Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 08, 2011
Stable temperatures boost biodiversity in tropical mountains
We often think of rainforests and coral reefs as hotspots for biodiversity, but mountains are treasure troves for species too -- especially in the tropics, scientists say.

Jellyfish blooms transfer food energy from fish to bacteria
Jellyfish can be a nuisance to bathers and boaters in the Chesapeake Bay on the United States' East Coast and many other places along the world's coasts.

Internationally acclaimed immunologist shares $1 million Shaw Prize
Dr. Bruce Beutler, an internationally recognized leader in immunology recruited to be the director of a new Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at UT Southwestern Medical Center, is one of three winners to share the $1 million 2011 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine for their work on innate immunity.

Yale researchers discover many genetic keys needed to unlock autism
Hundreds of small genetic variations are associated with autism spectrum disorders, including an area of DNA that may be a key to understanding why humans are social animals, according to a multi-site collaborative study led by researchers at Yale University.

Eating a high-fat diet may rapidly injure brain cells that control body weight
Obesity among people who eat a high-fat diet may involve injury to neurons, or nerve cells, in a key part of the brain that controls body weight, according to the authors of a new animal study.

Raoul Wallenberg -- an example of the importance of humanist education
During a stay in Hungary in 1944 Raoul Wallenberg started a large rescue mission on his own initiative and developed the principle of issuing Swedish protective passes which gave Jews some degree of protection during World War II.

Rhode Island and Miriam researchers say patient gender may influence nuclear stress test referrals
New research from cardiologists at Rhode Island and The Miriam hospitals suggests a possible gender disparity in how patients are referred for nuclear stress tests, an imaging technique that measures blood flow to the heart muscle both at rest and during periods of stress, such as exercise.

Scale helps to measure the utility of genetic counseling in tackling fear of cancer
When a person has a family history of cancer, their worry about developing the disease may lead to them refusing to have preventive tests.

Treating children's eye infections without surgery
Researchers from Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, R.I., report that medical management may be preferred over surgery for children with orbital cellulitis, an acute infection of the tissues surrounding the eye.

Competition between females leads to infanticide in some primates
An international team of scientists, with Spanish participation, has shed light on cannibalism and infanticide carried out by primates, documenting these acts for the first time in the mustached tamarin (Saguinus mystax).

Research identifies how cancer cells cheat death
Research led by David Litchfield of The University of Western Ontario has identified how biochemical pathways can be

Temperature tracking device for packages may have climate metrology applications
NIST researchers are working to reduce the uncertainty associated with climate change measurements using a mobile temperature-sensing technology made for tracking delicate or perishable, high-value packages in transit.

Scientists learn from kids, kids become scientists in new MU effort
A unique collaboration featuring University of Missouri scientists and graduate students will help young students develop their interests in science while teaching doctoral students how to communicate their work to the general public.

German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina submits statement on energy research
The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has submitted an ad hoc statement on energy research to professor Annette Schavan, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research.

Lifelong gap in health between rich and poor set by age 20
Canadians who are less educated and have a lower income start out less healthy than their wealthier and better-educated compatriots, and remain so over the course of their lives

Study finds a decline in heart attacks over 20 years, but rising BMIs may reverse this in the future
Better control of cholesterol levels and blood pressure and a decline in smoking have contributed to a 74 percent drop in the risk of heart attack among 10,000 London civil servants over a 20-year period, according to new research in the European Heart Journal.

No gender difference in risk-taking behavior
A new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg shows that young Swedish women are more prone than men to perceive situations as risky.

Saving wildlife with forensic genetics
Using forensic genetics techniques, the University of Arizona's Conservation Genetics Lab is working to protect wild animals and catch the criminals in cases of wildlife crime.

Sweeping studies vindicate genetic theory of autism
With autism affecting close to one percent of children in the U.S., the urgency to find some sort of explanation for the disorder has never been greater.

Penn researchers develop biological circuit components, new microscope technique for measuring them
Electrical engineers have long been toying with the idea of designing biological molecules that can be directly integrated into electronic circuits.

NIST 'catch and release' program could improve nanoparticle safety assessment
NIST scientists have found a way to trap and release nanoparticles at will, a research technique useful for studying how the particles behave in biological systems.

Dangerous toxin discovered in critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal
Researchers from NOAA have discovered a potent and highly-debilitating toxin in the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, a first-of-its-kind chemical finding that is now prompting investigations of other marine mammals in the state.

New Interdisciplinary Scholar Networks to build better social welfare research
Building on the eminent interdisciplinary tradition at the University of Chicago, the School of Social Service Administration has launched a new initiative that will take its multidisciplinary problem-solving approach to a new level.

REDD+ strategies lack plan for agriculture
The majority of countries participating in a major global effort to reduce greenhouse emissions caused by forest destruction cite agriculture as the main cause of deforestation, but very few provide details on how they would address the link between agriculture and forestry, according to a new analysis by experts probing the effect of climate change on food security.

Pan-European research project for clean air
The minute soot particles from the exhaust gas of diesel-engined vehicles can cause lung cancer and other severe diseases.

Circulating levels of a lung protein found to be 'strongly predictive' of cardiovascular disease
A blood protein known as surfactant protein-D (SP-D), which is mainly synthesised in the lungs, has been described as

Blood simpler
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a gene and a novel signaling pathway, both critical for making the first hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in developing vertebrate embryos.

Swine flu spread was much wider than first thought, scientists say
The swine flu outbreak of winter 2009-2010 was much more widespread than was previously realized, research suggests.

Immediate use of an IUD following abortion more likely to prevent unintended pregnancies
Women who receive a contraceptive known as an intrauterine device or IUD immediately following a first trimester abortion experience few complications and are less likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who delay getting an IUD by several weeks, according to a new study at Oregon Health & Science University.

Breast cancer drug pushes colon cancer cells to their death
A new treatment for colon cancer that combines a chemotherapy agent approved to treat breast cancer and a cancer-fighting antibody is ready for clinical trials, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

New data adds to the hunt for dark matter in the universe
Will dark matter turn out to be Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs)?

Researchers solve membrane protein mystery
A University of Wisconsin-Madison research team has solved a 25-year mystery that may lead to better treatments for people with learning deficits and mental retardation.

Is root grafting a positive, cooperative behavior in trees?
Trees are often viewed as individuals that compete with one another for access to limited resources.

NASA imagery sees a reawakening of system 98A in the Arabian Sea
System 98A has been bringing rains, gusty winds and churning up the surf along the Arabian Seacoast of west-central India for days, and NASA satellite imagery confirms that it is getting organized now that it has moved into open waters.

Glaciations may have larger influence on biodiversity tan current climate
Research by the Spanish National Research Council reveals that the large impacts occurred during the last ice age maintain their effects on the current distribution of dung beetles of the scarab family.

Study finds widespread stream biodiversity declines at low levels of urban development
A new study from biology researchers at Baylor University and the University of Maryland-Baltimore has found that there are consistent and widespread declines in stream biodiversity at lower levels of urban development more damaging than what was previously believed.

Office of Naval Research confirms lineup of speakers for STEM Conference
More than 20 panelists and nine keynote speakers have been confirmed for the Naval Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Forum, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, to be held June 15-16 in Alexandria, Va.

Childhood trauma linked to higher rates of mental health problems, Stanford/Packard finds
New research has shown that children's risk for learning and behavior problems and obesity rises in correlation to their level of trauma exposure, says the psychiatrist at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital who oversaw the study.

NIST contests in China put next-gen robot technologies to the test
Robotic automation, microrobotics and robotic perception and recognition all advanced a few steps closer to their future applications in manufacturing, health care and other areas during recent robotics competitions.

The future of stem cell applications challenging, bright
Stem cell transplantation may offer therapy through simple cell replacement procedures to restructure damaged organs, tissues and cells, or provide methods for

Ecology biased against non-native species?
Nineteen eminent ecologists issue a call to

Scripps Research scientist wins $1.9 million grant to study malaria
A scientist from the Scripps Research Institute has won a four-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to better understand the parasite that causes malaria, laying the groundwork to develop better drugs to combat the widespread and deadly disease.

Seniors abused during childhood face increased risk of sleep troubles
Suffering from parental abuse as a child increases a person's chances of having poor sleep quality in old age, according to a research article in the current issue of the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences.

Connection discovered between the nervous system and the vascular system
Dr. Frederic Charron, researcher at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal, and his team have shown for the first time that a key molecule of the vascular system directs axons during the formation of neural circuits.

First images from the VLT survey telescope
The VLT Survey Telescope (VST), the latest addition to ESO's Paranal Observatory, has made its first release of impressive images of the southern sky.

Poplar tree leaf bud extract could fight skin aging
Antioxidants are popular anti-aging ingredients in skin creams, and now scientists are reporting a new source of these healthful substances -- leaf buds of poplar trees.

Unraveling the complex genetics of autism
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are devastating developmental disorders characterized by altered social interactions and behavior.

Researchers discover potential cause of chronic painful skin
A new study may explain why only 50 percent of patients experiencing chronic nerve pain achieve even partial relief from existing therapeutics.

New 3-D tumor model
A team of scientists has developed a way to coax tumor cells in the lab to grow into 3-D spheres.

Mountain pine beetle activity may impact snow accumulation and melt, says CU-Boulder study
A new University of Colorado Boulder study indicates the infestation of trees by mountain pine beetles in the high country across the West could potentially trigger earlier snowmelt and increase water yields from snowpack that accumulates beneath affected trees.

Will psych majors make the big bucks?
A new crop of college graduates have just landed on the job market.

The cellular root of colorectal cancers?
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have found a marker called ABCB5 that both tags a small proportion of cells within colorectal cancers and fuels resistance in those cells to standard treatments.

High voltage! Power experts pull out all the stops at international energy meeting
The Equinox Summit has gotten underway at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada.

Caltech-led astronomers find a new class of stellar explosions
They're bright and blue -- and a bit strange. They're a new type of stellar explosion that was recently discovered by a team of astronomers led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Scientists create humanized mouse model for hepatitis C
A team of researchers led by scientists in the Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease at Rockefeller have, for the first time, recreated a portion of the hepatitis C virus life cycle in a mouse with a functional immune system.

Planet's soils are under threat warns University academic
The planet's soils are under greater threat than ever before, at a time when we need to draw on their vital role to support life more than ever, warns an expert from the University of Sheffield June 9, 2011, in the journal Nature.

How cells' sensing hairs are made
New research from UC Davis provides insights into how sensory hairs, or cilia, on the surface of cells are assembled.

Lack of relationships, education top list of common American regrets
Regrets -- we've all had a few. Although too many regrets can interfere with life and mental health, a healthy amount of regret can motivate us to improve our lives, say researchers Mike Morrison of the University of Illinois and Neal Roese of Northwestern University in the current issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE).

Wildlife Conservation Society receives $150,000 grant from Newman's Own Foundation to save gorillas
The world's largest and least known type of gorilla will receive a helping hand from Newman's Own Foundation, which has awarded the Wildlife Conservation Society a $150,000 grant to help save the Grauer's gorilla in the war-torn landscape of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Progress in tissue engineering to repair joint damage in osteoarthritis
Medical scientists now have

TGen, Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center scientist heads lung cancer consortium
Dr. Glen Weiss, who holds joint appointments at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and at the Virginia G.

What to do with bisphenol A: Ban it, restrict it, leave it alone?
Despite years of scientific studies, reports, lawsuits, congressional inquiries, claims and counterclaims, the question of whether bisphenol A (BPA) poses health threats to people lacks a definitive answer, according to a package of articles on the controversial substance in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS's weekly news magazine.

New research provides breakthrough in understanding common cancer
Researchers from the University of Sheffield have discovered valuable insight into how people develop B-cell lymphoma, one of the most common cancers in the UK.

Study: Stark differences in media use between minority and white youth
Minority youth aged 8 to 18 consume an average of 13 hours of media content a day -- about 4.5 hours more than their white counterparts, according to a Northwestern University report, the first national study to focus exclusively on children's media use by race and ethnicity.

Genes provide landmarks on the roadmap of autism
The interactome or protein interaction network for autism spectrum disorders developed by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in collaboration with scientists at the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute demonstrates how protein pathways converge, diverge and interact to arrive at the same devastating condition.

Rensselaer scholar receives NSF Research Fellowship
It has been an exciting time for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student Kinsley French.

The future of wireless body area networks is the focus of a June 19-20 workshop at WPI
Body area wireless networks are expected to support a wide variety of medical applications.

ASTRO wins 2 2011 Communicator Awards
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has been honored with two Communicator Awards for its work on the fall 2010 edition of ASTROnews and the Radiation Therapy for Cancer brochure.

UAB first in US with cell-processing workstation
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has taken a significant step toward making sophisticated cell therapy a part of patient care with its acquisition of the first cell-processing workstation (CPWS) from SANYO North America Corporation (SANYO) in the United States.

Tut, tut: Microbial growth in pharaoh's tomb suggests burial was a rush job
In the tomb of King Tutankhamen, the elaborately painted walls are covered with dark brown spots that mar the face of the goddess Hathor, the silvery-coated baboons -- in fact, almost every surface.

Autism study validates importance of spontaneous causal mutations and sheds new light on gender skew
A clinically extensive and mathematically powerful study of 1000 families with one autistic child and one unaffected sibling has validated a controversial theory of autism's complex genetic causation.

Ames Laboratory and Korean Institute of Industrial Technology partner on rare-earth research
The US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korean Institute of Industrial Technology, or KITECH.

Noted science historian Elof Carlson traces how the idea of mutation has changed in 6 generations
The idea of mutation has changed considerably from the pre-Mendelian concepts of Darwin's generation to today's up-to-the-minute genomic context of mutation.

Flooding of farmland does not increase levels of potentially harmful flame retardants in milk
As millions of acres of farmland in the US Midwest and South recover from Mississippi River flooding, scientists report that river flooding can increase levels of potentially harmful flame retardants in farm soils.

Anthropologists study autobiographies in Basque of people who took part in the Spanish War
They say that history is written by the victors. But the combatants, fundamental to the outcome of war, rarely appear in this history -- whether victors or vanquished.

Moderate to intense exercise may protect the brain
Older people who regularly exercise at a moderate to intense level may be less likely to develop the small brain lesions, sometimes referred to as

NIST tunes 'metasurface' with fluid in new concept for sensing and chemistry
NIST researchers have demonstrated a unique fluid-tuned

Aircraft systems in the environmental chamber
How can air transport be made more environmentally compatible, economical and sustainable?

Stop on red! The effects of color may lie deep in evolution
Almost universally, red means stop. Red means danger. Red means hot.

A double-satellite NASA-style view of the first tropical storm in eastern Pacific: Adrian
The first tropical depression in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is now the first tropical storm, and two satellites are providing NASA insights into its thunderstorms, rainfall, and intensity.

'Thermal pollution' in rivers not fully mediated by gravel augmentation
Although adding gravel to a river to replace lost sediments won't likely cool the whole river channel, it can create cool water refuges that protect fish from thermal pollution, according to a US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station study.

Einstein scientists find crucial molecule involved in spread of breast cancer
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have identified a key player in the spread of breast cancer.

New supernova remnant lights up
Light from an exploding star in a neighboring galaxy has suddenly begun to glow brighter as the shock wave and X-rays hit surrounding debris.

Study finds shingles may be related to elevated risk of multiple sclerosis
Taiwanese investigators have found that there can be a significantly higher risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) occurring in the year following a shingles, or herpes zoster, attack.

Ordered fear plays a strong role in market chaos
When the current financial crisis hit, the failure of traditional economic doctrines to provide any sort of early warning shocked not only financial experts worldwide, but also governments and the general public, and we all began to question the effectiveness and validity of those doctrines.

Springer and Canada's International Development Research Centre launch new book series
Springer and Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) announce the launch of a new book series,

Girls in school pave the way for siblings -- new study on the effects of schooling in Ethiopia
Annika Lindskog, an economics researcher from the University of Gothenburg, studied data from the Amhara region in rural Ethiopia and found that the schooling of older siblings, especially older sisters, has a positive effect on the schooling of younger siblings.

Historic first images of rod photoreceptors in the living human eye
Scientists today reported that the tiny light-sensing cells known as rods have been clearly and directly imaged in the living eye for the first time.

Distracted driving data and laws to prevent it don't match up
More and more states are passing laws to crack down on the use of mobile devices while driving.

MyCare -- the 'card' that could save your life
It looks like a credit card. It slips into a wallet or purse -- but it could mean the difference between life and death in a medical emergency.

Can evolution outpace climate change?
Animals and plants may not be able to evolve their way out of the threat posed by climate change, according to a UC Davis study of a tiny seashore animal.

Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute join forces
The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Schepens Eye Research Institute announced today that they are combining forces to create the world's largest and most robust basic and clinical ophthalmology research enterprise with full spectrum bench-to-bedside research that will translate more quickly into better treatment for blinding diseases and ultimately cures.

The same type of forest is good for both birds and people
Birds and people both enjoy urban woodlands that have been cleared to just the right degree.

Study reveals how right-to-work laws impact store openings
A new study in the June issue of the American Sociological Review found evidence of how businesses engage in regulatory arbitrage and make decisions about where to open stores based on states' regulatory policies.

Researchers discover superatoms with magnetic shells
A team of Virginia Commonwealth University scientists has discovered a new class of 'superatoms' -- a stable cluster of atoms that can mimic different elements of the periodic table -- with unusual magnetic characteristics.

U-M researchers advocate national strategic approach to therapeutic cancer vaccines
Vaccines that save lives by preventing disease have been around for centuries.

Water's surface not all wet
At any one time, one quarter of water molecules in the uppermost layer have one hydrogen atom in water and the other vibrating freely above.

Elsevier launches new journal: Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Elsevier is pleased to announce the launch of a new journal, Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, with its first issue publication in January 2012.

Finnish twin study yields new information on how fat cells cope with obesity
The mechanisms by which obesity leads towards metabolic co-morbidities, such as diabetes mellitus, are poorly understood and of great public health interest.

An alternative to antibiotics
Antibiotics are among the greatest achievements of medical science. But lately the former multi-purpose weapon fails in the battle against infectious diseases.

Citrate key in bone's nanostructure
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have identified the composition that gives bone its outstanding properties and the important role citrate plays, work that may help science better understand and treat or prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis. 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