Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 29, 2010
Dr. Jose L. Jimenez to receive 2010 UM Rosenstiel Award
The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science announced today that it has selected Jose L.

Development of new anti-cancer gene therapy approach using lentiviral vectors
Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen has launched a new cooperative project with Sirion Biotech GmbH in Martinsried to develop new therapeutic approaches against lymphoid tumors.

Study from CWRU Nursing School finds a year after cardiac event only 37 percent still exercising
Even after a heart attack, it's hard to break old sedentary habits.

Did climate influence Angkor's collapse?
Decades of drought, interspersed with intense monsoon rains, may have helped bring about the fall of Cambodia's ancient Khmer civilization at Angkor nearly 600 years ago, according to an analysis of tree rings, archeological remains and other evidence.

Childhood cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials need clearer communication about their role
A small study of children with cancer enrolled in therapeutic clinical research trials shows that they don't fully understand what physicians and parents tell them about their participation, nor do they feel they are genuinely involved in the choice to take part.

Urine sprays during courtship send mixed messages
Walking through urine drives crayfish into an aggressive sexual frenzy.

Scorpion venom provides clues to cause, treatment of pancreatitis
A Brazilian scorpion has provided researchers at North Carolina State University and East Carolina University insight into venom's effects on the ability of certain cells to release critical components.

The forests of the Basque Country are progressing -- slowly, according to research group
Ecosystems are essential for preserving the quality of life of human beings, and society should be aware of this, according to Ms.

Orange corn holds promise for reducing blindness, child death
Decreasing or increasing the function of a newly discovered gene in corn may increase vitamin A content and have significant implications for reducing childhood blindness and mortality rates, according to a Purdue University-led study.

The death of euthanasia
It is time to discard the word euthanasia because it mixes ideas and values that confuses the debate about dying, states an editorial in CMAJ.

Plant hormone regulates nectar production
Plant scientists have discovered that the plant hormone jasmonic acid -- known as a signalling molecule after herbivory -- not only regulates flower development in the bud stage, but also triggers nectar production.

Measuring the stability of organic waste
Scientists present methodologies to measure stability of organic waste focusing on biological indicators, which offers a reliable measurement of the biodegradable organic matter content in organic solid materials, useful for researchers and industrial operators.

CCNY symposium April 23 to explore future of physics
Five prominent physicists from leading US and European universities will explore the future of their discipline at Frontiers in Physics, a daylong symposium presented by the physics department at the City College of New York.

Microorganisms in toxic groundwater fine-tuned to survive
Microorganisms can indeed live in extreme environments, but the ones that do are highly adapted to survive and little else, according to a collaboration that includes US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Joint Genome Institute and the University of Oklahoma.

New clinical prediction index to help patients considering kidney transplant
A new clinical prediction index has been developed to determine the risk of death in patients with end-stage kidney disease considering transplantation, states a Research article in CMAJ.

Study shows that mutations in 1 gene cause many cancers
An important gene that normally protects the body from cancer can itself cause a variety of cancers depending on the specific mutation that damages it.

Bacterial 'food supplements' for small algae
To boost their diet of mineral nutrients and sunlight, small algae also feast on bacteria in order to grow and fix carbon dioxide.

Deep vein thrombosis is more likely to occur on the left side of pregnant women
Deep vein thrombosis in pregnant patients is more likely to occur on the left side, and in particular in the left leg, write the authors of a review article in CMAJ.

Regenstrief Institute to help improve disability determination through health information technology
The Regenstrief Institute has been awarded a Recovery Act contract to help the US Social Security Administration and Indiana health care providers shorten and improve the process of making disability case determinations through automation.

From the clinics to the bench and back -- phenytoin as a mood stabilizer?
Phenytoin is a well known antiepileptic agent widely used throughout the world.

Children's sense of threat from parental fighting determines trauma symptoms
If children feel threatened by even very low levels of violence between their parents, they may be at increased risk for developing trauma symptoms, such as bad dreams and nightmares, new research suggests.

Having plenty of supportive relatives increases fear of dying
Having a large number of supportive relatives increases the fear of dying among the elderly from ethnic minority groups, suggests research in Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Microbes reprogrammed to ooze oil for renewable biofuel
Using genetic sleight of hand, researcher Xinyao Liu and professor Roy Curtiss at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute have coaxed photosynthetic microbes to secrete oil -- bypassing energy and cost barriers that have hampered green biofuel production.

Emerging vegetable boom in African Sahel honored as best bet for banishing chronic hunger
With chronic food shortages afflicting 2.5 million people in Niger, agricultural scientists are rolling out a solution for subsistence farmers that consists of small, market-oriented vegetable plots.

Radiation after mastectomy underused, U-M study finds
While radiation therapy is common after breast conserving surgery, it's much less frequent after mastectomy, even among women for whom it would have clear life-saving benefit.

Molecular middle managers make more decisions than bosses
Organisms are structured at the molecular level in ways similar to social hierarchies.

Elsevier's Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice celebrates 10th year with special issue
Elsevier, a world leader in health care and medical publishing and online solutions, today announced that its Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice will celebrate its 10th anniversary by distributing a special March 2010 issue on restorative dentistry to faculty members, senior dental students and all dental residents in the US.

Moral judgments can be altered
MIT neuroscientists have shown they can influence people's moral judgments by disrupting a specific brain region -- a finding that helps reveal how the brain constructs morality.

Predicting what they say
An Australian-American team of investigators has made novel discoveries about the human ability to predict what other people are about to say.

IT-enabled change must involve the entire organization
The secret to successful IT-enabled change is the right balance between

Conference to set the research agenda on vitamin D in health and disease
An important conference on the actions of vitamin D on human health is being hosted by Barts and the London Medical School and the MRC Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma on Tuesday, March 30.

Diabetes raises risk of death in cancer surgery patients
People with diabetes who undergo cancer surgery are more likely to die in the month following their operations than those who have cancer but not diabetes, an analysis by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests.

Vital role for bacteria in climate-change gas cycle
Isoprene is a Jekyll-and-Hyde gas that is capable of both warming and cooling the Earth depending on the prevailing conditions.

Canadian research team awarded international grant for work on Indigenous peoples health
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto are part of an international team of researchers recently awarded a multi-million dollar grant for their work in cardiovascular disease among Indigenous people in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Why metastasic cells migrate
Migration ability of metastatic cells is not due to an altered mechanism of tumor cells but to a natural capacity of healthy cells.

Type 2 diabetes screening in US population is cost-effective when started between age
New research published in article online first ( and in an upcoming edition of the Lancet shows that, in the US population, screening for type 2 diabetes is cost effective when started between the ages of 30 years and 45 years, with screening repeated every three to five years.

Dangerous plaques in blood vessels rupture by overproducing protein-busting enzymes
Researchers have gathered evidence that dangerous plaques in blood vessels can rupture by overproducing protein-digesting enzymes.

Scientists discover world's smallest superconductor
Scientists have discovered the world's smallest superconductor, a sheet of four pairs of molecules less than one nanometer wide.

Researchers identify potential new target for treating hepatitis C
A team of scientists including University of Utah researchers has discovered that binding of a potent inhibitor of the hepatitis C virus to the genetic material of the virus causes a major conformational change that may adversely affect the ability of the virus to replicate.

Fibromyalgia symptoms improved by lifestyle adjustments
Short bursts of physical activity can ease fibromyalgia symptoms. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open-access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy have shown that encouraging patients to undertake

Clues to pregnancy-associated breast cancer found
Expression of inflammatory-related genes in breast tissue of women who have previously given birth may explain the aggressiveness and frequency of pregnancy-associated breast cancer, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

FSU biologist wins $1M Early Career Award from National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation has bestowed a Faculty Early Career Development Award on Assistant Professor Karen M.

Queen's University professor's chemistry discovery may revolutionize cooking oil production
A Queen's University chemistry professor has invented a special solvent that may make cooking oil production more environmentally friendly.

New mathematical model helps biologists understand how coral dies in warming waters
Cornell University researchers have found a new tool to help marine biologists better grasp the processes under the sea: They have created mathematical models to unveil the bacterial community dynamics behind afflictions that bleach and kill coral.

'That was my idea' -- group brainstorming settings and fixation
When people, groups or organizations are looking for a fresh perspective on a project, they often turn to a brainstorming exercise to get those juices flowing.

Advances reported in quest for drugs targeting childhood cancer
Investigators believe they have identified the founding member of a chemical family they hope will lead to a new class of cancer drugs, the first designed specifically against a childhood tumor, according to research led by St.

Alzheimer's rat created for human research
Professor Claudio Cuello at McGill University and his collaborators have genetically manipulated rats that can emulate Alzheimer's disease in humans, enabling research that will include the development of new treatments.

Database gives access to the latest findings about the tree of life
A vastly improved database gives scientists and educators access to state-of-the-art knowledge about the evolutionary relationships among living things.

1980s video icon glows on Saturn moon
The highest-resolution-yet temperature map and images of Saturn's icy moon Mimas obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveal surprising patterns on the surface of the small moon, including unexpected hot regions that resemble

Hyenas' laughter signals deciphered
Acoustic analysis of the

Latin American scientists define their position regarding sustainable biofuels
The resolution of the Latin American Convention of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project is now available to the press.

An archaeological mystery in a half-ton lead coffin
In the ruins of a city that was once Rome's neighbor, archaeologists last summer found a 1,000-pound lead coffin.

U-M joins with Chinese university to jointly fund renewable energy and biomedical research projects
The University of Michigan and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China today launched two programs to jointly fund renewable energy and biomedical research projects involving investigators from both universities.

How immune cells 'sniff out' bacteria
Scientists are learning how our immune system senses and tracks down infection in the body by responding to chemical

Business affiliation could increase potential risk of farm-to-farm transmission of avian influenza
A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examines the potential influence that the business connections between broiler chicken growers may have on the transmission of avian influenza, H5N1.

Exotic plant takes over dunes of Southern Spain
Introduced more than 40 years ago, Galenia pubescens, an exotic plant from South Africa is found in great numbers in altered coastal environments in the south of Spain.

After the next sunset, please turn right
Despite the fact that bats are active after sunset, they rely on the sun as their most trusted source of navigation.

Practice doesn't make perfect, but it comes fairly close
We are not all blessed with the brains, beauty, luck, and capital that we associate with highly successful business people or entrepreneurs.

Inequities exists in disease burden, health care and access for minority children
Minority children in the US face a pervasive gap in the quality and extent of health care received compared to Caucasians, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics written by a UT Southwestern Medical Center physician.

Brown University-led team discovers how bats avoid collisions
How do bats avoid colliding with objects while flying? A Brown University-led team, using tiny microphones on bats' heads, reports that bats tweak the frequencies of the sounds they emit to detect and maneuver around obstacles.

CSHL scientists reverse Alzheimer's-like memory loss in fruit flies
By blocking the cellular signaling activity of the protein PI3 kinase, a team of neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has prevented memory loss in fruit flies caused by brain plaques similar to those thought to cause Alzheimer's disease in humans.

'Evil twin' threatens world's oceans, scientists warn
The rise in human emissions of carbon dioxide is driving fundamental and dangerous changes in the chemistry and ecosystems of the world's oceans, international marine scientists warned today.

Early warning system would predict space storms on Mars
NASA's vision for a permanent human presence on Mars will need to address the danger posed by space weather storms -- cyclical winds carrying high-energy particles.

Cutting fat -- and calories -- from cakes and frostings
Delicious new cakes and frostings may someday contain less fat and fewer calories, thanks to work by Agricultural Research Service scientists such as Mukti Singh at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill.

Preventing road deaths -- new research and magazine articles from PLoS Medicine
A recent WHO report on inadequate road safety opened with some stark figures: 1.2 million deaths and up to 50 million nonfatal injuries occur every year on the world's roads.

U of I researchers identify new soybean aphid biotype
University of Illinois researchers recently identified a new soybean aphid biotype that can multiply on aphid-resistant soybean varieties.

New aid to biogeochemical research slated for materials characterization lab
A mass spectrometer that will help researchers interpret and understand the history of the Earth system will join other instruments in the Penn State's multi-user Materials Characterization Laboratory, thanks to a $724,000 grant through the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Program.

UC San Diego energy dashboard to help campus curb appetite for power
Researchers at UC San Diego have launched an Internet portal to showcase real-time measurement and visualization of energy use for 60 of the largest building on the campus, as well as for roughly 40 individual power meters in offices.

Personalizing medicine to prevent pandemics
What makes some viral infections fatal and others much less severe is largely a mystery.

Breakthrough design opens door to 'full screen' Braille displays for the blind
Imagine if your computer only allowed you to see one line at a time, no matter what you were doing -- reading e-mail, looking at a Web site, doing research.

Protein linked to problems with executive thinking skills
New research shows that a high level of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood, is associated with brain changes that are linked to problems with executive thinking skills.

Weathercasters take on role of science educators; feel some uncertainty on issue of climate change
In the largest and most representative survey of television weathercasters to date, George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication shows that two-thirds of weathercasters are interested in reporting on climate change, and many say they are already filling a role as an informal science educator.

New ethical guidelines needed for dementia research
How do we handle the ethical dilemmas of research on adults who can't give their informed consent?

Researchers equip robot sub with sensory system inspired by blind fish
Researchers have equipped an underwater robot with a sensory system they expect will eventually prove effective, reliable, and energy-efficient in environments ranging from the sea floor to turbid rivers to sewer pipes.

Acupuncture calms highly anxious dental patients
Acupuncture can calm highly anxious dental patients and ensure that they can be given the treatment they need, suggests a small study published in Acupuncture in Medicine.

E20 fuel reduces carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions in automobiles
A new study by the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology indicates that the use of E20 fuel, which blends 20 percent ethanol with gasoline, reduces the tail pipe emissions of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, compared with traditional gasoline or E10 blends.

Possible 'superbug' status for STI
The rise of multidrug resistance in gonorrhea-causing bacteria is threatening to make this sexually transmitted infection extremely difficult to treat.

New book from the AGA puts power in the hands of IBD patients
Inflammatory bowel disease strikes young people between the ages of 15 and 30 most often, but it can appear at any age. 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