Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 31, 2010
Even highly qualified women in academic medicine paid less than equally qualified men
Women conducting research in the life sciences continue to receive lower levels of compensation than their male counterparts, even at the upper levels of academic and professional accomplishment.

Common test for detecting liver problems in children is often interpreted incorrectly
New research led by physician-scientists at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine shows that the test most commonly used to screen pediatric patients for chronic liver disease is often incorrectly interpreted in many children's hospitals throughout the United States.

Researchers design self-test for memory disorders
A self-administered test to screen for early dementia could help speed the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of memory disorders, including Alzheimer's disease.

From alpaca to zebra finch -- a decade of cataloguing life's diversity
Today's publication in Nature of the genetic blueprint for the zebra finch marks 10 years of success for the Ensembl project in helping researchers to navigate the genomes of a Noah's Ark of species.

Tweet: Scientists decode songbird's genome
An international team of scientists, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St.

To remember the good times, reach for the sky
A study published in the April issue of Cognition shows that motor actions can partly determine people's emotional memories.

The light and dark face of a star-forming nebula
ESO is unveiling an image of the little known Gum 19, a faint nebula that, in the infrared, appears dark on one half and bright on the other.

University of Nevada, Reno, professor receives exclusive American Fisheries Award of Excellence
For his outstanding work in Nevada lakes, including his prolific record of publication and leadership on important fisheries and aquatic ecosystem management issues, the American Fisheries Society California-Nevada Chapter has bestowed University of Nevada, Reno, researcher Sudeep Chandra with their highest honor, the Award of Excellence.

Small molecules have big impact for TB bacteria
Mycobacterium tuberculosis possesses extraordinary survival ability by masking itself from the host immune system and persisting for decades inside the host.

Flu jab for bacteria
Viruses can wreak havoc on bacteria as well as humans and, just like us, bacteria have their own defense system in place, explains Professor John van der Oost, at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting.

Rensselaer leader will participate in Washington, D.C., symposium on preserving digital information
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Vice President for Research Fran Berman will help kick off and participate in an April 1 symposium on the challenges of preserving our digital domain for future generations.

LSU researcher receives grant to study equine adult stem cells
Mandi Lopez, associate professor and director of the LSU Laboratory for Equine and Comparative Orthopedic Research, or LECOR, is the recipient of a competitive grant award from the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation to study equine adult stem cells for repair of injured bone.

Common copy number variations unlikely to contribute significantly toward common diseases
A study of the genetics of common diseases including diabetes, heart disease and bipolar disorder has found that commonly occurring copy number variations -- duplicated or missing chunks of DNA in our genome -- are unlikely to play a major role in such diseases.

Montana State researcher discovers that bile sends mixed signals to E. coli
A Montana State University scientist has found that bile secretions in the small intestine send signals to disease-causing gut bacteria allowing them to change their behavior to maximize their chances of surviving.

New ways of measuring catastrophic risks may enhance Air Force efforts
Noted Air Force Office of Scientific Research-funded researcher, Dr. Graciela Chichilnisky is pioneering a new approach for measuring, anticipating and managing catastrophic risks, sometimes called

Berkeley Lab to build DOE advanced biofuels user facility
Berkeley Lab has been awarded nearly $18 million by the US Department of Energy through its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to establish the Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit, a facility aimed at expediting the commercialization of next generation biofuels by providing industry-scale test beds for innovative technologies.

New 'mouse models' give insight to gene mutation that is potential cause of Parkinson's disease
Using new one-of-a-kind

What is the association between ATG16L1 and inflammatory bowel disease?
Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), are chronic relapsing disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, which have a complex genetic background.

Census data aid disease simulation studies
Over the last four years, researchers at RTI International in North Carolina have been transforming data from the 2000 census -- which described the country's 281 million people and 116 million households -- into a virtual US population.

Armed with information, people make poor choices, study finds
When faced with a choice that could yield either short-term satisfaction or longer-term benefits, people with complete information about the options generally go for the quick reward, according to new research from University of Texas at Austin psychologists.

Half of UK patients needing emergency gut exam still face 'serious' delays
Over half of patients who need emergency investigation of sudden bleeding from their gut are still facing potentially

Making the blind see: Gene therapy restores vision in mice
Take a look at this: Scientists made a huge step toward making the blind see, and they did it by using a form of gene therapy that does not involve the use of modified viruses.

Researcher unravels one of science's great mysteries
Rosing has solved one of the great mysteries of our geological past: Why the Earth's surface was not one big lump of ice four billion years ago when sun radiation was much weaker than today.

How breast cancer cells evade therapeutic attacks
Understanding the mechanisms involved in the appearance of resistance of breast cancer cells to tamoxifen is essential to develop new therapeutic approaches.

Biofeedback more effective than EGS and massage for chronic rectal pain
Biofeedback is more effective than two other treatments for a type of chronic rectal pain called levator ani syndrome, according to a study published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Solar-powered partnership
Arizona State University has signed a research and education partnership agreement with the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology to collaborate on projects aimed at producing significant engineering advances in solar-energy technologies.

Diet of contaminated insects harms endangered meat-eating plants
Scientists in the United Kingdom are reporting evidence that consumption of insects contaminated with a toxic metal may be a factor in the mysterious global decline of meat-eating, or carnivorous, plants.

Songbird's genome to provide clues on language learning -- and relearning
The genome of the Australian zebra finch -- being published April 1 in Nature -- sets a framework that could provide insights into how humans learn language and new ways of studying speech disorders.

Only some like it hot
With the help of new radiotelemetry technology, researchers from the University of Princeton and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell have now succeeded, for the first time, in studying fever in a vertebrate species living in the wild, the North American song sparrow.

Drug reduces risk of prostate cancer diagnosis in high-risk men
A drug already prescribed to shrink benign, enlarged prostates has been shown to reduce the risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis by 23 percent in men with an increased risk of the disease, a large international trial has found.

Despite much-higher poverty rates, rural Oregonians use less public assistance
Despite high levels of poverty and unemployment rates that are nearly double that of their urban counterparts, working families in rural Oregon tend to make less use of public assistance, especially childcare subsidies, according to researchers with Oregon State University's Family Policy Program.

Spray application rate, equipment affect pest management in greenhouse ivy plants
As more growers implement automated spray boom systems, many questions remain concerning the optimal settings for the equipment.

Movies for the human genome
Name a human gene, and you'll find a movie online showing you what happens to cells when it is switched off, thanks to work by researchers at EMBL Heidelberg and their collaborators in the Mitocheck consortium, in a study published today in Nature where they identify the genes involved in mitosis in humans.

'Gender, Bodies and Technology' conference garners international participation
The inaugural

Rx for health: Engineers design pill that signals it has been swallowed
Call them tattletale pills. Seeking a way to confirm that patients have taken their medication, University of Florida engineering researchers have added a tiny microchip and digestible antenna to a standard pill capsule.

Physicist shares passion for mentorship in Tenneco Lecture at UH April 2
The University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the department of history and the department of physics welcome Fernando Quevedo, recently appointed as the new director of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, to the Tenneco Lecture Series.

Biogas technology with potential to save thousands of lives to be featured at Texas event
Justin Henriques, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Virginia, has upated biogas digester technology that has the potential to save thousands of people from dying from indoor air pollution caused by cooking and heating with wood, dung, coal or crop waste.

Discovering new tools for nanoscience
Directors of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science discuss their new

Elsevier adds FDA advisory committee content to PharmaPendium
PharmaPendium, Elsevier announces a new release that adds extensive FDA Advisory Committee content to the online resource for authoritative preclinical, clinical and post-market drug information.

The 'blues' can surprise even adoptive parents
The unmet or unrealistic expectations adoptive parents often have is a recurring theme in postadoption depression, according to research from Purdue University.

Drug breakthrough in fight against neglected diseases
Scientists from the Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee -- working together with partners at the University of York and the Structural Genomics Consortium in Toronto -- have made a major breakthrough in identifying new treatments for the fatal disease known as African Sleeping Sickness, which infects tens of thousands of Africans each year.

New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience, UT Southwestern researchers find
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found new clues that might help explain why some people are more susceptible to stress than others.

Children use space to think about time
Space and time are intertwined in our thoughts, as they are in the physical world.

Songbirds may hold key for vocal learning
There's a lot we can learn from our elders. A University of Houston researcher was part of a team that uncovered the genome of the zebra finch.

SIAM names 34 Fellows for key contributions to applied mathematics and computational science
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics recently conferred Fellows status on 34 noteworthy professionals who will be recognized in July during the 2010 SIAM Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Penn.

Songbird genome to aid understanding of learning, memory and more
Scientists break the news that they have sequenced the zebra finch genome.

Astronomers see historical supernova from a new angle
Our telescopes show the Milky Way galaxy only as it appears from one vantage point: our solar system.

Developing blanket protection from wildfires
Researchers are developing a blanket to protect homes from wildfires.

Ice sheet melt identified as trigger of Big Freeze
The main cause of a rapid global cooling period, known as the Big Freeze or Younger Dryas -- which occurred nearly 13,000 years ago -- has been identified thanks to the help of an academic at the University of Sheffield.

Second plant pathway could improve nutrition, biofuel production
Purdue University scientists have defined a hidden second option plants have for making an essential amino acid that could be the first step in boosting plants' nutritional value and improving biofuel production potential.

Bone marrow cells produce nerve growth factor and promote angiogenesis around transplanted islets
Islet transplantation is a promising treatment for type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Policy unveiled to combat diarrheal disease, a killer of Kenyan children
Today the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, together with the Department of Family Health (Division of Child and Adolescent Health), unveiled a renewed set of national policy guidelines to redouble diarrheal disease management and control efforts by putting proven interventions to work within the country's health system.

Carbon nanostructures -- elixir or poison?
A Los Alamos National Laboratory toxicologist and a multidisciplinary team of researchers have documented potential cellular damage from

Bringing dehydrated plants 'back to life'
Drought can take a toll on plants and animals alike.

CU-Boulder team aids in record-breaking subatomic particle collisions
A group of University of Colorado at Boulder faculty and students involved in the international Large Hadron Collider project in Europe are celebrating the most powerful smashing of subatomic particles into each other today in a quest to discover the physical conditions immediately following the Big Bang.

New models for optimizing mission control of unmanned aerial vehicles
With funding from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research, engineers at Boston University are working on a theoretical approach to improve automated mission control and decision-making for fleets of unmanned aerial vehicles.

American industry's thirst for water: First study of its kind in 30 years
How many gallons of water does it take to produce $1 worth of sugar, dog and cat food, or milk?

Promising hormone may help reduce malnutrition in gastric cancer patients
In gastric cancer patients who have had part or all of their stomach removed, the hormone ghrelin may lessen post-operative weight loss and improve appetite.

UT Southwestern student receives fellowship from Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Mariam El-Ashmawy, a student enrolled in UT Southwestern Medical Center's prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program, has been awarded a 2010 Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

TRMM satellite sees Paul's low headed back to Gulf of Carpentaria
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, better known as TRMM has been tracking Cyclone Paul's rainfall over the last week, and has watched is it made landfall in the Northern Territory and is now tracking Paul as it heads back toward the Gulf of Carpentaria for a return over water.

Chemical exposure before mid-30s may be critical in breast cancer development
Occupational exposure to certain chemicals and pollutants before a woman reaches her mid-30s could treble her risk of developing cancer after the menopause, suggests research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Medical center's heart failure, stroke programs recertified by Joint Commission
UC Irvine Healthcare's heart failure program and Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center have again earned the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission, health care's predominant standards-setting and accrediting body.

Blue Ribbon Task Force Symposium on Economics of Sustaining Digital Information to be webcast live
A one-day symposium hosted by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access will be webcast live to participants who are unable to attend the event, which was quickly oversubscribed when it was announced in early February.

Zoledronic acid helps reduce the spread of breast cancer by preventing chemotherapy-related bone loss
Zoledronic acid, a bone strengthening drug, given together with chemotherapy might decrease the spread of cancer in women with locally advanced breast cancer by reducing the likelihood of tumor cells growing in bone marrow and spreading to other parts of the body, finds an article published online first in the Lancet Oncology.

Songbird genome analysis reveals new insights into vocal behavior
An international research consortium has identified more than 800 genes that appear to play a role in the male zebra finch's ability to learn elaborate songs from his father.

Nature essay made possible by Forest Service program, is Orion Magazine selection
An award-winning nature essay, written during a USDA Forest Service writers' residence, has won the John Burroughs Award for nature writing.

EASAC Secretariat moves from Royal Society to Leopoldina Academy
The Secretariat of the European Academies Science Advisory Council will move from the Royal Society in London to the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina at the beginning of April.

From a classical laser to a 'quantum laser'
Rainer Blatt's and Piet Schmidt's research team from the University of Innsbruck have successfully realized a single-atom laser, which shows the properties of a classical laser as well as quantum mechanical properties of the atom-photon interaction.

The big melt
Climate Central scientists have just published an interactive animated map of high-resolution climate projections for average March temperatures in the lower 48 states, dividing them into zones above and below freezing each decade, and comparing high and low carbon emissions scenarios.

Improved device provides more rapid, comprehensive analysis of circulating tumor cells
Technical improvements to a microchip-based device for detecting and analyzing tumor cells in the bloodstream are revealing cellular differences that may reflect a tumor's aggressiveness and long-term response to treatment.

Improving fuel economy of tractor-trailers, buses, work trucks
A new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council evaluates various technologies and methods that could improve the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, transit buses, and work trucks.

Unequal leg length tied to osteoarthritis, says Queen's professor
A new study shows that arthritis in the knee is linked to the common trait of having one leg that is longer than the other.

Dinosaur skull changed shape during growth
The skull of a juvenile sauropod dinosaur, rediscovered in the collections of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History, illustrates that some sauropod species went through drastic changes in skull shape during normal growth.

More than 1/4 of elderly patients lack decision-making capacity at death
More than one in four elderly Americans lacked the capacity to make their own medical care decisions at the end of life, according to a study of 3,746 people to be published April 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Stem cell therapy to tackle HIV
A novel stem cell therapy that arms the immune system with an intrinsic defense against HIV could be a powerful strategy to tackle the disease.

Small firms driving job creation
Britain's small businesses are likely to create almost two thirds of the country's jobs in an average year, a major new study has revealed.

Crack and cocaine use a significant HIV risk factor for teens
Teens with a history of crack or cocaine use are significantly more likely to engage in unprotected sex than youth who have never used these drugs, putting themselves at increased risk for HIV, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Study: 88,000 US citizen children lost lawful immigrant parent to deportion
The United States government has deported the lawful immigrant parents of nearly 88,000 citizen children in just a decade, according to a new report released today from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Davis, law schools.

'Lighting a match in a tornado' is 1 of multiple feats for propulsion center
Walter O'Brien, director of Virginia Tech's Center for Turbomachinery and Propulsion Research, has received a patent for his design of a novel ignitor for combustion and supersonic flows, a device that may prove useful in Mach 5 or hypersonic speed vehicles.

Probation officers rehabilitation aim at odds with government punishment agenda
In recent years the UK government has been placing less emphasis on the idea of probation as a form of rehabilitation, instead re-framing it as

UD team develops new method for producing proteins critical to medical research
Scientists at the University of Delaware have developed a new method for producing proteins critical to research on cancer, Alzheimer's, and other diseases.

The overlap in gastroesophageal reflux disorder and irritable bowel syndrome
A research group in Iran investigated the prevalence of overlapping gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) in patients referred to a gastroenterology clinic over a period of ten years.

Disruption in brain connection linked to genetic defect in schizophrenia
In what may provide the most compelling evidence to date, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have illuminated how a genetic variant may lead to schizophrenia by causing a disruption in communication between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex regions of the brain, areas believed to be responsible for carrying out working memory.

Model predicts shifts in carbon absorption by forest canopies
An Agricultural Research Service scientist participated in a project to fine-tune computer models that can indicate when forest

New study questions earlier conclusions about the kinetics of T cell receptors
A paper scheduled to be published March 31 in the journal Nature questions much of what had been believed about the kinetics of T cell receptors.

Professor sees little hope for change in immigration relationships
Political stress and poverty have led to an increase of immigrants for many countries in the modern, post-colonial world.

2010 Human Frontier Science Program awards announced
The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization is pleased to announce the names of the recipients of HFSP international postdoctoral fellowships, career development awards and research grants.

Impaired brain connections traced to schizophrenia mutation
The strongest known recurrent genetic cause of schizophrenia impairs communications between the brain's decision-making and memory hubs, resulting in working memory deficits, a study in mice has found.

Solid pseudopapillary tumor of the pancreas in China
Solid pseudopapillary tumors (SPTs) is an infrequent tumor, typically affect young women without notable symptoms.

NOAA launches interactive marine protected areas mapping tool
NOAA's National Marine Protected Areas Center has created a new interactive online mapping tool that, for the first time, allows users to view boundaries and access data for more than a thousand marine protected areas in the United States.

Songbird genome sings of the communicating brain
The Australian zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, weighs less than half an ounce, mates for life and, unlike most vocalizing animals, learns its songs from its elders.

Passover paradox: The amazing popularity of kosher foods
Here's a paradox for Passover and year-round: With observant Jews numbering barely 1 million in a United States population of 310 million, why are 40-50 percent of food items on supermarket shelves kosher?

Start spreading the news: NYU scientists find therapeutic target to stop cancer metastases
Scientists have uncovered what could be a very important clue in answering one of the most perplexing questions about cancer: why does it spread to the liver more than any other organ? 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