Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 01, 2010
Metal-mining bacteria are green chemists
Microbes could soon be used to convert metallic wastes into high-value catalysts for generating clean energy, say scientists writing in the September issue of Microbiology.

EU should act together and avoid confrontation given the economic boom of China
The European Union has gone from observing the economic expansion of China to considering it as a threat, according to the Ph.D. thesis presented by Andoni Maiza at the University of the Basque Country.

Microsoft Excel-based algorithm predicts cancer prognosis
Using readily available computer programs, researchers have developed a system to identify genes that will be useful in the classification of breast cancer.

Study links shorter sleep durations with greater risks of mental distress in young adults
Results show a linear association between sleep durations of less than eight hours and psychological distress in young adults between 17 and 24 years of age.

The perfect nanocube: Precise control of size, shape and composition
Researchers at NIST have developed a simple process for producing near-perfect nanocrystals that will enable studies of physical and chemical properties that affect how nanoparticles interact with the world around them.

New TB diagnostic proves effective, expedient, study finds
A molecular test designed to easily diagnose tuberculosis (TB) and detect a drug-resistant form of the bacterium that causes TB can provide much more specific, sensitive and rapid results than currently available TB diagnostics, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Saundra McGuire co-authors article with Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann
LSU's Saundra McGuire, assistant vice chancellor for learning and teaching in LSU's Division of Student Life and Enrollment Services, recently co-authored an American Scientist article with Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Roald Hoffmann.

New evidence that fat cells are not just dormant storage depots for calories
Scientists are reporting new evidence that the fat tissue in those lower belly pooches -- far from being a dormant storage depot for surplus calories -- is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body, perhaps increasing the risk of heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases.

Researchers discover how to conduct first test of 'untestable' string theory
Researchers describe how to carry out the first experimental test of string theory in a paper published tomorrow in Physical Review Letters.

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features chromosomal rearrangement, gene copy number methods
Two freely accessible methods from the September 2010 issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols can be used to probe the genetic basis of cancer.

Stopping smoking cessation treatments too soon may reduce odds of success for 45 percent of smokers
Quit rates may be significantly increased by just continuing cessation treatments without interruption for patients who remain motivated to quit despite lack of success during the first eight weeks of treatment.

10 minutes could prevent one-third of road deaths
Spanish researchers have calculated the probability of dying in road accidents on the basis of the time taken for the emergency services to arrive.

People want to be asked before sharing genetic data
People want to be informed and asked for consent before deciding whether to let researchers share their genetic information in a federal database, according to a team of investigators at Group Health Research Institute and University of Washington.

China's monopoly on 17 key elements sets stage for supply crisis
China's monopoly on the global supply of elements critical for production of computer hard disc drives, hybrid-electric cars, military weapons and other key products -- and its increasingly strict limits on exports -- is setting the stage for a crisis in the United States.

Lower blood pressure may preserve kidney function in some patients
Intensively treating hypertension in some African-Americans with kidney disease by pushing blood pressure well below the current recommended goal may significantly decrease the number who lose kidney function and require dialysis, suggests a Johns Hopkins-led study publishing in the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday.

Cranberry juice shows promise blocking Staph infections
Expanding their scope of study on the mechanisms of bacterial infection, researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have reported the surprise finding from a small clinical study that cranberry juice cocktail blocked a strain of Staphylococcus aureus from beginning the process of infection.

Scientists find organic farms have higher quality fruit, better soil, lower environmental impact
Side-by-side comparisons of organic and conventional strawberry farms and their fruit found the organic farms produced more flavorful and nutritious berries while leaving the soil healthier and more genetically diverse.

Bacterial charity work thwarts medical treatments
A new study reveals that a surprisingly small percentage of bacteria actually become highly resistant

Brain exercises may slow cognitive decline initially, but speed up dementia later
New research shows that mentally stimulating activities such as crossword puzzles, reading and listening to the radio may, at first, slow the decline of thinking skills but speed up dementia later in old age.

NIH awards grants to support biomedical research in space
The National Institutes of Health announced today that it has awarded the first new grants under the Biomedical Research on the International Space Station initiative, a collaborative effort between NIH and NASA.

U-M researchers receive largest single collection of psoriasis DNA samples
Millions of Americans struggling with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are one step closer to a cure with the release of the first National Psoriasis Victor Henschel BioBank DNA samples for use in research at the University of Michigan Health System; research that hopes to uncover the unknowns about the genetics of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

UK youth justice system treats ethnic groups differently
New research from the Institute for Criminal Policy Research at King's College, London, examines whether the police and the youth justice system treat young people from different ethnic groups in different ways.

New pump created for microneedle drug-delivery patch
Purdue University researchers have developed a new type of pump for drug-delivery patches that might use arrays of

Caltech mineral physicists find new scenery at Earth's core-mantle boundary
Using a diamond-anvil cell to recreate the high pressures deep within the earth, researchers at the California Institute of Technology have found unusual properties in an iron-rich magnesium- and iron-oxide mineral that may explain the existence of several ultra-low velocity zones at the core-mantle boundary.

Problem of fake medicines in developing countries could be solved
Counterfeiting of drugs is a huge industry with an annual turnover of more than SEK 500 billion ($68.8 billion).

Sensitivity to alcohol odors may indicate a genetic predisposition to alcohol dependence
Prior research had found an association between DNA sequence variations in a gene that encodes parts of the brain's gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA)-A receptors (the GABRA2 gene) and alcohol dependence.

The superwind galaxy NGC 4666
The galaxy NGC 4666 takes pride of place at the center of this new image, made in visible light with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Double-dose clopidogrel reduces risk of death, heart attack or stroke in patients undergoing angioplasty
An article published online first and in an upcoming Lancet (to coincide with the ongoing ESC meeting in Stockholm) shows that using a double-dose of the anti-clotting treatment clopidogrel reduces the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke by 14 percent in patients undergoing angioplasty compared with normal dose.

Lower blood pressure goal benefits some African-Americans with chronic kidney disease
On average, a lower blood pressure goal was no better than the standard blood pressure goal at slowing progression of kidney disease among African-Americans who had chronic kidney disease resulting from high blood pressure, according to results of the African-American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension, the largest and longest study of chronic kidney disease in African-Americans.

Charitable behavior found in bacteria
Boston University, Harvard researchers discover

NIST researchers create 'quantum cats' made of light
Researchers at NIST have created

Astro2010: Limitless vistas on a limited budget
Following the release of the National Research Council's Astronomy and Astrophysics decadal survey, survey chair Roger Blandford and committee member Michael Turner discuss Astro2010, as well as the current and future directions of their fields.

Infrared NASA image shows strong convection in new Atlantic Depression 9
The Atlantic Ocean is in overdrive this week, and NASA satellite imagery captured the birth of the ninth tropical depression in the central Atlantic Ocean today, trailing to the east of Tropical Storm Fiona.

Violence in inner city neighborhoods contributes to trouble with asthma
Patients with asthma who are exposed to violence in their community are at an increased risk for an asthma-related hospitalization and emergency room visits for asthma or any cause, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

When it comes to the immune system, we're all more alike than previously thought, study finds
When it comes to the mechanics of the human immune system, we are all more alike than previously thought, according to a new study by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Personalized medicine: Molecular imaging predicts treatment success in many cancers
A series of studies published in the September Journal of Nuclear Medicine show that molecular imaging plays a critical role in the evaluation and treatment planning for a broad spectrum of cancers, including thyroid cancer and lymphoma.

Risk of surgery for Crohn's disease lower than reported in recent studies
A multi-center study of 854 children with Crohn's disease shows the 5-year cumulative risk of bowel surgery is significantly lower than reported in recent studies.

Submarines could use new nanotube technology for sonar and stealth
Speakers made from carbon nanotube sheets that are a fraction of the width of a human hair can both generate sound and cancel out noise -- properties ideal for submarine sonar to probe the ocean depths and make subs invisible to enemies.

A model system for group behavior of nanomachines
As reported in the journal Nature, a team of physicists from Technische Universitaet Muenchen and LMU Muenchen has developed a versatile biophysical model system that opens the door to studying phenomena such as the seemingly choreographed motion of hundreds or thousands of fish, birds or insects, and probing their underlying principles.

Water in Earth's mantle key to survival of oldest continents
Earth today is one of the most active planets in the Solar System, and was probably even more so during the early stages of its life.

NIST ultraviolet source helps NASA spacecraft measure the origins of space weather
With a brilliant, finely tuned spark of ultraviolet light, a NIST physicist helped NASA scientists successfully position a crucial UV sensor inside a space-borne instrument to observe a

Surgeons impact whether a woman gets breast reconstruction, U-M study finds
When breast cancer surgeons regularly confer with plastic surgeons prior to surgery, their patients are more likely to have reconstruction, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Economic theory suggests symbiosis is driven by simple self-interest, not rewards or punishment
Applying employment contract theory to symbiosis, a new paper suggests mutually beneficial relationships are maintained by simple self-interest, with partners benefiting from healthy hosts much as employees benefit from robust employers.

NIST sensor measures yoctonewton forces fast
Physicists at NIST have used a small crystal of ions to detect forces at the scale of yoctonewtons.

Finding variants in the human genome
The results of the third phase of the HapMap study, which looks at genetic variation in multiple populations, are published today.

Researchers analyze 'the environmentalist's paradox'
Researchers writing in the September issue of BioScience examine four possible explanations for why human well-being is increasing despite the global degradation of ecosystem services.

Airline passengers in developing countries face 13 times crash risk as US: INFORMS study
Passengers who fly in developing world countries face 13 times the risk of being killed in an air accident as passengers in the First World.

Penn awarded $7.5 million from NSF to contribute 'nebula' to next Internet architecture
A collaboration of network researchers led by Jonathan Smith of the University of Pennsylvania has been awarded $7.5 million by the National Science Foundation to help build a network architecture, Nebula, to support trustworthy

'You kick like a girl'
Significant differences in knee alignment and muscle activation exist between men and women while kicking a soccer ball, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

New material may reveal inner workings of hi-temp superconductors
Measurements taken at NIST may help physicists develop a clearer understanding of high-temperature superconductors, whose behavior remains in many ways mysterious decades after their discovery.

New study strengthens link between everyday stress and obesity using an animal model
A new study examined the effects of stress on the meal patterns and food intake of animals exposed to the equivalent of everyday stress on humans.

JCI online early table of contents: Sept. 1, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Sept.

Targeted strategies needed to find, prevent and treat breast cancer among Mexican-origin women
Specific prevention and education strategies are needed to address breast cancer in Mexican-origin women in this country, according to a study at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, which was published online in the journal Cancer.

Study recommends changes to emergency seed aid
A major study of agriculture in Haiti after this year's earthquake has found that much of the emergency seed aid provided after the disaster was not targeted to emergency needs.

Many urban streams harmful to aquatic life following winter pavement deicing
The use of salt to deice pavement can leave urban streams toxic to aquatic life, according to a new US Geological Survey study on the influence of winter runoff in northern US cities, with a special focus on eastern Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

Capacity for exercise can be inherited, UC Riverside biologists find
Biologists at the University of California, Riverside, have found that voluntary activity, such as daily exercise, is a highly heritable trait that can be passed down genetically to successive generations.

Biochemical pathway may link addiction, compulsive eating
Ezlopitant, a compound known to suppress craving for alcohol in humans, was shown to decrease consumption of sweetened water by rodents in a study by researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, which is affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco.

ESHRE campus: 'Female and male surgery in human reproductive medicine'
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Special Interest Groups Reproductive Surgery and Andrology invite you to this campus course where scientists and clinicians will discuss reproductive surgery in female and male patients.

Hurricane warnings posted on US East Coast, NASA sees Earl's heavy rainfall
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, or TRMM satellite, looked at the rate rain was falling in Hurricane Earl yesterday, and it was intense.

Revaccination could benefit HIV-infected children
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reviewed published data to assess HIV-infected children's immune responses to vaccines and found that most children treated with HAART remained susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases, but responded well to revaccination.

Snail mail beats phones to help feds sustain ample fish stocks in US coastal waters
Snail mail might be the answer to help federal officials protect US coastal waters from overfishing.

Neonatal intensive care units critical to infant survival
Very low birthweight and very preterm infants are more likely to die if they are not born at hospitals with neonatal intensive care units specially equipped to care for them.

Study shows sugar given to newborn babies does not relieve pain, it only changes facial expressions for some babies
Oral sucrose is frequently given to relieve procedural pain in newborn babies subjected to invasive procedures, on the basis of its effect on behavioral and physiological pain scores.

Health informatics partnership is launched to expand informatics work force, improve health globally
AMIA, the US-based association for informatics professionals, has launched a nonprofit, wholly owned subsidiary organization called the Global Health Informatics Partnership to serve as an international center for collaborative initiatives on health informatics.

Live imaging puts new light on stem cell division
A long-held assumption about asymmetrical division of stem cells has cracked.

Lung cancer survival rates improved through use of individualized chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the best broad defense against cancer recurrence after surgical resection.

NASA infrared data sees convection building in Fiona's clouds
Infrared satellite imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite showed some strong convection building in Tropical Storm Fiona, and her maximum sustained winds increased from 40 mph yesterday to 60 mph this morning.

Infant's gaze may be an early, but subtle, marker for autism risk
Kennedy Krieger Institute announced today new study results showing an early marker for later communication and social delays in infants at a higher-risk for autism may be infrequent gazing at other people when unprompted.

Glasperlenspiel: NIST scientists propose new test for gravity
A new experiment proposed by NIST physicists may allow researchers to test the effects of gravity with unprecedented precision at very short distances -- a scale at which exotic new details of gravity's behavior may be detectable.

Resource-savvy communities generate healthy, sustainable changes
As the nation becomes more aware of health issues related to nutrition and lifestyle choices, communities are struggling to find ways to make healthy living easier.

Frugal microbes reduce the cost of proteins
Bacteria tend to be more frugal when constructing proteins for use outside of the cell versus internally, saving their energy for synthesizing compounds that can be recycled, according to research published in the current issue of the online journal mBio.

Roots of the British come under new scrutiny
What constitutes

NASA and NOAA's newest GOES satellite ready for action
NASA and NOAA's latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-15, has successfully completed five months of on-orbit testing and has been accepted into service.

Black rice rivals pricey blueberries as source of healthful antioxidants
Health conscious consumers who hesitate at the price of fresh blueberries and blackberries, fruits renowned for high levels of healthful antioxidants, now have an economical alternative, scientists reported a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

200-fold boost in fuel cell efficiency advances 'personalized energy systems'
The era of personalized energy systems -- in which individual homes and small businesses produce their own energy for heating, cooling and powering cars -- took another step toward reality today as scientists reported discovery of a powerful new catalyst that is a key element in such a system.

Why does anxiety target women more? FSU researcher awarded $1.8 million grant to find out
Anxiety disorders afflict women twice as often as men, but estrogen might not be the reason.

Privatizing Sweden's retail alcohol sales will increase alcohol-related violence and other harms
A study published today in the scientific journal Addiction argues that privatizing Sweden's government monopoly on the sale of alcohol will significantly increase alcohol-related violence and other harms.

Seafood stewardship questionable: UBC-Scripps experts
The world's most established fisheries certifier is failing on its promises as rapidly as it gains prominence, according the world's leading fisheries experts from the University of British Columbia, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, and elsewhere.

Study finds commercial organic farms have better fruit and soil, lower environmental impact
Side-by-side comparisons of organic and conventional strawberry farms and their fruit found the organic farms produced more flavorful and nutritious berries while leaving the soil healthier and more genetically diverse.

Scientists identify protein that spurs formation of Alzheimer's plaques
Scientists have discovered how the cancer drug Gleevec attacks beta-amyloid, the primary component of senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease.

New study singles out factors linked to cognitive deficits in type 2 diabetes
Older adults with diabetes who have high blood pressure, walk slowly or lose their balance, or believe they're in bad health, are significantly more likely to have weaker memory and slower, more rigid cognitive processing than those without these problems, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

Protecting nerve cells from death in a model of stroke
Researchers have now identified a way to preserve nerve cells in a rat model of stroke.

Keeping faith -- schools must balance ethos with equality
Faith based schools are on the rise in the UK, apparently boosting educational standards.

ESHRE's first workshop in Croatia: 'The determinants of a successful pregnancy'
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Special Interest Groups Reproductive Surgery, Early Pregnancy and Reproductive Endocrinology invite you to this campus course where scientists and clinicians will discuss how medical and surgical interventions may achieve a successful pregnancy outcome.

ADA position: Action needed to eliminate food insecurity in the US
The American Dietetic Association has published an updated position paper on food insecurity in the United States, calling for funding for food and nutrition assistance programs, increased nutrition education and efforts to promote economic self-sufficiency for all households and individuals.

Getting a tail up on conservation?
Dr. Shai Meiri of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology has developed an improved tool for translating lizard body lengths to weights.

Study finds an increased risk of death in men with insomnia and a short sleep duration
Men with chronic insomnia who slept for less than six hours were four times more likely to die during the 14-year follow-up period.

Will extra protein and exercise help dialysis patients? U of I profs get $2.1 million to find out
University of Illinois scientists have received a $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to learn whether protein supplements and cycling during treatments can help dialysis patients fight cardiovascular disease and retain physical function.

Tumor budding identified as predictor for unfavorable outcome in lung cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, and the prognosis is generally poor, even if surgery is successful.

CPM Resource Center's 19th international conference
The annual conference will be held January 19-22, 2011, and will focus on transforming health care through evidence-based clinical content, partnerships and technology.

A single interaction affects the way a child seeks information, Queen's University study finds
Seven-year-old children only need to interact with a person once to learn who to trust and seek information from, according to a study by Queen's University researchers.

Less is more: Study shows that teens who sleep less eat more fatty foods and snacks
Teens who slept less than eight hours on weeknights consumed 2.2 percent more calories from fats and 3 percent fewer calories from carbs than teens who slept eight hours or more.

Are wolves saving Yellowstone's aspen trees from elk?
Previous research has claimed that the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 is helping restore quaking aspen in risky areas where wolves prowl.

Stanford-developed app shows 2-D structure of thousands of RNA molecules
For the first time, it's possible to experimentally capture a global snapshot of the conformation of thousands of RNA molecules in a cell.

Surgery to repair torn shoulder muscles in the elderly can reduce pain and improve function
Repairing torn shoulder muscles in elderly patients is often discouraged because of fears of complications.

Text messages reveal the emotional timeline of September 11, 2001
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have been called the defining moment of our time.

Helping corn-based plastics take more heat
A team of scientists from USDA and a cooperating company are working to make corn-derived plastics more heat tolerant -- research that may broaden the range of applications for which these plastics could be used as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics.

Listen up -- U-M experiment records ultrafast chemical reaction with vibrational echoes
To watch a magician transform a vase of flowers into a rabbit, it's best to have a front-row seat.

Third generation map of human genetic variation published
An international consortium today published a third-generation map of human genetic variation, called the HapMap, which includes data from an additional seven global populations, increasing the total number to 11 populations.

New research finds evidence of charitable behavior in bacteria
Researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard and from Boston University have discovered that charitable behavior exists in one of the most microscopic forms of life -- bacteria.

Micro rheometer is latest Lab On a Chip device
Researchers at NIST have demonstrated a micro-miniaturized device that can make complex viscosity measurements -- critical data for a wide variety of fields dealing with things that have to flow -- on sample sizes as small as a few nanoliters.

Antibiotic resistance: It takes a village
In the war against antibiotics, bacteria aren't selfish. According to a new report from Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers, a handful of resistant pathogens can protect an entire colony.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor wins HP Innovation Award
he universe around us can be expressed as numbers, and those numbers in pattern paint a picture: a network of friends from the vastness of the Internet; travel patterns among residents of cold climates; or a common factor among victims of a disease.

Staggered radiologist work shifts improve patient care, study suggests
Implementation of staggered radiologist work shifts can expedite the communication of urgent findings and improve patient care, according to a study in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Antibacterial peptide could aid in treating soldiers' burn wound infections
An antibacterial peptide looks to be a highly effective therapy against infections in burn or blast wounds suffered by soldiers.

Hispanic kids show greater risk of substance use
Hispanic middle school students may be more likely to smoke, drink or use marijuana than their peers of other races and ethnicities, whereas Asian students seem to have the lowest risk, according to new research in the September issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Researchers create new class of piezoelectric logic devices using zinc oxide nanowires
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new class of electronic logic device in which current is switched by an electric field generated by the application of mechanical strain to zinc oxide nanowires.
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