Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

October 26, 2010
November 2010 Geology and GSA Today highlights
Geology includes two papers on the 2009 6.3 L'Aquila earthquake, one of which features a new analysis technique, focal mechanism tomography; a study on the impact of the Three Gorges Dam on the middle Yangtze; three papers on methane hydrates; findings of

Study raises concern about ability of tests to predict fertility
The method used to assess infertility in at-home tests might not be the best for identifying which women will have trouble getting pregnant, according to new research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

70 children died from H1N1 influenza in England over 9 month period; ethnic minorities and those with serious pre-existing disorders had highest mortality; these children should be vaccinated as a priority
A study published online first and in an upcoming Lancet shows that 70 children died from H1N1 influenza in the England during the 9 month study period (June 26, 2009, to March 22, 2010).

NIH Recovery Act grants to foster scientific workforce diversity
The National Institutes of Health has awarded six grants totaling approximately $12 million over three years through a new initiative aimed at fostering a diverse scientific workforce.

In a challenging infant heart defect, two-thirds may have high chance of survival
When prenatal diagnosis detects the severe heart defect hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in a fetus, a comprehensive prenatal evaluation is important to provide parents an accurate prognosis.

Project Eagle Rock
Fifty students from Eagle Rock High School in the Los Angeles School District will participate in a large scientific-agriculture conference in Long Beach to get a first-hand look at the science of agriculture, including careers, college admission, research opportunities and minority outreach.

Research proves 'gender-bending' chemicals affect reproduction
New research has provided the first evidence that

Study suggests a third of shark and ray species are threatened
Dr. Jack Musick, emeritus professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has overseen a global study suggesting that 33 percent of shark, skate and ray species are threatened with extinction.

Follow-ups prove powerful tool for treating depression in primary care
Relatively simple interventions, such as follow-up phone calls from a care manager, show promising results for primary care physicians treating depression, a University of Michigan study found.

Field Museum to study composition of stardust
Field Museum researchers have joined with scientists and amateur volunteers around the globe to isolate and analyze interstellar dust gathered by NASA's Stardust space mission launched more than a decade ago.

Women's choices, not abilities, keep them out of math-intensive fields
The question of why women are so underrepresented in math-intensive fields is a controversial one.

Women still work double shifts
The proportion of the workforce represented by women rose from 20.7 percent to 41.1 percent between 1978 and 2002.

Following lifestyle tips could prevent almost a quarter of bowel cancer cases
Almost a quarter of colorectal (bowel) cancer cases could be prevented if people followed healthy lifestyle advice in five areas including diet and exercise, says a new study published on today.

Targeted radiation therapy minimizes GI side effects for prostate cancer patients, Penn study shows
Prostate cancer patients who receive intensity modulated radiation therapy are less apt to suffer serious gastrointestinal complications following their treatment than those who receive three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine which will be presented Nov.

Colorectal cancer patients with gene mutation show better response to cancer agent
Even though the cancer-treatment agent cetuximab is not considered effective treatment for KRAS (a gene)-mutated metastatic colorectal tumors, new research indicates that patients with colorectal cancer not responding to chemotherapy and a certain variation of this gene who were treated with cetuximab had longer overall and progression-free survival than patients with other KRAS-mutations, according to a study in the Oct.

NSF awards new projects for plant genome research
The National Science Foundation has made 28 new awards totaling $101.9 million during the 13th year of its Plant Genome Research Program.

Severe sepsis associated with development of cognitive and functional disability in older patients
Older adults who survived severe sepsis were more likely to develop substantial cognitive impairment and functional disability, according to a study in the Oct.

OU researchers receive $2.9M DOE EPSCoR grant
A University of Oklahoma research team recently received a $2.9 million grant from the US Department of Energy Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research to establish a new Center for Interfacial Reaction Engineering, which will focus on applications of biofuel and fossil fuel upgrading using a revolutionary concept developed at OU.

Mosquito monitoring saves lives and money, analysis finds
Cutting surveillance for mosquito-borne diseases would likely translate into an exponential increase in both the number of human cases and the health costs when a disease outbreak occurs, according to an analysis by Emory University.

Restaurant customers willing to pay more for local food
Not only are restaurant patrons willing to pay more for meals prepared with produce and meat from local providers, the proportion of customers preferring local meals actually increases when the price increases, according to a team of international researchers.

Extinction threat growing for vertebrates, researchers report in Science
Increasing numbers of birds, mammals and amphibians have moved closer to extinction in the last several decades -- but not as far as they would have if no conservation measures at all had been enacted, researchers report.

Adolescents in private schools employ more efficient strategies to cope with problems
This is the conclusion drawn in a study carried out at the University of Granada and recently published in the journal Psicotema.

New insight into links between obesity and activity in the brain
Scientists have revealed that an anti-obesity drug changes the way the brain responds to appetizing, high-calorie foods in obese individuals.

Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee meets Nov. 2-3 in Santa Barbara
The Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee, which advises the Department of Commerce, NOAA, and the Department of the Interior on issues related to Executive Order 13158 and the national system of MPAs, will hold its 16th meeting, Nov.

Haptoglobin as an early serum biomarker of virus-induced type 1 diabetes in rats
Type 1 diabetes is a multifactorial disease of complex etiology characterized by the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells.

Scrambling for climate change solutions
The food industry generates a lot of waste products, but one of these, eggshells, could help combat climate change, according to research published in the International Journal of Global Warming this month.

Current loss tracked down by magnetic fingerprint
Conventional solar cells made from crystalline silicon are difficult and energy-intensive to manufacture.

Stephan Grill wins the 2011 Paul Ehrlich Prize for Young Researchers
The 2011 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for Young Researchers, which is worth $83,000, is awarded to Dresden biophysicist Dr.

WHO pesticide regulations should be based on toxicity in humans, not rats
Current WHO pesticide classifications are based on toxicity in rats, but basing regulation on human toxicity will make pesticide poisoning less hazardous and prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths globally without compromising agricultural needs.

Tendency to obesity starts with pre-schoolers
The results of a two-year study of 1730, 4-5 -year-olds in Canada from 2005 to 2007, using the Children's Eating Behavior Questionnaire, revealed significant differences between the children in different weight status groups for food responsiveness, emotional over-eating, enjoyment of food, satiety responsiveness, slowness in eating, and food fussiness.

Halloween horror story -- tale of the headless dragonfly
In a short, violent battle that could have happened somewhere this afternoon, the lizard made a fast lunge at the dragonfly, bit its head off and turned to run away.

Patients who survive sepsis are more than 3 times as likely to have cognitive problems
Older adults who survive severe sepsis are at higher risk for long-term cognitive impairment and physical limitations than those hospitalized for other reasons.

DGAC report offers food and nutrition practitioners insights on helping combat obesity epidemic
In an insightful commentary in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., R.D., editor-in-chief of the journal and chair of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, highlights the key features and noteworthy findings of the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report.

USDA scientists helping keep in-demand smoked salmon safe to eat
Scientists with the US Department of Agriculture are helping ensure that the smoked salmon that's always a hit at festive gatherings also is always safe to eat, including among their achievements the development of a first-of-its-kind mathematical model that food processors and others can use to select the optimal combination of temperature and concentrations of salt and smoke compounds to reduce or eliminate microbial contamination of the product.

New American Chemical Society podcast: 'Green exercise' for good mental health
Just five minutes of outdoor activities -- such as exercising in a park, working in a backyard garden or walking on a nature trail -- is good for the brain, with tangible benefits for mental health, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning podcast series,

World's vertebrates face increasing risk of extinction
A new assessment conducted by 174 scientists from around the world underscores a growing concern about the health of the world's biodiversity, quantifying the rate of decline among vertebrate species on a global scale for the first time.

Consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids may lower the incidence of gum disease
Periodontitis, a common inflammatory disease in which gum tissue separates from teeth, leads to accumulation of bacteria and potential bone and tooth loss.

Unique database of cancer -- designed to personalize treatment -- is launched
Washington, DC - Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center, announces the launch of the Georgetown Database of Cancer or G-DOC.

Water could hold answer to graphene nanoelectronics
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute developed a new method for using water to tune the band gap of the nanomaterial graphene, opening the door to new graphene-based transistors and nanoelectronics.

SAGE to publish Local Economy: LSBU's Local Economy Policy Unit journal
Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit will be published by leading independent academic and professional publisher SAGE from February 2011.

School attendance, refusal skills combat smoking risk in youth
A University of Missouri researcher is examining the unique differences in adolescent tobacco use among Asians and other groups to provide specific recommendations for prevention and treatment.

New Rocky Mountain Field Guide Looks Through the Generations
Developed in conjunction with the 2010 GSA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Denver, Colo., USA, this new volume from the Geological Society of America includes 10 field trips in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and beyond.

Nature's backbone at risk
The most comprehensive assessment of the world's vertebrates confirms an extinction crisis with one-fifth of species threatened.

Landmark study finds high resting heart associated with shorter life expectancy
If you are a person who already has stable heart disease, how fast your heart beats at rest can predict your risk of dying, not only from heart disease but all other causes, Dr.

New entitlement program not a replacement for long-term care insurance
An obscure provision in the health care reform bill has the potential to seriously alter the long-term care landscape for older Americans, but it may not be as beneficial to retirees as it will be for near-retirees and successive generations of workers, new research by a University of Illinois elder law expert warns.

Astronaut honors University of Oklahoma student with $10,000 scholarship
Native Oklahoman and astronaut William Pogue, who spent 84 days orbiting Earth aboard Skylab, America's first space station, will present University of Oklahoma senior Heather Hollen with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation during a public presentation and ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m.

Continuing biodiversity loss predicted but could be slowed
Writing in the journal Science, 23 experts from nine countries found widely differing conclusions and scenarios regarding likely future changes in biodiversity across five major global environmental assessments and a wide range of peer-reviewed literature.

Benefit of exercise in patients with hypertension has been insufficiently investigated
There are many good reasons to ensure sufficient exercise in everyday life.

Breaching the breech protocol
Recent studies by a group of scientists including Prof. Marek Glezerman of Tel Aviv University indicate that breech babies are no more at risk during vaginal delivery than C-section, and there is reduced morbidity and mortality for the mothers.

Study identifies key molecules in multiple myeloma
New research links three molecules to a critical tumor suppressor gene that is often turned off in multiple myeloma.

Blind people perceive touch faster than those with sight
People who are blind from birth are able to detect tactile information faster than people with normal vision, according to a study in the Oct.

Hubble data used to look 10,000 years into the future
Astronomers are used to looking millions of years into the past.

Newfoundland researchers crack the genetic code of a sudden death cardiac killer
Researchers in Newfoundland have cracked the genetic code of a sudden death cardiac killer.

6 new isotopes of the superheavy elements discovered
A team of researchers has used the 88-Inch Cyclotron at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to create six new isotopes of the superheavy elements, reaching in an unbroken chain of decays from element 114 down to rutherfordium.

Professor Cesare Montecucco to receive the 2011 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize
The chemist and biologist Cesare Montecucco, 62, Department of Biomedical Research, University of Padua, Italy, has won the $139,000 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize 2011 for his contribution to research in the field of bacterial diseases, including tetanus, botulism, anthrax and Helicobacter pylori associated diseases.

New snub-nosed monkey discovered in Northern Myanmar
An international team primatologists have discovered a new species of monkey in Northern Myanmar.

NASA's Kepler Mission changing how astronomers study distant stars
NASA's Kepler Mission is changing how Iowa State University's Steve Kawaler and his fellow astronomers study stars.

New software brings facial-recognition technology to mobile phones
Scientists at the University of Manchester have developed software for mobile phones that can track your facial features in real-time.

VCA fellowship funding to extend ovarian cancer research
Dr. Clare Scott from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, has been awarded a Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA) Clinical Fellowship to further research into an aggressive and highly lethal form of ovarian cancer.

Emissions from consumption outstrip efficiency savings
Emissions from consumption growth have exceeded carbon savings from efficiency improvements in the global supply chain of products consumed in the UK, according to new research by Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York and the University of Durham.

Tornado warnings are too often ignored
With big storms ripping across the Midwest, Bob Drost is hoping people are paying attention to the severe weather and tornado warnings.

A new player in the innate immunity game?
Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a certain class of RNA (known as long non-protein-coding RNA [lncRNA]) are involved in the host response to viral infection.

2 clinical trials demonstrate effective weight loss strategies for obese and overweight adults
Lifestyle interventions, including physical activity and structured weight loss programs, can result in significant weight loss for overweight, obese and severely obese adults, according to two reports that were posted online Oct.

The brain's journey from early Internet to modern-day fiber optics -- all in 1 lifetime
The brain's inner network becomes increasingly more efficient as humans mature.

Breakthrough in understanding life-threatening childhood liver disease
Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Children's Hospital have taken a big step toward understanding what causes one of the most serious liver diseases in infants.

Genetic variations linked with worse outcomes with use of antiplatelet drug for cardiac procedures
An analysis of data from previously published studies indicates that use of the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel for patients who have common genetic variants of a certain gene and are undergoing a procedure such as coronary stent placement have an associated increased risk for major adverse cardiovascular events, particularly development of blood clots in stents, according to a study in the Oct.

R&D and the economic crisis
The European Commission's 2010

Scientists meet in Ethiopia to broaden market opportunities for Africa's livestock farmers
As agricultural leaders across the globe look for ways to increase investments in agriculture to boost world food production, experts in African livestock farming are meeting in Addis Ababa this week to deliberate on ways to get commercialized farm production, access to markets, innovations, gender issues and pro-poor policies right for Africa's millions of small-scale livestock farmers and herders.

Scientist Tim Flannery is first Austrailian to receive Joseph Leidy Award
Dr. Tim Flannery, an internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, will receive the Academy of Natural Sciences' Joseph Leidy Award, the museum announced today.

NOAA, Wisconsin officials designate 17,000-acre research reserve on Lake Superior
A nearly 17,000-acre area encompassing freshwater marshes, uplands and river on the shores of Lake Superior in Wisconsin became the 28th member of NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System today.

UTHealth, BioHouston sign collaborative agreement
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and BioHouston Inc. on Oct.

Year-long opiate substitution for drug misusers has 85 percent chance of cutting deaths
Giving people opiate substitution treatment to help with their drug addiction can lead to a 85 percent plus chance of reducing mortality, according to a new study published on today.

Cardiac wakeup call for Canadian kids
Poor sleep patterns and lack of proper sleep could be threatening thousands of Canadian adolescents with premature heart disease and stroke, warns Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher Dr.

Better transparency needed on medical journals' competing interests
Journals need to develop policies to handle the inevitable competing interests that arise when they publish papers that may bring them reprint revenue or increase their impact factors.

Getting the big picture quickly
University of Utah computer scientists developed software that quickly edits 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