Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

July 06, 2011
Rensselaer Professor Wayne Gray receives Humboldt Research Award
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Wayne Gray has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award from the Germany-based Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Landsat 5 captures Missouri River flooding near Omaha
Landsat 5 captured an image of flooding occurring along the Iowa/Nebraska border on June 30, 2011.

A mother's salt intake could be key to prenatal kidney development
New animal study has drawn an association between pregnant mothers' sodium intake and their newborn's kidney development.

Teaching workshops fail to spur learner-centered teaching
Professional development workshops for college teachers, designed to encourage the use of active,

Increased investment in thoracic surgical expertise increased UK lung cancer resection rate
Increased investment in specialist thoracic surgical expertise can lead to a significant rise in the lung cancer resection rate, based on data from England between 2008 and 2009 that was presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Amsterdam, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Mercury vapor released from broken compact fluorescent light bulbs can exceed safe exposure levels
Once broken, a compact fluorescent light bulb continuously releases mercury vapor into the air for weeks to months, and the total amount can exceed safe human exposure levels in a poorly ventilated room, according to study results reported in Environmental Engineering Science.

Gray whales likely survived the Ice Ages by changing their diets
If ancient gray whale populations migrated and fed the same as today's whales, what happened during the Ice Ages, when their major feeding grounds disappeared?

Scripps researchers discover new force driving Earth's tectonic plates
Bringing fresh insight into long-standing debates about how powerful geological forces shape the planet, from earthquake ruptures to mountain formations, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have identified a new mechanism driving Earth's massive tectonic plates.

Berkeley Lab researchers apply NMR/MRI to microfluidic chromatography
By pairing an R&D 100 award-winning remote-detection version of NMR/MRI technology with a unique version of chromatography specifically designed for microfluidic chips, Berkeley Lab researchers have opened the door to a portable system for highly sensitive multi-dimensional chemical analysis that would be impractical if not impossible with conventional technologies.

Steps needed to reduce likelihood that pilot commuting practices could pose safety risk, but too little data now to support regulation
Commuting practices among airline pilots could potentially contribute to their fatigue, and because fatigue can reduce performance, pilots, airlines, and the Federal Aviation Administration should take steps to reduce the likelihood that commuting will pose a safety risk

An unhealthy lifestyle is associated with sexual dysfunction
A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals that several unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as weight problems, physical inactivity, high alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, and hard drugs are associated with sexual dysfunctions in men.

Scientists devise way to sort brain cells for potential transplants
As neural stem cell therapies move closer to clinical use, doctors will need to know that the brain cells they are providing really are what they think they are.

Women still in grip of idealized love and sex, purveyed by romantic fiction
Modern women are still heavily influenced by the idealized love and sex, purveyed by romantic fiction, says broadcaster and agony aunt Susan Quilliam in this month's Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.

Heavy exercise not too high a hurdle for bariatric surgery patients
Bariatric surgery patients can undertake a rigorous exercise program after the procedure, in order to continue to lose weight and avoid regaining weight, according to a UT Southwestern Medical Center study.

New software aids fight against nitrates in Florida's groundwater
As a young scholar, Fernando Rios loved science and computer programming equally.

Mushroom lights up the night in Brazil
San Francisco State University researcher Dennis Desjardin and colleagues have collected new specimens of a forgotten bioluminescent mushroom and reclassified it as, Neonothopanus gardneri.

Combination therapy as good as old regimen to prevent full-blown TB in people with/without HIV
Johns Hopkins and South African scientists have further compelling evidence that new, simpler and shorter treatments with antibiotic drugs could dramatically help prevent tens of millions of people worldwide already infected with the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis, and especially those co-infected with HIV, from developing full-blown TB.

John Theurer Cancer Center BMT researchers highlight the importance of social support
John Theurer Cancer Center researchers published a study delineating the connection of social support to distress after stem cell transplants.

The long-term fiscal impact of funding cuts for IVF in Denmark
Since 2010, free public health services in Denmark no longer extend towards assisted reproduction treatments (ART).

Symposium explores how computer programs can be made easier to write and understand
Computers may be a common part of modern life and work, but the languages and methods used to program those computers continue to confound most people.

Celecoxib may prevent lung cancer in former smokers
Celecoxib may emerge as a potent chemopreventive agent for lung cancer, according to a recent study in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards prestigious fellowships to 18 top young scientists
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting innovative early career researchers, named 18 new Damon Runyon Fellows at its spring Fellowship Award Committee review.

Researchers identify early biomarker for future atopy in asymptomatic children
The signs of atopy may be present long before symptoms begin, even in month-old babies, according to a new research study from Denmark.

Elsevier matches funding opportunities to researcher expertise
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the availability of a new tool in its expertise management solution SciVal Experts.

A look back: Berkeley Lab scientists raced to estimate oil flow from Deepwater Horizon macondo well
The first two weeks of June 2010 were a blur for six Berkeley Lab scientists.

Pixel perfect: Cornell develops a lens-free, pinhead-size camera
It's like a Brownie camera for the digital age: The microscopic device fits on the head of a pin, contains no lenses or moving parts, costs pennies to make -- and this Cornell-developed camera could revolutionize an array of science from surgery to robotics.

USC: The brain co-opts the body to promote pro-social behavior
The human brain may simulate physical sensations to prompt introspection, capitalizing on moments of high emotion to promote moral behavior, according to a USC researcher.

August 2011 Geology highlights
Topics in the August Geology include banded iron formations, the San Andreas fault, the Jan.

Canada's Cancer Risk Management model is an important new health tool for policymakers
If Canada's smoking rates were cut by half to an average national rate of 11 percent within five years, it would result in 35,900 fewer cases of lung cancer by 2030 and save $656 million in treatment costs, according to analysis using a new web-enabled platform developed for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Amsterdam, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Linguists examine obstacles to native-like proficiency in foreign language acquisition
Researchers at JGU Callies are currently compiling an electronic text corpus that will be used as a database for research on lexico-grammatical variation in advanced learner varieties.

British Journal of Nutrition: Fat found in pistachios may not be readily absorbed by the body
A new study now appearing in the peer-reviewed British Journal of Nutrition, finds that fat in pistachios may not be completely absorbed by the body.

Fewer rain storms across southern Australia
Decreasing autumn and winter rainfall over southern Australia has been attributed to a 50-year decrease in the average intensity of storms in the region -- a trend which is forecast to continue for another 50 years.

Experiment aboard shuttle Atlantis will test novel therapy to build bone during space travel
When the final mission of NASA's 30-year Space Shuttle program is launched on July 8, an animal experiment to test a novel therapy to increase bone mass will be on board.

Thinking globally to improve mental health
The Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health Initiative, led by the National Institutes of Health and the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, has identified the top 40 barriers to better mental health around the world.

Study: Breastfeeding does not protect against MS relapses
New research finds breastfeeding doesn't appear to protect against multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses, despite previous studies suggesting there may be a protective role.

Vertebrate jaw design locked early
With the evolution of jaws some 420 million years ago, jawed animals diversified rapidly into a range of niches that remained stable for the following 80 million years, despite extinctions, habitat loss and competition, say researchers from the universities of Bristol, Oxford and Leiden in the leading scientific journal Nature.

Can in-hospital falls really be prevented?
While falls are a common cause of injury, particularly in older, hospitalized patients, some may not be as preventable as once thought.

Beauty is in the medial orbito-frontal cortex of the beholder, study finds
A region at the front of the brain 'lights up' when we experience beauty in a piece of art or a musical excerpt, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Scientists find 'brake-override' proteins that enable development of some cancers
Scripps Research Institute scientists have discovered a basic mechanism that can enable developing cancer cells to sustain abnormal growth.

Lack of clarity about HPV vaccine and the need for cervical cancer screening
Some girls and their parents mistakenly believe the human papillomavirus vaccination makes future cervical cancer screening unnecessary, according to a new Cancer Research UK funded-study from the University of Oxford.

Middle-school students educate community on proper computer posture
Four middle-school students from Carmel Valley Middle School in San Diego, California, entered the Christopher Columbus Awards Competition, a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program that challenges middle-school students to identify a community problem and solve it using science and technology.

Women, elderly, minorities poorly represented in lung cancer drug trial data submitted to US FDA
Women, older people and minorities are enrolled less frequently in lung cancer drug trials and the numbers do not reflect the prevalence of lung cancer in these populations, according to research presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Amsterdam, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Can gulls smell out a good partner?
Male and female kittiwakes smell different from each other, according to research by Sarah Leclaire from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique at the Université Paul Sabatier in France and her team.

Discovering the bigger picture in chromosomes
By mapping various genomes onto an X-Y axis, a team comprised mostly of Kansas State University researchers has found that Charles Darwin and a fruit fly -- among other organisms -- have a lot in common genetically.

New psychotherapy intervention improves end-of-life experience for dying patients and helps their relatives
Dignity therapy has substantial benefits over standard palliative care and client-centered care, significantly improving quality of life and enhancing the dignity of patients at the end of life while helping their families.

Using vital signs to predict severity of illness in children
Combining three vital signs (heart rate, temperature and oxygen saturation) in a simple score can identify children at risk of serious illness, according to a new study from the University of Oxford.

Outcomes for cardiac valve procedure patients are affected by insurance status
The type of primary insurance patients carry affects outcomes of cardiac valve operations in the United States according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

With a simple coating, nanowires show a dramatic increase in efficiency and sensitivity
By applying a coating to individual silicon nanowires, researchers at Harvard and Berkeley have significantly improved the materials' efficiency and sensitivity.

Hydrogen peroxide found in space
Molecules of hydrogen peroxide have been found for the first time in interstellar space.

Socioeconomic status as child dictates response to stress as adult
When faced with threat, people who grew up poor are more likely to make risky financial choices in search of a quick windfall, according to new research from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

For the first time, the European IVF Monitoring Group reports on cycles using frozen eggs
With 3,284 cycles using frozen eggs, Italy is the leader in Europe, the 27th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard Wednesday.

Final countdown: Atlantis to carry next-generation vaccine candidate on last space voyage
The ability of spaceflight to enhance the efficacy of a recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine, or RASV, will be the focus of experiments conducted by Cheryl Nickerson and Roy Curtiss, of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

Dealing with pollution James Bond style
Ed Bell's safe soil tester, a portable lab with a satellite link, offers an efficient and cost-effective way to ensure a safe environment: another example of EUREKA at work, bringing innovative ideas and modern technology to cheaper and market-ready products.

Future labor shortfalls of medical professionals predicted due to new demands of health-care reform
One consequence of the expanded access to health care facilitated by health care reform will be a shortfall in the necessary numbers of physicians and other advanced medical professionals.

Study of women execs to test 'glass ceiling' issues
A new UT Dallas study is examining whether a rise in female executives spurs greater gender diversity throughout all ranks of businesses.

Bigger than football: Study shows sports can help communities recover from disaster
Research from North Carolina State University shows that organized sports can be a powerful tool for helping to rebuild communities in the wake of disasters.

NC State to create video game adventure to boost science literacy
North Carolina State University has landed a grant to boost science literacy by developing a narrative video game that uses adventure to help middle-school students develop their literacy skills -- particularly their ability to read and understand scientific and technical language.

Extremely rapid water: RUB scientists decipher a protein-bound water chain
Researchers from the RUB-Department of Biophysics of Dr. Klaus Gerwert have succeeded in providing evidence that a protein is capable of creating a water molecule chain for a few milliseconds for the directed proton transfer.

New measurement strategy to underpin UK growth, innovation and environment
On July 6, 2011, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will launch its National Measurement Strategy for 2011-2015.

Elderly Dutch lung patients' survival improved by new treatment options between 2003-2009
New developments such as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy and improvements in surgical care in early-stage lung cancer have led to large survival gains for elderly Dutch patients, according to a population-based study presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Amsterdam, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Leaving anger on the field
Keren Shahar of Tel Aviv University completed a study of 649 children from low socioeconomic backgrounds that proved that sports training lowers aggression through alleviating negative emotions.

Transcription factor is potential target for liver cancer treatment
Altering the body's metabolism could be an effective treatment for deadly liver cancer, researchers report.

Eye of Gaia: Billion-pixel camera to map Milky Way
The largest digital camera ever built for a space mission has been painstakingly mosaiced together from 106 separate electronic detectors.

Unique gel capsule structure enables co-delivery of different types of drugs
Chemists have designed a multiple-compartment gel capsule that can simultaneously deliver hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs.

You are what you tweet: Tracking public health trends with Twitter
Computer scientists sift 2 billion tweets for information on where people are sick, what ails them, and what they're doing about it.

New study: Women less likely than men to fake soccer injuries
Women don't fake them. Soccer injuries, that is. With the Women's World Cup in full swing in Germany, soccer fans can now rest assured that women are less likely than men to fake on-field injuries, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center published in the July issue of the journal Research in Sports Medicine.

What causes brain cancer?
Glioblastoma is the most common and most lethal form of brain tumor in people.

Entomological Society of America names 2011 fellows
The ESA Governing Board has elected ten new Fellows of the Society for 2011.

Nordic study shows marginally higher but overall low risk of stillbirth in ART children
A research group from the Nordic countries (the MART group -- Morbidity in ART) found a marginally higher but overall still low risk of stillbirth among children conceived after assisted reproduction treatment (ART) compared to naturally conceived children, the 27th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology heard Wednesday.

The biology behind alcohol-induced blackouts
Neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified the brain cells involved in alcohol-related blackouts and the molecular mechanism that appears to underlie them.

U of M project will help corn and soybean farmers prepare for climate change
New research led by the University of Minnesota will help corn and soybean farmers across the country modify farming techniques to deal with climate change.

Worldwide study identifies top global challenges in mental health
A Toronto-based researcher is at the helm of a massive, worldwide study that identifies the top global challenges in mental health.

Future fire -- still a wide open climate question
CSIRO's Dr Melita Keywood says it is likely that fire will become an increasingly important driver of atmospheric change as the world warms.

GEN point of view article questions reported costs of drug R&D
A policy specialist and a health care economist both say that the oft-quoted cost of $1.32 billion to bring a new drug to market does not hold up to close scrutiny, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

TUM researchers develop environmentally friendly process to improve storage stability of probiotics
Probiotic bacteria are rapidly gaining ground as healthy food supplements.

The rise and rise of the flying reptiles
Pterosaurs, flying reptiles from the time of the dinosaurs, were not driven to extinction by the birds, but in fact they continued to diversify and innovate for millions of years afterward.

From deadly E. coli to endangered polar bears: GigaScience provides first citable data
BioMed Central and BGI launch a new integrated database and journal, to meet the needs of a new generation of biological and biomedical research as it enters the era of

First whole-genome lung cancer study by TGen and Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center set for conference
A first-of-its-kind study of a patient with lung cancer who never smoked will be presented today by TGen and the Virginia G.

Low adherence to biopsy guidelines affects celiac disease diagnosis in the United States
A new study has found that most patients undergoing biopsy of the small intestine do not have the recommended number of samples to diagnose celiac disease.

The best hospitals are run by physicians
Top-performing hospitals are typically ones headed by an M.D. instead of a manager.

Socioeconomic class and smoking linked to premature menopause
Women from the lowest social class are almost three times as likely to have premature ovarian failure as those from the highest social class, a researcher told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Wednesday.

Natural iron fertilization influences deep-sea ecosystems off the Crozet Islands
Geo-engineering schemes aimed at tackling global warming through artificial iron fertilization of the oceans would significantly affect deep-sea ecosystems, according to research involving scientists from the United Kingdom's National Oceanography Centre as well as former Ocean and Earth Science research students of the University of Southampton, which is based at the Centre.

Chips hold the key to understanding the human brain
University of Manchester scientists have taken a key step towards producing a high-performance computer which aims to create working models of human brain functions.

Discovery of why sunburn hurts could lead to new pain relief for inflammatory conditions
Researchers at King's College London have found a molecule in the body which controls sensitivity to pain from UVB irradiation, identifying it as a new target for medicines to treat pain caused by other common inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

New study: Cheap, common drug could dramatically reduce malaria transmission in Africa
A cheap, common heartworm medication that is already being used to fight other parasites in Africa could also dramatically interrupt transmission of malaria, potentially providing an inexpensive tool to fight a disease that kills almost 800,000 people each year, according to a new study published today in the July edition of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

BGI announces first release of updated bioinformatics software
BGI (previously known as the Beijing Genomics Institute), the largest genomics organization in the world, released its latest bioinformatics software, including its Short Oligonucleotide Analysis Package (SOAP series, etc.), Population Genetics Analysis Package, and Parallelization and Optimization of Traditional Tools.

Microalgae could be Texas' next big cash crop
Just as corn and peanuts stunned the world decades ago with their then-newly discovered multi-beneficial uses and applications, Texas AgriLife Research scientists in Corpus Christi think microalgae holds even more promise.

Nano detector for deadly anthrax
An automatic and portable detector that takes just fifteen minutes to analyze a sample suspected of contamination with anthrax is being developed by US researchers.

London bombing memories explored
Six years on from the devastating July 7 London bombings and in the wake of the inquest into the attacks, a special issue of the journal Memory Studies, published by SAGE, explores new research into our collective memories of this tragic event.

Giving up smoking averts the adverse birth outcomes associated with tobacco
Scientists have shown for the first time in a large population study that mothers' stopping smoking around the time of getting pregnant can prevent the harmful effects of tobacco on their babies' growth.

NIST mechanical micro-drum cooled to quantum ground state
Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology have demonstrated a flexible, broadly usable technique for steadily calming the vibrations of an engineered mechanical object down to the quantum

Dynamic Africa
Despite the general acceptance of the theory of plate tectonics for decades now, geoscientists still have much to learn about the processes involved in the breakup of continents and the formation of new ocean basins.

Climate change forces early spring
A University of Alberta study shows that climate change over the past 70 years has pushed some of the province's native wildflowers and trees into earlier blooming times, making them more vulnerable to damaging frosts, and ultimately, threatening reproduction.

Ethnic, gender stereotypes bias treatment of Parkinson's disease
Cultural, ethnic and gender stereotypes can significantly distort clinical judgments about

Multiple medication use a growing problem among elderly cancer patients
With an estimated 70 percent of all cancers in the USA being diagnosed in older adults by 2030, more and more elderly cancer patients will encounter multiple medication use (polypharmacy) increasing the risk of adverse drug reactions and drug interactions

Invisibility cloak to be unveiled with new research
New research is aiming to transform the fiction of invisibility and turn it into reality.

Emergency departments need to do more to support older adults with cognitive impairment
More needs to be done to improve the care that older adults with cognitive impairment -- including dementia and delirium -- receive when they visit hospital EDs. 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