Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 15, 2010
Modern Muslims use dreams to make major life decisions
The traditional practice of using night dreams to make major life decisions is in widespread use among modern Muslims, reveals a new study whose author is speaking at the British Science Festival on Thursday, Sept.

Gene network reveals link between fats and heart disease signs
A gene network behind hardening of the arteries and coronary heart disease has been identified by a team of scientists from Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom.

Caltech receives $10 million in gifts to help launch new terrestrial hazard center
Caltech has established the Terrestrial Hazard Observation and Reporting Center, funded by $6.7 million from Foster and Coco Stanback, and $3.35 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore matching program.

Commercial-scale test of new technology to recover coal from sludge successful
A new technology for removing water from ultrafine coal slurry has been successfully tested at the commercial scale at an operating coal cleaning plant.

Children under 4 and children with autism don't yawn contagiously
A new study found that most children don't yawn contagiously until about age 4, and that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are less likely to yawn in response to another person yawning that children without autism.

Top cancer specialists receive ESMO awards
The European Society for Medical Oncology honors three eminent cancer specialists for their contribution to the advancement of medical research.

Fountain of youth in bile? Longevity molecule identified
The human quest for longer life may be one step closer, thanks to research from Concordia University.

Wearable sensor technology to measure physical activity
Researchers from Michigan State University are teaming up to create a new wearable sensor network to assess a person's physical activity and overall well-being.

Chocolate farmers could benefit from newly sequenced cacao genome
A first draft of the cacao genome is complete, a consortium of academic, governmental and industry scientists announced today.

Research shows radiometric dating still reliable (again)
Recent puzzling observations of tiny variations in nuclear decay rates have led some to question the science behind carbon-14 dating and similar techniques.

Death at home less distressing for cancer patients and families
Cancer patients who die in the hospital or an intensive care unit have worse quality of life at the end-of-life, compared to patients who die at home with hospice services, and their caregivers are at higher risk for developing psychiatric illnesses during bereavement, according to a study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The friendly way to catch the flu
Researchers used a basic feature of social networks to study the 2009 flu epidemic.

Does your insurance company know who the good doctors/surgeons are?
New study examines physician ratings by insurance companies; will this ultimately confuse patients who need a doctor?

Chronic diseases a global problem requiring global solutions, Emory researchers say
Policymakers should increase their sense of urgency to stop the global spread of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes that threaten the health and economies of industrialized and developing nations alike, Emory global health researchers say.

Rice study examines how bacteria acquire immunity
In a new study this week, Rice University scientists bring the latest tools of computational biology to bear in examining how the processes of natural selection and evolution influence the way bacteria acquire immunity from disease.

OHSU research team joins elite consortium dedicated to curing type 1 diabetes
Oregon Health & Science University will lead a multi-center team of scientists selected to participate in the prestigious Beta Cell Biology Consortium.

Cognitive skills in children with autism vary and improve, study finds
A new study found that the cognitive skills of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) vary among individuals, and that, contrary to expectations, these skills can improve over time.

NASA awards CU-Boulder $6.7 million to design instruments for mission to sun
A team from the University of Colorado at Boulder has been awarded $6.7 million from NASA to design, develop and test instruments for the fastest space probe ever built, one that will orbit 22 times closer to the sun than Earth and well inside the orbit of Mercury to better understand how the sun ticks.

Successful periodontal therapy may reduce the risk of preterm birth, according to Penn dental study
A collaboration led by a periodontal researcher from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine has found a possible link between the success of gum-disease treatment and the likelihood of giving birth prematurely, according to a study published in the journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Gender gap in spatial ability can be reduced through training
A new study describes an intervention that is effective in eliminating the gender gap in spatial abilities.

K-State partnership addressing future agricultural needs related to climate variability
A newly formed partnership will enable Kansas State University to help rural communities identify ways to adjust to future climate scenarios that may affect their families and livelihoods.

UNH researchers probe BP oil spill's effect on biodiversity
A National Science Foundation grant to the University of New Hampshire's Hubbard Center for Genome Studies will help researchers better understand the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on some of the Gulf of Mexico's most abundant creatures.

UCLA selected by Homeland Security to help establish guidelines for firefighter health and safety
UCLA has been selected by the US Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate to help establish guidelines for the health and safety of firefighters in the field.The UCLA team will use wireless health technologies to remotely monitor firefighters in action and develop metrics to validate and interpret their findings.

Tiny MAVs may someday explore and detect environmental hazards
US Air Force Office of Scientific Research-sponsored researcher, Dr. Robert Wood of Harvard University is leading the way in what could become the next phase of high-performance micro air vehicles for the Air Force.

Global project underway to preserve yam biodiversity
Farmers and crop scientists worldwide are engaged in an ambitious new effort to add 3,000 yam samples to international gene banks with the aim of saving the diversity of a crop that is consumed by 60 million people on a daily basis in Africa alone, according to an announcement today from the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Protein clamps tight to telomeres to help prevent aging ... and support cancer
Wistar Institute have published the first detailed report on the structure and function of a crucial domain in the protein known as Cdc13, which sustains telomeres by clamping to DNA and recruiting telomere-lengthening enzymes to the area.

Genetic finding identifies male-linked mutation associated with autism spectrum disorders
Autism Speaks, researchers and participating families, announce the discovery of copy number variant (CNV) which begins to explain the sex bias found in autism.

Study: Mental illness stigma entrenched in American culture; new strategies needed
A joint study by Indiana University and Columbia University researchers found no change in prejudice and discrimination toward people with serious mental illness or substance abuse problems despite a greater embrace by the public of neurobiological explanations for these illnesses.

Latest research: Restricting pub closing times reduces assaults
A study published in the international scientific journal Addiction reveals that restrictions on pub closing times imposed in 2008 within the Australian city of Newcastle have reduced the assault rate by 37 percent.

$30 million project will map the brain's wiring
An unprecedented five-year, $30-million effort to generate a first-of-its kind map of all the major circuits in the human brain is being led by Washington University School of Medicine in St.

NIST finalizes initial set of smart grid cyber security guidelines
NIST has issued its first Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security, including high-level security requirements, a framework for assessing risks, an evaluation of privacy issues at personal residences, and additional information for crafting strategies to protect the modernizing power grid from attacks, malicious code, cascading errors and other threats.

Depression and heart disease combo more lethal than either one alone
The combination of depression and heart disease seems to be far more lethal than having either one of these conditions in isolation, suggests research published online in Heart.

Sequencing of cacao genome will help US chocolate industry, subsistence farmers
US Department of Agriculture scientists and their partners have announced the preliminary release of the sequenced genome of the cacao tree.

Urgent steps needed to tackle inadequate support for women with secondary breast cancer
Cancer experts are calling for urgent action to tackle the inadequate support that women receive when their breast cancer spreads to other organs, such as the bones, lungs, liver and brain.

High-quality child care for low-income children: Long-term benefits
Children in high-quality preschool settings had fewer behavior problems in middle childhood, a new longitudinal study of low-income children found.

Women: Hope to marry young? Head to Alaska, steer clear of Alabama
When men outnumber women, females marry younger and the age gap between spouses grows, a University of Michigan study shows.

Study into the booby traps of breastfeeding in the UK
Australian researchers from Queensland University of Technology are embarking on a study of mums in the United Kingdom to discover if

Glaciers boost mountain growth in Andes
Glaciers have carved some of the planet's most dramatic landscapes, from Yosemite National Park to the Himalayas.

New GSI website experience puts product standards on the map
Those looking for the latest product standards-related news, regulatory developments, events and workshops around the world now can turn to the new Global Standards Information website.

A new understanding of 31 years of Chesapeake Bay nutrient trends
Reducing the delivery of nutrients to the Chesapeake Bay is one of the most important components of restoration efforts to achieve a healthy Bay ecosystem.

Mild memory loss is not a part of normal aging
The very early mild cognitive changes once thought to be normal aging are really the first signs of progressive dementia, in particular Alzheimer's disease.

Discovery of the secrets that enable plants near Chernobyl to shrug off radiation
Scientists are reporting discovery of the biological secrets that enable plants growing near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to adapt and flourish in highly radioactive soil -- legacy of the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.

Mount Sinai researchers develop database to help accelerate drug discovery
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have developed a new computational method that will help streamline the analysis of gene expression experiments and provide scientists with a better mechanistic understanding of the differences between diseased and normal cells.

Synthetic fuels research aims to reduce oil dependence
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a facility aimed at learning precisely how coal and biomass are broken down in reactors called gasifiers as part of a project to strengthen the scientific foundations of the synthetic fuel economy.

Carbon nanotubes twice as strong as once thought
Carbon nanotubes -- those tiny particles poised to revolutionize electronics, medicine, and other areas -- are much bigger in the strength department than anyone ever thought, scientists are reporting.

Nature publishes results of gene therapy treatment in phase 1/2 beta-thalassemia study
bluebird bio today announced publication in the journal Nature of its promising Phase 1/2 data highlighting positive results of LentiGlobin gene therapy treatment in a young adult with severe beta-thalassemia, a blood disorder that is one of the most frequent inherited diseases.

Molecule involved in heart failure now implicated in heart attack damage
A molecule known to be involved in progressive heart failure has now been shown to also lead to permanent damage after a heart attack, according to researchers at Thomas Jefferson University.

Quick-intensifying Tropical Storm Karl landfalling in Mexico
NASA's Aqua satellite captured the birth of Tropical Storm Karl on Sept.

Scientists pave way for improved teamwork on collaborative research efforts
Tackling today's complex scientific questions often requires work from interdisciplinary collaborative research teams -- and working in those teams can create its own problems.

$40 million awarded to trace human brain's connections
The National Institutes of Health today awarded grants totaling $40 million to map the human brain's connections in high resolution.

For 4-year-olds, interactions with teacher key to gains
Preschoolers who spend much of their classroom day engaged in so-called

Higher altitudes hide deadly problem: Increased suicide risk
The Intermountain West is renowned for the beauty of its towering mountains and high deserts, but according to new research from an investigator with the University of Utah Brain Institute the region's lofty altitudes significantly influence a deadly problem: the high prevalence of suicides in this part of the country.

Nature study shows how molecules escape from the nucleus
By constructing a microscope apparatus that achieves resolution never before possible in living cells, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have illuminated the molecular interactions that occur during one of the most important

New wave: Spin soliton could be a hit in cell phone communication
Researchers at NIST have found theoretical evidence of a new way to generate the high-frequency waves used in modern communication devices such as cell phones using exotic

3 NASA satellites seek clues to Hurricane Julia's rapid intensification
Hurricane Julia intensified rapidly overnight and is now a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale and NASA's Aqua, Terra and TRMM satellites captured clues as they passed over her from space.

Interfering with a double-edged sword: novel anti-inflammatory functions for interferons
One of the body's first protective reactions to infection is inflammation, typically stimulated by the factor IL-1beta.

NIST data: Enabling the technical-basis for evacuation planning of high-rise buildings
Researchers at NIST are stepping up the pace for designing safer building evacuations by releasing large, numerical datasets tracking the movement of people on stairs during high-rise building evacuation drills.

Robotic catheter could improve treatment of heart condition
Atrial fibrillation is a heart disorder that affects more than two million Americans, and is considered a key contributor to blood clots and stroke.

FSU signs licensing agreement with technology company Bing Energy
A Florida State University engineering professor's innovative research with nanomaterials could one day lead to a new generation of hydrogen fuel cells that are less expensive, smaller, lighter and more durable -- advantages that might make them a viable option for widespread use in automobiles and in military and industrial technology.

What can health-care facilities do to help patients better understand medical information
Studies show that nearly half of all Americans have difficulty understanding health information.

New supercomputer 'sees' well enough to drive a car someday
Now Eugenio Culurciello of Yale's School of Engineering & Applied Science has developed a supercomputer based on the human visual system that operates much more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

Johns Hopkins scientists find genes related to body mass
Johns Hopkins scientists who specialize in unconventional hunts for genetic information outside nuclear DNA sequences have bagged a weighty quarry -- 13 genes linked to human body mass.

Improving cotton the goal of $3.8 million grant to University of Texas at Austin plant geneticist
Dr. Z. Jeffrey Chen and his colleagues will use next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to study the genomics of fiber production in cotton, the largest source of natural and renewable fiber in the world, with a $3.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

New investigational compound targets pancreatic cancer cells
A new investigational drug designed to penetrate and attack pancreatic cancer cells has been administered to the world's first patient at the Virginia G.

Facial recognition technology aimed at spotting terrorists
Rapid improvements in facial-recognition software mean airport security workers might one day know with near certainty whether they're looking at a stressed-out tourist or staring a terrorist in the eye.

NASA satellite measures monstrous Hurricane Igor as a '10-hour drive'
Hurricane Igor is a monster hurricane in terms of strength and size.

'Warrior worms' discovered in snails; UCSB scientists see possible biomedical applications
Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have discovered a caste of genetically identical

BU team wins $4.1M genome grant
Boston University Biomedical Engineers received a $4.1 million grant from National Institutes of Health to support their ongoing work to reduce the cost of sequencing an individual's genome to $1,000.

Arctic sea ice reaches lowest 2010 extent, third lowest in satellite record
The Arctic sea ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent for the year, the third-lowest recorded since satellites began measuring sea ice extent in 1979, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Eating broccoli could guard against arthritis
Scientists at the University of East Anglia are launching a groundbreaking new project to investigate the benefits of broccoli in the fight against osteoarthritis.

Progress on vaccine for 'Ich,' bane of fish farms and home aquarium hobbyists
Tests of a potential vaccine against

New evidence on how cranberry juice fights bacteria that cause urinary tract infections
Scientists reported new evidence on the effectiveness of that old folk remedy -- cranberry juice -- for urinary tract infections at the ACS' 240th National Meeting.

Understanding behavioral patterns: Why bird flocks move in unison
Animal flocks, be it honeybees, fish, ants or birds, often move in surprising synchronicity and seemingly make unanimous decisions at a moment's notice, a phenomenon which has remained puzzling to many researchers.

Increased brain protein levels linked to Alzheimer's disease
Elevated levels of a growth protein in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients is linked to impaired neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons are generated, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego, in today's edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Stress accelerates breast cancer progression in mice
Chronic stress acts as a sort of fertilizer that feeds breast cancer progression, significantly accelerating the spread of disease in animal models, researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have found.

JAK inhibitor provides rapid, durable relief for myelofibrosis patients
An oral medication produces significant and lasting relief for patients with myelofibrosis, a debilitating and lethal bone marrow disorder, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report in the Sept.

Electron switch between molecules points way to new high-powered organic batteries
The development of new organic batteries -- lightweight energy storage devices that work without the need for toxic heavy metals -- has a brighter future now that chemists have discovered a new way to pass electrons back and forth between two molecules.

USF receives NIH grant to study implications of maternal infection as cause of autism
Neuroscientists at the University of South Florida have received a $400,000 federal grant to study ways of protecting the developing fetal brain from the damaging effects of maternal infections, a suspected cause for certain types of autism.

Moores UCSD Cancer Center designated an ACR Breast Imaging Center of Excellence
Moores UCSD Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

Overprotective parents may impact heart anxiety in adults with congenital heart conditions
Adults with congenital heart disease are more likely to suffer heart-focused anxiety -- a fear of heart-related symptoms and sensations -- if their parents were overprotective during their childhood and adolescence.

Neutrons helping ORNL researchers unlock secrets to cheaper ethanol
New insight into the structure of switchgrass and poplars is fueling discussions that could result in more efficient methods to turn biomass into biofuel.

Glaciers help high-latitude mountains grow taller
Glaciers can help actively growing mountains become higher by protecting them from erosion, according to a University of Arizona-led research team.

Ph.D. study of behavior of semiconductor crystals of size less than 100 nanometers
The Ph.D. thesis by Carlos Echeverría Arrondo, doctor in physics from the Public University of Navarre and titled

Employee with higher level of emotional intelligence is more dedicated and satisfied at work
Employees with a high level of emotional intelligence are more dedicated and satisfied at work.

Even very low dose of regular aspirin wards off bowel cancer
Even the lowest possible dose of aspirin (75 mg) can ward off bowel cancer, if taken regularly, finds research published online in the journal Gut.

Alcohol consumption after breast cancer diagnosis may increase recurrence risk
In the Life After Cancer Epidemiology study, 1,897 participants diagnosed with early stage breast cancer between 1997 and 2000 and recruited on average two years post-breast cancer diagnosis were evaluated for the association between alcohol intake and breast cancer recurrence and death.

Secret funding fosters hope for new drugs for autism
Funding from an anonymous wealthy family has been the secret to progress, at long last, in developing drugs that show promise for helping millions of people worldwide with fragile X syndrome, the most common genetic cause of autism.

Study: Old age may not be to blame for becoming forgetful
New research suggests that old age may not play a role in why older people become forgetful.

Aerobic exercise relieves insomnia
Millions of middle-aged and older adults who suffer from insomnia have a new drug-free prescription for a more restful night's sleep.

UK armed forces now using NHS mental health inpatient services
The decision by the UK Ministry of Defence to move its inpatient mental health contract from the independent sector into the NHS could both improve care for other patients and act as a welcome boost to the NHS in the difficult times ahead.

New study finds milk drinkers may have a healthy weight advantage
There's a new reason to grab a glass of milk when you're on diet, suggests a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Children's brain development is linked to physical fitness
Researchers have found an association between physical fitness and the brain in 9- and 10-year-old children: Those who are more fit tend to have a bigger hippocampus and perform better on a test of memory than their less-fit peers.

Fuzzy thinking could spot heart disease risk
A new approach to evaluating a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure or heart failure is reported this month in the International Journal of Data Mining, Modelling and Management.

3 scientists named to USDA-ARS Science Hall of Fame
Three outstanding US Department of Agriculture scientists have been named to the Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame for research that has helped to control parasite-caused diseases of people, farm animals and pets; prevent milk fever disease of dairy cows; and increase knowledge of livestock genetics.

Discovery highlights promise of new immune system-based therapies
A new focus on the immune system's ability to both unleash and restrain its attack on disease has led Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists to identify cells in mice that prevent the immune system from attacking the animals' own cells, protecting them from autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and lupus.

Novel target for existing drug may improve success of radiation therapy
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered a new drug target that could improve the effectiveness of radiation for hard-to-treat cancers.

Scientists find gene for high cholesterol in blood
Scientists at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research have found a gene that causes high levels of bad cholesterol to accumulate in the blood as a result of a high-cholesterol diet.

Urgent need for prostate cancer screening amongst Dutch men
A recent TNS NIPO survey, on behalf of the Dutch Association of Urology and the European Association of Urology, showed that almost four out of 10 Dutch men of 50 years and older suffer, or have suffered, from urinary complaints.

Perception of emotion is culture-specific
Want to know how a Japanese person is feeling? Pay attention to the tone of his voice, not his face.

King's College London reveals promising techniques for extending the life of an organ transplant
Experts from the Medical Research Council Centre for Transplantation at King's College London have revealed exciting new scientific developments for people with an organ transplant, intended to help prevent rejection of the new organ and extend its life.

Home's electrical wiring acts as antenna to receive low-power sensor data
Using a home's electrical wiring as a giant copper antenna allows for wireless sensors that can communicate over a whole house and run for decades on a single watch battery.

Radiation exposure poses similar risk of first and second cancers in atomic bomb survivors
The first large-scale study of the relationship between radiation dose and risk of multiple cancers among atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, reveals a similar risk in the development of first and second subsequent cancers.
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