Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 23, 2011
'Orca ears' inspire Stanford researchers to develop ultrasensitive undersea microphone
Stanford researchers have developed a microphone that can be used at any depth in the ocean, even under crushing pressure, and is sensitive to a wide range of sounds, from a whisper in a library to an explosion of TNT.

Obese dieters' brain chemistry works against their weight-loss efforts
A University of Illinois study published in Obesity finds that when obese individuals reduce their food intake too drastically, their bodies appear to resist their weight loss efforts.

Slow growth of childhood brain tumors linked to genetic process seen in skin moles
Johns Hopkins researchers have found a likely explanation for the slow growth of the most common childhood brain tumor, pilocytic astrocytoma.

Next-generation gene sequencing brings personal genomics closer, IDs mutation in new syndrome
Harnessing the new generation of rapid, highly accurate gene-sequencing techniques, a research team has identified the disease-causing mutation in a newly characterized rare genetic disease, by analyzing DNA from just a few individuals.

Service projects increase learning, social impact for undergrads
Researchers integrated service-learning techniques into a university-level horticulture course and measured the impact on students' perceptions of community involvement, perceptions of social impact, and how they felt they learned the course material.

Discovering lost salmon at sea
Where Atlantic salmon feed in the ocean has been a long-standing mystery, but new research led by the University of Southampton shows that marine location can be recovered from the chemistry of fish scales.

Model of a migraine indicates increased neuronal excitability as a possible cause
Familial hemiplegic migraine is a rare and severe subtype of migraine with aura, an unusual sensory experience preceding the migraine attack.

Finding is a feather in the cap for researchers studying birds' big, powerful eyes
Say what you will about bird brains, but our feathered friends sure have us -- and all the other animals on the planet -- beat in the vision department, and that has a bit to do with how their brains develop.

Solar wind samples give insight into birth of solar system
The first oxygen and nitrogen isotopic measurements of the Sun are complete, demonstrating that they are very different from the same elements on Earth.

Space research gives birth to new ultrasound tools for health care in orbit, on Earth
Space biomedical researchers have developed tools that expand the use of ultrasound to provide better health care for astronauts during flight.

Researchers discover migration patterns of marine predators
Researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax and Stanford University in California concluded a two year study called

Compound may provide drug therapy approach for Huntington's disease
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified compounds that appear to inhibit a signaling pathway in Huntington's disease, a finding that may eventually lead to a potential drug therapy to help slow the progression of degenerative nerve disorders.

Oxytocin promises hope in Prader-Willi syndrome
Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare genetic disorder which affects one child in 25,000.

Exeter study reveals US turtles' movements
A University of Exeter team has monitored the movements of an entire sub-population of marine turtle for the first time.

Contaminated cocaine triggers decaying, dying skin
If the obvious reasons for avoiding recreational drug use aren't off-putting enough, physicians have another consequence to add -- crusty, purplish areas of dead skin that are extremely painful and can open the door to nasty infections.

Sleep switch found in fruit flies
Rather than count sheep, drink warm milk or listen to soothing music, many insomniacs probably wish for a switch they could flick to put themselves to sleep.

23andMe identifies 2 novel genetic associations and substantial genetic component for Parkinson's
23andMe, a leader in personal genetics, published its findings in PLoS Genetics of two significant, novel genetic associations with Parkinson's disease (PD) near the gene SCARB2 involved in known PD pathways, and near the genes SREBF1 and RAI1 of unknown function.

BUSM researcher to receive American Diabetes Association's highest honor
Barbara E. Corkey, PhD, Vice Chair of Research in the Evans Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and director of the Obesity Research Center at Boston Medical Center, will receive the American Diabetes Association's prestigious 2011 Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement Award.

Policies that promote healthy eating, activity and sleep are needed to curb obesity in infants, toddlers and preschoolers
Limiting television and other media use, encouraging infants and young children in preschool and child care to spend more time in physically active play, and requiring child care providers to promote healthy sleeping practices are some of the actions needed to curb high rates of obesity among America's youngest children, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

Positive coaching
Coaches are often lauded as experts at what they do, and, consequently, it can blind them to their athletes' individual needs.

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 2011
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory's recent research is highlighted in this series of news tips.

GSA Bulletin highlights: New research posted June 14, 2011
GSA Bulletin offers pre-issue publication of papers online. Keywords for new research posted June 14, 2011 include: Tibetan Plateau, Sierra Nevada, fluvial system evolution, Quebec Embayment, landslides, upper Indus, Karakoram Himalaya, Patagonian Andes, Mount Taranaki, New Zealand, Longmen Shan, Annapurna region, and Nepal.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the 2011 Society for the Study of Reproduction Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the 2011 Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon from July 31-Aug.

Caltech-led researchers measure body temperatures of dinosaurs for the first time
Were dinosaurs slow and lumbering, or quick and agile? It depends largely on whether they were cold or warm blooded.

Exeter study brings brain-like computing a step closer to reality
The development of 'brain-like' computers has taken a major step forward today with the publication of research led by the University of Exeter.

Genetic testing in epilepsy -- it takes more than 1 gene
A large-scale genome sequencing project will survey nearly all the genes encoding ion channels in hopes to better understand epilepsy.

Treating chronic pain as part of a multidimensional palliative care strategy reduces symptom distress and improves quality of life in cancer patients
A holistic approach to the treatment of cancer pain that helps patients cope with their psychological, social, and spiritual needs, as well as managing pain, might enhance treatment outcomes, ease suffering, and improve quality of life, according to the third paper in the Lancet Series on pain.

Qld fruit fly scientists in race against time
Parts of Australia's fruit and vegetable industry are under threat, with Queensland University of Technology scientists racing to find new ways to control a major horticultural pest before chemical treatments are restricted.

'Good' cholesterol function as important as its levels
Many studies have indicated that therapeutics that increase levels of

'Red Fields to Green Fields' plans revealed for 5 US cities
Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix & Hilton Head assessed their supplies of distressed commercial real estate and determined the best way to turn some of it into green space.

'Language tests being misused' -- new study
A seminal article on language testing, co-authored by Dr. Glenn Fulcher, a Reader in Education at the University of Leicester, argues that some agencies are using unsuitable language tests to achieve policy ends.

Model helps pinpoint cyanobacterial genes that capture the sun's energy
A new model of the single-celled marine cyanobacterium Cyanothece could help researchers use blue-green algae to make renewable energy by predicting which of its genes are central to capturing energy from sunlight.

New insights into origin of deadly cancer
Researchers discovered a new mechanism for the origin of Barrett's esophagus, an intestine-like growth in the esophagus that is triggered by acid reflux and often progresses to esophageal cancer.

'Motivational' interviews reduce depression, increase survival after stroke
Stroke patients who meet with therapists to discuss recovery and life expectations, and potential obstacles, within one month after stroke show fewer signs of depression.

NASA satellite gets 2 tropical cyclones in 1 shot
The Northwestern Pacific Ocean is active with two tropical cyclones today, Tropical Storm Meari near the Philippines, and Tropical Depression Haima moving over China and now toward Vietnam.

Drug use tied to fatal car crashes
It's well known that drunk driving can have fatal consequences, but a new study suggests that alcohol is not the only drug that's a danger on the road.

What makes a happy meal?
Many people when stressed turn to high calorie

Youth cybercrime linked to friends' influence
Peer influence and low self-control appear to be the major factors fueling juvenile cybercrime such as computer hacking and online bullying, according to a new study led by a Michigan State University criminologist.

Drug side effect linked with increased health risks for over 65s
A side effect of many commonly used drugs appears to increase the risks of both cognitive impairment and death in older people, according to new research led by the University of East Anglia.

Smartphone app helps you find friends in a crowd
Can a smartphone app enable meaningful, face-to-face conversation? Engineers are trying to find out, with software that helps people locate their friends in a crowd -- and make new friends who share similar interests.

New and old threats to soybean production
University of Illinois researchers identified the top pathogens, pests and weeds affecting soybean production in a recent article in Food Security.

AMP comments at FDA meeting on next-generation sequencing
The Association for Molecular Pathology gave public comments at the US Food and Drug Administration's meeting on next generation sequencing and called on officials to partner with professional associations as they develop a program to evaluate sequencing based diagnostics.

Helping deaf people to enjoy music again
Researchers from the University of Southampton are investigating how to help deaf people, who have received a cochlear implant, to get more enjoyment from music.

Batphone: From baddies to biodiversity
Scientists have brought to life the batphone, launching a new smartphone app to monitor the world's bats.

Cassini samples the icy spray of Enceladus water plumes
The NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission has directly sampled the water plumes jetting into space from Saturn's moon Enceladus.

Building a better math teacher
For years, it has been assumed that teachers -- specifically math teachers -- need to master the content they intend to teach.

Scientists a step closer to understanding 'natural antifreeze' molecules
Scientists have made an important step forward in their understanding of cryoprotectants -- compounds that act as natural

Department of Energy projects win 36 R&D100 Awards for 2011
US Department of Energy researchers have won 36 of the 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine for the most outstanding technology developments with promising commercial potential.

Commonly prescribed treatments incapable of eliminating pain or restoring function in most people with chronic pain
Currently available treatments for chronic pain are unable to alleviate pain or restore functioning in the majority of patients.

A thermometer for dinosaurs
Small heads, large bodies, and a slow metabolism -- these are the characteristics that make us think of dinosaurs as dull, lethargic and cold-blooded giants.

Ghrelin likely involved in why we choose 'comfort foods' when stressed
UT Southwestern Medical Center-led findings, in a mouse study, suggest that ghrelin -- the so-called

Understanding the antiepileptic benefits of an Atkins-like diet
Some individuals with epilepsy fail to respond to treatment with conventional drugs but benefit from consuming a ketogenic diet -- a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet similar to the more commonly known Atkins diet.

Mechanism for stress-induced epigenetic inheritance uncovered in new study
Researchers at RIKEN have uncovered a mechanism by which the effects of stress in the fly species Drosophila are inherited epigenetically over many generations through changes to the structure of chromatin, the material that makes up the cell nucleus.

Outpatient treatment proves safe, effective for low-risk patients with pulmonary embolism
Outpatient care for certain low-risk patients with pulmonary embolism can be safely and effectively used in place of inpatient care, according to a randomized, multicenter study in 19 emergency departments.

Community health worker interventions improve rates of US mammography screening
Community health worker interventions improve rates of US mammography screening, especially in medical and urban settings and when the worker's race or ethnicity matches that of the women served.

The flames of Betelgeuse
Using the VISIR instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have imaged a complex and bright nebula around the supergiant star Betelgeuse in greater detail than ever before.

Modern fish communities live fast and die young
Fish communities in the 21st century live fast and die young.

Rare genetic disorder provides unique insight into Parkinson's disease
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators appear to have found the mechanism behind a previously reported link between the rare genetic condition Gaucher disease and the common neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson's disease.

Dairy manure goes urban
Researchers tested whether the addition of compost, with or without the application of shallow tillage or aeration, improves soil properties and plant growth compared with an unamended control in simulated residential landscapes.

New study: Even in flies, enriched learning drives need for sleep
Just like human teenagers, fruit flies that spend a day buzzing around the

Effects of stress can be inherited, and here's how
None of us are strangers to stress of various kinds.

JCI table of contents: June 23, 2011
This release contains summaries, links to PDFs, and contact information for papers to be published June 23, 2011, in the JCI: What makes a happy meal?; Understanding the antiepileptic benefits of an Atkins-like diet;

Birds 'flap run' instead if flying over obstacles to save energy
Birds don't always fly over obstacles; sometimes they run over while flapping their wings.

New IUPUI Center for Urban Health focuses on half the world's population
The new Center for Urban Health at IUPUI will conduct research in chronic poisoning from lead in soil; sexually transmitted diseases in inner city teenagers; the affect of urban

High technology, not low taxes, may drive states' economic growth
High-tech training may trump tax breaks for creating more jobs and improving a state's economy, according to a team of economists.

Scientists uncover an unhealthy herds hypothesis
Biologists worldwide subscribe to the healthy herds hypothesis, but could it be that predators can also make prey populations more susceptible to other predators or even parasites?

Study of phytoremediation benefits of 86 indoor plants published
Scientists determined the formaldehyde removal efficiency of a diverse cross-section of 86 indoor plant species.

Chemist solves riddle of killer diseases
Using the tools of synthetic chemistry a Copenhagen chemist has copied the endotoxin of bacteria causing diseases such as anthrax.

Report presents best policy options to reduce petroleum use
It will take more than tougher fuel economy standards for US transportation to significantly cut its oil use over the next half century.

Report recommends ways to improve K-12 STEM education, calls on policymakers
State, national and local policymakers should elevate science education in grades K-12 to the same level of importance as reading and mathematics, says a new report from the National Research Council.

In motor learning, it's actions, not intentions, that count
A study led by Maurice Smith and colleagues at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences suggests that simple task repetition may not be the most efficient way for the brain to learn a new move.

Patients continue to receive inadequate pain relief after surgery, but innovative techniques could aid pain management
Despite new standards, guidelines, and educational efforts, acute pain after surgery continues to be undertreated worldwide, with up to 75 percent of surgical patients in the USA still failing to receive adequate post-op pain relief, according to the first paper in the Lancet series on pain.

When matter melts
For a few millionths of a second after the big bang, quarks could move freely, but soon normal matter

UCI receives national Climate Leadership Award
UC Irvine's demonstrated commitment to carbon reduction strategies has earned it a 2011 Second Nature Climate Leadership Award.

Discovery by Syracuse University physicist alters conventional understanding of sight
A discovery by a team of researchers led by a Syracuse University physicist sheds new light on how the vision process is initiated.

Elsevier and Ex Libris Group announce collaboration to expand discoverability of scientific content
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and Ex Libris Group, a global leader in the provision of library automation solutions, today announced their collaboration to make the full text of SciVerse ScienceDirect journal articles and ebooks searchable in the Ex Libris Primo Central Index.

Cautionary tale for people with diabetes: Dog consumed part of a sleeping patient's toe
In a case study that illustrates the dangers of diabetic neuropathy patients sleeping with family pets, a dog chewed off part of a woman's big toe.

New application for iPhone may support monitoring and research on Parkinson's disease
Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute have developed a novel iPhone application that may enable persons with Parkinson's disease and certain other neurological conditions to use the ubiquitous devices to collect data on hand and arm tremors and relay the results to medical personnel.

BUSM study identifies new potential approaches to treat myelofibrosis
A new study conducted by a team of researchers at Boston University School of Medicine sheds light on a possible new approach to treat the bone marrow disease known as myelofibrosis by inhibiting an enzyme that connects extracellular fibers.

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds University of Miami's R.J. Dunlap Program
University of Miami's R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program was awarded a $30,000 grant by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to conduct research designed to further shark conservation off the Florida coast.

Computational software provides rapid identification of disease-causing gene variations
VAAST provides a highly accurate, statistically robust means to rapidly search personal genomes for genes with disease-causing mutations.

Ovenbirds eavesdrop on chipmunks to protect nests
Ground-nesting birds face an uphill struggle to successfully rear their young, many eggs and fledglings falling prey to predators.

Hereditary colon cancer syndrome marked by abnormally dense blood vessel growth in mouth
A team led by Johns Hopkins researchers has found that a hereditary colon cancer syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis, is associated with abnormally dense blood vessel growth in the skin lining the mouth.

A step toward controlling Huntington's disease?
Johns Hopkins researchers have identified a natural mechanism that might one day be used to block the expression of the mutated gene known to cause Huntington's disease.

UH Cancer Center receives $3.58 million gift for mesothelioma research
The UH Cancer Center has received a $3.58 million gift from an anonymous donor to support the mesothelioma research of Dr.

Landscape coefficients prove useful for urban water conservation efforts
Researchers studied the use of landscape coefficients as a tool in irrigation decision-making and resulting water savings in urban landscapes.

MARC Travel Awards announced for the Society for Developmental Biology 70th Annual Meeting
FASEB MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) Program has announced the travel award recipients for the Society for Developmental Biology 70th Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL from July 21-25, 2011.

Influenza vaccination during pregnancy protects newborns
Infants born to mothers who received the influenza (flu) vaccine while pregnant are nearly 50 percent less likely to be hospitalized for the flu than infants born to mothers who did not receive the vaccine while pregnant, according to a new collaborative study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.

Who goes there? Novel complex senses viral infection
Now, a study published by Cell Press in the June 23 issue of the journal Immunity identifies a novel sensor that is necessary to activate the immune response to viral infection.

Leftover embryonic cells connect gastric reflux and cancer
The ultimate source of some cancers is embryonic cells. Research published in the June 24 Cell, a Cell Press publication, traces the precursor of deadly esophageal cancers to leftover embryonic cells found in all adults.

Study: Long-term inhaled corticosteroid use increases fracture risk in lung disease patients
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who use inhaled corticosteroids to improve breathing for more than six months have a 27 percent increased risk of bone fractures, new Johns Hopkins-led research suggests.

Lowering the color of crystals in sugar factories
Like diamonds, sugar crystals ideally are very pure and low in color.

Competition between brain cells spurs memory circuit development
Scientists at the University of Michigan Health System have for the first time demonstrated how memory circuits in the brain refine themselves in a living organism through two distinct types of competition between cells.

Stanford Woods Institute awards Environmental Venture Projects
The Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University has awarded seven new Environmental Venture Projects grants for interdisciplinary research aimed at finding practical solutions promoting global sustainability.

AGU journal highlights -- June 23, 2011
Featured in this release are research papers on the following topics:

To fix diabetic nerve damage, blood vessels and support cells may be the real targets of treatment
Blood vessels and supporting cells appear to be pivotal partners in repairing nerves ravaged by diabetic neuropathy, and nurturing their partnership with nerve cells might make the difference between success and failure in experimental efforts to regrow damaged nerves, Johns Hopkins researchers report in a new study.

Social amoeba rely on genetic 'lock and key' to identify kin
Baylor College of Medicine have identified the genetic

NTU hosts landmark conference on contemporary literature and the arts
The latest works by some of Singapore's leading writers and poets and their international peers will come under the spotlight at The Contemporary, an international conference of literature and the arts, organized by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Software that models atomic-scale world wins 'SPORE' award
Charles Xie did not have much to lure him into the world of science.

Synthetic collagen from maize has human properties
Synthetic collagen has a wide range of applications in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery and in the food industry.

TGen, Tecan and ASU Biodesign Institute develop sample preparation solution for proteomic research
A new automated sample preparation system based on Tecan's Freedom EVO 200 liquid handling platform has been developed for proteomic biomarker discovery and validation in collaboration with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

FASEB 2012 Excellence in Science Award recipient announced
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is pleased to announce that Susan R.

Rutgers laboratory helped to create new HIV drug
Two decades after Rutgers scientists began working with Paul Janssen, a legendary drug developer and founder of Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica, to create new and potent drugs to fight AIDS, the FDA has approved the second anti-HIV drug that came from this collaboration. 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