Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 21, 2010
Caltech researchers create 'sound bullets'
Taking inspiration from a popular executive toy (

NIH-led interagency group identifies research needs to study climate change and human health impacts
A report released today by a federal working group highlights 11 key categories of diseases and other health consequences that are occurring or will occur due to climate change.

Researchers successfully lower radiation dose associated with pediatric chest CT scans
Adjusting the radiation dose based upon a child's weight can significantly lower the radiation dose associated with pediatric chest computed tomography (CT) scans, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenolog.

Ovarian cancer study offers vital clues for new therapies
Scientists have taken a major step forward in the understanding of ovarian cancer, which could improve treatment for patients with the condition.

Chloride channels render nerve cells more excitable
Scientists discover how nerve cells may influence their own activity.

American College of Physicians signs on to CMSS Code for interactions with companies
The American College of Physicians, the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States, has signed on to the CMSS Code for Interactions with Companies, released today by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies.

All-volunteer US military still offers a pathway for young men
A new study from Social Science Quarterly shows that military is still an option for less advantaged high school graduates.

A gassy mystery: Researchers discover surprising exoplanetary atmosphere
The surprising findings are the latest advance in the quest to measure Earth-like planets that could possibly host signs of life.

CCTA: Cost-effective, noninvasive alternative to invasive cardiac catheterization for the evaluation of significant CAD
Noninvasive coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) is a cost-effective alternative to invasive cardiac catheterization in the care of patients who have positive stress test results but a less than 50 percent chance of actually having significant coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Surfing an alien atmosphere
Venus Express has completed an

Ontogenesis is regulated by moving microRNA molecules
The genes in humans and many other species have been surveyed but their operating principles remain rather unknown.

GUMC to develop smoking cessation aids based on unconventional nicotine addiction theory
A Georgetown University Medical Center research team has been awarded a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to discover and develop new smoking cessation drugs based on an unconventional theory about nicotine addiction.

Research restores credit for an engineering feat
New research finds the documents that prove Alfred L. Rives was the designer and primary builder of the Cabin John Bridge, outside Washington, for 40 years the world's longest single span masonry bridge and the nation's longest still today.

Another kind of paper chase: The new quest for soft toilet paper
A growing shortage of high-quality paper for recycling into new paper products threatens to thwart consumers' preferences for oh-so-soft toilet paper, according to an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly news magazine.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans interpreted for practical use
The first formal US government recommendations on physical activity, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, were published in 2008.

Researchers find ethnicity key to accurate obesity measurements
The current National Institutes of Health body mass index cutoff values for obesity are too high for many reproductive-age women in the US and should be adjusted to account for ethnic differences in body composition to produce proper diagnosis of obesity, according to new research from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Breeding orchid species creates a new perfume
Some orchids mimic the scent of a female insect in order to attract males for pollination.

Register now for the IOF Regionals -- 1st Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting
The International Osteoporosis Foundation invites you to attend the IOF Regionals: 1st Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting to be held in Singapore from Dec.

Discovery of a primate more than 11 million years old
Catalan researchers have discovered in the rubbish dump of Can Mata in the Valles-Penedes basin (Catalonia) a new species of Pliopithecus primate, considered an extinct family of primitive Catarrhini primates (or

University of Nevada School of Medicine physiology professor earns $1.2 million grant over four years to study motility of internal anal sphincter muscle
Kathleen Keef, Ph.D., professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, has been awarded a four-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Health to study the control of motility in the internal anal sphincter.

A smart way to charge up
Electromobility makes sense only if car batteries are charged using electricity from renewable energy sources.

Pediatric personalized medicine takes center stage at first-of-its-kind international conference
The world's leading experts in pediatric pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine are gathering at a first-of-its-kind conference in Kansas City to change the way childhood diseases and illnesses are treated through personalized medicine.

Animal feed and automobiles make the San Joaquin Valley a smog hotspot
A new study identifies cattle feed as a possible culprit in the long-standing mystery of why California's San Joaquin Valley -- a moderately populated agricultural region -- has higher levels of ozone (one of the main ingredients in smog) than many densely populated cities.

How red wine may shield brain from stroke damage
Researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have discovered the way in which red wine consumption may protect the brain from damage following a stroke.

Tracking down rust
Damage to concrete bridges caused by rust can have fatal consequences, at worst leading to a total collapse.

Fossil-fuel subsidies hurting global environment, security
A comprehensive assessment of global fossil-fuel subsidies has found that governments are spending $500 billion annually on policies that undermine energy security and worsen the environment.

Children who lose a parent to suicide more likely to die the same way
Losing a parent to suicide makes children more likely to die by suicide themselves and increases their risk of developing a range of major psychiatric disorders, according to a study led by Johns Hopkins Children's Center that is believed to be the largest one to date on the subject.

Student research team sequences genome of bacterium discovered in Virginia Tech garden
Under the supervision of a Virginia Tech plant pathologist, a group of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students isolated and characterized a formerly unknown group of bacteria.

Long-distance journeys are out of fashion
Global warming is causing evolutionary changes in bird migration.

Martial arts training for elderly patients gets the green light
Martial arts could be the key to helping osteoporosis sufferers fall more safely.

More accurate mapping of ash cloud with Risø DTU's wind energy measuring equipment
At Risoe DTU's test station for large wind turbines at Hovsore, a LIDAR follows the progress of the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökul volcano across Denmark.

Physics strategy tested as solution for antibiotic resistance
A Virginia Tech biologist proposes to use a physics strategy called resonant activation to nudge dormant bacteria cells into a stage where they will be sensitive to antibiotics.

Telephone counseling increases daily servings of fruit, vegetables, U-M study says
Combining telephone counseling calls with a daily written diet plan increases a person's success in improving fruit and vegetables consumption, according to research published in Preventive Medicine.

Do pressures to publish increase scientists' bias?
The quality of scientific research may be suffering because academics are being increasingly pressured to produce

Lengthier treatment for very preterm babies has not improved survival rates
Despite lengthier active resuscitation of very preterm babies over the past 15 years, their survival rates have not improved, indicates research published ahead of print in the fetal and neonatal edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Experimental explanation of supercooling: Why water does not freeze in the clouds
Supercooling, a state where liquids don't solidify even below their normal freezing point, still puzzles scientists today.

Tip sheet for seismology conference
Presentations on characterizing the next Cascadia earthquake and tsunami, plus the latest research on slow slip and tremor, are to be featured at the 2010 SSA annual meeting.

Patient-physician compatibility increases odds of following doctor's orders
Doctors and patients have varying opinions on how much control a person has over their own health outcomes.

ASTRO president speaks on prostate cancer at MEDCAC meeting
ASTRO President Anthony Zietman, M.D., spoke before the Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee meeting today on radiation therapy for treatment of localized prostate cancer.

VISTA captures celestial cat's hidden secrets
The Cat's Paw Nebula, NGC 6334, is a huge stellar nursery, the birthplace of hundreds of massive stars.

Breast density change linked to cancer development in WHI hormone replacement study
An increase in breast density appears to be the culprit behind an increase of breast cancer found in women participating in the estrogen and progestin therapy study, a part of the Women's Health Initiative.

National Academy of Sciences recognizes Southampton genetics scientist
A UK scientist who has made groundbreaking discoveries in human genetics has been elected to the highly prestigious National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America.

Age dramatically delays recovery of the sense of taste
Age dramatically delays the time if takes to recover the sense of taste following a significant nerve injury, Medical College of Georgia researchers report during the Association for Chemoreception Sciences annual meeting April 21-25.

Gene therapy cures canines of inherited form of day blindness, Penn veterinary researchers say
Veterinary ophthalmology researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have used gene therapy to restore retinal cone function and day vision in two canine models of congenital achromatopsia, also called rod monochromacy or total color blindness.

British heroin substitute may be associated with wide-ranging sight problems
Children born to mothers prescribed the heroin substitute methadone during pregnancy may be at risk of wide-ranging sight problems, indicates a small study published ahead of print in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Mammographic density and risk of breast cancer
Women who have a breast density of 75 percent or higher on a mammogram have a risk of breast cancer that is four to five times greater than that of women with little or no density, making mammographic breast density one of the strongest biomarkers of breast cancer risk.

1 big problem with many possible solutions
For women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, treatment after initial surgery is straightforward: a daily dose of an anti-hormone drug will block the tumor from fuel needed for growth, and keep the breast cancer at bay.

Cell biologist Daniel Gottschling elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Cell biologist Daniel Gottschling, Ph.D., a member of the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy-research centers.

New evidence in plants shows micro-RNA can move
Ever since tiny bits of genetic material known as microRNA were first characterized in the early 1990s, scientists have been discovering just how important they are to regulating the activity of genes within cells.

Framingham risk assessment doesn't accurately predict coronary artery disease, study suggests
If patients with suspected coronary artery disease are excluded from further screening because of a low Framingham score, many patients with substantial atherosclerosis (a build-up of plaque inside the arteries) will be missed, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Poultry research leads to breakthrough in genetic studies of animal domestication
A Virginia Tech animal scientist, who in 1957 began breeding lines of White Plymouth Rock chickens based on their juvenile body weight, has provided scientists around the world with a model for exploring the molecular basis of traits like growth and reproduction -- traits that molded the red jungle fowl into a farm animal roughly 8,000 years ago.

New evidence that green tea may help fight glaucoma and other eye diseases
Scientists have confirmed that the healthful substances found in green tea -- renowned for their powerful antioxidant and disease-fighting properties -- do penetrate into tissues of the eye.

Mercury is higher in some tuna species, according to DNA barcoding
The level of mercury in your sushi can depend on the species that you are consuming.

Color-blind racial ideology linked to racism, both online and offline
Images from racial theme parties that are posted on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace not only elicit different reactions from different people based on their race and their attitudes toward diversity, they also represent an indirect way to express racist views about minorities, according to published research by a University of Illinois professor who studies the convergence of race and the Internet.

UT Southwestern researchers identify key molecular step to fighting off viruses
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have determined how a protein that normally latches onto molecules inside cells and marks them for destruction also gives life to the body's immune response against viruses.

Searching for dark energy with the whole world's supernova dataset
The Supernova Cosmology Project's Union2 compilation and reanalysis of decades of supernova surveys from the world's leading researchers, with the addition of six high-redshift supernovae, puts new bounds on possible values for the nature of dark energy.

Spanish and Portuguese scientists join forces to monitor atmospheric aerosols with laser radar
Ten scientific institutions from Spain and Portugal have joined forces to create the SPALINET lidar network, radars with laser technology intended to study the aerosols in the atmosphere.

Fish oil supplements provide no benefit to brain power
The largest ever trial of fish oil supplements has found no evidence that they offer benefits for cognitive function in older people.

Carbon, nitrogen link may provide new ways to mitigate pollution problems
A new study exploring the growing worldwide problem of nitrogen pollution from soils to the sea shows that global ratios of nitrogen and carbon in the environment are inexorably linked, a finding that may lead to new strategies to help mitigate regional problems ranging from contaminated waterways to human health.

Researchers identify a new breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene
Technische Universitaet Muenchen Professor Alfons Meindl and colleagues -- including collaborators from other German, UK, and US institutions -- report evidence unambiguously implicating the gene RAD51C in susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer.

Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to increased cancer risk
Researchers have detected a link between alcohol consumption, cancer and aging that starts at the cellular level with telomere shortening.

Standardized testing method for cranberry products will reveal effectiveness of UTI treatments
Natural compounds in cranberries are linked to the prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) but inconsistencies in methods currently used commercially to measure levels can result in the over- or under-estimation of potency levels, leaving product manufacturers and consumers without good data.

Water, fair and foul
Dr. Hadas Mamane, Professor Eliora Ron and their doctoral student Anat Lakretz of Tel Aviv University recently determined the optimal ultraviolet-light wavelength for keeping water clean of microorganisms.

New drug for migraine treatment: Telcagepant
A new drug for migraine treatment, telcagepant, is in the final stages of development.

Coronary CTA a cost-effective alternative to cardiac catheterization for the evaluation of CAD
According to a study conducted at Thomas Jefferson University, noninvasive coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) is a cost-effective alternative to invasive cardiac catheterization in the care of patients who have positive stress test results but a less than 50 percent chance of actually having significant coronary artery disease (CAD).

Tough girl or sidechick?
Despite an increase in tough and even violent female characters in American films, women continue to be shown as sidekicks to more dominant male heroes and they are also frequently involved in a romantic relationship with them.

Sports stars are no role models, say scientists
The loutish and drunken behavior of some of our sporting heroes -- routinely reported in the media -- has little or no effect on the drinking habits of young people, new research has found.

Research team discovers genetic variance in cancer protection from statin drugs
Researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center have discovered why statins -- popular drugs that lower cholesterol and appear to protect against colorectal cancer development -- work for some people, but not for all.

Green@Rensselaer: Students using solar power to create sustainable solutions for Haiti, Peru
Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are creating novel solar power systems to improve the situation of an impoverished Haitian school and jumpstart a new dairy industry in rural Peru.

Cane toad accelerometry and more
This week, scientists measure the metabolism of Cane toads using accelerometry, survey alien flora that is invading the Galapagos Islands and evaluate the

Bizarre matter could find use in quantum computers
There are enticing new findings this week in the worldwide search for materials that support fault-tolerant quantum computing.

Expert commentary on Earth Day's 40th anniversary
In recognition of Earth Day's 40th anniversary, publisher Mary Ann Liebert Inc. will provide complimentary online access to its journals in the field of sustainability, including Sustainability: The Journal of Record; Environmental Justice; and Ecopsychology through May 15.

'Ancestral Eve' crystal may explain origin of life's left-handedness
Scientists are reporting discovery of what may be the

Topography of mountains could complicate rates of global warming
A new study concludes that the future effects of global warming could be significantly changed over very small distances by local air movements in complex or mountainous terrain -- perhaps doubling or even tripling the temperature increases in some situations.

Researchers show that nitric oxide-donating naproxen can boost colorectal cancer prevention
Past randomized clinical trials have shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including naproxen, can reduce the risk of colon cancer and precancerous polyps in humans.

New solar concentrator design
A new solar concentrator design from an electrical engineering Ph.D.

Knowledge is power in Penn State blood pressure study
When it comes to chronic diseases, knowledge is power, according to Penn State researchers who will test an education program on patients with high blood pressure to help them manage their disease.

Toward a urine test for detecting colon cancer
Scientists are reporting an advance toward development of a urine test for detecting colon cancer, the third most common cancer in the United States.

Research & Entrepreneurship Day 2010: Engineering Innovation
R&E Day is a showcase of Stevens advanced technologies, including its array of start-up companies and student based research programs.

Eyjafjallajökull ash cloud
On May 4, 2010, 18:30-20:00, there will be a session,
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