Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

May 26, 2011
Green and lean: Secreting bacteria eliminate cost barriers for renewable biofuel production
A Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University research team has developed a process that removes a key obstacle to producing low-cost, renewable biofuels from bacteria.

Cognitive decline incidence higher in Southern stroke belt
New research shows that residents of the Stroke Belt -- a southern portion of the US with significantly elevated stroke morality rate -- also have a greater incidence of cognitive decline than other regions of the country.

Inside the infant mind
New study shows that babies can perform sophisticated analyses of how the physical world should behave.

July 2011 Geology highlights -- articles posted ahead of print May 24
Locations studied include Alligator Point, Cat Island, Bahamas; Rice Lake, Ontario, Canada; Liverpool Land, east Greenland; Mount Rainier, Washington, USA; the Yangtze Gorges area, South China; the Moresby Seamount detachment, Woodlark Basin (east of Papua New Guinea); Hilo Ridge, Hawaii, USA; the Isua supracrustal belt, southern West Greenland; the northern Bohemian Massif; the Lonar crater, Deccan traps, India; the Rhone Glacier; and the Mersa/Wadi Gawasis along the Egyptian Red Sea coast.

New research aims to shed light on abnormal brain development
Canadian researchers are finally on the road to developing targeted treatments for serious, life-long disabilities such as autism and schizophrenia, thanks to new genomics research focusing on abnormal brain development.

Researchers butter up the old 'scratch test' to make it tough
It might not seem like scraping the top of a cold stick of butter with a knife could be a scientific test, but engineers at MIT say the process is very similar to the

NASA is making hot, way cool
Called electrohydrodynamic (EHD)-based thermal control, the technology promises to make it easier and more efficient to remove heat from small spaces -- a particular challenge for engineers building advanced space instruments and microprocessors that could fail if the heat they generate is not removed.

CU-Boulder to participate in NASA mission to land on an asteroid
A University of Colorado Boulder team will be part of a mission selected yesterday by NASA to launch a spacecraft to an asteroid and pluck samples from its surface to better understand the formation of the solar system and perhaps even the first inklings of life.

Experts create first legal roadmap to tackle local ocean acidification hotspots
Coastal communities hard hit by ocean acidification hotspots have more options than they may realize, says an interdisciplinary team of science and legal experts.

Fish oil may have positive effects on mood, alcohol craving, new study shows
Omega 3 fatty acids may be beneficial for more than just the heart.

Superior sound for telephones, mobile and related devices
Telephone calls and video conferences with a sound quality that approaches that of direct communication are now possible with a new audio coding technology -- it is almost as if the discussion participants are sitting across from one another.

Innovations for tomography
The development of a handy X-ray tomograph achieved second place in the Hugo Geiger prize.

Lunar water brings portions of Moon's origin story into question
The Moon has much more water than previously thought, a team of scientists led by Carnegie's Erik Hauri has discovered.

Flexible films for photovoltaics
Displays that can be rolled up and flexible solar cells -- both are potential future markets.

ASTRO honored with 3 Hermes Awards
The American Society for Radiation Oncology Annual Report, quarterly magazine and patient website have been honored with 2011 Hermes Creative Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals; this is the fifth year in a row that ASTRO has received Hermes Awards.

Introduce specialized teaching for dyscalculia in schools, urge experts
Specialised teaching for individuals with dyscalculia, the mathematical equivalent of dyslexia, should be made widely available in mainstream education, according to a review of current research published today in the journal Science.

Extensive protein interaction network controls gene regulation
More than half of your DNA is devoted to regulating how the genes that make proteins -- the workhorses of the cells -- carry out their tasks.

Nuclear radiation affects baby gender
Exposure to nuclear radiation leads to an increase in male births relative to female births, according to a new study by Hagen Scherb and Kristina Voigt from the Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Scientists find genetic basis for key parasite function in malaria
Snug inside a human red blood cell, the malaria parasite hides from the immune system and fuels its growth by digesting hemoglobin, the cell's main protein.

Stress may increase risk for Alzheimer's disease
Stress promotes neuropathological changes that are also seen in Alzheimer's disease.

Inability to cry in patients with Sjogrens syndrome affect emotional and mental well-being
Patients with Sjogren‟s syndrome, a systemic immune disease which affects the production of tears and saliva, reported worse mental well-being and more difficulty in identifying feelings than the healthy population, according to results presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress.

Factors in berry-splitting in blueberries examined
US Department of Agriculture researchers and a university colleague have found several factors involved in blueberry splitting, a significant problem that can cause losses of $300 to $500 per acre.

'Policing' stops cheaters from dominating groups of cooperative bacteria
For cooperation to persist in the often violently competitive realm of bacteria, cheaters must be kept in line.

Scans show it's not only sight that helps us get our bearings
Our brain's understanding of spatial awareness is not triggered by sight alone, scientists have found, in a development that could help design technology for the visually impaired.

UK survey shows differences between clinicians treating rheumatology in pregnancy
Results from a UK health-care practitioner (HCP) study presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress outline a lack of uniform practice between health-care professionals (HCPs) and highlight a strong need for guidelines on the treatments prescribed to patients with rheumatic conditions during conception, pregnancy and during the breastfeeding period.

Reindeer see a weird and wonderful world of ultraviolet light
Researchers have discovered that the ultraviolet (UV) light that causes the temporary but painful condition of snow blindness in humans is life-saving for reindeer in the Arctic.

Why caffeine can reduce fertility in women
Caffeine reduces muscle activity in the Fallopian tubes that carry eggs from a woman's ovaries to her womb.

Research study by UM Frost School of Music to be presented in Norway at prestigious conference
A new research study conducted by University of Miami Frost School of Music's Music Engineering Technology Group touches upon multi-touch surfaces as emerging valuable tools for collaboration, display, interaction and musical expression.

Children who sleep less are more likely to be overweight
Young children who do not get enough sleep are at increased risk of becoming overweight, even after taking account of lifestyle factors, finds a study published on today.

Medicines from plants
Some people think of herbal teas, others of tobacco when they hear the buzzword ,medicines from plants'.

Study shows the HPV vaccine Gardasil doesn't increase disease activity in SLE patients
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, does not increase the incidence of flares (unpredictable worsening of symptoms signaling increased disease activity) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus, and has a tolerable safety profile according to results presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress.

Aging, obsolete cells prime the lungs for pneumonia
Why are older people vulnerable to community-acquired pneumonia? A new study gives an explanation: cells that are supposed to die, but don't.

Estimating landfill gas potential
Research suggests that landfill gas-recovery projects should be implemented quickly if the maximum amount of methane gas is to be retrieved from organic waste in as short as time as possible, according to a study published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management.

CTBT: Science and Technology 2011 Conference
The upcoming CTBT Science & Technology 2011 Conference (June 8-10, Hofburg Palace, Vienna) is a major global forum aimed at fostering a closer relationship between the scientific community and the CTBTO.

NYSCF-Robertson investigator at Stanford creates neurons directly from skin cells of humans
NYSCF - Robertson Investigator Dr. Marius Wernig and colleagues successfully converted skin cells of humans into functional neurons.

Disparities in stroke care prevail among US racial/ethnic groups
Disparities based on race and ethnic origin exist in every aspect of stroke care.

Study: Hormone level predicts end of fertility
The age-specific blood levels of the Anti-Müllerian hormone can predict when women will reach menopause.

America's first doctor in space honored by Baylor College of Medicine
Thirty-eight years ago this week, Joseph Kerwin became the first US medical doctor to travel in space.

Rendezvous with an asteroid
A newly announced NASA mission to collect a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth will include an instrument built at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration.

New study suggests link between chronic estrogen exposure and high blood pressure
Researchers have found that long-term estrogen exposure generates excessive levels of a compound, superoxide, which causes stress in the body.

Cell brings multimedia to life
On May 27 the top cell biology journal, Cell, will publish its latest issue with multimedia components directly attached to the print version.

Improving DNA sequencing: Sponge-like biosensor crams enormous power into tiny space
Vanderbilt University engineers have created a

Parts of moon interior as wet as Earth's upper mantle
Parts of the moon's interior contains as much water as the Earth's upper mantle, research from Case Western Reserve University, Carnegie Institution for Science and Brown University shows.

5 new hot spots where medicine and technology will converge
Medicine and technology are converging in patient care at a faster pace than most people realize.

Patients with RA receive less protection from pandemic influenza with H1N1 vaccine
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis taking disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, showed significantly less protection from pandemic influenza after receiving the H1N1 vaccine compared to healthy individuals, according to data presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress.

Folic acid given to mother rats protects offspring from colon cancer
Folic acid supplements given to pregnant and breastfeeding rats reduced the rate of colon cancer in their offspring by 64 percent, a new study has found.

Current test-based incentive programs have not consistently raised
Despite being used for several decades, test-based incentives have not consistently generated positive effects on student achievement, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Iron-ferrying protein may be 'universal Achilles heel' for parasitic worms
Researchers have discovered a tiny protein without which the soil and lab-dwelling worm C. elegans can't deliver iron-rich heme taken in from their diets to the rest of their bodies or to their developing embryos.

Iowa State physicists explain the long, useful lifetime of carbon-14
James Vary and Pieter Maris, Iowa State University physicists, have discovered the reasons behind the unexpectedly slow decay of carbon-14.

Master gene may shed new light on lysosomal and neurodegenerative disorders
A group of researchers includeing Baylor College of Medicine have discovered a master gene that controls not only the lysosomes, which destroy the debris, but also cellular compartments called autophagosomes that encapsulate the material and fuse with the lysosomes to achieve the ultimate clearance of the cell's

Salk 'brings it' -- to educate, excite and instill passion for science in community
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is proud to announce that the Salk Educational Outreach program was honored May 25, 2011, by the San Diego Unified School District as a 20-year Partner in Education at a special End-of-Year Partner/Volunteer Awards Ceremony honoring 10, 20, and 25-year partners, Volunteers of the Year and Partners of the Year.

Stanford scientists turn human skin cells directly into neurons, skipping IPS stage
Human skin cells can be converted directly into functional neurons in a period of four to five weeks with the addition of just four proteins, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Health reform essential to young adults: Nearly half can't afford needed health care
Young adults ages 19-29 are struggling to get the health care they need more than almost any other age group, demonstrating the need for Affordable Care Act provisions, some already in place, that will expand health insurance and make it more affordable, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

Researchers track the secret lives of feral and free-roaming house cats
Researchers (and some cat-owners) wanted to know: What do feral and free-roaming house cats do when they're out of sight?

Study shows brain's response to sadness can predict relapses into depression
A University of Toronto study shows that when formerly depressed people experience mild states of sadness, their brain's response can predict if they will become depressed again.

Solar inverters: Losses are cut in half
A switching trick makes it possible to cut the losses of a series-production inverter in half and increase the efficiency from 96 to 98 percent.

MIT research: Making materials to order
A team of researchers at MIT has found a way to make complex composite materials whose attributes can be fine-tuned to give various desirable combinations of properties such as stiffness, strength, resistance to impacts and energy dissipation.

Researchers evaluate red wine compound for treating concussions in pro boxers
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are engaging the help of professional boxers and trainers to study whether a component in red wine and grapes could help reduce the short- and long-term effects of concussions.

Scientist instils new hope of detecting gravitational waves
Direct evidence of the existence of gravitational waves is something that has long eluded researchers, however new research has suggested that adding just one of the proposed detectors in Japan, Australia and India will drastically increase the expected rate of detection.

NASA: Songda becomes a super typhoon
As predicted, Typhoon Songda intensified and was a super typhoon with wind speeds estimated at over 130 knots (~145 mph) when NASA's TRMM satellite passed directly over head on May 26, 2011, at 0806 UTC (4:06 a.m.

Significant role of oceans in onset of ancient global cooling
Thirty-eight million years ago, tropical jungles thrived in what are now the cornfields of the American Midwest and furry marsupials wandered temperate forests in what is now the frozen Antarctic.

Diabetes can be predicted 7 years before pregnancy with blood sugar and body weight
A woman's risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy can be identified up to seven years before she becomes pregnant based on routinely assessed measures of blood sugar and body weight, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the online issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

New study suggests link between estrogen exposure, high blood pressure
While studies have shown exposure to estrogen can be a danger to women, the process by which estrogen induces high blood pressure was unclear.

Common transplant drug inhibits breast cancer growth, UNC laboratory study shows
Tacrolimus, a drug that is commonly used to prevent organ transplantation rejection, inhibits breast cancer growth in pre-clinical studies.

Neurologix presents 1-year data from phase 2 study of NLX-P101 in Parksinson's disease
Neurologix Inc. announced the presentation today of efficacy results through one year of follow-up in patients treated as part of the Company's successful Phase 2 clinical trial for its novel, investigational gene therapy NLX-P101 for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

New imaging method allows Stanford scientists to identify specific mental states
New clues to the mystery of brain function, obtained through research by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine, suggest that distinct mental states can be distinguished based on unique patterns of activity in coordinated

Counting on bigger mining returns
Thanks to computational advances over the last decade, McGill Professor Roussos Dimitrakopoulos, has developed new mathematical modeling techniques for mine planning that take into account uncertainty in the supply of minerals.

UCF scientist to chase down asteroid for historic mission
One of the world's leading planetary science experts is chasing down a nearby asteroid to help retrieve the first-ever sample from one in orbit.

GigaBlitz will turn high-resolution images of nature into global inventory of organisms, habitats
During the week of this year's summer solstice, June 18-24, people worldwide are being urged to create gigapixel imagery of natural areas near where they live or work as part of the first Nearby Nature GigaBlitz.

People with body-image disorders process 'big picture' visual information abnormally
People suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD -- a severe mental illness characterized by debilitating misperceptions that they appear disfigured and ugly -- process visual information abnormally, even when looking at inanimate objects.

Studies show siginificant benefits of yoga in 2 conditions
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who practice yoga showed statistically significant improvements in disease activity, according to a small study presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress.

Worm study yields insights on humans, parasites and iron deficiency
Using a tiny bloodless worm, University of Maryland Associate Professor Iqbal Hamza and his team have discovered a large piece in the puzzle of how humans, and other organisms safely move iron around in the body.

Omega-3 may cut risk of artery disease, heart attacks for patients with stents
New evidence indicates omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other foods may work with two blood-thinners to reduce the risk of heart attack in stent patients.

Effects of celiac disease on bone mineral density are pronounced in lumbar spine than femoral neck
Patients with celiac disease are more than 4.5 times more likely to develop osteoporosis compared to healthy people in an age and gender matched cohort with no identifiable risk factors for osteoporosis, according to a study presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress.

Tinted specs offer real migraine relief, says fMRI study
Precision tinted lenses have been used widely to reduce visual perceptual distortions in poor readers, and are increasingly used for migraine sufferers, but until now the science behind these effects has been unclear.

TGen study identifies compounds that could slow down Alzheimer's disease
A family of naturally occurring plant compounds could help prevent or delay memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

FDA grants first-ever qualified health claim in infant nutrition
Today, Gerber Products Company, a part of the Nestlé family, announced that Gerber Good Start milk-based formulas are the first and only infant formulas that meet the criteria for a qualified health claim.

Several abstracts on gout reveal true burden of disease and highlight promising new treatments
Patients across Europe are suffering gout symptoms despite treatment Results of a Europe-wide study of 1,380 patients with chronic gout demonstrated that despite the availability of urate-lowering therapies, only 34 percent of patients receiving them had their condition adequately controlled, as exemplified by achieving normal serum uric acid (sUA, an indicator of gout) levels of 6mg/dL.

High risk of Parkinson's disease for people exposed to pesticides near workplace
UCLA researchers have found that exposure to certain pesticides increased the risk of Parkinson's disease (PD) by three-fold, for non-farm workers who simply lived near fields being sprayed.

YouTube chemistry sensations share formula for success
The remarkable story of the meteoric rise of the University of Nottingham's Periodic Table of Videos has been hand-picked as a prize essay in this month's edition of the prestigious magazine Science.

A study of Naqshbandi-Haqqanis Sufis in the 21st century
Many people predicted the death of Sufism -- what could Islamic mysticism have to do with the third millennium?

NIH stops clinical trial on combination cholesterol treatment
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health has stopped a clinical trial studying a blood lipid treatment 18 months earlier than planned.

The hand as a joystick
You need a mouse and a keyboard, a touch-screen or a joystick to control a computer system.

Study finds 2 gene classes linked to new prion formation
Researchers have discovered two classes of yeast genes that may hold clues as to why proteins take on the misfolded prion form, a condition associated with several neurodegenerative diseases, such as

World-wide assessment determines differences in cultures
A new international study led by the University of Maryland and supported by the National Science Foundation's Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences offers insights that may help explain such cultural differences and bridge the gaps between them.

Precision-tinted lenses offer real migraine relief, reveals new study
For the first time, researchers have shown why precision-tinted lenses reduce headaches for migraine sufferers, a finding that could help improve treatment options for patients battling the debilitating ailment.

Multitasking meds: Scientists discover how drug for leukemia, psoriasis, may tackle vascular disease
A drug that has been on the market for decades to treat leukemia and skin disorders such as acne and psoriasis may be a possible therapy for vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis and hypertension, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

3 renowned scientists recruited for cancer, physics and chemistry research at Rice
Three of the country's leading researchers in physics and chemistry have been recruited to Rice University, thanks in part to a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Modern EU agriculture jeopardizes biodiversity in new member states
Traditional agricultural practices can make a major contribution to preserving biodiversity in the EU's new member states in Central and Eastern Europe.

Scientists detect Earth-equivalent amount of water within the moon
The moon has much more water than previously thought, a scientific team including Brown University has discovered.

Students who struggle with math may have a neurocognitive disorder called dyscalculia
Students who struggle to learn mathematics may have a neurocognitive disorder that inhibits the acquisition of basic numerical and arithmetic concepts, according to a new paper by University of Minnesota and British researchers.

Racial disparities in stroke care
Studies show that minorities who suffer strokes are less knowledgeable than whites about risk factors and are slower to receive care when every minute counts, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

UMD-led researchers assess pivotal cultural differences among countries and why these exist
In today's world, conflicts and misunderstandings frequently arise between those who are from more restrictive cultures and those from less restrictive ones.

Study confirms link between rheumatoid arthritis and COPD
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are two times more likely to have concurrent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than healthy controls -- an association which was sustained even when variables such as age, gender, smoking and obesity were controlled for, according to a study presented today at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress.

Dramatically raising low metal recycling rates part of path to green economy: UNEP
Less than one-third of 60 important metals have an end-of-life recycling rate above 50 percent and more than half are under 1 percent, according to a new UNEP report being released in London and Brussels Thursday.

Science paper argues against conclusion that bacteria consumed Deepwater Horizon methane
A technical comment published in the current (May 27) edition of the journal Science casts doubt on a widely publicized study that concluded that a bacterial bloom in the Gulf of Mexico consumed the methane discharged from the Deepwater Horizon well.

Music therapy relieves fibromyalgia symptoms and improves patients' quality of life
Researchers at the University of Granada have proven that music therapy combined with other relaxation techniques based on guided imagery reduces significantly pain, depression and anxiety, and improves sleep among patients suffering from fibromyalgia.

Cancer cells accelerate aging and inflammation in the body to drive tumor growth
Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have shed new light on the longstanding conundrum about what makes a tumor grow -- and how to make it stop.

Biological circuits for synthetic biology
Using the tools of synthetic biology, Berkeley Lab researchers have engineered the first RNA-based regulatory system that can independently control the transcription activities of multiple targets in a single cell.

Songbirds tweak their tunes in different ways to cope with clamor
Some birds that live near noisy sites can alter their songs to deal with din.

The quantum computer is growing up
A team of physicists at the University of Innsbruck, led by Philipp Schindler and Rainer Blatt, has been the first to demonstrate a crucial element for a future functioning quantum computer: repetitive error correction.

New research published in Science points to the significant role of oceans in ancient global cooling
New research published in the journal Science, led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientist Miriam Katz, is providing some of the strongest evidence to date that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) played a key role in the major shift in the global climate that began approximately 38 million years ago. 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