Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 21, 2010
Toward a new generation of superplastics
Scientists are reporting an in-depth validation of the discovery of the world's first mass producible, low-cost, organoclays for plastics.

Childhood sexual abuse and social shaming linked to health issues later
Gay and bisexual men enrolled in a long-term study of HIV who reported sexual abuse and social shaming in childhood experience psychosocial health problems later in life that could put them at greater risk for HIV, report University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researchers at the XVIII International AIDS Conference.

Large national study strongly links educational leadership to student achievement
A new study released today, the largest of its kind, offers important new evidence affirming the strong connection between what school leaders do and student achievement -- and sheds new light on what effective leadership involves.

Stars just got bigger
Using a combination of instruments on ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered the most massive stars to date, one weighing at birth more than 300 times the mass of the sun, or twice as much as the currently accepted limit of 150 solar masses.

Students design early labor detector to prevent premature births
A team of graduate students and their faculty adviser have invented a system to pick up very early signs that a woman is going into labor too soon.

Wildfire prevention pays big dividends in Florida, study finds
A study by USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station scientists and research partners suggests that wildfire prevention education in Florida pays for itself several times over by saving millions of dollars in fire-fighting costs and reducing damages from human-caused fires.

Researchers use nanoparticles as destructive beacons to zap tumors
A group of researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is developing a way to treat cancer by using lasers to light up tiny nanoparticles and destroy tumors with the ensuing heat

Wacky weather could squeeze Florida's citrus season
Citrus growers, beware. Florida winters are getting more extreme, causing plants to flower later and potentially shrinking the growing seasons for some of the state's most vital crops.

Researchers: EPA should recognize environmental impact of protecting foreign oil
US military operations to protect oil imports coming from the Middle East are creating larger amounts of greenhouse gas emissions than once thought, new research from the University of Nebraska -- Lincoln shows.

Black hole jerked around twice
Scientists have found evidence that a giant black hole has been jerked around twice, causing its spin axis to point in a different direction from before.

Nitric oxide does not prevent poor lung development or increase survival of preterm infants overall, but black babies did better than non-black
Administration of nitric oxide to preterm infants happens in some high-income countries to reduce rates of poor lung development and improve survival in these children.

High-resolution imaging expands vision research of live birds of prey
Bird observatories all over the world may benefit from a newly designed high-resolution imaging system used to study the retinal structure of live birds of prey.

UT researchers discover water on the moon is widespread, similar to Earth's
Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are once again turning what scientists thought they knew about the moon on its head.

NASA satellites tracking rain-packed Tropical Storm Chanthu as it heads toward China
NASA satellite imagery of Tropical Storm Chanthu revealed a large area of moderate to very heavy rainfall as it nears the southeast China coast.

Levels of 'good' cholesterol less relevant to cardiovascular risk once 'bad' cholesterol has been reduced by treatment with statins
In the general population, the more

Protein from poplar trees can be used to greatly increase computer capacity
Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have succeeded in showing how it is possible to greatly expand the memory capacity of future computers through the use of memory units based on silica nanoparticles combined with protein molecules obtained from the poplar tree.

Gulf oil dispersants unlikely to be endocrine disruptors and have relatively low cell toxicity
Government scientists are reporting that eight of the most commonly used oil dispersants used to fight oil spills, such as the massive episode in the Gulf of Mexico, appear unlikely to act as endocrine disruptors -- hormone-like substances that can interfere with reproduction, development, and other biological processes.

Overcoming childhood obesity means addressing mom's weight issues as well
The information gap and general lack of understanding of obesity's unique and disproportionate impact on women contributes to the challenges of the 65 million American women who are considered overweight or obese, said the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance Task Force on Women at a meeting on Capitol Hill today.

Warmer climate entails increased release of carbon dioxide by inland lakes
Much organically bound carbon is deposited on inland lake bottoms.

Mountain marmots made bigger by climate change, says new study
Longer summers are causing large mountain rodents called marmots to grow larger and get better at surviving, according to a 33-year study published today in Nature.

Nanoribbons for graphene transistors
In the recent issue of Nature, scientists from Empa and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research report how they have managed for the first time to grow graphene ribbons that are just a few nanometers wide using a simple surface-based chemical method.

New evidence that chili pepper ingredient fights fat
Capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their kick, may cause weight loss and fight fat buildup by triggering certain beneficial protein changes in the body, according to a new study on the topic.

Idaho STEM gets million dollar boost
Funding from Micron will enable the University of Idaho to identify what creates barriers to STEM learning.

$9M NIH grant renewal awarded to Case Western Reserve/UHCMC Center for AIDS Research
The Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Case Medical Center Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) announced today it has received a five-year renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health for $9 million.

Fun, sun and good books: UT experts say summer reading keeps skills strong
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen have completed a three-year study showing a significantly higher level of reading achievement in students who received books for summer reading at home.

New links between cholesterol and depression in the elderly
Prior research has shown that particular types of strokes contribute to one's risk for depression, and that abnormal blood lipid levels can increase the risk of depression in the elderly.

New investment in the next generation of scientists and engineers to boost the UK economy
Forty-six outstanding UK researchers have been awarded EPSRC fellowships totaling £38 million to help develop their potential as the next generation of world-leading scientists and engineers.

Valproic acid shown to halt vision loss in patients with retinitis pigmentosa
In the July 20 online edition of the British Journal of Ophthalmology, Shalesh Kaushal, M.D., Ph.D., chair of ophthalmology and associate professor of ophthalmology and cell biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and his team, describe a potential new therapeutic link between valproic acid and retinitis pigmentosa, which could have tremendous benefits for patients suffering from the disease.

Real ale buffs -- Britain's role models for economic recovery
Britain's beer drinkers can serve as role models for the nation as it struggles to emerge from recession, according to an academic study.

Quantum entanglement in photosynthesis and evolution
Recently, academic debate has been swirling around the existence of unusual quantum mechanical effects in the most ubiquitous of phenomena, including photosynthesis, the process by which organisms convert light into chemical energy.

Better control of reproduction in trout and salmon may be in aquaculture's future
Fast-growing farm-raised salmon and trout that are sterile can now be produced using a method developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists.

Climate change causes larger, more plentiful marmots, study shows
Researchers at the University of Kansas have discovered that changes in seasonal timing can increase body weight and population size simultaneously in a species -- findings likely to have implications for a host of other creatures, especially those that hibernate.

Lack of insurance coverage remains obstacle to wider colorectal cancer screening with CT colonography
A recent questionnaire submitted to a group of patients at one of the nation's largest general hospitals suggests that a significant number of patients, who have previously refused colorectal cancer screening, are willing to undergo computed tomography colonography, but not willing to pay for the exam themselves when not covered by insurance, according to a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Research links recreational pool disinfectants to health problems
Splashing around in a swimming pool on a hot summer day may not be as safe as you think.

New study gives first indication that smog might trigger cell death in the heart
An early study in rats provides the first direct indication that a major component of smog might trigger cell death in the heart, researchers reported at the American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2010 Scientific Sessions -- Technological and Conceptual Advances in Cardiovascular Disease.

Every action has a beginning and an end (and it's all in your brain)
Rui Costa and Xin Jin describe in the latest issue of the journal Nature, that the activity of certain neurons in the brain can signal the initiation and termination of behavioral sequences we learn anew.

Primitive frogs do a belly flop
Sometimes divers, to their own painful dismay, do belly flops.

How safe and effective are herbal dietary supplements?
Millions of people are taking herbs and other plant-based dietary supplements to improve their health, but they have precious little information on the actual effectiveness or potential ill effects of these products.

A new code of conduct for researchers
A new European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity is presented today by the European Science Foundation at the World Conference on Research Integrity.

Improved treatment access requires end to portrayal of drug abusers as already dead
The Lancet series on HIV in people who use drugs, published online July 20 and presented at the international AIDS conference in Vienna, reports that in order to improve access to antiretroviral therapy among injecting drug users, health providers must focus less on the individual patient's ability to adhere to treatment, and more on conditions of health delivery that create treatment interruptions.

Mother Nature to provide an environmentally friendly method for reducing mosquitoes
A scientific breakthrough might assist in the fight against mosquitoes.

Toxic trio identified as the basis of celiac disease
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have identified the three protein fragments that make gluten -- the main protein in wheat, rye and barley -- toxic to people with celiac disease.

Can chaos theory help predict heart attacks?
Chaos models may someday help model cardiac arrhythmias -- abnormal electrical rhythms of the heart, say researchers in the journal CHAOS, which is published by the American Institute of Physics.

Cancer-metabolism link runs deep in humans
Eighty years ago, the medical establishment believed cancer was caused by a dysfunction of metabolism, but the idea went out of vogue.

Media registration opens for Neuroscience 2010
The Society for Neuroscience's 40th annual meeting, Neuroscience 2010, is the world's largest source of emerging news on brain science and health, and offers unparalleled access to the latest research innovations and the field's brightest minds.

A new drug treatment to close the window on colon cancer
Professor Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, head of Tel Aviv University's Department of Psychology, has opened on a new frontier in cancer research: he is recruiting colon cancer patients for a new clinical study which will test a cocktail of drugs to prevent the negative effects of stress responses to surgery.

Toronto homeless report barriers to health care
A new study finds that 17 percent of homeless people in Toronto -- one in six -- reported unmet health care needs.

Video game processors help lower CT scan radiation
A new approach to processing X-ray data could lower by a factor of ten or more the amount of radiation patients receive during cone beam CT scans, report researchers from the University of California, San Diego.

UHN establishes first telepathology system in Ontario
Physicians in three Northern Ontario communities are now virtually linked at all times to pathology specialists at University Health Network, thanks to a revolutionary new way of diagnosing pathology cases over the Internet.

Most men in long-term study of HIV report low use of illicit drugs
Most older gay and bisexual men enrolled in a long-term study of HIV used recreational drugs infrequently over a 10-year period, report University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researchers at the XVIII International AIDS Conference.

Cell biology society celebrates 50th
Science writers, journalists, and science bloggers are invited to register online for the American Society for Cell Biology's 50th Annual Meeting.

Caltech team finds evidence of water in moon minerals
That dry, dusty moon overhead? Seems it isn't quite as dry as it's long been thought to be.

Subtle thyroid problem triples the risk of placental separation in birth
Pregnant women with antibodies that can indicate early thyroid disease are three times as likely to have placental separation during labor, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in a study of more than 17,000 women.

Exciting new avenues of research and policy drive expansion of HIV treatment access, use of antiretrovirals to prevent infections and pursuit of a cure
The unwillingness of the global AIDS community to accept the status quo is fueling a new era of scientific innovation to drive novel ways of treating and preventing HIV, organizers of AIDS 2010 taking place in Vienna, Austria, said today.

How do you make the perfect sled dog?
Over the last few hundred years, Alaskan sled dogs have been bred to haul cargo over Arctic terrain and, more recently, for racing.

Antibiotics for the prevention of malaria
Antibiotic treatment during the liver stage of malaria generates strong protective immunity.

Scripps Research Institute and Dana-Farber scientists uncover novel anti-diabetes mechanism
In a joint study, scientists from the Scripps Research Institute and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University have uncovered a novel mechanism that dramatically increases insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

New antibacterial material for bandages, food packaging, shoes
A new form of paper with the built-in ability to fight disease-causing bacteria could have applications that range from antibacterial bandages to food packaging that keeps food fresher longer to shoes that ward off foot odor.

Researchers pinpoint key stem cells for eating and sex
New research, published in the journal Development, by Dr. Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, professor of pharmacology and physiology and director of the newly formed GW Institute for Neuroscience, and his colleagues have identified the stem cells that generate three critical classes of nerve cells -- olfactory receptors, vomeronasal and gonadotropin releasing hormone neurons -- that are responsible for enabling animals and humans, to eat, interact socially and reproduce.

Nanotech coatings produce 20 times more electricity from sewage
Engineers at Oregon State University have made a significant advance toward producing electricity from sewage, by the use of new coatings on the anodes of microbial electrochemical cells that increased the electricity production about 20 times.

Engineering researchers simplify process to make world's tiniest wires
Surface tension isn't a very powerful force, but it matters for small things -- water bugs, paint, and, it turns out, nanowires.

Now you see it, now you don't
From Star Trek's Romulans, who could cloak their spaceships, to Harry Potter's magical garment, the power to turn someone or something invisible has intrigued mankind.

Muscular heart failure patients may have a better chance at survival: U of A study
University of Alberta researcher Antigone Oreopoulos found that heart failure patients with more muscle have the potential to increase their length of life.

Supercomputer reproduces a cyclone's birth, may boost forecasting
NASA-funded research scientist Bo-wen Shen has employed NASA's Pleiades supercomputer and atmospheric data to simulate tropical cyclone Nargis -- with the first model to replicate the formation of the tropical cyclone five days in advance.

Researchers use nanoparticles as destructive beacons to zap tumors
A group of researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is developing a way to treat cancer by using lasers to light up tiny nanoparticles and destroy tumors with the ensuing heat.

Brain scans may help guide career choice
General aptitude tests and specific mental ability tests are important tools for vocational guidance.

Top scientists tackle the issue of HIV persistence
Can HIV infection ever be cured? The prospect of efficiently controlling HIV persistence in infected persons was the topic of a high-level, two-day meeting of researchers gathered here on the eve of AIDS 2010, the biennial international conference of HIV researchers, funders, policy-makers and advocates.

Protein important in diabetes may also play a key role in heart disease, other disorders
Studying a protein already known to play an important role in type 2 diabetes and cancer, genomics researchers have discovered that it may have an even broader role in disease, particularly in other metabolic disorders and heart disease.

Penn collaboration leads to simpler method for building varieties of nanocrystal superlattices
A University of Pennsylvania collaboration has created a simple and inexpensive method to rapidly grow centimeter-scale membranes of binary nanocrystal superlattices, or BNSLs, by crystallizing a mixture of nanocrystals on a liquid surface.

Scientists find unsuspected molecular link between obesity and insulin resistance
A new understanding of insulin resistance and the action of diabetes drugs such as Avandia and Actos could pave the way for improved medications that are more selective and safer, say scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Scripps Research Institute.

Radio astronomers develop new technique for studying dark energy
A new but technically challenging observational

Marriage patterns drive fertility decline
Researchers at the University of Sheffield have applied an evolutionary

Data mining made faster
To many big companies, you aren't just a customer, but are described by multiple

Gladstone and Lundbeck collaborate to study neurovascular disease
The Gladstone Institutes and the international pharmaceutical company H. Lundbeck A/S have announced a collaborative research agreement to study and identify therapeutic candidates for neurological diseases.

NASA satellites see System 97L serve up a soaking
System 97L may not yet be a tropical depression, but it feels like it to the residents of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hispaniola. 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