Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 21, 2010
CSHL scientists show in unprecedented detail how cortical nerve cells form synapses with neighbors
Newly published research led by Professor Z. Josh Huang, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) sheds important new light on how neurons in the developing brain make connections with one another.

Activity of certain stem cell genes linked with worse outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia patients
In an examination of leukemic stem cells (LSC), researchers have found that patients with acute myeloid leukemia who had higher activity of certain LSC genes had worse overall, event-free and relapse-free survival, according to a study in the Dec.

St. Michael's Hospital first in Ontario to implant powerful new defibrillator
St. Michael's Hospital today became the first in Ontario to implant a small but powerful new defibrillator into a patient's chest.

Blue-green algae tested for treating ALS
Spirulina, a nutrient-rich, blue-green algae, an ancient food source used by the Aztecs, may have a dual antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on motor neurons.

UNH scientists help show potent GHG emissions are 3 times estimated levels
In a study published Dec. 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences (PNAS), a team of researchers including University of New Hampshire scientists Wilfred Wollheim, William McDowell, and Jody Potter details findings that show emissions of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide from global rivers and streams are three times previous estimates used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.

New journal promotes computational science education
A new online publication unveiled this week, the Journal Of Computational Science Education (JOCSE), will publish peer-reviewed articles focusing on various aspects of teaching computational science -- the application of computing, especially supercomputing, to the solution of complex scientific and engineering problems.

Psychologists find skill in recognizing faces peaks after age 30
Scientists have made the surprising discovery that our ability to recognize and remember faces peaks at age 30 to 34, about a decade later than most of our other mental abilities.

Polar bears no longer on 'thin ice': researchers say polar bears could face brighter future
In the snowy spring of 2009, Portland-based Marcot traveled with several colleagues onto the frozen Arctic Ocean north of Alaska to study and survey polar bear populations.

The Science Coalition lauds House, Senate passage of America COMPETES
The Science Coalition issued the following statement today from President Deborah Altenburg after the U.S.

Cornstarch might have ended the Gulf spill agony sooner
The attempt to kill the Macondo well in the US Gulf by pouring heavy mud down the well bore may have been defeated by an instability that led to turbulent mixing of the oil and the mud.

Smarter systems help busy doctors remember
Busy doctors can miss important details about a patient's care during an office exam.

Science advisor to the US EPA to speak to industry, academic leaders on sustainability innovations
Dr. Paul Anastas of the US EPA Office of Research and Development is scheduled to speak Jan.

Boy or girl? Australians think we shouldn't choose
Most Australians do not approve of IVF or abortion for sex-selection purposes, and most do not think a hypothetical blue or pink pill to select the sex of a child should be legal, a new study has found.

Gene alteration identified that predisposes to syndrome with high risk of cancer
Researchers have identified a new genetic alteration that predisposes individuals to Cowden syndrome, a rare disorder that is characterized by high risks of breast, thyroid and other cancers, according to preliminary research published in the Dec.

Jefferson Lab laser twinkles in rare color
December is a time for twinkling lights, and scientists at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility are delivering.

ONR-funded researchers among Popular Science magazine's 'Brilliant 10'
Dubbed the

Long-lasting chemicals threaten the environment and human health
New research by Rolf Halden and colleagues at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University suggests that a number of high production volume chemicals are likely to become sequestered in post-treatment sludge and enter the environment when these biosolids are deposited on land.

New study to examine effects and threats of climate change on plants and animals in Andes
Plant scientists from the Missouri Botanical Garden will join the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research and other partners to study the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the tropical Andes.

Biomarkers could predict death in AIDS patients with severe inflammation
A study in this week's PLoS Medicine suggests that AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis who start HIV therapy are predisposed to immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome -- an exaggerated inflammatory immune response that kills up to one-third of affected people -- if they have biomarkers (biochemicals) in their blood showing evidence of a damaged immune system that is not capable of clearing the fungal infection.

Seminal papers on election law and election administration
A festschrift honoring Daniel H. Lowenstein, a pioneering legal scholar, professor at UCLA School of Law, and founding eo-editor of Election Law Journal, who devoted his career to advancing election law and campaign finance reform, highlights the current issue of Election Law Journal, a peer-reviewed publication of Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Being good moms couldn't save the woolly mammoth
New research from The University of Western Ontario leads investigators to believe that woolly mammoths living north of the Arctic Circle during the Pleistocene Epoch (approx.

Mount Sinai first in US to implant aortic valve prosthesis to treat severe aortic stenosis
David H. Adams, MD, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Samin K.

Graduate physics students wins top honors in superconductivity symposium
A graduate student who returned to school after suffering an injury that ended her ballet career has won top honors at the 40th Semiannual Student Symposium at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston.

Fruit fly study digs deeper into poorly understood details of forming embryos
Using fruit flies as a model to study embryo formation, scientists report in Nature Cell Biology that molecular breakdown of a protein called Bicoid is vital to normal head-to-tail patterning of the insect's offspring.

Breast, lung, ovarian and colorectal cancer survival from 1995 to 2007: Higher in Australia, Canada and Sweden than in UK and Denmark
New research published online first and in an upcoming Lancet shows that for four major cancers (breast, ovarian, colorectal and lung), survival rates at both one and five years for cancers diagnosed between 1995 and 2007 are higher in Australia, Canada and Sweden than in the UK (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and Denmark, while in Norway survival rates are intermediate.

ACS applauds Congress for passing American competitiveness bill
The American Chemical Society (ACS) applauds the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act, H.R.

Earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy should be highest priority for expansion of HIV care
Earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy should be the highest priority for global expansion of HIV patient care.

Reading 'Avatar's' DNA
Dr. Alex Bronstein of Tel Aviv University is applying an invisible DNA-like fingerprint to film, turning the footage into a series of numbers.

BUSM researchers uncover cellular mechanism responsible for chronic inflammation, Type 2 diabetes
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have demonstrated that certain T cells require input from monocytes in order to maintain their pro-inflammatory response in people with Type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Parents favor genetic testing for melanoma in their children
The vast majority of parents who tested positive for a genetic mutation that increases the risk of melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) support genetic testing of their children or grandchildren.

Berkeley lab to help China improve energy efficiency of data centers
The amount of energy consumed by data centers is increasing rapidly around the world, and China is no exception.

UH biochemist works to revolutionize ovarian cancer treatment
The day when ovarian cancer can be treated with a single, painless pill instead of a toxic drug cocktail is the ultimate goal of pioneering research by professor Preethi Gunaratne at the University of Houston.

Stress can enhance ordinary, unrelated memories
Stress can enhance ordinary, unrelated memories, a team of neuroscientists has found in a study of laboratory rats.

Shopping differences between sexes show evolution at work
The last-minute holiday dash is on: Men tend to rush in for their prized item, pay, and leave.

Smoking may worsen pain for cancer patients
The relationship between smoking and cancer is well established. In a study published in the January 2011 issue of Pain, researchers report evidence to suggest that cancer patients who continue to smoke despite their diagnosis experience greater pain than nonsmokers.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2011 Student Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its student travel award to attend the Biophysical Society's 55th Annual Meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md., March 5-9, 2011.

Seeing double: Africa's 2 elephant species
By comparing the DNA of modern elephants from Africa and Asia to DNA extracted from two extinct species, the woolly mammoth and the mastodon, researchers have concluded that Africa has two -- not one -- species of elephant.

New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry
In the minds of many, Miscanthus x giganteus is the forerunner in the race of viable feedstock options for lignocellulosic bioenergy production.

Age plays too big a role in prostate cancer treatment decisions
Older men with high-risk prostate cancer frequently are offered fewer -- and less effective -- choices of treatment than younger men, potentially resulting in earlier deaths, according to a new UCSF study.

Obesity increases risk of death in severe vehicle crashes, study shows
Moderately and morbidly obese persons face many health issues -- heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease and others.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2011 International Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its international travel grants to attend the Biophysical Society's 55th Annual Meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md., March 5-9, 2011.

Prenatal supplements for moms in Nepal associated with improved functional outcomes of children
In an area where iron deficiency is prevalent, children of mothers in rural Nepal who received prenatal iron, folic acid and vitamin A supplementation performed better on measures of intellectual and motor functioning compared to offspring of mothers who received vitamin A alone, according to a study in the Dec.

Collaboration offers NIH Clinical Center resources to Damon Runyon clinical investigators
A new pilot partnership between the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research, and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation will offer some of the capabilities and expertise of America's research hospital to an external group of clinical investigators in cancer research.

Top research highlighted in fight against heart disease and stroke
Research on reducing risks, improving medical treatment and improving lifestyle behaviors to fight the battle against heart disease and stroke are among the key scientific findings that make up this year's top cardiovascular and stroke research recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Quitting menthol cigarettes may be harder for some smokers
Menthol cigarettes may be harder to quit, particularly for some teens and African-Americans, who have the highest menthol cigarette use, according to a study by a team of researchers.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2011 CPOW Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winners of its CPOW travel awards to attend the Biophysical Society's 55th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Md., March 5-9, 2011.

Women war veterans face higher risk of mental health problems during pregnancy
Pregnancy among women veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan appears to increase their risk for mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Health systems strengthening needs 10 guiding principles
Despite the growing recognition of the importance of strengthening health systems around the world, there is a considerable lack of shared definitions and guiding principles that are threatening the ability to form strategic policy, practice and evaluations.

Biophysical Society announces winners of 2011 Minority Travel Awards
The Biophysical Society has announced the winner of its Minority Travel Awards to attend the Biophysical Society's 55th Annual Meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md., March 5-9, 2011.

New evidence of stem cells' pivotal role in cancer shown in Stanford study
Leukemia patients whose cancers express higher levels of genes associated with cancer stem cells have a significantly poorer prognosis than patients with lower levels of the genes, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Preserving a piece of history, whatever the weather
Scientists at the University of Manchester have set up a weather observatory on campus -- capable of recording precise measurements available in real time online.

Tumor cells in blood may signal worse prognosis in head and neck cancer patients
A new study suggests that the presence of tumor cells in the circulating blood of patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck might predict disease recurrence and reduced survival.

Mathematical model forecasts fewer workplace accidents in 2011 and 2012
The number of workplace accidents in Spain will fall progressively over 2011 and 2012, according to the predictions made by a mathematical model developed by researchers from the University of Castilla-La Mancha.

Spread of TB in prisons increases the incidence of TB in the general population
The risk of tuberculosis (TB) and latent TB (in which the bacteria that cause TB lie dormant but can reactivate later to cause active TB disease) is higher in the prison population than in the general population.

Queen's study debunks myth about popular optical illusion
A psychology professor has found that the way people perceive the Silhouette Illusion, a popular illusion that went viral and has received substantial online attention, has little to do with the viewers' personality, or whether they are left- or right-brained, despite the fact that the illusion is often used to test these attributes in popular e-quizzes.

European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology
The number of diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients with thoracic malignancies has markedly increased, allowing for an individualized approach based on the clinical situation and molecular characteristics of the tumor.

The universe's most massive stars can form in near isolation, new study finds
New observations by University of Michigan astronomers add weight to the theory that the most massive stars in the universe could form essentially anywhere, including in near isolation; they don't need a large stellar cluster nursery.

Prenatal micronutrient supplementation boosts children's cognition in Nepal
In developing countries where iron deficiency is prevalent, prenatal iron-folic acid supplementation increased offspring intellectual and motor functioning during school age, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

34 percent of Galician secondary schools exceed maximum recommended radon levels
Researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela have analyzed levels of radon, a natural radioactive gas, in 58 secondary schools in Galicia.

Beautiful people convey personality traits better during first impressions
A new University of British Columbia study has found that people identify the personality traits of people who are physically attractive more accurately than others during short encounters. 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