Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 15, 2010
Study improves understanding of method for creating multi-metal nanoparticles
A new study from researchers at North Carolina State University sheds light on how a technique that is commonly used for making single-metal nanoparticles can be extended to create nanoparticles consisting of two metals -- and that have tunable properties.

New research finds delaying surgical procedures increases infection risk and health care costs
Delaying elective surgical procedures after a patient has been admitted to the hospital significantly increases the risk of infectious complications and raises hospital costs, according to the results of a new study in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Dealing with an epidemic of loneliness
As the festive period approaches, the Lancet is publishing its winning Wakley Prize Essay together with an editorial on the epidemic of loneliness, which is never more evident than at this time of year when many other families are spending time with their loved ones.

Elevated zinc concentrations in Colorado waterway likely a result of climate change
Rising concentrations of zinc in a waterway on Colorado's Western Slope may be the result of climate change that is affecting the timing of annual snowmelt, says a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Protein disables p53, drives breast cells toward cancer transition
The recently identified TRIM24 protein plays an active role in pushing normal breast cells into rapid cell proliferation and, potentially, into breast cancer.

Polar bears still on thin ice, but cutting greenhouse gases now can avert extinction
New research indicates that that if humans reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly in the next decade or two, enough Arctic ice is likely to remain intact during late summer and early autumn for polar bears to survive.

Nanoscale gene 'ignition switch' may help spot and treat cancer
In a proof of principal study in mice, scientists at Johns Hopkins and the Virginia Commonwealth University have shown that a set of genetic instructions encased in a nanoparticle can be used as an

Where unconscious memories form
A small area deep in the brain called the perirhinal cortex is critical for forming unconscious conceptual memories, researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain have found.

Census analysis: Nation's diversity grows, but integration slows
Brown University sociologist John Logan is among the first scholars to analyze new US census data on social, economic, housing and demographic factors for every community in the nation.

Marinomed's iota-carrageenan effective against H1N1
Marinomed Biotechnologie GmbH, a company focused on the development of innovative therapies for respiratory diseases, today announced that in vitro and in-vivo tests have demonstrated that Carrageenan is effective as a potent inhibitor of the influenza A virus infection (H1N1).

Stanford study identifies multitude of genetic regions key to embryonic stem cell development
More than 2,000 genetic regions involved in early human development have been identified by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

New international conference in bionic engineering
The International Bionic Engineering Conference 2011 organized by Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, aims to bridge the gap between academic research and industrial development in a field that is rapidly growing and gaining recognition across many disciplines.

p53 determines organ size
In studies conducted on the fruit fly, researchers at IRB Barcelona headed by ICREA Professor Marco Milan have revealed that organs have the molecular mechanisms to control their proportions.

Close proximity leads to better science
Through analyzing the locations of authors of academic papers, researchers have determined that physical proximity of collaborators, especially between the first and last author, correlates with how widely the paper is cited.

ASTRO patient website earns Web Health Award
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has received a 2010 Web Health Award for its patient-geared website,

Novel therapy for metastatic kidney cancer developed at VCU Massey Cancer Center
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) have developed a novel virus-based gene therapy for renal cell carcinoma that has been shown to kill cancer cells not only at the primary tumor site but also in distant tumors not directly infected by the virus.

Hospice care increasing for nursing home patients with dementia
More nursing home patients with dementia are seeking hospice care and using it longer, according to a new study by gerontologist Susan Miller and colleagues.

Researchers discover compound with potent effects on biological clock
A team of researchers from UC San Diego and three other research institutions has discovered a molecule with the most potent effects ever seen on the biological clock.

Concussed high school athletes who receive neuropsychological testing sidelined longer
When computerized neuropsychological testing is used, high school athletes suffering from a sports-related concussion are less likely to be returned to play within one week of their injury, according to a study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (published by SAGE).

Cyclone lasting more than 5 years is detected on Saturn
Researchers from the University of the Basque Country have been monitoring a cyclone on Saturn for more than five years.

Study classifies and uses artificial proteins to analyze protein-protein interfaces
A new study published this week suggests that there may be roughly a thousand structurally distinct protein-protein interfaces -- and that their structures depend largely on the simple physics of the proteins.

New colonoscopy skills assessment tool developed for trainees
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have developed a new skills assessment tool for colonoscopy trainees.

Atomic weights of 10 elements on periodic table about to make an historic change
For the first time in history, a change will be made to the atomic weights of some elements listed on the Periodic table of the chemical elements posted on walls of chemistry classrooms and on the inside covers of chemistry textbooks worldwide.

Plasma therapy: An alternative to antibiotics?
Cold plasma jets could be a safe, effective alternative to antibiotics to treat multi-drug resistant infections, says a study published this week in the January issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

UNC scientists discover potential strategy to improve cancer vaccines
A research team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that the absence of the function of a protein called NLRP3 can result in a four-fold increase in a tumor's response to a therapeutic cancer vaccine.

Researchers discover compound with potent effects on biological clock
Using an automated screening technique developed by pharmaceutical companies to find new drugs, a team of researchers from UC San Diego and three other research institutions has discovered a molecule with the most potent effects ever seen on the biological clock.

'Green genes' in yeast may boost biofuel production by increasing stress tolerance
An effort to increase biofuel production has led scientists to discover genes in yeast that improve their tolerance to ethanol, allowing the production of more ethanol from the same amount of nutrients.

New study about Arctic sea-ice, greenhouse gases and polar bear habitat
Sea-ice habitats essential to polar bears would likely respond positively should more curbs be placed on global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new modeling study published today in the journal, Nature.

Research and industry heavyweights in partnership for the intelligent power grid of the future
An intelligent power grid -- smart grid -- that can handle fluctuating production from renewable energy is the research theme in a new platform called iPower with the aim to develop an intelligent and flexible energy system that can handle the fluctuating power generation.

Leading health care organizations announce collaborative effort
Six of the nation's leading health care systems today announced a first-of-its-kind collaboration to improve health care quality while reducing costs.

Soft substrate promotes pluripotent stem cell culture
University of Illinois researchers have found a key to keeping stem cells in their neutral state: It takes a soft touch.

deCODE discovers genetic markers that improve the power of PSA testing for detecting prostate cancer
Scientists from deCODE genetics and academic colleagues today report the discovery of a set of single-letter variations in the sequence of the human genome (SNPs) that impact individual baseline levels of prostate specific antigen, or PSA.

SIDS spikes on New Year's Day
Not a happy holiday thought, but an important one: The number of babies who die of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, surges by 33 percent on New Year's Day.

University of Houston receives $5 million grant from Houston Endowment
The University of Houston has received a $5 million grant from Houston Endowment Inc. that will be used to strengthen a number of doctoral programs, including engineering and science.

Sticking to dietary recommendations would save 33,000 lives a year in the UK
If everyone in the UK ate their

Study links increased BPA exposure to reduced egg quality in women
A small-scale University of California, San Francisco-led study has identified the first evidence in humans that exposure to bisphenol A may compromise the quality of a woman's eggs retrieved for in vitro fertilization.

Seaweed as biofuel? Metabolic engineering makes it a viable option
Is red seaweed a viable future biofuel? Now that a University of Illinois metabolic engineer has developed a strain of yeast that can make short work of fermenting galactose, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Opportunity leads to promiscuity among squirrels, study finds
University of Guelph researchers have discovered why female squirrels are so promiscuous.

New research shows dolphin by-catch includes genetic relatives
Research published this week in PLoS One provides insight for the conservation of small cetaceans by demonstrating that Franciscana dolphins accidentally entangled in fishing nets include genetic relatives, or mother-offspring pairs.

Veterinarians helping Iraq rebuild food, livestock industries
From nearly 7,000 miles away, a group of Michigan State University veterinarians is helping Iraqi farmers and veterinarians rebuild the country's livestock food industry, adopt new animal science technologies and educate its farmers and producers.

Springer to publish journals of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society
Starting in 2011, Springer will publish two journals of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society, Australasian Plant Pathology and Australasian Plant Disease Notes.

Hemodynamic responses to the mother's face in infants by near-infrared spectroscopy
A Japanese research group led by Prof. Ryusuke Kakigi and Dr.

Vitamin D and parathyroid hormone levels may not affect cardiovascular mortality
There is burgeoning public interest in possible wide-ranging health benefits from vitamin D, including cardiovascular health.

Warning lights mark shellfish that aren't safe to eat
Red tides and similar blooms can render some seafood unsafe to eat, though it can be difficult to tell whether a particular batch harbors toxins that cause food poisoning.

Blood-sucking superbug prefers taste of humans
Vanderbilt University scientists have discovered that

Team awarded $7.5 million to identify potential drug candidates to treat nicotine addiction
The Scripps Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego, (UCSD) School of Medicine have been awarded approximately $7.5 million over five years to develop novel compounds that could eventually become drug candidates for the treatment of nicotine dependence, and possibly other drug addictions.

Does fluoride really fight cavities by 'the skin of the teeth?'
In a study that the authors describe as lending credence to the idiom,

Meteorite just one piece of an unknown celestial body
Scientists from all over the world are taking a second, more expansive, look at the car-sized asteroid that exploded over Sudan's Nubian Desert in 2008, with major implications for the meteorite's origin.

A positive mood allows your brain to think more creatively
People who watch funny videos on the internet at work aren't necessarily wasting time.

Doctors on Facebook risk compromising doctor-patient relationship
Doctors with a profile on the social networking site Facebook may be compromising the doctor-patient relationship, because they don't deploy sufficient privacy settings, indicates research published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

2 A*STAR I2R scientists conferred prestigious IEEE Fellow status
Dr. Susanto Rahardja and Dr Liang Ying Chang of A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research have been recognized for their efforts in research by the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to the status of

Study supports gluten-free diet in potential celiac disease patients
Findings from a new study of 141 adults add to an ongoing medical debate over which patients with symptoms of celiac disease should go on a gluten-free diet.

Toxic toy crisis requires fresh solutions
Manufacturer recalls of toys, promotional drinking glasses, and other children's products constitute an ongoing

Plant consumption rising significantly as population grows and economies develop
Humans are consuming an increasing amount of the Earth's total annual land plant production, new NASA research has found.

Put on the brakes after foot or ankle surgery
Patients recovering from a right foot injury or surgery should think twice about how soon they want to begin driving again.

Missing molecules hold promise of therapy for pancreatic cancer
By determining what goes missing in human cells when the gene that is most commonly mutated in pancreatic cancer gets turned on, Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered a potential strategy for therapy.

Heart disease, stroke deaths continue to fall but costs remain high
America is winning a battle against heart disease and stroke mortality, but is still losing the war, according to the American Heart Association.

Malaspina 2010, the biggest ever expedition on global change, sets sail
400 researchers from around the world art taking part in the study, which will collect 70,000 air, water and plankton samples.

Scientists decode secrets of a very common virus that can cause cancer
About 90 percent of people are infected at some time in their lives with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), usually with no ill effects.

UNH space physicist honored as American Geophysical Union Fellow
University of New Hampshire physics professor Eberhard Möbius will be honored today as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union at the organization's annual, week-long scientific gathering in San Francisco where over 18,000 scientists from around the world share the latest research findings in the Earth and space sciences.

New discoveries make it harder for HIV to hide from drugs
In the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, MU microbiologist and biochemist Stefan Sarafianos, Ph.D., reveals new findings that shed light on how HIV eludes treatment by mutating.

Local mental health treatment center for adolescents receives national award
A highly specialized adolescent treatment service center in the Denver metro area has been honored as one of the best in the country.

Link between cholesterol compound and multiple sclerosis unlikely, researchers say
New research findings appearing in the January Journal of Lipid Research indicate that compounds called oxysterols are not present in any significant amount in multiple sclerosis patients, contradicting a previous study that suggested that some of these cholesterol metabolites were associated with MS and could be used as diagnostic tools in the clinic.

Cilantro ingredient can remove foul odor of holiday chitlins
With chitlins about to make their annual appearance on Christmas and New Year's Day menus, scientists have good news for millions of people who love that delicacy of down-home southern cooking, but hate the smell.

Polar bears: On thin ice? Extinction can be averted, scientists say
Polar bears were added to the threatened species list nearly three years ago when their icy habitat showed steady, precipitous decline because of a warming climate.

University of Toronto computer scientist awarded 2010 Steacie Prize
Aaron Hertzmann, a professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, has been awarded the 2010 Steacie Prize for Natural Sciences -- the second consecutive year that a U of T professor has received the prestigious award that recognizes outstanding research carried out in Canada.

Breast inflammation is key to cancer growth, Kimmel Cancer Center researchers say
It took 12 years and a creation of a highly sophisticated transgenic mouse, but researchers at Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have finally proven a long suspected theory: Inflammation in the breast is key to the development and progression of breast cancer.

More than 100 new species described by California Academy of Sciences in 2010
In an effort to address the critical need for data about the diversity of life on Earth, scientists from the California Academy of Sciences have spent the past year exploring some of the planet's most diverse habitats, searching for new species and creating comprehensive biodiversity maps.

New method for making tiny catalysts holds promise for air quality
University of Illinois researchers have demonstrated a simpler method of adding iron to tiny carbon spheres to create catalytic materials that have the potential to remove contaminants from gas or liquid.

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia scientist wins new Portuguese award Simbiontes for cancer research
Miguel Godinho Ferreira, group leader at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, just outside Lisbon, is the first scientist to win the 10,000 euros Simbiontes Award, for his proposal to investigate the cellular changes that cause cancer in adults.

Second brain death exam may be unnecessary, hurt organ donation rates
Requiring a second exam on a person who is considered brain dead may be unnecessary, according to a study on the impact of a second brain death exam on organ donation rates.

Pitt project clearing Carthaginians of mass baby killing among top 10 archaeological finds of 2010
Pitt professor Jeffrey H. Schwartz is featured in Archaeology magazine's Top 10 Discoveries of 2010 list for producing skeletal evidence that refutes claims that Carthaginians regularly sacrificed infants.

Membership in many groups leads to quick recovery from physical challenges
Being a part of many different social groups can improve mental health and help a person cope with stressful events.

Software improves understanding of mobility problems
Mobility challenges facing older people can now be better understood by clinicians, health care practitioners and design professionals, thanks to a new innovative software tool.

Fabric softener sheets repel gnats
Gardeners often claim that putting Bounce fabric softener sheets in their pockets is an effective way to repel pests like mosquitoes and gnats.

Allô allô! Mom's voice plays special role in activating newborn's brain
A mother's voice will preferentially activate the parts of the brain responsible for language learning, say researchers from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre.

'Shaky' plan: Quake experiments may lead to sturdier buildings
Cold-formed steel has become a popular construction material for commercial and industrial buildings, but a key question remains: How can these structures be designed so that they are most likely to remain intact in a major earthquake?

Body fat distribution associated with a higher risk of ER-negative breast cancer
Body fat distribution does not play an important role in the incidence of every subtype of premenopausal breast cancer, but is associated with an increased risk for estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, according to a study published Dec.

An element of concern: Phosphorus, food and our future
What element is commonly found in every living creature on Earth yet may become scarce in our lifetimes?

Feast, famine and the genetics of obesity: You can't have it both ways
In addition to fast food, desk jobs, and inertia, there is one more thing to blame for unwanted pounds-our genome, which has apparently not caught up with the fact that we no longer live in the Stone Age.

Preteen conduct problems leads to teenage serious violence and delinquency
Conduct disorders in preteens are predictive of eventual teenage serious violent and delinquent behavior, according to a new study from the Universite de Montreal.

New American Chemical Society Prized Science video on 'red tide' shellfish poisoning
A new episode of Prized Science: How the Science Behind ACS Awards Impacts Your Life, features Michael Crimmins, Ph.D., who is developing substances that could lead to the first effective cure for neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, a terrible form of food poisoning caused by toxic algae blooms in the water called

Nanomaterials in our environment
The manufacturing of nanomaterials has been steadily on the rise in the medical, industrial, and scientific fields.

Satellites give an eagle eye on thunderstorms
It's one of the more frustrating parts of summer. You check the weather forecast, see nothing dramatic, and go hiking or biking.

Ancient forest emerges mummified from the Arctic
The northernmost mummified forest ever found in Canada is revealing how plants struggled to endure a long-ago global cooling.

Insight offers new angle of attack on variety of brain tumors
A research team led by scientists at Brown University and the University of California, San Francisco, have associated a mutation found in many kinds of brain tumors with a molecular process that affects metabolism genes.

Close proximity leads to better science
Absence makes your heart grow fonder, but close quarters may boost your career.

Bacterial life on and in humans orchestrates health and disease
A mounting tide of scientific evidence suggests that the old adage from Aesop's fables --

UGA researchers develop rapid diagnostic test for common type of pneumonia
University of Georgia researchers have developed a technique that can diagnose a common type of pneumonia within minutes, potentially replacing existing tests that can take several days for results. 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