Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 19, 2010
Scientists find gene linked to alcoholism
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have discovered a gene variant that may protect against alcoholism.

Professional sports persons should drink more water
Top sports persons must always perform to their maximum capacity, making them the most vulnerable to the effects of dehydration.

Cataract surgery saves lives, dollars by reducing auto crashes
Cataract surgery not only improves vision and quality of life for older people, but is also apparently a way to reduce the number of car crashes.

UT professor defines play, discovers even turtles need recess
Seeing a child or a dog play is not a foreign sight.

Insulin sensitivity may explain link between obesity, memory problems
Because of impairments in their insulin sensitivity, obese individuals demonstrate different brain responses than their normal-weight peers while completing a challenging cognitive task, according to new research by psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin.

Improved antibiotic coatings
A research group in Australia is working on techniques to permanently bind antibacterial coatings to medical devices by binding them to a polymer layer.

Friends share personal details to strengthen relationships in United States, but not in Japan
In the United States, friends often share intimate details of their lives and problems.

Alcohol increases reaction time and errors during decision making
There has been an abundance of research on the effects of alcohol on the brain, but many questions regarding how alcohol impairs the built-in control systems are still unknown.

X-ray diffraction may play key role in stopping 'kissing bug,' fungus
If finding the cure for a fungus and parasite that affects millions of people were the subject of a detective show, University of Missouri Chemistry Professor John Tanner would be the forensic expert in the lab, using high-tech equipment to make a model that could eventually solve the crime.

Nanotube thermopower
Researchers from Massachusetts have found a way to store energy in thin carbon nanotubes by adding fuel along the length of the tube, chemical energy, which can later be turned into electricity by heating one end of the nanotubes.

OGI invests in drug discovery at InDanio Bioscience
Through its Pre-Commercialization Business Development Fund (PBDF), the Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI) has invested in InDanio Bioscience, an early-stage drug discovery and development company with a novel and unique screening system for the complete human nuclear hormone receptor (NR) family, using fluorescent tags attached to copies of human genes in living zebrafish embryos to identify and localize functioning individual NRs.

Conserving resources: Producing circuit boards with plasma
There is a large growth market for flexible circuits, RFID antennas and biosensors on films.

CRN responds to JAMA fish oil study
In response to a study regarding fish oil use during pregnancy published in the October 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry, reminds pregnant and lactating women of the undisputed importance of consuming the recommended amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) throughout pregnancy.

Can effective treatments be found for intracerebral hemorrhage?
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) accounts for 10 percent and 20 percent of strokes in high and low-to-middle income countries respectively, but ICH incidence and case fatality do not seem to be declining.

Culturally inspired mobile phone games help Chinese children learn language characters
Mobile phone-based games could provide a new way to teach basic knowledge of Chinese language characters that might be particularly helpful in underdeveloped rural areas of China, say researchers in Carnegie Mellon University's Mobile & Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies Project.

SHIP protein identified as a B-cell tumor suppressor
Sanford-Burnham researchers discover how the enzyme SHIP regulates B-cell growth in mice, findings that could impact lymphoma drugs in development.

New theory links depression to chronic brain inflammation
Chronic depression is an adaptive, reparative neurobiological process gone wrong, say two University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers, positing in a new theory that the debilitating mental state originates from more ancient mechanisms used by the body to deal with physical injury, such as pain, tissue repair and convalescent behavior.

NHLBI launches body cooling treatment study for pediatric cardiac arrest
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched the first large-scale, multicenter study to investigate the effectiveness of body cooling treatment in infants and children who have had cardiac arrest.

How green is your campus?
In the first study of its kind, Contemporary Economic Policy presents an article which compares the factors that drive colleges to adopt sustainable practices to the factors that motivate for-profit companies to

Mounting research shows increased health risks from volcanic air pollution
Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano has been erupting since 1983. But, in March 2008, an additional eruption vent opened at the volcano's summit, resulting in triple the amount of sulfur dioxide gas emissions drifting to the local community of Ka'u, raising health concerns over the risks associated with exposure to

How parasites react to the mouse immune system may help to shape their control
How parasites use different life-history strategies to beat our immune systems may also provide insight into the control of diseases, such as elephantiasis and river blindness, which afflict some of the world's poorest communities in tropical Southeast Asia, Africa and Central America.

Old bees' memory fades; mirrors recall of mammals
A study published Oct. 19 in the open access journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE, shows that not just human memories fade.

Get in synch -- or be enslaved by it
Understanding conditions that cause oscillators to fall in or out of synchronization is necessary to achieve the optimal functioning of oscillator networks that underlie many technologies.

Bacteria gauge cold with molecular measuring stick
A study by scientists at Rice University and Argentina's National University of Rosario offers a new answer for how bacteria respond to cold temperatures: They use a measuring stick.

Atomic-level manufacturing
The long-held dream of creating atomically precise 3-D structures in a manufacturing environment is approaching reality, according to the top scientist at a Texas company making tools aimed at that ambitious goal.

Government agencies fund improved fuel economy research at Virginia Tech
The researchers hope to develop new thermoelectric materials and specific designs to achieve their goals of improved fuel efficiency and reduced pollution.

Photovoltaic medicine
Micro-scaled photovoltaic devices may one day be used to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs directly to tumors, rendering chemotherapy less toxic to surrounding tissue.

How batteries grow old
In a laboratory in Ohio, an ongoing experiment is looking at why batteries lose their ability to hold a charge as they age -- specifically lithium-ion batteries, which have generated a lot of buzz for their potential to power the electric cars of the future.

Short-range scattering in quantum dots
Chinese researchers, reporting in the Journal of Applied Physics, have described a new breakthrough in understanding the way electrons travel around quantum dots.

Brain might be key to leptin's actions against type 1 diabetes, UT Southwestern researchers find
New findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggest a novel role for the brain in mediating beneficial actions of the hormone leptin in type 1 diabetes.

Sniffing out shoe bombs: A new and simple sensor for explosive chemicals
University of Illinois chemists have developed a simple sensor to detect an explosive used in shoe bombs.

Visceral adiposity index directly correlated to viral load in genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C
Researchers at the University of Palermo in Italy provide the evidence that a higher visceral adiposity index score -- a new index of adipose dysfunction -- has a direct correlation with viral load and is independently associated with both steatosis and necroinflammatory activity in patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C.

Old logging practices linked to high erosion rates
Clear-cut logging and related road-building in the 1950s and 1960s in southern Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains disrupted soil stability and led to unprecedented soil erosion made worse during heavy rainstorms, report University of Oregon researchers.

New vision correction options for baby boomers
Results of clinical research on new presbyopia treatments now available in Europe -- and possibly available soon in the United States -- were reported in today's scientific program of the 2010 Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Middle East-Africa Council of Ophthalmology.

Eating disorder anorexia nervosa causes potentially serious eye damage
The eating disorder anorexia nervosa causes potentially serious eye damage, suggests a small study published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

UH Case Medical Center receives Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award
For the second consecutive year University Hospitals Case Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award.

Long distance, top secret messages
When the military needs to send the key to encrypted data across the world, it can't necessarily rely on today's communication lines, where the message could be covertly intercepted.

Biologist hopes new 'condos' will help Galapagos penguins stave off extinction
A University of Washington conservation biologist is behind the effort to build nests in the barren rocks of the Galapagos Islands in the hope of increasing the population of an endangered penguin species.

Shaping the future of the High Plains' water supply
Researchers at Michigan State University are helping shape the future of the High Plains' water supply.

Recycling pacemakers may alleviate burden of heart disease across the globe
Millions worldwide die each year because they can't afford a pacemaker.

New sensor derived from frogs may help fight bacteria and save wildlife
Princeton engineers have developed a sensor that may revolutionize how drugs and medical devices are tested for contamination, and in the process also help ensure the survival of two species of threatened animals.

Experiments find bias in way analysts view firms led by black grads of prestigious universities
Analysts examining a firm and the qualifications of its top management team discount the educational background of African American managers who graduated from prestigious universities while accepting the qualifications of white managers with the same college credentials, according to two experiments reported in the current issue of Organization Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Neuralstem updates ALS clinical trial progress
Neuralstem, sponsor of the first stem cell trial for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, has been approved by the safety monitoring board to dose patients who can walk, and therefore represent an earlier stage of the disease.

Experts discuss S-equol data at ninth international symposium on role of soy
The latest research into the health effects and safety of a soy-based compound called S-equol was described in presentations by experts at a special session during the Ninth International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment, in Washington, D.C.

New clinical trial explores role of vitamin D in preventing esophageal cancer
In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, physicians at University Hospitals Case Medical Center who are Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researchers are exploring the role of Vitamin D in preventing esophageal cancer.

Why the leopard got its spots
Why do leopards have rosette-shaped markings but tigers have stripes?

More than 200 new snails of the same genus described in a single study
Two world experts in micro molluscs, Anselmo Penas and Emilio Rolan, have made an unprecedented description in a scientific publication of a combined total of 209 snail species.

TYRX AIGISRx antibacterial envelope shows low infection rate, high CIED procedure success
COMMAND study results showed that patients undergoing CIED (cardiac implantable electronic device) implantation with TYRX Inc.'s FDA-cleared AIGISRx Antibacterial Envelope enjoyed a 99.5 percent rate of successful implantation with an overall infection rate of only 0.48 percent in the first 1.9 months following the procedure.

Scott & White Healthcare receives Consumer Choice Award for seventh year
National Research Corporation has listed Scott & White Healthcare as one of the nation's 2010/2011 top hospitals Consumer Choice Award winners.

NIH funds 4 clinical trials to fight antimicrobial resistance
NIAID today announced four new contracts for large-scale clinical trials that address the problem of antimicrobial resistance.

Air pollution exposure increases risk of severe COPD
Long term exposure to low-level air pollution may increase the risk of severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to researcher s in Denmark.

Study reveals how sex hormones influence right heart function
In the largest human study to date on the topic, researchers have uncovered evidence of the possible influence of human sex hormones on the structure and function of the right ventricle of the heart.

Proton therapy safe, effective for early-stage lung cancer patients
Proton beam therapy is safe and effective and may be superior to other conventional treatments for Stage I inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, according to a study in the October issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Inhaling nitric oxide eases pain crises in sickle cell patients
Inhaling nitric oxide appears to safely and effectively reduce pain crises in adults with sickle cell disease, researchers report.

Study shows black youth are politically involved, disputes other stereotypes
Many of the assumptions people have about black youth -- that they are politically detached and negatively influenced by rap music and videos -- are false stereotypes, according to a new study based on surveys and conversations with the youth themselves.

Study gives new hope of a drug cure for some patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia
Some patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in complete molecular remission (CMR) are able to survive without relapse for up to 2 years after stopping imatinib treatment.

Newborn hearing screening linked with improved developmental outcomes for hearing impaired children
Children with permanent hearing impairment who received hearing screening as newborns had better general and language developmental outcomes and quality of life at ages 3 to 5 years compared to newborns who received hearing screening through behavioral testing, according to a study in the Oct.

Disease in rural China linked to polluted coal
In remote, rural areas of southwestern China, villagers cook and dry their clothes by burning pieces of coal they pick up off the ground.

Study reveals superior sedation method for children
Procedural sedation and analgesia is an essential element of care for children requiring painful procedures in the emergency department.

Drought may threaten much of globe within decades
The United States and many other heavily populated countries face a growing threat of severe and prolonged drought.

Caltech applied physicist Amnon Yariv awarded National Medal of Science
Amnon Yariv, the Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and professor of electrical engineering -- a pioneer in the field of optoelectronics -- has been named one of 10 recipients of the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists.

10-minute plasma treatment improves organic memory performance
A group of researchers at Korea's Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology has demonstrated an optimal combination of materials and processing for a resistive memory circuit design -- described in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

New nano techniques integrate electron gas-producing oxides with silicon
In cold weather, many children can't resist breathing onto a window and writing in the condensation.

Worst coral death strikes at SE Asia
International marine scientists say that a huge coral death which has struck Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean reefs over recent months has highlighted the urgency of controlling global carbon emissions.

Study shows video games highly effective training tools
Long derided as mere entertainment, new research now shows that organizations using video games to train employees end up with smarter, more motivated workers who learn more and forget less.

A middle class that copes by shopping secondhand
BYU sociology students and faculty gathered data on thrift shopping in a community that suffered the closure of a major employer several years before the national recession began in 2008.

Paraquat resistance discovered in major weed
Scientists at the University of Adelaide have discovered new cases of herbicide resistance in annual ryegrass, one of the world's most serious and costly weeds.

Use of DHA fish oil capsules does not decrease postpartum depression in mothers
In contrast to the findings of some studies and the recommendations that pregnant women increase their intake of fish oil via dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) because of the possible benefits, a randomized trial that included more than 2,000 women finds that use of DHA supplements did not result in lower levels of postpartum depression in mothers or improved cognitive and language development in their offspring during early childhood, according to a study in the Oct.

Shock tactics: Bioelectrical therapy for cancer and birth defects?
Finding a simple, cheap and reliable way to manipulate stem cells is a major goal of current research into therapies for birth defects, regeneration of organs and multiple diseases, including cancer.

See no shape, touch no shape, hear a shape?
Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -- the Neuro, McGill University have discovered that our brains have the ability to determine the shape of an object simply by processing specially-coded sounds, without any visual or tactile input.

Gene activity in the brain depends on genetic background
Researchers at the Allen Institute for Brain Science have found that the same genes have different activity patterns in the brain in individuals with different genetic backgrounds.

Batteries smaller than a grain of salt
Researchers in California are aiming to create some of the tiniest batteries on Earth, the largest of which would be no bigger than a grain of sand.

Researchers advocate for more education and attention regarding rare breast cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), an aggressive and rare malignancy, is often initially misdiagnosed as an infection or rash.

UGA researchers to study transmission of human pathogen to coral reefs
The spread of lethal diseases from animals to humans has long been an issue of great concern to public health officials.

Sterilizing with fluorescent lights
Scientists in New Mexico are working on a new type of antimicrobial surface that won't harm people or animals but is inhospitable to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- the bacterial cause of an estimated 19,000 deaths and $3-4 billion in health-care costs per year in the US.

Fetal alcohol exposure associated with a decrease in cognitive performance
Exposure to alcohol as a fetus has been shown to cause difficulties in memory and information processing in children.

Adiponectin shows potential in blocking obesity-related carcinogenesis
A research team from Emory University School of Medicine investigated the role between adiponectin and leptin in obesity-related carcinogenesis.

Bioelectrical signals turn stem cells' progeny cancerous
Tufts biologists have found that a change in membrane voltage in newly identified

Elusive protein may lead the fight against inflammatory disease
A husband and wife research team from Melbourne, Australia, have identified a protein that may be a key therapy for many inflammatory diseases, including those affecting premature babies.

Osteoporosis drug builds bone in patients with gum disease
A drug marketed to grow bone in osteoporosis patients also works to heal bone wounds in gum disease patients, a University of Michigan study suggests.

Study of tiny magnets may advance their use in microelectronics
Researchers at Shanxi University in China have announced progress in understanding the single-molecule magnet, which combines the classical macroscale properties of a magnet with the quantum properties of a nanoscale entity -- as described in the Journal of Applied Physics.

Top US science prize awarded to Tel Aviv University physicist Prof. Yakir Aharonov
Renowned in the physics community for the

Study rejects benefits of fish oil capsules in pregnancy
A University of Adelaide study has found no evidence that taking fish oil capsules during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of post-natal depression, contrary to international recommendations.

Battling harmful algal blooms
Michigan State University researchers are hoping their project will reduce increased incidents of fish kills, fouled drinking water, closed beaches and additional problems triggered by harmful algal blooms.

Iowa State, USDA researchers discover eye test for neurological diseases in livestock
Iowa State University's Jacob Petrich and his collaborators have discovered that the eyes of sheep infected with scrapie return an intense, almost-white glow when they're hit with blue light.

Study: Religious diversity increases in America, yet perceptions of Christian nation intensify
While America continues to become more religiously diverse, the belief that America is a Christian nation is growing more intense.

Children's best friend
Dogs may not only be man's best friend, they may also have a special role in the lives of children with special needs.

Prostate cancer patients are at increased risk of precancerous colon polyps
Men with prostate cancer should be especially diligent about having routine screening colonoscopies, results of a new study by gastroenterologists at the University at Buffalo indicate.

Implementing program for operating room staff emphasizing teamwork appears to reduce surgical deaths
Hospitals that had operating room personnel participate in a medical team training program that incorporates practices of aviation crews, such as training in teamwork and communication, had a lower rate of surgical deaths compared to hospitals that did not participate in the program, according to a study in the Oct.

Heavy alcohol use suggests a change in normal cognitive development in adolescents
Adolescence and puberty is a period of significant development in the brain.

University of Houston professor taking next step with graphene research
A University of Houston researcher is working on a way to mass produce graphene, a revolutionary material.

Wake-up call: Researchers find sleepy fibroblasts are surprisingly lively
A surprising level of activity discovered in

Docs not immune to drug marketing: Study co-authored by York U prof
Findings published today in the journal PLoS Medicine show that pharmaceutical promotion may cause doctors to prescribe more expensively, less appropriately and more often.

Consumer sentiment shaped by differing cultural attitudes toward power
Cultures nurture different views of what is desirable and meaningful to do with power, according to new research by University of Illinois marketing expert Sharon Shavitt.

Cheaper, more effective treatment of type 1 Gaucher disease possible
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that new disease pathways involving more than one cell type leads to Type 1 Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder in which fatty substances called glycosphingolipids accumulate in cells, resulting in liver/spleen enlargement, osteoporosis, bone pain, and increased risk of cancer and Parkinson's disease.

ONR scientist awarded for advancements in fuel cell technology
Dr. Richard Carlin, director of the Sea Warfare and Weapons Department in the Office of Naval Research (ONR), was honored with the 2010 Fuel Cell Seminar and Exposition Award on Oct.

BMC receives National Institutes of Health grant to study intrauterine cocaine and substance reslience
Deborah A. Frank, MD, the director of the Grow Clinic for Children at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and a Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has received a 5-year, $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the long-term impacts of intrauterine cocaine exposure (IUCE) and intrauterine substance exposure (IUSE).

Drought may threaten much of globe within decades
The United States and many other heavily populated countries face a growing threat of severe and prolonged drought in coming decades, according to results of a new study by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai.

Goldemberg wins 2010 Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize
José Goldemberg, a world-renowned energy expert who helped lay the scientific foundation for Brazil's biofuels program and who subsequently became a leading advocate for the adoption of

Inflammatory breast cancer focus of new report
A rare and deadly form of breast cancer that often goes unrecognized by clinicians and patients alike is the focus of a new report from leading researchers.

New UGA research shows people are better at strategic reasoning than was thought
When we make decisions based on what we think someone else will do, we must use reason to infer the other's next move -- or next three or more moves -- to know what we must do.

Springer and the International Organization for Migration launch new book series
Springer has launched a new book series in partnership with the International Organization for Migration called Global Migration Issues.

Low testosterone linked to heightened risk of early death
Low testosterone levels seem to be linked to a heightened risk of premature death from heart disease and all causes, suggests research published online in Heart.

University of Virginia chemical engineers use gold to discover breakthrough for creating biorenewable chemicals
University of Virginia chemical engineers Robert J. Davis and Matthew Neurock have uncovered the key features that control the high reactivity of gold nanoparticles in a process that oxidizes alcohols in water.

First direct evidence that response to alcohol depends on genes
A study in mice provides the first experimental evidence to directly support the idea that genetic differences make some individuals more susceptible to the addictive effects of alcohol and other drugs.

The hair brush that reads your mind
One of the main techniques for measuring and monitoring mental activity, called functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), can often be impaired because a person's hair gets in the way.

Early pregnancy in spring linked to child's susceptibility to food allergies
A child's likelihood of developing food allergies can be traced back to the season during which s/he completes their first three months of life in the womb, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Novel regulatory process for T cells may help explain immune system diseases
A newly identified regulatory process affecting the biology of immune system T cells should give scientists new approaches to explore the causes of autoimmunity and immune deficiency diseases.

New UMD Cybersecurity Center aims at public-private partnerships
The University of Maryland is launching a new cybersecurity initiative to stimulate public-private partnerships and address national vulnerabilities, including those facing industry.

WSU and ASU professors urge one-way Martian colonization missions
Would you sign on for a one-way flight to Mars?

CYP2E1 gene found to be associated with alcohol response in the brain
The gene CYP2E1, which is located on the terminal region of chromosome 10, plays a major role in the metabolic processing of alcohol.

Research brings cure for Parkinson's disease a step closer
An international collaboration led by academics at the University of Sheffield, has shed new light into Parkinson's disease, which could help with the development of cures or treatments in the future.

Illinois scientists promote soy by currying favor with Indian taste buds
University of Illinois scientists think they have solved an interesting problem: how to get protein-deficient Indian schoolchildren to consume soy, an inexpensive and complete vegetable protein.

Intricate, curving 3-D nanostructures created using capillary action forces
Twisting spires, concentric rings and gracefully bending petals are a few of the new three-dimensional shapes that University of Michigan engineers can make from carbon nanotubes using a new manufacturing process.

McSleepy meets DaVinci
In a world first, a completely robotic surgery and anesthesia has been performed at the McGill University Health Centre.

Hormone therapy use by postmenopausal women may increase incidence of more advanced breast cancer
Follow-up of about 11 years of participants in the Women's Health Initiative finds that among postmenopausal women, use of estrogen plus progestin is associated with an increased incidence of breast cancers that are more advanced, and with a higher risk of deaths attributable to breast cancer, according to a study in the Oct.

ORNL's research reactor revamps veteran neutron scattering tool
The Cold Triple Axis spectrometer, a new addition to Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Flux Isotope Reactor and a complementary tool to other neutron scattering instruments at ORNL, has entered its commissioning phase.

Associations between drug company information and physicians' prescribing behavior
Information provided to physicians from the US and around the world directly by pharmaceutical companies can be associated with higher prescribing frequency, higher costs and lower prescribing quality.

To be good, sometimes leaders need to be a little bad
A new study has found that when it comes to leading, some negative personality traits aren't such a bad thing. 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