Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

April 28, 2011
From the beginning, the brain knows the difference between night and day
The brain is apparently programmed from birth to develop the ability to determine sunrise and sunset, according to new research on circadian rhythms that research sheds new light on brain plasticity and may explain some basic human behaviors.

1 drug, many targets: Is this the future?
Potential molecular targets of the anti-HIV drug nelfinavir have been identified, and may explain why the drug is also effective as a cancer therapy.

Louisiana Tech researcher presents on eco-friendly nanotechnology at national conference
Dr. Yuri Lvov, professor of chemistry and T.C. Pipes endowed chair in micro and nanosystems at Louisiana Tech University, recently led a symposium at the 241st Conference of the American Chemical Society (ACS), discussing his application of a more eco-friendly and cost-effective nano-material that can be used to significantly improve the properties of plastics, paints and other synthetic composites.

New immigrants less likely to have premature babies in the first 5 years in Canada: Study
Immigrants living less than five years in Canada are less likely than their Canadian-born counterparts to have premature babies regardless of where they live, according to a new study by St.

Research initiative will enhance integrity of integrated circuits
A consortium of hardware security experts from four major universities around the country has received a $1.2 million federal grant to conduct wide-ranging research aimed at enhancing the integrity of integrated circuits, the computer chips that are used in virtually all electronic devices today, from cell phones and medical instruments to laptop computers and flat-screen TVs.

Animals have personalities, too
An individual's personality can have a big effect on their life.

Cedars-Sinai to hold first annual conference on stem cell therapies for neurological disorders
Experts from stem cell programs at respected research centers around the country will present information at an April 30 conference on stem cell therapy for neurological disorders at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Scripps Research scientists create new genetic model of premature aging diseases
Working with a group of national and international researchers, scientists from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute have developed a new genetic model of premature aging disorders that could shed light on these rare conditions in humans and provide a novel platform for large-scale screening of compounds to combat these and other age-related diseases.

Crash sensor boosts safety in warehouses
For reasons of workplace safety, storage shelves in warehouses are subjected to routine testing of their stability.

Pediatric flu vaccination: Understanding low acceptance rates could help increase coverage
A study of H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccination in a sample of black and Hispanic children in Atlanta found a low rate of vaccine acceptance among parents and caregivers.

Through unique eyes, box jellyfish look out to the world above the water
Box jellyfish may seem like rather simple creatures, but in fact their visual system is anything but.

BU researchers probe link between theta rhythm and ability of animals to track location
In a paper to be published April 29, 2011, in the journal Science, a team of Boston University researchers under the direction of Michael Hasselmo, professor of psychology and director of Boston University's Computational Neurophysiology Laboratory, and Mark Brandon, a recent graduate of the Graduate Program for Neuroscience at Boston University, present findings that support the hypothesis that spatial coding by grid cells requires theta rhythm oscillations, and dissociates the mechanisms underlying the generation of entorhinal grid cell periodicity and head-direction selectivity.

Our own status affects the way our brains respond to others
Our own social status influences the way our brains respond to others of higher or lower rank, according to a new study reported online on April 28 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

Folic acid for everybody -- arguments in favor of food fortification
Neural tube defects in neonates are common in Germany compared with the rest of Europe.

California Academy of Sciences launches scientific expedition to the Philippines
Today, scientists from the California Academy of Sciences will launch the most comprehensive scientific survey effort ever conducted in the Philippines, documenting both terrestrial and marine life forms from the tops of the highest mountains to the depths of the sea.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have evolved a unique chemical mechanism, new discovery reveals
For the first time, scientists have been able to paint a detailed chemical picture of how a particular strain of bacteria has evolved to become resistant to antibiotics.

Science selects 'Science Buddies' website to win SPORE Award
Because of its effectiveness as a tool in informal science education, the Science Buddies Web site, which guides students to science and engineering topics that appeal to their interests, has been selected by the journal Science to win the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education.

Nanotechnologists must take lessons from nature
Accepting and understanding natural variability is the key for engineers seeking to make nanoscale devices that are as efficient as living microorganisms.

2 unsuspected proteins may hold the key to creating artificial chromosomes
Whitehead Institute scientists report that two proteins once thought to have only supporting roles, are the true

Mystery solved: How sickle hemoglobin protects against malaria
At latest issue of the journal Cell, a study challenges the currently held views and unravel the molecular mechanism whereby sickle cell hemoglobin confers a survival advantage against malaria, the disease caused by Plasmodium infection.

Melatonin might help in controlling weight gain and preventing heart diseases associated with obesity
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body that can also be found in some fruits and vegetables as mustard, Goji berries, almonds, sunflower seeds, cardamom, fennel, coriander and cherries.

Era of canopy crane ending; certain research and education activities remain
The 25-story construction crane used since 1995 to investigate such things as how Pacific Northwest forests absorb carbon dioxide, obtain sufficient water and resist attacks by pests and diseases is being pruned back to just the tower.

Use of costly breast cancer therapy strongly influenced by reimbursement policy
What Medicare would pay for and where a radiation oncologist practiced were two factors that strongly influenced the choice of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for treating breast cancer, according to an article published April 29 online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Michael Collins publishes paper on ivory-billed woodpecker
Dr. Michael Collins, Naval Research Laboratory scientist and bird watcher, has published an article titled

Catching signs of autism early: The 1-year well-baby check-up approach
A novel strategy developed by autism researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, called

How nature's best ideas inspire innovative new technologies
Human existence has always depended on harvesting from nature for food and shelter, but we now increasingly look to nature for technological ideas.

UCSB urban ecosystem research featured in leading ecology journal
A team of scientists has produced an innovative new study of the environmental impact of major urban ecosystems, published in the April issue of the journal Ecological Applications.

Monkeys, too, can recollect what they've seen
It's one thing to recognize your childhood home when you see it in a photograph and quite another to accurately describe or draw a picture of it based on your recollection of how it looked.

Adults with arthritis suffer with poorer health related quality of life
A new study reports that the health-related quality of life for US adults with arthritis is much worse than for those without this condition.

Group Health Research Institute founder Dr. Ed Wagner wins William B. Graham Prize
Edward H. Wagner, M.D., M.P.H., is the 2011 recipient of the William B.

Electrical oscillations found to be critical for storing spatial memories in brain
Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered that electrical oscillations in the brain, long thought to play a role in organizing cognitive functions such as memory, are critically important for the brain to store the information that allows us to navigate through our physical environment.

Alcohol, mood and me (not you)
Thanks in part to studies that follow subjects for a long time, psychologists are learning more about differences between people.

Spending wisely: ESF publishes first international peer review guide for funding research
The first international guidelines for peer reviewing research grants are published today by the European Science Foundation.

Mutant mouse reveals new wrinkle in genetic code, say UCSF scientists
Call it a mystery with a stubby tail: an odd-looking mouse discovered through a US government breeding program in the 1940s that had a short, kinky tail and an extra set of ribs in its neck -- and nobody knew why.

Kids explore alternative fuels and sequence DNA with ScienceBuddies.org
High school students explore fuels of the future by using mud to build microbial fuel cells.

TRMM Satellite sees massive thunderstorms in severe weather system
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite again flew over severe thunderstorms that were spawning tornadoes over the eastern United States on April 28 and detected massive thunderstorms and very heavy rainfall.

Reducing risk of renal failure in obese patients
The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor drug, ramipril, is particularly effective in lowering the risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in obese patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Being tall, obese may significantly increase risk of blood clots in deep veins
The combination of being tall and obese, particularly in men, may substantially raise the risk of developing potentially dangerous blood clots in veins deep in the body.

New method for measuring biomass reveals fish stocks are more stable than widely believed
Fish and marine species are among the most threatened wildlife on earth, due partly to over exploitation by fishing fleets.

Social bonding in prairie voles helps guide search for autism treatments
Researchers at the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience at Emory University are focusing on prairie voles as a new model to screen the effectiveness of drugs to treat autism.

Shielding body protects brain from 'shell shocking' blast injuries
Stronger and tougher body armor to shield the chest, abdomen and back may be just what soldiers fighting in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars need to better protect their brains from mild injuries tied to so-called

Green light for flu vaccine in transplant recipients
Getting vaccinated against the flu lowers kidney transplant recipients' risk of organ loss and death, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN).

Fluctuations before the fall: Predicting and preventing environmental collapse
In a paper published this week in the journal Science, a team of ecologists is the first to show that by paying attention to variability in key ecosystem processes, scientists can detect the early warning signs that herald environmental collapse.

Clinical trial recommends new antibiotic for treating typhoid in low income countries
A large clinical trial comparing treatments for typhoid has recommended the use of gatifloxacin, a new generation and affordable antibiotic.

Announcing BIOLOGY OPEN from the Company of Biologists
The Company of Biologists is pleased to announce BIOLOGY OPEN, a new online only, open-access journal.

Mutations in single gene may have shaped human cerebral cortex
The size and shape of the human cerebral cortex, an evolutionary marvel responsible for everything from Shakespeare's poetry to the atomic bomb, are largely influenced by mutations in a single gene, according to a team of researchers led by the Yale School of Medicine and three other universities.

Preliminary program announced for 2nd Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis & Bone Meeting
The preliminary program has been announced for most important bone meeting in the Asia-Pacific region of 2011.

Concern over 'excessive' doses of thyroid drugs for older patients
Many older adults may be taking

A tale of 2 lakes: One gives early warning signal for ecosystem collapse
Researchers eavesdropping on complex signals from a remote Wisconsin lake have detected what they say is an unmistakable warning -- a death knell -- of the impending collapse of the lake's aquatic ecosystem.

Missouri elk are being reintroduced in the wrong part of the state, MU anthropologist says
According to prehistoric records, elk roamed the northwestern part of Missouri until 1865.

Harvard's engineering school receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant
A project to use dirt-powered batteries to charge cell phones in Africa won a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today.

Obesity: Conclusive results for the Montreal Heart Institute's EPIC Centre Kilo-Actif program
A program which combines interval training and healthy eating practices seems to be perfectly indicated for those suffering from obesity.

Water currents of South Africa could stabilize climate in Europe
An international team of marine scientists studied the effects salt water from the Agulhas Current can have on global warming.

Wayne State student awarded prestigious NSF graduate research fellowship
Keith Zabel, a psychology doctoral student in Wayne State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Finding molecular targets of an HIV drug used in cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Hunter College of the City University of New York have identified potential human molecular targets of the anti-HIV drug Nelfinavir, which may explain why the drug is also effective as a cancer therapy.

Astronomers unveil portrait of 'super-exotic super-Earth:' Densest known rocky planet
An international team of astronomers today revealed details of a

Video captures cellular 'workhorses' in action
Scientists at Yale University and in Grenoble France have succeeded in creating a movie showing the breakup of actin filaments, the thread-like structures inside cells that are crucial to their movement, maintenance and division.

New gene therapy technique on iPS cells holds promise in treating immune system disease
Researchers have developed an effective technique that uses gene therapy on stem cells to correct chronic granulomatous disease in cell culture, which could eventually serve as a treatment for this rare, inherited immune disorder, according to a study published in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

5-minute screen identifies subtle signs of autism in 1-year olds
A five-minute checklist that parents can fill out in pediatrician waiting rooms may someday help in the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists detect early warning signal for ecosystem collapse
Researchers eavesdropping on complex signals emanating from a remote Wisconsin lake have detected what they say is an unmistakable warning -- a death knell -- of the impending collapse of the lake's aquatic ecosystem.

As the worm turns, its secrets are revealed
An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have developed a new method for discerning the functions of previously uncharacterized genes and placing them in interactive, functional networks that reveal how gene products interact to bring about cellular events.

Prejudice and the President
Research shows racial bias influences views of Obama and his

NASA's Swift and Hubble probe asteroid collision debris
Late last year, astronomers noticed an asteroid named Scheila had unexpectedly brightened, and it was sporting short-lived plumes.

Communicator Award 2011 goes to Gerd Gigerenzer
This year's Communicator Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany goes to the director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, professor Gerd Gigerenzer.

Adult-supervised drinking in young teens may lead to more alcohol use, consequences
Allowing adolescents to drink alcohol under adult supervision does not appear to teach responsible drinking as teens get older.

Success of First World Congress of Pediatric Urology underscores increasing importance of specialty
The first World Congress of Pediatric Urology was held in San Francisco in May 2010, bringing together the largest and most successful international congregation of pediatric urologists ever assembled.

University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher wins award to study pre-eclampsia
University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers wins prestigious Gates foundation award to study pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.

Study: Cotton swabs prove problematic for ear health
A study by Henry Ford Hospital shows a direct association between cotton swab use and ruptured eardrum.

New frontiers in diabetes: The oral health connection
Some 65 percent of people in the US have periodontal disease, but that rate jumps to 90 percent among individuals with diabetes.

Iowa State chemist designs new polymer structures for use as 'plastic electronics'
Malika Jeffries-EL, an Iowa State assistant professor of chemistry, is designing new organic polymer structures that conduct electricity and could be useful in solar cells, light-emitting diodes and thin-film transistors.

A workshop on semantics, pragmatics and rhetoric to be held in the Basque Country
What kind of communication exists between two people who, without a word passing between them, paint a wall together?

Jump in communication skills led to species explosion in electric fishes
The Mormyridae, a family of African fishes that communicate by means of weak electric discharges, has more than 200 species.

RIKEN and Max Planck Society establish Joint Research Center for Systems Chemical Biology
RIKEN and the Max Planck Society signed an agreement on April 27, 2011, to strengthen their collaboration by establishing a joint research center for systems chemical biology, a field that seeks to achieve a systematic understanding of biological systems from a chemistry perspective.

New insight into chromosome segregation: Centromere-independent kinetochore assembly
One of the most critical tasks that a dividing cell must accomplish is the successful delivery of a complete set of genetic information to each new daughter cell.

Inverting a standard experiment sometimes produces different results
The standard experimental setup for measuring the cellular uptake of nanoparticles is to place cells in a well on a culture plate and cover them with culture medium containing nanoparticles.

Loh offers Maryland four-point program as he officially takes UMD reins
Wallace D. Loh has officially become the 33rd president of the University of Maryland, promising a

Monkey recall memory mirrors that of humans
A new study shows for the first time that monkeys can recall and reproduce simple shapes from memory.

Guidelines on rare diseases: Methods on handling evidence neither identified nor required
How the frequently poor evidence on rare diseases is to be handled has so far been scarcely addressed in manuals and methods papers for developing guidelines or HTA reports.

Extreme testing for rotor blades
Wind turbines are growing bigger and bigger -- the diameter of their rotor blades could soon reach 180 meters.

Stress and depression are associated with shorter survival in head and neck cancer patients
Studies have shown that stress can affect the immune system.

Study targets treatment for serious ACE inhibitor side effect
A new Henry Ford Hospital study takes a closer look at one of the lesser known, but potential most serious side-effects of ACE inhibitor use -- facial, tongue and airway swelling -- and identifies a successful and less invasive course of treatment.

Fish livers contain beneficial fatty acids
The fishing industry usually discards fish livers, but a team of researchers from the University of Almeria has confirmed that they are a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial to health.

JAMA study reports on fatty liver disease in children and teens
The largest study of its type has found that neither vitamin E, which is an antioxidant, nor the diabetes drug metformin, successfully reduced liver enzymes in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in children or teens.

Eddies found to be deep, powerful modes of ocean transport
Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and their colleagues have discovered that massive, swirling ocean eddies -- known to be up to 500 kilometers across at the surface -- can reach all the way to the ocean bottom at mid-ocean ridges, some 2,500 meters deep, transporting tiny sea creatures, chemicals, and heat from hydrothermal vents over large distances.

Taking safety personally
A year after the BP explosion and oil spill, those trying to find someone to blame are misguided, says psychological scientist E.

MARC Travel awards announced for the Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting and Expo
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting and Expo in Boston June 4-7, 2011.

How do white blood cells detect invaders to destroy?
Scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have discovered how a molecular receptor on the surface of white blood cells identifies when invading fungi have established direct contact with the cell surface and pose an infectious threat.
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