Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

June 30, 2011
Scientists study earthquake triggers in Pacific Ocean
New samples of rock and sediment from the depths of the eastern Pacific Ocean may help explain the cause of large, destructive earthquakes similar to the Tohoku Earthquake that struck Japan in mid-March.

University dental device wins medical innovation award
A team of scientists from the University of Liverpool has won an award for developing a device that can identify early tooth decay and plaque before it is visible to the human eye.

Many a mickle makes a muckle: How changes in animals' size and shape arise
How does nature's great diversity in the shape and size of organisms evolve?

Assessing agroforestry's advantages
Agroforestry can provide production benefits while capturing substantial amounts of carbon on agricultural lands.

Sound localization at cocktail parties is easier for men
Differences in male and female behavior are often subject to study.

Using DNA in fight against illegal logging
Advances in DNA

NASA completes mirror polishing for James Webb Space Telescope
Mirrors are a critical part of a telescope. The quality is crucial, so completion of mirror polishing represents a major milestone.

Weatherstone Fellows publish research as Autism Speaks announces 2011 Weatherstone Fellows
Autism Speaks is pleased to announce the 2011 class of eight Dennis Weatherstone Pre-Doctoral Fellows, and that research by Weatherstone Fellows M.

New approach to link genome-wide association signals to biological function
Researchers have identified a new strategy to improve the outcome of genome-wide association (GWA) studies.

Variation in susceptibility to a virus is the key to understanding infection biology
A new study shows that differences in the vulnerability of animals to a virus are crucial to understanding patterns of infection, and that variation in susceptibility to two marginally different viruses increases the number of infections when the two virus variants are present in the same animal.

New tasks attributed to Aurora proteins in cell division
New information from fission yeast provides clues for research on cancer treatments.

Women win out in gastrointestinal surgery
In the first study to consider the impact of gender on patient outcomes in major gastrointestinal surgeries, researchers at UC San Diego Health System have found that women are more likely to survive after the procedure than men.

Up to 220,000 California children excluded from health care reform due to immigrant status
Restrictions on eligibility for health care reform programs will result in the potential exclusion of up to 220,000 children from affordable health care coverage in California, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Study uncovers novel genetic variation linked to increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest
A study by a global consortium of physician-scientists has identified a genetic variation that may predispose people to double the risk of having a sudden cardiac arrest, a disorder that gives little warning and is fatal in about 95 percent of cases.

Salt-loving microbe provides new enzymes for the production of next-gen biofuels
To realize the full potential of advanced biofuels that are derived from lignocellulosic biomass, new technologies that can efficiently and cost-effectively break down this biomass into simple sugars are required.

Foot positioning during walking and running may influence ankle sprains
The position of the foot just before ground contact during running and walking may put people at risk for ankle sprains, according to a new study published by a University of Georgia kinesiology researcher.

Fox Chase researchers identify new mechanism used by cells to reverse silenced genes
Scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center have discovered a new mechanism used by cells in the body to turn on silenced genes.

Time to let science drive Great Lakes policy on Asian carp, experts say
The threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes community may be politically controversial, but pales in comparison to the costs and danger of continuing to wring hands over established facts.

A citizen's dosimeter, and it fits in your wallet
Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate has developed a miniaturized version of a dosimeter, a portable device used for measuring exposure to ionizing radiation, which can provide life-saving early detection in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident or dirty bomb.

Penn scientists contribute to X-ray technique for determining fossil pigmentation patterns
An international team including University of Pennsylvania paleontologists is unearthing the appearance of ancient animals by using the world's most powerful X-rays.

HFES 2011 registration is now open
HFES invites you to register to attend the 55th Annual Meeting, to be held September 19-23 at the Red Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.

Resistant mice provide clues about successful immune response to retroviruses
Now, a new study published by Cell Press online on June 30 in the journal Immunity identifies a key virus-sensing mechanism that is necessary for a successful immune response against infection with this particularly deadly type of virus.

Faster 3-D nanoimaging a possibility with full color synchrotron light
Researchers can now see objects more precisely and faster at the nanoscale due to utilizing the full color spectrum of synchrotron light, opening the way for faster 3-D nanoimaging.

Aircraft influence the local weather, new study shows
As airplanes fly through the clouds, they often punch holes through the ones that contain supercooled water, or water that has remained in liquid form below its freezing point.

Down-under digestive microbes could help lower methane gas from livestock
The discovery that a bacterial species in the Australian Tammar wallaby gut is responsible for keeping the animal's methane emissions relatively low suggests a potential new strategy may exist to try to reduce methane emissions from livestock, according to a new study.

Turning agents of disease into tools for health and better living
The past two decades, there has been an explosion of research into the use of viruses as platforms for nanotechnology in health, electronics and more.

HosPilot Consortium implements its energy efficiency system in hospitals
The HosPilot Project Consortium is developing a system for energy efficiency in hospitals.

Nervous system stem cells can replace themselves, give rise to variety of cell types, even amplify
A Johns Hopkins team has discovered in young adult mice that a lone brain stem cell is capable not only of replacing itself and giving rise to specialized neurons and glia -- important types of brain cells -- but also of taking a wholly unexpected path: generating two new brain stem cells.

Potential of simple injection on patients with head injury
New research has suggested that tranexamic acid has the potential to prevent people dying from head injuries.

Takeoffs and landings cause more precipitation near airports
Researchers have found that areas near commercial airports sometimes experience a small but measurable increase in rain and snow when aircraft take off and land under certain atmospheric conditions.

Micro-dragonflies and microvalves make mark at annual MEMS student design contest
A dragonfly as small as a dust mote, its four tiny wings beating like it had momentarily alit on a lily pad, and a highly sensitive microvalve were the big winners in this year's student design contest for extraordinarily tiny devices at Sandia National Laboratories.

New clues to the cause of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, have identified a series of novel proteins in human cerebrospinal fluid.

Why do we share stories, news and information with others?
People often share stories, news and information with the people around them.

Georgetown research identifies key reasons racial disparities exist in emergent stroke treatment
African-Americans are less likely than whites to receive critical stroke treatment primarily because they do not get to a hospital soon enough for time-sensitive treatment and because of preexisting medical conditions.

Mobile phone derived electromagnetic fields can disturb learning
High frequency non-ionizing radiation, emitted by mobile phones, is redundantly matter of discussions.

Heart transplant patients at risk for serious skin cancers
A new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation reveals that there is a significant risk of serious skin cancers, including cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, in heart transplant patients.

Telomeres: 2 genes linked to why they stretch in cancer cells
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have provided more clues to one of the least understood phenomena in some cancers: why the

Preventing diabetes damage: Zinc's effects on a kinky, two-faced cohort
In type 2 diabetes, a protein called amylin forms dense clumps that shut down insulin-producing cells, wreaking havoc on the control of blood sugar.

Don't show, don't tell?
It turns out that there is a

Researchers map the physics of Tibetan singing bowls
Researchers have been investigating the connection between fifth century Himalayan instruments used in religious ceremonies and modern physics.

Wake Forest Baptist conducts clinical study for insomnia using new technology
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is conducting the first ever, randomized, controlled clinical research study in the country using Brainwave Optimization to treat people with insomnia.

MicroRNAs in the songbird brain respond to new songs
Whenever it hears an unfamiliar song from a male of the same species, a zebra finch stops chirping, hopping and grooming.

The genome guardian's dimmer switch: Regulating p53 is a matter of life or death
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found clues to the functioning of an important damage response protein in cells.

The future of chip manufacturing
MIT researchers show how to make e-beam lithography, commonly used to prototype computer chips, more practical as a mass-production technique.

TV food advertising increases children's preference for unhealthy foods
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that children who watch adverts for unhealthy food on television are more likely to want to eat high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Sustainability -- the main topic of Fabrikart's 9th issue
Fabrikart is a journal published and distributed by the University of the Basque Country's own Publication Service.

Adult stem cells carry their own baggage: Epigenetics guides stem cell fate
Adult stem and progenitor cells may not contain a clean genetic slate after all.

Scripps study finds plastic in 9 percent of 'garbage patch' fishes
The first scientific results from an ambitious voyage led by a group of graduate students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego offer a stark view of human pollution and its infiltration of an area of the ocean that has been labeled as the

Antivenom against lethal snake gives hope to developing countries
A new low-cost snake antivenom could empower countries such as Papua New Guinea to produce their own antivenoms, putting an end to chronic antivenom shortages and unnecessary deaths.

Smithsonian Libraries converts digital publications for e-readers
The Smithsonian Institution Libraries, in a continuing partnership with Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, has converted select publications from the Smithsonian Contributions and Studies Series to digital formats for use on Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers.

Scientists hope to get glimpse of adolescent universe from revolutionary instrument-on-a-chip
Thanks to technological advances, scientists hope to provide a picture of how the cosmos developed into the kind of place that could support life like that found on Earth.

Journal of Dental Research increases its scientific impact factor
Today the International and American Associations for Dental Research announced that its Journal of Dental Research has increased its Five-Year Scientific Impact Factor from 4.195 to 4.389.

BMC conducts high rates of thyroid testing in pregnant women, study finds
A recent study completed by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center (BMC) demonstrates that BMC conducts a high rate of thyroid function testing in pregnant women.

Novel analysis method organizes genomic cancer data
The technology that allows scientists to profile the entire genome of individual tumors offers new hope for discovering ways to select the best treatment for each patient's particular type of cancer.

University of Houston professor Martin Melosi examines water history in Houston and the US
In the 1970s, when environmental issues focused on nature and the wilderness, Martin Melosi, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Professor of History and director of the Center for Public History, University of Houston, felt cities were being left out of the environmental discourse.

NASA's LRO mission gets a sunrise view of Tycho crater's peak
On June 10, 2011, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft pointed the LRO Camera NACs to capture a dramatic sunrise view of Tycho crater.

Autism Speaks and Flutie Foundation join HP's 'Hacking Autism' to develop touch apps for autism
Autism Speaks and the Doug Flutie, Jr., Foundation for Autism have joined HP's

Sea urchins see with their whole body
Many animals have eyes that are incredibly complex -- others manage without.

San Diego conferences to explore clean energy and efficient propulsion systems
Energy conversion technology, advanced energy and power systems, energy conversion engineering, and advanced, reliable and clean propulsion systems will be among the topics discussed at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, Calif., on July 31-Aug.

Integral challenges physics beyond Einstein
ESA's Integral gamma-ray observatory has provided results that will dramatically affect the search for physics beyond Einstein.

Why 'event cloaks' could be the key to the ultimate bank heist
In this month's special issue of Physics World, which examines the science and applications of invisibility, Martin McCall and Paul Kinsler of Imperial College London describe a new type of invisibility cloak that does not just hide objects -- but events.

Reproductive behavior of the silkmoth is determined by a single pheromone receptor protein
The study, which will be published on June 30 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, provides the first direct proof of the long-held belief that the control of sexual behavior in male moths originates in the chemical specificity of the pheromone receptor proteins expressed in pheromone receptor neurons.

Your brain on nicotine: Nicotine receptors affect social behavior
No longer assume that nicotine receptors are only important to smokers trying to quit.

The Cancer Genome Atlas completes detailed ovarian cancer analysis
As part of the Cancer Genome Atlas project, UNC Lineberger researchers have contributed to the most comprehensive an integrated view of cancer genes for any cancer type produced to date.

Spider's double beating heart revealed by MRI
A specialized magnetic resonance imaging scanner has been used on tarantulas for the first time, giving unprecedented videos of the spider's heart beating.

NIH funds massive genome studies that identify genetics behind white blood cell counts
A trio of large-scale genome-wide association studies, or GWAS, have identified more than 15 gene variants responsible for the diversity of white blood cell counts among whites, African-Americans, and Japanese.

Clues to why 'they' all look alike
New research provides biological evidence that the brain works differently when memorizing the face of a person from one's own race than when memorizing an other-race face.

Sun and planets constructed differently, analysis from NASA mission suggests
The sun and inner, rocky planets, including the Earth, may have formed differently than previously thought, UCLA scientists and colleagues analyzing samples returned by NASA's Genesis mission report.

More than bacon: Genetic alterations in pig tissue may allow for human transplantation
A sizzling genetic discovery may one day allow pig tissue to be transplanted successfully into humans.

Evolutionary kings of the hill use good, bad and ugly mutations to speed ahead of competition
Evolutionary adaptation is often compared to climbing a hill, and organisms making the right combination of multiple mutations -- both good and bad -- can become the king of the mountain, says a Michigan State University researcher.

Babies are specially attuned to our voices and emotions
Young babies' brains are already specially attuned to the sounds of human voices and emotions, according to a report published online on June 30 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

CSHL team identifies enzyme that is an important regulator of aggressive breast cancer development
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have identified an enzyme that appears to be a significant regulator of breast cancer development.

Discovery of genetic mutations better diagnose myelodysplastic syndromes
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a means of improving prognosis methods and predicting how long patients with MDS will live after diagnosis by identifying certain gene mutations in their abnormal bone marrow.

Red wine: Exercise in a bottle?
As strange as it sounds, a research study published in the FASEB Journal suggests that the

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and George Mason University expand partnership
Scientists and educators from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and George Mason University broke ground June 29 on a green-design conservation complex that embodies the concept of the living classroom.

Heavy metal meets hard rock: Battling through the ocean crust's hardest rocks
Scientists and drillers recovered a remarkable suite of heat-tempered basalts that provide a detailed picture of the rarely seen boundary between magma and seawater.

Distinguished 6 to be honored by Strathclyde
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of global communications firm Motorola Mobility will be one of six distinguished figures receiving an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, next month.

A different kind of mentor
Mentoring is an important tool in helping young students plan for the future.

BUSM researchers find herbal medicine treatment reduces inflammation in allergen-induced asthma
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine using a traditional Korean medicine, SO-CHEONG-RYONG-TANG (SCRT) that has long been used for the treatment of allergic diseases in Asia, found that SCRT treatment alleviates asthma-like pulmonary inflammation via suppression of specific chemokines or proteins.

EHRA Europace and Cardiostim agree to develop common scientific programs
Europe's leading congresses in cardiac electrophysiology agree to consolidate their events and develop a common scientific program each year

Many more lungs suitable for transplantation
Four patients now have new lungs thanks to a purpose-built machine used for the first time worldwide by Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

Variation in make-up of generic epilepsy drugs can lead to dosing problems
Generic anti-epilepsy drugs, pharmaceutical products similar to brand-name versions, save consumers billions of dollars each year, but some are different enough from branded formulations that they may not be effective, particularly if patients switch between two generic drugs, a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests.

WiFi 'napping' doubles phone battery life
A Duke University graduate student has found a way to double the battery life of mobile devices -- such as smartphones or laptop computers -- by making changes to WiFi technology.

Genome analysis will reveal how bacteria in our guts make themselves at home
Researchers from the Institute of Food Research and the Genome Analysis Centre have published the genome sequence of a gut bacterium to help understand how these organisms evolved their symbiotic relationships with their hosts.

Worse outcomes for older breast cancer patients with other health problems
Older breast cancer patients with certain other health problems have higher mortality rates than patients without these problems according to a study published online June 30 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

X-rays reveal patterns in the plumage of the first birds
Researchers report in Science Express that they have taken a big step in determining what the first birds looked like more than 100 million years ago, when their relatives, the dinosaurs, still ruled the Earth.

How too many options can impair the ability to make skillful choices
A study by Columbia Business School Professor Sheena Iyengar, S.

Using fear to guide smart investments
Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University's study, based on an examination of 50 years of market volatility in 10 stock markets in seven different countries, demonstrates that a smart stock market portfolio takes into account both negative returns and the dynamics of psychological volatility.

Researchers predict locations for deer vs. car collisions
University of Alberta researchers have produced a map of Edmonton predicting the most likely locations where vehicles will collide with deer.

When viruses infect bacteria
Viruses are the most abundant parasites on Earth. Well known viruses, such as the flu virus, attack human hosts, while viruses such as the tobacco mosaic virus infect plant hosts.

Geneticist receives Excellence in Science Award from coalition of biomedical researchers
Susan Wessler, a distinguished professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside, has been named the recipient of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) 2012 Excellence in Science Award.

Climate change increases the risk of ozone damage to plants
Ground-level ozone is an air pollutant that harms humans and plants.

Pigment patterns from the prehistoric past
An international collaboration led by researchers at the University of Manchester has for the first time revealed chemical traces of pigments in bird, fish and squid fossils, some over 100 million years old.

Fire brings communities together -- 'You're from the government, we trust you'
As homes and cities expand closer to forests and wildlands across the American West, increasing wildfire threats have created an unlikely new phenomena -- confidence in government.

AOSSM presents prestigious research awards at annual meeting
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine will present nine research awards and two grants during its Annual Meeting, July 7-10 in San Diego, California.

Climate change could turn oxygen-free seas from a blessing to a curse for zooplankton
Zooplankton can use specialized adaptations that allow them to hide from predators in areas of the ocean where oxygen levels are so low almost nothing can survive -- but they may run into trouble as these areas expand under climate change.

Key ingredient: Change in material boosts prospects of ultrafast single-photon detector
By swapping one superconducting material for another, NIST have found a practical way to boost the efficiency of the world's fastest single-photon detector, while also extending light sensitivity to longer wavelengths.

Thanks for the memories
Weizmann Institute scientists track brain activity as false memories are formed, revealing how social pressure can affect what we remember.

Mary Ann Liebert Inc. publishers reports upward trend in impact factors
Mary Ann Liebert Inc. is pleased to announce significant growth for many of its journals, according to the 2010 Impact Factors published by Thomson Reuters.

Research tools from Risoe DTU can ensure optimal financial returns from wind farms
Wind farms have become a common sight both on land and at sea -- not least in Denmark, where wind turbines supply a quarter of the power.

Columbia Business School's Peter Kolesar awarded with a 2011 MSOM Distinguished Fellow Award
Columbia Business School is proud to announce that Peter Kolesar, professor emeritus and special lecturer for decision, risk, and operations was elected to be a 2011 MSOM Distinguished Fellow.

It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it
Soccer players with superior ability in areas such as passing accuracy or sprint speed do not necessarily achieve better overall performance on the pitch.

Tropical Storm Arlene moves inland over Mexico: A GOES-13 satellite movie view
Tropical Storm Arlene made landfall early today and is making its way through northeastern Mexico today as the GOES-13 satellite continues to track its movement. 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