Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 08, 2010
Older survivors of mechanical ventilation can expect significant disability
Patients aged 65 and older who survive an episode of mechanical ventilation during a hospitalization are more likely to suffer from long-term disabilities after leaving the hospital than those who survive hospitalization without mechanical ventilation, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.

Carbon-rich planet: A girl's best friend?
A peculiar gas-giant planet 1200 light-years away is the first carbon-rich world ever observed.

ASU astronomer opens new window into early universe
Thirteen billion years ago our universe was dark. Eventually that mysterious time came to an end as the first stars ignited and their radiation transformed the nearby gas atoms into ions.

The double-edged sword of dominance
A study of chimpanzees has revealed that dominant animals with higher testosterone levels tend to suffer from an increased burden of parasites.

New report: Don't blame the pill for estrogen in drinking water
Contrary to popular belief, birth control pills account for less than 1 percent of the estrogens found in the nation's drinking water supplies, scientists have concluded in an analysis of studies published on the topic.

Planetary family portrait reveals another exoplanet
An international team of astronomers has discovered a fourth giant planet, HR 8799e, outside our solar system.

A swarm of ancient stars
We know of about 150 of the rich collections of old stars called globular clusters that orbit our galaxy, the Milky Way.

STEM workshop set to advance women, minorities
Seeking to combat the loss of diversity in science, technology, engineering and math, a team from Arizona State University led by Page Baluch, the manager of the W.M.

Euthymics presents phase II data for EB-1010 in major depression at ACNP annual meeting
Euthymics Bioscience, Inc. presents Phase II clinical data demonstrating that its lead product candidate EB-1010, a next-generation antidepressant (unbalanced triple reuptake inhibitor), is effective for treating major depressive disorder, and improved measures of anhedonia.

Changes in solar activity affect local climate
Most of the current climate models suggest that the sun has only a small effect on the global climate, but there is insufficient knowledge of the processes behind this link.

Scientist: Fire in Israel is a typical example of climate change effects in Mediterranean
The fire disaster in Carmel Mountains near Haifa is a typical example of climate change effect and a taste of the future, says Dr.

Accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer with ultrasound
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men, but its diagnosis has up to now been inaccurate and unpleasant.

University of Miami marine biology student wins Emmy Award for work on 'Changing Seas'
UM Rosenstiel School marine biology student Véronique Koch was part of the team honored Saturday night with a Suncoast Emmy for her work on Changing Seas.

Mutation linked to protein degradation underlies inherited ALS
The research, published by Cell Press in the Dec. 9 issue of the journal Neuron, implicates defects in a cellular pathway linked with degradation of unwanted proteins in the underlying pathology of ALS and provides new insight into this incurable and fatal neurodegenerative disease.

fMRI special section of Perspectives on Psychological Science
Neuroimaging -- is it voodoo, new phrenology or scientific breakthrough?

Researchers devise computer model for projecting severity of flu season
Researchers have developed a statistical model for projecting how many people will get sick from seasonal influenza based on analyses of flu viruses circulating that season.

UC San Diego computer scientists lauded for computer systems security, bioinformatics work
For contributions to bioinformatics and computer systems security, computer science professors Pavel Pevzner and Stefan Savage from the University of California, San Diego are among 41 computer scientists named as 2010 ACM Fellows.

Unlocking the secrets of our compulsions
Researchers have shed new light on dopamine's role in the brain's reward system, which could provide insight into impulse control problems associated with addiction and a number of psychiatric disorders.

Shoo, fly! Catnip oil repels bloodsucking flies
Catnip, the plant that attracts domestic cats like an irresistible force, has proven 99 percent effective in repelling the blood-sucking flies that attack horses and cows, causing $2 billion in annual loses to the cattle industry.

ACS Webinars focus on chemistry in your kitchen this holiday season
News media and others interested in the chemical sciences are invited to join the next in a series of American Chemical Society (ACS) Webinars focusing on kitchen chemistry for the holidays.

Feeling included -- kids with disabilities have their say in landmark study
For kids with disabilities to feel included in activities such as games, sport and play, it's the actions of others, particularly other children, that are key to achieving this.

Common genetic influences for ADHD and reading disability
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and developmental reading disability are complex childhood disorders that frequently occur together; if a child is experiencing trouble with reading, symptoms of ADHD are often also present.

Engaging pediatricians and primary care physicians in childhood obesity prevention and intervention
As the prevalence of childhood obesity approaches epidemic levels, physicians on the

University of Illinois awarded National Science Foundation grant to mentor Latino students
Latino faculty at the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences are taking the lead to mentor the next generation of Latino scientists through a National Science Foundation grant recently awarded to Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, Sandra Rodriguez Zas, Maria Villamil and Jesse Thompson.

Lancet criticizes hypocritical Canada and Quebec governments for exporting deadly asbestos to vulnerable developing countries
In a world report published online first and in this week's Lancet, the governments of both Canada and Quebec are condemned by a number of anti-asbestos campaigners for exporting asbestos to developing countries.

Different origins discovered for medulloblastoma tumor subtypes
Investigators have demonstrated for the first time that the most common malignant childhood brain tumor, medulloblastoma, is actually several different diseases, each arising from distinct cells destined to become different structures.

Rice physicists discover ultrasensitive microwave detector
Physicists from Rice University and Princeton University have discovered a way to use one of the information technology industry's mainstay materials -- gallium arsenide semiconductors -- as an ultrasensitive microwave detector that could be suitable for quantum computing.

Youth report favorable impressions of community street outreach workers
A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy finds that youth generally perceive community street outreach workers positively, regardless of whether they have personally worked with one.

University to develop unique X-ray imaging and coherence facility
The University of Manchester has joined forces with Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron science facility, to produce a world-class imaging facility.

Toddlers with autism show improved social skills following targeted intervention
Targeting the core social deficits of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in early intervention programs yielded sustained improvements in social and communication skills even in very young children who have ASD, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health.

School-based program effective in helping adolescents
A school-based intervention program helped New York City high school students with moderate to severe asthma better manage their symptoms, dramatically reducing the need for urgent care, including hospitalizations and emergency room visits, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Not-so-confidential confidantes
Comparing the locations of photos posted on the Internet with social network contacts, Cornell University computer scientists have found that as few as three

New forms of dietary fiber to boost health
High-fiber foods are on the way to becoming tastier and more appealing to consumers thanks to new types of dietary fiber now under development.

UCSF team develops 'logic gates' to program bacteria as computers
A team of UCSF researchers has engineered E. coli with the key molecular circuitry that will enable genetic engineers to program cells to communicate and perform computations.

Our brains are wired so we can better hear ourselves speak
Like the mute button on the TV remote control, our brains filter out unwanted noise so we can focus on what we're listening to.

Synchrony in biological systems focus of workshop
Synchronous oscillatory activity is a universal phenomenon that occurs in biological systems ranging from the level of intracellular dynamics to population dynamics across thousands of kilometers.

Lower levels of education are associated with increased risks of heart failure
Results from a large European study suggest that poorly educated people are more likely to be admitted to hospital with chronic heart failure than the better educated, even after differences in lifestyle have been taken into account.

Astronomers discover, image new planet in planetary system very similar to our own
An international team of astronomers has discovered and imaged a fourth giant planet outside our solar system, whose discovery strengthens some remarkable resemblances between this planetary system and our own.

Using terahertz imaging to seek quirks in corks at NJIT
Ever wonder what's really in a cork? Ask NJIT's John Federici, who has a new use for Terahertz imaging: searching for divots and cracks in wine corks to insure quality.

New test shows promise for accurate early diagnosis of Turner syndrome
A recent study accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has demonstrated a novel and accurate test for early diagnosis of Turner syndrome.

A new take on computer security
Developed as part of a EUREKA industrial partnership, the MEDEA+ Trusted Secure Computing project addressed the problem of the consumers' trust in the security of their computers and mobile phones.

Frequent sex protects marital happiness for neurotic newlyweds
People who are neurotic often have more difficulty with relationships and marriage.

Applied Entomology and Zoology joins Springer's publishing program
The Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology and Springer will collaborate to publish the society's official journal Applied Entomology and Zoology as of January 2011.

World's first microlaser emitting in 3-D
As described in Optics Express, an open-access journal published by the Optical Society, Slovenian scientists Matjaz Humar and Igor Musevic have developed a microdroplet 3-D laser system in which laser light shines forth in all directions from dye molecules lodged within spherical drops of helical molecules dispersed in a liquid solution.

Rapid population aging will raise critical challenges for Asian governments
Responding to the challenges posed by a rapidly aging population will be one of the most difficult tasks for Asian governments.

Elsevier enables its e-books to read aloud, increasing access for people with print disabilities
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, announced today that it has enabled the text-to-speech option on all of its ePub book titles.

EULAR welcomes Council action to tackle chronic diseases
The European League Against Rheumatism welcomes the outcomes of yesterday's Council of the European Union.

What Zen meditators don't think about won't hurt them
Zen meditation has many health benefits, including a reduced sensitivity to pain.

Discovery of the secrets that enable plants near Chernobyl to shrug off radiation
Scientists are reporting discovery of the biological secrets that enable plants growing near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to adapt and flourish in highly radioactive soil -- legacy of the 1986 nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.

Surgery complications linked to chemotherapy delay, U-M study finds
Patients who have complications after colorectal cancer surgery are less likely to get chemotherapy, even when it is clearly recommended for their diagnosis, a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds.

VA study shows high magnitude stressors stronger than military sexual stressors
A study of long-term, active duty military personnel who used Department of Veterans Affairs' health services showed that childhood maltreatment and other high magnitude stressors, such as being in a serious accident or a natural disaster, were more strongly associated with participants' current psychiatric symptoms than were their military sexual experiences, such as sexual harassment.

Soaring is better than flapping
Small migrating birds save energy as they fly.

Weightlifting slashes lymphedema risk after breast cancer treatment
Weightlifting may play a key role in the prevention of the painful limb-swelling condition lymphedema following breast cancer treatment, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Theoretical breakthrough: Generating matter and antimatter from the vacuum
Under just the right conditions -- which involve an ultra-high-intensity laser beam and a two-mile-long particle accelerator -- it could be possible to create something out of nothing, according to University of Michigan researchers.

Study suggests cranberry juice not effective against urinary tract infections
Drinking cranberry juice has been recommended to decrease the incidence of urinary tract infections, based on observational studies and a few small clinical trials.

Scientists discover brain's inherent ability to focus learning
Medical researchers from the University of Bristol have found a missing link that explains the interaction between brain state and the neural triggers responsible for learning, potentially opening up new ways of boosting cognitive function in the face of diseases such as Alzheimer's as well as enhancing memory in healthy people.

Trauma surgeon leads call to action for pediatric applied trauma research network
Since the number of seriously injured children treated at a single center is relatively small, and because an individual hospital is unlikely to have sufficient patient diversity, collaborative multi-center studies are required to address the differences in treatment of pediatric injury at trauma centers in diverse settings.

Low and high vitamin D levels in older women associated with increased likelihood of frailty
A recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that lower and higher vitamin D levels were associated with an increased likelihood of frailty in older women.

New QRISK score to predict heart disease in younger people
Experts at the University of Nottingham have developed a new

Elusive spintronics success could lead to single chip for processing and memory
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, the University of Fribourg and the Paul Scherrer Institut have shown that a magnetically polarized current can be manipulated by electric fields.

Astronomers detect first carbon-rich exoplanet
A team led by a former postdoctoral researcher in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences recently measured the first-ever planetary atmosphere that is substantially enriched in carbon.

University of Hawaii at Manoa research focuses on congenital abnormality
Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have developed innovative techniques that could have profound effects on congenital cervical vertebrae malformation research.

New pictures show fourth planet in giant version of our solar system
Astronomers have discovered a fourth giant planet, joining three others that, in 2008, were the subject of the first-ever pictures of a planetary system orbiting another star other than our sun.

Redrawing the map of Great Britain based on human interaction
A group of researchers at MIT, Cornell University and University College London have used one of the world's largest databases of telecommunications records to redraw the map of Great Britain.

Greenland ice sheet flow driven by short-term weather extremes, not gradual warming: UBC research
Sudden changes in the volume of meltwater contribute more to the acceleration -- and eventual loss -- of the Greenland ice sheet than the gradual increase of temperature, according to a University of British Columbia study.

Scientists forecast new atom smashers to keep Europe leading in nuclear physics
Europe needs new particle accelerators and major upgrades to existing facilities over the next ten years to stay at the forefront of nuclear physics, according to the European Science Foundation, which launches its Long Range Plan 2010 for nuclear physics today.

Water well tests show more towns with elevated arsenic in Maine
Potentially harmful arsenic levels have been found in private water wells in towns across Maine where elevated arsenic risks were not previously suspected.

Scientists map what factors influence the news agenda
Computer scientists have analyzed over a million news articles in 22 languages to pinpoint what factors, such as the Eurovision song contest, influence and shape the news agenda in 27 EU countries.

Yale scientists find molecular glue needed to wire the brain
Yale University researchers have found that a single molecule not only connects brain cells but also changes how we learn.

Climate scientist warns world of widespread suffering if further climate change is not forestalled
One of the world's foremost experts on climate change is warning that if humans don't moderate their use of fossil fuels, there is a real possibility that we will face the environmental, societal and economic consequences of climate change faster than we can adapt to them.

Widening our perceptions of reading and writing difficulties
Learning to read and write are complex processes, which can be disrupted in various ways, leading to disorders known as dyslexia and dysgraphia.

Whey supplements lower blood pressure
Beverages supplemented by whey-based protein can significantly reduce elevated blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease, a Washington State University study has found.

Reproductive scientists create mice from 2 fathers
Researchers report that they have used stem cell technology to produce mice from two fathers, an achievement that may open new opportunities in reproductive science, including the intriguing possibility of same-sex couples having their own genetic offspring.

Sinking organic materials produce carbon dioxide
The slower the particles sink the larger the output of greenhouse gas.

New mechanism links cellular stress and brain damage
The research, published by Cell Press in the Dec. 9 issue of the journal Neuron, is the first to highlight the significance of the reduction of a specific calcium signal that is directly tied to cell fate.

Parents' influence on children's eating habits is limited
Parents are often believed to have a strong influence on children's eating behaviors.

Therapy for incurable childhood diseases is in sight
Alpha-mannosidosis is a rare childhood disease which is linked to a lower life expectancy.

Firefly protein lights pathway to improved detection of blood clots
The enzyme that makes fireflies glow is lighting up the scientific path toward a long-sought new medical imaging agent to better monitor treatment with heparin, the blood thinner that millions of people take to prevent or treat blood clots, scientists are reporting.

Mayo Clinic finds seizure generation in brain is isolated from surrounding brain regions
Mayo Clinic researchers found that the part of the brain generating seizures in individuals with epilepsy is functionally isolated from surrounding brain regions.

Autism breakthrough: Researchers identify possible treatment for impaired sociability
Eastern Virginia Medical School researchers have identified a potential novel treatment strategy for the social impairment of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, an aspect of the condition that has a profound impact on quality of life.

Weightlifting does not appear to increase risk of arm swelling for breast cancer survivors
A slowly progressive weight lifting program for breast cancer survivors did not increase their risk of lymphedema (arm swelling and discomfort), according to a study that will appear in the Dec.

Lost civilization under Persian Gulf?
A once fertile landmass now submerged beneath the Persian Gulf may have been home to some of the earliest human populations outside Africa, according to an article to be published in Current Anthropology.

Home health care could help sustain health care systems, study finds
Home health care technology may provide one important solution to global concerns about how to sustain health care systems threatened by rising costs and manpower shortages, but such a change faces multiple obstacles to adoption, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

See off Alzheimer's with the color purple
Eating purple fruits such as blueberries and drinking green tea can help ward off diseases including Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's, a University of Manchester report claims.

For some, laparoscopic technique not always better
If skin is the body's fortress against germ invaders, shouldn't minimally invasive surgeries -- operations guided by camera probes, conducted entirely within the abdomen -- carry less risk for serious infection than procedures that slice the same cavity wide open?
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