Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 30, 2010
R Coronae Australis: A cosmic watercolor
This magnificent view of the region around the star R Coronae Australis was created from images taken with the Wide Field Imager at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile.

New cochlear implant could improve outcomes for patients
More electrodes and a thinner, more flexible wire inserted further into the inner ear could improve conventional cochlear implants, a team of Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers say.

Warmer ecosystems could absorb less atmospheric carbon dioxide
Research by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London has found that a predicted rise in global temperature of 4 C by 2100 could lead to a 13 percent reduction in ecosystems' ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Cancer drug shows promise for treating a wide range of inflammatory diseases
Those looking for a new treatment for a range of inflammatory diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus may need to look no further than a drug already available for treating cancer.

Europe leads the world in assisted-reproduction technology
Europe leads the world in assisted-reproduction technology with most cycles initiated in the region.

Ongoing pregnancy rates from vitrified eggs as good as those from fresh
Embryos derived from oocytes (eggs) cryopreserved by the vitrification method are just as likely to produce an ongoing pregnancy as those involving fresh oocytes.

New hope for victims of stroke
Top British neuroscientist Nancy Rothwell will summarize her team's latest research into both the causes of brain damage in stroke patients as well as future treatment options when she delivers the Physiological Society's annual public lecture on June 30, 2010.

Stanford study shows key enzyme in fetal heart development also involved in adult heart disease
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified for the first time an enzyme that plays vital roles in both fetal heart development and in causing cardiac hypertrophy -- an enlargement of the heart -- in adults.

APS Physics files petition requesting NRC change licensing rules
The American Physical Society, a leading organization of physicists, has filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requesting the agency change its licensing rules by including a review of the proliferation risks associated with smaller, more efficient nuclear fuel technologies.

Former terrorists' experiences could sway potential recruits
A better understanding of why people leave terrorism could be more important than why they became a terrorist, according to a Penn State terrorism expert.

Genetic code 2.0
The creation of synthetic proteins plays an important role in science.

Apples grow larger when cells don't divide, study shows
Peter Hirst, a Purdue University associate professor of horticulture, found that an anomaly in some Gala apple trees causes some apples to grow much larger than others because cells aren't splitting.

Genetic basis of alopecia areata established for first time by Columbia research team
A team of Columbia-led investigators has uncovered eight genes that underpin alopecia areata, one of the most common causes of hair loss, as reported in a paper in the July 1 issue of Nature.

Breakthrough in understanding cell development
How do plants and animals end up with right number of cells in all the right places?

14-year trial shows that prostate cancer screening reduces deaths by almost half
A 14-year trial published in the Lancet Oncology has shown that screening for prostate cancer reduces mortality by almost half.

Innovotech receives funding to advance environmentally friendly agricultural crop protection product
Innovotech Inc., a pioneer in the field of biofilm product development, has secured funding in excess of $900,000 from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to facilitate the commercialization of Agress, its unique, environmentally friendly seed treatment and plant spray designed to protect crops against both bacterial and fungal infections.

New allocation formula developed by Johns Hopkins could prevent waste and transplant delays
Only a small fraction of transplant centers nationwide are willing to accept and transplant deceased-donor kidneys that they perceive as less than perfect, leading to lengthy, organ-damaging delays as officials use a one-by-one approach to find a willing taker.

Little E/Z changes make a big difference
Farmers planted maize for good harvest, but the European corn borer is looking for a good meal right away.

Switching off your lights has a bigger impact than you might think, says new study
Switching off lights, turning the television off at the mains and using cooler washing cycles could have a much bigger impact on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power stations than previously thought, according to a new study published this month in the journal Energy Policy.

UC Riverside entomologist to oversee centralized database of bee specimens
Entomologist Douglas Yanega of the University of California, Riverside and colleagues have received funding from the National Science Foundation to begin digitizing and consolidating nearly one million specimen records from ten bee collections across the United States.

Pathologists call for new training program to support personalized medicine
Doctors in the Department of Pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have issued

New insights into link between anti-cholesterol statin drugs and depression
Scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the symptoms of anxiety and depression that occur in some patients taking the popular statin family of anti-cholesterol drugs, and reported by some individuals on low-cholesterol diets.

Unpeeling atoms and molecules from the inside out
The first published scientific results from the world's most powerful hard X-ray laser, located at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, show its unique ability to control the behaviors of individual electrons within simple atoms and molecules by stripping them away, one by one -- in some cases creating hollow atoms.

Memory links to 40 winks
When it comes to executing items on tomorrow's to-do list, it's best to think it over, then

Benchtop biofuels: Fine-tuning growth conditions helps cyanobacteria flourish
Cyanobacteria are among the oldest living forms in nature, responsible for generating the atmospheric oxygen we breathe today.

UM School of Medicine scientists develop new strategy that may improve cognition
For the first time, scientists have linked a brain compound called kynurenic acid to cognition, possibly opening doors for new ways to enhance memory function and treat catastrophic brain diseases, according to a new study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Man-made global warming started with ancient hunters
Even before the dawn of agriculture, people may have caused the planet to warm up, a new study suggests.

Graphene 2.0: A new approach to making a unique material
Since its discovery, graphene -- an unusual and versatile substance composed of a single-layer crystal lattice of carbon atoms -- has caused much excitement in the scientific community.

Coccolithophore growth and calcification -- a possible role for iron
Lack of sufficient iron may be a significant factor in controlling massive blooms of Emiliania huxleyi, a globally important species of marine algae or phytoplankton, according to research led by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton.

New standard for designer, sodium-free salt substitute in FCC forum
New standards for food ingredients such as a designer salt substitute that is sodium free and a revised standard for glycerin to include new tests to help guard against adulteration are among the latest proposed updates to the Food Chemicals Codex, an internationally recognized compendium of quality standards published by the US Pharmacopeial Convention.

Nitrogen pollution alters global change scenarios from the ground up
As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, so does the pressure on the plant kingdom.

A key mechanism links virgin olive oil to protection against breast cancer
Researchers at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, led by Dr. Eduard Escrich, have discovered a key mechanism by which virgin olive oil, in contrast to other vegetable oils, protects the body against breast cancer.

Conserving nature and dollars: Delivering cost-effective biodiversity protection
A more flexible approach to the expansion of protected area systems could ultimately protect much more biodiversity for the same budget according to a new paper in the scientific journal, Nature.

Exposure to secondhand smoke in the womb has lifelong impact
Newborns of nonsmoking moms exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy have genetic mutations that may affect long-term health, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study published online in The Open Pediatric Medicine Journal.

More than 2 billion people worldwide lack access to surgical services
More than 2 billion people worldwide do not have adequate access to surgical treatment, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health.

NASA's TRMM satellite sees heavy rainfall in Hurricane Alex
Hurricane Alex is generating some very heavy rainfall, and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite known as TRMM has been calculating it from its orbit in space.

Neurorehabilitation symposium to be held in Atlanta in August
Scientists and engineers from around the globe will gather in August to share new information regarding neurorehabilitation advances for people with neurological movement disorders, including spinal cord and brain injuries.

'Balanced' ecosystems seen in organic ag better at controlling pests
There really is a balance of nature, but as accepted as that thought is, it has rarely been studied.

The Elsevier Foundation awards 2010 New Scholars grant to the OWSDW
The Elsevier Foundation announced today that it has awarded the 2010 New Scholars grant to the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, formerly the Third World Organization for Women in Science -- for two programs: the National Assessments and Benchmarking of Gender, Science, Technology and Innovation and the OWSDW Awards for Young Women Scientists 2011.

International experts believe bovine paratuberculosis close to being eradicated
A group of 85 international experts, amongst whom are two scientists from NEIKER-Tecnalia, believe that the illness known as bovine paratuberculosis or Johne's disease can be eradicated by means of control programs, new vaccines or the sacrifice of infected animals.

Nutrients, viruses and the biological carbon pump
Adding nutrients to the sea could decrease viral infection rates among phytoplankton and enhance the efficiency of the biological pump, a means by which carbon is transferred from the atmosphere to the deep ocean, according to a new mathematical modeling study.

Real-world proof of hand washing's effectiveness
Scientists are reporting dramatic new real-world evidence supporting the idea that hand washing can prevent the spread of water-borne disease.

Do eggs matured in the laboratory result in babies with large offspring syndrome?
A review of studies of babies born after in vitro maturation fertility treatment has suggested that they are more likely to be born larger than normal and to have more difficult births requiring more obstetric interventions such as cesareans.

'A baby at last!': New couples' guide to getting pregnant
Infertility affects about 7 million Americans -- that's about one in six couples during their childbearing years.

University at Buffalo launches clinical trial of new multiple sclerosis treatment
Buffalo medical researchers led by a team from the University at Buffalo Department of Neurosurgery, will embark on a landmark prospective randomized double-blinded study to test the safety and efficacy of interventional endovascular therapy -- dubbed

Scientists find direct line from development to growth
It may seem intuitive that growth and development somehow go together so that plants and animals end up with the right number of cells in all the right places.

Nano-sized advance toward next big treatment era in dentistry
Scientists are reporting an advance toward the next big treatment revolution in dentistry -- the era in which root canal therapy brings diseased teeth back to life, rather than leaving a

Electrons are late starters
Contrary to previous assumptions, electrons are catapulted out of an atom during photoemission with a delay.

Kilimani Sesame has positive impact on children in Tanzania: Johns Hopkins University study
With limited access to formal education, can media intervention make a positive and significant impact on what these children learn?

Caltech researchers show how active immune tolerance makes pregnancy possible
How a pregnant body tolerates a fetus that is biologically distinct from its mother has long been a mystery.

BIDMC researcher receives Young Investigator Award from Prostate Cancer Foundation
Akash Patnaik, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-scientist in the Hematology/Oncology Divison at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School has received a Young Investigator Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Feathered friends: Ostriches provide clues to dinosaur movement
The flightless ostrich uses its wings as sophisticated air-rudders and braking aids when running at high speed and may provide valuable information about how its dinosaur ancestors used their feathered forelimbs to move more efficiently.

Restore hearing thanks to new drug
Researchers have discovered that a potent new drug restores hearing after noise-induced hearing loss in rats.

The ant queen's chemical crown
Much like humans, social insects such as ants and bees behave differently when their mother is not around.

Flowering and freezing tolerance linked in wheat, study shows
New research by UC Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky and his colleagues could lead to new strategies for improving freezing tolerance in wheat, which provides more than one-fifth of the calories consumed by people around the world.

Psychological research conducted in WEIRD nations may not apply to global populations
A new University of British Columbia study says that an overreliance on research subjects from the US and other Western nations can produce false claims about human psychology and behavior because their psychological tendencies are highly unusual compared to the global population.

Differences between women and men with a primary psychotic episode analyzed in a Ph.D. thesis
Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous disease, due to the fact that the reasons for its onset are varied, as are the reactions of patients who suffer from it.

New nonsurgical treatment for uterine fibroids can improve quality of life
A new, effective, nonsurgical treatment for uterine fibroids can help women with this condition maintain their fertility.

Teenage physical activity reduces risk of cognitive impairment in later life
Women who are physically active at any point over the life course (teenage, age 30, age 50, late life) have lower risk of cognitive impairment in late-life compared to those who are inactive, but teenage physical activity appears to be most important.

AMP comments at FDA meeting on array-based tests
Today, the Association for Molecular Pathology presented comments at the US Food & Drug Administration's public meeting on array-based cytogenetic tests.

Researchers show that organic farming enhances biodiversity and natural pest control
A team of researchers from Washington State University and the University of Georgia have found that organic farming increases biodiversity among beneficial, pest-killing predators and pathogens.

Effect of fire on birds evaluated
Spanish researchers have assessed the impact of the burning of a scrubland area of broom on the birds of the Catalan Pyrenees.

New technique improves efficiency of biofuel production
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a more efficient technique for producing biofuels from woody plants that significantly reduces the waste that results from conventional biofuel production techniques.

Honey as an antibiotic: Scientists identify a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria
Sweet news for those looking for new antibiotics: new research published in the July 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal explains for the first time how honey kills bacteria.

Urgent action needed to improve access to surgical care for more than 2 billion people
Concerted action is urgently needed to reduce disparities in surgical care provision for more than 2 billion people who have inadequate access to surgical services.

SMOS shines at symposium
Today, a focus at ESA's Living Planet Symposium is on the innovative SMOS mission, which recently became operational.

A butterfly effect in the brain
Next time your brain plays tricks on you, you have an excuse: according to new research by UCL scientists published today in the journal Nature, the brain is intrinsically unreliable.

Linguistics professor examines manufacturers' prescription drug websites
Researchers from Dartmouth College and the University of Minnesota have examined the corporate websites dedicated to the 100 best-selling prescription drugs.

VIB receives high score from European Research Council
VIB landed two research grants worth 1.5 million euros each.

Anger drives support for wartime presidents
It's no secret that Americans tend to throw their support behind a sitting US president when the nation is thrust into a war or other potentially violent conflict with a foreign foe.

Molecular signatures may aid fight against pediatric liver disease
Researchers have identified a set of

Scripps Research scientists share $2 million in Florida state research grants
The Florida Biomedical Research Program has awarded $2 million in biomedical research grants to three scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute.

New variants found that indicate a predisposition to type 2 diabetes
An international team co-led by scientists from the University of Michigan have discovered 12 more regions on the genome with DNA variants that are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, bringing the number to 38.

Louisiana Tech University student recognized nationally for 'green' concrete research
Ivan Diaz-Loya, a senior Ph.D. candidate with the Trenchless Technology Center at Louisiana Tech University, has been awarded the prestigious Katharine and Bryant Mather Scholarship by ASTM International for his work in the area of geopolymer concrete, an environmentally friendly alternative to ordinary Portland cement-based concrete.

US plan to pay hospitals for performance could hurt those in less-advantaged areas
The nationwide implementation of hospital pay-for-performance threatens to act as a

When food intake stops, enzyme turns off production of fats, cholesterol
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have found that an enzyme with several important roles in energy metabolism also helps to turn off the body's generation of fats and cholesterol under conditions of fasting.

Resource guide for internists released by ACP
A practical resource guide for internists on recently-enacted health-care reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was released today by the American College of Physicians.

New national survey finds drivers mistakenly believe winter is most dangerous travel time
Most Americans interviewed in a new national poll believe winter is the most dangerous time for driving, but the truth is this coming 4th of July weekend often is the deadliest time.

Eternally green: New eco-friendly cremations and burials
People who care about improving the environment in life may soon be able to do so after death.

Beverages leave 'geographic signatures' that can track people's movements
The bottled water, soda pop or micro brew-beer that you drank in Pittsburgh, Dallas, Denver or 30 other American cities contains a natural chemical imprint related to geographic location.

New study identifies best tests for predicting Alzheimer's disease
New research has identified the memory and brain scan tests that appear to predict best whether a person with cognitive problems might develop Alzheimer's disease.

Geneticist Gerald R. Fink receives the $500,000 Gruber Genetics Prize
Gerald R. Fink, Ph.D., a founder of modern yeast genetics and a leader in the use of model-organism genetics to study diverse biological problems, has received the 2010 Genetics Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation.

Gerald Fink awarded 2010 Gruber Genetics Prize
Whitehead Institute Founding Member Gerald Fink has been awarded the 2010 Genetics Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation for his groundbreaking research in yeast genetics.

Melanoma-initiating cell identified by Stanford scientists
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a cancer-initiating cell in human melanomas.

Virgin olive oil and a Mediterranean diet fight heart disease by changing how our genes function
Everyone knows olive oil and a Mediterranean diet are associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, but a new research report published in the July 2010 print issue of the FASEB Journal offers a surprising reason why: these foods change how genes associated with atherosclerosis function.

Doctors to treat septic patients with hypothermia
Mild hypothermia can reduce the effects of sepsis on oxygen transport around the body and may be a valuable tool in the treatment of human sepsis patients.

Dartmouth researchers contribute to solving a quantum puzzle
Dartmouth researchers have discovered a potentially important piece of the quantum/classical puzzle -- learning how the rules of physics in the quantum world (think smaller than microscopic) change when applied to the classical world (think every day items, like cars and trees).

ARS releases heat-tolerant beans
New bean germplasm lines containing heat, drought and disease tolerance are being released by Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators.

3-legged dogs boost robot research
Scientists in Germany are examining how three-legged dogs move to help design and develop robots that can adapt in the event of an 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