Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

March 17, 2011
Optimizing yield and fruit size of figs
South African researchers published a new study that provides valuable information for fig growers.

Autism Speaks supports new diagnostic code for individuals with autism with history of wandering
With increasing frequency, parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) report the terrible consequences that can occur when their children wander or unexpectedly run away.

Product choice: Why do consumers misestimate their abilities?
Even if you have a grasp on your own abilities, you might have trouble estimating the abilities of others, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Experimental philosophy opens new avenues into old questions
UA philosophy professor Shaun Nichols examines the notions of free will and determinism through test methods used in social sciences.

Smart phones not replacing other media for news access -- at least yet
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers found that mobile media technologies such as smart phones aren't taking people away from relying on traditional media sources such as newspapers or television.

McCain gives $5 million to St. Michael's Hospital for therapeutic endoscopy
Wallace and Margaret McCain have donated $5 million to St.

Stem cells may be key to understanding the origins of colon cancer and detecting relapse
Colorectal cancer cells trigger a set of genes similar to those found in intestinal stem cells, scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine have found.

Researchers discover possible biomarker and therapeutic target for melanoma
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, have identified a potential new biomarker and therapeutic target for melanoma.

Daily home dialysis makes 'restless legs' better
For dialysis patients, performing daily dialysis at home can help alleviate sleep problems related to restless legs syndrome (RLS), according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Life expectancy rising in UK and Europe despite obesity epidemic
Life expectancy in Europe keeps increasing despite the obesity epidemic, with people in Britain reaching an older age than those living in the US, according to an analysis of trends over the last 40 years.

Enzyme can steer cells or possibly stop them in their tracks
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered that members of an enzyme family found in humans and throughout the plant and animal kingdoms play a crucial role in regulating cell motility.

EGU 2011: Special session on earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan
There will be a last-minute scientific session on the March 11 Honshu earthquake and tsunami.

Study finds more efficient means of creating, arranging carbon nanofibers
Carbon nanofibers hold promise for technologies ranging from medical imaging devices to precise scientific measurement tools, but the time and expense associated with uniformly creating nanofibers of the correct size has been an obstacle -- until now.

Scientists ID possible biomarker to gauge Alzheimer's prognosis, effect of therapies
UCLA researchers have identified a new biomarker that could help them track how effectively the immune system is able to clear the brain of amyloid beta, which forms the plaques considered one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.

$3.4 million grant awarded to help older people stay mobile
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $3.4 million grant to Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, both affiliated with Yeshiva University, to identify cognitive factors that influence mobility in older people -- in particular, those that could be modified to help older people remain active.

New research tool targets microRNA expression in zebrafish
A new research tool for studying microRNA expression in zebrafish will help researchers study the effects of miRNA on the early development of this model organism and better understand developmental and disease mechanisms in humans, as described in Zebrafish, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Integrating instructional multimedia in nursery management, production courses
A survey of instructors of nursery management and production (NMP) courses revealed recommendations for new, innovative methods of instructional delivery.

Insect scientists battle invasive species in Hawaii
Hundreds of entomologists will meet at the Hilton Waikoloa Village March 27-30, 2011, to present research on

Production of mustard oils: On the origin of an enzyme
In the evolutionary arms race, small changes can be sufficient to gain advantage.

Cytokinetics announces fundamental research in cardiac myosin activation in the journal Science
This publication in the March 18, 2011, issue of the journal Science reveals, for the first time in a peer reviewed journal, the mechanism of action for omecamtiv mecarbil and the scientific rationale for directly modulating cardiac contractility as an innovative therapeutic strategy for improving cardiac performance in patients with heart failure.

Getting healthy: When does prediction help people change their habits?
If you ask people how much they plan to exercise, they'll exercise more -- but only if that's a personal goal, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Sealing manifest occlusal caries in permanent teeth -- 2.5-year results
Today, during the IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, lead researcher V. Qvist will hold an oral presentation on a research study titled

University of Houston wins $1 million EPA grant to test diesel technology on buses
The University of Houston will use a $1 million grant from EPA to retrofit school buses with new technology designed to reduce pollutants.

Novel approaches to bacterial caries management: An efficacious solution in view?
Saturday, March 19, at the IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, a symposium titled

Want more zest for life? Consider gardening!
New research makes a strong case for the benefits of gardening for older adults.

Green sludge can protect groundwater from radioactive contamination
Anyone planning a storage facility for atomic waste should make sure to bury their canisters in an area where green rust will form.

Gardening linked to increased vegetable consumption in older adults
A study of older adults has revealed some interesting nutritional benefits to gardening.

Berkeley Lab scientists take a look at systems biology and cellular networking
Systems biology holds promise for advances in such important areas as pharmaceuticals, environmental remediation and sustainable energy, but, according to two leading authorities from Berkeley Lab, its most profound impact is that it might one day provide an answer to the central question: What is life?

Cranky? On a diet? How self-control leads to anger
People who make an effort to exert self-control are attracted to aggressive art and public policy appeals, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Daimler AG, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Baden-Wuerttemberg launch Ph.D. research group
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Daimler AG establish a joint Ph.D. research group focusing on electromobility.

Virtual conversation simulator found beneficial for adults with autism
Simulated interactions in which adults with autism converse with a virtual partner may help them develop better social interaction skills, according to a novel study presented in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

Horticulture students link problem-solving to employment
Traditional instruction methods such as textbooks may be inadequate for teaching problem-solving skills.

New technique enables much faster production of inexpensive solar cells
Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has demonstrated that the speed at which inexpensive solar cells are produced can be increased by a factor of 10 -- and that this can be achieved without any detriment to the energy yield of the cells.

ATS issues joint statement on the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
The American Thoracic Society has released new official clinical guidelines on the diagnosis and management of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff presented with top genomics award from Scripps
Dr. Daniel Von Hoff was presented this month with the Scripps Genomic Medicine Award for his

Are the wealthiest countries the smartest countries?
It's not just how free the market is. Some economists are looking at another factor that determines how much a country's economy flourishes: how smart its people are.

Liquid biomaterials take stem cell therapy to new level
Scientists at the forefront of stem cell biology are exploring new approaches to creating surgical implants that could offer prolonged benefits for sufferers of osteoarthritis and potentially even cancer.

Ecological scorecards to help assess status, trends in North America's marine protected areas
A new Guide to Ecological Scorecards for Marine Protected Areas in North America from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation aims to provide a standard method for managers to report on the status and trends of marine protected areas.

What does signing your name mean in the marketplace?
Signing your name on the dotted line heightens your sense of self and leads to purchase behavior that affirms your self-identity, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Residency match results encouraging for adults needing primary care
The increase in the number of US medical students choosing internal medicine residencies in 2011 is a positive sign toward easing the primary care workforce shortage, according to the American College of Physicians, the nation's second-largest doctors group.

Fuz is essential for craniofacial and tooth development
Today, during the IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, lead researcher Z. Zhang will hold an oral presentation on a study titled

Sexual plant reproduction: Male and female talk in the same way as do cells in your brain
A team of researchers at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, Portugal, discovered that pollen, the organ that contains the plant male gametes, communicate with the pistil, their female counterpart, using a mechanism commonly observed in the nervous system of animals.

Johns Hopkins team creates stem cells from schizophrenia patients
Using skin cells from adult siblings with schizophrenia and a genetic mutation linked to major mental illnesses, Johns Hopkins researchers have created induced pluripotent stem cells using a new and improved

Wind and solar can reliably supply 25 percent of Oahu's electricity need, new study shows
When combined with on-Oahu wind farms and solar energy, the Interisland Wind project planned to bring 400 megawatts (MW) of wind power from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu could reliably supply more than 25 percent of Oahu's projected electricity demand, according to the Oahu Wind Integration Study (OWIS), conducted by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, General Electric (GE) Company and the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO).

In pilot study, screening detects potentially serious heart conditions in healthy children
A pilot study in healthy children and adolescents shows that it is feasible to screen for undiagnosed heart conditions that increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

Stanford psychologists design 60-minute exercise that raises GPAs of minority students
What could you do for an hour in the first year of college that would improve minority students' grades over the next three years, reduce the racial achievement gap by half and, years later, make students happier and healthier?

Max Planck researchers urge more prominent role for zoos
Zoological gardens breed animals from threatened populations and can thus make a greater contribution towards biodiversity conservation.

Validation of salivary-biomarkers for Sjogren's syndrome detection in US population
Saturday, March 19, during the IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, lead researcher A.N.M.

Self-administered light therapy may improve cognitive function after traumatic brain injury
At-home, daily application of light therapy via light-emitting diodes placed on the forehead and scalp led to improvements in cognitive function and post-traumatic stress disorder in patients with a traumatic brain injury, according to a groundbreaking study published in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.

New targeted drug helps smokers stub it out
Researchers working in a research project within the Academy of Finland's Research Program on Substance Use and Addictions have been developing a targeted drug that could aid in smoking reduction therapy.

Cassini spacecraft observes seasonal rains on Titan
As spring continues to unfold on Saturn, April showers on the planet's largest moon, Titan, have brought methane rain to its equatorial deserts, as revealed in images captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Transmissible treatment proposed for HIV could target superspreaders to curb epidemic
Researchers propose a fundamentally new intervention for the HIV/AIDS epidemic based on engineered, virus-like particles that could subdue HIV infection within individual patients and spread to high-risk populations that are difficult for public health workers to reach.

Today's children do engage in active play
New research from the University of Bristol's Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences suggests that promoting active play in children's leisure time could increase the physical activity of today's children, but that such strategies might need to be tailored according to gender.

A mutation causing wrinkled skin of Shar-Pei dogs is linked to periodic fever disorder
An international investigation has uncovered the genetics of the Shar-Pei dog's characteristic wrinkled skin.

Upgrading the vanadium redox battery
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers have discovered that the vanadium redox battery's performance can be significantly improved by modifying its electrolyte solution.

Labor reforms of past 30 years have hit young people hardest
A study by the Complutense University of Madrid, analyzing the impact of the labor reforms introduced over the past 30 years and the living conditions of new generations, asserts that these reforms have been the origin and cause of the current development model based on the exploitation of young people.

Heart damage improves, reverses after stem cell injections in a preliminary human trial
Researchers have shown in a small study that stem cell therapy can reverse heart damage in patients with enlarged hearts due to heart attacks.

Injectable bulking agent improves symptoms of fecal incontinence
Injection of a bulking agent into the anal canal improves symptoms of fecal incontinence more than does a placebo treatment.

Neuropsychological treatment reduces after-effects in patients with acquired brain injury
Researchers at the University of Granada have proved that patients suffering traumatic brain injury and ictus must receive neuropsychological treatment at hospital without delay.

Recycling perlite: New, improved method saves resources
A new method for recycling perlite provides greenhouse tomato growers with a cost-effective option that preserves natural resources while maintaining yield.

New plant species gives insights into evolution
A new plant species is providing an insight into how evolution works and could help improve crop plants, scientists have revealed.

New software calculates heating costs in greenhouse operations
A recently premiered software system can help greenhouse operators improve heating efficiency and generate more accurate energy analyses.

Intervention offers 'best chance' to save species endangered by climate change
A University of York scientist is proposing a radical program of

UF researcher: Flowering plant study 'catches evolution in the act'
A new University of Florida study shows when two flowering plants are crossed to produce a new hybrid, the new species' genes are reset, allowing for greater genetic variation.

Versatile vitamin A plays multiple roles in the immune system
Somewhat paradoxically, research has indicated that vitamin A can also act as an immunosuppressive agent.

A new evolutionary history of primates
A robust new phylogenetic tree resolves many long-standing issues in primate taxonomy.

Survival matching should be used to allocate donated kidneys to transplant recipients
Providing kidney transplants to patients with the best probability of longer survival would reduce repeat transplant operations and improve life span after kidney transplant.

The MMRF and John Theurer Cancer Center to host patient symposium
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, will host the MMRF Clinical Insights in Multiple Myeloma Patient Symposium on Saturday, April 2, in Short Hills, N.J., from 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Human prejudice has ancient evolutionary roots
The tendency to perceive others as

Buying a new product: When is it better to ask a novice rather than an expert?
If you're considering a purchase, you might want to avoid asking an expert's advice.

How do consumers estimate a good time?
Consumers estimate they'll spend more time enjoying activities when the tasks are broken down into components, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Increasing drug resistance threatens gains of world TB programs; smoking and diabetes are also fueling the global TB epidemic
As world TB day approaches on March 24, the Lancet publishes a seminar online frst that reports that, with increasing rates of drug-resistant TB, the progress being made for decades by world TB programs is under threat.

Corn gluten meal tested on squash survival, yields
A study of corn gluten meal (CGM) applied to direct-seeded squash includes useful information for growers of all types of organic vegetables.

Chemical-free pest management cuts rice waste
A novel way of bringing sustainable, pesticide-free processes to protect stored rice and other crops from insects and fungi can drastically cut losses of stored crops and help increase food security for up to three billion daily rice consumers.

New study adds weight to diabetes drug link to heart problems
A new study published on bmj.com today adds to mounting evidence that rosiglitazone -- a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes -- is associated with an increased risk of major heart problems.

Study indicates vitamin A plays key role in the human body
In a recently published study mapping the structure and function of the so-called

Solar greenhouses: China's winning solution to global energy crisis
A new report from China touts the benefits of solar greenhouses as having the potential to solve the world's energy crisis and climate change.

Study provides new tool to monitor coral reef 'vital signs'
University of Miami scientist Chris Langdon and colleagues from the USGS, WHOI, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and University of Puerto Rico created a new tool to monitor coral reef vital signs.

Tiny 'on-chip detectors' count individual photons
A team of researchers has integrated tiny detectors capable of counting individual photons on computer chips.

AGU journal highlights -- March 17, 2011
Huge ocean

Fairy wrens: Accountants of the animal kingdom
A puzzling example of altruism in nature has been debunked with researchers showing that purple-crowned fairy wrens are in reality cunningly planning for their own future when they assist in raising other birds' young by balancing the amount of assistance they give with the benefits they expect to receive in the future.

Mandibular changes produced by skeletal anchorage assisted orthopedic traction
During the IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, lead researcher T. Nguyen will hold an oral presentation on a study titled

Psychological impact of Japan disaster will be felt 'for some time to come'
The psychological impact of natural disasters such as the Japan earthquake can be revealed in the way people inherently respond to unpredictable situations, according to a psychology expert at Queen Mary, University of London.

Studies on heart disease and stroke prevention overlook ethnic groups: Study
Major clinical studies that evaluate prevention strategies for heart disease and stroke fail to consider a participant's ethnicity, a factor that can more than double the rate of death in some groups, according to research led by St.
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