Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 01, 2010
ONR-funded scientists among those recognized by US President
When the White House recently honored 85 up-and-coming scientists and engineers with five years of funding, it validated the efforts of federal agencies such as the Office of Naval Research, which has a history of investing in the next innovator.

Coalition changes towards the 'big society' given lukewarm response by SME's, survey shows
Plans by the coalition government for new social enterprises and Local Enterprise Partnerships to help build the

NIH study identifies ideal body mass index
A study looking at deaths from any cause found that a body mass index between 20.0 and 24.9 is associated with the lowest risk of death in healthy non-smoking adults.

Biodiversity loss: Detrimental to your health
Plant and animal extinctions are detrimental to your health. That's the conclusion of a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Nature by scientists who studied the link between biodiversity and infectious diseases.

Study finds medical device registries enhance patient safety and quality of care
A detailed and standardized national registry of commonly used joint replacement devices would improve patient outcomes and create clinical and financial efficiencies, according to a Kaiser Permanente research study of 85,000 joint surgeries published in the November issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Where is mathematics in Europe?
Europe needs an Institute of Industrial Mathematics to tighten the link between maths and industry as an enabler of innovation -- putting maths at the heart of Europe's innovation, according to the European Science Foundation in a report launched today in Brussels at the

Jefferson study determines bone marrow stromal stem cells may aid in stroke recovery
A research study from the Farber Institute for Neurosciences and the Department of Neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University determines bone marrow stromal stem cells may aid in stroke recovery.

Loud snoring and insomnia symptoms predict the development of the metabolic syndrome
A study in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal SLEEP found that loud snoring and two common insomnia symptoms -- difficulty falling asleep and unrefreshing sleep -- each significantly predicted the development of the metabolic syndrome.

Virtual biopsy may allow earlier diagnosis of brain disorder in athletes
In a study of ex-pro athletes, researchers found that a specialized imaging technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy may help diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disorder caused by repetitive head trauma that currently can only be definitively diagnosed at autopsy.

Half of emergency care doctors prone to burn-out
One in two emergency care doctors is prone to burn-out, suggests a representative survey of French physicians, published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

Annual breast cancer screening beginning at age 40 reduces mastectomy risk
Having a yearly mammogram greatly reduces the risk of mastectomy following breast cancer in women between the ages of 40 and 50, according to a new study.

AnaLisa DiFeo, Ph.D., recognized with the Liz Tilberis Scholarship
AnaLisa DiFeo, Ph.D., instructor in the department of genetics and genomic sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has been honored by the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund with the Liz Tilberis Grant.

Gene duplication detected in depression
A large genetic study of people with major depression has found that a duplicated region of DNA on chromosome 5 predisposes people to the disorder.

Protein protects cancer cells from oxidative stress
High levels of a protein called thioredoxin-like 2 helps protect cancer cells from the oxidative stress that they generate as they grow and invade tissues throughout the body, said a consortium of researchers led by those at Baylor College of Medicine in a report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Rainforest conservation needs a new direction to address climate change
Conservation and international aid groups may be on the wrong course to address the havoc wreaked by climate change on tropical rainforests, according to ateam of scientists.

CU-Boulder scientist to make stellar observations with airborne observatory
A University of Colorado at Boulder faculty member is one of two scientists who will use data gathered by a world-class telescope flying aboard a modified Boeing 747 to peer at a distant star-forming region during its inaugural science flight this week.

Governments worldwide censor Web content
Where you live in the world largely determines how freely you can access the internet.

MRSA carriage rates vary widely in nursing homes, study finds
A study published in the January 2011 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology finds that a high percentage of nursing home residents carry Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and suggests that some nursing homes could be doing more to prevent the spread of the bacteria, which can lead to hard-to-treat infections.

Drug-like compound stops thyroid overstimulation in early NIH studies
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have identified a compound that prevents overproduction of thyroid hormone, a finding that brings scientists one step closer to improving treatment for Graves' disease.

Pioneering HIV research recognized
Professor Michael H. Malim, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at King's College London, has been announced as the recipient of the 2010 M Jeang Retrovirology Prize.

Study finds Hmong, Lu-Mien families face barriers to services
A new community-based study by UC Davis researchers has found that children with developmental disabilities in Southeast-Asian-American families face significant obstacles to receiving intervention services.

Suicide rate among young women veterans more than twice that of civilians
Young women veterans are nearly three times as likely as civilians to commit suicide, according to new research published by researchers at Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University.

America's colonial hydrologic history recreated
Once lost in the mists of time, the colonial hydrology of the northeastern US has been reconstructed by a team of geoscientists, biological scientists and social scientists.The findings provide a new way of uncovering the hydrology of the past, and will lead to a better understanding of hydrologic systems now and in the future, the scientists say.

Dark matter could transfer energy in the Sun
Researchers from the Institute for Corpuscular Physics and other European groups have studied the effects of the presence of dark matter in the Sun.

A third of LGBT youth suffer mental disorders
One-third of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth have attempted suicide in their lifetime -- a prevalence comparable to urban, minority youth -- but a majority do not experience mental illness, according to a report by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Long term exposure to pesticides may be linked to dementia
Long term exposure to pesticides may be linked to the development of dementia, suggests research published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

JCI online early table of contents: Dec. 1, 2010
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Dec.

Researchers identify gene tied to extremely rare disorder that causes inflammation and loss of fat
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a gene responsible for a rare disease that results in severe joint stiffness, muscle loss, anemia and panniculitis-induced lipodystrophy, or JMP syndrome.

Primates are more resilient than other animals to environmental ups and downs
What sets mankind's closest relatives -- monkeys, apes, and other primates -- apart from other animals?

Reaching 100 years of age may be more about attitude and adaptation than health history, study finds
University of Georgia research has provided new clues on surviving to be 100 years old, finding that how we feel about ourselves and our ability to adapt to an accumulation of challenging life experiences may be as or more important than health factors.

What to do if you are bitten by a snake
Should you be the victim of a snakebite, the best thing you can do is get to a hospital as quickly as possible, according to a new review article from the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Researchers describe first functioning 'lipidome' of mouse macrophage
For the first time, scientists have described not only the identities and quantities of fat species in a living mammalian cell -- in this case, a mouse macrophage or white blood cell -- but they also report how these lipids react and change over time to a bacterial stimulus triggering the cell's immune response.

Researchers at SUNY Downstate identify rising incidence of valvular heart diseases in New York state
The incidence of hospitalization and treatment for heart valve diseases in New York State has constantly and progressively risen since the early 1980s, according to research presented at the recent meeting of the American Heart Association by SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Recurrent miscarriage raises heart attack risk fivefold in later life
Recurrent miscarriage increases a woman's chance of having a heart attack fivefold in later life, indicates research published online in the journal Heart.

The protein TXNL2 provides human breast cancer cells with protection
Some individuals supplement their diet with antioxidants to try to ensure that they maintain their health and prevent disease.

Launch of multi-lingual tools to explore and measure science
A new set of tools released today by Science-Metrix Inc.

Super-Earth has an atmosphere, but is it steamy or gassy?
In December 2009, astronomers announced the discovery of a super-Earth known as GJ 1214b.

New findings detail how virus prepares to infect cells
Researchers have learned the atomic-scale arrangement of proteins in a structure that enables a virus to invade and fuse with host cells, showing precisely how the structure morphs with changing acidity to initiate infection.

BUSM researchers show an oncolytic virus switches off cancer cell survival signal
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have identified a mechanism by which specific viruses acting as oncolytic agents can enter and kill cancer cells.

Omega-3s in fish, seafood may protect seniors' eyes; a new test may catch glaucoma early
Seniors interested in lifestyle choices that help protect vision will be encouraged by a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study, and people concerned about glaucoma can take heart from work on early detection by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

U-M researchers identify protein essential for cell division in blood-forming stem cells
University of Michigan researchers have discovered that a protein known to regulate cellular metabolism is also necessary for normal cell division in blood-forming stem cells.

Effects of El Nino land South Pacific reef fish in hot water
Unseasonal warm temperatures caused by El NiƱo have a profound effect on the fish populations of coral reefs in the South Pacific, scientists have found.

Physicists use graphene to decode DNA
Genome sequencing will have a profound effect on our understanding of genetic biology and could usher in a day when doctor and patient are able to review individual genome sequences to fully personalize medical treatment.

IEEE Signal Processing Society offers free educational content via Connexions
Rice University's Connexions and the IEEE Signal Processing Society today announced the release of a broad collection of free, high-quality, peer-reviewed lessons that practicing engineers can use for their own education and career growth and that engineering instructors can mix and match to build customized courses, textbooks and study guides.

Age-related hearing loss and folate in the elderly
Age-related hearing loss, one of the four most prevalent chronic conditions in the elderly, is associated with low serum levels of folic acid, according to new research published in the December 2010 issue of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Study identifies promising biomarkers for Huntington's disease that could be used to test disease-modifying treatments
A range of new clinical, functional, and neuroimaging tests make it possible to track the progression of Huntington's disease (HD) long before noticeable symptoms appear, providing useful biomarkers (indicators) that could be used in future trials to detect the effectiveness of potential disease-modifying treatments within a short time period.

New prion discovery reveals drug target for mad cow disease and related illnesses
The joy of a juicy hamburger could make a comeback thanks a new discovery by scientists from the University of Kentucky.

Blame the environment: Why vaccines may be ineffective for some people
A new discovery may explain why a tuberculosis vaccine is not as effective for some people as anticipated, and potentially explains why other vaccines do not work as well for some as they do for others.

UF expert: Biodiversity loss correlates with increases in infectious disease
Habitat destruction and species extinction may lead to an increase in diseases that infect humans and other species, according to a paper in the journal Nature co-authored by a University of Florida ecologist.

Insomnia after myocardial infarction
The heart and the brain appear to be even more closely connected than previously imagined.

Global sea-level rise at the end of the last Ice Age
Southampton researchers have estimated that sea-level rose by an average of about 1 meter per century at the end of the last Ice Age, interrupted by rapid

Scientists ratchet up understanding of cellular protein factory
Theoretical biologists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have used a New Mexico supercomputer to aid an international research team in untangling another mystery related to ribosomes -- those enigmatic jumbles of molecules that are the protein factories of living cells.

SAGE partners with the ASA to publish Contexts
SAGE has partnered with the American Sociological Association to publish Contexts, a quarterly magazine that makes sociology exciting and relevant to anyone interested in how society operates.

Most low birth weight babies become productive adults
Most survivors of extremely low birth weight grow up to become productive adults, according to a study led by a Michigan State University economist.

Pray tell: Americans stretching the truth about church attendance
A new University of Michigan study finds that Americans are much more likely to exaggerate their attendance at religious services than are people in many other countries.

New psychology theory at Rensselaer enables computers to mimic human creativity
A mathematical model based on psychology theory allows computers to mimic human creative problem-solving, and provides a new roadmap to architects of artificial intelligence.

Cancer research presented at 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
More than 9,000 people from more than 90 countries will gather Dec.

Rain gardens are sprouting up everywhere
Rain gardens are increasingly popular with homeowners and municipalities and are mandatory for many communities nationally.

Plant clock gene also works in human cells
A gene that controls part of the

Preterm infants may need a boost
A new study suggests that preterm infants may not be fully protected against invasive pneumococcal disease under the current United Kingdom immunization schedule.

A powerful new technology to identify HIV inhibitors
Providing long-term HIV treatment for over 33 million infected individuals worldwide requires the continuous development of new HIV therapies.

Loss of species large and small threatens human health
The loss of biodiversity -- from beneficial bacteria to charismatic mammals -- threatens human health.

The Scientist's Top 10 Innovations of 2010 announced
The Scientist, Faculty of 1000's magazine of the life sciences, announced today the winners of the

Who cleans the welfare state?
In this report Anna Gavanas, social anthropologist and associate professor at the Institute for Futures Studies, explores the dynamics of migration, social exclusion and labour market informalization through the lens of the domestic service sector in Stockholm.

U of M researcher helps unlock 30 new genes responsible for early onset puberty
University of Minnesota School of Public Health researcher Ellen Demerath, Ph.D., is among an international group of researchers that has identified 30 new genes responsible for determining the age of sexual maturation in women.

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

Death certificates confirm non-HIV-attributable diseases cause increase in US PLWHA deaths
During the decade since the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy, or 1996-2006, mortality among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) sharply decreased in the United States.

Elsevier launches innovative online radiology board review product
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the availability of Case Reviews Online, an online edition of Case Reviews print series offering radiology professionals self-assessment preparation for board review.

Study shows pregnant mother's diet impacts infant's sense of smell
New study shows a pregnant mother's diet directly impacts an infant's food choices in the future.

A fountain of youth in your muscles
Prof. Dafna Benayahu of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine has discovered how endurance exercise, like jogging or spinning classes, increases the number of muscle stem cells, enhancing their ability to rejuvenate old muscles.

Invasive pest danger closer than you think
In Australia, when crossing from one state to another, travelers may encounter a quarantine stop and may be required to forfeit recently purchased fruits and vegetables as a hedge against invasive pests.

Tumors bring their own support cells when forming metastases
The process of metastasis requires that cancer cells traveling from a primary tumor find a hospitable environment in which to implant themselves and grow.

Longevity breakthrough: The metabolic state of mitochondria controls life span
If you think life's too short, then you're not alone.

Many coastal wetlands likely to disappear this century
Many coastal wetlands worldwide -- including several on the US Atlantic coast -- may be more sensitive than previously thought to climate change and sea-level rise projections for the 21st century.

Designing safer glucocorticoid drugs
Glucocorticoid drugs are used widely. However, their long-term use is limited by severe side effects, including high blood levels of glucose, fatty liver, and type 2 diabetes.

Wiley partners with Kyorinsha to provide ScholarOne service to society journals in Japan
John Wiley & Sons Inc. announced that it has recently signed an agreement with Kyorinsha Co., Ltd. to provide support and maintenance to Wiley-Blackwell society journals in Japan that are managed in the ScholarOne Manuscripts system.

Time ripe to move energy storage idea off drawing board
Case Western Reserve University researcher Gerhard Welsch is moving his design for a self-healing, high-energy capacitor he patented a decade ago off the drawing board.

Record-high greenhouse gas concentrations
Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere were again greater than ever before during the history of humankind.

University of Houston's Superconductivity Center holds student symposium
The Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston will host its 40th Semiannual Student Symposium, where students selected from different laboratories give presentations on their research work.

Electron 'pairing': Triplet superconductivity proven experientially for first time
Researchers at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel and Santa Barbara have made the first experimental breakthrough in quantum physics: Their studies on the

NOAA, Spain announce cooperative arrangement to preserve maritime underwater heritage
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Spain's Ministry of Culture announced today the signing of a memorandum of understanding outlining a framework to jointly identify, protect, manage and preserve underwater cultural resources of mutual interest within their respective areas of responsibility.

MU researcher studies how infants compare quantities
Parents are often amazed at how fast their child grows and develops.

First super-Earth atmosphere analyzed
The atmosphere around a super-Earth exoplanet has been analyzed for the first time using ESO's Very Large Telescope.

Surprising AIDS-treatment benefits, prevention strategy in epidemic regions of Africa
Two teams of researchers at UC San Diego and other US and African universities and the World Bank have documented significant spillover benefits of a drug therapy to combat AIDS symptoms and a novel prevention strategy that focuses on girls in sub-Saharan Africa, an area with two-thirds of the world's HIV infections.

Can engineered bugs help generate biofuels? Study holds promise
The versatile organism Lactococcus lactis, the workhorse bacterium that helps turn milk into cheese, may also be valuable in the understanding of how microbes turn the organic compound cellulose into biofuels.

People with mental illness receive inadequate mass screening for prevention of medical conditions
New research from the University of Leicester and the Leicestershire Partnership Trust shows that people with mental illness are receiving lower levels of preventive medical screening compared with the general population.

Natural reforestation in southern Pyrenees favors orchid
A 13-year study has been key to understanding how and why an orchid species (Cypripedium calceolus), which is endangered in some countries in Europe, is surviving and recovering in the Pyrenees.

IOF statement on new IOM dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D
The International Osteoporosis Foundation commends the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences for their effort in helping to reduce the burden of vitamin D deficiency.

Inflammatory bowel disease causes post traumatic stress, say doctors
The inflammatory bowel disorder Crohn's disease produces its own variant of post traumatic stress, indicates research published online in Frontline Gastroenterology.

Research supports newborn screening and early treatment for rare genetic disorder, MPS I
Study supports the need for newborn screening and early treatment for a rare genetic disorder, mucopolysaccharidosis type I, or MPS I.

More focus on finances needed to increase Latino science and math graduates
A recently released report co-written by a University of California, Riverside professor argues that more attention needs to placed on finances to increase the number of Latino students graduating in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

New results in carotid artery stenosis versus endarterectomy
In the December issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, an interdisciplinary team of Mayo Clinic physicians reviewed the most current data available, especially the results of two recent, widely anticipated randomized studies, and provided a new analysis of the two major interventions for carotid occlusive disease.

Cancer risk from medical radiation may have been overestimated
The risk of developing radiation-induced cancer from computed tomography may be lower than previously thought, according to a new study.

Stroke research takes 2 steps forward
Two studies published in Cell Transplantation (19:9) examining stem cell transplantation aimed at neural repair in animal models of cerebral ischemia and ischemic stroke damage have documented benefits.

Discovery triples number of stars in universe
Astronomers have discovered that small, dim stars known as red dwarfs are much more prolific than previously thought -- so much so that the total number of stars in the universe is likely three times bigger than realized.

Mayor Bloomberg and New York Organ Donor Network launch innovative organ preservation program
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the New York Organ Donation Network today announced the launch of a new pilot program to honor the wishes of registered organ donors and help save lives.

Buyer beware: Dangerous levels of lead found in used consumer products
The problem of toxic lead in used consumer products is extremely widespread and present at levels that are far beyond safe limits, researchers conclude in a new study.

Eye movement problems common cause of reading difficulties in stroke patients
Eye movement problems that result in difficulty reading are as common as vision loss in stroke patients, researchers at the University of Liverpool have found.

The universe does think small
The biggest galaxies in the universe are elliptical galaxies. The largest of these hold over one trillion stars according to astronomical census takers, compared to 400 billion in our Milky Way.

Sleepless soldiers: Study suggests that military deployment affects sleep patterns
Deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan significantly influenced sleep quality and quantity in a population of 41,225 military service personnel.

Fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness should be assessed separately in Parkinson's
Nearly three-quarters of patients with Parkinson's disease experience fatigue or excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

Joint United States, China project studies origins of universe
UH physicist Kwong Lau is part of a vast international team of researchers trying to unlock the secrets of a mysterious particle that could shed light on the history of the universe and how existence is possible.

UCLA biochemists develop new method for preventing oxidative damage to cells
The discovery by UCLA biochemists of a new method for preventing oxidation in the essential fatty acids of cell membranes could lead to a new class of more effective nutritional supplements and could potentially help combat neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and perhaps Alzheimer's disease.

$4.3 million DARPA grant enables development of biological and chemical threat detector
DARPA has awarded Georgia Tech $4.3 million to develop a new class of sensors able to detect multiple biological and chemical threats simultaneously with unprecedented performance.

CT best at uncovering drug mule payload
According to a study, the best way to detect cocaine in the body of a human drug courier, known as a mule, is through computed tomography.

Researchers discover how worms promote healing
A new study involving a man who swallowed worm eggs to relieve symptoms of ulcerative colitis sheds light on how worms promote healing in the intestine.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory -- December 2010
The US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has several news summaries available for December 2010.

GPS not working? A shoe radar may help you find your way
The prevalence of global positioning system (GPS) devices in everything from cars to cell phones has almost made getting lost a thing of the past.

Finger length points to prostate cancer risk
Men who have long index fingers are at lower risk of prostate cancer, a new study published today in the British Journal of Cancer has found.

New gene for childhood cancer neuroblastoma is discovered
Pediatric cancer researchers have identified variations in a gene as important contributors to neuroblastoma, the most common solid cancer of early childhood.

AAO-HNSF partners with SAGE to publish Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), the nation's largest organization representing ear, nose, and throat surgeons, has partnered with SAGE to publish its official journal, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, beginning with Volume 144 in January 2011.

New lung disease network to benefit patients and boost UK economy
Scientists and clinicians in Nottingham are to work more closely with industry to develop new ways of diagnosing and treating lung disease. 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