Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 19, 2010
Semiconductor manufacturing technique holds promise for solar energy
Thanks to a new semiconductor manufacturing method pioneered at the University of Illinois, the future of solar energy just got brighter.

NASA's Aqua satellite sees second tropical storm form near the Horn of Africa
The Northern Indian Ocean cyclone season is off to a roaring start, as the second tropical storm formed within a day of the first one.

UC Davis study finds new predictor of heart disease in African-Americans
UC Davis researchers have discovered that a blood component linked with inflammation can predict coronary artery disease in African-Americans.

Low-cost, ultra-fast DNA sequencing brings diagnostic use closer
Boston University researchers show the viability of a novel, more efficient method to sequence DNA using nanopores.

Astronomers discover 'defiant' new supernova
An international team of astronomers has uncovered a supernova whose origin cannot be explained by previously known mechanism.

Depressed chronic kidney disease patients more likely to face complications
Patients with chronic kidney disease who have been diagnosed with depression are twice as likely to be hospitalized, progress to long-term dialysis treatments or die within a year as those who are not depressed, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found.

ONR selects operators of new research vessels
The US Office of Naval Research announced on May 17 the selection of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of Woods Hole, Mass., and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, La Jolla, Calif., as the operators of two new scientific research vessels.

Altered brain development found in children with newly diagnosed epilepsy
A newly published study reported that children with new/recent onset epilepsy have significantly slowed expansion of white-matter volume compared to healthy children over a two-year interval.

Vicor Technologies announces results of PD2i analysis of MUSIC trial data
The initial results of analysis of data from the Merte Subita en Insufficiencia Cardiaca Trial using Vicor Technologies' PD2i algorithm and software is that the PD2i is predictive of total mortality, cardiac death, and heart failure death in patients with left ventricular ejection fraction of less than or equal to 35 percent.

Drug in new class of targeted therapies shows early promise against blood-related cancers
A Phase I clinical trial of SNS-032, one of the first in a new class of drugs that inhibit cyclin-dependent kinases, demonstrated the drug's safety and potential clinical action against advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Dynamic HIV testing
A relatively simple electronic gadget could speed up HIV/AIDS diagnostics and improve accuracy particularly in parts of the world with very limited access to health-care workers.

WHOI selected to operate newest Navy research ship
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been informed by the US Navy's Office of Naval Research that is has been selected to operate AGOR 27, one of two new Ocean Class research vessels to be built by the US Navy.

UT study finds viruses in untreated East Tennessee drinking water
Do you know what is in your drinking water? A study by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, professor may have you thinking twice the next time you fill up that glass of tap water.

Nuclear magnetic resonance aids in drug design
A new study by a team of researchers led by Jeffrey Peng, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, is using Nuclear Magnetic Imaging, to move drug design into groundbreaking consideration of the dynamic flexibility of drugs and their targets.

Unexpectedly high rate of multiple strains in fungal infection
New research shows that nearly 1 in 5 cases of infection with the potentially deadly fungus Cryptococcus neoformans are caused by not one but multiple strains of the pathogen.

Researchers find daily ginger consumption eases muscle pain by 25 percent
For centuries, ginger root has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments such as colds and upset stomachs.

Particulate air pollution affects heart health
Breathing polluted air increases stress on the heart's regulation capacity, up to six hours after inhalation of combustion-related small particles called PM2.5, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Improved management of severe epilepsy may reduce treatment costs
Improved treatment of severe epilepsy could reduce the overall cost of the condition, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the International Society of Pharmacoeconomic Outcomes Research at the Hilton Atlanta in Atlanta, Ga.

OU WaTER Center researchers providing solutions in developing countries
At the University of Oklahoma WaTER Center, researchers are working to provide solutions in developing countries where clean, safe water is nonexistent.

Reprogram stem cells with heart tissue, which might improve treatments for heart disease
Spanish researchers have employed for the first time adult cells extracted from human heart tissue to turn stem cells from adipose tissue into cardiac myocytes.

Muscle loss in elderly linked to blood vessels' failure to dilate
Researchers have found that muscle loss in the elderly is directly linked to decreased post-meal expansion in blood vessels that supply nutrients to muscles.

Experts call for urgent action to tackle strong links between impotence and heart disease
International experts are calling for all men experiencing impotence to undergo thorough medical assessments, after an extensive review showed that a significant proportion of men with erectile dysfunction (ED) exhibit early signs of coronary artery disease.

Erlotinib maintenance therapy prolongs survival in patients with the most common form of lung cancer
Erlotinib maintenance therapy given after platinum-based chemotherapy is well tolerated, significantly improves progression free survival, and increases overall survival in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

A warmer future for watersports
Watersports enthusiasts will soon be able to surf in colder waters and keep warm for longer, thanks to the National Physical Laboratory and UK wetsuit manufacturer, Spartan.

Living wills are poor predictors of actual treatment preferences at the end of life
Living wills often do not represent a patient's actual treatment preferences when faced with real end-of-life circumstances and should be redesigned to guide more realistic advance decision-making, according to a study published in Journal of Palliative Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

New microneedle antimicrobial techniques may foster medical tech innovation
A team led by researchers from North Carolina State University has developed two new approaches for incorporating antimicrobial properties into microneedles -- vanishingly thin needles that hold great promise for use in portable medical devices.

New method could stop shark oil being used in cosmetics and vaccines
A new method of analyzing squalene and squalane, oils often used in the production of cosmetics and vaccines, can show whether they came originally from the liver oil of deep-water sharks or from olive oil.

Putting teeth into forensic science
In a large natural disaster, such as the Haitian earthquake earlier this year, or in an unsolved homicide case, knowing the birth date of an individual can guide forensic investigators to the correct identity among a large number of possible victims.

New England losing forest cover -- scholars call for accelerated conservation
New England forests are at a turning point. A new study released today by the Harvard Forest reports that, following almost 200 years of natural reforestation, forest cover is declining in all six New England states.

Parallel brainstem circuit discovery suggests new path in Parkinson's research
Neurobiology researchers in Chicago and Montreal report they've identified a nervous system pathway that runs parallel to brainstem locomotion command circuitry in vertebrates.

Commonly used atrazine herbicide adversely affects fish reproduction
Atrazine, one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world, has been shown to affect reproduction of fish, according to a new US Geological Survey study.

Easily blocked signaling protein may help scientists stop parasites
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a parasite protein that has all the makings of a microbial glass jaw: it's essential, it's vulnerable and humans have nothing like it, meaning scientists can take pharmacological swings at it with minimal fear of collateral damage.

International Rectal Microbicide Advocates release update on new HIV prevention technology
International Rectal Microbicide Advocates will officially release its third landmark report --

Researchers embark on work to control the prion epidemic affecting deer in the USA
Researchers at the Centre for Cooperative Research in Bioscience, CIC bioGUNE, in collaboration with the University of Kentucky, have discovered a new way to control the stability of certain types of prions (the pathogen agents responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or TSEs) by means of selecting certain proteins.

Heavy alcohol use, binge drinking, might increase risk of pancreatic cancer, researcher reports
Heavy alcohol use and binge drinking could increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in men, research from UT Southwestern Medical Center suggests.

Life sciences research grants awarded through Inova Health System and George Mason University
What do you get when you mix a world-class health system with an innovative, entrepreneurial university?

Common birds pass on organic seed
The nutritional benefits of organic food have been called into question by new research which shows wild garden birds prefer conventional seed to that which has been organically grown.

Popular autism diet does not demonstrate behavioral improvement
A popular belief that specific dietary changes can improve the symptoms of children with autism was not supported by a tightly controlled University of Rochester study, which found that eliminating gluten and casein from the diets of children with autism had no impact on their behavior, sleep or bowel patterns.

Detection of potentially deadly atrial fibrillation dramatically improved by new algorithm
An algorithm developed by a researcher at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in partnership with the ScottCare Corporation, makes it possible for a new heart monitoring system to detect incidents of atrial fibrillation, the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, far more accurately than previous methods.

Study pinpoints how a normally defensive immune response can help HIV
The findings offer important opportunities for further research both for treatment of long-term persistence of HIV in those who are infected and for prevention of infection in those who are not, according to the study team led by UCSF researchers.

New methods developed to detect, measure potato phytonutrients
Potatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colors-including tubers with red, yellow, orange and purple flesh.

AAAS Board asks Virginia Attorney General to justify or end probe of climate researcher
The AAAS Board of Directors has asked Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli to either justify his investigation of climate researcher Michael Mann or end it, calling it an

80 percent autism-divorce rate debunked in first-of-its kind scientific study
Having a child with autism can put stress on the parents' marriage, and a frequently cited statistic leads to a common perception that the divorce rate among these families is as high as 80 percent.

Innovations in Technology for Autism Demonstrations
Families with children with autism demonstrate Innovative Technologies for Autism on Friday May 21, 11:00 a.m.

Study reveals genetic link to infectious disease susceptibility
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research and National University Health System have identified new genetic variants that increase susceptibility to several infectious diseases including tuberculosis and malaria.

Study: Yogurt-like drink DanActive reduced rate of common infections in daycare children
The probiotic yogurt-like drink DanActive reduced the rate of common sicknesses such as ear infections, sinusitis, the flu and diarrhea in daycare children, say researchers who studied the drink in the largest known probiotic clinical trial to be conducted in the United States.

Keeping an ear out for kin
Bats can distinguish between the calls of their own and different species with their echolocation calls, report scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen.

Scientists: Malaria control to overcome disease's spread as climate warms
Contrary to a widespread assumption, global warming is unlikely to expand the range of malaria because of malaria control, development and other factors that are at work to corral the disease.

Male antelopes deceive females to increase their chances of mating
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that male topi antelopes deceive their female counterparts in order to increase their chances of mating.

CPAP use reduces incidence of cardiovascular events and hypertension in OSA patients
In nonsleepy patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events and hypertension, according to researchers from Spain.

Irregular medication use puts seniors at risk for falling
Older adults increase their chances of falling by not taking their medications as directed, according to an article in the latest edition of the Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences.

Lancet article highlights hope in the tuberculosis
According to a paper published today in the Lancet, there is unprecedented progress in the development of the global tuberculosis (TB) drug pipeline with 10 drug candidates currently in clinical development.

Androgen receptor may explain male dominance in liver cancer
A University of Rochester study helps to explain why men get liver cancer more often than women and opens the door for a new treatment pathway, by showing a direct link between the androgen receptor, which is more active in men, and the hepatitis B virus as it relates to the deadly cancer.

Manmade antibodies hold biomedical promise
Researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have developed a much faster and simpler way of making synthetic antibodies, by carrying out the usual steps in reverse.

Possible new class of supernovae puts calcium in your bones
UC Berkeley astronomers have discovered several examples of an unusual type of exploding star that may be a new class of supernovae spewing calcium into the galaxy, which eventually ends up in all of us.

At-home sleep testing equal to overnight in a sleep lab in treatment results
Patients with suspected obstructive sleep apnea may no longer have to spend an expensive and uncomfortable night at a sleep center to monitor their sleep-disordered breathing.

NIH grants K-State researcher nearly $1.5 million to study antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Lynn Hancock, assistant professor of biology at Kansas State University, has been awarded nearly $1.5 million for the next five years from the National Institutes of Health, Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to investigate the antibiotic resistance of enterococci, a type of bacteria commonly found in hospitals.

Resistant wheat rebuilds cell walls when attacked by Hessian flies
Christie Williams, a research scientist with the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and a Purdue associate professor of entomology, found that wheat plants resistant to Hessian fly larvae attack increase production of surface waxes and cutin.

Breaking the logjam: Improving data download from outer space
Space satellites that detect nuclear events and environmental gasses face a data logjam because their increasingly powerful sensors produce more information than their bandwidth can easily transmit.

Extending lifespan has mixed effects on learning and memory
Decreasing the intake of calories and tweaking the activity of the hormone insulin are two methods long known to increase lifespan in a wide range of organisms.

First study examines postpolypectomy bleeding in colonoscopy patients on uninterrupted clopidogrel
Researchers at the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York examined postpolypectomy bleeding in patients undergoing colonoscopy on uninterrupted clopidogrel and found that the postpolypectomy bleeding rate is significantly higher in patients undergoing polypectomy while taking clopidogrel and concomitant aspirin/nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but that the risk is small and the outcome is favorable.

Study finds racial, ethnic disparities in family-centered care for kids with special health needs
A new study found that African-American and Latino children with special health care needs, and those who come from households in which the primary language is not English, are less likely to receive family-centered care than are white children and those from households where English is the primary language.

Europe's scientists call for more effort in tackling rising ocean acidity
Ten years ago, ocean acidification was a phenomenon only known to small group of ocean scientists.

The making of a queen: Road to royalty begins early in paper wasps
Social status in paper wasps is established earlier in life than scientists thought, says a new study in the journal PLoS ONE.

Enabling video systems to react intelligently to content
Highly sophisticated video-content analysis now makes possible fast and reliable diagnosis of pulmonary embolisms, automatically detects threatening situations in surveillance scenarios and can provide more enjoyable and customized home entertainment.

New climate change reports underscore need for action
As part of its most comprehensive study of climate change to date, the National Research Council today issued three reports emphasizing why the US should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change.

Proposed diagnostic change not enough to help children currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder
Shifting children from the controversial diagnosis of bipolar disorder to one that more accurately reflects their symptoms, called temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria, will not by itself decrease the rate of psychopharmacologic treatment and is not enough to help troubled children flourish, according to a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers at the Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute, and a physician-researcher at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

More than 60 percent of teachers have voice problems
Researchers at the University of Malaga have analyzed the presence of voice disorders in male and female teachers, in order to obtain a representative statistic: 62.7 percent of the early childhood and primary education teaching body suffer from these complaints on a daily or weekly basis.

New technique enables drug tests via exhaled breath
A new study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet presents a new technique that makes drug testing possible through exhaled air for the first time.

Disease control, not climate change, key to future of malaria
A study published today casts doubt on the widely held notion that warming global temperatures will lead to a future intensification of malaria and an expansion of its global range.

New study reveals ways to better inhibit blood clots
A new study reveals factors that improve the performance of synthetic fibrin

Sari cloth a simple sustainable protector from cholera
A five-year follow up study in Bangladesh finds that women are literally wearing the answer to better health for themselves, their families and even their neighbors.

Cyclone Laila, formerly Tropical Storm 1B, is headed for landfall in India
Tropical Storm 1B strengthened overnight into a Category One cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson scale and has been officially renamed

New steps toward a universal flu vaccine
Researchers at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine have developed a novel influenza vaccine that could represent the next step towards a universal influenza vaccine eliminating the need for seasonal immunizations.

Arizona's smoking ban reduced hospital visits, UA study finds
Since the 2007 state law that bans smoking in public venues took effect, admissions for ailments related to secondhand smoke have declined by as much as 33 percent.

Over-diagnosis of bipolar disorder and disability payments -- a link?
A study from Rhode Island Hospital finds patients who were

Gulf of Mexico oil spill in the Loop Current
Scientists monitoring the US oil spill with ESA's Envisat radar satellite say that it has entered the Loop Current, a powerful conveyor belt that flows clockwise around the Gulf of Mexico towards Florida.

BioBusiness Alliance, Canadian Light Source Synchrotron sign agreement
Bringing the power of synchrotron light to Minnesota's academic and industrial life science researchers is the aim of a Memorandum of Agreement signed today between the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota and Canada's national synchrotron facility, the Canadian Light Source.

Formation of plexiform lesions in experimental severe pulmonary arterial hypertension
A new preclinical model of pulmonary arterial hypertension may lead to improved research and ultimately better therapies for this life-threatening problem, according to its developers, researchers at the University of South Alabama.

Lehigh helps open first-of-its kind, space-age education/research facility at local middle school
Responding to the trend that American K-12 students lag behind their international peers in science and math, Lehigh University has joined with a nearby school district to fashion a unique, hands-on approach to the problem -- the Dr.

UCSD researcher finds new role for zebrafish in human studies
Michael E. Baker, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has discovered that zebrafish -- an important animal model in disease and environmental studies -- could provide the means to help scientists eventually reveal the function of a mysterious enzyme linked to the steroid cortisol, and found in the human brain.

An explosive pair
A newly identified type of supernova may be fairly common in the universe, says one of its discoverers at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Elsevier launches the Journal of Computational Science
The new journal will publish advanced, interdisciplinary research on simulation-based science across all scientific disciplines.

National Geothermal Institute established at University of Nevada, Reno
The US Department of Energy has awarded the University of Nevada, Reno a $1.2 million grant to develop and operate the National Geothermal Institute, a consortium of top geothermal schools, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, Stanford University, the Oregon Institute of Technology and the University of Utah.

Gene therapy may be effective in treating PAH
Gene therapy has been shown to have positive effects in rat models of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), according to researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

GSA Special Paper exposes raw beauty of the Bering Glacier system
The opening chapter of this new Special Paper from the Geological Society of America is titled,

Active and healthy schools get kids moving
In Missouri, one elementary school is seeing the benefits of incorporating physical activity in their classrooms with the adoption of the Active and Healthy Schools Program.

Preschool depression: The importance of early detection of depression in young children
It is difficult to imagine a depressed third-grader. It is even more difficult to imagine a depressed preschooler.

NASA's Aqua satellite sees Gulf oil slick in sunglint
At 3 p.m. EDT on May 18, NASA's Aqua satellite swept over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from its vantage point in space and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument captured sunglints in a visible image of the spill.

Scientists find protein spurs spread of prostate cancer
Researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have found that Stat5, a signaling protein previously found to be key to survival of prostate cancer, is also involved in metastasis.

Researchers get $3.3 million grant to investigate language outcomes of bilingual children
University of Texas at Austin researchers have received a $3.3 million National Institutes of Health grant to conduct a five-year study of speech and language development in bilingual children who speak English and Spanish, comparing those whose language skills are delayed with those who have no delays.

Scientists release data on potential new treatment targets for malaria
An international team led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators today released data detailing the effectiveness of nearly 310,000 chemicals against a malaria parasite that remains one of the world's leading killers of young children. 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