Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 17, 2010
It takes 2: Double detection key for sensing muscle pain
A new study discovers a molecular mechanism involved in pain associated with muscles.

First compelling evidence for a black hole after recent supernova
Black holes, or the remnants of hyper-or supernova explosions, have intrigued scientists since the concept was first introduced in 1967.

Researchers discover potential genetic target for heart disease
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found a potential genetic target for heart disease, which could lead to therapies to prevent the development of the nation's number one killer in its initial stages.

Global meeting on sustainability in commercial environments to take place in the Southwest
The International Congress on Sustainability Science and Engineering (ICOSSE '11) is an imperative global conference of sustainability researchers, engineers and practitioners, Jan.

Addiction research: Key findings every month
The scientific journal Addiction has launched a new service for its readers: a Web page that lists the key scientific advances reported in each monthly issue, article by article, in bite-sized chunks.

Georgetown neuroscientists -- in their own words
Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center's departments of neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and the interdisciplinary program of neuroscience will present more than 50 research abstracts at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting Nov.

Rare earth elements in US not so rare
Approximately 13 million metric tons of rare earth elements (REE) exist within known deposits in the United States, according to the first-ever nationwide estimate of these elements by the US Geological Survey.

OpenStudy aims to create worldwide study group
Think about online courses. They're great, right? You take a professor who's interested in teaching a certain topic, say computer science, and hook him or her up with hundreds or thousands of students across the globe who want to learn.

Scientists step closer to understanding secrets of anti-matter
Physicists at the Universities of Liverpool and Swansea have succeeded in trapping atoms of antihydrogen to help further understanding of the origins of the Universe.

TWIPS -- sonar inspired by dolphins
Scientists at the University of Southampton have developed a new kind of underwater sonar device that can detect objects through bubble clouds that would effectively blind standard sonar.

New needle-free HPV vaccine increases effectiveness, availability in developing world
New research being presented at the 2010 FIP Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress in association with the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Annual Meeting and Exposition will highlight a targeted inhalable dry powder vaccine that may prove preferable in terms of needle avoidance and expected lower cost than the current commercial human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine used throughout the world.

Hospitals introduce family-activated rapid response programs
Kent and Women & Infants hospitals, both members of the Care New England health care system, recently unveiled programs designed to empower patients and families to call for immediate action if they have concerns about the care being given to a patient.

Antihydrogen trapped for first time
Particle accelerators at CERN produce scads of antiprotons, which five years ago were combined at high speed with positrons to create the first antimatter atoms: antihydrogen.

Differences in brain development between males and females may hold clues to mental health disorders
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have discovered differences in the development of the amygdala region of the brain -- which is critical to the expression of emotional and social behaviors -- in animal models that may help to explain why some mental health disorders are more prevalent among boys.

Forest Service and partners to conduct longleaf pine-carbon research on military bases in 3 states
Southern Research Station scientists and university partners are beginning work on an innovative research project in three states that will help the US Department of Defense better manage longleaf pine forests on military bases for absorbing climate-changing carbon dioxide and providing other ecological services.

Nanoscale probe reveals interactions between surfaces and single molecules
A team of researchers led by Paul Weiss, UCLA's Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences, has developed a tool to study nanoscale interactions.

Queen's University scientists discover new method for studying molecules
Researchers at Queen's University have discovered the method for studying oxygen in large molecular systems.

Neuralstem files FDA application for first drug therapy
Stem cell company Neuralstem has submitted an IND to the US Food and Drug Administration for its first drug to treat depression using a new mechanism of action.

Researchers fight America's 'other drug problem'
Non-adherence to medications costs thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year in the United States alone, according to the New England Healthcare Institute.

UWM research offers hope for treatment of cocaine addiction
Cocaine is one of the worst drug addictions to kick.

New insight into the cause of common dementia found by researchers at Mayo Clinic
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida have found a clue as to how some people develop a form of dementia that affects the brain areas associated with personality, behavior and language.

A new research expedition to the Antarctic ready to depart
The Finnish research expedition FINNARP 2010 will set off for Antarctica on Nov.

National Zoo and partners first to breed critically endangered tree frog
As frogs around the world continue to disappear -- many killed by a rapidly spreading disease called chytridiomycosis, which attacks the skin cells of amphibians -- one critically endangered species has received an encouraging boost.

Scientists announce new advance with potential for future cancer targeting
New research that provides potential for exciting new approaches to targeting diseases such as cancer has been announced by an international team of academics.

Nurse practitioner-led spinal clinic produced impressive results and shorter waiting times
A nurse practitioner-led spinal clinic produced impressive results when compared with the clinics ran by two spinal surgeons.

Battling a bat killer
Scientists are looking for answers -- including commercial bathroom disinfectants and over-the-counter fungicides used to fight athlete's foot -- to help in the battle against a strange fungus that threatens bat populations in the United States.

Researchers link an African lizard fossil in Africa with the Komodo dragon in Indonesia
University of Alberta researchers have unearthed a mysterious link between bones of an ancient lizard found in Africa and the biggest, baddest modern-day lizard of them all, the Komodo dragon, half a world away in Indonesia.

Being faced with gender stereotypes makes women less likely to take financial risks
Last year Nicholas Kristof declared in his New York Times column what banks need to fix their problems: Not just a bailout, but also

New initiative to develop a system that controls prosthetic limbs naturally
Using beams of light to allow amputees not only to control but also to feel the movement of prosthetic limbs is the ambitious goal of a new $5.6 million Department of Defense initiative.

College job market to see slight rebound
The national job market for college graduates should rebound slightly next year as many large corporations end hiring freezes and small, fast-growth companies continue helping reshape the economy, according to Michigan State University's 2010-11 Recruiting Trends report.

Deactivating nerves in the kidneys reduces high blood pressure in patients not responding to drug treatment (Symplicity HTN-2 trial)
Deactivating nerves in the kidney using a burst of radiofrequency energy delivered through a catheter causes large reductions in blood pressure in patients with hypertension who are not responding to drug treatment.

Health literacy impacts chance of heart failure hospitalization, study says
Sub-optimal health literacy is driven by low socioeconomic status and is associated with increased hospital admission rates in patients with heart failure.

Rensselaer mechanical engineers win first place at ASME student manufacturing design competition
Rensselaer mechanical engineering doctoral students Casey Hoffman and Jaron Kuppers won top honors in the national competition last month for their innovative specialized elastomeric tooling process, which offers a new method for curing advanced composites used in aircraft, windmill blades, biomedical devices, and other applications.

Cholesterol-lowering statins boost bacteria-killing cells
Widely prescribed for their cholesterol-lowering properties, recent clinical research indicates that statins can produce a second, significant health benefit: lowering the risk of severe bacterial infections such as pneumonia and sepsis.

Chemicals' study pinpoints threat to workers' lungs
Tiny particles used in a range of everyday products from computers to shampoo can adversely affect the lungs in very different ways, a study has shown.

Agreement to create a global network to analyze the impact of science on society
The International Conference on Science in Society, organized for the first time in Spain by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and which was held last week, approved the creation of a global network for researchers in this area to foment a field which, in the words of the UC3M Full Professor of Journalism and conference organizer, Carlos Elías, is perceived to be

Georgia Tech researchers design machine learning technique to improve consumer medical searches
Georgia Tech researchers have created a machine-learning model that enables the sites, like WebMD, to

Tiny Trojan horses attack brain cancer cells
Scientists in Germany have developed a way of smuggling an anti-cancer drug past the protective blood-brain barrier and into brain tumors and metastases using a nanocarrier -- a tiny capsule specially designed to pass through cell membranes and deliver its anti-cancer drug to the cancer cell.

OSU, Oxford, others launch citizen scientist climate modeling initiative
An international group of scientists from the United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States is collaborating on a fascinating new climate modeling initiative -- using the idle computers of thousands of citizens to create a network of digital power that surpasses that of the best supercomputers.

Appalachia in the limelight
The Appalachians have served as a springboard for innovative geologic thought for more than 170 years.

New insight into dementia pathophysiology
New research unravels a key molecular pathway underlying a neurodegenerative disorder that causes a devastating type of dementia.

Laser system developed at Stanford shows promise for cataract surgery
A paper from Stanford University School of Medicine, to be published Nov.

Yearly mammogram screening for women with a family history of breast cancer could save lives
Giving women younger than 50 years who have a family history of breast cancer a mammogram every year will detect more cancers and could save lives, according to an article published online first in the Lancet Oncology.

Low-allergenic wines could stifle sniffles and sneezes in millions of wine drinkers
Scientists have identified a mysterious culprit that threatens headaches, stuffy noses, skin rash and other allergy symptoms when more than 500 million people worldwide drink wine.

Novel approach shows promise for cystic fibrosis, say UAB researchers
An investigational drug targeting a defective protein that causes cystic fibrosis has been shown to improve lung function in a small study of CF patients.

Medical journals come together to put health at the heart of the climate change agenda
Several leading medical journals have come together to urge health professionals everywhere to put health at the heart of climate change negotiations.

Regenerative stem cell therapy offers new hope for treating cardiovascular disease
Northwestern Medicine physician researchers are revolutionizing treatment of cardiovascular disease by utilizing patients' own stem cells to regenerate heart and vascular tissue.

Months of geologic unrest signaled reawakening of Icelandic volcano
Months of volcanic restlessness preceded the eruptions this spring of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, providing insight into what roused it from centuries of slumber.

How video games stretch the limits of our visual attention
They are often accused of being distracting, but recent research has found that action packed video games like Halo and Call of Duty can enhance visual attention, the ability that allows us to focus on relevant visual information.

UoG and UMass-Boston provide Pacific VIP master's degree program scholarships
The University of Guam Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service, in partnership with University of Massachusetts -- Boston, has been awarded a personnel preparation grant from the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to administer the Pacific Vision Instruction Project master's degree program.

Multidisciplinary approach is key to successful treatment of aggressive prostate cancer
A research team from the National Cancer Institute designated Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson has concluded -- for the first time -- that a multidisciplinary clinic approach to aggressive prostate cancer can improve survival in patients.

Mortal chemical combat typifies the world of bacteria
New research led by scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the University of California, Santa Barbara, describes new complexities in the close chemical combat waged among bacteria.

Nation's top hospital organ transplant centers identified by HealthGrades
HealthGrades, the nation's leading independent ratings organization, today made available to organ transplant patients a list of those hospitals with the best track record for survival and chances of receiving a donor organ.

HFES announces Release of Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics, Volume 6
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has just released the newest volume in the Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics annual series.

New technology gives on-site assessments in archaeology
The ability to tell the difference between crystals that formed naturally and those formed by human activity can be important to archaeologists in the field.

Autism Speaks chief science officer Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., named 'Rock Star of Science'
Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Autism Speaks chief science officer, has been named a

Dr. Benjamin Kile named 2010 Australian Life Scientist of the Year
The Australian Government has named Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Dr.

Deepwater Horizon interim report
The numerous technical and operational breakdowns that contributed to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill from the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico suggest the lack of a suitable approach for managing the inherent risks, uncertainties, and dangers associated with deepwater drilling operations and a failure to learn from previous

Racial profiling to limit terror attacks is fundamentally flawed
Stop using racial profiling, says Professor William Press from the University of Texas at Austin.

A history of Earth's convulsions
Ancient earthquakes are pre-instrumental earthquakes that can only be identified through indirect evidence in the archaeological (archaeoseismology) and geological (palaeoseismology) record.

Widely adopted indicator of fisheries health questioned
The most widely adopted measure for assessing the state of the world's oceans and fisheries led to inaccurate conclusions in nearly half the ecosystems where it was applied.

Study: Employers, workers may benefit from employee reference pool
With employers increasingly reluctant to supply references for former employees, the creation of a centralized reference pool for workers may make labor markets in the US more efficient, says University of Illinois law professor Matthew W.

Faster water flow means greater diversity of invertebrate marine life
On the rocks just beneath the tides, the faster the water is moving in an area, the greater the variety of invertebrate creatures that will live there.

PARP inhibitor, MK-4827, shows anti-tumor activity in first trial in humans
A new drug that targets proteins responsible for helping cancer cells to repair damage to their DNA has shown promising anti-tumor activity in its first trial in humans.

Tightwads and spendthrifts: A Black Friday tradition
Every year about this time, on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally begins the holiday shopping season, early-morning consumers stand in long lines eager to purchase some sought after prize.

Multiple sclerosis drug serves as model for potential drugs to treat botulism poisoning
Scientists are reporting that variants of a drug already approved for treating multiple sclerosis show promise as a long sought treatment for victims of bioterrorist attack with botulinum neurotoxin -- which is 10,000 times deadlier than cyanide and the most poisonous substance known to man.

Professor John Shine wins 2010 Prime Minister's Prize for Science
Professor John Shine AO FAA, executive director of Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, received the 2010 Prime Minister's Prize for Science, the nation's most highly respected award for scientific achievement, in Parliament House tonight.

New imaging method developed at Stanford reveals stunning details of brain connections
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, applying a state-of-the-art imaging system to brain-tissue samples from mice, have been able to quickly and accurately locate and count the myriad connections between nerve cells in unprecedented detail, as well as to capture and catalog those connections' surprising variety.

New revelations in ammonia synthesis
Scientists at the University of Cambridge are working on ways to improve the efficiency of the ammonia synthesis process.

Pelletized manure reduces toxic runoff
Higher concentrations of hormones in waterways have been found to cause physiological and sexual impairment in fish.

Tecnalia investigates nanoparticles for soil remediation
Tecnalia, through its Construction Unit, aims to increase the efficiency, reduce execution times and cut operational costs associated with remedial solutions for contaminated sites and for building development itself.

Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation prepares for launch of 4-year global reef expedition
Having recently observed its 10th anniversary, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is preparing for its next scientific research and education project, the Global Reef Expedition, which will launch in 2011 and continue through 2014.

NIH scientists show how anthrax bacteria impair immune response
Researchers from NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, have determined a key mechanism by which Bacillus anthracis bacteria initiate anthrax infection despite being greatly outnumbered by immune system scavenger cells.

Antimatter atoms stored for the first time
Berkeley Lab researchers have made crucial contributions to the ALPHA collaboration at CERN, an international team who have trapped and stored atoms of antihydrogen for the first time.

Coaching with compassion can 'light up' human thoughts
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University used an fMRI to document reactions in the human brain to compassionate and critical coaching methods.

First app from NPL to help researchers working in the laboratory
The UK's National Physical Laboratory has released its first app for iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads.

IQ scores fail to predict academic performance in children with autism
New data show that many children with autism spectrum disorders have greater academic abilities than previously thought.

Professor Ilkka Hanski wins the European Latsis Prize 2010 for Biodiversity
Professor Ilkka Hanski of the University of Helsinki in Finland is awarded the European Latsis Prize for his contributions to research concerning biodiversity, particularly metapopulation biology.

A new twist for nanopillar light collectors
Berkeley Lab researchers have created unique dual-diameter nanopillars -- narrow at the top, broad at the bottom -- that absorb light as well or even better than commercial thin-film solar cells, using far less semiconductor material and without the need for anti-reflective coating.

Novel genetic mutation that causes the most common form of eye cancer discovered
An international, multi-center study has revealed the discovery of a novel oncogene that is associated with uveal melanoma, the most common form of eye cancer.

Preterm birth rates improve in most states
The United States received a

New Scripps Florida scientist awarded pair of unconventional grants
While scientists depend on grants for their research, applying for them is a long and frequently frustrating process.

Why estrogen makes you smarter
Estrogen sharpens mental performance in humans and animals and shows promise as a treatment for brain disorders.

Cardiac MR sheds light on obscure heart muscle condition
Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC), a cardiomyopathy about which little is fully understood, is associated with heart failure, stroke and ventricular arrhythmias, according to a study to be presented Nov.

Doctoral candidate publishes on graphene's potential with NSF support
With the help of a world-class Stevens faculty, support from the National Science Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education program through the New Jersey Alliance for Engineering Education, and an award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Milan Begliarbekov is conducting groundbreaking research of graphene.

What if we used poetry to teach computers to speak better?
A better understanding of how we use acoustic cues to stress new information and put old information in the background may help computer programmers produce more realistic-sounding speech.

Biodegradable foam plastic substitute made from milk protein and clay
Amid ongoing concern about plastic waste accumulating in municipal landfills, and reliance on imported oil to make plastics, scientists are reporting development of a new ultra-light biodegradable foam plastic material made from two unlikely ingredients: The protein in milk and ordinary clay.

New program launches to ensure food security is not crippled by climate change
Amidst growing alarm that climate change could deal a catastrophic blow to food security in poor countries, a partnership of the world's premiere experts on agriculture, climate, and the environment today announced an intensive global response to confront the impacts of shifting weather patterns on crop and livestock production and their dire consequences for food security.

As Arctic temperatures rise, tundra fires increase, researchers find
The Anaktuvuk River Fire in 2007 burned over 1,000 square kilometers of tundra on Alaska's North Slope, doubling the area burned in that region since record keeping began in 1950.

The pericyte becomes a player in Alzheimer's, other diseases
Cells in the brain called pericytes that have not been high on the list of targets for treating diseases like Alzheimer's may play a more crucial role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases than has been realized.

Scientists question indicator of fisheries health, evidence for 'fishing down food webs'
The most widely adopted measure for assessing the state of the world's oceans and fisheries led to inaccurate conclusions in nearly half the ecosystems where it was applied according to a new analysis.

Caltech physicists demonstrate a four-fold quantum memory
Researchers at Caltech have demonstrated quantum entanglement for a quantum state stored in four spatially distinct atomic memories.

A stem cell secreted protein can be given to improve heart function after experimental heart attack
Heart tissue and stem cells spring into action to begin repairing muscle damaged in a heart attack, and researchers at Duke University School of Medicine found that a protein naturally produced in the body may potentially play a role in accelerating heart muscle repair.

Doubled risk of anxiety for 18 month-old children with congenital heart defects
Research from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health shows that children with severe congenital heart defects have twice the risk of anxiety at 18 months of age compared to healthy children.

FSU researchers helping K-12 teachers bring science down to Earth
When it comes to teaching space and Earth sciences, there's a world of information out there, and two Florida State University researchers are helping K-12 teachers to bring it into the classroom.

Wednesday news tips: Nov. 17, 2010
This release features summaries from several presentations at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2010.

Lower back and foot pain associated with more severe knee osteoarthritis symptoms
A new study found that patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who also have pain in other joints were more likely to experience greater knee pain.

Light at night causes changes in brain linked to depression
Exposure to even dim light at night is enough to cause physical changes in the brains of hamsters that may be associated with depression, a new study shows.

Structure of Lassa virus protein reveals viral thievery
Scientists have solved the structure of a key protein from Lassa virus, which is endemic to West Africa and can cause a deadly hemorrhagic fever.

New England economic outlook precarious; government fiscal woes threaten region's recovery
The New England economic outlook remains precarious, with the regional economy struggling to continue its recovery if the US economy remains weak.

New drug targets vitamin D receptors in hormone resistant prostate cancers
A new anti-cancer drug aimed at vitamin D receptors on cancer cells has prompted encouraging responses in the levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen) in men with prostate cancer that has become resistant to hormonal therapies.

American Association for Cancer Research hosts 102nd annual meeting in 2011
The AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011 will feature the latest findings in laboratory, translational, prevention, epidemiological and clinical cancer research.

Rett syndrome mobilizes jumping genes in the brain
With few exceptions, jumping genes-restless bits of DNA that can move freely about the genome-are forced to stay put.

Advance toward controlling fungus that caused Irish potato famine
Scientists are reporting a key advance toward development of a way to combat the terrible plant diseases that caused the Irish potato famine and still inflict billions of dollars of damage to crops each year around the world.

Scripps Research scientists devise broad new technique for screening proteins
A team led by scientists from the Scripps Research Institute has developed a powerful new method for detecting functional sites on proteins.

Aged, damaged hearts yield stem cells that could treat heart failure
Ample and viable cardiac stem cells can be isolated from elderly and sick patients with heart disease and diabetes.

Vitamin C: A potential life-saving treatment for sepsis
Physicians caring for patients with sepsis may soon have a new safe and cost-effective treatment for this life-threatening illness.

SAGE launch new open access publication for the social sciences
SAGE, the world's leading independent academic and professional publisher today announced the launch of SAGE Open: a new publication to support open access publishing in the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities.

Study finds evidence of gender bias toward diagnosing boys with autism
Social factors can play a key role in whether or not a child is diagnosed as autistic, a new study has found.

Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center to host health care symposium
In a sustained effort to seek consensus-driven policies that would build a high-value health care system, the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center will host a symposium Dec.

Mysterious cells may play role in ALS
By tracking the fate of a group of immature cells that persist in the adult brain and spinal cord, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered in mice that these cells undergo dramatic changes in ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Scientists identify antivirus system
Viruses have led scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Researchers trap antimatter atoms
A team made up of researchers from the University of Calgary, institutions across Canada and around the world have discovered how to trap atomic antimatter and the results of their discovery is published in the journal Nature.

What will threaten us in 2040?
Dr. Yair Sharan, who leads the International Center for Technological Analysis and Forecasting at Tel Aviv University, is spearheading a pan-European project to look three decades ahead and determine what the real technological threats to the planet will be.

1-touch make-up -- for our cells
A new technique developed by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Grenoble, France and collaborators enables them to introduce up to 15 fluorescent markers to a mammalian cell in one go, and could help speed up drug development and screening.

NIH experts describe influenza vaccines of the future
In a review article appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists at NIAID examine research under way to address the limitations of currently available influenza vaccines and develop more efficient and reliable strategies to make vaccines to protect against seasonal as well as pandemic influenza.

OptiMedica's Catalys Precision Laser System study shows marked advancement in cataract surgery
Global ophthalmic device company OptiMedica Corp. has announced that results from a clinical study of its Catalys Precision Laser System were published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.

Lung cancer patients are the centerpiece for Northwestern medicine quality of care study
Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of six national participants in a pilot study that will test whether operable lung cancer patients and their families have a smoother care experience and better outcomes by hardwiring data systems to reduce medical error and to reliably adhere to best practice standards.

Antimatter atoms produced and trapped at CERN
The ALPHA experiment at CERN has taken an important step forward in developing techniques to understand one of the universe's open questions: is there a difference between matter and antimatter?

Toronto Western Hospital study demonstrates improved wait times for patients suffering back pain
Results of a Toronto Western Hospital study show that patients suffering back pain get quicker diagnosis and treatment when a nurse practitioner conducts the first examination.

Hearing loss study reveals role of bone hardness in tissue function
UCSF scientists are reporting the first direct evidence that a subtle change in the physical properties of a tissue can affect its function.

Post-traumatic stress disorder linked to death, atherosclerosis in veterans
Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have more than double the risk of death from any causes and a higher risk of cardiovascular death compared to veterans without the syndrome. 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