Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 12, 2011
NASA's Galileo reveals magma 'ocean' beneath surface of Jupiter's moon
A new analysis of data from NASA's Galileo spacecraft reveals a subsurface

Study gives clue as to how notes are played on the genetic piano
Japanese and US scientists report an epigenetic rationale as to how some genes are silenced and others aren't.

Enhanced electrical energy storage may result from professor's research
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering have created a new porous, three-dimensional carbon that can be used as a greatly enhanced supercapacitor, holding promise for energy storage in everything from energy grids and electric cars to consumer electronics.

Sharing musical instruments means sharing germs
Disease-causing bacteria can survive for days on wind instruments and may thus contribute to sickness in people who play wind instruments, especially students who share instruments, report researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine.

Strong, tough and now cheap: Caltech researchers develop a new way to process metallic glass
Stronger than steel or titanium -- and just as tough -- metallic glass is an ideal material for everything from cell-phone cases to aircraft parts.

AGU Journal highlights -- May 12, 2011
The following releases have recently been published by the American Geophysical Union.

Mixing fluids efficiently in confined spaces: Let the fingers do the working
Researchers at MIT show that the injection of a thin or low-viscosity fluid into a much more viscous fluid (think of water spurting into molasses) will cause the two fluids to mix very quickly via a physical process known as viscous fingering.

Diagnosing 'seizures' in the US economy
Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University has examined the dynamics of the S&P 500 over the last decade, employing methods originally developed to analyze the brain activity of epilepsy patients.

Increase in Internet access parallels growth in prescription drug abuse
Increasing access to rogue online pharmacies that dispense medications without a doctor's prescription may be an important factor behind the rapid increase in the abuse of prescription drugs.

Lack of exercise linked to higher heart disease risk in healthy children as young as 9
Even healthy children as young as nine-years-old can start to show an increased risk of future heart problems if they are physically inactive.

Africa's sea turtles need passports for protection
Satellite tracking of olive ridley sea turtles off the coast of Central Africa has revealed that existing protected areas may be inadequate to safeguard turtles from fishing nets, according to scientists with the University of California-Santa Cruz, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Exeter, and others.

Reining in nicotine use
A person's vulnerability to nicotine addiction appears to have a genetic basis, at least in part.

Study finds youth-mentor relationships particularly helpful for those experiencing hardship
In a time of transition for rural African-American young adults, natural mentors in the community help them stay focused on their goals and avoid potential difficulties associated with emerging adulthood, according to findings from an ongoing University of Georgia study.

Interactive teaching methods double learning in undergraduate physics class: UBC research
Interactive teaching methods significantly improved attendance and doubled both engagement and learning in a large physics class, according to a University of British Columbia study published today in Science.

UCSB part of world's largest ocean radar network
A network of high-frequency radar systems, designed for mapping ocean surface currents, is now providing detailed data on coastal ocean dynamics along the US West Coast.

Penguins continue diving long after muscles run out of oxygen
Emperor penguins routinely dive for tens of minutes before returning to the surface, but about 5.6 minutes into a dive, the birds switch from oxygen-fueled aerobic metabolism to anaerobic metabolism.

Galaxy NGC 4214: A star formation laboratory
Hubble's newest camera has taken an image of galaxy NGC 4214.

Risking one's neck for better grog: Mutinies reveal tipping points for collective unrest
Films depicting the 1787 mutiny aboard the HMS Bounty show sailors living cheek by jowl, being forced to dance, enduring storm-ridden Cape of Good Hope crossings to satisfy the ship captain's ego and being flogged for trivial reasons.

MIT control theory research: How to control complex networks
An MIT researcher has come up with a new computational model that can analyze any type of complex network -- biological, social or electronic -- and reveal the critical points that can be used to control the entire system.

University of Alaska Fairbanks installs ocean acidification buoy in Alaska waters
A new set of buoys in Alaska waters will help scientists understand how climate change may be affecting the pH level of northern seas.

Smaller proportion of Medicare patients hospitalized for heart problems
The rates for most heart-related hospital admissions for Medicare beneficiaries declined over a recent 10-year period.

Hydroxycarbamide therapy should become the standard treatment for all children with sickle cell disease (BABY HUG trial)
The first randomized double-blind trial to examine the effect of hydroxycarbamide (previously hydroxyurea) in very young children with sickle-cell anemia shows that the drug is safe and significantly reduces pain and other common complications of the disease as well as hospitalizations and transfusions.

Exposing ZnO nanorods to visible light removes microbes
The practical use of visible light and zinc oxide nanorods for destroying bacterial water contamination has been successfully demonstrated by researchers at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand.

Economist studies how higher gas prices affect consumer behavior
Brown University economist Justine Hastings uses gasoline purchasing data to show how consumers make buying decisions when prices jump at the pump.

Seals sense shapes using their whiskers to feel wakes
Seals whiskers are remarkably sensitive. They can even pick up a fish's trail up to 35 seconds after it passed.

Massive tornado onslaught raises questions about building practices, code enforcement
There is no practical, economic way to build structures that could stand up to the savagery of EF5 tornadoes like those that ripped through the South in late April, experts say, but damage from lesser storms could be reduced by better building practices and better enforcement of existing codes.

An eloquent and inspirational account of a man's struggle in the face of a fatal illness
The new book

Alzheimer's risk gene disrupts brain's wiring 50 years before disease hits
UCLA researchers report that a recently discovered Alzheimer's gene possessed by most people impairs the development of myelin, the protective covering around the neuron's axons, making it weaker and more vulnerable to the onset of Alzheimer's much later in life.

Synthetic mesh can improve outcome of prolapse surgery
A Nordic multicenter study, headed by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, shows that pelvic organ prolapse surgery using synthetic mesh can be more effective than traditional surgery.

Expectant fathers should receive prenatal care, support, study finds
Researchers have found that stress related to pregnancy uniquely affects the health of expectant fathers, which in turn, influences the health of expectant mothers and their infants.

Humanity can and must do more with less: UNEP
By 2050, humanity could consume an estimated 140 billion tons of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year -- three times its current appetite -- unless the economic growth rate is

Disruption of nerve cell supply chain may contribute to Parkinson's
New data offer hints to why Parkinson's disease so selectively harms brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine, say researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Wildlife Conservation Society recommends health measures for Argentina's caiman ranches
The Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations released a new study recommending a disease screening program for farm-raised caiman in ranching facilities in Argentina to ensure the safety of people and wildlife alike.

Genetic clue to common birth defects found
Scientists at King's College London have for the first time uncovered a gene responsible for Adams-Oliver syndrome (AOS), a condition which can cause birth defects of the heart, limbs or blood vessels.

Smarter treatment for killer infections
Sepsis is a major killer in hospital intensive care units.

Activated graphene makes superior supercapacitors for energy storage
Scientists at Brookhaven Lab have helped to uncover the nanoscale structure of a novel form of carbon, contributing to an explanation of why this new material acts like a super-absorbent sponge when it comes to soaking up electric charge.

Cats pass disease to wildlife, even in remote areas
Researchers tracking the spread of Toxoplasma gondii -- a parasite that reproduces only in cats but sickens and kills many other animals -- have found infected wildlife throughout a 1,500-acre (600-hectare) natural area in central Illinois.

Digestive problems early in life may increase risk for depression, Stanford study suggests
Depression and anxiety may result from short-term digestive irritation early in life, according to a study of laboratory rats by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Stanford discoveries about tumor-suppressing protein could help to reduce treatment side effects
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have untangled two distinct ways in which a common, naturally occurring

Lancet launches new website to gather evidence on effects of UK health service reforms and other policies on health outcomes
The Lancet, together with academics from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, today launches The Lancet UK Policy Matters microsite, which aims to summarize current UK health policy and allow posting and reading of evidence summaries from the front line, to be provided by both health professionals and members of the general public.

Dwarf planet Haumea shines with crystalline ice
The fifth dwarf planet of the Solar System, Haumea, and at least one of its two satellites, are covered in crystalline water-ice due to the tidal forces between them and the heat of radiogenic elements.

Gender studies has found its place in academia
Sweden is considered to be one of the countries with the highest level of equality.

Treating HIV-infected people with antiretrovirals significantly reduces transmission to partners
Men and women infected with HIV reduced the risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners by taking oral antiretroviral medicines when their immune systems were relatively healthy, according to findings from a large-scale clinical study sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

ACR launches dose index registry
Medical imaging facilities can now submit anonymized dose information for all CT exams performed to the Dose Index Registry (DIR) -- allowing them to compare their dose indices to other facilities of similar size or geographic area and to national benchmarks.

Latitude and rain dictated where species lived
More than 200 million years ago, mammals and reptiles lived in their own separate worlds on the supercontinent Pangaea, despite little geographical incentive to do so.

Trust a large factor in the emotional process of family business succession
In the United States alone there are an estimated 10.8 million family businesses.

Lancet series highlights importance of rapid treatment following stroke; rehabilitation
A two-part series published in this week's special stroke edition of the Lancet reviews the progress made in treatments for those who have had a full-blown stroke or minor stroke or transient ischemic attack, and stresses the need for immediate intervention with the appropriate medication and/or surgical procedure in those cases.

Young British men view knife carrying as a 'legitimate response' to potential threats
Knife carrying is seen as a legitimate response both to potential threats and to the lack of protection provided by authorities, according to a study of young white British males published in this week's BMJ.

ACP Publications take home awards for publishing excellence
The American College of Physicians is pleased to announce that ACP Internist, ACP Hospitalist, and ACP InternistWeekly have won awards for excellence in publishing.

Yale scientists discover new method for engineering human tissue regeneration
If clinical trials prove successful, a discovery published in the FASEB Journal could represent a leap toward human tissue regeneration and engineering.

Ancient gene gives planarians a heads-up in regeneration
A little-studied gene known as notum plays a key role in the planarian's regeneration decision-making process, according to Whitehead Institute scientists.

Stem cells from bone marrow save the day
New research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, investigates the therapeutic use of human stem cells from bone marrow against acute lung injury and identifies TNF-alpha-induced protein 6 as a major molecular component of stem cell action.

UT Southwestern researchers find protein that might be key to cutting cancer cells' blood supply
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have discovered a protein that guides blood vessel development and eventually might lead to a treatment to keep cancer cells from spreading.

Sickle cell anemia drug safe and effective for infants and toddlers, adds treatment option
New research shows a drug commonly used to treat sickle cell anemia in adults reduces bouts of acute pain and a pneumonia-like illness, cuts hospitalization time and eases other symptoms of the disease in young patients.

Research breakthrough on male infertility
New findings by a team of Australian and Swedish researchers will go a long way toward explaining the underlying causes of male infertility.

Perfect welds for car bodies
Surface welding instead of penetration welding, allows a laser to produce a weld that is only visible on one side.

Eucalyptus tree genome deciphered
A team of international researchers, led by Prof. Zander Myburg from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, completed the genome sequence for the forest tree species Eucalyptus grandis.

'Fasting pathway' points the way to new class of diabetes drugs
A uniquely collaborative study by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies uncovered a novel mechanism that turns up glucose production in the liver when blood sugar levels drop, pointing towards a new class of drugs for the treatment of metabolic disease.

Existing drug treatment reduces pain in young sickle cell anemia patients
A cancer drug already used to treat adults and school-age children with sickle cell anemia is safe and significantly reduces pain and other complications of the disease in children as young as 9 months, according to a national study involving a UT Southwestern Medical Center researcher.

A new program for neural stem cells
Max Planck researchers succeed in obtaining brain and spinal cord cells from stem cells of the peripheral nervous system.

Global Green Growth Institute places regional office at Risoe DTU
Global Green Growth Institute has established its first regional office outside the Republic of Korea at Risoe DTU.

Water for Mongolia
Clean water is a rare commodity in many countries of the world and governments often face problems ensuring its reliable supply.

President's Medallions, honorary doctorates to be given at UH Commencement
Three distinguished leaders will be presented with President's Medallions in recognition of their service to the University of Houston (UH) and higher education.

Study: Most at-risk patients don't adhere to statin treatment, despite real benefits
A new study from North Carolina State University shows that the vast majority of patients at high risk for heart disease or stroke do a poor job of taking statins as prescribed.

AAPS national biotechnology conference to highlight breakthrough cancer treatments
Cancer studies from Mercer University (Ga.) headline groundbreaking research that will be unveiled at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists' (AAPS) National Biotechnology Conference (NBC).

Urban conflict and divided cities
Urban conflict is nothing new in cities like Belfast, Jerusalem and major cities in the Middle East.

UC Irvine Medical Center honors 9 for nursing excellence
Each year during National Nurses Week, UC Irvine Medical Center honors nurses who demonstrate excellence in patient care, education and guidance, mentorship, and teamwork.

States vary in children's health, gaps exist in insurance, quality care across sectors
A comprehensive report based on the National Survey of Children's Health conducted by children's health researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau finds insurance duration, consistency and adequacy, and the corresponding access to health care, are lacking for many US children and have a detrimental effect on their health and well-being.

Younger patients, those with lower health literacy less likely
Younger patients (under age 65) and those with lower health literacy were less likely to stick with telemonitoring technology for tracking their heart failure condition, compared to older patients and those with high health literacy skills, according to new research.

Professor Cyrus Cooper awarded the Heberden Medal of the British Society for Rheumatology
Professor Cyrus Cooper, Professor of Rheumatology and Director of the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, has been awarded the Heberden Medal of the British Society for Rheumatology.

Turning plants into power houses
Plants are less efficient than solar cells at capturing the energy in sunlight, mostly because they have to drag along evolutionary baggage.

Solar cells more efficient than photosynthesis -- for now
In a head-to-head battle of harvesting the sun's energy, solar cells beat plants, according to a new paper in Science.

The power of placebos
They may be uncomfortable talking about it, but it's definitely going on.

Findings could lead to a blood test for lung cancer
Researchers have identified characteristic patterns of molecules called microRNA in the blood of people with lung cancer that might reveal both the presence and aggressiveness of the disease, and perhaps who is at risk of developing it.

Estrogen receptors play anti-inflammatory role in the brain
Researchers have uncovered an unexpected role for estrogen receptors in the brain in keeping inflammation under control.

Discovery of DNA silencing mechanism reveals how plants protect their genome
Researchers at the RIKEN Plant Science Center (PSC) have clarified a key epigenetic mechanism by which an enzyme in the model plant Arabidopsis protects cells from harmful DNA elements.

Dalhousie biologists interpret the language of sperm whales
Dalhousie Ph.D. student Shane Gero has recently returned from a seven-week visit to Dominica.

Salinity in Outer Banks wells traced to fossil seawater
Rising salinity in the primary source for desalinated tap water in North Carolina's Outer Banks has been traced to fossil seawater, not -- as some have feared -- to recent seawater intrusion.

CAMH researcher discovers new gene that causes intellectual disability
A new study involving Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has found a gene connected with a type of intellectual disability called Joubert syndrome.

Software reveals critical crop growth stages
US Department of Agriculture agronomist Greg McMaster has developed computer software that tells farmers when to spray pesticides.

Photosynthesis or photovoltaics: Weighing the impact
Which is more efficient at harvesting the sun's energy, plants or solar cells?

Sprint Fidelis leads can be safely extracted in high-volume facilities
Extraction of the Sprint Fidelis lead (Medtronic) can be safely performed in an experienced large volume center, according to research presented at the 2011 Heart Rhythm Society conference in San Francisco last week.

Scientists suggest independent monitoring of deep-sea hydrocarbon industry
Writing in the scientific journal Nature, scientists have called for increased discussion of independent monitoring of deep-sea hydrocarbon industry activity with the aim of obtaining a better understanding of its ecological impact.

Patients with language barriers take almost twice as long to get to the hospital
Limited English skills appear to delay a heart attack patient's arrival to the hospital.

Shaking down frozen helium: In a 'supersolid' state, it has liquid-like characteristics
In a four-decade, Holy Grail-like quest to fully understand what it means to be in a

CU method projected to meet DOE cost targets for solar thermal hydrogen fuel production
A report commissioned by the US Department of Energy has concluded that a novel University of Colorado Boulder method of producing hydrogen fuel from sunlight is the only approach among eight competing technologies that is projected to meet future cost targets set by the federal agency.

UNC-led study shows early treatment with antiretroviral therapy prevents HIV transmission
A research study led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has made a major discovery in the effort to halt the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

NREL's multi-junction solar cells teach scientists how to turn plants into powerhouses
Plants can overcome their evolutionary legacies to become much better at using biological photosynthesis to produce energy, the kind of energy that can power vehicles in the near future, an all-star collection of biologists, physicists, photochemists, and solar scientists has found.

From a single adult cell, Flatworm crafts a new body
A single adult cell from one of the most impressive masters of regeneration in the animal kingdom -- the planarian -- is all it takes to build a completely functional new worm, researchers have learned.

Action needed to manage climate change risks -- new report
Warning that the risk of dangerous climate change impacts is growing with every ton of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

Bleak memories of childhood
The latest edition of Deutsches Arzteblatt International contains an article in which Winfried Hauser of the Technical University of Munich and his co-authors present the findings of their representative survey of a sample of the German population, conducted with the goal of quantifying the true dimensions of child abuse.

Japan: Accounts from doctors of the tsunami disaster, including the positive effect of Twitter and the moving of 600 dialysis patients
A collection of correspondence in this week's Lancet provides first-hand accounts of various aspects of the earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan.

Bacterium found to kill malaria in mosquitoes
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have identified a bacterium in field-caught mosquitoes that, when present, stops the development of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans.

New X-ray method for understanding brain disorders better
Researchers including members from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen have developed a new method for making detailed X-ray images of brain cells.

National Summit on Advancing Clean Energy Technologies
Leading thinkers in clean energy technology address the challenges of environmental technology innovation.

Wiley-Blackwell announces partnership with Australian Human Resources Institute
Wiley-Blackwell, the scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons Inc. is pleased to announce a partnership with Australian Human Resources Institute to publish its journal Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources from 2012.

Evolutionary conservation of fat metabolism pathways
A collaborative effort by investigators at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies recently revealed just how similarly mammals and insects make critical metabolic adjustments when food availability changes, either due to environmental catastrophe or everyday changes in sleep/wake cycles.

Sex hormone precursor inhibits brain inflammation
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a steroid hormone that inhibits inflammation in the brain.

Cold homes cost lives
Cold homes cost lives and harm the environment, according to a BMJ editorial published today to coincide with a report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and written by Professor Sir Michael Marmot.

Pluripotent adult stem cells power planarian regeneration
Whitehead Institute researchers have determined that the planarian flatworm regenerates missing tissues by using pluripotent adult stem cells.

African Americans and the general public support banning menthol in cigarettes
According to a new study released online today, a majority of Americans, including most African Americans, stand together in support of banning menthol in cigarettes just as other cigarette flavorings have now been banned by the FDA.

Oregon Farm to School bill would benefit health through job creation, study finds
A bill in Oregon that would provide incentives to deliver fresh local food to schools would improve the health of the state's residents and, at the same time, create hundreds of new farm-industry jobs over a five- to 10-year period, according to a study released by Upstream Public Health in Portland.

Movement without muscles
A group of scientists headed by Michael Nickel of Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) gives new answers to the question: Which cells in the sponges are contracting? 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