Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 25, 2011
'I can hear a building over there'
Researchers at the University of Western Ontario's Centre for Brain and Mind have recently shown that blind echolocation experts use what is normally the

Reverse NanoJapan: Rice to host 25-30 Japanese students
In the wake of the March 11 earthquake and rolling blackouts that are severely affecting university research laboratories across Japan, the award-winning undergraduate internship program NanoJapan will be held at Rice University in Houston.

West coast's log, lumber exports increase in first quarter of 2011
A total of 413.1 million board feet of softwood logs and 224.9 million board feet of softwood lumber were exported from Washington, Oregon, northern California and Alaska in January, February, and March of this year, according to the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Targeted adalimumab treatment can optimize long-term outcomes for patients with early RA
Data presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress demonstrated that initial treatment with adalimumab (Humira, ADA) plus methotrexate in early RA patients can provide high levels of disease control in many patients, and may also offer the opportunity to change future treatment options for some.

Listening with 1 atom
Weizmann Institute scientists set a new record for measuring magnetic vibrations using the spin of a single atom: 100 times more accurate than the previous record.

NASA's Hubble finds rare 'blue straggler' stars in Milky Way's hub
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found a rare class of oddball stars called blue stragglers in the hub of our Milky Way, the first detected within our galaxy's bulge.

International trial finds polypill halves predicted heart disease and stroke risk
The world's first international polypill trial, supported by the Wellcome Trust, has shown that a four-in-one combination pill can halve the predicted risk of heart disease and stroke.

Researchers recommend preparticipation cardiac screening for college athletes
Sudden cardiac death in young athletes who had not previously exhibited symptoms is a relatively rare yet tragic event.

Syracuse University scientists discover new hitch to link nerve cell motors to their cargo
A Syracuse University study, published in the April 22 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, describes the discovery of a protein that is involved in the motor-cargo mechanism that carries neurotransmitter chemicals to the nerve cell's synapse.

New drug treatment extends lives of men with prostate cancer
A drug recently approved by the Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of prostate cancer is proving to give some patients the gift of time.

Mating rivalry among furred and feathered: Variety is spice of life
Birds do it. Bees do it. Fish, lobsters, frogs and lizards do it, too.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev student teams win Google-sponsored 'Israeli Mobile Challenge'
Three teams of students from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev were the top finalists in the second annual

'The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation'
From the charts of ancient mariners exploring new found lands to the age of Google Earth, maps are about far more than just navigation.

Nanoengineers invent new biomaterial that more closely mimics human tissue
A new biomaterial designed for repairing damaged human tissue doesn't wrinkle up when it is stretched.

Children experience wrist and finger pain when using gaming devices and mobile phones over time
For the first time, results on the impact of gaming devices on finger and wrist pain in children were presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress.

'I can hear a building over there' -- researchers study blind people's ability to echolocate
Everybody has heard about echolocation in bats and dolphins. These creatures emit bursts of sounds and listen to the echoes that bounce back to detect objects in their environment.

Research says 9/11 produced permanent shift to Republican party among new young US voters
Research led by the University of Warwick's Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy has found that not only did the events of 9/11 produce an immediate shift in favor of the Republican party among new young US voters but that shift persisted into later years.

Boston Medical Center chief honored by AUA
Richard K. Babayan, M.D., chief of the Department of Urology at Boston Medical Center and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urology at Boston University School of Medicine, was honored by the American Urological Association (AUA) at their annual meeting in Washington, DC, last week for his contributions to the field of medicine, the specialty of urology and the AUA.

Evolution of swine flu viruses traced in long-term study
In new research reported in Nature, scientists analyzed the genetic makeup of more than 650 influenza viruses isolated during the systematic surveillance of pigs slaughtered in Hong Kong between 1998 and 2010.

Losing more than 15 percent of body weight significantly boosts vitamin D levels in overweight women
Overweight or obese women with less-than-optimal levels of vitamin D who lose more than 15 percent of their body weight experience significant increases in circulating levels of this fat-soluble nutrient, according to a new study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Rethinking extinction
For more than 40 years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has published the Red List of Threatened Species describing the conservation status of various species of plants and animals.

8 hours of resistance
Weizmann Institute research reveals how the tumor suppressor, p53, keeps the brakes on normal cell division.

Fish species discovered by LSU researcher makes 2011 top 10 list
The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and a committee of taxonomists from around the world announced their picks for the top 10 new species described in 2010.

NASA's TRMM satellite sees a well-organized, major Typhoon Songda
Typhoon Songda was east of the Philippines when the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite had an early evening view on May 25, 2011, at 0903 UTC (05:03 EDT) and saw good organization within the storm and heavy rainfall.

Scientists discover fossil of giant ancient sea predator
Paleontologists have discovered that a group of remarkable ancient sea creatures existed for much longer and grew to much larger sizes than previously thought, thanks to extraordinarily well-preserved fossils discovered in Morocco.

Ang, Cummings to receive ASTRO Gold Medal
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has selected K.

Experts quantify melting glaciers' effect on ocean currents
A team of scientists from the University of Sheffield and Bangor University have used a computer climate model to study how freshwater entering the oceans at the end of the penultimate Ice Age 140,000 years ago affected the parts of the ocean currents that control climate.

Long-term study of swine flu viruses shows increasing viral diversity
Increased transportation of live pigs appears to have driven an increase in the diversity of swine influenza viruses found in the animals in Hong Kong over the last three decades, according to a new study.

'Guide vests' -- robotic navigation aids for the visually impaired
A group of USC researchers is developing a robot vision-based mobility aid for the visually impaired that uses head-carried cameras linked to Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) software to build maps of the environment and identify a safe path through obstacles.

The Spitzer photo atlas of galactic 'train wrecks'
Five billion years from now, our Milky Way galaxy will collide with the Andromeda galaxy.

Recycling of Alzheimer's proteins could be key to new treatments
The formation of abnormal strands of protein called amyloid fibrils -- associated with two dozen diseases ranging from Alzheimer's to type-2 diabetes -- may not be permanent and irreversible as previously thought, scientists are reporting in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Cosmic explosion is new candidate for most distant object in the universe
A gamma-ray burst detected by NASA's Swift satellite in April 2009 has been newly unveiled as a candidate for the most distant object in the universe.

US study shows that tofacitinib is an efficacious treatment for active RA
Results of a Phase III study presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress show that at 6 months, 58.3 percent of patients who had previously not responded to treatment with DMARDs, achieved ACR20 response (a 20 percent improvement in symptoms) when treated with the novel oral Janus kinase inhibitor tofacitinib at 10mg BID compared to 31.2 percent in the placebo group.

Care for a spot of (green) tea? New NIST reference materials for popular diet supplement
NIST has released a suite of green tea reference materials to help manufacturers evaluate the composition of their products and assure researchers of the accuracy of analytical methods for studying the human health effects of this popular beverage and dietary supplement.

Lecithin component may reduce fatty liver, improve insulin sensitivity
A natural product called DLPC (dilauroyl phosphatidylcholine) increases sensitivity to insulin and reduces fatty liver in mice, leading Baylor College of Medicine researchers to believe it may provide a treatment for prediabetic patients.

Not all citizens' votes created equal, and study says it shows in funding
Some votes count for more than others in many democracies, and a multi-nation study shows that some states and provinces benefit significantly in federal funding as a result.

Unique nerve-stimulation treatment proves effective against drug-resistant epilepsy
UCLA researchers have developed a noninvasive, nonpharmaceutical treatment called trigeminal nerve stimulation to control epileptic seizures.

New research on Christian school graduates yields surprising results
In the first study of its kind on K-12 Christian education in North America, University of Notre Dame sociologist David Sikkink, in partnership with Cardus -- a public policy think tank --- found that while Protestant Christian school graduates show uncommon commitment to their families and churches, donate more money than graduates of other schools, and divorce less, they also have lower incomes, less education, and are less engaged in politics than their Catholic and non-religious private school peers.

Public universities place greater focus on internal research services than public ones do
Research expenditure has increased in Spain, as has the focus on research performance.

Monkeys can play Monday morning quarterback too
Regret has long been viewed as an exclusively human thought, one which helps prevent us from repeating bad choices but becomes debilitating when it triggers obsessive thoughts about past actions.

Big bucks for MLB megastars mean big team profits, but fewer wins
Spending top dollar for megastar players like Miguel Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez helps Major League Baseball teams attract fans and earn higher profits, but clubs that spend the bulk of their player payroll on a couple of superstars ultimately win fewer games, a University of Michigan study shows.

2020 vision of vaccines for malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS
Seattle BioMed Director Alan Aderem, Ph.D., along with Rino Rappuoli, Ph.D., Global Head of Vaccines Research for Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, discuss recent advances in vaccine development.

Terutroban fails to outperform aspirin in secondary stroke prevention trial; aspirin remains gold standard (PERFORM study)
Patients who have had an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are at high risk of recurrent stroke or other cardiovascular events.

Japan disaster's impact reaches far beyond slow-down in auto exports
Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant damage have done more than reduce shipments of automobiles and car parts to the US.

Study shows 19 percent of young adults have high blood pressure
Roughly 19 percent of young adults may have high blood pressure, according to an analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Discovery of a very massive, isolated star in a nearby galaxy
Astronomy & Astrophysics is publishing the discovery of a very massive, isolated star in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Japan earthquake appears to increase quake risk elsewhere in the country
Japan's recent magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which triggered a devastating tsunami, relieved stress along part of the quake fault but also has contributed to the build up of stress in other areas, putting some of the country at risk for up to years of sizeable aftershocks and perhaps new main shocks, scientists say.

Investigators explore new frontiers in the development of tomorrow's pain medicines
Leading and emerging investigators studying the mechanisms underlying neuropathic and chronic pain and experts in the clinical development of pain therapies will convene at the New York Academy of Sciences to address novel issues, current challenges and future directions of basic research in the development of new therapies for chronic pain.

Global warming may affect the capacity of trees to store carbon, MBL study finds
Global warming may affect the capacity of trees to store carbon by altering forest nitrogen cycling, concludes a study led by Jerry Melillo of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass., and published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

OGI awards summer research fellowships to 7 Ontario students
The Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI) has announced the recipients of its 2011 OGI Summer Research Fellowship Program.

Scientists discover the largest assembly of whale sharks ever recorded
Whale sharks are often thought to be solitary behemoths that live and feed in the open ocean.

From the rustbelt: An iron-based flow battery
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have received DOE funding to produce a working model of an iron-based flow battery.

NIST 'nanowire' measurements could improve computer memory
Recent NIST measurements may have revealed the optimal characteristics for a new type of highly efficient computer memory now under development -- nanowire-based charge-trapping memory devices.

Most labor unions unlikely to follow decertification path of NFL players
Whether it's a teacher in Wisconsin or a construction worker in Indiana, what ordinary workers and NFL players have in common is that

Oncologists hold key to curbing cancer costs
The cost of cancer care is threatening to bankrupt our health care system.

Mars formed rapidly into runt of planetary litter
Mars developed in as little as two to four million years after the birth of the solar system, far more quickly than Earth, according to a new study published in the May 26 issue of the journal Nature.

New bandwidth management techniques boost operating efficiency in multi-core chips
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed two new techniques to help maximize the performance of multi-core computer chips by allowing them to retrieve data more efficiently, which boosts chip performance by 10 to 40 percent.

Electron is surprisingly round, say Imperial scientists following 10 year study
Scientists at Imperial College London have made the most accurate measurement yet of the shape of the humble electron, finding that it is almost a perfect sphere, in a study published in the journal Nature today.

Study shows elderly drivers support competency tests
Researchers studying driving habits and accident rates among the elderly found that a majority support age-based competency tests.

Wayne State University researcher receives NSF CAREER Award to redesign wireless networking
The World Health Organization estimated in a 2009 report that each year more than 1.2 million people die of road traffic injuries.

SRC and UCLA advance design-dependent process monitoring for semiconductor wafer manufacturing
Semiconductor Research Corporation, the world's leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, and researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a new method of design‑dependent process monitoring for semiconductor wafer manufacturing.

Queen's students leapfrog to success in computer game competition
Computer Science students from Queen's University have won three national awards in a recent computer games competition.

Dangerous side effect of common drug combination discovered by Stanford data mining
A widely used combination of two common medications may cause unexpected increases in blood glucose levels, according to a study conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University and Harvard Medical School.

Defect in graphene may present bouquet of possibilities
A class of decorative, flower-like defects in the nanomaterial graphene could have potentially important effects on the material's already unique electrical and mechanical properties, according to researchers at NIST and Georgia Tech.

Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission funds 36 new projects in FY 2011
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission has completed its review of the 180 applications received in response to its three FY 2011 Requests for Applications.

Immune system release valve
Weizmann Institute scientists have discovered a mechanism that controls inflammation similarly to a steam-engine valve: just when the inflammatory mechanism that protects cells against viruses reaches its peak of activity, the molecular

Violent video games reduce brain response to violence and increase aggressive behavior
Scientists have known for years that playing violent video games causes players to become more aggressive.

New software tool helps evaluate natural cooling options for buildings
A new, free software tool from NIST could prove to be a breath of fresh air for architects and designers of ventilation systems for

Combo method reveals cells' signal systems
Our understanding of what differentiates cancer cells from normal cells is limited by a lack of methods for studying the complex signal systems of individual cells.

NVIDIA selects UA Engineering as high-performance, parallel computing CUDA Teaching Center
NVIDIA, the Silicon Valley-based leader in visual and parallel computing, has named the University of Arizona Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering a CUDA Teaching Center.

Clinical trials for new Alzheimer's disease treatment to be awarded European Commission €6m funding
The clinical trials will determine whether NILVADIPINE can improve memory and also slow the rate of progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Many patients fail to properly take oral chemo, leading to complications
As the use of oral chemotherapy continues to rise, researchers from Michigan State University have discovered many patients fail to properly take the cancer-fighting medication, a significant clinical problem that can result in complications and premature death.

NASA to launch new science mission to asteroid in 2016
NASA will launch a spacecraft to an asteroid in 2016 and use a robotic arm to pluck samples that could better explain our solar system's formation and how life began.

MIT research: Taxation without documentation
A new study co-authored by MIT economist Benjamin Olken reveals that developing countries actually have extensive informal systems in which citizens contribute money and labor to public-works projects.

£5 million investment plan for solar cell company with golden future
Molecular Solar Ltd. a spinout company from the University of Warwick, announced today a new plan to raise a further £5 million in investment to create its own bespoke technology facility to help bring its technology to the market place.

Healthy gut flora could prevent obesity
Poor gut flora is believed to trigger obesity. In the same way, healthy gut flora could reduce the risk.

Caltech-led team debunks theory on end of 'Snowball Earth' ice age
A team of scientists led by researchers from Caltech report in this week's issue of the journal Nature that the rocks on which much of a theory on how the

Thoughts that win
Back in high school, on the soccer field, poised to take a crucial penalty kick,

Trash to treasure: Turning steel-mill waste into bricks
Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of a promising new way of using a troublesome byproduct of the global steel industry as raw materials for bricks that can be used in construction projects.

Quantum sensor tracked in human cells could aid drug discovery
Groundbreaking research has shown a quantum atom has been tracked inside a living human cell and may lead to improvements in the testing and development of new drugs.

Massive explosion helps Warwick researcher spot universe's most distant object
An international team of UK and US astronomers have spotted the most distant explosion, and possibly the most distant object, ever seen in the universe.

Vitamin D increases speed of sperm cells
Vitamin D is important for optimal reproductive function in both animals and humans.

High-fat diet during pregnancy programs child for future diabetes
A high-fat diet during pregnancy may program a woman's baby for future diabetes, even if she herself is not obese or diabetic, says a new University of Illinois study.

An 820,000 euro project to make Austrian and Hungarian poultry industries more competitive
A collaborative agreement governing a three-year cooperation was signed on 24 May 2011 between the Vetmeduni Vienna and the Georgikon Faculty of the University of Pannonia.

Endangered gourmet sea snail could be doomed by increasing ocean acidity
Increasing levels of ocean acidity could spell doom for British Columbia's already beleaguered northern abalone, according to the first study to provide direct experimental evidence that changing sea water chemistry is negatively affecting an endangered species.

NASA selects University of Arizona to lead sample return mission to asteroid
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will orbit and explore asteroid 1999 RQ36 for longer than a year before closing in and collecting a sample of pristine organic material that may have seeded Earth with the building blocks that led to life.

AIAA to present technical awards at June conference in Honolulu
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will present technical achievement awards at a noon awards luncheon June 29 in Honolulu, as part of the 41st AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference and Exhibit.

NIH and non-profits sign research and development agreement
The National Institutes of Health today announced an agreement with two non-profit organizations to accelerate the development of potential clinical therapies for rare blood cancers.

Just 4 percent of galaxies have neighbors like the Milky Way
How unique is the Milky Way? To find out, a group of researchers led by Stanford University astrophysicist Risa Wechsler compared the Milky Way to similar galaxies and found that just four percent are like the galaxy Earth calls home.

Can we get there from here? Translating stem cell research into therapies
A new article published by Cell Press in the May 26 issue of the journal Neuron provides comprehensive insight into the current status of neural stem cell research and the sometimes labyrinthine pathways leading to stem cell-based therapies.

Arrival of direct antiviral agent therapy for hepatitis C sparks debate of who to treat first
For many patients with the hepatitis C virus, direct antiviral agents (DAA) offer a potential cure for the disease.

Study reveals most biologically rich island in Southern Ocean
The first comprehensive study of sea creatures around the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia reveals a region that is richer in biodiversity than even many tropical sites, such as the Galapagos Islands.

Enzyme prevents fatal heart condition associated with athletes
Scientists have discovered an important enzyme molecule that may prevent fatal cardiac disorders associated with cardiac hypertrophy -- the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

ESO's VLT finds a brilliant but solitary superstar
An extraordinarily bright isolated star has been found in a nearby galaxy -- the star is three million times brighter than the Sun.

New guide from AAAS, NSF helps universities evaluate their graduate school diversity efforts
With many US universities working to recruit and support minority graduate students, AAAS and the National Science Foundation have developed a new guide offering detailed advice and practical tools to help administrators evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts.

Sustainable 'bio-derived' jet fuel industry is achievable
Establishing an economically and environmentally beneficial,

Nearly 1 in 5 young adults has high blood pressure, study shows
The number of young adults in the United States with high blood pressure may be much higher than previously reported, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Pelvic widening continues throughout a person's lifetime, UNC study
A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found evidence that, even though you're not getting taller anymore, the pelvis (

Clinical trial of malaria vaccine begins in Africa
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have begun work on a £2 million project to investigate the body's immune response to a candidate malaria vaccine for newborn babies in Africa.

Tufts graduate students receive $10,000 prizes
Three teams of Tufts graduate students have won $10,000 from the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award program for their research into solutions to some of the world's most urgent challenges, including access to clean water, development of renewable energy and the creation of

Large NIH funded rehabilitation study looks at getting stroke patients back on their feet
In the largest stroke rehabilitation study ever conducted in the United States, stroke patients who had physical therapy at home improved their ability to walk just as well as those who were treated in a training program that requires the use of a body-weight supported treadmill device followed by walking practice.

Autism changes molecular structure of the brain, UCLA study finds
For decades, autism researchers have faced a baffling riddle: how to unravel a disorder that leaves no known physical trace as it develops in the brain.

NIH grant for the move toward clinical trials targeting the lysosomal storage disease MPSIIIB
Investigators at Nationwide Children's have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to help move a therapy for MPS IIIB that has been shown effective in mice toward clinical trials in humans.

Study details path to sustainable aviation biofuels industry in Northwest
The Pacific Northwest has the diverse feedstocks, fuel-delivery infrastructure and political will needed to create a viable biofuels industry capable of reducing greenhouse gases and meeting the future fuel demands of the aviation industry.

New tool aims to improve measurement of primary care depression outcomes
Doctors at the University of Michigan Health System have developed a new tool that may help family physicians better evaluate the extent to which a patient's depression has improved.

UNH space plasma physicist selected for prestigious Department of Energy award
Kai Germaschewski, assistant professor of physics at the University of New Hampshire, has received a prestigious Early Career Research Program grant from the US Department of Energy to support work in fusion plasmas that could one day lead to a cleaner source of energy.

New study provides global analysis of seagrass extinction risk
A team of 21 researchers from 11 nations has completed the first-ever study of the risk of extinction for individual seagrass species around the world.

New Canadian blood pressure education program a powerful tool in fight to reduce stroke
The new Heart & Stroke Hypertension Management Program consists of health care provider education and tools as well as patient specific tools to facilitate blood pressure management and control by providers and self-management by patients.

Research study reveals profile for female drunk-drivers
Female drunk-drivers are more likely to be older, better-educated and divorced, widowed or separated, research has shown.

Drug may help overwrite bad memories
Recalling painful memories while under the influence of the drug metyrapone reduces the brain's ability to re-record the negative emotions associated with them.

New University of Houston research study links job stress in teachers to student achievement
After 17 years of researching traumatic stress with war-afflicted populations (veterans and civilians) and job stress in the medical profession, Teresa McIntyre, a research professor in the department of psychology and the Texas Institute for Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics, at the University of Houston, decided to study another high-risk occupation: middle school teachers in seventh and eighth grade.

Mars: Red planet's rapid formation explains its small size relative to Earth
Mars developed in as little as two to four million years after the birth of the solar system, far more quickly than Earth, according to results of a new study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Economic recovery is stronger in states where people are more optimistic, says UM study
Economic recessions are weaker, expansions are stronger, and economic recovery is faster in US states where people are more optimistic says a new study from the University of Miami School of Business Administration.

Eurofins MWG Operon launches sequencing service on PacBio RS system
Successfully established service on latest technology for next generation sequencing with the PacBio RS system now ready to take projects.

Autism changes molecular structure of the brain, UCLA study finds
Unlike Alzheimer's, autism leaves no known visible trace as it develops in the brain.

Pitt team recreates brain cell networks with new view of activity behind memory formation
University of Pittsburgh researchers reproduced the brain's complex electrical impulses onto models made of living brain cells that provide an unprecedented view of the neuron activity behind memory formation.

Scientists trick the brain into Barbie-doll size
Imagine shrinking to the size of a doll in your sleep.

Improved prognosis for esophageal cancer
In recent years, the number of cases of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus (or gullet) has been on the rise.

Pearl Meister Greengard Prize to be awarded to pioneering memory researcher Brenda Milner
Brenda Milner, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of cognitive neuroscience whose discoveries revolutionized the understanding of memory, will be awarded the 2011 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize. 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