Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 06, 2010
New TGen technology reduces storage needs and costs for genomic data
A new computer data compression technique called Genomic SQueeZ, developed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute, will allow genetic researchers and others to store, analyze and share massive volumes of data in less space and at lower cost.

Length of biological marker associated with risk of cancer
A new study suggests that shorter length of leukocyte telomeres -- chromosome markers of biological aging -- are associated with an increased risk of cancer and death from cancer, according to a study in the July 7 issue of JAMA.

Virtual-worlds researcher's advice to retailers: Go with the 'flow'
As recession-weary consumers learn to make do with less in this, the real world, there is one area where they're still willing to spend freely: in online,

Iowa State students take their professor's advice and start an Ames bioenergy company
Three recent Iowa State University graduates are building a startup company, Avello Bioenergy Inc., on technology they helped develop at Iowa State.

Transformation optics make a U-turn for the better
Berkeley researchers have combined the scientific fields of transformation optics and plasmonics to demonstrate that with only moderate modifications of the dielectric component of a metamaterial, the physical space through which light travels can be altered with promising results, such as the creation of a 180 degree bend that won't alter the energy or properties of a light beam as it makes the U-turn, or a plasmonic version of a Luneburg lens.

Therapist competence matters -- and more for some patients than others
While studies have shown that cognitive therapy is an effective treatment for depression, it has still not been clear the role therapists' training and expertise plays in making treatment successful.

Hunger atlas takes a new look at an old problem
World hunger is often seen as the result of overpopulation, bad geography or natural or human-made disasters.

Should specialist medical training be more flexible?
Specialist medical training programs should retain some flexibility to help trainee doctors make the right career choices, according to a study published on today.

Shocking results from diamond anvil cell experiments
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicists are using an ultra-fast laser-based technique they dubbed

Eye movements and sight distance reveal how drivers negotiate winding roads
New research finds that the further drivers can look ahead, generally in left-hand curves, wide curves and when leaving a curve, the less they have to look at the tangent point.

Want to slow aging? New research suggests it takes more than antioxidants
A study published in the June 2010 issue of the journal Genetics casts doubt on the theory that oxidative stress shortens lifespan.

Protein must exist in specific brain cells to prevent diet-induced obesity
A protein found in cells throughout the body must be present in a specific set of neurons in the brain to prevent weight gain after chronic feeding on high-calorie meals, new findings from UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggest.

Glucosamine appears to provide little benefit for chronic low-back pain
Even though it is widely used as a therapy for low back pain, a randomized controlled trial finds that patients with chronic low-back pain and degenerative lumbar osteoarthritis who took glucosamine for six months showed little difference on measures of pain-related disability, low back and leg pain and health-related quality of life, compared to patients who received placebo, according to a study in the July 7 issue of JAMA.

Rutgers researchers discover secrets of nutritious corn breed that withstands rigors of handling
Rutgers researchers have discovered the basis for what makes corn kernels hard, a quality that allows corn to be easily harvested, stored and transported.

Stapled transanal rectal resection is beneficial for patients with obstructed defecation
Stapled transanal rectal resection is a new surgical technique for obstructed defecation syndrome.

Recommendations for treatment of inherited lung disease are unjustified
An expensive treatment recommended for a genetic disorder called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency has no proven clinical benefit, according to a systematic review by Cochrane researchers.

Laser pioneer Federico Capasso awarded Berthold Leibinger Zukunftspreis
Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been awarded the 2010 Berthold Leibinger Zukunftspreis, an international award for excellent research on the application or generation of laser light.

The Framingham Heart Study -- global impact, ongoing influence
The Framingham Heart Study, started in 1948, was designed as a cohort, observational study of cardiovascular disease, then recognized as a growing health threat but now has emerged as much more.

Scientists design new delivery device for gene therapy
Scientists have designed a nanoparticle that appears to effectively deliver genetic material into cells with minimal toxic effects.

Study of Farmers Branch, Texas: Immigrants seen as threat to white, middle-class 'American' identity
Who belongs in America? Immigration has sparked a raging national debate -- including in Farmers Branch, Texas, the first US city to make renters prove they are legal residents.

Team devises technique to predict dust storms with infrared satellite
Researchers based at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a method for predicting dust and sandstorms that uses infrared satellite images to determine when conditions are ripe for the destructive phenomena, a technique that could be implemented globally and that the research team used to forecast a 2008 New Mexico dust storm -- the area's largest in decades -- two days beforehand.

Extended use of anti-clotting drug helps some bedridden patients
A treatment plan used to prevent potentially dangerous blood clots in recovering surgical patients can also benefit some patients immobilized by acute medical illness, doctors have found in a multi-institutional study.

Marine scientists return with rare creatures from the deep
Scientists have just returned from a voyage with samples of rare animals and more than 10 possible new species in a trip which they say has revolutionized their thinking about deep-sea life in the Atlantic Ocean.

The long-term fate of the oil spill in the Atlantic
The possible spread of the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon rig over the course of one year was studied in a series of computer simulations by a team of researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Nano-sized light mill drives micro-sized disk
Berkeley Lab researchers have created a nano-sized light mill motor powerful enough to drive micro-sized disks.

Of moose and men: 50-year study into moose arthritis reveals link with early malnutrition
It's seen as a sign of getting old, but scientists have discovered that arthritis is not just a human problem as a study lasting 50 years reveals how moose suffer from an identical form of the condition.

Map of herpes virus protein suggests a new drug therapy
New research reveals the unusual structure of a key protein complex that allows a herpes virus to invade cells.

Elsevier announces new edition of Infectious Diseases
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, proudly announces the release of Infectious Diseases, 3rd edition.

Study shows cleaner water mitigates climate change effects on Florida Keys coral reefs
Improving the quality of local water increases the resistance of coral reefs to global climate change, according to a study published in June in Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Suicide barriers may fail to cut suicide rates as people go elsewhere
Suicide barriers on bridges might not reduce overall suicide rates by jumping from heights, as people may change location for their suicide attempt, according to a new study published on today.

Gender gap persists at highest levels of math and science testing
A study that examined 30 years of standardized test data from the very highest-scoring seventh graders has found that performance differences between boys and girls have narrowed considerably, but boys still outnumber girls by more than about 3-to-1 at extremely high levels of math ability and scientific reasoning.

IBM international research grant awarded for development of database enhancement application
Just a few months after being established, the University of Haifa's Ami and Teddy Sagy Center for the Study of the Internet has been awarded IBM's Open Collaborative Research grant.

Hips don't lie: Researchers find more accurate technique to determine sex of skeletal remains
Research from North Carolina State University offers a new means of determining the sex of skeletal human remains -- an advance that may have significant impacts in the wake of disasters, the studying of ancient remains and the criminal justice system.

A risk factor of gallstone formation after radical gastrectomy
The incidence of gallstones is higher in patients after radical gastrectomy than in the general population.

Perimeter Institute and Canada partner on growing science and technology capacity globally
During a special visit to Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics tied to the center's Global Outreach activities, the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper announced new federal funding of $20 CDN million to speed the growth of science and technology capacity in Africa by developing the talent of its brightest young minds.

Big picture: Lipid ordering visualized in a living vertebrate organism
Scientists have obtained the first visualization of the inherent arrangement of lipid molecules in different tissues of a whole, living vertebrate organism.

Study finds TV viewing, video game play contribute to kids' attention problems
A study led by three Iowa State University psychologists on both elementary school-aged and college-aged subjects found that youths who exceeded the two hours per day of screen time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be above average in attention problems.

Neural stem cells attack glioblastoma cells
In their latest research, scientists of the Max Delbrueck Center Berlin-Buch, Germany, have demonstrated how the brain's own stem cells and precursor cells control the growth of glioblastomas.

Hospitals warned that wet breathing system filters transmit harmful bacteria and yeast
Doctors have highlighted potential problems with the breathing system filters used in anesthesia, including intensive care units, after demonstrating that they don't provide protection from harmful bacteria and yeast when they become wet.

Romantic rejection stimulates areas of brain involved in motivation, reward and addiction
The pain and anguish of rejection by a romantic partner may be the result of activity in parts of the brain associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

A pinch of light
A new tool developed by Tel Aviv University, holographic optical tweezers, use holographic technology to manipulate up to 300 nanoparticles at a time, such as beads of glass or polymer, that are too small and delicate to be handled with traditional laboratory instruments.

Using ultrasound to control toxic algal blooms
University of Adelaide researchers are investigating the use of ultrasound as an environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative to controlling blue-green algae in our fresh water supplies.

Bacterial communication encourages chronic, resistant ear infections
Ear infections caused by more than one species of bacteria could be more persistent and antibiotic-resistant because one pathogen may be communicating with the other, encouraging it to bolster its defenses.

Study links romantic rejection with reward and addiction centers in the brain
Researchers have linked rejection by a romantic partner to brain activity associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Robots preclude neck incision for thyroid surgery
Robots that revolutionized gynecologic and urologic surgery in the past decade now offer the option of removing at least a portion of their diseased thyroid gland without the hallmark neck incision, researchers said.

York U researchers find anxiety may be at root of religious extremism
New findings by York University researchers, published in this month's issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, show that anxiety and uncertainty can cause us to become more idealistic and more radical in our religious beliefs.

Fat cells play key role in development of type 2 diabetes
Cellular changes in fat tissue -- not the immune system -- lead to the

Multi-layered images projected onto water droplets with Carnegie Mellon technology
AquaLux 3-D, a new projection technology developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, can target light onto and between individual water droplets, enabling text, video and other moving or still images to be displayed on multiple layers of falling water.

AIAA to present awards at 46th Joint Propulsion Conference
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will present aerospace awards at a noon luncheon on July 28 as part of the 46th AIAA/ASME/ASE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, to be held July 25 at the Nashville Convention Center and Renaissance Hotel, Nashville, Tenn.

New study contradicts negative perceptions of menopause
New research from the University of Sheffield has found that social and psychological factors have the biggest influence upon women's sexual behavior during the menopause, rather than biological changes such as declining hormone levels.

Rudeness at work causes mistakes
If someone is rude to you at work or if you witness rudeness you are more likely to make mistakes, says Rhona Flin, professor of applied psychology at the University of Aberdeen, in an editorial published in this week's BMJ.

With magnetic nanoparticles, scientists remotely control neurons and animal behavior
Clusters of heated, magnetic nanoparticles targeted to cell membranes can remotely control ion channels, neurons and even animal behavior, according to a paper published by University at Buffalo physicists in Nature Nanotechnology.

Majority of Ontarians suffering from rheumatoid arthritis not receiving needed speciality care
Nearly 60 percent of Ontarians with rheumatoid arthritis -- an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints -- were not seen by a specialist within a one-year period to treat the debilitating disease, according to a new study.

Isolation a threat to Great Barrier Reef fish
New research shows that the quiet life is not so great for fish living on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

New study confirms positive effects of delayed school start times
A pilot study conducted in a small private high school confirms what many have been touting for years: the benefits of a delayed school start time.

Study examines outcomes of blood-pressure control for diabetes and coronary artery disease patients
Patients with hypertension, diabetes and coronary artery disease who maintained their systolic blood pressure at less than 130 mm Hg did not have improved cardiovascular outcomes compared to patients with usual blood pressure control, according to a study in the July 7 issue of JAMA.

Diagnostic blood test can identify rare lung disease
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have found that a certain blood test can successfully identify lymphangioleiomyomatosis in some patients, eliminating the need for surgical lung biopsy to make a diagnosis.

Brain chemical boosts body heat, aids in calorie burn, UT Southwestern research suggests
New findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggest that an enzyme in the brain known as PI3 kinase might control the increased generation of body heat that helps burn off excess calories after eating a high-fat meal.

Researchers identify factors behind blood-making stem cells
A team of researchers from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the University of Montreal have made significant progress in the understanding of blood-producing (hematopoietic) stem cells.

For lambs, a pasture a week keeps blood suckers away
Deworming lambs can be minimized with rotational grazing and checking the animals' eye color, according to an Agricultural Research Service study.

TU Delft raises energy yield of 'cheap' solar panels
Researchers from TU Delft in the Netherlands have shown how the energy yield of relatively cheap solar panels, made of amorphous silicon, can be considerably raised: from around 7-9 percent.

Muted emotions misleading in Alzheimer's disease
A University of Florida study suggests that when Alzheimer's patients are asked to place an emotional value on pictures, they measure the pleasant images as less pleasant and the negative scenes as less negative compared with a control group of normal elderly people.

OSU researchers discover new adhesive for tape, label industry
An incidental discovery in a wood products lab at Oregon State University has produced a new pressure-sensitive adhesive that may revolutionize the tape industry -- an environmentally benign product that works very well and costs much less than existing adhesives based on petrochemicals.

Study finds wide variation in 5-year patient survival rates for lung transplantation centers
There is significant variation among lung transplant centers in the US in the 5-year survival rate of patients, with a higher number of procedures performed at a center only partly associated with longer survival of patients, according to a study in the July 7 issue of JAMA.

Mathematical models for breast cancer detection with microwave tomography are cheaper and less risky
The most popular method of breast cancer detection today is X-ray mammography, which takes images of a compressed breast by low-dose ionizing radiation.

Heart institute awarded NIH grant to help predict vulnerability to sudden cardiac arrest
The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute has been awarded a $1.66 million, four-year grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to develop a measurement system that could help doctors predict which patients could be struck by sudden cardiac arrest, a heart rhythm disturbance that causes instant death in more than 95 percent of cases.

Road surface purifies air by removing nitrogen oxides
Road surfaces can make a big contribution to local air purity.

New Keck website unveiled, demonstrates advances in digital mapping
The newly released, enhanced

Maternal diet and genes interact to affect heart development
A pregnant mother's diet may be able to interact with the genes her unborn child inherits and influence the type or severity of birth defect according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation.

No evidence that 4 hour A&E target benefits clinical care, say doctors
In this week's BMJ, a group of senior doctors say they have no evidence that the four hour A&E target benefits clinical care.

Uncapping the mystery behind the mechanism of cap removal from actin filaments
In this study, Shuichi Takeda at Nagoya University and colleagues present the X-ray crystal structures of the actin capping protein complexed with its inhibitors, V-1 and CARMIL, and demonstrate that the two regulators modulate the filament capping activity in very different manners.

The $30 billion 'price tag' for improving maternal, neonatal and child health is inadequate
The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health argues that $30 billion of additional funding is needed to save the lives of over 10 million women and children by 2015, but this estimate is misleadingly low because it leaves out crucial service delivery costs.

'Twitter-like' technology could make cities safer
Instant feedback technology that allows the public to voice spontaneous opinions about their surroundings is being tested to help make cities safer.

Elsevier and International Society of Geriatric Oncology launch Journal of Geriatric Oncology
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and the International Society of Geriatric Oncology announced today the launch of the Journal of Geriatric Oncology.

Rhythm of life: Music shows potential in stroke rehabilitation
Music therapy provided by trained music therapists may help to improve movement in stroke patients, according to a new Cochrane Systematic Review.

Reversible watermarking for digital images
Every picture tells a story, but how do you know that a digital photo has not been manipulated to change the tale being told?

Implementing interventions in maternal and child health in Africa requires investment
In the fourth of five papers in the PLoS Medicine series on maternal, neonatal, and child health in sub-Saharan Africa, Valerie Snewin from the Wellcome Trust and colleagues discuss the challenges of implementation and research capacity in Africa.

Multicolor quantum dots aid in cancer biopsy diagnosis
The tunable fluorescent nanoparticles known as quantum dots make ideal tools for distinguishing and identifying rare cancer cells in tissue biopsies.

TGen finds protein inhibitor revives chemotherapy for ovarian patients
Investigators at the Translational Genomics Research Institute have discovered a way that may help ovarian cancer patients who no longer respond to conventional chemotherapy.

UNC team finds new target for treatment of advanced prostate cancer
A recent study by UNC researchers, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, provides demonstrates that expression of one of a group of genes found only in humans and nonhuman primates can promote androgen receptor activity in concert with other proteins called coregulators.

Changing climate could alter meadows' ecosystems, says ISU researcher
Iowa State University researcher Diane Debinski has been studying the meadows in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of the Rocky Mountains since 1992 and she believes changing climate could affect the diversity of plants and animals in the region.

Study measures single-molecule machines in action
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from UCLA, UC Merced, the Pennsylvania State University, Northwestern University and Japan have observed single-molecule interactions of rotaxanes functioning in their native environment.

Book provides first comprehensive synthesis of trophic cascades
A compendium on trophic cascades and how they operate in the world's major ecosystems has been published for the first time.

Test laboratory for solar technology in New Mexico
As part of a joint venture with the VDE Institute and the Canadian Standards Association Group, Fraunhofer has joined in laying the cornerstone for a new international test laboratory for photovoltaic modules.

Infrared camera provides a better view
Infrared cameras see more than the naked eye and can make road traffic safer.

The majority of fevers in African children are not caused by malaria
In 2007, an estimated 656 million fevers occurred in African children aged 0-4 years, with 78 million children of the 183 million attending a public health care facility likely to have been infected with P. falciparum (range 60-103 million).

Use of local anesthetics in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disease of the intestines and no definitive medical treatment has been defined yet.

Protein identified which helps cancer cells to survive stressful conditions
Researchers at NUI Galway have made a discovery that could lead to the development of more effective treatments for a number of diseases.

Water's unexpected role in blood pressure control
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have shown that ordinary water -- without any additives -- does more than just quench thirst.

Competition is a double-edged sword for teenage girls
A new study by Dr. David Hibbard from California State University and Dr.

Intrahepatic clear cell cholangiocarcinoma
Clear cell intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma is a rare cancer. There is not enough information about the patients' underlying diseases, choice of treatment and prognosis.

Head and spine trauma from ATV accidents cost $3.24 billion annually
Severe trauma to the head and spine resulting from all-terrain vehicle accidents are increasing dramatically according to research released today from the University of Utah Department of Neurosurgery.

Searching for causes of neural disconnection in schizophrenia
Dendritic spines act as hubs for communication between nerve cells.

Many mephedrone alternatives just as risky, warn experts
Since the recent ban on mephedrone, many so-called

Bacterial diversity of Tablas de Daimiel studied for first time
A team of Spanish scientists has studied the bacteria -- microorganisms that are

Researchers discover trigger to early, effective antibody response
Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered a trigger that induces B cells to produce effective, long-lived antibodies early in the immune response.

Lone whales shout to overcome noise
Just like people in a bar or other noisy location, North American right whales increase the volume of their calls as environmental noise increases; and just like humans, at a certain point, it may become too costly to continue to shout, according to marine and acoustic scientists.

News briefs from the July issue of Chest
News briefs from the July issue of Chest feature studies related to how weekend ICU admissions may be linked to increased risk of death and how biomass smoke may be linked to COPD.

Carbon emissions threaten fish populations
Humanity's rising CO2 emissions could have a significant impact on the world's fish populations according to groundbreaking new research carried out in Australia. 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