Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 05, 2011
Seed mixtures and insurance pest management: Future norm in the Corn Belt?
As the use of biotechnology increases and more companies move forward with the US Environmental Protection Agency's approval to begin full-scale commercialization of seed mixtures in transgenic insecticidal corn, many researchers believe pest monitoring will become even more difficult.

New algorithm significantly improves imaging for full-body MRIs
A new study reveals an improved algorithm that can dramatically improve how radiologists capture and interpret full-body MRIs, particularly in the abdominal region.

Is nuclear power fair for future generations?
The recent nuclear accident in Fukushima Daiichi in Japan has brought the nuclear debate to the forefront of controversy.

It takes a community of soil microbes to protect plants from disease
Plants rely on a tight-knit army of soil microbes to defend themselves against pathogens, much the way mammals harbor a raft of microbes to avoid infections.

Weight-loss counseling most prevalent between male physicians and obese men
A study published in the June 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine examined the association between patient-physician gender concordance and weight-related counseling in obese individuals.

Forecast calls for nanoflowers to help return eyesight
A University of Oregon researcher is on a quest to grow flowers that will help people who've lost their sight by designing nano-sized flowers whose fractal shapes on implants will engage with neurons to carry light to the optic nerve.

Following trail of cell death in epilepsy patients to find ways to preserve brain health
Scientists have known for years that seizures in patients with epilepsy cause progressive cell death in the brain.

Researchers propose 'whole-system redesign' of US agriculture
In this Policy Forum piece, a nationwide team of researchers recommend that transformative changes in markets, policy and science, rather than just incremental changes in farming practices and technology, will be critical if the United States is to achieve long-term sustainability in agriculture.

Vatican science panel calls attention to the threat of glacial melt
A panel of some of the world's leading climate and glacier scientists co-chaired by a Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego researcher issued a report today commissioned by the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences citing the moral imperative before society to properly address climate change.

UT Southwestern research reveals how cancer-driving enzyme works
Cancer researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center are helping unlock the cellular-level function of the telomerase enzyme, which is linked to the disease's growth.

MU professor elected to membership in National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences has elected James Birchler, Curators' Professor of Biological Sciences in the MU College of Arts & Science, as a member.

Artful dodgers: Responding but not answering often undetected
How can some people respond to a question without answering the question, yet satisfy their listeners?

Breast cancer multi-gene tests compared
Two multi-gene tests designed to predict the risk of disease progression and response to chemotherapy in breast cancer produce broadly similar results for high- and low-risk patients, but do not always agree in their predictions for those at intermediate risk, a new analysis shows.

Worm discovery could help 1 billion people worldwide
Scientists have discovered why some people may be protected from harmful parasitic worms naturally while others cannot in what could lead to new therapies for up to one billion people worldwide.

Local entrepreneurs join forces to set up bursary for needy business students at NTU
A group of 31 Singapore entrepreneurs are banding together to provide financial aid to needy students of the Nanyang Business School at NTU.

Anatomy of an outbreak
Researchers have found a genetic solution to the puzzle of why the chikungunya virus infected millions of people after it was introduced to Asia in 2005 but infected almost no one after an earlier Asian introduction.

Could bacterial hitchhikers influence formation of new host species?
Vanderbilt researchers have a major award to determine whether microbiota play a role determining when their hosts can form a new species.

What decides neural stem cell fate?
Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and their collaborators found that expression of a gene called SOX2 maintains the potential for neural crest stem cells to become neurons in the peripheral nervous system.

New study reveals when livestock can transmit foot-and-mouth disease
A new study of foot-and-mouth disease shows that cattle afflicted with the virus are only infectious for a brief window of time -- about half as long as previously thought.

New technology helps to find gene responsible for Kufs disease
Scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the University of Melbourne have used innovative new technologies to identify the gene responsible for a rare but fatal hereditary brain disorder.

Drug-resistance fears for deadly fungal disease
Deadly human fungal infections caused by certain strains of Aspergillus fungi appear to be developing resistance to current drug treatments at an alarming rate, say scientists.

Epigenetic study reveals new insights into breast cancer
The most comprehensive analysis yet of the epigenetic modifications present in breast cancer has revealed potentially important new ways to detect and treat the disease, Belgian researchers have reported at the IMPAKT Breast Cancer Conference in Brussels.

Expert panel calls for 'transforming US agriculture'
A group of leading scientists, economists and farmers is calling for a broad shift in federal policies to speed the development of farm practices that are more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.

UF study finds cats No. 1 predator to urban mockingbird nests
A new University of Florida study shows cats are the dominant predator to mockingbird eggs and nestlings in urban areas, prompting conservationists to urge pet owners to keep felines indoors at night.

'Bad' cholesterol not as bad as people think, shows Texas A&M study
The so-called

US medical students are rejecting kidney careers
Kidney disease affects 1 in 9 US adults, and by 2020 more than 750,000 Americans will be on dialysis or awaiting kidney transplant.

New tool to assess asthma-related anxiety
When children or adolescents with asthma and their parents become overly anxious about the disorder, it may impair their ability to manage the asthma effectively.

When the lungs come under pressure
Max Planck scientists have found a way of treating pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Spikemoss genome offers new paths for biofuels research -- bridges plant development gap
The Selaginella genome helps fill in a large gap in plant evolution from unicellular green alga to flowering plants with vascular systems.

Scientists sequence genomes of 2 major threats to American food and fuel
An international team of researchers co-led by a University of Minnesota scientist has sequenced the genomes of two fungal pathogens -- one that threatens global wheat supplies and another that limits production of a tree crop valued as a future source for biofuel.

Who knows you best? Not you, say psychologists
Know thyself. That was Socrates' advice, and it squares with conventional wisdom.

World's blueberries protected in unique, living collection
Familiar blueberries and their lesser-known wild relatives are safeguarded by US Department of Agriculture scientists and curators at America's official blueberry gene bank.

Elsevier announces launch of Swarm and Evolutionary Computation
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today the launch Swarm and Evolutionary Computation.

US farmers dodge the impacts of global warming -- at least for now
The United States seems to have been lucky so far in largely escaping the impact of global warming on crop production.

Selaginella genome adds piece to plant evolutionary puzzle
A Purdue University-led sequencing of the Selaginella moellendorffii (spikemoss) genome -- the first for a non-seed vascular plant -- is expected to give scientists a better understanding of how plants of all kinds evolved over the past 500 million years and could open new doors for the identification of new pharmaceuticals.

Practice can make search-and-rescue robot operators more accurate
Urban search and rescue task forces are essential for locating, stabilizing, and extricating people who become trapped in confined spaces following a catastrophic event.

Ultrasound combined with pre-operative MRI is cost effective in evaluating rotator cuff tears
While ultrasound is usually viewed as more cost effective, MRI is most often used to evaluate the rotator cuff.

Study shows corn gene provides resistance to multiple diseases
Researchers at North Carolina State University have found a specific gene in corn that appears to be associated with resistance to three important plant leaf diseases.

Study probes sources of Mississippi River phosphorus
New modeling research published in the Journal of Environmental Quality found that the main sources of phosphorus pollution across the entire Mississippi River Basin are intensive agriculture and sewage effluent, rather than manure and overuse of fertilizer.

Normal stem cells made to look and act like cancer stem cells
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, after isolating normal stem cells that form the developing placenta, have given them the same properties of stem cells associated with an aggressive type of breast cancer.

The soul of a cell: Stanford researchers use advanced instrument to read cells' minds
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have taken a machine already in use for the measurement of impurities in semiconductors and used it to analyze immune cells in far more detail than has been possible before.

Protein snapshots reveal clues to breast cancer outcomes
Measuring the transfer of tiny amounts of energy from one protein to another on breast cancer cells has given scientists a detailed view of molecular interactions that could help predict how breast cancer patients will respond to particular therapies.

Measurement of 'hot' electrons could have solar energy payoff
Basic scientific curiosity paid off in unexpected ways when Rice University researchers investigating the fundamental physics of nanomaterials discovered a new technology that could dramatically improve solar energy panels.

Einstein researchers find key gene in childhood cancer
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have identified the Aurora A gene -- which is vital for tumor growth and known to be expressed at higher-than-normal levels in many cancers -- as a target for potential therapies for rhabdoid tumors, aggressive childhood cancers that usually strike children under three years old and affect the brain or kidneys.

Antibodies help protect monkeys from HIV-like virus, NIH scientists show
Using a monkey model of AIDS, scientists have identified a vaccine-generated immune-system response that correlates with protection against infection by the monkey version of HIV, called simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).

Gene expression predicts chemotherapy sensitivity of triple-negative breast cancer
German researchers have identified an unexpected molecular marker that predicts how sensitive hard-to-treat triple-negative breast cancers are to chemotherapy.

Mom or dad has bipolar disorder? Keep stress in check
Children whose mother or father is affected by bipolar disorder may need to keep their stress levels in check.

No smoking policies may present challenges to treatment centers
When a new tobacco-free policy was instituted at an Ohio women's substance abuse treatment center, both smokers and non-smokers were more likely to leave treatment early in the first few months after the policy change, a new study found.

CIRM awards Scripps Research Institute scientists $3.5 million
Two Scripps Research Institute investigators have been awarded a total of $3.5 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Few African-Americans call 911 immediately for stroke symptoms
When given a hypothetical stroke symptoms scenario, 89 percent of African-Americans say they would call 9-1-1.

Elsevier launches Exam Consult -- an online exam preparation tool for UK medical school exams
Elsevier, the world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announces the launch of Exam Consult, an online exam preparation and simulation tool.

Sonography complements physical exam in identifying juvenile inflammatory arthritis in children
Juvenile inflammatory arthritis (JIA) is a potentially debilitating childhood disease.

Sticking their necks out for evolution: Why sloths and manatees have unusually long (or short) necks
As a rule all mammals have the same number of vertebrae in their necks regardless of whether they are a giraffe, a mouse, or a human.

Study suggests prolonged bottle feeding increases the risk of obesity
Experts agree that obesity prevention should begin before children enter school.

Strong evidence supports prognostic value of circulating tumor cells in breast cancer
At the IMPAKT Breast Cancer Conference in Brussels, French researchers have reported the strongest proof yet that evidence of

Stem cell-related changes that may contribute to age-related cognitive decline identified
A new study from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory offers an explanation for why our brains produce fewer and fewer neurons with age, a phenomenon thought to underlie age-related cognitive decline.

Elsevier, Redfox Technologies and Microsoft launch innovative e-learning nursing solution
Elsevier, Redfox Technologies and Microsoft today announced the launch of the iCitizen Nursing Skills Netbook, an integrated and affordable e-learning netbook for nurses and nursing students in The Philippines.

Wistar researchers: Direct proof of how T cells stay in 'standby' mode
Wistar researchers offer definitive proof that T cells need to actively maintain

The case for maintaining current regulations on I-131 therapy
Two articles in the June issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine make a case for maintaining current US Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations on the release of patients who undergo radioactive iodine treatments for thyroid cancer, known as I-131.

Quantum simulation with light: Frustrations between photon pairs
Researchers of the University of Vienna used a quantum mechanical system in the laboratory to simulate complex many-body systems.

Robot based on Carnegie Mellon research engages novice computer scientists
Learning how to program a computer to display the words

UT Southwestern researcher maps far-reaching effects of estrogen signaling in breast cancer cells
A UT Southwestern Medical Center researcher has identified the most comprehensive measurement to date of estrogen's effect on breast cancer cells, showing for the first time how immediate and extensive the effect is.

Families need to know more about feeding tubes for elderly dementia patients
In hundreds of interviews in five states with family members of persons who had advanced dementia, researchers found that their decision-making process for whether to insert a feeding tube often lacked necessary information for informed consent.

Geology highlights: New research posted May 4, 2011
Geology research posted online May 4 (corresponding to the June 2011 print issue) includes the first record of shelled amoeba living in association with seafloor methane seeps; trilobites in North China and Spain; logjams and mountain streams in the Colorado Front Range; discovery of micrometeorites in 240 million-year-old sediments; a revelation by Integrated Ocean Drilling Program of an extensive microbial community in the deep biosphere; and studies relating to the L'Aquila, Wenchuan, and Sumatra-Andaman earthquakes.

Penn State to help brush up oral hygiene in nursing homes
People with dementia may soon have improved oral hygiene because of a National Institutes of Health $1.4 million, four-year grant to Rita A.

Heart failure treatment options have come a long way
Highlights of the late breaking trials and clinical updates program will include the SHIFT trial with ivadrabine, EMPHASIS-HF with eplerenone, an update on the MADIT CRT trial on how to predict optimal benefits from CRT, Northstar, and two telemonitoring trials -- the TEHAF study and TIM-HF.

Study gives clues to how obesity spreads socially
Obesity is socially contagious, according to research published in the past few years.

JGI Science at the Lesher panel on May 9, 2011
This second of the JGI Science @ the Lesher series of panel discussions features researchers talking about the role microbes play in the global carbon cycle.

Anti-inflammatory drug may fight breast cancer
The anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib may be a useful additional treatment for people with breast cancer, Dutch researchers report at the IMPAKT Breast Cancer Conference in Brussels.

More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual
More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual, according to new research from Rice University.

Combination of ADHD and poor emotional control runs in families
A subgroup of adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also exhibit excessive emotional reactions to everyday occurrences, and this combination of ADHD and emotional reactivity appears to run in families.

DNA from common stomach bacteria minimizes effects of colitis, U-M study says
DNA from Helicobacter pylori, a common stomach bacteria, minimizes the effects of colitis in mice, according to a new study by University of Michigan Medical School scientists.

Parental exposure to BPA during pregnancy associated with decreased birth weight in offspring
Parental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy is associated with decreased birth weight of offspring, compared with offspring from families without parental BPA exposure in the workplace, according to Kaiser Permanente researchers.

BMI differences: The immigrant equation
The obesity problem plaguing Canadians is a story heard frequently these days.

New biosensor modelled on the immune system can detect, track and guide the clean-up of oil spills
A new biosensor which uses antibody-based technology has been shown to detect marine pollutants such as oil cheaper and faster than current technology.

Horizon Pharma supports fellows and students with AGA Abstract Prizes
The American Gastroenterological Association Research Foundation today announced Horizon Pharma's support of research awards aimed to stimulate interest in gastroenterology/hepatology research careers through competition and recognition.

Female-to-male transsexual people have more autistic traits
A new study from Cambridge University has for the first time found that female-to-male transsexual people have a higher than average number of autistic traits.

Protein keeps sleep-deprived flies ready to learn
A protein that helps the brain develop early in life can fight the mental fuzziness induced by sleep deprivation, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

When self-esteem is threatened, people pay with credit cards
People shop for high status items when they're feeling low, and they're more likely to make those expensive purchases on credit, according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE).

Mutation provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms of aging
A new study identifies the mutation that underlies a rare, inherited accelerated-aging disease and provides key insight into normal human aging.

Surgery reduces risk of mortality due to prostate cancer even for low-risk groups
A Swedish research team partly consisting of researchers from Uppsala University followed a group of prostate cancer patients in the Nordic region for 15 years.

Outstanding young gastroenterologists receive AGA Research Foundation 2011 Research Scholar Awards
The American Gastroenterological Association Research Foundation has announced its 2011 research scholars.

INFORMS VP wins Gartner BI Excellence Award for UPS
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) today congratulated Jack Levis, Director of Process Management at UPS, who led his team at UPS to win the coveted Gartner Business Intelligence Excellence Award.

Pakistan prepares to abolish Ministry of Health
In a comment published online first by the Lancet, Pakistani public health experts announce their shock and dismay at the Pakistan Government's plans to abolish its ministry of health.

Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 -- inspiring ingenuity in energy solutions
June 5-9, 2011 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative presents the Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 -- a global conversation on how cutting-edge science and technology can be used to strategize for a sustainable energy future.

Can one model the social deficits of autism and schizophrenia in animals?
The use of animal models to study human disease is essential to help advance our understanding of disease and to develop new therapeutic treatments.

Gates Foundation awards Ben-Gurion U. researcher grant for malaria detection using cell phones
Bilenca's project is based on a standard camera cellphone and a red laser pointer that can noninvasively obtain finger blood perfusion images with excellent resolution and contrast in less of a second.

Cigarette smoking and arsenic exposure: A deadly combination
Arsenic exposure and smoking each elevate the risk of disease.

Cedars-Sinai's mobile medical clinics receive $500,000 grant from California Community Foundation
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has received a $500,000 grant from the California Community Foundation that will help support the hospital's COACH for Kids and Their Families program.

Japanese collaboration promises to put Sandia hydrogen program on global track
A new hydrogen research initiative based in Japan will leverage Department of Energy-funded hydrogen research at Sandia National Laboratories' California site and will likely become the first research effort to be rolled into a broader laboratory research umbrella aimed at increasing the laboratories' hydrogen partnerships domestically and abroad.

Research to target untested rape kits
Researchers at Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas at Austin will team up with representatives from the criminal justice system in Houston to establish protocols to determine when sexual assault kits need to be tested by crime labs.

Autism Speaks and Core77 Magazine name winners of 'Autism Connects' design challenge
Autism Speaks in partnership with Core77, named winners of

Treating acute appendicitis with antibiotics not as effective as having appendix removed
Treating acute appendicitis with antibiotics is not as effective as the gold standard treatment of having the appendix surgically removed (appendicectomy).

Most blacks report calling a friend, not 911, when facing the symptoms of a stroke
Most African-Americans report calling a friend instead of 911 when faced with the symptoms of a stroke, according to a new study that surveyed those hospitalized for a stroke.

Tests show new biosensor can guide environmental clean-ups
Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have developed an antibody-based biosensor that can detect marine pollutants like oil much faster and more cheaply than current technologies.

Scientists afflict computers with schizophrenia to better understand the human brain
Computer networks that can't forget fast enough can show symptoms of a kind of virtual schizophrenia, giving researchers further clues to the inner workings of schizophrenic brains, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Yale University have found.

Buenos 'notch-es': Universal signaling pathway found to regulate sleep
An unexpected observation in the C. elegans nematode may help explain the neurobiology of sleep in a wide variety of creatures, including humans.

California's draft Bay Delta conservation plan incomplete; needs better integration to be more scientifically credible
A draft plan to conserve habitat for endangered and threatened fishes in the California Bay-Delta while continuing to divert water for agricultural and personal use in central and southern California has critical missing components, including clearly defined goals and a scientific analysis of the proposed project's potential impacts on delta species, says a new report from the National Research Council.

University of Toronto chemistry technology promises more effective prescription drug therapies
Scientists at the University of Toronto, Stanford and Columbia universities have developed a way to measure the action and function of candidate prescription drugs on human cells, including the response of individual cells, more quickly and on a larger scale than ever before.

Study adds weight to link between arsenic in drinking water and heart disease
Exposure to even moderate levels of arsenic in drinking water is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, especially among smokers, finds a study published on today.

Reptile 'cousins' shed new light on end-Permian extinction
The end-Permian extinction, by far the most dramatic biological crisis to affect life on Earth, may not have been as catastrophic for some creatures as previously thought, according to a new study led by the University of Bristol.

Short antibiotic courses safer for breathing-tube infections in children
Short courses of antibiotics appear just as effective as longer ones -- and a great deal safer -- in treating respiratory infections that might cause pneumonia in children on temporary breathing devices, according to a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study published online May 3 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

New online mechanism for electric vehicle charging
Researchers at the University of Southampton have designed a new pricing mechanism that could change the way in which electric vehicles are charged.

NRL scientists achieve high temperature milestone in silicon spintronics
Researchers at the Materials Science and Technology Division demonstrate that spin accumulation in silicon -- semiconductor spintronics -- is viable as a basis for practical devices relying on electron spin rather than electron charge, providing higher performance, lower power consumption and less heat dissipation.

Racial disparities still exist in colorectal cancer screening despite increased Medicare coverage
Despite expanded Medicare coverage for colorectal cancer screening tests, lower rates still exist among blacks and Hispanics compared to other ethnic groups, according to research published in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Many dialysis patients may not understand important health information
Many patients on dialysis may not understand medical information critical to their well-being, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology. 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