Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 04, 2010
Gaming for a cure: Computer gamers tackle protein folding
Computer scientists and biochemists at the University of Washington two years ago launched an ambitious project harnessing the brainpower of computer gamers to solve medical problems.

UT Southwestern's cancer center earns National Cancer Institute designation
The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center has attained National Cancer Institute designation, an elite distinction held by only 65 other cancer centers nationwide.

New drug shown safe, effective in treating hereditary angioedema
Clinical trials from two international research teams have shown that icatibant, a new drug that blocks the action of an inflammatory protein known as bradykinin, is safe and effective in treating acute attacks of hereditary angioedema, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Springer and T.M.C. Asser Press sign exclusive agreement on law book program
Springer and T.M.C. Asser Press, a prominent Dutch specialist publisher for international law, have signed an exclusive agreement on their future collaboration.

MicroRNA molecule increases number of blood stem cells, may help improve cancer treatment
Investigators have identified a new mechanism that controls the number of hematopoietic stem cells -- cells that give rise to all blood and immune system cells.

Fast forensic test can match suspects' DNA with crime samples in 4 hours
A newly developed test could make checking DNA from people arrested for crimes with DNA samples from crime scenes stored in forensic databases almost as easy as matching fingerprints.

Tiny fish evolved to tolerate colder temperature in 3 years: UBC study
University of British Columbia researchers have observed one of the fastest evolutionary responses ever recorded in wild populations.

ONR researchers look to the future for defeating blindness
Neurobiologists funded by the US Office of Naval Research have discovered a potential cure for degenerative vision diseases leading to terminal blindness.

St. Michael's receives prestigious grants to study trauma
When the Canadian Institutes for Health Research announced its latest awards for injury research, only five teams were on the list and two of them were headed by doctors at St.

Image of new antibiotic in action opens up new opportunities to combat antibacterial resistance
Detailed pictures published today reveal how a new type of experimental antibiotic can kill bacteria that are already resistant to existing treatments.

Foreclosure reduces a home's sale price by 27 percent on average
Foreclosure reduces the eventual sale price of a home by an average 27 percent, compared to the prices paid for similar properties nearby.

Brain study shows that thinking about God reduces distress -- but only for believers
Thinking about God may make you less upset about making errors, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

New standard for labeling on injectable medications designed to reduce likelihood of patient death
To reduce the likelihood of patient death and disability resulting from errors in the administration of injectable medications in hospitals and other health-care settings, the US Pharmacopeial Convention is advancing new labeling requirements that will standardize the information permitted on the highly visible area of these vials to only cautionary statements intended to prevent imminent life-threatening situations.

U of M research finds ovulating women unconsciously buy sexier clothing to outdo attractive women
Ovulating women unconsciously buy sexier clothes, says new research from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

Supply and demand
In a study published today in Cell Metabolism, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, have discovered that a group of proteins called IRPs ensure that iron balance is kept and as such are essential for cell survival.

Caltech biologists discover microRNAs that control function of blood stem cells
One key to fighting diseases such as leukemia and anemia is gaining an understanding of the genes and molecules that control the function of hematopoietic -- or blood -- stem cells, which provide the body with a constant supply of red and white blood cells and platelets.

JILA frequency comb system detects gas impurities to aid semiconductor manufacturing
In a step toward solving a long-standing problem in semiconductor manufacturing, scientists at JILA have used their unique version of a

First nearshore survey of Antarctic krill reveals high density, stable population in shallow waters
Using smaller vessels that allow access to shallow, nearshore waters, researchers from Stony Brook University and the Southwest Fisheries Science Center conducted the first multiyear survey of the population of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in coastal waters and discovered that nearshore waters had significantly higher krill biomass density than offshore waters.

American Political Science Association announces 2010 awards
The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce its 2010 awards for excellence in the study, teaching, and practice of politics.

Discovery of Saturn's auroral heartbeat
Space researchers illuminate

UR discovers new way to boost vaccines, seeks patent
As the medical community searches for better vaccines and ways to deliver them, a University of Rochester scientist believes he has discovered a new approach to boosting the body's response to vaccinations.

Private support helps public plant research
The private sector and an Austrian research institute are chipping in to help support one of the most widely used public biological databases in the world.

UC Riverside receives 6 grants for tobacco-related research
Tobacco-related disease kills more people worldwide than any other single factor.

Mammal-like crocodile fossil found in East Africa, scientists report
Fossils of an ancient crocodile with mammal-like teeth have been discovered in the Rukwa Rift Basin of Tanzania, scientists report in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Obesity prevention begins before birth
A large population-based study from Children's Hospital Boston looks at two or more pregnancies in the same mother and provides evidence that excess maternal weight gain is a strong, independent predictor of high birth weight.

Seeing a stellar explosion in 3-D
Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have for the first time obtained a 3-D view of the distribution of the innermost material expelled by a recently exploded star.

Quantum networks advance with entanglement of photons, solid-state qubits
A team of Harvard physicists led by Mikhail D. Lukin has achieved the first-ever quantum entanglement of photons and solid-state materials.

Bedrock is a milestone in climate research
After years of concentrated effort, scientists from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project hit bedrock more than 8,300 feet below the surface of the Greenland ice sheet last week.

UH: Insular evolution: Large and big-footed voles in an outer archipelago
A study carried out by researchers from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Helsinki, along with their Swedish colleagues, reports rapid evolution of traits facilitating dispersal in an outer archipelago.

Genome of ancient sponge reveals origins of first animals, cancer
A team of researchers led by UC Berkeley's Daniel Rokhsar has published a draft genome sequence of the sea sponge, an organism that wasn't recognized as an animal until the 19th century.

Deep Brain Stimulation shows promise for patients with Alzheimer's
In a world first, Dr. Andres M. Lozano and his team at Toronto Western Hospital has shown using Deep Brain Stimulation on patients with early signs of Alzheimer's disease is safe and may help improve memory.

Traveling by car increases global temperatures more than by plane, but only in long term
Driving a car increases global temperatures in the long run more than making the same long-distance journey by air according to a new study.

Bee pastures may help pollinators prosper
Beautiful wildflowers might someday be planted in

Americans take more risks when they drive the nation's rural highways, new U of Minnesota study says
While Americans are much more likely to die on rural highways than urban freeways, a new survey released today found that they feel much more relaxed and prone to risk-taking on rural highways.

New NIST report advises: Securing critical computer systems begins at the beginning
A new draft report from NIST discusses the challenge of maintaining information system security throughout a system's life cycle, and provides an array of practices designed to help mitigate supply chain security risks.

Scientists pinpoint 95 gene loci linked to lipid metabolism
In a large-scale international study in which Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen participated, scientists have identified 95 gene loci which influence lipoprotein metabolism in humans.

NIST researchers measure high infrared power levels from some green lasers
Green laser pointers have become a popular consumer item, delivering light that's brighter to the eye than red lasers, but stories have circulated on the Web about the potential hazards of inexpensive models.

NIH genomic mapping study finds largest set of genes related to major risk factor for heart disease
Scanning the genomes of more than 100,000 people from all over the world, scientists report the largest set of genes discovered underlying high cholesterol and high triglycerides -- the major risk factors for coronary heart disease, the nation's number one killer.

Protein-folding game taps power of worldwide audience to solve difficult puzzles
A cooperative online game that puts volunteer

Brain size determines whether fish hunters or slackers
Whether a fish likes to hunt down its food or wait for dinner to arrive is linked to the composition of its brain.

Compact microscope a marvel
In a paper published online today in the journal PLoS ONE, Rice alumnus Andrew Miller and co-authors show that his portable, battery-operated fluorescence microscope, which costs $240, stacks up nicely against devices that retail for as much as $40,000 in diagnosing signs of tuberculosis.

Solving the mystery of bone loss from drug for epilepsy and bipolar disorder
Scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the bone loss that may occur following long-term use of a medicine widely used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder and other conditions.

Bali Declaration hopes to save Indonesia's biodiversity from deforestation
Indonesia has some of the richest biological diversity of any nation on Earth; however, it is threatened with losing it to forest destruction.

Regrowing lost limbs
Another option may be on the horizon for patients who lose limbs due to war, accident, or disease.

Winning record, team longevity, prime-time games influence NFL TV ratings
Many of the same factors that influence whether or not fans attend an NFL game in-person also influence a team's television ratings, according to research by a University of Illinois sports economist.

'SORTing' out the genetic and biological links between cholesterol and coronary heart disease
The true power of genomic research lies in its ability to help scientists understand biological processes, particularly those that -- when altered -- can lead to disease.

Iron-regulating protein is strong predictor of breast cancer prognosis, study shows
A new study by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center may soon help to spare some women with breast cancer from having to undergo invasive and toxic treatments for their disease.

Frontiers of plasmonics
The latest issue of Chinese Science Bulletin will publish a special topic of frontiers of plasmonics.

These crocs were made for chewing?
Paleontologists scouring a river bank in Tanzania have unearthed a previously unknown crocodile from 105 million-year-old, mid-Cretaceous rock.

EEG predicts response to medication for schizophrenia
Engineering and health sciences researchers at McMaster University have applied machine learning to EEG patterns and successfully predicted how patients with schizophrenia would respond to clozapine therapy.

Forest Service updates free guide to 'Invasive Plants in Southern Forests'
USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station Director Jim Reaves today announced that gardeners, foresters, landowners and others concerned about nonnative invasive plants in the South can now request free copies of

Ancient Hawaiian glaciers reveal clues to global climate impacts
Boulders deposited by an ancient glacier that once covered the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii have provided more evidence of the extraordinary power and reach of global change, particularly the slowdown of a North Atlantic Ocean current system that could happen again and continues to be a concern to climate scientists.

St. Michael's doctor wins $50,000 N.Y. Academy of Medicine Glaucoma Prize
Dr. Yeni H. YĆ¼cel, an ophthalmic pathologist at St. Michael's Hospital, has won the prestigious 2010 Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize from the New York Academy of Medicine.

The real urban jungle
How well do you understand life in your own backyard?

Penn's Positive Psychology Center awards $2.9 million for research
The Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania and the John Templeton Foundation have announced the recipients of the 2010 Templeton Positive Neuroscience Awards, $2.9 million given to 15 new research projects at the intersection of neuroscience and positive psychology.

Homes of the poor and the affluent both have high levels of endocrine disruptors
Homes in low-income and affluent communities in California both had similarly high levels of endocrine disruptors, and the levels were higher in indoor air than outdoor air, according to a new study believed to be the first that paired indoor and outdoor air samples for such wide range of these substances.

Childhood personality traits predict adult behavior
Personality traits observed in childhood are a strong predictor of adult behavior, a study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, the Oregon Research Institute and University of Oregon suggests.

Scientists identify 95 genetic variants associated with cholesterol, triglycerides
A global team of researchers co-led by the University of Michigan School of Public Health has discovered or confirmed 95 regions of the human genome where genetic variants are associated with blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are major indicators of heart disease risk.

Doctors hard to find for patients in Massachusetts' first for-profit health plan
The first for-profit insurance company approved to offer government-subsidized coverage under Massachusetts' health reform has dangerously restricted access to primary care, a group of Harvard-affiliated physicians report.

NIH grantees find metabolic pathway in malaria parasites; possible drug targets
A newly described metabolic pathway used by malaria-causing parasites may help them survive inside human blood cells.

The European IVF Monitoring Group celebrates its 10-year anniversary
During this meeting different aspects of ART monitoring in Europe and beyond will be discussed, with an overview over European data, the different registries experiences and possibilities and limitations of pooling data from different countries.

Sponge shines light on life's origin
The simple sponge can reveal much about life on Earth.

Caltech: Gain and loss in optimistic versus pessimistic brains
Our belief as to whether we will likely succeed or fail at a given task -- and the consequences of winning or losing -- directly affects the levels of neural effort put forth in movement-planning circuits in the human cortex, according to a new brain-imaging study by neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology.

Biofuel study looks at cost to wildlife and environmental diversity
A team of scientists based at Texas AgriLife Research and Extension centers at Overton, Beeville, Beaumont, Stephenville, Vernon and Lubbock are looking at various cropping systems to solve both problems -- the cost of nitrogen and ways to preserve habitat for valued species such as the whitetailed deer.

ASTRO publishes whole breast irradiation guidelines
The American Society for Radiation Oncology has released evidence-based guidelines to define appropriate fractionation of whole breast irradiation (WBI), finding that hypofractionated WBI is effective for many patients with early stage breast cancer.

Robot climbs walls
Wielding two claws, a motor and a tail that swings like a grandfather clock's pendulum, a small robot named ROCR (

Genomic sequencing of marine sponge published; revealed early genetic complexity and roots of cancer
This week's publication of the complete genomic sequence of a living marine sponge reveals genes dating back hundreds of millions of years -- a result far exceeding the expectations of the scientific world.

NIST nanofluidic 'multi-tool' separates and sizes nanoparticles
NIST researchers have engineered a nanoscale fluidic device that functions as a miniature

Gene for cholesterol and cardiovascular disease identified through genome scan
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the Broad Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., are some of the first to prove that a gene linked to a disease trait by genome-wide association studies can be clinically relevant and an important determinant of disease risk.

New findings promising for 'transformation optics,' cloaking
Researchers have overcome a fundamental obstacle in using new

APA praises Prop 8 decision as victory for science, human dignity
The American Psychological Association hailed Wednesday's ruling overturning Proposition 8, in which voters had taken away the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.

Taking the twinkle out of the night sky
A team of astronomers at the University of Arizona has developed a technique that allows them to switch off star twinkling over a wide field of view, enabling Earth-based telescopes to obtain images as crisp as those taken with the Hubble Space Telescope -- and much more quickly.

Mothers of premature children run greater risk of suffering stress
The incidence of premature babies has been stable or even increased over time.

Nurses will test method for determining if it's dementia or delirium
In the future, nurses may more accurately detect and alleviate symptoms of delirium in persons with dementia, thanks to a five-year, $2.7-million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research.

Preserving sperm vital to saving 'snot otter' salamanders
The hellbender salamander -- known affectionately as a snot otter or devil dog -- is one of America's unique giant salamander species.

Gulf oil spill: NSF funds research on impacts to Florida Everglades
With its vast 1.5 million acres of mangrove swamps, sawgrass prairies and subtropical jungles, could the Florida Everglades -- the famous river of grass -- be affected by the Gulf oil spill?

New study examines the economic returns of public access policies
Delivering timely, open, online access to the results of federally funded research in the United States will significantly increase the return on the public's investment in science, according to a new study by John Houghton at the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University.

Ancient blob-like creature of the deep revealed by scientists
A unique blob-like creature that lived in the ocean approximately 425 million years ago is revealed in a 3-D computer model in research published today in the journal Biology Letters.

NSF funds innovative approach to biomimetic nanofiber bone regeneration
Dr. Hongjun Wang at Stevens Institute of Technology investigates a new bottom-up approach to tissue engineering.

For the first time ever, scientists watch an atom's electrons moving in real time
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of California at Berkeley used pulses of laser light measuring mere quintillionths of a second long to probe the motion of an atom's outermost electrons in real time.

Genetic clue to chronic pain could lead to new treatments for the condition
Chronic pain is a serious medical problem, afflicting approximately 20 percent of adults.

Marfan, a 'look-alike' disorder, or neither?
Johns Hopkins researchers have compiled what they believe are reliable lists of tell-tale physical signs to help doctors recognize children with Marfan and Loeys-Dietz syndromes.

Vision screening in children
In his article in the current issue of Deutsches Aerzteblatt International, Wolf A.

NJIT physicist gets $2.4 million NSF grant to improve optics to see more of sun
Philip R. Goode, Ph.D., distinguished professor of physics at NJIT and director of Big Bear Solar Observatory in California, has received a three-year, $2.4 million National Science Foundation grant to improve the optics at BBSO.

Academy's mollusk collection plays key role in Gulf oil impact study
Unknown to most nonscientists, the nation's oldest mollusk collection resides four floors above one of Philadelphia's busiest tourist areas and is now being pressed into action to determine the impact of the nation's worst oil spill.

Unprecedented look at oxide interfaces reveals unexpected structures on atomic scale
Thin layers of oxide materials and their interfaces have been observed in atomic resolution during growth for the first time by researchers at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, providing new insight into the complicated link between their structure and properties. 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