Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 22, 2010
$300 million fundraising campaign launched to help poor rice farmers of Asia
In the face of unrelenting pressure on Asian rice farmers to grow more rice to feed the poorest people in the region, a $300 million fundraising campaign has been launched in the United States.

Making the invisible visible
The Large Binocular Telescope partners in Germany, the US and Italy are pleased to announce that the first of two new innovative near-infrared cameras/spectrographs for the LBT is now available to astronomers for scientific observations at the telescope on Mt.

LUCIFER allows astronomers to watch stars being born
A new instrument for the world's largest optical telescope, the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham (Ariz.), allows astronomers to observe the faintest and most distant objects in the universe.

Scientists report several different species of killer whales likely
In a report published today in the journal Genome Research, scientists report finding strong genetic evidence supporting the theory there are several species of killer whales (Orcinus orca, also known as orcas) throughout the world's oceans.

Fraunhofer, Boston University develop plant-based vaccine factory
This technology takes a biological process -- using bioengineering to produce vaccines from plants -- and makes it an industrial process.

Heart failure patients who develop kidney failure after LVAD surgery don't fare well
Heart failure patients who develop kidney failure after receiving a mechanical heart pumping device are at increased risk of dying within in the first three years of surgery, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Ozone and traffic pollution increase asthma-related hospitalizations in children
Both ozone and primary pollutants from traffic substantially increase asthma-related emergency department visits in children, especially during the warm season, according to researchers from the Department of Environmental Health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta.

Local perception of US military buildup in Guam
University of Guam assistant professor Amy Owen and her students recently completed a research project on the perception of local residents regarding the US military buildup in Guam and related immigration issues.

To learn better, take a nap (and don't forget to dream)
Researchers reporting online on April 22 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, offer more evidence that successful study habits should include plenty of napping.

Genomes of citrus canker pathogens decoded
Scientists from Brazil and the United States have completed the draft genome sequences of two strains of the Xanthomonas bacteria that cause citrus canker.

91S becomes Tropical Cyclone 24S as NASA's TRMM captures its rainfall
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite has been flying over the low pressure area known as System 91S in the Southern Indian Ocean and providing estimates of rainfall within the storm.

New program to boost science and technology leaders' advanced management capabilities
Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, has jointly launched a new advanced management program for leaders in Science and Technology with the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego.

Pulsars in many octaves
The combination of the new technology telescope LOFAR with existing facilities promises new insight into the physics of neutron stars.

UI Superfund Research Program receives $16 million grant from NIEHS
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has awarded the University of Iowa Superfund Research Program a five-year, $16 million grant to study the health effects of environmental pollutants, especially polychlorinated biphenyls found in water, former industrial sites and the atmosphere.

Where there's smoke ...
In a new study, Prof. Colin Price, head of Tel Aviv University's Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science, researched data on lightning patterns in the Amazon to show how clouds are affected by particulate matter emitted by the fires used for slash-and-burn foresting practices.

Potential new test for early diagnosis of osteoarthritis identified
Researchers at King's College London's department of twin research and genetic epidemiology, based at St.

Impact of climate change on California landscapes is focus of public lecture at UC Riverside
Noted fire ecologist Richard Minnich will give a free public lecture at the University of California, Riverside, titled

Towards a malaria vaccine -- serious investment needed
The lead editorial in this week's Lancet, ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25, calls for

UW energy- and water-sensing technologies acquired by Belkin
Zensi, a research startup from the UW and Georgia Tech that uses simple technology to monitor electricity and water use in the home, has been acquired by international electronics company Belkin.

Memorable 25th Anniversary EAU Congress in Barcelona ends with awards
The 25th Anniversary EAU Congress ended in Barcelona on Tuesday with EAU Secretary General Per-Anders Abrahamsson underscoring the support, interest and commitment shown by all participants, exhibitors and speakers, which made the anniversary meeting

Strep steps up in urinary tract infections
Research suggests pathogenic strains of Group B Streptococcus are an under-recognized cause of urinary tract infections.

Useful stroke trials left unpublished
An investigation into unpublished stroke research data has revealed that 19.6 percent of completed clinical trials, which could potentially influence patient care, are not published in full.

Louisiana Tech students to present on regenerative medicine at national meeting
Louisiana Tech students Mridhula Thangaraj and Chris Monceaux will participate in a symposium on

Protein partners may provide insight into inherited mental retardation
A new study that uncovers a pathway critical for proper embryological development in zebra fish may also reveal a parallel mechanism that drives wiring of the vertebrate brain.

Earthquake forecasting and more
The public needs information about future earthquakes. The goal of operational earthquake forecasting -- quantifying the likelihood that a seismic event will occur in the near term -- is to provide communities with information about seismic hazards that can be used to make decisions in advance of potentially destructive earthquakes.

UBC mathematicians offer elegant solution to evolutionary conundrum
UBC researchers have proffered a new mathematical model that seeks to unravel a key evolutionary riddle -- namely what factors underlie the generation of biological diversity both within and between species.

Philippines can be self sufficient in rice, but ...
As part of IRRI's 50th anniversary celebrations, three speakers from the International Rice Research Institute and PhilRice concurred that the Philippines can be self sufficient in rice.

10 scientists to receive ASBMB awards
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will present 10 scientists with awards at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting April 24-28 in Anaheim, Calif.

Blood test enables heart-transplant recipients to undergo fewer biopsies, Stanford study shows
In what could represent a major shift in the management of heart transplant patients, a multicenter Stanford-led study to be published online April 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that doctors can safely decrease the number of biopsies performed on heart transplant patients by using a commercially available blood test along with an echocardiogram to identify patients at low risk for rejecting their transplanted hearts.

Magnitude of overdiagnosis in cancer indicates need for strategies to address the problem
Many cancers detected by screening tests are not destined to cause symptoms or death and therefore represent a phenomenon known as overdiagnosis.

Family caregiving stress filled and isolating
Family members who provide care to relatives with dementia, but do not have formal training, frequently experience overwhelming stress that sometimes leads to breakdowns or depression, according to Penn State and Benjamin Rose Institute researchers.

New strain of virulent airborne fungi, unique to Oregon, is set to spread
A newly discovered strain of an airborne fungus has caused several deaths in Oregon and seems poised to move into California and other adjacent areas, according to scientists at Duke University Medical Center.

UC Riverside entomologists say biocontrol of insect pest in the Galapagos Islands is a major success
A research team led by Mark Hoddle of the University of California, Riverside recently assessed the biocontrol of the cottony cushion scale in the Galapagos Islands, and concluded that the project was a major success.

International scope of education research highlighted at AERA
At the American Educational Research Association's 91st Annual Meeting that starts next week in Denver, Colo., several Presidential sessions will focus on international aspects of education research, specifically the persistent educational challenges across national borders.

Study of Williams syndrome patients reveals specific gene's role in intelligence
A multi-institution team led by a University of Utah USTAR researcher has found that the brain gene STX1A plays a significant role in the level of intelligence displayed by patients with Williams syndrome.

Symposia shed light on hypertension treatment, disparities
About 1 billion people around the world suffer from hypertension.

Dreams are the brain's way of communicating important memory functions
It is by now well established that sleep can be an important tool when it comes to enhancing memory and learning skills.

Human Language Technologies 2010 conference takes place in Los Angeles, June 1-6
The NAACL HLT 2010 Conference will cover a broad spectrum of disciplines working towards enabling intelligent systems to interact with humans using natural language and toward enhancing human-human communication.

NIDA Blending Conference launches new training approach for young adults addicted to opioids
A multifaceted treatment program for young adults addicted to opioid drugs was unveiled today at the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Blending Conference in Albuquerque, N.M.

Microfluidic integrated circuit could help enable home diagnostic tests
As a way to simplify lab-on-a-chip devices that could offer quicker, cheaper and more portable medical tests, University of Michigan researchers have created microfluidic integrated circuits.

Hamlet fish sheds light on evolution of marine species
To evolve or not to evolve? That is the question scientists at the University of East Anglia are closer to answering following a groundbreaking new study into the colorful hamlet fish.

Nutrition researchers to develop new growth charts for children with Down syndrome
Growth charts for children with Down syndrome are based on data collected more than 25 years ago.

Men from deprived areas less likely to be treated for prostate cancer
Men living in deprived areas are far less likely to be treated with the most common types of radical treatment for prostate cancer than those in more affluent places, says a study published on today.

Scientists discover key step for regulating embryonic development
The interplay of two proteins, SUMO and SNP2, influences epigenetic signaling that drives gene expression to form new tissues and organs as the embryo develops.

UK team reveals all 3 structures of single transporter protein
A team of researchers from the Universities of Leeds, Oxford and Imperial College London have captured the 3-D atomic models of a single transporter protein in each of its three main structural states, a goal of researchers from around the world for over 25 years.

Electronic medical record technology aids marathon participants
Henry Ford Hospital researchers have brought the use of electronic medical records out of the hospital setting and into the streets by using the technology for a marathon.

Tapping away desire for those favorite foods and snacks
Psychological acupuncture has been shown to be successful in reducing food cravings for up to six months in people who are overweight or obese.

Singapore scientists develop zebrafish model for studying Parkinson's disease
Scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore, a biomedical research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, have recently developed a zebrafish model for Parkinson's disease that can be used for understanding the mechanism underlying its development.

Global biofuel drive raises risk of eviction for African farmers
African farmers risk being forced from their lands by investors or government projects as global demand for biofuels encourages changes in crop cultivation.

Safe weight gain for heavier moms-to-be depends on level of obesity
How much weight obese women should safely gain during pregnancy is often controversial, with current guidelines suggesting a single range of 11-20 pounds.

Risk of stroke associated with bypass surgery technique designed to prevent organ damage
The standard practice of cooling and then rewarming a patient to prevent organ damage during cardiac bypass surgery may impair the body's mechanism that controls blood flow to the brain, potentially increasing the patient's risk of stroke, new research from Johns Hopkins suggests.

New once-a-day antimalarial combination therapy as effective as the twice-a-day gold standard regimen
The new antimalarial combination therapy pyronaridine-artesunate is as effective as the gold standard treatment of artemether-lumefantrine.

Nick Lee wins Joseph Lister Award Lecture at British Science Festival, sponsored by SAGE
Professor Nick Lee has today been announced as winner of the 2010 Joseph Lister social science award lecture -- one of five prestigious lectures to be given at the annual British Science Festival.

World-first study for cleaner aviation fuel
CSIRO together with Australasia's major aviation players is leading a world-first study to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from air transport by helping to develop a sustainable aviation fuels industry.

Helping smokers with mental illness
Researchers at the University of Nottingham have won government funding to improve the services which help people living with serious mental illness to tackle their tobacco dependence.

New Scripps Research and GNF study helps explain how we can sense temperatures
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation have shed new light on the molecular mechanism that enables us to sense temperature, such as the heat from a sizzling stove.

Envisat keeping an eye on the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano
The development of the ash plume from Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano between April 17 and 20 is tracked in this series of Envisat images.

Hero scientist helps preserve Afghan agricultural heritage
A hero scientist is helping to preserve Afghan agricultural heritage with help from the USAID PEACE project.

Crystal defect shown to be key to making hollow nanotubes
Scientists have no problem making a menagerie of nanometer-sized objects -- wires, tubes, belts and even tree-like structures.

Scientists make fundamental discovery about how gene expression functions in bacteria
Researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered and characterized a general mechanism that controls transcription elongation in bacteria.

More common ground in health care reform law disagreement than meets the eye
A new national survey conducted by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers found that less than a quarter of Americans want no changes to the health care legislation signed into law by the president last month.

Brains, worms and computer chips have striking similarities
An international team of scientists has discovered striking similarities between the human brain, the nervous system of a worm, and a computer chip.

Chips, worms and gray matter: More similar than you think
Scientists have discovered

New ORNL carbon composite holds promise for bionics
Mimicking the human nervous system for bionic applications could become a reality with the help of a method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to process carbon nanotubes.

Media, small businesses invited to ACS webinar on consulting practices in chemistry
News media, scientists and others interested in finance, entrepreneurships and the chemical sciences are invited to join an American Chemical Society Small & Medium Business Webinar on how to run a successful chemistry consulting practice on Thursday, April 29, from 2-3 p.m.

Periodic heart rate decelerations in premature infants
In work published in the April issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, simple and interesting heart rate dynamics in premature human infants is reported -- reversible transitions to large-amplitude periodic oscillations -- and the appearance and disappearance of these periodic oscillations is described by a simple mathematical model, called a Hopf bifurcation.

Injected liraglutide is better than oral sitagliptin for blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes
Injections of liraglutide are better than oral sitagliptin at controlling blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes who have inadequate control on the standard treatment metformin.

Research says UK families with disabled children more likely to live in poverty
Disabled children in the UK are more likely to likely to live with low-income, deprivation, debt and poor housing.

Poor quality teachers may prevent children from reaching reading potential, study finds
When it comes to early reading, a bad teacher can prevent children from reaching their full potential.

Calculating crop and ethanol yields and irrigation needs in 4 easy steps
Estimating crop yields based on available water in semi-arid regions has been made easier for several hundred farmers who are using a special calculator computer program developed by an Agricultural Research Service scientist.

Ukraine to receive mobile radiation detection vehicle
Nuclear and radioactive material from hospitals, power plants or industrial facilities can be abandoned, lost or even stolen.

Physicians who interpret mammograms may benefit from additional training
A multisite study led by an Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute researcher has identified set criteria that could be used to help identify physicians who might benefit from additional training in interpreting screening mammograms.

Biosensor chip enables high-sensitivity protein analysis for disease diagnosis
In the battle against cancer and other diseases, precise analysis of specific proteins can point the way toward targeted treatments.

Einstein researchers find molecular structure of key fluorescent proteins
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have determined the crystal structures of two key fluorescent proteins -- one blue, one red -- used to

The silence of the genes
Viruses can hide from the immune system by using small RNAs to silence the expression of cellular genes.

MU researchers show potential for new cancer detection and therapy method
University of Missouri School of Medicine scientists explain a potentially new early cancer detection and treatment method using nanoparticles created at MU in an article published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Poultry disease vaccine brings short-term results but long-term problems
Attenuated live vaccines that protect poultry against Newcastle Disease may be altering the genetic makeup of the wild virus strains, which could make future outbreaks unpredictable and difficult to tackle, according to biologists.

Pressure-cooking algae into a better biofuel
Heating and squishing microalgae in a pressure-cooker can fast-forward the crude-oil-making process from millennia to minutes.

Nonsmokers put on less weight
A new study links nicotine poisoning with weight gain, and concludes that active smokers, not only those who stop, put on more weight than nonsmokers.

Copernicus Award 2010 for German-Polish cooperation in physics
For their achievements in promoting German-Polish cooperation in science, Dr.

HIV patients hold clues to Salmonella vaccine development
A study published today in the journal Science offers a long-awaited explanation for the link between HIV infection and susceptibility to life-threatening nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella.

Eyjafjallajokull's global fallout
To gauge Eyjafjallajokull's global impact, Northwestern University researchers studied the worldwide air transportation network before and after 27 major European airports were closed.

People with diabetes are at higher risk of atrial fibrillation
People with diabetes have a 40 percent greater risk of developing atrial fibrillation, the most common type of chronically irregular heartbeat, according to a study led by Dr.

University of Oklahoma National Weather Center celebrates Earth Day with green roof open house
The University of Oklahoma National Weather Center celebrated Earth Day with an open house event for the NWC Experimental Green Roof, the state's first experimental university vegetative roof system, which was recently installed at the facility.

Caltech-led team designs novel negative-index metamaterial that responds to visible light
A group of scientists led by researchers from Caltech has engineered a type of artificial optical material -- a metamaterial -- with a particular three-dimensional structure such that light exhibits a negative index of refraction upon entering the material.

Attitudes on the economy, immigration and illegal drugs are highlighted in Houston Area Survey
Concerns about the economy are changing Houstonians' attitudes toward jobs, immigration and the role of government, according to the 2010 Houston Area Survey, conducted by the Institute for Urban Research at Rice University.

UCLA engineer invents world's smallest, lightest telemedicine microscope
Aydogan Ozcan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at UCLA has applied lensless imaging technology he developed to create the World's smallest microscope.

Academic language impedes students' ability to learn science
Middle and high school students who read fluently in English class and on the Web may find that they cannot understand their science texts.

Life history database aids wild primate studies
A group of scientists who have studied the life history of primates for decades got to thinking about their own life histories and decided they had better do something to preserve their work for posterity.

Special Issue JVR focuses on potential of persons with autism
There has been an explosion of new information on the issues and challenges facing children with autism and their families in the past ten years.

Rainfall linked to skewed sex ratios
An increased proportion of male African buffalo are born during the rainy season.

Geological Society of America adopts new position statement on climate change
At a meeting of the Council held on April 17, 2010, the Geological Society of America approved a consensus statement on climate change science.

Joël Bellaïche receives AMS Centennial Fellowship
Joël Bellaïche of Brandeis University has been awarded the prestigious AMS Centennial Fellowship for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Health impacts of mobile phone use to be explored in huge new study
A new decades-long study launches today to investigate whether there is a link between the use of mobile phones and long-term health problems such as cancer.

Study reconstructs Asia's most devastating droughts
Asia's monsoon rains feed nearly half the world's population. A new study of tree rings provides a detailed record of at least four epic failures of the monsoon that have shaken Asia over the last thousand years.

Electronic health records critical to effective reporting of quality measures says ACP
Increasing the use of quality measurement as part of electronic health records systems is critical to achieving meaningful use of health information technology, the American College of Physicians reported in a paper released today at the 129,000-member organization's annual meeting.

Extremely preterm babies face long-term lung deficits
More than half of children who were born very early -- at 25 weeks or less (normal gestation is around 40 weeks) -- have abnormal lung function and are twice as likely as their full-term peers to have a diagnosis of asthma, according to UK researchers, who followed a national cohort of extremely preterm infants to age 11.

CSIRO develops highest-yielding salt-tolerant wheat
In a major breakthrough for wheat farmers in salt-affected areas, CSIRO researchers have developed a salt tolerant durum wheat that yields 25 percent more grain than the parent variety in saline soils.

Production of biofuels could benefit by controlling the types of cells that develop in plants
Scientists have been working for more than a decade to understand how tiny molecules called microRNA regulate genes within cells.

CO2 emissions causing ocean acidification to progress at unprecedented rate
The changing chemistry of the world's oceans is a growing global problem, says the summary of a congressionally requested study by the National Research Council.

DNA barcoding reveals mislabeled cod and haddock in Dublin
Ecological scientists in Ireland recently used DNA barcoding to identify species of fish labeled as either

Sylvia A. Earle wins 2010 Green Book Award from the Center for Science Writings
Renowned oceanographer Sylvia A. Earle has won the 2010 Green Book Award from Stevens Institute of Technology's Center for Science Writings.

BU School of Medicine researcher receives award from the Hartwell Foundation
Richard Goldstein, Ph.D., a professor of pediatrics, division of pediatric infectious diseases, at Boston University School of Medicine, has been awarded an Individual Biomedical Research Award by the Hartwell Foundation and will receive $300,000 over three years as a Hartwell Investigator for his project titled, 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