Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 29, 2010
Study finds why some women are sub-fertile with a poor response to ovarian stimulating hormones
Researchers have discovered that some women carry a genetic variation that makes them sub-fertile and less likely to respond to ovarian stimulating hormones during fertility treatment.

Elsevier announces new access to Reaxys for chemists at Sapienza University of Rome
Elsevier and Sapienza University of Rome today announced a new agreement, providing researchers at the university with access to Reaxys, Elsevier's work-flow solution for research chemists.

UCLA engineer's telemedicine invention poised to begin trials in Africa
This month's cover article of the journal Lab on a Chip features the latest creation by the Ozcan group, a functioning prototype of a cell phone microscope.

Key mechanism in the brain's computation of sound location identified
Animals can locate the source of a sound by detecting microsecond (one millionth of a second) differences in arrival time at their two ears.

Key component indentified that helps plants go green
A team of researchers from Duke University and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has found a central part in the machinery that turns plants green when they sense light.

Turning back the cellular clock
For the first time, scientists at Tel Aviv University in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University have succeeded in tracking the progression of reprogrammed stem cells through live imaging to learn more about how they are reprogrammed, and how the new cells evolve over time.

New UGA temperature table may help reduce heat-related deaths of children in closed cars
A team of researchers at the University of Georgia has developed an easy-to-use table of vehicle temperature changes that may help public officials and media remind the public about the deadly consequences of vehicle-related hyperthermia in children.

Can you make a snail forget?
Scientists have identified which environmental stress conditions encourage pond snails to remember and which make them forget.

Ovarian transplantation restores fertility to old mice and also lengthens their lives
Scientists have discovered that when they transplant ovaries from young mice into aging female mice, not only does the procedure make the mice fertile again, but also it rejuvenates their behavior and increases their lifespan.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may damage semen quality in sons
Mothers who drink alcohol while they are pregnant may be damaging the fertility of their future sons, according to new research.

Surgical repair of knee injuries does not decrease risk of osteoarthritis
Arthroscopic surgical repair of torn anterior cruciate ligaments or meniscal cartilage injuries in the knee does not decrease the chances of developing osteoarthritis, according to a new study.

Olympic gold? A new effect of caffeine boosts performance
UK scientists show for the first time that high doses of caffeine directly increase muscle power and endurance during sub-maximal activities, which in humans ranges from everyday activities to running a marathon.

New book provides summary of research into the origins of life on Earth
A comprehensive account of research into the origins of life on Earth is provided in

New book chronicles Asia, North America language link
A team of researchers, including several at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, have found what looks to be the first well-supported demonstration of an ancient language connection between people in remote Asia and North America.

Sandia Labs reports first monolithic terahertz solid-state transceiver
Sandia National Laboratories researchers have taken the first steps toward reducing the size and enhancing the functionality of devices in the terahertz frequency spectrum.

FDA approves trial for type 1 diabetes treatment by Ben-Gurion U. and U. Colorado
This is the first time AAT will be evaluated in humans with type 1 diabetes.

Is your left hand more motivated than your right hand?
Motivation doesn't have to be conscious; your brain can decide how much it wants something without input from your conscious mind.

Barrier to faster integrated circuits may be mere speed bump, scientists say
According to Maxime Darnon, a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, in order to continue increasing the speed of integrated circuits, interconnect insulators will require an upgrade to porous, low-dielectric constant materials.

Public transit systems contribute to weight loss and improved health
In a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the RAND Corporation found that construction of a light-rail system (LRT) resulted in increased physical activity (walking) and subsequent weight loss by people served by the LRT.

Use of less invasive, imaging-guided biopsies on the rise
Advanced imaging technologies have helped shift biopsy techniques away from more invasive approaches toward imaging-guided percutaneous -- or through the skin -- techniques, according to a new study.

Beating doctor burnout and protecting patients
Researchers at the University of Nottingham are part of a new pan-European research study examining whether working conditions in hospitals are contributing to doctor

Researchers suggest new paradigm for breast cancer screening
Should we spend more money urging women to use mammography screening on a regular basis or should those dollars and effort be used for discovering and developing better early detection tests?

Deaths in the family cause bacteria to flee
The deaths of nearby relatives has a curious effect on the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus -- surviving cells lose their stickiness.

Study shows age doesn't necessarily affect decision-making
Many people believe that getting older means losing a mental edge, leading to poor decision-making.

Experts analyze benefits, opportunities and challenges of Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D added prescription drug coverage to Medicare beginning in January 2006.

TRMM satellite sees Darby's remnants still kicking up isolated showers
A trough is an elongated area of low pressure and that's what the remnants of the once major hurricane known as Darby are becoming today.

Examining risks and benefits of alcohol consumption
A discussion by renowned epidemiologist Kenneth Mukamal has recently been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA.

Experiencing different cultures enhances creativity
Creativity can be enhanced by experiencing cultures different from one's own, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, published by SAGE.

Public health systems compared: Germans more dissatisfied than the rest
One patient in four in Germany is in favor of complete reform of the public health system.

Hebrew University added to Singapore research program
The National Research Foundation of Singapore has announced that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will join other leading world universities that have been selected to participate in research centers in Singapore under the CREATE (Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise) program.

Excess weight linked to increased risk of dying from cancer in populations of Asia-Pacific
Overweight and obese individuals from the Asia-Pacific region are significantly more likely to die from cancer compared with individuals in the normal weight range.

Irish hares fall foul of modern farming trap
Research from Queen's University Belfast has revealed the 20th century decline in the Irish hare population is almost certainly associated with changes in farming practices.

Feast and famine: MRI reveals secrets of animal anatomy
Scientists have used Computer Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI to reveal, for the first time noninvasively, how a snake adapts its internal organs in preparation for a big meal and during digestion, until it has disappeared completely.

The teeth of cadavers reveal their identity
Researchers from the University of Granada have shown that a person's dental patterns can be used as proof of their identity with the same degree of reliability as DNA testing, the method that forensic police use to reveal the identity of dead bodies.

Depressed mice could aid research on drug-resistant depression in humans
New research shows that a unique strain of laboratory mice characterized at Penn State University has behavioral, hormonal and neurochemical characteristics that are similar to those of human patients with drug-resistant forms of depression.

Lead poisoning highly prevalent among school-aged children in Uganda
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that children living near the Kiteezi landfill in Kampala, Uganda, have blood lead levels nearly 20 times as high as the typical lead level found in US children.

Zapping Titan-like atmosphere with UV rays creates life precursors
The first experimental evidence showing how atmospheric nitrogen can be incorporated into organic macromolecules is being reported by a University of Arizona team.

US approach to farming should change to meet new challenges, expanding needs
US farmers are under pressure to produce more, pollute less, fulfill consumer preferences, and make a living -- all with increasingly scarce natural resources and the uncertain effects of climate change.

UK geneticists shed light on flowering plants
Scientists have uncovered a new piece in the puzzle about why some plants flower in spring/autumn and some in summer.

Impulsive, weak willed or just too much dopamine?
It's a common scenario: you're on a diet, determined to give up eating cakes, but as you pass the cake counter, all resolve disappears.

AMP submits comments on SACGHS report
Yesterday, the Association for Molecular Pathology submitted comments on the Draft Report of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society on Genetics Education and Training of Health Care Professionals, Public Health Providers and Consumers.

Pay-for-performance for hospitals
Pay-for-performance initiatives -- in which health care providers are rewarded with more funds for meeting clinical targets -- have been adopted in the UK and Australia.

Desert bats reveal the secret of their survival
Desert bats reduce water loss by changing the make-up of their skin, allowing them to thrive in some of the world's most inhospitable environments.

Ecological Society of America announces 2010 award recipients
The Ecological Society of America will present seven societal awards to distinguished ecologists at its 95th Annual Meeting from Aug.

Responsible science for do-it-yourself biologists
The Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center is partnering with, on a project to ensure safety within the rapidly expanding community of amateur biologists.

Dental school gets $1.86 million from NIH for study of methamphetamine's effect on oral health
The abuse of methamphetamine -- a powerful and highly addictive psychostimulant that is toxic to the nervous system -- has reached epidemic proportions in many parts of the country.

Despite countless changes, original HIV infection lurks within
Scientists have been surprised to learn that, despite thousands of changes that viruses like HIV undergo in rapid fashion to evade the body's immune system, the original version that caused the infection is still present in the body months later.

Brain's energy restored during sleep, suggests animal study
In the initial stages of sleep, energy levels increase dramatically in brain regions found to be active during waking hours, according to new research in the June 30 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Office of Naval Research saluted for its diversity efforts and supporting HBCUs
Readers of Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology magazine praised ONR for its commitment to workforce diversity, while US Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine honored the organization for the second year in a row for its investment in HBCUs.

NASA data see Alex's core aligned, growing toward hurricane strength
Two instruments aboard NASA's Aqua satellite have provided some critical information to hurricane forecasters about tropical storm Alex as it threatens the northern Mexico and southern Texas coasts.

More proof that new planet and star are moving together
A planet about eight times the mass of Jupiter has been confirmed to orbit a sun-like star that's some 300 times farther from its own star than Earth is from its sun.

Bars, restaurants see no significant employment change under smoking bans in 2 cities
The passage of smoking bans in two large Minnesota cities was not associated with job losses at bars and may in fact have contributed to higher employment in restaurants, according to new research.

Study shows how dietary supplement may block cancer cells
A new study shows how a substance produced when eating broccoli and Brussels sprouts can block the proliferation of cancer cells.

Counseling increased mammography use among low-income women with health insurance
Low-income women are often faced with competing priorities. Family income was approximately $7,000 annually.

Diamonds and the holy grail of quantum computing
Most candidate systems for quantum computing work only at very low temperatures.

Huntington's disease greatly underestimated in the UK
The prevalence of Huntington's disease is substantially underestimated in the UK, with significant implications for those affected, the health-care system, and research.

Molecules typically found in blue jean and ink dyes may lead to more efficient solar cells
Making better solar cells: Cornell University researchers have discovered a simple process -- employing molecules typically used in blue jean and ink dyes -- for building an organic framework that could lead to economical, flexible and versatile solar cells.

UK's reliance on locums putting patient safety at risk, warns doctor
The UK's heavy reliance on locum doctors to work in the NHS is leading to a dangerous state of affairs where patient safety is at risk, warns a senior doctor in this week's BMJ.

WIC might prevent mothers from feeding cow's milk too early
Some low-income mothers are more likely than others to introduce their infants to cow's milk too soon.

Fast-tracking the manufacture of glasses
Old glass is not the same as new glass -- and the difference is not just due to manufacturing techniques.

Community-based education strengthens campaign for elimination of lymphatic filariasis
Community-based lymphatic filariasis education in Orissa State, India, increased treatment compliance from around 50 percent to up to 90 percent, according to a study published June 29 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Dr. Jayne Fulkerson receives $3.2 million NIH grant
Many children in the US have poor diets and in fact, one in three is overweight or obese.

Intensively lowering glucose: Possible benefits must be weighed against risks
In an analysis from the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial, results show that the benefits of intensive therapy need to be balanced against the increase in total and cardiovascular disease-related death, increased weight gain, and high risk for severe low blood sugar.

ESA to set tiny hair-like Webb Telescope microshutters
Tiny little shutters as small as the width of a human hair are a key component in the James Webb Space Telescope's ability to see huge distances in the cosmos, and they have now arrived at the European Space Agency.

Study finds no link between diabetes drug rosiglitazone and increased rate of heart attack
The diabetes drug rosiglitazone has been under intense scrutiny since a 2007 study linked the drug's use with increased risk of heart attack and death from heart disease.

A community approach to kicking the habit
A team of health researchers from the University of Nottingham are spearheading a new project to reduce tobacco use in an area which has one of the highest rates of smoking in the country.

Smoking-related colorectal cancer in older women is associated with molecularly defined DNA changes
Smoking, an established risk factor for colon cancer, may induce specific epigenetic changes and gene mutations that may be involved in the development of colon cancer, according to an online study published June 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

New data for Vimpat (lacosamide) C-V showed sustained efficacy for up to 5 years
New long term data showed that Vimpat (lacosamide) C-V provided sustained reduction in seizure frequency for up to five years when used as an add-on treatment for uncontrolled partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy.

Novel approaches to R&D in Africa needed
Solomon Nwaka from the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization and colleagues discuss ANDI, the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, which is intended to help stimulate health research and development on the African continent.

ACCORD eye study finds 2 therapies slow diabetic eye disease progression
In high-risk adults with type 2 diabetes, researchers have found that two therapies may slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease that is the leading cause of vision loss in working-age Americans.

IOP announces 2010 award winners
The Institute of Physics today, Tuesday, June 29, 2010, announces this year's award winners with the Isaac Newton Medal, IOP's international medal, going to theoretical physicist Professor Edward Witten for outstanding, transformative contributions to physics.

NY state the focus of Congressional hearing on how research and innovation fuel local economies
At a hearing today on Capitol Hill, experts discussed how federally funded university research drives innovation that contributes to local economies.

Study shows stability and utility of floating wind turbines
While offshore wind turbines have already have been constructed as a renewable energy solution, they've traditionally been situated in shallow waters, where the tower extends directly into the seabed.

Computer modeling to build better mud bricks
University of Illinois at Chicago civil and materials engineering assistant professor Craig Foster received a National Science Foundation grant to create computer models that analyze physical characteristics of mud block and rammed earth walls -- construction materials commonly used around the world, but of which little technical information is known.

Hyperoxia may slow formation of wrinkles
It's no secret that UVB radiation from the sun causes wrinkles.

Arctic climate may be more sensitive to warming than thought, says new study
A new study shows the Arctic climate system may be more sensitive to greenhouse warming than previously thought, and that current levels of Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide may be high enough to bring about significant, irreversible shifts in Arctic ecosystems.

Intensive therapy improves some outcomes for patients with established type 2 diabetes but also increases risk of death, weight gain, and hypoglycemia (from ACCORD study)
An analysis of data from the ACCORD study into intensive therapy of blood glucose (sugar) shows that the benefits of such therapy need to be balanced against the increase in total and cardiovascular disease-related mortality, increased weight gain, and high risk for severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

IEEE-USA pleased that Supreme Court's ruling preserves software patents
IEEE-USA had this reaction to Monday's Supreme Court ruling in the Bilski vs.

'Galactic archaeologists' find origin of Milky Way's ancient stars
Many of the Milky Way's ancient stars are remnants of other smaller galaxies torn apart by violent galactic collisions around five billion years ago, according to researchers at Durham University.

Soil moisture study aims for climate change insights
A new $26-million NASA project led by a University of Michigan researcher aims to help clarify how ecosystems exchange carbon with the atmosphere, an important piece of missing knowledge in the quest to understand, predict and adapt to climate change.

Closing the science-to-policy gap in maternal and child health in Africa
In the third of five papers in the PLoS Medicine series on maternal, neonatal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa, Sara Bennett and Freddie Ssengooba this week discuss the challenges of getting science into policy in Africa.

NOAA-supported scientists predict 'larger than average' Gulf dead zone
The northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, an underwater area with little or no oxygen known commonly as the

NYU researchers identify a key mechanism in the brain's computation of sound location
NYU researchers have identified a mechanism the brain uses to help process sound localization.

GOES satellite sees Celia's remnants a shadow of her former self
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-11 captured a visible image of Celia's remnants on June 29 at 8:45 a.m.

Interventions to promote repeat breast cancer screening with mammography
Researchers have been trying to determine the best strategy for women who can potentially benefit from repeat mammography screening.

Potential industrial and agricultural uses of echinacea trump health claims
Researchers from the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are investigating the possibility that echinacea has important uses -- not in health, but in the fields of petrochemicals and agriculture.

Subtle mutations in immune gene may increase risk for asthma
A gene that encodes a protein responsible for determining whether certain immune cells live or die shows subtle differences in some people with asthma, a team led by Johns Hopkins researchers reports in the June European Journal of Human Genetics.

Venetian blinds can cause accidental strangulation
In this week's BMJ, a pediatrician is calling for Venetian blinds to be redesigned to safeguard babies and toddlers from accidentally being strangled to death by the looped cords.

Sensor and insulin pump results in better blood-sugar control in all age groups with diabetes
Adding a continuous blood sugar level sensor to an insulin pump helps patients with type 1 diabetes achieve better blood sugar control compared to the common standard of care, multiple daily insulin injections, concludes a study published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Cheap, simple, noninvasive blood test may replace invasive diagnostic techniques in early pregnancy
Researchers in the Netherlands believe they are on the verge of developing a simple, prenatal blood test that would be able to detect accurately chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus.

Near-normal blood sugar target did not delay risk of organ damage in people with diabetes
In people with longstanding type 2 diabetes who are at high risk for heart attack and stroke, lowering blood sugar to near-normal levels did not delay the combined risk of diabetic damage to kidneys, eyes or nerves, but did delay several other signs of diabetic damage, a study has found.

Do scientists understand the public?
Scientific advances often provoke deep concern on the part of the public, especially when these advances challenge strongly held political or moral perspectives.

Putting muscle into birdsong
Female zebra finches don't sing but make one-note, low-pitch calls.

Large decline in impulsivity in early adulthood related to decrease in alcohol consumption
University of Missouri researchers have found that individuals who exhibited the largest declines in impulsivity from ages 18-25 also exhibited the sharpest decreases in alcohol consumption during this time frame.

CU-Boulder researcher finds 10,000-year-old hunting weapon in melting ice patch
A University of Colorado at Boulder researcher has discovered a 10,000-year-old atlatl dart that had melted out of ice patch in Rocky Mountains.

Surprising find may yield new avenue of treatment for painful herniated discs
An immune cell known to cause chronic inflammation in autoimmune disorders has been identified as a possible culprit in low back pain associated with herniated discs, according to doctors at Duke University Medical Center. 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