Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 02, 2010
New microscopy tracks molecules in live tissue at video rate
A novel type of biomedical imaging, made possible by new advances in microscopy from scientists at Harvard University, is so fast and sensitive it can capture

Widely used arthritis pill protects against skin cancer
A widely used arthritis drug reduces the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers -- the most common cancers in humans -- according to a new study.

New report: Employer health insurance premiums increased 41 percent from 2003 to 2009
Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance increased an average of 41 percent across states from 2003 to 2009, more than three times faster than median incomes, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

Do our bodies' bacteria play matchmaker?
Prof. Eugene Rosenberg and a team from Tel Aviv University's Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology recently demonstrated that the symbiotic bacteria in the gut of a fruit fly greatly influence its choice of a mate.

Scripps Research scientists home in on chemicals needed to reprogram cells
Scripps Research Institute scientists have made a significant leap forward in the drive to find a way to safely reprogram mature human cells and turn them into stem cells, which can then change into other cell types, such as nerve, heart, and liver cells.

Updated guidelines include new research, advances in stroke prevention
Those who make healthy lifestyle choices can lower risk of first time stroke by 80 percent compared to those who don't make such changes.

iCycleBeads: New iPhone application for planning and avoiding pregnancy
iCycleBeads, a scientifically-based family planning tool developed by researchers from Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health, is the first software application that enables a woman to plan or avoid pregnancy easily and effectively, entirely through the information provided by the application.

Doctors failing to prescribe low-dose menopausal hormone therapy, Stanford study finds
Doctors across the country are still prescribing higher-dose menopausal hormone therapy pills, despite clinical evidence that low doses and skin patches work just as well and carry fewer health risks.

Comparison of dark energy models: A perspective from the latest observational data
Physicists at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Department of Physics at Northeastern University have made a comparison of a number of competing dark energy models.

Heat helped hasten life's beginnings
New research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill investigating the effect of temperature on extremely slow chemical reactions suggests that the time required for evolution on a warm earth is shorter than critics might expect.

Great balls of evolution: UMass microbiologists evolve microorganisms to cooperate in new way
University of Massachusetts Amherst microbiologists Derek Lovley, Zarath Summers and colleagues report in today's issue of Science that they have discovered a new cooperative behavior in anaerobic bacteria, known as interspecies electron transfer, that could have important implications for the global carbon cycle and bioenergy.

Scientists map changes in genetic networks caused by DNA damage
Using a new technology called

Light touch brightens nanotubes
The Rice lab of researcher Bruce Weisman, a pioneer in nanotube spectroscopy, found that adding tiny amounts of ozone to batches of single-walled carbon nanotubes and exposing them to light decorates all the nanotubes with oxygen atoms and systematically changes their near-infrared fluorescence.

Soya beans could hold clue to treating fatal childhood disease
Scientists from the University of Manchester say a naturally occurring chemical found in soy could prove to be an effective new treatment for a fatal genetic disease that affects children.

Researchers find mathematical patterns to forecast earthquakes
Researchers from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide and the Universidad de Sevilla have found patterns of behavior that occur before an earthquake on the Iberian peninsula.

Researchers discover a way to simultaneously desalinate water, produce hydrogen and treat wastewater
Fresh water and reusable energy. Humans are on a constant hunt for a sustainable supply of both.

Perinatal bisphenol-A exposure may affect fertility
A ubiquitous environmental chemical may impair female reproductive capacity, according to a study published online on Dec.

Brookhaven scientist Peter Johnson shares American Physical Society Oliver E. Buckley Prize
Peter Johnson, a physicist at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, is one of three recipients of the American Physical Society's 2011 Oliver E.

SciFlies to attract citizen donors, promote research
The SciFlies Network, a new, citizen-based innovative framework for the public funding of scientific research, makes it possible for citizen donors to select a scientist and a research project and make a direct donation to that scientist's work.

UCLA receives $8.4 million to lead research on ultra-low-power, non-volatile logic technologies
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded an $8.4 million grant to the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science for research in non-volatile logic -- a technology that enables computers and electronic devices to keep their state, even while powered off, then start up and run complex programs instantaneously once powered back on.

Life in high-definition: New microscopy technique earns top prize for young life scientists
For his novel research to obtain high-resolution images of biological cells and tissues, Mark Bates has been named the 2010 Grand Prize winner for the GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists.

'No fish left behind' approach leaves Earth with nowhere left to fish: UBC researchers
The Earth has run out of room to expand fisheries, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia researchers that charts the systematic expansion of industrialized fisheries.

$5.1 million Army-Md. alliance speeds university research to market
The Army and Maryland state research universities are teaming up to advance promising innovations to market.

Low-status leaders are ignored
People who are deemed social misfits or

Physicist Franz Pfeiffer receives 2011 Leibniz Prize
Physicist Franz Pfeiffer is one of the ten winners of the 2011 Leibniz Prize, the German Research Foundation has announced.

Study predicts distribution of gravitational wave sources
A pair of neutron stars spiraling toward each other until they merge in a violent explosion should produce detectable gravitational waves.

Genetic mutations associated with increased PSA and prostate cancer
Austrian researchers have uncovered mutations throughout the mitochondrial genome that are associated with prostate cancer.

Spanish Oncology to establish a new standard treatment on breast cancer at early stages
Spanish Oncology has established a new standard treatment for Breast Cancer at early stages thanks to the results of the study 9805/Target 0 funded by Spanish Breast Cancer Research Group and sponsored by Sanofi Aventis.

Dutch royal honors for Manchester researchers
University of Manchester Nobel Prize winners Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov have received knighthoods from Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

UNC team discovers a mechanistic link between genetic variation and risk of cardiovascular disease
A team from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center has uncovered a clue as to how certain common genetic variants may influence an individual's risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or heart attack.

New discovery prevents symptoms of rare genetic disorder
A new study offers hope for children born with a rare genetic disease, according to a paper published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Research provides better understanding of long-term changes in the climate system
For more than a decade, Dr. Joseph Ortiz, associate professor of geology at Kent State University and part of an international team of National Science Foundation-funded researchers, has been studying long-term climate variability associated with El Nino.

'Less is more,' when it comes to sugary, high-caffeine energy drinks, researchers say
Moderate consumption of so-called energy drinks can improve people's response time on a lab test measuring behavioral control, but those benefits disappear as people drink more of the beverage, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.

People with a university degree fear death less than those at a lower literacy level
Research conducted at the University of Granada revealed that fear of death is more common among women than men.

The future of metabolic engineering -- designer molecules, cells and microorganisms
Jay Keasling, a leading authority on metabolic engineering, envisions a future in which microorganisms are tailor-made to produce specific chemical products, such as biofuels and pharmaceuticals, from inexpensive and renewable starting materials.

Astrobiologists: Deadly arsenic breathes life into organisms
Evidence that the toxic element arsenic can replace the essential nutrient phosphorus in biomolecules of a naturally occurring bacterium expands the scope of the search for life beyond Earth, according to Arizona State University scientists who are part of a NASA-funded research team reporting findings in the Dec.

Media advisory 3: AGU 2010 Fall Meeting
In 10 days, AGU's 2010 Fall Meeting will bring 18,000 Earth and space scientists to Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco.

Checklist continues to stop bloodstream infections in their tracks, this time in Rhode Island
Using a widely heralded Johns Hopkins checklist and other patient-safety tools, intensive care units across the state of Michigan reduced the rate of potentially lethal bloodstream infections to near zero.

UC Irvine Medical Center is recognized for its commitment to organ donation
UC Irvine Medical Center recently received a Silver Medal of Honor from the US Department of Health & Human Services for its role in supporting organ and tissue donation.

Strange discovery: Bacteria built with arsenic
In a study that could rewrite biology textbooks, scientists have found the first known living organism that incorporates arsenic into the working parts of its cells.

Forget your previous conceptions about memory
Memory difficulties such as those seen in dementia may arise because the brain forms incomplete memories that are more easily confused, new research from the University of Cambridge has found.

Team from Festo and Fraunhofer IPA wins: Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2010
Inspired by the elephant's trunk, researchers have developed an entirely new robot arm.

Journal of Integrated Pest Management is now online
The Entomological Society of America has just released the first issue of its newest periodical, Journal of Integrated Pest Management, which is available online for free.

SAGE expands Therapeutic Advances series
SAGE has extended its suite of Therapeutic Advances journals with the launch of a further two titles: Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, and Therapeutic Advances in Hematology.

With grant, UNH researchers will ID Great Bay's pollution 'hot spots'
Rising levels of nitrogen are threatening New Hampshire's Great Bay, with algal blooms, reduced eelgrass coverage, depletion of dissolved oxygen, and reduced native oyster production all linked to the increase of nitrogen pollution.

Scientists propose new international cancer effort akin to Human Genome Project
Scientists are proposing an international effort, on the scale of the Human Genome Project (HGP), to identify all the proteins present in cancer cells.

New insights about Botulinum toxin A
A new study by researchers at the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, found animals injected with Botulinum toxin A experienced muscle weakness and atrophy far from the site of injection.

Genetic alteration linked with disorders of sex determination
Several genetic alterations that cause DSDs have been identified, and work continues in an effort to elucidate the cause in other individuals.

Science gives Understanding Evolution and Understanding Science sites SPORE award
Because of the important mission they took on with the Understanding Evolution site and then with a site designed to address the confusion regarding how science works -- called Understanding Science -- the site creators have been selected to win the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) award.

Pattern of drinking affects the relation of alcohol intake to coronary heart disease
A fascinating study published in the BMJ shows that although the French drink more than the Northern Irish each week, as they drink daily, rather than more on less occasions, the French suffered from considerably less coronary heart disease than the Northern Irish.

Urban youth cope with neighborhood violence in diverse ways
Experiences with violence cause teens growing up in dangerous neighborhoods to adopt a range of coping strategies, with notable impact whether the violence takes place at home, among friends or during police incidents, a University of Chicago study shows.

Set of specific interventions rapidly improves hospital safety 'culture'
A prescribed set of hospital-wide patient-safety programs can lead to rapid improvements in the

3-D map of fly brain is to neuroscience what genome is to genetics
In an advance that is being compared to the sequencing of the fly genome, researchers have created the first brain-wide wiring map of a fruit fly.

SomaLogic researchers describe revolutionary new approach to protein analysis and application to early diagnosis of lung cancer
In two papers published on Dec. 2 in the open-access scientific journal PLoS One, researchers at SomaLogic Inc. and their collaborators describe a revolutionary new approach to biomarker detection and demonstrate its potential diagnostic power in a large-scale study that identifies a panel of biomarkers that can detect lung cancer in its early -- and treatable -- stages.

Rewarding eco-friendly farmers can help combat climate change
Financially rewarding farmers for using the best fertilizer management practices can benefit water quality and help combat climate change, finds a new study by the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Environmental Research.

Sows ears and silk purses: Packing more flavor into modern pork
Perhaps you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but scientists are reporting progress in pulling off the same trick with the notoriously bland flavor of pork.

Pilots of the future: Suicide and the internet
In a world report in this week's Lancet, senior editor Niall Boyce looks at the relationship between suicidal people and the internet, and gauges opinion from scientific and community leaders on what can be done to prevent suicide in the online age of today.

Merck to acquire SmartCells, a JDRF-funded company
Today pharmaceutical company, Merck and Co. Inc. announced it will acquire SmartCells Inc., a private biotech developing a glucose-responsive insulin whose proof-of-concept preclinical trials were partially funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

University of Toronto physicists create supernova in a jar
Physicists from the University of Toronto and Rutgers have mimicked the explosion of a supernova in miniature.

Proteins, like people, act differently when crowded together
People can act and feel one way when crammed together but have a different mindset when they have more personal space.

NIH study suggests that early detection is possible for prion diseases
A fast test to diagnose fatal brain conditions such as mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans could be on the horizon, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health scientists.

The race against age
Impairments to health and physical performance are not primarily a result of aging but of unfavorable lifestyle habits and lack of exercise.

JACS paper demonstrates continuous and controlled translocation of DNA polymer through a nanopore
Research published in JACS shows a significant step towards sequencing of DNA strands using a nanopore -- a key scientific goal for a new generation of DNA sequencing machines.

University of Minnesota licenses sensor technology to Minnesota startup
United Science, a Minnesota startup company, has licensed sensor technology developed at the University of Minnesota that could prevent toxic byproducts of mining and other industries from ending up in the environment and improve productivity at the same time.

'Perfumery radar' brings order to odors
Scientists are announcing development and successful testing of the first

Georgia Tech's Walt de Heer awarded Materials Research Society Medal
The Materials Research Society awarded Walter A. de Heer, professor of physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the MRS Medal at its annual fall meeting in Boston today.

Intelligence cooperation faces obstacles
Europe's intelligence services must cooperate on terrorism and organized crime.

UCLA scientists discover mechanism that turns healthy cells into prostate cancer cells
A protein that is crucial for regulating the self-renewal of normal prostate stem cells, needed to repair injured cells or restore normal cells killed by hormone withdrawal therapy for cancer, also aids the transformation of healthy cells into prostate cancer cells, researchers at UCLA have found.

Team identifies a genetic switch for determining gender
An international has identified a gene that appears to be an important switch in determining whether the biological program for the development of gender will go according to plan, or if, when mutated, will cause a glitch in the program.

New study calls for greater awareness of food supply for children with diabetes
Managing diabetes in a child requires a careful balance of insulin, diet and exercise.

The initial and final state of SNe Ia from the single degenerate model
Following the comprehensive SD model developed by Meng & Yang (2010), researchers show the initial and final state of the progenitor systems of SNe Ia in an orbital-period-secondary-mass plane.

Genetic link found between spinal arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease
Researchers at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in Brisbane, Australia, have found that a form of spinal arthritis is genetically linked to Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Evanescent wave imaging of adsorbed protein layers
Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing has shown the optimized settings of evanescent wave imaging for the visualization of protein layer.

Grant launches cervical cancer-free Indiana initiative
Indiana will join a multi-state program focused on cervical cancer prevention thanks to an unrestricted gift from GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals to the Indiana University School of Medicine, in partnership with the Kristen Forbes EVE Foundation.

MU cancer scientists form new company with international pharmaceutical firm
University of Missouri leaders celebrated a nanomedicine milestone today as they announced the creation of a new drug development company.

Blood vessel dysfunction linked to heart disease also impacts Alzheimer's
A blood vessel dysfunction linked to cardiovascular disease seems to also play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers fabricate more efficient polymer solar cells
Researchers from Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory have developed a process for fabricating more efficient polymer solar cells.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Georges Belfort wins biochemical engineering award
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Georges Belfort has been recognized for his fundamental and applied research of separations processes in biochemical engineering.

PlasmaButton therapy offers less invasive treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia
Olympus, a precision technology leader in designing and delivering innovative solutions in Medical and Surgical Products among other core businesses, announced today that its revolutionary PlasmaButton vaporization technology can now be used with the Gyrus ACMI SuperPulse Generator platform.

Relationship-strengthening class improves life for new families
Expectant parents who completed a brief relationship-strengthening class around the time their child was born showed lasting effects on each family member's well being and on the family's overall relationships, according to a recent Penn State study.

Polluted air increases obesity risk in young animals
Exposure to polluted air early in life led to an accumulation of abdominal fat and insulin resistance in mice even if they ate a normal diet, according to new research.

Boston University School of Medicine professor receives 2010 RSNA Outstanding Educator Award
Kitt Shaffer, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology and vice chairman for Education in Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine, received this year's Radiological Society of North America Outstanding Educator Award during the society's 96th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago Nov.

Energy use in the media cloud
New research has analyzed the potential future demand for downloaded data worldwide, such as social networking sites and on-demand TV programs, and the resulting energy requirements.

Better imaging from bench to bedside
Euro-BioImaging, a project which launches its preparatory phase today, aims to provide scientists throughout Europe with open access to state-of-the-art imaging technologies at all levels of biological and biomedical research, from bench to bedside.

Personalized diets for elderly after hospitalization decreases mortality rates
The Journal of the American Geriatric Society study showed higher death rates six months after discharge (11.6 percent) of the control group compared to the intervention group's death rate of 3.8 percent, which received intensive nutritional treatment.

Broad coalition gathers to open the door for agriculture in international climate change negotiations
Not content to see farming remain outside the international climate change negotiations under way in Mexico, a broad coalition of 17 organizations will bring together more than 400 policy makers, farmers, scientists, business leaders and development specialists on Saturday, Dec.

Beyond nature vs. nurture: Parental guidance boosts child's strengths, shapes development
Why does a young adult choose one career, hobby or path over another -- whether it's lawyer, politician, professional athlete, environmentalist or churchgoer?

Proposal for the establishment of a new branch within the discipline of aerothermodynamics
A proposal has been forwarded by the researchers from the College of Physical Sciences, GUCAS, to establish within the discipline of aerothermodynamics a new branch to be called

Study of the high spin states in stable nucleus 84Sr
The School of Nuclear Engineering and Technology at the East China Institute of Technology cooperated with the China Institute of Atomic Energy to investigate the high spin states of 84Sr.

From toxicity to life: Arsenic proves to be a building block
Arsenic -- an element that triggers death for most Earthly life forms -- is actually allowing for a bacterium to thrive and reproduce.

E. coli outbreak in Connecticut caused by raw milk consumption
In a recent study in Clinical Infectious Diseases, investigators describe a 2008 E. coli outbreak associated with consuming raw milk from the same farm, despite the farm's adherence to regulatory standards.

University of Utah and Harvard researchers take major step toward first biological test for autism
Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital and the University of Utah have developed the best biologically based test for autism to date.

Hospital perks: How much should hospitals be rewarded for the patient experience?
From hotel-style room service to massage therapy to magnificent views, hospitals are increasingly touting their luxury services in a bid to gain market share, especially those in competitive urban markets.

Stigma deters those with alcohol disorders from seeking treatment
Despite the existence of effective programs for treating alcohol dependencies and disorders, less than a quarter of people who are diagnosed actually seek treatment.

'Watchful waiting' has a new set of eyes
A UCSF research collaboration with GE Healthcare has produced the first results in humans of a new technology that promises to rapidly assess the presence and aggressiveness of prostate tumors in real time, by imaging the tumor's metabolism.

Kicking the habit: Study suggests that quitting smoking improves mood
Christopher Kahler and colleagues at Brown and USC tracked symptoms of depression in people who were trying to quit smoking.

Electrified nano filter promises to cut costs for clean drinking water
With almost one billion people lacking access to clean, safe drinking water, scientists are reporting development and successful initial tests of an inexpensive new filtering technology that kills up to 98 percent of disease-causing bacteria in water in seconds without clogging.

Discovery by UC Riverside entomologists could shrink dengue-spreading mosquito population
A team of entomologists at the University of California, Riverside has identified a microRNA in female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that when deactivated disrupts the mosquito's blood digestion and egg development -- a discovery that could help control the spread of not only dengue and yellow fever but potentially all vector-borne diseases.

Economist honored for study on impact of new cancer drugs on life expectancy
The 2010 Garfield Economic Impact Award was presented today to Frank R.

Smoking may thin the brain
Many brain imaging studies have reported that tobacco smoking is associated with large-scale and wide-spread structural brain abnormalities.

1 week to go until the EUROECHO 2010 Congress in Copenhagen
EUROECHO is one of the largest and most important scientific meetings on non-invasive cardiovascular imaging anywhere in the world.

James W. Varnum National Quality Award presented to Project SEARCH
The inaugural James W. Varnum National Quality Award was presented to Project SEARCH, a program of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, in a ceremony held on Wednesday, Dec.

To be or not to be endangered? Listing of rare Hawaiian coral species called into question
In 2009, 83 rare corals were petitioned to be listed under the United States Endangered Species Act.

Africa can feed itself in a generation: Study
Experts prepare a blueprint for sub-Saharan Africa's transition from food importer to exporter, starting with expansion of mobile communications, transportation, energy, technical education and regional markets.

Lower occurrence of atopic dermatitis in children thanks to farm animals and cats
Children whose mothers are exposed to farm animals and cats are better protected against atopic dermatitis and are less likely to develop this painful inflammation of the skin in their first two years of life.

Teenage great white sharks are awkward biters
The jaws of adolescent great white sharks may be too weak to capture and kill large marine mammals, according to a new study published in the Journal of Biomechanics by an international team of scientists.

Expert panel addresses safety in medical imaging
An expert panel will convene at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America to discuss medical imaging appropriateness, ionizing radiation from imaging procedures and efforts under way to curb overutilization, decrease radiation dose and educate patients on the risks and benefits of medical imaging.
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