Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 14, 2011
Rising seas will affect major US coastal cities by 2100
Rising sea levels could threaten an average of 9 percent of the land within 180 US coastal cities by 2100, according to new research led by University of Arizona scientists.

Not actually bad at math or auto repair? Women fear being stereotyped by male service providers
Women prefer female service providers in situations where they might fall prey to stereotypes about their math and science abilities, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Choosing your neighbors: MBL scientists see how microbes relate in space
It is now possible to see up to 28 differently labeled microbes in a single field of view, due to a new microscopy technique developed at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

Optiqua-NTU partnership to develop next-generation sensor technology
To enhance its contaminant-detection capability, Optiqua Technologies Pte Ltd is collaborating with Nanyang Technological University to tap on its expertise in biomolecular sciences and sensor technology.

New lignin 'lite' switchgrass boosts biofuel yield by more than one-third
Bioethanol from new lines of native perennial prairie grass could become less costly because of plant engineering by the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and fermentation research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Archaeologists find hidden African side to noted 1780s Md. building
A famous US Revolutionary-era building -lone-surviving testament to an Enlightenment ideal -- has a hidden West African face, University of Maryland archaeologists have discovered.

NASA satellites see Cyclone Bingiza move across northern Madagascar
Tropical Cyclone Bingiza has made landfall in northeastern Madagascar, and NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites captured visible infrared satellite data of the storm's progression over the weekend, revealing the power behind the storm.

Obesity takes heavy toll on knee arthritis
More than 14 million visits were made to physicians' offices in 2008 by patients with knee problems.

Consumer beware: Rejecting an option may make you more likely to choose it later
People make purchasing decisions by choosing between alternatives or by rejecting certain options.

Gene that regulates immune system linked to preeclampsia
Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that the placentas of women who suffer preeclampsia during pregnancy have an overabundance of a gene associated with the regulation of the body's immune system.

Science investments in Obama's 2012 budget request endorsed by Earth and space scientists
The American Geophysical Union today endorses President Barack Obama's 2012 budget request, specifically noting its recognition of the critical impact scientific research has on economic competitiveness, national security and public health.

New combination therapy for solid tumors?
Most, if not all, solid tumors contain regions that are not well oxygenated.

NIH study finds 2 pesticides associated with Parkinson's disease
New research shows a link between use of two pesticides, rotenone and paraquat, and Parkinson's disease.

Nonmilitary personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan more likely to be medically evacuated
Nonmilitary personnel serving in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were more likely to be evacuated with non-war-related injuries and more likely to return to duty after such injuries compared with military personnel, according to a study published in CMAJ.

Physicists isolate bound states in graphene-superconductor junctions
Illinois researchers have documented the first observations of some unusual physics when two prominent electric materials are connected: superconductors and graphene.

APS concurs with science emphasis in President Obama's Fiscal Year 2012 budget
The American Physical Society agrees with President Obama's emphasis on science in his proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget.

Scott & White Healthcare -- Round Rock performing surgery without incisions for heartburn
Millions of Americans, or 10 percent of the population, suffer from daily heartburn or other symptoms of reflux such as regurgitation, chronic cough, hoarseness and dental erosion.

Eurofins MWG Operon offers advanced de novo genome sequencing
Using different types of genomic DNA libraries enables sequencing and scaffolding of genomes of any size.

Ben-Gurion U. researchers develop techniques to manipulate plant adaption in arid climates
In a recent paper published in the prestigious journal The Plant Cell, BGU researchers were able show that by manipulating a specific gene they could impact lateral root growth.

Hand movements in children with ADHD hold clues to understanding and predicting symptom severity
Two research studies published today in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found markers for measuring the ability of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to control impulsive movements, which may reveal insights into the neurobiology of ADHD, inform prognosis and guide treatments.

Playtime helps bind generations
A new study has confirmed an old adage: A family that plays together stays together.

An early step in Parkinson's disease: Problems with mitochondria
For the last several years, neurologists have been probing a connection between Parkinson's disease and problems with mitochondria, the miniature power plants of the cell.

Fiber intake associated with reduced risk of death
Dietary fiber may be associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases, as well as a reduced risk of death from any cause over a nine-year period, according to a report posted online today that will be published in the June 14 print issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Stevens' Dr. Michael M. Zavlanos receives NSF CAREER award for robot network research
Dr. Michael M. Zavlanos, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, is a recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award.

Moderate-to-heavy alcohol intake may increase risk of atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm).

Overcoming the 'fear of insignificance'
Extensive research from Dr. Carlo Strenger of Tel Aviv University demonstrates that people over the past ten years have been suffering from an increasing fear of their own

Not so fast: Differences in the first embryonic cell lineage decision of mammals
In fact, this work shows that the animals most commonly used by scientists to study mammalian genetics -- mice -- develop unusually quickly and may not always be representative of embryonic development in other mammals.

Treating the aging knee as an organ
Henry Ford Hospital researcher Fred Nelson, M.D., suggests that viewing the knee as an organ in the same way doctors examine the heart for heart disease could lead to better therapies for treating osteoarthritis, one of the five leading causes of disability in elderly men and women.

Stanford researchers develop new wireless technology for faster, more efficient networks
A new technology that allows wireless signals to be sent and received simultaneously on a single channel has been developed by Stanford researchers.

ASN launches mobile edition of news magazine, ASN Kidney News
The American Society of Nephrology recently launched the first mobile edition of its news magazine, ASN Kidney News.

Less is more when prescribing acid suppressive drugs for non-ICU patients
A study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center finds that, outside of the intensive care unit, GI bleeding is rare, and suggests that, for the average hospital inpatient, the risks posed by acid suppressive agents may outweigh the benefits.

Commonly prescribed osteoporosis drug associated with very low risk of serious jaw disease
A commonly prescribed osteoporosis drug is associated with a slightly elevated risk of developing the rare, but serious condition, osteonecrosis of the jaw; nonetheless the risk remains extremely low.

Boston Medical Center's CARE Unit receives additional NIH funding
The Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit in the Section of General Internal Medicine at BMC was recently awarded a $1,886,087 renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand its education of physicians-in-training to become sophisticated implementers of substance use screening, assessment and treatment research.

Drivers engaging in a secondary task may pay more attention to the road
Although many human factors/ergonomics studies conducted over the past few years indicate that drivers who talk on the phone fail to attend to the road and increase the likelihood of an accident, the monotony of driving may also pose an accident risk.

New anti-clotting drug added to recommendations for treating irregular heartbeat
A new anti-clotting drug, dabigatran, is added to recommendations for treating atrial fibrillation.

More deep-sea vents discovered
Scientists aboard the Royal Research Ship James Cook have discovered a new set of deep-sea volcanic vents in the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean.

Tuberculosis in Nunavut: a century of failure
A recent outbreak of tuberculosis in Nunavut, with a population infection rate 62 times the Canadian average, points to a need to rebuild trust in public health to combat the disease, states an editorial published in CMAJ.

International team of scientists says it's high 'NOON' for microwave photons
An important milestone toward the realization of a large-scale quantum computer, and further demonstration of a new level of the quantum control of light, were accomplished by a team of scientists at UC Santa Barbara and in China and Japan.

Earliest humans not so different from us, research suggests
New research suggests that

Grant to study how to stop fumbled handoffs which can lead to medical errors
Martin Chieng Were, M.D., M.S., a Regenstrief Institute investigator and assistant professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, has received a $420,000 award from the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

New scholarly paper reveals 100 new species of lichenized fungi
One hundred newly discovered species are revealed to the world in a single scholarly paper coordinated by Field Museum scientists.

How do consumers react when friends provide poor service in a business arrangement?
When your friend is a service provider, things can get complicated.

Few women seek help for sexual issues after cancer treatment, but many want it
Many women who survive breast and gynecologic cancers want medical help for their sexual issues, but most do not get it.

Heart patients should be referred to Cardiac Rehabilitation before leaving hospital
Health care practitioners can increase the number of patients with heart disease referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program by 40 percent, helping them to reduce their risk of dying and improve their quality of life, say researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.

Estrogen reduces aggression in breast cancer
A team of researchers at CIC bioGUNE has revealed that estrogen can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Living fast but dying older is possible -- if you're a sheep
Modern humans may live longer than hunter gatherers, chimpanzees, mountain sheep or the European robin, but what does that tell us about how we age relative to other species?

Quest for designer bacteria uncovers a 'Spy'
Scientists have discovered a molecular assistant called Spy that helps bacteria excel at producing proteins for medical and industrial purposes.

Study identifies blood glucose levels that predict 10-year risk of retinopathy
Individuals who have higher blood glucose levels and poorer control of those levels over time appear more likely to develop eye-related complications 10 years later, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

UC San Diego biologists gain new insights into brain circuit wiring
Neurobiologists at UC San Diego have discovered new ways by which nerves are guided to grow in highly directed ways to wire the brain during embryonic development.

Ancient Mesoamerican sculpture uncovered in southern Mexico
With one arm raised and a determined scowl, the figure looks ready to march right off his carved tablet and into the history books.

Why are vines overtaking the American tropics?
Vines are becoming more abundant in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas.

Ground-based lasers vie with satellites to map Earth's magnetic field
Oil and mineral companies, climatologists and geophysicists all rely on expensive satellites to measure the Earth's magnetic field, but there may be a cheaper option.

Pay attention! Many consumers believe 36 months is longer than 3 years
Consumers often have a distorted view when they compare information that involves numbers, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Stem cell transplants help kidney damage
When researchers transplanted autologous renal progenitor cells into rat models with kidney damage from pyelonephritis -- a type of urinary infection that has reached the kidney and is characterized by severe inflammation, renal function impairment and eventual scarring -- their study documented improved kidney structure and renal function.

Game on! Instructional design researcher works to make learning fun
It's a frustrating problem for many of today's parents: Little Jacob or Isabella is utterly indifferent to schoolwork during the day but then happily spends all evening engrossed in the latest video game.

Extinction predictor 'will help protect coral reefs'
More than a third of coral reef fish species are in jeopardy of local extinction from the impacts of climate change on coral reefs, a new scientific study has found.

British scientists develop control system to allow spacecraft to think for themselves
The world's first control system that will allow engineers to program satellites and spacecraft to think for themselves has been developed by scientists from the University of Southampton.

Scientists discover cell of origin for childhood muscle cancer
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital have defined the cell of origin for a kind of cancer called sarcoma.

Boston University School of Medicine professor co-authors first book on deaf ethnicity
In the first book to examine the 300-year ancestry of deaf people in America, Richard C.

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine
Below is information about three articles being published in the Feb.

Medicare costs in last 6 months of life driven by patient variables twice as much as geography
A study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine finds that Medicare costs at the end of life are influenced more by patient characteristics, such as ability to function, the severity of the illness, and family support than by regional factors, such as the number of hospital beds available.

Occasional rescue therapy for asthmatic children, rather than daily corticosteroids, could manage symptoms without the side effect of growth retardation
Many children use daily inhaled corticosteroids (in the morning and evening) to prevent their asthma flaring up.

Springer eBooks now also available in the Google eBookstore
Springer eBooks can now also be purchased via Google's eBookstore.

Obese women may be less likely to develop glaucoma
Obesity may be associated with higher eye pressure and a decreased risk of open-angle glaucoma in women but not men, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Culling can't control deadly bat disease
Culling will not stop the spread of a deadly fungus that is threatening to wipe out hibernating bats in North America, according to a new mathematical model.

Obesity is heart disease killer in its own right, irrespective of other risk factors
Obesity is a killer in its own right, irrespective of other biological or social risk factors traditionally associated with coronary heart disease, suggests research published online in Heart.

ACS responds to President Barack Obama's 2012 budget
The American Chemical Society today announced its appreciation for President Barack Obama's continued support of federal investments for scientific research and the Society said it hopes that proposed budget levels for 2012 may be achievable.

Media advisory -- Partnering to Fight TB: The Role of a TB Vaccine PDP
Speakers at an AAAS Annual Meeting exhibitor's workshop will provide an overview of the state of the global TB epidemic and efforts to develop TB vaccines; the role of non-profit product development partnerships such as Aeras; and ways that scientists and researchers can add their voices to a global call for action on TB.

Cigarette smoking associated with increased risk of developing ALS
Cigarette smoking may be associated with an increased risk of developing the muscle-wasting disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study shows year-end test scores significantly improved in schools using Web-based tutor
Year-end test scores of Massachusetts middle school students whose teachers used a Web-based tutoring platform called ASSISTments as a central part of their mathematics instruction were significantly better than those of students whose teachers did not use the platform, according to a recent study.

Jewel-toned organic phosphorescent crystals: A new class of light-emitting material
Pure organic compounds that glow in jewel tones could potentially lead to cheaper, more efficient and flexible display screens, among other applications.

Researchers working toward automating sedation in intensive care units
Researchers are one step closer to their goal of automating the management of sedation in hospital intensive care units.

Small material, big impact
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre has just launched the first European repository of nanomaterials with a representative range of 25 different types of reference nanomaterials.

Abnormal control of hand movements may hint at ADHD severity in children
Measurements of hand movement control may help determine the severity of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, according to joint studies published in the Feb.

World phosphorous use crosses critical threshold
Recalculating the global use of phosphorous, a fertilizer linchpin of modern agriculture, a team of researchers warns that the world's stocks may soon be in short supply and that overuse in the industrialized world has become a leading cause of the pollution of lakes, rivers and streams.

People at risk of diabetes offer clues toward novel drugs
To identify factors in developing type 2 diabetes,

Most medical devices recalled because of serious risks did not undergo clinical trials
Most medical devices recently recalled by the Food and Drug Administration because of very serious risks were initially approved through an expedited process or were exempt from regulatory review, according to a report posted online today that will be published in the June 14 print issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Elsevier/MEDai enhances real-time clinical surveillance system for hospitals
Elsevier/MEDai, a leading provider of advanced clinical analytic health-care solutions, announced today the launch of the latest version of Pinpoint Review, its real-time, clinical surveillance system for hospitals.

How to prevent extreme weather and climate change disruptions to the urban economy
A panel discussion -- among climate experts, transit officials and representatives of city government -- at the New York Academy of Sciences will address the New York City experience in building transportation system resilience given the overarching context of severe weather and climate events and their impacts.

Canada awards top science prizes
This week, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada awarded 12 prizes to outstanding researchers.

A hunk of a target for treating breast cancer
Among women with breast cancer, approximately 25 percent have a subtype that is characterized by high levels of the protein HER2.

Psychology students to present on cheaper textbook alternatives at national conference
Students will present their research on a statewide Ohio initiative aimed at reducing textbook costs for college students.

The UK is a nation of happy couples
Whether you are married or cohabiting with your partner, the vast majority of couples in the UK are happy in their relationship.

Worldwide sulfur emissions rose between 2000-2005, after decade of decline
A new analysis of sulfur emissions shows that after declining for a decade, worldwide emissions rose again in 2000 due largely to international shipping and a growing Chinese economy.

New clinical practice guidelines for noninvasive ventilation
New clinical guidelines for use of noninvasive ventilation in critical care settings are published in CMAJ.

Iowa State engineer developing technology to enhance battery life in portable devices
Iowa State University's Ayman Fayed is working with Rockwell Collins engineers to test a technology that could extend the battery life of portable devices by reducing power consumption.

Red wine compound increases anti-tumor effect of rapamycin
Researchers from Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute have discovered that resveratrol -- a compound found in red wine -- when combined with rapamycin can have a tumor-suppressing effect on breast cancer cells that are resistant to rapamycin alone.

Early signs of heart disease in preadolescent children with type 1 diabetes
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in patients with diabetes.

Hershey scientists improve methods for analysis of healthful cocoa compounds
Two scientific publications report on improved methods for determining the amounts of flavanol antioxidants in cocoa and chocolate.

Guitar heroes: When the magic transfers from rock stars to instruments
Budding guitarists seek the magical powers of rock hero instruments, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Monitoring killer mice from space
The risk of deadly hantavirus outbreaks in people can be predicted months ahead of time by using satellite images to monitor surges in vegetation that boost mouse populations, a University of Utah study says.

Does social anxiety disorder respond to psychotherapy? Brain study says yes
When psychotherapy is helping someone get better, what does that change look like in the brain?

X-rays show why van Gogh paintings lose their shine
Scientists using synchrotron X-rays have identified the chemical reaction in two van Gogh paintings that alters originally bright yellow colors into brown shades.

Queen's University joins new search for Earth-like planets
Astronomers from Queen's University Belfast are joining their counterparts from the universities of Edinburgh, Geneva, Harvard, St.

Lavender oil has potent antifungal effect
Lavender oil could be used to combat the increasing incidence of antifungal-resistant infections, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Total cooperation among people is not viable
A situation where a majority of people cooperate never happens.

Hearing loss associated with development of dementia
Older adults with hearing loss appear more likely to develop dementia, and their risk increases as hearing loss becomes more severe, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Military/civilian medical experts turning attention to 'army' of injured civilians supporting wars
After analyzing data on 2,155 private contractors, diplomats and other civilians supporting war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan who were medically evacuated out of combat zones, researchers have found they are more likely to be evacuated for noncombat-related injuries, but more likely to return to work in-country after treatment for these conditions.

George Clooney or Saddam Hussein? Why do consumers pay for celebrity possessions?
A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research sheds some light into why someone would pay $48,875 for a tape measure that had belonged to Jackie Kennedy or $3,300 for Bernie Madoff's footstool.

JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 14, 2011
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for the following newsworthy papers to be published online, Feb.

Portable pedal machines may help counter harmful effects of sedentary jobs
Portable pedal machines could help counter the harmful effects of prolonged periods spent at a desk or workstation among an increasingly sedentary workforce, suggests a small study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Automatic referrals, plus a patient discussion, may increase use of cardiac rehab
Automatically referring patients with heart disease to cardiac rehabilitation -- when followed by a discussion between patient and clinician -- was associated with an increased rate at which patients use this beneficial service, according to a report in the Feb.

Chemical engineer earns National Science Foundation CAREER award for work with graphene quantum dots
Vikas Berry, K-State assistant professor of chemical engineering, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award for his work involving graphene, which could lead to improved electronics and optoelectronics.

UCLA Engineering advance with new nanomaterials good news for next-generation electronic devices
In a study published Feb. 13 in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers at UCLA Engineering and at the University of Queensland, Australia have not only shown the promise of surface conduction channels in topological insulator nanoribbons but have also successfully demonstrated the tunability of surface states, to be on and off, depending on the position of the Fermi level. 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