Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 17, 2011
Psychological effects of BP oil spill go beyond residents of impacted shorelines
The psychological effects of the BP oil spill, the largest recorded environmental disaster in human history, extend far beyond people living around the areas of the Gulf of Mexico that were directly impacted by the spill, a new study finds.

Study suggests statins may prevent diabetic-related blindness
New University of Georgia research has found that a statin drug that is often known by the brand-name Lipitor may help prevent blindness in people with diabetes.

Scientists build world's first anti-laser
More than 50 years after the invention of the laser, scientists at Yale University have built the world's first anti-laser, in which incoming beams of light interfere with one another in such a way as to perfectly cancel each other out.

Elsevier is improving quality, efficiency of health care with 'Smart Content'
To improve health care quality while reducing costs, Elsevier, a global leader in medical and health information, will unveil the next generation of clinical decision support featuring Smart Content at the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Feb.

Vitamin E may increase or decrease the risk of pneumonia depending on smoking and exercise
Depending on the level of smoking and leisure time exercise, vitamin E supplementation may decrease or increase, or may have no effect, on the risk of pneumonia.

Healthy lifestyle, positive attitude can help improve patient outcomes
Joint replacement patients who improve their lifestyle and maintain a positive mindset prior to surgery are more likely to have better functional outcomes than those who do not, according to research presented today at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Engineering atomic interfaces for new electronics
Most people cross borders such as doorways or state lines without thinking much about it.

Chronically ill children are 88 percent more likely to suffer physical abuse
Children with chronic health conditions are 88 percent more likely to suffer physical abuse than healthy children and 154 percent more likely to suffer a combination of physical abuse and exposure to intimate partner violence.

Magma power for geothermal energy?
When a team of scientists drilling near an Icelandic volcano hit magma in 2009, they had to abandon their planned experiments on geothermal energy.

Small particle means big research for international physics project
Glenn Horton-Smith, associate professor of physics, is leading the Kansas State University portion of the exploration on the Double Chooz neutrino detector, located in the Ardennes region of northern France.

Space research institute names new class of postdoctoral fellows
Four young scientists have been awarded postdoctoral fellowships to conduct research for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.

Carnegie Mellon's Matyjaszewski to receive Wolf Prize in Chemistry
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner professor of the natural sciences at Carnegie Mellon University's Mellon College of Science, was named a recipient of the 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry.

Everything you wanted to know about microbes and oil spills but were afraid to ask
Is it true that microbes cleaned up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Can bacteria really

Residual dipolar couplings unveil structure of small molecules
Chemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology introduced a new method for identifying chemical compounds.

First-of-its-kind study shows benefits of electrical stimulation therapy for people paralyzed by spinal cord injury
A new treatment approach which uses tiny bursts of electricity to reawaken paralyzed muscles

Asthma tied to bacterial communities in the airway
Asthma may have a surprising relationship with the composition of the species of bacteria that inhabit bronchial airways, a finding that could suggest new treatment or even potential cures for the common inflammatory disease, according to a new UCSF-led study.

Psychology and the law: A special issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science
Legal systems are necessary in any functioning society. Centuries ago, people realized that the only way to maintain a peaceful community was to develop a firm set of rules -- laws -- to punish transgressors.

Catching space weather in the act
Special cameras aboard the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spacecraft have snapped the first shots of a complex space environment.

Skeleton regulates male fertility
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have discovered that the skeleton acts as a regulator of fertility in male mice through a hormone released by bone, known as osteocalcin.

NASA highlights at American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting
NASA researchers will discuss a wide range of scientific and space exploration topics at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Scientists uncover surprising features of bear hibernation
Black bears show surprisingly large and previously unobserved decreases in their metabolism during and after hibernation according to a paper by scientists at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and published in the Feb.

Making sure physical health is not forgotten in people with serious mental health conditions
People with severe mental illness have lives 16 years shorter than does the general population, but in these patients coronary heart disease, not suicide, is the major cause of death.

Improved behavioral health needed to respond to rising number of suicides among US Armed Forces
Suicide rates in the US military have increased sharply since 2001 as the nation fights two wars.

2010 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge winners announced
The winners of the 2010 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, sponsored jointly by the journal Science and NSF, share spectacular photographs, graphics, illustrations and video that engage viewers by conveying the complex substance of science through different art forms.

The real avatar
That feeling of being in, and owning, your own body is a fundamental human experience.

Inexpensive rinsing effective at reducing post-op infection following joint replacement surgery
A rinsing technique with betadine that costs just a little over one dollar per patient may significantly reduce the infection rate following total knee and hip joint replacement surgery according to a study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center.

Technology breakthrough fuels laptops and phones, recharges scientist's 60-year career
How does a scientist fuel his enthusiasm for chemistry after 60 years?

Higher levels of social activity decrease the risk of developing disability in old age
Afraid of becoming disabled in old age, not being able to dress yourself or walk up and down the stairs?

Taking brain-computer interfaces to the next phase
You may have heard of virtual keyboards controlled by thought, brain-powered wheelchairs, and neuro-prosthetic limbs.

Reverse genetics allow scientists to slow the spread of the Rubella virus
Scientists have identified the gene that allows the Rubella virus to block cell death and reverse engineered a mutant gene that slows the virus's spread.

New Pitt projects will test brain computer interfaces for people with spinal cord injury
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been awarded funding for two projects that will place brain-computer interfaces in patients with spinal cord injuries to test if it is possible for them to control external devices, such as a computer cursor or a prosthetic limb, with their thoughts.

Subtle shifts, not major sweeps, drove human evolution
The most popular model used by geneticists for the last 35 years to detect the footprints of human evolution may overlook more common subtle changes, a new international study finds.

2011 FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award honors Carol V. Robinson
The European Molecular Biology Organization and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies announce Carol V.

Cigarette smoking increases production of mucus in patients with bronchitis
Cigarette smoking has been linked with overproduction of mucus associated with chronic bronchitis, according to a study conducted by researchers in New Mexico.

Australia to host IOF Regionals -- 2nd Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis and Bone Meeting
IOF announces the 2nd Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis and Bone Meeting, to be held in conjunction with the Australian & New Zealand Bone & Mineral Society Annual Scientific Meeting and with the Japanese Bone and Mineral Research Society, from Sept.

Warm weather may hurt thinking skills in people with MS
People with multiple sclerosis may find it harder to learn, remember or process information on warmer days of the year, according to new research released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9-16, 2011.

Brupbacher Prize goes to B. Vogelstein and J. Hoeijmakers for research on colorectal and skin cancer
Today, the Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research 2011 goes to two researchers who have contributed to better understanding of the genetics underlying the growth of tumors.

Checklist cuts lethal ventilator-associated lung infections
Cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia -- the most lethal and among the most common of all hospital-associated infections -- dropped by more than 70 percent in Michigan hospitals where medical staff used a simple checklist designed by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Male fertility is in the bones
Researchers have found an altogether unexpected connection between a hormone produced in bone and male fertility.

Promise of genomics research needs a realistic view
A new commentary by four internationally prominent genetic medicine and bioethics experts cautions against the dangers of inflated expectations for genomics research and offers ways to avoid it while still realizing

National career symposium offers strategic advice to attract, advance women in surgery
Surgeons from across the country will gather in Clearwater, Fla., March 4-6, 2011, to discuss issues and challenges confronting women as they seek to advance in the changing, but still male dominated, medical field.

Rewrite the textbooks
Neurons are complicated, but the basic functional concept is that synapses transmit electrical signals to the dendrites and cell body, and axons carry signals away.

Ben-Gurion U. research leads to improved calcium supplement derived from crustacean shells
Using new technology inspired by the crustaceans' natural process, the BGU researchers tested this synthetic ACC compound against other commonly used calcium supplements.

NASA infrared satellite data see an intensifying Tropical Storm Dianne
Infrared satellite data from NASA's Aqua satellite reveal that Tropical Storm Dianne is getting organized off the coast of Western Australia today.

The NIST role in role-based control: A 20th anniversary appraisal
A new economics study argues that the development of

Improving microscopy by following the astronomers' guide star
A corrective strategy used by astronomers to sharpen images of celestial bodies can now help scientists see with more depth and clarity into the living brain of a mouse.

Emotional response may predict how the body responds to stress
Your emotional response to challenging situations could predict how your body responds to stress, according to research published this month in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Policy experts say changes in expectations and funding key to genomic medicine's future
Unrealistic expectations about genomic medicine have created a

Children in public housing play outdoors more
Young children living in urban public housing spend more time playing outdoors than other urban children, according to researchers at Rice University, Columbia University and Princeton University.

Total knee replacement patients functioning well after 20 years
Most patients who undergo total knee replacement are age 60 to 80.

The brain as a 'task machine'
The portion of the brain responsible for visual reading doesn't require vision at all...

The green machine: Algae clean wastewater, convert to biodiesel
Researchers at RIT are developing biodiesel from microalgae grown in wastewater.

Broader psychological impact of 2010 BP oil spill
The explosion and fire on a BP-licensed oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 had huge environmental and economic effects, with millions of gallons of oil leaking into the water for more than five months.

Put major government policy options through a science test first, biodiversity experts urge
In the journal Science, leading scientists argue the new

Shining a light on trypanosome reproduction
Compelling visual evidence of sexual reproduction in African trypanosomes, single-celled parasites that cause major human and animal diseases, has been found by researchers from the University of Bristol.

Neisseria meningitidis disseminates itself by sending out 'scouts'
Although, in the majority of cases, the localized presence of Neisseria meningitidis in the throat has no consequence, it can sometimes lead to meningitis or septicaemia.

ASTRO publishes palliative radiotherapy for bone metastases guideline
The American Society for Radiation Oncology Clinical Affairs and Quality Committee has developed a guideline for the use of radiation therapy in treating bone metastases.

NASA sees heavy rains in Tropical Storm Bingiza, possibly headed for second landfall
NASA satellite data indicates that Bingiza is still maintaining tropical storm intensity and carrying heavy rainfall over the Mozambique Channel as it prepares for its second landfall in Madagascar.

Plants cloned as seeds
Plants have for the first time been cloned as seeds.

Unraveling how prion proteins move alon axons in the brain
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified the motors that move non-infectious prion proteins -- found within many mammalian cells -- up and down long, neuronal transport pathways.

World's first chemical guided missile could be the answer to wiping out cancer
Deakin University medical scientists have created the world's first cancer stem cell-targeting chemical missile, placing them a step closer to creating a medical 'smart bomb' that would seek out and eradicate the root of cancer cells.

Turning forests into fuel: New report outlines promise and limits of biomass energy in the Northeast
In targeted applications, the heat generated by locally-grown biomass can reduce dependence on fossil fuels and support local economies,

Choose less contaminating products thanks to eco-labeling
Ensuring the sustainability of the products we use is a fundamental challenge for society, and is becoming ever more important for consumers and companies.

Dr. Todd Kuiken, pioneer of bionic arm control at RIC, to present latest advances at AAAS meeting
Todd Kuiken, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Bionic Medicine and Director of Amputee Services at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, will present the latest in targeted muscle reinnervation, a bionic limb technology, during the opening press briefing and a subsequent symposium at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Pollution triggers genetic resistance mechanism in a coastal fish
For 30 years, two General Electric facilities released about 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls into New York's Hudson River, devastating and contaminating fish populations.

Planning for a nuclear future
Materials scientists and engineers from six UK universities are joining forces to forecast the life expectancy of nuclear power reactors.

Sleeping Trojan horse to aid imaging of diseased cells
A unique strategy developed by researchers at Cardiff University is opening up new possibilities for improving medical imaging.

Cell-phone use not related to increased brain cancer risk
Radio frequency exposure from cell phone use does not appear to increase the risk of developing brain cancers by any significant amount, a study by University of Manchester scientists suggests.

Preterm mothers' milk contains less antioxidants than mothers completing their gestation
A study conducted at the University of Granada and at the University Hospital San Cecilio revealed that preterm mother's milk contains lower concentrations of coenzyme Q10, which is a complex of great medical importance.

EGU General Assembly 2011
The 2011 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union will take place from April 3-8 in Vienna, Austria.

Canadian brainpower at AAAS in Washington
Three leading Canadian language and speech specialists will take center stage in discussions about the latest in speech research at this year's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.

To increase physical activity, focus on how, not why
University of Missouri researchers have found that healthy adults who received interventions focused on behavior-changing strategies significantly increased their physical activity levels.

Compact high-temperature superconducting cables demonstrated at NIST
A NIST researcher has invented a method of making high-temperature superconducting (HTS) cables that are thinner and more flexible than demonstration HTS cables now installed in the electric power grid while carrying the same or more current.

Mayo researchers, Rochester educators, students to present at science conference
America's largest general science conference will be the setting next week for seven presentations on how zebrafish changed the classroom in Rochester.

Study reinforces link between obesity, high-fat meals and heart disease
The effect of a high-fat meal on blood vessel walls can vary among individuals depending on factors such as their waist size and triglyceride levels, suggests new research at UC Davis.

Bears uncouple temperature and metabolism for hibernation, new study shows
New findings show that although black bears only reduce their body temperatures slightly during hibernation, their metabolic activity drops dramatically, slowing to about 25 percent of their normal, active rates.

A genetic mutation allows Hudson River fish to adapt to PCBs
A research group led by a New York University School of Medicine scientist discovered a genetic variant that allows a fish in the Hudson River to live in waters heavily polluted by PCBs.

Study links social security improvements to longer life span
A new study by researchers at New York Medical College suggests that when Social Security benefits are improved, people over the age of 65 benefit most, and may even live longer.

Swedish discovery could lead to new stroke therapy
The opportunities to treat a stroke have long been limited to the hours after an attack.

Flocculent spiral NGC 2841
The galaxy NGC 2841 -- shown here in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, taken with the space observatory's newest instrument, the Wide Field Camera 3 -- currently has a relatively low star formation rate compared to other spirals.

Identification of glaucoma gene brightens view for future therapies
Glaucoma -- a leading cause of vision loss and blindness worldwide -- runs in families.

Eggs' quality control mechanism explained
To protect the health of future generations, body keeps a careful watch on its precious and limited supply of eggs.

Biomarker discovery may lead to reliable blood test for ectopic pregnancy
Researchers at the Wistar Institute report the discovery of blood-borne markers that could predict ectopic pregnancy, the leading cause of death among women in the first trimester of pregnancy.

NASA sees former Tropical Storm Carlos still a soaker in the Northern Territory
Now a remnant low pressure area, former Tropical Storm Carlos continues to move southwest inland over Australia's Northern Territory and dump heavy amounts of rainfall.

Beyond tender loving care: 'TLCs' promise health and happiness
Lifestyle changes -- such as getting more exercise, time in nature or helping others -- can be as effective as drugs or counseling to treat an array of mental illnesses, according to a new paper published by the American Psychological Association.

Research predicts future evolution of flu viruses
New research from the University of Pennsylvania is beginning to crack the code of which strain of flu will be prevalent in a given year, with major implications for global public health preparedness.

Researchers work at the frontiers of islet cell transplantation
Two studies published in the current issue of Cell Transplantation investigate the frontiers of islet cell transplantation for treating diabetes.

Scientists discover agave's tremendous potential as new bioenergy feedstock
An article in the current issue of Global Change Biology Bioenergy reviews the suitability of Agave as a bioenergy feedstock that can sustain high productivity in spite of poor soil and stressful climatic conditions accompanying climate change.

NiFTy: From Louisiana Tech incubator to national innovation award
Network Foundation Technologies, LLC, founded and headquartered on the campus of Louisiana Tech University, has received the prestigious Tibbetts Award from the US Small Business Administration.

World's first skyscraper was a monument to intimidation
Dr. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University believes that an ancient tower at the archaeological site of Tel Jericho was built to exploit the primeval fears of Jericho's residents.

Inspiring ingenuity in energy solutions -- presenting Equinox Summit: Energy 2030
June 5-9, 2011 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative presents the Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 -- a global conversation on how science and technology can help solve our current energy crisis.

2 knee replacements may be better than 1
Replacing both knees in one surgery, or simultaneous total knee replacement was associated with significantly fewer prosthetic joint infections as well as other revision knee operations within one year after surgery, compared with total knee replacements performed in two separate procedures. 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