Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 03, 2011
Yale scientists identify a deadly tool in Salmonella's bag of tricks
The potentially deadly bacterium Salmonella possesses a molecular machine that marshals the proteins it needs to hijack cellular mechanisms and infect millions worldwide.

Genetic study uncovers new path to Polynesia
Surprising new evidence which overturns current theories of how humans colonized the Pacific has been discovered by scientists at the University of Leeds, UK.

Oil in Gulf of Mexico: Biologists cite need for critical data to determine ecological consequences
Twenty years after biologists attempted to determine the ecological damages to marine life from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, scientists dealing with the BP disaster find themselves with the same problem: the lack of critical data to determine the ecological consequences of human-induced environmental disasters, a University of Florida researcher said.

Surprise hidden in Titan's smog: Cirrus-like clouds
Now, thin, wispy clouds of ice particles, similar to Earth's cirrus clouds, are being reported by Carrie Anderson and Robert Samuelson at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

New model by University of Nevada for how Nevada gold deposits formed may help in gold exploration
A team of University of Nevada, Reno, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, researchers have devised a new model for how Nevada's gold deposits formed, which may help in exploration efforts for new gold deposits.

OHSU fixes complex heart problems without open-heart surgery
The pediatric cardiac team at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital is one of a handful in the nation to implant a pulmonary heart valve without open-heart surgery.

Oysters at risk: Gastronomes' delight disappearing globally
Oysters are in

New national study finds mountain bike-related injuries down 56 percent
A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found the number of mountain bike-related injuries decreased 56 percent over the 14-year study period (1994 to 2007) -- going from a high of more than 23,000 injuries in 1995 to just over 10,000 injuries in 2007.

Cross-species strategy might be a powerful tool for studying human disease
A new study takes advantage of genetic similarities between mammals and fruit flies by coupling a complex genetic screening technique in humans with functional validation of the results in flies.

Scientists urge new research policies in wake of Gulf disaster
Scientists are having a difficult time gauging the recovery of marine species from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico because they lack sufficient data about historical population size and the distribution, growth rates and reproduction rates of many species.

New drought record from long-lived Mexican trees may illuminate fates of past civilizations
A new, detailed record of rainfall fluctuations in ancient Mexico that spans more than twelve centuries promises to improve our understanding of the role drought played in the rise and fall of pre-Hispanic civilizations.

Microbiologists at TU Muenchen aim to optimize bio-ethanol production
Technische Universitaet Muenchen researchers are working to resolve an emerging

First crustacean genome is sequenced
The ubiquitous freshwater

Ongoing policy uncertainty is detrimental for stem cell scientists
While there is no doubt that the ethical controversy surrounding human embryonic stem cell research has given rise to an uncertain policy environment, the true impact of years of frequent policy changes has not been fully assessed.

Paper by Rhode Island Hospital physician selected among best of 2010 by JACR
A paper on resident duty hour limits from Rhode Island Hospital has been selected as the best education paper of 2010 by the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Early infusion of donor T cells prevents graft versus host disease in blood cancer patients
A study published today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology, highlights updated results for a potential new strategy for preventing graft-versus-host disease and promoting the patient's immune system recovery after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Northern Mars landscape actively changing
Sand dunes in a vast area of northern Mars long thought to be frozen in time are changing with both sudden and gradual motions, as revealed by images from a high-resolution camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO.

Helping feed the world without polluting its waters
Farmers around the world rely, at least in part on phosphorus-based fertilizers in order to sustain and improve crop yields.

Current use of biodiesel no more harmful than regular diesel
Up to 7 percent biodiesel blended in regular diesel will presumably not cause greater health risks for the population than the use of pure fossil diesel.

Scientists unlock 1 mystery of tissue regeneration
Researchers at the University of Rochester have now identified a genetic switch that controls oxidative stress in stem cells and thus governs stem cell function.

Animal with the most genes? A tiny crustacean
Complexity ever in the eye of its beholders, the animal with the most genes -- about 31,000 -- is the near-microscopic freshwater crustacean Daphnia pulex, or water flea.

Rare insect fossil reveals 100 million years of evolutionary stasis
Researchers have discovered the 100 million-year-old ancestor of a group of large, carnivorous, cricket-like insects that still live today in southern Asia, northern Indochina and Africa.

Using a generic blood pressure and heart drug could save the UK $324 million in 2011
Using a generic drug to treat hypertension and heart failure, instead of branded medicines from the same class, could save the UK's National Health Service at least £200 ($324) million in 2011 without any real reduction in clinical benefits.

Boosting body's immune response may hold key to HIV cure
Australian scientists have successfully cleared a HIV-like infection from mice by boosting the function of cells vital to the immune response.

Future surgeons may use robotic nurse, 'gesture recognition'
Surgeons of the future might use a system that recognizes hand gestures as commands to control a robotic scrub nurse or tell a computer to display medical images of the patient during an operation.

For stem cells, a way to keep score
Ever since researchers devised a recipe for turning adult cells into cells that look and act like embryonic stem cells, there has been lingering doubt in the field about just how close to embryonic stem cells each of those cell lines really is at a molecular and functional level.

Homeless people without enough to eat are more likely to be hospitalized
Homeless people who do not get enough to eat use hospitals and emergency rooms at very high rates, according to a new study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Health Care for the Homeless.

Adapting technology to elderly people
With the numbers of people aged 65 and over growing, the costs to the state to care for or assist them are set to continue rising across the European Union.

Death in the bat caves: Disease wiping out hibernating bats
Conservationists across the United States are racing to discover a solution to white-nose syndrome, a disease that is threatening to wipe out bat species across North America.

Loss of oyster reefs a global problem, but one with solutions
A new study by an international team including professor Mark Luckenbach of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that the decline of oyster reefs is not just confined to Chesapeake Bay.

UNC researchers developing computer models for pediatric airway problems
A team of UNC-Chapel Hill researchers has been awarded a $3.6 million grant to develop computer models that will allow physicians to predict which treatments will work best in children with upper airway problems.

New nanomaterials unlock new electronic and energy technologies
A new way of splitting layered materials to give atom thin

Research suggests V8 100% vegetable juice can help people meet key dietary guidelines
Studies show drinking V8 100% vegetable juice may be a simple way for people to increase their vegetable intake and may help them manage their weight -- two areas of concern outlined in the newly released 2010 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Could chocolate and oranges help prevent frailty in old age?
A study by The University of Nottingham is hoping to establish the health benefits from cocoa and vitamin C.

Same rules apply to some experimental systems regardless of scale
New experiments show that common scientific rules can apply to significantly different phenomena operating on vastly different scales.

Learning causes structural changes in affected neurons
When a laboratory rat learns how to reach for and grab a food pellet -- a pretty complex and unnatural act for a rodent -- the acquired knowledge significantly alters the structure of the specific brain cells involved, which sprout a whopping 22 percent more dendritic spines connecting them to other motor neurons.

University of Leicester releases stunning satellite imagery of cyclone Yasi from space
Earth observation scientists at the University of Leicester have recorded stunning images of tropical cyclone Yasi by orbiting satellites.

Scientists find part of New Zealand's submerged 'Pink Terraces'
This week, scientists from New Zealand's GNS Science, one of several government laboratories, in collaboration with engineers and scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and colleagues from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and NOAA-PMEL, located portions of the long-lost Pink Terraces.

Brains need love, too
Two studies highlight how maternal care makes the baby's brain less vulnerable to stress.

Seeing the light: Berkeley Lab scientists bring plasmonic nanofields into focus
Berkeley Lab scientists have engineered an innovative imaging technique to visualize plasmonic fields with nanoscale resolution.

GSA supports new US call for improved nutrition and physical activity
The Gerontological Society of America -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- commends the federal government's recent release of the

2 severe Amazon droughts in 5 years alarms scientists
New research shows that the 2010 Amazon drought may have been even more devastating to the region's rainforests than the unusual 2005 drought, which was previously billed as a one-in-100 year event.

Coffee, energy drinkers beware: Many mega-sized drinks loaded with sugar, MU nutrition expert says
Ellen Schuster, a University of Missouri nutrition expert, says that Americans should be wary of extra calories and sugar in the quest for bigger, bolder drinks.

'Tall order' sunlight-to-hydrogen system works, neutron analysis confirms
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a biohybrid photoconversion system -- based on the interaction of photosynthetic plant proteins with synthetic polymers -- that can convert visible light into hydrogen fuel.

Scripps Research scientists develop powerful new methodology for stabilizing proteins
A team of scientists at the Scripps Research Institute has discovered a new way to stabilize proteins -- the workhorse biological macromolecules found in all organisms.

Drug-abusers have difficulty to recognize negative emotions as wrath, fear and sadness
University of Granada scientists have been the first to analyze the relation between drug abuse and recognition of basic emotions (happiness, surprise, wrath, fear, sadness and disgust).

Quantum quirk: JILA scientists pack atoms together to prevent collisions in atomic clock
In a paradox typical of the quantum world, JILA scientists have eliminated collisions between atoms in an atomic clock by packing the atoms closer together.

Princeton scientists discover mechanism involved in breast cancer's spread to bone
In a discovery that may lead to a new treatment for breast cancer that has spread to the bone, a Princeton University research team has unraveled a mystery about how these tumors take root.

Expectations speed up conscious perception
If you already know what you are about to see, you will recognize it faster.

Wolverine population threatened by climate change
Wolverine habitat in the northwestern United States is likely to warm dramatically if society continues to emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, according to new computer model simulations carried out at NCAR.

Rowdy residents warn crustaceans away from perilous reefs
Coral reefs present a treacherous wall of mouths to flea-sized planktonic crustaceans, but the clamor generated by animals on the reef may act like a foghorn to warn them away from danger.

New clue to lupus: Failed autoimmune suppression mechanism
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Cambridge, Mass., in collaboration with Jackson Laboratory scientists, have identified a regulatory defect that drives lupus.

Younger immigrants adjust to a new culture faster than do older immigrants
Moving to a new country is difficult -- learning the cultural rules and meanings of your new home is especially challenging.

Understanding conflict
Security is a broad concept, operating at many levels from the individual to the global.

Office of Naval Research website wins site of the year award
An international provider of Web content and portal solutions announced Feb.

BU School of Public Health finds simple interventions reduce newborn deaths in Africa
Training community birth attendants in rural Zambia in a simple newborn resuscitation protocol reduced neonatal deaths by nearly 50 percent -- a finding that shows high potential to save lives in similar remote settings, a team of Boston University School of Public Health international health researchers is reporting.

Country-by-country trends in obesity, cholesterol and blood pressure since 1980: Obesity has doubled, while Western wealthy countries have reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Three papers published online first by the Lancet show that the worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly doubled since 1980.

Advancing biocrop alternatives in the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest farmers could someday be filling up their machinery's tanks with fuels produced from their own fields, according to ongoing research by US Department of Agriculture scientists.

NASA measuring Tropical Storm Yasi's inland rainfall from space
Tropical Cyclone Yasi has continued moving through inland Queensland, Australia and has weakened to a tropical depression today.

Wasting disease in cattle focus of workshop
Johne's disease has been found in 68 percent of dairy herds and causes an estimated annual loss of $220 million to the US dairy industry.

New approach to solar cells
An interdisciplinary team of UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz researchers is taking a novel approach to solar power, one that promises to lead to a technological breakthrough.

Rheumatoid arthritis researchers redefine remission
The American College of Rheumatology today announced the release of two new provisional definitions of rheumatoid arthritis remission, which are to be applied to future RA clinical trials.

A restricted diet should be part of standard of care for all children with ADHD
In new research published in this week's Lancet, researchers conclude that a special restricted diet (the restricted elimination diet) should be part of the standard of care for all children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

2nd member in Alzheimer's toxic duo identified
Armed with new evidence, scientists hope to disrupt signals that turn on target genes in Alzheimer's disease.

Stem cell leader awarded $2.3 million grant for Parkinson's
The Salk Institute has been awarded a $2.3 million grant by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for translational research focusing on developing a novel stem cell based therapy for Parkinson's disease.

Cornell researchers find a strong community protects adolescents from risky health behavior
Growing up poor increases a person's likelihood of health problems as an adult, but a new study by a Cornell University environmental psychologist shows being raised in a tight-knit community can help offset this disadvantage.

Sentinel of change: Waterflea genome to improve environmental monitoring capabilities
A tiny crustacean that has been used for decades to develop and monitor environmental regulations is the first of its kind to have its genetic code sequenced and analyzed -- by the Daphnia Genomics Consortium and the US Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) -- revealing the most gene-packed animal characterized to date.

Morning-after spike in ozone air pollution from Super Bowl XLV?
Not even the most avid fans could notice, but those spectacular aerial images of a brightly-lit Cowboys Stadium during Sunday's Super Bowl XLV symbolize one of the hottest new pieces of scientific intelligence about air pollution: Researchers have discovered -- in a classic case of scientific serendipity -- that the bright light from sports stadiums and urban street lights may boost daytime levels of ozone, a key air pollutant in many heavily populated areas.

Boston College receives W.M. Keck Foundation funding for nanoscale optical microscope
The W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded Boston College a $1 million grant to support a multi-disciplinary team of researchers developing a new type of microscope.

States should extend benefits for youth in foster care, MU expert says
Each year, 29,000 foster youths are released from care as they become adults.

Northern hunters slowed down advance of Neolithic farmers
Farmers from the Near East spread throughout Europe around 7,000 years ago, but the hunter-gatherers of the north slowed their advance for around 15 centuries.

Good sports: Coaches help athletes be more ethical
Highly publicized ethical lapses by sports celebrities have raised questions about morality in athletics.

Blood-clotting agent can diagnose fatal genetic diseases, finds study
University of Manchester scientists have shown that a protein involved in blood clotting can be used to diagnose and subsequently monitor the treatment of a group of childhood genetic diseases.

Destined for disease: Breast cancer mutation regulates cell fate
The research, published by Cell Press on Feb. 4 in the journal Cell Stem Cell, shows that breast tissue cells from these individuals make abnormal cell-fate decisions even before cancer develops and provides exciting new insights into the mechanisms behind one of the most lethal types of breast cancer.

Lund adopts chromosome 19
Today, we know what all the genes on a person's 46 chromosomes look like, but it is only by studying the gene coding information linked to different proteins that we can gain knowledge that can lead to new drug developments.

CSHL study unmasks a stem cell origin of skin cancer and the genetic roots of malignancy
Researchers at CSHL have unmasked a long sought stem cell origin of carcinoma and identified the genetic lesions occurring within these cells that spur them on to malignancy.

New discoveries improve climate models
New discoveries on how underwater ridges impact the ocean's circulation system will help improve climate projections.

Lilly and JDRF partner to fund regenerative medicine research in type 1 diabetes
Eli Lilly and Company and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation today announced that they have signed an agreement to fund early-stage research that could enable patients with type 1 diabetes to regenerate insulin-producing cells destroyed by the disease.

Analyzing long-term impacts of biofuel on the land
In a study funded by the USDA Agriculture Research Service, scientists analyzed five classical long term experiments.

Portland Press Limited joins the Faculty of 1000 Affiliate Program
The Biochemical Society, including its wholly owned publishing subsidiary Portland Press Limited, becomes the latest prestigious organization to join the growing Faculty of 1000 Affiliate Program.

University partnership will greatly improve computer system
Eagle Genomics Ltd. has signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Manchester to provide commercial support for Taverna, the open-source Workflow Management System.

Plant's immune defense revs up for the morning attack
Timing is everything in the long-standing arms race between the flowering plant Arabidopsis and Hyaloperonospora, a downy mildew pathogen.

Obesity has doubled since 1980, major global analysis of risk factors reveals
The worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly doubled since 1980, according to a major study on how three important heart disease risk factors have changed across the world over the last three decades.

Discovery may lead to turning back the clock on ovarian cancer
Cancer researchers have discovered that a type of regulatory RNA may be effective in fighting ovarian cancer. 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