Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

September 16, 2010
Interviews bring genetics to life in new book
A new book,

How does Prozac act? By acting on the microRNA
The adaptation mechanisms of the neurons to antidepressants has, until now, remained enigmatic.

Tornado-chasing becomes vacation choice, MU researchers find
Instead of heading to the coast for vacation, people are traveling to Tornado Alley.

Foraging for fat: Crafty crows use tools to fish for nutritious morsels
Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Exeter have used CSI-style analysis to reveal the huge benefits conferred on New Caledonian crows through tool use.

Watch your seas: Marine scientists call for European marine observatory network
More than 100 marine scientists, policy makers and members of industry unanimously call for action towards an integrated network of observatories monitoring Europe's seas, at the Marine Board-ESF Forum

Pristine rainforests are 'biogeochemical reactors'
A multinational team that includes a North Carolina State University researcher has found another piece of the atmospheric puzzle surrounding the effects of aerosol particles on climate change.

$2.8 million NSF grant supports bilingual thinking, learning study
Exactly what goes on in the minds and brains of bilingual speakers when individuals first learn and then actively use two languages is the focus of a five-year, $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant to Penn State's Center for Language Science, based in the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Health and Human Development.

UCLA physicists control chemical reactions mechanically
UCLA physicists have taken a significant step in controlling chemical reactions mechanically, an important advance in nanotechnology.

Link to autism in boys found in missing DNA
New research from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health and the Hospital for Sick Children, both in Toronto, Canada, provides further clues as to why autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects four times more males than females.

Disease transmission model says media coverage cuts infection rate and pandemic extent
Public health officials have long believed that notifying the public about outbreaks of infectious disease could help reduce transmission rates and the overall impact of a pandemic.

Goddess of fortune found in Sussita
A wall painting (fresco) of Tyche, the Greek goddess of fortune, was exposed during the 11th season of excavation at the Sussita site, on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee, which was conducted by researchers of the University of Haifa.

Do the math, say UCLA researchers
The World Health Organization has proposed a new strategy for combating the AIDS epidemic in South Africa.

Optimizing climate change reduction
Scientists at the Carnegie Institution have taken a new approach on examining a proposal to fix the warming planet by injecting stratospheric aerosols of sulfates to shade the Earth.

The biggest crash on Earth
During the collision of India with the Eurasian continent, the Indian plate is pushed about 500 kilometers under Tibet, reaching a depth of 250 kilometers.

UCSB, Texas A&M scientists document fate of deep hydrocarbon plumes in Gulf oil spill
In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of scientists led by UC Santa Barbara's David Valentine and Texas A&M University's John Kessler embarked on a research cruise with an urgent mission: determining the fate and impact of hydrocarbon gases escaping from a deep-water oil spill.

Analysis of the chocolate genome could lead to improved crops and products
The sequencing and analysis of the genome for the Criollo variety of the cacao tree, generally considered to produce the world's finest chocolate, was completed by an international team led by Claire Lanaud of CIRAD, France, with Mark Guiltinan of Penn State, and included scientists from 18 other institutions.

Technology to screen for synbio abuses lags
Amid growing concern that synthetic life sciences pose biosecurity and biosafety risks, scrutiny is increasing into the burgeoning DNA sequence trade.

Putting a spin on light and atoms
Alkali-vapor magnetometers use light to put a spin on atoms and then measure that spin to detect magnetic fields.

Fish schools and krill swarms take on common shape
When fish or tiny, shrimp-like krill get together, it appears they follow the same set of

Asian 'unicorn' photographed for first time in over 10 years
For the first time in more than ten years, there has been a confirmed sighting of one of the rarest and most mysterious animals in the world, the saola of Laos and Vietnam.

Undergraduate research highlighted in DNA and Cell Biology Journal
Not only do undergraduate students gain valuable hands-on experience by participating in scientific research projects, but they also make meaningful contributions, examples of which are highlighted in the current special issue of DNA and Cell Biology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Magical BEANs: New nano-sized particles could provide mega-sized data storage
Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered an entire new class of phase-change materials that could be applied to PCM and optical data storage technologies.

Placebo effect significantly improves women's sexual satisfaction, study shows
Many women with low sex drives reported greater sexual satisfaction after taking a placebo, according to new psychology research from the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor College of Medicine.

Join GSA in New Orleans for the nation's premier aging conference
The Gerontological Society of America invites all journalists to attend its 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting -- the country's largest interdisciplinary conference in the field of aging -- Nov.

UCI scientists decode genomes of sexually precocious fruit flies
UC Irvine researchers have deciphered how lowly fruit flies bred to rapidly develop and reproduce actually evolve over time.

Ways nursing can advance health care improvements: IOM to hold briefing on Oct. 5
Since its inception in July 2009, the Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine has worked to develop a blueprint for using nurse-led models of innovation to improve the health care system.

Why the craving for cocaine won't go away
People who have used cocaine run a great risk of becoming addicted, even after long drug-free periods.

Developing countries may not benefit from adopting international treaties
A new study by an Oregon State University business professor has found that developing countries that adopt major international economic treaties do not necessarily gain more foreign direct investment.

Scott & White Healthcare to participate in international trial investigating lung cancer treatment
Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas, is recruiting patients for a Phase III lung cancer trial aimed at preventing the disease's recurrence in previously treated patients.

Native Hawaiians: Vulnerability to early death at all ages
Throughout their lives, Native Hawaiians have higher risks of death than white Americans, according to a University of Michigan study.

Attitudes must change if we are to achieve a good death for all, say experts
Society's attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement need to change if we are to achieve a good death for all, say experts in a special series of articles published on today in the first BMJ

CEOs with top college degrees no better at improving long-term firm performance than other CEOs
Whether or not a company's CEO holds a college degree from a top school has no bearing on the firm's long-term performance.

Researchers identify genetic marker of aggressive Alzheimer's disease
An international team of Alzheimer's disease experts has uncovered a gene variation that appears to predict the rate at which Alzheimer's disease will progress.

Significant weight-loss from surgery decreases risk for cardiovascular disease in women
Bariatric surgery is emerging as a valuable procedure to help morbidly obese individuals lose weight, as studies have shown; it can improve many health profiles and lower mortality.

Wiley-Blackwell joins the Faculty of 1000 Affiliate Program
Serving the world's research and scholarly communities, Wiley-Blackwell is the largest publisher for professional and scholarly societies and the latest publisher to join the F1000 Affiliate Program as an affiliate publisher.

UC Riverside is platinum sponsor of national conference attracting high-achieving minority students
The University of California, Riverside, is a platinum sponsor this year of the annual conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

Placebo successful in treating women with sexual dysfunction
A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that women with low sexual arousal experienced clinically significant symptom changes after taking a placebo.

A scientific breakthrough could be the first step in a better treatment for leukemia patients
A discovery made by Dr. Tarik Möröy, president and scientific director and director of the IRCM, and his team was recently published in Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Newly identified genetic marker involved in aggressive Alzheimer's disease
A gene variation that appears to predict the rate at which Alzheimer's disease will progress has been uncovered by an international team of Alzheimer's disease experts, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Discovery of key pathway interaction may lead to therapies that aid brain growth and repair
Researchers at the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children's National Medical Center have discovered that the two major types of signaling pathways activated during brain cell development operate together to determine how many and which types of brain cells are created during growth and repair in developing and adult brains.

Tulane University researchers find ancient roots for SIV
Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which is the ancestor to the human immunodeficiency virus, is between 32,000 and 75,000 years old and may even be more than a million years old, according to genetic analysis of unique SIV strains found in monkeys on Bioko, an island off the coast of Africa.

Night lights affect songbirds' mating life
In today's increasingly urbanized world, the lights in many places are always on, and according to a report published online on Sept.

Economists focus on financial lives of world's poor
For the first time, researchers have a logical, precise tool for establishing accounts from household surveys and for collecting data in a systematic way.

Study: How Palestinian and Israeli children are psychologically scarred by exposure to war
As another round of talks continues between Israelis and Palestinians, a new University of Michigan study documents the impact the violence has been inflicting on the region's children.

NASA eyes Karl, now a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico
NASA's Aqua and TRMM satellites have been watching Karl's clouds and rainfall as he moved across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and into the Gulf of Mexico today, powering up into a hurricane.

NASA'S LRO exposes moon's complex, turbulent youth
The moon was bombarded by two distinct populations of asteroids or comets in its youth, and its surface is more complex than previously thought, according to new results from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft featured in three papers appearing in the Sept.

October 2010 Lithosphere highlights
The October Lithosphere examines the following key questions: How do large volumes of silicic magma contribute to the growth of continental crust?; How does the Tibetan Plateau grow?; What are the dynamics of the lithosphere beneath the Eastern Carpathians in Romania?; What's really true about the Mojave-Snow Lake fault hypothesis?; Can Earth's pulse be measured at its hotspots?; and What is the nature of the Moho in northwestern Canada?

Fast-track gene-ID method speeds rare disease search
University of Michigan scientists have identified a gene responsible in some families for a devastating inherited kidney disorder, thanks to a new, faster method of genetic analysis not available even two years ago.

Popular supplements to combat joint pain do not work
Two popular supplements taken by millions of people around the world to combat joint pain, do not work, finds research published on today.

Amount of development aid to maternal, newborn and child health has doubled 2003-2008, but its ratio to overall aid to health remains static; US and UK lead way in donations
There has been a welcome doubling of the amount of official development assistance (ODA) to maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) over the six years from 2003 to 2008.

Optical chip enables new approach to quantum computing
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bristol has developed a new approach to quantum computing that could soon be used to perform complex calculations that cannot be done by today's computers.

Veterinarian says natural foods not always best for pets
While natural food is a rising trend among humans, pet owners should be careful before feeding similar types of food to their pets, according to a Kansas State University veterinarian.

Healthy diet rocks when it comes to fighting kidney stones
Certain key ingredients of a diet designed to prevent high blood pressure can ward off kidney stones, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Scripps research team wins $5.1 million to develop DNA sequencing technology
Scripps Research Institute Professor Reza Ghadiri, Ph.D., has been awarded a four-year, $5.1 million grant as part of a National Institutes of Health initiative to spur the development of the next generation of DNA sequencing technologies, which could enable biomedical researchers and health care workers to routinely sequence a person's DNA.

Women's health research: IOM releases progress report Sept. 23
A major effort to conduct research on women's health began about 20 years ago, when it became clear that results from studies until then, which involved mostly male subjects, were often misinterpreted or misapplied in the cases of female patients.

AIDS virus lineage much older than previously thought
An ancestor of HIV that infects monkeys is thousands of years older than previously thought, suggesting that HIV, which causes AIDS, is not likely to stop killing humans anytime soon, finds a study by University of Arizona and Tulane University researchers.

Virtual tutors: NC State receives grant to study artificial intelligence in the classroom
NC State recently received a four-year, $3.5 million grant to explore using artificial intelligence as a learning tool inside fourth- and fifth-grade science classrooms.

Intensive care diaries protect patients from PTSD
Some intensive care patients develop post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) after the trauma of a difficult hospital stay, and this is thought to be exacerbated by delusional or fragmentary memories of their time in the intensive care unit.

Scientific understanding of T. rex revised by a decade of new research and discovery
A new paper in Science highlights recent tyrannosaur discoveries and complex analyses of the biology of certain species.

Toward resolving Darwin's 'abominable mystery'
Drs. Jana Vamosi and Steven Vamosi of the department of biological sciences have found through extensive statistical analysis that the size of the geographical area is the most important factor when it comes to biodiversity of a particular flowering plant family.

Research aims to lighten load carried by soldiers
A University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering professor and a team of researchers nationwide were recently awarded a five-year, $6.25 million grant to develop a greener, lighter-weight and longer-lasting power source for armed service members increasingly reliant on electronic devices.

Aerosols control rainfall in the rainforest
A team of environmental engineers, who might better be called

Asthma and cavities both common in kids but not linked
There is no apparent link between asthma and tooth decay, according to a study published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Fat stem cells safe for breast reconstruction when cancer is dormant, says Pitt team
Fat-derived stem cells can be safely used to aid reconstruction of breast tissue after mastectomy as long as there is no evidence of active cancer, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Tissue Engineering Part A.

Scott & White Healthcare receives designation as Neuroscience Center of Excellence
Scott & White Hospital's Neuroscience Institute in Temple is among the nation's top neuroscience programs and has been designated as a Neuroscience Center of Excellence, according to a 2006-2009 Neuroscience Center of Excellence Survey.

Better policing with private security?
A new research report published today suggests the police service may have a resource in private security that could contribute to savings of up to £1 billion ($1.55 billion) through collaboration and new ways of working as challenged by the Audit Commission and HMIC.

Alzheimer's drug boosts perceptual learning in healthy adults
UC Berkeley scientists have found that healthy adults showed greater improvement from practice on a motion direction discrimination task when they took donepezil, a commonly prescribed Alzheimer's drug, compared with when they took a placebo.

New €3.2 million ($4.18 million) project aims to build computers that can learn from us
Computer systems which can learn from us and then help to carry out complex tasks may become a reality thanks to new research being carried out by scientists at the University of Bristol.

Science in Society Journalism Award winners announced
The winners of the annual Science in Society Journalism Awards, sponsored by the National Association of Science Writers, have been announced and represent excellence in investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact on society.

MIT researchers discover an unexpected twist in cancer metabolism
In a paper appearing in the Sept. 16 online edition of Science, Matthew Vander Heiden assistant professor of biology and member of the David H.

Lack of access to healthy food may contribute to health disparities in kidney disease
Processed and fast foods enriched with phosphorus additives may play a role in health disparities in chronic kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Scientists report new insights into the moon's rich geologic complexity
The moon is more geologically complex than previously thought, scientists report Sept.

Bacteria identified that may lead to inflammatory bowel disease in certain individuals
Certain bacteria that inhabit the intestine provide the environmental trigger that initiates and perpetuates chronic intestinal inflammation in individuals who are genetically susceptible to inflammatory bowel disease, a study led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers has found.

The 'ProteOn' XPR36 Giveaway Program' names a winner
Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. and Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News today announced that Simon Cocklin, Ph.D., a scientist at the Drexel University College of Medicine, has won a ProteOn XPR36 protein interaction array system from Bio-Rad in the ProteOn XPR36 Giveaway Program, a recent scientific research proposal competition.

Cardiac imaging breakthrough developed at the University of Western Ontario
Cardiologists and surgeons may soon have a new tool to improve outcomes for patients requiring pacemakers, bypass surgery or angioplasties.

'Nanosprings' offer improved performance in biomedicine, electronics
Researchers at Oregon State University have reported the successful loading of biological molecules onto

Brain matter linked to introspective thoughts
A specific region of the brain appears to be larger in individuals who are good at turning their thoughts inward and reflecting upon their decisions, according to new research published in the journal Science.

Beating blood clots: Reducing your risk before hip replacement surgery
Risk factors for venous thromboembolism after total hip replacement surgery were identified in a new study published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

With growing US support for personalized medicine, a look at ethical dilemmas
As government support for personalized medicine grows, a consumer advocate, a patient, and bioethicists explore ethical controversies.

Mediterranean countries offer fewer urban transport options than Central European ones
Catalan researchers have studied the factors relating to urban transport service provision in 45 European cities, including Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid.

Obama's best chance for re-election? Democratic losses in 2010, says UCLA political scientist
In a new book, UCLA political scientist Tim Groeling argues that if Democrats want to see Barack Obama re-elected in 2012, losing control of Congress might be just what the doctor odered.

Scripps scientists develop test providing new pathway for identifying obesity, diabetes drugs
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have designed a new molecular test that will allow researchers to look for potential drugs targeting a human metabolic enzyme believed to stimulate the appetite and play a role in diabetes.

Researchers raise concerns over the increasing commercialization of science
The increasing commercialization of science is restricting access to vital scientific knowledge and delaying the progress of science, claim researchers on today.

Rising education levels among women save children's lives worldwide
Women are advancing further in school than at any time in recent history, a trend that is having a tremendous impact on child mortality, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Latest child mortality estimates show huge progress in some regions but overall world is not on track to meet MDG4
As part of the Lancet's Millennium Development Goals special issue, UNICEF is publishing the latest (2009) UN estimates of child mortality, which tell of great progress in many regions of the world.

4 million child lives saved in 2009 are associated with increased maternal education
Between 1970 and 2009, the average woman aged 25 and over has seen a doubling of her years in education.

Moon's craters give new clues to early solar system bombardment
A first-ever uniform, comprehensive catalog of large craters on the moon is providing new clues to the bombardment history that characterized the chaotic early days of the inner solar system.

SAGE trials SciVee video platform
SAGE, the world's leading independent publisher of academic journals, and SciVee, the leading video platform solutions provider to the scientific, technical and medical market, today announced a trial of the SciVee platform for three journals published by SAGE on behalf of the Association for Psychological Science.

Development aid for maternal, newborn and child health doubled over 5 years
The amount of official development assistance to maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries doubled between 2003 and 2008, but its ratio to overall aid for health remained static.

GOES-13 sees a weaker Hurricane Julia in the 'tropical trio'
GOES-13 satellite imagery this morning showed the

A chip off the early hominin tooth
Professor Herzl Chai of Tel Aviv University says that his new equation determines how the size of a chip found in the enamel of a tooth relates to the bite force needed to produce the chip.

Case Western Reserve researcher discovers new 'anti-pathogenic' drugs to treat MRSA
Menachem Shoham, Ph.D., associate professor and researcher in the department of biochemistry at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has identified new anti-pathogenic drugs that, without killing the bacteria, render methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus harmless by preventing the production of toxins that cause disease.

'Archeologists of the air' isolate pristine aerosol particles in the Amazon
Environmental engineers who might better be called

Avoiding dangerous climate change: An international perspective
The world will need to make substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions below current levels over the next few decades if the worst impacts of dangerous climate change are to be avoided.

3-D computer simulations help envision supernovae explosions
A Princeton-led team has found a way to make computer simulations of supernovae exploding in three dimensions, which may lead to new scientific insights.

Pitt gets $11.8 million to develop microbicide films for HIV prevention
With the support of an $11.8 million, five-year federal grant, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and their collaborators are developing a quick-dissolving vaginal film containing a powerful drug that reduces the risk of HIV infection, and they plan to begin human testing within a year.

Imbalanced diet and inadequate exercise may underlie asthma in children
Even children of a healthy weight who have an imbalanced metabolism due to poor diet or exercise may be at increased risk of asthma, according to new research, which challenges the widespread assumption that obesity itself is a risk factor for asthma.

NASA's 3-D look into Hurricane Igor's heavy rainfall
NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite has provided a 3-D look at the power

Center integrates human, animal, environmental health
The Center for One Health Illinois, established at the University of Illinois last year with a $250,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture, will receive another $500,000 in grants over several years from the USDA to pursue its mission of fostering collaborations and the free flow of information among those in the fields of medicine, public health, the environment and agriculture. 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