Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 19, 2010
Discovery opens door to therapeutic development for FSH muscular dystrophy
Scientists are closer to understanding what triggers muscle damage in one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy, called facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.

WHOI scientists map and confirm origin of large, underwater hydrocarbon plume in Gulf
Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Autism research finds empirical link between multisensory integration and autism
A new study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has provided concrete evidence that children with autism spectrum disorders process sensory information such as sound, touch and vision differently than typically developing children.

Scientists pinpoint earliest steps of common form of muscular dystrophy
Nearly two decades after they identified the specific genetic flaw that causes a common type of muscular dystrophy, scientists believe they have figured out how that flaw brings about the disease.

Researchers discover how the storehouses of plant cells are formed
Researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have shown for the first time that a specific protein plays an indispensable role in the formation of vacuoles, by far the largest organelles in plant cells.

Green leafy vegetables reduce diabetes risk
Eating more green leafy vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, finds research published today on

Listening to Earth breathe through 500 towers
It takes a global village to monitor and analyze trends in Earth's

Proof that a gut-wrenching complaint -- irritable bowel syndrome -- is not in your head
Irritable bowel syndrome makes life miserable for those affected, an estimated ten percent or more of the population.

Paper wasps punish peers for misrepresenting their might
Falsely advertising one's fighting ability might seem like a good strategy for a wimp who wants to come off as a toughie, but in paper wasp societies, such deception is discouraged through punishment, experiments at the University of Michigan suggest.

Ngo Bao Chau receives Fields Medal, highest honor in mathematics
Ngô Bao Châu, who will join the mathematics faculty at the University of Chicago on Sept.

Wii-like technologies may help stroke survivors improve communication skills
Motion sensing technologies, such as the Nintendo Wii Remote, could be used in the rehabilitation of people with aphasia -- a language impairment, commonly caused by a stroke, that affects around 250,000 people in the UK.

Scientist IDs genes that promise to make biofuel production more efficient, economical
A University of Illinois metabolic engineer has taken the first step toward the more efficient and economical production of biofuels by developing a strain of yeast with increased alcohol tolerance.

NASA's LRO reveals 'incredible shrinking moon'
Newly discovered cliffs in the lunar crust indicate the moon shrank globally in the geologically recent past and might still be shrinking today, according to a team analyzing new images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

NSF announces new Expeditions in Computing Awards
The Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering at the National Science Foundation announced three new Expeditions in Computing awards today.

New study finds new connection between yoga and mood
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found that yoga may be superior to other forms of exercise in its positive effect on mood and anxiety.

UT Southwestern scientists pry new information from disease-causing, shellfish-borne bacterium
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered a key weapon in the molecular arsenal the infectious bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. para) uses to kill cells and cause food poisoning in its human host.

VTT takes part in opening South American logistics bottlenecks
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and three other European research organizations are currently improving freight transport in South American countries through the EU-funded Enable project.

Mental problems in an old person do not always mean Alzheimer's disease
The case of an elderly woman who had mental problems associated with Alzheimer's disease, but turned out to have treatable limbic encephalitis, is detailed in a case report in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Addition of trastuzumab to chemotherapy for stomach cancer extends survival by nearly 3 months, but is it cost effective?
An article published online first by the Lancet says that for patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer, addition of tastuzumab to standard cisplatinum/fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy results in a median survival of 13.8 months, compared with 11.1 months with chemotherapy alone.

Delaying fat digestion to curb appetite
Institute of Food Research scientists have discovered an unexpected synergy that helps break down fat.

New genetic tool helps improve rice
US Department of Agriculture scientists have developed a new tool for improving the expression of desirable genes in rice in parts of the plant where the results will do the most good.

Galactic super-volcano in action
A galactic

Federal grant to enhance math and science learning for all children
Education researchers at the University of Cincinnati are developing interactive technology to fuel STEM learning for schools, especially for children with special needs.

Sea Education Association finds widespread floating plastic debris in the western North Atlantic Ocean
Despite growing awareness of the problem of plastic pollution in the world's oceans, little solid scientific information existed to illustrate the nature and scope of the issue.

Geologists revisit the Great Oxygenation Event
Recent work with geochemical proxies for oxygen levels suggests that oxygen levels continued to fluctuate long after the Great Oxygenation Event 2.7 billion years ago, and that the oceans were many different flavors of anoxic right up until the Edicaran period, 600 million years ago.

Experiments show blood pressure drugs could help fight frailty
Researchers believe they've found a way to use widely available blood pressure drugs to fight the muscular weakness that normally accompanies aging.

UofL student wins national minority nursing scholarship
UofL School of Nursing doctoral student Lisa Carter-Harris has received the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future -- American Association of Colleges of Nursing Minority Nursing Faculty Scholarship for the 2010-2011 academic year.

6 University of Miami students selected as 2010 NOAA/Ernest F. Hollings Scholars
NOAA announced that six University of Miami students were selected as 2010 NOAA/Ernest F.

Deep plumes of oil could cause dead zones in the Gulf
A new simulation of oil and methane leaked into the Gulf of Mexico suggests that deep hypoxic zones or

Elsevier partners with ASRT to provide multimedia educational modules through Mosby's Imaging Suite
Elsevier, the world's leading publisher of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services, today announced an exclusive partnership with the American Society of Radiologic Technologists to provide a complete series of computed tomography modules through Mosby's Imaging Suite for technologists' continuing education.

More light for a better quality of life
The importance of artificial light to society has long been recognized with the utilization of fire thought of as the quintessential human invention.

NSF awards $10M to develop computing techniques for measuring and analyzing child behavior
A Georgia Tech-led team received $10M from National Science Foundation to develop novel computing techniques for measuring and analyzing children's behavior.

Less is more for a hungry bat
Like a stealth fighter plane, the barbastelle bat uses a sneaky hunting strategy to catch its prey.

Putting the squeeze on Alzheimer's
Brain cells exposed to a form of the amyloid beta protein, the molecule linked to Alzheimer's disease, become stiffer and bend less under pressure, researchers at UC Davis have found.

Hispanics and Asians less likely to receive liver transplants
Researchers at the University of Michigan and Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, both in Ann Arbor, have identified geographic variation as a key factor accounting for disparities in access to liver transplantation among racial and ethnic groups.

Breast cancer survivors don't need to be afraid of air travel: U of A study
A University of Alberta researcher says results from an international study she was part of indicates certain precautions about the risk of lymphedema for breast cancer survivors are outdated.

University of Minnesota team to lead $10 million NSF project on the study of global climate change
A multi-disciplinary team of researchers led by University of Minnesota computer science professor Vipin Kumar in the university's College of Science and Engineering has been awarded a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study climate change.

Brothers of prostate cancer patients undergo more diagnostic activities
The brothers of men with prostate cancer are at an increased risk of prostate cancer diagnosis because of increased diagnostic activity and not necessarily because they carry a genetic mutation that increases risk of the disease, according to a study published online Aug.

Significant advance announced in treatment of cervical cancer
A medical researcher at the University of Leicester has made a significant advance in the treatment of cervical cancer.

Black women with SLE develop cardiovascular disease at early age
A recent study by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found significant racial disparities in the age of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients at the time of hospital admission for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and CVD-related death.

NIH renews research program to develop medical countermeasures against radiological, nuclear threats
A major research effort to develop medical products to diagnose, prevent and treat the short- and long-term consequences of radiation exposure after a radiological or nuclear terrorist attack has been renewed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Genetics underlie formation of body's back-up bypass vessels
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have uncovered the genetic architecture controlling the growth of the collateral circulation -- the

New ways to chart our maritime past
Archaeology has a long-standing tradition in protecting areas on land.

Drought drives decade-long decline in plant growth
Global plant productivity that once was on the rise with warming temperatures and a lengthened growing season is now on the decline because of regional drought according to a new study of NASA satellite data.

NSF grant funds NC State research on predicting effects of climate change
North Carolina State University researchers are part of a major new research initiative from the National Science Foundation aiming at improving climate scientists' ability to predict potential consequences of climate change.

Maslow's pyramid gets a much needed renovation
Caring for your children, feeding them, nurturing them, educating them and making sure they get off on the right foot in life -- all of the things that make parenting successful -- may actually be deep rooted psychological urges that we fulfill as part of being human.

Victims of bullying suffer academically as well, UCLA psychologists report
Students who are bullied repeatedly do substantially worse in school, UCLA psychologists report in a special issue of the Journal of Early Adolescence.

A discovery by Dr. Andre Veillette's team could impact the treatment of autoimmune diseases
The scientific journal Immunity, from the Cell Press group, publishes online today, and will publish in its Aug.

Yale team describes secrets of 'magic' antidepressant
Yale researchers have discovered how a novel antidepressant can take effect in hours, rather than the weeks or months usually required for most drugs currently on the market.

Fear of falling linked to future falls in older people
Fear of falling is likely to lead to future falls among older people, irrespective of their actual fall risk, finds a study published on today.

Carnegie Mellon joins NSF research consortium to develop tools for analyzing autism, other behaviors
Researchers in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University will join a five-year, $10 million initiative funded by the National Science Foundation to create novel tools for evaluating social interactions and other behaviors that can be used in diagnosing or treating behavioral disorders such as autism.

Homework wars: How can parents improve the odds of winning?
Children are more likely to do their homework if they see it as an investment, not a chore, according to new research at the University of Michigan.

Astronomers take a step towards revealing the universe's biggest mystery
An international team of astronomers using gravitational lensing observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken an important step forward in the quest to solve the riddle of dark energy, a phenomenon which mysteriously appears to power the universe's accelerating expansion.

Natural lung material is promising scaffold for engineering lung tissue using embryonic stem cells
The first successful report of using cell-depleted lung as a natural growth matrix for generating new rat lung from embryonic stem cells is presented in a breakthrough article in Tissue Engineering, Part A, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Rice sociologist finds male scientists regret parenthood decisions more than female counterparts
Many scientists in academia bemoan the fact that their lifestyles do not allow them to have as many children as they would like.

Astronomers use galactic magnifying lens to probe elusive dark energy
A team of astronomers has used a massive galaxy cluster as a cosmic magnifying lens to study the nature of dark energy for the first time.

Slowing urban sprawl, adding forests curb floods and help rivers
Controlling urban growth and increasing forested land are the most effective ways to decrease future water runoff and flooding, according to a Purdue University study.

CCNY biologists study rainforest host-plant associations
The widening of the Panama Canal currently underway has created a rare opportunity to study the insects that inhabit the plants of environmentally sensitive Central American rainforest habitats.

AMS experiment takes off for Kennedy Space Center
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, an experiment that will search for antimatter and dark matter in space, leaves CERN next Tuesday on the next leg of its journey to the International Space Station.

Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom speaks at the APSA Annual Meeting in DC
Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, will deliver a plenary address during the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association in Washington, DC.

Prenatal exposure to pesticides linked to attention problems
Children who were exposed to organophosphate pesticides before birth were more likely to develop attention disorders years later, according to a new UC Berkeley study.

University of Miami to host prestigious National Geographic Young Explorers Workshop, Sept. 25
Individuals ages 18-25 from South Florida who are interested in pursuing National Geographic Young Explorers workshop are invited to register for this free daylong event which will take place at the University of Miami on Sept.

UT professor: Study underscores link between walking, cycling and health
A study authored by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, David Bassett Jr. concludes that communities with more walkers and cyclists are healthier than those where people must rely on cars to get around.

American Chemical Society webinar focuses on the chemistry of beer and brewing
News media and others interested in the chemical sciences are invited to join the next in a series of American Chemical Society webinars, focusing on the chemistry of beer and brewing.

AIDS virus changes in semen make it different than in blood
The virus that causes AIDS may undergo changes in the genital tract that make HIV-1 in semen different than what it is in the blood, according to a study led by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

How flies set their cruising altitude
Insects in flight must somehow calculate and control their height above the ground, and researchers reporting online on Aug.

International research team closes in on cause of common form of muscular dystrophy
An international team of researchers that includes investigators from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has made a critical advance in determining the cause of a common form of muscular dystrophy known as facioscapulohumeral dystrophy, or FSHD.

Hebrew University professor first Israeli to win top mathematics medal considered equivalent to Nobel
Prof. Elon Lindenstrauss of the Einstein Institute of Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem today received the Fields Medal for 2010 -- a prize regarded as the

Old drug holds promise against opportunistic lung bug
A drug to treat inflammation plays a surprising role reducing the level of infection caused by an opportunistic bug that is deadly for AIDS and cancer patients and others with weakened immune systems.

Stomach bacteria need vitamin to establish infection
Scientists have determined that Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes peptic ulcers and some forms of stomach cancer, requires the vitamin B6 to establish and maintain chronic infection, according to research published this week in the online journal mBio.

AIDS virus shown different in semen versus blood
The virus that causes AIDS may undergo changes in the genital tract rendering HIV-1 in semen different than HIV-1 in the blood, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research and the Baylor Pediatric Center of Excellence.

With muscle-building treatment, mice live longer even as tumors grow
In the vast majority of patients with advanced cancer, their muscles will gradually waste away for reasons that have never been well understood.

Novel autoantibodies identified in patients with necrotizing myopathy
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have identified a subgroup of patients with necrotizing myopathy who have a novel autoantibody specificity that makes them potential candidates for immunosuppressive therapy.

Deadly Tonga earthquake revealed as 3 big quakes
A magnitude-8.1 earthquake and tsunami that killed 192 people last year in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga was in fact a triple-whammy.

Ancient 'terror bird' used powerful beak to jab like boxer
The ancient

Human neural stem cells restore motor function in mice with chronic spinal cord injury
A UC Irvine study is the first to demonstrate that human neural stem cells can restore mobility in cases of chronic spinal cord injury, suggesting the prospect of treating a much broader population of patients.

Frozen flies may yield secrets for human organ transplants
Frozen fruit fly cells may hold key to human organ transplant process, according to Rutgers-Camden researchers.

Incredible shrinking moon is revealed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is revealing previously undetected landforms that indicate the moon is shrinking.

New computer model advances climate change research
Scientists can now study climate change in far more detail with powerful new computer software released by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

Binge drinking increases death risk in men with high blood pressure
If you have high blood pressure, binge drinking may severely increase your risk of dying from a stroke or heart disease.

Study identifies factors which predict alcohol use after liver transplantation
A new study published today in the American Journal of Transplantation reveals that those at highest risk to drink alcohol post-transplant, especially in patterns that will damage their health, can be identified potentially preventing relapse.

Brain network links cognition, motivation
Whether it's sports, poker or the high-stakes world of business, there are those who always find a way to win when there's money on the table.

Researchers: Cures to diseases may live in our guts
At any given time, trillions of tiny microbes -- some helpful, some harmful -- are living on and in humans, forming communities and outnumbering the body's own cells tenfold.

NASA's Aqua Satellite sees TD5's remnants stretched out in US south
NASA's Aqua satellite noticed that the showers and thunderstorms from the remnants of Tropical Depression 5 extended from Louisiana northeast into southwest Alabama.

U of M licenses unique plant protection product
Adapting a chemical used to deliver medicines through the skin, University of Minnesota Duluth scientist Tom Levar has developed a way to protect plants from browsing by deer and mice by delivering a natural hot pepper concentrate through the roots of young plants, making them inedible.

UT, ORNL crunching numbers to make sense of climate change
Buried in mountains of meteorological and hydrological data are likely clues that could help in predicting floods, hurricanes and other extreme weather events.

IEEE-USA cites 5 engineering breakthroughs
Five engineering breakthroughs, from restoring a degree of eyesight to developing a new treatment for sudden cardiac arrest, were cited today by IEEE-USA, the US career and public policy unit of the IEEE, the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology.

DNA puts Stanford chemists on scent of better artificial nose
Stanford chemists working on an

Software for efficient computing in the age of nanoscale devices
The NSF awards a $10 million, five-year grant to researchers at six universities who will explore 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