Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 19, 2011
NJIT professor develops a biologically inspired catalyst, an active yet inert material
NJIT Associate Professor Sergiu M. Gorun is leading a research team to develop biologically-inspired catalysis active, yet inert, materials.

Does seeing overweight people make us eat more?
Consumers will choose and eat more indulgent food after they see someone who is overweight -- unless they consciously think about their health goals, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Study of deer mice on California's Channel Islands provides new information on hantavirus
This study shows that just three ecological factors -- rainfall, predator diversity and island size and shape -- can account for nearly all the differences in infection rates between the eight islands.

How American consumers view debt: a case study
A new study published this month suggests that while younger Americans are more smitten with credit cards and debt than older Americans, the older generation helps enable their children by encouraging use of credit as a

UCLA researchers now 1 step closer to controlled engineering of nanocatalysts
Yu Huang, assistant professor of material science and engineering at UCLA Engineering, and her team have demonstrated a rational approach to producing nanocrystals with predictable shapes.

UNH Carsey Institute: Americans believe climate change is occurring, but disagree on why
Most Americans now agree that climate change is occurring, but still disagree on why, with opinions about the cause of climate change defined by political party, not scientific understanding, according to new research from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

It's Earth Week -- just in time, thousands of hectares of tropical forest are saved
Thousands of hectares of tropical dry forests in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais are now safe from logging, thanks to scientists affiliated with a project called Tropi-Dry.

LA BioMed study finds 'thirdhand smoke' poses danger to unborn babies' lungs
Prenatal exposure to toxic components of a newly recognized category of tobacco smoke -- known as

Early product launches: How will consumers respond?
A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research explains why consumers often indicate they are willing to pay more for a product that is not yet available -- but are reluctant to pay that price when the product is ultimately launched.

High rates of substance abuse exist among veterans with mental illness
A new study published in the American Journal on Addictions reveals that veterans who suffer from mental health disorders also have high rates of substance use disorders.

Biophysicist targeting IL-6 to halt breast, prostate cancer
An Ohio State University biophysicist searched thousands of molecular combinations for the best configuration to block a protein that can cause breast or prostate cancer.

LED efficiency puzzle solved by UC Santa Barbara theorists
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, say they've figured out the cause of a problem that's made light-emitting diodes (LEDs) impractical for general lighting purposes.

The Arctic as a messenger for global processes -- climate change and pollution
The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes -- Climate Change and Pollution is a scientific conference that will gather more than 400 of the leading international experts on climate change, pollution, ecosystems and societies in the Arctic.

Gold prices spur six-fold spike in Amazon deforestation
Deforestation in parts of the Peruvian Amazon has increased six-fold in recent years as small-scale miners, driven by record gold prices, blast and clear more of the lowland rainforest, according to a new Duke University-led study.

New biosensor microchip could speed up drug development, Stanford researchers say
A new biosensor microchip that could hold more than 100,000 magnetically sensitive nanosensors could speed up drug development markedly, Stanford researchers say.

Experts showcase emerging trends and technologies in telemedicine, telehealth at ATA's 2011 meeting
The latest technologies, research and applications in telemedicine will be presented at the 16th Annual Meeting of the American Telemedicine Association, which will take place Sunday, May 1 to Tuesday, May 3, 2011, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla.

The role that alcohol drinking may play in the risk of cancer
A large group of distinguished scientists published a very detailed and rather complex paper describing the association between alcohol consumption and cancer in the BMJ.

Experts question whether preventive drugs are value for money
Experts today challenge the view that popular drugs to prevent disease -- like statins and anti-hypertensives to prevent heart disease and stroke, or bisphosphonates to prevent fractures -- represent value for money.

Changes in land use favor the expansion of wild ungulates
Mediterranean landscapes have undergone great change in recent decades, but species have adapted to this, at least in the case of roe deer, Spanish ibex, red deer and wild boar.

Sporting events and traffic fatalities: When winning is not a good thing
When your team wins a close one, you may be in danger driving home after the game, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Limitations of question about race can create inaccurate picture of health-care disparities
What race best describes your background? That one question, which appears on most paperwork for health care, could leave entire groups of people underserved and contribute to racial health disparities, according to new research from Rice University published in the current issue of the journal Demography.

A cancer marker and treatment in 1?
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say antibodies to a non-human sugar molecule commonly found in people may be useful as a future biomarker for predicting cancer risk, for diagnosing cancer cases early and, in sufficient concentration, used as a treatment for suppressing tumor growth.

Keeping oysters, clams and mussels safe to eat
Eating raw or undercooked mollusks may pose a safety hazard if they are harvested from waters polluted with pathogenic microbes, so US Department of Agriculture scientists are studying ways to enhance the food safety of these popular shellfish.

Decoding cancer patients' genomes is powerful diagnostic tool
Two new studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlight the power of sequencing cancer patients' genomes as a diagnostic tool, helping doctors decide the best course of treatment and researchers identify new cancer susceptibility mutations that can be passed from parent to child.

Collecting the sun's energy
Conventional silicon-based rigid solar cells generally found on the market are not suitable for manufacturing moldable thin-film solar cells, in which a transparent, flexible and electrically conductive electrode collects the light and carries away the current.

Houston grandmother is nation's first 'Super Wi-Fi' user
Thanks to a partnership between Rice University researchers and Houston nonprofit Technology For All, Houston grandmother Leticia Aguirre began hosting what's believed to be the nation's first residential

Solar power without solar cells: A hidden magnetic effect of light could make it possible
A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by University of Michigan researchers could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells.

Future of personalized cancer care is promising and near
Cancer survival rates could improve soon with whole-genome sequencing, according to two studies published in the April 20, 2011, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that describe the first clinical applications of the high-tech process in patients with cancer.

How do consumers judge quality? It depends on who's making the purchase
Someone is more likely to predict the quality of a product by its price if someone else is buying it, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

VIMS study: Propeller turbulence may affect marine food webs
A new study by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that turbulence from boat propellers can and does kill large numbers of copepods -- tiny crustaceans that are an important part of marine food webs.

Distribution of British soil bacteria mapped for the first time
Britain's soil bacteria have been mapped for the first time in the most comprehensive study of a country's soil biodiversity to date.

Exploiting the stress response to detonate mitochondria in cancer cells
Wistar Institute researchers have found a new way to force cancer cells to self-destruct.

Study of European HIV-positive children shows that 1 in 8 experience triple-class virological failure by 5 years after starting antiretroviral treatment
A study of European HIV-positive children, published online first by the Lancet, shows that 12 percent of children (around 1 in 8) develop triple-class virological failure by 5 years after starting their antiretroviral drug treatment programme.

Leburton named associate member of Royal Academy of Belgium
Jean-Pierre Leburton, the Gregory Stillman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been elected to the Academy of Sciences, Letters, and Fine Arts of Belgium, the oldest scholarly society in Belgium.

New research suggests right-handedness prevailed 500,000 years ago
Markings on fossilized front teeth show that right-handedness goes back a half-million years in the human family.

'3-D towers' of information double data storage areal density
Using well-known patterned media, a team of researchers in France has figured out a way to double the areal density of information by essentially cutting the magnetic media into small pieces and building a

Study suggests another look at testosterone-prostate cancer link
The long-standing prohibition against testosterone therapy in men with untreated or low-risk prostate cancer merits reevaluation, according to a new study published in the Journal of Urology.

Rational, emotional reasons guide genetic-testing choices
Consumers decide whether to use mail-in genetic tests based on both rational and emotional reasons, a finding that adds to a growing body of health-care behavior research on information seeking and avoidance, according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside.

Jean Y.J. Wang elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Jean Yin Jen Wang, PhD, professor of medicine and biology in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, was elected today with 211 other distinguished scientists, scholars, writers, artists, business and civic leaders to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Hundreds of barrier islands newly identified in global survey
Earth has 657 more barrier islands than previously thought, according to a new global survey by researchers from Duke University and Meredith College.

Nottingham researchers help bridge the urban and rural divide in the UK and India
Academics at the University of Nottingham are to receive more than £5 ($8) million in UK funding for research that will aim to make rural living in both the UK and India more sustainable.

LSUHSC research discovery may block ALS disease process
In the first animal model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, developed by Dr.

Azti-Tecnalia presents 2 energy efficiency systems for the fisheries sector
The fisheries sector Trade Fair in Spain -- Sinaval-Eurofishing 2011 -- was the scenario chosen by Azti-Tecnalia (the technological center specializing in marine and food research) to present two technologies employed by its researchers aimed at enhancing energy efficiency in the sector.

UC Riverside biologist elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
David Reznick, a professor of biology at UC Riverside, has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research.

A user's guide to the encyclopedia of DNA elements
The international team of the ENCODE, or Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements project, has created an overview of its ongoing large-scale efforts to interpret the human genome sequence.

Different views of God may influence academic cheating
Belief in God doesn't deter a person from cheating on a test, unless that God is seen as a mean, punishing one, researchers say.

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are newstips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology.

Can biochar help suppress greenhouse gases?
Scientists at Lincoln University in New Zealand, conducted an experiment over an 86-day spring/summer period to determined the effect of incorporating biochar into the soil on nitrous oxide emissions from the urine patches produced by cattle.

Alzheimer's diagnostic guidelines updated for first time in decades
For the first time in 27 years, clinical diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer's disease dementia have been revised, and research guidelines for earlier stages of the disease characterized.

Democrats and Republicans increasingly divided over global warming
Despite the growing scientific consensus that global warming is real, Americans have become increasingly polarized on the environmental problem, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Michigan State University researcher.

New booklet about modern Antarctic science
The National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs is making available a new full-color, extensively illustrated booklet that highlights the variety of cutting-edge science conducted in Antarctica at the three year-round stations the United States maintains on the continent.

Spring-cleaning the mind?
Lapses in memory occur more frequently with age, yet the reasons for this increasing forgetfulness have not always been clear.

Bringing new ideas to fruition
In our world full of gadgets, sometimes the most elegantly designed invention is simplest.

MU researchers find missing link in plant defense against fungal disease
Scientists at the University of Missouri report on a discovery in a key component in the signaling pathway that regulates the production of phytoalexins to kill the disease-causing fungus Botrytis cinerea.

Sugar helping map new ground against deadly bug
A potential vaccine against bacteria that cause serious gastric disorders including stomach cancer may be a step closer following a pioneering study by a University of Guelph chemist.

Best optimization of production of cloned Pinus genus described to date
Neiker-Tecnalia (the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development) is working on the development of new biotechnological tools to produce in vitro selected trees of the Pinus genus.

Study adds weight to link between calcium supplements and heart problems
New research published on today adds to mounting evidence that calcium supplements increase the risk of cardiovascular events, particularly heart attacks, in older women.

Study finds decrease in length of hospital stay after hip replacement, but increase in readmissions
An analysis of data from Medicare beneficiaries who underwent hip replacement or subsequent follow-up corrective surgery between 1991 and 2008 indicates that the length of hospital stay after surgery declined during this time period, as did the proportion of patients discharged home, while there was an increase in the rate of hospital readmissions and discharge to a skilled care facility, according to a study in the April 20 issue of JAMA.

C. difficile increases risk of death 6-fold in patients with inflammatory bowel disease
Patients admitted to hospital with inflammatory bowel disease face a sixfold greater risk of death if they become infected with Clostridium difficile, a new study has found.

Quality of parent-toddler relationship could affect risk for childhood obesity
Toddlers who do not have a secure emotional relationship with their parents, and particularly their mothers, could be at increased risk for obesity by age 4 and a half, according to new research.

Springer launches new journal, Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research
Starting in 2011, Springer will publish Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research, a journal of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Decoding human genes is the goal of a new open-source encyclopedia
A massive database cataloging the functional components of the human genome is being made available as an open resource to scientists, classrooms, science writers, and the public, thanks to an international team led by a Penn State professor and other scientists.

Minimizing side effects from chemoradiation could help brain cancer patients live longer
Minimizing neurological side effects in patients with high-grade glioma from chemoradiation may result in improved patient survival, a new study from radiation oncologists at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson suggests.

Improved recovery of motor function after stroke
After the acute treatment window closes, the only effective treatment for stroke is physical/occupational therapy.

Hope for children with rare genetic defect
To date, there is no therapy for Batten disease. Patients pass away in their teens or twenties.

Taking aim at tumors
Many of the newest weapons in the war on cancer come in the form of personalized therapies that can target specific changes in an individual's tumor.

Satellite tracking of sea turtles reveals potential threat posed by manmade chemicals
The first research to actively analyze adult male sea turtles using satellite tracking to link geography with pollutants has revealed the potential risks posed to this threatened species by manmade chemicals.

Green environments essential for human health
Research shows that a walk in the park is more than just a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Researcher to present discoveries on medical uses of ultrasound to London's Royal Society
As part of the the Mind Machine Interface session, Jamie Tyler will speak on the potential medical uses and concerns regarding emerging technologies for selectively activating or inactivating populations of dysfunctional nerve cells within the brain in order to develop effective non-invasive therapies for treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders , such as ultrasound and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Miniature invisibility 'carpet cloak' hides more than its small size implies
Invisibility cloaking techniques have come with a significant limitation -- they need to be orders of magnitude larger than the object being cloaked.

Treatment-resistant epilepsy common in idiopathic autism
A new study found that treatment-resistant epilepsy is common in idiopathic autism.

Study confirms link between breast implants and rare form of cancer
Breast implants appear to be associated with a rare form of lymphoma, but there is not yet evidence to show that the cancer is caused by implants or to suggest an underlying mechanism for how the disease might develop, according to a study by researchers from the RAND Corporation.

Cardiac muscle really knows how to relax: Potential cardio-protective mechanism in heart
New insight into the physiology of cardiac muscle may lead to the development of therapeutic strategies that exploit an inherent protective state of the heart.

Pelvic-repair device developed by UT Southwestern surgeons enables minimally invasive trauma surgery
A device developed by UT Southwestern Medical Center surgeons offers precise repair of pelvic fractures with minimal post-surgical scarring, pain and infection risk and is available for broad adoption by the nation's 200 level I trauma centers.

Protecting your garden from invasive species
Most people realize only too late that strange new bugs are killing their garden plants.

Better design decisions make energy-efficient buildings, Clemson University researcher says
In the search for better ways to make more energy-efficient buildings, Leidy Klotz isn't exactly looking for ways to improve the engineering.

Peppermint earns respect in mainstream medicine
University of Adelaide researchers have shown for the first time how peppermint helps to relieve irritable bowel syndrome, which affects up to 20 percent of the population.

NYU Langone Medical Center awarded $4.5 million for breast cancer research
NYU Langone Medical Center announced today the US Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program of the Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs has awarded Silvia Formenti, M.D., the Sandra and Edward Meyer Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology a $4.5 million Multi-Team Award to conduct novel breast cancer research.

Researchers discover precisely how thalidomide causes birth defects
Thalidomide may have been withdrawn in the early 1960s for use by pregnant women, but its dramatic effects remain memorable half a century later.

Routine rotavirus vaccination in Brazil has reduced diarrhea deaths in children
Rotavirus vaccination in all areas of Brazil is associated with reduced diarrhea-related deaths and hospital admissions in children aged under five years, reports a study in this week's PLoS Medicine.

Limiting carbs, not calories, reduces liver fat faster, UT Southwestern researchers find
Curbing carbohydrates is more effective than cutting calories for individuals who want to quickly reduce the amount of fat in their liver, report UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers.

Physical activity improves walking capacity in Chilean elderly
Policies to promote healthy aging often emphasize a healthy diet and maintaining physical activity.

Encore of corporate tax holiday unlikely to stimulate economy
A repeat of a corporate tax holiday that found little success in 2005 is still a long shot to jump-start a stagnant US economy, says Dhammika Dharmapala, a UI professor of law and expert in corporate and international taxation.

Why do hopeful consumers make healthier choices than happy ones?
Happy people are more likely to eat candy bars, whereas hopeful people choose fruit, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

When a salad is not a salad: Why are dieters easily misled by food names?
Dieters are so involved with trying to eat virtuously that they are more likely than non-dieters to choose unhealthy foods that are labeled as healthy, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Can the International Health Regulations apply to antimicrobial resistance?
In this week's PLoS Medicine, Stephan Harbarth from the University of Geneva, Switzerland and colleagues argue that the International Health Regulations should be applied to the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Back to the future: EPA's top scientist and Ben Franklin to talk on science and innovation
Come join in a lively discussion between EPA's Science Advisor and

CD image import reduces unnecessary imaging exams in emergency rooms
Each year, more than two million critically ill patients are transferred from one hospital emergency department to another for appropriate care.

How children learn to say 'no'
Their numbers are rising, but their age is dropping: children and young adults who drink so much that they have to go to the hospital.

Landmark study reveals breed-specific causes of death in dogs
Dog owners and veterinarians have long relied on a mix of limited data and anecdotal evidence to assess which breeds are at risk of dying from various conditions, but a new University of Georgia study provides a rare and comprehensive look at causes of death in more than 80 breeds.

Why are we fascinated by death, horror and violence?
We are fascinated with the lurid details of sensational murder trials.

First patient treated in European cardioprotection phase III trial with NeuroVive's CicloMulsion
Mitochondrial death inside cardiac or brain cells is a key cause of the extensive secondary phase of additional damage and disability to heart muscle in heart attacks and to brain cells in traumatic brain injuries.

Gulf oil spill similar to Exxon Valdez in initial social and mental impacts, study finds
The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused social disruption and psychological stress among Gulf residents that is similar to the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill and the impacts are likely to persist for years, a new study finds.

Einstein researchers find link between brain molecule and obesity and diabetes
The brain's hypothalamus plays a key role in obesity and one of its major complications -- Type 2 diabetes.

Advice vs. experience: Genes predict learning style
A new study led by Brown University researchers finds a specific genetic association with adhering to advice that conflicts with experience.

ACE inhibitors may increase risk of recurrence in breast cancer survivors
ACE inhibitors, commonly used to control high blood pressure and heart failure in women, may be associated with an increased risk of recurrence in women who have had breast cancer, according to a study by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Political wins celebrated with porn, says Rutgers-Camden Researcher
Some celebrate a political candidate's victory with a party. Others, according to a Rutgers-Camden psychology researcher, choose porn.

Carnegie's Paul Butler Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Paul Butler of Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his discovery of more than half of the known planets orbiting nearby stars.

Research on adolescents' television diet
It is not that adolescent students should stop using the television or Internet, but that they should learn how to use them.

IUPUI faculty member to receive national innovative vision research award
Jason S. Meyer, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, will be honored by the largest eye and vision research organization in the world for work which one day may lead to reversal of blindness caused by macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and other diseases of the retina.

Culture shift needed to address sickness absence in police service
A major culture shift is needed to address the problems of long term sickness absence in the police service, says an expert on today. 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