reporter wins ASM Public Communications Award
The 2010 American Society for Microbiology Public Communication Award has been awarded to New Scientist reporter Debora MacKenzie for her feature about the potential for a universal flu vaccine.

Slowing down immune system's 'brakes' may improve HIV vaccines
Like a skittish driver slamming the brakes, a special class of T cells may be limiting the effectiveness of therapeutic vaccines for HIV by slowing the immune system response too soon, report University of Pittsburgh health science researchers in the current issue of PLoS ONE.

New world record in energy-efficient data processing
Scientists from Frankfurt's Goethe University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology developed a system that substantially reduces the energy consumption for processing huge amounts of data.

Pilot program allows gypsy students to improve school performance and integration
The program was implemented in a secondary school in the province of Granada, Spain.

Is it really bipolar disorder?
A study from Rhode Island Hospital has shown that a widely-used screening tool for bipolar disorder may incorrectly indicate borderline personality disorder rather than bipolar disorder.

New therapies increase survival rates in post-transplant liver cancer patients
A recent study found that sirolimus-based immunosuppression following liver transplantation in patients with non-resectable hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) significantly increases survival rates for this patient population.

Patients requesting prophylactic mastectomies overestimate their breast cancer risk
Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer believe the risk of the disease occurring in their unaffected breast is as much as 10 times higher than it actually is.

New way discovered to predict which breast cancer patients should be treated with anthracyclines
British researchers have discovered a new way of detecting which breast cancer patients are going to respond best to chemotherapy that includes anthracycline antibiotics.

Chymase inhibitors could enhance treatment for damaged hearts
Millions of patients with high blood pressure and heart failure take a class of drugs known as ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors.

New boreal forest biomass maps produced from radar satellite data
Having a large-scale boreal forest biomass inventory would allow scientists to understand better the carbon cycle and to predict more accurately Earth's future climate.

Hepatitis C treatment less effective in urban minority patients
A recent study confirms that the standard hepatitis C therapy, pegylated interferon and ribavirin, is significantly less effective in urban minority patients treated in an ordinary clinical practice setting compared with results produced during clinical trials.

EVMS receives more than $1 million in federal funds to develop new ways to reverse type 1 diabetes
Researchers at the Eastern Virginia Medical School Strelitz Diabetes Center have been awarded a $1,076,250 grant by the US Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program to develop new ways of reversing the underlying causes of type 1 diabetes.

New gateway to treat leukemia and other cancers
Canadian researchers have discovered a previously hidden channel to attack leukemia and other cancer cells, according to a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Early child-parent attachment affects behavior, especially for boys
A meta-analysis of 69 studies involving almost 6,000 children ages 12 and younger shows that children, especially boys, who are insecurely attached to their mothers in the early years have more behavior problems later in childhood.

After growth spurt, supermassive black holes spend half their lives veiled in dust
Supermassive black holes found at the centers of distant galaxies undergo huge growth spurts as a result of galactic collisions, according to a new study by astronomers at Yale University and the University of Hawaii.

Sun protection program increases hat use among 4th graders
A sun protection program designed to persuade students to wear hats outdoors as a skin cancer prevention measure works -- at least at school.

Imani reaches cyclone status 'by the tail'
Just like the old song by Buck Owens,

Pregnant women can receive breast cancer chemotherapy without endangering health of their babies
German researchers have found that women who discover they have breast cancer while they are pregnant can be treated with chemotherapy without endangering the health of their unborn baby.

Carnegie Mellon's kitchen chemistry makes science palatable
Molecular gastronomy or molecular cuisine, the culinary movement that uses chemistry, is heating up kitchens worldwide.

WHOI expertise, technology, tapped for search for Air France Flight 447
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is part of an international sea search operation formed to locate the deep-sea wreck site of Air France Flight 447 and to retrieve the flight recorders from the Airbus A 330.

Move over predators: Plants can control the food chain too -- from the bottom up
Forget top-to-bottom only. New Cornell University evolutionary biology research shows how plants at the bottom of the food chain have evolved mechanisms that influence ecosystem dynamics as well.

Community-acquired MRSA becoming more common in pediatric ICU patients
Once considered a hospital anomaly, community-acquired infections with drug-resistant strains of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus now turn up regularly among children hospitalized in the intensive-care unit, according to research from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Hubble confirms cosmic acceleration with weak lensing
A new study led by European scientists presents the most comprehensive analysis of data from the most ambitious survey ever undertaken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

More economical process for making ethanol from nonfood sources
Scientists in Wisconsin are reporting discovery of a way to lower the cost of converting wood, corn stalks and other materials into ethanol fuel.

Finding a potential new target for treating rheumatoid arthritis
By enhancing the activity of immune cells that protect against runaway inflammation, researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center may have found a novel therapy for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

Targeting cell pathway may prevent relapse of leukemia
About 40 percent of children and up to 70 percent of adults in remission from acute myelogenous leukemia will have a relapse.

The quality of the tomato depends more on temperature than on natural light
A team from the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development has questioned the generally held belief that the quality of tomatoes depends primarily on their exposure to natural light and states that the most determining factor is temperature.

Keeping cattle cool and stress-free is goal of ARS study
Identifying the causes of heat stress in cattle and finding ways to manage it are the goals of Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators who are helping producers deal with this significant production problem.

Gaining autonomy through decision-making
Using parent reports, a longitudinal study of 200 families has found that young people's input into decisions increased gradually from ages 9 to 14, and then surged from ages 15 to 20.

Expedition heads for world's deepest undersea volcanoes
A British scientific expedition is heading into the world's deepest volcanic rift, more than three miles beneath the waves in the Caribbean, to hunt for the deepest

Rotman paper finds exposure to fast food can make us impatient
Fast food has become an industry that has widespread influence on what and how we eat.

Pollution from Asia circles globe at stratospheric heights
The economic growth across much of Asia is coming with a troubling side-effect: pollutants from the region are being wafted up to the stratosphere during monsoon season.

Pursuit of status and affection drives bullies' behavior
A longitudinal study of almost 500 Dutch elementary-school children ages 9 to 12 finds that bullies generally choose to gain status by dominating their victims and that, at the same time, bullies try to reduce the chances that they'll end up on the outs with other classmates by choosing as victims children who are weak and not well-liked by others.

China must accelerate progress towards clean air and water
While China's tenfold increase in gross domestic product during the past 15 years has pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, environmental risk factors, especially air and water pollution, remain a major cause of death and disease in China.

In brain-injured children, early gesturing predicts language delays
A new study has found that gesturing at 18 months (but not early speech) predicted which children with pre- or perinatal brain lesions had vocabulary delays a year later.

Bilingual family liaisons increasingly important service for schools
According to Lissette M. Piedra, a professor of social work at Illinois, eliminating auxiliary positions such as bilingual family liaisons to save money now will ultimately only hurt a community, especially ones with a growing Latino population.

Scientists find first ever southern tyrannosaur dinosaur
Scientists from Cambridge, London and Melbourne have found the first ever evidence that tyrannosaur dinosaurs existed in the southern continents.

NSF announces partnership with association of petroleum
The National Science Foundation today announced a partnership with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists to increase funding in the earth sciences over the next five years.

Memory decline linked to an inability to ignore distractions
One of the most common complaints among healthy older adults relates to a decline in memory performance.

Tropical storm Omais weakens and doubles in size
Tropical storm Omais has run into wind shear in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, but as it has weakened overnight it has also doubled in size.

How does a heart know when it's big enough?
A protein discovered in fruit fly eyes has brought a Johns Hopkins team closer to understanding how the human heart and other organs automatically

UCI professor wins 2010 Templeton Prize
Francisco Ayala, UC Irvine professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, who has vigorously opposed the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for mutual respect between the two, has won the 2010 Templeton Prize.

Changing incentive system for China's health-care providers could mean large improvements in care quality and coverage, and reduce costs
Inappropriate incentives as part of China's fee-for-service payment system have resulted in rapid cost increase, inefficiencies, poor quality, unaffordable health care and an erosion of medical ethics.

Eli Lilly and Co. joins SNM's Clinical Trials Network
Eli Lilly and Co., has joined SNM's Clinical Trials Network -- making it the third major company to formally support this initiative to facilitate the development of promising therapeutic medicines.

Safer nuclear reactors could result from Los Alamos research
Self-repairing materials within nuclear reactors may one day become a reality as a result of research by Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists.

Biology Web sites tapped for prestigious prize by Science
In a great example of

Autism susceptibility genes identified
Two genes have been associated with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) in a new study of 661 families.

Mass. General Hospital to create registry for coronary optical coherence tomography
Massachusetts General Hospital, together with a coalition of 20 international sites in five countries, will create the world's largest registry of patients who have had optical coherence tomography of the coronary arteries.

Spoiler alert: TV medical dramas 'rife' with bioethical issues and breaches of professional conduct
A medical student and faculty directors from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics analyzed depictions of bioethical issues and professionalism over a full season of two popular medical dramas --

Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
The following highlights summarize research articles that are published in the April 2010 issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

Study finds surgical masks provided effective protection of health-care workers against H1N1
The effectiveness of ordinary surgical masks as opposed to respirators in protecting health-care workers against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus has been the subject of debate.

New test takes guesswork out of diagnosing early stage Alzheimer's disease
A new test developed by Japanese scientists may revolutionize how and when physicians diagnose Alzheimer's disease.

Excellence in education research earns K-State's Stephen Benton Fellow status
Stephen Benton, Kansas State University professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, has been selected a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association.

New research indicates plants can grow quickly or ward off hungry insects, but not both
There's a war occurring each day in our backyards -- plant versus plant-eating insect versus insect-eating insect.

'A-maize-ing' discovery could lead to higher corn yields for food, feed and fuel
Scientists may have made a discovery that could lead to higher corn yields in the United States.

New insights into the 3-D organization of the human genome
Insights into the genomics of the human nucleolus have been revealed in a study by researchers from the University of Regensburg and the Ludwig Maximilians University in Germany and the Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe in Spain.

Chemist monitors nanotechnology's environmental impact
Interest in

A new fossil species found in Spain
In the '80s, Spanish researchers found the first fossils of Cloudina in Spain, a small fossil of tubular appearance and one of the first animals that developed an external skeleton between 550 and 543 million years ago.

University of the Basque Country develops system for identifying illnesses in Paraguay
Xabier Basogain Olabe, lecturer at the Higher Technical School of Engineering in Bilbao, is leading this project, known as Bonis.

Insulin-like signal needed to keep stem cells alive in adult brain
Most parts of the fruit fly brain, as well as the human brain, are devoid of neural stem cells, which means that once a nerve cell dies, it can't be replaced.

Blueprint for 'artificial leaf' mimics Mother Nature
Scientists today presented a design strategy to produce the long-sought artificial leaf, which could harness Mother Nature's ability to produce energy from sunlight and water in the process called photosynthesis.

Notion of 'group think' questioned
A University of Alberta researcher is questioning the notion of

Of mice and memory: 'Working memory' of mice can be improved
Mice trained to improve their working memory become more intelligent, suggesting that similar improvements in working memory might help human beings enhance their brain power, according to research published today in Current Biology by researchers at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

New understanding of protein's role in brain
A team of researchers headed by Dr. Nahum Sonenberg of McGill's Department of Biochemistry and Goodman Cancer Centre has discovered that brains in mammals modify a particular protein in a unique way, which alters the protein's normal function.

Women bear caregiving responsibility in cases of dependency in Spain
Women are the main caregivers for the elderly in 80 percent of the cases, according to a study by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Many factors contribute to adolescents' decision-making autonomy
Decision-making within families is an important way for young people to gain independence and responsibility, and adolescence is a time of increasing autonomy.

DOE JGI wins 2010 Ergo Cup
The US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute now has a matched pair of Ergo Cups after winning at the 13th Annual Applied Ergonomics Conference held March 22-25, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas.

Inflammation in body fat is not only pernicious
It has been a common opinion that inflammation in adipose tissue may cause insulin resistance, and thereby type 2 diabetes.

Pregnancy for breast cancer survivors: Meta-analysis reveals it is safe and could improve survival
Women who have been treated for breast cancer can choose to become pregnant and have babies, without fears that pregnancy could put them at higher risk of dying from their cancer, according to a major new study.

Newly identified proteins critical to FA pathway DNA repair function
Identification of two new proteins in the Fanconi anemia DNA repair pathway may help explain genetic instability in people with Fanconi anemia and how otherwise healthy people are susceptible to cancer from environmentally triggered DNA damage.

Hong Kong: A model of successful tobacco control in China
A comment published online first in the Lancet describes Hong Kong as a

Studies reveal associations between pregnancy, breastfeeding, breast cancer and survival
Two studies present new evidence on the associations between pregnancy, breastfeeding, breast cancer and survival.

TRMM satellite rainfall map of Cyclone Ului's Queensland flooding
Queensland, Australia, was recently hit by its second tropical cyclone of the season.

Your fat may help you heal
A person's own fat cells may be the source of matrix material to grow new cells and, ultimately, new tissue for humans without risk of rejection.

Pneumonia, birth asphyxia and preterm birth complications leading causes of death in children under 5 in China
New research shows that pneumonia, birth asphyxia, and preterm birth complications are the leading causes of death in children under five in China (2008 data), with each accounting for between 15-17 percent of deaths in children in this age group. 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