Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

August 30, 2010
Metcalf Institute wins NSF grant to help journalism and communication of oil spill research
The Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography received a $199,909 National Science Foundation RAPID Response grant to improve communication of oil spill research.

Eye movements reveal readers' wandering minds
It's not just you -- everybody zones out when they're reading.

School-based intervention successfully lowers drinking rates in at-risk children
In an effort to combat these startling findings, researchers at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry describe a successful personality-based intervention for substance abuse delivered by teachers in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Climate change implicated in decline of horseshoe crabs
A distinct decline in horseshoe crab numbers has occurred that parallels climate change associated with the end of the last ice age, according to a study that used genomics to assess historical trends in population sizes.

Parenting study: Italians strict, French moderate, Canadians lenient
Canadian teenagers enjoy more freedom than French and Italian peers, according to a new study published in the Journal of Adolescence.

'Stocky dragon' dinosaur terrorized Late Cretaceous Europe
Paleontologists have discovered that a close relative of Velociraptor hunted the dwarfed inhabitants of Late Cretaceous Europe, an island landscape largely isolated from nearby continents.

Virus related to smallpox rising sharply in Africa, UCLA researchers find
UCLA researchers report that 30 years after mass smallpox vaccination campaigns ceased, the rates of a related virus called human monkeypox has dramatically increased in the rural Democratic Republic of Congo, with sporadic outbreaks in other African countries and even the United States.

'Co-conspirator' cells could hold key to melanoma prediction, prevention
New research on how skin cancer begins has identified adjacent cancer cells that scientists are calling

Biology groups partner to advance science education policy
The American Institute of Biological Sciences and the National Association of Biology Teachers are pleased to announce a new strategic partnership that will help advance the science and education policy interests of the biological sciences community.

Multiple sclerosis activity changes with the seasons
New research shows that multiple sclerosis activity can increase during spring and summer months.

Study finds asking about pregnancy coercion and intimate-partner violence can reduce their incidence
Specifically asking young women during visits to family planning clinics whether their partners had attempted to force them to become pregnant -- a type of intimate-partner violence called reproductive coercion -- dramatically reduced the likelihood that the women would continue to experience such pressures, according to a new pilot study led by researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine.

First clear evidence of feasting in early humans
Community feasting is one of the most universal and important social behaviors found among humans.

Studies confirm region of chromosome 9 linked to risk for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Genetic variations on chromosome 9 have been identified that might have a role in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia.

Vancouver's supervised injection facility challenges Canada's drug laws
Despite medical research that indicates Vancouver's supervised injection facility, Insite, reduces needle-sharing and overdose deaths, the facility's fate is uncertain, states an analysis article in CMAJ.

4 PNNL scientists elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences
Four scientists from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences.

Dramatic climate change is unpredictable
The fear that global temperature can change very quickly and cause dramatic climate changes is great around the world.

Get with the Guidelines -- Stroke program could be global model
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get with the Guidelines -- Stroke successfully measured the quality of stroke prevention and care in a nationwide stroke registry in Taiwan and identified important areas for improvement.

Feasts at a funeral
A University of Connecticut (UConn) anthropologist says there is new evidence that nearly 12,000 years ago, feasts were used to celebrate burial of the dead, bringing about the world's first established communities.

Elsevier introduces SciVerse, an innovative platform for accelerating science
Elsevier, a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the launch of SciVerse, an innovative platform that integrates the company's key products and encourages the scientific community to collaborate on the development of customized search and discovery applications.

U of Alberta researchers discover important mechanism in fighting infection
Richard Lamb and his post doctoral fellow Virginie Mieulet, in the faculty of medicine and dentistry, may be able to explain why proper nutrition is so vital in fighting infection.

'Greener' than expected
Battery powered cars will play a major role in future of mobility.

Over 50? You probably prefer negative stories about young people
When given a choice, older people prefer to read negative news, rather than positive news, about young adults, a new study suggests.

Teaching communication and information literacy skills
A collaborative effort between the library, horticulture and English departments develop a course to teach communication relevant to a discipline.

Social isolation worsens cardiac arrest effects on heart regulation
A new study in mice shows how social support can help minimize some of the worst physical damages to the brain caused by a heart attack.

Award-winning study: Hardening of the arteries doubles the risk of mortality
Most patients don't suspect a thing, and yet they are seriously ill: hardening of the arteries -- peripheral arterial disease -- doubles the risk of premature death and serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

Microfluidic device allows collection, analysis of hard-to-handle immune cells
A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital scientists has developed a new microfluidic tool for quickly and accurately isolating neutrophils -- the most abundant type of white blood cell -- from small blood samples, an accomplishment that could provide information essential to better understanding the immune system's response to traumatic injury.

Workers rate safety most important workplace issue in new Labor Day study
More than eight of ten workers -- 85 percent -- rate workplace safety first in importance among labor standards, even ahead of family and maternity leave, minimum wage, paid sick days, overtime pay and the right to join a union, according to a new study.

AGU Journal highlights -- Aug. 30, 2010
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics: Extensive relict coral reef found in southern Pacific; Heavy 2009-2010 snowfall due to colliding weather events; Shifting ozone hole exposed South America to more UV light; How does emissions mitigation policy affect ocean acidification?; Reducing soot emissions would cut Arctic ice loss; Summer heat waves to increase during coming decades; and Using underground clues to determine past atmospheric heat; and more.

BUSPH study observes link between decongestant use in pregnant women and lower risk of preterm birth
A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health epidemiologists has found that women who took over-the-counter decongestants during their pregnancies are less likely to give birth prematurely.

Smoked cannabis reduces chronic pain
For people suffering chronic pain, smoked cannabis reduces pain, improves mood and helps sleep, according to new research published in CMAJ.

UNH researchers develop improved tool for cycling fitness
For competitive bicyclists with goals -- whether competing in the Tour de France or aiming for the podium at a local race -- faster cycling comes from training regimens based on various zones of exercise intensity.

Structural defects precede functional decline in heart muscle
The disruption of a structural component in heart muscle cells, which is associated with heart failure, appears to occur even before heart function starts to decline, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A.

New study shows that oilsands mining and processing are polluting the Athabasca River
New study shows that oilsands mining and processing are polluting the Athabasca River with metals that are toxic at trace levels.

Researchers to activate anti-cancer gene
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Health Sciences have succeeded in decoding the genetic key that gives particular intestinal cells their identity.

Governments should pay for smoking cessation therapies
Canada should follow the lead of Quebec, Australia and the United Kingdom by publicly funding smoking cessation pharmacotherapies, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

New cell transplantation journal launched
The goal of cell transplantation research, including research on embryonic, fetus, umbilical cord, placenta, and fat derived cells, aims at translating bench research into effective therapies for use in the clinic.

High-speed filter uses electrified nanostructures to purify water at low cost
Stanford researchers have developed a water-purifying filter that makes the process more than 80,000 times faster than existing filters.

New research shows how disease-causing parasite gets around human innate immunity
A team of researchers at the University of Georgia and Glasgow University has now shown, for the first time, how one species of the parasites that cause African sleeping sickness evades the human innate defenses.

Going live to the beating heart
Max Planck scientists succeed in filming organs and joints in real time using magnetic resonance imaging.

Strange predatory dinosaur from Europe's Late Cretaceous
New research introduces a relative of Velociraptor. The new species, Balaur bondoc has strange morphology including double-clawed feet and fused bones.

Devastating psychological effects of BP Gulf disaster are explored in Ecopsychology journal
Anger, depression and helplessness are the main psychological responses being seen in response to the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and they are likely to have long-lasting effects, according to an interview in Ecopsychology.

Study identifies risk factors for cardiovascular events in patients with atherothrombosis
Clinical descriptors can assist clinicians in identifying patients with various stages of atherothrombosis (abnormal fatty deposits in an artery) who are at high-risk of future cardiovascular events, according to a study that will appear in the Sept.

ISU researchers develop hybrid protein tools for gene cutting and editing
An Iowa State University team of researchers, led by Bing Yang, has developed a type of hybrid proteins that can make double-strand DNA breaks at specific sites in living cells, possibly leading to better gene replacement and gene editing therapies.

Circadian rhythms: Their role and dysfunction in affective disorder
Biological clocks play a major role in affective disorders. Synchronizing impaired circadian rhythms, improving sleep, or paradoxically staying awake most of the night can be extremely helpful to treat patients with depression and bipolar disorder.

Story tips from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, September 2010
The following are story tips from DOE/Oak Ridge National Lab.

Space telescope's new survey of outer galaxy helps Iowa State astronomers study stars
Iowa State University astronomers Massimo Marengo and Charles Kerton are now using the Spitzer Space Telescope to study stars in the outer regions of our Milky Way galaxy.

Heart disorder hits national epidemic proportions
A growing epidemic of the world's most common heart rhythm disorder is resulting in an alarming number of hospital admissions in Australia, according to cardiology researchers.

Older adults experience 'destination amnesia'
I'm sure I told you that already! Older adults are more likely to have destination memory failures -- forgetting who they've shared or not shared information with, according to a new study led by Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute.

Networks -- not size -- give cities competitive advantage
A city's size no longer is the key factor in building vibrant local economies, according to a study by a Michigan State University sociologist.

New genomic marker for tuberculosis may help identify patients who will develop the disease
It may soon be possible to identify patients who will develop tuberculosis, as scientists have identified changes in the blood specific to the disease.

African-Americans have higher risk for blood clots after receiving drug-coated stent
African-American race is among the risk factors for developing dangerous blood clots after receiving a drug-coated stent.

Hurts so good -- neural clues to the calming effects of self-harm
The notion that cutting or burning oneself could provide relief from emotional distress is difficult to understand for most people, but it is an experience reported commonly among people who compulsively hurt themselves.

U of M research provides insights into the roots of gamblers' fallacies and other superstitions
Gamblers who think they have a

Research demonstrates benefits of medical cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain
The medicinal use of cannabis has been debated by clinicians, researchers, legislators and the public at large for many years as an alternative to standard pharmaceutical treatments for pain, which may not always be effective and may have unwanted side effects.

Impact hypothesis loses its sparkle
The warming that following the last ice age was interrupted by a cold snap that killed off megafauna such as the giant ground sloth and the woolly mammoth.

Survey says: Genetics affect whether we're willing to take surveys
A new study from North Carolina State University shows that genetics play a key factor in whether someone is willing to take a survey.

Concussions in young athletes on the rise
A new study from Hasbro Children's Hospital finds visits to emergency departments for concussions that occurred during organized team sports have increased dramatically over a 10-year period, and appear to be highest in ice hockey and football.

NASA funds development of nanoscale materials for high energy density lithium-ion batteries
NanoEngineers at the University of California, San Diego, are designing new types of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that could be used in a variety of NASA space exploration projects -- and in a wide range of transportation and consumer applications.

UBC researchers unveil 'toolbox of MiniPromoters' for gene research and therapy
University of British Columbia researchers have led the development of a new

Case Western Reserve University and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay connecting
Case Western Reserve University and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay have reached a memorandum of understanding designed to build on the academic and research strengths of both institutions. 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