Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

January 27, 2011
How spring-loaded filaree seeds self launch
When filaree seeds ripen and burst, they are launched with an inbuilt spring.

IEEE-USA workshop to explore the challenges and opportunities of electric vehicle technology
The IEEE-USA Electric Vehicles & Personal Transportation Workshop in Austin, Texas, on March 4 will explore the challenges and opportunities presented by electric vehicles.

Somorjai wins Frontiers of Knowledge Award
Berkeley Lab's Gabor Somorjai, widely considered the

Warming North Atlantic water tied to heating Arctic, according to new study
The temperatures of North Atlantic Ocean water flowing north into the Arctic Ocean adjacent to Greenland -- the warmest water in at least 2,000 years -- are likely related to the amplification of global warming in the Arctic, says a new international study involving the University of Colorado Boulder.

Fostamatinib proven to be safe but not effective
In a previous study, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who failed to respond to methotrexate were shown to experience positive results with fostamatinib disodium, an oral spleen tyrosine kinase inhibitor that is thought to block immune cell signaling involved with bone and cartilage destruction.

Modern humans reached Arabia earlier than thought, new artifacts suggest
Artifacts unearthed in the United Arab Emirates date back 100,000 years and imply that modern humans first left Africa much earlier than researchers had expected, a new study reports.

Study reveals how fusion protein triggers cancer
What happens when two proteins join together? In this case, they become like a power couple, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Gene 'relocation' key to most evolutionary change in bacteria
In a new study, scientists at the University of Maryland and the Institut Pasteur show that bacteria evolve new abilities, such as antibiotic resistance, predominantly by acquiring genes from other bacteria.

Team looks to the cow rumen for better biofuels enzymes
When it comes to breaking down plant matter and converting it to energy, the cow has it all figured out.

Penn State, DoD and USDA partner for well-being of military families
The health and well-being of military children, youth and families will be enhanced by three contracts from the military totaling $2.2 million awarded to Penn State researchers.

NextCAT Inc. secures $250,000 to commercialize biodiesel technology developed at Wayne State
NextCAT Inc., a Detroit-based company, announced that it has received $250,000 in seed funding from Automation Alley in Troy, Mich.

Researchers uncover link to increased atherosclerosis risk in lupus patients
Researchers in China have demonstrated interferon-alpha (IFN-a) is associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

ARPA-E grant will fund NC State research on smart grid technologies
A new grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will support North Carolina State University efforts to develop new technologies essential to the development of a

Victor Chang scientists unlock the 'gates' on sudden cardiac death
Australian researchers have come one step closer to understanding how the rhythm of the heartbeat is controlled and why many common drugs, including some antibiotics, antihistamines and anti-psychotics, can cause a potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythm.

Unemployment among doctoral scientists and engineers lower than among the general population in 2008
Data released today by the National Science Foundation show the recent economic recession had less effect on doctoral degree holders in science, engineering and health fields than it did on the general population.

Expert questions Lansley's key arguments for NHS reform
England's health secretary Andrew Lansley has said that his reforms for the NHS are needed because the country's health outcomes are among the poorest in Europe.

On the hunt for universal intelligence
How do you use a scientific method to measure the intelligence of a human being, an animal, a machine or an extra-terrestrial?

Infants ascribe social dominance to larger individuals
Psychologists at Harvard University have found that infants less than one year old understand social dominance and use relative size to predict who will prevail when two individuals' goals conflict.

Newborn screening increases survival outcome for patients with severe combined immunodeficiency
Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) occurs in just one out of every 50,000 to 100,000 births in the United States, yet it is the most serious primary immunodeficiency disorder.

Ben-Gurion U. researchers determine that a first medical opinion can influence the second
When the orthopedic surgeons knew that the first doctor had recommended a more interventional treatment, the doctor giving the second opinion was more likely to recommend one too.

28 ASPB members elected as AAAS Fellows
28 members of the American Society of Plant Biologists community, including three recent ASPB presidents, are among the 503 individuals elected as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Altered gene protects some African-Americans from coronary artery disease
A team of scientists at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere has discovered that a single alteration in the genetic code of about a fourth of African-Americans helps protect them from coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in Americans of all races.

'Evolution: A Developmental Approach'
What separates humans from Chimpanzees? Is it the genetics of our population, or our different structures and behavior capabilities?

Researchers identify biomarkers of poor outcomes in preemies
Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have identified biomarkers of poor outcomes in preterm infants that may help identify new approaches to prevention.

AGU journal highlights -- Jan. 27, 2011
This release contains summaries for the following articles:

Caltech geobiologists uncover links between ancient climate change and mass extinction
About 450 million years ago, Earth suffered the second-largest mass extinction in its history -- the Late Ordovician mass extinction, during which more than 75 percent of marine species died.

New findings show how bacteria undergo genome evolution
Scientists at the Institut Pasteur and the University of Maryland have revealed how bacterial and archaea microbes successfully evolve their gene repertoires to face new challenges, predominantly by acquiring genes from other individuals.

Watching TV coverage of terror makes viewers feel threatened
Viewing TV coverage of terrorist events causes deterioration of psychological resources, such as commitment and a sense of success, and to feeling threatened, which in turn can also lead to loss of resources and other negative affects.

Universal solvent no match for new self-healing sticky gel
Scientists can now manufacture a synthetic version of the self-healing sticky substance that mussels use to anchor themselves to rocks in pounding ocean surf and surging tidal basins.

National study explores the reaction and transport of tungsten in drinking water
Scientists are connecting tungsten to clusters of childhood leukemia cases in the western US after finding high concentrations of the element in residents' bodies.

Deaths from IVF are rare but relevant
Although still rare, maternal deaths related to in vitro fertilization are a key indicator of risks to older women, those with multiple pregnancy and those with underlying disease, warn experts in an editorial published on today.

Denmark, Finland and Belgium have best democracies
A new democracy barometer from the University of Zurich and the Social Science Research Center Berlin shows the development of the thirty best democracies in the world.

Organic food in pregnancy -- new study
Who eats organic food when they are pregnant? Is it just certain groups?

Memory training explored as strategy for addiction treatment
People with addictions to stimulants tend to choose instant gratification or a smaller but sooner reward over a future benefit, even if the future reward is greater.

BASF and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology develop tomorrow's battery materials
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and BASF SE will jointly develop new battery materials at KIT in the future.

New national study finds 34 percent increase in running-related injuries among children
Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital examined running-related injuries among children and adolescents 6 to 18 years old and found that an estimated 225,344 cases were treated in US emergency departments from 1994 through 2007, for an average of more than 16,000 each year.

Sprouts? Supplements? Team them up to boost broccoli's cancer-fighting power
A new University of Illinois study provides convincing evidence that the way you prepare and consume your broccoli matters, and also suggests that teaming broccoli with broccoli sprouts may make the vegetable's anti-cancer effect almost twice as powerful.

First large-scale, physics-based space weather model transitions into operation
The first large-scale, physics-based space weather prediction model is transitioning from research into operation.

Staying 1 strep ahead
Research has used DNA sequencing to provide the first detailed genetic picture of an evolutionary war between Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria and the vaccines and antibiotics used against it over recent decades.

'Catch-up' growth signals revealed
University of Michigan researchers have uncovered molecular signals that regulate catch-up growth -- the growth spurt that occurs when normal conditions are restored after a fetus, young animal or child has been ill, under stress or deprived of enough food or oxygen to grow properly.

Yearly mammograms from age 40 save 71 percent more lives, study shows
A new study questions the controversial US Preventative Service Task Force recommendations for breast cancer screening, with data that shows starting at a younger age and screening more frequently will result in more lives saved.

How now, inside the cow: Nearly 30,000 novel enzymes for biofuel production improvements
Through massive-scale DNA sequencing, researchers at the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, with support from the Energy Biosciences Institute, have characterized the genes and genomes of plant-digesting microbes isolated from the cow rumen and reported in a study published January 28 in the journal Science.

Report offers solutions to address decline in US dental faculty
A new report by an Indiana University School of Dentistry department chair with researchers from six other US dental schools is calling for quick and creative solutions to address the growing scarcity of full-time faculty members within the nation's dental school programs.

ONR's TechSolutions providing SEALs with new glasses that change lens color on the fly
The Office of Naval Research's TechSolutions department is set to deliver to Navy Special Warfare Command personnel later this year new protective eyewear that will eliminate the need for warfighters to stop to change out colored lenses to accommodate differences in light levels.

Bacteria possible cause of preterm births
The type of bacteria that colonize the placenta during pregnancy could be associated with preterm birth and other developmental problems in newborns according to research published in the current issue of the online journal mBio.

Study finds MRSA screening saves hospitals money
Screening patients in the intensive care unit for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus produces cost savings for the whole hospital, according to a study that used a statistical simulation model published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC -- the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Stem cells show promise in repairing a child's heart
A study shows promise that heart damage in children could be repaired by using stem cells from patient's own heart.

Discovery could lead to new therapies for asthma, COPD
Researchers have proved that a single

Weighing the costs of disaster
Disasters -- both natural and manmade -- can strike anywhere and they often hit without warning, so they can be difficult to prepare for.

Men more likely to stick with girlfriends who sleep with other women than other men
Men are more than twice as likely to continue dating a girlfriend who has cheated on them with another woman than one who has cheated with another man.

Mini-strokes leave 'hidden' brain damage: Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC Research
Each year, approximately 150,000 Canadians have a transient ischemic attack, sometimes known as a mini-stroke.

Wiley-Blackwell announces partnership with the Wildlife Society
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc., is pleased to announce a partnership with the Wildlife Society to publish its journals, the Journal of Wildlife Management, Wildlife Monographs, and the Wildlife Society Bulletin, beginning in January 2011.

Protein related to aging holds breast cancer clues
A new study led by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researcher David Gius, M.D., Ph.D., shows how a deficiency in an aging-associated protein may set the stage for a common, age-associated type of breast cancer.

Study shows smaller rows contribute to more soybean yields in colder climates
Dr. William Cox, a Cornell University scientist, investigated the response of two soybean varieties in row widths of 7.5, 15, and 30 inches at four seeding rates in a study funded by a USDA Hatch grant.

Baby bliss?
The baby and toddler phase is not necessarily the happiest time in life.

Opposites may attract, but they don't make better parents
A study of zebra finches has revealed that mating pairs with similar personalities are much better parents than couples with differing characteristics.

Test shows dinosaurs survived mass extinction by 700,000 years
University of Alberta researchers determined that a fossilized dinosaur bone found in New Mexico confounds the long established paradigm that the age of dinosaurs ended between 65.5 and 66 million years ago.

Scientists determine what makes an orangutan an orangutan
For the first time, scientists have mapped the genome -- the genetic code -- of orangutans.

Notre Dame biologists call for regulation of rare plant sales
People are increasingly obtaining endangered or threatened plants, often illegally, and moving them outside their native range, according to an article in the journal Nature by biologists Patrick Shirey and Gary Lamberti of the University of Notre Dame.

Statins are highly effective even in patients with lower levels of systemic inflammation
It has been suggested that a person's level of systemic inflammation, as measured by levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, could modify their response to statin therapy.

Study finds common ground for ecosystems and fishing in Northwest Mexico
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have completed a new study on the geography of commercial fisheries in Northwest Mexico and the results could have far-ranging implications for the sustainable future of marine wildlife in the area.

Celiac disease and Crohn's disease share part of their genetic background
An investigation has found that celiac disease and Crohn's disease, both inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, share at least four genetic risk loci.

New transistor for plastic electronics exhibits the best of both worlds
Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a transistor with excellent stability and performance for use on plastic electronics.

New principles from ACP to determine consensus on conserving and allocating health resources
In a groundbreaking policy paper released today, the American College of Physicians offered more than a dozen principles for engaging the public in a process that it hopes will lead to consensus on conserving and allocating resources based on the best evidence of clinical effectiveness and value.

ESRC report examines the pathway to economic recovery
A new report released Jan. 27 by the Economic and Social Research Council provides a snapshot of what we know about our current economic situation and explores what can be learned by looking at evidence from economic and social research.

Breakthrough on cystic fibrosis 1 step closer as new research alliance formed
McGill University and GlaxoSmithKline PLC have signed a collaboration agreement to develop a potential breakthrough approach to treat cystic fibrosis, a fatal genetic disease.

Scientists link protein to the insulation of the nervous system's wiring
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have pinpointed a crucial function for a key player in the development of the nervous system.

The end of our national health service
The lead editorial in this week's Lancet says that the UK coalition government's Health and Social Care Bill will spell the end of the country's National Health Service as we know it.

Surgery for obstructive sleep apnea reduces daytime drowsiness
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea who undergo surgery to improve their breathing get a better night's sleep and therefore are less drowsy during the day, according to a new study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

International community called upon to stop the runaway train of cancer in Africa
To coincide with World Cancer Day 2011, on 4 February, the Africa Oxford Cancer Foundation and the European Society for Medical Oncology are launching the

New research shows infants understand social dominance
New research from the University of Copenhagen and Harvard University has found that infants less than one year old understand social dominance and use relative size to predict who will prevail when two individuals' goals conflict.

Training the brain to think ahead in addiction
The growing numbers of new cases of substance abuse disorders are perplexing.

High school biology teachers reluctant to endorse evolution in class
The majority of public high school biology teachers are not strong classroom advocates of evolutionary biology, despite 40 years of court cases that have ruled teaching creationism or intelligent design violates the Constitution, according to Penn State political scientists.

Rice scientist recognized for stellar work on nanoparticles, cell membranes
The Welch Foundation today awarded its prestigious Hackerman Award to Rice University scientist Jason Hafner.

Elsevier sponsors launch ceremonies for the International Year of Chemistry
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, is a proud co-sponsor of today's launch ceremonies for the International Year of Chemistry.

A mix of tiny gold and viral particles -- and the DNA ties that bind them
Scientists have created a diamond-like lattice composed of gold nanoparticles and viral particles, woven together and held in place by strands of DNA.

OU establishes a new water and sustainability institute
OU is establishing an Institute for Water and Sustainability using the University's research expertise to benefit Oklahoma and the nation, including emerging regions of the world.

Current violent juvenile treatment methods costly, ineffective, MU researcher finds
Charles Borduin, a professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science finds that multisystemic therapy is more effective in the lives of troubled youth and costs less.

6 million euros for European Diabetes Research Network
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter, is one of 13 academic institutions and businesses across Europe to form a €6 million ($8.2 million) research and analysis network, funded by the EU for a five-year period, which is designed to investigate the possible role of virus infection in the cause of type 1 diabetes.

Touchscreens made of carbon
Touchscreens are in -- although the technology still has its price.

Sandia engineering sciences director Duane Dimos elected AAAS Fellow
Duane Dimos, director of Sandia's Engineering Sciences Center 1500, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific association.

Disparities in physician demographics linked to patient disparities
Significant disparities exist between the race of kidney disease patients and that of the physicians who will care for them, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

New test discovered to better predict breast cancer outcomes
Researchers from McGill University's Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School have discovered a gene signature that can accurately predict which breast cancer patients are at risk of relapse, thereby sparing those who are not from the burdens associated with unnecessary treatment. 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