Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 12, 2011
Better lasers for optical communications
A new laser procedure could boost optical fiber communications. This technique could become essential for the future expansion of the Internet.

Louisiana Tech University students receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
Louis Reis, a Louisiana Tech University biomedical and electrical engineering student, and Mark Wade, a recent summa cum laude graduate in electrical engineering and physics and current graduate student at Tech, have each been awarded Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

Hunting for deadly bacteria
Biochemist Yingfu Li and his research team have developed a simple test that can swiftly and accurately identify specific pathogens using a system that will

Moderate exercise improves brain blood flow in elderly women
It's never too late for women to reap the benefits of moderate aerobic exercise.

Study reveals increased inequality in stroke deaths across Europe and central Asia
There is growing inequality between different countries in Europe and central Asia in the proportion of people who die from stroke, according to a study published online in the European Heart Journal.

Louisiana, Florida residents differ on views of long-term effects of oil spill
One year after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on the Gulf Coast, new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire shows that despite the roughly equivalent economic compensation, Louisiana and Florida residents differ in perceptions about the current and long-term effects of the largest marine oil spill in US history.

New educational booklet helps patients prepare for a colonoscopy
UCLA and Veterans Affairs researchers have developed an educational booklet that can help patients better prepare for a colonoscopy, potentially saving their lives.

Catherine Dulac, Cori Bargmann are co-recipients of 11th Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize
The Perl prize carries a $10,000 award and is given to recognize a seminal achievement in neuroscience.

Greenhouse gases from forest soils
Reactive nitrogen compounds from agriculture, transport, and industry lead to increased emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) from forests in Europe.

Pediatric-specific research needed to reduce health care-associated infections among children
There are differences between adult and pediatric patients regarding the appropriate treatment and prevention efforts for health-care associated infections, highlighting a need for pediatric-specific quality measures to guide infection prevention and treatment practices, according to a commentary in the April 13 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on infectious disease and immunology.

Study finds public relatively unconcerned about nanotechnology risks
A new study finds that the general public thinks getting a suntan poses a greater public health risk than nanotechnology or other nanoparticle applications.

Study links heart disease risk factors to some cognitive decline
Older adults at risk for stroke have significantly increased risk for some types of cognitive decline, according to a multicenter study led by University of California scientists.

Parkinson's exercise study results
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center found that Parkinson's patients who walked on a treadmill at a comfortable speed for a longer duration (low-intensity exercise) improved their walking more than patients who walked for less time but at an increased speed and incline (high-intensity exercise).

Mayo Clinic finds tool to predict disability timeline for progressive MS patients
Many patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) worry how quickly the disease will progress.

UT Southwestern pediatricians launch landmark children's health study
Recruitment for the largest long-term study of children's health ever undertaken in the U.S. is now under way in Lamar County, about 100 miles northeast of UT Southwestern Medical Center, along the Texas-Oklahoma border.

April 18-19 symposium on scientific data sharing in developing countries
The National Academy of Sciences and the International Council for Science will hold the symposium .

Latest report on North American industrial pollution reveals impacts on our shared water environment
This year's Taking Stock report, the thirteenth in the Commission for Environmental Cooperation's series on pollutant releases and transfers from industrial facilities in North America, features a special analysis of releases to surface waters.

Gangs don't protect against crime
Gang members are twice as likely to be crime victims than non-gang members and are more frequently subject to simple assault, aggravated assault and drive by shootings, according to a recently study by the Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University.

Rainbow-trapping scientist now strives to slow light waves even further
An electrical engineer at the University at Buffalo, who previously demonstrated experimentally the

Prenatal exposure to certain pollutants linked to behavioral problems in young children
Mothers' exposure during pregnancy to pollutants created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and other organic material may lead to behavioral problems in their children, according to a new study.

Weight loss improves memory, according to Kent State researcher
John Gunstad, an associate professor in Kent State University's Department of Psychology, and a team of researchers have discovered a link between weight loss and improved memory and concentration.

Psychologists closing in on causes of claustrophobic fear
We all move around in a protective bubble of

Radiation at time of lumpectomy may offer faster, more precise treatment for breast cancer patients
Northwestern Medicine physicians are currently utilizing a new treatment option for breast cancer that allows women to receive a full dose of radiation therapy during breast conserving surgery.

Social context matters in medical teaching and health care
Medical educators need to be aware of the cultural context in which they teach because these outside forces can affect what is taught and how information is received by students.

Changing trends in hip fracture incidence around the world
A review by a scientific working group of the IOF shows that age-specific hip fracture rates have changed during recent decades -- decreasing in some countries or regions while increasing in others.

Aviation safety: New computer tool forecasts icing hazards
Aircraft safety is getting a boost from a new computer-generated forecast that provides pilots with critical weather information on the likelihood of encountering dangerous in-flight icing conditions.

Study: Low intensity treadmill exercise is best to improve walking in Parkinson's
New evidence suggests that walking on a treadmill at a comfortable speed and for longer duration is the most effective exercise to improve mobility in people with Parkinson's disease.

'Apple a day' advice rooted in science
Daily apple consumption shows long-term cardioprotective effects in postmenopausal women.

Persons with herpes simplex virus type 2, but without symptoms, still shed virus
Persons who have tested positive for herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) but do not have symptoms or genital lesions still experience virus shedding during subclinical (without clinical manifestations) episodes, suggesting a high risk of transmission from persons with unrecognized HSV-2 infection, according to a study in the April 13 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on infectious disease and immunology.

Scientists explore new link between genetics, alcoholism and the brain
Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have uncovered a new link between genetic variations associated with alcoholism, impulsive behavior and a region of the brain involved in craving and anxiety.

Lengthening dosing schedule of HPV vaccine may provide effective option for expanding use of vaccine
Administration of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine doses over a longer period of time to adolescent girls in Vietnam resulted in antibody concentration levels that were comparable to the standard vaccine schedule, according to a study in the April 13 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on infectious disease and immunology.

Developing a tool for identification -- even using very degraded DNA samples
Frequently the only biological material available to identify persons is DNA in a very degraded state.

Low-cost wireless sensor networks open new horizons for the Internet of things
The ESNA project enables high effective networking based on cheap wireless sensors in a wide range of business applications -- from more comfortable and energy-efficient environmental controls to precision monitoring of agricultural resources.

NIH funds investigation of inhaled lung cancer treatment
Just as inhaling cigarette smoke can cause lung cancer, inhaling medication may treat it.

Study: Omega-3 consumed during pregnancy curbs risk for postpartum depression symptoms
Women in the treatment group had significantly lower total Postpartum Depression Screening Scale scores, with significantly fewer symptoms common to postpartum depression.

Midwest ISO wins INFORMS Edelman Award
Midwest ISO, which manages one of the world's largest energy markets, won the 2011 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences at a banquet sponsored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences in Chicago last night.

Researchers discover the cause of irradiation-induced instability in materials surfaces
A new discovery about the dynamic impact of individual energetic particles into a solid surface improves our ability to predict surface stability or instability of materials under irradiation over time.

LSU's Sophie Warny receives prestigious NSF CAREER Award
LSU's Sophie Warny, assistant professor of palynology in the Department of Geology and Geophysics and curator of education at LSU's Museum of Natural Science, has received one of the most prestigious awards handed out by the National Science Foundation -- its CAREER Award, meant to support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher, mentor and scholar through outstanding research, scholarship and educational outreach.

Eco-friendly treatment for blue jeans offers alternative to controversial 'sandblasting'
Blue denim jeans are one of the most popular and iconic fashion items in the world; now a study published in Biotechnology Journal reveals a cheaper, more efficient and eco-friendly method for treating dyed denim.

NCI awards $1.7 million to cancer specialist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Fatih Uckun, MD, PhD, of Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been awarded $1.7 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support development of a new strategy to overcome the resistance of cancer cells to radiation therapy.

A 'Pacman strategy' to boost the immune system to fight cancer
A molecule that lies dormant until it encounters a cancer cell, then suddenly activates and rouses the body's immune system to fight cancer cells directly, marks the latest step in scientists' efforts to tap the body's own resources to fight the disease.

Corporate links of global health foundations may conflict with philanthropic interest
Major philanthropic foundations in global health, which often influence and shape the international global health agenda, have links with food and pharmaceutical corporations that could constitute a conflict of interest to the foundations' philanthropic work, reveals a new analysis published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Allen Institute for Brain Science announces first comprehensive gene map of the human brain
The Allen Institute for Brain Science has released the world's first anatomically and genomically comprehensive human brain map, a previously unthinkable feat made possible through leading-edge technology and more than four years of rigorous studies and documentation.

Iraqi refugees at high risk of brain and nervous system disorders
New research suggests that a high number of Iraqi refugees are affected by brain and nervous system disorders, including those who are victims of torture and the disabled.

The sentinel node dilemma in breast cancer surgery
The sentinel node (SN) procedure in breast cancer is based on the premise that if the first node into which breast tissue drains is clean, the remaining lymph nodes in the armpit are likely not involved, with no need for removal.

Wii key to helping kids balance
By cleverly linking five Wii Balance Boards, a team of Rice University undergraduates has combined the appeal of a video game with the utility of a computerized motion-tracking system that can enhance the progress of patients at Shriners Hospital for Children-Houston.

Discovery of 2 new genes provides hope for stemming Staph infections
The discovery of two genes that encode copper- and sulfur-binding repressors in the hospital terror Staphylococcus aureus means two new potential avenues for controlling the increasingly drug-resistant bacterium, scientists say in the April 15, 2011, issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Maternal stress during pregnancy may affect child's obesity
Research conducted at the University of Minnesota and Georgetown University suggests that a mother's nutritional or psychological stress during pregnancy and lactation may create a signature on her child's genes that put the child at increased risk for obesity later in life, especially if the child is female.

Tiger-parrots show their true evolutionary stripes
Recently released genetic research from CSIRO and New Mexico State University in the US is helping scientists better understand how Australian birds evolved.

Feinstein scientists identify abnormal disease pathway in dystonia
A team of scientists at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have figured out why some people with a gene that causes dystonia never get symptoms and others with the same mutation are disabled by the abnormal movements.

Loss of cell adhesion protein drives esophageal and oral cancers in mice
There are over 650,000 cases of oral cancer each year, and esophageal cancer represents the sixth most common cause of cancer death in men.

PI presents safety results in Neuralstem ALS Stem Cell Trial
Neuralstem PI, Dr. Eva Feldman, presents interim safety data in world's first neural stem cell trial in ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Maternal stress during pregnancy may affect child's obesity
New study suggests a mother's nutritional or psychological stress during pregnancy and lactation may create a signature on her child's genes that put the child at increased risk for obesity later in life, especially if the child is female.

Pig stem cell transplants: The key to future research into retina treatment
A team of American and Chinese scientists studying the role of stem cells in repairing damaged retina tissue have found that pigs represent an effective proxy species to research treatments for humans.

Smokers believe 'silver', 'gold' and 'slim' cigarettes are less harmful
Despite current prohibitions on the words 'light' and 'mild', smokers in Western countries continue falsely to believe that some cigarette brands may be less harmful than others.

Circadian rhythms spark plants' ability to survive freezing weather
Just as monarch butterflies depend on circadian cues to begin their annual migration, so do plants to survive freezing temperatures.

Natural gas from shale contributes to global warming
Natural gas extracted from shale formations has a greater greenhouse gas footprint -- in the form of methane emissions -- than conventional gas, oil and coal over a 20 year period.

Moderate exercise improves brain blood flow in elderly women
Research conducted at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas suggests that it's never too late for women to reap the benefits of moderate aerobic exercise.

Scientists discover a new species of dinosaur, bridging a gap in the dinosaur family tree
A team of scientists led by the Smithsonian Institution has discovered a fossilized dinosaur skull and neck vertebrae that not only reveal a new species, but also an evolutionary link between two groups of dinosaurs.

Sniffing out calories: Hormone linked to nose's ability to locate food
The hormone ghrelin, known to promote hunger and fat storage, has been found to enhance exploratory

New target for developing effective anti-depressants
For the first time in a human model, scientists have discovered how anti-depressants make new brain cells.

Small molecules inhibit growth of human tumor cells
Researchers from the Cancer Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center have identified three novel small molecules that interrupt a crucial cellular communication pathway that regulates many aspects of development and cancer.

JCI online early table of contents: April 11, 2011
This release contains titles, summaries, and author contact information for articles to be released in the April 11 issue of the JCI, including,

Elsevier launches Methods Navigator, enhancing access to research methods
Elsevier, the leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the launch of Methods Navigator.

Birds inherited sense of smell from dinosaurs ... and improved it
According to conventional wisdom, the sense of smell declined during the transition from dinosaurs to birds as the senses of vision and balance were improved for flight.

Comprehensive UGA study reveals patterns in firefighter fatalities
Researchers in the UGA College of Public Health found that cultural factors in the work environment that promote getting the job done as quickly as possible with whatever resources available lead to an increase in line-of-duty firefighter fatalities.

Tufts biomedical engineer Fiorenzo Omenetto named Guggenheim Fellow
Tufts University biomedical engineer Fiorenzo Omenetto has received the only Guggenheim Fellowship in engineering in 2011.

Study shows how discrimination hurts: lack of fair treatment leads to obesity issues
People, especially men, who feel any kind of discrimination, are likely to see their waistlines expand, according to research from Purdue University.

First galaxies were born much earlier than expected
Using the amplifying power of a cosmic gravitational lens, astronomers have discovered a distant galaxy whose stars were born unexpectedly early in cosmic history.

Brachytherapy, the official journal of ABS, expands to 6 issues in 2011
Elsevier, a world leader in health care and medical publishing and online solutions, today announced the significant expansion of scientific content to be published in Brachytherapy, the official journal of the American Brachytherapy Society.

New national study finds increase in football-related injuries among youth
A new study conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that an estimated 5.25 million football-related injuries among children and adolescents between 6 and 17 years of age were treated in U.S. emergency departments between 1990 and 2007.

When the pressure is on, product experts can get facts wrong: UBC study
Buying a new car, camera or computer? New research from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia shows that seeking advice from expert acquaintances to choose between models of merchandise might not always be good idea.

Real-time search market worth more than $30 million a day
All of those Twitter tweets and Facebook friends may have value after all, according to Penn State researchers.

3 new studies link eating red to a healthy heart
Tart cherries have a unique combination of powerful antioxidants that may help reduce risk factors for heart disease, according to new research presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Honey can reverse antibiotic resistance
Manuka honey could be an efficient way to clear chronically infected wounds and could even help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate.

Potential new strategy to reduce catheter blockage
Bacterial genes that make urine less acidic could be good targets to prevent catheter blockage, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate.

Species unique to single island should not be rare there
Animal and bird species found only on a single island should still be common within that island.

New compounds show promise against hepatitis C infection
Two bioflavonoids, catechin and naringenin, have displayed antiviral activity on tissue culture infected with Hepatitis C.

Possible new approach to treating deadly leukemia in babies
A Loyola University Health System study points to a promising new approach to treating an aggressive and usually fatal leukemia in babies.

Closely monitoring low-risk prostate cancer, with biopsy, does not raise risk of death
A Johns Hopkins study of 769 men from across the United States recently diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer shows that forgoing immediate surgery to remove the tumor or radiation poses no added risk of death.

Kojiro Irikura to be honored by seismology consortium at SSA annual meeting
Kojiro Irikura has made an enormous contribution to the analysis and sharing of strong-motion earthquake data throughout his career in Japan.

Lesser-known Escherichia coli types targeted in food safety research
Almost everyone knows about Escherichia coli O157:H7, the culprit behind many headline-making outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States.

Negative image of people produces selfish actions
The expectations people have about how others will behave play a large role in determining whether people cooperate with each other or not.

News writing styles not to blame for newspaper readership decline, MU researchers find
Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Journalism have found that women are engaged by all news stories the same, regardless of the style they are written.

Urgent need to improve quality of outpatient care in public and private sector in poorer countries
The overall poor quality of outpatient health care in both the formal private and public sector in low and middle income countries is worrying -- especially given the increasing volume of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, which require relatively sophisticated, long-term outpatient medical care.

Alcohol helps the brain remember, says new study
Drinking alcohol primes certain areas of our brain to learn and remember better, says a new study from the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research at the University of Texas at Austin.

Investigational drug may reduce involuntary movements
Results of the first randomized, placebo-controlled long-term clinical trial show the investigational drug safinamide may reduce dyskinesia or involuntary movements in mid-to-late stage Parkinson's disease.

New clue found for Fragile X syndrome-epilepsy link
Individuals with fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited form of intellectual disability, often develop epilepsy, but so far the underlying causes are unknown.

Scots carbon emissions could be halved in decades, study suggests
Cutting Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions by a half within 20 years is achievable, a study suggests.

Birds inherited strong sense of smell from dinosaurs
Birds are known more for their senses of vision and hearing than smell, but new research suggests that millions of years ago, the winged critters also boasted a better sense for scents.

Use of combination drug regimen for treating TB may represent an effective treatment option
In patients with newly diagnosed tuberculosis, use of a combined 4-drug fixed-dose regimen was found to have comparable outcomes to drugs administered separately, according to a study in the April 13 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on infectious disease and immunology.

Current biofuels policies are unethical, says report
Current UK and European policies on biofuels encourage unethical practices, says a report by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics today following an 18-month inquiry.

Hunger hormone enhances sense of smell
An appetite-stimulating hormone causes people and animals to sniff odors more often and with greater sensitivity, according to a new study in the April 13 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Report provides NASA with direction for next 10 years of space research
A group of prominent researchers from across the country published a report through the National Academy of Sciences that is intended as a guide as NASA plans the next 10 years of research in space. 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