Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 02, 2010
Sight-saving research halted by stem cell ruling
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology has released a statement that expresses opposition to the Federal District Court injunction that froze federal funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research.

Novartis and collaborators discover novel antimalarial drug candidate
Published this week in Science the findings demonstrate that the antimalarial candidate, spiroindolone NITD609, is effective against both strains of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium (P.) falciparum and P. vivax.

University of Arizona-led group awarded $9.9 million to develop 'super rice'
Scientists seek to develop a rice strain that is better capable of withstanding drought and poorer soils and produces higher yields than current forms of domesticated rice.

Carnegie Mellon hosting first conference to explore scientific use of gigapixel imagery
Scientists who are pioneering the use of gigapixel imagery will discuss how they are leveraging this new technology Nov.

New model may simplify high-dose radiosurgery planning
There is yet no straightforward way to determine the optimal dose level and treatment schedules for high-dose radiation therapies such as stereotactic radiation therapy, which is used to treat brain and lung cancer, or for high-dose brachytherapy for prostate and other cancers.

UCLA chemists, engineers achieve world record with high-speed graphene transistors
A UCLA team led by Xiangfeng Duan has developed a new fabrication process for high-speed graphene transistors using a nanowire as the self-aligned gate.

University at Buffalo symposium on in silico methods, high throughput screening
Twenty-first century drug discovery tools, including those targeted to develop new treatments for cancer and hereditary eye diseses, will be featured at

NASA sees Depression Nine become Gaston then back to a depression
Tropical Depression Nine strengthened yesterday into Tropical Storm Gaston, but today it ran into dry and stable air and weakened back into a depression again.

Iowa State chemists discover method to create high-value chemicals from biomass
Walter Trahanovsky, an Iowa State professor of chemistry, was trying to produce sugar derivatives from biomass using high-temperature chemistry.

Caltech chemists develop simple technique to visualize atomic-scale structures
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have devised a new technique -- using a sheet of carbon just one atom thick -- to visualize the structure of molecules.

Networks of WoW gamers, Etsy crafters to be focus of NSF-funded study of creative collaborations
Using two of the planet's largest, creative online communities -- World of Warcraft gamers and Etsy artists -- as their laboratory, two Indiana University Bloomington researchers hope to understand how the inner workings of such massive, networked collaborations could benefit scientists, corporations and the very IT designers who facilitated the success of the two online communities.

Digital tech brings history of India to worldwide audience
The rare book,

New climate change mitigation schemes could benefit elites rather than the rural poor
With governments across Latin America preparing to implement a new financial mechanism aimed at mitigating climate change by curbing carbon emissions from the destruction of tropical forests, experts gathering here today warned against a

Why fish oils work swimmingly against diabetes
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified the molecular mechanism that makes omega-3 fatty acids so effective in reducing chronic inflammation and insulin resistance.

Ancient brew masters tapped antibiotic secrets
A chemical analysis of the bones of ancient Nubians shows that they were regularly consuming tetracycline, most likely in their beer.

Children who eat vended snack foods face chronic health problems, poor diet
School children who consume foods purchased in vending machines are more likely to develop poor diet quality -- and that may be associated with being overweight, obese or at risk for chronic health problems such as diabetes and coronary artery disease, according to research from the University of Michigan Medical School.

Bermuda in warnings as the GOES-13 Satellite catches Fiona approaching
Bermuda has warnings up as Tropical Storm Fiona approaches, and GOES-13 satellite imagery from today shows that Fiona, although packing a punch, is a much smaller system that her brother, the Category 4 Hurricane Earl.

Tropical forests slashed for farmland
A new study led by a Stanford researcher shows that more than 80 percent of the new farmland created in the tropics between 1980 and 2000 came from felling forests, which sends carbon into the atmosphere and drives global warming.

Imaging reveals key metabolic factors of cannibalistic bacteria
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have revealed new details about how cannibalistic bacteria identify peers suitable for consumption.

Listening to ancient colors
A team of McGill chemists have discovered that a technique known as photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy could be used to identify the composition of pigments used in art work that is decades or even centuries old.

IRCM researchers pave the way for a better understanding of HIV infection and AIDS
Dr. Eric A. Cohen, director of the human retrovirology research unit at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal, and his team published yesterday, in the online open-access journal PLoS Pathogens, the results of their most recent research on the role of the Vpr protein in HIV infection and AIDS.

Dynamic memory mapping delivers additional flexibility to virtual resource management
The Department of Computer Science and Technology, Peking University, Beijing, China, has shown that a novel dynamic memory mapping model brings about additional flexibility to virtual resource management, leading to the feature-adjustable design of a virtual machine monitor.

Science's policy clout diminished, but oil risk looms large
More people are likely to believe scientific studies claiming that oil drilling is riskier, not safer, than was previously thought, according to a new study of attitudes in California.

Hormel Institute study reveals capsaicin can act as cocarcinogen
The September cover story of the nation's leading cancer journal, Cancer Research, features a new study from the Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota, that links capsaicin, a component of chili peppers, to skin cancer.

NSU receives $2.1 million federal grant to improve geriatric care in South Florida
Nova Southeastern University recently received a $2.1 million federal grant to provide training to improve care for South Florida's large geriatric population now and for the future.

NIH-sponsored research yields promising malaria drug candidate
A chemical that rid mice of malaria-causing parasites after a single oral dose may eventually become a new malaria drug if further tests in animals and people uphold the promise of early findings.

Roll-out of electronic patient records likely to be a long and complex process
Interim results from the first comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of electronic health records in secondary care in England have found delays and frustration with the system, according to research published on bmj.com today.

Scientists identify molecules involved in touch and other mechanically activated systems
Scripps Research Institute scientists have identified two proteins with potential to be important targets for research into a wide range of health problems, including pain, deafness and cardiac and kidney dysfunction.

Water management and malnutrition crucial issues at McGill food conference
Water management and malnutrition are the two key threats to food security that will be discussed at the Third McGill Conference on Global Food Security, to be held Oct.

Oxygen therapy provides no additional benefit over regular air in relieving breathlessness in patients with terminal illness
Palliative oxygen therapy offers no additional benefit over regular air when delivered by nasal cannula (prongs in the nose) in relieving persistent breathlessness in patients with terminal illness.

Scientists unwrap DNA packaging to gain insight into cells
Scientists have built a clearer picture of how lengthy strands of DNA are concertinaed when our cells grow and divide, in a discovery could help explain how cell renewal can go wrong.

Scientists discover the mechanisms and function of a type of mysterious immune cell
In two closely related studies, two teams of Scripps Research Institute scientists have discovered the underlying mechanisms that activate a type of immune cell in the skin and other organs.

Study challenges value of oxygen therapy in end-of-life care
Millions of patients with advanced disease in palliative care settings receive oxygen therapy to help them breathe more easily.

Bochum's researchers discover proton diode
Biophysicists in Bochum have discovered a diode for protons: just like the electronic component determines the direction of flow of electric current, the

Noninvasive therapy significantly improves depression, UCLA researchers say
A unique new therapy that applies electrical stimulation to a major nerve emanating from the brain is showing promise for major depression.

Dangers in the garden
The unusual case of a man contracting Legionnaire's disease through a cut on his hand while handling compost is detailed in a case report in this week's edition of the Lancet.

Hip dysplasia susceptibility in dogs may be underreported, according to Penn Vet comparative study
A study comparing a University of Pennsylvania method for evaluating a dog's susceptibility to hip dysplasia to the traditional American method has shown that 80 percent of dogs judged to be normal by the traditional method are actually at risk for developing osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, according to the Penn method.

Miniature auto differential helps tiny aerial robots stay aloft
Engineers at Harvard University have created a millionth-scale automobile differential to govern the flight of minuscule aerial robots that could someday be used to probe environmental hazards, forest fires, and other places too perilous for people.

Image-based modeling of inhomogeneous single-scattering participating media
For inhomogeneous single-scattering participating media, we propose an image based modeling method, which includes the design of an easy-to-use participating media capture device and the use of a progressive refinement algorithm for a multiresolution volume with a graphics processing unit.

Test-tube calf embryos more likely to survive Texas summers
Texas AgriLife researchers have found that embryo transfer can double dairy cow pregnancy rates during the summer and increase the number of heifers born as compared with conventional artificial insemination commonly used on dairy farms.

Models suggest treatments for fractures that won't heal
New models, reinforced by in vivo experimentation, show why 5-10 percent of bone fractures don't heal properly, and how these cases may be treated to restart the healing process.

Ants take on Goliath role in protecting trees in the savanna from elephants
Ants are not out of their weight class when defending trees from the appetite of nature's heavyweight, the African elephant, a new University of Florida study finds.

Edible nanostructures
Sugar, salt, alcohol and a little serendipity led Northwestern University researchers to discover a new class of nanostructures that could be used for gas storage and food and medical technologies.

Serendipity contributes to MRSA susceptibility findings
Duke University Medical Center researchers have found two genes in mice which might help identify why some people are more susceptible than others to potentially deadly staph infections.

University of Arizona telescope pioneer to receive medal minted close to home
The Kavli Prize medal Roger Angel will receive during a ceremony in Norway for his pioneering advances in telescope design was struck from pure gold in an elaborate process not far from the UA.

Census of Marine Life program tracking animals on Pacific continental shelf
The Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking Program uses sound to track marine animals along the west coast of North America.

New discovery could pave the way for identification of rogue CFC release
A new discovery by scientists at the Universities of East Anglia and Frankfurt could make it possible in future to identify the source of banned chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, that are probably still being released into the atmosphere.

Low grades in adolescence linked to dopamine genes
The academic performance of adolescents will suffer in at least one of four key subjects -- English, math, science, history -- if their DNA contains one or more of three specific dopamine gene variations, according to a study led by renowned biosocial criminologist Kevin M.

Long term use of oral bisphosphonates may double risk of esophageal cancer
People who take oral bisphosphonates for bone disease over five years may be doubling their risk of developing esophageal cancer (cancer of the gullet), according to a new study published on bmj.com today.

Brainy worms: Evolution of the cerebral cortex
Unexpectedly, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory have now discovered a true counterpart of the cerebral cortex in an invertebrate, a marine worm.

New guidelines to ease sleepless nights
Insomnia and other sleep disorders are very common, yet are not generally well understood by doctors and other health care professionals.

NASA catches heavy rainfall happening in Category 4 Earl as it approaches the US
Hurricane Earl is still a powerful category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale as it approaches the North Carolina coast today.

GEN reports on the greening of the life sciences
Biopharmaceutical firms and other life science organizations are taking definitive steps toward creating greener working environments and developing more sustainable operations, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

Italy honors supervolcano fossil discovery; Capellini Medal to SMU's James Quick
Italian geologists in September will award the Capellini Medal to Southern Methodist University scientist James E.

New method successfully predicted how oil from Deepwater Horizon spill would spread
Prompted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a UC Santa Barbara scientist has come up with a new way of predicting how contaminants like oil will spread.

Half of children with apparently treatment-resistant severe asthma could be successfully managed with conventional therapies
Many children with problematic severe asthma that does not respond to treatment have been given the wrong diagnosis or are not taking their medication correctly.

Cluster turns the invisible into the visible
Cluster has spent a decade revealing previously hidden interactions between the sun and Earth.

Study finds that cancer-causing gene crucial in stem cell development
A research team at the University of Georgia has shown for the first time that a gene called Myc, which is traditionally thought of as a cancer-causing gene, may be far more important in the development and persistence of stem cells than was known before.

16.6 million small business employees could benefit from ACA provisions starting this year
Under the Affordable Care Act, 16.6 million small business employees work in firms that will be eligible for tax credits, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

EMAS publishes position statements about the post-reproductive health of women
Statements, published in the journal Maturitas, cover the management of menopause in the context of obesity, epilepsy, endometriosis and premature ovarian failure.

New warning signs may predict kidney transplant failure
Kidney transplants that show a combination of fibrosis (scarring) and inflammation after one year are at higher risk of long-term transplant failure, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Induced pluripotent stem cell retain an inactivated X chromosome
Female induced pluripotent stem cells, reprogrammed from human skin cells into cells that have the embryonic-like potential to become any cell in the body, retain an inactive X chromosome, stem cell researchers at UCLA have found.

NASA satellite sees Tropical Storm Kompasu transitioning over Korea and China
NASA's Terra satellite captured the changing Tropical Storm Kompasu over Korea and China very early today, as it makes its way east to northern Japan.

Melding Wi-Fi with digital TV 'white space'
Rice University researchers have won a $1.8 million federal grant for one of the nation's first, real-world tests of technology that uses dynamic spectrum access -- including dormant broadcast television channels -- to deliver free, high-speed broadband Internet service.

Head start for migraine sufferers
For severe migraine sufferers, psychological treatments build on the benefits of drug therapy, according to a new study by Elizabeth Seng and Dr.

Recipe for water: Just add starlight
ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that ultraviolet starlight is the key ingredient for making water in space.

'Basal-like' breast cancer does not originate from basal stem cells
New research uncovers a case of mistaken identity that may have a significant impact on future breast cancer prevention and treatment strategies.

Lupus Research Institute-funded study points to increased risk for lupus in men
LRI-funded researcher Betty Tsao, Ph.D., at UCLA has discovered that humans -- males in particular -- with a variant form of the immune receptor gene

Cigarette smoke may contribute to lung inflammation through a new chemical pathway
Cigarette smoke shuts off a key enzyme in airways that regulates the body's response to inflammation, according to findings from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published online today at Science Express.

Laser-based missile defense for helicopters being developed
Protecting helicopters in combat from heat-seeking missiles is the goal of new laser technology created at the University of Michigan and Omni Sciences Inc., which is a U-M spin-off company.

MIT researcher finds that social networks influence health behaviors
in a new study, Damon Centola, an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management found that individuals are more likely to acquire new health practices while living in networks with dense clusters of connections -- that is, when in close contact with people they already know well.

Functional motor neuron subtypes generated from embryonic stem cells
Scientists have devised a method for coaxing mouse embryonic stem cells into forming a highly specific motor neuron subtype.

Carlos '97 free kick no fluke, say French physicists
Roberto Carlos' free kick goal against France in 1997's Tournoi de France is thought by many to have been the most skillful free kick goal ever scored but by others to have been an incredible fluke.

Yale develops new animal model for hemophilia A
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have developed a new animal model for studying hemophilia A, with the goal of eventually treating people with the disorder.

Effect of heat treatment on the superconducting properties of Ag-doped Sr0.6K0.4Fe2As2 compounds
The Key Laboratory of Applied Superconductivity, Institute of Electrical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, and China Research have collaborated to reveal the heat-treatment effects on the superconducting properties of Ag-doped Sr0.6K0.4Fe2As2 compounds.

SwRI energetic particle instruments selected for Solar Probe Plus mission
NASA selected two instruments led by Southwest Research Institute, which measure energetic particles for the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft, slated to launch by 2018.

Race, insurance status cited in uneven death rates among pedestrians hit by cars
Uninsured minority pedestrians hit by cars are at a significantly higher risk of death than their insured white counterparts, even if the injuries sustained are similar, new research from Johns Hopkins suggests.

American Chemical Society webinar focuses on providing scientific advice to the film industry
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 opportunities for scientists to consult for the film industry.

SRNL, Chernobyl Laboratory collaborate on research initiatives
Under a recently signed agreement, the US Department of Energy's Savannah River National Laboratory and the Ukraine's International Radioecology Laboratory will collaborate on radiation ecology research, including projects in the region impacted by the catastrophic accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant 24 years ago.

You say, 'bio-math,' I say, 'math-bio': Crossing science education divide
The old joke is a joke no more. In a special September issue of the ASCB's online journal, CBE-Life Sciences Education, the adage that biology is for science students who don't do math is laid to rest forever.

Occurrence of increased kidney transplant listings in patients with prior non-kidney transplants
Individuals who received a non-kidney organ transplant in the past may be more likely to be listed for a kidney transplant prior to initiation of dialysis (preemptive listing) than other candidates, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Ph.D. thesis researches relationship of youth today with the new technologies
Sociologist Ms. Lucia Merino presented her Ph.D. thesis titled,

Report: Discovery networks hostage-taking a rare terror event
A new report by University of Maryland terrorism researchers concludes that the deadly hostage-taking incident at the Discovery Networks in suburban Washington, D.C., meets the criteria of a terrorist act -- a rare one for media organizations and the nation's capital region.

Biomedical research policy needed for therapies, economic growth, education and security
Bold and coordinated leadership at the federal level is essential to create secure, long-term, sustainable biomedical research funding policies based on strategic priorities, say the authors of a commentary about America's fledgling biomedical research framework published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Human unconscious is transferred to virtual characters
Virtual characters can behave according to actions carried out unconsciously by humans.

Tiny ant bodyguards keep massive elephants at bay
Sometimes size really doesn't matter. A new report published online on Sept.

Connection between light at night and cancer revealed in additional study
The researchers say that their study results show that suppression of melatonin due to exposure to light at night, or LAN, is linked to the worrying rise in the number of cancer patients over the past few years.

Safety cultures in EMS agencies vary widely, Pitt study finds
A survey of emergency medical services agencies from across the country found wide variation in perceptions of workplace safety culture -- providing a tool that might point to potential patient safety threats, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The secret to fish oil's anti-inflammatory properties
Fish oil is touted for its anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic benefits, but scientist weren't sure how the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil work.

Moussa B.H. Youdim wins the 2010 ECNP Lifetime Achievement Award
The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology is pleased to announce Moussa B.

Chronic Lyme disease: How often is it diagnosed and treated?
The existence of chronic Lyme disease is an issue of sharp debate within the medical community.

K-State research project offers insight into superstitious behavior
People who believe that fate and chance control their lives are more likely to be superstitious -- but when faced with death they are likely to abandon superstition altogether, according to a recent Kansas State University undergraduate research project.

Risk of marijuana's 'gateway effect' overblown, new UNH research shows
New research from the University of New Hampshire shows that the

Verbal snippets offer insights on well-being amid separation, divorce
UA psychology doctoral student Ashley Mason's study of romantically separated people shows they offer clues to their emotional status in just a few seconds of conversation.

Pivotal study finds link between PTSD and dementia
Results of a study reported in the September issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggest that Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a greater risk for dementia than veterans without PTSD, even those who suffered traumatic injuries during combat.

Medicinal cannabis review highlights dilemmas facing health care professionals
Patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes pose a wide range of legal, ethical and medical dilemmas for the health care professionals looking after them according to an in-depth review just published.

Risk assessment questionnaire identifies likelihood of anesthetic complications in children prior to surgery
Risk factors for adverse respiratory side effects in children during anesthesia include respiratory symptoms, eczema and a family history of asthma, rhinitis, eczema and exposure to tobacco smoke.

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology reacts to stem-cell ruling
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology expressed its disapproval and disappointment this week in response to the Aug.

UCSF unveils model for implantable artificial kidney to replace dialysis
UCSF researchers today unveiled a prototype model of the first implantable artificial kidney, in a development that one day could eliminate the need for dialysis.

Team discovers new type of anti-malarial compound
An international team led by scientists from the Scripps Research Institute, the Swiss Tropical Institute, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation and the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases has discovered a promising new drug candidate that represents a new class of drug to treat malaria.

Protecting the lungs against 'collateral damage' from the immune system
A study published today in the journal Science shows how our bodies try to minimize potential

Hubble observations of supernova reveal composition of 'star guts' pouring out
Observations made with NASA's newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope of a nearby supernova are allowing astronomers to measure the velocity and composition of

LSUHSC pediatric weight expert provides obesity trinity answers
In a first person paper published in the Aug. 27, 2010 issue of Childhood Obesity, Dr.
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