Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 11, 2011
Clemson University institute to study 'vertical farming' feasibility in Charleston, S.C.
Clemson University's Institute of Applied Ecology received EPA funding to develop a design-feasibility study to build a

The '$1,000 genome' may cost $100,000 to understand
Advances in technology have almost lifted the curtain on the long-awaited era of the

Marriage problems related to infants' sleep difficulties
Couples having marital difficulties may have infants who are losing sleep, according to a new study -- and that may have a continuing impact on the children.

Study reveals origins of a cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow
A new study by the NYU Cancer Institutesheds light on the origins of a type of myeloid leukemia, a blood cancer that affects children and adults.

Guilt, cooperation linked by neural network
A UA study using economic models backed up by fMRI scans offers new insights on why people choose to cooperate rather than act selfishly.

Serendipity leads to lifesaving discovery
McGill research team recently published new findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, pointing to a critical role for IRF8 in the development and function of monocytes and dendritic cells and in protecting against mycobacterial infections like TB in humans.

US, Chinese children differ in commitment to parents over time
According to a new study, American, but not Chinese, children's sense of responsibility to their parents tends to decline in the seventh and eighth grades, a trend that coincides with declines in their academic performance.

Colorectal cancer chemotherapy study shows that elderly patients can take part in clinical trials and cope with lower doses
A study published online first by the Lancet shows that by reducing dosing appropriately, it is possible for elderly patients -- the group most affected by colorectal cancer (also known as bowel cancer) -- to take part in randomized controlled clinical trials.

New calculations on blackbody energy set the stage for clocks with unprecedented accuracy
A team of physicists from the United States and Russia has developed a means for computing, with unprecedented accuracy, a tiny, temperature-dependent source of error in atomic clocks.

Flipping hot Jupiters
In the last few years astronomers have observed that in some extrasolar systems the star is spinning one way and the planet, a

First signs of progress in saving Indian vultures from killer drug
The ban on a veterinary drug which caused an unprecedented decline in Asian vulture populations has shown the first signs of progress, according to scientists.

UCLA cancer researcher wins prestigious Gold Medal from the American College of Radiology
Dr. Lawrence W. Bassett, a nationally renowned expert with more than 35 years experience in breast imaging, has been chosen to receive the Gold Medal by the American College of Radiology, the organization's highest honor given for distinguished and extraordinary service in the field of radiology.

Potential new predictor of male reproductive potential identified
The distance between a man's scrotum and anus may indicate his ability to reproduce, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in the journal PLoS ONE.

University pond reveals hidden history of fungi
A study of DNA in a campus pond at the University of Exeter has led to the discovery of a whole new type of fungi.

The urea cycle: An anabolic steroid for diatoms
The urea cycle is a metabolic pathway used in mammals to incorporate excess nitrogen into urea and remove it from the body.

Putting research into practice to improve health care decisions
Adding research-centered approaches into the day-to-day life of the doctor's clinic strengthens clinical decisions, according to a new report by the European Medical Research Councils.

2,300-year climate record suggests severe tropical droughts as northern temperatures rise
A 2,300-year climate record University of Pittsburgh researchers recovered from an Andes Mountains lake reveals that as temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rise, the planet's densely populated tropical regions will most likely experience severe water shortages as the crucial summer monsoons become drier.

Nature study: Endocannabinoid signaling in dietary restriction and lifespan extension
Research involving C. elegans at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging sheds light on a possible mechanism of DR -- revealing that a group of lipid signaling molecules called N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) informs the animal of limited or ample nutrients and helps regulate the worm's aging response to changes in its diet.

Marriage problems predict sleep difficulties in young children
A new study of more than 350 families has found that instability in the parents' relationship when the children are 9 months old predicted difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep when they were 18 months old.

How ants tame the wilderness: Rainforest species use chemicals to identify which plants to prune
Survival in the depths of the tropical rainforest not only depends on a species' ability to defend itself, but can be reliant on the type of cooperation researchers discovered between ants and tropical trees.

Scripps Research scientist identifies new pathway affecting lifespan
A team led by a scientist from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute has identified a new role for a biological pathway that not only signals the body's metabolic response to nutritional changes, but also affects lifespan.

'Liquid smoke' from rice shows potential health benefits
Liquid smoke flavoring made from hickory and other wood -- a mainstay flavoring and anti-bacterial agent for the prepared food industry and home kitchens -- may get a competitor that seems to be packed with antioxidant, antiallergenic and anti-inflammatory substances, according to a new study in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Cryoablation used to successfully treat atrial fibrillation at the Montreal Heart Institute
The electrophysiology team at the Montreal Heart Institute used cryoablation (ablation using cold) to treat a patient suffering from atrial fibrillation, the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, and one associated with significant morbidity.

Digital forensic examiners face stress, role-conflict
Despite playing an increasingly vital role in criminal investigations, digital forensic examiners face staffing cuts, heavy caseloads and stress within police departments that may not fully understand their responsibilities, according to a study led by a Michigan State University criminologist.

Lessening the dangers of radiation
A new study by Tel Aviv University exploring the efficacy of expensive and invasive CT scans has found that, in many cases, they don't offer a clinical advantage over a simple, inexpensive ultrasound procedure.

Weizmann Institute scientists show: How adversity dulls our perceptions
New Weizmann Institute research suggests that perceptions learned in an aversive context are not as sharp as those learned in other circumstances.

Reforesting rural lands in China pays big dividends, Stanford researchers say
An innovative program to encourage sustainable farming in rural China has helped restore eroded forestland while producing economic gains for many farmers, according to a new study by Stanford University researchers.

Study challenges concerns on effectiveness of administering pneumococcal, shingles vaccines together
Administering both the pneumococcal and the herpes zoster vaccines to patients during the same visit is beneficial and does not appear to compromise the protective effect of the zoster vaccine, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the journal Vaccine.

Study finds highest reported BPA level in pregnant woman and associated abnormalities in infant
A new case study examining an infant's transient neurobehavioral abnormalities and extremely high bisphenol A (BPA) concentration of the baby's mother suggests a link between the two.

Coping with climate change
As global temperatures rise, suitable sites for many plants and animals are shifting to cooler and higher ground.

Striking the right balance: JBEI researchers counteract biofuel toxicity in microbes
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have created a library of microbial efflux pumps that reduce toxicity and boost production of biofuels in engineered strains of microbes.

Vitamins may hitch a protected ride on corn starch
Vitamins and medications may one day take rides on starch compounds creating stable vitamin-enriched ingredients and cheaper controlled-release drugs, according to Penn State food scientists.

NASA project eyes climate change in Greenland -- with a third eye on Mars
Indiana University Bloomington scientists will use knowledge about methane production by cold-weather microbes on Earth to help NASA zero in on evidence for similar, carbon-based microbes that could have evolved on Mars, the Jovian moon Europa, or Saturn's Enceladus.

UofL School of Nursing faculty collaborate with UofL Hospital
University of Louisville School of Nursing faculty are teaming up with UofL Hospital (ULH) and James Graham Brown Cancer Center (JGBCC) nurses and other multi-disciplinary health care team members to improve patient care and quality of life through clinical nursing research and evidence based practice projects.

Finding reserves on the electrical grid
The weather determines how much energy wind turbine systems provide.

New technology fuses MRI, ultrasound to achieve targeted biopsy of prostate cancer
A new prostate-imaging technology that fuses MRI with real-time, three-dimensional ultrasound may offer a more exacting method to obtain biopsy specimens from suspicious areas within the organ.

MIT Study: conventional fossil fuels sometimes 'greener' than biofuels
In an effort to combat soaring fuel prices and cut greenhouse gas emissions, the aviation industry is racing toward the use of biofuels.

CWRU researchers call for changing how research is done
When it first passed 20 years ago, the American Disabilities Act offered hope for closing the health-disparities gap for people with disabilities, but differences still exist.

Beware of predatory male black bears
A new study of fatal black bear attacks in North America shows that predatory male bears are responsible for most historical attacks.

Toward a vaccine for methamphetamine abuse
Scientists are reporting development of three promising formulations that could be used in a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction -- one of the most serious drug abuse problems in the US The report appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Sugar boosters could lead to cheap, effective treatments for chronic bacterial infections
The Boston University researchers discovered that a simple compound -- sugar -- dramatically boosts the effectiveness of first-line antibiotics.

Musical experience offsets some aging effects
A growing body of research finds musical training gives students learning advantages in the classroom.

Maryland poll: Traditional media and internet more trusted than social media for research news
Most Maryland residents trust the health and medical research information provided by traditional media -- newspapers (77 percent), television (71 percent), magazines (68 percent), radio (66 percent) -- and the Internet (also 66 percent), according to a new state poll commissioned by Research!America.

Scientists use genetically altered virus to get tumors to tattle on themselves
Scientists have used a genetically re-engineered herpes virus that selectively hunts down and infects cancerous tumors and then delivers genetic material that prompts cancers to secrete a biomarker and reveal their presence.

$20 million gift supports healthy living habits in Alberta's schools
The University of Alberta is expanding a program aimed at reversing poor health trends among Alberta children, thanks to a $20 million gift from a U of A alumnus.

Patient reports of relatives' cancer history often not accurate
Doctors often rely on a patient's knowledge of family medical history to estimate his or her risk of cancer.

Study: Surge in obesity correlates with increased automobile usage
The surge in passenger vehicle usage in the U.S. between the 1950s and today may be associated with surging levels of obesity, says Sheldon H.

2 PNNL scientists receive Early Career Research Awards
Two PNNL scientists have been selected to receive Early Career Research Awards by DOE to advance research in environmental contamination and computer modeling.

JGI's Susannah Tringe receives prestigious $2.5M DOE Early Career Research Award
The US Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Research Program has awarded a $2.5M grant to DOE Joint Genome Institute scientist Susannah Green Tringe to conduct genomic studies of microbial communities (metagenomes) in restored wetlands around the San Francisco Bay-Delta region of California.

Significant inverse association between public spending on health and pandemic influenza mortality
Pandemic A (H1N1) 2009 mortality rates exhibited wide diversion between countries.

Antarctic icebergs help the ocean take up carbon dioxide
The first comprehensive study of the biological effects of Antarctic icebergs shows that they fertilize the Southern Ocean, enhancing the growth of algae that take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then, through marine food chains, transfer carbon into the deep sea.

Evolutionary geneticist to give talk at UC Riverside on how biological species evolve and adapt
Evolutionary geneticist John H. Werren will give the 2011 Alfred M.

Botox injected in head 'trigger point' is proven to reduce migraine crises
Scientists at the University of Granada have identified the location of the so-called trigger points that, when activated, cause migraine crises.

Pharmaceutical industry and University create Manchester center for inflammation research
The University of Manchester, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca announce today the creation of the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research, a unique collaboration to establish a world-leading translational center for inflammatory diseases.

When words get hot, mental multitaskers collect cool
How useful would it be to anticipate how well someone will control their emotions?

Watching how cancer patients interact online could help clinicians provide better services
Men who visited a major online support group after being diagnosed with prostate cancer were most likely to seek advice on therapy and treatment, together with emotional support.

Results from study of 8,000 older people in Ireland launched
The study is the most comprehensive study ever conducted on aging in Ireland.

Novel mouse model provides insight into rare neurodegenerative disease
New research sheds light on common pathogenic mechanisms shared by Huntington's disease (HD) and HD-like disorders.

Teens use peers as gauge in search for autonomy
Two new studies find that teens' perceptions of peer freedom predicted their own desired levels of autonomy, and that teens consistently overestimated the actual levels of their peers' autonomy, assuming that others had more freedoms than they did.

Fake cigarettes increase success rate for quitting smoking
Nicotine-free plastic inhalers may increase a smoker's chance of quitting, according to new research published online in the European Respiratory Journal.

New project will collect vital knowledge about tree genetic resources to support conservation
Kenya last week saw representatives from 43 African nations participate in an ambitious project to document the status of the world's forest genetic resources.

Silver cycle: New evidence for natural synthesis of silver nanoparticles
Because they have a variety of useful properties, especially as antibacterial and antifungal agents, silver nanoparticles increasingly are being used in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products.

Drafting without drivers
Fewer accidents, less fuel consumption, and fewer traffic jams: Autonomous, computer-controlled vehicles have many advantages in road traffic.

Resettlement is a positive move for homeless people
Resettlement services over the last few years have helped many homeless people make positive changes in their lives.

Drive test: NIST super-stable laser shines in minivan experiment
In a step toward taking the most advanced atomic clocks on the road, NIST physicists have designed and demonstrated a super-stable laser operating in a cramped, vibrating location -- a minivan.

Software for the discovery of new crystal structures
A new software called QED (Quantitative Electron Diffraction), which has been licensed by Max Planck Innovation, has now been released by HREM Research Inc., a Japan based company, which is developing products and services in the field of High-Resolution Electron Microscopy.

Scientists discover animal-like urea cycle in tiny diatoms in the ocean
Scientists have discovered that marine diatoms, tiny phytoplankton abundant in the sea, have an animal-like urea cycle, and that this cycle enables the diatoms to efficiently use carbon and nitrogen from their environment.

3 University of Houston students chosen as Albert Schweitzer Fellows
Three University of Houston students will lead health-related service initiatives for underserved individuals and communities under the Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program.

Change is the order of the day in the Arctic
Climate change in the Arctic is occurring at a faster and more drastic rate than previously assumed, according to experts attending the AMAP conference in Copenhagen.

Practice, not loss of sight, improves sense of touch in the blind: study
New research from McMaster University may answer a controversial question: do the blind have a better sense of touch because the brain compensates for vision loss or because of heavy reliance on their fingertips?

Drought tolerance in crops: Shutting down the plant's growth inhibition under mild stress
VIB/UGent researchers have unveiled a mechanism that can be used to develop crop varieties resistant to mild droughts.

Study shows evolutionary adaptations can be reversed, but rarely
Physicists' study of evolution in bacteria shows that adaptations can be undone, but rarely.

Stay-at-home parents make for a cooperative family of lizards
The great desert burrowing skink, a lizard living on the sandy plains of Central Australia, has been discovered to live in family groups within elaborately constructed tunnel complexes.

ONR propels cutting-edge technologies at Naval Helicopter Association Symposium
An Office of Naval Research-funded technology, the Low-Cost Imaging Terminal Seeker (LCITS), will give helicopters such as the MH-60 and the AH-1 Cobra that protect fleet ships a newfound tactical advantage.

The secret behind NIST's new gas detector? Chirp before sniffing
Trace gas detection, the ability to detect a scant handful of a particular molecule in a vast sea of others, underlies many important applications, from medical tests to breathalyzers to bomb sniffers.

Mild obesity appears to improve survival in ALS patients
Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, may be an exception to the rule that being overweight is a health hazard.

Adult stem cells take root in livers and repair damage
Johns Hopkins researchers have demonstrated that human liver cells derived from adult cells coaxed into an embryonic state can engraft and begin regenerating liver tissue in mice with chronic liver damage.

ASU signs $10 million with USAID for clean energy training, education
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a $10-million cooperative agreement (CA) to Arizona State University to lead a consortium of higher education institutions and service providers that offer clean energy training and education to develop and implement programs worldwide.

Wine yeasts reveal prehistoric microbial world
When having a glass of wine or beer, have you ever wondered why and how yeast

Human lung stem cell discovered
For the first time, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have identified a human lung stem cell that is self-renewing and capable of forming and integrating multiple biological structures of the lung including bronchioles, alveoli and pulmonary vessels.

Learning through mere exposure
In cooperation with colleagues from the Leibniz Institute for Employment Research of the TU Dortmund, neuroscientists in Bochum have demonstrated that human visual perception and attention can be improved without training.

Yale researchers explain why cancer 'smart drugs' may not be so smart
Some of the most effective and expensive cancer drugs, dubbed

Mother and kid goat vocals strike a chord
Mother and kid goats recognize each other's calls soon after the mothers give birth, new research from Queen Mary, University of London reveals.

Laboratory scientists win 3 Office of Science Early Career Research Program awards
Three Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have earned $7.5 million in funding through the Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Research Program (ECRP).

For puzzling childhood immune disorder, gene research opens door to first diagnostic test
A new genomics study sets the stage for the first predictive diagnostic test in a serious immunodeficiency disease in children.

Build safety into the very beginning of the computer system
A new NIST publication provides guidelines to secure the earliest stages of the computer boot process, the so-called BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) that initializes the computer hardware when you switch on the machine.

Why some planets orbit the wrong way; extrasolar insights into our solar system
More than 500 extrasolar planets -- planets that orbit stars other than the sun -- have been discovered since 1995.

UGA scientists discover missing links in the biology of cloud formation over the oceans
A study by researchers at the University of Georgia just published in Nature brings the possibility of using the sulfur cycle to mitigate global warming closer with the identification of the steps in the biochemical pathway that controls how bacteria release the sulfur compound methanethiol, or MeSH, into the microbial food web in the oceans and the genes responsible for that process.

The aging brain and Alzheimer's disease: New ideas for targeting synaptic dysfunction
Optimal functioning of neural networks is critical to the complex cognitive processes of memory, language, emotion and reasoning that deteriorate in people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

AMIA identifies areas to strengthen Federal health IT strategic plan
AMIA, the association for informatics professionals, has weighed in on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan in response to the HHS Office of the National Coordinator's call for comments on the overarching strategy for realizing health IT goals set forth by the US Congress and the Administration.

Marine lab research tracks pollutants in dolphins and beluga whales
Bottlenose dolphins and beluga whales, two marine species at or near the top of their respective food webs, accumulate more chemical pollutants in their bodies when they live and feed in waters near urbanized areas, according to scientists working at the Hollings Marine Laboratory.

Einstein researchers receive $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant
Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., and Ekaterina Dadachova, Ph.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have been named winners of Grand Challenges Explorations, a $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Non-human primate studies reveal promising vaccine approach for HIV
Research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University's Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) has developed a vaccine candidate in non-human primates that may eventually lead to a vaccine against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Study finds cryopreserved endothelial progenitor cells phenotypically identical to non-frozen
A process for obtaining endothelial cells (EPCs) derived from cryopreserved human umbilical cord blood cells (UCBs) has produced cells phenotypically -- as well as structurally and functionally -- indistinguishable from freshly isolated endothelial cells.

A direct connection between business rates and local economy has no foundation in reality
In 1988 Margaret Thatcher took control of business rates away from local councils and in 2011 Eric Pickles wants to give it back to them.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 22nd American Peptide Symposium
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 22nd American Peptide Symposium to be held in San Diego June 25-30, 2011.

Deepwater Horizon spill threatens more species than legally protected
Marine species facing threats from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico far exceed those under legal protection in the United States, a new paper in the journal BioScience finds.

Carbon, carbon everywhere, but not from the Big Bang
As Star Trek is so fond of reminding us, we're carbon-based life forms.

New strategy aims to reduce agricultural ammonia
In the May-June 2011 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, scientists report how natural plant compounds known as tannins can reduce both the amount of nitrogen cows excrete in urine, and the action of a microbial enzyme in manure that converts the nitrogen into ammonia on the barn floor.

Blood pressure drug shows some muscle
Using geriatric mice, a Johns Hopkins research team has shown that losartan, a commonly used blood pressure drug, not only improves regeneration of injured muscle but also protects against its wasting away from inactivity.

ASPB names 2011 award recipients
The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2011 awards, honoring excellence in research, education, outreach, and service.

Smithsonian scientists report changes in vegetation determine how animals migrate
The predictability and scale of seasonal changes in a habitat help determine the distance migratory species move and whether the animals always travel together to the same place or independently to different locations, according to a paper published online in February in Global Ecology and Biogeography by the National Zoo's Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute researchers and partners.

Brain development goes off track as vulnerable individuals develop schizophrenia
Two new research studies published in Biological Psychiatry point to progressive abnormalities in brain development that emerge as vulnerable individuals develop schizophrenia.

Infantile amnesia: Gauging children's earliest memories
Previous research has established that adults experience infantile amnesia -- an inability to recall the earliest years of their lives.

Slow road to a synapse
Grappling with a question that has defied scientific explanation for decades, a small team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine offers the first evidence-based model to explain how certain proteins in neurons travel from the central body of the cell (where they are made) down its axon to the terminal synapse -- the junction where neurons communicate with each other.

Clouds, a weapon against climate change?
Some clouds cool the earth. But how are these clouds formed?

How to recognize at an early stage whether a new cancer therapy prolongs life
It is a good sign if a cancer shrinks or at least ceases to grow after the start of a new treatment.

Mayo Clinic reports new findings on noninvasive test for pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer has one of the highest mortality rates of any of the major cancers, and of the 43,000-plus Americans diagnosed with the disease each year, more than 94 percent die within five years of diagnosis.

Teens who feel responsible to their parents are more engaged in school
Researchers surveying 835 youths in suburban Chicago and Beijing have found that youths who feel more responsible to their parents stay engaged in school and perform better.

Following your steak's history from pasture to plate
The package on a supermarket steak may say

Doing good so you don't feel bad: Neural mechanisms of guilt anticipation and cooperation
On a daily basis, our social life places us in situations where we have to decide whether or not to cooperate with others.

Health reform law will insure nearly all uninsured women by 2014
The new health reform law will expand health insurance coverage to nearly all uninsured women and will make health care more affordable for millions of women through premium subsidies beginning in 2014 and new rules, some already in place, that will protect women from high costs, according to a Commonwealth Fund report released 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