Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 08, 2010
Team led by Scripps Research scientist identifies new gene for memory
A team led by a Scripps Research Institute scientist has for the first time identified a new gene that is required for memory formation in Drosophila, the common fruit fly.

Cardiff University ecologist snaps up 2 photography prizes
Cardiff University's Adam Seward has snapped up two out of the five categories in this year's British Ecological Society photographic competition.

NASA satellites reveal surprising connection between beetle attacks, wildfire
If your summer travels have taken you across the Rocky Mountains, you've probably seen large swaths of reddish trees dotting otherwise green forests.

NIST researchers hear puzzling new physics from graphene quartet's quantum harmonies
Using a one-of-a-kind instrument designed and built at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, researchers have discovered an unexpected and tantalizing set of energy levels in graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon with potentially revolutionary electronic properties, when the material is exposed to extremely low temperatures and extremely high magnetic fields.

Spinal muscular atrophy research team receives Pepsi Refresh funds from Sophia's Cure Foundation
Brian Kaspar, Ph.D., principal investigator in the Center for Gene Therapy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, along with a team of Spinal Muscular Atrophy researchers and clinicians, recently received a $250,000 grant for SMA research and clinic development from Sophia's Cure Foundation via the Pepsi Refresh Project.

New study suggests changes in diagnosis and treatment of malaria
A team of scientists from the Scripps Research Institute, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, and the US Naval Research Detachment in Peru has completed a study that could improve the efficacy of diagnosis and treatment strategies for drug-resistant malaria.

Micro-RNA determines malignancy of lung cancer
A small RNA molecule determines whether or not lung cancer cells grow invasively and metastasize.

Researchers identify potential new drug for neurodegenerative disease
Scientists at Harvard Medical School have discovered a small molecule that helps human cells discard disfigured proteins, such as those that may be involved in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative ailments.

Liver defect likely cause of DHA deficiency in Alzheimer's patients, UCI study finds
UC Irvine researchers have discovered that markedly depleted amounts of an omega-3 fatty acid in brain tissue samples from Alzheimer's patients may be due to the liver's inability to produce the complex fat, also contained in fish oil supplements.

Team to study health effects of botanical estrogens
An ongoing research initiative into the health effects of botanical estrogens will get an $8 million boost from the National Institutes of Health.

Study reveals best drug combinations for treating malaria in Myanmar (Burma)
All of the currently available fixed-dose artemisinin combination treatments (ACTs) for falciparum malaria are highly effective in Myanmar, providing rapid parasite clearance and cure rates greater than 95 percent, with the exception of artesunate-amodiaquine, which should not be used as a first-line treatment in Myanmar.

Novel sensing mechanism discovered in dendritic cells to increase immune response to HIV
Dendritic cells are the grand sentinels of the immune system, standing guard 24/7 to detect foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria, and bring news of the invasion to other immune cells to marshal an attack.

Turning a new page on antibiotics
At a historic three day conference at Uppsala University, Sweden, 190 delegates representing 45 countries and many leading stake holders -- civil society, academia, industry, governments, authorities, supranational organizations -- agreed on Wednesday to turn a new page and move towards concerted action on antibiotic resistance.

New model to measure disease burden of postmenopausal osteoporosis
An article just published in the journal Osteoporosis International introduces a validated new model that can be used to forecast the current and future burden of postmenopausal osteoporosis in different national settings.

NASA satellite data aid United Nations' ability to detect global fire hotspots
In the midst of a difficult fire season in many parts of the world, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has launched a new online fire detection system that will help firefighters and natural hazards managers improve response time and resource management.

ACP explores ethical issues for use of incentives to promote personal responsibility for health
The American College of Physicians today released a new position paper that provides ethical guidance for using incentives to promote personal responsibility for health.

Twins are intriguing research subjects for Notre Dame biometircs researchers
Kevin Bowyer and Patrick Flynn of the University of Notre Dame's Department of Computer Science and Engineering are examining how iris discrimination performs in twins to confirm prior claims that biometrics is capable of differentiating between twins.

Muscle wasting in cancer does not spare the heart
The wasting disease associated with some cancers that is typically seen affecting skeletal muscles can also cause significant damage to the heart, new research in mice suggests.

Rethinking the concrete jungle
Think concrete, think drab 1960s tower blocks? Think again. University of Leeds engineers are working with the artist Victoria Ferrand Scott to exploit the untapped potential of architecture's

Use of informatics, EMRs enable genetic study of vascular disease
Scientific research published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association reports on a study of genetic variants that influence peripheral arterial disease, made possible by leveraging electronic medical records.

New treatment options target underlying causes of childhood obsessive-compulsive and Tourette's disorders
Pediatric-onset obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette's disorder (TD) share similarities in their underlying genetic and environmental factors, psychiatric features, and treatment methods.

High testosterone levels linked to self-destructive CEO behavior, says Management Science
High testosterone levels in CEOs negotiating mergers and acquisitions are linked to a higher rate of dropped deals and an increase in hostile takeover attempts, according to a new study in the current issue of Management Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Cloud computing method greatly increases gene analysis
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have developed new software that greatly improves the speed at which scientists can analyze RNA sequencing data.

IEEE-USA urges Congress to permanently extend R&D tax credit
IEEE-USA urges Congress to make the research and development tax credit permanent.

ADA supports national restaurant menu labeling legislation
The government's role in improving nutrition is now firmly established with nutritional labeling for restaurant meals now mandated across the US.

Consumers will pay more for goods they can touch, Caltech researchers say
We've all heard the predictions: e-commerce is going to be the death of traditional commerce; online shopping spells the end of the neighborhood brick-and-mortar store.

Reading food labels, combined with exercise, can lead to weight loss
A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs suggests that observing them may lead to weight loss, especially for women entering their middle years.

Study identifies critical 'traffic engineer' of the nervous system
A new University of Georgia study published in the journal Nature has identified a critical enzyme that keeps traffic flowing in the right direction in the nervous system, and the finding could eventually lead to new treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Does the impact of psychological trauma cross generations?
In groups with high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as the survivors of the Nazi Death Camps, the adjustment problems of their children, the so-called

Eyes of cattle may become new windows to detect mad cow disease
The eyes may or may not be windows to the soul, as the old adage goes, but scientists are reporting evidence that a peek into the eyes of cattle may become the basis for a long-sought test to detect infection with the agent that causes mad cow disease.

LSU's WAVCIS director says oil remains below surface, will come ashore in pulses
Gregory Stone, director of LSU's WAVCIS program and also of the Coastal Studies Institute in the university's School of the Coast & Environment, disagrees with published estimates that more than 75 percent of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident has disappeared.

Neurogenetic studies show proprietary compound reduces brain plaques linked to Alzheimer's
In the Sept. 9 issue of Neuron, Neurogenetic Pharmaceuticals reports proof of concept studies that show its proprietary compound, NGP 555, is effective in preventing the amyloid pathology of Alzheimer's disease in a transgenic mouse model.

Brain cells determine obesity -- not lack of willpower: Study
An international study has discovered the reason why some people who eat a high-fat diet remain slim, yet others pile on the weight.

First discovery of bilirubin in a flower announced
A research team led by Cary Pirone from the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University has identified bilirubin in the popular Bird of Paradise plant.

Study shows nano-architectured aluminum has steely strength
A North Carolina State University researcher and colleagues have figured out a way to make an aluminum alloy, or a mixture of aluminum and other elements, just as strong as steel.

UCLA, Japanese company to collaborate on specialized nano-imaging instrumentation
Hamamatsu will work with CNSI researchers on efforts to apply nanoscience and nanotechnology to projects having global importance in health, medicine, energy, and the environment.

Why the biological clock? Penn study says aging reduces centromere cohesion, disrupts reproduction
University of Pennsylvania biologists studying human reproduction have identified what is likely the major contributing factor to the maternal age-associated increase in aneuploidy, the term for an abnormal number of chromosomes during reproductive cell division.

House-sharing with microbes
Household dust contains up to 1,000 different species of microbes, with tens of millions of individual bacterial cells in each gram.

LLNL part of US centers for US-China clean energy research
Two consortia -- one led one led by the West Virginia University that includes as a partner Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and one led by the University of Michigan -- will receive a total of $25 million during the next five years under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center.

New sickle cell screening program for college athletes comes with serious pitfalls, experts say
The Johns Hopkins Children's Center top pediatrician is urging a

Multiresistant skin bacteria spreading in hospitals
Genetically closely related skin bacteria that have developed resistance to several different antibiotics and that can cause intractable care-related infections are found and seem to be spreading within and between hospitals in Sweden.

USDA scientists, cooperators create the first genomic map of the domesticated turkey
US Department of Agriculture researchers and their university colleagues have sequenced the majority of the genome of Meleagris gallopavo, the domesticated turkey, creating the first-ever turkey genome map.

Worldwide shortage of isotopes for medical imaging could threaten quality of patient care
Twenty million medical scans and treatments are done each year that require radioactive isotopes, and scientists today described a global shortage of these life-saving materials that could jeopardize patient care and drive-up health care costs.

Report issued today examines improving long-term climate forecasts
Operational forecasting centers produce climate predictions that provide input for important decisions regarding water management, agriculture and energy.

Yeast holds clues to Parkinson's disease
Yeast could be a powerful ally in the discovery of new therapeutic drugs to treat Parkinson's disease says a scientist presenting his work at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting in Nottingham today.

Compounds fend off Alzheimer's disease amyloid pathology
A team of scientists, led by University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers, has synthesized hundreds of new compounds with the potential of reducing the production of the A-beta 42 peptide, a primary component of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers design more accurate method of determining premature infants' risk of illness
Stanford University researchers have developed a revolutionary, noninvasive way of quickly predicting the future health of premature infants, an innovation that could better target specialized medical intervention and reduce health-care costs.

SWOG names 5 cancer researchers outstanding Young Investigators
SWOG, one of the nation's largest cancer clinical trial cooperative groups, has selected five talented researchers for its Young Investigators Training Course, an intensive, three-day workshop in how to develop and conduct cancer clinical trials.

Bed bug symposia to address public health concerns at Entomology 2010
Entomology 2010, the 58th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, will feature a full day of bed bug presentations by the nation's leading bed bug experts.

Researchers identify genes tied to deadliest ovarian cancers
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have identified two genes whose mutations appear to be linked to ovarian clear cell carcinoma, one of the most aggressive forms of ovarian cancer.

Single gene regulates motor neurons in spinal cord
In a surprising and unexpected discovery, scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have found that a single type of gene acts as a master organizer of motor neurons in the spinal cord.

Grant will aid creation of interdisciplinary oncology palliative care education program
A multidisciplinary team representing the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Social Work at the University of Louisville, as well as clinical pastoral education programs in three Louisville hospitals, has been awarded a grant of $1,518,092 from the National Institutes of Health that will fund the development, implementation and evaluation of an interdisciplinary oncology palliative care education program.

Forcing mismatched elements together could yield better solar cells
In what could be a step toward higher efficiency solar cells, an international team including University of Michigan professors has invalidated the most commonly used model to explain the behavior of a unique class of materials called highly mismatched alloys.

Stanford land-use expert brings satellite data down to Earth
By integrating remote satellite imagery with revelations from door-to-door interviews, Stanford University geographer Eric Lambin and his colleagues are exploring the complex conditions that give rise to a broad range of land-use challenges -- from the reforestation of Vietnam to the spread of Lyme disease in Belgium.

Risk of beetle outbreaks rise, along with temperature, in the warming West
The potential for outbreaks of spruce and mountain pine beetles in western North America's forests is likely to increase significantly in the coming decades, according to a study conducted by USDA Forest Service researchers and their colleagues.

Drug-resistant malaria suggests a health policy change for pregnant women and infants
Malaria remains a serious global health problem, killing more than one million people per year.

Institute for Aging Research study finds indoor and outdoor fall are different for the elderly
The risk factors for indoor and outdoor falls are different, according to a new Institute for Aging Research study, a fact that is often missed when the two are combined and may affect how falls prevention programs are structured.

Linking microbial sex and virulence
Two opportunistic pathogens that were once thought to be very different have evolved some sexual reproduction and disease-causing habits that are not only similar but also suggest that in the microbial world sex and virulence are closely linked, according to a review published this week in the online journal mBio.

Insulin may reduce several inflammatory factors induced by bacterial infection
Treating intensive care patients who develop life-threatening bacterial infections, or septicemia, with insulin potentially could reduce their chances of succumbing to the infection, if results of a new preliminary study can be replicated in a larger study.

Cash hoarding nothing new for businesses, scholar says
The US economy is experiencing anemic growth, yet businesses are sitting on a mountain of cash worth nearly $2 trillion, according to Federal Reserve estimates.

Portable laser backpack revolutionizes 3-D mapping
A portable, laser backpack for 3-D mapping has been developed at the University of California, Berkeley, where it is being hailed as a breakthrough technology capable of producing fast, automatic and realistic 3-D mapping of difficult interior environments.

Scots Pine shows its continental roots
By studying similarities in the genes of Scots Pine trees, scientists have shown that the iconic pine forests of Highland Scotland still carry the traces of the ancestors that colonized Britain after the end of the last ice age, harboring genetic variation that could help regenerate future populations, according to new results in the journal Heredity.

Parents report a widely prescribed antibiotic is effective for fragile X treatment
One of the antibiotics most commonly prescribed to treat adolescent acne can increase attention spans and communication and decrease anxiety in patients with fragile X syndrome.

Investigators discover a new hot spot for the genesis of signaling neurons in the adult brain
Researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine have discovered that, during early adulthood, the brain produces new excitatory neurons, and that these neurons arise from non-neuronal support cells in an area of the brain that processes smell.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology:

Education more important than knowledge in stopping spread of HIV in Africa
Simply teaching people the facts about how to protect themselves from HIV may not be enough to prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa, a new study suggests.

Research!America asks Congress to support embryonic stem cell research now
Research!America today called on Congress to take legislative action to allow federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research to proceed, in light of US District Judge Royce Lamberth's refusal yesterday to lift his injunction on federally funded hESC research.

Saving a million acre-feet of water through conservation and efficiency in California
A new Pacific Institute analysis identifies specific actions that can annually save a million acre-feet of water in California quickly and at lower economic and ecological cost than developing new supplies.

Why chromosomes never tie their shoelaces
In the latest issue of the journal Nature, Miguel Godinho Ferreira, principal investigator at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência,Portugal, lead a team of researchers to shed light on a paradox that has puzzled biologists since the discovery of telomeres, the protective tips of chromosomes: while broken chromosome ends generated by DNA damage (such as radiation or cigarette smoke) are quickly joined together, telomeres are never tied to each other, thus allowing for the correct segregation of the genetic material.

Study may help predict extinction tipping point for species
A new study published in the journal Nature may eventually help scientists predict when species are about to become extinct.

Investigating better endpoints for immunotherapy trials
Cancer immunotherapy calls for revised clinical endpoints that differ from those used for chemotherapy, according to an article published online Sept.

'Soyscreen': Sunscreen for fungus to expand biological control of crop pests
Scientists today described development and successful initial tests on a substance that acts as a sunscreen for the microscopic spores of a fungus, brightening prospects for wider use of the fungus as a means of wiping out insect pests that attack food crops.

Adults demonstrate modified immune response after receiving massage, Cedars-Sinai researchers show
Researchers in Cedars-Sinai's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences have reported people who undergo massage experience measurable changes in their body's immune and endocrine response.

Extreme X-ray source supports new class of black hole
A group of international astronomers in the UK, France and the US, led by the University of Leicester, have found proof to confirm the distance and brightness of the most extreme ultra-luminous X-ray source, which may herald a new type of black hole.

MIT researchers find that interneurons are not all created equally
A type of neuron that, when malfunctioning, has been tied to epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia is much more complex than previously thought, researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report in the Sept.

New American Chemical Society podcast: Economical biodiesel from sewage sludge
Scientists report, in the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning podcast series,

Study: 3 out of 4 cats will wear a collar, making it worth a try
Almost three out of four cats in a new study wore collars consistently during a six-month study, suggesting that most cats will tolerate a collar even if their owners are skeptical about its success.

Experts question claim that Alexander the Great's half-brother is buried at Vergina
Claims that a tomb at Vergina, Greece, the ancient burial place of the Macedonian royal family in the fourth century B.C., contains the body of King Philip III Arrhidaios, half-brother of Alexander the Great, and not Philip II, Alexander's father, are called into question by researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Manchester and Oxford.

UC Davis study finds low liver cancer survival rates among Laotian/Hmong-Americans
Among Asian-Americans living in California, Laotian/Hmong-Americans have the lowest survival rates for the most common type of liver cancer, a new study by researchers with the UC Davis School of Medicine has found.

UC San Diego's Karin receives prestigious Harvey Prize
Michael Karin, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has been awarded the 2010 Harvey Prize in human health by the Technion, Israel's premier institute of technology.

Nearly half of new HIV infections in France are in men who have sex with men
Despite an overall decline in HIV incidence in France, transmission seems to be

Questioning the safety of certain 'healthful' plant-based antioxidants
Scientists are calling for more research on the possibility that some supposedly healthful plant-based antioxidants -- including those renowned for their apparent ability to prevent cancer -- may actually aggravate or even cause cancer in some individuals.

Low levels of formaldehyde in clothing unlikely to pose health risk
The formaldehyde added to fabrics to keep clothing looking fresh and wrinkle-free is unlikely to pose a health risk to consumers, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly news magazine.

Confectionery and chocolate engineering: Principles and applications
The manufacture of chocolate and confectionery owes as much to art as it does science with commercial production representing the union of traditional handcraft with large scale industry.

Scientists identify molecular gatekeeper of arthritis
Elimination of a molecular gatekeeper leads to the development of arthritis in mice, scientists report in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

U of I receives $1 million USDA grant to study Glossy15 in sorghum
A $1 million USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant will help University of Illinois researchers determine if changes in the Glossy15 gene system of sorghum will lead to enhanced bioenergy production in the future.

Brown-led research divines structure for class of proteins
A research team led by Brown University has determined the structure for three proteins in a class known as intrinsically disordered proteins.

Brain mechanism linked to relapse after cocaine withdrawal
Addictive drugs are known to induce changes in the brain's reward circuits that may underlie drug craving and relapse after long periods of abstinence.

Scientists make leap forward in early detection for Alzheimer's and cancer
Scientists at the UK's National Physical Laboratory have developed a new strategy for quicker and more precise detection of biomarkers -- proteins which indicate disease.

Satellite data reveal seasonal pollution changes over India
Armed with a decade's worth of satellite data, University of Illinois atmospheric scientists have documented some surprising trends in aerosol pollution concentration, distribution and composition over the Indian subcontinent.

Unauthorized population would soar if birthright citizenship repealed
Repeal of birthright citizenship for the US-born children of unauthorized immigrants would expand the nation's unauthorized population by at least 5 million over the next decade, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute.

Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Local and Regional Policy Makers report launched at major biodiversity conference in Ghent
Factoring the planet's multitrillion dollar ecosystem services into policy-making can help save cities and regional authorities money while boosting the local economy, enhancing quality of life, securing livelihoods and generating employment.

NOAA designates the eastern North Pacific basking shark a 'species of concern'
NOAA's Fisheries Service has designated the eastern North Pacific basking shark, a

New compound safely reduces plaques in mouse model of Alzheimer's disease
A new study identifies molecules that can be used to selectively reduce generation of the sticky, neuron-damaging plaques that are the hallmark of the Alzheimer's disease brain.

Chopping and changing in the microbial world: How mycoplasmas stay alive
Mycoplasmas regularly change their surface proteins to confuse the immune systems of the humans and animals they invade.

Risoe mapping wind resources in China
For the past four years, Risoe DTU has been involved in mapping the wind resources in the Dongbei region in northeastern China.

Study adds new clue to how last ice age ended
A new study in Nature finds that in addition to Antarctica, New Zealand was warming at the end of the last ice age, indicating that the deep freeze up north, called the Younger Dryas for the white flower that grows near glaciers, bypassed much of the southern hemisphere.

American Society of Human Genetics to host 60th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The world's top scientists and clinicians in the human genetics field will gather in Washington, D.C., to present their latest research findings at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, from Tuesday, Nov.

Swine researchers seek answers to fiber's low digestibility
As interest grows in feeding distillers dried grains with solubles to growing pigs, many questions are being asked about the digestibility of this alternative feed option.

Energy drinks may give young sports teams an edge, study says
Consuming energy drinks during team sports could help young people perform better, a study suggests.

Anti-aphrodisiac protects young bedbugs
Male bedbugs are known to be very unfussy when it comes to mating, mounting any well-fed bug they can see -- regardless of age or gender.

A nearby galactic exemplar
ESO has released a spectacular new image of NGC 300, a spiral galaxy similar to the Milky Way, and located in the nearby Sculptor Group of galaxies. 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