Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 20, 2011
For robust robots, let them be babies first
In a first-of-its-kind experiment, a University of Vermont scientist created robots that, like tadpoles becoming frogs, change their body forms while learning how to walk.

Awake despite anesthesia
Unintended awareness during surgery is classified as an occasional complication of anesthesia (one to two in 1,000 patients) -- but being aware of things happening during the operation, and being able to recall them later, can leave a patient with long-term psychological trauma.

Manchester leads green chemical training push
The University of Manchester is leading a £3.7 ($5.8) million project to train the next generation of biotechnologists to make chemical processes greener.

Contagious cancer thrives in dogs by adopting host's genes
A curious contagious cancer, found in dogs, wolves and coyotes, can repair its own genetic mutations by adopting genes from its host animal, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Illegal use of human growth hormone common among young male weightlifters
A new study published in the American Journal on Addictions reveals that illicit use of HGH (human growth hormone) has become common among young American male weightlifters.

New math theories reveal the nature of numbers
Emory mathematician Ken Ono and his research team are unveiling new theories that answer famous old questions about partition numbers, the basis for adding and counting.

Could oysters be used to clean up Chesapeake Bay?
In a study funded by the US Environmental Protection Administration and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, biologists at Virginia Commonwealth University measured the nutrient removal capacity of the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica.

Case Western Reserve University and China's National Offshore Oil Corp. agree to collaborate
Case Western Reserve University and China National Offshore Oil Corp.-New Energy Investment Co., Ltd.

Researchers contribute to new bio-business opportunities for Danish businesses
Risoe DTU has held a series of networking meetings between researchers and companies producing biomass.

Simple, ingenious way to create lab-on-a-chip devices could become a model for teaching and research
With little more than a conventional photocopier and transparency film, anyone can build a functional microfluidic chip.

Future technologies for NASA missions -- meeting Jan. 26 and 28
A National Research Council steering committee that is advising NASA on innovative technologies for future missions is holding its first public meeting Jan.

Gulf grows between research practice and participant preferences in genetic studies
Obtaining consent for genetic studies can be an opportunity for researchers to foster respectful engagement with participants, not merely to mitigate risk.

NIST advances single photon management for quantum computers
The quantum computers of tomorrow might use photons, or particles of light, to move around the data they need to make calculations, but photons are tricky to work with.

Breastfeeding -- added protection for cancer survivors?
Women who have survived childhood cancer should be advised to breastfeed if they can, in order to offset some of the negative health effects of their earlier cancer treatment.

New device may revolutionize computer memory
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new device that represents a significant advance for computer memory, making large-scale

Red blood cell hormone modulates the immune system
New research reveals that a hormone best known for stimulating the production of red blood cells can modulate the immune response.

UM doctoral student receives the Zale Parry Scholarship from Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences
University of Miami Marine Geology & Geophysics student David Weinstein is the recipient of the 2010 Zale Parry Scholarship from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences presented in person by Zale Parry at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Intrafamilial medically assisted reproduction
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology has published Jan.

Uncovering the genetics of prostate cancer
Germany will contribute another project to the International Cancer Genome Consortium.

Study yields better turbine spacing for large wind farms
For maximum efficiency in power generation, operators of large wind farms should space their turbines farther apart.

Massachusetts General Hospital leading nationwide, comparative study of common bipolar medications
The Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program, with the Bipolar Trials Network, is launching a 10-site nationwide trial evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of quetiapine, a widely prescribed second-generation antipsychotic mood stabilizing medication, compared to lithium, the gold standard mood stabilizer, for the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Controlling symptoms can lead to improved quality of life for end-of-life patients
Health-care workers can most directly affect quality of life (QOL) of patients with advanced stage lung cancer by helping manage symptoms such as pain, lack of energy, shortness of breath, coughing, difficulty sleeping and dry mouth, according to a study recently published in the journal Oncology Nursing Forum.

European Research Council selects Elsevier's SciVerse Scopus database
Elsevier's SciVerse Scopus database was selected by the European Research Council (ERC) to assist in the tracking and awarding of funding opportunities for researchers throughout the world.

UC Davis study shows plants moved downhill, not up, in warming world
In a paper published today in the journal Science, a University of California, Davis, researcher and his co-authors challenge a widely held assumption that plants will move uphill in response to warmer temperatures.

How computer games could help us all make better decisions in life
A prototype computer game has been developed to help improve decision making skills in all aspects of our lives.

National Academy of Sciences honors microbiologists for major scientific contributions
Three members of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) are among the 13 scientists that will be honored by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with awards recognizing extraordinary scientific achievement in the field of microbiology.

Speaking the same language means better health care quality, Wayne State University study finds
Wayne State University researchers have found that when patients and providers speak the same language, patients report less confusion and better health care quality.

How the hat fits: Structural biology study reveals shape of epigenetic enzyme complex
Histone acetyltransferases (HAT) are one of the tools eukaryotic cells use to epigenetically modify DNA transcription.

New wave: JILA develops efficient source of terahertz radiation
JILA researchers have developed a laser-based source of terahertz radiation that is unusually efficient and less prone to damage than similar systems.

Dino-era sex riddle solved by new fossil find
Killed and preserved with her egg, a fossil of a flying reptile shows for the first time how hips and crests can be used to sex pterodactyls.

Science learning easier when students put down textbooks and actively recall information
Put down those science text books and work at recalling information from memory.

Swift survey finds 'missing' active galaxies
Seen in X-rays, the entire sky is aglow. Even far away from bright sources, X-rays originating from beyond our galaxy provide a steady glow in every direction.

Newly discovered group of algae live in both fresh water and ocean
A team of biologists has discovered an entirely new group of algae living in a wide variety of marine and freshwater environments.

Causes of death shifting in patients diagnosed with COPD
Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are on long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) have more to worry about than breathing difficulties.

Eggs show arctic mercury cycling may be linked to ice cover
An international research team working with NIST scientists has suggested for the first time that mercury cycling in the flora and fauna of the Arctic may be linked to the amount of ice cover present.

Real-world graphene devices may have a bumpy ride
New measurements by NIST researchers may affect the design of devices that rely on the high mobility of electrons in graphene -- they show that layering graphene on a substrate transforms its bustling speedway into steep hills and valleys that make it harder for electrons to get around.

Go figure: Math model may help researchers with stem cell, cancer therapies
University of Florida researchers have devised an algorithm to track the rates at which somatic and cancer stem cells divide.

Brain's clock influenced by senses
Humans use their senses to help keep track of short intervals of time according to new research, which suggests that our perception of time is not maintained by an internal body clock alone.

Scientists grow human liver tissue to be used for transplantation
A new study reports on the success of growing human liver cells on resorbable scaffolds made from material similar to surgical sutures.

Louisiana Tech University professor visits India as part of US delegation on energy issues
As part of a joint effort, Louisiana Tech's Daniela Mainardi, together with Virendra Mathur from the University of New Hampshire and Suddhasatwa Basu and Shantanu Roy from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, was in charge of organizing a workshop titled,

Study maps process used by T cells to discriminate pathogens from the body's own cells
Researchers have for the first time mapped the complex choreography used by the immune system's T cells to recognize pathogens while avoiding attacks on the body's own cells.

If you become unemployed you will earn less in your next job
Unemployment has a negative impact on a worker's future salary if it continues for a long time, particularly in countries such as Spain, Italy and Portugal.

State of the Union 2011: Will President Obama commit to R&D, for jobs and economic growth?
Research!America's chair, former Congressman John E. Porter (R-IL), and Research!America's CEO, Mary Woolley, issued the following statement in anticipation of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

NASA prepares to launch next Earth-observing satellite mission
NASA's newest Earth-observing research mission is nearing launch. The Glory mission will improve our understanding of how the sun and tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols affect Earth's climate.

Thwarting attacks on cell phone mesh networks
A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) or cell phone mesh network uses software to transparently hook together numerous active cell phones in a location to provide greater bandwidth and better network connections by allowing users to share

Strong social ties benefit breast cancer patients
Breast cancer patients who have a strong social support system in the first year after diagnosis are less likely to die or have a recurrence of cancer, according to new research from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) and the Shanghai Institute of Preventive Medicine.

Insect eyes inspire improved solar cells
The eyes of moths, which allow them to see well at night, are also covered with a water-repellent, anti-reflective coating that makes their eyes among the least reflective surfaces in nature.

Fred Kavli receives the Franklin Institute's 2011 Bower Award for Business Leadership
The Franklin Institute today has announced Fred Kavli as the recipient of the 2011 Bower Award for Business Leadership.

Global view of blood cell development reveals new and complex circuitry
A small pool of stem cells replenishes the human body with about 200 billion new blood cells daily, but the elaborate circuitry that controls this process remains largely unknown.

Latest American Chemical Society podcast: Biodegradable foam from milk protein and clay
The latest episode in the American Chemical Society's award-winning podcast series,

Sensors to detect explosives, monitor food being developed at UH
Monitoring everything from explosives to tainted milk, materials for use in creating sensors for detection devices have been developed by a University of Houston chemist and his team.

War, plague no match for deforestation in driving CO2 buildup
Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes had an impact on the global carbon cycle as big as today's annual demand for gasoline.

Unfolding amyloid secrets
Scientists from the University of Leeds have made a fundamental step in the search for therapies for amyloid-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes mellitus.

Gene mutation play a major role in 1 cause of kidney disease
Mutations in a gene called INF2 are by far the most common cause of a dominantly inherited condition that leads to kidney failure, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

Study examines risk factors of a mass shooting
It's easy for American society to label young killers as simply crazy.

Vitamin E may increase the life expectancy of restricted groups of men
Several large randomized trials of humans found that vitamin E supplementation does not reduce mortality.

LA BioMed researcher receives Lifetime Achievement Award
The Los Angeles Society of Pathologists, Inc. presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Samuel W.

With chemical modification, stable RNA nanoparticles go 3-D
For years, RNA has seemed an elusive tool in nanotechnology research -- easily manipulated into a variety of structures, yet susceptible to quick destruction when confronted with a commonly found enzyme.

BUSM awarded NIH grant to identify role of immune system in chronic inflammation, disease
A team of researchers at Boston University School of Medicine have been awarded a five-year, $7.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to explore how chronic inflammation can lead to systemic diseases.

Scripps Research scientists find measles' natural nemesis
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have found that a known enzyme in cells protects against measles virus, likely by altering the virus's genetic material, RNA.

NIST puts a new twist on the electron beam
NIST researchers have found a novel, and potentially widely applicable, method to expand the capabilities of conventional transmission electron microscopes by adding a new twist to their electron beams.

Warning about 'benevolent sexism' and men's apparently positive attitudes towards women
Pioneering research conducted at the University of Granada revealed that society tends to exonerate men from sexual violence within the couple if the man is kind to his wife.

Are positive emotions good for your health in old age?
The notion that feeling good may be good for your health is not new, but is it really true?

Fat associated with chemical changes in DNA that may help explain obesity-related disease
Fat appears to associate with some distinctive chemical changes in the DNA -- a finding that may help explain why obesity can increase the risk for chronic problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, researchers report.

Stretching the truth: JILA biophysicists help unravel DNA stretching mystery
Using a new experimental test structure, biophysicists at JILA have unraveled part of a 15-year mystery in the mechanics of DNA -- just how the molecule manages to suddenly extend to almost twice its normal length.

A novel function of anti-diuretic hormone vasopressin in the brain
The anti-diuretic hormone

Gene test shows which bladder cancer patients may have cancer spread
Cancer scientists have designed the first molecular test to predict which bladder cancer patients may have cancer involvement in their lymph nodes at the time of surgery -- which could help doctors determine which patients are good candidates for pre-surgical, or neo-adjuvant, chemotherapy.

Long-distance migration may help reduce infectious disease risks for many animal species
It's a common assumption that animal migration, like human travel across the globe, can transport pathogens long distances, in some cases increasing disease risks to humans.

Mammograms: Detecting more than breast cancer, may help assess heart risk in kidney disease patients
Routine mammograms performed for breast cancer screening could serve another purpose as well: detecting calcifications in the blood vessels of patients with advanced kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Identifying factors in atrazine's reduced weed control
In a collaborative study between scientists at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Water Management Research Unit and Colorado State University, soil samples were collected from multiple fields in northeastern Colorado over several years to determine the extent of atrazine degradation.

Viral protein mimic keeps immune system quiet
In a new paper published Jan. 21 in the journal Science, a team of researchers led by Microbiology and Immunology professor Blossom Damania, Ph.D., has shown for the first time that the Kaposi sarcoma virus has a decoy protein that impedes a key molecule involved in the human immune response.

AIUM announces ultrasound practice accreditation in fetal echocardiography
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine announced today that ultrasound practice accreditation is now available in fetal echocardiography.

University of Tokyo, Rutgers physicists unveil unexpected properties in superconducting material
University of Tokyo and Rutgers University researchers report that an exotic new superconductor based on ytterbium appears to be the first material to exhibit quantum criticality in its natural state, without tuning.

Academy honors 13 for major contributions to science
The National Academy of Sciences will honor 13 individuals with awards recognizing extraordinary scientific achievements in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics, economics and psychology.

WSU researchers apply fatigue model to fatal commuter air crash
Washington State University sleep researchers have determined that the air traffic controller in the crash of a Lexington, Ky., commuter flight was substantially fatigued when he failed to detect that the plane was on the wrong runway and cleared it for takeoff.
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