Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 09, 2010
Natural energy to help power exploration of the universe
The federal government has announced today that the CSIRO will receive $47.3 million for the development of solar and geothermal energy technologies to power a radio-astronomy observatory and its supporting computer center.

Plastic antibody works in first tests in living animals
Scientists are reporting the first evidence that a plastic antibody -- an artificial version of the proteins produced by the body's immune system to recognize and fight infections and foreign substances -- works in the bloodstream of a living animal.

Predicting amount of oil in contaminated soils
A team of scientists demonstrates a new method for testing soils for oil contamination that is faster than traditional testing methods.

Large majority of Americans still believe in global warming, Stanford poll finds
Three out of four Americans believe that the Earth has been gradually warming as the result of human activity and want the government to institute regulations to stop it, according to a new survey by researchers at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.

Liposome-hydrogel hybrids: No toil, no trouble for stronger bubbles
Researchers at NIST, the University of Maryland and the US Food and Drug Administration have developed a method to combine liposomes and particles of hydrogel in a hybrid nanoscale particle that may one day travel directly to specific cells such as tumors, pass easily though the target's cell membrane, and then slowly release a drug payload.

PRACE research infrastructure inaugurated
Representatives of 19 nations established PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, creating a persistent pan-European high-performance computing research infrastructure and related services.

K-State designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research
Kansas State University's Center for Information and Systems Assurance has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research.

First-time parents' daily sleep duration predicts their relationship satisfaction
Self-reported relationship satisfaction among new parents was strongly associated with objective total sleep time measured by actigraphy.

Sleep colors your view of the world: Study suggests sleep may restore color perception
Prior wakefulness caused the color gray to be classified as having a slightly but significantly greenish tint.

Genome-wide study identifies factors that may affect vitamin D levels
An international research consortium has identified four common gene variants that are associated with blood levels of vitamin D and with an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.

NIST/JILA 'Dark Pulse Laser' produces bursts of ... almost nothing
In an advance that sounds almost Zen, researchers at NIST and JILA, a joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado at Boulder, have demonstrated a new type of pulsed laser that excels at not producing light.

Study finds poor compliance with cirrhosis surveillance recommendations
A study conducted by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine found that fewer than 20 percent of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma preceded by cirrhosis were monitored for the development of cancer.

Study finds beta blockers alone more effective for first variceal bleeding
A controlled trial conducted by researchers at the E-DA Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, suggests that a combination of band ligation and nadolol may not be the most effective prophylaxis for first variceal bleeding resulting from cirrhosis.

Genetic factors affect risk of vitamin D insufficiency
A new study published online first and in an upcoming Lancet shows that genetic factors affect the risk of a person having vitamin D insufficiency.

Conference to discuss sensing technology developments and opportunities
The Sensors & Instrumentation KTN is organizing a conference and exhibition,

Theology and Theology Today enter partnership with SAGE
SAGE, the world's leading independent academic and professional publisher, today announced the further expansion of its flourishing Theology and Religious Studies journals portfolio.

Mutation causes intense pain
A mutation that enhances the function of a specific ion channel has been identified as the cause of a rare inherited pain disorder.

Data acquisition and coordination key to human microbiome project
The Human Microbiome Project seeks a better understanding of the community of microbes that outnumber the human cells in our bodies by a 10:1 ratio and are critical to our health and physical well being.

Individual brain cells can ID both cars and cats
Researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory found that single brain cells, if confronted with a difficult task, can identify objects as dissimilar as sports cars and dogs.

Walls falling faster for solid-state memory
Researchers have found that flaws in the structure of magnetic nanoscale wires play an important role in determining the operating speed of novel devices using such nanowires to store and process information.

Solution to beading-saliva mystery has practical purposes
Researchers have discovered precisely why strands of some fluids containing long molecules called polymers form beads when stretched, findings that could be used to improve industrial processes and for administering drugs in

Michael Graetzel wins the Millennium Technology Prize
With a sum of 800,000 euros, the Millennium Technology Prize was given today, June 9, to EPFL professor Michael Graetzel.

New evidence that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes
Scientists are reporting new evidence that drinking coffee may help prevent diabetes and that caffeine may be the ingredient largely responsible for this effect.

A 'huge step' toward mass production of coveted form of carbon
Scientists have leaped over a major hurdle in efforts to begin commercial production of a form of carbon that could rival silicon in its potential for revolutionizing electronics devices ranging from supercomputers to cell phones.

NTU international conference to promote computer graphics as a multidisciplinary field
Nanyang Technological University is hosting the Computer Graphics International Conference, one of the oldest and highly acclaimed international computer graphics conferences in the world, from June 8-11, 2010.

Teen automobile crash rates are higher when school starts earlier
In 2008 the teen crash rate was about 41 percent higher in Virginia Beach, Va., where high school classes began at 7:20 a.m., than in adjacent Chesapeake, Va., where classes started more than an hour later at 8:40 a.m.

World's largest DNA scan reveals rare variants that disrupt gene activity in autistic children
UCLA researchers participated in the largest DNA scan for familial autism, which found rare genetic changes occurring nearly 20 percent more in autistic children than healthy children.

Improving recovery from spinal cord injury
Once damaged, nerves in the spinal cord normally cannot grow back and the only drug approved for treating these injuries does not enable nerve regrowth.

MIT researchers find 2 brain circuits involved with habitual learning
Driving to and from work is a habit for most commuters -- we do it without really thinking.

Mechanism links abnormal blood clots with Alzheimer's disease
New research suggests that abnormalities in the process of blood clot formation may contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

Dolphins use diplomacy in their communication
A Spanish researcher and a Paraguayan scientist have presented the most complete and detailed European study into the repertoire of sounds used by bottlenose dolphins to communicate.

Crocodile and hippopotamus served as 'brain food' for early human ancestors
Fish really is

ESA makes first GOCE dataset available
The first products based on GOCE satellite data are now available online through ESA's Earth observation user services tools.

Stem cells for first time used to create abnormal heart cells for study of cardiomyopathy
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have for the first time differentiated human stem cells to become heart cells with cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle cells are abnormal.

UMCES Horn Point Laboratory scientists to study oil spill effects in Gulf of Mexico
A team of scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory will travel to the Gulf of Mexico later this summer to study the potential effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on plankton and fish communities in the northern Gulf.

CoLucid Pharmaceuticals Inc. announces study data documenting oral efficacy of lasmiditan (COL-144), a selective 5-HT1F receptor agonist, in the treatment of acute migraine attacks
CoLucid Pharmaceuticals Inc., an innovative biotechnology company focusing on therapies for central nervous system disorders, announced that its investigational first-in-class Neurally Acting Anti-Migraine Agent, lasmiditan (also known as COL-144), a selective 5-HT1F receptor agonist, was effective when given orally to treat acute migraine attacks, as documented in a Phase 2b study.

Compound enhances cancer-killing properties of agent in trials
Adding a second agent may make a new, experimental anti-cancer drug effective against a wide range of cancers, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have found.

TGen intern named one of nation's top 20 students by USA Today
Joshua Niska, a five-year intern at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, capped a string of major academic honors today by being named one of the nation's top 20 college students by USA Today.

Late-stage ovarian cancer shows promise in 2-drug phase I trial
The combination of decitabine and carboplatin appears to improve the outcome of women who have late-stage ovarian cancer according to Indiana University researchers.

Pecans provide neurological protection
Eating about a handful of pecans each day may play a role in protecting the nervous system, according to a new animal study published in the current issue of Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research.

Fungus among us could become nonfood source for biodiesel production
In the quest for alternatives to soybeans, palm and other edible oilseed plants as sources for biodiesel production, enter an unlikely new candidate: A fungus, or mold, that produces and socks away large amounts of oils that are suitable for low-cost, eco-friendly biodiesel.

Gamma interferon a wake-up call for stem cell response to infection
Most of the time, the body's blood-forming stem cells remain dormant, with just a few producing blood cells and maintaining a balance among the different types.

High-school seniors with excessive daytime sleepiness have an increased risk of depression
High school seniors were three times more likely to have strong depression symptoms (odds ratio = 3.04) if they had excessive daytime sleepiness.

UAB study confirms link between depression, abdominal obesity
A new study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham confirms the relationship between depression and abdominal obesity, which has been linked to an increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

New parasite could be late summer beach pest
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have discovered a new sea anemone that is thought to have established itself in Swedish waters.

New psychological intervention program shows promise in helping those with bowel diseases
A new cognitive-behavioral, skills-based treatment intervention program developed and tested by psychologists at the University of Georgia shows promise of reducing physical symptoms and increasing adaptive coping strategies in people with inflammatory bowel disease.

Discovery in 'pop' science reveals the elegant, complex way bubbles burst
Lead author James C. Bird, a graduate student at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and his colleagues believe they have stumbled upon a universal behavior in how bubbles pop that holds as true for suds in a sink as it does for foam in the ocean.

New autism susceptibility genes identified
Mount Sinai researchers and the Autism Genome Project Consortium announced today that they have identified new autism susceptibility genes that may lead to the development of new treatment approaches.

AMA's position on coverage expansion was inconsistent with the views of most physicians
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that the majority of physicians and members of the American Medical Association opposed the AMA's position on coverage expansions -- the most contentious issue in the recent health care reform debate.

NIST WTC recommendations are basis for new set of revised codes
Faster and more efficient emergency evacuations from buildings and better communications between first responders during an emergency are among the safety improvements expected from 17 major and far-reaching building and fire code changes approved recently by the International Code Council based on recommendations from NIST.

Autism Speaks, world experts announce discovery of new autism genes in Autism Genome Project Phase II
Autism Speaks, international researchers, and families announce new genetic discoveries from the Autism Genome Project Phase 2, published today in Nature which found individuals with autism carry more copy number variants in their genome.

Polyphenols in red wine and green tea halt prostate cancer growth
In what could lead to a major advance in the treatment of prostate cancer, scientists now know exactly why polyphenols in red wine and green tea inhibit cancer growth.

Solid tumor modeling focus of workshops
With high human mortality associated with cancerous tumors, there is a worldwide need for a better understanding of why a tumor starts to grow and what makes it continue to grow.

Propofol poses low risk in pediatric imaging studies, but risk increases with anesthesia duration
A new study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine finds that propofol, a well-known anesthesia medication, has a low occurrence of adverse events for children undergoing research-driven imaging studies.

NIST helps accelerate the federal government's move to the cloud
NIST has been designated by Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra to accelerate the federal government's secure adoption of cloud computing by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in close consultation and collaboration with standards bodies, the private sector and other stakeholders.

Common Alzheimer's medication helps skills necessary for safe driving
A promising study from Rhode Island Hospital demonstrated that cholinesterase inhibitors, a type of medication often prescribed for Alzheimer's disease (AD), improved some cognitive skills in patients with mild AD -- skills that are necessary for driving.

Heart attacks declined 24 percent in Kaiser Permanente northern California since 2000
Heart attacks declined by 24 percent within a large, ethnically diverse, community-based population since 2000, and the relative incidence of serious heart attacks that do permanent damage declined by 62 percent.

IEEE-USA president urges Senate to pass innovation legislation
IEEE-USA President Evelyn Hirt urges the Senate to pass the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.

Wildlife, virus zoonoses focus of workshop
The emergence of zoonotic pathogens from previously unrecognized wildlife reservoirs remains one of the great unsolved mysteries in biology.

John Theurer Cancer Center and LLS host panel discussion with leading hematologists
The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have come together to host Partners in Progress: An Expert Panel Discussion on Advancing Therapies for Blood Cancers on Tuesday, June 22, in Hackensack, N.J.

New therapy offers hope to spinal muscular atrophy patients
Children who suffer from the devastating disease spinal muscular atrophy are set to benefit from a new breakthrough in therapy developments by researchers at the University of Sheffield.

Asthma control? We've got an app for that
An online self-management tool for people with asthma has been shown to significantly improve their ability to reduce their symptoms.

Vast geographic differences found in drug spending under Medicare
Widespread geographic variations exist in drug spending among Medicare beneficiaries, with some regions spending twice as much as others, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study.

2010 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases
Journalists are invited to attend and cover the 2010 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, to be held July 11-14, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, Ga.

Business, science, education and government leaders to strategize on high-tech materials
A Ceramic Leadership Summit will be held June 21-22, 2010, in Baltimore, Md., at the Hyatt Regency.

Changing young people's eating habits
A thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, reveals how school initiatives are succeeding in getting the message across to young people, but also points out that food advertisements are using health arguments to market unhealthy products.

ASTRO patient education program recognized by AAA Awards
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has been named to the 2010 Associations Advance America Honor Roll for outstanding work on its public awareness campaign to help cancer patients and their families understand their treatment options.

Chinese-German collaboration yields new species of Large Blue butterfly
Chinese and German scientists have found a new butterfly species in the south of China.

Do creative work activities create stress?
The demands associated with creative work activities pose key challenges for workers, according to new research out of the University of Toronto that describes the stress associated with some aspects of work and its impact on the boundaries between work and family life.

Insight into structure of HIV protein could aid drug design
Researchers at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and University of Nebraska Medical Center have created a three-dimensional picture of an important protein that is involved in how HIV -- the virus responsible for AIDS -- is produced inside human cells.

Driving while distracted is a primary-care issue
It's time for physicians to talk to patients about driving while distracted, a problem that has risen to the rough equivalence of drunken driving thanks to the proliferation of phones that allow drivers to talk and text, Amy Ship, M.D., a primary-care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggests.

Nanotech yields major advance in heat transfer, cooling technologies
Researchers at Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered a new way to apply nanostructure coatings to make heat transfer far more efficient, with important potential applications to high-tech devices as well as the conventional heating and cooling industry.

Is IVF good value for money? Why funding of assisted reproduction is sound fiscal policy
Children conceived by medically assisted reproduction (MAR) have fiscal implications for government both in terms of future government spending and tax revenue.

So far, fish appear to be healthy after fly ash spill
Fish exposed to fly ash at the site of the Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash spill are faring better than some expected, researchers have learned.

Politics are a key factor in biodiversity
Political decisions are among the main driving forces that influence the survival of biodiversity.

CPAP therapy provides a memory boost for adults with sleep apnea
On an overnight picture memory consolidation task, OSA patients being treated with CPAP therapy outperformed both untreated OSA patients and a control group of people who did not have OSA, suggesting that CPAP is effective at recouping memory abilities that are impaired by OSA.

Research and demonstration facility for decentralized wastewater technology opens in Jordan
Jordan has joined the ranks of nations interested in decentralized wastewater treatment technologies.

Sleep preference can predict performance of Major League Baseball pitchers
In early games that started before 7 p.m., the earned run average (ERA) of pitchers who were morning types (3.06) was lower than the average ERA of pitchers who were evening types (3.49); however, in games that started at 7 p.m. or later, pitchers who were evening types performed slightly better (4.07 ERA) than morning types (4.15 ERA).

'Instant acid' method offers new insight into nanoparticle dispersal in the environment and the body
Using a chemical trick that allows them to change the acidity of a solution almost instantly, a team at NIST has demonstrated a simple and effective technique for quantifying how the stability of nanoparticle solutions change when the acidity of their environment suddenly changes.

Cutting the Internet's carbon footprint
Over the last 20 years the Internet has grown from almost nothing to something of enormous economic and social value.

Oil from spill could have powered 38,000 cars (and more) for a year, UD researcher says
As of today (Wednesday, June 9), if all the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico had been used for fuel, it could have powered 38,000 cars, and 3,400 trucks, and 1,800 ships for a full year, according to University of Delaware Prof.

A tale of 2 atolls
To gain new insights on the impact of fishing on coral reefs, a team of Stanford researchers is taking advantage of an ongoing

University of Washington institute to get as much as $100 million to study atmosphere, ocean
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has selected the University of Washington as a key partner for expanded, in-depth study of some of the most pressing environmental challenges involving the oceans and the atmosphere.

Sleep may help you become a 'Guitar Hero'
The improvement in performance accuracy on

APA Annual Convention highlights
The 2010 APA Convention in San Diego on Aug. 12-15.

A cooler Pacific may have severely affected medieval Europe, North America
A new study from the University of Miami has found a connection between La Nina-like sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific and droughts in western Europe and in what later became the southwestern United States and Mexico, as published in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Researchers find world's oldest leather shoe and more
A perfectly preserved shoe, 1,000 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and 400 years older than Stonehenge in the UK, has been found in a cave in Armenia.

New software to measure emotional reactions to Web
A group of Canadian scientists is developing software that can actually measure emotional responses to the Web.

Personality predicts political preferences
There is a strong relationship between a voter's politics and his personality, according to new research from the University of Toronto.

Intrauterine devices reduce repeat abortions
A study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, which monitored a group of women for 25 years showed that the combined oral contraceptive pill is the most common form of contraceptive among women under 29.

Researchers report new autism genes discovered
University of Illinois at Chicago researchers are part of an international consortium reporting new autism genetic discoveries from the second phase of the Autism Genome Project.

Autism genome project identifies genetic variants that may make people susceptible to disorder
An international consortium of researchers from more than 70 universities, including the University of Utah, has reported that a study of nearly 2,300 people supports the growing consensus that autism is caused in part by rare genetic changes called copy number variants.

Targeted molecules play only minor role in axon repair
Neuroscientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that removing three key inhibitory molecules from myelin -- the insulating material that surrounds nerve cell fibers -- does not significantly boost the ability of injured spinal axons to regenerate and restore themselves to full function.

'Sound' science offers platform for brain treatment and manipulation
The ability to diagnose and treat brain dysfunction without surgery, may rely on a new method of noninvasive brain stimulation using pulsed ultrasound developed by a team of scientists led by William

Greener horizons: Plastics may grow on trees
Money may not grow on trees, but gasoline, computers, and tennis shoes just might thanks to new biotech advances that could allow manufacturers to produce fuel, plastics and other chemicals from plants instead of petroleum.
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