Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 10, 2011
New model shows importance of feet, toes in body balance
Researchers are using a new model to learn more about how toe strength can determine how far people can lean while keeping their balance.

Study shows new treatment strategy effective for certain lung cancers
LSU oncologist Vince D. Cataldo, M.D., is the lead author of a review article reporting two chemotherapy drugs now indicated for second and third-line therapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer are remarkably effective in treating a certain subset of these patients.

Thrill-seeking females work hard for their next fix
It seems that women become addicted to cocaine more easily than men and find it harder to give up.

Can bees color maps better than ants?
In mathematics, you need at most only four different colors to produce a map in which no two adjacent regions have the same color.

Alcohol has stronger impact on gastric bypass patients, study finds
Patients who have had a gastric bypass operation take longer to process alcohol, potentially leading some of them to overindulge when drinking, according to the results of a new study in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Acquisition of robotic technology leads to increased rates of prostate cancer surgery
A new study conducted by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and Yale School of Medicine shows that when hospitals acquire surgical robotic technology, men in that region are more likely to have prostate cancer surgery.

Earth's biodiversity: What do we know and where are we headed?
Earth's biodiversity -- the number of microorganisms, plants, and animals, their genes, and their ecosystems -- is declining at an alarming rate, even faster than the last mass extinction 65 million years ago.

Study finds usage of, recommendations for supplements common within various physician specialties
For physicians within several medical specialties, including dermatology, cardiology and orthopedics, personal usage of and patient recommendations for dietary supplements are quite common, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal, a peer-reviewed, on-line journal that focuses on the field of human nutrition.

USDA and Russian scientists develop high-tech crop map
AgroAtlas is a new interactive website that shows the geographic distributions of 100 crops; 640 species of crop diseases, pests, and weeds; and 560 wild crop relatives growing in Russia and neighboring countries.

New gene sites affecting nonalcoholic fatty liver disease discovered
Five genetic variants in humans -- four new -- associate with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a study published March 10 in PLoS Genetics.

Brain cell regrowth linked to benefits of exercise, sexual behaviors and reproductive issues
Recent research confirms that adult brain cells can regenerate. Two studies explore links between neurogenesis of key adult brain cells in two critical areas of the brain -- the hippocampus and subventricular zone -- to both the benefits of exercise as a stress reducer and to sexual behavior and reproductive issues.

Harvard student projects win $50,000 in grants to support innovation
Student entrepreneurs at Harvard have won $50,000 in grants to support further development of innovative ventures in the Harvard College Innovation Challenge.

Irrigation telecontrol system created that saves up to 20 percent of water per harvest
Neiker-Tecnalia (the Basque Institute of Agricultural Research and Development) has been working with Arson engineering company in the creation of an irrigation telecontrol system which will enable saving up to 20 percent of water for each harvest, compared to traditional irrigation methods.

Insights from oil spill air pollution study have applications beyond Gulf
During a special airborne mission to study the air-quality impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill last June, NOAA researchers discovered an important new mechanism by which air pollution particles form.

Early male friendship as a precursor to substance abuse in girls
A new study shows that girls tend to pursue mixed-gender friendships earlier than boys, and may be more likely to develop substance abuse problems during late adolescence as a result.

Lover's lane for birds found in Arctic
A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society reveals the critical importance of western Arctic Alaska's Teshekpuk Lake region to tens of thousands of birds that breed in the area during the brief, but productive arctic summers, and makes clearer the case for permanent protection of the area.

A glove on your hand can change your mind
Unconsciously, right-handers associate good with the right side of space and bad with the left.

Hopkins Children's study finds some patients with cerebral palsy have asymmetric pelvic bones
Johns Hopkins Children's Center researchers have discovered that most children with severe cerebral palsy have starkly asymmetric pelvic bones.

Colloquium on Interdisciplinary Climate Science, March 31-April 2
Presenters at the National Academy of Sciences' Sackler Colloquium April 1-2 will discuss ways to identify, encourage, and support advances in climate science by examining successful interdisciplinary efforts in this and other fields.

Cedars-Sinai's mobile medical clinics receive grant from George Hoag Family Foundation
Thanks to a grant from the George Hoag Family Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's COACH for Kids and Their Families program will be able to expand health-care services to more homeless children living in transitional shelters in Greater Los Angeles.

Surgery without external scars is gaining traction
Innovative minimally invasive procedure called Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) is allowing surgeons to perform organ removal surgery without any visible incisions.

Molecules work the day shift to protect the liver from accumulating fat
A research team led by Mitchell Lazar, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has discovered molecules that act as

UWM study finds work climate the main reason women leave engineering
After years of investing in strategies to encourage more women to pursue a rigorous engineering degree -- and succeeding -- US engineering firms are now facing a problem in retaining qualified women engineers.

Scientists find that non-native snakes are taking a toll on native birds
The Everglades National Park in Florida is home to hundreds of species of native wildlife.

UCSF report describes new model for neurodegeneration
A team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco has developed a new model for how inherited genes contribute to a common but untreatable and incurable neurodegenerative disease.

Erectile dysfunction drug improves exercise tolerance in young people with congenital heart disease
Sildenafil, a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension, has another possible use -- helping children and young adults with congenital heart disease to better tolerate exercise.

Referral to high-volume hospitals for operations fails to improve outcomes statewide
Referring patients to hospitals that have the largest volume of surgical procedures does not necessarily lead to improved outcomes for the overall population, according to the results of a new study in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

American birds of prey at higher risk of poisoning from pest control chemicals
A new study by scientists from Maryland and Colorado using American kestrels, a surrogate test species for raptorial birds, suggests that they are at greater risk from poisoning from the rodenticide diphacinone than previous believed.

New technology would dramatically extend battery life for mobile devices
Technophiles who have been dreaming of mobile devices that run longer on lighter, slimmer batteries may soon find their wish has been granted.

Age affects us all
Humans aren't the only ones who grow old gracefully, says a new study of primate aging patterns.

Scientists identify molecule that can increase blood flow in vascular disease
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have discovered that a molecule called Wnt1 can improve the function of endothelial progenitor cells, increasing the blood flow to organs that previously had been cut off from the circulation.

Nanotech-enabled consumer products continue to rise
According to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies over 1,300 manufacturer-identified, nanotechnology-enabled products have entered the commercial marketplace around the world.

The physics of bank shots
New research by engineers at North Carolina State University show that, from many areas of the basketball court within 12 feet of the basket, you have a better chance of scoring with a bank shot than with a direct shot.

Trapping prostate cancer cells to keep them from spreading provides hope
When prostate cancer stem cells (CSCs) were enclosed in self-assembling nanomaterials made of peptides (SAP), the SAPs stopped cancer stem cell colony formation and also stopped the division of cancer cells in vitro.

New method for studying molecule reactions a breakthrough in organic chemistry
In a feat of manipulating substances at the nanoscale, research published today in the journal Science demonstrates a method to isolate two molecules together on a substrate and to control specifically how those two molecules react when excited with ultraviolet light, further making detailed observations before and after reaction.

New study reveals aerosol plumes downwind of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
New study in journal Science reveals two distinct aerosol plumes downwind of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that traveled from the sea surface to the atmosphere.

Science paper reveals real-time working of the spliceosome
Making a movie at the molecular level? A new method of imaging molecule-sized machines as they do the complex work of cutting and pasting genetic information inside the nucleus is the subject of a just-published paper in the journal Science, and the movies have revealed a surprise about how the process works.

'Probiotics and Health Claims'
New title explores the scientific basis for the health benefits of

Method reveals new view of human nerve cells, opening door to potential drug targets
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and University of Pennsylvania have found a way to uncover potential drug targets that have so far remained hidden from researchers' view.

A small quantum leap
Northwestern University researchers have developed a new switching device that takes quantum communication to a new level.

Pitchers bean more batters in the heat of the summer
During spring training, you will find Major League pitchers practicing their pitches, perfecting their technique and strengthening their muscles to endure the grueling 162 game season.

Depression may increase the risk of kidney failure
Depression is associated with an increased risk of developing kidney failure in the future, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN).

TGen Foundation launches 'globalCure,' targets pancreatic cancer
In an effort to improve treatment and one day find a cure for pancreatic cancer, the TGen Foundation today joined with key donors and community leaders to announce the creation of globalCure.

Playability or what a video game must feature to be successful
Researchers at the University of Granada have created a video game that will serve as a model to assess all aspects related to video games; it has also established a conceptual framework that will allow experts to assess players' experiences.

New robot system to test 10,000 chemicals for toxicity
Several federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, today unveiled a new high-speed robot screening system that will test 10,000 different chemicals for potential toxicity.

Study clarifies the role of cocoa bean handling on flavanol levels
Scientists at the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition recently reported on the effect of conventional cocoa bean production methods on the levels of flavanol antioxidants.

Ultra high speed film
How fast an intense laser pulse can change the electrical properties of solids is revealed by researchers from Kiel University in the current edition of Nature.

Protein engineered by NYU Langone researchers has potential for new anti-inflamatory treatment
Researchers from across multiple disciplines at NYU Langone Medical Center created a new protein molecule derived from the growth factor progranulin may provide the basis for new therapies in inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study published in the March 10, 2011, issue of Science.

Anthropologists link human uniqueness to hunter-gatherer group structure
Research findings published in the March 11 edition of the journal Science by an international team of noted anthropologists, including several from Arizona State University, who study hunter-gatherer societies, suggest that human ancestral social structure may be the root of cumulative culture and cooperation and, ultimately, human uniqueness.

Brandeis researchers use lasers, custom microscope to show gene splicing process in real time
Researchers at Brandeis University have developed a way to use lasers to study the splicing of pre-messenger RNA molecules, an essential process in creating proteins to sustain advanced organisms, including human life.

Complementary technology could provide solution to our GPS vulnerability
Experts today called on government to invest in technologies including a complementary terrestrial system to protect the GPS signal that underpins transport, telecommunications, finance and power.

UTHealth study: Stem cells may provide treatment for brain injuries
Stem cells derived from a patient's own bone marrow were safely used in pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury, according to results of a Phase I clinical trial at UTHealth.

Study shows exercise can curb pot use, cravings
Heavy users of marijuana report a significant decrease in their cravings and daily use after just a few sessions of running on the treadmill, according to a Vanderbilt study published March 8 in the journal PLoS ONE.

CWRU researcher sends message to postmenopausal women: 'Increase yearly dental checkups'
Postmenopausal women have a new health message to hear. Two annual dental checkups aren't enough.

Grab the leash: Dog walkers more likely to reach exercise benchmarks
Man's best friend may provide more than just faithful companionship: A new study led by a Michigan State University researcher shows people who owned and walked their dogs were 34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks on physical activity.

'Apple shaped' obesity is as bad for heart as other obesity (The Lancet)
An international study of 220,000 people has challenged the idea that obese people who have an

New commission confronts threats to food security from climate change
Recent droughts and floods have contributed to increases in food prices.

Johns Hopkins scientists reveal role of light sensor in temperature sensation
A light-sensing receptor that's packed inside the eye's photoreceptor cells has an altogether surprising role in cells elsewhere in the body, Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered.

Study finds primates age gracefully
A new study says chimps, gorillas and other primates grow old gracefully much like humans.

Syracuse University research team shapes cell behavior research
Syracuse University researchers have used shape memory polymers to provide greater insight into how cells sense and respond to their physical environment.

Aging rates, gender gap in mortality similar across all primates
Humans aren't the only ones who grow old gracefully, says a new study of primate aging patterns.

The University of Montreal Biodiversity Centre opens
The University of Montreal Biodiversity Centre is opening today on the grounds of the Botanical Garden.

Optical illusions show vision in a new light
Optical illusions have fascinated humans throughout history. Greek builders used an optical illusion to ensure that that their columns appeared straight (they built them with a bulge) and we are all intrigued by the mental flip involved in the case of the young girl/old woman faces.

MARC Travel Awards announced for EB 2011
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the Experimental Biology 2011 (EB 2011) meeting in Washington, DC from April 9-13, 2011.

Wayne State study links testosterone with men's ability to 'woo' potential mates
Theories have long proposed that testosterone influences competition among males trying to attract females.

Coffee drinking linked to reduced stroke risk in women
Drinking more than a cup of coffee per day was associated with a significantly lower risk of stroke in a study of Swedish women.

Newly discovered role for enzyme in neurodegenerative diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are partly attributable to brain inflammation.

Scripps Research team discovers new details about medically important protein family
Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have determined a new structure from a medically important superfamily of proteins.

Shallow-water shrimp tolerates deep-sea conditions
By studying the tolerance of marine invertebrates to a wide range of temperature and pressure, scientists are beginning to understand how shallow-water species could have colonized the ocean depths.

Sones Innovation Award honors breast cancer vaccine research
Vincent Tuohy, Ph.D., an immunologist at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, was recently named the winner of Cleveland Clinic's annual Sones Innovation Award, recognizing individual efforts to advance medical innovation.

Scientists discover cause of rare skin cancer that heals itself
Institute of Medical Biology scientists under the Agency of Science, Technology and Research in Singapore are part of an international team of researchers who became the first in the world to discover the gene behind a rare skin cancer which grows rapidly for a few weeks before healing spontaneously, according to research published in Nature Genetics today.

Strategies for improved collection of national travel data
Good travel data are essential to support critical transportation policy choices and multimillion dollar investments facing public and private decision makers.

Study provides explanation for connection between low birth weight and obesity later in life
Researchers found nutritionally deprived newborns are

Gas versus groceries
A University of Alberta researcher says grocery retailers need to take heed that a jump at the pumps will be a blow to their bottom line. 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